At the beginning of the Millennium something very significant happens which plays a great part in making the next 1000 years so wonderful: The Devil and his demons (those angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against God) are imprisoned. They are therefore absent from the Earth and thus are not able to wreak their havoc on humanity during that time.
Then I saw an angel coming down from Heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment. (Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4)
Think of that—no problems with demons or devils for 1000 years. They’re all going to be in prison with Satan. It’s going to be a beautiful, wonderful, Heaven on Earth then, with no more Devil, and the Curse largely lifted. Except for one little problem: There are going to be some people on Earth who don’t really belong in Heaven on Earth.
Although we won’t have to battle with the Devil and his spiritual forces during this millennial period, we’ll still have to grapple with the rebellious nature of the willful hearts of men, who will still have free choice to do good or evil. Humanity will still have free will. They will have a choice of whether to love God and be kind to their fellow man. Many will, but others won’t. There will be people, and apparently even whole nations, that will rebel against the Lord’s rule at some point during the Millennium. As a result, they’re going to have drought and famine and other punishments (Zechariah 14:16–19).
God will be giving humankind a second chance, and He is going to salvage many people. The Lord will mercifully and patiently try this for 1000 years. But even after all that, some of them will still stubbornly refuse Him, and be swayed when the Devil is allowed to tempt them again.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the Earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the Earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them. The Devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
At the end of the Millennium, Satan is going to be released from his prison in the bottomless pit where he’s been held for 1000 years. He’ll be allowed by God to test those that live on the Earth who survived into the Millennium—and their descendants—to see if when presented with both sides, they’ll remain true believers and choose God over the Devil.
You’ll notice Gog and Magog are mentioned in the previous passage. Back in Chapter 11 on Armageddon in The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist we read how Ezekiel 38 and 39 refer to the Antichrist as “Gog” and his followers as “Magog.” But even though the Battle of Armageddon and the Battle of Gog and Magog both refer to Gog and Magog, these are not the same battle, but are 1000 years apart. The Battle of Armageddon occurs at the end of the Plagues of the Wrath of God period, just before the beginning of the Millennium. This Battle of Gog and Magog takes place at the very end of the Millennium.
The fact that Gog and Magog feature in both battles would indicate that it is going to be an attempted revival of the same empire and the same forces over which the Antichrist ruled. Only this time, the Devil won’t be using the body of a man as he did with the Antichrist, but the Devil himself will personally try to revive his anti-Christ Satanic Kingdom.
Some of those who survived into the Millennium, in spite of the visible, all-powerful Kingdom of Christ on Earth for 1000 years, will not receive Jesus as their Savior and will again be deceived and misled to follow the Devil when he comes back. Based on history we can assume that Satan will present his lies in as palatable a manner as he does today, appealing to man’s selfishness, self-centeredness, pride, and greed.
It shows how clever the Devil is and how gullible many people are. How stupid they are to think that they could actually overthrow the Kingdom of Christ after 1000 years of its supernatural, miraculous, visible, personal reign on Earth!
Imagine ... the saints will have literally come back from the dead. There will be millions, perhaps billions, who will have returned from the dead to rule and reign with Christ on the Earth over the survivors, who will see the miraculous, supernatural powers that the saints have as rulers in the Kingdom of God. They will see it demonstrated, they will know God exists, they will enjoy the greatly improved conditions on the millennial Earth, and they will know that Jesus is the Son of God. And yet some will rebel.
God tests the Millennium’s inhabitants and lets the Devil loose again to see who has really changed, reformed, and converted—and who has not. The Devil’s going to find a lot of rascals who are willing to follow him, who believe his lies and think he can win, who didn’t like the Kingdom of God and God’s rules of behavior and love. “When Your judgments are in the Earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”—Thank God some people will learn and will receive it. But—“let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly” (Isaiah 26:9–10).
It’ll be the last great test for humankind on Earth. Just as Adam and Eve were deceived in the Garden of Eden, and just as the world will soon be deceived by the Antichrist, these rebels during the Millennium will again be deceived by the Devil when he’s released, and will follow him into battle against the Kingdom of God.
We’re given a good picture of this in the second Psalm:
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.
So at the end of the Millennium, the Devil-led rebel armies will go “upon the breadth of the Earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Revelation 20:9). There is some debate as to whether the beloved city here refers to earthly Jerusalem or the New Jerusalem, the super city that descends from the sky to the Earth. Some have wondered why the Lord would make Jerusalem—a dusty, dirty, old terrestrial city—His capital on Earth when He has the beautiful heavenly Jerusalem available. Well, why He chooses Jerusalem and why His Word calls it the beloved city is a mystery. It is even referred to spiritually as “Sodom” in Revelation 11:8. It has been associated with war and violence for millennia, not to mention the violent death of many of the Lord’s people and prophets. So whether the references to Jerusalem in the Millennium are literal or figurative, we don’t know. The huge, heavenly New Jerusalem does not come down to Earth until after the Millennium, so He doesn’t yet have it available to use as a terrestrial capital. Besides, as will become apparent in the following chapters, an earthly army would have an impossible job of surrounding it simply because of its enormous size.
And what about this “camp of the saints” that the Devil’s forces surround? Is that referring to the resurrected saints of God, who have been ruling the Earth with Jesus for the past 1000 years? If they are already “equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36), as Jesus said they’d be, then the Devil’s forces would really be no match for them. If they didn’t choose to destroy this enemy army, they could disappear or fly away to Heaven. The Devil’s army certainly could not surround them, let alone threaten them with harm in any realistic way.
So who will Satan’s forces be attacking? Who could it be other than those who are human beings just like them, those who are also still in human bodies with whom they can fight? It sounds like those mortals who come into faith and belief and loyalty to God during the Millennium will be the ones who make up this camp of the saints at this Battle of Gog and Magog. Scripture doesn’t explicitly state this, but logic would seem to bear it out.
Here is a whole new breed of Christians, a whole new race of Christian mortals having to withstand—like their counterparts during the Great Tribulation and many other times in history—Satan’s anti-Christ forces. Satan’s forces are called Gog and Magog again, as it’s almost the same situation as in the Tribulation, but this time they are led by Satan in person, who does not even disguise himself as the Antichrist, but leads his human forces personally.
This time God is so fed up with these rebels that He sends down fire out of heaven to devour them completely. “And fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them” (Revelation 20:9). He annihilates all the anti-God, anti-Christ wicked remaining upon the face of the Earth. In fact, He causes such a great fire to come down from Heaven that the entire surface and atmosphere of the Earth will be burned up and purified. God has promised never to destroy the world again with a flood of water (the rainbow is a sign of this promise), but this time, at the very end, He’s going to destroy it with a flood of fire.
For this they willfully forget: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the Earth which are now preserved by the same Word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up … the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire.
2 Peter 3:5–7; Revelation 6:14; 2 Peter 3:10,12
This terrific cataclysm is only going to burn up and destroy the surface of the Earth and the atmospheric heavens, not the planet itself, because God’s Word says that the Earth is established forever (Psalm 78:69). God will then rebuild a new world on the ashes of the old, and the entire surface of the ball is going to be completely re-created to be like the Garden of Eden (Revelation chapter 21).
But what about the earthly saints who are there in their camp of the saints? Are they going to be destroyed along with the wicked when the Earth’s surface is scorched and the atmosphere is destroyed? They will be spared in some manner. Just how, we do not yet know, but we do know that God’s promises are immutable. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:1–2).
Some think there’s going to be a second Rapture of these new saints. How God does it, we don’t know, because it’s not explained. But after all, if He is going to rescue us at the end of the Tribulation with the Rapture, sparing us from the Plagues of Wrath, why shouldn’t He rescue His millennial saints with a rapture too, and spare them from the devouring fires that wipe out the forces of the Devil at the Battle of Gog and Magog? That’s the way He pulled His saints out at the end of the Great Tribulation. Why not a repeat performance?
Meanwhile, Satan’s forces will be destroyed by fire and Satan himself will be cast into Hell. Like the Antichrist and the False Prophet, the Devil won’t need or deserve any trial; his judgment has gone on before, and he will be cast straight into the Lake of Fire.
“The Devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the Beast and the False Prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). One thousand years earlier, after the Battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist and the False Prophet were cast into the Lake of Fire, and now the Devil gets to join them!