During the Millennium, according to Revelation 20, Satan will be bound and out of the way for this entire thousand-year period: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1–3).
There will have been no problems with demons or devils for a thousand years. They’re all going to be in prison with the Devil, thank the Lord. It’s going to be a much nicer world then, with no more Devil and the curse largely lifted, a beautiful, wonderful, heaven on earth. Except for one little problem: There are going to be some people there who don’t really belong in such a heavenly place.
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 some of the people we’re going to be ruling over—the unregenerate, willful hearts of men who will still have free choice to do good or evil. They won’t be influenced by satanic spiritual influences any longer, but they will still have their own wicked hearts if they are unsaved.
There will still be free will and there will still be people who disobey, even whole nations that will rebel. As a result, the curses of God are going to fall on them and they’re going to have drought and famine and all kinds of judgments. The nations which refuse to obey and are rebellious will be punished. (See Zechariah 14:16–19.)
Throughout the Millennium, Jesus and the resurrected saints will be the rulers of the earth, and Jesus will reign with “a rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15), and whether they like it or not, “righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters cover the seas” (Isaiah 11:9). Those who obey and submit willingly to the kingdom of God will be blessed for it. So it appears it’s going to be another trial period, another chance to repent. God will be giving the unsaved a second chance, and thank God, He is going to salvage some that are a little more worthy than the others.
God is also going to try to show the world what they should have done and how they should have done it, how they should have behaved, and what His kingdom would have been like if they had obeyed Him. The Lord will mercifully and patiently try this for a thousand years, but even after all that, some people will still stubbornly refuse to learn.
The “little season”—Satan’s second coming
At the very beginning of the Millennium, immediately after Jesus Christ and His heavenly forces conquer the Antichrist and his forces at the Battle of Armageddon, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit “till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” It is this final “little season” that we are now going to deal with.
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:7–10).
At the end of the Millennium, Satan is going to be released from his prison in the heart of the earth where he’s been held for a thousand years. He’ll be given his freedom briefly—just long enough to deceive the nations again, the unconverted and unsaved who survived into the Millennium.
“He shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle.” The Bible has mentioned Gog and Magog before, in relation to the Antichrist and his invasion of Israel and the great Battle of Armageddon, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. But these are two different battles that you don’t want to get mixed up, because although they both involve “Gog and Magog,” they are a thousand years apart.
The Battle of Armageddon is led by “Gog”—a name given to the Antichrist in Ezekiel 38—from “the land of Magog”—and occurs at the end of the wrath of God period. This is when Jesus and His followers conquer his forces and take over the earth at the very beginning of the Millennium. But the Battle of Gog and Magog takes place at the very end of the Millennium, after the thousand years is over and Satan is released from his prison for “a little season.”
The fact that Gog and Magog feature in both the Battle of Armageddon at the beginning of the Millennium and the Battle of Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium shows that it is going to be an attempted revival of the same empire and the same forces over which the Antichrist and the false prophet ruled. Only this time, the Devil won’t be working through the Antichrist, but the Devil himself will personally try to revive his anti-Christ satanic kingdom, the kingdom of Gog and Magog that he had before the Millennium.
In spite of the visible, all-powerful kingdom of Christ on earth for a thousand years, a lot of people are obviously still not going to receive Jesus as their Savior and will be deceived and misled to follow the Devil when he comes back at the end of the Millennium.
This Battle of Gog and Magog is sort of like the Devil’s second coming. He comes back to lead his people again, and they certainly will be his people if they haven’t received Jesus by this time. Imagine, even after a thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ in person, they will still rebel against the King of kings and His heavenly kingdom on earth! It shows you how clever the Devil is and how gullible people can be.—To think that they could actually overthrow the kingdom of Christ after a thousand years of His supernatural, visible, personal reign on earth.
Imagine, most of 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 people who are left after the horrors of the final holocaust. They will see and feel and know the supernatural powers that we have as rulers of the kingdom of God. They will see it demonstrated, they will know it’s true, they will know God exists, and they will know that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. They will know it’s all true, and yet they will not receive it.
Time doesn’t heal in this case. It doesn’t change the nature of the truly wicked. It doesn’t change the nature of those who have refused to receive and accept and become a part of the kingdom of God. So in this heaven on earth of Christ’s kingdom on earth, they’re going to be uncomfortable misfits, oddballs, constantly resenting it and grumbling, complaining, and finally rejoicing to see the Devil himself let loose so they can follow him, in open rebellion against the Lord and His government.
There are some people who apparently are incorrigible, total reprobates who will never change and can never be won over, no matter how much mercy they receive. No matter how much God’s personal power is shown to them, they still reject Him and try to get rid of Him and His kingdom and His people. Even today, there are people who believe in God and Christ and the Bible, but nevertheless reject Him and harden their hearts and refuse to receive Him because they’re in open rebellion against Him. But in that day they will even see God’s kingdom on earth in visible power and glory. And yet, though they see it, know it, and in the lighter sense of the word “believe” it—they can’t help but believe it when they see it before their very eyes—they will not truly believe it in the sense of receiving it, drinking it in, accepting it, and submitting to it.
God will have mercifully shown them in every way, by His personal rule, how the world ought to be run and what they ought to be like. They will see the Lord and His angelic officers and followers and know His righteousness and the beauty of His creation, a restored creation with the curse lifted and even with very little death, for a thousand years. Surely you would think they all would receive Him then. But not all do, sad to say.
When God finally tests them and lets the Devil loose again, just to see who has really changed and reformed and gotten converted and saved and who loves the Lord and is following Jesus, to sift them and to winnow them, the Devil’s going to find a lot of rebels who didn’t like the bondage of the kingdom of God and God’s strict rules of behavior and love. And they will rebel. They will go along with the Devil and try to actually destroy God’s camp of the saints.
Once again, God will have sifted the tares from the wheat and separated the sheep from the goats. By giving them a chance to rebel, those who reject Christ and His kingdom will come out into the open at the end of the Millennium and follow Satan into the Battle of Gog and Magog and openly show their rebellion, the rebellion they had in their hearts all the time.—Their refusal to become citizens of the kingdom of God and their refusal to be in subjection to the rule and reign of Christ and His saints on earth.
“When Thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Thank God some will learn and will receive it. But, “Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord” (Isaiah 26:9–10).
It’ll be the last great test for mankind 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 millennial rebels will be deceived by the Devil when he’s released and will follow him into battle against the kingdom of God.
Throughout the Millennium, the Lord will be saving all who will receive Him. When all who can be salvaged during that thousand years have been salvaged, God’s going to let the Devil loose for a little while to go out and deceive the ones who are left, to sift them again.
The unconverted wicked will then rebel against God and His goodness and will endeavor to throw off the chains and the bondage of His kingdom, the restrictions of the rule and reign of Christ and His people on earth. We’re given a picture of this in the second Psalm: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine 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 bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.’ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:1–5).
The camp of the saints and the beloved city
After the Devil has gone throughout the earth and gathered his innumerable company of kingdom-of-God-rejecting followers, it says, “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them” (Revelation 20:9). The only city called “the beloved city” in Scripture is earthly Jerusalem, which Jesus is going to take over and from where He’s going to reign as king of the earth during the Millennium.
The heavenly super-city “New Jerusalem” will not come down to earth until after the Millennium, in the new heaven and the new earth (which period we will cover in chapter 12). This cannot be referring to the heavenly city but must be earthly Jerusalem, the beloved city which is mentioned many times by the prophets as being the headquarters of the coming millennial kingdom of the Messiah.
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 thousand years? If we are already “equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36), as Jesus said we’d be, then we could just disappear or fly away. We wouldn’t have to be camped down on the ground and threatened by the forces of evil and natural human beings under the leadership of the Devil. They couldn’t touch us.
We will have immortal resurrection bodies. We will be able to fly, disappear, and they won’t even be able to touch us. So who will Satan and his forces be fighting against? Who else could it be than those who are also human beings just like them, still in human bodies, still in mortal flesh, with whom they can fight?
Remember, it appears from the Bible’s description of the Millennium that there are going to be many who will receive Christ’s kingdom on earth and will obey and will be blessed by the Lord, in spite of those who rebel. It sounds to me as if those who come into faith and belief and loyalty to God will be the ones who make up this camp of the saints at the Battle of Gog and Magog—the nations and the forces who are loyal to the Lord, who will resist Satan and his renegade, reprobate rebel forces.
So it looks like this “camp of the saints” that Satan’s rebels try to surround and defeat at this time is going to be made up of the natural physical human beings who are saved during the Millennium, those who have obeyed and followed God and Christ and refused to join the rebellion. I can’t prove it, but that’s what it sounds like. This is a whole new breed of Christians, a whole new race of Christian mortals having to again withstand the anti-Christ forces.
It even calls these forces Gog and Magog again, as it’s almost the exact same situation, and they are again led by the Devil and his demons. These are the rebels of the Millennium, fighting against the saved of the Millennium. What else could it be? I just can’t picture the resurrected saints, who will be as powerful and as great as the angels of God, huddled up, surrounded by the Devil and his mere human forces of human rebels.
But this would affect the Christian mortals. During the Millennium, the sheep will be divided from the goats and this will be the final reaping, the final separating of the tares from the wheat. And at the end, the Devil and his forces and all the wicked rebels will try to wipe out those who have gotten saved and followed Christ and been reconciled to the Lord.
The devouring fire
It says then that “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them” (Revelation 20:9). This camp of the new saints, the millennial saints, the saved of the Millennium, is surrounded by the forces of the anti-Christ, anti-God Devil— Satan in person on earth again. This time he is not even disguising himself as the Antichrist, but leading his human forces personally.
This time God is so fed up with them that He sends down fire out of heaven to devour them completely. He annihilates the anti-God, antiChrist wicked remaining upon the face of the earth. In fact, He causes such a horrible fire to come down from heaven that it completely wipes out the entire earth. Not the ball itself, but the entire surface of the earth will be burned and purified from all the horrors of man, and God will start all over again with a new creation, as we’ll read in a following chapter—a new earth.
He promised never to destroy the world again with a flood of water, but this time, at the very end, He’s going to destroy it with a flood of fire. He’s going to purify it and destroy the pollution, the germs, the contamination, the wicked, the curse, and all evil, and remake the surface of the earth into another Garden of Eden. He’ll purge the whole surface of the ball. That’s the only way He’s ever going to get rid of all the nuclear wastes and toxins and pollution, not to mention all the junk flying around in the air. No wonder He’s got to destroy both the atmospheric heavens and the earth.
The heavens shall be rolled back like a scroll, He says, and depart with a great noise (Revelation 6:14; 2 Peter 3:10). It’s all going to explode and be burned up, and the whole surface of the ball is going to be re-created. God will then rebuild a new world on the ashes of the old, and His great heavenly city will be able to safely come down through the new heaven to rest upon the new earth. (See Revelation 21.)
For “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:10–13).
We know that this terrific, cataclysmic, catastrophic judgment of God that will wipe out the wicked millennial rebels in one final great explosion is only going to burn up and destroy the surface of the earth and the atmospheric heavens, because God’s Word says that the earth is established forever (Psalm 78:69). He also says that His eternal heavenly city will come down to this earth, where God will dwell with men forever.
If God’s going to send down fire from heaven to devour the forces of the Devil, can you imagine that this fire also devours the camp of His saints? Do you think He’s going to allow His own children to die in fire and flame, even if they’re saved and would go to heaven afterward?
I believe that all these people who have been won to the Lord and His kingdom on earth during the Millennium, who are following Him and living righteously and in cooperation and submission to Him and His saints will be spared in some manner at the end of the Battle of Gog and Magog when this fire comes down from God to destroy their enemies and even the whole surface of the earth. In some way they will be spared. The fire is to destroy their enemies, not them.
Some claim 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. Obviously the fire is not to devour them, but their enemies and the surface of the earth, so that the whole ball can be purified from all its pollution and contamination and wreckage and the mess that still remains at the Battle of Gog and Magog.
After all, if He’ll rescue the saved at the end of the Tribulation with a rapture, sparing them from the wrath of God, why shouldn’t He also rescue His millennial saints with a rapture, and spare them from the devouring fires that wipe out the forces of the Devil at the Battle of Gog and Magog? There must be some way He’s going to save them and take them out.
Satan gets his
While the saints of the Lord are safely tucked away in the heavenly city somewhere out in space, the surface of the earth and the atmospheric heavens will be destroyed in the great fire which burns up the forces of Gog and Magog who had attacked the millennial saints at the end of the Millennium. Satan’s forces will be destroyed by that fire and Satan himself will be cast into hell. Like the Antichrist and the false prophet, the Devil won’t need or deserve any judgment—his judgment has gone on before, and he will be cast straight into the Lake of Fire (1 Timothy 5:24).
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are” (Revelation 20:10). In other words, where they already are at this time. They had been cast into the Lake of Fire after the Battle of Armageddon a thousand years previously. They’d already been in hell for a thousand years, and the Devil is now cast in to join them. At last he receives his punishment.
Satan’s mortal followers are at this time only slain and killed by the fire, whereas the Devil himself is cast into the Lake of Fire, “and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). As we’ll bring out in detail in our next lesson on the judgment and hell, this term “for ever and ever” literally means “for an age and an age,” which undoubtedly is a very, very long time, but like every age, does have an eventual end.
The lessons learned
This final war of all, the Battle of Gog and Magog, is going to prove once and for all that though mercy is even shown to the wicked, yet they will not receive it, they’ll not believe, they’ll not repent. They will still rebel.
There will still be those who are so incorrigible, so rebellious and unregenerate that they’re going to merit hell. After all that, they are going to get what they deserve, and everybody is going to know that they deserve it. They had every chance to repent and change and receive and believe and obey, and yet they rebelled against Christ’s visible kingdom.
Think of it: after a thousand years of the reign of Jesus Christ, having learned what real righteousness is and what the kingdom of God is like, they will still go back under the Devil! After having that much light, that much time, that much love and that much mercy, they are going to deserve the world’s final flood, a flood of fire, which will totally destroy the surface of the earth and them in the process.
All of this is also going to prove that enforced righteousness doesn’t work, that you cannot legislate righteousness—even with the iron rule of love. The stern discipline of the personal presence of the Lord and us and His utterly fair, just, merciful government in a beautiful restored Garden-of-Eden world still can’t make people be good. The minute the Devil is let out of his prison, away they go after him and rebel against God.
This great millennial drama on earth will manifest the heinous sin of the confirmed rebels, the utter reprobates. Like the scribes and the Pharisees and the chief priests and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, even though they saw Jesus and watched Him perform miracles and heard His Words and saw the results—even saw Him raise the dead—they still rejected Him and wouldn’t receive Him as their Messiah.
Jesus said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets”—the written Word of God—“neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Millions are going to come back from the dead, perhaps billions, and yet they’re not going to be persuaded. God’s going to rule over them personally in the form of Jesus Christ for a thousand years, and yet they will not receive Him. “Let favor be shewed to the wicked,” Isaiah says, “and yet they will not learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:10). They will not repent.
It’s going to prove that if they wouldn’t receive Him willingly now, neither will they do it willingly then, even in His personal presence. Even with Jesus Christ’s personal, present, visible reign, and with us as His officers, like angels, supernatural, miraculous, and all this visible power of God.
Now He’s invisible and His power’s invisible, and most people have to believe purely by faith, without seeing. “For without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Although, in most cases where they truly, genuinely, honestly believe, though having not seen, they will see some evidence, some proof, some change, if nothing else than in their own lives as God rewards their faith. They will feel it; they will see it.
So how about you? Are you believing, receiving, obeying, and submitting to Jesus Christ and His loving kingdom by faith today? If so, you have a wonderful future to look forward to. God bless you with faith and yieldedness to Him here and now, so you can rule and reign with Him there and then.
- A More Sure Word of Prophecy (2 Peter 1:19)
- From Here to Eternity
- “Signs of the Times”
- The Rise and Reign of the Antichrist
- The Great Tribulation
- The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
- The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
- The Wrath of God and the Battle of Armageddon
- The Millennium
- The Battle of Gog And Magog
- The Great White Throne Judgement
- The New Heaven and The New Earth