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#46 The Millenium And The Second Death II

September 4, 2008

 

When last we were here we saw Satan bound in the abyss for 1000 years. And understand that the abyss is not hell. It is a prison from which the devil is unable to tempt anyone. This time of peace will last 1000 years. There are myriads of theories concerning when the 1000 years will take place. Some have postulated that the millennium has already occurred in the past. Others say that we are in that 1000 year period of peace right now. And finally, (I am in this camp) there is the understanding that, following the flow of Revelation, it is a future event.

 

I say this because it is quite apparent that the devil is not bound at this time. To quote John MacArthur, “he’s loose; I mean he’s really loose!” Think for a moment: can you deny that evil men and seducers are waxing worse and worse? Can you deny that the love of many has grown cold?

 

As Paul said in (2Ti 3:3) the people of this sinful world are “unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,” 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… Then there are those who claim to be Christians. They exhibit all the above characteristics and yet go to church and call themselves ‘followers of Jesus. But as Paul says, they are only 5 holding to a form of godliness, (that is, they are merely giving the outward illusion of being Christians) although they have denied its power…”

 

They say, “Jesus saved me…He’s my savior…but not my Lord…I’m my own master…one day I’ll make Jesus Lord of my life…and then I’ll change…but I’m not ready to go that far yet…I’m having too much fun…

 

These people praise God for His grace while at the same time they practice sin, they are living a life that denies him. In (Jude 1:4) we are warned of such people who merely give God lip service when he says “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Now we know that we are all sinners by nature. That is our natural bent, we desire to do the deeds of our father the devil.

 

Even the redeemed of the Lord still suffer the effects of remaining sin. We struggle with the old nature and the pull of our old flesh is strong, like a raging forest fire. The old nature struggles to regain mastery over our lives. Its pull is malignant and relentless. It requires supreme effort on our part to resist and we know that we cannot resist apart from the strength that only God can give. Many times we don’t ask because in the wickedness of our prideful, evil hearts we think that we are stronger than we really are. Now couple this inner struggle with the added outside assault from the wicked one. He has his troops, the demons, and also his earthly foot-soldiers, men who claim to represent God but who in reality are false teachers. These demon possessed men can use the scriptures like a pro and are very adept at twisting them with subtlety like their father; so much so  that only the most alert and discerning brethren are able to perceive it.  These wicked ones are tools in the hand of the devil having been held captive by him to do his will.

Then finally we have our chief enemy, the devil himself. He prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. His assaults are not always frontal: he sometimes comes in through a side door and outflanks us. We must understand this fact; none of this spiritual warfare would be possible if the devil, the accuser of the brethren, were already bound! In fact there would be no temptation apart from the tempter. No, the sad evidence is that the devil is actively at work in this fallen world and will continue to do so until he is bound. And according to the scriptures the day is coming when the tempter will be bound for a time so that he will be unable to tempt men.

 

Revelation chapter 20 speaks directly to this in verses 1-3. 1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 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.

 

I want you to notice these words and keep them in your mind. The devil will be cast into a prison called the Abyss or the bottomless pit bound by a great chain. The angel that binds him will shut him up and set a seal on the door so that for a period of 1000 years, there will be no temptation. Let me give you 2 illustrations that will give you an idea about what this sealing means. The first illustration is of Daniel in the lions den. You know the story: Daniel had become the target of the commissioners and the satraps whom the Medo Persian king Darius had appointed. They were jealous of him because he had more power than they.

 

(In fact, King Darius planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom) and so these commissioners and satraps wanted him dead. They decided to set a trap using the irrevocable law of the Medes and the Persians. They had Darius proclaim that anyone who prayed to any god or man besides Darius (they appealed to his pride) would be cast into a den of lions. Of course Daniel would not stop praying for God was his strength and his ever present help in time of need. 3 times a day he knelt in his upper chamber and prayed, giving thanks to God and no law of men would sway him from worshiping. As soon as the commissioners and satraps had their “evidence” they rushed to king Darius and told on Daniel.

 

Immediately Darius knew he had been used by these men but as the law of the Medes and the Persians could not be altered he had to comply. So Daniel was cast into the lions den (Da 6:17)And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” Daniel was, humanly speaking, completely at the mercy of the king, the commissioners, the satraps and the lions. He was sealed in the den and apart from divine intervention, he could not release himself. The next illustration comes from the burial of Jesus Christ. Our Lord had been crucified and had given up the ghost; He had released His spirit. We know from the word of God that no man took His life from Him. He gave it up willingly.

Now after he died and had been buried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, the wicked, God rejecting Pharisees went to Pontius Pilate because they were worried about this man.

 

Jesus had done some pretty amazing things; things that even the natural man could see were impossible/miraculous. They knew of His declaration, that in 3 days He would rise from the dead and they wanted to do everything in their power to make sure that didn’t happen. And so they ran to the Roman governor as he was the power in Jerusalem. He could give them a Roman guard. He could seal the tomb with a Roman Seal to deter anyone from trying to steal the body of Jesus and proclaim His resurrection. (The breaking of the Roman seal meant instant death.)

 

So the ‘Religious’ leaders of Israel presented their case before Pilate who must have snorted when he heard what they wanted to do and more importantly, why! But wanting to humor them, he gave them a Roman guard which would have been more than a match for any human assailant, sealed the tomb with the official seal of Rome. We read this in (Mt 27:66)So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” Again, apart from divine intervention the grave would have remained sealed to this day!

 

In both cases we see a casting in, a shutting up and a sealing. Now in our text we see the devil cast in, shut up and sealed. Only God Himself could release the tempter and so he is really in prison at this time, an impregnable prison. Now at this same time the antichrist and the false prophet are already in the lake of fire, having been cast there by Jesus Christ Himself. Also the hosts of the antichristian army have been wiped out. There has been the first resurrection; the last trump has sounded and the dead in Christ have been raised and we who are alive and remain have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air and the scriptures tell us that so we shall ever be with the Lord.

 

Satan has been cast into the bottomless pit and He is unable to exercise his wicked power for 1000 years and I believe that this might be a time much like the early days of the Garden of Eden where no wickedness dwelt. But after this 1000 year period the devil is let loose one final time. And the purpose is his final judgment. Our new material begins in the middle of verse 7 where we read…“When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, What a dark day for those who dwell on the earth. Notice what happens in verse 8.

 

The devil will be released 8 and will come out of the bottomless pit to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. Now in this passage we have mentioned the names of Gog and Magog. For years I have heard prophesy teachers say that Gog and Magog are Russia and that this is the Russian hordes bearing down on the nation of Israel. What we will do for the remainder of our time this morning is look to the some selected passages in (Ezekiel 38) as well as the words of some historians. We will see the meaning and the identity Gog and Magog. is because these names are mentioned there.

Beginning in Ezekiel 38 and verse 1 we read “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog,  Here we are able to see that Gog of the land of Magog is a declared enemy of God. Now let’s go further back, all the way to (Genesis 10:2) where we read that “The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.” We see here that Magog was the second named son of Japheth and he was the founder of the tribe of Magog which is not unusual. Throughout the scriptures we see that men built cities and named them after themselves.

 

Now turning back to Ezekiel 38, we see that a prince will arise from this tribe named Gog. Scholars agree that the Magogites were also called the Moschi, a people inhabiting the Moschian Mountains. It is interesting that these Moschian Mountains are located between the Black and the Caspian Seas. This is the place of modern Russia isn’t it! During the rise of the Babylonians and Persians in Western Asia, the Moschi were subdued. But it seems probable that a large number of them crossed the Caucasus range, spread over the northern steppes, and mingling with the Scythians; especially because historians like Herodotus, called the father of modern history, wrote extensively about the decendants of Magog, using their Greek name, the Sythians as far back as 5B.C. He called them the Muscovs, and we see from history that this is the ancient name of the Russian nation and its capital: a name by which they are still generally known throughout the East.”

 

And so Gog is the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, he is a ruler over many lands. Humanly speaking Gog is a powerful leader. Is he an end time leader? Because of what we read in (Revelation 20:8) I would have to say yes. Also, he is a tool in the hand of God to accomplish His will, that will being the final destruction of all wickedness. John sees that after the 1000 years the devil will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

 

And its not like these people have a choice for God is turning the king’s heart whithersoever He wants. They have no choice but to go for notice what God says in our Ezekiel text. God calls Ezekiel to…prophesy against him, that is Gog 3 “and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. God is literally dragging these people to their doom.

 

And these wicked men are probably thinking it is their idea! 5 “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 “Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops––many people are with you. Again what do you see? You see the armies of evil gathering in great numbers to fight against God. The defeats of yesteryear are long forgotten. There is a sign in Jonestown in British Guyana and I don’t know who posted it.

But the message is one that we really need to recall to our minds. It reads thus “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” How true do those words ring in our lives, in our society, in our world today! Men have denied God but He cannot deny Himself. From everlasting to everlasting, He is God! He has always ruled in the affairs of men. As I have said before so I say again, God spoke this world into existence and one day He will speak it out of existence.

 

The blind, God hating masses of humanity today, are fighting the fight of their lives. For them it is a life and death struggle. And it is interesting how things are playing out. Secularists in America and around the world are doing their best to kick God out of the public square while at the same time embracing the god of Islam! They say, “We don’t want the real God…but we’re willing to serve any other god. They claim not to believe in God but the scriptures tell us that they are merely suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Their ‘god’ is their bellies; their end is destruction because they have set their minds on worldly things.

 

And we know the truth don’t we. There is only one true God and He is the “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 but “Who has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…” Men struggle to eradicate this God who created all things by His spoken word and instead say, “Everything that we see and know just happened… all by itself.” 0+0+everything.

 

This is merely reflective of the new math where 4+4 can equal 39 because there is no right or wrong answer.  In fact, because there is no God, there are no absolutes either. Therefore there is no right or wrong. Everything is relative. There can be several right answers. What’s right for you is right and what’s right for me is also right. There is no standard, there is only moral relativism. And we as Christians stand out like a sore thumb.

We are a constant reminder that there is a God who calls us to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14) We love Him because He first loved us and sent His own Son to live a life of obedience for us and to die a sacrificial death in our place. There has been no such grace ever shown by any other living man.

 

Our gracious God calls to sinful men saying “Turn ye, Turn ye for why will you die? This loving God calls to the wicked and says, “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The message to lost men and women is, “Come, let us reason says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. These are words of tender love and compassion on sheep without a shepherd. And what is the response of this so great a love, this so great a salvation? Men gnash their teeth in rage at this loving, merciful, gracious Heavenly Father because He is not only loving and gracious but because He is righteous, pure, and Holy, Holy, Holy! His holy, glorious light shines down on their wicked deeds and they cry out in pain saying “We will not have this God reigning over us.” To Paul, Christ’s representative they said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth” because he had the gall to proclaim the truth.

Men have turned aside from the truth and have bowed in reverence before idols made of wood and stone and the imaginations of their own wicked hearts. Such is the ‘god’ of Islam. This religion, like all cults, appeals to the flesh; I mean, what good ol red blooded amercan boy wouldn’t want 72 virgins at their beck and call. And since they are carnal, sold under sin they will fight for their rights as followers of Mohammed! But one day the religion of hate, like all false religions, will fall as our great God and Savior Jesus Christ returns in judgment and displays His Holy glory by putting them to open shame!

 

These purveyors of hatred and murder, like every other hater of God will fall on their knees before our Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim Him to be exactly who He is, LORD! (Isa 59:19)  tells us as much when it says…“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

 

See the fulfillment of this passage in (Rev 20:9) where we read…“And they that is the people of Gog came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, They come in like a flood. During one of their early meetings, Nikita Khrushchev told JFK, “We will bury you!” I wouldn’t doubt that this is the same idea that these armies of Satan have in mind.

 

But then we and they and the devil are reminded of who God is. They are all set to pounce upon the people of God…“and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. Isn’t it interesting that for all the outward bravado, for all the saber rattling and whatnot, in the end the enemies of God merely fall! Again it is all so anticlimactic because, though hand join hand, and vast multitudes of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves together, they are easily broken in pieces. There is no fortress that is any defense from the power of God. Even the gates of hell cannot prevail against Him. In fact, they are like great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind.

 

What is sinful man that they should think themselves able to stand against Him, at whose rebuke the rocks are thrown down. As I have stated over and over again, you can’t fight God, there is no formula to beat Him. Potence is no match for Omnipotence! The devil had sent his servant the antichrist with a massive army to fight against Jesus Christ and the result was anticlimactic.The beast was taken and the false prophet and they were cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone while the rest of the army was slain by the sword that comes out of the mouth of Jesus.

 

Here we have almost a carbon copy of the first defeat! The enemies of God surround the camp of the saints of God and…fire came down from heaven and devours them! And in verse 10 we see the final end of our adversary. We read “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. That’s it! This is the final defeat of the last of God’s enemies.The scriptures tell us that it is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment. And in verse 11 John describes the final judgment. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it,

 

 (And when the Son of Man comes, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit on His glorious Throne) from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. Old things have passed away, behold all things will be made new! I remind you of what we read in (Re 20:6) “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

 

What does that say of these who are called forth to stand in judgment? (Then He shall gather then nations before Him…12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.    

 

And what were their deeds? We return to what we saw at the outset of this lesson: (2Ti 3:3) the people of this sinful are “unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,” 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” This is the final curtain. The enemies of God are dealt with and their judgment is eternal fire! No one is exempt.

 

Remember the rider on the pale horse? His name was death and Hades followed after him. But now we see them dealt with too. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

I do not believe that we will be rejoicing at the suffering of the wicked, we will not rejoice that they are ‘getting theirs’. Instead we will rejoice in this, that we know God, and that our names are written in the Lambs book of life. There will be worship and praise to God, not gleeful gloating over the death of the wicked. Indeed we will have the heart of God who does not delight in the death of the wicked. And in God’s temple everything says, “GLORY!” And we will shout and sing the song of Moses praising God and saying, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Ex 15:11)

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