“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Thoughts… At the end of the earth’s time, after the battle of Armageddon, the most amazing epoch of human history will be ushered in—the millennium.
It will be a time when Satan will be bound for a thousand years and thrown into the bottomless pit (verses 1-3). He will no longer be able to deceive the nations, manipulate institutions to do evil, and tempt people into sin. Imagine that—a world without the devil’s manipulations. That is a perfect world—heaven on earth.
It will also be a time with the people of God rule the earth with Christ’s authority (verses 4-6). They will judge—what they will judge is unclear. It may mean sitting in judgment over all created beings, or it could mean having authority over the nations that have survived the great tribulation. Whatever the case, they will reign with Jesus Christ on Planet Earth for one thousand years.
Then at the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit for a short season (verses 7-9). How long that season will be is unclear, but it will be long enough to deceive many people from among the nations over whom the saints have been ruling and reigning during this millennium period.
Amazingly, after living in the perfect conditions of peace, prosperity, health and happiness during the thousand-year reign of Christ, some people will still turn back to Satan. Such is the power of his deception (he truly is the “father of lies” as Jesus called him) and the power of sin in the heart of unredeemed humanity. I agree with C.S. Lewis, who believed that “the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.” The millennium will be not all that unlike the Garden of Eden—perfect in every way, and yet man still chooses sin.
Perhaps that is the main purpose of the millennium: for God to test the hearts (free will) of those who came out of the great tribulation—to see if they would truly love and serve him and choose righteousness when given an alternative.
At the end of this season, however, God will quickly dispatch Satan, this time for good, into the lake of fire (verse 10). And then the final judgment begins—the Great White Throne judgment. This will be a time when the wicked are judged, from all of human history, and they, like the beast and the false prophet, like Satan himself, will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
And last of all, both death and the grave will be tossed into that eternal lake as well (verse 14). Sin’s worst consequence, man’s worst enemy—death itself—will be banished forever and ever.
So ends the millennium, wrapping up all the loose ends of sin and its consequences. And now, we are ready for the great “do-over”. Chapters 21-22 will describe life from eternity forward as God originally intended, now recreated for those who have loved him, this time without the possibility of Satan, sin, and suffering.
To be continued…
Prayer… Lord Jesus, how grateful I am that I have been redeemed, and as such, I have no fear of the final judgment and no part in the second death. Your blood has fully and forever covered my sin. Now I am safe and secure for all eternity.
One More Thing… “Satan, as a master, is bad; his work much worse; and his wages worst of all.” —Thomas Fuller.”