Apostolic End Time Truths

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Revelation Chapter 20 Revealed

Revelation: Chapter 20

by Dr. David R. Reagan

As Chapter 20 opens, Jesus is ready to begin His reign here on Earth. But, there's one last piece of business He's got to take care of. He has taken care of the Antichrist and the False Prophet. He's defeated them and their armies, and He has thrown them into the Lake of Fire, which is Hell, where they will be tormented forever and ever.

But, there's still one last rebel left, and that's Satan. So, the Lord's first business in Chapter 20 is to bind Satan and put him into a great abyss where he will be confined for the next thousand years. During that time, Satan and his demonic hoards will not be allowed to roam upon the Earth.

Who will reign?

Then, Chapter 20 says that we the Redeemed are going to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ for a thousand years. That reign is not described here in great detail. You will find the detailed description of it in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Isaiah. We are told that Jesus will rule with a "rod of iron," and we are told that some people will reign with Him, specifically, those to whom judgment has been given.

Now, who specifically will reign with Jesus? According to Daniel 7, Old Testament saints will be included in this group. "The saints of the highest one will receive the kingdom, then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the highest one."

The apostles will also be included. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus promised his apostles that, "In the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Those of us who have become saints during the Church Age will certainly be included. That promise is made in several places in the New Testament. For example, in Revelation 2 it states: "and he who overcomes, to him I will give authority over the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron."

Finally, the Tribulation martyrs who die for Jesus will be included, according to Revelation 20. "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

What will we do?

Some of us will be administrators serving as mayors, governors and kings. Jesus made this point in one of His parables that degrees of reigning authority would be part of the rewards that believers would receive, based upon their faithfulness in this life. Others of us will serve as judges. Most of us will serve as teachers. That's right, we're going to provide the worldwide educational system, serving as shepherds and priests of God. It will be our responsibility to bring each person born during the Millennium to salvation through a saving faith in Jesus.

None of us will be legislators — none of us — because the government of the world will be a theocracy in which Jesus will be both the spiritual and governmental leader. The offices of priest and king will be combined in Him. He will give the law and we will teach it and enforce it.

Who will the Redeemed be ruling over?

Where will the millennial population come from? The people who will be allowed to go into the Millennium in the flesh will be the small number of Jews and Gentiles who live to the end of the Tribulation who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You see, when Jesus returns, we're told that He will judge immediately all those left alive. The Jewish judgment is described in Ezekiel 20 and the Gentile in Matthew 25. Those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior at the end of that Tribulation period will be consigned to death.

You and I — the Redeemed — will be in glorified bodies, like the body Jesus has now. And, just as He mingled and interacted with His disciples after His resurrection while He was in a glorified body and they were in fleshly bodies, in like manner, we who will be in glorified bodies will live among and rule over those who are in fleshly bodies.

Jesus will reign in His glorified body as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords from Jerusalem. We're told in the Old Testament that David in his glorified body will rule as the king of Israel. And, as I said before, some of us will be administrators and some of us will be judges, and most of us will be teachers. We will be scattered all over the earth reigning over those who are in the flesh.

We're told in the book of Isaiah that life spans will be returned to what they were at the Fall in the Garden of Eden, that is, a thousand years. That means the people who enter the Millennium in the flesh and the children born to them during the Millennium will live the entire time. And, because death will be curtailed and life spans will be extended, the earth will experience a great population explosion. Most likely, by the end of the Millennium, there will be more people on the face of the earth than ever before in the history of mankind. And, it will be the responsibility of the Redeemed to bring those born during that time to salvation in Jesus Christ.

Who will be saved in the Millennial Kingdom?

You may think, "Well, of course everyone will accept Jesus during the Millennial Kingdom. After all, they will be able to see Him in His glorified body, and they will experience first-hand the blessings of His rule." But remember, Jesus was here once before, and all He did was love people and heal them and feed them, and they responded by nailing Him to a cross.

The heart of man is going to be no different during this Millennial period. Sin will be less because Satan and his demonic hoards will be restrained, but there will still be sin and rebellion in people's hearts because we are born with a sin nature. According to Jesus, the evil that is in the world comes from within man. All Satan does is multiply it through temptation. In fact, that's one of the purposes of the Millennium. God is going to use the Millennium to prove that Satan's religion — humanism — is wrong when it says that the way to change the world is to change society. Humanists take that position because they believe that evil is rooted in society. But, the word of God says that evil is rooted in the fallen nature of man and that the only way to change the world is to change people's hearts.

So, God is going to put all of mankind into a perfect environment for a thousand years, and at the end of that time He's going to let Satan loose. Satan will then expose the seed of rebellion that is in people's hearts. He will do this by convincing the nations to rebel against Jesus.

How can man rebel while in a paradise?

At this point you are probably wondering, "Well, why would people rebel after experiencing one thousand years of peace, righteousness and justice?" Well, think for a moment, think what it would be like to live under "the rule of the rod of iron" in the flesh. The flesh would want all the pleasures of the world: drugs, gambling, illicit sex, and pornography. But, these things would not be allowed under Jesus' rule of the rod of iron. Any attempt to indulge the flesh would be met with swift and sure justice. Violators would be tried before judges in glorified bodies, and there would be no appeal, because the judge's decision would be perfect.

And so, people on the surface will say, "We praise you Jesus!" But, there will be seething rebellion in their hearts. Satan is going to expose that rebellious spirit.

We're told in Revelation 20:7 that Satan will be let loose to test mankind, and he will rally the nations of the earth against Jesus. This will be man's last revolt against God, and through it God will prove conclusively that we do not change people by simply changing their environment. It is their hearts that must be changed, and that can be done only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is the final judgment?

The Millennium will conclude with God pouring out His wrath upon Satan and those who follow him. Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to join the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

And then, God will resurrect and judge all the unrighteous who have ever lived, whether in Old Testament times, the Church Age, or the Millennium. This judgment is called "The Great White Throne Judgment." It is the judgment of the damned. All those who ever lived and died outside a faith relationship with God will be judged of their works to determine their eternal destiny. And, since no man can be justified before God by his works, all those who come before the Great White Throne Judgment — all of them — will be condemned to the Lake of Fire to experience what the Bible calls the "Second Death."