The Triumph of Jesus (Part 2)
Good afternoon. I hope that everyone had a good week. My week was interesting to say the least. I am on all kinds of medication that I take throughout the day. One of those I take in the morning and then in the afternoon while at work, and then finally in the evening before bed. This particular medicine that I take is meant to manage the pain that I am experiencing in my left hand. So because I take it in the morning and in the afternoon at work I place two doses on the counter. I then take the one and then place the other one in a baggie in my lunch bag. Well this week I accidentally scooped the second one up with all of my other meds and doubled up in the morning. This created all kinds of problems for me in the morning. It was not a fun experience. I also take medicine to control my blood pressure, three of them in fact. I take two different medicines for my cholesterol. As well as some others just for good measure it seems like. I doubt there are many here today, in fact that don’t take some sort of medicine on a regular basis for one reason or another. And I suspect you know what it can be like if you forget. It’s not always a pleasant experience. How many of us actually enjoy taking those medicines though. I mean if any of us had a choice between taking the meds and simply not needing them any longer. I am pretty sure we would all take the latter. But alas, I hope that we all took our meds this morning. Because you see we all live life every day under the weight of this curse that is called the fall. And the weight of the fall, that is sin, has affected all of us. And when I say all of us I mean that in both possible manners that it can be taken. Each of us present here today or online are affected by the fall. And there is no part of us, mind, body, and spirit, that has not been touched by sin as well. How desperate are each of us for the final healing touch of Christ Jesus upon our lives when we will be made perfect before Him. How I yearn for the day to look into the eyes of my savior and know no pain any longer no illness any longer. Pain both physical and emotional will be gone completely from our lives. And the truth is that this is but a small part of what is yet to come for us in the Kingdom of God. The Bible says that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor mind conceived of just how good it’s going to be. My hope is over the next few weeks, as we finish up the book of Revelation, we begin to long for that time. That we yearn to be with Jesus. That we come to love our savior more than ever. Because our groom has gone to prepare a place for His bride. And so today let’s look at the beginning of the end of the old world order and the beginning of the new that is yet to come.
In Revelation chapter twenty verses seven and eight we read.
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.
That’s right Satan is going to be released yet again in order to one again deceive the nations.
This is the really important thing that we need to see here though. At this point Jesus has reigned over men for a thousand years, and yet when the great deceiver is set free from his prison he will find that the hearts of men are still willing to be deceived by his seductions. This makes it quite clear that the problem of sin and evil does not come from ones financial position whether you are rich or poor, it is not about whether you were raised right or come from the right side of town. Our problem is not the culture around us or the seductions of society. The problem that humanity has is that the heart of every man, woman, and child is fallen and therefore it is the nature of fallen mankind to sin, to be so easily deceived by satan. Therefore, at the final judgment as everyone stands before God almighty no one will have an excuse for the sin within their hearts.
So, let’s discuss this reference to Gog and Magog real briefly. They are referenced in Ezekiel chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine where Gog is the prince of Magog who during the end times is going to come from the north and attack the people of God. Here the terms are references to the all the nations that are hostile against Jesus. It is also interesting that if you read Ezekiel chapters thirty-six through thirty-nine they follow a very similar structure to what is found in Revelation chapter twenty. Which, I believe lends further credence to a messianic kingdom, the millennial reign that we discussed last week, that is still yet to come and this period is followed by the eternal kingdom.
Then in verse nine we read.
And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,
So we see the armies of the nations deceived by satan will march against the camp of the saints. This word camp in greek is a reference to a militarily fortified location. It would appear that the saints have gathered in Jerusalem, the beloved city, and have fortified their location in preparation for the final battle. This would also appear to suggest that believers during this time will gather near to Christ, who would naturally set his residence within the city of Jerusalem as it has always been sort of the central location in the story of God’s redemptive purposes through Jesus.
But, in the end there is no actual battle that takes place is there. Instead God Almighty rains down fire from the heavens to destroy those who rise up against His son and His people.
Then in verse ten we read.
and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Just as we saw in the battle of Armageddon the focus is not God’s destruction of the nations, but rather it is in the defeat of the powers that stand behind those nations. This is the final destruction of Satan himself. Gehenna or Hell has finally swallowed up Satan, the Beast, and the false prophet eternally. This was the purpose for which hell was created.
Jesus says in Matthew chapter twenty-five verse forty-one
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Hell was not created as a place to bring eternal torment to men. But rather it was created to punish Satan and those fallen angels who follow after him. However, those who follow in the footsteps of Satan must follow him to his very end.
And they shall face eternal torment in the lake of fire right alongside Satan.
Then in verse eleven we read.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
John now witnesses the final judgment. The final judgment will be the complete doing away of all that is old and the ushering in of what is called the eternal state.
A white throne stands before John placing on display the full glory and majesty of God Almighty. Who is the “him” that is seated upon the throne? Is it the father, or the son, or perhaps the Spirit? Does it matter? I think that the best answer to the question is that it is God and so the answer to each of this may just well be yes.
And then we receive this poetic imagery showing that even the earth and the sky flee from the very presence of the glory and grandeur of God. But there is another very real truth that is being revealed in this statement.
The earth was created by God to be the dwelling place of mankind, and mankind was created within and a part of the created order of all things. As a result when Adam first sinned and all of mankind fell, mankind did not stand apart from creation in its fall. That fateful day the whole of creation fell into bondage to both sin and death.
And so before the new redeemed order can be ushered in God’s judgment must fall upon all of the old order, all that has been touched by sin must come under His judgment. Now we need to see this judgment not simply as a destructive means to an end. We should see this as the prelude to the re-creation of all things in the perfect image of Christ Jesus. The old order must pass away so that the new might come.
Then in verse twelve we read.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
This may not specifically state it, but this is the second resurrection that is to come following the millennial kingdom. This is all those who were not included in the first resurrection. At this point all of humanity will stand before God Almighty in judgment.
And a first set of books will be opened and within these books is recorded every deed of every human being that has ever existed, both good and evil.
And then there is another book that is opened and within that book is the name of all those who have believed in Christ Jesus. This is the Lambs book of life.
And then in verse thirteen we read.
And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Death and Hades here is a reference to the intermediate state the holding place of the dead. Essentially it is where people will go after they die and await final judgment. It is what is referred to in the Old Testament as Sheol, it is also referred to in the scriptures as Abrahams bosom. And all those that were within the intermediate state between death and final resurrection will then stand before God Almighty.
And in verse fourteen we read.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And then both of these locations are destroyed in the lake of fire which is hell. Why are they destroyed? Because there will no longer be a need for them. Mankind after the final resurrection will never taste death again. So there is no need for an intermediate state.
Finally in verse fifteen we read.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
There were two different sets of books that were opened. The first set contained all the works of every human to have lived. And yet the outcome of the judgment of these books is never shared. Why? Because in the end our works carry absolutely no weight as to where we will spend eternity. All that matters is whether or not someone has believed in Jesus and as a result had their name written within the lambs book of life. This is all that matters.
Salvation and eternal life is to be found through the Lamb of God, through Jesus Christ alone.
Paul wrote in Romans chapter three verse ten that none is righteous, no, not one, and so no ones justification can be found within their own works of righteousness. Our justification our redemption our salvation can be found only through faith in Christ Jesus.
Let us pray
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.