The Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ Part 4
That resurrection is also called in Scripture the “resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15), the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29), the resurrection of “those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:23), and the “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35).
As previously noted, Satan and his demon hordes will be imprisoned in the abyss for the duration of the Millennium, in which the Lord Jesus Christ will rule with unopposed sovereignty. They will not be permitted to interfere in the affairs of the kingdom in any way. Satan’s binding will end, however, when the thousand years are completed and he is released from his prison to lead a final rebellion of sinners.
To review briefly, Scripture teaches that no unsaved people will enter the kingdom. Only the redeemed from among the Jewish (12:6, 13–17; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:26) and Gentile (7:9–17) survivors of the Tribulation will go into the kingdom in their normal, physical bodies. The perfect environmental and social conditions of the Millennium, coupled with the lengthened life spans of those physically alive (Isa. 65:20), will cause their children to proliferate.
Though the initial inhabitants of the millennial kingdom will all be redeemed, they will still possess a sinful human nature. And as all parents have done since the Fall, they will pass that sin nature on to their offspring. Each successive generation throughout the thousand years will be made up of sinners in need of salvation. Many will come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But amazingly, despite the personal rule of Christ on earth, despite the most moral society the world will ever know, many others will love their sin and reject Him
Even the utopian conditions of the Millennium will not change the sad reality of human depravity. As they did during His incarnational presence on earth, sinners will refuse the grace and reject the lordship of the King of all the earth. That is not surprising, since even the perfect conditions of the Garden of Eden were not sufficient to keep sinless Adam and Eve from rebelling against God.
The issue regarding salvation is never lack of information (cf. Rom. 1:18–20); it is love of sin (John 3:19). Those who openly rebel will face swift judgment (2:27; 12:5; 19:15; Ps. 2:9), including the withholding of rain on their land (Zech. 14:16–19). But enough unrepentant sinners will be alive at the end of the Millennium for Satan to lead a worldwide rebellion.
He will pull together all the rebels, revealing the true character and intent of those Christ-rejecting sinners and making it evident that God’s judgment of them is just. Satan’s desperate wickedness and violent hatred of God and Christ will not be altered by his thousand years of imprisonment in the abyss. When he is released, he will immediately set about fomenting his final act of rebellion.
Satan will collect the deceived nations from the four corners of the earth (cf. 7:1; Isa. 11:12), an expression referring, not to a flat earth, but to the four main points of the compass: north, south, east, and west. In other words, the rebels will come from all over the globe.
John gives these enemies of the King of Kings the symbolic title Gog and Magog, naming them after the invasion force that will assault Israel during the Tribulation (Ezek. 38–39). Some believe that Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe this battle at the end of the Millennium. There are, however, significant differences that argue against equating the two events. Ezekiel 39:4 and 17 describe the invaders perishing on the mountains of Israel, but according to Revelation 20:9 the rebels at the end of the Millennium will be destroyed on a “broad plain.” Also, the language of Ezekiel 39:17–20 seems to be describing the same event depicted in Revelation 19:17–18. Finally, the events of Ezekiel 38–39 fit chronologically before the description of the millennial temple given in chapters 40–48, while the battle depicted in Revelation 20:7–10 takes place after the Millennium.
The name Gog appears to be used in Scripture as a general title for an enemy of God’s people (the Septuagint uses it to translate “Agag” in Num. 24:7). In Ezekiel 38–39, the name Gog describes the final Antichrist of the Tribulation. Most likely, then, Gog is used in verse 8 to describe the human leader of Satan’s forces. Some believe the people known as Magog to be the descendents of Noah’s grandson of that same name (Gen. 10:2). They later became known as the Scythians and inhabited the region north of the Black and Caspian Seas. Others identify them with a people who lived farther south in Asia Minor. Whoever the historical people known as Magog may have been, the term is used in this passage to describe the sinful rebels from all the nations who will gather together for the final war in human history.
As the rebel forces moved in for the attack, fire came down from heaven and devoured them. They will be swiftly, instantly, and totally exterminated. Sending fire … down from heaven is often the way God judges sinners (cf. Gen. 19:24; Lev. 10:2; 2 Kings 1:10, 12; Luke 9:54). Satan’s forces will be physically killed, and their souls will go into the realm of punishment, awaiting their final sentencing to eternal hell, which will take place shortly (20:11–15).
Hell is a place of both mental (Dan. 12:2; Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28) and physical torment (14:10–11; Matt. 25:41; Mark 9:43–44; Luke 16:23–24). Those sentenced to that terrible place will be tormented day and night. There will not be a moment’s relief forever and ever. Scripture explicitly teaches that hell is eternal. The same Greek phrase translated forever and ever is used in 1:18 to speak of Christ’s eternity; in 4:9–10, 10:6, and 15:7 of God’s eternity; and in 11:15 of the duration of Christ’s reign. Unbelievers will “be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night” (14:10–11).
Jesus taught that the punishment of the wicked is as eternal as the eternal life of the righteous (Matt. 25:46). He also taught that hell is a place of “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43), “where their worm does not die” (Mark 9:48). Second Thessalonians 1:9 teaches that the destruction of the wicked in hell stretches throughout all eternity.