36 -The Coming Earthly Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ
|The Coming Earthly Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ |
Revelation 20:1-10 (KJV) 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. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
· Imagine a world dominated by righteousness and goodness, a world where there is no injustice, where no court ever renders an unjust verdict, and where everyone is treated fairly.
· Imagine a world where what is true, right, and noble marks every aspect of life, including interpersonal relations, commerce, education, and government. Imagine a world where there is complete, total, enforced, and permanent peace, where joy abounds and good health prevails, so much so that people live for hundreds of years.
· Imagine a world where the curse is removed, where the environment is restored to the pristine purity of the Garden of Eden, where peace reigns even in the animal kingdom, so that “the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them” (Isa. 11:6).
· Imagine a world ruled by a perfect, glorious Ruler, who instantly and firmly deals with sin.
· Humanly speaking, that description may seem far-fetched, a utopian fantasy that could never be reality.
· Yet it accurately describes conditions during the future earthly kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· The restored and radically reconstructed earth of the millennial kingdom will constitute paradise regained.
· The thousand-year reign of the Savior over the earth is the divinely planned and promised culmination of all of redemptive history and the realization of the hope of all the saints of all the ages.
· The millennial kingdom is called by many names in Scripture. In Matthew 19:28
Jesus calls it “the regeneration.”
Acts 3:19 describes the kingdom as “times of refreshing,”
While verse 21 of that chapter calls it “the period of restoration of all things.”
The apostle Paul refers to it in Ephesians 1:10 as “an administration suitable to the fullness of the times.”
The Bible’s teaching on the kingdom is not confined to the New Testament. The kingdom is an important theme throughout Scripture; it is the goal toward which all of redemptive history progresses. In the words of John Bright, “The Bible is one book. Had we to give that book a title, we might with justice call it ‘The Book of the Coming Kingdom of God’ ” (The Kingdom of God [Nashville: Abingdon, 1953], 197; italics in original). Among the many Old Testament passages that speak of the earthly kingdom are Deuteronomy 30:1–5; 2 Samuel 7:12–16; Psalm 2:6–12; Isaiah 2:2–4; 11:1–10; 12:1–6; 24:23; 32:15–20; 35:1–2; 60:10–18; 65:20–22; Jeremiah 3:14–18; 23:5–6; 30:3; 31:35–40; 33:14–18; Ezekiel 34:23–24; 36:16–38; 37:15–28; Daniel 2:44–45; Hosea 3:4–5; Joel 3:18–21; Amos 9:11–15; Micah 4:1–8; Zephaniah 3:14–20; and Zechariah 14:9–11.
God’s kingdom may be broadly defined as the sphere in which He reigns. In its universal, eternal sense, God’s kingdom encompasses everything that exists, because God is the sovereign ruler over all of His creation. David declared that truth in Psalm 103:19: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Historically, God has mediated His rule on earth through His people, first through Adam and Eve, then Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the judges of Israel (including Samuel), and the kings of Israel and Judah. In the present era, God mediates His rule politically through human governments (Rom. 13:1–7) and spiritually through the church (Acts 20:25; Rom. 14:17; Col. 1:13). In the millennial kingdom, the political and religious elements of God’s temporal, earthly rule will be reunited in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Though not an exhaustive description of the earthly kingdom, this text caps off all the biblical revelation about the Millennium by revealing four essential truths about it: the removal of Satan, the reign of the saints, the return of Satan, and the revolt of society.
- The Removal of Satan
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.. (20:1–3)
- The first matter for the King’s attention as He sets up His kingdom is the confinement of the chief rebel.
- The removal of “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), “the prince of the power of the air … the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2), will dramatically change the world.
- By this time, God will have destroyed all human rebels. Those who survived the Tribulation judgments will have been executed at Armageddon (19:11–21) or the goat judgment (Matt. 25:41–46).
- The ringleaders of the worldwide rebellion, the beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet, will have been thrown into the lake of fire (19:20). The final step in preparation for the kingdom will be the removal of Satan and his demon hosts, so that Christ reigns without the opposition of supernatural enemies.
- As it frequently does in Revelation (cf. vv. 4, 11; 6:1, 2, 5, 8, 12; 7:2; 8:2, 13; 9:1; 10:1; 13:1, 11; 14:1, 6, 14; 15:1; 16:13; 17:3; 19:11, 17, 19; 21:1), the phrase kai eidon (And I saw) indicates chronological progression.
- The location of this passage in the chronological flow of Revelation is consistent with a premillennial view of the kingdom.
i. After the Tribulation (chaps. 6–19)
ii. Christ will return (19:11–21)
iii. and set up His kingdom (20:1–10),
iv. which will be followed by the new heavens and the new earth (21:1).
v. Thus the millennial kingdom comes after Christ’s second coming but before the establishing of the new heavens and the new earth.
vi. Amillennialist Anthony Hoekema has to acknowledge that, taken at face value, the chronology of Revelation supports premillennialism. He writes: Let us assume, for example, that the book of Revelation is to be interpreted in an exclusively futuristic sense.… Let us further assume that what is presented in Revelation 20 must necessarily follow, in chronological order, what was described in chapter 19. We are then virtually compelled to believe that the thousand-year reign depicted in 20:4 must come after the return of Christ described in 19:11. (“Amillennialism,” in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, ed. Clouse, 156)
- The identity of the angel whom John saw coming down from heaven to bind Satan is not disclosed, but he may be Michael the archangel, the great adversary of Satan (12:7; cf. Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9). #. Whoever the angel is, he possesses great power. He is sent to earth with a specific agenda: to seize Satan for the thousand-year duration of the kingdom, bind him, cast him into the abyss and seal it, and then release him at the end of the thousand years.
- Abussos (abyss) appears seven times in Revelation (cf. 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8), always in reference to the temporary place of incarceration for certain demons. The abyss is not their final place of punishment; the lake of fire is (Matt. 25:41).
- Nevertheless it is a place of torment to which the demons fear to be sent (Luke 8:31). The prisoners in the abyss are among the most vile and evil of all demons and include the “spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah” (1 Pet. 3:19–20).
- Those demons, who attempted to corrupt the human race by cohabiting with human women (Gen. 6:1–4), will never be released (Jude 6). They will be transferred directly from their temporary incarceration in the abyss to their permanent place of punishment, the lake of fire (cf. Isa. 24:21–22).
- Other demons sentenced to the abyss will be released at the fifth trumpet judgment to torment sinners (9:1–12).
- The key given to the angel by God signifies his delegated authority (cf. 9:1); he has the power to open the abyss, and then to shut it after casting Satan inside.
- The metaphor of binding demons with a chain also appears in Jude 6. This chain is a great one, because of Satan’s greatness and power as the highest created being (cf. Ezek. 28:14).
- The angel laid hold of Satan, who is unmistakably identified by the same four titles given him in 12:9.
i. First, he is called the dragon, a title given him twelve times in Revelation (cf. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17; 13:1, 2, 4; 16:13). It emphasizes his bestial nature, ferociousness, and oppressive cruelty.
ii. The title serpent of old hearkens back to the Garden of Eden and Satan’s temptation of Eve (Gen. 3:1–6; 2 Cor. 11:3).
iii. Diabolos (devil) means “slanderer,” or “malicious gossip” (1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3; Titus 2:3)—an appropriate title for the “accuser of our brethren” (12:10).
iv. Satan is a malignant liar; in fact, he is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satanas (Satan) and its Hebrew root satan are used fifty-three times in Scripture. Both words mean “adversary,” since Satan opposes God, Christ, and all believers.
- The length of the period for which Satan will be bound is defined as a thousand years, the first of six precise and important references to the duration of the Millennium (cf. vv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). #. Satan’s binding poses a serious difficulty for both postmillennialists and amillennialists.
i. Amillennialists argue that Satan is already bound, since, as noted above, they believe we are in the Millennium now (though they do not view it as one thousand literal years in length).
ii. Many postmillennialists also believe that Satan is presently bound, because otherwise it is difficult to see how the church could usher in the Millennium.
iii. Yet the biblical description of Satan’s activity in this present age makes it impossible to believe he has already been bound.
1. Satan plants lying hypocrites in the church (Acts 5:3),
2. schemes against believers (2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11),
3. disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive people (2 Cor. 11:14), attacks believers (2 Cor. 12:7; Eph. 4:27) and must be resisted (James 4:7),
4. hinders those in the ministry (1 Thess. 2:18),
5. and leads believers astray (1 Tim. 5:15).
iv. Amillennialists and postmillennialists generally argue that Satan was bound at the Cross, and that his binding simply means that he can no longer deceive the nations and keep them from learning God’s truth (e.g., Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979], 228].
- But Satan did not keep the Gentile nations from the knowledge of the truth before his alleged binding at the Cross. i. The Egyptians heard about the true God from Joseph, and from the Israelites during the four hundred years they lived in Egypt.
ii. The Assyrians of Nineveh not only heard the truth from Jonah, but also repented (Matt. 12:41).
iii. The Queen of Sheba heard about the true God from Solomon (1 Kings 10:1–9);
iv. the Babylonians from Daniel and his Jewish friends;
v. and the Persians from Esther, Mordecai, and Nehemiah.
vi. Further, in what sense is Satan restrained from deceiving the nations in the present age, since he blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4), “is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2), and holds unbelievers captive (2 Tim. 2:26) in his kingdom (Col. 1:13)?
- The testimony of Scripture is that Satan is anything but bound in this present age, but will be during the coming earthly kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. i. It is only then that he will be incarcerated in the abyss, which will be shut … and sealed … so that he cannot deceive the nations any longer.
ii. His activity in the world will not be merely restricted or restrained, but totally curtailed; he will not be permitted to influence the world in any way.
iii. As will be explained later, that does not mean that the living people in the Millennium will be incapable of sinning.
iv. Amazingly, a vast part of the population, born of the believers who alone entered the kingdom, will in that perfect environment love their sin and reject the King.
v. They will be judged with a rod of iron (2:27; 12:5; Ps. 2:9), and those who engage in open rebellion under Satan’s leadership when the thousand years are completed and Satan must be released for a short time will be utterly destroyed
- The Reign of the Saints And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.. (20:4–6)
- With Satan, his demon hosts, and all God-rejecting sinners out of the way, the millennial kingdom of peace and righteousness will be established.
- The supreme ruler in that kingdom will, of course, be the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (19:16), and “the Lord God will give Him [alone] the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32).
- Yet He has graciously promised that His saints will reign with Him. They will rule subordinately over every aspect of life in the kingdom, and being glorified and perfected, they will perfectly carry out His will.
- In this vision, John sees the panorama of God’s people resurrected, rewarded, and reigning with Christ. He saw thrones, symbolizing both judicial and regal authority, and God’s people sat on them, and judgment was given to them. The glorified saints will both enforce God’s will and adjudicate disputes.
- Several suggestions have been offered concerning the identity of the saints who sat on the thrones, but they can best be identified by determining who God promised would reign. Daniel 7:27 promises that the Old Testament saints will reign in the millennial 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; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.” Jesus promised the apostles that “you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28).
- New Testament believers are also promised that they will reign with Christ.
i. In 1 Corinthians 6:2 Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?”
ii. while 2 Timothy 2:12 declares, “If we endure, we will also reign with Him.” In Revelation 2:26 Jesus promises, “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,” and in
iii. Revelation 3:21 He adds, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
iv. Revelation 5:10 makes it clear that the saints will reign on the earth, not in a spiritual sense or in the heavenly sphere: “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”
- The present passage introduces the last group of saints who will reign with Christ in His kingdom. i. As his vision continued, John saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. These are the martyred believers from the Tribulation (6:9; 7:9–17; 12:11).
ii. Pelekizō (beheaded) literally means, “to cut off with an axe,” and is a figure of speech meaning “to put to death,” or “to execute.”
iii. The empire of Antichrist exterminated Tribulation saints because of their testimony of Jesus (cf. 1:9; 12:17; 19:10), because they faithfully proclaimed the word of God (cf. 1:2; 6:9), and because they had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand (cf. 13:16–17; 14:9–11; 16:2; 19:20).
iv. Because the Tribulation saints were faithful to the death, evidencing their true salvation (cf. Matt. 24:13; Col. 1:21–23; Heb. 3:14), they too came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
v. Ezēsan (they came to life) cannot refer to a spiritual resurrection (regeneration or the new birth), since the Tribulation martyrs were already spiritually alive.
vi. When used in connection with physical death, the root form of ezēsan (zaō) is used throughout the New Testament to describe physical, bodily resurrection (cf. 1:18; 2:8; 13:14; 20:5; Matt. 9:18; 27:63; Mark 5:23; Luke 24:23; John 11:25; Acts 1:3; 9:41; Rom. 14:9; 2 Cor. 13:4).
- Then John adds the parenthetical footnote that the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. i. These are the unbelieving dead of all ages, whose resurrection to judgment and damnation is described in verses 11–15.
ii. John calls the resurrection of the saints from all ages the first resurrection. 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).
iii. The use of anastasis (resurrection) offers further evidence that the resurrection described in verse 4 is a physical resurrection.
iv. The word is used forty-two times in the New Testament, always of a physical resurrection (except in Luke 2:34, where the context clearly demands another meaning).
- The phrase blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection introduces the fifth of seven beatitudes in Revelation (cf. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 22:7, 14). i. Those who have a part in the first resurrection are blessed first of all because the second death has no power over them.
ii. The second death, defined in verse 14 as “the lake of fire,” is eternal hell.
iii. The comforting truth is that no true child of God will ever face God’s eternal wrath. “Having now been justified by His blood,” Paul wrote, “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Rom. 5:9).
iv. To the Thessalonians he added, “Jesus … rescues us from the wrath to come.… For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9).
- Those who participate in the first resurrection are also blessed because they will be priests of God and of Christ (cf. 1:6; 5:10). i. Believers are already “a royal priesthood,” called to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called [them] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
ii. Believers now serve as priests by worshiping God and leading others to the knowledge of Him, and will also serve in that capacity during the millennial kingdom.
- A final blessing for the participants in the first resurrection is that they will reign with the Lord Jesus Christ for a thousand years, along with believers who survived the Tribulation. #. Politically and socially, the rule of Christ and His saints will be universal (Ps. 2:6–8; Dan. 2:35), absolute (Ps. 2:9; Isa. 11:4), and righteous (Isa. 11:3–5).
- Spiritually, their rule will be a time when the believing remnant of Israel is converted (Jer. 30:5–8; Rom. 11:26) and the nation is restored to the land God promised to Abraham (Gen. 13:14–15; 15:18). It will be a time when the Gentile nations also will worship the King (Isa. 11:9; Mic. 4:2; Zech. 14:16). The millennial rule of Christ and the saints will also be marked by the presence of righteousness and peace (Isa. 32:17) and joy (Isa. 12:3–4; 61:3, 7).
- Physically, it will be a time when the curse is lifted (Isa. 11:7–9; 30:23–24; 35:1–2, 7), when food will be plentiful (Joel 2:21–27), and when there will be physical health and well-being (Isa. 33:24; 35:5–6), leading to long life (Isa. 65:20).
- The Return of Satan And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,, (20:7)
- 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.
i. And as all parents have done since the Fall, they will pass that sin nature on to their offspring.
ii. Each successive generation throughout the thousand years will be made up of sinners in need of salvation.
iii. 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 (cf. Rom. 8:7).
iv. Even the utopian conditions of the Millennium will not change the sad reality of human depravity.
v. 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.
vi. 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.
vii. 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).
viii. But enough unrepentant sinners will be alive at the end of the Millennium for Satan to lead a worldwide rebellion.
- When Satan is loosed, he will provide the cohesive supernatural leadership needed to bring to the surface all the latent sin and rebellion left in the universe. i. 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.
ii. 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.
- The Revolt of Society And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (20:8–10)
- At the end of his thousand-year imprisonment, Satan will come out to deceive the nations (cf. vv. 3, 10; 12:9).
i. As noted above, Satan’s imprisonment cannot alter his God-hating nature. In fact, he will hate Christ more than ever.
ii. And as also noted above, Satan will find fertile soil in which to sow his seeds of rebellion. Many unsaved descendants of those who entered the millennial kingdom in their physical bodies (all of whom will be redeemed) will love their sin and reject Christ.
iii. They will be as unmoved by the peace, joy, and righteousness of the Millennium as sinners were by the devastating judgments of the Tribulation (cf. 9:20–21; 16:9, 11, 21).
- The actual strategy and method of Satan’s deception is not revealed, but it will succeed in duping the unregenerate people of the world into revolting against the Lord Jesus Christ. i. His deception, however, will fit within God’s purpose, which, as noted above, is to manifest His justice when He destroys the rebels. Satan’s actions are always under God’s sovereign control (cf. Job 1:12; 2:6), and his gathering together of these wicked rebels will be no exception.
ii. 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.
iii. 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).
- Amazingly, John saw that the number of the rebels will be like the sand of the seashore—a figure of speech used in Scripture to describe a vast, uncountable multitude (Gen. 22:17; Josh. 11:4; Judg. 7:12; 1 Sam. 13:5; 1 Kings 4:20; Heb. 11:12). i. As previously noted, the ideal conditions of health, prosperity, safety, and peace that will prevail during the Millennium, coupled with the long life spans of its inhabitants, will lead to a massive population explosion.
ii. Incredibly, vast numbers of those people will join Satan in his final act of rebellion against God.
iii. The earth’s topography will have been drastically reshaped by the catastrophic events of the Tribulation (cf. 16:20; Zech. 14:4, 9–11).
iv. That will allow the rebel forces to come up on the broad plain of the earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city.
v. Parembolē (camp) is used six times in Acts to describe a Roman military barracks (Acts 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32). The saints will be encamped around the beloved city of Jerusalem (cf. Pss. 78:68; 87:2), which is the place of Messiah’s throne and the center of the millennial world (cf. Isa. 24:23; Ezek. 38:12; 43:7; Mic. 4:7; Zech. 14:9–11), enjoying the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 24:23; Jer. 3:17) when the attack comes.
vi. Like Armageddon a thousand years earlier (19:11–21), the “battle” will in reality be an execution. 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.
vii. 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).
viii. 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).
ix. Nor will their evil leader escape his fate: the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone. There he will join his cronies the beast and the false prophet, who by that time will have been in that place of torment for a thousand years (19:20). That those two humans are still there after that time refutes the false doctrine of annihilationism.
- 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). i. Those sentenced to that terrible place will be tormented day and night. There will not be a moment’s relief forever and ever.
ii. 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.
iii. 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).
iv. Jesus taught that the punishment of the wicked is as eternal as the eternal life of the righteous (Matt. 25:46).
v. He also taught that hell is a place of “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43), “where their worm does not die” (Mark 9:48).
vi. Second Thessalonians 1:9 teaches that the destruction of the wicked in hell stretches throughout all eternity.
- Believers are already citizens of God’s kingdom (Phil. 3:20; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 2:12), blessed to be in fellowship with the King. But a glorious future inheritance awaits them, “imperishable and undefiled [which] will not fade away” (1 Pet. 1:4). 
cf. confer (Lat.), compare
MacArthur, J. (2000). Revelation 12-22 (227). Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.