Monday, January 22, 2007

SINNERS BEFORE THE GREAT WHITE THRONE

In Revelation 20:11 God gave here a new vision. John said, “And I saw a great white throne”. This is a totally different place than the place where fire came down from God on all those that were deceived by the Devil. It is not a place on this earth, but it is definitely a place somewhere, since the people who stand before the Judgment throne are standing there as complete human beings, with body and soul.

Judgment Day

Revelation 20:11
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This great white throne is the Judgment throne, plain and simple. But God does not always sit on the Judgment throne. For example we read in Revelation chapter 4:

Revelation 4:3
And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

This is just a faint reflection of the throne upon which God sits in all His glory throughout the ages. There are only two times that God will sit on the Judgment throne: Once in AD 33, when Christ was judged on the cross for our sins that were charged to Him, Christ appeared before the Judgment throne of God, and God poured upon Him the equivalent of the Judgment that was due for our sins. And the second time God will sit on the Judgment throne is when at the end of the world, He shall sit on the great white throne here as described here in Revelation 20:11.

Now, we should not imagine that this is a real physical throne on which God will sit. Remember, we are reading this in Revelation, which is an Epistle full of symbolism. God does not need a material throne to sit on when He judges. This description is only given to us to make us understand this event in earthly terms.

But God did not reveal what it really would be, and we would probably not understand it either. Some people are looking for the Bema Seat, which preachers in many churches speak about as the Judgment throne where our good works are going to be rewarded. They think that this event before the great white throne here in Revelation 20:11 is the event where the bad guys, the unsaved, are going to be sent to Hell, whereas the good guys, the saved people, are going to receive special rewards for their good behavior while they were living here on this earth. Let us now address this question of special rewards, for it is being taught in many churches.

John 19:13
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat (Greek = Bema) in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Now we see here clearly that the Bema Seat is another name for the Judgment Seat. Christ was not rewarded for His good works at the Bema Seat; He was sent to the cross. And thus the question of special rewards is shifted to the great white throne.

Is the great white throne judgment the event where the saints are going to receive extra rewards for their good works on this earth?

Who are the people that are standing here before the Judgment throne?

Are all people bodily resurrected on the same day?

And indeed, this is true. There is not a hint anywhere in the New Testament that the unsaved will be resurrected 1000 years after the saints have been resurrected. They all are resurrected on the same day.

John 5:28
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

John 5:29
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Now we know from 1 Thessalonians 4, and from 1 Corinthians 15, and from Revelation 11, that this bodily resurrection of the saints “unto the resurrection of life” coincides with what is called The Rapture. The saints are snatched away from this earth to be with Christ forever, and the unsaved remain on this earth with bodies that are characterized as “unto the resurrection of damnation”. And so, these passages indicate that the ones standing before the great white throne are only the unsaved. We will revisit this subject later. First we must look at the person who is sitting on the throne in Revelation 20:11.

A Righteous Judge

Who is that person sitting on the great white throne, which is here the Judgment throne?

Revelation 20:11
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And why does He sit on a great white throne?

First of all, it is a great throne, for literally our God is very great. He is greater than this universe which He made. He is also a great God for the beautiful Gospel that He left us in this great Book, and for showing us His great power and wisdom by which He defeated Satan, and for His great love for us which He manifested on the cross, and more particularly in Revelation 20:11 for His great righteousness as a righteous Judge which He demonstrated by sending His only begotten Son to pay for the sins that He was willing to bear. Moreover the throne is a white throne to symbolize the glory and the holiness and the righteousness of this Judge, and therefore also of the perfect holiness and righteousness of the judgment which proceeds from Him. Let us now consider the Person who sits on this throne. More than once do the Scriptures speak of the fact that Christ shall be the Judge of the whole world on the Last Day, and also that we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ.

John 5:22
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

The Father has delegated all judgment to the Son. Of course! A throne is made for someone with a body. Of the three persons in the triune Godhead only Christ has a body.

John 5:27
And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

We now turn to Matthew 25:31. The Lord Jesus told us here the parable of the sheep and the goats. We need to understand that this is a parable. It is not the real scenario of the Judgment on the Last Day. The real scenario is given in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. But here, in this parable, the Lord Jesus is teaching us different doctrines. First of all, in this parable Christ teaches us that He will be the Judge.

Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Matthew 25:32
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

Matthew 25:33
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Secondly, Christ shall come in all His glory and all the holy angels with Him, for He is God. Then He shall gather all nations for judgment, and He shall separate the saved, the sheep, from the unsaved, the goats. This tells us that we cannot distinguish the sheep from the goats until the Lord separates them, and then we shall see.

Thirdly, you are either born as a sheep, or you are born as a goat. Sheep do not turn into goats and goats do not turn into sheep. The sovereignty of God in choosing who shall be sheep and who shall be goats is on display. The sheep are not chosen because they are so much nicer animals than goats, for God says in Ephesians 2:3 that:
“we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”, which means we were in our basic human nature as rotten as others who never become saved. These are the doctrines we must learn from this parable, but the scenario of the Last Days we must learn from other passages. And so, Christ is the Judge who sits on the great white throne in Revelation 20:11.

And He is a righteous Judge who will apply the exact penalty that was destined for the crime, as written in His Law Book. He will do that for every crime, and He will apply that same penalty for every one standing before His Judgment throne who bears the guilt of that crime, regardless whether it is a stranger or a close relative.

And so, when the Lord Jesus stood before the Judgment throne of God, in AD 33, with all my sins laden on Him, He had to endure the penalty that was due for the crimes that I committed. And that penalty was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. It would take me an eternity to pay for all my sins. But since the Lord Jesus was also God He could pay this penalty in less than 24 hours. And He did that willingly for a helpless sinner that I am. I will never understand how great His sufferings were, but I am eternally grateful that He did it for me. And He did this for many others, for many who are called God’s elect! There are many passages in the Bible, such as Ephesians 1:4, where we read that WE, the elect of God, were in Christ before the foundation of the world.

We were in Christ when He stood laden with our sins before the Judgment throne of God. We were crucified with Christ. We were in Christ when He endured the penalty of the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. We died with Christ. We were raised with Christ. We ascended with Christ into heaven (past tense). We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies, all because we were and we are in Christ. But God is a righteous Judge who will not inflict the same penalty twice.

When the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God bore the sins of many and paid for those sins on the cross, He endured the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for all His elect. It would then be an insult to the righteousness and the wisdom of God to assume that some of these people would still go to Hell because there is one sin that the Lord did not pay for, such as the sin of unbelief. We all were unbelievers at some point in time. None of us deserved to receive faith unto salvation. And so, Christ only suffered on the cross for those whom He chose in His wisdom to receive this faith unto salvation.

Christ did not suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those who themselves are going to Hell. But God, the righteous Judge, will not inflict the same penalty twice. We have already endured Hell with Christ and in Christ when He was on the cross. And thus God will never send us to Hell again because we have already been there. This is the Gospel; this is the Good News. But it is only Good News for those who have discovered how great sinners they are, and that they cannot help themselves out of their predicament of being on a slippery slide into Hell.

But for those who in their pride are pointing to some good work they have done, such as accepting the Lord Jesus Christ, God has for them no salvation, for they have their reward already. They have their reward now for feeling good that they have made such a good choice. This is the only reward they will receive.

The Books Were Opened

What books are these?

And who are standing here before Christ as the Judge?

An awesome and threatening verse.

Will all my thoughts and actions be made known to everyone there?

Revelation 20:12
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

John saw the dead.

Who are the dead at this point in time?

Are these all the people who have died, and who have now been resurrected in their new bodies unto the resurrection of life, as well as those in their new bodies unto the resurrection of damnation?

Then what about the saints who have never died, but who have received their glorified bodies in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the coming of the Lord?

Are they also counted among the dead?

Is this event here the fulfillment of 2 Corinthians 5:10?

2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

It is taught in many churches that everyone, both the saved as well as the unsaved, shall stand before the great white throne of Revelation 20. This seems to be repeated in the Epistle to the Romans.

Is it really true that the Bible teaches that there is a point in time in the future that we all must appear before the Judgment throne of Christ?

The Bible teaches that the saints have been judged already at the cross.

Can we be judged again?

Can we be judged twice?

The Bible teaches that the saints are raptured to be with Christ forever, and this Rapture occurs just before the great white throne judgment.

Is it possible that we are snatched away from being on the side of Christ, to a position in front of Him at His Judgment throne?

The Bible teaches in Romans 8:1:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This means “no more judgment”, for the only result of judgment is condemnation, since none of our works are done without sin.

But could it be that we will be judged again?

Does not God, in His omniscience, already know in AD 33 what all our works are going to be?

And has not God’s justice been fully satisfied in AD 33?

You see, it is totally out of character with God’s system of justice if the saints must appear again before the Judgment throne of Christ. The great white throne judgment is not the place where the saints are rewarded for their good works. Our inheritance is eternal life, which is a far greater gift than anyone can imagine. God says in:

Romans 8:32
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Do we understand what all things mean?

If God would give all His saints this entire universe, then this universe is large enough to give each one of the saints an entire galaxy each one containing billions of stars and billions of planets, and God would still have many galaxies left over. Such great gifts already boggle the mind. Such great gifts are already infinitely greater than we could expect from any series of good works that we possibly could do. But God does not give us that. God gives us the New Creation, which is far greater and more glorious than this entire universe plus heaven combined, and on top of that God gives us Himself. And when He has given us all things, and has given us Himself too, there is nothing left over for “extra rewards”. Truly, after having received such great gifts, we would be ashamed to ask for some extra rewards. And that is really the meaning of Romans 8:32. On the subject matter that all must stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, this verse is a little clearer than 2 Corinthians 5:10.

We read here in Romans 14:10
But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Literally the Greek text says in the last half of this verse, “For ALL shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ”. The word “we” is not in this verse. And this is a fundamental truth. No one goes to heaven or Hell without having stood before the Judgment throne of Christ at some time or another. But the saints have already stood before the judgment throne of Christ in AD 33.

The saints will not be judged again, for that will violate the justice of God, for our God is a righteous Judge. In fact, God is glorified when He is praised for being a righteous Judge.

God says in Psalm 9:7-8
But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

You see, in God’s entire plan of salvation of His elect, and in His condemnation of all the wicked, God calls Himself absolutely righteous and just. He has prepared His throne especially for the execution of this plan that He in His sovereign pleasure has created. Moreover, God says in Psalm 89:

Psalm 89:14
Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Basically, the meaning of this verse is, “Justice and judgment is the foundation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face”. Paraphrased, the foundation of God’s plan for the creation of this world, and the salvation program of man, and the glorification of God through all this, is His justice and judgment in all the affairs of man and angels, in order that His mercy and the truth of the Word of God shall go forth to praise His holy Name. Therefore, let no one accuse God of being unrighteous, or unjust, for this triggers the wrath of God.

When people invent another gospel than the Gospel of the Bible out of fear that it may offend the ears of the man on the street, and they try to eliminate the sovereignty of God by crafting a free-will gospel, they are in fact accusing God of being unrighteous. God addressed this heinous sin that is now so prevalent in today’s churches in Romans 9:

Romans 9:14
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Romans 9:15
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Romans 9:16
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

No! The only ones who will stand before the great white throne of Christ are the unsaved, who will be judged. Our God is an altogether righteous God, and when the Books are opened and the works of all the unsaved are made public, no one will object to the just verdict of God to cast these people into Hell. The dead, the unsaved, who are standing there before the throne in bodies that are destined for eternal damnation, are judged:

According to Their Works

You see, salvation is all by grace, not by any of our works, not by our free will, but entirely as a gift from God. But condemnation of the unsaved is entirely by their works, by their own free will.

Revelation 20:12
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

We see here that many books are opened. Do not imagine that these represent real books with black ink on white pages as we know books. There are no material books in heaven.

Does God need a ledger or a tally sheet to keep track of all the sins people commit?

No! God’s mind is infinitely larger than any computer we can possibly dream of. God remembers every sin of every human being without writing it in a book. The only reason many books are pictured here in Revelation 20:12 is to let us know that all the works of men are written in the mind of God. No one will get away with anything. Every sin shall be accounted for, except the sins of all the saints, for these have already been judged, and have already been removed from the memory of God.

Did He not say that He has cast our sins from Him as far as the East is from the West? (Psalm 103:12)

Did He not say that He has cast all our sins in the depths of the sea? (Micah 7:19).

Did He not say:
Isaiah 43:25
"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins"?

With these words God comforts us by letting us know that our sins are no longer found in the books that are opened here in Revelation 20:12. But for all the unsaved, even their smallest sins shall be dug up and declared to all who are present.

The Lord Jesus declared this in Matthew 12:36, where He said,
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”.

And thus it is impossible that the Lord Jesus paid for the sins of everyone in the world, for even this small sin of speaking an idle word is still remembered, and thus it was not paid for. It is a lie from all those who adhere to a free-will gospel that the Lord Jesus paid for the sins of everyone in the whole world. God remembers all the sins of all the unsaved, and He said:

Romans 12:19
Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.

The Scriptures are abundantly clear that many sins have not been paid at the cross, and that they shall be accounted for on the Day of Judgment. God says in:

Proverbs 24:12
If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

God says in Ecclesiastes 12:14,
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil

God says in Jeremiah 32:19,
Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

God says in Matthew 16:27,
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

From that judgment there is no appeal, and of that judgment there is no reversal. All the wicked shall acknowledge that Christ’s judgment is perfectly righteous. All that a man has ever done will be judged; his internal as well as his external works, his thoughts and words and deeds, his deepest and secret motives and desires, and these also in their proper relation and connection with the time, and his age, and his country, and the environment in which he lived, and in connection with his gifts and talents, and in connection with his relation to former generations, and in connection with other people around him, and so on; all these factors will be made manifest in their proper value and light. And we shall be able to see clearly the proper value of every man’s work, and the judgment which is pronounced. And all shall justify Christ in the judgment given, for Christ’s Judgment shall be based on the Word of God. With it He shall smite the nations.
And then we read in Revelation 20:12 that another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.

Why did God bring up this detail?

We have heard about this Book of Life. The Bible is that Book of Life. But those who are following a free-will gospel cannot find their names in the Book of Life.

Why not?

Revelation 17:8
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

God brings up this Book of Life to show to all the followers of a free-will gospel how they have violated the Word of God, and therefore their names are not found in the Book of Life. Likewise all those who have followed a Charismatic gospel, and all those who have followed a gospel where something was added or something was taken away from the Word of God, also did not find their names written in the Book of Life. And they all had to admit that they were dead to God, for they were not able to show anything of value to God that they had done. That is why God called them the dead, standing before His great white throne. Yes they are standing before God. The beginning of Revelation 20:12 reads, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God”.
Christ is on the throne, but here we read that God sits on the throne.

Is this not a clear proof that Christ is God?

Tell that to the cults.

But will they believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God?

No! They will find another reason why they should not believe, and thus their stubbornness will land them before the great white throne.

Death and the Grave Delivered Up the Dead

Revelation 20:13
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

When God speaks of the resurrection from the dead, both of the just and of the unjust, there is a great deal more than meets the eye, and that is indicated here when God said, “the sea gave up the dead which were in it”. When someone of the Phoenicians died on his ship and was buried in the sea, 3000 years ago, his body was eaten by the fish, and those fish were eaten by other fish, and those fish were eaten by other fish, and those fish were eaten by other fish, and so on, it is clear that all the molecules and atoms which at one time made up this Phoenician sailor were scattered throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, God is able to reassemble his body on the Last Day and transform this body into a body that will be able to endure eternal condemnation in Hell, and unite this new body with the soul of the sailor who died 3000 years ago.

This same process will be repeated for all those who have died on land and have been put in a grave. Their body has been eaten by worms, who have been eaten by birds, whose droppings have been consumed by plants, who have been eaten by people, and so on. Perhaps some of those atoms and molecules have been reused in people five times over. Nevertheless God is able to reassemble these bodies on the Last Day, and transform all these bodies into bodies unto the resurrection of life and bodies unto the resurrection unto damnation, and unite these bodies with the souls of the people whose bodies they were originally.

This is the great miracle that is in view in verse 13. The word “Hell” in this verse actually should have been translated “the grave”. And thus we would read, “Death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them”. And again God says that they were judged according to their works, to make sure that we understand that it is the works of the unsaved that are bringing them condemnation. And then we read of:

The Lake of Fire

Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

First death and the grave were cast into the Lake of Fire. In other words, death and the grave were done away. Or to say it another way, there will be no escape from the torments of Hell by dying and by being put in the grave. Hell will be forever without interruption by death. Then the words, “this is the second death” do not refer to death and the grave, for death and the grave do not exist any more. We need to remember that the original Greek text did not have any punctuation marks. And thus the words “this is the second death” refers to the Lake of Fire.

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

You see, the Lake of Fire is the second death. The first death is the death of the body. The second death is to be cut off from God both body and soul in Hell. We cannot fully understand how horrible this is, but God informs us that it is as bad as being cast into a lake of fire. The Lord Jesus expressed this horrible condition in Mark 9:44-48, where He said three times, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”.

Does this frighten anyone of the unsaved around us?

No! Not at all! If we try to warn them of the coming judgment, they say, “That is your opinion”. If we try to warn them to read the Word of God carefully, they say, “I know what I believe; you can keep what you believe, but I am not going to change my beliefs”.

Why is it that almost none of them will take the Word of God seriously?

God says in Romans chapter 3:

Romans 3:18
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

When we read the Bible we want to make sure that we understand it the way God wants us to understand it. And we will double check if we were right.

Why?

It is because we know that these words came from God. God is speaking these words, and so we have respect for the words and for the meaning they convey. We have a holy fear of God and for the words He spoke. And when we approach the Bible with this fear of God and for the words He spoke, God promised us in:

Jeremiah 29:13
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

How can we warn people around us to have this fear of God?

We cannot, for they say, “The fear of God? That is an old fashioned idea that went out 100 years ago”. Not only have they been blinded by the preachers they have been listening to. They are still blinded for many years thereafter, for “the prince of the power of the air”, Satan, has them firmly in his grips. Satan entices them by saying, “You shall not surely die. Don’t believe these paranoid preachers. They try to scare you into their kind of religion”. All we can do is pray that God will open their eyes, and warn them:

Hebrews 2:3
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.

And so, we pray that God will make them see this great salvation. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff


Sunday, January 21, 2007

THE BINDING OF SATAN


A study of Revelation 20:1-3

The Binding of Satan

We have come to a passage in Revelation 20 from where theologians have derived the theory of the Jewish Millennium. The Latin word Millennium means “one thousand”. It is the theory that before the end of the world comes there will be a glorious thousand years where the Jews are evangelizing the world, and almost the whole world will come to worship Christ. Five times does the term 1000 years appear in Revelation 20:1-6, which is the passage that we have before us today. Therefore we have to spend some time to explain:

The Error of the Jewish Millennium

A fundamental error of the Jewish Millennium is that the Lord Jesus Christ will come two more times before the end of the world. But all things considered Scripture knows of only one second coming of the Lord, and His coming marks the end of the world. There are primarily three different millennial theories of eschatology: First there is the premillennial view and then there is the postmillennial view.

By far the most popular these days is the premillennial view. They believe that only a fraction of the saints will be secretly raptured, after which Christ will come down with them to this present earth and reign from Jerusalem for a thousand years. Under His physical rule that millennium will be a golden age of peace and love on this earth. It will then be followed by the Final Tribulation Period, the end of the world, and Judgment Day. And thus in their view the rapture will take place before the golden 1000 years.

Those who believe the postmillennial view also believe that there will be a golden age of 1000 years, but that the rapture and Judgment Day will come after that period of time. They believe that during the golden age the cause of Christ will permeate the whole world, but the Lord will not be ruling here personally. But every segment of civilization will operate under Christian principles.

Then there is the amillennial view where there is no literal golden age of 1000 years, but where the 1000 years are regarded as symbolic for the entire New Testament period of time. This is what we believe. And we believe that this world will become increasingly sinful, especially so in the Final Tribulation Period. Immediately after the Final Tribulation Period Christ will return to rapture all the saints, and then He will come down with the saints to judge all the unsaved who still remained on this world. Obviously only one of these 3 views can be Biblical.

First of all, both the premillennial view and the postmillennial view are based on an erroneous interpretation of the Old Testament, which leads to a separation of Israel and the church, as if these two groups were two separate peoples. Israel is labeled the Kingdom people, and the Church is labeled the Body of Christ. However, a proper interpretation of Scripture is not that there are two different paths of salvation, but only one, for the Lord Jesus said in:

John 14:6
“No man cometh unto the Father but by Me”.

In other words, no one can come into heaven by obeying the Law. Instead the only way into heaven is only by grace through faith in Christ. Secondly, the view of the two comings of Christ is based on a wrong interpretation of several passages, including 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. There we read:

1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1 Thessalonians 4:17
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The Premillennial people believe that in verse 17 the word “to meet” means: “a going forth in order to return with”. They want to assign this meaning to it so that we shall be caught up with Christ in the air, in order to return with Him later. This is what they call “the first resurrection”. All of this is quite arbitrary, and the interpretation given of the word “to meet” in verse 17 is a pure invention. The Greek text does not support this view at all. Besides, there will be nothing private or secret about this coming of Christ, but it will be loudly proclaimed to all the world “with a shout of the Lord Himself, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God”. Thirdly, their idea that believers must look forward to being snatched out of this world before the Final Tribulation Period is contrary to the basic principles of salvation. For God not only warns us to expect tribulation, but also He also emphasizes that we must consider it a great honor and a privilege to suffer with Christ. God says in:

Philippians 1:29
"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake".

And thus the millennium hope of escaping the tribulation is not spiritual, but carnal. In the fourth place, throughout the Bible clearly there is only one coming of the Lord at the end of the world. The Lord Jesus sets this forth clearly in Matthew 24:29-31, and in Matthew 25:31-33, and in Matthew 13:39-43. In the fifth place, the literal 1000 years is based on an interpretation of this prophecy of Revelation which is not in accordance with the highly apocalyptic contents of this prophecy, and neither does it take into account the evidently symbolic nature of Revelation 20, or even the symbolic nature of the entire prophecy of Revelation. And thus to read Revelation 20 as if it recorded a simple historical event following in time after Revelation 19 is quite an impossibility. In Revelation 19 we have the picture of the destruction of all nations. But in Revelation 20:8 we meet again those same nations that live on the four corners of the earth. And thus the premillennial view as well as the postmillennial view is not just in error, but it is contrary to the whole tenor of the Word of God. We turn now to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Revelation 20:1. Here it is evident that the words that John wrote describes not what he saw happening historically, but what he beheld in a vision. God gave him a new vision. And this vision contains a whole lot of symbolism concerning Satan being bound for:

1. 1000 Years in the Bottomless Pit

Revelation 20:1
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Revelation 20:2
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Revelation 20:3
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.

We should not read this as if it says, “Then shall an angel come down from heaven, and Then he shall lay hold of the dragon, and Then he shall bind him a thousand years”. This type of interpretation completely disregards that John saw this in a vision.

What is the central idea of this vision?

The answer is given by the text: The Devil is bound by a divine decree, so that he is prevented from accomplishing his purpose.

And what is the Devil’s purpose?

His purpose is to deceive the nations. The Devil was bound in order “that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled”.

Let us take a step back and look at this chapter in perspective. The entire prophecy of Revelation is based on a scheme of the number seven. In addition to the seven churches, and the seven seals, and the seven trumpets, and the seven angels, and the seven vials, and other obvious sevens, we see seven times that Judgment Day has come for this earth and its inhabitants. Repeatedly we see in this prophecy of Revelation the development of the world to its very end from a certain point of view, and then we see the same development of the world to its very end from another point of view. And thus we see this seven times in Revelation 6:12-16, Revelation 11:15-19, Revelation 14:17-20, Revelation 16:17-21, Revelation 18:1-24, Revelation 19:11-21, and Revelation 20:7-15. And thus in Revelation 20 God shows us a new development of the world to its very end. This is a new vision. We must figure out where this vision starts in history.

Ever since the last of the seven vials of wrath was poured out God showed us different pictures of some phase of “The Day of the Lord”.

What point of view is shown here in Revelation 20?

It is the view of the binding and loosing of Satan. There in Revelation 9:1 the text started almost the same as in Revelation 20:1.

Revelation 9:1
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 9:2
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
Revelation 9:3
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

In Revelation 9 we have seen that the release of Satan from the Bottomless Pit ushered in the Final Tribulation Period. But in Revelation 20:1-3 God tells us how Satan got into the Bottomless Pit in the first place. However, nowhere in the Bible does God teach that Satan will at some future time be cast into Hell and then be freed from it so that he can again deceive the nations. On the other hand, there are definitely verses speaking of the binding of Satan as an historical event. Let us figure out where this vision starts in history.

The Timing of Binding Satan

Jude was a half-brother of the Lord Jesus, a son of Mary but from a different father. In this passage of Jude God warns that even as there were judgments in the past there will surely be a future judgment

Jude 1:5
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

That judgment of the nation of Israel occurred about 3400 years ago during their wanderings in the wilderness between the exodus out of Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land.

Jude 1:7
Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

(This judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah occurred about 4000 years ago.)
Right between these two historical judgments God says in verse 6,

Jude 1:6
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

What did these angels do?

These were the angels that fell into sin simultaneously with the angel Lucifer, who became Satan. These angels did not keep their first property, or field of work, to serve mankind, which was the purpose for which they were created, but they left this for another field of work, namely to do damage to mankind. These fallen angels God “has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness”. Of course this occurred at the same time as when the Devil was bound in Revelation 20:1-3. But here in Jude we learn that he was bound “with chains under darkness”.

In other words, he was kept in the dark about certain plans that God has for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. But then we also should notice that this binding of Satan has occurred in the past, for in Jude 6 God uses the past tense. We now turn to 2 Peter 2:4. Just like in Jude here in 2 Peter 2 God describes three past judgments to warn mankind of a future judgment to come. God begins this passage in 2 Peter 2 to warn us false teachers who shall in the end time certainly enter into the churches and congregations. And then God brings to our remembrance how He brought judgment in 2 Peter 2:5-6,

2 Peter 2:5
And (God) spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
2 Peter 2:6
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

Just before these two historical examples God speaks of His judgment on the angels that sinned,

2 Peter 2:4
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Again God has reserved them in chains of darkness. Tartarus is neither Gehenna, nor Hades, nor Hell, but a place of darkness. Therefore the darkness of Tartarus is not a physical darkness, but a spiritual darkness, perhaps a condition of little understanding. Again when this letter was written in the 1st century AD God said in the past tense that He has cast the rebellious angels into a place of darkness. Clearly the binding of Satan was an event that had already taken place.

When was Satan bound with chains of darkness?

In Matthew 12 the Lord Jesus is accused by the Pharisees of casting out devils by the power of the prince of the devils. But Jesus answered them that this is impossible, since Satan would not be divided against himself. But there would come a time that Christ would bind Satan, and then He would plunder his house. We read in:

Matthew 12:28
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Matthew 12:29
Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.

The Lord Jesus referred to Satan as the strong man. Satan’s house would be plundered when he was bound. The Lord Jesus referred to the passage that is known as Isaiah 49:24-25, where we read:

Isaiah 49:24-25
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?
But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.


The mighty or the terrible are other names for Satan. The lawful captives are people who are in the power of Satan, because Satan holds them in the power of sin. But even the lawful captives of Satan shall be delivered.

When did this come to pass?

It is when Christ suffered and died for these people on the cross. That is when the captives of Satan were delivered. We have a confirmation of this timing in Hebrews 2. When Christ died He destroyed the power of the Devil,

Hebrews 2:14-15
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

When Christ died He destroyed the Devil in the sense that Satan will surely have to spend an eternity in Hell, and Satan could no longer hold people in his grasp as tightly as he had throughout the Old Testament period of time. And thus we see that beginning at Pentecost in AD 33 God has been saving people throughout the world, and Satan could deceive the nations no more. Moreover, the fact that Satan was bound at the cross nearly 2000 years ago makes it clear that the term “a thousand years” in Revelation 20:1-3 cannot mean a literal period of 1000 years.
Moreover, after Christ destroyed the power of Satan at the cross, at His ascension 40 days later we read in Revelation 12 that Christ bound and cast Satan out of heaven and cast him into the Bottomless Pit, till the completeness of God’s plan should be fulfilled.

What is God’s plan in this instance?

It is to keep Satan bound until the Final Tribulation Period. According to Revelation 20:3 it is then that Satan must be loosed for a little season.

2. The Saints Are Reigning With Christ

Now the vision changes. John tells us that he saw thrones.

Who are these sitting on these thrones?

Revelation 20:4
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.
Revelation 20:5
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:6
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.

These 1000 years refers to the same period of time as that in which the Devil was bound. This is one of the passages the Premillennial people use as a proof text to support their view. Supposedly, these are the people who have been secretly raptured and who are now reigning with Christ on this physical world for 1000 years from Jerusalem. However, from many other parts of Scripture we know that the Rapture will take place only on the Last Day of this earth’s existence. What follows will not be 1000 years, but Judgment Day itself. Moreover, it is impossible that the Lord Jesus Christ shall reign physically from the city of Jerusalem there east of the Mediterranean, for God says in:

Galatians 4:25
For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

You see, that city Jerusalem there east of the Mediterranean is under a curse. The curse is that she is in bondage with her children, because “Jerusalem which now is” is identified with following the Law of Moses by the nation of Jews and proselytes. But following the Law for the purpose of getting right with God is an impossible task, doomed to failure. Therefore those who follow this route to get to heaven are under a curse. It is the curse of being in bondage to sin and Satan, and on the way to Hell.

The Lord Jesus Christ would never again live among those who are bound for Hell. Moreover, God cannot lie. When God pronounced His curse on “Jerusalem which now is” He is not going to reverse this curse, for then, if Galatians 4:25 still stands, He would be lying. Moreover, this passage is speaking of disembodied souls, and the Bible never teaches that saints shall reign on this earth as disembodied souls. Therefore, we must understand the 1000 years in symbolic terms. It is a period of time that is complete according to God’s plan.

The saints whose bodies have died are in their soul existence living and reigning with Christ in heaven. God says in:

2 Corinthians 5:8
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”.

For the saints to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And then we read in verse 5, “This is the first resurrection”.

What Is the First Resurrection?

Scripture speaks of the resurrection of the dead in more than one sense. The first meaning is the resurrection of our souls. In our natural state we all came into the world dead in trespasses and sins. Our souls were dead, in the sense that we could not do anything that was pleasing to God. When Christ saves us through the operation of God the Holy Spirit, He transforms our dead souls into souls that are alive to God. We read this in:

Ephesians 5:14
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”.

The same regeneration of our soul is meant in John 5:24,

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:25
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

Verse 25 says “The hour is coming, and now is”. From this we understand that this passage does not refer to the resurrection of the body on the Last Day. Besides we do not see the grave mentioned in this passage, and from this we know that these dead are not in the grave, but are the walking dead. This is the resurrection of the soul while we still live on this earth. The second meaning is the meaning given in 2 Corinthians 5:8 and in Revelation 20:4, where the body of the saint has died but his soul lives and reigns with Christ in heaven. God defines it here as, “This is the first resurrection”.

Revelation 20:5
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

When a saint has died 1500 years ago, his soul has lived and reigned with Christ for a literal 1500 years. Yet symbolically he has lived and reigned with Christ for 1000 years, and so has everyone else whose soul is presently in heaven with Christ. The rest of the dead refers to the unsaved.

The third meaning of the resurrection from the dead is given in John 5:28-29,

John 5:28-29
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

This is the resurrection from the dead for all people, both saved and unsaved, on the Last Day. Here the graves are mentioned, but not the dead. Everyone shall be raised bodily on the Last Day. To sum it up: Even as the 1st death is physical death, so the 1st resurrection is the glory for the saints that follows immediately upon physical death. Even as the 2nd death is the state of perdition of body and soul in Hell, so the 2nd resurrection is the final state of glory after the resurrection of the body in glory.

3. How Do We Know If We Are Blessed?

The key given here is that we must belong to those who are blessed. We read in

Revelation 20:6
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.

How do we know if we belong to this group of blessed people?

Well, this ties in to the previous chapter. We must belong to the group of people that are called by God, for we read in:

Revelation 19:9
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

And how do we know if we belong to the people who are called by God?

Well, do we remember the two parables that Jesus told in Matthew 22 and in Luke 14 of the people who were called to the marriage supper of the king, but they all found excuses to ignore the call?

This meant that they were not really “the called according to His purpose”, for many are called, but few are chosen.

Who really were the called according to the purpose of God?

They were those who were the poor, and the lame, and the halt, and the blind, who were gathered in from the streets, from the lanes, from the highways, and from the hedges. They were those who heeded the call.

And what is the call that we are to obey?

First of all it is the call to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and to believe that His atoning work covers all our sins. That is on which we place our trust that we have been saved.

John 6:47
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Does this mean that we must simply decide to believe?

Is this not what the Lord Jesus said in John 3:16?

It is not that simple, for in the same chapter of John 6 the Lord Jesus says

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

This means that no one will decide to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unless the Father draw him. And this is altogether in harmony with other parts of the Scriptures, for God says in:

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

And so, who are the called according to His purpose?

They are those who believe on the Lord Jesus, for the Father has given them the faith to believe. It is really important that we understand this, for God wants us to know if we are saved or if we are not saved. God says in:

2 Corinthians 13:5
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves”.

And God says in:

1 John 5:13
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

You see, God wants us to know and be sure of our salvation, for in working through this question we develop a clear understanding of which Jesus we worship. That is really the purpose for which God wants us to examine ourselves.

Not everyone who claims to believe on the Lord Jesus really worships the same Jesus. In fact, since we are living in the end times, it is certain that most people who claim to belong to Jesus do not worship the same Jesus, for God says that in the end times many shall depart from the faith.

How can we know if we serve the real Jesus?

How can we know if we have the true faith?

We can know it, first of all, if we believe the whole Bible is the Word of God.

2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

In other words, no one is entitled to say of any verse of the Bible, “This is what is means to me”. What it means to me, or what my opinion is does not count, for “the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” according to Jeremiah 17:9. We must ask:

What does God say in this verse?

For verse 21 says very clearly that all the words of Scripture originate from God, and “holy men of God” were simply the scribes to whom God dictated His words to.

The Bible is not a book containing 66 books written by men, but the Bible is One Book which does not contain the Word of God, but it is the Word of God. Only if this truth penetrates our mind will we have a proper respect for all the words of Scripture. Only then will we really seek to harmonize all of Scripture, for God cannot lie.

Revelation 19:13
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

What are the implications that His name is called “The Word of God”?

It means that the Bible, The Word of God identifies with who Jesus Christ really is. Not just a few verses here and there, such as John 3:16, but the whole Bible from cover to cover, including those verses that we do not like, or those verses that we claim we do not understand, they all identify with who the real Jesus is. But if we skip to read verses that we do not like and eliminate them from our mind, then we have in fact a Bible that is smaller than the whole word of God, and then we have a different Jesus. For example there are many churches who will not read Romans 9:11-23, because it will destroy their belief of a salvation by their own free will. All those churches have an authority that is smaller than the Bible that WE hold in our hands, and thus they are worshipping another Jesus. Or if we add to the Bible by claiming that God is still bringing divine messages today in a dream, or in a vision, or in an angel visitation, or in a tongue, then we have added to the divine Words of God, and this means we have another Jesus on our minds than the Jesus who is portrayed in Revelation 19:13. There are churches who believe that the utterances of the Popes are as infallible as the Bible itself. They have in fact an authority that is greater than the Bible WE hold in our hands, and thus they are worshipping another Jesus than WE do.

But let us now return to our original question:

Who are the ones who are blessed?

They are the ones who are called.

And who are the one who are called?

They are the ones who heeded the call of God.

First of all it is the obedience to the call to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. We have covered that sufficiently.

Secondly it is the obedience to the call to obey the words of Christ. If we say we love Christ, it does not mean anything. Only when we have the earnest desire to obey His words do we prove by our actions that we love Christ. Repeatedly we find in the New Testament that to love God, or to love Christ means we obey His commandments. This is the evidence that we indeed love Christ. For example we find in:

John 15:10
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 15:11
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 15:12
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Can we do this perfectly?

Of course not!

All our works are still imperfect, which means that they are still tainted with sin. But if we have an earnest desire to love one another here in this church, or in this fellowship, because we have an earnest love for Christ, then we know that God has put that love within us, like He has put our love for Christ within us. And this combined with the faith that God has put within us for the only true Christ of the Bible, gives us the evidence that we belong to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Do we find these evidences of true faith and love within us?

This is the reason we must examine ourselves, and then we belong to those who are “Blessed”. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff