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The Great Test - The Book of Revelation
Week 38, 2018
The next text to be covered is:
When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth,
Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war;
the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and
the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone,
where the beast and the false prophet are also;
and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
This has been a challenging text for many since John first shared the Revelation. After the thousand years—the period of the restoration of all things and the millennium in which Christ reigns—Satan is let out again to deceive the nations! This leads us to two important questions:
First, why would The Lord allow this?
Second, how could anyone be deceived again by Satan after Jesus reigned over the earth for a thousand years?
To answer the first question, we have the testimony of Scripture that God is devoted to having all of His works tested to determine the quality of the work. He will allow His restored world to be tested as well (see I Corinthians 3:10-15).
The answer to the next question comes under the doctrine of PAC: “People Are Crazy!” Look at the bizarre doctrines that are in direct conflict with the Scriptures that are gaining popularity in our own times. So many Christians are falling to them. In the two thousand years from Abraham to Jesus, how many times did Israel see the wonderful and awesome works of God and then backslide? How about the church in our history? How about us? When the work of restoration is completed, The Lord will allow it to be tested so that what remains will never turn from Him again.
It would take me too long to establish this as it deserves in this Word for the Week format, but if you have lived the overcoming Christian life so as to reign with Him in the millennium, then you have already passed the test—this test at the end will not be for you. For those who have not been delivered from the nature of the serpent—who we are told was “crafty,” which implies always seeking to get away with as much as possible—then this will be a serious test.
We should also note in this text that it is at the end of the millennium that Gog and Magog lead the attack on the “beloved city,” Jerusalem. A root of much deception can be traced to the rejection of the clear biblical testimony of how much God loves Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Many Christians have stumbled over what Paul warned about—becoming “arrogant toward the natural branches.” Rejecting any teaching that is so clear in Scripture reveals a mentality about changing or adding to the Word of God that leads to deception in other areas.
Many have an eschatology that has this coming battle over Jerusalem happening before the end of this age, in the “great tribulation.” It is amazing how reading the whole Bible can affect some eschatology. There are also many good reasons to question some assumptions about who Gog and Magog are, but that will have to be addressed in another study.
There are doctrines being promulgated in our time that state God does not judge any more since the cross paid for all of our sins—past, present, and future. Really? The doctrine only makes sense until you read the Bible. Jesus Himself refutes this foolishness, as does His Word right through the New Testament and to the end of the Book of Revelation.
We must understand that His judgments are for our salvation and come because He loves us, not because He wants to destroy us. However, destruction, the second death from which there is no resurrection or restoration, will be the price paid by those who refuse His justice and judgments.
Instead of teaching or embracing doctrines that are refuted by the entire Bible, we should be asking how we prepare for His judgment so that His judgment of us is, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (see Matthew 25:21 NKJV). We are told that we can “judge ourselves lest we be judged” (see Matthew 7:1). When something is clearly going to come, it is wisdom to prepare for it rather than make up things to refute what is coming.
next week 39