The Great Tribulation has ended, Babylon
has been destroyed, and Planet Earth is ready to receive her
King. All that remains is the capture of that unholy trinity
that’s caused all the devastation and the annihilation of their
army. It sounds like a big job, but with the Lord personally
directing events it won’t take long at all.
After this I heard
what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong
to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has
condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her
adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
And again they
shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and
The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures
fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And
they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!” (Rev.
Hallelujah is made up of two untranslated
Hebrew words that taken together mean, “Praise the Lord.” Its
four appearances in
are unique to the New Testament. Since “Praise the Lord” is a
phrase used almost exclusively by born again believers, it’s
fascinating to me that it’s Hebrew version appears 24 times in
the Old Testament, the same number as the elders who echo it
here. Is this another subtle clue that the 24 elders represent
the Raptured Church as I suggested in
Then a voice came
from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants,
you who fear him, both small and great!”
Then I heard what
sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters
and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our
Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give
him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride
has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given
her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the
Then the angel said
to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding
supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words
At this I fell at his
feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a
fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the
testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is
the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev
From the use of past tense verbs
referring to the wedding, the bride and the clothing she was
given, it looks like John’s describing an event that has already
taken place, and indeed it will have, seven years earlier.
Notice that while the clothing represents the bride’s
righteousness, it’s not her clothing. It was given to her. We’re
not righteous by our own works. Our righteousness is given to us
by the Lord. (2
Corinth. 5:21) The Greek word literally means
righteousness rather than righteous acts. Our righteousness is
imputed to us by faith alone (Romans
describes this scene more clearly.
I delight greatly in
the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with
garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride
adorns herself with her jewels.
When John changes to the present tense in
speaking of those invited to the Wedding Supper, he’s making
reference to believing Tribulation Survivors on Earth, soon to
be invited into the Kingdom as described in the parable of the
10 virgins. (Matt.
25:1-13) The Church is the Bride, and the Bride
is not a bunch of invited guests, nor even a group of
bridesmaids. Like the Church, she’s one body. And she doesn’t
need an invitation to her own wedding banquet, because she’s the
main attraction. Without her there wouldn’t be a banquet.
The Rider on the
I saw heaven standing
open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is
called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.
He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the
Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on
white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of
his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the
nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the
winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe
and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS. (Rev.
Here is the legitimate Man on a White
Horse, not the impostor from
The crowns He wears are diadems, the crowns of royalty. The
sharp sword is His Word as explained in
and His robe is dipped in blood as foretold in
John gives Him the name from his gospel, The Word. (John
“He will rule them
with an iron scepter” is a direct quote from
a promise given by God to His Son, and by the Son to the over
comers of Thyatira. (Rev.
2:26-27) This signifies that His Church will
rule with Him. Although those on white horses and dressed
in white linen who accompany Him are the armies of heaven,
He’s doing all the fighting.
And I saw an angel
standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds
flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of
God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and
mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all
people, free and slave, small and great.” (Rev
The contrast between the Great Supper of
God and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb is all too evident. I’ll
guarantee you that the armies of Earth won’t feel blessed to be
invited. They’re the main course.
Then I saw the beast
and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to
make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the
beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had
performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs
he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and
worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the
fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with
the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse,
and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
In a fulfillment of
that’s unbelievable in its arrogance, the people of Earth
prepare to take on the Messiah and His heavenly army. But their
leaders, the anti-Christ and his False Prophet, are immediately
captured and thrown live into the Lake of Fire. The massive army
that had followed them on this suicidal mission are slain by
nothing more than the Word of the Lord’s mouth, their bodies
devoured by the birds. I told you it wouldn’t take long.
The Thousand Years
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key
to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized
the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan,
and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss,
and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving
the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After
that, he must be set free for a short time. (Rev.
The purpose of the Millennium is now
revealed. Many have wondered why God would put this unique
1000-year period between the 2nd Coming and eternity. I believe
it’s a response to man’s three primary excuses for his inability
to live a life pleasing to God.
The first excuse originated in the Garden
when the woman blamed the Serpent for her disobedience. Ever
since then mankind has blamed his bad behavior on the devil’s
deceptive influence. So now in response to that excuse, God has
the devil bound for 1000 years. No more bad influence.
Man’s second excuse has been the over
powering temptation to sin created by the unbelieving world in
our midst. So as the account of the Sheep and Goat judgment
explains, at the establishment of the Kingdom all surviving
unbelievers will be removed from Earth. Only surviving believers
will populate Earth at the Kingdom’s outset. (Matt
Third is the absence of our Lord from
among His people for 2000 years. It wasn’t fair, man says, to
leaves us alone like that for so long. So all during the
Millennium Planet Earth will be the headquarters of the
Universe, with the Father in Israel and the Son in the nearby
In a few verses we’ll see if things turn
out differently with the removal of these obstacles to
righteousness. But first let’s look in on the conclusion of the
I saw thrones on
which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of
their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They
had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received
his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life
and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead
did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This
is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have
part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power
over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and
will reign with him for a thousand years. (Rev.
Jesus promised His Disciples that they
would sit in judgment of the 12 Tribes of Israel at the renewal
of all things (Matt.
19:28) Now their time has come, as the believing
dead from Israel’s past are given their new bodies to join their
countrymen in Israel. (Daniel
12:1-2) And the Tribulation martyrs are given
bodies as well, completing the First Resurrection that began in
the Garden Tomb 2000 years earlier with our Lord, the First
Fruits of the First Resurrection. (1
Take note that although John said these
martyrs will reign with the Lord, he never called them kings. So
in the Book of Revelation we see three groups of believers in
Heaven. There’s the Church in
who are called Kings and Priests. There’s the multitude of
who will serve God in His Temple but are never called priests,
and there’s the group of martyrs from
who will reign with Christ but are never called kings. I
believe this is a hierarchy of authority with the Church in the
superior position, assisted by the others.
And as the Sheep and Goat judgment
explains, Tribulation survivors are judged at this time as well.
All this is in fulfillment of
When the thousand
years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will
go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the
earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they
are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the
breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people,
the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured
them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake
of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had
been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and
We skip ahead now to the end of the
Millennium, to see how well natural man has performed in the
absence of all his obstacles to righteous living. During the
preceding 1000 years Earth will have been restored to its Garden
like environment. Perfect weather, perfect peace, perfect rule,
perfect conditions. With the return of long life spans, (Isaiah
65:17-25) the population of natural humans on
Earth will have skyrocketed as children are born to their
believing parents. And like all of mankind before them, these
children will have the opportunity, indeed the obligation, to
decide whether to allow the Lord’s death to purchase their
pardon from sin.
Even with believing parents, idyllic
conditions, and a fully functioning Temple in Israel as a
memorial to remind them of what the Lord has done, many will
reject Him in favor of their own remedies for sin. So many in
fact, that when Satan is released at the end of the 1000 years
he’ll be able to muster up a huge army for another attempt to
kick the Lord off the planet. But of course they’ll be defeated
and this time Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire forever
to join his fallen henchmen in their eternal torment.
So what’s the point of the 1000 years?
It’s to show that there is no circumstance, no matter how
favorable, in which sin infested man can live a life pleasing to
God. Even after 1000 years of perfect life, perfect peace, and
perfect rule, there’s still enough residual sin in the hearts of
natural man that he’ll rebel against God at the first
opportunity. And so the seventh dispensation concludes exactly
like the six before it, in natural man’s utter failure to live
in peace with God, requiring a judgment. Jeremiah was right,
“The heart is
deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand
The Dead Are Judged
Then I saw a great
white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled
from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw
the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books
were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.
The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded
in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and
death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each
person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and
Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the
second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book
of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev.
While he’s describing events at the end
of the Millennium, John now turns our attention to the
resurrection of the dead, which takes place then as well. It
appears that this judgment will take place somewhere in the
Outer Darkness, since the Earth and its immediate atmosphere, in
which the New Jerusalem exists, are absent.
All the unsaved dead from all ages will
suddenly come to life to stand before the Great White Throne of
God. Each will see the events of his or her life unfold again as
those who chose to be judged by their own works finally get
their chance. They’ll see again the times when they heard the
Gospel and rejected it, and how they even failed to live up to
their own standards, let alone God’s.
Some understand the phrase
each person was
judged according to what he had done as evidence
that God will determine each person’s punishment for failure to
accept His pardon on the basis of the quality of their lives.
Those who lived “good” lives will receive comparatively less
punishment and those whose lives were worse will get more.
According to this view, once someone has endured the full
measure of his or her punishment, that person will be destroyed
and will cease to exist in any form. Only Satan, the
anti-Christ, and the False Prophet, they say, are destined for
eternal torment. This view is called Conditional Hell and has
come into mainstream thinking fairly recently.
Others hold to the traditional position
that judgment of the unsaved brings eternal torment for all.
Since the only work God required of them was to believe in the
one He sent (John
6:28-29) and since there’s nothing mankind can
do that will substitute for that, it doesn’t make sense to me
that God would judge them on any other qualification. But
no matter which view you hold, this judgment is no place to wind
up, even for a time, especially when a little study to confirm
God’s obvious existence, followed by a decision to receive His
pardon, can change everything.
The Lake Of Fire
The Lake of Fire is a place of torment somewhere unknown to us,
but the name has an interesting parallel in history that gives
us a frighteningly clear model of the torment the unsaved will
suffer. The Dead Sea is filled with water so rich in salt and
other mineral content that it supports the human body. In other
words you can’t sink while floating in (on) it. In ancient times
crude oil would periodically bubble up to the surface and
solidify into a tar-like substance that harvesters chopped into
blocks and towed to the shore for sale. When melted down again,
it made a good adhesive to cement building blocks together, and
the Egyptians used it in their embalming procedure as well. It
was so prevalent on the water’s surface that the Romans called
the Dead Sea “Lake Asphaltus” using the word from which we get
asphalt. From time to time, during an electrical storm,
lightning would strike the surface setting the solidified
tar aflame. When that happened they called it “The Lake of
Imagine this. You’re in deep water. As
long as you keep your head above the surface you can breath. But
the surface is on fire, so you hold your breath to sink under
the surface to escape the flames. But the water pushes you back
up like a cork into the fire. On it goes day and night. You
twist and turn and squirm on the surface looking for some kind
of respite, however brief. You’d welcome death and long for it,
but you can’t die because there’s no escape from the punishment.
Get the picture?
Don’t let this happen to you. Get out
your Bible and re-read passages like
John 3:16, John
6:28-29, Romans 10:9-10, Ephes.2:8-9 and
Make sure you’re saved. No attack against the Bible’s authority
has ever been sustained except in the minds of those who
stubbornly refuse to believe in spite of all the evidence. The
richest and most privileged unbeliever in the world would gladly
trade places with the most severely mentally and physically
handicapped beggar as an alternative to spending time in the
Lake of Fire. All it takes is one decision. Be absolutely
certain that you’ve made it, while there’s time.
In our conclusion next time, we’ll go
back to the beginning of the Millennium and get a closer look at
our eternal home as well as seeing the changes the Lord has in
mind for the Middle East. See you then.