What does the Bible tell us about the future? The final rebellion - Part 11
Malcolm C. Davis, Leeds, England
What will happen?
The prediction of the final tragic rebellion of Satan and mankind against God is recorded in Revelation chapter 20 verses 7 to 10. Immediately after the completion of Christ’s thousand-year reign over the earth, Satan will be released from his confinement in the bottomless pit, and will, at once, come out to deceive the nations who are living in the four corners of the earth; he will be no different after his imprisonment there, full of hatred against God and all God’s people. His followers are here called Gog and Magog, as were the armies who gathered against Israel during the previous tribulation, see Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Probably they are so called because they share the hatred that the former enemies displayed then, but not because they are exactly the same peoples, since the former Gog and Magog came only from the far north, probably Russia and her Islamic allies of that day, whereas this Gog and Magog include peoples from every point of the compass on earth, a universal revolt.
John in his vision then saw that this vast horde of enemies, who were as numerous as the sand on the seashore, came up on the breadth, or ‘broad plain’, Rev. 20. 9 NASB, of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and ‘the beloved city’, Jerusalem, Christ’s world capital, intending to wage war against them. Jerusalem will be elevated then far above its present altitude, and the topography of the millennial earth may be different from its present condition after the earth movements at the end of the tribulation. The threatening armies will present a frightening sight.
However, God will not be moved at all by this attack and will, at once, send fire down out of heaven to destroy the vast host supernaturally, for He is always far greater than Satan. Satan himself will be immediately thrown into the Lake of Fire to join the Beast and the False Prophet, who were sent there at the end of the tribulation at Christ’s second coming to reign. There they will all experience conscious and eternal torment, an awful fate! This will finally end Satan’s influence on God’s creation. God will be victorious. Praise His name!
How can this happen?
All who enter Christ’s millennial kingdom will be saved persons, Rom. 11. 26; Matt. 25. 31-46. However, many generations of men and women will be born to believers during this thousand-year kingdom age who will not all respond positively to the gospel of God’s grace but will remain unregenerate. Godliness cannot be inherited but is the result of the new birth and the work of the Holy Spirit within. Some will be judged summarily for serious sins, Isa. 65. 20, while others will remain quietly, but stubbornly, opposed to God and His Christ, despite the obvious blessings bestowed on earth’s inhabitants during that kingdom and the fact that ‘the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’, Hab. 2. 14. At best, they will only ‘yield feigned obedience’ to God; see the Revised Version marginal translation of the word ‘submit’ KJV, Ps. 18. 44; 81. 15. Thus, Satan will find an immediate response to his evil intentions and deception from a large section of the world’s population at the conclusion of Christ’s reign, despite its righteous, peaceful, and holy character. The latter end of the millennial kingdom on earth may not be as happy as its beginning, for sin will still be latent in it and growing throughout it.
Why will God allow this to happen?
Here it is essential to understand God’s dispensational purposes as outlined throughout scripture; the final rebellion cannot rightly be accounted for otherwise. Just as every previous dispensation in the world’s history has contained first a test of mankind’s obedience to God, then man’s failure to comply with it, followed by His summary judgement on that failure, and the introduction of a new age of opportunity, so will the ideal conditions of the millennial kingdom of Christ be a test of man’s obedience to God. Mankind will have been tested under law and grace and have failed. Then it will fail the test of perfectly righteous government and ideal conditions of peace and holiness by rebelling at the first opportunity to do so. Thus, God will prove conclusively that mankind is by nature incorrigibly sinful and must be judged finally. That is why the final judgements immediately follow the last rebellion, and lead God to destroy the present heavens and earth, then to create new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness does not simply reign, but dwells.
Only true believers of every age of human history will survive the old creation, because they have been born again and have God’s new nature within them; even now they form part of the new creation that will follow the end of the old with all its unhappy judgements and sorrows. Christians of the age of grace today are destined to become part of this much happier future world. Hallelujah for His wonderful grace!