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Judgement
Bible Passage Revelation 20: 1-15
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Revelation.

Judgement

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached June 15, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key to the bottomless pit, with a large chain in his hand.

2 He captured the dragon, that ancient serpent, also known as the devil and Satan, and tied him up for a thousand years.

3 He threw him into the bottomless pit, locked it, and sealed it over him to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were over. After that, he must be set free for a little while.

4 Then I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came back to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years.

5 The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection.

6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and the Messiah, and will rule with him for a thousand years.

7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be freed from his prison.

8 He will go out to deceive Gog and Magog, the nations at the four corners of the earth, and gather them for war. They are as numerous as the sands of the seashore. place

9 They marched over the broad expanse of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Fire came from God out of heaven and burned them up,

10 and the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tortured day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a large, white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.

12 I saw the dead, both unimportant and important, standing in front of the throne, and books were open. Another book was opened—the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their actions, as recorded in the books.

13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to their actions.

14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. (This is the second death—the lake of fire.)

15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

BACKGROUND
In our previous lessons on Revelation on Tuesday and Wednesday, we established the evil trinity of Satan, the anti-christ (666), and the false prophets. With the antichrist and the false prophet destroyed, only the first member of the evil trinity remains to be dealt with, Satan himself. However, Satan is not yet destroyed. He is thrown into the abyss (bottomless pit) (see Rev. 9:1; 11:7; 17:8) where he is imprisoned for a long period, symbolized by a thousand years, so that he is no longer able to tempt the human race to rebel against God. At the end of this time, he will be released for a short while (verses 1-3).

Persecuted believers are now encouraged with a further revelation of their assured victory. Whereas Satan’s brief time of apparent triumph is replaced by lengthy imprisonment, the Christians’ brief time of suffering is replaced by a lengthy reign with Christ. They may have been martyred, but now they are raised from death to share the resurrection life with Christ (verse 4; compare 1 Cor 15:51-57).

This raising of the believers is called the first resurrection. It is followed by the reign of Christ, symbolized by a thousand years. The believers share with Christ in the life of a new era where He rules as King, a position that the ungodly refused to acknowledge when He lived among them in the world. At the end of this reign with Christ, there is a second resurrection, this time involving those who are not believers. Theirs, however, is not a resurrection to life, but a resurrection to damnation. They suffer that final punishment which John calls the second death (verses 5-6).

At the end of Christ’s reign, Satan is released, but he soon shows that he has not changed his ways. As usual, he deceives people and incites them to rebel against God (see Rev. 16:12-16; Gen 3:1-6). Rebels across the world unite against God and His people. As in a similar apocalyptic vision in the Old Testament, the anti-God leader is symbolized by a man called Gog who lives in the land of Magog. But, as in the Old Testament vision, Satan is allowed to draw all the rebels together so that God might destroy them all at the same time in one decisive act of judgement (verse 7-9; compare Ezekiel 38:1-9,16,18; 39:1-8 ). God then throws Satan into the lake of fire to join the antichrist and the false prophet. This is an imprisonment from which there is no release. It is the final punishment (verse 10).

When the rest of the dead are raised to life (see v. 5) the final judgement takes place. The one who carries out the judgement is the Lord of the universe, and He carries it out with absolute justice. At this judgement people face two independent witnesses. The first is the record of their works, according to which they will be judged. The second is the list of names in the book of Life, which confirms whether or not they accepted God’s offer of pardon (verses 11-13). All people, in the end, share either the blessings of heaven or the horrors of the lake of fire. Finally, death and the world of the dead are made as powerless as all other enemies (verse 14-15; compare 1 Cor 15:26,55 ).

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 The reign of Satan will surely end shortly

🔷 Everyone, including the dead will surely appear before the throne of God to account for their stewardship

🔷 Allow God Himself to handle your enemies and agents of Satan in His own timing in His own plan

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray to endure afflictions
💥 Request mercy to reign with Christ soon

CONCLUSION📙
Those who do not join the camp of evil-doers are only preparing for themselves the perpetual place of joy when Christ returns to request an account from each individual. The trials and afflictions of the day are not temporal, because believers will reign with Christ and soon forget their afflictions.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections