December 20, 2022
As believers, we do not have to fear suffering, Satan, or the final day of judgment. Because of Christ, we get to live in the victory of all He has done, is doing, and promises to do—in us, through us, and across our very broken world.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit 1 20:1 Greek the abyss; also verse 3 and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven 2 20:9 Some manuscripts from God, out of heaven, or out of heaven from God and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
When I read from Revelation 19 into chapter 20, I imagine something resembling the final scene of Avengers: End Game. While we could talk about a lot in this passage, I want to focus on three truths we can apply to our hearts and minds today:
Truth #1: Satan Is Real and Will Be Defeated.
I think one of the hardest ideas for us to come to terms with in our modern world is that we are not at war with one another (Ephesians 6:12). We have a very real enemy, and it is not the political party you disagree with, the government, your spouse, or the school board.
We are at war with sin and darkness—with the great deceiver who wants only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
But there is good news: our enemy has been defeated. In Revelation 20, we see where Satan and death are finally vanquished once and for all.
Truth #2: Your Pain Will Be Worth It.
As I'm writing this, it feels like I don't know anyone who is not going through some form of hardship. From cancer diagnoses, to loss, to various other kinds of trauma, suffering feels rampant. Not to mention what our brothers and sisters are continuing to walk through in Afghanistan, Haiti, and across the globe.
But God's Word tells us that if we are in Christ, we don't suffer without hope (2 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:13). We also see here in this passage that those who remain steadfast, who stand firm for the Word of God despite persecution, will be rewarded (Revelation 20:4-6).
Truth #3: You Are on the Winning Team.
Finally, friends, if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are on the winning team (Romans 10:9-10). Your name is in the book of life. Judgment day will feel less like the NFL draft, and more like a graduation ceremony where we will rejoice in all the good that God has done. Victory is ours.
Will we live today like this is true?
1. What does it look like to go to war with sin and Satan instead of one another?
2. Are you walking through something hard right now? How are you bringing that difficult thing to the Lord? Who are you letting in to help you walk through this difficult season?
3. Are you still working to try to make the cut on God's team? Are you trying to make sure you've taken all the right courses and served in all the right places before God can really use you? Let me just remind you, friend, that He often chooses shepherds to be kings, adulterers to be evangelists, and fishermen to be preachers. If you're reading this, chances are He's chosen you to be a valuable member of His team, too. Maybe you're a mom doubting whether you could be a teacher, a dad unsure of whether you could be a leader, a student questioning how to stand for truth in your classroom, or an empty-nester unconvinced that God still has work for you. Let me say this clearly: You can, He does, He is able, and your work matters.
4. What does it look like to live in our full identity in Christ? To live in victory? How would we engage our increasingly polarized world differently? Might we be more humble, more gentle, less offendable?
5. Do you have questions about things I didn't address in this passage? Check out this GotQuestions.org article for more on the Millennium.
ANSWER to two truths and a lie: Sadly, I do not have my pilot's license. But maybe one day! (Also, if you want to get technical, my parents won my first car; I just got to keep it.) And if you ever use the frog thing against me, we won't be friends.