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Revelation chapter 18

 

Babylon the Great, the commercial and

religious system of the Beast Empire

 

J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “In chapters 17-18 two Babylons are brought before us.  The Babylon of chapter 17 is ecclesiastical.  The Babylon of chapter 18 is economic.  The first is religious---the apostate church which entered the Great Tribulation period.  The second is political and commercial.  The commercial center is loved by the kings of the earth; and the apostate church is hated by the kings of the earth [cf. Revelation 17:15-18].  The apostate church is destroyed by the kings of the earth.”  I interrupt his quote to make this comment.  I believe, that since there were no chapter breaks in the Greek when Revelation was written, chapter 17 and 18 can be taken as a whole.  The identity of Babylon the Great is given in Revelation 17:5, letting the Bible interpret for itself again.  Revelation 17:4-5, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:  and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”  To me, this is the Bible interpreting just who Babylon is in both Revelation chapters 17 and 18.  Now for the rest of J. Vernon McGee’s quote.  “When Christ returns, political Babylon will be destroyed by the judgment of God.  Obviously, MYSTERY BABYLON, the apostate church, is destroyed first in the midst of the Great Tribulation, while commercial Babylon will be destroyed at the second coming of Christ.  These two Babylons are not one and the same city.  I personally believe that MYSTERY BABYLON is Rome [i.e. Vatican City] and that, when it goes down in the midst of the Great Tribulation, the religious center shifts to Jerusalem because it is at Jerusalem that the false prophet [cf. Rev. 13:11-18] will set up his image of the Antichrist to be worshipped…” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. V, p. 1036, col.1, par.2]  He goes on to speculate that “commercial Babylon is going to be the actual ancient city of Babylon.  I wouldn’t go that far.  That is needless and pointless speculation.  A wait and see issue, that isn’t all that important.  Personally I believe this commercial Babylon represents the whole economic-political system of the Beast Empire, no matter where it is.  It will be in Europe at first, and then may spread to the Middle East, or the commercial (economic) part may remain in Europe only, while the political part may relocate to the Middle East, and that would be my guess.  But guess it is, and nothing more.  In the beginning though the whole political-commercial-economic part of the Beast Empire, along with its huge factories and industrial complexes will be located within the borders of all the past Holy Roman Empires, within the borders of Europe.  My guess, like I said, is that the commercial-economic part of Babylon the Great will remain primarily in Europe.  It’s hard to move industrial complexes, such as exist in the Ruhr Valley, once they’re built up and established.  Just common sense.  We’ll know for sure when we look back at the Book of Revelation when it’s in the history books as fulfilled prophecy, now won’t we?  So Revelation 18 is to me at least, a combined description of false church and economic-industrial Babylon, leaning a bit toward the economic-industrial Babylon.  But some things stated in Revelation chapter 18 do point strongly toward addressing people within the apostate church. 

 

Announcement of the imminent fall of Babylon the Great

 

Revelation 18:1-3, “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”  Again, I believe “Babylon the Great” has been identified in Revelation 17:4-5, and this name is used again in Revelation 18, so apparently Revelation 17 and 18 are a composite picture of the political-religious, and commercial-economic parts of the Beast Empire.  This would give verse 4 of Revelation chapter 18  a special significance, because now verse 4 could and probably does apply to members of the false apostate church who are genuinely God’s children, caught up in a bad system. 

 

“Come out of her my people”

 

Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  You know, as an honest history buff, both of secular and religious history, I have a habit of letting the chips fall where they may.  Recently I read a historic account of the United States in early 1900-1905.  I have always been a flag waver, and I’m still patriotic.  But that true account has changed my attitude toward what we were from the 1870s to around 1910.  In some instances we were no better than the peoples we fought in World War II, and this is a disgrace.  [“The Imperial Cruise” by James Bradley, author of FLYBOYS]    In this study, I have let the chips fall where they may in relating the dark side of the history of the Catholic Church, which I still believe is the apostate church (by it’s very actions in the Vatican, predominantly, and in the past, in Europe).  But we are never to pass judgment on Catholic believers in the Lord.  I firmly believe verse 4 of Revelation 18 is a cry from God coming down from heaven for the believers in Jesus Christ who are genuine believers in Jesus Christ, to come out of that apostate church before it is too late.  So as you drive by a Catholic Church, don’t judge it because of what you have read in here.  The Lord has believers in there too, and they have the indwelling Holy Spirit just as you do.  Or else Jesus would never be saying this to them.  If this is applying to Israelites that are in slave-labor camps in this Babylonish economic industrial power, I hardly think they would be in a position to “come out of her, my people.”  There’s electrified barbed wire fences and guard-towers manned by guards with spotlights and machineguns.  They can’t come out of her.  To me there’s only one way to apply this verse, just doesn’t fit any other way.  No, I think this is a warning for those believers in Jesus Christ to come out of the false Babylonian religious system before it’s too late.  Again, there are no chapter breaks in the original Greek, so Revelation 17 & 18 go together because of context.  In Revelation 17:15-18 it says the false church is burnt with fire.  In Revelation 18:8 it says the same thing.  This obviously is the fate of both the ecclesiastical and commercial-economic part of Babylon the Great, even though those two parts may receive their end at slightly different times.  Revelation 18: 5-8, “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.  Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works:  in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.  How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her:  for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.  Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire:  for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” 

 

The commercial-industrial side of Babylon

 

Revelation 18:9-19, “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning.  Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!  for in one hour is thy judgment come.  And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:  the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine [margin: sweet] wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.  And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.  The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!  For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.  And every shipmaster, and all the company of ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!  And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness!  for in one hour is she made desolate.”  There may yet be a city, which will come to represent the industrial wealth of the economic part of the Beast Empire.  As seen in verses 17-18 it is a seaport city where ships are loaded up with the manufactured goods “of the empire.”  But Europe is loaded with those cities, major shipping ports.  So this city is either representative of them all in symbolic fashion or is a real city which represents them all.  These verses do depict the commercial-industrial side of this Beast Empire that was described in Revelation 17. 

 

Heaven is calling our attention…

 

Revelation 18:20-24, “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.  And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.  And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee:  for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.  And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”  To me that sounds symbolically speaking of Rome.  Like I said, Revelation chapter 18  appears to be a composite announcement of the fall of both sides of Babylon the Great, the ecclesiastical and the commercial sides of the Beast Empire. 

 

Revelation chapter 19

 

The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ to Establish His Kingdom on Earth

 

This chapter is a bridge between the tribulation and the millennial kingdom of God, two great suppers are recorded in this chapter, the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the great supper of the birds of prey, vultures especially.

 

Revelation 19:1-6, “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:  for true and righteous are his judgments:  for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.  And again they said, Alleluia.  And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.  And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of thunderings, saying, Alleluia:  for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”  This is a huge heavenly Hallelujah chorus made up of probably billions of angels, probably accompanied by all the recently resurrected saints rising up to meet the Lord in the air (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54).  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir wouldn’t even come close to this one.  Wonder if they’re going to use a spirit holographic teleprompter? 

 

Two views, a physics lesson

 

Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:  for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:  for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”  J. Vernon McGee and those who take the Rapture interpretation, as he states, “I assume that the marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven sometime during the midst of the tribulation which is going on upon the earth.”  I find this hard to believe, knowing that the 1st resurrection to immortality doesn’t take place until the blowing of the 7th Trumpet.  We really don’t know how this supper event will occur, but the timing is right here after the 7th Trumpet has been blown and we are on our way up to meet the Lord, and then are accompanying him back down to earth, as we shall see, to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus Christ and all the holy angels in heaven at this moment dwell outside of space & time.  After we are immortal we too will have that ability---to move both in and out of space-time.  This wedding feast, supper, could occur in what we physically would call a nano-second of time, while outside of space-time it might appear to take weeks or months.  Also John in vision steps right into heaven, the area of God’s throne, within a brief moment (Revelation 4:1).  We just don’t know how every event in Revelation will occur, but we do know when it will occur, as this prophetic book provides the timing for all the other end-time prophecies given in the Bible.  We are talking about spirit-beings.  God and all the angels, good and bad, holy and unholy, can pop into and out of space-time at will.  We don’t even know where the 3rd heaven and God’s throne are.  It could be right next to earth, and we’d never see it.  We think that matter is solid and that spirit is nebulous, like some kind of cloudy material, not solid.  In reality, physicists have discovered that matter at the elemental sub-atomic level is really made up of shimmering balls of energy, which make up the Quarks, which in turn make up the electrons, protons and neutrons.  And at that level there is a huge, huge amount of empty space between the electrons and nucleus which holds the protons and neutrons in every atom.  It is we and all physical matter that is like the nebulous cloud to God and all the angels.  God is spirit, the angels are spirit, and yes, the spirit horses, and flaming chariots he created (mentioned in 1st Kings with Elijah and Elisha) are created of what I like to call, for lack of a better term, spirit-matter.  When Balaam’s donkey saw the angel with the flaming sword she was terrified.  It is the material and beings made of spirit, and God himself, that can walk or fly through matter the same way we can walk through fog and fly aircraft through clouds.  The fact that spirit beings can be invisible to those who are made of matter, what sci-fi techies would term as “cloaking themselves”, doesn’t make spirit less solid than physical matter.  We know so little as humans, we can only make educated guesses based on the sum total of what real science and scientists have learned to this point about physical matter.  This is the study of physics and all physicists.  An angel’s flaming sword could probably cut through the titanium hull of a Russian Alpha class submarine like it was composed of a warm stick of butter.  So much for my scientific speculation.  But by the “placement” of the wedding feast of the Lamb and the Bride of Christ in the beginning of Revelation 19, after the blowing of the 7th Trumpet and 1st resurrection to immortality, it must occur then, right where it is placed in the time-sequence by Jesus himself in Revelation 19, and before the actual time when Jesus Christ (and all of us) touch down on the Mount of Olives.  In Revelation 19:7-8, it is the entire Church from Pentecost 31AD to the death of the last believer in the tribulation, now resurrected or changed to immortality, who will be presented as the Bride of Christ to Jesus, for marriage.  As I said, I don’t know how this is done, as it appears this takes place in heaven, just before, or as we are returning back to earth with the returning Christ.  The chapters of Revelation have marched through all the events leading up to that event, the event of the returning Christ, visible to all on earth.  There are times when expositors should just admit “I don’t know how, I just know it will happen” and leave it at that.  J. Vernon McGee thinks only New Testament believers will be included as the Bride of Christ.  I don’t.  I think that view is unscriptural and based on pure fancy thinking.  It ignores Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, which is mentioning more Old Testament believers, all waiting for the New Jerusalem, which they will live in with faithful Abraham.  The New Jerusalem, as we will learn is the residence for Jesus Christ and his Bride, and God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  I think the Bride of Christ will be made up of all believers, from righteous Abel, and then going through all the believers mentioned in the Bible’s ‘Hall of Faith’ in Hebrews 11.  I think that’s a more Biblical ‘opinion.’ 

“the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”  or as J. Vernon McGee’s personal translation of the Greek has it, “the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”  Philippians 3:9, “…that I may be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;…”  (Any questions about that, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm.)  I love what J. Vernon McGee says here, “Through the ages believers have been performing righteous acts which have been accumulating to adorn the wedding gown.  By the way, what are you doing to adorn that wedding gown?  What are you doing for the Lord today?”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. V, p. 1047, col.2, par. 3]

 

the wedding supper of the Lamb

 

Revelation 19:9-10, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.  And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.  And I fell at his feet to worship him.  And he said unto me, See thou do it not:  I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus:  worship God:  for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  J. Vernon McGee thinks the wedding takes place in heaven, but that the actual wedding supper takes place on earth, and uses Matthew 25:1-13 and Psalm 45 to back up his interpretation.  He says the actual Millennium is the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.  Who knows?  Being mentioned in Revelation 19 would give it the timing of occurring now, but he may be right.  We’ll have to wait and see.  Jewish weddings at the time of Jesus, took place fast, the actually wedding ceremony.  But the wedding feast which took place afterwards, what is called the “wedding supper”, was very often a week-long affair, lasting upwards of a week, depending on how rich their parents were.  Remember the first miracle of Jesus took place at a wedding feast, and they ran out of wine?  Obviously, the parents were poor, but trying to provide.  In his first miracle, he made a huge amount of wine for them, more than could be drank in one evening meal.  He probably made enough to last the week.  After writing all this down, John may have been overwhelmed by the scene and felt compelled to fall down and start worshipping the angel.  The angel tells him not to, ‘Don’t do it, worship God’ is basically what he tells John. 

 

Where are we now in timing?

 

After the marriage of the Lamb the next great event, the event this whole book has been leading up to, is described here.  The Book of Revelation has given us the time-order of the event.  Revelation chapters 5-6, six of the Seven Seals; Revelation chapters 8-9, the 7th Seal, giving us six of the seven trumpet plagues; Revelation chapter 11 giving us the initial blowing of the 7th Trumpet; and Revelation 14-16 giving us six of the Seven Last Plagues, which brings us the Seventh Last Plague, which is the actual arrival of Jesus Christ and the immortal saints on their way back to earth (cf. Revelation 16:17-21, “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.  And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.  And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell:  and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.  And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.  And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent [56-114 lbs]:  and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”  Matthew 24:27-29, 30-31, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For wheresover the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  [Vultures are in the eagle family, we have them fly up here every spring.  I call them “my eagles.”]  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; (verses 30-31) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:  and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  Apparently, as the first resurrection and 2nd coming are mentioned in the verses 30-31, the next two verses after 27-29, verses 27-29 would appear to be mentioning some of the seven last plagues.  But it is also mentioning the heavenly signs.  Which is it?  Well you have to understand, Jesus was giving the disciples an abbreviated sequence of events covered in the Book of Revelation.  Jesus was trying to explain the Revelation scenario in one sitting in his Olivet Prophecy.  So all he could do was touch on the major points, and the heavenly signs were condensed into the Seven Last Plagues.  Verses 30-31 describe the blowing of the 7th Trumpet, and then he gives the major event that takes place with the blowing of the 7th Trumpet, the 1st resurrection to immortality (cf. 1st Cor. 15:49-54; 1st Thess. 4:13-17).  That is where we are right now, as we come to Revelation 19:11-16.   

 

Heading Down to the Final Battle, Jesus gathers his army

 

Revelation 19:11-16, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:  and his named is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:  and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:  and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Who is it that composes “the army of God” here?  I think the Bible has given us the answer again, identified one of its own symbols.  Naturally you may have legions of angels coming too.  But what do we see in these verses, that are identified in the same language elsewhere right in the same chapter? 

“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”  Some think these armies are the angelic host that come with Christ from heaven.  That may be so as well.  But we saw earlier in the chapter that the Bride was in heaven during the wedding ceremony.  Don’t ask me how, like I said, she just was.  But I think the interpretation is given in verse 8 of Revelation 19, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”   J. Vernon McGee’s translation of the Greek for both passages is “fine linen, bright and pure”.  You have a total match, either in the King James, just the arrangement of words, “clean and white” and “white and clean” is slightly off in the King James.  It’s a perfect match in J. Vernon McGee’s literal translation of the Greek.  So it appears, we, believers in Jesus Christ, just resurrected to immortality, are mounting up on spirit white stallions, maybe winged white stallions, like the Greeks pictured with their Pegasus horse.  An ordinary horse is a powerful animal.  Police use them for crowd control.  I had a pony swing his neck around and hit me with it, it threw me six feet away from where I was standing.  Can you image a spirit horse, perhaps fire-breathing, with eyes like flames of fire.  Elijah and  Elisha saw such creatures in 1st Kings.

“And he shall rule them with a rod of iron”  Psalm 2:6-9, “‘Yet I have set My King on My holy hill in Zion.  I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.  And the ends of the earth for Your possession.  You shall break them with a rod of iron;. You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” 

“and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”  Isaiah 63:1-6, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, This One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?---‘I who speak righteousness, mighty to save.’  Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?  ‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me.  For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.  For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come.  I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained me.  I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.’”

 

The Last Great Battle

 

Revelation 19:17-21, “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.  And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.  These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceedeth out of his mouth:  and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”  What mistakenly is called “The Battle of Armageddon” really takes place on the streets of Jerusalem, in what is called in prophecy as ‘the Valley of Decision’, down in the Kidron Valley.  So the resurrected immortal saints are returning to earth as part of the great heavenly army of God.  What happens when they reach earth with Jesus is found in an Old Testament prophecy that shows what happens when Jesus touches down on earth.  Where is this prophecy that describes this battle?  Zechariah 14:1-15, “Behold the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; [We saw that happen in Revelation 16, with the drying up of the Euphrates and all the armies of the world gathering in the Valley of Esdraelon near Har Megiddo.]  and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished [raped]; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.  And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for they valley shall reach unto Azal:  yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah:  and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark; but it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night:  but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.  [cf. Joel 2:1-2]  And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea; and half of them toward the hinder sea:  in summer and in winter shall it be.  [cf. Ezekiel 47:1-12]  And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.  All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.  And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”  Jesus triggers this massive global earthquake mentioned in Revelation 11:15-19 and Revelation 16:17-21 when he touches down on the  mount of Olives (cf. Zechariah 14:4-5).

 

Now the battle

 

Verses 12-15, “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongues shall consume away in their mouth.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.  [that could be deadly with modern weapons.]  And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.  And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”  Do you remember in the Old Testament that it says you can’t look on God and live.  In Revelation 1:13-16, Jesus appeared to John shining bright as the sun.  Jesus is actually brighter than the outside of the sun.  In the sun’s core, light is in the form of gamma rays, which can melt flesh.  After it works its way thousands of miles to the surface, that gamma light has lost enough of its energy to be in the form of normal white light.  The Jews must receive special protection at the arrival of Jesus and us glowing brighter than the sun’s surface.  We pick up with the Jews fighting in this battle in Zechariah 12:1-9, “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.  Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in  that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people:  all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.  [that’s a verse some politicians ought to heed today, before it’s too late for them.  Every Israeli PM that has voted for the partition of Jerusalem has been voted from office.]  In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.  [Next verse shows this is not talking about Yahweh striking the Israelis with blindness.]  And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.  In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left:  and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.  The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.  In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”  The Jews regard these verses as Messianic verses, heralding the coming of the Messiah.  At that time, as we’ll see a little bit later, they recognize Jesus as the Christ, Yeshua haMeshiach, which is Hebrew for Jesus the Messiah.  Both Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua and the Sabbatarian Churches of God believe that these events represent the symbolic meaning of the Feast of Trumpets, the first fall Holy Day in God’s sacred list of Holy Days given to Israel in Leviticus 23.

 

Related links:

 

Symbolic meaning of Feast of Trumpets:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm  and scroll the “the Feast of Trumpets”, and read through the symbolic meaning of the Feast of Trumpets. 

 

2nd coming of Jesus Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming.htm

 

Commentary on the Book of Isaiah:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/isaiah/isaiah1.htm or

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/Book%20of%20Isaiah.pdf

and read the text that is in red.  This will give you all of the Old Testament prophecies contained in the book of Isaiah that deal with the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

 

Prophecies of Daniel:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Daniel/daniel1.htm

 

 

Revelation chapter 20

 

Theme: the Millennium

 

First of all, I am going to give you part of J. Vernon McGee’s introduction to this chapter, because in many ways he hits the nail on the head for the proper interpretation of this chapter.  But when all is said and done, and we are in this Millennial Kingdom of God with Jesus Christ, we are going to find that even the best explanations of the best expositors came short, woefully short in their explanations.  “In the twentieth chapter we are dealing with the Millennium in relationship with Christ, Satan, man, the tribulation saints, the resurrections, the earth, and the Great White Throne.  Unfortunately, a great many men in the past have thought that chapter 20 is not very important because the Millennium, the thousand-year period, is mentioned only here in Scripture, and therefore, they have practically dismissed this chapter altogether.  It is true that the Millennium is mentioned only in this chapter, and it is mentioned as “a thousand years.”  Let’s not argue about semantics.  Millennium comes from the Latin word that means “one thousand.”  Millennium means a thousand years any way you slice it.  You can call a person who believes in the Millennium a chiliast, and chiliasm is the way the early church spoke of it, because in the Greek chiliasm means “a thousand” also.  I hope we understand that millennialism, chiliasm, and the thousand-year reign of Christ all refer to the same thing.

          Chapter 20 is the division point for the three main schools of eschatology:”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. V, p.1052, col.1, par 1 & 2.]  Rather than going through J. Vernon McGee’s rather long explanation, which is good, I have a good one on the site.  To read a good article defining those “three main schools of eschatology” (really four, or three with two versions of pre-millennialism), log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/choosingachurch3.htm and scroll a short distance to the title “Christian Views on the Millennium” and read through the next five or six short paragraphs.  It’s a very good explanation (written by Curtis J. Evans, who majored in theology at Harvard University).  J. Vernon McGee goes on in the next page to say, “You cannot spiritualize Scripture on any basis you choose, although that is the present custom and the popular method today.  In the premillennialist interpretation, the one thousand years are treated as one thousand years, and Christ comes at the beginning of the Millennium.  Chapter 20 makes it clear that there can be no Millennium until Christ comes.  In the first nine verses of this chapter, we have the word for a thousand years repeated six times.  It must be pretty important to put that kind of emphasis on it.  The early church believed in what was known as chiliasm, the belief in the literal thousand-year reign of Christ.  Those who rejected that position were considered to be in a state of heresy.”  [ibid. p. 1053, col.1, par. 1&2.]  I give a short one page explanation why Amillennialism became a popular view in eschatology at http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/kog.htm.  I view Amillennialism to be a gross twisting of Scripture, as well as a doctrinal view that fosters ant-Semitism, and has fostered it for over a thousand years.  What I have written about Amillennialism can be viewed at http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_1.htm. 

 

Four major things must happen to bring on the Millennium

 

1.  The second coming of Jesus Christ must happen, which in Revelation 19 we saw just did.

2.  Satan must be removed from the scene, along with all his demonic host.  They must be removed from having any influence on the earth.

3.  The actual curse of sin must be removed, the one placed on earth in Genesis 3, and has existed since then.  This removal is actually prophecied in a Messianic prophecy found in Isaiah 11:6-10 and Isaiah 35:1-10.

4.  All the saints who have been resurrected or changed to immortal beings must receive their rewards, high positions of public office.  This would be seen as a coronation ceremony, what amounts to the setting up of the theocratic governmental system which will rule the whole world, the earth.  Jesus has been training saints from both the Old Testament times and throughout the New Testament Church Age, right up to the moment he comes back.  He’s been training them to fit into the entire governmental structure of positions which will be established over and throughout the physical nations and peoples left alive at the end of the tribulation.  This training project of Jesus Christ has been going on since the time of Righteous Abel, and culminates at the very moment of the 1st resurrection to immortality.  With that said, there is a fifth thing which the Millennium will do.

5.  What the Millennium will prove to be is a final testing of mankind under ideal conditions, utopian conditions.  No Satan, no demons to broadcast their evil broadcast of the Satanic sin nature described in Galatians 5:19-21.  The lesson of the Millennium with all its perfect conditions---a true utopian society---is that the minute Satan and his demonic host, accompanied by his powerful re-broadcast of the sin nature takes places, the basic nature of man goes right straight back to a depraved heart in rebellion against God (cf. Jeremiah 17:9; Gal. 5:19-21).  As J. Vernon McGee says, “This is the answer to those who say there is nothing wrong in man which circumstances and conditions cannot change.  Man is an incurable, an incorrigible sinner.  Even at the end of the Millennium, he is still in rebellion against God.  The rebellion in the human heart and the depraved nature of man are impossible for any man to comprehend.” [ibid, p. 1054, col.2, par. 4]  The question arises, will anyone be saved in the Millennium?  I would imagine multiple billions will be saved, and it is they who will be able to endure and resist the sin nature of Satan and pass the test, just as believers have since Abel.   

 

The Millennium predicted throughout the Old Testament

 

Quoting J. Vernon McGee again, “The Millennium [in J. Vernon McGee’s view] is the final testing of mankind before the beginning of the eternal state…This is the kingdom which was promised to David (see 2 Sam. 7:12-17; 23:5).  God took an oath relative to its establishment (see Ps. 89:34-37).  This is the kingdom predicted in the psalms and in the prophets (see Ps. 2; 45; 110; Isa. 2:1-5; 11:1-9; 60; 61:3-62; 66; Jer. 23:3-8; 32:37-44; Ezek. 40-48; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; 12:2-3; Mic. 4:1-8; Zech. 12:10-14:21).  All of the prophets spoke of the kingdom, the minor prophets as well as the major prophets---not one of them missed it.  These are but a few of the manifold Scriptures that speak of the theocratic kingdom which was the great theme of all the prophets in the Old Testament.  This is the kingdom, the theocratic kingdom, that is coming here upon this earth.” [ibid. p. 1055, col.1, par. 1]  That’s just a partial list.  I will give some links at the end of this chapter that go to Old Testament and New Testament surveys on this subject.

 

Satan and the demons go into “lock-up”, are incarcerated for 1,000 years

 

Revelation 20:1-3, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled:  and after that he must be loosed a little season.”  That’s gotta be a ‘spirit chain’, too.  Angelic beings are spirit beings.  In Matthew’s account of the two demoniacs in the region of the Gaderenes, these two demoniacs snapped chains apart like they were sticks of warm butter.  Remember what I said about spirit composition?  I think it applies here for sure.  Just within these three verses the “thousand years is mentioned two times.  The Millennium is only talked about in Revelation chapter 20, but it is mentioned six times by Jesus Christ in Revelation 20:1-9 to the apostle John.  When God mentions something twice in a row within a passage, it is his way of confirming the importance of the idea, theme or statement he’s making.  He mentions the Feast of Tabernacles in Zechariah14:16-19 three times.  I wonder how important that Old Testament Holy Day season is in the mind of the pre-incarnate Yahweh that inspired Zechariah to write that, maybe even speaking the words in his mind audibly.  Here in these first three verses we see Jesus Christ doing the second of the four major events he must do to bring about the Millennium, the Millennial Kingdom of God ruling over all of mankind.  He accomplished the first thing by returning to earth (cf. Revelation 19; Zechariah 14:1-15).  Satan has been the unseen defacto ruler and king of the earth ever since Adam lost the opportunity to have that position when he committed the first sin.  He in essence handed over rulership of earth to Satan.  Jesus qualified to replace Satan, and ever since he died on the cross, Satan has been ruling in what we would call “lame duck session.”  Since that early time in Genesis (chapters 3-11) the world, as populations grew and nations formed, became so depraved and sinful that God had to wipe out mankind with a huge planet-wide flood, starting over with righteous Noah and his family.  Jesus himself stated that the end times just before his 2nd coming would be like the days of Noah.  That sin nature Satan broadcasts is described by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21.  J. Vernon McGee says, “There are some expositors who separate this section from the Millennium, classifying it as the closing of the Day of Wrath.”  I would have to agree with that.  The early Judeo-Christian Church in Jerusalem and Judea as well as into Asia Minor (and as well as all Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua and Sabbatarian Churches of God) attach prophetic significance to each and every one of God’s commanded Holy Days given to Israel in Leviticus 23.  Even the Jews, throughout the ages, have attached similar prophetic meanings to these Holy Days, but with a little bit less clarity and accuracy than the Judeo-Christians.  So we see that the symbolic meaning attached to God’s Holy Days of Leviticus 23, believed and taught be Jews and Judeo-Christians for millennia divides the great coming of the Messiah (Day of the Lord prophecies), the putting away of Satan, and the coming of the Millennial Kingdom of God (called by the Jews, “The World to Come.”) into three distinct and separate events, all contained within the symbolic meaning of the fall Holy Days (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles).  [to see how the Day of Atonement symbolizes the removal of Satan, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows2.htm.]  So this division of 2nd coming, putting away of Satan and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of God is both Biblical and justifiable.  Satan’s removal, incarceration from earth removes his evil broadcast of the sin nature from earth.  Now man’s nature is a plain old neutral.  Satan is called by Paul ‘the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air’, and his influence in the world of mankind is enormous.  As Revelation 12:9 brought out, Satan has the whole world deceived, blinding most of mankind’s eyes from understanding the simple gospel of Christ and salvation.  Every individual who is not specifically called by God (and yes, he uses us as his helpers, but God must open the minds of those we reach) is totally blinded and will not come to Christ for salvation (cf. John 6:44,65; Rev. 12:9).  As we see, he has deceived most of mankind since Genesis 3.  But as we’ve just read in previous chapters in Revelation, his greatest deceptions are yet to come.  Satan and his demonic host, one third of all created angelic beings, must be removed, incarcerated, chained up as Revelation 20:1-3 so aptly puts it, before the Millennial Kingdom of God can be established on earth.  I imagine the scenario given in Isaiah 11:6-10 and 35:1-10 also takes place simultaneously.  We’ll have to wait and see how Jesus does it.  It just may be that the ferociousness of wild animals may be tied into Satan’s broadcast too, and not just be instinct, although I think a lot of it is instinct.  Predators were designed by God to help maintain the health and size of herbivore animal herds in the wild without man.  Isaiah 11 shows a whole system revamp within the animal kingdom.  Lions, tigers, wolves, bears and poisonous snakes will take on a peaceful nature, like that of a domestic house cat and dog.  Some of their digestive tracts may need adjustment too, genetic bio-engineering by the head engineer himself.  Nothing to hard for God, right?  Nasty insects?  Hope so.  For a link to the section about Satan, log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/Satan/satan.htm. 

 

The resurrected immortal saints’ coronation ceremony

 

Revelation 20:4-6, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:  and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:  on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”  I want to run another J. Vernon McGee quote past you here, concerning how we should interpret the one-thousand years which has just been stated four times in six verses.  “This prophecy is like any other prophecy in Scripture: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20).  That is, you cannot just lift out a verse of Scripture and base a doctrine on it; you need to have the corroboration of other Scriptures.  When this passage here is treated as a dignified statement of literal facts, it becomes reasonable, and it fits into the entire program of prophecy which we have been following.  Any attempt to reduce it to the lowest common denominator of fanciful and figurative symbols makes the passage an absurdity.  To spiritualize this passage is to disembowel all Scripture of vital meaning, making the interpretation of Scripture a reductio ad absurdum.  The thrones are literal; the martyrs are literal; Jesus is literal; the Word of God is literal; the Beast is literal; the image [of the antichrist] is literal; the mark of the Beast is literal; and the thousand years is literal.  It is all literal.  A thousand years means a thousand years.  If God meant that it was eternal, I think He would have said so.  If He meant it was five hundred years, He would have said so.   Cannot God say what He means?  Of course He can, and when He says a thousand years, He means a thousand years.  The Greek word for “resurrection is anatasei, which means “to stand up, a bodily resurrection.”…This is the same word used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 for the resurrection of Christ and believers. [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. V, p. 1056, col.2, par. 3-4, parts of 5, p. 1057, col.1, par.1]  Paul used the same Greek word in 1 Corinthians for the 1st resurrection of all believers---from Righteous Abel---to those alive and changed at the very 2nd coming of Christ during the sounding of the 7th Trumpet.  These resurrected immortal saints are now given government positions as kings and priests in the government of God now beginning to reign over all the nations and peoples left alive on earth.  This is what the Jews, having a fair understanding of all those above mentioned Old Testament prophecies mentioned in the introduction call The World to Come.  For a fairly good Bible study on this major prophetic time that is soon to come to planet earth, log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm and for this site’s commentary on Isaiah log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/isaiah/isaiah1.htm and read the text that is in green.  Revelation 20, verses 4-6 show the basic timing for this Millennial Kingdom of God in world history (prophecy is merely history in advance).  For the prophetic details one must go to all the myriad Old Testament prophecies about this coming Kingdom of God. 

 

Satan loosed after the one-thousand years for a short span of time

 

Revelation 20:7-9, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle:  the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:  and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”  Here is the very last rebellion of Satan and mankind God ever allows.  As soon as Satan and his demonic host are released, all of mankind that has not actively responded to God’s call to salvation through Jesus Christ are overwhelmed by Satan’s evil broadcast and influenced into rebellion against Jesus Christ, King Messiah of the earth, and the government of God headquarters in Jerusalem.  You see, during the Millennium there was no evil satanic pull of the flesh being broadcast abroad tuned to the frequency or wavelength of man’s human spirit.  Galatians 5:19-21 describes what this broadcast consists of.  But the key part of this broadcast is an attitude of wrath and hatred toward anything to do with God.  So during the time period of the Millennial Kingdom of God, all mankind, both those actively responding and pursuing God’s call and receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit, and those who see no need to (they think they’re good enough on their own), are all living together in peaceful godly harmony.  But the very instant Satan and his demonic host are released and crank up their evil broadcast, the spiritual sheep (those who respond to God’s call and have the Holy Spirit) are separated from the spiritual goats, those who never became true believing Holy Spirit indwelt children of God.  In my opinion, and J. Vernon McGee’s too, Gog and Magog is symbolic language for all those non-believers who were overwhelmed by Satan’s wicked influence now permeating earth again.  It does not represent the poor Russians, who in my opinion, have always gotten the short end of the stick, both from dictators within, and from without.  Gog and Magog have to be defined by the passage they’re found in.  These people had every chance to respond to God’s loving call to salvation in Christ.  Jesus is right on earth with them, for a whole thousand years.  What does Jesus do?  “and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”  God makes short work of them.  Mankind without God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, even at his very best, will always revert back to evil and depravity when faced with real temptation.  i.e. Man needs God, and the permanent guiding and loving influence of his Holy Spirit.  I believe even after we are resurrected immortal saints, God’s Holy Spirit will continue to fill us and influence our continued walk with the Lord throughout eternity.  We will ever be growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, but never fully achieving the full measure of who and what God is.  We will never be God in that sense.  But we will be the immortal children of God.  As J. Vernon McGee says, “The Millennium is a time of testing of man under ideal conditions.  The heart of man without the overriding influence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit is “desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9), “because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).” 

 

Satan cast into the lake of fire

 

Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Satan (and yes his demonic host) are now incarcerated, locked up in whatever “hell” or “the lake of fire” is.  This evil bunch of created angelic spirit beings get an eternal-life sentence to hell, which may end up as a permanent banishment from the presence of God and all that are his.  It is the end of the Millennium, but the earth is still here, and populated by Jesus Christ and all the resurrected immortal saints. Is that it?  No, amazingly enough, the plan of God is not over yet. 

 

The Great White Throne Judgment

 

Revelation 20:5, 11-13, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small the great, stand before God; and the books were opened:  and another book was opened, which is the book of life:  and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:  and they were judged every man according to their works.”  Daniel 12:1-3, “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.  And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.  Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”  Now for a parallel Scripture and direct quote of Jesus Christ.  John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth---those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”  The word “condemnation”, “damnation” in the King James in the Greek is the word  krisis, which means “decision”.  Damnation or condemnation is a poor translation.  It’s a resurrection of “decision” according to Jesus’ own words, as recorded by John in the Greek.  Jesus directly stated that there are only two major resurrections, once through Daniel, and then once again himself, and then again for a third time, in Revelation chapter 20, verses 4-6 and then verses 11-13.  We know one thing for certain amidst the myriads of various interpretations for this passage and verses 14-15, everybody who has not been a part of the first resurrection to immortality comes up, rises out of their graves in this 2nd resurrection.  All the “unsaved dead” come up, alive, resurrected physical human beings.  That is what Revelation 20:5,11-13 states in clear and undeniable language.  Most, I’d say 98 percent of all Christians believe, within a wide scenario of interpretations, that all these “unsaved dead” are immediately cast into “the lake of fire.”  Why?  Because the very next two verses state in Revelation 20:14-15, “And death and hell [Hades] were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  What is “the lake of fire”?  Is it an ever-burning hellfire where the “unsaved dead” go to spend an eternity of torment, as Dante’s Inferno depicts?  In simple terms, as Revelation in the original Greek has no chapter breaks, verses 14 and 15 of Revelation 20 are immediately followed by Revelation 21:1, which states, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:  for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”  It would seem that gehenna fire, the lake of fire, is a fire that goes worldwide, and then goes to the entire universe, where God melts it all down and remakes, recreates both earth and universe.  This would appear to support annihilationism, which is fast becoming a popular interpretation for verses 14 and 14 of Revelation 20.  I will not speculate on this nor the fate of the “unsaved dead”.  Instead I will refer you to a link going to a couple articles which explain most of the differing beliefs within the Body of Christ.  They deal with such subjects as heaven and hell, “soul sleep” verses “soul stays conscious upon death”, and the fate of the “unsaved dead.”  Due to the fact that there is so much disagreement in interpretation on these doctrines, to me kind of relegates them into the area of secondary doctrines.  i.e. We’ll find out more when Jesus Christ returns.  So read the articles and choose for yourself.  I’m not gonna get dogmatic in secondary areas of doctrine.  I’ve even tried not to get dogmatic in areas within Revelation where the meanings are uncertain and could be interpreted in several ways.  Like I have been saying, we’ll see when we get there.  Stuff like that is not important.  Hell’s hot, you don’t want to go there.  That’s what’s important.  Want to know what a destructive fire is like that kills life, ask a fireman.  It’s not pleasant.  I do know, if today’s day and age are any indication, as well as the times of the Old Testament all the way to creation in Genesis 3 to Malachi chapter 4, that probably 98 percent of the total of mankind falls into the category of the “unsaved dead.”  I firmly believe that our understanding of what their fate is, at very best, is incomplete.  There is one other passage about a massive resurrection back to physical life found in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 37:1-14.  Most Christian denominations and expositors try to spiritualize the passage away because it doesn’t fit their beliefs about heaven and hell, so they say this is a spiritual picture of the re-birth of the nation of Israel that took place in 1948, but then they go right ahead and interpret Ezekiel 37:15-29 literally, as a 2nd coming of Christ passage, as well as all the other Old Testament prophecies.  Just thought I’d throw that one out there.  Some of our interpretations have got some gaping holes in them.  Remember what J. Vernon McGee said about spiritualizing a passage that context shows we should take literally?  We do that more often than we’d like to admit.  Oh, that link going to those articles about the various beliefs on heaven/hell, is at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm  Enjoy.

 

Related links:

 

Satan:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Satan/satan.htm

 

Three differing interpretations for eschatology:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/choosingachurch3.htm

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_1.htm

 

Millennial Kingdom of God:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/isaiah/isaiah1.htm

 

Beliefs about heaven, hell, soul-sleep verse soul stays conscious:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm

 

I’d like to mention one fascinating thing about the Feast of Trumpets which we saw is symbolic of the Day of the Lord and Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming.  Zechariah 14:1-15 covered that 2nd coming of Christ part.  The very next four verses in Zechariah 14, verses 16-19 show that the Feast of Tabernacles is commanded to be observed worldwide as a Holy Day observance.  It is the Feast of Tabernacles that the Jews, Judeo-Christians, Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua and Sabbatarian Churches of God believe symbolically represents the Millennial Kingdom of God.  Interesting that Yahweh, the pre-Incarnate Christ stuck this command right after the Zechariah 14:1-15 2nd coming passage of Scripture.  Zechariah 14:16-19, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.  This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”  Also we saw that Zechariah 12:1-9 went together with Zechariah 14:1-15, describing 2nd coming of Jesus Christ events, symbolized by the Feast of Trumpets.  Then right after this 2nd coming passage in Zechariah 12:1-9, in verses 10-14 is described a great mourning and fasting by all of Judah, symbolizing the Day of Atonement, and showing how the Jews, Israelis now recognize Yeshua haMeshiach, Jesus Christ a their Messiah.  Then right after that what Zechariah 13:1-6 describes ties right into the same event described in Revelation 20:1-3, where in verse 2 of Zechariah 13 it says “and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.”   This is all part of the theme of the Day of Atonement, which directly follows the Feast of Trumpets.  Check it out in that link to the Holy Days, and look up the actual commands in Leviticus 23:24-44.  For the link, go to:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm and scroll the part about the Feast of Trumpets, and go to: http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows2.htm to read about the Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. 

 

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