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- Part 3
Mark of the Beast
2C. The Millennium 20:1-15 BLB
1D. Preparation for the Period 20:1-3 BLB
2D. Progress During the Period 20:4-6 BLB
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3 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.
4 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.
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 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.
At the outset of the millennium, Christ's reign of a thousand years, the devil will be cast into the Abyss. Christian martyrs of the Tribulation period will be raised from the dead. They are those who would not receive the Mark of the Beast. Most of them will have been put to death for their faith in Christ. They are raised again as part of the "first resurrection." Jesus Himself was the "first-fruits" of this first resurrection. Later, believers of the church age are raised at the Rapture. Now we see these believers also joining the ranks of this first type of resurrection. The other type of resurrection is seen in the next few verses where the ungodly are raised to stand at their judgment.
3D. Postscript to the Period 20:7-15 BLB
1E. Rebellion 20:7-9 BLB
2E. Retribution 20:10-15 BLB
1F. The Devil 20:10 BLB
2F. The Deceived 20:11-15 BLB
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
8 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.
9 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.
10 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 ever.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
At the end of the thousand years of Christ's righteous reign on earth, Satan will be released from the Abyss. He will lead those who do not believe in Jesus, even though they have been witnesses of His righteous reign, in fighting the Last War. All of these rebels will be destroyed by fire from heaven, and the Devil will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Non-believers will be raised to stand before The Lord, sitting on a white throne. They will be judged by their works, but, according to Romans 3:20, no one can be saved by the law and good works. Those who depend on works will have their name blotted out of the Book of Life.
3B. The Scene on the New Earth 21:1-22:21 BLB
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.
16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
This section is related to Peter's description of a fiery dissolution of the present heaven and earth and the establishment of new ones. (2 Peter 3:10-13)
The new Earth will be much bigger than our present one because it will receive the New Jerusalem which is incredibly huge: about 1500 miles square, and, as hard as it is to imagine, about 1500 miles high as well! Such a city would make our present Earth very lopsided.
The beauty of the city is beyond description, but is symbolized by some of the things we consider most beautiful. The "concrete" of that city will be like pure gold. The gates of the city, familiar to the first century readers as large unattractive fortress gates of heavy wood and metal plating, will be like huge pearls, and the foundations, normally the most uninspiring part of a city, will be sprinkled with sparkling jewels of unimaginable value.
The gates will have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the foundations will have the names of the twelve Apostles. Together they symbolize the redeemed of both Israel and the Church. The city is said to be the "bride" of the Lamb. In the Old Testament Israel is called the wife of the Lord (Ezekiel 16 is one of several such passages), and, in the New Testament, the Church is identified as the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:24-32). Thus the New Jerusalem, the home of believers, is referred to as the bride of the Lamb. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them and that He would come back for them so they could be where He was. (John 14:1-3) I once heard someone say, "Jesus created the whole universe in seven days. Just imagine what He has made for us during almost 2000 years!"
The greatest treasure of that glorious future city will not be it's gold and jewels, but it's chief inhabitant, Jesus Christ, who is called here the Lamb because of His sacrificial death for our sins.
There will be no need of a Temple there since God Himself will be there personally. In the same way, there will be no need for sunlight since it will be illumined by the presence of God (including God the Son - the Lamb). This light will undoubtedly permeate every portion of the great city. Jesus, who said, "I am the light of the world," will be its lamp. There will be no night there. Neither will there be any sin or sorrow. This is the most thorough description of our future state. For Christians, our future "heaven" is really heaven on the new Earth. One most valid description of heaven is "where God is." In that day the petition of Our Lord's prayer will have been fulfilled, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10).
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
6 The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place."
7 "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.
9 But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
10 Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.
11 Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.
Most of this last chapter of the Bible is devoted to further description of the New Jerusalem and the future blissful state of believers in the presence of the Lord. The city will have access to the river which has the water of life. The Tree of Life will be there as well. Partaking from this tree in the Garden of Eden was not permitted once Adam and Eve had fallen into sin. (Genesis 3:23-24)
In contrast to the blessedness of those inside this city, there is a reference to those "outside" (v.15) - evil doers who are presumably in torment.
There is a stern warning not to add to or subtract from these words (vv. 18-19).
There is one last promise of the soon coming of Jesus Christ, and the expression shared by all who look for His coming, "Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!"