After the Millennium (20.7-22.5)

"Come, Lord Jesus" (CFP), white covers only, by Watchman Nee

Revelation 20.7-15 | Revelation 21.1-27 | Revelation 22.1-5

20.7-9 THE LAST REBELLION

20.7,8 Generally speaking the Old Testament prophets foresaw things up to the time of the millennium. They are not very clear on matters that are to occur after the millennium. What is mentioned in the section before us here, however, are events which are to happen after the millennium.

Some may raise the question of how people in the millennial kingdom could be deceived after the thousand years are passed. We should be aware that during the millennium there are two classes of people on earth:

(1) The Jews—They “shall be all righteous” (Is. 60.21).

(2) The good nations (Matt. 25.34-40,46)—The bad nations have been slain (Rev. 19.21); the sheep nations shall inherit the kingdom.

Although during the millennium there are these two classes of people, the Jews hold a much higher position than do the nations.

These people in the millennium are human beings with flesh and blood, and they still beget sons and daughters. The first generation of the nations may be saved, but the children they beget may not be saved. Isaiah 65.20 mentions death, thus indicating that sin still exists even at this time.

Zechariah 14.17 speaks of people who will still refuse to worship the Lord. The Lord and His Christians shall rule the nations with an iron rod, that is to say, they shall use force to subjugate people. Whoever disobeys shall be instantly broken. Whoever acts evilly shall immediately be destroyed. Satan can easily deceive this group of people when he is temporarily released.

“Magog” is mentioned in Genesis 10.2. “Gog” is seen in Numbers 24.7 where “Agag” is translated “Gog” in the Septuagint. According to the writings of the Arabs, Magog and Gog occupied the vast expanse of Russia, Mongolia, and even to the eastern border of Germany. They were nomads and were very fierce. Some call the Mongolians the Tartars. Their ancestors hated the Jews very much.

20.9 “The breadth of the earth”—the “earth” here speaks of the Jewish land. The rebellious crowds come in such number that they shall spread over all the Jewish territory.

“The camp of the saints” is where the Christians live. Being “the armies which are in heaven” (19.14), they only encamp temporarily on earth. Encampment is something transient, for the millennial kingdom too will pass away.

“The beloved city” is the city where the Jews live. Being in such high position, they are to be envied and therefore attacked.

20.10 THE ETERNAL END OF SATAN

The counterfeit trinity is now in the lake of fire.

Some may question why there is still day and night. Shortly we shall see that the Bible merely states that “the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it” (Rev. 21.23). It does not say that there is no need of the sun and the moon in the new heaven and the new earth. Even the tree of life shall bear fruits each month. If there is neither sun nor moon, how can there be monthly fruit-bearing?  

20.11-15 “THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT WHITE THRONE”

20.11 This throne is different from the one in chapters 4 and 5. The description of the throne here is modified by two adjectives:

(1) “Great”—for this judgment is most extraordinary. It is great in righteousness.

(2) “White”—which color has special relation to the Lord; for example, the Lord’s hair is white and He rides on a white horse. White signifies being perfectly pure and absolutely righteous.

“Him that sat upon it”—No doubt He is the Lord. We have many proofs in the New Testament about this; for instance, John 5.22, Acts 10.42 and 17.31, Romans 2.6, 1 Peter 4.5, and 2 Timothy 4.1.

“The earth and the heaven fled away”—Some consider this fleeing of the earth and heaven as only a divine act of re-making, but the succeeding clause, “and there was found no place for them”, clearly shows that the old heaven and earth are completely destroyed; for there is the mark of sin in the old creation. This fulfills what is prophesied in 2 Peter 3.4,10,12. Evidently God sends fire with which to burn up the old heaven and earth.

20.12 “The dead” are “the rest of the dead” spoken of in 20.5. The phrase “standing before the throne” demonstrates that they are living, therefore they must be resurrected.

Will there be anyone saved at the Great White Throne? The answer is yes for the following reasons:

(1) This is a judgment. Judgment is a matter of determining as well as sentencing. If all are perished people, a mere proclamation of condemnation would be sufficient. Why should they be judged at all?

(2) Here are opened not only the books which record the works of everyone but also the book of life in which all the names of the saved are inscribed. May not all this suggest that some names are in the books of works while some are in the book of life?

(3) The Lord Jesus explicitly states that at the last day of resurrection some shall be saved: “For the hour cometh . . . they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5.28,29).

(4) Facing fact, it seems hardly possible that there would be no saved people at the judgment, for the reasons listed below:

(a) There will be people who die during the millennial kingdom. If they are resurrected at this moment, can it be that there are no saved souls among them?

(b) Many will have lived before the kingdom comes. They have no part in the first resurrection. If they appear at this time, will there not be saved souls?

(c) The spirits of those believers who have been excommunicated or who have remained unrepentant shall be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. If they should appear at this hour, how can they not be saved?

(d) The Bible explicitly states that those who do not confess Christ before men will not be confessed by Christ before the angels of God. This means they have no part in the kingdom. If they too were to appear at this juncture, they certainly should be among the saved.

(e) During the Old Testament period many were saved though unfit to reign with Christ. Were they to appear at this moment, they no doubt would be among the saved.

(f) Many have died in infancy. If they are not saved then, when will they be saved?

(5) Besides the resurrected dead there are the living Israelites (as a matter of fact, the whole nation of Israel) who shall stand before the throne; can we say that they are not saved? Moreover, there are the nations that do not follow Satan at the last rebellion; again, can we say that they are not saved?

“Books” is plural in number. “According to their works” means (1) the judgment is based on works, and (2) punishment is measured out according to the quality of their works.

20.13 “Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them”—This is a matter of delivering up the souls of men that they may be judged.

“And the sea gave up the dead that were in it”—possibly because the abyss and the sea are closely linked; and in the abyss are imprisoned the spirits.

“And they were judged every man according to their works”—This is mentioned twice (vv. 12 and 13) because the future judgment is entirely based on works.

20.14 Death is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Cor. 15.25-26, 55-56).

20.15 To put this verse positively, if anyone’s name is found written in the book of life, that one is definitely saved.

Hence the judgment of the Great White Throne is according to principles: Those who perish perish because of their evil works (not because of their good works), and those who are saved are saved because their names are written in the book of life (not because of their good works).