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26 October 2019

The War and the Judgment of Satan - (Revelation 20:7-10)

The Trinity Detonation
From Unsplash.com

The point has been reached for the judgment and final downfall of the Dragon, the Devil. The book of Revelation in its second major division introduced the cosmic enemies of the Lamb (in chapters 12 through 14):  The Dragon, the Beast from the Sea, the Beast from the Earth, and Babylon the Great. In the third division, chapters 17 through 20, it presents their destruction but in reverse order:  Babylon, the beasts from the sea and the earth and, now, the Dragon.
The Dragon was defeated by the appearance of the “son” and “cast down” to the earth, no longer able to hurl accusations against the “brethren” in the heavenly court.  The saints overcame him “by the blood of the Lamb.” While still able to cause trouble, the Devil since then has been prevented from destroying the woman clothed with the sun or her “seed,” at least, not until a final “short season.” In the interim, God has protected her in the “wilderness” from Satan’s full power for a “season, seasons, and half of a season” (Revelation 12:1-17).
Likewise, in Chapter 20, the Dragon is imprisoned in the Abyss for a thousand years until a final “short time” at the end of this period. Only then will he be released from the Abyss to deceive the nations into a final assault against the “camp of the saints.” That “season” has now been reached.
(Revelation 20:7-10) – “And as soon as the thousand years shall be ended, the Accuser shall be loosed out of his prison, and will go forth to deceive the nations that are in the four corners of the earth, the Gog and Magog, to gather them together unto the battle — the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they came up over the breadth of the land, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. And there came down fire out of heaven and devoured them; and the Adversary that had been deceiving them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [were] both the wild-beast and the false-prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night, unto the ages of ages.”
When the thousand years shall be completed.” The Greek term rendered “completed” is teleō. The same term is applied in several preceding passages that look forward to this same climactic moment, as follows:
(Revelation 10:7) – “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be completed.”
(Revelation 11:7) – “And when they shall have completed their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the Abyss shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.”
(Revelation 15:1) – “And I saw another sign in heaven…seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is completed the wrath of God.”
(Revelation 15:8) – “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”
(Revelation 17:7) – “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be completed.”
(Revelation 20:3-5) – “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, until the thousand years should be completed; and after that he must be loosed a little season…But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were completed.”
Satan will be loosed out of his prison.” This “prison” is identical with the “Abyss” (verses 1-3), and his “loosing” is synonymous with the Dragon’s “ascent” from the Abyss/Sea (compare Revelation 9:14-15). While previous passages described the ascent of the “Beast,” this beast had the characteristics and authority of the Dragon; it did Satan’s bidding on the earth (Revelation 12:3, 13:1-3). The images of the Beast ascending from the Abyss correspond to the release of Satan from Abyss at the end of the “thousand years.” Compare, carefully, the following passages:
(Revelation 9:1-2) – “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the Abyss. And he opened the Abyss and there ascended a smoke out of the pit.”
(Revelation 11:7) – “And when they shall have completed their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the Abyss shall make war against them.”
(Revelation 13:7) – “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast ascending out of the sea.”
(Revelation 17:8) – “The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the Abyss, and go into destruction.”
The Devil will then “will go forth to deceive the nations that are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog.” The Dragon was previously described as the one who “deceives the whole habitable earth”; the creature who, enraged, went off to destroy the woman and her “seed,” the followers of the Lamb (Revelation 12:9-17). Similarly, after the opening of the sixth seal, John saw four angels standing at the “four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow…until we have sealed the servants of our God” (Revelation 7:1-3). The “four corners” of the earth represent the entire world.
The reference to “Gog and Magog” identifies this global force with Ezekiel’s prophecy of an invasion of ancient Israel by “Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:1-2). The difference is that the army of “Gog and Magog” is transformed into a worldwide force; it is not an alliance of regional nations from the Middle East. The ensuing “battle” covers the entire earth.
To gather them together to the war.” This is the same phrase used previously to anticipate a future battle, a clause derived from Daniel 7:21. Note well the parallels below. In each case, earthly forces are gathered to the “war,” singular, against the saints or the Lamb and his “armies.” The passages in Revelation 16:12-14 and 19:17-21 also allude to the attack by Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38-39. The several “battle” scenes in Revelation all point to the same event, Satan’s last attempt to destroy the followers of the Lamb:
(Daniel 7:21) – “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”
(Revelation 11:7) – “The beast that ascends out of the Abyss shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.”
(Revelation 12:17) – “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed.”
(Revelation 13:7) – “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints.”
(Revelation 16:14-16) – “They are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole habitable earth to gather them to the war of that great day of God Almighty…and he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”
(Revelation 19:19-20) – “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.”
The number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” This description recalls the passage from Revelation 13:1 where John saw the Dragon “standing on the sands of the sea” as the Beast was ascending from the sea, the same Beast that was given authority over “over every tribe and people and tongue and nation” with which to wage war against the saints (Revelation 13:7). The metaphor portrays the Devil’s control over all the “inhabitants of the earth.”
And they ascended over the breadth of the land and surrounded the camp of the saints.” This sentence is another allusion to Ezekiel’s prophecy in which the invading force “ascends and comes like a storm, like a cloud to cover the land…You will ascend against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land” (Ezekiel 38:9-16).
The camp of the saints and the beloved city.” John now mixes his metaphors. Whereas, in Ezekiel’s prophecy, Gog and Magog invaded the land of Israel, here the Devil leads his force to destroy a “camp” and a “city.”  “Camp” recalls the image of Israel as a pilgrim people in the wilderness. “Saints” in the book of Revelation consistently refers to followers of the Lamb from every nation (e.g., Revelation 5:8, 11:18, 13:7). The “beloved city” corresponds to the “new Jerusalem” and “bride” of the Lamb in contrast to the “great city,” Babylon; Humanity is divided between two cities: Babylon and New Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12, 21:2).
Fire came down from and consumed them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.” This is a further allusion to Ezekiel’s vision, as follows:
(Ezekiel 38:22) – “And I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone.”
(Ezekiel 39:6) – “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am Yahweh.”
Where the beast and the false prophet are.” The Beast and False Prophet were cast alive into the Lake of Fire at the end of their war against the Lamb and the armies that rode with him (Revelation 19:17-21). Thus, the narrative climaxes with the destruction of the final cosmic enemy of the Lamb and his people.
The judgments of Babylon, the Beast from the Sea, the False Prophet, and the Dragon all occur at the climax of this final “war.” This argues against any chronological sequence or passage of time between their respective judgments; that is, each of the Lamb’s major enemies is judged and cast into the “Lake of Fire” at the end of the same battle.
Furthermore, the application of war language to the Devil’s attempt to destroy the saints suggests strongly that this “war” portrays the persecution of the church, not battles between conventional armies or nation-states.

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