THE END OF REBELLION
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
After the Lord returns next, there will be a thousand years of the rule of Christ and His saints over the present earth. During this period, Antichrist and the False Prophet will be confined in the Lake of Fire. Satan will be incarcerated in the Bottomless Pit. At the end of the thousand-year period, Satan will be released.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 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. 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. 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. (Revelation 20:7-10)
I refer to this thousand-year period as the “Kingdom Age.” Christ and those have lived victorious Christian lives will sit on thrones and govern the nations of the earth.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations — “He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery” — just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)
I believe that the “iron scepter” is the personality of the victorious saint. During his lifetime on the earth, an iron core of righteous behavior has been formed in his personality. Such uncompromising strength will be needed because earth’s people are so full of rebellion.
The thousand years of the Kingdom Age is described in Isaiah chapter 11. Through Christ and His saints, the curse has been lifted from the earth, and “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
I think the earth will be divided into relatively small kingdoms, each governed by a king sent forth from the Throne of Christ in Jerusalem. We can notice in the United States the difficulty the government has in reducing crime. This may be especially true because of the inclusion of many different cultures in the one country, so that it is difficult for a person to feel loyalty to the entire nation. The country is too large to be controlled effectively, and no doubt in the future will be carefully monitored electronically by the federal government. In the present hour, America is being torn apart by conflicting ideologies and values.
It seems to me that if a king is to govern successfully during the Kingdom Age, he or she will be assigned a smaller area containing people of a single race and culture. Even then, the spirit of rebellion is so powerful throughout the world that these small monarchies will need to have an inner core of iron righteousness and be assisted by powerful angels.
It can be seen, then, that even after a thousand years of righteous government, Satan, upon being released from the Bottomless Pit, is able to deceive the nations in the whole earth. Satan went forth with the intention to deceive, just as he does today. Satan appears to be driven with a compulsion to deceive. Perhaps this is part of his punishment for rebelling against God.
Satan’s intention is to gather the people of the earth into an army so they will destroy those who are ruling in righteousness. I suppose Satan wants to govern the nations in place of Christ and His saints. Satan is doing the same thing today in America, as we see the Christian religion increasingly being derided.
Satan is able to summon a large army from those who previously had been governed by the saints. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. This indeed is a very large army. They marched across the breadth of the earth. Can you picture this army in your mind? If it is like today, Satan will not be visible. The army will be led by deceived generals and officers who will be doing what they truly believe to be in the best interests of people.
Remember, these small nations of people had been under discipline as long as they could remember. No doubt schools at every grade level had been conducted so that people would behave in a godly manner. It seems reasonable to me that not all people would have rebelled. But those who refused to fight against Christ may have been so outnumbered that they had no voice in what was taking place.
A rebellion of this size no doubt had a small beginning, as voices of discontent began to be heard in the various monarchies. Perhaps the discontented met in secret and contacted those in other countries until they were strong enough to take over the local governments.
It then would be likely that those who desired to keep on serving Christ would be persecuted. It is possible that such a thing could happen in our country in the not-too distant future, if those who hate Christ and His people become a majority. It is obvious even now that a significant number of people want to be free of the constraints place on them by the historic American values.
For example, homosexual practices are legal. There is an effort to legalize homosexual marriage. Next may be the so-called man-boy love, the legalizing of the use of drugs, and perhaps relations with animals. Our thinking in America concerning moral behavior is quite different today than was true a hundred years ago. What will the next hundred years do to our moral values? At the present time we are sliding downhill morally. Can you imagine—there are instances in America where one cannot publicly say the name of Jesus Christ for fear of making some people uncomfortable!
I am saying all this to suggest that the rebellion at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age did not take place instantly. It must have been growing for several years or centuries even, in order for a huge army to march “across the breadth of the earth.”
As large as it was, I am sure there still were millions of people who did not join with them, just as today in America there are millions of people who do not participate in the prevailing wickedness.
You can picture in your mind this army of deceived people. They did not march in formation. They were an undisciplined mob. They were dressed in various ways, from people in business suits all the way to beggars in rags. There were men, women, and young people. Some of the women were topless. Some were naked. Loud music was blaring, rock and roll with its jungle beat. There were men, arm in arm skipping along in the manner of homosexuals on parade. They all spoke the same language. They were revealing the wisdom of God when in the beginning He confused the common language. A number of men and women were drunk, staggering forward. Some obviously were on drugs and were waving their arms and shouting incoherently. Large banners were in evidence that mocked Christ and His saints.
When they came up the hill and saw the shining walls of Jerusalem, the music and the clamorous voices stopped. The mob in silence surrounded the city. They stood there looking, not knowing how to proceed.
Suddenly tall, powerful-looking angels appeared holding spears, shoulder to shoulder, around the city. Their robes were glowing white. The wrath on their faces was terrifying to see. A command was given that only the angels could hear. Instantly, every angel was pointing his spear outward at the mob.
You could tell the people were confused. Some turned and made as though they would walk back the way they had come.
There was a sound like a clap of thunder. From the tip of each spear fire blazed forth until there was a wall of fire around the city. The fire moved toward the mob. Before anyone had a chance to scream, every one of the mob had vanished. There was no sound of any kind. The air was clear and fragrant, as it always is around the holy city. The grass that surrounds the city, which had been trampled by the mob, now appeared as fresh and green as ever. There was no sign that several million people had been walking on it.
No harm had come to those who had refused to join the rebels. Inside the city walls were Christ and His kings.
Fire came down from heaven and devoured them. God does not ordinarily dispose of our enemies in such a summary manner. It is as though God is saying “I have had enough of sin and rebellion. I no longer will tolerate the works of Satan and those who are deceived by him. This is the end of sin and rebellion!”
Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire and will be tormented for eternity.
Then appears a “great white throne.” This is the Judgment Seat of Christ. On the Throne sit Christ, Head and Body. All judgment has been given to Christ and His saints.
At this point, the earth and sky flee from the Presence of Christ. You can imagine the enormous energy that will be displayed.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (II Peter 3:10)
Now comes the final resurrection and judgment of those who have been born on the earth. It is my conviction that babies and small children will not be present. They will be in Playland in the spirit world.
Since this is a resurrection, those who appear here will be in their bodies. The only people not here will be those who attained to the first resurrection, when Jesus returned to the earth and set up His Kingdom. Since there is no earth, people will be standing before the Throne of Christ on some surface provided at that time.
Books were opened in which were recorded the lives of the people standing before the Throne. The Book of Life also was opened. Those whose names were found written in the Book of Life were spared punishment. I believe that they were held in the spirit world until the new earth was created. Then they were brought over as citizens on the new earth, becoming the inheritance of the Royal Priesthood who shall govern from the new Jerusalem.
Those whose names were not found in the Book of Life were thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Notice the wording: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The wording suggests to me that those who were thrown into the lake of fire were the exception. If the majority were to be thrown into the lake of fire, then it would say, “If anyone’s name was found written in the book of life, he was not thrown into the lake of fire.” If this were the wording it would imply that it was the exception who were spared being thrown into the lake of fire.
I am pointing out this detail because it is taught commonly that everyone who is raised in the first resurrection has “accepted Christ”; and everyone who is raised in the last resurrection, which we are discussing, is lost. This belief come from the expression “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” Right here the mammoth error of Christian teaching is laid bare. The common doctrine is that since no one is saved by works, and at the final resurrection “the dead were judged according to what they had done,” that all are thrown into the lake of fire. That such a syllogism would be believed by intelligent, devout Christian people is hard to understand. The only possible explanation is that there has been, until the present hour, a spirit of blindness on the Christian leaders.
The New Testament states plainly that we will receive what we have practiced.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 2:10)
I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
How long will it be before Christian ministers discard the wicked, destructive doctrine that after we have “accepted Christ,” we never shall be rewarded according to our works?
As for the first resurrection, the wording of the text shows that the first resurrection is for an elite who have lived victoriously in Christ, not for the great company of people who have said they “accept Christ” but who live a casual Christian life.
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. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 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. (Revelation 20:4-6)
As I have pointed out previously regarding the second resurrection, it neither states nor implies that everyone at that final judgment will be thrown into the lake of fire.
It must be true that God is opening the Scriptures today, for many of our traditions seem ridiculous when compared with the text of the New Testament.
May Jesus open our eyes that we may see the truth.
(“The End of Rebellion”, 3965-1, proofed 20210912)