Revelation Chapter 20
At the end of Revelation 19, King Jesus returned to earth and slew the armies that came “against Him” and “the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:19, 21). Earth’s inhabitants were taken to heaven or destroyed “with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The beast and the false prophet were thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven [to this earth], having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of 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” (Revelation 20:1-3). This scene was foreshadowed in the sanctuary service on the Day of Atonement. When the sins of the people were removed from the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest, they were placed on the scapegoat which was led into the wilderness to perish (Leviticus 16). “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:21-22, emphasis added). Satan is the scapegoat that eventually will have all the sins of the redeemed placed upon him and will suffer their final punishment.
After Jesus has taken the redeemed to heaven or slain all the wicked by the brightness at His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8), Satan is confined to this earth which has been turned into a wilderness as described in Jeremiah 4:23-27. “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by His fierce anger. For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end” (emphasis added). Someday He will make it all new!
In the sanctuary service, when the lamb was slain for the sins of the individual, the blood of the slain lamb was taken into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil separating the holy place from the most holy place (Leviticus 4:2-6) thus in type showing the sins of the sinner being transferred into the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement when they were to be removed and placed on the scapegoat (Leviticus 16). “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary” (Psalm 77:13). The plan of salvation was shown in the services of the Sanctuary.
Satan is bound in the “bottomless pit” for a thousand years, and when that time is up, he will “be loosed for a little season” before he is destroyed forever.
In Luke 8:31, when Jesus was about to cast out the demons from the men possessed by them, “they besought Him [Jesus] that He would not command them to go out into the deep” (Luke 8:31, emphasis added). The Greek word abussos is translated as “deep,” and in Revelation 20:3, that same Greek word is translated as “bottomless pit” and could read, “And cast him into the ‘deep’” instead of the “bottomless pit,” where the demons (fallen angels) are at the present time. In the book of Job we are told, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7). Satan is on this earth even though we cannot see him. Whether he is in another dimension or God has placed a veil between us and the fallen angels, we are not told. The demons (fallen angels) that Jesus confronted did not want to go back into that, shall we say dimension, because then they would not be able to bother mankind.
We read in Revelation 9:1-11 that Satan is given the key of the bottomless pit, and he and his confederate angels are released from there when the fifth angel blew the trumpet which is during the latter part of when the New World Order is in power.
And in Revelation 20:3, we read that Satan and his cohorts are cast back “into the bottomless pit” and will remain there for one thousand years. They will have no one on earth to tempt and annoy during this time because the wicked were slain and the righteous were taken to heaven. He will have one thousand years to do nothing but contemplate what he has done for the past six thousand years and what his fate will be when Jesus returns at the end of the thousand years. It is in this sense that Satan is cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years because he will not be able to practice his art of deception and his hellish schemes upon mankind anymore and will be confined to this earth. The first chapter of Job tells us that Satan is on the earth so the bottomless pit pertains to the earth also, except he cannot be seen by us.
Jeremiah 4:23-27 gives a description of the earth when Satan is bound here for the one thousand years after Jesus has returned to the earth, gathered the redeemed, and returned to heaven. “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void [earth returns to its pre-inhabitable state. Genesis 1:2]; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of Yahuwah, and by His fierce anger. For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.” Satan is confined to this earth for the 1,000 years mentioned here in Revelation chapter 20.
Meanwhile in heaven during that same 1,000 years, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given 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 [while in heaven]. But the rest of the dead [the wicked] 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 [while in heaven before they return to this earth]” (Revelation 20:4-6, emphasis added).
The “souls that were beheaded” during the time of the end are singled out in this verse, but they are not the only ones to be given “thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given them.” They are singled out because of what they will be going through at the end of time, and these words are recorded here for their encouragement to go through what they will be enduring “for the witness of Jesus.”
All those who have had a part in “the first resurrection” along with those who have been translated without seeing death (1 Thessalonians 4:17) will be taking part in this judgment.
Some may question what judgment these individuals will be taking part in, since the wicked have already been judged before Jesus returned to earth. We read in Revelation 16:5, “And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O LORD, which art, and was, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus” (emphasis added).
Many Scriptural passages, including Psalm 7:8; Psalm 9:8 and Psalm 75:7, indicate that the LORD is the Judge, so what “judgment was given them,” who are sitting on the thrones to perform? Earthly trials include two phases of judgment. The first phase is to decide the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The second phase is the portion in which God’s redeemed will have a part. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world . . . Know ye not that we shall judge angels [the fallen angels]?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). The second phase of a trial determines the length or degree of punishment.
Also in Revelation 20:12, we read, “And I saw the dead, small and 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” (emphasis added). The portion of this verse which is italicized deals with the righteous and not the wicked.
In the kingdom of God, the punishment will fit the crime. Some will suffer longer than others, but none will be tortured for eternity in an everlasting hellfire. The word "hell" found in the Scriptures should have been translated as the "grave." The prejudices of the trtanslators came through in what words were used. The length of time of punishment to be meted out for each lost individual is what will be determined by the redeemed and will be determined from “out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12). As in all trials the innocent party is looking for closure; so it will be with the final eradication of sin, sinners and Satan and his fallen angels. Will people like Hitler suffer longer than someone who has not committed murder? Yes.
I used to think that God kept track of my misdeeds (sins) in a little black book and had a club with which He would smack me every once in a while to get my attention. I now think that book is actually a large book that contains all the deeds of all those who will eventually be punished for them. But this is not done in an evil and sinister manner for the LORD is an God of justice and mercy, and those who are to be punished will not be unduly punished; the punishment will fit their crime: an “eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Leviticus 24:20). It will be a fair and open determination and not done in an arbitrary manner. I find there no evidence of there being a club in God’s hand.
The sins of the redeemed will be blotted out of the books of record for Jesus has already paid the price [punishment] for them. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19, emphasis added). “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” “Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities” (Psalm 51:1, 9, emphasis added). There are conditions in order for those sins to be blotted out. We must confess and forsake those sins and be converted [become dependent upon God] and allow His Spirit to dwell within us transforming our characters and making us like Himself. While He is now blotting out (cleansing) the sin in our lives, He will blot out our sins contained in the books of record. “I [God speaking], even I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine Own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon him” (Isaiah 55:7, emphasis added).
The plan of redemption included the provision of having our sins blotted out of the books of record. Jesus took upon Himself the punishment owed for those sins in Gethsemane and on Calvary when He became the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice, for those sins which are to be blotted out. Propitiation means that Jesus paid the price in order for us to be reconciled with God and to become at one with Him again. “And He [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, emphasis added). His sacrifice was sufficient so that every sin committed by every human being who has ever lived on this earth could be blotted out even though most will not have their sins blotted out and in the end will have their lives blotted out of existence. The provision made was all sufficient. All of our confessed and forsaken sins will be blotted out, but those sins not confessed will face us in the judgment. It does not matter how great or how small the sin is, it can be forgiven because the price has already been paid for the penalty of that sin. We are invited to “confess our sins, [for] He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, emphasis added).
Many of the followers of Christ do not understand about the cleansing “from all unrighteousness” because they have been given such a perverted misunderstanding of the Gospel. If you were to hire a plumber to fix your clogged sink and leaky faucet, you would wonder why he only unclogged your sink and did not fix your leaky faucet before leaving? God wants to fix all of our broken parts, and He has made ample provision to do so, if we will let Him. He not only wants to forgive our sins, but to stop us from sinning also. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus [Yahushua – Yah (God) saves]: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He saves us; we do not save ourselves from sinning. But He will not force Himself on us. He leaves it with us as to whether we will invite Him to do so or not! Many want to be forgiven their sins, but do not want to stop sinning! Truth be told, many like their sins. Only the LORD can put enmity between us and our sins. He can and will put enmity or distaste for sinning if we will let Him by asking Him to “subdue our iniquities” (Micah 7:19). What we once loved we can actually end up hating if we will permit God to do so. And what we hated, we can actually love. My testimony contained in the Preface of this book testifies to what God can do for us, if we let Him. He can put a distaste for sinning within us if we ask Him to.
Even though all will not be saved, the sacrifice made was sufficient for all. God would have all saved, but not all want to be “cleansed” from their sins. Many want only to be saved from the results of sin and not from the cause of sin. “Who [God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
It is a mystery why not all will accept God’s plan; an offer too good to be refused! But the pride of man prevents him from admitting (confessing) his faults (sins) and his need (cleansing). “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Yahuwah thy God . . . And ye have not obeyed My voice, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:13). It was pride that prevented Lucifer from admitting he was wrong, or he too would have been forgiven, but because of pride, he refused.
The subjects of the first resurrection and the second death are also brought up in this chapter. Yahushua spoke of two resurrections: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29). If you have a part in the first resurrection, you have nothing to fear concerning the second death. In the first resurrection, the righteous have been raised back to life, have been changed from corruption to incorruption, have had immortality conferred upon them (1 Corinthians 15:53-54), and have been brought to heaven for the thousand years while Satan is confined to earth, which is in a state of chaos due to earthquakes, seventy-pound hailstones, sinking mountains, and vanishing islands.
The concept of there being two deaths may be new to most people, but it is brought out in Revelation 20. There being two resurrections may also be new to many people. Unless we are part of the great multitude which are alive at the return of Jesus and never experience death, the death we will experience when our life is over is what the Bible talks about as the first death we experience due to Adam’s sin in the beginning. “For as in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). It is a part of our inheritance we have received from Adam’s failure. For those who have been resurrected at the second coming of Messiah, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death has no more hold of them, and they will not experience the second death for they will have been given immortality which God will give and not take when once it is given.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The death referred to in this verse is not the death we have in Adam. Wages are something that is owed to us personally; something we deserve and have earned! Normally people are anxious for payday to arrive, but in this case they may not want to receive those wages. They will have earned and deserve the second death! This second death is an eternal death, when life is extinguished forever. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die [eternally]. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son” (Ezekiel 18:20). Each will suffer the second death as the result of their sins and not for someone else’s sins.
And “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus reconciled God and man by taking on the punishment rightly due to those who have sinned. It was not the physical suffering Jesus went through at Calvary that caused His death; He died of a broken heart because of the separation between His Father and Himself because of the quilt of sin. “For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “The LORD hath laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). I do not think we can understand what this means; the greatest exchange that was ever made was Jesus taking our punishment which we deserved, and we receiving God's righteousness, which we did not deserve. It is sin that separates us from God. God’s plan for the salvation of mankind will be the subject of much contemplation throughout the eons of eternity!
How do we know that Jesus died from a broken heart and not from His physical pain and suffering? Death by crucifixion could take several days before the victim succumbed to death by suffocation, yet Jesus was dead in just three hours! When the news reached Pilate that Jesus was dead, he could hardly believe it. “And Pilate marveled if He were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked whether he had been any while dead” (Mark 15:44).
In John 19:31-35, we read, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [preparation day for the Passover not the preparation for the weekly Sabbath (John 19:14)], that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day [The annual feast days were referred to as High Sabbaths.],) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken [this hastened the death of the victim], and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he [John] that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knows that he saith is true, that ye might believe.” The sacrificial lamb offerings were to be without blemish. “Blind, broken, or maimed . . . ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD” (Leviticus 22:22). The offerings which pointed to Jesus' sacrifice were not to be broken or maimed just as Jesus was not to be broken or maimed.
Very significant is the record that states there were two distinct streams which flowed from the wound. “There came out blood and water.” This only happens in the case of a broken heart! The mental anguish which Yahushua went through was so great that the physical suffering may have been barely noticed. For anyone who has suffered from quilt, you can relate in a very small way to the mental anguish Yahushua incurred. He took upon Himself the guilt of all mankind. Guilt like physical pain is for our benefit. It keeps us from doing further injury to ourselves, but psychologists tell us quilt is nothing to concern yourself with, and they give you all kinds of remedies or means in dealing with it. Too much quilt and it crushes our lives. But the only sure remedy for quilt is confession to the One Who has been offended.
In addition to suffering from the guilt of sin, Jesus suffered because of the rejection He received throughout those last hours of His life. For those of us that can remember back to our youth and experienced rejection from a girlfriend or boyfriend, we said “our heart was broken.” It hurt being rejected. But at Calvary Jesus was being rejected by those who He came to save. “He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed it not” (Isaiah 53:4). Truly He died of a broken heart!
Jesus also endured the loss of His Father’s presence as He hung upon that cross. He cried out “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). When we take a real long hard look at what took place at the cross we will appreciate much more all that was done for our salvation.
We also have this account recorded by Luke: “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus relied on His faith in God that He had previously had prior to the cross, much like we have to do at times when Satan envelops us with clouds of doubt! In Revelation 14:12 we are told that those who are killed rather accepting the mark of the beast have “the faith of Jesus.” That faith comes from knowing God so intimately that nothing that Satan throws at us can cause to doubt.
There are individuals which are devoid of suffering from guilt and can kill someone and not feel a bit of remorse. Satan is seeking to desensitize mankind and the more we behold the evil in the world, the less it seems to affect us. When man was first created, man’s conscience was very tender and sensitive, but through six thousand years of sinning our consciences have become hardened and desensitized.
“But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). And when the thousand years are finished, what happens? “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan is loosed out of his prison, and he 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 them is as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7-8, emphasis added). This is what Satan does during that “little season” mentioned in Revelation 20:3. He deceives “the nations” of those who have been resurrected at the second resurrection that the city, the New Jerusalem, can be taken for the number of the wicked is exceeding great.
After the thousand years, Satan is no longer confined to his prison (alone with his angels on this earth) and is free to go out and deceive “the nations.” The wicked have been brought back to life. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5, emphasis added), and Satan once again works his hellish arts to deceive the wicked.
The New Jerusalem comes down to the earth prior to the wicked being brought back to life and the scene pictured in Zechariah 14:4 takes place. “And His [Jesus'] 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.” A place will be purified where the New Jerusalem will be established forever. John saw the “holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:2). The vision that Zechariah saw prepares a place for the city to land on when it comes down from heaven.
Continuing with the scenario found in Revelation 20, “And they [the wicked and Satan and his 200,000,000 angels (Revelation 9:16)] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city” (Revelation 20:9, emphasis added), which we see comes down from heaven in Revelation 21:2. Satan deceives the wicked into believing that the city of God can be taken and convinces the wicked to attack it, but “fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (Revelation 20:9, emphasis added). The fire devoured them and when the fire goes out only their ashes remained [Malachi 4:1-3, Ezekiel 28:18]; it did not burn the wicked forever. This is the battle which so many have heard about: Gog and Magog, but we find it taking place after the 1,000 years of the righteous being in heaven and is between Satan and his followers and the LORD. The false prophets of our time have been saying this battle is to take place between the Muslim nations and Israel, but we see a very different scenario given in the Scriptures.
We see when the one thousand years have ended, the city of God is brought down to this earth and the wicked are resurrected. Satan deceives the wicked into believing that they can take the city, and they march against it. At that time, fire comes down from God and devours them. This is what is referred to as “the lake of fire.” “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” (Revelation 20:10).
So have the beast and the false prophet been burning in that lake of fire for the previous thousand years while the dragon (Satan) has been confined to the bottomless pit? We know from previous chapters that the beast is Satan, and Satan is confined to the bottomless pit for a thousand years. How do they burn in the lake of fire for a thousand years which is not ignited until after the 1,000 years? Can Satan be in two places at once? Who is the false prophet that was cast into the lake of fire along with the beast? From what we have seen of the “beast” in Revelation, it appears that the false prophet is another disguise that Satan uses to cloak himself in order to deceive earth’s inhabitants, and we are told that they [dragon, beast and false prophet] are the “spirit of devils” (Revelation 16:14). Of the false prophet we have this information on him. “The false prophet that wrought miracles before him [‘the beast’] with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image” (Revelation 19:20). In Revelation 16:13-14 we are told, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (emphasis added).
The “lake of fire” is where the lost, Satan and his fallen angels, and the trash that has been accumulating on the earth are finally burnt up forever and is not ignited until after the 1,000 years have ended. What it accomplishes is “for ever and ever” but does not burn forever. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 tells us that the wicked “shall be punished with everlasting destruction” but not with everlasting punishing. Satan’s disguises are destroyed, so he cannot deceive the wicked or the righteous ever again, and he is “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” ignited when the “fire came down from God out of heaven.” It will be said to Satan by those whom deceived at that time just before he is destroyed, “They that see thee [Satan] shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake the kingdoms: that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:16-17). The wicked before they are destroyed will realize that they have been deceived by Satan, and he will receive their scorn. All the earthly elements along with Satan and his followers will be burnt up, for God is about give earth “an extreme makeover.” This will be the “extreme makeover planet earth edition.”
“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. And death and hell [the grave] 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” (Revelation 20:13-15).
No matter where the wicked have been placed when they died, whether in the sea or in the grave (which as we have discovered ws incorrectly interpreted as hell), the lost will be called back to life to pay the price for their lives of rebellion and their length of punishment will be in accordance with that determined by the redeemed based on what was recorded in the books. Even those who have been cremated will be brought back to life; there is no escaping.
We look forward to eternity when peace shall reign, but during the battle of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8) when the lost are finally destroyed in the “lake of fire,” the redeemed from earth will be watching from the walls of the New Jerusalem, and I doubt if there will be a dry eye in that great multitude because outside the walls being consumed in the “lake of fire” will be fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, friends and acquaintances of the redeemed knowing that they will never see them again. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). God, Who has placed within us our feelings and emotions, will understand what we are going through, for I believe He too will be more deeply touched than any of His creatures will be over what will be taking place!
“Another book was opened, which is the book of life,” “and whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12, 15). Jesus told His disciples when they became excited about the power that they had over “serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” that “notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19-20, emphasis added).
Our names need to be written in that “book of life.” They can be written there only if we have confessed that Jesus is the Savior of mankind, and we have allowed Him to become our personal Savior; Who saves us from our sins and will not save us in our sins. “And thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, emphasis added). He will keep us from falling because we have put our trust in Him, and now it is His glory “to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24, emphasis added). Jesus when he healed a man and forgave a lady caught in adultery told them “Go, and sin no more.” He was not telling them something that was impossible for them to do. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Does God get excited? You bet! We read in Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing” (emphasis added).
Even though our names may have been written in the “book of life,” they can be blotted out. “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:28). “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book” (Exodus 32:33). This is in contrast to the false teaching of “once saved; always saved.”
If after having confessed that Jesus is your Savior and Lord and had your name written in the book of life, you turn your back on Him, God is left with no alternative but to blot out your name. We often hear about something called God’s unconditional love, which is never supported by Scripture, but we never hear about the justice of God. Jesus is to be our Savior and our Lord. He will not force His will on us; the decisions you make on a daily basis will decide the outcome. One of the greatest lies that Satan has perpetrated is “once saved; always saved” and will result in the loss of untold numbers. Once saved, always saved as long as you stay submitted to God and walk in His ways through the indwelling power of God’s Spirit. Once married, always married as long you stay committed and true to another.
There is one more matter to consider. “And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation 8:1, emphasis added). I believe that this is done very early on during the one thousand years of being in heaven. When Jesus removes the last seal from the book that was sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5:1), this book can be opened. It is not the same as the “book of life.” What does it contain? This book was probably written before the Father and the Son created the Universe and has been sealed since that time but now can be opened. And when it is opened there is dead silence for "about half an hour" in heaven! Why?
Psalm 139:15-16 sheds light on this. “My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (emphasis added). That book, which was sealed before the creation of the Universe, contains every detail of the lives of every redeemed individual from planet earth and will match with what is written in the “book of life.” Selah! Truly that is cause for pause and reflection. God did not predestinate your life, but He did know you before you ever existed. “Elect, according to the foreknowledge of the Father” (1 Peter 1:2, emphasis added). God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) to the very minutest detail of us all and yet never interferes with our free will He made a part of us when He created us. Are there any words that can adequately extoll our God? And yet we can ask ourselves the question as the Psalmist did: “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him”? (Psalm 8:4). Someday God will answer that question! Go, Tell the World of Their Danger!
- 1. How long will the saved stay in heaven before returning to the earth?
- 2. How long will Satan be confined to the bottomless pit?
- 3. How long will the wicked that were slain at the second coming of Jesus be dead before they are resurrected along with all the wicked of the earth?
- 4. How does God destroy the wicked?
- 5. When does the battle of Gog and Magog take place?