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THEOLOGY > Future > The Millennium > Final Rebellion    


And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev. 20:7-10).

Scripture predicts a final rebellion against God, a rebellion by Satan and those who follow him. Subsequent to his incarceration for one thousand years, Satan is released; and he goes out to deceive the nations. Those who unite with him besiege Jerusalem and accost the saints. But their judgment and defeat is swift and final.

Satan’s act at the end of time will be like his act at the beginning of time—an act of deception (see: Activity in Eden). A lesson to learn is that Satan is consistent, and so it is with the evil he perpetrates. Satan is always Satan, and evil is always evil. Evil is continual, until it is finally put down by the Sovereign Lord. That which is wrong never becomes right. Apart from grace the one who is set on evil will remain set on evil, for time does not mollify the evil one nor the forces of evil. Eve was deceived at the beginning of history, and the nations will be deceived at the conclusion of history.

The rebellion instigated by Satan will be universal: “the nations that are at the four corners of the earth” (20:8) will respond to him and associate themselves with him. The text informs us that their number will be as “the sand of the sea” (v. 8). The final rebellion against God will involve all of humanity.

Those nations and peoples who succumb to Satan are referred to as “Gog and Magog,” words that were used of the enemies of Israel by the prophet (Ezek. 38-39). In the mind of the reader there is immediately an association of the two chapters in Ezekiel with the passage in Revelation.

In the Old Testament Gog seems to be the ruler and Magog appears to be the land. This entity will come upon the land in “the latter years” (Ezek. 38:8); God addresses them and says to them: you will come “like a storm . . . covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you” Ezek. 38:8-9). God adds: “I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate My holiness before their eyes” (Ezek. 38:16). God’s prediction is that Gog would “fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you” (Ezek. 39:4).

While some of the description in Ezekiel seems to relate to the battle of Armageddon at the end of the Great Tribulation, other parts of the description seem to relate to the final rebellion of the nations led by Satan at the conclusion of the Millennium. A definitive interpretation may not be possible. But in Chapter 37 there is the description of God’s dwelling place being with His people and David (Messiah) being King over the nation—this seems to anticipate the Millennial Kingdom. If this is accurate then there is additional support for chapters 38-39 coming after the Millennium. But dogmatism is not proper.

Whether Ezekiel anticipates Revelation or not, John is led to reference the latter nations by the former nations. This entity will be gathered for battle and will surround “the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Rev. 20:9). Such is the way of evil men; there is no room for the living God (see: Hatred of God and No Fear of God). He must be eliminated.

But how foolish is the thinking of evil men, to think that an attack upon God could possibly be successful. Of course, they are deceived by Satan, but their thinking is also perverted (see: Perverted Thinking). In the words of the psalmist:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us” (Ps. 2:1-3).

The psalmist also gives the response of God to the impudent thinking of wicked men: “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision” (Ps. 2:4). The psalmist adds that God will “speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury” (Ps. 2:5).

The rebellion will terminate supernaturally and with swift judgment: “fire came down from heaven and consumed them” (20:9). To come from heaven is to come from God; it is His doing. In fact, some manuscripts read: “from God, out of heaven” or “out of heaven from God.”

There will be final and eternal judgment upon Satan; the Scriptures predict that he will be thrown into the like of fire and will be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:10; see: Satan’s Destiny).

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