“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 forever and ever.”
When I was growing up, we had an old vinyl recording of the soundtrack from the musical, Camelot, featuring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot. I remember listening to Robert Goulet singing, “C’est Moi” in his rich baritone voice. In this song, Lancelot boasts of his physical and moral superiority. There is a line in which he claims:
“Had I been made the partner of Eve,
We’d be in Eden still.”
I think most of us have struggled with the fall of man in the garden. How could Adam and Eve have been so foolish as to believe the talking snake? Could they have possibly known how devastating their choice would be in the ages to come? The truth is, none of us would fall for Satan’s lie if he tried to use it on us now. It’s worth noting that he has never used that trick again. Yet, he has been deceiving all of mankind since then. Now, as Jesus Christ has returned to set up his millennial kingdom and rule with his saints, Satan is bound for a thousand years and is not allowed to deceive the nations during that time (Rev. 20:3).
The next few verses show us the beautiful time of restoration when things are made right again. Then after the millennium, Satan is released and allowed to deceive the nations once again. It is almost as if God is giving mankind another chance against Satan. Adam and Eve failed in the Garden of Eden. Now after Christ has established his millennial kingdom, mankind has another chance to succeed where Adam and Eve failed, but man fails again.
There are a number of things that stand out to me about this:
- Mankind is still inherently sinful. In verse 8 of this chapter, we see that this is not a small, localized rebellion. It says that the number of them is like the sand on the seashore. We aren’t told exactly how Satan is going to accomplish this deception, but it is going to be widespread
- God is going to use this to purge the world finally of all rebellion. In verse 9, it says fire will come down from heaven and devour them. And finally, we will be rid of Satan once and for all.
- God is completely sovereign. The script has already been written. Satan will go out to deceive and will succeed in deceiving the nations in the four corners of the earth. In verse 3, it says Satan MUST be released for a short time. All of this will happen in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled.
The book of Revelation is a difficult book to read because it has some frightening themes in it, some of which is sometimes exacerbated by bad teaching. I want to leave you with a thought. This book was written to the first-century church and was intended to encourage the church that God was in control, and he was not going to be defeated, and his purposes would stand. I want to end with a verse from the first chapter verse 3: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near.” I would encourage you to read this book because it says that you are blessed if you do. Read it and be blessed.