Revelation 20:14

Monday, 2 August 2021

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14

In the previous verse, it noted the sea giving up its dead and Death and Hades delivering up the dead in them. That was in order to judge those in them. With that complete, John now provides a description of an amazing finish to this process saying, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.”

Again, Death and Hades are being personified. These great foes of humanity are now facing their own demise – never to be seen again for all eternity. John’s words are perfectly in accord with Paul’s words found in 1 Corinthians 15 –

“The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26

Death, the great enemy of mankind, will be destroyed. Hades, the place where the dead resided, will also be destroyed. As death will no longer reign in man, there will never again be a need for storing the souls of the dead. In this, John says, “This is the second death.”

Some manuscripts repeat the previous words as an explanation and for emphasis –

“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire.” BSB

The proverbial saying “Born twice, die once; born once, die twice” is seen in this verse. For all who come to Christ and are born again, there is only one death to be anticipated. For those who never come to Christ, they will see death someday, and they will also be a part of the second death when they are cast into the Lake of Fire along with Death and Hades. But understanding the process requires thought concerning death.

Considering the Greek of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:26, light will now be shed on what Paul was conveying. The verb he uses for “will be destroyed” is in the present indicative middle or passive voice. And so rather than “will be,” the action has already begun, and it will continue on until a fixed point.

A good way to understand it would be to consider a major league baseball team that has no chance of winning the pennant. They have lost the right to play in the World Series, and yet they continue to play because other teams still have a chance. Until the baseball season is ended, they continue in order to meet a set plan which was initiated at the beginning of that season. Though they are defeated, their defeat will continue until the plan is finished.

Therefore, Paul is conveying the thought that Death “is being destroyed until it is finished.” Further, there is a definite article in front of “death.” Therefore, “death,” like in Revelation, is being personified by Paul. Tyndale’s version renders the verse, “Lastly, Death the enemy shall be destroyed.”

In support of the ongoing (and yet inevitably completed) nature of the action, several pertinent verses from the New Testament which concern the work of Christ should be reviewed. These are only a few among many which show us that Death is defeated, but that it will continue in this defeated condition for a set amount of time. First, from Paul’s second letter to Timothy –

“…but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” 2 Timothy 1:10

Paul shows that in Christ’s first appearance death was abolished. However, death still exists as is quite evident from the world around us. To understand this, again think of the baseball team that has no chance of winning the pennant, and yet, it still plays during the regular season. And so even though this action is done, it is awaiting a future fulfillment.

In Hebrews 2, it is seen that it was through Christ’s death that this came about. In this, “death” is tied in with the devil, showing that it is the devil who had “the power of death” –

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14, 15

Next, in John’s first epistle, he shows that death is tied to sin. This takes us back to the very beginning when the devil deceived the man. In so doing, man sinned. In this, death entered the world. As the wages of sin is death, it shows that the work of the devil is what brought death about –

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

Jesus Christ came to undo this. He accomplished it at the cross, destroying the power of the devil in all who believe. But why didn’t He just toss the devil into hell right then? The answer is that He is building a church out of the redeemed of the world. After that, He will fulfill the Old Testament prophecies promised to Israel during the millennium.

If He simply destroyed the devil at that time, there would be no church and thus no “living temple.” There would also have been unfulfilled prophecies promised to Israel. Instead, the victory was won, but the devil has been allowed to continue in the world until a time determined by God. In this, we can think of the team that will eventually win the pennant. It is comprised of people who are winners, but they are not winners until the end of the season.

Those who come to Christ are “in Christ” and can never die again. But those who are not will both physically die and be eternally separated from God in the process, because Death continues to reign over them. Thus, we see why there is an ongoing nature to the work of Christ. But some wondrous day, even Death will be eliminated forever. As John says, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

Life application: In John 3:16, we read the wonderful words, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

How can life be eternal? Eternal life is guaranteed because God will destroy death and also the place of death, known as Hades. Hades is the place where the lost go now, and it is the repository of those lost souls. After the final judgment of those in Hades, it will be thrown into the lake of fire because there will be no more need for it.

The logical deduction to be made from John’s words is that, if death is no longer present and Hades is also no longer present, those who are alive in Christ can no longer die. The promise given by Jesus is realized in its fullness. However, it can be assured to any person willing to accept it right now.

God has spoken and what He has said is more certain than the ground under our feet. He has given His word, which cannot be broken, that all who look to the Son – believing in His work and accepting what He has done for them – will never die. Though our bodies may wear out, and though they may cease to function, our souls will continue forever, waiting for the moment when they are reunited with eternal bodies. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55 –

“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’”

God has a marvelous plan for the people of the world if they will only accept it by faith. There is no other way to be reconciled to Him, except for faith in what He has already done through Jesus. When we believe that gospel message, and proclaim with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, God is pleased to call us His own and grant us eternal life.

If you have never accepted the gift of eternal life, now is the time of God’s favor and today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait another moment but call out to JESUS!

Lord, we are fully convinced that Your word is true and that what it proclaims will come about exactly as You have stated. We trust in Jesus alone for our salvation, and we are confident in the promise of eternal life that You have offered through His shed blood. What a great and marvelous God You are! Hallelujah and amen.

 

 

Revelation 20:13

Sunday, 1 August 2021

The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Revelation 20:13

The previous verse noted that “the dead were judged according to their works.” What was recorded of their lives is brought forth for them to face in the final judgment. With that stated first, the categories of where the dead are is only now noted, beginning with, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it.”

There is, as with everything in Revelation, debate as to what “the sea” means. Is this the literal sea, or is it a symbol of the nations that has previously been used? In this case, it is probably the literal sea. There is no need to allegorize this. The Old Testament makes a distinction between those who died on the land from those on the sea. Though poetic, Jonah equates drowning in the sea to the pit –

“The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;
The deep closed around me;
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord, my God.” Jonah 2:5, 6

It is probably for the reader’s benefit that a distinction is noted concerning the dead in the sea. Those who fail to understand the Lord’s authority over all things might assume that those who died in the sea would be safe from final judgment. Such is not the case. In noting this, it is an assurance that all who drowned in the Flood of Noah, and throughout the ages, will be included in the tally. Along with those in the sea, it next says, “and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.”

In Revelation 1:18, Jesus is said to possess the keys to Hades and Death. These entities are noted again in verse 6:8. Here, like in 6:8, they are being personified. In this verse, they are treated as if they are living entities that have control over the souls of those who have died in time past. But if Christ has the keys to them, then He is the one with ultimate control over them. As such, John next notes, “And they were judged, each one according to his works.”

It is a repeated thought from the previous verse. All people, regardless as to who they are, when they lived, or where they died, will be gathered together for the final judgment before God. Their deeds will testify to their lives, and they will be judged with the perfect judgment of God.

Life application: The sea is noted along with Death and Hades to ensure us that there is no place from which the souls of men will not be searched out for judgment. Those who died in the waters, reaching back even to the Flood of Noah and those who died in the earth, all will be resurrected for judgment.

Every human who has ever existed is remembered by God and will be brought before the great white throne. Death has not separated them from this final act because man was made to be a soul/body unity. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul describes the soul without a body as “naked.” In order for man to be in a state which is suitable for judgment, it appears their soul will be reunited with a real, physical body.

Those who are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will find an eternity of punishment awaiting them. People who see fault in this are only finding fault in themselves. A finite sin against an infinite God demands an infinite punishment – and all have sinned.

God never changes, and His righteousness is a part of His very nature. When a sin is committed, it is a violation against that nature, and therefore it will be there in a minute, in an hour, in a day, in a year, in 1000 years, and so on for all of eternity. The sin committed in time, which God created, will exist as long as time exists. Time, space, and matter occurred at the same moment of creation, and so as long as space and matter exist, time will be associated with it. And because man is a physical being, the stain of that sin remains as long as that physical being remains.

Thus, there are only two possibilities to handle the sin problem: 1) That it be covered by an act of justice which will eternally satisfy God’s righteousness (which is eternal), or 2) that the sin be judged and eternally punished. And there is only one act of justice that can eternally satisfy a sin against God. A suitable Substitute must be found. It must be one in the same category (an animal cannot satisfy a sin for a human) and one that is sinless (for example a baby even though it has not committed a sin has still inherited Adam’s sin nature). If such a substitute is found, the penalty for sin may be taken out on that substitute.

Only Jesus was and is sinless because He was born of the Holy Spirit and a woman – no sin was transferred through a human father. And yet, Jesus is fully Man because He was born of the Holy Spirit and a human mother. Further, Jesus never sinned during His life. Therefore, He is a qualified Substitute. If the payment rendered on Jesus’ cross is accepted, then the sin can never be punished again.

Because He is fully God, His atonement is eternal. His covering will continue as long as He continues, and He will continue for eternity. Despite people claiming that it is somehow unfair that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God, it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God. And unfairness is a non-starter because “all have sinned,” and thus what is fair is that all go to the Lake of Fire; that is fair.

Anyone who doesn’t go to the Lake of Fire receives mercy because of what Jesus did. Anyone who doesn’t come through Jesus will receive what is already due them. The judgment at the great white throne is one of “works.” Therefore, there are two possibilities. The first is to have suitable works –

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’” John 6:29

The second is to have unsuitable works –

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. … Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:20 & 28

The greatest sadness to be found in this judgment will be in those who have trusted in their own goodness and good deeds to justify themselves in the sight of God. They will come into His presence assured of their own righteousness, and they will be severely disappointed when the gavel comes down in judgment against them because of an issue they never thought through – the inherently fallen state of man in the presence of pure holiness.

If you have never accepted Christ’s righteousness, today would be a good time to do so. Eternity is a very long time, and the Lake of Fire is a very unpleasant destination. Be sure to come to God through His offer of peace and reconciliation. Come to Him today through JESUS!

Jesus, we know that we are unworthy of Your goodness and the gift of Your righteousness, but we accept it by faith. Cover us with Your precious blood. In this, we know that we will be eternally secure from the righteous judgment that we are due. Thank You for Your white garments of righteousness that allow us to be restored to God. Thank You Jesus, thank You. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 20:12

Saturday, 31 July 2021

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. Revelation 20:12

With the great white throne brought into the forefront of John’s view in the previous verse, he now continues with the narrative, saying, “And I saw the dead, small and great.” This is an expression that simply means, “and I saw all of humanity from the small to the great.” At times, more expressive terms are used, but this one is simple enough to say that none will be exempt, from the small to the great.

Of this, Albert Barnes says, “The fair meaning in this place therefore is, that all the dead would be there, and of course this would preclude the idea of a ‘previous’ resurrection of any part of the dead, as of the saints, at the beginning of the millennium. There is no intimation here that it is the wicked dead that are referred to in this description of the final judgment. It is the judgment of all the dead.”

There is no reason to assume this. The Bible clearly speaks of a rapture of the church, and it also refers to the first resurrection. One must deny a literal reading of those events in order to dismiss them as something other than what is referred to. Further, Paul notes that believers in the church must appear before the judgment (bema) seat of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:10). Nothing is said there of a great white throne judgment. The two are, therefore, distinct judgments. Understanding this, John says of this mass of humanity that they are “standing before God.”

It is an expression that means they are exposed before Him as creatures before their Creator. He is the judge, and they are the judged. As judgment has been granted to Christ Jesus, He is the member of the Godhead they actually appear before. While standing there, it says, “and books were opened.”

The same terminology was seen in Daniel 7:10. The order of events there is not the same as here in Revelation, but it is certainly referring to the same judgment upon humanity. The idea of books being opened is that there is a documented record of the life and deeds of humanity.

This does not mean that a literal book, as we think of it, is kept. The imagery is given for us to understand that all of what man has done is recorded. At the time of John, a biblion, or a papyrus roll, was the standard means of recording things. Later, books as we know them today were used. Now, we record things on computer hard drives or various other devices. The symbolism is set forth so that the truth is conveyed, regardless as to the means of recording such things. Each person’s record is to be evaluated. John next says, “And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.”

This book has already been seen in Revelation 3:5 –

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

This “Book of Life” is that which records those who have gone from the spiritual death of Adam to the born-again life of Jesus Christ. All who have been restored to a right relationship with God through Christ are recorded in the Book of Life. With this understood, it next says, “And the dead were judged according to their works.”

There are several possibilities as to what could be conveyed here, but the simplest explanation is that all the dead standing before the throne will be judged on their deeds. Those who are recorded in the Book of Life will have their deeds judged for their eternal state in heaven, just as believers in the church will when they go before the judgment seat of Christ.

Those who are not in the book of life will be judged for their deeds, setting their eternal fate in hell. As such, there will be greater punishment for those whose deeds were more wicked. In the end, however, those who are saved will have eternal glory in heaven, and those who are not will have eternal condemnation in hell. It is by their deeds that the state in one of those places will be determined. As John says, “by the things which were written in the books.”

The record of the life of all people will be taken into account. God is perfectly just, and He will reward each person exactly as is deserved and without any partiality at all.

Life application: Everything we as humans do is recorded. If we fail to come to Jesus Christ, we will not receive His covering and we will stand utterly exposed and naked before our Creator. There will be absolutely no doubt of guilt, though now we as humans try to hide it. Every person who has ever lived will receive his judgment. There will be no soul left unremembered before God.

Concerning the term “God” in this verse, some manuscripts have “the throne” instead of “God.” As the throne is the throne of God, the intent is the same – it is Jesus who sits to judge. Unfortunately, some scholars try to disconnect the two (God and Jesus) when the terminology changes, but one must continually ask, “Is Jesus God?” The answer is “Yes.” Therefore, based on Jesus’ own words about all judgment being committed to Him, it is He before whom they stand.

Why does it say God (or “the throne,” implying the throne of God) then? The reason is so simple that it is easily overlooked. It is because He is God that the term is used. In other words, even those who have denied His deity during their lives – such as members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults, as well as unbelieving Jews – will realize that the One they are now being judged by is the One whose deity they denied.

From the first chapter of the Bible, all the way through to the last, the concept of the Trinity and the concept of the God/Man are to be found, understood, and accepted. God has stepped out of His eternal domain and united with human flesh in the Person of Jesus in order to show us the unseen Father. Now, at the end of the ages, these people await their judgment.

For sure, the book of works is insufficient to save. Paul sums this up in Ephesians 2:8, 9 –

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

At this judgment, no person will say, “I deserve eternal life based on what I did.” Either they are saved through faith in Christ Jesus and are recorded in the Book of Life, or they worked out their lives apart from Christ. If the latter is the case, they will see the futility of the life they lived.

What a terrifying thought – to stand naked and exposed before the Living God without the covering of Christ. May none presume that deeds are sufficient to appease the wrath of God for sins committed while in the flesh. May we understand now the severity of the consequences of the choices we make concerning our beautiful, perfect, just, righteous, and holy Lord – JESUS.

Lord Jesus, apart from You we are fallen and wicked. We know that without Your righteousness, there is no hope for us. Please help us to be able to clearly convey this to others and to stand firm on the message that without You we stand exposed and condemned. May You be praised for providing a way of reconciliation and restoration. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 20:11

Friday, 30 July 2021

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. Revelation 20:11

The scene now set forth is a post-millennial judgment. Satan has been cast into the Lake of Fire, and now will come the final judgment of all humanity not previously raptured or raised. Of this judgment, John begins with, “Then I saw a great white throne.”

It is a throne of justice. The white signifies perfect righteousness. The judgment will be pure and unbiased. John next says, “and Him who sat on it.”

The Greek is a present participle. It says, “Then Him who is sitting on the throne.” The scene is active and alive. This is referring to Christ Jesus. God is unseen. This is made perfectly evident in Scripture. However, Jesus who is fully God and fully Man, reveals the unseen God to man, and it is to Jesus that all judgmental authority belongs –

“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22, 23

Christ, sitting on the throne of God, has already been seen in Revelation 3:21 –

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

To sit down with His Father does not mean that the Father literally sits on a throne. God is Spirit and has no parts. Jesus’ words indicate a position of authority. That position is His. In this judgment before the great white throne, John next says of Jesus (who sits upon the throne), “from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.”

The symbolism is apocalyptic. A similar instance was seen in Revelation 6:14. The terminology is also like that found at various times in Scripture, such as Psalm 18:7-15; Psalm 77:16-19; and Psalm 114:3-5. These and other references describe the creation fleeing from the presence of the Lord. The idea is that in seeing Him in His glory, everything else recedes from sight. As such, John says, “And there was found no place for them.”

Again, the thought is like that of the parting of the Red Sea or the parting of the Jordan. When the Lord’s presence is made manifest, the creation flees back from Him. In the full presentation of the splendor of the Lord at this final judgment, all creation will appear to flee away from Him. The only thing evident to the eyes of those before the throne will be the One who created all those things

In other words, the creation that they are a part of, that they relied on, that they idolized, and that they thought was the source of their existence is nothing in comparison to the One who created it all. They failed to look beyond the creation to their Creator, and now they find that the only thing of true value is what they failed to seek out and glorify. No place is found for those things because the Source of those things is there before them. His glory causes all else to recede into obscurity.

Life application: The final judgment of all humans who had not previously been granted eternal life will come someday. Those who were called up to Christ at the rapture will be witnesses of this judgment, not a part of it. Likewise, those who were part of the first resurrection are also safe from this judgment. Only those who didn’t previously participate in one of these two events, along with those who lived during the millennial reign and who did not take the mark of the beast, will be involved here.

A progression of thought, concerning Christ as Creator, proceeds all the way through until He is seen as the final Judge upon the throne. In Colossians 1:16, it says, “All things were created through Him and for Him.” Jesus was the mediator between God and the creation at the very beginning. He is the One through whom all things came into existence (see also John 1:3).

In the next verse of Colossians 1:17, it says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Jesus is the continued Mediator between God and the creation after all things were created – “in Him all things consist (or are ‘held together’).”

Jesus is also the direct Mediator between God and Man as is noted in 1 Timothy 2:5. There it says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” The Bible is absolutely clear on this precept. The Pope has no authority to mediate between God and man. No pastor or preacher has such authority. No angelic being or apostle has this authority. There is one and only one point of mediation between God and man, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is also the Judge of man. By His own words of John 5 (cited above), we know that He will be the One there at the final judgment of man.

One must understand the nature of the Godhead in order to comprehend the nature of our relationship with God. Jesus fills all of these positions because He is the full expression of God in bodily form. He is continuously, ceaselessly, and endlessly revealing to us the unseen Father. Thus, all judgment has been committed to the Son. We err when we bow to any other god, when we look to horoscopes for daily counsel, or when we look to a human figure – living or dead – to submit our prayers or petitions to. All of these things cause us to miss the mark. It is Jesus to whom we owe our devotion and supplication.

In saying that creation will flee away from His presence, there are several general thoughts on what this means. The first is that creation will literally be utterly swept away and that what is coming will be a new creation. It will be something that never existed before. The second thought is that this creation will be utterly purified by His glory, and so what is coming will be a new creation – as if one were to make something from clay – such as a bowl – and then completely start over with that material and make something new.

Based on the words of Genesis 1 and 2, and considering that redeemed man will continue to exist with Christ forever, it would appear that the second option is more likely.  This will continue to be evaluated in verses to come.

Creation will be purified and perfected to its original state. Paul seems to allude to this in Romans 8:20-22 as well. No matter what occurs with the created order, those who are saved by the blood of Christ will exist for all eternity in His presence, completely free from corruption, impurity, or defilement.

Of this, we can be certain. God’s word is clear and unambiguous in this. God has promised eternal life to those who come to Him as He has set forth in the giving of JESUS.

What a marvelous thought it is! Oh Lord Jesus, to see You in all of Your glory is more than our minds can imagine. You have taken sinful people and redeemed them to Yourself in such a way that we won’t be utterly consumed when Your glory is revealed. You have covered us with Your own precious blood. What a great and glorious Lord! Hallelujah and Amen.

 

 

 

Revelation 20:10

Thursday, 29 July 2021

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10

The previous verse detailed God’s protection of the camp of the saints and the beloved city when fire was brought down upon the attackers. With that completed, the attention is now brought to focus on the one who deceived them in the first place. John says, “The devil, who deceived them.”

The verb is a present participle. It rightly reads, “The devil, who is deceiving them.” The words are active and alive. They show that right up until the very end, the devil never stops deceiving the people. His nature never changes. It is reflective of Jesus’ words concerning him –

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44

Of this wicked entity, John says he “was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.” And the crowd goes wild! The one who has brought such calamity upon the people of the world, even since the earliest times, is chucked into the lake for an eternal swim in fire and brimstone. But he will not be alone. John reminds us that this is “where the beast and the false prophet are.” Their fate was noted in the previous chapter –

“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Revelation 19:20

Imagine! The beast and the false prophet have now been burning for a thousand years, and yet it notes that they are still there. With the devil now joining them, they will continue to suffer their deserved punishment forever. John says as much with the next words, “And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

This is the fate of any who will later be cast into the lake of fire. The idea of annihilationism is not to be found in Scripture. Those who are not granted access to God’s paradise through Christ will be cast into the lake of fire for their own eternal swim in punishment. That was noted earlier in chapter 14 –

“Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’” Revelation 14:9-11

This same truth will again be seen in the verses ahead.

Life application: The devil, who is the serpent and Satan, came on to the scene in Genesis chapter 3, the third chapter into the Bible. He now makes his eternal departure from the scene in the third chapter from the end of the Bible – the symmetry of the Bible is stunningly beautiful in so many ways. It bears both the fingerprints and the wisdom of God in all that it reveals to us.

The devil is the same evil character who deceived Adam and Eve at the very beginning. He is a cunning foe, and he has followed the same wicked path since the beginning. This must be noted because, if he was there at the beginning and he is there at the end of the millennium, then he is also present now.

This is what the Bible records concerning him, and therefore his cunning deceit is not to be underestimated. Only during the millennial reign of Christ, while he is bound in chains in the bottomless pit, will the world be free from his temptations. However, there will be an end to his wickedness, and this verse reveals that glorious day.

This is an important verse because it dispels false concepts of hell. It is not a place where sin is eventually purged from those in it so that they can be restored to God. It is also not a place of annihilation. Both of these concepts are proven false by the fact that it has been one thousand years since the beast and the false prophet were cast into it, and yet they are still there, receiving their just torment for their wicked actions.

Further, we see that their punishment will go on forever. There will be no end to it. Unfortunately, for all who reject Jesus Christ, the punishment will be the same. It is not something that anyone will think is fun when it comes. There will be no “getting together with old friends for parties” or any of the other crazy things people say about their end.

There are only two choices for fallen man: receive Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God through His cross or be forever separated from God. The latter involves following the beast, the false prophet, and Satan into the lake of fire. Now is the time to choose, and now is the day of salvation. Make the right choice while there is time. Call out to God through His offer of peace. Come to Him through JESUS.

Great and glorious Lord Jesus, please help us to learn to speak to others now about Your wonderful work. Help our words to be clear and right and in accord with Your word, so that others will be able to understand the glory of what You have done for us, and to be able to avoid the eternal punishment of the lake of fire. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.