Tuesday, 27 July 2021
and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. Revelation 20:8
With the release of Satan after the thousand years, we now read, “and will go out.” Here, some translations say, “and will come out.” The verb can mean either. It depends on the perspective of what is being conveyed. If the earth is given in relation to the bottomless pit, then “come out” is appropriate. If this is in relation to a point after his release, then “go out” makes more sense. Thus, there is nothing wrong with either translation. Either way, his intent in going forth will be “to deceive the nations.”
It is a test for humanity, just as has occurred in every dispensation. Satan deceived Adam and his wife in the Garden of Eden and they failed. Such was the case with Israel under the law. Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, we are given the offer of eternal life through simply believing that God has done all the work and believing that gospel message – Christ died for our sins, Christ was buried, and Christ rose again. And yet, the world has, for the most part, rejected this.
Now, at the end of the millennium, Satan is released in order to see how man will respond under the ideal conditions they live in, and with Christ ruling from Jerusalem. Each dispensation shows us the depravity of the human heart and man’s inability to respond to God in an appropriate manner.
Regardless of the situation, man’s tendency is to reject God’s rule and authority. Such is the case with Satan’s release as he goes to “deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.”
One can see a worldwide rebellion brewing by the term. Many will believe the lie and turn away from the truth they have been told. Just as any person on earth could have gone up to Adam during his 930-year life and asked if the story about him was true, so any person on earth could easily verify if the story of Christ is true.
But man’s proclivity is to believe nonsense. Ten thousand conspiracies a day are published on the internet, and there is always someone there to believe them and pass them on. Satan will again deceive the nations like this. In this, John specifically mentions “Gog and Magog.”
In Ezekiel 38 and 39, there is a battle described which has come to be known as the coming “Battle of Gog and Magog.” It details a battle that is expected to occur either just before or just after the time of the rapture (after appears to be most likely).
This is not the Battle of Armageddon nor is it the same as the battle described in this verse. This is evident based on Ezekiel 38:8 –
“After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.”
As this speaks of a land “brought back from the sword” and “which had long been desolate,” it is not referring to the end of the millennium, but before the millennium begins. The land had been laid bare for two thousand years, but is made productive once again. This description, clearly showing that it is not the same battle now described in Revelation, continues on with such clues in Ezekiel 38:12 and 39:25-29.
With that understood, the use of the names Gog and Magog shows that the same spirit which stirred up these forces will again be stirred up a thousand years later. The same people from the same area of the world will try to come against Israel just as they did a thousand years earlier. In fact, that may be the way Satan deceives the nations, using this great defeat as an excuse to go and take what supposedly should “rightly” belong to these people groups.
Whatever way he deceives them, it will be in order “to gather them together to battle.” War implies conquest and taking plunder. The envy of the nations will spur them on, leading them forward in order to take what they believe is within their grasp. And it will be no small army. Rather, it will be a force “whose number is as the sand of the sea.”
This is a term used throughout Scripture to denote an immense number. It is used in Genesis several times, Joshua, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and so on. The deception will be great, and the number of people induced to come against Israel and Jerusalem will be seemingly immeasurable.
Life application: Islam has supposed complaints against Christianity today. They look back on the crusades and claim that what happened was an offense against Islam that needs to be righted. Any land once held by Muslims is, supposedly, always land that is to belong to them. It is this attitude that has brought about constant wars and killing in order to regain what they have lost.
Likewise, it is common for people today to look at slavery of the past and demand reparations for what occurred. However, only the details that suit the narrative are focused on. The fact that people in Africa sold their own people to the slave traders is ignored. The fact that there were white slaves is ignored. The fact that blacks were also slave owners is ignored. And the fact that white people gave up their fortunes and even their lives to free the slaves is ignored. Only that which suits a set narrative is focused on.
It could be this same type of thinking that Satan may use to deceive the nations. Whatever it is, it reveals that the world will overlook the majority of the details of what occurred in the past and will simply focus on parts that suit their liking in order to justify their rising up against Israel.
Just as people today reject the fact that Jesus is the God/Man, people in the millennium will do the same. The same spirit of disbelief and wickedness that exists in the human heart today will exist in the people of the world at that time. The world will be repopulated and living under ideal conditions and yet there will be dissatisfaction at having to live in proper and holy conduct as God requires.
Once again, man will reject the good and the world will spin into temporary chaos and rebellion. What a mess we are when we live apart from God’s will. What a mess man is when he fails to acknowledge what God has done through our great Lord JESUS.
How can it be that we simply can’t get it right! O God, You have given us Your word and everything that is going to happen is noted there. And yet we refuse to open the book, learn from it, and live by it. What a mess we are. Despite this, You continue to stretch out Your arms and lovingly call us back to You. What a great and wonderful Lord You are! Amen.