Old Testament: Zechariah 14:1-21
Zechariah 14:1-21 A Future For Israel
In Chapter 14, Zechariah sees the great battle to end all battles: Armageddon. All of the nations assemble (v. 2) to fight Christ (v. 3). He will touch down on the Mount of Olives (v. 4a, cf. Acts 1:11-12). Half of the mountain will move north and half will move south (v. 4b). The Jews will flee like they did in the days of Uzziah when God sent an earthquake of judgment (v. 5a, cf. Amos 1: 1).
The “holy ones” (v. 5b) will be the raptured saints coming back to earth and the angels. “In that day” (v. 6) is the day of the coming of the Lord. It will be dark. “Unique” means one of a kind (cf. Isa. 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:10, 30-31; 3:15; Matt. 24:29). There never has been and never will be anything like it (cf. Acts 2: 19-20). There will be some illumination at night so people will know when the days end (v. 7). God is rearranging the earth in preparation for Christ’s Millennial reign. Water will flow from Jerusalem, perhaps due to the topological changes, that will nourish spiritually and physically (v. 8).
The key verse in the chapter is verse 9, “the Lord will be king over all the earth.” Everyone will know He is the Only One. Jerusalem will rise up and be higher than all the land around it which will be made a plain (v. 10). The fortunes of the Jews will be reversed from the earlier attack (v. 2) so that they will be able to dwell in security (v. 11).
A plague will strike Israel’s enemies so that “their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues will rot in their mouths” (v. 12). Ick. This could be caused by a nuclear blast. A panic will break out (v. 13, duh) and Israel will plunder the surrounding nations reversing some of the effects of the attack in verse 2 (v. 14). The animals will also be affected (v. 15).
The Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Lev. 23:33-43) will be re-instituted (v. 16). The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the coming of Messiah (it also looked back to their days in the wilderness but also forward to Christ’s Millennial reign, cf. Num. 20:8-11; Ps. 78:15-16, also Zech. 14:8, 16-19). Those nations that do not celebrate will experience famine, except for Egypt, who are singled out for special punishment, plagues (vv. 17-19).
Everything in that day will be holy including the bells on the horses’ bits and the crock pots (v. 20). All the crooks will be gone (v. 21, Canaanites)!
How can anyone believe that there is no future for Israel when their promises will be fulfilled? There would be a lot of wasted paper in everyone’s Bibles!
New Testament: Revelation 20:1-15
Revelation 20:1-15 The GWT Judgment
We are in the midst of a spiritual conflict in Heaven that’s being played out on earth (cf. Job 1:6-8; 1 Pet. 5:8; Zech. 3:1 -2; Rev. 12:9-10). If you don’t realize this, you are losing your part of the battle. God has been giving Satan his chance to try to prove that he could do a better job at ruling the world than God (cf. Matt. 4:8-9; Eph. 2:2; 2 Cor. 4:4). He has failed miserably. God will give him one more chance after the Millennium to give things a shot but will again fail miserably (Rev. 20:7-8).
John sees an angel coming down from Heaven holding the key of the Abyss. This is the holding tank for demons (cf. Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1). The angel threw Satan into the Abyss and sealed it shut for a thousand years so he wouldn’t be able to wreak havoc during the reign of Christ. The thousand years are the literal thousand year kingdom of Christ aka the Millennium, from the Latin “millennium” (cf. earth (Isa. 2:3; Dan. 7:14; Zech. 14:9). In case you missed whom he was speaking about, John names him four times, “the dragon,” “the serpent of old,” a reference to his place in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3: 10), “the devil,” and “Satan” (v. 2). He will be released for a short time after the thousand years (v. 3b).
The Tribulation martyrs will come back to life and reign with Christ as priests for the thousand years (v. 4, 6b). The rest of the dead came back to life after the thousand years (v. 5a). John names this the “first resurrection”(v. 5b). They will never die again, they will not experience “the second death” that unbelievers will experience (v. 6).
After the thousand year Millennium, Satan will be let loose to do his deceiving work again all over the world (v. 7). His job will be to gather all those who refused to trust Christ for salvation during the thousand years and assemble for battle once again (v. 8, not the battle of Armageddon). It wasn’t a long battle. Fire came down from Heaven and ate them all up (v. 9).
Finally, the devil received his just punishment. He was banished to the “lake of fire” along with the Antichrist and his henchman, the false prophet (v. 10a). They will be tormented for eternity, all “day and night” (v. 10b).
The remaining verses in this chapter refer to the Great White Throne judgment of unbelievers after the end of the thousand years (vv. 11, 12, 15; believers are judged at the bema seat, not for salvation but for rewards, cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10). Unbelievers will be judged by their works (“deeds,” v. 12d). Of course, works will not be sufficient to get anyone into Heaven. Listing in the “book of life” is by faith only and unbelievers’ names will not be found there (v. John 5:29). No one’s good works will ever outweigh their bad works. The only work that God accepts for salvation is Jesus’ work on the cross. The only way His work is accrued to our account is by faith (cf. Eph. 2:8-9).
Christ is the One sitting on the great throne (cf. John 5:30, 12:48; Rev. 3:21; Matt. 19:28; 25:31; John 5:22; 2 Cor. 5:10). No matter what form of death a person experiences, his or her remains will be retrieved to reunite with the spirits to stand before God in judgment (v. 13a). Again, it is stated that their judgment is based on what they did in life (v. 13b). No matter what they’ve done, it won’t measure up to the perfection God desires and found in Christ. They will all be tossed into the “lake of fire,” aka, the second death. It is the second death, because they will die once and then after that will die eternally after the judgment. If you find yourself before a gigantic White Throne and Jesus is sitting there, it is a very bad thing. You will probably wet yourself . . . appropriately. Believers will probably not even see this throne. Their names will be written in the “book of life” (v. 15) and will be off doing something else unless they are allowed to observe the proceedings to see people who mocked and abused them get their just desserts.
I have written more on this passage in this blog, Addendum To The End
New Testament: Revelation 20:1-15
Revelation 20:1-15 Addendum To The End
I like to keep this blog a certain length but there is some information that wouldn’t all fit in the blog on the Millennium. Much of this is advanced stuff, so it’s OK for you to skip it but if you want it, here it is . . .
1) There are three major theological positions on the “thousand years” mentioned six times in the first nine verses of Revelation 20. Only one position takes the thousand years as a literal period of a thousand years. It’s called Premillennialism since the Lord comes back “pre” or before the thousand years begin. This is the author’s position. It is the only way the end times can be envisioned as unfolding in any kind of a logical and consistent way. People who hold to wither of the other two positions usually don’t consider end times important enough to comment on in a complete way.
2) As we’ve seen, the prophets and the minor prophets have much to say about this period of time.
3) McGee points out five facts about the Millennium:
a) The Millennium cannot begin until Satan is removed so there can be a perfect spiritual environment.
b) The curse of sin must be removed so there can be a perfect physical environment.
c) The resurrection of the Old Testament saints must occur before the Millennium so that the promises to them can be fulfilled.
d) The same is true of the Tribulation saints, they must be resurrected as well.
e) The Millennium is the final testing of mankind. Mankind will rebel at the end of the Millennium but will not have the excuse that “the devil made them do it.”
4) The Millennium is the answer to the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
5) McGee takes everything in the chapter as being literal, “The thrones are literal; the martyrs are literal; Jesus is literal; the Word of God is literal; the Beast is literal; the image is literal; the mark of the Beast is literal; their foreheads and their hands are literal; and the thousand years are literal. It is all literal. A thousand years means a thousand years. If God meant that it was eternal, I think He would have said so.”
6) Verses 1-3 that describe Satan being tossed into the Abyss for a thousand years precede the Millennium.
7) “The First Resurrection” began with Christ and proceeds until the Millennium begins. It includes the resurrection of the Old Testament saints, the Tribulation martyrs and the church-age saints, a span covering almost two thousand years up until our point in time now.
8) Many of the Tribulation believers, including both Jews and Gentiles, will survive and proceed into the Millennium. “They shall be priests to God” in verse 6 indicates God’s original purpose for the Jews will be fulfilled (cf. Ex0d. 19:6). Many will be born during this time (cf. Isa. 65:20).
9) Jesus will be reigning in person during this time. No one will be able to get out of line. If any one sins, it will taken care of quickly causing many to have to withhold their bitterness. Their inner hearts will be exposed when the army is put together to oppose Christ and Satan is released one last time to lead them in rebellion.
10) There will be another invasion of the forces from Gog and Magog. It will be Gog and Magog II, just as there was World War I and World War II. There will be a thousand years between them (Rev. 20:8 has different characteristics from Ezek. 38-39). The first battle of Israel and Gog/Magog will occur about the middle of the Tribulation (Ezek. 38-39) and the second battle will occur at the end of the Millennium. The first will be the end of the aggression of Russia, aka God and Magog and will likely boost the stock of the Antichrist as Israel’s protector. The second battle of G/M will be the end of anyone who daring to oppose Christ.
11) Verse 10 indicates that the Antichrist and the false prophet have already been tossed into the Lake Of Fire by the time Satan finally gets flung in there, too (Rev. 20:10).
12) Verse 11 may very well refer to the creation of a new heaven and new earth (cf. Walvoord), “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” It may also mean that Christ’s throne was suspended between earth and Heaven (cf. BKC).
13) Sheol and Hades are holding tanks for OT people, broken into the Paradise and the Place of Torment (cf. Luke 16:23, 28; 23:43).
That should be enough for you to chew on for a while. See why I didn’t put it all in the first blog (The GWT)?
Psalm 148:1-14 Dept. Of Dedundancy Dept. A Hymn By Anonymous
Proverbs 31:8-9 A Christmas Story
When I was just a li’l’ tyke, the neighborhood kids used to routinely beat me up. They were a year or two older than me. It was good preparation for the Christian life. It reminds me how Satan treats me lately.
But one day at the bus stop, one of our neighbors stopped the punks. He held one and told me to go ahead and take my best swipe at him. I told him I didn’t want to. But I sure appreciated what he did.
Postscript: when I got a few more years on me and some muscle, I beat the stuffing out of one of them after he challenged me. It was just like out of a scene from A Christmas Story. He didn’t give me any more trouble after that (cf. James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9a).
When someone has experienced hardship, those are the same ones who take up for others (cf. Gal. 6:9-10).
Are you putting the mute button on your mouth?
Are you looking out for others?
Choose Life: Scripture: Revelation 20:14-15 NASB “A Hell Of A Death”
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15
I hear a lot of Christian that use the phrase “Thank God” a little too flippantly. I think it almost comes close to a commandment violation. Here’s what I mean.
Back during the Presidential election of 1988, Dan Quayle debated a heretofore forgotten senator from Texas in the Vice Presidential debate. When the Texas senator chided Quayle for his lack of experience, Quayle pointed out that he had had as much experience as John Kennedy before he was elected president. The Texas senator replied, “I knew John Kennedy and you are no John Kennedy.” The place erupted in laughter.
It was true, Quayle was not John Kennedy. He had not cheated on his wife numerous times or almost plunged his country into World War III through his immaturity and incompetence. (Though Kennedy did not give the credit, it was Almighty God who saved the U.S. at that time through His providential workings and the prayers of the saints). Nevertheless, Quayle’s ticket lost the election.
People around the world do not have any sense of the holiness of God. Because of that, they don’t understand the Christian concept of Hell. I’ve spoken to a lot of young people today who say they can’t wait to get to Hell because they’re sure the parties there will be great! (This is where you should be shivering and quaking.) They don’t know much about John Kennedy but they also know squat about God. That includes Christians, by the way. Many of them have no sense of what they’ve been saved from and the holy character of God. If they did, they’d have more respect for Him. They’d be thinking more of the bema seat judgment for Christians (cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10) and, then, they’d also be trying to save people from Hell!
You might look at our verse today and think, how could such a loving God send people into this “second death” in the “lake of fire” where they will be “tormented” for eternity (cf. Rev. 20:10)?
Do you know God? Do you really know God? I confess I don’t. But I know Him well enough to know that He is all-holy and all-just. If He throws anyone into Hell, He is righteous and just to do it.
Now can you thank God for His grace?
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
What’s a “fun application” regarding Hell and holiness? Hmm . . . let’s see. Charles Stanley says that witnessing to our faith dispels depression. I think he’s right. That doesn’t mean you “buttonhole people” and jam the Bible down their throats. The Bible says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always [being] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). Notice it says we should already be ready to give answers for our faith. Can you do that? If someone walked up to you and asked why you were a Christian, could you give them a cogent answer?
Second, that verse says that we should be gentle and reverent. God is not a divine rapist (Norman Geisler). He woos us to faith. We don’t need to knock people over the head with the Bible.
See, there’s Hell as fun. Hell is definitely not a fun place to have hope for. For those who haven’t trusted Christ, it will literally be . . . uh . . . Hell.
But we can use it to woo people into the kingdom.
You’ll be glad you did.
You’ll be blessed.
It’s the same feeling of exhilaration as waving down a car that’s about to go off a cliff. Wouldn’t that feel good?
So it also feels good to save a soul from Hell (cf. James 5:20).
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: The GWT