Scripture reading for December 29th: Revelation 20:1-15
Not all are part of the heavenly army of the King of Kings. The first to be dealt with was the dragon, Satan. He was bound by a great chain and thrown into the Abyss to keep him from deceiving the nations. The set time was a thousand years or what we would call a millennium. (Revelation 20:1-3)
Next John witnessed a resurrection of the souls who had been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus. These souls came to life and were given authority to judge on the earth and reign with Christ for a thousand years. ” (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:5-6) This is the fifth ‘blessed’ statement of Revelation. These martyrs are now rewarded with rulership with Christ on the earth for his thousand-year reign.
The ‘second death’ is a term defined in this chapter for John. At the end of the thousand years, the devil is released for a short time. He goes out and deceives the nations again and the gathers them for battle. Fire comes from heaven and devours those who are deceived and the devil is thrown into the lake of fire along with the beast (Antichrist) and false prophet. This lake of fire and burning sulfur is the ‘second death’. (Revelation 20:14) This lake of fire has been long prepared for the devil and his angels who rebelled against God.
However, there will be multitudes of people who will also go to this horrible place of burning sulfur. John saw a great white throne and Christ as judge. Death and Hades were opened and a second resurrection company of those who had died in their sins were brought before the Judge. Books were opened that held the record of their evil deeds and sins. Another book, the Book of Life, was examined to find their names. “If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) Each person must answer personally to God! Is your name in His Book of Life?