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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Dragon Will Be Confined to
The Bottomless Pit


< Revelation 20:1-15 >

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 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. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 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. 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. 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. 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. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."



Exegesis

Verse 1: Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

To compensate the saints who have labored for the gospel with His rewards, our Lord God will give them the gift of the Kingdom of Christ for a thousand years. To do so, God must first command one of His angels to seize the Dragon to confine him in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. God must do this work first, because the Dragon must be seized and bound in the Abyss beforehand to enable the saints to live in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. God thus gives His angel the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain, and commands him to begin the work of seizing and binding the Dragon in the Abyss.


Verse 2: He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

The one that had tempted and made Adam and Eve fall is the very serpent. The Bible calls this serpent the Dragon and Satan. God would lay hold of this Dragon and bind him in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, so that the saints could live with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom in peace.


Verse 3: and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

In order to build the Kingdom of Christ on this earth and have the saints reign with the Lord for a thousand years, God would bind the Dragon in the Abyss for a thousand years and prevent him from deceiving the saints.

The passage says here, "But after these things he must be released for a little while." When the thousand years are completed, God would released the Dragon for a little while, so that when he begins to torment the saints again, He would send him to hell forever then, never to be seen again.


Verse 4: And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

In the Kingdom of Christ, the born-again Christians will receive authority to judge. The saints, having been made into Christ's priests, will reign the Millennial Kingdom with the Lord. Its inhabitants are those who were martyred to bear witness to Jesus and to defend their faith, those who neither received the mark of the Beast nor worshipped his image.

They are the ones who were martyred during the time of tribulations brought by the Antichrist, and God would resurrect them to live again and have them reign the Kingdom of Christ for a thousand years to come. Of course, all those who participated in the first resurrection will also be bestowed with the same blessing.

There are two resurrections given by the Lord: the first resurrection and the second resurrection. The saints who would live in the Millennial Kingdom are the ones who would belong to and participate in the first resurrection. All those who take part in this first resurrection will also take part in the glory of living in the Millennial Kingdom, the Kingdom of Christ. The first resurrection will take place when Jesus Christ returns to rapture all the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). But the second one will take place at the end of the Millennial Kingdom because it is prepared for the sinners to sentence them to eternal death.

The saints' authority to reign for a thousand years is given by the Almighty Lord. The Kingdom of Christ is given to them because they believed in the Lord's gospel of the water and the Spirit and gave up their lives to defend their faith in it.


Verse 5: But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Those who, not having received the remission of their sins from the Lord, go to Him after living on this earth as sinners will not be able to participate in the first resurrection that the Lord would give to the saints. As such, even as the saints live for a thousand years in the Kingdom of Christ in festivity, they would not receive the first resurrection, but they would instead take part in the second resurrection. The reason is because the saints who would receive the blessing of the first resurrection would have also received authority to live in the Kingdom of Christ, in wealth and glory, for a thousand years.

However, God will allow "the second resurrection" to the sinners. Why? Because at the time of the second resurrection, God would raise them from their death so that He may judge them for their sins. Their fate is such that they must be raised from the dead again to be judged of their sins. This is why the resurrection of the sinners differs from that of the saints in both its order and consequences.

Apart from those who participate in the first resurrection because of their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord will not allow anyone else to live again until the thousand years are finished. Thus, the resurrection of the righteous comes a thousand years before the resurrection of the sinners. The righteous' resurrection is for them to receive eternal life and blessings, but the sinners' resurrection is for them to receive eternal punishment for their sins.


Verse 6: Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

The Bible tells us that the second death has no power over those who take part in the first resurrection. As such, it tells us that these participants of the first resurrection are blessed, for they would also reign in the Millennial Kingdom.


Verse 7-8: Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 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.

Released after being locked in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, the Dragon will try to stand against the saints once again, and so God will throw him into the fire of brimstone so that he would never be able to come out again. With this judgment, the Dragon would be seen only in hell.

We may then ask, "Does this mean that those who are not born again will still exist in this Millennial Kingdom?" The answer is, "Yes." Revelation 20:8 records that there are many people of the earth in the Kingdom of Christ. We do not know for sure whether they are the people newly created by God, or the ones who had lived on this earth beforehand. But what we do know is that God knows who they are, and that for the saints to reign, there would be a great multitude of them, as many as the sand of the sea.

The truth is that when the saints live in the Kingdom of Christ, they would still see the people of the earth. They would exist to serve the saints, and their number would be as great as that of the sand of the sea. Though they would unite with the Dragon to stand against the saints once again, they will all be destroyed by the fire brought by God, receive the eternal judgment of His great white throne, and be thrown into the forever-burning fire. With this, the Millennial Kingdom would come to its close, and from then on the saints would move to the New Heaven and Earth where they are to live forever.


Verse 9: They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

The Dragon is Satan who has constantly stood against God and His saints. Although he would deceive the people of the earth living in the Kingdom of Christ and threaten the saints, because God is almighty, He would bring down fire from the sky and devour them all, and throw the Dragon into the eternal fire to never again stand against Him and His saints.


Verse 10: 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.

By casting the Dragon into the lake of fire and brimstone, God will ensure that he is tormented day and night. This is God's righteous judgment, the suffering that the Dragon and his followers deserve.


Verse 11: 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.

Having completed His rewarding of the saints for a thousand years, God will now create His New Heaven and Earth and live with them forever in this place. To accomplish this, God would have to bring all the works that He had done to their conclusion and final closure. This last act, of closure, is for the Lord to sit on the white throne as the Judge and render His final judgment on all the sinners, whose deeds are recorded in the Books of Deeds, except those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

God's judgment of the sinners would all end with this, and from then on the domain of the New Heaven and Earth would open. Our Lord would make the first heaven and the first earth disappear, create the second world of the New Heaven and Earth, and allow the saints to live in this heavenly Kingdom. According to what is written in His Book of Life and the Books of Judgment, God would give the New Heaven and Earth to one group of people, and the punishment of hell to the other.


Verse 12: 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.

Christ's judgment at this time will determine the final punishment-that is, He will render His final sentences on the sinners with the punishment of hell. They will be judged according to their works, as recorded in the Book of Judgment. The sinners will thus die twice. Their second death is the suffering of hell, which the Bible describes as eternal death. The sinners cannot escape from the punishment of hell. They must, therefore, seek after learning the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit right now, while they are still living on this earth, believe in it, and thereby receive the blessing of having their names written into the Book of Life.


Verse 13: 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.

"The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them," for all sinners must receive the final condemnation for their sins. The places described in this passage-Death and Hades, that is-particularly refer to the places where the servants of Satan who, deceived by him and being under the control of him while alive, had stood and sinned against God will be imprisoned. This verse tells us that while God had deferred His judgment of their sins for a while, now the time has come for their final judgment.

As such, wherever people may live, they must realize that to whom they belong is critically important. Those who had worked as Satan's servants while on this earth will be raised from the dead with the resurrection of punishment to receive their final judgment, but those who had served the gospel of the water and the Spirit will belong to the resurrection of eternal life and blessings.

Therefore, people must realize while on this earth that the gospel of the water and the Spirit, with which the Lord has blotted out the sins of the mankind, is of the utmost importance. Those who had worked as Satan's servants on this earth will be raised with the resurrection of punishment, but those who had served our Lord's righteous works will be raised with the resurrection eternal life and blessings. All the sinners will be judged for their iniquities and receive their final punishment in hell. It is here where we find the precise reason as to why we must, while on this earth, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel with which the Lord has remitted all our sins.


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

This tells us of the judgment of the sins of the mankind before God, which it had committed by standing at the side of Satan. The punishment reserved for the evil ones who had led people to Satan is to be cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death that God would bring to the sinners, and is the punishment of the lake of fire. The death that the Bible speaks of here is not simply disappearing, but it is the punishment of eternal suffering in the fiery hell.

The salvation spoken of by the Scripture is not temporal, but eternal. Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit while on this earth will enter the eternal Kingdom of Heaven and live happily forever. The difference between the reward of the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and the punishment of the unbelievers is as great as the difference between heaven and earth.


Verse 15: And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

With the word "anyone" here, this verse tells us that whether or not people's names are written in the Book of Life depends entirely on whether they believe in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, through which all their sins are forgiven, as white as snow, regardless of whether they are good church-goers, or whether their churches belong to orthodox or heterodox denominations. Those whose names are not written in the Lord's Book of Life, therefore, will all be cast into the lake of fire without exception.

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The religious people of the world have a marked tendency to put more importance on their religious rituals than on their redemption from sin. But when standing before God, if the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus is not found in one's heart, the name of this person would not be written in the Book of Life, and he/she would thus also be thrown into the lake of fire, even if he/she were a fine Christian.

Therefore, while you are still living on this earth, you must hear with your ears the Lord's gospel of the water and the Spirit that has made all your sins disappear, and you must believe in it with all your heart. You will then receive the glory of having your name written into the Book of Life.

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