The rock imagery is a favorite one for several Biblical heroes, with beautiful teaching about the faithfulness of God, His power and stability, the protection afforded by His presence, His being the source of living water, and even the divinity of Christ. When is the last time we looked up in praise to the Rock of our salvation? Maybe it’s been too long!
There is no clear reason given for the length of one thousand years, but that is plenty of time to fill the earth with people. And it will be a very different place. The animal world will be at peace, with previous predators and prey playing together like friends. People will once again live for hundreds of years. It will be similar to the Eden experience, but with at least one glaring distinction: man’s heart.
It will still be fallen and naturally unholy. There may not be any prohibited trees around to tempt them, but there will be plenty of moral rules to abide by, all under Christ’s perfect eye of justice. For ten centuries the world will be policed by a benevolent Master, who rewards all evil and good with exactly what they deserve.
And yet, in spite of this ideal situation, many will be itching for freedom to do as they please. They will chafe, even under the kind hand of the King, and wish they could be completely autonomous and answer to nobody. All that is needed for man to organize a rebellion and show his cards will be for them to have a specially powerful and sinister leader.
Yes, the Serpent will be released, to once again do his nasty will. He has plenty of energy and takes off on a global campaign to mount an almost universal revolution against the Lord. He knows his doom, but is bent on destroying as many humans as possible in his last strike. They are referred to as Gog and Magog, which seems to be another Biblical example of taking ancient places and people, and attributing to them representative, prophetic significance. Maybe they see themselves as the rightful heirs and victorious descendants of Cain and his clan. At any rate, they join to form a number as large as the sands of the earth’s shores. Their strategy is to attack and destroy the King’s beloved city and its surroundings, from where He rules the world in perfect love. Nothing but fair laws and excellent government has ever come from that capital city. But they are inflamed with pride and blind to all good reason. It is an ugly story.
But the that’s not the end. Better things are ahead!
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:
Because the Holy Scriptures are of divine origin, we should not be surprised to discover marvelous harmony underneath the surface and between items that seemingly have nothing to do with each other. What an amazing Book! What an amazing God!
Two Royal Birthdays
VERY DIFFERENT DEATHS
Why do some godly people die young and in pain while others live to a ripe old age and pass on peacefully? Maybe you have had family members or friends in either category, or both. It is wonderful to see that our God does not sidestep the issue nor is it unimportant to Him.
Have you ever wondered if God, or anyone else, knew or cared about the difficult circumstances you were in? Have you been faithful to the Lord in some tiny, little, obscure corner and asked yourself if it was worth it? Then this Biblical story is for you and can bring tremendous encouragement in the truth of God’s character. (TTTS#33)
As the Word of God approaches the earth on His white horse, with millions of believers behind him, the apostle focuses in on Him. ¡What a vision it is! He sees a sword flashing from the Word’s mouth, that He will use to smite the nations. He also wields a rod of iron to rule, and He treads the winepress of the wrath of God.
To those who have never suffered for their faith at the hands of wicked authorities, this verse will probably come as a shock. The raw details may make some of us cringe because of how little they match what we could have imagined.
But that in itself should make us think. This has nothing to do with our imagination, or John’s for that matter. It is all about the reality of power and justice. Undoubtedly, this scene will be quite appreciated by millions of believers who down through the centuries have suffered brutally at the hands of evil people.
They will not at all be upset to know that the Lamb coming back is also the Lion. He is not only grace and kindness. He is truth, and power, and justice.
Finally John sees a fourth name, written boldly and where it is easy to read: KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. It speaks of ultimate authority! Jesus Christ has no rival. Nobody stands a chance against Him. Absolute victory is already His.
What a ride is before us! AB
As we saw earlier, the first thing showing through this amazing window is Jesus Christ Himself. But John also noticed the blood on His clothes. Although blood is not a subject we normally like to talk about, its crimson river runs from Genesis all the way through the Bible to this verse. God never wants us to forget its spiritual significance. And yet, we are not dealing here with sacrificial or expiatory blood. This scene is all about the justice of God against the sum total of demonic and human evil.
Once again he mentions a name, the third one in this passage. This time it is the Word of God. The title refers to the Son of God and His Voice, the one that in the beginning created everything and has sustained it throughout history. It is the omnipotent, invisible Voice that is everywhere, always communicating, always relevant.
But John sees something coming behind the great white horse and its Rider; an enormous multitude, also on white horses and clothed in bright linen. The massive army, made up of celestial beings and the entire congregation of true believers, is following its Captain.
In his vision, it seems as though the Apostle is looking up from Patmos.
But that is not the way we will see it…
I wonder if it will be something like when those first astronauts came back to earth from the moon. We will be behind our mighty Lord, with millions and millions of our eternal family, on that exhilarating descent toward the circle of earth where we lived out our lives. As we get closer we will see Israel, then Jerusalem, then the Temple area, and finally watch Jesus touch down on the Mount of Olives, just east of the city. Will the skies above the Holy City be our grandstand to watch that fantastic touchdown take place? Is it not logical that every Christian eye should see it happen?
One thing is certain. However it occurs, it will be awesome.
What a trip! What a sight is coming up, one of these days
I just finished the Bible again. It never grows old. In fact, I'm always itching to jump back to Genesis 1 right away. It may be ink on paper or black letters on a digital screen, but there is nothing dry or stiff about it. The living Word of God does not go stale, it never gathers dust, and it has no expiration date. It is always alive and eager, wanting to communicate truth and life to the human heart. The soul that reads it humbly and expectantly will never be disappointed. AB
Why was the prohibited tree smack in the middle of Eden? Why are we surrounded even today by so many easy options to sin? These are powerful questions that only God knows the full answer to. However, with some thought we can discern reasons that make sense, and will help us understand a little better the nature of our challenges.