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Revelation 20:4-15

When Christ Shall Reign

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • February 4, 2018

The events we’re studying that come after the Tribulation are the 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth, the judgment of believers at the judgment seat of Christ and the great white throne judgment of unbelievers. Satan is released for one final battle and then he is cast into the lake of fire.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
When Christ Shall Reign

Revelation 20:4-15 

Much of the book of Revelation has to do with the seven-year period when God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth – the Great Tribulation. But in the verses we’re studying today, we come to the events that happen after the Tribulation.

First, as we studied last week, Satan is bound immediately after the Tribulation so that he deceives the nations no longer. But now let’s understand other events that also happen immediately after the Tribulation.

The events we’re studying today that come after the Tribulation are the 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth, the judgment of believers at the judgment seat of Christ and the great white throne judgment of unbelievers. Satan is released for one final battle and then he is cast into the lake of fire.

I. There will be a Thousand Years of Peace

  • The 1,000-year period after the Tribulation is the millennium, named after the thousand years that Christ reigns on the earth.
  • Though there are not many verses here about these 1,000 years when Christ reigns on the earth, other scriptures give more detail. We know it will be a time when Christ shepherds the nations. They will recognize Him as King of kings and Lord of lords.

A. First, a bit of theology

  • Not all bible teachers agree on how to interpret bible verses about the millennium. No one will be disqualified from heaven by having an incorrect view, but it is important to understand how these verses have been interpreted and then study them for ourselves.
  • This would be a good time to emphasize the importance of diligence in bible study. Paul wrote that the believers in Berea were more noble-minded than the believers in Thessalonica because they studied the scriptures for themselves to verify the things they were learning.

Acts 17:10-11, The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonian, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

  • Paul also wrote of the importance of rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • There are three theological views on the millennium; the main question has to do with when Christ will return to the earth.
  • The three main schools of thought are called - post-millennial, amillennial, and pre-millennial.

Post-millennial view – This view teaches that Christ will return at the end of a 1,000-year period, but they don’t know when it starts. There are not many who hold to this view today. This position teaches that the church will influence the world to become a better and better place to the point that Jesus finally returns at the end of a 1,000-year period to a utopian world. He would then bring forth a new heaven and a new earth. This view was common in the 19th century, but with all the wars and troubles of the 20th century this view diminished

A-millennial view – This view teaches that there is no specific 1,000-year period, that it is symbolic of the period we are living in now. They believe that Satan is now currently bound because of Christ’s work on the cross. They believe that Christ will return when it is time to judge the world and bring forth the new heaven and new earth. One problem with that view is that it teaches that Satan is bound now. If he is, he must have a very long chain! Secondly, this view teaches that God is done with Israel. But God is most certainly not done with Israel! 

Pre-millennial view – This is the view that I hold; it teaches that there will be a literal seven-year Tribulation period of God’s wrath poured out and after that, Christ will come physically to the earth at the beginning of a literal 1,000-year period to shepherd the nations with a rod of iron. 

  • The reason I hold this view is because it is the one which takes the scriptures as they are. I believe we should read scripture literally when we can and symbolically when we can’t.

B. We will reign with Christ

  • The scripture teaches that the church returns with Christ at the end of the Tribulation, therefore we will be with Him to rule and reign during the 1,000-years.     (See also verse 6.)
  • Verse 4 says that those who came to Christ in the Tribulation will come to life and will also reign with Christ for a thousand years.
  • It was God’s intent from the beginning that we should have authority; it’s part of the image of God.

Genesis 1:26, Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and… let them rule… over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth…”

  • In the gospel of Luke, Jesus gives a parable that shows that God rewards faithfulness by giving authority in the Kingdom of God.

Luke 19:11-12, Jesus went on to tell a parable because He was near Jerusalem and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself and then return… When he returned, he ordered that his servants be called to him so that he might know what business they had done.The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over 10 cities.’”

  • In other words, how we live now will impact our eternal future.

C.The earth itself will be changed

  • The earth is out of order. There are wars, deception, hatred, sickness, and on and on. Those in the world retreat into drugs, or parties, or the pursuit of material things, but one thing is important to remember… for the non-believer, this earth is as good as it gets, but for the believer in Jesus Christ, this is as bad as it gets.
  • There is not much discussion in Revelation about what actually happens on the earth during the reign of Christ on the earth, but we read about that in other places of scripture.
  • There will be peace – among men.

Isaiah 65:21-22, They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat;

  • There will be peace – even among animals.

Isaiah 65:25, “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 11:8-9, The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand in the viper’s den.They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Illus – That sounds awesome; “Mom, I’m going to play with the cobras for a while.” “Okay, have fun, be back in time for dinner.”

  • People will live long and prosper.

Isaiah 65:20, No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought to be accursed.

  • There will be healing for the nations.

Isaiah 35:5-6, Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.” 

II. There is a Day of Judgment Coming

  • John wrote that he saw thrones and judgment was given to those who sat upon them.
  • Judgment is certainly part of the last days as we would expect, but there is confusion about who will be judged and when this will take place.
  • There are essentially two major judgments of God; a judgment for believers and a judgment for non-believers.

A. Christians are only judged in Christ

  • Every believer in Christ is judged in Christ. In other words, the judgment which we deserved already fell upon Him on the cross because of the great love He has for us.

Isaiah 53:5, He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.

Colossians 2:13-14, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

  • That being said, there is a time of judgment of believers. It is called the “Judgment Seat of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:9-10, Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

  • The judgment seat of Christ is not a judgment of punishment or paying back for sins, but rather a judgment of rewards. An awards ceremony you might say…

1 Corinthians 3:13-15, Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.If any man’s work which he has built remains, he will receive a reward.If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire.

Illus – When the major earthquake of 1993 was happening, what I wanted most was my kids and my bathrobe. The first thing is getting through it, after that it’s knowing what remains.

B. A great white throne judgment

  • This is a judgment that comes to everyone who rejected the offer of life in Christ.

John 12:48, He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

  • Vs 12-- Books are opened – that suggests that everything people do is recorded and will be revealed at the Day of Judgment.

Illus – I was a waiter at a high-class restaurant while I was going to Bible College and worked with a non-believer. Knowing that I was a Christian, we got into an interesting discussion about hell. To him it didn’t seem fair.

But God is completely righteous in His judgment and in that day, all who are judged will know that have been judged righteously.

  • There is a book of life and everyone who believes in Jesus has his name written there. That is a great reason to rejoice!

Luke 10:20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

  • These scriptures should cause us to be very concerned for those who have not yet believed. Keep praying, keep sharing your faith!! 

Revelation 20:4-15       NASB

4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
 
11 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. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
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