Read More Than Conquerors, pp. 232–235
A. THE SYMBOL
At the close of the thousand-year period the devil is released from his imprisonment. He summon’s a vast host for an all-out attack upon “the camp of the saints, the beloved city.” Fire descends from heaven and devours them. The deceiver himself is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. The similar and simultaneous doom of the beast and the false prophet have already been described. All are tormented day and night forever and ever. Such is the motion-picture, the action-scene.
B. PREMILLENNIALISTIC EMBARRASSMENT
Neither Pre nor Post knows what to do with this scene. For both of them this violent eruption of wickedness climaxes a thousand years of righteousness and peace. Earth-dwellers have been behaving so nicely and for such a lengthy period, and then all of a sudden…BANG!! It is certainly to the credit of Boettner that this embarrassment is frankly admitted. Commenting on this onslaught of evil upon “the camp of the saints, the beloved city,” he writes, “On either post-or pre-millennialistic principles, and coming at the very height of the millennial reign, such a development does seem to be anti-climactic and to present a very unpleasant feature.” He is also honest enough to admit, “So far as A-millennialism is concerned a final rebellion does not present special difficulty.” Right again! Here on p. 67 Boettner is certainly on the right track. Had he only never left it!
Let us then consider the pre-millennialistic embarrassment first of all. And what a predicament these good people have gotten themselves into. Please remember that according to Pre the millennium will be a time of mass-conversions (large in-gathering contrasted with the present puny out-gathering). There will not be anyone to stir up hate and passion or to engender strife and turmoil. Jails will not be necessary. Enormous taxes for the upkeep of armies and navies will be a thing of the past. There will be little if any political graft. Jesus will be sitting on a beautiful throne right in Jerusalem, directing everything….And then all of a sudden this explosion of terrible wickedness! Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, a Pre, tried to rescue himself from this predicament by saying that sin during the millennium will still be there but held in repression. These are his very words, “In heart, however, the great mass will be rebellious to the end, and will eagerly avail themselves of the opportunity of outwardly throwing off the yoke and entering upon actual conflict…” (see his book, God’s Methods with Man, pp. 132, 183). In other words, the millennium was not so “millennial” after all. The gold of the era which Pre’s love to call “the golden age” was fool’s gold. The Messiah, enthroned (literally, of course!) on Jerusalem’s throne was really sitting on a powder-keg or, if you prefer, on a smoldering volcano. And the passage quoted with such relish by Pre’s—about the wolf dwelling with the lamb during the millennium (Is. 11:6–9) merely means that the wolf, though smacking his lips in anticipation of some delicious lamb-chops, is holding back for the moment out of fear induced by the shepherd’s gun. Moreover, it seems that even the very presence, in body, of Jesus Christ right there in the very heart of the city and in the center of the world is not influential enough to prevent the rebellion.
And what a battle that battle of Gog and Magog will be. What a horrible way to end the millennium!
C. POSTMILLENNIALISTIC EMBARRASSMENT
But what about the Post’s? Is their theory less incredible? Not at all. According to them these very people who have been getting better and better right along until Jesus himself considered them so good that he better join them suddenly change their character. How is this possible? Boettner offers the rather lame explanation: “It may well be that just before the end God does permit a limited manifestation of evil, that it may be seen anew and more clearly what an awful thing sin is and how deserving of punishment.” Then, when apparently he is not wholly satisBed with this solution, he quickly dashes off another one, with which he is even less satisfied, namely, the one presented by Dr. Warfield, to the effect that “there will be no resurgence of evil at all at the end” (see Boettner, The Millennium, pp. 69, 73). In the light of the clear wording of Revelation 20:7–10 Warfield’s attempt must be considered a complete failure. Neither Pre nor Post knows how to get rid of his glorious millennium fast enough to make room for the terrible anti-climax of Revelation 20:7–10.
D. THE LOGICAL EXPLANATION
If the binding of Satan means the restraint placed on him so that he cannot prevent the gospel from going forth among the nations, then his release must mean that in God’s pennissive providence—not with God’s approval-he will be allowed to close mission-doors one by one. In other words, the era during which the Church as a mighty missionary organization will be able to spread the gospel will come to an end. The devil will gather the wicked world of the last days against the Church, thereby bringing about the final, great tribulation. He will deceive the world into thinking that it can defeat Christ. At Christ’s return, however, Satan is suddenly plunged into the lake of fire. And with the dragon’s doom the downfall of all of Christ’s opponents is fully assured. Christ is Victor! Cf. Matthew 24:15–31; II Thessalonians 2:1–8; Revelation 11:7–13. The explanation that has been given is not only consistent with the rest of Revelation 20 but is in harmony with all of Scripture.
1. Where does the expression “Gog and Magog” come from?
2. To which “battle” does verse 8 refer?
3. What is meant by “the nations that are in the four corners”?
4. Does the book of Revelation predict “the yellow peril”?
5. Does the resemblance between Ezekiel 39:17–20 and Revelation 19:11–21 prove anything as to the identity of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8?
6. I once heard the statement, “In the end all men will be saved. I have hope even for the devil.” In the light of Revelation 20:9, 10, 14, 15; cf. Revelation 14:9–11, what do you think of that statement? Read aLso Colossians 1:20.
7. Why is the Church called “the camp of the saints” and “the beloved city”?