The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2

Page 155

Gog and Magog 

     One of the most amazing commentaries on the fallen human nature to be found in all the Word of God is right here in this passage.  After one thousand years of a perfect human environment, with an abundance of material provisions and spiritual instruction for everyone, no crime, no war, no external temptation to sin, with the personal presence of all the resurrected saints and even of Christ Himself, and with Satan and all his demons bound in the abyss, there are still a multitude of unsaved men and women on earth who are ready to rebel against the Lord the first time they get a chance. 

Revelation 20:7.     And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison. 

     Note that Satan does not escape from his prison.  The Lord Jesus Christ is on the throne of the cosmos, with all power in heaven and earth belonging to Him.  Even though the saints are reigning with Him, it is His authority which they exercise, and Satan is firmly bound in his prison, utterly helpless to interfere.

     Even though King David, in his resurrected body, may have been assigned immediate jurisdiction over Israel (Ezekiel 34:23, 24), the Son of David, Jesus Christ, actually rules over the whole world from the throne of David in Zion, and will do so for ever (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 11:15; Isaiah 2:2-4).  He will be in absolute control, ruling all nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:6-9).

    And yet, according to verse 3 of this chapter, Satan must be loosed a little season.  During the wonderful Millennial Age, any crime and overt wickedness will have been rigidly prevented.  Although ample time will be provided for such flagrant sinners to repent, they likely will be exposed to capital punishment if they have not done so by age 100 (Isaiah 65:20).

     Furthermore, everyone will be well exposed to the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as their Creator, Redeemer, and King.  They will probably be able to see Him personally if they wish, as well as the glorified saints who are more directly accessible to them as their own kings and priests.  They will be well instructed in the necessity of substitutionary sacrifice for salvation from sin, as each nation must regularly send delegates to Jerusalem to offer memorial animal sacrifices, keeping ever before them the remembrance that, long ago, their great King in Jerusalem had Himself borne their sins in His own body as He died on the tree of Calvary to save their souls (1 Peter 2:24).

     And yet, with all these privileges, with every possible incentive to believe on His name and to love and serve Him, there will still be multitudes who will reject Him in their hearts.  These will not be those who first enter the millennium, of course, but will come from the generations of those who follow them.  These, for the most part, will refrain from overt acts of sin and rebellion, but this restraint for many will be one of fear, not love.

     To men and women who have been born and raised in such an ideal environment, so that all they have ever known is peace, prosperity and righteousness, the stories told them about the former ages by their parents and by their heavenly rulers and teachers will sound increasingly fanciful as the centuries go by.  Soon those ancient times will begin to seem glamorous, with their supposed freedom and excitement, and many in the younger generations will begin inwardly to resent the constraints under which they must live.  Even though Satan is bound, and there are no external temptations to doubt God or to disobey His will, they are not innocent, like Adam and Eve in the garden.  Their hearts are naturally “deceitful and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), simply by virtue of genetic inheritance, and they must consciously accept Christ as personal Savior if they are to be saved just as their ancestors did.  With so little contact with overt sin and with provision of every material need to easily available, this may be even more difficult for them than it had been for their forebears.

     It is apparently for such reasons that the Devil, and presumably all his hosts, must be released for a little season.  All these millennial generations, all of which are living, must also be confronted with a clearcut choice.  Will they trust their great Savior and King in Jerusalem, or will they, when finally they have the opportunity, choose sin as their life-style and Satan as their god?

     This will be mankind’s last and greatest test.  In former ages, men had used their environmental problems, such as poverty, pornography, war, intellectual pressures, and sickness as excuses for rejecting Christ.  But with all these suppressed for almost a thousand years, there is no more excuse but their own sinful hearts, and these must be exposed.  

Revelation 20:8.     And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

     Satan has always been the great deceiver and even a thousand years in the bottomless pit will not change either his character or goals one iota.  Once again, even after all his defeats, he will set out to destroy God, using the same old strategy of deception to enlist his human allies.  This time, his prospects are actually greater than they have ever been, because the human population will have reached its highest number in history.  Mankind will finally, as a result of a thousand years of longevity and perfect environment, “fill the earth,” and the population will be practically innumerable, like the sand of the sea.

     But even the old Devil may be surprised at his success.  He will find the various nations much as he had known them for thousands of years, but more ripe for his deceptions than they had ever been before.  Certain of the nations had begun to neglect their duty to go to Jerusalem for the feast of tabernacles, for example, and had been punished by a serious drought in their lands.  Egypt had even experienced a plague (Zechariah 14:16-19).

     As Satan dispatches his demonic emissaries once again to the human kings of the earth, he will be delighted at his quick and wide success (compare Revelation 16:13-16).  No doubt, the demonic surge will be resisted by the resurrected saints serving as kings and priests to the nations, but not even they will be able to stem the wholesale defections of the world’s multitudes, eager for a chance to escape the bondage of righteousness.  The age-old deceptions will again accomplish their deadly mission and gullible masses will soon return to the evolutionary faith of their fathers, rejecting all the incontrovertible proofs that God is Creator and Savior, preferring to hope that the universe itself is the only eternal entity, out of which had emerged both God and Satan.

     Needing human leadership for his demon-possessed armies, Satan will find the most receptive minds and hands among those ancient enemies of the Lord, Gog and Magog.  Babylon, of course, had been completely destroyed just before the millennium, but the great northern kingdom of Magog had again become strong and prosperous, like the other nations, and was ready to take the lead once again in opposing God.

     Magog, grandson of Noah and second son of Japheth, had founded the great kingdom north of the Black and Caspian Seas which became known as Scythia and eventually as Russia.  His name seems to have been faintly preserved in the name of the ancient nation of Georgia.  Similarly, Magog’s brothers, Meshech and Tubal, who also migrated into these northern regions, are probably still slightly recognizable in the names Moskva (Moscow) and Tobolsk.

     There is little in the Scriptures about the histories of these people, except Ezekiel 38 and 39, and not much light yet from archaeology.  But everything that is known does point to the complex of peoples who would become the progenitors of the great Russian empire of the latter days.  The two key chapters describing Israel’s invasion by God and Magog and their cataclysmic destruction have already been discussed in Chapter 6.

     Because of the reappearance at this point in Scripture of the striking names Gog and Magog, it is not surprising that many commentators interpret this section of Revelation 20 as the same event narrated in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  However, the two have practically nothing in common except the names.  In Ezekiel the armies attacking Israel are from several specifically named countries surrounding Israel; in Revelation, they come from all over the earth.  In Ezekiel they are destroyed by a great earthquake and volcanic eruption, in Revelation by fire from God out of heaven.  In Ezekiel, the destruction is followed by a seven-month burial and a seven-year bonfire of weapons.  In Revelation, it is followed by the renovation of the earth and the last judgment.

     We have already noted the reasons for believing that the events in Ezekiel 38 and 39 occur near the beginning of the tribulation period and thus must have taken place over a thousand years earlier than the battle of Gog and Magog described in Revelation 20.  Even though most of the Magogites (or Russians) had been destroyed during the tribulation, with their great commander Gog buried with his armies in Israel even before the tribulation, there had been a godly remnant who had been spared, the same as in the other nations.

     The descendants of these, however, had multiplied rapidly, so that Russia had soon again become a great millennial nation, possibly even readopting its ancestral name of Magog.  One can suppose that after several generations the younger Magogites had begun to rankle over the history of the destruction of their forebears, and especially to resent the Israelites, both because it was in Israel that Gog’s empire had been destroyed and because the Israelites now occupied the premier place among the nations.  The armies of the other nations had been destroyed in Israel later, at Armageddon, and now their descendants also began to share the same resentment.

     But the new Magogites and their new Gog were the readiest of all to rebel.  Therefore Satan and his demons will use them to organize and lead one last army against the Lord.

Revelation 20:9.     And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

     The narrative does not say how long a period of time will be occupied with this final rebellion, only that it begins after the thousand years.  The pace of the record at least suggests that it all transpires quickly.  Once Satan is released, his deceptions will find quick and ready acceptance in disobedient minds and hearts throughout the world.  Gog and Magog will send their agents everywhere, as will Satan, probably through the mechanism of demon-possessed men and women.  During the millennium no weapons of warfare will have been allowed (Micah 4:3), but it will no doubt be a time of unprecedented scientific and technological advance, so it may not take long, once circumstances allow, for the rebels to devise means by which they think they can quickly conquer the great capital, Jerusalem the beloved, where Christ is reigning with David and the apostles.

     In great multitudes they will swarm from every direction to surround the “camp of the saints” as well as the city of Jerusalem.  The word for “camp” is also translated “castle” or “army,” and refers to an organized structure or system for military defense.  These “saints” are the same who had come from heaven with Christ to reign with him on earth.  Evidently, when the dimensions of the human rebellion reach global proportions, all of the redeemed and reigning saints will join their Lord at the beloved city of the great King.  Presumably the people of Israel will remain faithful to their Messiah this time, perhaps also godly remnants from the other nations as well.  All who are faithful to the Lord, whether people in their natural bodies, resurrected saints, or holy angels, will be gathered together in or near Jerusalem.  Surrounding them for miles in all directions, perhaps even above them in hovering aircraft, the innumerable multitudes of Gog and Magog, instigated and energized by the great Adversary of the ages, will prepare one final great assault on Christ and His saints.

     And now, finally, after ages of grace and patience and mercy, God’s long-suffering comes to an end.  When mankind is so quick to rebel against Him even after a thousand years of an all-but-perfect world, providing every material blessing and even the personal presence of Christ Himself, there is nothing else that the Lord can do to encourage and draw men to receive Himself as Savior.  With all the greatest gifts of His love repudiated, and with multitudes choosing to follow Satan instead, God will finally ring down the curtain.

     Suddenly it will seem that the very heavens are on fire.  “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1).  A falling ring of fire will surround the holy city and the legions of the saints, radiating outward in all directions until every last unregenerate human being is engulfed and burned to death in the descending and surging sea of flames.

     This is but a foretaste of what will shortly become the rebels’ eternal fate after their bodies are resurrected and cast into the lake of fire.  In the meantime, their disembodied souls will commingle for a brief interlude with the raging demons of Satan, whose last and greatest effort to dethrone God has terminated in abject failure.  Even after their release from the pit and their easy seduction of the multitudes on earth, these principalities and powers of darkness will still find themselves confused and powerless in the presence of the great King.

     Perhaps for a very brief moment all these lost spirits, both human and demonic, will look to their master Satan for some desperately brilliant stroke of diabolical cunning which can deliver them all from the terrible fate which seems about to overwhelm them forever.  If so, they will realize soon enough that they have been merely the willing dupes of the great deceiver, who had in turn deceived himself most of all. 

Revelation 20:10.     And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

     Here is the final end of the primeval cherub, the highest angel of all, the rebellious “son of the morning” who wanted to exalt his own throne above God’s throne.  The great blasphemer, the idol, the false god, the breaker of God’s rest, the rebel against his father, the murderer from the beginning, the robber, the great adulterer, the father of lies, the coveter of divine worship, the one who is the very antithesis of the holy and gracious God, the Devil, will finally be cast forever into outer darkness.

     The great deceiver is gone!  He had deceived the whole world, beginning with Adam and Eve, and even after a thousand-year confinement in Hades he had still been able to deceive the vast Millennial-Age populations.  He had deceived a third of God’s innumerable company of angels into following him in his cosmic rebellion.  But now he is gone.

     And if he had never realized it before, he surely must have realized as he was hurtling toward the lake of fire, that he had deceived himself first and most of all.  God indeed was all He had said – eternal and omnipotent, the Creator.  The cosmos was not the ultimate reality after all; God, in Christ, had created space and time and all things, and therefore He was, and is, King forever.

     For a thousand years Satan’s two greatest human accomplices had already been tormented in the lake of fire and, as he himself plunges into the fiery lake, he no doubt will see them there.  Hell is torment, not annihilation.  It is the place where these evil men are, not were, even a thousand years later.  Their bodies and souls had been “destroyed” in hell, but they are still there.  And so will Satan, and so will his angels, and so will all unsaved men and women from every age, the antediluvians as well as the millennialites, continue in the lake of fire, in conscious torment, day and night, forever (Revelation 14:11).

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