The Time of the End
A Study About the Book of Revelation
Arlen L. Chitwood
Following the Millennial
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
and will go out to deceive the nations that 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. (Revelation 20:7-10)
Certain parallels exist between the seven-year Tribulation and the one-thousand-year Millennium that follows. And these parallels have to do with events during and immediately following the Tribulation and with events during and immediately following the Millennium.
The Tribulation will be a time when God’s righteous judgment falls upon those residing on the earth. During this time of judgment, a first fruit of the Jewish nation (144,000 Jewish evangels) will go worldwide to the Gentiles with God’s message.
Then, immediately following the Tribulation, the nations of the earth — under Satan, as he heads matters up through the beast — will be gathered together against Christ and the Jewish people, with Jerusalem being the focal point. The beast and false prophet will then be taken and cast into the lake of fire, followed by the destruction of the nations formerly under the command of the beast (cf. Isaiah 34:11). Satan will then be chained, cast into the abyss, and the abyss will be sealed over, allowing the Millennium to ensue.
The Millennium will be a time when those dwelling on the earth will experience God’s righteous judgment through His Son, as the Son, with His co-heirs, rule the earth. The Millennium, in this respect, will be 1,000 years of judgment (Psalm 2:6-12; 110:1-7). And during this time, the entire Jewish nation (as the 144,000 previously) will go worldwide to the Gentiles with God’s message, as seen in Isaiah chapter fifty-three.
Then, events occurring immediately following this 1,000-year period (the Lord’s Day) will end exactly like events occurring immediately following the previous seven-year Tribulation (the last seven years of Man’s Day). Immediately following the Millennium, the nations of the earth — under Satan, who will have been loosed from the abyss — will be gathered for exactly the same reason and to exactly the same place seen 1,000 years earlier. They will be gathered to the land of Israel, with Jerusalem, once again, being the focal point for those coming against Christ and the Jewish people.
And the end of the matter will be the same as before the Millennium. The leader — Satan — will be taken and cast into the lake of fire, where the beast and false prophet will still reside (the leadership under Satan during the counterpart to this battle before the Millennium). Then the Satanic-led nations, as before, will be destroyed.
(In Revelation 20:10, note that the word “are” is in italics [“where the beast and the false prophet are,” KJV; NKJV], indicating that the word has been supplied by the translators. The fact that the beast and false prophet are still there though is seen in the words “shall/will be tormented.” These three words [KJV; NKJV] are a translation of one word in the Greek text, and this word is in the third person plural: lit., “they will be tormented,” referring to more than Satan alone, which, textually, can only include the beast and the false prophet. Thus, after 1,000 years the beast and false prophet will still be there when Satan is cast into this place.
And, following Satan being cast into the lake of fire, an expression is used pointing to continuous, unbroken time extending throughout the eternal ages that are to follow, providing the duration that Satan, the beast, and the false prophet will remain in the lake of fire — “day and night forever and ever [‘day and night with respect to the ages of the ages’],” i.e., continuous, unbroken time throughout the endless ages of eternity.)
Immediately following the Tribulation, the armies from the nations of the earth, gathered to the land of Israel, are referred to as “Gog, of the land of Magog” (Ezekiel 38:2). And the matter is expressed the same way in Revelation 20:8 relative to the nations of the earth gathered to the land of Israel once again at the end of the Millennium (worded, “Gog and Magog,” followed by an explanation concerning the land, as seen preceding the name “Magog” in Ezekiel 38:2).
The reason for the gathering of these nations into the Middle East both times will be the same, and this reason is echoed in verses from Psalms chapters two and eighty-three (verses having to do with the first gathering, but the reason for the nations being gathered is the same both times):
Why do the nations [Gentiles] rage, and the people plot [KJV: imagine] a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us. [the restraining and authoritative power of the Father and Son].”
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh [a contemptible laughter]; the Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:1-6).
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head [they carry their head high, exalt themselves].
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones [the latter is a parallel part of the verse, referring to the Jewish people previously mentioned, those protected by God; cf. Psalm 27:5].
They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You. (Psalm 83:2-5)
Both before and after the Millennium, the reason for such an endeavor by the nations under Satan will be the same; and the end result will, as well, be the same. The nations of the earth, under Satan, will march into the Middle East against Christ and Israel. Then, the leadership will be taken and dealt with, and those under their command will be destroyed.
The first destruction of the nations coming against Christ and Israel will occur by and through a treading of the winepress. And this destruction will be followed by the great supper of God and by Satan subsequently being bound and cast into the abyss, which will then be sealed over, for 1,000 years.
The second destruction of the nations coming against Christ and Israel follows Satan being loosed and deceiving the nations. And this destruction will occur by and through fire coming down from God out of heaven (note that fire from heaven is also associated with the first destruction as well [Ezekiel 38:22; 39:6; cf. 2 Peter 3:10]).
Comparing the manner in which the reference to “Gog and Magog” is used in both Ezekiel 38:2 and Revelation 20:8, understanding exactly what is meant by these two names used together is a simple matter (cf. Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5; 5:4). In Ezekiel 38:2, “Gog” refers to a people (other than Israel — the Gentiles, with the leadership of the nations particularly in view), and “Magog,” as seen in the text, refers to a land (Hebrews erets, understood as one or more “lands” or the whole “earth,” depending on the context). In Revelation 20:8, that which is referred to by both words is the same as seen in Ezekiel — “the nations [referenced by ‘Gog’] in the four quarters of the earth [referenced by ‘Magog’].”
It is evident that “Magog” in Ezekiel 38:2 should be thought of in the same sense seen in Revelation 20:8 — more than just the land of one or more named countries; rather, contextually, the reference is to the lands of countries worldwide, the entire earth.
The battle seen in Ezekiel chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine occurs after Israel has been restored to the land, following Messiah’s return at the end of the Tribulation. Thus, these two chapters simply form another description of the same battle seen in Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21, the Battle of Armageddon.
(For additional information on how “Gog and Magog” is used in Ezekiel 38:2, along with an overall view of Ezekiel chapters 38, 39 in this respect, refer to chapter 32 in this book.)
Israel in God’s Economy
Down through the centuries, extending over millennia of time, Satan has sought to destroy the nation of Israel. He can be seen behind the scenes in this respect in what could be referred to as Pogroms [organized massacre of a particular ethnic group] throughout — when the Assyrian pharaoh during Moses’ day sought to destroy the Jewish people (Exodus 1:8ff; cf. Exodus 3:2), or centuries later when the Babylonians sought to burn them or feed them to the lions (Daniel 3:19-27; 6:4-24), or during the same era when Haman tried his hand at doing away with the Jewish people (Esther 3:1ff), or centuries later during the Inquisitions when the Catholic Church tried its hand at the matter, or centuries later when the Third Reich under Hitler sought to produce a Jew-free Europe, or continuing today when the leaders of nations, particularly in the Middle East, have called for and continue to call for the utter destruction of Israel.
(Outward acts such as the preceding are not the only forms of anti-Semitism of a nature that seeks to do away with the nation of Israel. Attention should be called to one other form of anti-Semitism — a very subtle form — existing on a large scale today, but often unrecognized. And this is seen within Christendom, with a large segment of Christendom today, as the Catholic Church during the Inquisitions, finding itself involved.
But before even discussing the matter, something should be noted, and it should be noted well. Satan, through Christendom today, will be no more successful in endeavors to do away with Israel than he has been through other means down through the centuries and millennia, dating back to his endeavors through the Assyrian pharaoh in Egypt during Moses’ day, over 3,500 years ago [cf. Jeremiah 31:35-37].
Christianity today, throughout all its major denominations, is involving itself in an ever-increasing fashion in what is often referred to as “Replacement Theology,” which is not theology at all. Rather, it is man’s ideology relative to the place that both Israel and the Church occupy in God’s economy.
And this ideology is a growing teaching in the churches today. In fact, several denominational groups have become so completely permeated with the leaven of this false teaching that little else can be seen as the base for that being taught from the pulpits of the churches forming these denominations [cf. Matthew 13:33].
The word “replacement” is used because this ideology teaches that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plans and purposes. In short, according to that which is being taught, God is through with Israel; “the Church” is the new Israel; the new covenant has been made with the Church; God will never again deal with Israel in any special way, in a national sense. And this is the way that those promoting this false ideology see matters continuing indefinitely.
[Note, since the call of Abraham, covenants are made with Israel alone, not with the Church or the nations. The old covenant was made with Israel at Sinai; and the new covenant, as well, will be made with Israel, replacing the old covenant. And this new covenant, as the old covenant, could very well also be made with Israel at Sinai (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 20:34-37).]
Within the scope of the erroneous things taught relative to Israel throughout the dispensation, during the past 2,000 years, it would be difficult to find a more heinous form of anti-Semitism than this replacement ideology. In short, those teaching or ascribing to this ideology have taken Israel’s promises and blessings, Israel’s new covenant, and have left Israel with the old covenant and all the curses for the nation’s past and present disobedience.
The damage this has done relative to sound biblical doctrine being taught and/or understood in the churches today is incalculable. And the reasoning behind that is very simple. If the Jewish people are not seen occupying their God-ordained place in Scripture, it is impossible to properly teach or understand the overall scope of the Word of God, leaving Christians in a general state of ignorance relative to that which is actually taught in the Word, particularly as it relates to the truth about both Israel and the Church.)
And all of these millennia-old, Satanic-led attacks against Israel, in all their various forms, can only be setting the stage for that which is about to occur.
During the Tribulation, Satanic-led attacks against Israel will only continue and intensify. And Satan’s attack against Israel during this time will reach such epic proportions that no parallel will exist in human history — an attack that will be enacted through the man to whom Satan will give “his power, his seat [‘throne’], and great authority” (Revelation 13:2b).
In the middle of the Tribulation, when this man breaks his covenant with Israel, he will seek to destroy the Jewish people from off the face of the earth. The Jewish people will be uprooted from their land, the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed, and those who do not escape to a place of safety will either be killed or sold as slaves to the Gentiles (Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:28ff; Joel 3:2-8; Matthew 24:15-21; Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 11:1, 2).
Note Christ’s words in Matthew 24:22 pertaining to the severity of the Tribulation, along with a promise to the Jewish people:
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake [Israel’s sake] those days will be shortened.
After Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, He will deal with the Jewish people relative to that which is seen in the first six festivals in Leviticus 23:4-44 — festivals outlining an order and foreshadowing a series of events that will occur relative to Israel between Christ’s return and the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom, seen in the seventh and last festival. Then, once Christ has dealt with Israel relative to that which is foreshadowed by these festivals, the man seated on Satan’s throne will lead the armies of the earth against Christ and a converted and re-gathered Jewish nation (Ezekiel 38:14-16; 39:2-8; Joel 3:1-16; Zechariah 14:1-9; Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21).
After this battle is over, Satan will be bound and imprisoned in the abyss. The abyss will be sealed over, and he will be left there for 1,000 years while Christ and His co-heirs reign over the earth (Romans 8:14-19; Revelation 20:1-6). And during this time, Israel will occupy her God-ordained place at the head of the nations, with the nations being blessed through Israel (Genesis 9:26, 27; 12:1-3; Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6; Zechariah 8:20-23).
Then, after the thousand years, Satan will be loosed and he will go out to deceive the nations worldwide. And this deception will be for one central purpose — to lead these nations into the Middle East against Christ and the Jewish people once again, with Satan, through the nations, seeking a final time to do away with the Jewish people and their Messiah (Revelation 20:7-10).
Why is Satan so determined to do away with this one nation, along with their Messiah? The answer can be found in only one Book, or in books drawing the answer from this one Book. God, who brought the nation into existence, has provided the answer in His Word. This is what the Old Testament is about, which governs the subject matter of the New Testament. And the information supplying the answer begins in Genesis.
Through Abraham and His Seed
Man was created in the beginning to replace the incumbent ruler, Satan. The one whom God had originally given the scepter and placed over the earth had disqualified himself to continue holding the scepter.
Satan, apart from God, had sought to acquire a higher regal position than the one in which he had been placed (Isaiah 14:13, 14; Ezekiel 28:14-16). And though Satan continued to occupy the throne, God reduced his kingdom, the earth, to a ruin (Genesis 1:2a). Then, at a later time, God restored the earth (Genesis 1:2b-25). And man was created to replace the incumbent ruler (Genesis 1:26-31).
But Satan, by and through deception, resulting in man’s fall, brought about man’s disqualification to ascend to the throne. And this necessitated redemption if man were to again find himself in a position to realize the reason for his creation in the beginning.
And Satan, following Adam’s disqualification, resultantly continued to hold the scepter.
(God is the One who places and/or removes rulers in His kingdom, whether in the angelic world or in the human realm [Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 4:17, 25; 5:18, 21]. And a principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler, such as Satan, who is to be replaced, continue holding his position on the throne, until his replacement is not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.
This is seen in the typology of Saul and David, with Saul, though disqualified, remaining on the throne until David was not only present but ready to ascend the throne. And this account reflects on the matter at hand, for the antitype of the account of Saul and David has to do with Satan and Christ, the second Man, the last Adam.
Refer to chapter 31, pp. 379, 380, in this book for a discussion of the preceding type and antitype.)
God though doesn’t get in a hurry to bring His plans and purposes to pass, as man often does. Rather, relative to beginning a work that would ultimately result in man being elevated back into the position from which he had fallen, God waited two millennia. Then, as in the beginning when God created man, He again turned to one man — Abraham — through whom the reason for the first man’s (Adam’s) creation would ultimately be realized (which had been foreshadowed by God singling out Shem nine generations earlier [Genesis 9:26, 27]).
Almost 4,000 years ago, slightly over 2,000 years beyond Adam’s creation, God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees to realize an inheritance in another land for particular, revealed purposes that would have far-reaching ramifications (Genesis 12:1-3).
Through Abraham and his Seed, God would ultimately bring the entirety of His plans and purposes surrounding man to pass. Through this one man and his lineage — through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons — all spiritual blessings that God had in store for mankind would ultimately be realized.
Through the nation emanating from Abraham’s seed — i.e., through Israel — God would give man His Word; through Israel, God would give man the Savior, Jesus the Christ; and through this Savior, God would bring a new creation into existence — the one new man “in Christ,” the Church.
The Church exists only because Jesus the Christ came into the world; and Jesus the Christ came into the world through Israel. The whole of the matter can be traced back to Abraham and his lineage through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons — the nation of Israel, whose existence would ultimately result in the incumbent ruler being replaced and the nations of the earth being blessed.
Christians, “in Christ,” are seen as “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29), which, in this case, would have to do with the heavenly inheritance taken from Israel at Christ’s first coming. And, to realize this position “in Christ,” Christians are seen as branches from a wild olive tree that have been grafted into a good olive tree, a Jewish trunk with Jewish roots (Romans 11:17-24).
And if Israel is removed from the equation, with the Church replacing Israel, note what this does to the biblical picture. The whole of the matter would be destroyed at the foundation. There would be no Jewish trunk with Jewish roots.
It is through Israel that God has brought, is bringing, and will bring matters to pass that will allow man to one day realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning, which is regal.
“Israel” is God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, 23), and only sons can rule in God’s kingdom (all “angels,” present rulers in God’s kingdom, are sons of God because of their individual creation; in the human realm though, only firstborn sons can rule).
“Israel,” through creation and adoption, is presently God’s firstborn son; and “Christ,” whom Israel brought forth, is God’s firstborn Son by birth (Jesus has always been God’s Son, but not His firstborn Son [cf. John 3:16; Hebrews 1:6]). And because Israel brought Christ forth, God could bring into existence a third firstborn son — “the Church,” a new creation “in Christ,” which will become God’s firstborn son when the adoption occurs (cf. Romans 8:14-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10-15; Hebrews 12:23).
And these Sons are the Ones who will rule the earth yet future, in the stead of the incumbent rulers, in the stead of Satan and his angels. The “world to come [lit., ‘inhabited world to come’]” will be governed by man, not by angels (Hebrews 2:5).
Israel can no more be removed from her God-ordained place than can the One whom Israel brought forth, Jesus the Christ (cf. Jeremiah 31:35-37; Luke 1:31-33); nor can the Church be removed from her God-ordained place (cf. Ephesians 2:5-7; 3:9-11, 21). It will be through these three firstborn Sons that man will come into a realization of the reason for his existence. This is the unchangeable manner in which God has ordained that matters will occur.
Thus, is it any wonder that Satan’s attack since time immemorial has been directed against Israel? Is it any wonder that during the coming Tribulation his attack will be centered on Israel? Is it any wonder that after Christ returns and re-gathers Israel, restoring the Jewish people to the land, that Satan will lead the armies of the nations of the earth into the Middle East against both Christ and Israel? And is it any wonder that when Satan is loosed at the end of the Millennium that he will go out to deceive the nations with one purpose in mind — to once again lead an armada from these nations into the Middle East against Christ and Israel in a final effort to undo and destroy that which God has done.
The One whose right it is to rule will hold the scepter and wear the crown that Satan had previously held and worn. That which was to be exercised through the first man, the first Adam will be realized through the second Man, the last Adam, along with His co-heirs and the nation of Israel. And God working through Israel over millennia of time will have brought the whole of the matter to pass.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, GOD’S FIRSTBORN SONS.)