Summary: Case for the second coming after the tribulation and before the thousand year reign of Christ
Revealing the Revelation
Chapter 20 – “The Return of Christ”
April 4, 2010
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered his words.
Today is Resurrection Sunday. Welcome to the celebration of eternal life. We are here today to celebrate. We are here today to praise God! We are here today to rejoice! Because Jesus lives – we, too, will live eternally. It was great that Jesus died on the cross for us. He paid the penalty for our sins. Because of the cross we may be justified and forgiven for our sins – but if we didn’t have the ‘empty’ cross we would have just been the righteous dead. We would have been forgiven – but still dead! Paul said, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) But Christ IS alive! Jesus lives! The cross is vacant! The tomb is empty!
Our cross is empty to signify that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins – and then conquered death by coming to life again. Because He lives – we have eternal life! That’s worth celebrating about!
Today we are in a unique place. We are positioned between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ. We are positioned so we can look behind and see what Jesus did when He was resurrected from the dead, and we can look ahead and see that we have an appointment for a resurrection ourselves. It is called ‘the first resurrection’. Let’s read about.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.