26 October 2021

Victory over the Beast

Having overcome the “beast,” the saints reign with Christ as “priests of God” during the “thousand years”Revelation 20:4-6

Lighthouse at night Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash
When Satan was imprisoned, the victorious saints began their reign as “
priests of God,” sitting “on thrones” because of their  “testimony,” and because they did not render homage to the “beast” or its image, and did not take it “mark.” Therefore, they “lived and reigned” with Jesus for the “thousand years” - [Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash].

The image of multiple “thrones” is from Daniel’s vision of the one “like a Son of Man.” The prophet saw “thrones,” then the “Son of Man” approached theAncient of Days” to receive judgment and “dominion” – (Daniel 7:9-14).

Daniel’s vision never identified who sat on these “thrones.” Revelation now identifies them – the “saints” who overcame the “beast.” Previously, in his letter to the church at Laodicea, Jesus promised this very thing: To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne”- (Revelation 3:21).

Judgment was made “for the saints” - the judicial sentence was pronounced in their favor, and therefore, they received sovereignty. Likewise, in Daniel’s vision, judgment made “for the saints” resulted in their “possession of the kingdom.”

The victorious saints were killed “for the testimony of Jesus,” which identifies them as believers who were persecuted for their “testimony,” and as members of the same group against which the “beast from the Abyss,” the “Dragon,” and the “beast from the sea” had waged “war.” The same reality was anticipated just before the “seven last plagues,” when victorious “saints” were seen standing next to the “sea of glass,” having overcome the “beast, and his image, and the number of his name” - (Revelation 1:9, 6:9, 11:7, 12:11, 12:17, 15:1-4).

This does not mean that only saints who are martyred reign.  This victorious company includes men and women who have not “rendered homage to the beast.” For many, refusal to give allegiance to the “beast” results in suffering and economic deprivation, if not martyrdom.

And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” The statement provides verbal links to the letter to Smyrna:
  • (Revelation 2:8-11) – “ These things says the first and the last, who was dead, and livedBe faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life… He that overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.
The overcoming saints participate in the “first resurrection.” That means they will not experience the “second death.” There is no mention of a “second resurrection” or any “first death.” The passage juxtaposes “first resurrection” with “second death.” Thus, “saints” who persevere avoid the “second death,” but not necessarily physical death since some if not many of them are killed for their “testimony.”

The same thing was promised to believers at Smyrna who remained faithful “unto death.” They would not “be hurt by the second death.” As for the “rest of the dead,” they will not undergo that grim fate until the judgment before the Great White Throne. Thus, they “lived not until the thousand years ended” - (Daniel 1:14, Revelation 2:7-11, 11:15-19, 20:11-15, 21:8).

The same cannot be said for the “beast” and the “false prophet.” At the end of the “thousand years,” Satan is released to gather the nations for one last attempt to destroy the church. Before he succeeds at doing so, God intervenes by sending fire from heaven to consume the “nations from the four corners of the earth” – (Revelation 20:7-10).

At the end of this final battle, at last, Satan himself is at last cast into the “lake of fire, where also are the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night forever.” Previously, the “beast” and “false prophet” were thrown into the “lake of fire” by the “Rider on the white horse” – (Revelation 19:20-21).

The “they” who are “tormented forever” include Satan, the “beast” and the “false prophet.” The passage then describes the final judgment before the “Great White Throne of Judgment.” Every man was judged “according to his works.” “Death and Hades” were cast into the “lake of fire,” which is identified as the “second death,” along with all men whose name was “not found written in the book of life” – (Revelation 20:11-15).
In the passage, everlasting “torment” is only applied to the Devil, the “beast” and the “false prophet.” What happens to men and women who are not found in the “book of life” is not described, other than to call their fate the “second death.”

The “beast” and the “false prophet” were cast into the “lake of fire” at the end of the “war” against the “Rider on the white horse,” which was described with language from Ezekiel’s vision of “Gog and Magog.” The same language is used in chapter 20 to describe Satan’s final assault against the “camp of the saints,” evenly explicitly naming “Gog and Magog.” Thus, the same battle is described in both visions.

This means the consignment of the “beast” and the “false prophet” to the “lake of fire” did not occur before the “thousand years”; both Satan and “beast” undergo this fiery doom at the end of the same final battle. How much time passes between the casting of the “beast” and the Devil into the “lake of fire” is not the point. Rather, what matters is that Satan, the “beast,” and the “false prophet” all participate in the same grisly fate.

This passage is the last mention of the “beast” in the Book of Revelation. After the final judgment scene, the remainder of the book is spent describing the glories of “New Jerusalem,” the “new heavens and earth.”