Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 13
BABYLON – “THE WORLD SYSTEM”
Revelation 18 & 20
We have been looking at the Second Coming of Christ and all the accompanying cataclysmic events that will be with it. In our last lesson we showed the Rapture, on the other hand, will be a silent event (we will be here one moment and gone the next. At the actual return of Christ, there will be tremendous judgment and wrath poured out upon the planet. Let’s finish Revelation 19, where we have Christ depicted as coming on the white horse in verse 11:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Next he is depicted as having trampled the wrath in the wine vat.
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” I think verse 14 is referring to the Church Age Saints that will be that army, as well as an angelic host.
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations (there again is a reference to His judgment, His wrath, upon the empires and nations of the world we studied in Chapter 18) and he shall rule them (nations, as he sets up His Kingdom, and we will be looking at that in our next four lessons, as to who will be in that Kingdom. And of course there will be nations again, but only believers) with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” This will be at Christ’s Second Coming:
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Now verse 17:
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven (that is they are flying in the atmosphere. Scripture speaks of three heavens. The first heaven is the atmosphere where the birds fly. The second heaven is the area of what we call space, like the moon and the stars. And then the Apostle Paul refers to the third heaven, The very abode of God), `Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;'” Verse 18:
“That ye (these birds) may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.”
In other words, after the battle of Armageddon these scavenger birds and birds of prey will come and have a cleansing effect; getting the earth ready for the appearance of the Kingdom. It is well documented there is a certain type of scavenger bird in the Middle East that in the past few years has doubled its egg production. It now produces twice as many offspring as it once did. If that is true, it would indicate we are much closer to all of this. God is preparing these birds to be of such a number that they can consume this vast number of destroyed humanity. John writes in verse 19:
“And I saw the beast (the man Anti-christ or the empire in which he ruled. Again, take it according to the context. Here we are talking about the emperor. The Anti-christ himself), and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”
Look again at Zechariah Chapter 14. This is the best way to learn your Bible. Here is a beautiful, almost carbon copy of the Book of Revelation, concerning this last great battle before Christ’s return.
“BEHOLD, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;… Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations,… And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,…”
Back to the Book of Revelation. All of these kings and their armies have come to the Middle East to destroy the Nation of Israel, and, of course, they are destroyed instead by the return of Christ. Now to verse 20. Everything will move quickly now in getting the earth ready for His glorious Kingdom – that earthly Kingdom that has been talked about from the onset of human history. But before the Kingdom comes in, He has to deal with these arch-enemies:
“And the beast (the Anti-christ) was taken , and with him the false prophet (the leader of the world’s religion during the seven years of Tribulation) that wrought miracles before him(remember they are the unholy trinity with great powers), with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them them that worshipped his image. These both(these two men) were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
A lady asked a while ago (and I hadn’t really thought about teaching it as a lesson), “What’s the difference between Hell and the lake of fire?” Have you ever thought about that? There is all the difference in the world. A lot of people think that they are one and the same. And they are not the same. Hell will one day go into the lake of fire. But we will cover that in a later lesson.
So these two are cast alive in the lake of fire, not Hell, where lost people go today. These two will go to the lake of fire, where at this point in time there is no one there. Then verse 21:
“And the remnant (that is those who survived the battle of Armageddon, and all the cataclysmic events) were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth (what is the sword to the Lord? Well it’s His word): and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” That is those armies that had fought against the Christ.
Now let’s go right on into Chapter 20, because as the soon as the Tribulation is ended and Christ has returned, we’re going to set the stage now for that thousand years reign of Christ, what we call the Kingdom or Millennium here on the earth.
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.”
This is another Chapter where that language is used, and do you remember what I said? It doesn’t necessarily mean an iron chain, to confine a spirit being like Satan. Now verse 2. And John said:
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”
I’m a literalist. When the Bible says Satan will be bound a thousand years, that’s exactly what it means. He’s bound…
“And cast him into the bottomless pit (that’s not Hell, and it’s not the lake of fire, but it’s a unique place known only to God. The reason He can’t send Satan to the lake of fire; that is a place for eternity. And Satan isn’t ready for eternity yet. He’s got one more opportunity at the end of the of the thousand-year reign of Christ. At that time, he’s going to be released, and again he’s going to have full freedom to deceive the nations that will be back on the scene once again. So rather than put him into the place that was prepared for him and his angels and his eternal doom, God confines him to a place for that thousand year period of time), and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more (what’s the next word?), till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
He will then have an opportunity to test the new generations that will come on the scene in that Kingdom economy. In other words the Millennium becomes another period of testing. We have had six periods of testing all the way up through human history. And this one must be the seventh. God always does things in sevens. Even the citizens of the this Kingdom who will fill the earth during this thousand year Kingdom Age, will be normal flesh and blood people, having children, working, producing, but it will be in the absence of sin and Satan, and will be under the perfect righteous rule of Christ The King. That’s what will make it so perfect. It will be the epitome of everything that man could hope or even dream of. But you and I won’t be part of that flesh and blood population. From our place of authority as resurrected saints, God is going to give every believer an area of responsibility. And beyond that, I can’t explain it. I gather that from His account of the talents. When the person that He had given ten talents to came back with ten additional, what was the Lord’s response? “When I come into the Kingdom you shall rule over ten cities.” So I like to think that the rewards of the believers are going to be various amounts of responsibility in that Kingdom economy.
I like to use an illustration like this: Most people like to have activity. I think that even some of the ancient philosophers have said, “Two weeks of idleness is about as much as the human body can take.” Even after vacationing for two weeks, most of us are ready to go back to work. I think this will carry over into the Kingdom. And as I have said before, we won’t be sitting strumming a harp on a cloud with nothing else to do. I think most of you, if you had the chance to get involved with something exciting or just sit on the sidelines and watch, would choose the former. Most of us would want to be involved. I think it will be the same way in the Kingdom.
Satan will be confined for that thousand years. Then he must be released to test this new generation of that thousand-year time.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment (rule) was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus (the martyred) and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
Who are the rest of the dead? They are the lost. Now let’s go back to John’s Gospel, Chapter 5. Here we are in the midst of Jesus’ earthly ministry. And this is Jesus speaking:
“Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,”
Some people take that to mean there will be only one resurrection. They think everybody will come out of the grave at the same time. But I always maintain that you must compare Scripture with Scripture. Now maybe according to this one verse it may sound that way. But the rest of Scriptures say it’s not going to be one single resurrection. So what do you do? You lay one against the others. In any kind of a doctrine, you don’t just take one verse and lift it out and say, “Hey, this is it.” But you compare from cover to cover the whole spectrum of Scripture. So let’s go on with verse 29:
“And shall come forth, they that have done good (the people of faith), unto the resurrection of life (that’s the resurrection of the believers. Revelation calls that the first resurrection); and then they that have done evil (the unbeliever or lost person), unto the resurrection of damnation.” That’s the second resurrection.
How many kinds of people do you have in those verses? Two! The believing, and the unbelieving. Yes, they will all be resurrected, but it doesn’t say all at the same time. Let’s qualify that statement. Let’s go back for a moment to the Book of Daniel, to verse 8. Daniel asks the question:
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, `O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ (then God said) And he said, `Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried: but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.'” Now verse 13:
“But go thou thy way till the end be (Daniel wasn’t supposed to understand): for thou shalt rest (die), and stand in thy lot (now what does the word lot mean? A military term for company) at the end of the days.”
That takes us all the way to the beginning days of the Millennium. Let’s see what the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians Chapter 15. All of Scriptures fits if you will just look for it. Jesus spoke as if they would happen maybe at the same time, but the rest of Scriptures state otherwise. And Jesus had a purpose for that. Remember the Church Age hadn’t come on the scene yet. There will be segments that will be resurrected in their own time. That’s why Revelation says the first resurrection is the resurrection of life, and the second resurrection is the resurrection unto condemnation.”
I Corinthians 15:20,21
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept (or have died).”
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” In other words if you die and God is going to keep His promises, we must be resurrected.
I Corinthians 15:22,23
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Do you see how that fits with John Chapter 5? Certainly the lost will be resurrected. But now look at the next verse:
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
Daniel would have said, “in his own lot.” Order and lot both mean the same thing. It’s a military term of organization. So every person that is resurrected is either going to be in the lot or order of the lost (which will be all one group), or they will be resurrected in Daniel’s company, which will be the Old Testament saints. Or they will be resurrected with the company of believers that the Apostle Paul talks about, which is the Body of Christ, the Church Age saints. And we know from Scripture that the Tribulation saints are going to be in a separate resurrection or translation. And then those of you who really know your Bible, recall what took place on the morning of the Resurrection at Jerusalem, in the grave yard. Many who were asleep in the grave arose from the dead and became the first fruits of them that slept.
So I qualify the first resurrection then as, (1) the first fruits, those who came out after Christ on the morning of the resurrection. (2) Then the main harvest will be the Church Age Believers, you and I. (3) Then the Old Testament Saints who will come up on the scene a short time after the Kingdom has begun, and they will be the wedding guests at the great marriage supper of the Lamb. Now those three categories of Believers comprise the first resurrection. The lost are not going to be resurrected until after the thousand year Kingdom rule. Then they will be resurrected at the Great White Throne to be judged.