I’m Aaron, and I’m the Preaching Pastor here at Red Village, and I’m glad you’re with us this morning. If you’re feeling a little sluggish, don’t overreact. We’re in the middle of winter, and so I think for some of us, you know, I think they’re starting to feel that, a little bit of the winter blues, and so, you know, winter’s just hard, so I’m that much more grateful that you’re with us today. This is kind of one of the means that God gives us in this life just to kind of help us through maybe some weary seasons like we’re in right now.
Okay, so that being said, if you have a Bible with you, open up to the book of Revelation chapter 20. Our text for study today is going to be verses 1 through 6. I’m going to read through the sacred text, and I’m going to pray, and then we’ll get to work.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Rev. 20:1-6 (ESV)
Okay, so that’s God’s word for us this morning. Let’s pray.
Lord, it is good for us to be here today. Lord, we’re grateful for your holy word that you’ve given to us. And we’re grateful also for the Holy Spirit who opens up your holy word to lead us and guide us to all truth. Lord, this morning, whatever I say that might be true, okay, that would land on hearts. But Lord, where there’s error in my thoughts, please keep that from these people here. I just want your truth, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
So I’ve mentioned a few times already the start of our study of the end of Revelation. We started a few weeks back. The context in which this letter was written was during an increase in persecution for Christians, where Christians are being so persecuted that an increased number of them are actually dying as martyrs, which no doubt was causing the first century Christians to be tempted to not only wonder or doubt if suffering for their faith was being done in vain, but also to wonder or doubt if following after Christ was actually worth it. Wondering, maybe doubting, perhaps it would be better to actually leave the faith to deny Christ so they might not live with suffering like they were. And this context, this struggle, this temptation with God’s people in this context was actually the same of the book of Hebrews, which is in the book of Hebrews, where the original readers of Hebrews, who were Jewish Christians, face an increase of suffering and persecution. And this seems obvious just by the context of Hebrews if you read through that book. And this increase of suffering, of persecution, was causing these early Christians to be tempted to actually leave Christ and go back to their traditional Jewish roots. And because this was such a strong, growing temptation for these early Christians, the book of Hebrews was written to help them see the folly of doing that. To help them see that indeed, Jesus is better than the Old Testament faith. Because in the end, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament faith. And because Jesus is the one who is leading his people of faith as exiles, strangers in this present life, into a better life that is to come, to a city that has a foundation, whose designer and builder is God.
So in Hebrews, because Jesus is indeed better, because indeed Jesus is leading his people into a better life that is to come, the writer of Hebrews was trying to encourage the Christians to keep on in the faith. In fact, he even said this, he says, Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, there through his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, and he says this, let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith, with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. He goes on to say this, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promises is faithful. Let us consider how to stir one another up in love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as the habit of some. We’re encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.
Now, I shared this to start off this morning, not just being a point of reference at the context or motivation behind Hebrews and Revelation is the same, to help encourage weary Christians who seem to be entertained in the idea of leaving the faith, but I share this with you today to remind us of the application, the primary purpose of the book of Revelation, which is a book that does detail the day that is to come, this day that is drawing near that Hebrews 10, I just read, talks about, which is a day that we are to see through the eyes of faith to not only help us to persevere in this life, even if this life is filled with suffering, that we’re to persevere by continuing to hold fast, continuing to confess Jesus as Lord, but as this great eternal day is to come, it is to be before us in ways that we’re loving one another, in ways that we’re spurring on one another, that we’re connecting one another, that we’re meeting together with one another, in ways that we’re building each other up in love and good works, that we’re encouraging one another in the faith, because that’s really at the forefront how we are to see and read and apply the book of Revelation. So the book of Revelation is not just like a treasure map filled with clues, different details on how the end will come.
Revelation, the details of Revelation have been passed down to us through the sacred scriptures to better help us faithfully live, to faithfully persevere, to faithfully love each other well in this present life, as we eagerly await the day to come. Now, before we dig back into our Texas study this morning, it does have details that speak towards the end that is to come. Just a couple things for us. So first, just a reminder where we left off last week.
So last week we had a very heavy, in fact, a terrifying passage for all things or all people who war against Christ. What we read last week, this is not a war that the enemies of Christ can win. Rather, when Christ comes back to judge the living and the dead, He will come back in great glory where He will fully and completely destroy His enemies, showing no mercy. As I mentioned last week, while this is a terrifying reality for all those who war against Christ, this is actually a great comfort, a great encouragement to those who do bow the knee to Jesus Christ All things in this life that war and fight against God, those things will not win out, including things like the sin that just holds so tightly to our hearts, or sickness, or death.
Those things, they will not win out. When Christ returns, they will fully be eliminated from God’s people. So they enter into eternal life and none of the things will be present. Rather, eternal life will be filled just with peace and joy. Second, let me point out, our text is easily one of the most debated passages in the Bible in terms of how to read it and to interpret it. Now, debate is actually at a few different levels, but the primary level of our passage of debate is the time frame of the passage.
So let me give you two general thoughts on how it relates to the timeline. So first, for those who might label themselves as, like, amillennial or postmillennial, is your viewpoint of the end. So am means, like, without. So without, like, a physical millennium, which we’ll talk about more in just a bit. Christ will return without this physical reign. Or post, meaning, like, the afterwards, the millennial will come after, or Christ will come after this reign is complete.
So in these two camps, you see what we read last week, the events of Revelation 19, and what we’re about to work through today and the next couple weeks, actually, Revelation 20, you see this detail in the same event from different vantage points. Or maybe it said, like, Revelation 20 is filling in some of the details that took place in chapter 19. And this could be true. There’s many Christians from very early on in church history have read Revelation 19 and 20 in this way, like, the same event.
So for the amillennial, the thousand years our text speaks about, so this is symbolic for the church age, where throughout the church age, there’s, like, this tension between God’s favor going forward through his gospel, through his church, while at the same time, there’s real struggles with, like, forces that oppose the gospel in the church. And this tension will remain until Christ returns, without a physical millennium for the Day of Judgment. For the postmillennial, they would argue, or they would agree with the amillennial that the thousand year reign is symbolic for the age of the church. And they both would say we’re actually leaving out Revelation 20 kind of like right now. However, where they differ, it’s not just with the physical millennium, but also with the tension between God’s favor and the struggle of forces who oppose God.
So the postmillennial, they would argue that over time, the tensions will actually become less and less. Because as the gospel goes forward, the millennial kingdom is going forward. And eventually, over time, those who stand in opposition will have less and less of a grip. They will become weaker and weaker. So in this present life, the earth will increasingly become filled with peace.
Okay, part of the reasons why postmillennials see that, because many in this camp would argue that Satan, which we’ll see in our passage today, he actually already is bound. So he’s not able to deceive in the ways he once did. So a lot of good Christians who love God’s word fall into these camps. You see Revelation 19, Revelation 20 as the same event. And no doubt, I’m sure there’s some here this morning that fall into one of these camps.
Then the second thought, which is actually what I believe, and how I’ll be teaching for our sermon today, is that Revelation 19 and 20 are two different events. Events that are actually still yet to come. With the first of these future events happening in Chapter 19, which we looked at last week, followed by what’s happening in our text today in Revelation 20. Now, those who hold this view often refer to it as pre-millennial. I mean, we’re living right now pre- or before the millennial kingdom is to come.
For myself, I would most closely identify with that which is called historic pre-millennial. With the term historic pre-millennial, labeled that way, historic is two basic reasons. First, this is actually the oldest known viewpoint in church history in terms of how to read and understand this passage. In fact, the earliest who wrote on this viewpoint, this pre-millennial viewpoint, were just a generation removed from the time of the apostles. Some of the famous figures in church history who held to this, the early church Christians, were actually discipled by pastors who were discipled by the apostles. So this is a historic view. It’s old. But two, the label historic pre-millennial is given to distinguish between perhaps the newest of all major viewpoints, which is labeled dispensational pre-millennial, which has been pretty popular in our society the last hundred years or so, which is teaching and includes the rapture of God’s people to heaven, which will take place before a seven-year tribulation that was to come to the earth, which would be the last chance for unbelievers to repent and bow their knee to Christ before judgment were to come. Where in those seven years God would do maybe a special work among Israel to bring Jewish people to faith to see that Jesus is the promised Messiah. And then after the seven-year tribulation, then there would be a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth.
Now, contrast that. Most historic pre-millennials, as I mentioned I am, often see these numbers more as symbolically. A thousand years more symbolic than literal. And those in pre- historic pre-millennial camp don’t think God will be removing his people or rapturing his people before the start of some type of seven-year period of tribulation. Rather than the camp that I’m in right now, to change, we believe that we’ll go through the tribulation on the earth. And we’ll do so in ways where God will persevere his people through all tribulation that might come our way so that we will continue to profess and hold on to our faith. Now, I could say a lot more about the different camps and church history, but I want this to be a sermon and not just a lecture.
And I do want to spend most of our time in our text. Also, let me mention, I mentioned this last week, so our favorite Uncle Wes. So he’s actually holding a Sunday school class in a couple weeks, over several weeks, that we’ll actually be watching a video series that will talk much more in depth on the different camps. How those throughout church history have thought it was best to read the scriptures in terms of the end times, including how to best read Revelation 19 and 20. Okay, so follow this up I just said. This may be confusing you or maybe interest you. I do want to encourage you to attend that class. And as you take that class, just note, as you go through all different study material, learn all these different things throughout church history, note that in the end, each camp actually has a lot in common when it comes to the big picture idea concerning the last things.
Where each camp has an agreement that some of the main takeaways that we should have to think about the return of Christ is that we’re holding on to our confession. That we’re holding on in ways that we’re connecting with one another to build each other up in love, good works, and encouragement. Now that is a little bit more of a lengthy introduction. Please look back with me at verse one of our text. I’ll be teaching this this morning out of a historic pre-millennial view. Verse one says this, Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
Now go back to the intro. Depending on how you understand the word then, your interpretation of the details of the text will be different. As mentioned for some, the word then signifies taking a look from a different vantage point. Where John got to see the events in chapter 19 from one vantage point, then he got to see the same event from a different vantage point to see different details taking place, which is certainly possible. There’s good arguments to read it this way.
However, for me, the word then, this is like a chronological time marker. Where John saw the events unfold in chapter 19, as those finish, as he kept watching, then, after that, then he saw an angel coming down from heaven, doing so with the key of the bottomless pit. Now the key, I’ll agree, this is to be read symbolically, as like symbolic for like having authority. And this angel has this key because the crucified and risen Christ is the one who actually has the authority that this angel is now implementing, which is the authority that Christ has over the realm of the dead, which is what the bottomless pit or the abyss in our text is speaking towards. We’re in the bottomless pit, in this realm of the dead.
We see that there’s a great chain, a great chain that is there to keep, to hold, all those bandaged to the bottomless pit. It’s this chain that’s so strong, so secure, that it can never be broken by those held by it. And as John saw this angel coming down with the authority of Christ, reading verse 2, that he then seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, and Satan. From my viewpoint, in the cross, in the resurrection, Jesus clearly defeats the devil.
But now, here it is, we’re waiting for judgment to come for Satan, which the judgment will be completed at the end of chapter 20. So for me, this is how I think about it, maybe think of like a war where an enemy is defeated, captured, and then he has to wait to stand trial for war crimes. Wait for judgment to come. Wait for them to be locked in prison and wait their sentence. So I kind of think that’s what’s taking place here with Satan. We also mention here the dragon, the ancient serpent.
This description of Satan is actually one that comes up at other points in the book of Revelation. If you want to look for that next time you read through the book of Revelation.
And scholars agree that these terms, these descriptions of Satan is actually picking up on Genesis chapter 3. So remember that story? Remember there, in Genesis 3, how Satan came to our first parents, Adam and Eve, doing so in the form of a serpent. And as Satan came to our first parents, he did so by kissing out lies of temptation, where he was able to deceive our first parents in ways they felt prey to his lies, which are lies concerning like the goodness of God. So that’s Satan, the ancient serpent, was able to get Adam and Eve to join him in the rebellion against God and his good rule over their life, which was the first sin.
A sin that the book of Genesis tells us brings a curse with it. A curse that has affected all parts of God’s good creation in Genesis 1 and 2. By the way, in Genesis 3, as Satan came to Adam and Eve as a snake, Adam should have cut off the head of the snake. It was mentioned, rather than cutting off the head, Adam entertained the temptation. Adam listened to the temptation. Adam gave in to the temptation.
He sinned. And the sin has spread like cancer to all parts of creation, where all parts, including all people, including all of us today, we have been affected by it. The point of the Scripture is clear, that now all have sinned by birth, by choice. All have sinned. All have fell short of the glory of God.
Back to our text. As Satan was seized, we see then he was bound for a thousand years. And this is the first reference in our passage to this thousand, this millennium here. This thousand year that keeps coming up multiple times in our text today, as well as our text next week. And these references to a thousand years, this is why we have the different camps. Historic premillennial, dispensational premillennial, amillennial, amillennial, postmillennial. It’s all because of this thousand years here. As I mentioned at the start, for the amillennial, the postmillennial, this is symbolic for a period of time, so not a thousand, literal thousand years, but it’s symbolic for the entire church age. For the premillennial, to say it again, it’s where I’m currently at, there’s a divide where this is like a literal thousand years. Personally, I think this also is more symbolic to communicate a long period of time.
Let me also mention what you mentioned earlier for the amillennial, the postmillennial. We already think that Satan is in this millennial reign, and you see what’s happening here in verse 2, this binding of Satan is already taking place. Although, as mentioned, there’s a little bit of disagreement on the extent to which Satan is bound. Some say he isn’t fully bound, but he still has some influence, while others say, no, he actually is fully bound. For the premillennials, because this event has yet to come in the future, we say Satan actually is not bound. Rather, Satan, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour, which he will do until he is bound in our text today, where he will sit in the cell of a bottomless pit, where you have to wait for his sentence to fully come his way, for all this destruction, all the devastation he has caused God’s people and his good creation. Because we believe Satan is still active, this is why we are to be alert, sober-minded, as we walk through this life.
Our defeated enemy, he’s actually still on the prowl. Verse 3, as Satan awaits his sentence, as Satan awaits his sentence, we read that he will be thrown into a pit and there will be a door to the pit, which will be shut behind him and it will be sealed, so that his influence will be no longer found. In the text, no longer will we be able to deceive the nations. However, in the text, after the thousand years has come to an end, we see that he will be released for a little while. Satan will be released, we will be able to deceive one last time. However, unlike what happened in Genesis 3, and really all throughout church history, this time, after his release, Satan’s temptation, it will fail. He will not get any to fall prey to his deception. Now, before I go any further let me hit pause here, explain a bit more on pre-millennials, just to help explain what I think is happening here in verses 2 and 3.
I’ll say it again, for both pre-millennials and post-millennial, in different ways, they believe the millennium in our passage is already started. But for the pre-millennial, this thousand years, whether it’s literal or symbolic, this is yet to come. In the previous passage, Christ returns, defeats his enemies, and then after that, on the earth, Christ will set up a symbolic thousand year reign. Where in this reign, it will just be Christ and his people. The people that he raises back to life. Where Christ and his people live together for an extended period of time of peace and harmony.
Because the enemies have just been defeated. Because Satan has been bound. Which we’ll talk about more in just a second. But for me, this is what’s happening here.
And this almost feels like a redo of creation. Which we fully completely started in chapter 1 throughout the end of Revelation. We get there in a couple weeks. And the new heavens and the new earth. So to me, this thousand year reign feels a lot like Genesis. Which, to say it again, certainly, Revelation 21 and 22 are presented as.
But this part here, in chapter 20, this part of like almost like a redo of creation. Christ and his people dwelling together for a time of peace. To me, this feels a lot like Genesis 1 and 2. Where like, none of the effects of the fall will be present. In this thousand year reign, there’ll be no sin, no death, no evil. But then, at the end of that time, it’ll almost be like Genesis 3. Where Satan will be released to tempt mankind one last time.
To give temptations like he did to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. However, this time, unlike what happened in Genesis 3, where Adam failed. As mentioned, he should have cut off the head of the snake. This time, in Satan’s last, final temptations, the second Adam, the better Adam, Jesus, the Christ, he will triumph. Which will be starting next, chapter 7 of our text, next week.
And in his triumph, Christ will cut off the head of the snake. And as he cuts off the head of the snake, Revelation 21, 22, Jesus, the second, the better Adam, will fully usher in the new heavens, new earth. It will all be complete. So all that was lost at the fall of mankind in Genesis 3, will be restored for all eternity.
Now, I could clearly not be seeing this correctly. Genesis is happening in verses 2 and 3. Verses 2 and 3 and how they might be relate to Genesis 1 and 2. But at least to me, I think this is taking place here. Now, as I say this to you, there are aspects of this that do feel odd to me. It feels a little odd for the people of God dwelling with Christ on the earth before the official coming of the new heavens and the new earth in chapters 21, 22.
It does feel a little strange to me that as Christ returns, there’s almost like this in-between period, like this thousand years, before all of Christ’s blessings are fully experienced in the new heavens and new earth. And this is why I actually go flip back and forth in my mind a little bit between historic premillennial and amillennial. We don’t see this in-between period. But at least for me, that’s how I see the passage today. Okay, let’s keep going. After Satan is released for a little while to give his last temptations, verse 4, John wrote that he saw thrones. And on the thrones sat those whom have authority to judge that was committed to them.
Or authority to judge that was given to them. Now, it’s hard to know exactly who these are. These characters are on the throne that John saw. Perhaps this is the 24 elders we met in chapter 19 and a few other places in Revelation. But perhaps this is actually a reference to those who put their faith in Christ in this life. Which I tend to think that’s who these people are. These people sitting on the thrones. These are Christians. These are all of God’s people for all time.
All those who have churned and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Who have been his witnesses. So in the end, now they become judges.
1 Corinthians 6 says this about God’s people. It says, Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incomplete to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? So I think that’s actually what’s happening here with these people on the or these characters on the throne.
That verse 4 is a fulfillment of what’s going to happen here. Keep going. We see that not only do you see the people on the throne, we see that you also saw the souls of those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God. Which are those who do not worship the beast or it’s image or receive it’s mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
Obviously these are martyrs. Those who have died for their faith. These are the people we met at the end of chapter 13 who worshiped the beast. These people, all the way to the end, they were worshiping Christ even unto death. And this here, this is part of the ongoing encouragement and comfort to God’s people in the book of Revelation. It was mentioned already a few times in the sermon series including intro today.
The context of when this first was written, like martyrdom is becoming increasingly a grim reality for God’s people. To be discouraged, to doubt, to wonder if holding on to their faith was worth it. But then, as they read this here in our text today, where throughout Revelation they continue to be reminded that even if they died for Christ, that dying was not in vain. But in the end, Christ would honor them.
By the way, it’s not just like martyrdom has been an issue during which this was written. Really the entire age of the church people have died and continue to die for faith in Jesus Christ. So for God’s people of all time to read these words in Revelation 20, this is an encouragement. It’s a comfort. It is there to help us to take heart, to take courage, to continue to persevere all the way to the end. Even if we die by martyrdom, that’s not how the story ends.
That death is not the end of our story. But Christ will raise and honor all those who turn to trust in Him. And also mentioned here are the people of God on the throne, the martyrs who are held in honor. This is what I believe. These are the people who will fill the earth with Christ in this thousand year reign. Back to Genesis 1 and 2, Adam and Eve were instructed to be fruitful, multiply, to fill the earth with people created in the image of God. Jesus Christ, He fills the earth with people who did not worship the image of the beast but worshiped Him, those who persevered in their faith.
This is basically what the end of verse 4 is telling us in our text about those who did not worship the beast, that they came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. However, verse 5, if you want to take your eyes there, as the dead and Christ were raised to reign, we see that the rest of the dead those who did worship the beast, they did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. The text tells us this is the first resurrection. Now, let me hit pause again to mention here, your view of the millennium will dictate how you read and understand this phrase, the first resurrection, or also said, how you understand this phrase, the first resurrection, will dictate how you might view the millennium. For me, for those in pre-millennial camp, this first resurrection, this is a resurrection about like a physical resurrection from the dead for those who are in Christ. Where in their physical resurrection, they’ll be given new bodies as they fill the earth and live with Christ for the thousand year reign. However, others, amillennial, postmillennial, this first resurrection, this is more of reference to like a spiritual resurrection where one is moved from being spiritually dead and trespasses in sin, but then by grace through faith, they’ve been made spiritually alive to Christ, which we know, this is the hallmark of the church age that we live in, those being made alive to Christ who are born anew, born again, as the church is made up of people who’ve been spiritually resurrected. However, as mentioned for me, this feels different than just a spiritual resurrection. Although I do agree, for those physically resurrected, these are the ones who have been spiritually resurrected in this life.
To me, this feels more like a physical resurrection that John saw. So in our text, those who have tasted this first resurrection, they’ll be raised. They will reign with Christ for the millennium, which is what verse 6, which concludes our passage of study this morning, tells us.
Verse 6, you want to take your eyes there. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in this first resurrection and as a reminder, we talked about in chapter 19. We worked through that passage. The blessed there, that’s an important word. So in chapter 19, remember, blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This word blessed is a key word in Revelation. It communicates peace, joy.
There’s seven of these blessings throughout Revelation, which communicates just the fullness, the completeness of peace and joy for those who worship Jesus Christ. Verse 6, our text today, this is one of the seven full blessings found throughout this book. Blessed is the one who shares in this first resurrection. In our text, for them, who have this eternal blessing on them, we see the second death has no power, which in Revelation, the second death, is a reference to eternal judgment that is to come. Those who are blessed in Christ, who have tasted this first resurrection, they have no concerns about the judgment of God falling on them because in Jesus Christ, the great Lamb who was slain, judgment over sin fell on Him instead of them because through Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain, their debt of sin has already been paid in full by the blood of Jesus so that by faith in Jesus Christ, they are forgiven. And by the way, this forgiveness of sin, the blessed promise of the first resurrection is to come, this is available to any and all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ, who confess with your tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord, who believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. You will find forgiveness that is the promise. And not only do you find forgiveness, you have this promise of eternal life, this blessed eternal life that is to come and all the benefits that Christ gives to His people, including the promise, including the benefit that ends our passage in verse 6, with the people of God being eternal priests of God and of Christ where they will reign with Him for a thousand years. Now let me just mention here the word priest.
You see the word priest here in our text. As you think through that, I’m sure some of your minds probably go back to the Old Testament priesthood where the priests were in charge of ministering before the Lord at the tabernacle. Like maybe Exodus 19 speaks about that among many other places where God instituted the Old Testament priesthood through Aaron, the brother of Moses. And if your mind goes there when you hear the word priest, that actually is appropriate. But I actually think this here in Revelation 20, when you read the word priest, I think our minds actually have to even go further back than Exodus 19. Even further back than the Old Testament priesthood found in Aaron. I think our minds actually go all the way back, once again, to the garden, to Adam, where in Genesis 2, Adam is given instructions to work, keep, care for, protect the garden. Those are very similar words, similar verbs that the priests were given when it’s a work, protect, care for, the tabernacle where in Exodus, the tabernacle is almost resented as a new creation. So in the book of Genesis, Adam, in many ways, he’s the first priest. And for us, in our text today, I think that’s what’s happening here in this millennial reign for God’s people. There are to be Adam-like figures who reign with Christ, the great second Adam, were there to be priests of God the Father and of his Christ. Priests in this symbolic 1,000-year reign were to care for, work, protect the earth before the final judgment was to come. And the new heavens and new earth are fully present, which is Revelation 21, 22. Now, for us here, how we want to finish off our time as we think through this passage, I do want to do so in thinking through about this great day approaching in ways that we’re actually applying the truths of what we see in this passage into our hearts today. So the details of this text, they are important.
Confusing? No doubt. They’re very confusing. But they are important.
And I do want to encourage us as a church to humbly try to wrestle through the details of this passage to try to best understand, the best that we can, how this millennium will look and what is that to be. However, as important as those details are, I do think the primary importance of the book of Revelation, in terms of us reading it, is to cause us to persevere in our faith today. Where we’re like holding on to our confession today. We’re holding on in ways that we’re connecting one another, with one another, to stir one another up, to love and to good works. To really encourage each other today as we wait and long for this day to come. So my text today, just three things that I think that we should apply, no matter how we might see the millennium in their text. Doesn’t matter if you see chapter 19 as a different event, or the same event as chapter 20.
Doesn’t matter how you see the numbers, a thousand, it should be literal, symbolic. Doesn’t matter if you see the kingdom, or the millennial reign that has started, or still yet to come. There’s a few things that I think should really stir us up from this text, as we wait for this day to come. So first, as the day approaches, stir one another up to fight the good fight of faith. In this life, it is a fight of faith. I mean, scripture is clear. It’s a fight of faith. It’s a fight that can cause us to be weary.
It’s a fight that can be so difficult at times that we’re tempted to drop out and leave our profession of faith behind. It’s a fight that sometimes is just so heavy that we make the wonder, like can we actually win this fight? Or is it even worth fighting? And these are all realities of this present life we live in. Realities of like heavy burdens that no doubt, plenty of us this morning walked in here carrying. Heavy burdens that are just weighing you down. But for us, as we connect as a church family, in light of this day in our text that is approaching, friends, we must continue to help each other to fight the good fight of faith. To care for each other in ways that we’re not growing weary in doing good. That we’re helping each other to hold fast to our profession.
That we’re laying aside every weight and sin that clings so closely. That we’re helping each other to fight the good fight of faith by running with endurance the rays set before us. Running in ways that we are looking to Jesus who is the founder and the perfecter of our faith. The very one who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Friends, as this day is approaching, we have to help each other. Lock arms with one another. Care for one another. To help each other to fight the good fight. Because what we see in our text all throughout the book of Revelation, in the end, Christ is the victor. He is the one who did win the war.
And in the end, even Satan, the wicked dragon, that deceptive ancient serpent who is the devil, the great accuser, even he will be captured by Christ. Even he will be bound and thrown into a bottomless pit where he will be chained. Friends, in our text, again, as we see this day approaching, may we see this day in ways that’s causing us to link arms, to fight the good fight of faith, knowing that in Christ Jesus, the outcome of the fight is secure and our efforts are not in vain. Second, as the day approaches, stir one another up to live more and more with the authority of Christ. Now at times we can get a little goofy sometimes when we think about living with the authority of Christ, where we can maybe start naming and claiming things under the authority of Christ, or we can start casting or binding things out with the authority of Christ, or maybe it’s like sinfully stand in opposition of prideful judgment over others under the authority of Christ. So we do need to be careful in terms of how we think through where to live with the authority of Christ in this life. Now as we come in the text, we see that God’s people are present for the casting out of Satan, where he’s eternally bound.
We see they’re present and sit on thrones with the authority to righteously judge. I don’t think that time has come yet. In this life, that being said, we still have God-given authority that we are entrusted with, that we are to live out in, that we are to walk in as we wait for this great day to come, which is the authority to be witnesses for Christ, to live with the authority to go and make disciples for Christ. So the famous Matthew 28, Jesus speaking to his disciples and by extension all who have faith in him, Jesus says, All authority in heaven on earth has been given to me. Go therefore with this authority and make disciples of all nations, baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age. As we see the great day approaching in our text, it should put so much wind in our sails to walk in the authority that Christ has, that he’s given to his people, to be his witnesses, to go, to make disciples. By the way, I mentioned a few weeks back there’s a great little book that we have actually in the back that we’re giving away, simply titled Discipling.
So if you’re looking for some help on how to live with this authority, please just grab a copy on the way out. It’s our gift to you. We would love for all in our church family to be stirred up in ways that we’re actively seeking to make disciples. Give me one more.
As the day approaches, stir one another up in ways that we are living as priests. Priests who minister to one another. Obviously, this has a lot of overlap when it comes to walking in the authority and being a witness of Christ, to making disciples for Christ. That is a priestly thing that we do. In our text, in eternal life, we’ll reign with Jesus as priest before God the Father and his Christ.
We will keep and protect with him as we reign. But this being priest of God and of Christ, this is actually not something we have to wait until that day comes. This is something that we actually have to walk in today. 1 Peter 2 says this, You yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as spiritual houses, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2 then says this, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. So friends, for us, as this day approaches, may that great day, may it stir us up.
Stir us up in ways that we are so connected to one another, that we live in such community with one another, that we’re pouring out our lives to serve one another as priests. Priests who use the different spiritual gifts God has entrusted to us to be a blessing to others. Priests who are seeking to store up treasures in heaven. Priests who come alongside one another to bear one another’s burdens in love, to encourage one another, particularly those who maybe are really battling discouragement, however they may be battling it. Friends, in the end, even if we are able to get all the details of Revelation 20 correct, even if we see things as clearly as John did in this passage, if we’re seeing these things but it’s not leading us in ways that we’re holding fast to our faith in Christ, that we’re not serving one another, that we’re not proclaiming Christ to the world around us, we’re actually not seeing the text correctly. Church, may God give us the grace to stir one another up all the way to the end, whenever, however that may be.
We thank you for your word. Lord, I do pray you help us to rightly divide your word. Please do guide us to all truth, including the truth that is there for us to see in this passage.
Lord, I do pray again that wherever I was in error with what I just shared, please keep that from the people. If there’s anything that I said was true and right, I pray that you would bury that deep in our hearts.
Lord, I do pray for our little church family that indeed you would stir us up to love, to good works, to encouragement. Lord, please keep us. Please help us to hold fast our profession.
In Christ’s name, amen.