The Pursuit of God

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Applying Revelation 20: Millennial Madness

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This is a continuation of Applying Revelation 19: Warrior Jesus.

As we dive into this next chapter of Revelation, we’re going to be getting into that famous “Millennial Reign of Christ”. Today many Christians are taught to believe that when Christ returns, He’s going to reign on earth for a thousand years of peace before the final judgment. Well, no, He’s not. The theology put forth in this passage is so absurd and so contrary to God’s actual values that we ought to immediately realize this is yet another round of empty promises which God has cooked up to pacify an audience of souls who have decided that they are better than the rest of the planet. Well, to be more accurate, these Jewish Christians who are being chopped down by Romans actually think they are far superior to any believer who has ever come before them—including guys like Moses, Abraham, David, and Job. Don’t believe it? That’s because you have glossed over this passage too quickly in the past. In this lesson, we’ll slow things down and help you see just how full of human arrogance this whole notion of a millennial reign is.

Now before we get into that mess, we need to understand a few things about how Old Covenant Jews reacted to Yahweh’s change of Covenants and about Jewish resurrection theology. In New Testament times, there were two main branches of Jewish preachers: the Sadducees and the Pharisees. These two groups violently disagreed on many essential points. For example, today you’re taught to believe that both the Old and New Testaments are “Divinely inspired” Scriptures. You’re also taught to think that this is what the Bible says. Well, it doesn’t say that. That famous line about all Scripture being God-breathed which is found in 2 Timothy 3:16 is one of the most misapplied verses we have. Paul wrote the epistle of 2 Timothy, and before he became a Christian, Paul was a very proud and pompous Pharisee who, like all Pharisees, considered himself to be utterly perfect in Yahweh’s eyes. The Pharisees taught that only the Old Testament was Divinely inspired. The apostle Paul had never heard of our New Testament. When Paul refers to “Scriptures” in his letters, he is only ever referring to what we call the Old Testament. So you should read 2 Timothy 3:16 as saying “The Old Testament is God-breathed” because that is what Paul meant.

Well, Paul’s view was supported by other Pharisees, but the Sadducees sharply disagreed. They argued that Genesis through Deuteronomy were the only inspired Scriptures. Those are the five books of Moses—what the Jews called the Torah. The Sadducees rejected the rest of the Old Testament books as inferior to the Torah.

Now if you’re going to try and build your entire theology on written Scriptures instead of on listening to God, then how many books you recognize as inspired will have a profound impact on your beliefs. When they looked through the Torah, the Sadducees didn’t find any mention of an afterlife or any evidence that human beings have eternal souls, therefore they rejected these ideas as lies. They taught that when we die, that’s it.

Well, the Pharisees said that the Sadducees were full of baloney. The Pharisees insisted that there was a resurrection and a concept of eternal life, but they also thought that resurrection wasn’t immediate. Guys like Paul believed that when you died, your soul went to the underworld while your body was in the grave. Then one fine day in the distant future, both would be resurrected and you’d get to go on to some glorious eternal Paradise, provided that God approved of you. In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul lays out this sequence of events:

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. Then the end will come, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For Christ must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:22-26)

Paul has it figured out this way: Christ has resurrected (obviously). He’s an example of what will eventually happen to the rest of our dead loved ones. But for now everyone else is still stuck in the underworld. You see, Christ is still struggling to put His enemies under His feet. Notice how Paul says the end will come after Christ has destroyed all other authorities and power. Paul figures Christ is some kind of struggling non-sovereign wannabe God who hasn’t got His act together yet. But eventually He’ll overcome all of those pesky enemies of His which are apparently outmatching Him right now. The last enemy Christ will conquer is death itself. What the heck is death? Well, you might as well ask a Christian today what “sin” is. Today when asked why the world is going so badly, Christians sigh and say, “Well this isn’t the way God wanted things to be, but it’s because of Sin.”

Right. It’s because of Sin. Or it’s because of “the Fall”. Or it’s that ultimate foe “Death”. Whatever it is, we’ve got these things that are not God, yet they are effectively zip tying His Divine wrists so that He can’t quite reign.  And as asinine as this theology is, we haven’t gotten to the really good part. You see, these Old Covenant Jews are so threatened by Yahweh being overshadowed that they refuse to acknowledge just how ultimate Christ is. So Paul teaches the Christians in Corinth that Christ is only reigning because He hasn’t yet finished conquering things. Once He does, Christ will get knocked off His throne so Yahweh can take over. Don’t believe it? Here’s Paul talking:

Then, when all things are under Christ’s Authority, the Son will put Himself under Yahweh’s Authority, so that Yahweh, who gave His Son Authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. (1 Cor. 15:28)

It is this kind of Christ-bashing rot that you are taught to accept as brilliant theology today. Paul teaches that Christ is not truly God, He is not really equal to the Father. No, He’s some lesser Being who merely exists to assist Yahweh. Paul teaches that Christ’s power is merely temporary. Yahweh assigned Christ the task of getting our unruly world in order—a world which had apparently spun out of control with demons, death, and sin running amuck. Once Christ cleans up the mess, He’s expected to turn in His crown and grovel at Yahweh’s feet like some kind of Servant. This is absolute garbage, and if you think that such rot pleases Yahweh, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, you have some serious praying to do.

Jesus is GOD ALMIGHTY. He doesn’t just rule because Yahweh did Him a temporary favor. Christ has ALWAYS ruled. Yahweh has ALWAYS ruled. The Holy Spirit has ALWAYS ruled. We don’t have one great God and two bumpkins, we have THREE ALL-POWERFUL, SOVEREIGN CREATORS. To teach that Christ is anything less than Yahweh’s absolute equal is satanic rot, yet such irreverent heresy is what Paul dishes out by the truckload in his epistles. If you are serious about growing in the truth, stop treating this blind moron like he’s some kind of brilliant theologian. Start paying more attention when you read and you’ll discover that Paul completely rejects the sovereignty of any of our Gods, he thinks demons actually get in God’s way, and he is so arrogant that he actually thinks God takes orders from him. How a man prays says volumes about what he believes. Check out some of the prayers Paul puts out in his epistles sometime and you’ll discover that the man’s faith was pathetically underdeveloped (see Learning from the Prayers of Paul).

Here’s how it works when you’re a created being: you don’t get to call the shots. In the Gospels, Jesus taught that our role is to serve, not to lead. In the Old Testament, Yahweh taught that we are powerless bumpkins who can do absolutely nothing on our own. But what does Paul teach? He tells Christians to boss God around. He tells them to suit up in their spiritual armor and take on those demons all on their own because they’re powerful little sorcerers who can treat the Holy Spirit like their trained attack dog and use the Blood of Christ as an excuse to act like His equals. Oh yes, Paul loves to exalt the great importance of humans. We’re co-heirs with Christ, see. Christ is just some grand Assistant, He’s not as great as Yahweh, so clearly we can all become as awesome as Christ. Paul’s idea of Heaven is Yahweh scooting over and letting us all squish onto His throne with Him from which we can help Him run the universe. And obviously Yahweh needs our help, otherwise He would never have let things get so out of control that He had to send Christ in to clean up the mess. Are you hearing how outrageously insulting to our Gods all of this rot is? Yet this is the kind of ego pleasing guff that the early Christians basked in, and we’re still basking in it today.

What are you saying to God when you go around claiming to be a prayer warrior? Really?? A warrior? So you really think you have the chops to take on demons all on your own? Oh that’s right, you sick the Holy Spirit on them. You treat the Name of Jesus like some kind of ultimate spell that no demon can stand up under. “In Jesus’ Name I rebuke you!” Stop the universe—a human has exclaimed something. Notice how you’re taught to just take it for granted that the entire supernatural realm must bow to your command because, well, you’re a god. You’re not just a god, you’re a greater god than the God—that’s why the God always has to do whatever you say once you throw the right Scripture in His face. Are you seeing how far from truth our leaders in the Church today are taking you? Instead of teaching you to revere God, they are teaching you to blatantly mock and disrespect Him. The very title of God becomes utterly meaningless once you start treating Him like your Servant, and that’s exactly what you’re taught to do in the Church today. Praying means telling God what to do, and then taking all of the credit for the results. Serving means doing whatever pleases your ego, and then demanding that God bless your efforts. Then we’re taught to have confidence that God is actually going to reward us in Heaven and say “well done” after we spent our whole lives treating Him so irreverently.

In the Gospel books, we find Jesus warning people that there are going to be some real shocks when those eternal rewards start getting passed out, because what actually pleases God is vastly different than what we’ve all decided pleases God. This garbage about Christ being some lesser Authority than Yahweh isn’t pleasing to God. Treating the Holy Spirit like your personal slave is not pleasing to God. Acting like you can control how Jesus uses His power just by flinging His Name around is not pleasing to God. We’re in for the mother of all surprises when we get to the other side. We are treating our Gods abominably in the Church today and we’re finding it so pleasurable, that we don’t even want to change. How does God react to this kind of hardcore rebellion among His own people? What does He do when we close our ears to His Voice and demand that He make all of our self-exalting fantasies a reality? He plays along. He says, “So, you want to believe that I actually take orders from you? Very well, let’s play the game. You rebuke the demon, I’ll make it leave, and you’ll never learn to see the extent of your own idiocy. You’ll never know who I really am, either, and you’ll never know what you could have experienced in eternity if you had ever stopped trying to dominate Me. But since you just can’t be bothered, I will have a fabulous time withholding all of My truly great blessings from you. Instead I’ll leave you strung out on these pathetic substitutes which are utter misery compared to what you could have had.”

God is not like the girl with no esteem who tries to hang onto her disinterested boyfriend by giving her sex away for free. Experiencing true intimacy with God is a privilege we must pay for in advance by completely submitting to Him as our Master and fully embracing our place as His impotent slaves. All who try to greedily grab privileges, glory, and rewards from God’s hands end up with sand. It is those who stop chasing the rewards—those who learn to be content with the fact that they deserve nothing while He is the only magnificent One—they are the ones who end up receiving the greatest rewards on the other side. No one can force God to bless them, and all who try only end up with the opposite of what they wanted. Our Kings demand to be revered by us as the sovereign, magnificent, unparalleled Beings that They are. If we want to listen to idiots like Paul and recycle the irreverent garbage he puts out, we will end up reaping the same eternal consequences that Paul did.

Jesus is not a lesser God. Our Creators do not struggle to overcome Their own creations. There isn’t some underworld in which we all get stuck while we wait for Christ to figure out how to conquer death. First century New Covenant believers aren’t better than every believer who came before them. Jews aren’t better than non-Jews. Apostles aren’t better than non-apostles. Martyred Christians aren’t better than Christians who weren’t martyred. All of these things are absolute lies, which are all fueled by rebellious attitudes and raging human egos, yet they all show up in this book.

Revelation is like looking into a mirror and seeing the warped theology of the early Jewish Christians reflecting back at us. It’s a very ugly picture, but what’s truly unnerving is the extent to which God accommodates their delusions in this book. Here in Chapter 20, God will paint a picture of activity in eternity that is so utterly absurd that anyone who heard it should have protested and said, “Hold on a minute! Something’s very wrong with this picture. This isn’t the way God views humanity at all!” But no one does. The Jews took the bait and swallowed it whole because it pleased their egos so much they didn’t want to hear anything different. Today, we follow their foolish example. We don’t question, we just accept. We don’t see the glaring errors that God is purposely putting in front of us and we don’t ask the Holy Spirit what He’s really trying to teach us. Instead we just recycle this absurd theory that God is a bigot who loves some people more than others based on the genetics of their earthsuits. We teach that one day, Christ will return and reign with Christians for a thousand years on the earth before finally locking that bad ole devil up for good. Well, no, He won’t. Let’s now take a closer look at this chapter and see what we can learn.

Then I saw an angel coming down from Heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. (Rev. 20:1-3)

This is Devil Dragon—the only beast left from our evil trio who hasn’t been thrown into Hell. Here John sees an angel throwing Devil Dragon into the underworld of Hades where he will remain locked in chains for a thousand years. Then he’s going to come back out again. But why?

Has it ever bothered you how Satan gets released again? It should, because it’s complete baloney. This scene serves only one purpose: to create a context in which first century Jewish martyrs can receive ultimate glory for being faithful to God. There really isn’t any Hades. When we die we immediately go on to either Heaven or Hell. God is still accommodating Jewish superstition here, but now let’s see what happens next. You see, there’s a reason why God didn’t just have Devil Dragon banished along with the other two beasts in Chapter 19. If He had, then we’d go on to the final judgment, everyone would be resurrected from the underworld, and where would the glory for martyrs be? The martyrs must have their glory. Guys like John are so full of themselves that they are demanding to be exalted on the other side. So God cooks up this little drama in which Devil Dragon is merely put on suspension while earth is kept in full operation. Then He brings out the martyrs. But not just any martyrs, because by now even martyred Christians have been sorted into groups of superior and inferior. At this point in time, to be merely crucified, stabbed, drowned, or burned didn’t qualify you for this special in crowd who is about to get favored by Christ. To receive a special invitation to this 1,000 year party, you have to have been beheaded on earth.

Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of Yahweh. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of Yahweh and of Christ and will reign with Him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4-6)

There you go: it’s written in black and white. This glory fest is only for those who were beheaded. John doesn’t say it’s “all who were killed”, he specifies that it was only those “who had been beheaded.” He then goes on to point out how unfaltering this group’s devotion to God was—they never aligned with evil Domitian’s satanic rituals. You might have heard the popular rumor that the apostle Peter died by being crucified upside down. Assuming this is true (which it probably isn’t), guess what? Peter wouldn’t make the cut for this millennial reign, because he wasn’t beheaded.

Notice this bit about getting to reign with Christ. Christ Himself taught that we were servants who would never become more than servants. In all of the metaphorical parables Jesus taught about masters rewarding faithful servants, we never find the masters declaring that their servants were now their partners or their superiors. At most the masters grant their servants nice things and they allocate extra responsibility to them. But the servants never become equal to their masters. How quickly we forget what Jesus said once the New Testament writers start pumping us up with a bunch of expectations that we’ll get to become co-rulers with God on the other side. As Paul said,

“If we endure hardship, we will reign with Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:12)

Jesus and Yahweh taught that They would be the only Judges in eternity. Yet Paul says:

“Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world?” (1 Cor. 6:2)

“Don’t you realize that we will judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:3)

See how it works? God teaches us to be humble, and our leaders teach us to arrogantly exalt ourselves. The Jews had already decided that they would be reigning, not serving, on the other side. So in Revelation, that’s what God depicts them as doing. The Jews had already decided that the mere fact of being decapitated for Christ’s sake made them deserving of extra glory and exaltation in Heaven, so God cooks up this ridiculous picture of beheaded believers getting to resurrect first and have the whole world serving them for 1,000 years. Though we find Yahweh praising men like Job and David in the Old Testament, we don’t find any mention of those men here. Such subpar believers could just rot in the underworld for all these Jews care because this is martyr hour. This is the chance for them to act out their egotistical fantasies and boss everyone around just as they’ve always wanted to. Paul taught believers that Christians would get to condemn all other humans on the other side. He said we’d get to judge the angels, too, because we’re so obviously equipped to stand in judgment over creatures that we know nothing about. What is the justification for this arbitrary exaltation of humans as some kind of superior creation? Since when are we superior to the angels? Since when are we qualified to judge anyone when we’re such selfish, merciless little vipers?

It isn’t reality that God is showing us here in Revelation. He’s showing us just how swamped in ego the early Church was. Wasn’t John even a little suspicious about the fact that only the beheaded got to partake in this millennial reign? We have no evidence of it, and this is likely because John expected to get beheaded himself in the near future. Just wait until we get to Chapter 21 and learn that John’s own name is inscribed on one of Heaven’s foundation stones—you know, because he played such a critical role in establishing Yahweh’s heavenly Kingdom. The Holy Spirit—He’s not so impressive. It’s these early apostles that we all owe our lives to. As Paul said to a man who he had shared the Gospel message with:

“And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul!” (Philem. 1:19)

Well, okay, maybe he will mention it. Paul loved to take full credit for saving people.  He also enjoyed reminding inferior Gentiles how they owed some great spiritual debt to the Jews because obviously no Gentile could ever get saved without the help of a descendant of Jacob. After all, let’s not get ridiculous with our expectations of what God can do without our help.

The Gentiles were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially. (Rom. 15:27)

Hear how it works? Jewish humans don’t just speak words—they dispense spiritual blessings. They control the flow of God’s power. They are the gatekeepers of eternity, so it’s only right that Heaven be constructed as a replica of the real life fortress of Jerusalem that existed in the first century AD before the rude Gentile Romans trashed it.

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. (Rom. 11:17)

According to Paul, Gentiles are inferior branches which had to be grafted in to God’s family, whereas the Jews were the natural branches who truly belonged right from the beginning. Utter hogwash. From the very beginning, Yahweh said that ALL were welcome to come. He said:

Native-born Israelites and foreigners are equal before the Lord and are subject to the same decrees. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. (Num. 15:15)

How quickly we forget what God actually said. How quickly we replace truth with lies. No, the Gentiles weren’t “inferior branches.” There is nothing inferior about non-Jews and there is nothing superior about Jews. This is all a bunch of rot which the Jews invented and recycled for thousands of years, and today the Church continues to encourage this offensive mangling of God’s view of people by teaching you to suck up to Israel because the Jews are God’s favorite people.

When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from Heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.

Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Rev. 20:7-10)

Devil Dragon finally joins Spotty Domitian and Bossy Horns in Hell after yet another epic battle on earth. Warrior Jesus already turned everyone into vulture food in Chapter 19, but the humans in this book never really die.

Gog and Magog are more famous Old Testament names. In Ezekiel 38, Yahweh describes an epic battle between Him and a ruler named Gog who reigns over a kingdom named Magog. Gog is a man, Magog is a place. The point is that these names are associated with rebels who try and fight against Yahweh. In Ezekiel 38, Yahweh describes Gog as attacking Israel. Obviously anyone who attacks the Jews must be the scum of the earth, and in Ezekiel 38, Yahweh describes an epic slaughtering of Gog which He says will serve to greatly glorify Him on earth. Notice it’s God who is being glorified in the Ezekiel passage, not the Jews.

And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His Presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before Yahweh’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, Hades and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:11-15)

Here Yahweh is depicted as judging the world. Naturally these Jews aren’t going to think Christ is quite up to handling such a task, since they consider Him to be a lesser Deity. Yahweh hauls everyone out of three realms of the dead: the grave (where bodies went), Hades (where souls went), and the sea (which was just plain evil). Everyone gets judged by their works on earth, which of course means “no sweat” to John, who thinks he’s above sinning. For as John said in his epistle:

Everyone who remains in Christ does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him. (1 John 3:6)

To John it’s simple: only the servants of Satan sin. True Christians don’t even have the ability to do any of that nonsense.

Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works. Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident. (1 John 3:7-10)

See how it works? John thinks he’s sinless, which is why he loves all of this imagery about everyone getting judged according to their works in Heaven. That’s right: let’s condemn all those who stumble, because obviously they were never really saved. Let’s pass out the crowns, thrones, and glory to the sinless martyrs who got beheaded on earth. Let’s make Heaven a shrine to one ethnicity and act like everyone else is subpar. In short, let’s just transfer all of the bigotry, pride, and carnality of earth into eternity because that will sure make for a pleasant Paradise. Not looking forward to going up to a Heaven where you can be treated as a subpar Christian because you had the wrong genetics on earth or because you weren’t decapitated for Christ? Well, don’t worry about it. If you’ve ever sinned, you won’t get into Heaven anyway. We’ll learn in our next chapter that there won’t be any cowards, murderers, idolaters, liars, or sexual sinners in Heaven. Yuck, how could any Paradise not be ruined by such scum? And if you actually agree with John that there are people alive on the planet who haven’t done any of these things—if you actually think that you haven’t done these things—then you need to revisit Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and learn about how God defines sin. John is utterly delusional when it comes to understanding God’s definition of sin and the scope of his own moral failings. John thinks Christians aren’t even capable of sinning because God zapped us with some kind of wand the moment He saved us and now we can’t even remember what it means to be carnal. Right.

We have only two chapters left in this book, and it’s not going to get any better. In our next chapter, God is going to give John a close up view of John’s dream Heaven: a spiffed up version of earthly Jerusalem. But as He accommodates the endless delusions of His Jewish audience, God does slip in a few shocking alterations—such as taking their Temple away. After all, the Old Covenant has been thrown out, Yahweh has leveled the Temple on earth, and it’s time for these guys to grow up and let the old ways go.

UP NEXT: Applying Revelation 21: A Disturbing Paradise

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