Part 9: 1,000 Years and the Lake of Fire
Revelation 20 tells us that these events occur at the end of the 1000 years:
- All the lost, called “rest of the dead,” are raised to life (vs. 5a).
- Satan is loosed as a result of this resurrection (vs. 7).
- Satan gathers Earth’s lost billions around the New Jerusalem for a final battle (vs. 8).
- There is a final judgment of Satan, his angels, and all his resurrected followers (11-13).
- The fire of God falls / a lake of fire occurs (verses 9,10,14,15).
All the lost will be gathered around the New Jerusalem (vs. 8). After the last great and final judgment shows them clearly why they are not saved, the next verse says, “…fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (vs. 9). This fire is mentioned again in verses 10, 14 and 15. It is there called “the lake of fire.”
This fire “comes down from God out of heaven” (vs. 9). Thus it is God’s fire, not man’s or Satan’s. The fire of God brings the final justice of God upon the lost. By this time, all the unsaved know why they are lost. Jesus has shown them how much He loved them and how hard He tried to save them. But now, it’s too late. When God’s fire falls, it is important to realize that this is a just fire – not an act of cruelty. The book of Revelation is very clear about the justice of God. “Just and true are your ways, O King of the saints” (15:3); “You are righteous, O Lord … Because you have judged these things” (16:5); and “For true and righteous are His judgments” (19:2).
The judgment at the end of the 1000 years will be perfect and just, without any taint of cruelty or evil on the part of God. By rejecting God’s mercy, and by a life of continued sinning, the lost have earned their just reward. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Revelation 20:8 says the lost are gathered from all over the world. It also definitely says they are on “the earth” when the fire falls (vs. 9). Thus we conclude that the fire of God will fall upon the wicked all over planet Earth. This fire will become a “lake of fire” (14,15) everywhere. Malachi 4:1,3 says the whole day will “burn as an oven.” 2 Peter 3:10 says “…the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” Thus God will totally purify and cleanse this present earth by fire. Of this, there is no doubt.
2 Peter 3 also clearly parallels the destruction of the world by water in Noah’s day with the purification of the earth by fire at the end of the 1000 years (2 Peter 3:5-7). In Noah’s day, the whole earth was under “a lake of water.” At the end of the 1000 years, this planet will be wrapped in “a lake of fire.” In Noah’s day, God’s people were right in the midst of the water, but they were protected inside the ark! Even so, at the end of the 1000 years, when a lake of fire envelops our planet, God’s saved “saints” will be safe and secure inside the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 20 concludes with these solemn words, “And anyone not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire” (20:15).
Let’s make sure we’re in the New Jerusalem, not in the lake of fire!