But look what happens.
8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, (Revelation 20:8-9a–ESV)
To see what happens let us now now skip back through verse 8 picking up the bad words: those we jumped over to peer into the world’s progress.
Deceit: You had to know this was coming. In verse 3 recall the angel, chain and key. Satan was locked up to keep him from deceiving the nations. Now he is released, for a little while. No sooner is his freedom granted than this old dog is back at his old tricks.
Battle: He is successful and this tricked, numerous, global group marches. This is no million man march. It is no women’s march across America. It is much wider. It arrives at the camp of the saints along with the nearby Jerusalem and surrounds them. Not just out front, but beside and behind. If airplanes are involved, well then above probably as well.
Happy family: If you study Ezekiel 38 and 39 where Gog and Magog are further discussed you get a sense that Jerusalem and its surrounding valleys, hills, plains, were doing very well when that army arrived.
Recap: So midway through Revelation 20:9 what do we see? We see that the fruit of 1,000 years of God’s good offering, his people and planet helping, are coned down to a small territory. The people who have converted to Christianity, the martyrs ruling with Christ as priests and kings, and the God authorized judges are now gathered into a camp and city.
Let’s pick up a bit more of Ezekiel 38
4 And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. (Ezekiel 38:4–ESV)
Hooks in jaws? It is God’s way of saying he will bring them. Have you caught a fish? It turns that fish toward your boat and pulls it. Same story with these armies.
How is this happening? God is doing it. Also pick back up in your mind the words of Ezekiel 38:10: “Thoughts will come into your mind.” Then move to the words of Revelation 20. In verses 3 and 7 there is this odd talk of Satan having to be released for a while. See Satan had a task. His task was to go out and gather. He was to snag and catch and pull. The people the world over who have run their lives in the complacency of self-service being disinterested in the plan and shape of God have run their course. They have reached the finish line, but it’s not going to be a good finish.
That bad finish is a motivation by the allowance of God against his people. That is the hook in their jaw. Satan will be their great deceiver. He, like Hitler and Goebbels, to the very end will hold to false beliefs and hopes. He will do God’s bidding and go to his destruction carrying the unrepentant right along with him.
The discouraging equation of the ages
The hopeful part of me says, “When Satan arrives and begins his deceit the people will say, ‘No, look what we have because of Jesus’ reign.'”
That is not what Eve said when Satan spoke his bitter nothings to her. Here we see that the world won’t say that either when he shines his black light on them. The masses do not join up with God. They usually don’t. That is the discouraging part. What do we see about the offer of God? Nothing but a remnant respond. Now since so many people will be part of God’s creation project heaven and the new earth will be filled as well, but more often than not people run in their own direction. They run especially fast if high octane deceit is poured into their engine (their hearts).
That’s not fun. That’s not happy. Neither is it encouraging, BUT…it is consistent. People + Satan = Death. That is the equation of the ages.