Last stand #1
Many of you have heard about the tribulation period of time in the end days. It is not just about God's judgment against unbelievers alive on earth. It is also about Satan's last chance in the era of normal human existence to raise himself up as a false god to non-Christians and to fight against believers in the true God.
And there came to be war in heaven: Michael and his angels, waging war with the dragon; and the dragon made war, and his angels, and he did not prevail, nor was a place found for him any longer in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ, because the accuser of our brothers, the one who accused them before our God day and night, has been thrown out of heaven. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the earth and to the sea! Because the devil was thrown down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time." – Revelation 12:7-12, EMTV
The devil and the fallen angels will once and for all been cast down from heaven. This is not referring to the original rebellion, but in the end days when Satan will make his 1st last stand against God and humanity. He knows his time is short and he will go all out:
Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we beseech you, …Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is unveiled, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or every object of worship, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
…And then the lawless one will be unveiled, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and will destroy by the brightness of His coming, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and in all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. – II Thessalonians 2:1-10, EMTV
So Satan is going to possess the body of a world leader (who the Bible calls the beast) in the end days, who people will literally worship as god. Christ will defeat him at His second coming, but before the Lord returns, horrible things will occur for 3 1/2 years. Everyone who has not believed in the true God will be deceived by the beast when he reigns on earth. Here is what is going to happen:
And they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the Beast; and they worshipped the Beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And a mouth was given to him speaking great things and blasphemy, and authority was given to him to make war for forty-two months. …And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. And all those who dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose name is not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. …Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and he causes the earth and those who dwell in it, to worship the first Beast, …And he causes all, small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, that they should receive marks on their right hand, or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except he that has the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name.– Revelation 13:4-17, EMTV
Again, Satan will possess a world leader and force all of mankind to worship him. To prove their loyalty to the beast, people will actually wear a mark on their body acknowledging their faith in the beast. If they don't have the mark, they will have no money. They will be martyred by the world government of the beast or live on the run (see Rev. 20:4-6)
This world leader will hold this power for less than a 4-year presidential term. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will return on a white horse with his heavenly armies (Rev. 19:11-18):
And I saw the Beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, having been gathered together to make war against Him who rode on the horse and against His army. Then the Beast was apprehended, and with him the False Prophet who had performed the signs before him, by which he had deceived those who received the mark of the Beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. – Revelation 19:19,20, EMTV
So ends the 1st last stand of Satan. The human leader who the devil possessed and the false prophet (the 2nd beast) are cast alive into the lake of fire. In fact, everyone who worshiped the beast will be tormented for eternity and have no rest day or night (Rev. 14:9-11). But those are the two human leaders who were given power by the dragon. What about the dragon (Satan) himself?
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. – Revelation 20:1-3, NKJV
After the 2nd coming of Christ, the dragon (devil or Satan) will be cast down to hell for one thousand years, while Christ physically rules on earth.
Satan's 2nd last stand
There will be peace on earth for 1000 years as the Messiah rules. Even though believers are living with resurrected bodies on earth, unbelievers will be physically alive–descendants of the survivors of a millenium ago. Satan will have one final opportunity to wage war against Christ and mankind.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. – Revelation 20:7-10, NKJV
It doesn't say anything about the devil possessing anyone this time. It seems as though he will appear in true form to the living humans of the day and stir up a rebellion against the earthly reign of Christ. It doesn't sound like his last stand of all stands is going to be very successful. We don't know how long it will take for him to organize his last chance battle, but God will send fire down upon Satan and his armies and end his 2nd last stand quickly. He will then join the two world leaders he once controlled in the lake of fire.
The great white throne judgment
The beast and false prophet were sent to the lake of fire early–without even physically dying–a thousand years before everyone else. Satan has now joined them, and then God's final judgment will take place on all mankind.
So what's the difference between hell and the lake of fire? Hell is really the temporary holding area for all unbelievers and demons until the final judgment of God. This will happen after the thousand-year reign of Christ ends:
Then I saw a great white throne and He who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled. And no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened the books. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by the things having been written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to their works. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death, the Lake of Fire. And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire. – Revelation 20:11-15, EMTV
So here we are. It's the end of the end. Satan has already gone to the place prepared for him. And humans who failed to accept Christ's sacrifice on their behalf are about to join his fate.
Believers are those found in the Lambs book of life. They only die once and will receive new bodies when Christ returns to earth (I Thes. 4:14-18; I Cor. 15:51-54; Phil. 3:20,21).
But all who never truly reconciled to God in this lifetime will die twice. As far as unbelievers go, the Bible refers to the first death as physical death and subsequent imprisonment in hell. The second death occurs at the great white throne judgment. Everyone in hell (demons and humans) will then be transferred to "the lake of fire" just like people in jail receive their sentence and are transferred to a prison or penitentiary.
If you don't want to join the devil and his angels, you know what you have to do.
Thank you for following this series. If you missed any of the articles, you can start from the beginning: Understanding demons Bible-style, an introduction