In this passage we find the judgment of the Satan and of all persons who ever lived. Satan is let loose for a final hurrah. He rallies the nations against God and God’s people. In short order, however, Satan is burned up by fire from heaven. He is thrown into the lake of burning fire. He faces the same fate as the beast and false prophet. Satan is now gone for good. No one weeps for him. Again, questions abound. Why was Satan let loose again? Was he release from prison for good behavior? Also, if Satan is so easy to destroy, why keep him around? I mean, why not toast him now? It seems effortless on God’s part. This is no slug-fest between God and Satan. Satan is easily vanquished. In any case, the judgment of spiritual forces shows that God calls all creatures to account, even cosmic powers and gods of the nations (Ex. 12:12; Num. 33:4; Jer. 10:14-15); demons and angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Mt. 25:41; 1 Cor. 6:3); and, finally, the devil, as we see in Revelation 20. The purpose of this judgment seems to be twofold: (1) to liberate creation from its present situation (Rom. 8:20-23); and (2) judgment is God’s means of preparing the physical realm for the fellowship he intends to share with all creation (21:1-3).
We, too, will be judged. Here is a fact – everyone dies. It is inescapable; death marks the end of our personal earthly life. The Bible teaches that we have only one earthly existence (Heb. 9:27). After death comes judgment. In Revelation 20, all humanity stands before the throne of God. Here, we can’t blame our bad behavior on Satan or blame-shift our actions onto others. I don’t think God wants to hear our flimsy excuses either. Books are opened. Our name is found. Our deeds are assessed from the books. Interestingly, the basis for judgment is our works (Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Mt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-8; Rev. 22:12). So much emphasis is given in Evangelicalism on praying the sinner’s prayer and believing the right theology, but I can’t find one judgment passage that asks about our theology or if we prayed the sinner’s prayer. Our behavior is what matters. Jesus set forth the criteria in Matthew 25. Here are the questions he will ask at the final judgment: Did you feed the hungry? Did you give drink to the thirsty? Did you invite strangers in? Did you clothe those in need? Did you visit the sick and those in prison? Somehow doing these things to people now on earth is doing them to Jesus Himself. A scary thing that Jesus also says is that we will be held accountable for every careless word that comes out of our mouth. Yikes!!! I am not looking forward to that part.
The good news is that our enemies will at last be completely vanquished. The last judgment is that of death and hades. Here, at the end of judgment, is the Death of Death; God will banish death from our existence (Rev. 20:14; 21:4, 8). We are now ready for the new creation. It took a while to get there, but, in the end, all things are made new. This is the Christian hope. Exhale sin, death, and the devil. Breathe in righteous, eternal life, and the presence of the living God.