A Final Global Empire Will AriseHerman Hoeksema (1886 - 1965)
© 1969 Reformed Free Publishing Association
The Devil Is Retrained from Uniting the World Powers Until Shortly Before the End of Ages
The period of "a thousand years" referenced in the book of Revelation is to be applied to this entire dispensation until the time shortly before the Second Coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. This is because of the simple reason that the order of the book of Revelation is not chronological, but rather idealogical. Repeatedly, the book follows the development of the world to its very end from a certain point of view in order, and it then resumes the drawing of the same picture from a different viewpoint.
The "thousand year" time period of Revelation must be fulfilled before the devil can be permitted to deceive the nations which live on the "four corners of the earth." This reign of Christ with respect to the world is such that, almost until the very end, the devil shall be bound with respect to Gog and Magog so that he cannot deceive these nations and gather them for battle against the camp of the saints, the Church, the body of Christ, the True Israel of God.
In harmony with all Scripture, "Israel" is to be taken in the New Testament sense of the word. The vision of the restored Israel, of which Ezekiel chapter 38 and 39 speak, has been realized in the Church of the new dispensation. It is "the camp of the saints." It is "the beloved city." It is Christianity in its widest sense as it exists and develops in the new dispensation and as it corresponds to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. It is represented in the text as being situated in the center of the earth; and around it, on the four quarters of the earth, outside of the pale of history, are nations that remain pagan.
Gog and Magog are heathen nations in distinction from nominal Christendom. The nations of Gog and Magog, which are on the four corners of the earth, I would identify as the people (as a whole) who in the new dispensation never played a part in the history of the world, but which in our very day are waking up. I refer to the overwhelmingly strong non-Christian world: the nations of China and Japan, the great and strong multitudes in India; the followers of Confucius and Buddha and of Islam and Brahmanism; and the millions of Africa and of the islands of the sea. The elect also are gathered from these pagan nations into the Church; however, as nations they remain distinctly heathen.
The Christian nations are the historical powers, and Gog and Magog are hitherto apparently asleep. The devil, the prince of this world, is restrained from employing these forces against the Church, the beloved city, the camp of the saints, the new Israel of God. However, near the end of this dispensation, the devil shall be "loosed a little season" to gather the nations to battle against the Church before Christ returns in the clouds of heaven.
From Revelation chapter 17, we learn that the first result of the deceptive influence of the devil upon the heathen nations, Gog and Magog, is that they shall join into one great world power with the central anti-Christian kingdom. For "one hour," for "a little season," the world power shall realize its greatest ambition and a strictly universal empire shall be established, of which also the heathen but civilized nations form an integral part.
From a purely humanistic viewpoint, this future one-world power will be a glorious kingdom, and thoroughly humanistic it will surely be—religiously, scientifically, socially, industrially and politically. However, it will be anti-God, anti-Christ, and anti-Church; for the devil, named Satan, is the opponent, the adversary of Christ, and the adversary to the cause of God in the world.
The Devil is Securely Bound Until the End of the Ages With Respect to the Heathen Nations
During this present dispensation, the devil is bound in regard to the nations of Gog and Magog: in the vision of Revelation chapter 20, the angel overpowers the devil and securely binds him with the chain, casts him into the bottomless pit, locks the pit, and sets a seal upon him.
The devil, therefore, is very securely bound, and he is bound with respect to the heathen nations in order for the gospel to be spread throughout the nations.
Scripture teaches that the devil is bound in such a way that he cannot marshal the heathen nations of Gog and Magog to battle against the Church, the beloved city, or, if you please, against the Christian nations. In this very period of his restraint, the devil may do many things, both among the nominally Christian nations and among the people who are called Gog and Magog: he may go about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, as he actually does. However, until near the end of this dispensation, he is prevented from deceiving the heathen nations so as to gather them to battle against the camp of the saints, the Church, the elect of God.
We can easily surmise what it would mean if these heathen nations were permitted to unite and marshal their tremendous forces against the nominally Christian nations: the Church would have no place in the world, no room for development. However, the devil is bound with respect to them until near the end of this dispensation.
The deception of the devil must work out till the bitter end. At the time near the end of this dispensation, under the influence of the so-called mission work of the anti-Christian unclean spirits, the heathen nations indeed shall be awakened out of their prolonged slumber, becoming conscious of their power and quickly adopting the anti-Christian civilization.
In other words, the heathen nations shall be civilized and they shall become conscious of their power; and they shall, for a time, join forces with the beast and the false prophet to form one great world empire. Nevertheless, they shall remain pagan in every respect, and though they give their power to the beast for "one hour," for "a little season," this cannot possibly last.
The Final War Will Be Between the Nominally Christian World and the Heathen Nations
The future combined one-world power of the nominally Christian nations and heathen nations cannot last, because ultimately the ten kings shall hate the whore and shall make her desolate and naked and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire (Revelation 17:16). Therefore, shortly before the end of this world, the devil's final deception of the nations shall take place.
The heathen nations and the nominally Christian world will ultimately gather as separate forces for the last war, which will be a world war in the strictest sense of the word.
Looking upon the nominally Christian world, which in fact will be an anti-Christian civilization, the heathen nations shall do as the nations of the old dispensation did with respect to Jerusalem; that is, they shall say: "Let us go up to Jerusalem; let Zion be defiled; let our eye look upon Zion!" And again the Lord will use the hostile spirit of the heathen nations to destroy the anti-Christian power and eat the flesh of the great whore.
In Revelation chapters 16 and 17, there mention is made of ten kings who as yet have received no kingdom, but shall receive power as kings for one hour with the beast: their dominion shall last but "one hour" with the beast; that is, "a little season." In Revelation chapter 20, the reference is evidently to the same going forth of the devil to the nations, the kings of the whole world that live on the four quarters of the earth, to deceive them and gather them for battle.
It is especially Gog and Magog that look upon all Christendom, no matter how apostate, as the beloved city, even as the heathen nations in the old dispensation considered earthly Jerusalem to be the city of God no matter how apostate and wicked it had become. The nations of Gog and Magog, in compassing about and coming to battle against Christendom in its widest sense, certainly intend to destroy "the beloved city," the cause of Christ, and to make paganism supreme in the world. In this, they reveal their wickedness and become ripe for the judgment. God nevertheless uses them to inflict His judgments upon the anti-Christian world.
The final result of this anti-Christian influence will be that the nations thus affected will unite their forces for war, the last war that shall ever be fought on earth. However, they will never touch the camp of the saints: the people of God shall look for the coming redemption, which shall then be very near.
The True Israel of God Shall Experience Great Tribulation Before Christ Returns
This future one-world power, this kingdom of man under Satan, shall be complete: it shall be a kingdom which has sway over all the universe, over all men, over all the powers of creation. It shall be a kingdom in which man worships his own work and in which the devil is lord supreme.
This world power to come shall lay down the rules for religious life in particular: it shall tell all men how they must worship and what they must worship. It shall be a new system of thought and religion, with a new creed, universal in its scope and, at the same time, with a new god. That new god will be the devil incarnate, the great world power, whom all shall admire and worship and for whom all shall erect an image in order that they may worship the same.
At this time to come, there still shall be saints of the Most High on earth: the remnant of the seed of the woman still shall be there; they shall not yet be taken to heaven. And, of course, they will refuse to go along with all this beautiful and worldwide movement. They will refuse to adopt the philosophy; they will refuse to wonder at its great signs; they will refuse to adopt its religion; they will refuse to worship the beast and the dragon.
The Church will refuse to worship the beast; therefore, the saints cannot be tolerated, and they must be discovered so that this great universal kingdom of the devil may be rid of them. It is certain that the difference between the followers of antichrist and the followers of Christ shall be there and that this difference shall be very obvious. The false prophet, the power of false science and philosophy and religion, shall see to it that the distinction is very public and evident to all so that only his followers may share in the blessings of this great kingdom.
Just as only the followers of Christ shall share in the blessings of the kingdom of God, so also the followers of antichrist only shall reap the benefits of this universal world kingdom. The rest, who do not have the "mark of the beast," shall be excluded and boycotted in every respect.
All things shall be under the control of this great and universal world power: the very necessities of life shall be in its power. It can surely allow or prevent buying and selling according to its good pleasure. The saints of Christ who do not worship the image, and who refuse to receive the mark of the beast, shall not be able to do business; they shall not be able to buy or to sell. They shall not be able to live along with this great society. They shall not be able to buy the necessities of life. They shall be outcasts, mocked at, held in derision, thrust aside, ousted from society, and killed.
Those shall be terrible days. They shall be more terrible than any form of persecution that the children of God have ever experienced. There shall be no place for them on earth. So terrible shall those days be that many shall fall who appeared to be children of the Most High, and the very elect would not be able to resist were it not for the fact that the days shall be shortened.
The devil is in the world already: he works in the world; he has made many bold attempts already to reach his culmination; and his final manifestation will be the consummation of a long process of development. In the devil's last attempt to oppose God’s plan, he simply will realize his own kingdom, or he will attempt to realize it, and boldly set it up.
The devil, to whom the kingdoms of the world belong, shall succeed in combining all his kingdoms under one head and inspiring them all with the same principle. All the signs of the times point to such a tremendous global power, to such a league of the nations that has control over all things, to such a unity of all religion in which man is exalted and the Christ of the Scriptures is blasphemed.
The dragon's power and authority itself is limited: it is well that we bear this in mind, for it is to our comfort. It assures us from the outset that the power and authority of this anti-Christian kingdom, however great, is not unlimited and that Christ, who has all power, is mightier than antichrist.
Why are we given a complete picture of the anti-Christian Kingdom in the book of Revelation? So that we might clearly recognize it when it is revealed. And what then must we do when we see it is come? Must we oppose it. You may ask, "Must we fight it with the sword?" That, of course, is completely impossible. It will come. It must come. And to oppose its coming is entirely vain. Its coming is irresistible. And the battle is not one of the sword.
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints, that in all these times they remain faithful and refuse to deny the Christ and that they wait for the day of His coming.
God created a world that should glorify Him and be consecrated to Him, but that world tore itself loose from Him and refused to glorify Him. Man has now developed the kingdom of the world without God, and God allows this kingdom of the world to develop to its full extent.
Although man has fallen away from Him, God nevertheless allows man to exercise dominion over the earthly creation and to bring to light all the hidden powers and talents of creation to their fullest degree. In this kingdom we have the anti-Christian beasts described in the book of Revelation, which represent the highest development of the sovereignty of man apart from God, and under the devil they shall develop all the powers of creation without God.
This kingdom to come is the climax of the development of the man of sin: it is the kingdom of man, of the creature, without God, without the seven. And therefore his number is 666, the number of man indeed. You may see him rise before your very eyes in the world of today. Hence, we must watch and pray that we may not fall into temptation. We must be faithful unto the end.
It is not our calling to resist the coming kingdom of antichrist, for that is impossible. We cannot prevent its coming; however, we must watch and be prepared. Here is the patience of the saints; here is wisdom. We must know how it will come so that we may recognize its coming and be faithful even unto the end.
God grant that we may be found watching in that day so that we may not be allured by all the beauty and fascination and by the Christian appearance, strength and stability of this world kingdom to come. Let us not be allured by the signs and wonders of the false prophet, but let us remain faithful even unto the very end so that no one may take our crowns.
"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." --Luke 17:26-30
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” --John 16:33
"I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." --Matthew 28:20
Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day. --Psalms 25:5
It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, and in trust all the days of our lives. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you;
In both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,
And of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,
Walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of His coming?
For since the fathers fell asleep,
All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of,
That by the Word of God the heavens were of old,
And the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store,
Reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,
That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness;
But is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
But that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;
In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat,
The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,
What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,
Wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to His promise,
Look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Therefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
Be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
Even as our beloved brother Paul also,
According to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things;
In which are some things hard to be understood,
Which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,
As they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before,
Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked,
Fall from your own stedfastness.
But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
--2 Peter Chapter 3