But this is not the end. For “when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven and destroyed them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
What is here presented in a separate vision had partly been pictured in a different setting in preceding chapters. We may gather from Revelation 16:12-16 that this deception of the nations that live on the four quarters of the earth by the devil, to gather them together for battle, will be realized in the period of the sixth vial. This is also in harmony with the statement in Revelation 20:3 that “he must be loosed for a little season.” Shortly before the end of this world this final deception of the nations shall take place. In Chapter 16 we read this: “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” In this passage the reference is evidently to the same going forth of the devils to the nations that live on the four quarters of the earth, the kings of the whole world, to deceive them and gather them for battle. And we learn besides that this deception of the nations through the devil shall proceed immediately from the anti-Christian kingdom. Unclean spirits shall proceed from the center of the antichristian world, and they shall have their influence upon the nations that live on the four corners of the earth. It matters not now what is presented by these unclean spirits. They certainly signify a three-fold influence of the antichristian civilization. And the final result of this three-fold antichristian influence will be that the nations thus affected will unite their forces for war, the last war, that shall ever be fought on earth.
Again, a similar presentation of the same period of history we find in Revelation 17:12-17. There mention is made of ten kings that as yet have received no kingdom, but shall receive power as kings one hour with the beast. The fact that they are kings in distinction from the anti-Christian power proper, as well as the fact that their dominion shall last but one hour with the beast, that is, “a little season,” suggests that these ten kings are again the same as the power of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20, and as the kings of the whole world and the kings of the east that are mentioned in Revelation 16. If this is correct, then we learn from the passage in Revelation 17 that the first result of the deceptive influence of the devil through the medium of the three-fold antichristian influence will be that the heathen nations of Gog and Magog shall join into one great world power with the central antichristian dominion. 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. However, this cannot last. For 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. Rev. 17:16. The ultimate result, therefore, of the deception of the devil through the antichristian influences upon the heathen nations shall be that they shall be gathered for battle against the very center of the antichristian dominion.
If we combine these different elements, which undoubtedly have bearing upon the same historic event of the future, we may come to the following conception. In the nominally Christian world shall ultimately be realized the final consummation of the antichristian world-power, the power of the beast and the false prophet. It will be an empire in which shall be represented the highest ambitions of man; and they shall be realized to the utmost. From a purely humanistic viewpoint, it will be a glorious kingdom. And thoroughly humanistic it will surely be: religiously, scientifically, socially, industrially, and politically. But it will be anti-God, anti-Christ, and anti-church. The saints that refuse to receive the mark of the beast shall have no place in that kingdom. In the meantime, influences shall issue forth from that central realization of the antichristian kingdom upon the nations that live on the four corners of the earth. And these nations shall be civilized. 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. But under the influence of the so-called mission work of the anti-Christian unclean spirits, they were indeed awakened out of their prolonged slumber, became conscious of their power, and quickly adopted the antichristian civilization. Nevertheless, they remained pagan in every respect. Though, they give their power to the beast for one hour, for a little season, this cannot possibly last. The deception of the devil must work out till the bitter end. And they 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 will in fact be antichristian, though the church will still exist in her midst—as the real Christian nations, as the church of Christ indeed, they shall do as the nations of the old dispensation did with respect to Jerusalem, and shall say: “Let us go up to Jerusalem; let Zion be defiled; let our eye look upon Zion!” This shall be their guilt; for their purpose shall be to fight against the camp of the saints and the beloved city, against God and His Christ and against the church. But it will also be their deception. For, as in the old dispensation God used the nations in their hatred against the Holy City to chasten and destroy a Jerusalem that had actually become Sodom, so He will use the hostile spirit of the heathen nations to destroy the antichristian power and eat the flesh of the great whore. The camp of the saints they will never touch. The people of God shall look for the coming redemption, which shall then be very nigh. For it will be upon this final scene of confusion and iniquity that the Lord will appear in judgment to destroy His enemies and to deliver His saints, in order to give them the victory forever.
If we thus conceive of the end of Gog and Magog, it is needless to conclude that we are living in significant times. A humanistic modernism claims the right and title to the name of Christianity—a religion without the Christ of the Scriptures, without the incarnation of the Son of God, without the cross, without the resurrection, a religion of this world, based on human imagination rather than on the Word of God in the Scriptures. In the meantime, the power of men develops with tremendous strides in every sphere of life. And the influence of this modern spirit is felt far outside of the Christian world. For modernism has its missionaries. The nations on the four corners of the earth are waking up. The millions upon millions in China and Japan clamor for their own place in the midst of the nations of the world. No, we do not mean to speak of the day and the hour when Christ shall come. But we do emphasize that God’s people must not be deceived. They must know the times and know what Israel ought to do at all times and seasons. They must above all watch, and keep the testimony of Jesus and the Word of God; and they must steadfastly refuse to worship the beast and the image of the beast.