“He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.”
Revelation 20:8-9 NLT
The devil has been released from prison, the bottomless pit, and he wastes no time. He is the master of deceit and he goes out and convinces the nations, called Gog and Magog, to form a mighty army.
Firstly, who or what was Gog and Magog? We know that Magog was a grandson of Noah and he is thought to have moved north of Israel, possibly to what is now Europe. And in Ezekiel 38;1-2 we read, “This is another message that came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, turn and face Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him”. But whoever Gog and Magog were, and there has been much conjecture and quite a few suggestions, the facts are that a huge army was put together, comprising people from “every corner of the earth”. Who were these people? They must have been all those alive during the latter stages of the millennium, who were still rebelling against God, and had been deceived by the devil, who had promised them that they could defeat Jesus and His people, thus being able to enjoy their evil and sin-filled lives once again. There were many of them – John, in his vision, saw that they were as “numberless as sand along the seashore”. As John watched, they “surrounded God’s people and the beloved city”, which was of course Jerusalem. But God’s solution to all of this was to burn them all up with fire from Heaven. We read in 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9, “… He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power”. Hebrews 12:28-29 reads, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire”. Fire appears throughout the Bible as the instrument of God’s judgement on those who reject Him and His grace.
We pilgrims work for God. We build on the foundation, the corner stone, that is Jesus. We hope and pray that the work we do is of value to God, but in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 we read, “But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames”. God is the master builder. He teaches us all well. But the implication is that we can get involved in much that is of no value and one day it will be destroyed by fire. Only the work that God wants us to do will last. Pilgrims like us can easily get involved in things that don’t fit in with God’s will and purposes for us. And the result can be overload and burnout. I often think about Jesus and the incident in the Pool of Bethesda, where there were many sick people, all waiting for bubbles to appear (they believed that an angel with miraculous healing powers occasional stirred the water and the first one in got healed). Jesus only healed one person that day – a man who had been sick for thirty eight years. But He didn’t heal the rest. Why? Because Jesus only did what His father wanted Him to do. The Amplified version of John 5:19 reads, “So Jesus answered them by saying, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself [of His own accord], unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever things the Father does, the Son [in His turn] also does in the same way.”
A problem in Christian churches can be that about ninety percent of the work required seems to be accomplished by ten percent of the people. And in many churches, it is the minister who tries to fulfil the five fold ministries described in Ephesians 4:11-12, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” So a question we pilgrims must ask ourselves is this – is the work I am doing for God what He has asked me to do? And, conversely, the second question – is there work that God has asked me to do and I’m being disobedient and not doing it? Questions we must bring under the gaze of the Master Builder. He will enlighten us, I’m sure.
Father God. Thank You that we are part of Your master plan for the human race. Please lead and guide us through our daily lives, helping us do just those tasks You want us to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.