5/18/10 The background allusion here is Eze 38-39. The thousand years are done. Satan has been imprisoned on the decimated earth with no one to deceive because the wicked died at the glory of the Second Coming and the righteous went to heaven. The holy city coming down isn’t described until the next chapter, but this scene takes place after the holy city has descended from heaven.
Satan is released by a resurrection of all the wicked who have lived since the beginning. Fhe forces of Gog in Ezekiel are listed and they are all traceable back to Noah. So Satan deceives the nations (four corners of the earth) convincing them that they can take the city for themselves.
There is an innumerable host of them and they surround the city. It would have to be a great number in order to surround a city that is possibly 1,500 miles per side, or maybe 300 miles. Still, either way, it’s big.
When the New Jerusalem descends it creates a vast plain. This is where the wicked gather and God rains down fire upon them. This is hell. They are devoured, literally “ate down.” They will be like stubble, says Malachi. The devil himself will receive his punishment and the earth will be purified of all evil and made ready for re-creation.