Chapter 20

 

The Time of the End of the World.

 

Satan Bound for 1000 Years. v1 - 3.

 

1. "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand."

 

In Rev. 9:11 the key to the abyss (bottomless pit) was temporarily given to Satan that he might unlock it and release the demons to torment the people of earth.  Now an angel of God once again has possession of the key and holds a great chain in his hand.

 

2. "He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."

 

With God given might and authority the angel seizes and overpowers Satan. (Note: All the names given to Satan in the Bible are listed here, except Lucifer, the name he lost when he rebelled against God  - Isaiah 14:12). The devil is securely bound with the chain of God's authority and purpose (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6).

 

3. "And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while."

 

The Devil is then hurled into the abyss which is shut, locked and sealed so that no one can free him. He was securely bound so that he would not be able to deceive the nations for a period of 1000 years. After this time God has determined to set him free for a season.

 

 

The Saint's Reign with Christ. v4 - 6.

 

4. "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

 

The vision that John has here is of two groups of people joined as one. Firstly, the Church which was taken up in the rapture (1 Thes. 4:16 - 17). To them is given the right to judge the world (1 Cor. 6:2). But in addition, the group now includes those who lost their lives because they did not worship the Anti-Christ or his image or receive his mark. These are the 144,000 who were sealed in Rev. 7:4. These two groups have now become one to live and reign with Christ during the millennium period.

 

5. "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."

 

Those belonging to Christ who had died before the rapture were resurrected first (1 Thes. 4:15 - 16). Those who were alive at His coming were changed together with them (1 Cor. 15:50 - 52).  The term "First Resurrection" is used here is to distinguish between the resurrection of the faithful who were slaughtered by the Anti-Christ and the resurrection of unbelievers that shall take place after Christ's Millennium Reign. However, the following verse shows that the "First Resurrection" embraces all the saints, those raised at the time of the rapture and the faithful who are killed by the Anti-Christ. The distinction is simple: believers are resurrected first to eternal life and then unbelievers to eternal judgement.

 

6. "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

 

Those who partake in the "First Resurrection" are blessed and holy. The second death has no power over them for they were saved from it by Jesus Christ.  They will be priests of God and Christ forever and will reign with Him during the Millennium.  Verse 14 and Rev. 21:8 make it clear that the phrase "second death" refers to being thrown into the lake of fire. This is not the utter annihilation of the soul, for the soul will never cease to exist. Rather, it is a state of eternal separation from God and perpetual torment.

 

 

Satan Released. v7 - 10.

 

7, 8. "Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea."

 

For a thousand years the earth will be free from all strife and enjoy the blessings of God. "Yet, amid all the tokens of God's goodness, amid prosperity and fruitfulness, human nature will remain unchanged"  (Fredk. A. Tatford). Remember that during this time the Lord Jesus Christ will rule with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:15). The nations of earth will submit to his rule, but not willingly. When the thousand years have ended Satan will be released from his prison and return to his former business of deceiving the nations. They will be ready and willing to be taken in by him. Satan will gather together "Gog and Magog" a reference to all the nations of the ungodly. They will be too numerous to count and will gather together to destroy the saints.

 

9. "They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them."

 

The hosts of Satan spread over the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints outside Jerusalem, encircling the whole city. But the battle was never fought. Fire came down from God out of heaven and consumed His enemies.

 

10. "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."

 

The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the lake of fire where the Anti-Christ and false prophet were. There they will be continually tormented forevermore.

 

 

The Judgement of Unbelievers. v11 - 15.  

 

11. "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them."

 

The scene is now set for the great white throne judgement, which immediately follows the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ. At this bar of God, unbelievers will receive their final sentence.  It is great because the One who sits on it is the judge of the whole earth and will judge justly (Gen. 18:25). The absolute purity and holiness of this Supreme Court are symbolised by the throne's white colour. The One who has been appointed to judge by God is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:22; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16). Before this judgement takes place the heavens and the earth will be dissolved. They will be found no more (2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 6:14).

 

12. "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books."

 

At this second resurrection the unbelieving dead, whatever their station in life, shall stand before God. The books containing the record of every individual's deeds throughout life will be opened.  The Book of Life in which is written all the names of those who received the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour will also be opened. This is simply to show that the names of those standing before the Great White Throne are not in it and that their rejection of Christ who could have forgiven their sins has sealed their ultimate doom. The dead are judged and punished according to what they had done, which was written in the books.

 

13. "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works."

 

This verse makes clear that the Great White Throne will be a universal and general judgement of unbelievers. The sea, death or hell could not withhold the dead as each was summoned to be judged according to his deeds.  

 

14. "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

 

Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire as there is no further use for them. No one will ever die physically again and no one else will go to hell anymore. The second death is the lake of fire, a conscious state of torment and separation from God.

 

15. "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

 

This is the punishment due to all whose names are not found written in the Book of Life, who had not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour - they were thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20 Bible Study

 

The Pentecostal Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians

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