Chapter 20 of Revelation breaks down as follows:
1. The Expulsion of Satan from the Earth – Revelation 20:1-3
2. The First Resurrection Completed, the Millennium or Thousand-Year Reign of Christ and His Saints on Earth – Revelation 20:4-6
3. Satan’s Post-Millennial Career and Doom – Revelation 20:7-9
4. Satan Doomed to the Lake of Fire Forever – Revelation 20:10
5. The Second Resurrection and the Final Judgment of the Wicked Dead, Fallen Angels, and Demons – Revelation 20:11-15
The Expulsion of Satan from the Earth – Revelation 20:1-3
The first verse tells of an angel coming down from Heaven having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain binding satan. Angels have spirit bodies, but that does not mean there is no substance to them. Spirit bodies have a spirit substance. Angels can lay hold of the bodies of other angels. They can be confined to material places and material chains with doors and locks.
We are not told who this angel is. However, we do know that he is a mighty angel. When it uses the term “he laid hold”, the Greek word is krateo, which means “to be strong and mighty.” So, I think it would be obvious that this angel, whoever he is, would have to be powerful to overcome satan. We are told that he has the key of the bottomless pit. This could well be the angel described in Revelation Chapter 9 “…and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” (Revelation 9:1) His mission will be to imprison satan.
Here, satan is called “the dragon” and “the devil.” Satan, originally called Lucifer, was the most beautiful angel God ever created, and it seems that, at the beginning, he outranked every other angel. “…Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty… Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:12,15).
Many people think that satan resides in hell. However, this is not true. Satan now occupies the earth according to Job 1:7, the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:2), and at times, Heaven itself (Job 1:6).
When satan is cast into the bottomless pit at the beginning of the millennial reign, this will be the first time that he will have been locked away. He will be confined there for a thousand years before being consigned forever to the lake of fire. The seal set upon him speaks of the abyss being sealed to keep him there so he cannot deceive the nations.
We are not given much information about the short rebellion that will take place at the end of the millennial reign. It just says, “and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (Revelation 20:3b) We are not told how long he will be loosed. It just uses the term “little season”. If the little season here is the same as the short time in Revelation 12:12 and the short space in Revelation 17:10, it will mean 3 ½ years. However, more than likely, it will not last that long. The prayer of Jesus will finally be answered “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Man has never seen earth as God intended it to be. Man has never seen himself as God intended. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, everything was perverted. Evolution says that everything is gradually getting better. God’s Word says that everything is gradually getting worse (2 Timothy 3:1). The cause of all of man’s problems, satan himself, will be locked away. Then, for the first time in human history, man will see this planet as God intended. What a blessed time it will be.
I read about a dream that The Lord gave. A number of people were there gathered in a large room of a large building. There must have been several hundred people. I walked around the side of the room and finally to the back of it. There was a hall with Corinthian columns separating the outer wall from the hall. I walked to the edge, and suddenly, I saw a figure to my left. At the outset, He did not say anything to me, just looked at me. But as I looked at Him, in a moment’s time, I realized that this was The Lord. He was dressed in a beautiful, flowing, white garment, and even though I cannot remember exactly what He looked like, I remember the total peace, calmness and serenity that was expressed on His countenance. Then, He said something to me that startled me, “Do you want to see satan,” He asked? I did not answer immediately. Somewhat taken aback by the question, I just stood there. Then, I nodded my head in the affirmative. He said, “Follow Me.” He walked around in front of me and started down the hall. No one in the room paid any attention to us. I followed Him. He then left the room, continuing to walk down the hall. Then, He stopped. He was beside a closed door. He looked at me, then very quietly opened the door. The door opened into an adequately furnished room. Standing at the back of the room was a figure that looked exactly like a man. He was looking off into the distance. Both The Lord and I were standing in the door looking at this figure. He did not seem to notice us. I looked back at The Lord and said, “Is this satan?” The Lord did not answer immediately. He stood there for a moment looking at the figure then said softly, “Yes. That is satan.” As I stared at satan for a few moments, I realized the traces of beauty he once had were still very obvious. The Lord then beckoned me to step back into the hall. He quietly closed the door. I just stood there and started to weep. I looked up at The Lord, and asked “Is that the one who has caused me so much trouble?” As I stood there with tears rolling down my cheeks, once again, The Lord did not answer immediately. But He finally answered in a soft voice, “Yes. This is the one who has caused you so much trouble.”
Not only has satan caused me so much trouble, but he has been the cause of all the pain, suffering, sickness, heartache, war, and destruction the world has ever known. Long ago, Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:…” (John 10:10). So, this one who has caused so much heartache on earth is going to be locked away for a thousand years and then forever.
The First Resurrection Completed, the Millennium or Thousand-Year Reign of Christ and His Saints on Earth – Revelation 20:4-6
The thrones mentioned in verse 4 pertain to the thrones that the saints of God will have. When all the redeemed come back with The Lord at The Second Coming, they will come back in a ruling and reigning capacity. John immediately refers to the tremendous number of martyrs in the Great Tribulation period. These, too, will be resurrected and given thrones. They will rule and reign with Christ for a thousand years and forever. All the redeemed who lived before the Rapture and those who gave their lives for the cause of Christ during the Great Tribulation period make up the children of God.
In verse 5, John mentions “the rest of the dead”, which speaks of those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Rapture, along with other resurrections during the Great Tribulation period, constitutes the first resurrection. It will only involve the saints of God. The second resurrection of damnation will only include those who would not live for God. They will not be resurrected until after the millennial reign, which is approximately a thousand years after the first resurrection, which will pertain only to the wicked. Again, they will be separated by about a thousand years. All of the wicked dead are, at this moment, in hell. They will remain there throughout the kingdom of God on earth, commonly referred to as The Millennial Reign and will stand before God only in the second resurrection of damnation. It will be called “the Great White Throne Judgment.”
Everyone who has a part in the first resurrection is called “Blessed and holy” and will not be touched by the second resurrection of damnation. All of these redeemed called “Blessed and holy” shall be priests of God and Christ. This is the ruling capacity we mentioned in the fourth verse. Every child of God shall reign with Christ a thousand years, and as we have previously mentioned, forever. From this passage, we derive the doctrine of the millennium.
The word “millennium” is not mentioned in the Bible. It is a Latin word, “mille” which means a thousand and “annus” which means a year. So, it speaks of a thousand years. The phrase “thousand years” is used six times in the 20th Chapter of Revelation. It is given several names in Scripture:
1. The Thousand Year Reign of Christ – Revelation 20:2, 4-7
2. The Dispensation of the Fullness of Time – Ephesians 1:10
3. The Day of The Lord – Isaiah 2:12; Ezekiel 39:22
4. The Age to Come – Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Ephesians 1:21
5. The Kingdom of Christ and of God – Ephesians 5:5; 2 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 11:15
6. The Kingdom of God – Mark 14:25; Luke 19:11
7. The Kingdom of Heaven – Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 7:21, 8:11
8. The Regeneration – Matthew 19:28
9. The Times of Restitution (Restoration) of All Things – Acts 3:20-21
10. The Consolation of Israel – Luke 2:25
11. The Redemption of Jerusalem – Luke 2:38
12. The Kingdom of His Dear Son – Colossians 1:13; 2 Peter 1:11
Many things are going to happen in the Millennial Reign. Some of them are as follows:
1. Satan will be bound – Revelation 20:10
2. It will be between the Second Advent and the New Heaven and the New Earth – Revelation 19:19
3. The Kingdom will be literal and earthly – Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44-45; Zechariah 14; Revelation 5:10
4. It will be a Theocratic government – Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 43:7; Daniel 2:44-45; Zechariah 14; Revelation 5:10
5. David will rule over all of Israel under Christ – Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:24; Hosea 3:4-5
6. Each apostle will rule over one tribe – Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30
7. All saints will have a part in ruling as kings and priests – Revelation 20:4
8. The world capital will be Jerusalem – Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 48; Zechariah 14
9.The kingdom will be worldwide – Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44-45; Zechariah 14
10. Certain classes will not inherit the kingdom – 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19-21
11. The judgment of the living nations at the Second Advent will determine who is worthy of entrance into the kingdom – Matthew 25:31-46
12. All nations will be required to send representatives to Jerusalem once a year to acknowledge Christ – Zechariah 14:16-21; Isaiah 2:1-4. There will be civil and religious laws for all nations – Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 9:6; Zechariah 14:16-21;
1 Corinthians 15:24-28
13. The Gentile nations will be located in the part of the earth God gave to each nation and race – Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26
14. Israel will be given all the original promised land – Genesis 15:14-18; Isaiah 60:21; Ezekiel 47:13; 48
15. The world capital building will be the future Jewish temple at Jerusalem – Ezekiel 43:7; Zechariah 6:12-13
16. A river will flow out from under the temple southward and divide into two branches, one going into the Mediterranean and one going into the Dead Sea, the waters of which will be healed and have many fish –Ezekiel 47; Zechariah 14:8
17. All the former sacrifices, feasts, and rituals of the temple worship will be continued as eternal memorials of that which Christ fulfilled – Ezekiel 43:19-27; Zechariah 14:16; Isaiah 6:6, 19:24
18. Universal knowledge of The Lord will be manifest – Isaiah 11:9; Zechariah 8:22-23
19. The Jews will, again, be missionaries to evangelize the nations – Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 61:6, 66:18-21; Zechariah 8:23
20. There will be one universal worship – Malachi 1:11; Zechariah 14:16-21; Isaiah 2:2-4; Joel 2:28-31; Jeremiah 31:31-36;
21. Divine healing for the body will be experienced by all – Isaiah 32:1-5; 1 Peter 2:24
22. There will be universal peace – Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 9:6-7; Micah 4:3-4
23. Universal prosperity will be a reality – Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:4-5
24. Human life will be prolonged indefinitely – Isaiah 65:20-25; Zechariah 8:4
25. Light from the planets will be increased sevenfold – Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 60:18-22
26. Animal natures will be changed as before the fall – Isaiah 11:6-8; Romans 8:18-23
27. The desert will blossom again as a rose – Isaiah 35:1-10; Ezekiel 36:8-12; Amos 9:13-15
28. The Jews (Israel) will be the head of all nations under the Messiah – Deuteronomy 28:1-14
29. Fruitful seasons will be enjoyed without interruption – Isaiah 30:23-25; Ezekiel 34:26; Zechariah 14:18
30. Material blessings will fill the earth – Isaiah 29:17; Isaiah 55:13; Jeremiah 31:27; Ezekiel 34:27; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13
31. Waste places of the earth will be restored to usefulness – Isaiah 32:16-18; Ezekiel 36:8-38; Amos 9:14-15
32. There will be normal increase of mankind – Genesis 1:26-28; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 30:19; Hosea 1:10
We can see this is going to be a great day. No wonder Jesus prayed “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done…” That should be our continuous prayer as well. Shortly, it will be answered.
Satan’s Post-Millennial Career and Doom – Revelation 20:7-9
When the thousand years come to an end, satan will be loosed out of his pit. Once again, he will be allowed to go throughout the earth to deceive the nations who have served Christ but actually have not wanted to, and who, in their hearts, have longed for an opportunity to get rid of such laws and rigid suppression of their lust (Ephesians 2:1-3). These rebels will mobilize in the land of Gog and Magog, which is north of Palestine in Asia and northern Europe and descend upon Jerusalem from the north. Ezekiel 38 and 39, during the battle of Armageddon, refer to the same area. The rebels from all parts of the earth will surround the camp of the saints of the capital city, Jerusalem. The Bible said that fire will come down from God out of Heaven and devour every single rebel (2 Peter 3:10-13).
Then, satan will be cast into the lake of fire forever. The entire planet will be forced to serve God during the Millennial Reign. The saints of God will have no desire other than to serve God, but one must remember that hundreds of millions of people will be brought out of the Great Tribulation period at the Second Coming into the Millennial Reign, people who are not born again. Many of these will, no doubt, give their hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. However, it seems that a great number will not. During this thousand years, the saints will have glorified bodies which cannot die. However, the natural people, who will come over from the Great Tribulation period, will have normal, physical bodies. These bodies can die. And some of these individuals will not accept Christ. They will commit sins worthy of the death penalty and will be executed and consigned to hell. They will be brought up at the resurrection of damnation. There will be many individuals who will not serve The Lord, but because of the power of Christ, will not commit death penalty sins. They will be allowed to remain alive and carry on normal functions. However, in their hearts, they will chafe at being forced to live for God against their will. And when satan is loosed from the bottomless pit for a little season, all of these individuals, whomever they may be, numbered “as the sand of the sea”, will throw in their forces with satan, and once again, lead a rebellion against God. This number “as the sand of the sea” will turn on Jesus and the saints. It also seems that the rebellion will be short-lived with fire coming down from God out of Heaven devouring them.
Satan Doomed to the Lake of Fire Forever – Revelation 20:10
The beast and the false prophet were cast into the lake of fire one thousand years before this, according to Revelation 19:20. They are still there providing that hell and eternal torment are realities. Satan, called “the devil” will be cast into the lake of fire with them, and not only with them, but with the hundreds of millions, even billions that he has deceived throughout the ages. The Bible says they will be tormented day and night forever and forever, signifying the eternity of hell.
The Second Resurrection and the Final Judgment of the Wicked Dead, Fallen Angels, and Demons – Revelation 20:11-15
This is called “The Great White Throne Judgment.” The Lord Jesus Christ will be the eternal judge, and He will sit on this Great White Throne. When it speaks of heaven and earth fleeing away, it does not mean they will pass out of existence. It simply refers to the shaking of the heavens and the earth as if they were actually passing away (Psalms 18:7; Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 64:1-3). This is called the second resurrection or the second death according to Revelation 20:6. The Heaven and the earth fleeing away also refers to the great renovation of the heavens and the earth by fire (2 Peter 3:10-13).
It would seem that this Great White Throne judgment will take place in Heaven or possibly on earth. What a horror for every soul in hell to be taken out to stand at the Great White Throne Judgment. The only ones will be those who had no part in the first resurrection. All will stand before God. The Bible says the books will be opened. He speaks of another book being opened, which is the Book of Life. So, we have two sets of books, those referred to as “the books” and the one referred to as “the book of life”.
In “the books”, every single thing ever done by anyone is written down. Those who are judged will have no recourse. They will realize that their actions, thoughts, and words and deeds have been recorded for all to see. “(T)he dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” None shall escape this judgment. Scripture tells us that hell will deliver up those who are there. According to the story Jesus told of the rich man living in hell in Luke 16, there is a great cry to be released from this place of torments. However, even though all who are there will be released for this great judgment, there will be no joy in this release. God has always been exact. No one will be able to say, “I do not deserve death in hell,” because the books will record that they would not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. It will record, as well, the evil deeds that have been committed, which the evil dead would not allow to be placed under the blood of Christ. Thank God every past wickedness carried out by every child of God has been washed by the Blood of the Lamb. That is the only way for the terrible sins to be erased. If one does not allow the blood of Christ to wash their sins away, they remain there forever and will, one day, stare at the guilty party to remind him forever.
In verse 13, the term “death and hell” is used. Death is an enemy. It came about as a result of the fall. It is closely connected with hell. Jesus defeated death at Calvary and the Resurrection. He also defeated hell at Calvary and the Resurrection. The only way one can escape the Second Death and eternal hell is by accepting The Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. At the Great White Throne Judgment, death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire, which pertains to everyone who has ever lived without accepting Jesus. This is called the Second Death. All of the evil dead will see every sin they have ever committed outlined in all the books and then the Book of Life will be opened, and their names will not be there. They will be lost forever. This is the second resurrection of damnation, the Second Death.
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven,
-continues with the idea that angels are very prominent in the plan and work of God
having the key of the bottomless pit
-speaks of the same place recorded in Revelation 9:1. However, the key is given to satan, but this angel of Revelation 20:1 “has the key,” implying that he has had it all along. More than likely, God allows this angel to give the key to satan in Revelation 9:1.
and a great chain in his hand.
-should be taken literally
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan,
-As a “dragon”, he shows his power. As a “serpent”, he shows his cunning. As a “devil”, he is the accuser, and as “satan”, he is the adversary.
and bound him a thousand years,
-refers to being bound by the great chain carried by the angel
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him,
-speaks of the abyss being sealed to keep him there
that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
-At the end of the thousand-year period, satan will be loosed out of his prison. He will make another attempt to deceive the nations in which he will not succeed. We are not told how long this “little season” will be.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:
-refers to the 24 elders who represent the entire plan of God, which pertains to the redeemed of all ages. We aren’t told who these men are.
and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
-categorizes the tribulation saints who gave their lives for the cause of Christ. The idea is that these will be included in the first resurrection of life and will enjoy all its privileges.
and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
-This is the Kingdom Age.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
-This pertains to all the unsaved, in fact, those who lived and died since the dawn of time. The souls and spirits of these people are now in hell (Luke 16:19-31).
This is the first resurrection.
-proclaims the fact that these two resurrections, the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust, will be separated by a thousand years
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
-This is the resurrection of life, which will include every saint of God who has ever lived from Abel to the last tribulation saint. All will be given glorified bodies.
on such the second death hath no power,
-The “second death” is to be cast into the lake of fire and to be there forever and ever according to Revelation 21:8. All who are washed in the Blood of the Lamb need not fear the second death. Praise God!
but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
-All believers who have part in the first resurrection will, at the same time, serve as mediators, so to speak, between the population of the world and God and Christ. The “thousand years” proclaims the Kingdom Age when Christ will reign supreme over the entire earth.
7 And when the thousand years are expired,
-should have been translated “finished”
Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
-It is not meant to infer a mere arbitrary act on the part of God. He has a very valid reason for doing this.
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog,
-The main reason the Lord allows satan this latitude is, it seems, to rid the earth of all who opposed Christ. The creation of the Sabbath witnessed the first seduction and the Millennial Sabbath will witness the last. The “Gog and Magog”, spoken of by John, is a Hebrew term expressive of multitude and magnitude. Here, it embraces all nations, “the four quarters of the earth”.
to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
-proclaims the fact that virtually all the population, at that particular time, which did not accept Christ during the Kingdom Age, will throw in their lot with satan
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:
-pictures satan coming against Jerusalem with his army, which will be the last attack against that city
and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
-stipulates that The Lord will make short work of this insurrection. In fact, very little information is given regarding this event.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,
-marks the end of satan regarding his influence in the world, and in fact, in any part of the creation of God. Praise The Lord!
where the beast and the false prophet are,
-proclaims the fact that these two were placed in “the lake of fire and brimstone” some one thousand years earlier (Revelation 19:20)
and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
-This signifies the eternity of this place. It is a matter of interest to note that satan’s first act is recorded in Genesis Chapter 3, the third chapter from the beginning, whereas his last act on a worldwide scale is mentioned in Revelation Chapter 20, the third chapter from the end.
Great White Throne Judgment
11 And I saw a great white throne,
-proclaims the final judgment of the unredeemed, which will take place at the end of the Kingdom Age
and him that sat on it,
-proclaims none other than God. However, we must understand that it is the person of the Godhead, The Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:31). He is the Savior today. He will be The Judge tomorrow.
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
-This means a new heaven and a new earth are in the offing.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
-pertains to the second resurrection, the resurrection of damnation (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 5:29)
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
-proclaims the manner of judgement
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:
-points to the fact that every unredeemed person who has ever lived will face the Great White Throne Judgment. None will be exempted.
and they were judged every man according to their works.
-records the fact that this judgment is not arbitrary but is based on absolute justice
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
-combined includes the wicked of all ages
This is the second death.
-eternal separation from God in the lake of fire
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life
-refers to the record of all the redeemed
was cast into the lake of fire.
-This includes every single individual who is not redeemed beginning with Adam and Eve, that is, if they did not come back to God.
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT
The Book of Revelation