Notes on Revelation 20
We finished up our study through the book of Revelation this past Sunday, and the last three chapters perfectly conclude the entire end of the world we know it, and give us a beautiful glimpse into the world to come.
Here are some notes from chapter 20:
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
One nameless angel with his hands full handles the Devil without a mention of resistance. This is why A. W. Tozer said, “I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me – he’s got judo I never heard of. But he can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in my nature.”
There is no competition between the Devil and God. See Isaiah 14:12-15
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, 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.
So what’s Satan doing right now? Deceiving the nations. Why do we study Scripture? to be not deceived! See Ephesians 4:11-14.
About 10 years ago I thought that the growth of atheism was the biggest obstacle to people coming to Christ, now I think that false doctrine is the biggest obstacle. People are swept away by all sorts of weird beliefs, even people calling themselves “Christians.”
Read the Bible.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: 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; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
So it’s interesting that a specific manner of death is mentioned for those who refuse the Mark. It will start off with, “can’t buy or sell” and when that isn’t enough to convince people they will be executed. Clearly not everyone is executed worldwide because otherwise there wouldn’t be anyone left to rapture!
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
So here it’s a little tricky but we just have to read carefully to understand. The first resurrection is the rapture where the dead in Christ rise first (1 Thess. 4:16). These will be resurrected unto eternal life. The second resurrection is the resurrection of the dead to the lake of fire, see verses 12-15. Also see John 5:28-29.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
“If you’re born once you die twice; if you’re born twice, you die once.”
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Why? Because even in a perfect world without the influence of Satan, where Jesus rules with a rod of iron (read Psalm 2, Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15), people will still reject him. So it seems like during this millennial reign of Christ on earth there will be perfect government, but still sin, death, marriage, child-bearing, nations (εθνος, nations/races), and more that we are familiar with.
If the world ends soon, we’ll have had 6,000 years followed by 1,000 years, like 6 days followed by a seventh day of rest. That’s not Biblical fact, but it would make sense considering God's consistent nature.
8 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.
Satan’s final deception will draw many people against Christ even after 1,000 years of peace and prosperity.
Gog and Magog are only elsewhere mentioned in the Bible (as describing nations) in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and these must be the same. Some people think this will happen soon but it seems clear to me that this only happens at the end of this 1,000 year period (which, by the way, all church fathers for the first three centuries after Christ recognized as a literal 1,000 years).
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 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.
Notice the tense. Where the beast and false prophet ARE. They have been there for 1,000 years and will remain there with Satan and all who rejected Christ as their Savior for all eternity.
Regarding a similar statement in Revelation 14:11, William Godbey says, "This problem, which has been called in question by infidels and skeptics of all ages, who, under the cognomen of religion, have written wagon-loads of books to disprove the eternity of the sinner’s punishment, is here settled by the Holy Ghost beyond the possibility of cavil." He goes on to say, “Now, if this don’t express endless duration, can you tell me what combination of words would convey such an idea? You find this phrase in the 11th verse of the 14th chapter, and used to describe the duration of the punishment which awaits all the people who worship the beast and his image. In the 7th verse of the 15th chapter, where the English says, “God liveth forever and ever,” the Greek is that same combination of plural nouns which we have in the 11th verse of the 14th chapter, describing the duration of the sinner’s doom. Hence, it follows as an inevitable conclusion, from the plain and positive word of God, that the punishment of the wicked will be co-eternal with the existence of God.”
There’s probably somebody in your life right now that needs to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ TODAY.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
The Great White Throne judgment. Believers won’t be part of this.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; 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.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
This isn’t for Christians. Jesus Christ suffered the judgment in our place. For those that rejected salvation, they will be judged by every deed and every idle word. It makes me think that the severity of Hell and the Lake of Fire will vary by individuals.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Make sure your name is written in the Book of Life!
2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”