Revelation Chapter 20

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Revelation Chapter 20

 

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.

20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

 

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20:3 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.

20:4 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.

20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

20:6 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.

20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

20:8 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.

20:9 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.

20:10 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.

20:11 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.

20:12 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.

20:13 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

 

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were judged every man according to their works.

20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

I n many chapters in Revelation the symbol of an angel has indicated a message—the everlasting gospel. This angel has a chain and a key. The key to the bottomless pit is the demonstration that the everlasting gospel has worked in the lives of the last generation of believers on earth that have stood loyal to God against the whole world arrayed against them. This key allows God to end the great controversy and win His court case, because God, in the persons of His believers, has answered all the charges Satan has brought against Him. It is the knowledge of God’s character, His law, His government and purposes, working by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, acting in accordance with this knowledge that has made this demonstration possible (see The Great Controversy, page 593). The chain in the hand of the angel is a chain of circumstances. The wicked have all been destroyed by the brightness of the coming of Jesus to rescue His bride from the combined armies of the world, the beast, and the false prophet.

"And then shall that Wicked {alliance} be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." 2 Thessalonians 2:8–10.

Verses 2–3 tell us that the binding of Satan and his angels on earth will last a thousand years. The wicked are dead on the earth during this thousand years, and the righteous are in heaven. At the end of the thousand years Jesus, with His bride, returns to earth, and Satan will then be loosed for a little season. Satan will demonstrate that he has not benefited at all in terms of character

 

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change after a thousand years of earth confinement with nobody to tempt. The rest of the chapter shows that.

This is the repeat and final, worldwide fulfillment of what is prophesied in Isaiah 24:1–6

"Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.

"And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.

"The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.

"The earth mourneth [and] fadeth away, the world languisheth [and] fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.

"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

"Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left." (This description of the earth during the thousand years is repeated in Jeremiah 4:20–29)

In verse 4, God’s redeemed (including those martyred for Him) sit on thrones judging and reigning with Christ. The righteous will live for a thousand years with Christ in heaven. This is a time of completely growing up to the full stature of Christ and coming to a full understanding of His ways of governing and judging. This is equivalent to the honeymoon after the marriage! Malachi 4:2:

"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall."

Verse 5 tells us that the dead that were not resurrected in the first resurrection, stay dead for a thousand years. (Also see John 5:29.)

 

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Verse 6 reiterates that those who have been resurrected in the first resurrection at the rescue-mission (second coming of Jesus), will live forever and reign with Jesus for one thousand years in heaven.

Verses 7–15 tell what happens at the end of the thousand years. Jesus and His saints return to earth with the holy city, the New Jerusalem. The dead on earth (who are all the wicked) are resurrected. This is the second resurrection. Satan sees his subjects resurrected. This releases Satan to control his subjects again. Satan was bound by circumstance to the earth because all of his subjects were dead. Therefore, he had no one to tempt during this 7th millennium on earth. Satan now continues deceptive work and continues the Battle of Armageddon that was interrupted when Jesus came to earth to save His bride from destruction (Revelation 19:20–21) before the start of the thousand years. They are resurrected at the end of the thousand years with unchanged characters or purposes! The masses of those who refused the marriage proposal of Jesus and who chose the service of Satan make up a vast army that march against the Holy City to take it. Jesus interrupts the Battle of Armageddon again—this time with the third and last phase of the final judgment. This scene is divinely portrayed thus:

"The whole wicked world stand arraigned at the bar of God on the charge of high treason against the government of heaven. They have none to plead their cause; they are without excuse; and the sentence of eternal death is pronounced against them. {GC 668.2}

"It is now evident to all that the wages of sin is not noble independence and eternal life, but slavery, ruin, and death. The wicked see what they have forfeited by their life of rebellion. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory was despised when offered them; but how desirable it now appears. ‘All this,’ cries the lost soul, ‘I might have had; but I chose to put these things far from me. Oh, strange infatuation! I have exchanged peace, happiness, and honor for wretchedness, infamy, and despair.’ All see that their exclusion from heaven is just. By their lives they have declared: ‘We will not have this Man [Jesus] to reign over us.’ {GC 668.3}

 

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"As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed. They witness the outburst of wonder, rapture, and adoration from the saved; and as the wave of melody sweeps over the multitudes without the city, all with one voice exclaim, ‘Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints’ (Revelation 15:3); and, falling prostrate, they worship the Prince of life." {GC 668.4}

"Satan seems paralyzed as he beholds the glory and majesty of Christ. He who was once a covering cherub remembers whence he has fallen. A shining seraph, ‘son of the morning;’ how changed, how degraded! From the council where once he was honored, he is forever excluded. He sees another now standing near to the Father, veiling His glory. He has seen the crown placed upon the head of Christ by an angel of lofty stature and majestic presence, and he knows that the exalted position of this angel might have been his." {GC 669.1}

"Memory recalls the home of his innocence and purity, the peace and content that were his until he indulged in murmuring against God, and envy of Christ. His accusations, his rebellion, his deceptions to gain the sympathy and support of the angels, his stubborn persistence in making no effort for self-recovery when God would have granted him forgiveness— all come vividly before him. He reviews his work among men and its results— the enmity of man toward his fellow man, the terrible destruction of life, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the overturning of thrones, the long succession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions. He recalls his constant efforts to oppose the work of Christ and to sink man lower and lower. He sees that his hellish plots have been powerless to destroy those who have put their trust in Jesus. As Satan looks upon his kingdom, the fruit of his toil, he sees only failure and ruin. He has led the multitudes to believe that the City of God would be an easy prey; but he knows that this is false. Again and again, in the progress of the great controversy, he has been defeated and compelled to yield. He knows too well the power and majesty of the Eternal." {GC 669.2}

"The aim of the great rebel has ever been to justify himself and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. He has worked deliberately and systematically, and with marvelous success, leading vast multitudes

 

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to accept his version of the great controversy which has been so long in progress. For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the time has now come when the rebellion is to be finally defeated and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the City of God, the archdeceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. Christ’s followers and the loyal angels behold the full extent of his machinations against the government of God. He is the object of universal abhorrence." {GC 670.1}

Verse 15 talks about a lake of fire. Divine details of this are given to us:

"Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God’s justice and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them." {GC 671.2}

"‘Every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.’ ‘The indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter.’ ‘Upon the wicked He shall rain quick burning coals, fire and brimstone and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.’ Isaiah 9:5; 34:2; Psalm 11:6, margin. Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. Malachi 4:1;2 Peter 3:10. The earth’s surface seems one molten mass— a vast,

 

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seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men— ’the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.’ Isaiah 34:8." {GC 672.2}

As Noah and his family were safe in the ark when the world was destroyed by water, so now God’s people are safe with Jesus inside the city of God, riding out the fiery destruction of the world, which cleanses it from sin and sinners.