Revelation Chapter Twenty
Introduction: It is this writer’s opinion that Revelation Chapter Twenty is discussing the time period between the conclusion of the second coming of Jesus and the return of Jesus, and His people, at the conclusion of the 1000 years, or the Millennium. Then the chapter concludes with the Executive Judgment scene and the destruction of the wicked.
1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Author: The Angel that comes down from heaven would be Jesus for He only can control the Dragon. (Revelation 12:7-9). He has the key, or the control of the bottomless pit. (As discussed in Revelation 9:1-2 a pit is a grave like situation where death is present or immanent see Genesis 37:18-31 for this typology) In this case the bottomless pit would be the earth in its desolate stage after the destruction of the wicked, and the return of the earth to its pre-creation state of being “…without form and void” Jeremiah 4:23-27 (See also Isaiah 13:6-9; 24:21). Jesus has a great chain in His hand, which in this case is a chain of circumstances, not of metal. Jesus binds the Dragon to this uninhabitable earth.
2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Author: Jesus laid hold on the dragon and bound him for a thousand years. Even here God does not destroy the devil for there is more yet for the universe to see as to how evil he is. (Desire of Ages 761).
3And 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.
Author: Jesus cast him into a pit, as Satan had done to Joseph and so many others of God’s people over the years, and shut him up for a thousand years. Satan cannot deceive anyone during this time for all of the wicked are dead, and the righteous are in heaven. When the thousand years are finished, then Jesus will return to earth, with the righteous, and then resurrect the wicked. (John 5:29).
4And 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.
Author: The righteous are in heaven judging the wicked angels, and the wicked human beings, for a thousand years. (I Corinthians 6:1-3). This group of people who sat on the thrones was the righteous who had been resurrected from the dead, and those who were translated without seeing death who had gotten the victory over the beast, his image, and the mark of the beast. (Revelation 15:1-3).
5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Author: Since the righteous have been in the first resurrection, the resurrection of life (John 5:28-29; I Corinthians 15:51-58; I Thessalonians 4:13-18) the wicked dead remain in the grave for a thousand years. The righteous take part in the first resurrection and the wicked take part in the second resurrection.
6Blessed 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.
Author: Again Jesus declares that the people involved in the first resurrection are blessed and holy. Those people will not experience the second death but shall be with Jesus and the Father and will reign with Him in heaven for a thousand years. The second death is reserved for the wicked. (Revelation 20:14).
7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Author: At the end of the thousand years Jesus returns to earth with the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:2, 10). Then Jesus resurrects the wicked and looses Satan out of the prison of the bottomless pit.
8And 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.
Author: God is equating Gog and Magog to the resurrected wicked, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (Ezekiel 38).
9And 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.
Author: This text clearly shows that this time period is after the New Jerusalem has come down from heaven in Revelation 21:2, 10. As a result of “compassing the camp of the saints”, or surrounding them with the intent to take the city, they state that they would kill if able to and God destroys them with fire. (See Great Controversy pages 663-664). Since they have not changed, even in the presence of the Holy City – The New Jerusalem then they are declared worthy of the final destruction and fire comes out of heaven to devour them. The wicked are consumed in the fire and become ashes. (Malachi 4:1-3; Ezekiel 28:18; Psalm 37:8-10).
10And 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.
Author: Along with destroying the wicked people, Satan himself will be thrown into that fire, and he will join his agents the beast, and the false prophet of Revelation 13. They shall be tormented in the fire until they are consumed. Remember forever means until they die. (I Samuel 1:22, 28). God does not grant the gift of eternal life to the wicked, He says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. Eternal life is a gift for the righteous not for the wicked. Death is for the wicked, not for the righteous.
11And 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.
Author: Now that we have seen the end of the wicked, God now takes us back a little bit in time to let us see how they got into the lake of fire. After the resurrection of the wicked, and their assault on the Holy City, God brings them before the great white throne that He sets on. This time there is no place to hide and all of the wicked must face their Judge – Jesus.
12And 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.
Author: All of the wicked, both great and small, must stand before God. (Romans 14:10). At this judgment scene God opens the books of our records, and then the book of life is opened to see if their names are written there or if they have been deleted. (Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 29:19-20; Revelation 3:5; 13:8). For those whose names are not written in the book of life will die in the lake of fire. All the wicked will be judged by their works and will receive their punishment commensurate with their works. (Luke 12:41-48).
13And 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.
Author: Every wicked person will be resurrected to face this judgment. No one will be left out of this final process for God will address each and every one who was not resurrected in the first resurrection. Death and hell will let everyone go who was called by Jesus to come up out of the grave to face their maker.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Author: All will be consumed in this fire, including death and hell, or death and the grave. This consumption in the lake of fire is the second death.
15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Author: My friends it is so important to be found with ones name written in the book of life. The only way into the book of life is to ask Jesus to write it there for you and to keep it for you as well. (Malachi 3:16; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8). This task, of talking to Jesus to preserve your name in the book of life, is one of the most important things you can do. How each one of us values this task will determine which resurrection we come up in. I pray today that you will check with Jesus and get this issue settled once and for all. For whoever is not found in the book of life will be cast into the fire and will be consumed.