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 Revelation chapter 20

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PostSubject: Revelation chapter 20   Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:13 pm



The Millennium – The Thousand Years and After

In Rev. 20:1-15 we have the expulsion of Satan from the earth, the Millennial reign of Christ and His saints, Satan's post-Millennial career and doom, and the final judgment.

The Expulsion of Satan from the Earth

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 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” (Rev. 20:1-3).

This passage is a continuation of the Scripture on the Batttle of Armageddon of Rev. 19:11-21 and shows the confinement of the dragon in the abyss. After Armageddon an angel will come down from heaven having the key to the abyss. This angel is explained under the fifth trumpet in Rev. 9:1-12, and the abyss is explained in Rev. 11:7; 17:7,8. Just as other spirits are there now, so will Satan be confined there for a thousand years. How an angel or a spirit can be bound by a literal chain and be cast into a material place is only understandable when we see that angels have bodies and can be localized and confined to material places. As we have seen in the passages under the fifth and sixth trumpets demons bound in the abyss will be loosed for their purpose. How angels can be confined to Tartarus in chains (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6-7) and how all wicked men, demons, fallen angels, and rebellious creatures of all kinds can be confined in the Lake of Fire forever can be understood only on this basis, Mt. 25:41; Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:10-15.

This angel will "lay hold" on Satan, overpower him by actual combat, "bind him" with a great chain, cast him into the abyss where he is to be for a 1,000 years and "set a seal upon him," or literally, seal the abyss over him to keep him here so that he cannot deceive the nations until the Millennium is over. Thus we see that Satan is literal, his doom is literal, he is bound by a literal angel, with a literal chain, cast into a literal place, and sealed with a literal seal for the period of the Millennium.

In Rev. 12 we have seen that the dragon and his angels will be cast out of heaven to the earth in the middle of the Week, where they will remain until the Battle of Armageddon when they will fight against Christ and His angels and saints. It is not stated whether Satan's angels will be cast into the abyss with him or not. It may be that they will be confined there and loosed with him after the Millennium to help him deceive the nations again.


The Millennial Reign of Christ and His Saints

“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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 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” (Rev. 20:4-6).

This passage shows that the tribulation martyrs will also have a part in the reign of Christ in the Millennium and forever. What Rev. 20 says about the Millennium:

1. Satan must be bound before the Millennium can begin, Rev. 20:1-10. Shows the fulfillment of Rev. 4-19. Therefore, the thousand years cannot come until these things are fulfilled.
2. Satan will be bound during the Millennium, Rev. 20:3.
3. After the binding of Satan, John saw “thrones” and their occupants, Rev. 20:4. The occupants of the thrones will be the tribulation martyrs. They will reign as kings and priests with Christ, as well as all other redeemed heavenly peoples.
4. In Rev. 20:5 John shows that the tribulation martyrs have a part in the first resurrection, which is before the thousand years and includes all the different companies of redeemed and every individual saved from Adam to the binding of Satan. This verse also implies that the tribulation saints will be the last redeemed company resurrected and translated. The first resurrection ends with the catching up of this company and the two witnesses. All other passages on the resurrection in Scripture, except a few on the rapture of the Church, speak of the first and second resurrections as being one, and occurring at the same time, but this passage and 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 51-58; Phil. 3:10-14; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:1, 6-8; 2 Cor. 5:1-6; Eph. 5:26-27; Heb. 11:35; 1 Jhn. 3:1-3 speak of a resurrection from out of the dead, or the resurrection and translation of all dead and living saints before the thousand years. In Rev. 20:11-15 “the rest of the dead” of Rev. 20:4-6, or the wicked dead who have no part in the first resurrection and who will be resurrected after the thousand years, are pictured as standing before the white throne to be judged. This will be the second resurrection. It includes all the wicked dead from Adam to the end of the Millennium.
5. Next, a blessing is pronounced upon all that have part in the first resurrection, for “on such the second death (the Lake of Fire, Rev. 2:11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:Cool hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign one thousand years.”
6. “When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison. And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them” against God. Then fire will come down out of heaven to devour his armies, and he himself will be cast into the Lake of Fire, where the beast and the false prophet are and have been for the one thousand years, Rev. 19:20; 20:7-10.
7. Then, the wicked dead will be resurrected and there will be the final judgment, after which the renovation of the earth and heavens will take place. The result will be a new heaven, and a new earth, as pictured in Rev. 21-22.

With these facts , we can understand the many other Scriptures which speak of the reign of the Messiah witout distinguishing between His reign during the first 1,000 years and His reign forever.

A Favorable Beginning

Man will have a beginning more favorable than in any other dispenastion. Besides many of the wonderful conditions of the other ages, man will have the God of heaven for a ruler and enjoy all the privilages that such rulership will bring. The following points concerning the divine government and the blessed conditions on the earth during the Millennium will clearly reveal the favorable conditions in this dispenastion.

(1) The Kingdom Foretold

God's earth-bound covenants to Abraham and David guaranteed to Israel an everlasting earthly kingdom and that they would be the channel of blessing to all the families of the earth. It seemed that these covenants and promises would fail when Israel was divided into two kingdoms about 1009 B.C. After this, God raised up many prophets who continued emphasizing to Israel that God would still bring to pass His promises to them, but would have to use different means of doing it than would be necessary if they would fulfill His righteous requirements. Sixteen of these prophets left writings concerning the coming king and kingdom.

(2) When will the kingdom be set up?

A. At the return of the King of Glory, Mt. 25:31-46; Isa. 9:6,7; Dan. 2:44,45; 7:13,14; 8:18-22; Zech. 14; 2 Thess. 1:7; Jude 14; Rev. 17:14; 19:11-20:7.

B. After the Church is raptured (1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-17), for the Church comes back with Christ to help Him set up the kingdom and reign over the nations, Zech. 14:1-5; Jude 14; Rev. 1:4,5; 5:10; 17:14; 19:11-21. It is not until after the days of the Church that Christ comes to build again in the house of David, Acts 15:13-18; Isa. 9:6,7; 11:11; Hos. 3:4,5; Lk. 1:32-35. The Church is raptured before the Antichrist is revealed (2 Thess. 2:7,Cool, and Antichrist is revealed before Christ comes (2 Thess. 2:1-6), so the kingdom cannot be set up until these events take place.

C. At the time Ezekiel's temple is built, Ezek. 40:1-43:7. The reign of Christ will be set up in Jerusalem in Ezekiel's temple; therefore, the kingdom cannot be set up in the temple until it is built, Isa. 9:6,7; 52:1-8; 62:6-14; Ezek. 36:24-36; 41:1, etc.

According to these facts and others, the kingdom is yet future – after all the above events.

The Test, Psm. 2; Rev. 5:10; 11:15; 20:1-10

The test of man in this dispensation will be to obey the laws of the divine government, obey Christ and the glorified saints, and to mold one's character in harmony with God by the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel.

The Purpose of God in This Dispensation

1. To put down all rebellion and all enemies under the feet of Christ, so that God may be all and all as before rebellion, 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Heb. 2:7-9; Eph. 1:10.
2. To fulfill the everlasting covenants made with Abraham (Gen. 12,13, 15, 17); Isaac (Gen. 26); Jacob (Gen. 28:13); David (2 Sam. 7).
3. To vindicate and avenge Christ and His saints, Mt. 26:63-66; Rom. 12:19; Psm. 2; Isa.63; Rev. 1:7; 6:9-11; 19:1-10; 1 Pet. 1:10,11; 2 Tim. 4:7,8; Rom. 8:17-21.
4. To restore Israel and deliver them from the nations and make them the head of all nations forever, Acts 15:13-17; Mt. 24:31; Isa. 11:11; Ezek. 20:33-44; 38,39; Deut. 28.
5. To exalt the saints of all ages in some kingly or priestly capacity according to the promises and according to their works, Rom. 8:17-21; 14:10,11; 2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 3:20-21.
6. To gather together in “one” all things in Christ which are in heaven and in earth (Eph. 1:10), and restore all things as before rebellion, Acts 3:20,21; 1 Cor. 15:24-28.
7. To judge the nations in righteousness and restore the earth to its rightful owners, Isa. 2:2-4; 11:1-11; Mt. 25:31-46; Dan. 7:9-27; 1 Cor. 6.
8. To restore a righteous and eternal government on earth as originally planned, Isa. 9:6,7; 11:1-9; 42:1-5; Dan. 2:44,45; 7:13-27; Lk. 1:32-35; Rev. 11:15; 19:11-16; 20:4-6.
9. To fulfill the scores of prophecies concerning the reign of the Messiah, Dan. 9:24; Acts 3:20,21; 1 Pet. 1:10-13.

The Means of Accomplishing This Purpose

God will send His Son Jesus Christ with the mighty angels and all the resurrected and glorified saints from heaven to put down all rebellion on the earth, bring all rebels into judgment and complete the dispensational dealings of God with men, so that all the curse may be removed and the kingdom of God become established permanently over the earth as in the beginning, Mt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-10.


Satan's Post-Millennial Career and Doom

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 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. 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. 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” (Rev. 20:7-10).

We have dealt with this passage some already. It needs no explanation. This, with the above passages on the Millennium, shows that Christ is to reign on the earth and that Satan is to be cast from the earth and into the abyss.

After Satan is loosed, he will go out to all the nations of the world and deceive them by leading them into the error of believing that they can dethrone Christ and overthrow His kingdom. The word for “deceive” is planao, meaning “to cause to wonder or go astray.” It is used of doctrinal error and religious deceit. This explains how Satan will deceive men and for what purpose. Millions of these natural men on earth at the time will have had about 1,000 years to accept Christ as a Savior and God as a Father, and to partake of salvation and have the Holy Spirit in their lives as men receive today. But they will have put this off and remained at enmity against God, still retaining their fallen Adamic nature, which is naturally corrupt and subject to Satan, so that when they see the opportunity presented to overthrow Christ and His kingdom, with the possibility of living in liberty and sin without restraint, they will seize it and make the best of it for this short time.

Satan can and will find a multitude of men whom are ready to help him overthrow the kingdom, so he will lead them up against the saints at Jerusalem to battle. These nations will be as the number of the sand of the sea. The expression “Gog and Magog” refers to the Gentiles who will rebel at this time. The destruction of this host from the east and west is post-millennial.

In their march on the city and against the kingdom to battle, fire will come down from God and devour them, and the Devil that deceived them will be cast into the Lake of Fire where the beast and the false prophet have been imprisoned since the Battle of Armageddon, before the Millennium. This is an unanswerable argument for the eternity of hell. This will finish the history of Satan, the beast, and false prophet and all wicked rebels on earth.

The Great White Throne Judgment

“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. 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. 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).

This passage will be fulfilled after the Millennial reign and the revolt of Satan. Immediately after the events of Rev. 20:1-10, John saw a great white throne occupied by God, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away. This is no doubt the same throne seen throughout the book. Here is the only place that a description of the throne is given. God, the occupant of the throne, is described before, but not the throne itself.
The Greek for “face” is prosopon, meaning the countenance, aspect, appearance, surface, front view, outward appearance, face, and person. It is used nine times in Revelation and is the only word translated “face,” singular and plural. It shows that God has a real body and an outward appearance, as proven in the passages in which it is used, Rev. 4:7; 6:16; 7:11; 9:7; 10:1; 11:16; 12:14; 22:4.

Both Christ and the Father will be present and have a part in the final judgment. In its varied aspects, this judgment may be understood from the following facts in Scripture:

The Judges

1. God the Father is spoken of as the judge, Heb. 12:23,24; 13:4; Rev. 6:10; Acts 17:30,31.
2. God the Son is spoken of as the judge, Jhn. 5:19-27; Acts 10:42; 17:30,31 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 19:11.
3. Both the Father and the Son will judge, 2 Tim. 4:1.
4. God the Father is to judge by His Son, Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:16.
5. God the Father will decree, the Son will execute, Jhn. 5:22-27; Rom. 1:32-2:5.

The Subjects Judged

1. Wicked men of the whole human race, except the beast, false prophet, the goat nations, tares, etc., will be the subjects judged, Acts 17:31; Rom.3:6; Rev. 20:11-15. That those judged at the judgment of the nations will not be judged in the final judgment seems clear from Mt. 13:30, 39-43, 49, 50; 24:51; 25:30, 41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20,21; 20:10.These will already have had sentence pronounced upon them 1,000 years before the final judgment, so they will not need to be judged again. These are the dead judged, but at the judgment of the nations there is no dead.
2. The angels “that sinned” and “are now bound” in Tartarus will also be loosed from their long confinement and be judged at this judgment, 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6-7.

The Time of the Judgment

The time of this judgment will be after the Millennium and after the doom of Satan in the Lake of Fire is realized, Rev. 20:7-15. It is called “the day of judgment” and so there must be a definite time set for it, Mt. 10:15; 11:24; 12:36; Acts 17:31; 2 Pet. 2:4 Jude 6-7.

The Place of Judgment

The judgment is to be before the great white throne of God, which will still be in heaven, for it is not to come down to the earth until after the renovation of the earth by fire and after the new heaven and the new earth are completed, Rev. 21:1-5; 2 Pet. 3:7.

The Purpose of the Judgment

1. To give every man a trial before his condemnation, and punishment, especially so in the case which involves the eternal destiny of immortal souls.
2. To judge the “secrets of men,” Rom. 2:16.
3. To judge the idol words, Mt. 12:36.
4. To judge all the works, thoughts, actions and sins of man,1Tim. 5:24; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 20:12,13.

The Basis of Judgment

1. The conscience, Rom. 2:12-16.
2. The law, Rom. 2:12-16; Rev. 20:11-15.
3. The gospel, Rom. 2:12-16; Jhn. 12:47,48; Rev. 20:11-15.
4. The Book of Life, Rev. 20:11-15

A man who passes through such a judgment will have no excuse or criticism of the sentence passed regardless of what the decision will be, for in a sense he will be his own judge. His failure to live up to his conscience, the law or the gospel, the fact that his sins and misdeeds are like a mountain before him, and the absence of his name in the Book of Life, will automatically condemn him.
These dead dealt with here could not include the angels, for the former are the occupants of “death and hell.” This shows that Hades, the present and temporary hell, is different from the Lake of Fire or eternal hell. The sinner is guilty while in Hades, although he is not formally condemned before the final judgment. Therefore, he suffers fire in Hades as well as in the Lake of Fire, Lk. 16:19-31.

The Renovation of the Earth by Fire

Now, before we study the new heavens and the new earth, eternal conditions and peoples on the earth, we shall determine how the present heavens and earth are purified by fire, with the result of new or renewed ones, as pictured in Rev. 21-22; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; 2 Pet. 3:10-13.
The time of the renovation of the earth and the elements will be after the Millennium, the battle of Gog and Magog, and the casting of Satan into the Lake of Fire, and during the Great White Throne Judgment, 2 Pet. 3:7. The present heaven and earth will not pass out of existence. Peter shows that there will be a renovation of the earth by fire and the future renovation will not blot out the earth any more than did the destruction of the world by water in the beginning.
He further reveals three definite periods of the earth: First, the world (kosmos) “that then was,” before Adam which was destroyed and which destruction affected the heavens and earth; Second, the restoration of kosmos and the heavens and the earth “which are now,” since the six days of Gen. 1:3-2:25; Third, the renovation of this present heaven and earth, with the result of new heavens and a new earth, or the Eternal Perfect State and the continuation of all life in them forever. The kosmos that is, will never be destroyed by the future fire, as was the kosmos (social system) by water in the beginning.
These facts alone show that the heavens and the earth, “which are now” will never cease to exist, but will merely be renovated by fire and exist in a renewed state, wherein dwelleth righteousness. This renovation will end the Day of the Lord and begin the Day of God, 2 Pet. 3:10-13. “In which (Day of the Lord) the heavens will pass away.” The word for “pass away” is from the Greek parerchomai and means “to go by or away from in the sense of from one condition to another.” It never means cessation of existence.
This “change” is to take place with “a great noise.” The passing from one condition to another. “And the elements shall melt with fervent heat,” 2 Pet. 3:10, 12. The word for “elements” in these two verses is stoicheion, meaning “something orderly in arrangement, element, principle, or rudiment” and refers to the foundation principles of the question involved. It is used in Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20; 2 Pet. 3:10, 12 in reference to the principle of sin and of the present world system, such as the sinful nature, disease germs, and spirits that cause men to corrupt themselves. The meaning also includes the things which man has made that must be destroyed before the earth can be purified and loosed from its present state of bondage and corruption, Rom. 8:18-25.
The word for “melt” is luo, meaning “to loose, put off, unbind, untie or set free,” and is so translated in Mt. 21:2; Lk. 19:30, 33; Jhn. 1:27; 11:44; Acts 7:33. It is translated “dissolve” in 2 Pet. 3:11,12. These passages show that all that is to happen to this present heaven and earth in this renovation is the loosing of them from the present bondage into a new state, as in Rom. 8:21-23.
“The earth (ground) also and the works that are therein shall be burned up,” 2 Pet. 3:10. The word for “works” is ergon, meaning “work, toil, deed, labour, and the acts of men.” It is used of religious works, as well as of other works. The word for “burned up” is katakaio, meaning “to burn down to the ground and wholly consume by fire.” It has reference to the things of man on earth, which he has made, that will not be permitted in the New Earth and the Eternal Perfect State. They will be entirely burned up. These facts are made clear from the next verses, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved (loosed) . . . the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved (loosed), and the elements (sinful things of this world system) shall melt (Greek teko, meaning “to liquefy or melt.”) It is not the same Greek word translated “melt” (above) with fervent heat.” The result of all this will be the fulfillment of the promises to man of a “new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
In Rev. 20:11 the word “fled” pheugo, meaning “to flee away, to shun, or to vanish.” It is used both in a figurative and literal way. That its usage here is figurative is clear from its usage in Rev. 6:14 and 16:20. The Greek word for “new” kainos, meaning “renewed or new,” especially in freshness and character, but never new in existence.
Cannot God destroy some things with fire and not touch other things in the earth? The God that did this with the three Hebrew children, and the burning bush, can certainly do it with the whole creation and the things that are left can come out without even the smell of fire upon them. In the rebellion of Satan and all of mankind on the earth (Rev. 20:7-10), fire will consume the wicked rebels, but the camp of the saints, which will be earthly Jerusalem, will remain forever without being touched, and the natural people who do not rebel will be privileged to continue on earth and have dominion over it, as did Adam before he fell.
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