Revelation 20

Donnie's Teaching Notes

The Millennium Begins

 

Revelation Chapter 19 recorded the destruction of Antichrist and the False Prophet at the Battle of Armageddon.  Revelation Chapter 20 records the destruction of their master, Satan.  After the Battle of Armageddon occurs, Christ imprisons Satan in the bottomless pit for a term of 1000 years.  During this time (for a millennium), Christ and the saints reign over the Earth.  At the conclusion of the 1000 years, Satan is released for a short time and allowed to once again deceive the nations.  It is then that Satan is completely and ultimately defeated and thrown in to the Lake of Fire.  Following this is a general resurrection of the wicked dead and the Great White Throne Judgment.

         Different views of eschatology (the study of end times) do matter!  In this chapter the “thousand year kingdom” is referred to six times.  A face-value interpretation of Rev 20 leads to a pre-millennial view of Jesus return.  Those who try to reject the Millennium claim that this is the only place the 1000 years is mentioned, and the book of Revelation is a highly figurative book.  But the concept of the golden age known as the Millennium is taught throughout the Bible.  The only new truth taught here is the duration of that period of time.  By spiritualizing scripture, some have tried to explain away the literal 1000 year Millennium. 

         However, in my opinion the interpretation of this chapter has led to unproductive debate and unfortunate conflict in the Church.  It should be considered a minor doctrine and much grace and liberty demonstrated, regardless of one’s position.

         There are basically three views concerning the Millennium;

 A-millennialism holds that there will be no literal Millennium and the 1000 years are symbolic. They use an allegorical interpretation of prophecy, as opposed to a literal, normal interpretation and spiritualize all the prophecies concerning the Kingdom.  Augustine is the father of this view and is the accepted view of the Roman Catholic Church. Those of reformed theology (such as Calvinists) also hold to this view of prophecy and the Book of Revelation, while holding to a very literal interpretation of the rest of the Bible. 

     

Post-millennialism holds that Christ returns after (Post) the 1000 years and the gospel like leaven will permeate the entire earth, making it better and better, until the whole world is Christianized and then Jesus returns.  Very few people hold to this view since WWI and II. 

        

Pre-Millennialism holds that there will be a 7-year period in which the Lord will return, before the literal 1000 year Millennium begins.  Generally speaking, they hold to a very literal interpretation of the entire Bible, including prophecy.   A description of the Millennial kingdom is given in Revelation 21 & 22.

SATAN IS BOUND DURING THE MILLENNIUM

1  And I saw an angel (perhaps Michael, the mightiest of all angels) coming down out of heaven, having the key (a key to the prison known as the Abyss, which will be used to imprison Satan) to the Abyss (the Abyss is also called “the bottomless pit.”  Different than hell, it refers to a place of confinement of supernatural beings.  It was from this shaft that the demonic locusts of Revelation 9 were released.  See Rev 9:1-6) and holding in his hand a great chain (which will be used to bind Satan and remove him from Earth for 1000 years).   2  He (the mighty angel) seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan (four names of Satan),and bound him for a thousand years. (It is here we get the concept of the Millennium, a term derived from the Latin words “mille” or thousand and “annum” or year.)   

        

Here, John calls Satan by the same four names used to describe him in Revelation Chapter 12:  (1) the great dragon (Gk = Crafty); (2) the ancient serpent (Gk = Subtle); (3) the devil (Gk = Accuser); and (4) Satan (Gk = Adversary).  See Rev 12:9).

3  He (the mighty angel) threw him (Satan) into the Abyss (the Abyss is “home” to the most vile demons and the beast.  See Rev. 11:7.  The demons of Luke 8:31 beg Jesus not to cast them into this place), and locked and sealed it over him (the prison is locked and sealed for 1000 years), to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore (the purpose of binding Satan is to prevent him from deceiving mankind as he has done throughout human history)  until the thousand years were ended.  After that (after the 1000 years have ended), he must be set free for a short time.        

        

This binding of Satan will hinder his power in a profound way.  Sin will not be completely eliminated, but Satan’s influence will be removed.  In the present age, Satan is not bound - he is alive and ferocious, blinding many to the truth of the gospel.  See 2 Cor. 4:4.  He is disguised as an angel of light, deceiving the church through false teaching.  See 2 Cor. 11:14.  At the end of the Millennium, Satan will once again be loosed to deceive the nations.  He will gather strength and lead a final revolt against the Messiah.  See Rev 20:8.

 

THE CHURCH IS GIVEN AUTHORITY TO RULE

        

      4  I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.

 

      John sees a group of believers to whom the privilege of judging has been granted.  The promise to rule and reign with Jesus is continually repeated to those in the Church who overcome.  See Rev 2:26, 3:21 and 5:9-10.  Satan is bound and the time has begun for the saints of the Church to exercise their ruling privileges alongside Christ. 

        

This promise to the saints, to rule during Christ's Millennium, is made several times throughout the Bible.  In Corinthians, Paul explains that the saints will judge angels and the world.  See 1 Cor 6:2.  In Timothy, Paul tells believers that, if we endure persecutions with Christ then we will reign with Him.  See 2 Tim 2:12.  In Matthew, the twelve apostles were promised that they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel at the renewal of all things when Jesus sits on his glorious throne.  See Matt 19:28.

        

  

THE JUDGMENT OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOAT NATIONS

 

 

After the defeat of Antichrist and the False Prophet at the Battle of Armageddon, and the imprisonment of Satan in the bottomless pit, a great judgment of Gentile nations will occur.  Jesus and the apostles, who will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel, will separate the sheep nations from the goat nations.  (No Jews will be judged at the Sheep and Goat judgment.  Every Jew that survives Daniel’s 70th week will have entered into a saving relationship with the Messiah, King Jesus at the close of the seventieth week.)

These verses teach that there will be a few nations left on the earth after Armageddon.  Who are these nations?  Apparently, those nations that heeded the angel’s warning to stay away from the battle of Armageddon survive [See Rev 16:15].   What is the basis for judgment? I believe it is those nations who have refused the mark of Antichrist, who will neither acknowledge Antichrist as God, nor Christ as Messiah, who somehow survive Satan’s wrath during the Great Tribulation and God’s wrath during the Day of the Lord. 

Following Armageddon, Matthew 25:31-46 indicates that these non-Jewish nations will be gathered for individual judgment.  Once judged, these Gentile nations are identified as either sheep or goats.  (No Jews will be judged at the Sheep and Goat Judgment.)  Only those nations that helped protect the Saints and Israel, will be rewarded.  These “Sheep nations” will enter into the Millennial Kingdom.  Those nations that supported Antichrist will be identified as “Goat nations” and cast into Hell. 

 

 

Matthew 25:31-46  "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. (Jesus begins judging on His throne of glory.  While Jesus is on the "throne of His glory," the apostles will also judge.   During the Millennium, the apostles will reign over the twelve tribes of Israel. David shall be the king of Israel. Jesus shall be the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  The saints will reign and rule with Jesus. They shall rule over cities and other things. The saints shall judge the world and angels.) 32  All the nations will be gathered before him (After Armageddon), and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Based upon how these nations and/or individuals have treated the Jews during Daniel’s 70th week.)  33  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  (Jesus, along with the Church, will judge those who survive the Daniel’s 70th week and are still alive.)

34   "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. (These people who make up the sheep nations will be allowed to go into the Millennium and live out their natural lives.  While the saints will be in their resurrection bodies.)  35  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' (The sheep nations will be those who followed Christ and offered protection to His followers during Daniel's 70th Week).

37  "Then the righteous (sheep nations) will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'  40  "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'  (Here is the basis for judgment – the treatment “of these brothers of mine.” This is the reward of any nation that offered protection to the Christians and Jews during the time of Antichrist's persecution.)

41  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Christ banishes the goat nations to hell.)  42  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' (The goat nations).

 

44  "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'  45  "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46  "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."  (The duration of both Heaven and Hell is “eternal.”)

 

THE BELOVED MARTYRS OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

 

4  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded (John sees a second group of believers who paid the ultimate price for the faith in Jesus) because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.  (Some were martyred BEFORE the Rapture, [see Rev 6:9], while others put their faith in Jesus Christ AFTER the Rapture of the Church during the Day of the Lord.  Regardless, the number of martyrs is now complete and they were all beheaded for the same reason; because of the Word of God and their testimony for Jesus.)  They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.  (These believers chose to die for Christ rather than recant their faith.)  They came to life (the martyrs of the Great Tribulation are singled out for very special attention and they have their own, unique resurrection to life at the beginning of the millennium) and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

 

 

THE RESURRECTION OF UNBELIEVERS AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM

 

      5  The rest of the dead (the dead unbelievers) did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. (Here, John is referring to the Second Resurrection).  This (the resurrection referenced in verse 4 - the Resurrection of Life) is the first resurrection.

 

         Remember, every human being will be raised from the dead, believers and non-believers alike.  This resurrection takes place in two phases:  (1) the First Resurrection, when Jesus comes again and immediately following the Battle of Armageddon; and (2) the Second Resurrection, at the end of Christ's Millennial reign. 

         During the First Resurrection, all the saints and martyrs of all the ages (believers in Christ) will be brought back from the dead.  They will reign with Christ for 1000 years.  At the end of this 1000 year period, the remainder of the dead - the unbelievers - who have languished in Hades (Hell) during the Millennial reign, will be resurrected in order to stand before Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment.  Ultimately, these unbelievers will be cast into the Lake of Fire (See Rev 20:14). 

         Christ spoke of these dual resurrections in the Book of John:

 

John 5:28-29 

 

[28] Don't act so surprised at all this.  (When the time comes for you to be judged).  The time is coming when everyone dead and buried will hear his voice.  [29] Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life (the First Resurrection – the Resurrection of Life); those who have lived the wrong way, into resurrection Judgment  (Second Resurrection – A Resurrection of Judgment at the Great White Throne).

 

MORE DETAILS REGARDING THE FIRST RESURRECTION

 

 

      6  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  (The first resurrection is always unto eternal life.)  The second death (eternal death in the lake of Fire.  See Rev 20:14) has no power over them (believers will not endure the Resurrection of Judgment), but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

 

Daniel 12:2

[2] Multitudes (Billions – all humanity) who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake (Everyone who has died and is buried in the ground will rise from the dead):  some (believers) to everlasting life (the First Resurrection - believers will rise to inherit everlasting life.  Paul confirmed that the dead in Christ “rise first.”  See 1 Thes 4), others (non-believers) to shame and everlasting contempt.  (the Second Resurrection of Judgment.  Unbelievers will not "awake" at the First Resurrection and instead will continue to "sleep” until the 1000 years are complete.  Then, at the end of the Millennium, they will awake and stand before the Great White Throne Judgment.  See Rev 20:5.)

 

SATAN RETURNS AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM

 

7  When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 

8  and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth  (indicating the ultimate root of evil is not our environment or circumstances – mankind will be experiencing a golden age with Jesus and the Saints ruling over a re-created earth – but the depravity of the human heart.)  --Gog and Magog— (Biblical names for those nations who are rebellious against God and hostile toward His people.) to gather them for battle.  (The Millennial kingdom will end with rebellion.  At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is able to amass a great army against the beloved city Jerusalem and the Saints.  All people who enter the Millennial kingdom will be saved.  However, many people will be born during this time and some will choose to not follow the leadership and Lordship of Jesus.  All human beings, even those who are born during the Millennium, must make a choice to respond to God or Satan.  They will not outwardly rebel until the end of the Millennium.  They will quietly rebel in their hearts.)  In number they are like the sand on the seashore.

 

9  They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves.  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (No actual battle occurs.  God intervenes and destroys Gog and Magog.)  10  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Here is the final destruction of evil.)

 

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT 

MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE 2ND RESURRECTION AND THE FINAL JUDGMENT

 

11  Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  (Unbelievers will face a final judgment of their works at the Great White Throne at the end of the old earth and just before the beginning of the new earth)  12  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, (These dead are all those who did not experience the First Resurrection and have rejected Jesus Christ.  They are being resurrected to appear at this judgment.)  and books were opened. (They will stand before this Great White Throne, and books, which have recorded all the deeds of their lives, will be opened. These books record a person’s works.  Everything he or she has done, both good and evil, will be exposed.)

 

Eccles. 12:14 

[14] For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

 

Another book was opened, which is the book of life. (If no one is saved by their works, there is another possibility – The Lamb’s Book of Life.  The book of life seems to have two functions:  First, it contains the names of all living people.  It is possible to have one’s name blotted out of this book – if you do not have faith in Jesus.  See Rev 3:5.) 

 

Psalm 69:28

[28] May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

 

The other purpose of the Book of Life is to record the names of those who have accepted Jesus for their salvation.  See Rev 13:8 and 21:27.   When you accept Christ and surrender control of your life to Him, you can be certain that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  And, if your name has been entered into “The Lamb’s Book of Life” it is impossible to have your name blotted out.)  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Documentation of everything ever done by anyone on earth!  God makes a permanent record so that the entire universe will one day know His justification for rewarding the Righteous and punishing the Wicked.  There is NO indication that anyone will be saved on the basis of their good works.)   13  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades (the intermediate place of torment where their spirits have gone.) gave up the dead that were in them, (Regardless of how they died, all the rest of the dead, i.e. those who did not experience the First Resurrection, will be included in the Second Resurrection and face this final judgment.) and each person was judged according to what he had done.

 

Galatians 3:10 

[10]  And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: "Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law."

 

14  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  (After the Great White Throne judgment, Death and Hell are personified and cast into the lake of Fire with the Beast, the False Prophet & Satan.)  The lake of fire is the second death. 15  If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  (No one gets saved by their works.  Men get saved by believing in Jesus.  The Lake of Fire will be inhabited by people who have not received God’s gift of redemption in Jesus Christ.)

 

Ephes. 2:8-10 (From the Message)

[8]  Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! [9] We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! [10] No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Revelation 20

Donnie's Teaching Notes

The 1000 year Millennium

Revelation 20:1-3 (NIV)
1  And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
2  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3  He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Why does Premillennialism Matter?

 

1.  Satan is currently not bound in this present evil age.  The spiritual battle we live in is very real.  He is a like a roaring lion, on the prowl, ready to devour.  The binding of Satan is future.  A-millennial teaching "spiritualizes" this passage, taking it symbolically, and not recognizing the full reign of Satan's influence, the god of this world, and the present spiritual warfare that is occurring right now.  Premillennialism takes the spiritual battle very seriously. 

2.  Pre-millenial truth better understands the complexity of the details of the kingdom and Christ's Second Coming.  Applying a literal interpretation of the Bible allows us to take Revelation 20 at face value.  There has always been complex stages in God's redemptive history, e.g. the temporary setting aside of the nation Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles is complete.  The Second Coming is a series of complex events beginning with the Rapture, followed by the Trumpet and Bowl judgments, concluding with Armageddon and the binding of Satan.  Premillennialism recognizes the complexity of God's dealings with His people over the ages.

3.  Premillenial truth does not believe the world is going to get better before Jesus returns (Post-Millennial).  Rather, the world is going to get worse and worse, the love of many will grow cold, wickedness will increase and when the Son of Man returns, He will not find faith on the earth (Luke 17:18).  Persecution of the Saints is going to be so bad many professing Christians will apostate away from the faith (The Apostasy).  Jesus and Daniel warn it is going to the the worst of all times for believers.  Premillennialism recognizes that the world is progressing toward more evil, the Great Tribulation and the literal fulfillment of the Book of Revelation.

4.  Pre-millennial truth affirms the unconditional promises God made to national Israel (Romans 11).  Post-millennial and Amillenial both deny God's faithfulness and promises to Israel.