Revelation 20 Commentary
Summary: Read Revelation 20 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
 
 

Revelation 20 KJV

Commentary

1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

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

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.

20:1-3 The Millennium: After Christ’s second coming, the earth is utterly desolate, a jagged smoldering ruin. The righteous have been taken to Heaven, and the wicked have been destroyed. 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

As the prophecy continues, John sees “an angel come down from heaven,” lay hold on Satan and bind him for “a thousand years.” Satan is alone with no one to ruin or deceive. He has a thousand years to reflect on the effects which sin has wrought, to behold the results of his rebellion, and to look forward with dread to the time when he will be punished for the evil he has done and the sins he has caused others to commit. At the end of the thousand years (commonly known as the “millennium”) he will be “loosed” for a short time.

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.

5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first 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.

20:4-6 The scene shifts to heaven where the saints sit with the Lord in judgment on the wicked. They will not determine the salvation or damnation of anyone, for each one’s case has already been decided. Instead Christ, in union with his people, judges the wicked dead, as well as Satan and his fallen angels. 1 Corinthians 6:2-3. The books of record are examined, and the punishment to be administered to each of the wicked is determined. During this time God patiently answers any questions the saints may have. This work takes “a thousand years” to complete, but when it is finished both saints and angels agree that God has been just in all His acts and in the way He has dealt with the great rebellion.

Jesus said in John 5:28-29: “The hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have one good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” “The first resurrection” is the “resurrection of life.” It takes place at the second coming of Christ when He resurrects all the righteous who have died (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57), and it marks the beginning of the millennium. The second resurrection is the “resurrection of damnation.” It takes place when “the thousand years” are “finished,” and is composed of the wicked, who will take part in “the second death.”

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

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.

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.

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.

20:7-10 At the end of the thousand years of the millennium, Jesus and His people, along with the holy City, the New Jerusalem, descend to the earth. Revelation 21:2. All the wicked who have ever lived are now resurrected in “the resurrection of damnation,” and “Satan” is “loosed out of his prison.” After his long incarceration, he now has all his subjects, the vast multitude of the lost, to tempt, deceive and torment. He then goes out “to deceive the nations” and “to gather them together to battle.” He persuades them that he has resurrected them from the grave by his own power. He convinces them that together they can conquer the New Jerusalem and overthrow God. Now plans are made, instruments of war constructed, and the armies of Satan Surround “The camp of the saints” and “the beloved city.”

Before judgment is executed against the wicked, they are shown the charges for which they are condemned; they agree with the saints and the angels that God’s judgment is just. See vss. 11-13.

Then the sentence is executed. “Fire” comes “down from God out of heaven” to devour the wicked, turning the earth’s surface into a vast “lake of fire.” It burns up “the devil,” “the beast,” “the false prophet” and “whosoever was not found written in the book of life,” vs. 15. Sin and the effects of sin are destroyed, including “death” and “hell” (the grave), vs. 14. In the cleansing flames the wicked are annihilated; this is the second death. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power,” vs. 6. The fire that consumed the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse of sin is swept away. The universe is once again free from sin and rebellion.

God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11); to Him the destruction of the wicked is a strange act. Isaiah 28:21. God loves and sends blessings upon all, even on those who are evil. John 3:16; Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:35. The wicked have made themselves unfit for Heaven. The purity, peace and harmony of paradise would be a great torture to them. Their destruction is the most merciful thing that God can do for them.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

20:11-15 The Great White Throne Judgment: After the wicked surround the City of God, but before they are destroyed, God opens the books of Heaven and shows each one of the lost the record of his life of rebellion against God. They also see the love of God in the effort He has expended to affect their salvation, and in the blood of the Son of God poured out on their behalf.

The record books of heaven portray its unmistakeable detail their selfishness, cruelty, and every particular of their rejection of God’s authority. They will see clearly why their names are not in the Book of Life. Revelation 13:8; Exodus 32:32, 33; Revelation 3:5.

All the wicked will be fully convinced of God’s justice in the sentence of eternal death pronounced against them. All of God’s judgments are seen to be fair and honest. The entire host of the lost will bow down and confess that God is just. Romans 14:11. Even Satan will knee’ before God and admit that he has been wrong in his rebellion Then the wicked receive their punishment in the lake of fire with Satan and his angels.

Ahead to Revelation 21

This commentary is adapted from Amazing Prophecies, © 2010 Family Heritage Books.

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