Revelation 20: 1-6.
In chapter 17-18 we saw the obituary of the beast or the Roman Empire.
- The Roman Empire had crucified the Son of God.
- They were also persecuting the saints in an effort to eradicate the cause of Christ.
- All were willful acts against God.
- So, the Roman Empire is destroyed.
- And, in chapter 19 we saw the “Wedding Feast of the Lamb” where the faithful celebrate their victory over the beast…and we saw the “Feast of the Birds” who are summoned to eat those who died in service to the beast.
But what about Satan?
- Satan has been working through Rome to oppose God, His Son, and the saints.
- What affect would the fall of the beast have on Satan?
- John answers that in the first 3 verses of the chapter.
And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
Notice what the angel does to Satan.
- 2: He lays hold of him.
- He binds him (apparently with the chain of verse 1).
- He throws him into the abyss.
- He shuts the abyss over him and seals it for a 1000 years.
This is a picture or it is a figurative image to teach us a truth. What is the truth behind all this?
- What you have here is a picture of the devil being totally, perfectly, flawlessly defeated and bound in reference to his working through Rome against the church.
- The “1000 year binding” in verse 2 is symbolic of a complete, perfect job of binding…it is a thorough restraining…one that lasts forever.
- As far as the devil is concerned he is completely defeated in Rome…he is stopped dead.
The defeat of Satan relative to Rome was a work of God so that the nations might see through the Old Fraud.
- Those who wished to see could see that the God the Christians had whipped Satan and was therefore, truly the King of Kings.
- The fall of Rome was a big advertisement.
But notice in verse 3 that Satan is bound for 1000 years in the abyss and not immediately thrown into the lake of fire; vs. 10.
The reason he isn’t immediately thrown into the lake of fire is because he has another service to render: “after these things he must be released for a short time.”
- In regard to the Roman Empire the devil is totally and completely defeated.
- But the devil will manifest himself again sometime and somewhere to have another go at the church.
When he says for a “short time” this is not talking about a literal time period.
- What God wants known is Satan will find another place to work…another army to work through.
- But, when he does God wants to make it clear that just as Satan was defeated in Rome, he will be defeated again after a “short time.”
What about the saints?
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
- These are the saints who have lived faithfully through the crisis and have been given the kingdom that Jesus promised to those who overcame.
Notice why they died: “…because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God” and because they did “not worship the beast or his image” and they did “not receive the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand.”
Notice what they do in verse 4: “…they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
- John saw them come “to life.”
- There is no defeat in the death of a saint. (“Blessed are those who die in the Lord.”
- They are living; they have a perfect victory never to lose.
In verses 4 the state of those who belong to Christ and who have died for Christ is set forth in a resurrection and reigning picture.
- John is telling the saints that he is writing to that even though they may die at the hands of the beast they will ultimately live and reign forever with Christ.
- This is in sharp contrast to those who served the beast.
THE REST OF THE DEAD; VS. 5
(5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.) This is the first resurrection.
- The first part of this verse is a parenthetical statement.
- It contrasts the saints mentioned in verse 4.
The “rest of the dead” refers to those who died in the service of the beast; chapt. 19.
- They do not come to life “until the thousand years were completed.”
- They do not come to life because they do not have any part in the victory of the saints.
- They were living losers…they are dead losers…and they will live again only to be losers again in the second resurrection; see verse 12-13.
- This speaks of total and complete defeat.
- This is quite a contrast to the saints of verse 4.
The statement, “This is the first resurrection” refers to the saints of verse 4
6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
- The “First Resurrection” is vindication of the martyrs.
- They are raised while the rest remain dead.
Notice, “the second death has no power” over them and it holds no fear for them…they will reign with Christ forever.
The term “First resurrection” implies that there is a second.
- The second resurrection is spoken of in verse 12 and 13.
Now verse 7: And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison
- The “thousand years” here has reference to the complete binding and defeat of Satan in Rome.
- Notice, he will be “released”.
- Satan is not in control…he is under control.
- He will have another go at another time and at another place.
8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
- “…and will come out to deceive the nations…”; the reason Satan was “bound for 1000 years” is so the nations could see through him.
- His defeat in Rome exposed him so the world could see he was useless and a liar.
- However, few learn this and are deceived by him all over again.
“Gog and Magog” refers to no one in particular.
- Satan will find another to work through to attack the church and the Lord.
- Makes no difference who they are or how big they are they will be defeated again.
- See Ezekiel 39: 12-13.
And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
- Gog and Magog are defeated.
- Since this army and invasion stands for any and all of the devil’s assaults against the church after the Roman offensive, its failure signals the end of Satan as an opponent.
- So, verse 10.
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
- “Lake of fire” is symbolic of total defeat.
- Satan will be defeated in all of his attempts.
Now, in verses 4-10 we saw how the saints came out after the battle with the beast. How about the other side?
- Verses 11-15 tell us.
- Keep in mind, this is a vision so this is not a literal judgment scene.
- We must stay consistent.
- This is a vision or a picture that tells a truth.
- What is the truth behind the picture?
And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
- The “second resurrection.” When John spoke of “the first” he was contrasting it with this one.
- Those involved in the “first” resurrection were blessed and holy.
- Not these. They died in battle and now they are “raised” to die again.
- What they received they fully deserved.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
- Everything which God has shown Himself Lord over gives up the dead.
- No righteous in this judgment. We are dealing here with all those who died in service to the beast.
- All of them are subject to the verdict we are about to hear in verse 14.
14 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
- Death and Hades are viewed as enemies of God even though He makes use of them. Christ had long ago defeated both of these.
- They are defeated and no longer to be used by Rome against the saints.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
- Those going into the lake of fire do so because they don’t belong to Christ.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023