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Notes on the Book of Revelation

Chapter 20

The Millennium

Overview.

The millennium or thousand years takes place in heaven, not on earth; at the second coming of Christ the saints are taken to heaven and the earth is left in a destroyed state.

 

Revelation 20:3, “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.”

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

 

2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Judgments of God.

Chapters 15-20 are primarily focused on the judgments of God. 

 

Chapter 15 introduces the plagues.

 

Chapter 16 explains the plagues. 

 

Chapter 17 describes the false church that will be judged.

 

Chapter 18 describes the fall of the false church (spiritual Babylon).

 

Chapter 19 describes judgment on the beast and the false prophet at the second coming of Jesus Christ

 

Chapter 20 describes judgment on all the wicked, Satan and his fallen angels. 

This chart is taken from Pastor Stephen Bohr's series called, "From the Close of Probation to the New Earth", which is a part of his Anchor School of Theology classes. The entire series can be found on the Secrets Unsealed app and YouTube channel.  

 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:1, And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

 

20V1: Key = Control. Satan was given control (allowed) to open the bottomless pit in Revelation 9:11, but here God has control and has left Satan on a destroyed world to ponder his sins and what he has wrought through rebellion to God’s law and government. 

 

20V1: Bottomless pit = Abyss, used 7 times in Revelation = In most instances it’s used to represent the domain of Satan, 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; Genesis 1:1-2, darkness on the deep (abusos), without form and void; literal darkness in Revelation 20; Isaiah 14:12, weakening the nations just like in chapter 8 and 9; in this verse it represents a description of earth after the second coming of Christ; the earth is destroyed at the coming of Christ and left in a state before creation (without form and void), Genesis 1:1-2; 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2:8; after the second coming of Christ the earth is destroyed and left in a state found before creation (without form and void), Jeremiah 4:23-27.1

 

20V1: Great chain = A symbolic chain of darkness or a chain of circumstances, 2 Peter 2:4, reserved unto judgment at the end of the thousand years, see verse 6, second death.2

 

 

  • Revelation 20:2, And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

 

20V2: Satan = Former name was Lucifer, see also Revelation 12:9. Before Satan fell from heaven, his given name as an angel of light and as one of the two covering cherubs on either side of God’s throne was Lucifer, Ezekiel 28:14-19; Isaiah 14:12-14. Satan is the dragon in Revelation 13:2 and is the one working through the first beast of chapter 13. Satan was the one working through the serpent in the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:1-15.

 

20V2: Bound him = Since the chains in verse 1 are symbolic and represent chains of darkness or a chain of circumstances, then Satan is ‘bound’ symbolically here in verse 2. Satan is left on a dead planet for a thousand years with no one to tempt after the second coming of Jesus Christ. At the second coming the righteous are caught up to meet the Lord in the air and are taken to heaven for a thousand years, while Satan and his fallen angels are left on a barren and destroyed planet.   

 

20V2: Thousand years = Referred to as the millennium, also mentioned in Revelation 20:4-6. The saints (those saved throughout the ages will spend a thousand years in heaven with God). 

 

20V1-3: These verses are paralleled in Isaiah 24:21-23. In verse 21, ‘host of the high ones’ refers to the wicked angels or the fallen angels, Ephesians 6:12; also ‘host’ means armies, so in this context verse 21 is referring to the army of Satan (the fallen angels that were cast out with him, Revelation 12:4, 9. In verse 21, ‘kings of the earth’ are those leaders and their people that sided with the first beast of Revelation 13 (the papal system), Revelation 19:19-20; these are the wicked of the earth that do not follow Jesus Christ and do not have their names written in the book of life. In verse 22, ‘prison’ implies that the Devil and his angels are still alive as prisoners on a destroyed earth; these verses parallel and describe the millennium, Genesis 37:24; Jeremiah 38:6 (note: dungeon = pit). In verse 22, ‘pit’ refers to the prison or grave and is a temporary imprisonment (a thousand years as described in Revelation 20). In verse 22, ‘after many days shall they be visited’ refers to the thousand years in Revelation 20; in Bible prophecy a day equals a year, Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34, so this actually says ‘after many years’. In verse 23, it refers to Revelation 21:23. In verse 23, ‘ancients’ refers to the 24 elders mentioned in Revelation chapters 4 and 5; This refers to the unfallen ‘Adams’ of all the created worlds. As seen in the study of the 24 elders, the number is symbolic which means that there may be many more than 24 unfallen worlds.3 In the King James Version of the Bible, there are nine uses of the word ‘ancients’ and the majority of them can be translated as ‘elders’, 1 Samuel 24:13; Psalm 119:100; Isaiah 3:14; Jeremiah 19:1; Ezekiel 7:26; 8:11; 8:12; 27:9. 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:3, 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. 

 

20V3: Bottomless pit = Abyss, used 7 times in Revelation = In most instances it’s used to represent the domain of Satan, 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; Genesis 1:1-2, darkness on the deep (abusos), without form and void; literal darkness in Revelation 20; Isaiah 14:12, weakening the nations just like in chapter 8 and 9; in this verse it represents a description of earth after the second coming of Christ; the earth is destroyed at the coming of Christ and left in a state before creation (without form and void), Genesis 1:1-2; 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2:8; after the second coming of Christ the earth is destroyed and left in a state found before creation (without form and void), Jeremiah 4:23-27.4

 

20V3: Deceive the nations no more = Satan and his fallen angels cannot deceive the nations because they are all destroyed at the second coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, the righteous are taken to heaven, but all the wicked that are still alive at the second coming will be destroyed, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2:8. 

 

20V3: Loosed a little season = No one knows how long exactly that this is referring to, but it is long enough for Satan and his angels to deceive the wicked one last time (once the wicked are resurrected in the second resurrection to be judged and destroyed in fire and brimstone), Revelation 20:5, 7-12; 21:8; John 5:28-29. 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:4, 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.

 

20V4: This refers to the millennial judgment of the wicked. 

20V4: Judgment was given unto them = 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 says, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” The saints are given a thousand years to look at the books (see verse 12); our questions are answered, for instance why did someone not make it to heaven, or why did that person make it to heaven. As an example Stephen the disciple was stoned to death while Saul was holding the coats of the people stoning him to death; of course, Saul later becomes Paul and writes the majority of the New Testament and will be in heaven; when Stephen sees Saul/Paul he will wonder why he’s in heaven. Everyone’s questions will be answered to vindicate God’s character and to highlight that His judgments are righteous, and will show God is a God of love. We are not making the actual judgments of who is saved and who is not saved, we are only reviewing what God has already decided. In His mercy, He is allowing us to review the books to determine for ourselves that His judgments are sure. 

 

20V4: Souls of them that were beheaded = These are the resurrected saints. Saints = Simply means believers in Jesus Christ, Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:4. 

 

20V4: Worshipped the beast = Those that worshipped the first beast of Revelation 13, see study at the end of chapter 13 called, The Antichrist (The Roman Catholic Church System). 

 

20V4: Neither his image = Refers to the second beast of Revelation 13, see study at the end of chapter 13 called, The Image to The Beast. 

 

20V4: Received his mark = Refers to the Mark of the Beast (Sunday worship) in Revelation 13, see study called, Mark of The Beast.

 

 

  • Revelation 20:5, But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

 

20V5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished = Is a parenthetical statement. It breaks the flow of thought to explain what happens to the wicked. Then the very next sentence begins the original thought again and explains that this is the first resurrection which is referring to the statement made in verse 4 about those that live and reign with Christ for a thousand years.5 

 

20V5: Rest of the dead = The wicked throughout all the ages will remain dead during the thousand years and then will be resurrected to face the final judgment in hellfire. 

 

20V5: The first resurrection = This is the resurrection of the saints at the second coming of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 says, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”, Isaiah 26:19 says, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”, and Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” If there is a first resurrection that implies that there is a second resurrection (also Daniel 12:2 specifically mentions two resurrections); Acts 24:15; the first resurrection (of the righteous) occurs at the second coming of Christ and the second resurrection occurs after the thousand years (millennium) as mentioned in this verse. This verse also says that the rest of the dead (the wicked or unsaved) do not live again until after the thousand years.

 

 

  • Revelation 20:6, 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.

 

20V6: Blessed = Translates as happy and is the same word used by Jesus in the sermon on the mount. There are seven blessings in the book of Revelation. The first one is in chapter 1 verse 3 and the others are in Revelation 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 22:7; and 22:14. 

 

These are the blessings summarized:

  1. Those that read, hear and keep the things written in Revelation.

  2. Those that die in the Lord. 

  3. Those that watch and keep their garments (of righteousness). 

  4. Those that are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. 

  5. Those that are in the first resurrection. 

  6. Those that keep the sayings of prophecy in Revelation.

  7. Those that do His commandments. 

 

Most of these blessings are action words, which show that Christians should not only hear but be doers of the Word. James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

20V6: First resurrection = When the saved (or dead in Christ) are resurrected, see verse 5. Those that have the honor of being a part of the first resurrection are truly blessed because they will spend eternity with Jesus. 

 

20V6: Second death = This refers to hell; the wicked will be resurrected after the thousand years to receive the final judgment and to be burned up in hellfire, Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8. See study called, The Truth About Hell at the end of chapter 14. Everyone (except those Christians alive at the second coming of Jesus) will at some point have to face the first death, which is a cause of living in a fallen world. Everyone dies at some point which is called the first death, but the wicked will have to suffer the second death which is hellfire. The saved will die once and then live for eternity, the wicked will die twice and will never come back from the second death. 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:7, And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

 

20V7: Loosed out of his prison = Satan is loosed because the wicked have been resurrected in the second resurrection, so Satan now has people to tempt again. His prison of a dead planet is now full of the wicked from throughout the ages. 

 

20V7: Loosed = The Bible isn’t clear on how long Satan and his fallen angels will be given to rally the wicked to attack the city of God, but this is probably not a very long time. The purpose of the second resurrection is to give the final judgment on the wicked and to destroy them in hellfire, so that God can recreate the earth where He and the saints will live for eternity, see Revelation 21. 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:8, 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.

 

20V8: Deceive the nations = These are the wicked that are resurrected after the thousand years, the second resurrection, Revelation 20:5.

 

20V8: Four quarters of the earth = The entire earth, four quarters make a whole item. This is similar to the phrase about four corners in Revelation 7:1, which means world-wide, all directions of the compass.

 

20V8: Gog and Magog = Symbolically represents the enemies of God and their descendants, Ezekiel 38 and 39 (used multiple times in those chapters).6

 

20V8: To gather them together to battle = This is the second part of Armageddon. The first part was right before the second coming of Jesus, Revelation 16:13-14, 16. 

 

20V8: Sand of the sea = This represents the number of wicked from the time of Cain to the second coming of Jesus. All the wicked throughout the ages.  

 

 

  • Revelation 20:9, 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. 

 

20V9: Camp of the saints, beloved city = New Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21:2; also referred to as Mount Zion, Hebrews 12:22-23.

 

20V9: Fire came down and devoured = The lake of fire, verse 9 gives an overview of the events, but in verse 10 it goes back to explain that the fire coming down is the lake of fire; again this is repeat and enlarge.7

 

 

  • Revelation 20:10, 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.

 

20V10: The devil, the beast, the false prophet are the eighth and thrown into perdition, see explanation for Revelation 17:10-11. This verse mentions that when the devil is thrown into the lake of fire, the beast and false prophet are already there (it says ‘are’); that is because the beast and false prophets are systems that were destroyed by fire at the second coming of Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2:8; Jeremiah 4:23-27, in verse 27 it says ‘yet will I not make a full end’ because the systems of the beast and false prophet have been burned up, but Satan and the people that made up the false systems of the first and second beast of Revelation 13 have not been thrown into the lake of fire until after the thousand years; the beast and false prophet are symbolically destroyed at the second coming, those systems will no longer exist; for example in Revelation 13:3 it mentions the deadly wound; this doesn’t mean an individual receives a deadly wound, it was the papal system that received the deadly wound.8 But now after the millennium, the individuals that made up these false systems are finally destroyed in the lake of fire and brimstone and then the devil and his angels are cast into the same lake of fire. 

 

20V10: For ever and ever = Destruction will be complete and final. This does not mean eternal hell. Forever and ever is used 56 times in the Bible for things that have already ended; Jonah 1:17; 2:6, means three days and three nights; 1 Samuel 1:22, 28, forever means lifetime; Exodus 21:6, serve forever means lifetime; Isaiah 34:10, Bozrah is still not burning today; Revelation 20:10. Forever and ever means until it can’t be seen anymore because Satan is going to be turned into ashes, Ezekiel 28:18-19; Psalm 37:20, the smoke rises until we can’t see it anymore; Malachi 4:3. See the study called, The Truth About Hell for more details.

 

 

  • Revelation 20:11, 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.

 

20V11: Great white throne = This is the throne of God sitting in judgment. This is still describing the millennial judgment of the wicked, which started in verse 4. 

 

20V11: Heaven = This is referring to the atmosphere where birds fly. There are three heavens in the Bible; First heaven = Atmosphere (Genesis 7:23; Acts 1:11; Isaiah 65:17), Second heaven = Sun, moon and stars (Genesis 22:17), and third heaven = Dwelling place of God (Matthew 5:16).

 

20V11: Earth and heaven fled away = The earth (including the atmosphere) is destroyed during the second coming of Jesus. 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:12, 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.

 

20V12: Stand before God = Here all the wicked that have ever lived are standing in judgment before God. The righteous have already been judged during the investigative judgment which occurred before the second coming and “stood” in judgment through the books. Now the wicked literally stand before God to received His sentence of judgment. 

 

20V12: The book of life = The book of life is always referred to using the singular form “book” and never as “books”. But there are other books that use the singular form such as the book of iniquities in Jeremiah 2:22. When the plural form “books” is used it refers to the record of life or other books and not the book of life.9 Some examples are Philippians 4:3 which says, “And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”; Revelation 3:5 which says, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”; Revelation 13:8 which says, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”; Exodus 32:31-32 which says, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”; and Daniel 12:1 which says, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” In Revelation 20:12-13 both the singular book and the plural form books is used, with the book referring to the book of life and books referring to the books of remembrance or books of iniquity.”

 

20V12: According to their works = Since hell does not burn forever, we are judged by what we’ve done and burned accordingly; those that have done great evil will burn longer than others (for instance Hitler will probably burn longer than Cain, who as far as we know only killed one person), Matthew 16:27; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Luke 12:47-48; we cannot work our way to heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9), but the wicked are judged by what they’ve done; God is just and righteous and punishes only according to what the wicked/lost/unsaved have done. See the study called, The Truth About Hell for more details.

 

 

  • Revelation 20:13, 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.

 

20V13: The sea gave up the dead = This verse is pointing to the second resurrection when all the wicked of the world are resurrected to stand in the great white throne judgment to receive the judgement of God. The sea represents all those in their watery graves and the next portion of the verse is pointing to all those in their earthly graves. So this verse says that all the wicked on the earth (both in their watery graves or earthly graves) are resurrected. 

 

20V13: Death and hell = Here the word hell can be translated as the grave (Hades), 1 Corinthians 15:55. So the verse can read as ‘death and the grave delivered up the dead’. This is referring to the wicked that are resurrected in the second resurrection to be judged by God. 

 

20V13: Judged = In the Greek it means punished, Isaiah 28:14-21; Romans 2. This verse is describing all the wicked being resurrected in the second resurrection to be judged and punished in hell fire. 

 

 

  • Revelation 20:14, And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

 

20V14: Hell = The grave; both death and hell (grave) were cast into the lake of fire because the wicked will be burned up and will never die again or need a grave; they will be consumed by the fire, Psalms 21:9; 37:9-10, 20, 38; Psalm 145:20; Malachi 4:1-3; Ezekiel 28:18-19; this is God’s strange act, Isaiah 28:21, God is a God of love (1 John 4:8) and did not want anyone to perish (John 3:16).10

 

20V14: What is the lake of fire? Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (consumed by the brightness of His coming); Song of Solomon 8:6-7, fire is a symbol of love in heaven. God manifests Himself as fire because He is a God of Love (1 John 4:8). The Holy Spirit manifests Itself at Pentecost as flames of fire. God in the burning bush (Acts 7:30) and baptism by fire. In God’s fulness of love He cannot allow the wicked to enter heaven because they would be tormented forever in the presence of a God of fire. It is actually the righteous/saved/saints that will be in the presence of God and “burn forever” (in the presence of love), Isaiah 33:14-17. We even use the term today when we say someone is “on fire” for the Lord - We’re in love with the Lord. Being in the presence of God, a consuming fire, will cause us to glow like stars, Daniel 12:3.11

 

  • Revelation 20:15, And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

 

Chapter 20 Resources and Notes

1.  Pastor James Rafferty and Pastor Ivor Myers, Salvation in Symbols and Signs (Program on 3ABN’s Dare To Dream Network), video series can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i42C2tZ5yuI&list=PLZE9r6f37K0AJPuImVU9DX-Y1Ntikqv0R.

 

2.  Ibid.

 

3.  Ibid.

 

4.  Ibid.

 

5.  Ibid.

 

6.  Source unknown.

 

7.  Pastor James Rafferty and Pastor Ivor Myers, Salvation in Symbols and Signs (Program on 3ABN’s Dare To Dream Network), video series can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i42C2tZ5yuI&list=PLZE9r6f37K0AJPuImVU9DX-Y1Ntikqv0R.

 

8.  Ibid.

 

9.  Pastor Stephen Bohr, Unsealed Secrets Ministry video series called, 24 Elders, can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL08FblwEmHeKagMtLWSeL8DTIcpKCLsZ9.

 

10.  Pastor James Rafferty and Pastor Ivor Myers, Salvation in Symbols and Signs (Program on 3ABN’s Dare To Dream Network), video series can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i42C2tZ5yuI&list=PLZE9r6f37K0AJPuImVU9DX-Y1Ntikqv0R.

 

11.  Ibid.

 

 

Ellen White references can be found here: https://beta.egwwritings.org

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