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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 20

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-4

Temple Section-The Great Dinner

11 Contrast this scene with His entry into Jerusalem ( Mat_21:1-9 etc.). There He presented Himself as their King , lowly, and mounted as any poor peasant would ride. Now He comes seated on a white horse. In the East it is a mark of dignity to ride on a white animal, especially a horse. This is allowed only to those of high rank. There is another contrast between this Rider and the false messiah under the first seal ( Rev_6:2 ), whose conquests were followed by war, famine and pestilence. This battle is followed by a thousand years of peace and plenty and prosperity. The pseudo-messiah will be unfaithful and false, this Rider is Faithful and True.

11 This opening is in contrast with the open door ( Rev_4:1 ) with which the Throne Section begins. Today there is no communication between heaven and earth. When the judgment begins it is still restricted, as is suggested by the figure of a door, but when this Rider comes forth, heaven itself is opened, showing that, at last, the barriers between heaven and earth are removed. This is the glorious coming for which all His earthly people have longed, and concerning which the prophets have often spoken. Compare the passage in ( Isa_63:1-6 ), which reminds us of the Vintage ( Rev_14:17-20 ), which seems to be another aspect of this same scene, for they are combined in the question: "Wherefore is Thy clothing red And Thy garments as the treader in the wine trough ?"

14 The armies in heaven have already expelled the dragon out of heaven ( Rev_12:7-9 ). Now they are about to finish the judgment of the earth. This was foretold as early as the days of Enoch: "Behold, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment upon all" ( Jud_1:14-15 ). This is the full end of all man's misrule and the prelude to the reign of Christ and His saints. The so-called second psalm finds its fulfillment in this battle. He meets the vast international army which worships the beast and the dragon, and, by vanquishing it, establishes His own rule and the worship of Jehovah. Then He takes His true place at the head of all earthly sovereignty.

Temple Section-The Thousand Years

17 God's great dinner after the battle shows how terrible will be the slaughter. The battle referred to in ( Eze_39:11-22 ) is probably after the thousand years ( Rev_20:9 ).

19 The name "wild beast" is given both to the world empire and to its last head. This head and the false prophet are evidently superhuman-the "supermen" for whom the world is already looking. Their fate is in accord with their deeds. The fact that the wild beast was once slain but was recalled to life by the dragon, and the fact that the false prophet imparted life to the image, seem to indicate that they cannot be killed as the rest, hence suffer in the lake of fire during the thousand years. Their fate is unique, and must not be taken as the lot of all who die out of Christ.

21 This is like the destruction of Sennacherib's army on a grander scale ( 2Ki_19:35 ).

2 Satan, the Hebrew for Adversary , is, as his name implies, the great adversary of Christ. Here he is given all his various appellations. In Eden he was seen under the guise of the serpent ( Gen_3:1-5 ). In this scroll he is seen under the figure of a dragon Rev_12:3 ). As the Adversary (usually translated "devil" cf . 1Ti_3:11 ; 2Ti_3:3 ; Tit_2:3 ) he misrepresents God, as witness his attempts to seduce our Lord in the wilderness ( Mat_4:1-11 ; Luk_4:2-13 ) .

4 Judgment here, as often, refers to awards rather than punishment. This "judgment" of the saints consists in granting to each one the place in the kingdom which he deserves. It is to be deplored that there is no good English word for judgment, which calls for the setting of matters right , whether the action be favorable or the reverse. God judges His saints as well as sinners-all get their due, whether their title to it is based on their own acts or on His promises. From the usage of this word it is clear that even the condemnation of the unbeliever is no mere exhibition of aimless rage, but is carefully calculated to right the wrongs of all concerned. The claims of God and Christ, and of the sinner himself are all as conscientiously considered as in the first judgment in Eden ( Gen_3:14-19 ), where the very curse put upon the ground was for man's sake.

Verses 5-15

Temple Section-The Former Resurrection

4 Those who have suffered death for their loyalty during the great persecutions of the end time are especially included in the former resurrection. This is the time spoken of by ( Dan_7:22 ) when "the saints safeguard the kingdom". This is the resurrection of the just ( Luk_14:14 ) and the resurrection of life ( Joh_5:29 ), in contrast to the resurrection of judgment ( Rev_20:12 ). But those who suffer martyrdom or who endure to the end will have the added privilege of reigning with Him and will be His priests for the thousand years. Their trials have wrought an eonian weight of glory for them. They will be happy and holy indeed.

5 The statement that "the rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years may be finished" was omitted in the best manuscript. As the same codex also omits the tribes of Gad ( Rev_7:5 ) and Simeon ( Rev_7:7 ) from the hundred forty-four thousand, too much stress must not be laid on any such omission. These tribes must go in to make up the required number (144,000) in that manuscript. If we accept the insertion of the tribes we must also accept the insertion of this statement, for it rests on the same evidence. It could easily have been overlooked by a copyist, for the preceding sentence ends with the same words as this one does-"the thousand years" (see the Greek text). It is easy, in copying, to skip from the first "thousand years" to the next, and thus omit the intervening statement.

6 The thousand years limits their reign as priests. As kings they reign for the eons of the eons ( Rev_22:5 )-a much longer period.

7 The loosing of Satan finds mankind as a whole unregenerate after the thousand years of peace. They are ready as ever to follow the deceptions of Satan and oppose the Christ of God. But they are given short shrift, for fire descends from heaven and devours them. The fire eonian was prepared for the Adversary and his messengers ( cf page 49: 41, 46). Now he receives his doom.

11 The Great White Throne judgment has no place for those who are Christ's, for they have all been made alive and have been enjoying eonian life for more than a millennium.

Temple Section-Jerusalem

12 This is not a "general" judgment, though it approac hes nearer to it than any other. Only the dead appear before this throne. Those who are Christ's will have been made alive at His presence more than a thousand years before ( 1Co_15:23 ). Those who are His will not die during the thousand years, nor can they be hurt by the second death. Hence only those who have not believed in Christ appear in this judgment. They will all receive their just deserts, according to their acts, during the period between their resurrection and second death. Hence they are condemned, for all fall short of God's standard. They are not vivified, or made alive, as the saints are, by a better resurrection, hence they die again.

13 Thus all evil is segregated in the lake of fire, where Satan and the wild beast and the false prophet already are ( Rev_20:10 ). "This is the second death" defines the lake of fire. Those who have been raised from death return to the same state in the second death. The only immunity from condemnation lies in having a place in the scroll of life.


1 In this section we enter a new eon. Peter, in his second epistle ( 2Pe_3:7 ; 2Pe_3:10 ) tells us that the present heavens and earth are a storehouse of fire, and that they will pass away with a booming noise and the elements be dissolved by combustion. The earth and the works in it shall be burned up by reason of the coming of the day of God. ( Isa_65:17 ) has promised a new heaven and a new earth. Righteousness rules during the thousand years. It dwells in the new creation.

2 The new Jerusalem is heavenly as to character , but will be located on the earth. It comes down "out of heaven". The present heavens and earth are not the first , There was an earth before the present ( 2Pe_3:5 ). The world that then was perished by water ( Gen_1:2 ). The present is the second earth. The one in this vision is the third.

3 That these are not final scenes is indicated by the temporary nature of God 's habitation ( Heb_11:9 ). Though all are His peoples, and He comforts all, He does not as yet, dwell amongst His creatures.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 20". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/revelation-20.html. 1968.
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