Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, May 19th, 2024
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Revelation 20

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1


Note: see also Introduction Revelation

1) "And I saw an angel come down from heaven," (kai eidon angelon katabainonta ek tou ouranou) "And I saw (recognized) an angel coming down out of heaven;" from where he had fought with the Devil and his Angels in defense of God’s people and property, Revelation 12:7-8. Whether this was Jesus Christ or Michael, one of his chief Angelic servants to whom he had committed the key to bind Satan is not clear, Revelation 1:18.

2) "Having the key of the bottomless pit," (echonta ten klein tes abussou) "Holding the key of the abyss, the bottomless pit,” as Christ holds the keys of hell and death, each of which he has conquered for believers (Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18), So does this Angel, perhaps Michael, the Angelic defender of God’s people and property, here hold the key of the bottomless pit, in preparation for opening and casting Satan therein, See also Revelation 9:1; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 12:7-8.

3) "And a great chain in his hand," (kai halusin megalen epi ten cheira autou) "And (having) a great chain upon (in) his hand;" carrying a chain, holding a key to this bottomless pit, the angel came down with great power and a fixed purpose; as angels (demon spirits) under Satan’s control are now said to be under chains (restraints) until the final judgment, even so it is to be considered that Satan is to be placed under more severe restraints and restricted to activities in the bottomless pit alone during the Millennial age, Judges 1:6.

Verse 2

1) "And he laid hold on the dragon," (kai ekratesen ton drakonta) "And he laid a grip on the dragon;" who had already been cast out from any further access to heaven and the throne of God, together with his demon angelic servants, Revelation 12:9-10; Revelation 12:12; 2 Peter 2:4.

2) "That old serpent," (ho ophis ho archaios) "The old (archaic, ancient) serpent;” crooked, morally and ethically; as a serpent he strikes with the venom (poison) of sin - -Those who knowingly and willingly reject Christ are referred to as vipers, offspring of that old Serpent, Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33; Luke 3:7.

3) "Which is the Devil," (hos estin Diabolos) "Who is (exists as) the Devil;” the spiritual father of all lies. John 8:44, also called the god of this world, who binds and blinds men in sin, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

4) "And Satan," (kai ho Satanas) "And (even) Satan;” he is a slandered, tempter, and hinderer of the Word and work of God, but he will one day be chained, Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Mark 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:18.

5) "And bound him a thousand years," (kai edesin auton chilia ete) "And bound him (for a period of) a thousand years" (for a Millennium) with the chain he bound him. Once Satan was prince of the power of the air, a ruler of wickedness in high places over the earth, with access to the throne of God, to accuse the brethren for whom Jesus makes intercession; but during an encounter (a war) with Michael and his Angels, Satan is to be cast out (quarantined from) heaven and the throne of God, during the last 42 months of the great tribulation, to reek havoc on the earth, only till Jesus comes. John 12:31; John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-14.

Verse 3

1) "And cast him into the bottomless pit," (kai ebalen auton eis ten abusson) "And threw (cast) him (down) into the abyss, (bottomless pit);” first he was chained, put in handcuffs and a strait-jacket, then cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years, where demons of Gadara cried not to go, out of which place the beast arose, Luke 8:26-31; Revelation 11:7.

2) "And shut him up, and set a seal upon him " (kai ekleisen kai esphragisen) "And shut the enclosure over him and set a seal or sealed over him;” as Daniel in the den of lions and as Christ was sealed in the sepulcher, Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66. There will be no escape for him, from the bottomless pit, till the Lord orders his release.

3) "That he should deceive the nations no more," (hina me planese eti ta ethne) "In order that (or for the purpose that) he should not delude or deceive the races or nations at all," any longer on earth. During the following Millennium sin will be restricted on earth because the demons are not said to be shut up in the bottomless pit; it is believed their work will be frustrated with their ruler bound and shut up, Isaiah 65:20-25; 2 Corinthians 4:4.

4) "Till the thousand years should be fulfilled," (achri telesthe ta chilia ete) "Until the thousand years (of the millennium) are completed," Micah 4:3-4; Revelation 12:9; Whatever sin may be in man during the golden millennial age will not be as gravely manifested because of the presence of Jesus and absence of the Devil, who once prowled the earth, 1 Peter 5:8.

5) "And after that he must be loosed a little season," (meta tauta dei luthenai auton mikron chronon) "After these things (of Satan’s binding and the millennium) "It is necessary for him to be loosed (released), from the abyss, for a little chronological, continuing period of time;" He shall then be temporarily released out of "his prison," Revelation 20:7, for his last earthly stand against God and the saints, to be brought to his final waterloo, Revelation 20:10.

Verse 4

1) "And I saw thrones and they sat upon them," (kai eidon thronous kai ekthisan ep’autous) "And I recognized a plurality of thrones and they (that) sat upon them;” the time of the tribulation, the judgment of the harlot, the beast, the binding of Satan, the marriage of the Lamb, and the judgment seat of Christ are now culminating. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

2) "And judgment was given unto them," (kai krima edothe autois) "And judgment was given over (doled out) to them." The thrones include: (1) The former throne of David on which Christ will be seated during the Millennium, (2) The twenty-four (24) thrones over which the twelve apostles and twelve Elders of Israel preside, and (3) thrones or positions of judgment promised to saints of the Lord’s church, as promised, prophecied, and predicted, 2 Samuel 7:11-13; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 9:32-33; Daniel 2:44-45; Daniel 7:14; Daniel 7:27; Luke 22:28-30; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 4:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; Daniel 7:18-22.

3) "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded," (kai tas psuchas ton pepelekismenon) "And I recognized the souls of those who had been beheaded;” during the great tribulation.

4) "For the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God.

(dia ten marturian lesou kai dia ton logon tou theou) "Because of the witness (testimony they gave) of Jesus and because of the Word of God;” this appears to be a final rewarding and assignment of judgment honors for believers, who were slain during the tribulation the great, because they refused to take the mark or name of the beast, Luke 21:36-38; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12; Revelation 2:10.

5) "And which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image," (kai oitines ou prosekunesan therion oude ten eikona autou) "And who did not worship the beast nor the image of it;" even as Daniel and the three Hebrew children were rewarded for refusing to worship the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:14-18; Daniel 3:28; Daniel 6:11-12; Daniel 6:17-24; Revelation 15:2.

6) "Neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands," (kai ouk elabon to charagma epi to metopon) "And those who did not take the mark (of the beast) upon (their) forehead," (kai epi ten cheira auton) and upon their hand."

7) "And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years," (kai ezesan ebasileusan meta tou Christou chilia eta) "And they lived again (too) and they (also) reigned with Christ a thousand years; "Who are these? Those who came at the eleventh hour (11th) to the marriage reception, judgment seat of Christ, Hebrews 9:28; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11.

Verse 5

1) "But the rest of the dead," (hoi loipoi ton nekron) "The remainder of the dead;” a) those who were not raised from the dead at the coming of Christ in the air, b) or not caught up (raptured) at his coming, or c) but were beheaded who took not the mark of the beast, not being accounted worthy to escape the (42 months) of judgment fury, Luke 21:36-38; ’All believers then dead.

2) "Lived not again," (ouk ezesan) "Lived not again, any more;” were not resurrected - - no unbeliever came forth from the grave with the righteous a) When Jesus was raised from the dead and bodies of saints arose and walked in the streets of Jerusalem; b) none of the wicked will be raised when He comes in the air; c) and none will be raised when the beheaded saints are here resurrected and given reigning positions with the Lord, Matthew 27:52-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4; Revelation 15:2.

3) "Until the thousand years were finished," (achri telesthe ta chilia ete) "Until the thousand years, (the millennium) was completed;" until the great white throne judgment hour, when the wicked are to receive their final decree of assigned eternal judgment suffering retribution, Matthew 11:20-24; Mark 6:10-11; Hebrews 2:2-3.

4) "This is the first resurrection," (aute he anastasis he prote) "This is (exists as) the first resurrection;" The first in order or rank, in contrast with the second which shall be of the wicked, Revelation 20:11-15.

The first resurrection began when Jesus came forth from the grave (as the firstfruit), and now is risen, 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23; those who (saints who) came forth from their graves in Jerusalem after his resurrection were in the first resurrection, Matthew 27:52-53; at Christ’s coming, all the remaining dead in Christ shall come forth next in the first resurrection, then "the Church" we then living shall be caught up alive in the first resurrection, then those beheaded saints shall be the last in the progressive, but certain first resurrection, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Verse 6

1) "Blessed and holy is he that hath part," (makarios kai hagios ho echon meros) "Blessed (or spiritually prosperous) and holy is the one having, holding, or possessing a part;” having a divine right, in the first resurrection, Romans 8:11. There is also a progressive bodily rapture hope involved in the first resurrection, not available to the wicked, as seen in Enoch, Elijah, Jesus, and those who look for him in expectancy, yet alive at His coming, Luke 21:36-38; Hebrews 9:27-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:10-11; 2 Peter 1:10-11.

2) "In the first resurrection," (en te anastasei te prote) "in the first (in order) resurrection," of the two resurrections, of the just and the unjust, which are to be, the one completed before, and the other after, the millennial (one thousand year) reign of Christ. John 5:28-29; Luke 14:14.

3) "On such the second death hath no power," (epi touten ho deuteros thanatos ouk echei eksousian) "Over these (of the first rank in resurrection) the second death holds no jurisdictional power, or authority."

4) "But they shall be priests of God and of Christ," (all’ esontai hiereis tou theou kai tou Christou) "But they will be priests of God and of Christ;- administrators of work and worship of Christ, Revelation 5:9-10; 2 Peter 2:5; 2 Peter 2:9.

5) "And shall reign with him a thousand years," (kai basileusousin met’ autou (ta) chilia ete) "And they will reign with him (the) thousand years;” as he sits on David’s throne, reigning over the house of Israel, in fulfillment of Divine prophecy, Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; and the twelve apostles and church (his bride) shall reign with him, Luke 22:28-30; Ephesians 3:21; Luke 19:17.

Verse 7



1) "And when the thousand years are expired," (kai hotan telesthe ta chilia ete) "And whenever the thousand years (the millennium) is (are) completed, finished, or expired;” Nothing short of a literal reign of Christ over the earth, at (during) his second coming, satisfies the literal occurrence and truth of the Scriptures, 2 Samuel 7:11-13; Psalms 119:160; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:15-17.

2) "Satan shall be loosed," (luthesetai ho satanas) "Satan will be released," loosed, or turned out of the Abyss, the bottomless pit, (Revelation 20:2-3) where he shall have been sealed, incarcerated, inescapably for the one thousand years.

3) "Out of his prison," (ek tes phulakes autou) "Out of, (from) his prison," re he had been sealed, restrained, detained, for a thousand years. Note, this is called "his prison," chief headquarters of his reign, while he is prince of this world, and prince of the power of the air, and his jurisdiction over principalities, through influence and power of his demon spirits; from this prison he goes, and has gone forth, in this age, not only over the creation but also before the throne of God in heaven to bring accusations against the redeemed for their wrongs on the earth; But Jesus advocates for and defends his own there today, Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; Yes, this roving creature shall roam the earth no more, during that. golden millennial era, 1 Peter 5:8-9; John 12:31; Luke 10:18; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:18; Revelation 12:7-14.

Verse 8

1) "And shall go out to deceive the nations," (kai ekseleusetai planesai ta ethne) "And he will go out to deceive or delude the nations, the races," Revelation 20:3; Revelation 20:10; Many will pretend, (feign) loyalty to Christ during the millennium, but with wicked hearts and carnal sinful natures of enmity against God, like Judas Iscariot, turn and follow Satan when he is released, Matthew 7:21-22.

2) "Which are in the four quarters of the earth," (ta en tais tessarsin goniais tes ges) "Those in the four corners (parts or quarters), all parts of the earth;” Those born in human flesh during the Millennial reign will have the same carnal, sinful, rebellious nature as men today. Some will believe some will not, See Isaiah 65:17-20; Luke 16:31.

3) "Gog and Magog," (ton gog kai magog) "The Gog and Magog;” even to the land and people of Gog and Magog he shall go forth and deceive, even as before he was sealed in the pit for a thousand years, 1 Peter 5:8-9.

4) "To gather them together to battle," (sunagagenn autous eis ton polemon) "To assemble them to war," to bring them together in consort or collusion to make war. ” This specific event is descried by Ezekiel 38:2; Ezekiel 39:1; Ezekiel 39:6; Gog is the Prince - - Magog the land described by Ezekiel, the land of Russia and her allied princes, atheist people.

5) "The number of whom is as the sand of the sea,” (hon ho arithmos auton hos he ammos tes thalasses) "The number of whom (of them) was as the sand of the sea," innumerable, multiplied millions will still be misled - - as swine or oxen are led to the slaughter, 2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 16:14; observe God’s warning regarding such persevering, often reproved, yet impenitent unbelievers, Proverbs 1:22-30; Proverbs 29:1; Hebrews 4:7.

Verse 9

1) "And they went up on the breadth of the earth," (kai anebesan epi to platos tes ges) "And they went up upon the breadth (the plateaus) of the land;” to the height of the Jerusalem area, from where Christ had ruled and reigned a thousand years, Zechariah 14:1-11; Ezekiel 38:9; Ezekiel 38:16; Hebrews 1:6. This is earth’s and Satan’s final action against heaven.

2) "And encompassed the camp of the saints about," (kai ekukleusan ten parembolen ton hagion) "And encircled or surrounded the encampment (campsite) of the saints;” about Jerusalem, Isaiah 2:1-5; Deuteronomy 23:14.

3) "And the beloved city," (kai ten polin ten egapemenen) "Even the beloved city," the city of Jerusalem, the city on Mount Zion, Psalms 87:2; Psalms 87:5-7.

4) "And fire came down from God out of heaven," (kai katebe pur ek tou ouranou) "And there came down (in Divine judgment) fire out of heaven," from the central throne of God, Ezekiel 38:22; Ezekiel 39:6; Revelation 13:13; The fire that the antichrist miracle workers bring down will be without heat in comparison with God’s judgment fire. See 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2 Peter 3:10-12.

5) "And devoured them," (kai katephagen autous) "And swallowed them down (or up) or consumed them;”- This is a release of the final pent-up wrath of God, when not one unregenerate rebel, the Devil or demon spirit shall escape, Romans 2:4-9; 2 Peter 3:10-14.

Verse 10


1) "And the devil that deceived them," (kai ho diabolos ho planon autous) "And the Devil, the one deceiving or deluding them;” Revelation 20:3; Revelation 20:7-8. Though the Devil reigns now, he will not deceive and reign in hell.

2) "Was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone," (eblethe eis ten limnen tou puros kai theiou) "He was cast (thrown down) into the lake of fire and sulfur," fire and billowing brimstone, Revelation 14:10; Revelation 19:20.

3) "Where the beast and the false prophet are," (hopou kai to theriou kai ho pseudoprophetes) "Where (there) were (existed) the beast and the false prophet," Matthew 25:41; Revelation 16:13, in the place prepared for the Devil and his angels and them that forget God, Psalms 9:17.

4) "And they shall be tormented day and night " (kai basanisthesontai hemeras kai nuktos) "And they will be tormented, (caused to suffer consciously) day and night," continuously, without interruption, where there will be no soul rest forever, day and night, Revelation 14:10; Mark 9:44.

5) "For ever and ever," (eis tous aionas ton aionon) "Into (and with relation to) the ages of the ages," endless time or duration, without cessation, forever. There the conscience, the memorex system of the soul, shall remember in torments of remorse, rejected love and spurned mercy forever, Luke 16:25; Luke 16:31.

Verse 11


JUDGMENT v. 11-15

1) "And I saw a great white throne," (kai eidon thronon megan leukon) "And I saw (recognized) a great white throne;” a) Great because of the occasion, b) great because of the number of persons gathered there, c) great because of the judge upon the throne, and d) great because of the final issues being judged, Matthew 25:31-46. White indicates the righteousness of the judgment at hand.

2) "And him that sat on it," (kai ton kathemenon ep’ auton) "And the one sitting (presiding) on it;” The one upon the great white throne is the Creator, Jesus Christ, the Son of God who had also sat upon the white horse in triumph, Daniel 7:9; Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 4:2-3; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 19:11-16; 1 Timothy 4:2. This is the hour of judgment of the wicked.

3) "From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away," (ou apo tou prosopou ephugen he ge kai ho ouranos) "Away from whose face (presence) the earth and the heaven fled," the unredeemed sought to flee, desired to escape, just to hide; And the elements of earth and heaven were dissolved into invisibility, leaving the wicked facing the great white throne, on which Christ sat, Daniel 2:35; Revelation 6:14; Revelation 12:8; Revelation 21:1.

4) "And there was found no place for them "(kai topos ouch heurethe autois) "And not (even) a place, not even one hiding place, not one place of escape, was found (or to be found) for them," for even one of them, 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:10-11; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:8-9.

This hour of white throne judgment, symbolized as a

white throne," indicates the purity, and righteousness of unimpeachable justice, John 5:30; John 8:16; Romans 2:16. There will be no ray or rainbow of hope for the lost, no songs of joy or praise or gladness at that hour. It will be too late - -too late - - too late, Hebrews 4:7.

Verse 12

1) "And I saw the dead," (kai eidontous nekrous)"And I saw the dead bodies, corpses," those unsaved brought to life again, for final judgment in body and polluted soul, John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; All the righteous dead had previously been raised, at the end of the first resurrection, 1,000 years prior to this time, Revelation 20:5.

2) "Small and great, stand before God," (tous megalous kai tous mikrous hestotas enopion tou thronou) "The great and the small ones standing before (in the presence) of the throne," the great white throne of God, for personal judgment, one by one, the high and the low in rank of society in life, each of whom, had rejected Christ, Revelation 6:15-17; Acts 17:31-32.

3) "And the books were opened," (kai bible enoichthesan) "And the (numerous) scrolls were opened," unrolled for review and usage, perhaps the 66 books of the Bible. There is also the book (record) of memory, the Memorex conscience of man to be challenged, Luke 19:25; Luke 19:31; Romans 2:16; John 5:30; Matthew 12:36-37; John 12:48.

4) "And another book was opened, which is the book of life," (kai allo biblion enoichthe, ho estin tes zoes) "And another scroll-like (record, instrument) was opened, which is (exists as) the book of life, Philippians 4:3; of those who lived, who came before this judgment, with their life’s record, Job 16:19; Revelation 3:5.

5) "And the dead were judged," (kai ekrithesan hoi nekroi) "And the dead ones were (small and great) judged," Matthew 11:22; Luke 10:14; Romans 2:15-16.

6) "Out of those things which were written in the books," (ek ton gegramnenon en tois bibliois) "By means or instrument, by the standard of the things that had been written (all the time) in the scrolls - - the books," the 66 books of the Bible, Daniel 7:10; Matthew 16:27.

7) "According to their works," (kata ta erga auton) "According to their works," for degrees of retribution for every sinful deed of every unbeliever, Luke 16:25; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Mark 6:11.

Verse 13

1) "And the sea gave up the dead," (kai edoken he thalassa tous nekrous) "And the sea gave up (gave over), for judgment, the dead ones," dead bodies that were fitted to the habitation of each wicked soul, "to each his own," 1 Corinthians 15:38.

2) "Which were in it," (tous en aute) "Those in it," or whose bodies it had once held for ages, Revelation 8:8-9; Exodus 14:27-28; Psalms 106:11.

3) "And death and hell delivered up the dead," (kai ho thanatos kai ho hades edokan tous nekrous) "And spiritual death ones, even the hades, gave over the dead bodies or corpses;” from their habitat, or holding place, in temporary hades (hell), Revelation 1:18; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 21:4.

4) "Which were in them," (tous en autois) "Which were (existed) once held in them;” Hell surrenders all souls in holding there in spiritual death, to be reunited with their own bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:26; 1 Corinthians 15:36-38.

5) "And they were judged," (kai ekrithesan) "And they were all) judged;” the grave is no permanent asylum for the wicked - - beyond that is the judgment, Hebrews 9:27-28; John 5:28-29.

6) "Every man according to their works," (hekastos kata ta erga auton) "Each one (individual), and all, according to or based upon their works;” their degree of punishment in the lake of fire and brimstone is fixed at the Great White Throne judgment, based on the manner and number of their wicked works - - they were already eternally condemned because of unbelief, John 3:18; Matthew 10:15.

Verse 14

1) "And death and hell," (kai ho thanatos kai ho hades) "And death and hades," "and death and even the holding place of souls of the unredeemed;” Both spiritual death, which thereafter shall come to no one else, Revelation 21:4 and hell, were eternally assigned to a common place.

2) "Were cast into the lake of fire," (eblethesan eis ten limnen tou puros) "Were cast (thrown) into the lake of fire; this shows the fallacy of the doctrine of annihilation. Note also that the beast and the false prophet were still in existence, after they had been there for one thousand years, when the Devil was cast in with them, Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10.

3) "This is the second death," (houtos ho thanatos ho deuteros estin, he limne tou puros) "This is (exists, as being) the second death, (even) the lake of fire” the two are identical, describing the eternal state of the unregenerate wicked, in separation from the presence, mercy, and blessings of God, John 8:21; John 8:24; Luke 16:26.

This lake of fire and brimstone, final hell and holding confinement center of all who die without Christ, is a place of pain, torment, memory, woe, crying, and praying, where occupants have no rest or release from the torments and cries and never can sleep forever and ever.

Verse 15

1) "And whosoever was not found," (kai ei tis ouch heurethe) "And if anyone was not found;” if heaven examined the book of life, those whose names are written on the new-birth-register of the Family of God, would your name be found there? Is your new birth record in Heaven? Job 16:19; John 3:6; Luke 10:20.

2) "Written in the book of life," (en te biblo tes zoes 346

gegrammenos) "Having been inscribed (by name) in the book of life," the Lamb’s book of life or the book of life containing the names of all the redeemed, written, enrolled in heaven, Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27.

3) "Was cast into the lake of fire," (eblethe eis ten limnen tou puros) "He was (that one was) cast down into the lake of fire," abandoned from God and heaven and holy people forever. This is called the "Day of Destruction," Job 21:30; Isaiah 5:14; Matthew 23:33; To be destroyed, to perish, and to be consumed, are terms used to refer to a state of immeasurable loss, suffering, and uselessness .Neither is ever used to mean annihilation, when referring to the final state of the wicked.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Revelation 20". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/revelation-20.html. 1985.
Ads FreeProfile