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Bible Commentaries

Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books

Revelation 20

Verses 1-3

The Binding of Satan

One of God's angelic messengers is portrayed as being sent down from heaven with a key to the abyss. In the New Testament, “abyss” is particularly used of the abode of demons and their leader, Satan ( Luk_8:31 ; Rev_9:1-2 ; Rev_9:11 ; Rev_11:7 ; Rev_17:8 ; Rev_20:1 ; Rev_20:3 ). The key represents power over Satan (compare Rev_1:18 ). The great chain is literally "upon the hand" (A.S.V. margin) of Satan and may be the same as the little book of Rev_10:2 , which was also in, or upon, the hand of an angel.

Satan is again described as the dragon because he is ferocious; the old serpent, because he was the deceiver of Eden; the Devil, because he is man's accuser or slanderer; and Satan, because he is man's adversary ( Rev_12:9 ). Satan had to be restrained for men to be able to enter the kingdom of God ( Mat_12:24-30 ; Col_2:15 ). The only way for man to overcome the fear of death and the bondage of sin was through Christ's resurrection ( Heb_2:14 ; Rev_1:18 ). One thousand is a multiple of 10, thus a perfect number standing for a complete period of time. Notice, Satan is still able to work ( 1Pe_5:8 ), but he cannot tempt the Christian without God making a way to escape nor can he hold the Christian in bondage to death. Satan was cast into the abyss and restrained from doing the work he desired to do. He will be loosed for a little time, which Shelly says is a loosing for judgment ( Rev_20:1-3 ).

Verse 4

The reigning of this verse is on thrones, which have been in heaven throughout this book. Jesus will actually lay down his reign after the resurrecton. ( 1Co_15:23-25 ) Those John sees in this verse have received God's favorable judgment. John saw the souls of those beheaded for their faith in Jesus ( Rev_6:9-11 ) and those who remained faithful in life by refusing to worship the beast or bow to his authority in any way.

Verse 5

All of the rest of the dead that did not obey the Lord and worshipped the beast willnot experience the first resurrection. The first resurrection is here described as the souls of the faithful reigning with Christ until they receive their immortal body and he puts down his reign.

Verse 6

They are blessed because they are resting from their labors ( Rev_14:13 ) and are living and reigning with Christ. They are pure, or holy, because Jesus' blood has cleansed them. They will not be cast into the lake of fire (verse 14), but will give the sacrifice of praise to God and Christ throughout Christ's reign as king.

Verse 7

When the word of God is no longer respected by his people, Satan will be loosed to deceive people again.

Verse 8

Gog was the ruler of the people who opposed God's faithful in Ezekiel's vision and Magog the land over which he ruled. Satan's forces come from all over the earth to do battle ( Eze_38:1-23 ; Eze_39:1-29 ).

Verse 9

Satan's forces will come up against the barracks of the faithful and the holy city, or church ( Heb_12:22-28 ). Their intent is to destroy God's faithful once and for all but God intervenes with the fire of his judgment and consumes his enemies.

Verse 10

The devil is cast down into the lake of fire and brinstone where the beast and false prophet were already being punished. ( Rev_19:20 ) Since the harlot was burned and the smoke goes up, it might be said all the forces of evil reap the same reward. Thayer says the word torment means, "to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind)". A double plural is used here to indicate time that goes on and on. It is like a repeating number in math. Thus, we could put for ever and ever and ever, etc. God will never be through punishing Satan for what he did. The everlasting fire was prepared for him and the angels that joined him in rebellion. ( Mat_25:41 ) Note the word translated "everlasting" and "eternal" in Mat_25:46 . Therefore, it could be said the reward of the faithful will only go on as long as the punishment of the wicked continues.

Verse 11

Jesus came forth to judge and make war ( Rev_19:11 ), so we assume he is the one of the throne. ( Mat_25:31 ; 2Co_5:10 ; Act_17:31 ; 2Ti_4:1 ) Heaven and earth will disappear when Christ comes in judgment. ( Heb_1:10-12 ; 2Pe_3:10 )

Verse 12

All of the dead will be raised in the same hour. ( Joh_5:28-29 ; Act_24:15 ) There willnot be multiple judgments, as some have suggested. Instead, all people of every generation will be judged in one great judgment. ( Mat_25:32 ; Mat_11:22 ; Mat_11:24 ; Mat_12:41-42 ; 2Th_1:6-10 ) Some have suggested the books opened would be the laws of the various covenants under which peopl have lived. However, it seems more likely these books are the records of our lives as we wrote them with our deeds. The "book of life" is often referred to in scripture. ( Exo_32:32-33 ; Psa_69:28 ; Isa_4:3 ; Mal_3:16 ; Luk_10:20 ; Php_4:3 ; Rev_3:5 ; Rev_13:8 ; Rev_17:8 ; Rev_21:27 ) A careful reading of these verses makes it plain this book contains a list of all of God's redeemed. We will all be judged based upon the way we have lived. ( 2Co_5:10 ; Gal_6:7-8 ) The idea of judgment here is a pronouncing of sentence.

Verse 13

The sea, whether the literal sea or a figure standing for the mass of humanity, death or the grave where the earthly remains were lain, and Hades, the waiting place of disembodied souls, will all yield their charges. All will be judged based upon the deeds they have done. (Eccelesiates 12:13-14; Heb_4:13 )

Verse 14

Death and the place of disembodied spirits stand as the last two enemies to be overcome. Now that they have yielded their captives, they are cast into the lake of fire. ( 1Co_15:26 )

Verse 15

Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, but some men will be sent there for eternity because they refused to repent. ( Mat_25:41 )

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Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 20". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/revelation-20.html. 2014.