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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 20

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Christ and His Church Victors! chapters 2022. (Romans 8:37)

This is the seventh parallel section, and we again return to the First Coming of Christ.

Verses 1-3


And tied him up for a thousand years. Christ broke the power of Satan by dying on the cross (Luke 9:31). In the vision, we see Satan tied up with a heavy chain, thrown into the abyss, which is then locked and sealed. His power and influence over the nations is checked. The nations cannot conquer the church! The church conquers (makes them Christ’s disciples) the nations. Compare Revelation 11:12-14; Revelation 12:5-12. Satan is bound for a thousand years – the entire Gospel Age. Compare Revelation 11:2-6; Revelation 12:14. Satan is bound by Christ and his sacrifice. Compare Matthew 12:29; Luke 4:1-13; Luke 10:17-18; John 12:20-32; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 12:5-11. “So that he could not deceive the nations any more.” Satan is not permitted to destroy the church! He must be set loose for little while. To deceive the nations and persecute the church. Satan is bound, but still permitted to use his evil influence. Again and again we see the events. of Revelation repeat themselves. The church grows, becomes powerful, and Satan once again brings persecution against it. (See Revelation 20:7-10)

Verses 4-6


Then I saw thrones. Note that the Second Coming of Christ does not take place until Revelation 20:11. In the vision, John sees the souls (not bodies) of those who have killed (executed) for their work of proclaiming the Good News (Truth). A thousand years. Symbolic of a long indefinite period of time (compare 2 Peter 3:8). Here it stands for the Gospel Age – that period of time from the Cross to the Second Coming. They came to life. This passage speaks only of souls of those who were killed because of their proclaiming the Good News of Christ. No mention here of a bodily resurrection. Where do these souls rule as kings with Christ? In heaven! [Paradise, see note at end of Luke 16:31.] They “sit by him on his throne” (Revelation 3:21); they “stand with him on Mount Zion” (Revelation 14:1); they “stand facing the throne, and sing a new song” (Revelation 14:3; Revelation 15:3). Happy and greatly blessed! See note on Revelation 14:13. This first raising of the dead. Note that the “second death” has no power over these. It must refer, then, to those who are completely removed from this world scene. Since it is a resurrection of the soul, it speaks of the transfer of the SPIRIT (soul) from this sinful earth [which is under the curse, Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:20-21] to heaven (in the sense of paradise, see notes on Luke 16:19-31). The second raising of the dead will come when Christ returns (Revelation 20:11) and all the dead will be raised both body and spirit (soul)l See notes on Revelation 20:12-13. They will rule with him for a thousand years. Not only shall these souls rule with Christ, they will also worship God in Christ as priests all during the thousand years (gospel age). See Revelation 1:6; Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 7:15; Revelation 14:4.

Verses 7-10


Satan will be set loose. Any interpretation of this must take into account the fact that there will be Christians alive and waiting when Jesus returns (1 Thessalonians 4:17); and that the “church” does not terminate, but continues on into Eternity (Revelation 19:7-9). These verses present Armageddon – an event which takes place again and again during the entire gospel age. But here they seem to represent one final all-out effort of Satan, just before the Second Coming. But notice the sequence of events! Satan is set loose. He goes out to deceive the nations. He brings them against the camp of God’s people. Fire comes down from heaven and destroys them! The Devil is thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur! No BATTLE IS FOUGHT! (Compare Revelation 11:7-13; Revelation 16:12-16; Revelation 19:19-21.) We see Jesus and his mighty angels, with a flaming fire, coming to punish all who do not believe (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). [Some believe the events of Matthew 24:0 will be seen again, just before Jesus comes. If so, this must be balanced with the fact that Jesus will come “like a thief” when everything seems quiet and safe (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).]

Verse 11


Then I saw a large white throne. This is the Second Coming of Christ! We shall all stand before Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Acts 17:31; Matthew 25:31; Revelation 14:14).

Verses 12-13


And I saw the dead. This is the raising of all the dead, both soul (spirit) and body. See John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 1:7. The apostles stressed the resurrection of the complete man (see 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-57). Paul continually preached about Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18). In the vision. John sees the sea give up its dead, and Death and the world of the dead [Hades] give up the dead they hold. Every one of the dead are raised to live again: some in Eternity with God; some in the lake of fire with Satan.

Verses 14-15


Were thrown into the lake of fire. We see the doom of the unbeliever! The unbeliever and the unrighteous share the doom of the Devil, in a place never intended for them. [Book of the living: ancient cities kept the names of their legal citizens in a book. The names of the dead were erased from the book, also the names of criminals.]

The redeemed universe in Eternity as symbolically pictured in the messianic community of the redeemed in the present!

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 20". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/revelation-20.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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