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Bible Commentaries

John Brown's Commentary on Selected Book of the Bible
Revelation 20

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-15

John Brown

Revelation 20

A Thousand Years

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week we saw the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS victorious at the battle of Armageddon!

1. All those that opposed the lord and His saints were killed and a great feast of flesh was provided for the vultures!

2. And the beast and the false prophet were eternally cast into the lake of fire!

3. The war is not over yet!

4. You see, for a1 ,000 years the earth will experience a peace that it has not known since the Garden of Eden!

5. This morning we will be studying chapter20 and what is referred to as "The Millennium"!

a) Before we begin I must explain that there are3major view points regarding the millennium and the interpretation thereof.

(1) Premillennialism = which is a literal approach to the interpretation of these passages.

(a) In other words there will be a personal return of Christ to the earth.

(b) Followed by a literal binding of satan in Hades.

(c) And a literal1 ,000 year reign of Christ with the saints on the earth!

(2) Postmillennialism = which teaches a partially literal approach.

(a) There will be a literal period of Christian righteousness on the earth.

(b) Christ's reign however will not be literal, it will be spiritual through His church, which will of course have been won to HIM through worldwide evangelism and teaching.

(c) And His personal return to the earth will be at the end of the thousand reign, at the establishment of the new heaven and earth!

(3) Amillennialism = which interprets these passages completely spiritual!

(a) In other words, the thousand year reign is actually the Church Age.

(b) Christ's kingdom was actually established with the defeat of Satan at the cross. We are now living in the millennium!

(c) And this point of view holds that Christ's personal return will come at the end of the Church Age for a general judgment!

6. We will, as we have throughout Revelation take the literal interpretation wherever possible in our study this morning, which is the premillennial point of view!

a) I thing as we progress, you will understand why!

II. Revelation 20:1-3 THEN I SAW AN ANGEL COMING DOWN FROM HEAVEN, HAVING THE KEY TO THE BOTTOMLESS PIT AND A GREAT CHAIN IN HIS HAND.

2HE LAID HOLD OF THE DRAGON, THAT SERPENT OF OLD, WHO IS THE DEVIL AND SATAN, AND BOUND HIM FOR A THOUSAND YEARS

3AND HE CAST HIM INTO THE BOTTOMLESS PIT, AND SHUT HIM UP, AND SET A SEAL ON HIM, SO THAT HE SHOULD DECEIVE THE NATIONS NO MORE TILL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED. BUT AFTER THESE THINGS HE MUST BE RELEASED FOR A LITTLE WHILE. (NKJV)

A. In the King James the first word in verse1is "and" meaning that this chapter is a continuing record of events.

1. So we can safely say that this1 ,000 year period will immediately follow Armageddon!

B. This angel has the key to the bottomless pit. Christ claimed those keys earlier in Revelation 1:18

1. If it is not Him, it is quite possibly Michael who is known for his special battles with satan in the past

2. Whichever one it Isaiah , notice he has a great chain in his hand.

a) Mark 3:27 "No one can enter a strong man"s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house. (NKJV)

b) This chain is not just an iron chain as we know, for it must bind the spirit of satan not the physical!

C. He laid hold of the dragon, old serpent, the devil, satan.

1. Do we need to guess who this is? The "master mind"!

2. This is the first plain reference to the "thousand years"

a) There is nothing in the verse to indicate anything except a literal1 ,000 year period of time!

b) John refers to this period of time as "a thousand years" no less that6 times in verses2-7!

(1) It is as though he doesn't want us to misunderstand what he means!

c) An few important points needs to be made here!

(1) If the millennium corresponds to the Church Age, as is the Amillennial point of view, the1 ,000 year period known as the millennium, is already almost2 ,000 years!

(2) Also, Revelation 20:2-3 tell us that satan is bound . . for a thousand years; and . . cast into the bottomless pit, and shut . . up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.

(a) It seems to me that satan has been more active during the last2 ,000 years than is all history, trying to "undo" the work of the cross! 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (NKJV)

(i) There is no indication by Peter that satan is presently bound and powerless!

(ii) And neither are his "hosts" according to Ephesians 6!

(iii) I don't see how we could be living in the millennium referred to in the Scriptures!

(iv) Which would negate any point of view except the "literal" interpretation of the millemmium!

D. This "bottomless pit" is abussos the Greek word meaning literally "without depth"!

1. If this "pit" is in the middle of the earth as scripture suggests, you couldn't fall in any deeper. And as Dr. Henry Morris says, "every boundary would be a ceiling."

2. The entrance of this place will be "sealed" by the Lord and only the Lord will remove the seal, but not till after the1 ,000 years!

a) You might ask, "Why would the Lord ever let him out?"

b) It seems that those born during the millennium must also have the opportunity of "choice".

c) They too must be tried by satan and sin- and they too must decide for or against Christ!

III. Revelation 20:4-6 AND I SAW THRONES, AND THEY SAT ON THEM, AND JUDGMENT WAS COMMITTED TO THEM. THEN I SAW THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAD BEEN BEHEADED FOR THEIR WITNESS TO JESUS AND FOR THE WORD OF GOD, WHO HAD NOT WORSHIPED THE BEAST OR HIS IMAGE, AND HAD NOT RECEIVED HIS MARK ON THEIR FOREHEADS OR ON THEIR HANDS. AND THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST FOR A THOUSAND YEARS.

5 BUT THE REST OF THE DEAD DID NOT LIVE AGAIN UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED. THIS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION.

6 BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE WHO HAS PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION. OVER SUCH THE SECOND DEATH HAS NO POWER, BUT THEY SHALL BE PRIESTS OF GOD AND OF CHRIST, AND SHALL REIGN WITH HIM A THOUSAND YEARS. (NKJV)

A. Who are these kings that judge? And whom do they judge?

1. Remember the saints all dressed in white wedding robes?

2. Well it seems that these "robes" are the garments of kings and priests also!

a) Revelation 1:6 . . . has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (NKJV)

3. You see, the saints, during the millennium, will be assigned individual thrones of authority and judgment and co-reign with Christ.

a) There are exceptions!

b) Remember, this is not heaven yet! 1Corinthians tell us that there will be many saved, yet they will lose their reward.

(1) 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 each one"s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one"s work, of what sort it is.

14If anyone"s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

15 If anyone"s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (NKJV)

c) It seems that realms of authority will be assigned in proportion to our faithfulness here on this earth!

(1) Luke 19:11-20; Luke 19:23-26 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.

12Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.

13 "So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, "Do business till I come."

14 "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us."

15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

16 "Then came the first, saying, "Master, your mina has earned ten minas."

17 "And he said to him, "Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities." 18 "And the second came, saying, "Master, your mina has earned five minas."

19 "Likewise he said to him, "You also be over five cities."

20 "Then another came, saying, "Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief . . . .

23 "Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?"

24 "And he said to those who stood by, "Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas."

25 ("But they said to him, "Master, he has ten minas.")

26 "For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (NKJV)

(2) We see it again in the parable of the talents Matthew 25:14-30 For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

15 "And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.

16 "Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.

17 "And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.

18 "But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord"s money.

19 "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, "Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them."

21 "His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

22 "He also who had received two talents came and said, "Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them."

23 "His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

24 "Then he who had received the one talent came . . .

26 "But his lord answered and said to him, "You wicked and lazy servant,

27 . . . you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

28 "Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

30 "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (NKJV)

(3) Don't focus on the one who didn't do anything with the Lord. The point here is that even with the one's who were considered faithful, there was a "graduated" reward based upon their level of service!

(4) It is imperative that we NOT wait ‘til heaven to serve the Lord! We must do it here, and now!

B. John saw their "souls" here in verse4not their bodies!

1. John also says, "they lived" in verse4!

2. Based upon verse5 which says, ". . .the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years are finished", John must be referring to a "bodily" resurrection!

a) The "souls" of these martyrs' John is referring to had all along been very much alive. Now their bodies will live again! THIS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION!

b) Notice, these "kings and priests" will not face a second death! vrs6

c) The "rest of the dead" John refers to in verse5 is of course the unsaved men and women who's souls are in Hades!

(1) John's reference to them "living again" would be meaningless if it meant souls, because souls live forever!

(2) After1 ,000 years these unsaved will experience a "bodily" resurrection and face the Lord!

IV. Revelation 20:7-9 NOW WHEN THE THOUSAND YEARS HAVE EXPIRED, SATAN WILL BE RELEASED FROM HIS PRISON

8 AND WILL GO OUT TO DECEIVE THE NATIONS WHICH ARE IN THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH, GOG AND MAGOG, TO GATHER THEM TOGETHER TO BATTLE, WHOSE NUMBER IS AS THE SAND OF THE SEA.

9 THEY WENT UP ON THE BREADTH OF THE EARTH AND SURROUNDED THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS AND THE BELOVED CITY. AND FIRE CAME DOWN FROM GOD OUT OF HEAVEN AND DEVOURED THEM. (NKJV)

A. If this doesn't convince us of man's true nature, nothing will!

1. After1 ,000 years of being in the very presence of the Lord Himself. Experiencing His goodness, His peace, and His prosperity of the earth: there will still be a multitude of men and women on the earth ready to take up arms against the Lord at first chance!!

2. Please notice that satan doesn't escape! He is let loose by the Lord!!!

3. During the millennium sin will be prevented by the Lord and His "kings and priests" and there will be some who will resent that they have to be "holy by lack of opportunity".

4. You see, in their hearts they do not love the Lord!

a) In the past they could blame not living for the Lord on poverty, pornography, war, or even pressure at work.

b) But now, those things had been removed for a1 ,000 years!

c) There is no excuse by their own sinful hearts, and they must be confronted with that!

(1) Because it is only in accepting that we are sinners, that salvation can exist!

5. Notice also that a1 ,000 years in the "pit" hasn't changed satan's character one bit! (Quote about guy in KKK- change of heart)

a) He quickly mobilizes Gog and Magog (symbolic of the enemies of the Lord), (historically, Magog is Russia. Gog seems to be the leader of the people of Magog!

(1) I think it is important not to limit this reference to just Russia, but to all who oppose the Lord at this time!!

(2) This will be the one final assault upon the Lord and His people, and of course it fails!

(a) Malachi 4:1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch. (NKJV)

V. Revelation 20:10-15 THE DEVIL, WHO DECEIVED THEM, WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE WHERE THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET ARE. AND THEY WILL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOREVER AND EVER.

A. Finally, here is the end of the angels turned demon, that fell from heaven with lucifer.

1. It is the end of satan and his reign of terror, the beast and the false prophet.

2. It is the end of all that opposes the Lord!

a) This is not just a "holding tank" in which "good old boys" party down!

b) It is torment forever!!

VI. Revelation 20:11-15 THEN I SAW A GREAT WHITE THRONE AND HIM WHO SAT ON IT, FROM WHOSE FACE THE EARTH AND THE HEAVEN FLED AWAY. AND THERE WAS FOUND NO PLACE FOR THEM.

12AND I SAW THE DEAD, SMALL AND GREAT, STANDING BEFORE GOD, AND BOOKS WERE OPENED. AND ANOTHER BOOK WAS OPENED, WHICH IS THE BOOK OF LIFE. AND THE DEAD WERE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS, BY THE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOKS.

13THE SEA GAVE UP THE DEAD WHO WERE IN IT, AND DEATH AND HADES DELIVERED UP THE DEAD WHO WERE IN THEM. AND THEY WERE JUDGED, EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS.

14THEN DEATH AND HADES WERE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH.

15 AND ANYONE NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. (NKJV)

A. John sees the Lord so glorious that everything disintegrates in His path that is not holy!

1. The fallen earth and heavens are vaporized!

2. And every human being ever created is seen standing before the Lord giving account for their lives!

a) Except for the Christians. they will not appear before this throne at all!

(1) Their sins have been taken care of at the cross.

b) The Lord is not willing that any should perish so this book called "The Book of Life", at one time had every person ever born registered.

c) Some have been "blotted out" by their own choice. They have chosen death instead of life!

(1) As they give account for their lives, the record precedes them.

(2) You see, they made a willful choice to "do it on their own", so they will be judged according their "works", not the forgiveness of the cross!

(3) Those not found in this Book will experience a bodily death once again! This is the second death.

(a) Remember Hebrews 9:27 says, it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (NKJV)

This second death is after their judgment!

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Brown, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:4". John Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jbs/revelation-20.html.

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Sunday, June 16th, 2019
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