Revelation 20

Revelation 20


Key Texts: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18;

Chapter 20 is the fourth “pause” or “interlude” in the action of Revelation (7:1-17; 10:1-11; 14; 20:1-6).

These pauses are there to explain the place of the Saints in the events of the Revelation.


Satan – rebellious angel who incited the rebellion, the enemy of the Triune God, enemy of the church, enemy of the Gospel, liar and father of lies, persecutor of the church, accuser of Christians, stirrer upper etc.

Beast – secular power, a tool of Satan in a cheap imitation of the Trinity, that opposes the church

False Prophet – false religion, a tool of Satan in a cheap imitation of the Trinity, that opposes the church

Church – the persecuted, worshippers of the Triune God of all, faithful to Jesus, Gospel preaching, Great Commission going, disciple making, Lord’s supper administering and baptizing radical followers of Jesus

Jesus (Christ) – second person of the Trinity, creator, ultimate missionary, crucified, risen, reigning, judge of all, warrior and conqueror of his enemies, King


Revelation 19:21 was not intended to be read separated from 20:1-3. The Beast and False prophet are thrown into the lake of fire and then Jesus sends his forces to capture the inciter of the rebellion, Satan.


“Doubtless John would have been confirmed in this interpretation by his reading of Ezk. 36–48, where Israel’s restoration to their land under the Messiah, the new David, (chs. 36–37) is followed by the rebellion of Gog (chs. 38–39) and the promise of a new Jerusalem with a new temple (chs. 40–48). The prayer Jesus taught his disciples would have been yet more important (‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’; Mt. 6:10); and John would also have known the beatitudes (‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’; Mt. 5:3, 5).”[1]


1. Satan Bound 20:1-3

(2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6) Some of Satan’s henchmen have already been chained and other demonic hoards have been allowed to roam on God’s sovereign leash, but here Satan himself is bound.

A. Satan is not sovereign, but in fact under the control of the Triune God of the universe

B. Satan’s domain of “rule” is called the “world”

1. World – system of lies and beliefs that are contrary to the Gospel (1 John 5:19)

C. Satan’s deceptive capacity will be stopped

2. The Church Rules 20:4-6

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15) The promise is that when Jesus returns he will bring with him those who have died in the faith and they will be reunited with a new body that is without sin and like Jesus’ post-resurrection body. Therefore, the one’s resurrected here must be all those who return with Jesus who are not still alive and remaining and they are described as those who come out of the tribulation period as not worshipping the beast or receiving his mark (which may indicate that the reception of the mark in a prominent place may be figurative rather than literal and indicate any type of allegiance to the unholy work of Satan either in ignorance or with full knowledge).

A. The last will be first and the first last (the great reversal will take place)

1. Matthew 19:23-20:16

a. Those in the Kingdom who have been held down by those outside of the Kingdom

will be set up front and those outside of the Kingdom will await hell.

b. Even in the Kingdom some get their “props” here and some are just faithful

and no one ever knows. However, Jesus knows and he will honor you and put you

in charge of much in his Kingdom.


B. Our priesthood will be fully realized in presence and without sin

1. We will be near Jesus

C. Our role as managers of God’s kingdom will be fully realized and we will function in service with no sin

1. We will be able to steward Father’s resources without any hindrance to job performance


3. Satan Defeated 20:7-10

“…John here follows Ezekiel’s prophecy of the invasion of Israel’s land by Gog and Magog after the Messianic kingdom has been established. Whereas in Ezk. 38 ‘Gog of the land of Magog’ comes from the north to invade the holy land, in John’s vision Gog and Magog stand for the nations in the four corners of the earth (8). They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the city God loves—a city some 1,400 miles (2,200 km) long, wide and high (21:16)! The event is as symbolic as Armageddon and represents an attack on the manifestation of Christ’s rule in the world. 9b–10 The would-be destroyers are themselves destroyed, and the devil is thrown into the fiery lake, never to trouble humanity again.”[2]


4. Judgment 20:11-15

The fleeing of the earth and sky are seen as precursors to the new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13).

A. The second resurrection takes place

1. Sea gives up it’s dead

2. Death and Hades give up it’s dead

a. Death and Hades represent the face of dying and the state entered upon dying

3. Books are opened and people are judged

a. This latter feature is taken from Dn. 7:10, which reflects both ordinary court procedure and the habit of Persian kings to record every detail of events in their provinces. The important thing is that the joint testimony of the two criteria agrees, and the book of life will reveal it.[3]

1. The judgment proceeds according to two criteria: first, according to what they had done

2. Secondly, the testimony of the books.

B. Hell is for Satan and rebellious angels and people who reject the Gospel

B. Hell is eternal and conscious 20:10



1. Take heart church, our salvation draws near, don’t give up doing Gospel work

2. Preach the Gospel at every turn

A. Don’t substitute practical advise on better life for the Good news

B. Never sacrifice the Gospel for a “crowd” of people

1. Ministry success is not defined by how many people come to participate but by how many

are faithful to the Gospel and that all who will come would come to the Gospel.

[1] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 20:1–3.

[2] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 20:7–10.

[3] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 20:11–15.

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