Revelation 20:

A Panorama of the Gospel Age

Chapter 13

A careful reading of this chapter will show that all the conditions and events outlined here are a part of the Christian dispensation. None are left out; all picture conditions or events that occur in the period beginning with the first coming of Jesus and extending to the end of the gospel age. This chapter truly is a panorama of the whole Gospel age from the first coming of Jesus until the end of Satan and the earth as we know it.

20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

The messenger from heaven is Jesus. It is he who has the key of death and Hades (Rev. 1:18; 3:7). The chain is spiritual as is the key. You can't open a spiritual door with an iron key.

20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

You cannot bind a spiritual being with a literal chain. The binding is done with the Gospel. The event of binding is the crucifixion. The 1000 years represent totality of the period. It is used of the whole of the period of binding and refers to the gospel age, from the first coming of Jesus to just before the second coming.

The Bible Teaches That the Binding of Satan Took Place at the First Coming of Christ.

A. Mt. 12:22-29 Jesus taught that he was stronger than the devil and had bound the devil in his own life.

1. Jo. 16:11 NOW is the devil cast out.(by the crucifixion)

2. Jo. 12:31,32 The crucifixion causes the casting down of the devil. He is cast out of heaven into the earth. (Rev 12)

B. The devil is bound in the life of the Christian by the power of the Gospel.

1. Eph. 2:3,4. We once walked according to Satan's power, but no more. He only works in the children of disobedience.

2. Eph. 6:11 ff. By the armor of God a man can withstand all the darts and wiles of the devil and his multitudes.

3. Heb. 2:14. Jesus delivered us from bondage by his death and resurrection, when he destroyed the power that the devil held over us.

4. 2 Tim 1:7-10. Christ has not given us the spirit of fear but of a sound mind by abolishing death.

5. Jas 4:7. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Not possible before the death of Christ limited him.

6. Acts 26:18. Paul was called to turn people from the power of Satan to God.

7. Job 1:ff. There was a time that the devil could walk before the throne of God and accuse us before him but this is done no more! This is seen in the book of Job, but it is evident that since the blood of Christ has been offered he can no longer do this. The accuser of our brothers has been cast down. He is limited to the physical universe. The prince of the power of the air has but a short time. In Rev. 12 he is cast out at the time the woman, the church of all ages, is issuing forth the man child. This means when the church began, Satan was cast out of heaven; the woman, or the church was persecuted and fled into hiding for 1260 years.

20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

We have shown how Satan was bound and limited in the life of Christ, and the church, and the individual lives of Christians by the power of the Gospel. But he is also not to deceive the nations, meaning nonchristians. This condition was to last to the latter part of the age (the 1000 years) when he must be loosed a little season. The loosing of Satan must simply mean a restoration of the condition that existed in the nations before he was bound. This is quite obvious: if the binding of Satan means that the nations are not deceived any longer, then the loosing restores the condition of the nations being deceived. When the ethic of Christ impacted the paganism of the old Roman world it won the struggle. That did not happen in one day but the time came when the Christian ethic triumphed over the pagan ethic in the Western World.

That is not to say that people did not sin, but that they were not deceived. Sin is obviously still a part of the world after the departure of the preeminence of the pagan ethic by 325 A.D. But the sinfulness of homosexuality, gladiatorial combats, exposure of unwanted children, free divorce, and other transgressions of Christ's morality were seen by all, pagan and Christian alike, for what they are -- sin. Sin was committed, but confessed as sin or hidden away from view by the sinners, after the Gospel ethic triumphed.

Thus the loosing of Satan is simply a restoration of the contradictory ethic of Paganism, which existed in the world before Satan was bound. If this is correct, then the loosing of Satan has been accomplished and probably began between 1964 to 1967, when Christianity lost its position of acknowledged superiority among the nations, but not in the true church.

Those associating themselves with the pagan ethic while claiming to be Christ's church, must in reality be the Babylon of Chapter 17, the Mother of Harlots or one of her harlot daughters. The call of Christ is still clear to those in institutions that adopt the pagan ethic. (Rev 18:4) " And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. "

20:4 And I saw thrones and they sat on them, and judgement was given to them: and I {saw} the souls of them that had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ for one thousand years,

The judgment thrones here are mentioned in Mat. 19:28, where Jesus promised the Apostles they would sit in the regeneration. The regeneration, when men began to be born again, started in 30 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. The Apostles still sit on those thrones judging all who come into the kingdom through their word.

There were people dying for their faith during the thousand years and this corresponds to history. So does the fact that many died because they would not submit to the Roman beast, in whatever form, and his naked aggression against the simple faith of Christians who would not bow to him.

These are said to be alive as kings for the 1000 years. The scriptures so teach of Christians. See further in next verses.

20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

The first resurrection has taken place already in the life of every true believer.


1. Ro. 6:5-14. We are dead, buried, raised, and death has no more dominion over us.

2. Eph. 4:22-24. The new man is created in righteousness and true holiness.

3. Jo 11:23,24. Jesus not only taught that his followers would rise at the last day but that they would never die. Further that Lazarus was alive though dead physically. If he would never die he must already have been resurrected.

4. Eph. 1:19,20; 2::1-6. The great power that God worked on us is the same power He used to raise Christ from the dead. He used the same power to make us alive who were dead in sin. We have been RAISED to sit in heavenly places with Christ!

5. Jo 5:20-28. Jesus taught that the first resurrection began while He was on earth! In verse 28 he said, don't marvel at the first resurrection because there is an unbelievable nature of the general resurrection.

6. Col. 2:11-13. We are dead in sins, buried, and raised by our faith in God's operation. We are then ALIVE FROM THE DEAD!

7. Col. 3:1. If then we are RISEN with Christ seek those things that are above.

20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: on 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.

The passages that show that baptized believers in Christ are blessed and holy are too numerous to mention. That Christians already have these traits is obvious.

The Christian Has No Fear of the Second Death

1. Rev. 2:11. Those overcoming in the church age do not fear the second death.

2. Jo 11:23. If we believe in Christ we shall never die. Then we can have no fear of the second death. If we shall never die except physically then we look forward only to the general resurrection. If Lazarus was alive forevermore then the first resurrection must have taken place in his life already.

3. Heb. 2:14. Jesus destroyed the one who had the power of death and delivered us from the fear of death and its bondage.

4. 2 Tim 1:7,10. God has not given us the spirit of fear but he has abolished death as far as Christians are concerned. It says, "He has [NOW] brought immortality to light through the gospel.

5. Jo 3:36. He that believes on the Son has everlasting life.

The Bible Teaches That Christians are Kings and Priests and that They Reign and Perform Their Priesthood During the Christian Dispensation Upon the Earth

1. Eph. 2:6. We have been raised to sit in heavenly places with Christ. We were raised up at baptism to be a king.

2. Ro. 5:21 Because sin caused death to reign as king, Christ's one act of righteousness causes us to reign in life.

3. Eph. 3:10. The church (us) makes known (now) the wisdom of God to principalities in heavenly places.

4. 1 Pet. 2:5. We are a holy priesthood now.

5. 1 Pet. 2:9. We are a kingdom of priests now.

6. Mal. 1:11. Prophesied the above, that a priesthood would rise up among the heathen.

7. Rev. 1:6. Jesus made us kings and priests unto God.

8. Rev. 5:10. Jesus made us a kingdom of priests and we shall reign in the earth.

20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

See loosing of Satan under verses one and two.

20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Gog and Magog: The words "Gog and Magog" are found in only one other place in the Bible, Ezek. 38, 39, where the same gathering of the nations is described in greater detail. The same battle is mentioned in Rev. 16:13,14, where it is called Armageddon, and in Rev 19:11 ff. The reader should read the sections under these places. This battle is spiritual and its end is imminent.

20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

This verse makes it more than plain that the battle is spiritual and not literal. The camp of the saints is the church, as is the beloved city, i.e. Jerusalem that is above (Gal. 4:26). Fire coming out of heaven is mentioned also in Ezek. 39:6 as that which consumes the enemies. In that place the fire falls on Magog or Scythia which is the present Ukraine. See the notes on Ezekiel 38 and 39. This battle ends at the close or toward the close of the Gospel age and its end corresponds to the time of the loosing of Satan, which is called a little season. Both periods ( the loosing of Satan and Armageddon) should end at the same time. We are living in this period since 1917 for Armageddon and since 1964 for the loosing of Satan. The periods should end at the same time within the life time of those under 30 reading these words.

The above is a very simple outline of events and conditions during the Gospel age. Much has been left out. That part that God wants us to know has been revealed. The most obvious things that are left out here are the further results of Armageddon that are described in Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 19. Consequentially you can see that there is a temporal gap between verses 9 and 10 of this chapter. How much time takes up the gap between the overthrow of Gog and the casting of Satan into Hell is nowhere stated nor hinted at. What happens to the beast mentioned in this chapter is not stated here. The next verse opens beyond the time of the gap at the end of all earthly things. That is, after the fall of Babylon, after the demise of the False Prophet, after the celebration of Ezekiel 39, after the revival of faith in the Israel of God, after the revival of faith among the heathen. The period which will memorialize these things is also in the gap after verse 9 and before verse 10. There is a temporal gap between verses 9 and 10.

20:10 And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are] and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. The fact that the beast and the false prophet are already in the bottomless pit before Satan gets there (that is, he finds them upon his arrival), supports what is said in the paragraph just above. We are not told here when nor how they were cast in, only that Satan finds them there when he arrives. We do not have any hint as to the time from the end of Armageddon to the end of all things when Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire. No man knows the day nor the hour. The general judgement of all who have ever lived follows. Satan goes into the bottomless pit before the nations, but after the beast and false prophet.

20:11 And 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 no place found for them. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the [book] of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 20:13 And the 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 every man according to their works. 20:14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

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