Revelation 20:1-15 Part 1

REVELATION 20:1-15 Part 1


1)        Then I saw a messenger holding the abyss key and a great chain in its hand coming down out of the heaven,

2)        and it laid hold on the dragon, (the old serpent that is diabolos and the satan) and bound it a thousand years

3)        and cast it into the abyss and locked and sealed over it so that it couldn’t further deceive the Gentiles until the thousand years is complete; afterward it is necessary to loose it a short time.

4)        Then I saw seats; and the lives of those who had been stricken because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God and who did not adore the beast or its image and did not take its mark on their forehead or on their hand, sat on them; and judgment was granted to them; and they did live; and they prevailed with The Christ a thousand years.

5)        The remaining dead did not live until the thousand years was completed.  This is the first resurrection.

6)        Blessed and hallowed is one having part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no authority over them!  They will be priests of God and The Christ and reign with Him a thousand years!

7)        And when the thousand years is completed, the satan will be loosed from its confinement.

8)        And it will come out to deceive the Gentiles in the four extremities of the earth (the gog and magog), the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

9)        And they arose over the breadth of the earth and encircled the fortress of the holy ones and the city of the beloved, and fire descended from the heaven and consumed them.

10)    And the devil (the one deceiving them) was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (where also are the beast and the false prophet), and they will be tormented day and night into the ages of the ages.

11)    Then I saw a magnificent white seat, and One sitting on it at Whose appearance the earth and the heaven did vanish, for no place was found for them;

12)    and I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the seat, and books were opened.  Then the other book was opened which is of the living.  And the dead were judged from what was written in the books according to their works.

13)    And the sea did yield the dead in her; and death and hades did yield the dead in them, and they were judged according to their works;

14)    then death and hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death (the lake of fire).

15)    Anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


The most important thing for us to do this morning (especially after a couple of weeks away from the text) is preparation.  We’re going to go over and over what John has been shown, since it’s the context for chapters twenty, twenty one and twenty two.

As most of us already know, the common approach to these final chapters is to take them completely out of their own context and then speculate about what they mean; and, therefore, the fanciful interpretations that we’ve all heard.

But I don’t want anybody here this morning to go home without an understanding of what John was being shown and what was written to the Churches for their assurance.

Therefore the review and the preparation for what is ahead.  I know I need it; and I’m certain you do too.  So we’ll go through it, and through it again until we know it and it becomes the “norm” and the reference point from which all the rest proceeds.

We can’t allow ourselves to be confused by modern-day pseudoprophets.  What they’ve said has become the standard for much of the Church in our time; but all of the “interpretations” have to be cleared away, and they have to become abhorrent to us; and the certainty of the text has to replace them.  We don’t need to re-interpret that which God has already interpreted for us!

And every one of us has to be so well-prepared and so knowledgeable that we can “hold the testimony of Jesus” and be the corrective for all who would listen!  After all, this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And lest we be called “anathema” we must avoid any additions to, or subtractions from, the Word of God through the prophet John.


In chapter nineteen (which we completed three weeks ago), the multitude in the heaven shouts “halleluia”; for YAHVEH has judged (past tense) the great harlot that had corrupted the entire earth with her fornication; and He has avenged the blood of His holy ones.

And immediately after that, the host of the tabernacle breaks out in another great, cosmic “halleluia” for Kurios the Almighty God (The Son) at His appearance, and for His righteous dominion over all that has been given to Him.

And John sees Him in all His glory – King of Kings and Lord of Lords – seated on the white horse and the Sword coming from His mouth!  It is His Parousia/appearance at the end of the age.

That’s verse eleven of the chapter nineteen text.  And it begins: “Then I saw…”

John saw Him come forth to take dominion of all that is His – overcoming and to overcome; for all authority in the heaven and on the earth and under the earth has been given to Him.

And with Him are all who were called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.  They are the remnant of Israel… the twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Jacob; and they’ve been given the white robes of righteousness, and they, too, are seated on white horses.  They are messengers of the Word of God to the Gentile nations.

Once again… a reminder: this is the prophetic Word – the last one.  As John hears and sees it, and writes it to the Churches, it is yet to occur - although it is near.  He writes it as God reveals it… as having been done; for it is decreed!

Since it is the decreed will and purpose of God, it is prophesied to John as done, although it is yet to be!  And John then writes it to the (then) presently existing Churches.  He writes to them (in the present tense) of things that (presently) are yet to be; and he writes them from God’s perspective as done – for they are decreed. 

That’s difficult!

But the bar of difficulty is raised to even another level for the Churches to come in later generations (us included); for we must read and hear the prophecy to the (then) present Churches about that which was (then) about to be; and read it and hear it as decreed (and done) from God’s perspective.

The judgment has been pronounced (chapter nineteen); the curses that Moses prophesied to come have been rendered; thunderous halleluias have come forth from the host of the heaven, for the vengeance of YAHVEH upon the harlot has been spoken and it has been shown to John….  The prayers of His holy ones for His vengeance have been answered; and the entire heavenly host explodes in joyous praise for the decree of Almighty God.

And then we read, “then I saw…” (chapter nineteen, verse eleven).

There are seven of them.  “Then I saw”… (seven times), beginning with the (soon to come) appearance of Kurios Almighty God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ at His Parousia.  John sees His appearance (although it is shortly to come); for it is prophecy of the One Who is shortly to come!  The Churches were to anticipate it, for it is decreed by God and prophesied to John!

The seven things shown to John indicate the fullness and completeness of the prophetic Word… its finality.  From Jesus’ appearance to the completion of His work it’s decreed; therefore it is done.

Writing to the Churches in the (then) contemporary present, John writes from the perspective of God as fully completed.  The seven things he was shown are the fullness and finality of all of Jesus’ work… proceeding from His Parousia.  And the mighty shout from the entirety of God’s tabernacle fills the cosmos with the anticipation of the Savior of the World.


Now, because it’s of such a high level of importance for our understanding of the last three chapters of the Revelation, let’s just review some of what was said before regarding the way the chapters and verses are broken up.

We know now that John’s letter to the Churches didn’t have any chapters or verses.  It was written as a continuous letter.

But several centuries later it was thought that the letter should be broken up into smaller portions and numerically identified so people could more easily find things in it.  And since then, that’s what we have in all of the translations.

But, with a sincere desire to make it easier to read and easier to find a certain spot in the text, the break-up of verses and chapters has caused some difficulties for readers, and some exegetical hurdles for commentators and preachers who aren’t careful.

The text (the way it is now) is often confusing… especially to hearers.  It’s natural to think that the end of a chapter is the end of an event or the end of a thought process, and that the start of a new chapter begins another one; and (as a specific example) it’s natural to think that chapter nineteen ought to be completed where it is (since that’s the way it’s written), and that chapter twenty ought to begin something else.

But such is not the case!

It’s all too obvious that, if there were going to be chapters and verses at all, they should be better enumerated, because the opening of the tabernacle in the heaven for John to see the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at His Parousia (verse eleven), should certainly begin a new chapter! 

And, as a matter of fact, verse eleven of chapter nineteen should be the beginning of the rest of the letter!  The remainder of the letter is the prophetic Revelation of the appearance and the completion of all His work of dominion!

And remember the sevens!  The sevens indicate fullness and completion.  The Churches are to understand that here is the full, and complete, and final Word of God revealed to the last prophet – John.  And all the remainder proceeds from that verse eleven.

And John begins the seven.  “Then I saw…”  “Then I saw…”  “Then I saw”.  There are seven of them.  And they must be read and understood in their finality.  Three of them are there in the last verses of chapter nineteen (beginning at verse eleven) and four of them after the chapter concludes – three of which are here in chapter twenty!  And these seven are the last of the series of “sevens” that we’ve seen all through the Revelation!

The chapters are broken up in the wrong place, you see.  And we are to make sure that we aren’t confused by it.

John sees the tabernacle open for the spectacular sight of the One Who has been given all authority (verse eleven, chapter nineteen); He is seated on the white horse, many diadems crowning His head; the covenantal bow of Almighty God above His head; the Sword of the Word of God proceeding from His mouth; His warrior army seated on white horses with Him (the ones Who He sought out and saved from the wrath to come.)  And He is ready to take dominion of all that is His.  It is His Parousia/appearance at the end of the age; and it appears in the middle of the chapter – as if it’s not the crowning event of the Revelation of Jesus Christ!

And John says: “and I saw…” seven times!

And what he saw was our Lord OVERCOMING and TO OVERCOME!  He saw it all in the present tense.  And he saw it all YET TO BE! 

Remember the words John wrote at the beginning of the letter:


“Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John,

who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw.

Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.”


The full and complete prophetic Word of God (beginning at verse eleven) now advances – extends – to the Parousia (appearance) of the One Who has been given dominion; and it continues to the end of the letter!

His Parousia is revealed in the present… to a contemporary audience (the first century Churches in the nations).  It is revealed to John as full and complete.  And it is shown to Him as being “near” – about to be!

Right now (as John watches)… it is about to be!

At verse eleven John says, “then I saw….”  What he was shown (that was about to be) was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords seated on His white horse, the diadems on His head, His eyes aflame, the sharp Sword proceeding from His mouth.  And with Him (also seated on white horses) all who were called to the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.

And they are His “warrior army”.  They are to deliver the message to the Gentile nations.  And it is the Sword of the mouth of God the Son that they are to deliver.  The Sword – the Word of God – is He Who does the work.  It is His work; He does all of the work.  And all of His work – in its fullness and finality – is revealed to John (and therefore to the Churches).

Here, you see, is the “appearance” of the One Who has dominion… the “appearance” of the One Who has all authority.  It is His Parousia at the end of the age; and His work is decreed and prophesied as “seven-fold”… complete!

And His work (as John sees at verse seventeen of the former chapter) includes, first, the full performance of the judgment that has been pronounced on the land.  All that has been spoken with regard to the betrothed harlot is the Word of God; and it is by the Sword of His mouth that the judgment is carried out.

John then says (the second time) “then I saw….”  It was a messenger standing in the sun.  The “Daystar” is arisen.  The deconstruction of the paradise land of God is complete; and it is the full light of His Parousia.

His work of judgment is complete; and it’s time for the prophesied curse of Moses.  The corpses of priests and scribes and pharisees and elders and soldiers and paupers – everyone, both great and insignificant, all remaining in the land (verse twenty one), are food for the birds.  It is the final end, you see… the second of the seven.

“Then I saw…” (the third one).  That which is shortly to come to pass – IS.  It is decreed; and it is final; and it is complete; and the decree is revealed to John… to be delivered to the Churches.

The dragon is deceived.  The beast that it raised up to cut off the Seed is deceived; the ten kings conscripted by the beast were deceived (by evil spirits sent for that purpose); the false prophet whose eyes and ears were darkened to cause all remaining in the land to worship the image, was deceived.

They were all deceived into accomplishing the Word of God concerning the wrath and judgment upon the harlot.  The “Seed” promised from the beginning were already removed from the land and scattered into the nations.

John says, “then I saw….”  And what he is shown is exactly what has been prophesied all through the Scripture.  From the perspective of God in His holy tabernacle, it has been decreed and spoken through the prophets.  And it is the full and completed prophetic Word. 

As he writes in the present to Churches in advance of the imminent Parousia of the Christ, he writes what he is shown to come shortly; and it is the complete and final end – not only of all remaining in the land, but the complete end of the deluded and deceived false prophet, the complete end of the deluded and deceived kings of the earth, the complete end of the deluded and deceived beast that was raised up by the dragon.

YAHVEH laughs, for they had all been tricked into doing what had been decreed; and at the Parousia of the Christ, they would suffer their full and final reward for doing what they did.

It is the third of the seven.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God… not the false prophet of Israel.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the One with all authority in the heavens and on the earth and under the earth… not the kings of the earth.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the One given dominion of all the nations… not the beast raised up by the dragon to cut off His Kingdom.

They did what was in their own depraved hearts to do; and God used that enmity for the Seed for His Own purpose.  And the final judgment upon them for their deeds fell to the Christ at His Parousia.

The final reward for all who would gather against YAHVEH and His King is the lake of fire.  The complete end for all pretenders and contenders for His dominion is the lake of fire.

That’s what John is shown here as he says (the third time) “then I saw….  The beast and the kings and the false prophet all suffer their final end at the Parousia of the Christ.  Antagonists, adversaries, challengers all meet the same end.

The false prophet of Israel ceases to exist; the ten kingdoms conscripted at the end of the age meet their definitive end; the beast in the image of the dragon meets its definitive end… for a new “day” was about to dawn in the appearance of the Savior of the world. 

His authority is unrestricted and uninhibited!  And John sees that authority exercised in the complete end of His enemies. It’s God’s decree, you see; and it’s His perspective.  It’s what John presently sees and hears…..and it’s shortly to come, for the time is near.


And now, in verse one of chapter twenty, we see the fourth (of seven) things shown to John at the Parousia/presence of the Savior of the World.  He says, “then I saw….”

You see, John is shown the prophecy of the seven-fold completion of the work of the Christ.  And it continues through the end of the letter, for it is the final and completed prophetic Word.

First (one more time…) at the imminent Parousia/appearance of the Christ, John saw the judgment of The Father carried out by the Sword of His mouth; and all remaining in the land were slain by the sword.

Second, John saw the final end of the harlot nation in the curse of Moses.  The birds are called up to gorge themselves on the corpses of those slain by the sword.

Third, at the Parousia of the Christ, John is shown the complete and final end of the two beasts… the sea beast (in the image of the dragon) and the land beast (the false prophet of Israel)… a conspiracy to cut off the Kingdom of God’s Anointed.  But at His coming appearance, both would be completely dealt with under the dominion of God’s King. 

There would be no gathering to cut the cords; and at His appearance there would be no contender for His Kingdom.  Their terminal end is here prophesied to John.  God laughed at them; and He deceived them into accomplishing His will and purpose.  And at the coming Parousia of the Christ, John is shown the judgment upon them for what they did.

And now John is shown the fourth prophecy concerning the complete work of the Savior at His Parousia.


It’s just three verses – one, two and three; its brevity is stunning.  Remember!  The Daystar has arisen.  He is the Light of the World.  He is the Word of God made flesh.  He is King of Kings – from the beginning the Anointed One Who has all authority in the heaven and upon the earth and under the earth.  The cosmos is His; all creatures belong to Him; His work is summed up in the words “Savior of the World”.

It is His work and His alone.

All His work is here prophesied to John to be sent to the Churches.  And the work is full – and final – and complete.  It is decreed!  And even the brevity of the prophecy indicates His complete dominion.

And the Churches are made strong and steadfast in the Faith, because it IS His Work; and because He WILL overcome.  What the Churches received here, and what we also have before us because of His Work, is an eschatology of complete victory!

It is “at hand” as John is shown all seven of these things.

It is brief, but full… and complete.  It is the full work of the Christ at His Parousia!

Because it is decreed, it is revealed as “done”.

Because it is God’s perspective, historical sequence is not “at issue”.  At the “shortly-to-come” Parousia/appearance of the Christ at the end of the age, the things that will take place are shown to John as “finished”.


Now, while we’re here and looking at the decreed and completed work of the Christ, let’s just state clearly that whatever perception that comes out of the hearts and minds of men regarding the “help” that our Savior needs from them is grossly misplaced.

The Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus is the proclamation of The Christ; the work is His; and it’s His alone.  He doesn’t need help.

The Gospel that was once delivered to our Lord’s “holy ones” in the Churches through the Gospels and the letters of the apostles and through the prophecy of John, is the Gospel of the work of the Savior.  And that work needs no “additives” from men.

Any Gospel message that includes the connective word “and” isn’t the Gospel of God.  Whether it’s an arminian message, or a romanist message, or a pentecostal message, or a mormon message, or a jehovah’s witness message, or an adventist message, or whatever else, it isn’t the Gospel of God if there’s an “and”.

The “and” is the connective word indicating that there’s something else other than the work of God the Son in the salvation of men.

What are all of these heretical messages but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer!

What we’ve seen from the beginning of this letter to the Churches is the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST! 

As we’ve seen from hundreds of references to the older Scripture, cursed and fallen mankind has done nothing but gather against Him to cut off the prophesied Kingdom.  Yet the Word of God was made flesh at the end of the age… at the appointed time.  And at His death He was abandoned and alone!  By Himself He overcame death and hades.  And every single one of the remnant of Jacob was sought out and found prior to the end of the age.  It’s all right here in The Revelation.

It’s all His work, you see.  There was not a man who could help Him in His work of redemption.  There was not a man who could help himself in Christ’s work of redemption!

So when we come to these last seven things revealed to John (beginning at verse eleven of chapter nineteen), it is all the work of Jesus Christ the Savior of the World.  And it is decreed in its fullness.  He finishes His work!

You see, God loves His people, and He loves His creation; and He has willed that it all reflects the image of His Own glory.  This is the final Revelation of Jesus Christ.  He is the One – and only – Who makes that happen.

The text of the Revelation says that He will make it happen!  This creation will be the image of the Father and His tabernacle in the heaven; and it will be to His glory!

The false religions of the world are cursed and fallen mankind gathered against Him and His Kingdom.  Pretenders raise themselves up as kings of the world in opposition to Him.  And even among those claiming His Name, there are many who insist that He needs their assistance in His work of redemption!

But what we see here in the last words of John’s letter is a decreed, prophesied and completed redemption of the world by the Savior of the World!  He is the Word of God made flesh Who was prophesied from the beginning, and Who finishes the work to the glory of God the Father.

He is God the Son - the Strong Right Arm of God, Who Himself overcomes the world and saves it.  And John is shown that complete victory prophesied in these last seven words: “then I saw….”

These seven things shown to him encompass the entirety of the work of Jesus Christ commencing at His appearance.  The height and width and breadth of them – in all of their finality – is breathtaking… especially considering the brevity with which they are written.

And the Churches, upon receiving this letter, are strengthened and comforted and assured in the finality of His work, for it is all decreed.  That’s the stated purpose of the Revelation in chapter one, isn’t it?

And if the purpose of the letter was for their assurance… that they hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His Commandments and anticipate the complete work of the Savior of the World, shouldn’t it also be for us?

The last four of the seven prophecies of the work of the Christ (here shown to John) are as the former three in chapter nineteen … shown to John as “yet to be”, but revealed as completed.

And John writes it all in the present tense in order that the Churches – right then – might be comforted and assured in that which is already decreed and complete and final.

There was nothing in the letter that would be confusing to those in those first Churches who received it, and who held the testimony of Jesus.  So there should be nothing here that is confusing to us.

Comfort and assurance and anticipation is the purpose – also for us. And when we’re done we should all be “resting” in the work of our Savior.

The Churches of the first century were found to be in the most harrowing of circumstances… much more fearful than the ones in which this Church finds itself.  The environment in which we live would have looked like nursery school to them!

So we have no excuses for fear or anxiety or foreboding, given the Revelation of the prophesied work of the Christ.  What we have to deal with is the bizarre and absurd speech of pseudoprophets whose testimonies are worthy only of disdain.  Their words have become standard for many of the Churches; and they are words of mystery and fear and catastrophe.  All of that has to go away!

We are messengers who deliver the Word of God – the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and we are ones who hold His testimony and keep His Commandments.  We are His people who are to rest secure in His work; for it has been decreed and prophesied.  And it has already been revealed as done.