Revelation 20:1-15 Part 7

REVELATION 20:1-15 Part 7


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.


What I’m going to do this morning is bring you up to date on what we’ve done since beginning this chapter; and then we’ll finish the text through verse ten.

“Then I saw…” the fifth one.

These few verses (one through ten) show John (and the Churches) what is to be the fullness of the work of the Christ among all the nations… from His Parousia to the Day of Judgment; so it’s really important that we get it.  It’s very brief; but it fills up so much of the prophetic Word! 

But that’s what it’s for, isn’t it?  That’s what it is!  The Revelation is the last prophecy; and it’s the “capstone” of all prophecy; and so it completes for the Churches all that was said through the prophets of old and by the Lord and His apostles.

Considering, then, all that God had revealed through them previously, this brief, ten-verse Revelation of the completion of our Lord’s Kingdom over all the nations is all that’s necessary.

As we began the chapter (the first sermon), we said that John is shown the prophecy of the seven-fold completion of the work of the Christ.  It began at verse eleven of chapter nineteen, and it continues through the end of the letter; for it is the final and completed prophetic Word.

All His work is here prophesied to John to be sent to the Churches.  And the work is full – and final – and complete.  Nothing is to be added to it, and nothing is to be subtracted from it.

It is decreed!  And even the brevity of the prophecy indicates His complete dominion, for it fills up all that has come before.

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

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

And because it is decreed, it is revealed as “done”.  Although John sees it as “near” (i.e. imminent), God’s language reveals it as complete.

Because it is God’s perspective, historical sequence is not “at issue”.  In the mind and perspective of God, it’s not “sequence” – but completion!  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”.

Then in the second sermon we were reminded of Biblical hermeneutics….

The curse of Almighty God upon mankind and upon His creation was overcome at the death of Jesus Christ – the Word of God made flesh; for He arose, in the flesh, out of death and hades, having suffered the full wrath of God for His people and for His creation!  And He has assured His Church that He will perform all the rest of His work as Savior of the World.

That’s what John is shown here (the full Gospel of Jesus Christ); and that’s what he writes to the Churches!  At His (imminent) Parousia, the risen, ascended and crowned King of Kings would perform all the rest of His work to the glory of the Father… all of which is the original purpose of God; all of which is prophesied; all of which is in language that is familiar to His people in the Churches … and none of which should be mysterious or confusing!

It’s a hermeneutic of continuity… the will and purpose of God – from the beginning, the completion of which is here in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ.

In the third sermon we concerned ourselves with apostolic doctrine and the authority of the Word.

And as we see in the Scripture, the authority doesn’t rest in the man!  It rests in the preaching and teaching of the Sword of The Christ Whose Kingdom is from the heaven; and that Word binds and looses that which has already been bound and loosed in the heaven!  It is the WORD.  And that Word to the nations is “apostolic doctrine and preaching”!

Once again, the authority isn’t the “man”; the authority is the Word of God Who reigns over His Kingdom from the heaven!  It is HIS Word through the preaching and teaching of His apostles.

Apostolic doctrine and preaching is “the keys of the Kingdom”.  Apostolic doctrine (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) binds on the earth all that is already bound in the heavens, while loosing all that is already loosed in the heavens.

While the satan is bound from deceiving the nations, the Word of God is “unbound” in the nations; and the creature’s domain is still being plundered!  And when it’s loosed (when the creature is loosed), it will be loosed to its destruction.

Apostolic doctrine and preaching is “the keys” of the Kingdom.  And it binds on earth those who are already bound in the heaven, while loosing those having been loosed in the heaven.

Once again, while the Sword of the Christ was “unbound” in the nations, the satan was “bound”.  It had previously been given domain (free reign) among the Gentiles, because there was no preaching of the Word in the nations.  But at the Parousia of the Christ it was to be bound while its domain was being plundered; and its domain is still being plundered to this day!  And then when it’s loosed, it will be loosed to its final end.

The satan belongs to God.  It has no independent existence!

All we know about this creature up to this point is revealed prior to the Parousia of our Lord.  And that means that all of the instances in which it is revealed in God’s Word are in advance of its being bound by apostolic doctrine and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the nations!

Its appearances in the texts of the older Scripture, its appearances in the texts of the Gospels, the references to it in the letters of the apostles, and all that John was shown regarding it, are all prior to our Lord’s Parousia at the end of the age.  Therefore they all have to be read in their own contexts.

Although it is proper to conclude that the binding of the satan began at the birth and death and resurrection and ascension of The Christ, the texts of Scripture are all prior to its binding regarding the Gentile nations.  And they have to be read and understood in that light.

As John is shown these things, and as he writes to the Churches, God’s will and purpose for this creature and its status in the creation would be changed only at the coming Parousia of the Christ.

In considering the Biblically revealed character of the serpent, we are to think of it as a dragon/beast that is imitated by others in beastly demeanor (for they are the “seed” of the serpent, and it is their covenantal father); and it is revealed as the worthless one, the prince of demons, the destroyer, the lord of the flies and the dung, the adversary, the one who was cast from the heaven, the crushed serpent; and now, lastly, the dragon bound in the abyss until our Lord finishes snatching away its goods.

All of this is God’s perspective of this creature and its purpose; and it only does what has been purposed for it to do.  For by it, our Lord manifests those who belong to Him (as opposed to those whose father is the devil).

In sermon four, we were reminded of Who this creation belongs to!

There is a new humanity born – brought forth – into this creation of God – the visible manifestation of which is the Church.  In God’s perception the new humanity was “birthed out of Zion” in much the same way that the state of Israel was birthed out of Egypt.  In fact, the birth of a nation out of Egypt was prophetic of this New Humanity that was to be birthed from Zion.

And it (this new humanity) is secured and kept and ruled by the One Who died for it and birthed it and baptized it!

And HE, our Lord Jesus Christ, was given all authority over the creation at His ascension; and at His Parousia His rule would be over all the mountains (all the authorities) of the earth.  His Kingdom is the “new Mount Zion” (as it is seen and defined from the heaven); it is the Kingdom of God and of His Son (the old mount zion having been cast into the sea).  And His new humanity rules with Him – in Him.  And the creation will be restored – re-created – to the likeness of the glory of God.

And this new humanity (having been birthed in the Christ and baptized into Him)… we are the legal heirs and citizens of this creation – ruled by the One with the scepter of iron (the eternal standard of Yahveh).

As much as they might claim it for themselves, none of this belongs to the seed of the serpent!  In as much as they may contest the authority of the Christ and, by insolence and bravado, assert their own authority, they are still illegals! 

There is a NEW humanity; and there will be a new heavens and a new earth… newborns all, birthed into the body of the “second Adam”.  And all the others are encroachers and trespassers – aliens after the order of Adam and Cain and Esau, the seed of the serpent, and cursed of God.

All the creation is “ruled” by the One Who created it and has authority over it; the One Who is revealed to John having the Sword proceeding from His mouth; the One Who sits upon the white horse “overcomes”… He is Savior of this world and the Ruler of it all.  And He has “brought forth” in Himself a new humanity washed in the blood of the Lamb, baptized in Holy Spirit, birthed into the wildernesses of Gentile nations. 

And He has “many” in the nations who belong to Him!

The One Who has all authority in the heaven and on the earth OWNs His creation – and we IN HIM.  And it’s our job to bring the King’s Word to bear on everything, including the aliens who pretend that they own it!

And we were reminded in this sermon that it isn’t our work that saves the world!  The world will be saved by the Savior of the world!  It is the Sword of His Mouth – the Word of God – the Gospel of Jesus Christ that does the work.  We are messengers who deliver the message… apostolic doctrine, the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  That’s what we do!  The work is done by HIM!

The devil is bound in its own darkness; it does only what it is authorized to do. And not only is it bound in its own darkness, but it’s now bound from deceiving us Gentiles for a thousand years while it’s “house” is being stripped of its goods; it is deceived into doing what it does; it has a decreed “termination point”; and all its activity is for the purpose of manifesting the Lord’s newborns who keep His commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus!

And in all the years decreed for our Lord to bring the full light of His Person to all peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth, the satan will be bound from doing anything about it.

The word “thousand” is not new; and it’s not mysterious, either!  Rather, the question is “what has God said”, and how has He said it!  And what He said to John was the same as what He said many times previously: it means “all of them”….all of the years!  Not “a very, very long time”… but all of them.  The satan is bound from deceiving the Gentiles for all of the years decreed.

By the Sword of His Mouth, our Lord will finish de-creating the darkness and shadow of death over all of the satan’s domain; and He will bring the light of the day over all the nations and tribes and tongues.  And all the years are decreed.  The word here is used as God has always used it.

There’s the comfort and assurance to the Churches, you see; for “the time is near” as John writes this letter; and the enraged dragon would be bound; and it would be dispossessed of its domain, for the “day” of the Lord was at hand.  The Dayspring from on high had arisen!  And HE would “enlighten” all the peoples and tongues and tribes of the world.

The fifth sermon was the one in which The Revelation of Jesus Christ was defended against its detractors and proclaimed as the prophesied Word of God to an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Orthodox, apostolic preaching and teaching is the Sword of the King!  It teaches the birth, death, resurrection, ascension and parousia of God’s King (all prophesied).  It teaches the destruction of the harlot nation by the Sword of His mouth.  It teaches the binding of the satan so that in all the years decreed, it can’t deceive the Lord’s people in the Gentile nations.  It teaches the complete work of the Christ over all the kingdoms and nations of the earth, bringing light and life and peace and bounty and fruitfulness (all prophesied).  It teaches the judgment of the dead (those not alive in Him), and the judgment of the devil and of death itself.

And, finally, it teaches a new heavens and a new earth – a new “paradise” – for the glory of the Father.

At the time of His coming Parousia, the prophets and holy ones of old, and the firstfruits of the house of Jacob, are the ones already raised out of death in the resurrection of the Christ.  They belonged to Him.

This is the total number of those who were rebirthed IN CHRIST at His coming Parousia; and John is shown them all, seated with Him at His appearance.

And “judgment” was granted to them, John says.  Their very persons - their being “alive” In Christ - were judgments against Israel in that which was to come shortly.  And their pleas for vengeance were about to be answered.  They, themselves, were judges of Israel.

John was shown them “living”!  They were alive in Christ, having been resurrected in Him (the first resurrection).  And they would prevail with Him for all the years decreed!

The prophets and holy ones of old, and the firstfruits of the tribes of Jacob, would live and reign with the Christ for all the years until all of His work in the nations was complete.

For all the years decreed they would live; and they would be judges In Christ – with Christ; for all the years decreed they would be priests In Christ – with Christ; for all the years decreed they would reign over His Kingdom with Christ… for they were IN HIM.

They were resurrected in Him.  It was the first resurrection.

And as John looked on (and this was the sixth sermon), there would be many, many more who would be seated with Him, since our Lord had many Gentiles who also belonged to Him.  John says (verse six) “blessed – and hallowed – is one having “part” in this first resurrection!”

By the grace and mercy of God, we Gentiles are “added” to the prophets of old and the firstfruits!  We are provided a part in our Lord’s resurrection.

It was not just to the elect Jews of the tribes of Jacob (although it was first to them!).  But the promise was to Abraham for a great multitude from all the nations!

To the Jews first; then to us Gentiles.

“The peoples who lived in darkness will see a great light.” 

We also have a part in the first resurrection!  We are “second”!  (We don’t deserve anything!)  But we are, by grace, afforded a place in the first resurrection with the prophets of old and the firstfruits of the tribes of Jacob!  We are their brothers in Christ.

And we, too, are alive in Him; we, too, are judges alongside them; we, too, are In Christ and reign with Him for all the decreed years!

He has a Gentile people who are as numerous as the stars in the heaven.  Only a “remnant” of Jacob; but a great multitude of us Gentiles!  We eat the crumbs that fall from the tables of Jacob’s elect descendants; but we are blessed – and hallowed (holy ones), John says in verse six.

We are “many” from all the nations!  We were all the nations that lived in the “shadow of death”…….in the “domain” of the serpent.

But the radiant light of the glory of God would decreate the gross darkness over all the earth and its peoples.  The peoples and tongues and tribes would be added to the daughter of Zion and bring her glory!  It’s what Isaiah and the other prophets were shown; and it’s what John is shown here.  And the great sea of humanity will “share” – have part – in the first resurrection.

And so there would be increasing light and peace and wealth and abundance in the nations of the earth, for all the years decreed!

As the light of Christ is extended into the nations, for all of the decreed years there will be no end to the increase of His Kingdom.  And all us Gentiles Who belong to Him will be members of His body in the first resurrection.  And Gentiles will have “seats” with the prophets of old and the remnant of Jacob!  The first resurrection is the “rebirth” from death unto life!

Therefore, John writes, the “second death” will have no authority over them.  They will have already “died” to their depraved heritage in Adam, and they will already be “alive” in Christ and sit with Him – In Him!  So when they die, death would have no authority over them (verse six)!

This is what John is shown at the coming Parousia of Christ (all prophesied).  A great multitude of Abraham’s “seed” in Christ; many “seats” of those alive in Christ; life and light and abundance among the nations as the Dayspring from on high decreates the darkness and enlightens the whole creation for the glory of God!  “Blessed and hallowed are those who have part in the first resurrection!”

What was also shown to John at our Lord’s appearance (verse five) is all those who would “remain”… all who were not alive in Christ.

There would be many, many who would be made alive in Christ… the ones over whom death would have no authority.  But John was also shown that there would be many who would remain under death’s authority for all the years decreed!

The first resurrection includes all who would be made alive in Christ.  They would be seated with Him – IN HIM.  And the priesthood of all believers is confirmed here in what John is shown, for he writes that all who are alive in our great High Priest Jesus Christ are also priests……priests of God the Father and God the Son.  As members of His body, we share in His Priesthood.

However, John sees that those who remain dead (having not been made alive in Christ, having no part in the first resurrection) would stay under the authority of death – would remain in the gross darkness of their sin and depravity – for all the years decreed for the work of the Savior of the world.


And then (verses seven through ten) John is shown the terminal end of the satan.  At the point when all the years of Christ’s work among the nations is complete, the dragon/beast would be loosed from its bondage, only to find that its domain would be very different from what it was before it was bound!

It would come out of its bondage enraged with vengeance and, like its incitement of gog and magog before, once again deceive the nations into gathering themselves against our Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

However, what it would find (upon its being loosed) would be a creation that would be in the full light of Christ.  At the end of all the years of our Lord’s work, no longer would the nations exist in “gross darkness” and in “the shadow of death”.  No longer would there be the raging, foaming sea of depraved Gentile humanity.

No longer would the nations be filled with the seed of the serpent – ready to “cut the cords and bonds” that connected them to Triune God.  But the peoples and tribes and tongues of the world would be filled with the seed of the woman; and the kings and nations would all acknowledge the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The pre-incarnate Christ had promised Abraham that He would fill this creation with His seed.  And when this vicious creature, the “lord of the dung”, was cut loose from its bondage after all the years, that’s what it would see.

It would come out in great rage from its bondage – ready to do what it had done once before, which was to incite the princes of all the nations to rise up against the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  And that “once before” is what John is shown here with the “gog and magog” reference.

Like it had done before… upon being loosed from its bondage the serpent/beast would come forth to incite all of the sea of depraved humanity against the Christ; but it would find the darkness of its former domain full of the light of Christ!

Briefly, here’s the history that’s shown to John.  It is God’s perspective on His Own history (as we’ve seen so many times before); and John and the Churches would have known (immediately) exactly what was being revealed, because it was a spectacular, major event in Israel’s history…….one in a long line of historical events by which God kept the seed of the woman from being destroyed by the seed of the serpent.

The prophecy of this (gog and magog) event is in the later chapters of Ezekiel (chapters thirty eight and thirty nine); and the historical foundation for it is found in the book of Esther.  And no matter what modern-day pseudoprophets say, the event prophesied by Ezekiel happened in the fifth century before Christ! 

The texts are way too long for us to read in this setting, so I’ll just summarize it all for you.

And remember… what John sees here in verses seven through ten of our text is: the satan was to be loosed at the end of all the years to incite all the nations – like it had done before!

The first great beast (in the image of the satan) to be called up from the sea of depraved humanity was Babylon.  The king of Babylon ruled the known world (causing all the nations to drink of the wine of its fornication) some six hundred years before Christ.  And he (one king, in an attempt to cut off the kingdom) destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and he took the tribes of Jacob into captivity in Babylon for seventy years.

During that time the second beast was raised up… the Medo-Persian empire.  We’ll come back to that shortly.

The satan raised up the third beast – Greece – some four hundred years before Christ.  It was one nation among all of Gentile humanity.  Just one.

Then this serpent/beast incited Rome and ten surrounding nations to (once-and-for-all) destroy Israel in an attempt to cut off the kingdom.  And we all know the history of our Lord’s saving the remnant of the tribes of Jacob in advance of that most ferocious beast.

Now, let’s go back to the Medo-Persian empire (the second beast incited against Israel by the satan).

Before the Medes released the tribes of Israel from captivity to return to the land, there was one man (second in command to the king of Persia) who planned to kill all the Jews (obviously a satanic incitement to cut off the coming Kingdom).  And it was Esther, who lobbied the king and saved Israel from extinction.  Then, later, it was the king of the Medes that eventually released them to return to the land.

In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah we read of the re-settling of the promised land and the beginning of the reconstruction of the wall around Jerusalem and the beginning of a new temple.  In the meantime, all the other re-settled cities had yet to build walls, so there was no protection at all for them against hordes of pagan peoples.

But the Word of God through the prophet Ezekiel and in the book of Esther describes a force of a hundred and twenty seven princes raised up against the re-settled Jerusalem and all of the “unwalled” cities of Israel, led by that same man – the zealot - from the Persian empire who wanted to slaughter all the Jews while they were still in captivity.  This was the real Persian beast, you see!  His name was Haaman; and he was known thereafter to all Israel as the consummate hater of the kingdom of Israel… the one satanically “provoked” to terminate the seed of Abraham.  The readers and hearers of John’s Revelation would have known immediately who he was – and what John meant!

Haaman, it is found in the book of Esther, was an agagite from the tribe of magog….descendants of the Amalekites – history-long mortal enemies of the descendants of Abraham and the tribes of Jacob.  It was this man – the Persian – that the dragon incited to destroy the nation and cut off the promised King and His Kingdom.

And when this “agagite” gathered all the princes surrounding Israel for its ultimate destruction, fire and brimstone was rained down on them from the lake of fire in the heaven… all prophesied in Ezekiel, and all of it happening (as prophesied) during the fifth century before Christ.

And although the temple was unfinished, and the walls of the cities of Israel never rebuilt, God had protected and preserved the house of Jacob and the throne of David.  And our Lord was born of a Jewish virgin.

This is what John is shown here in verses seven through ten.  After all the years decreed for The Christ to complete His work among the nations, the satan would be loosed from its bondage.

It would come out in rage and fury to deceive and incite its domain to do what it had done once before with the agagite Haaman… to bring all the nations against the Christ and His Kingdom in the same way it had raised up all of the world’s princes against Israel.

But, you see, at its loosing, its domain would then be a former domain!

The nations that had lived in the shadow of death – in gross darkness – will have seen a great light!  The light of Christ and His Kingdom will have shined over all the earth with the glory of God.  And the satan would then have no domain to deceive.  And, as John is shown, it would meet an abrupt end.

From the time when this creature was cast down from the Presence of Triune God and its fellow creatures, it feared its terminal end.  In great vengeance it had done all it could to deceive and incite humanity against its Creator and Savior… all the while itself being deceived into doing the will and purpose of God.

But at the completion of all of the years of our Lord’s work among the nations, it would be loosed from its bonds and cast once again…..this time into the eternal lake of fire… the very place from whence came the fire that consumed Haaman and the princes of all the earth that had surrounded Israel in 416BC.

I’m sure there will be some more comments about these verses; and I need to address the state of the Gentile nations at the imminent appearance of the Christ, and contrast that with the prophesied state of the nations at the completion of all the years of our Lord’s work.

And since we’re here in chapter twenty where the false teachers are so prolific with their imaginations, we probably need to spend some time defending apostolic doctrine against them.

And then, of course, we have the sixth “then I saw….”