Reading Revelation Chapter 20
Reading Revelation 20
The City, the beast of the sea, the beast of the land, i.e. ALL the enemies that Satan had gathered to bring about the persecution of the first-century church had been utterly defeated and brought about rejoicing in heaven and upon earth. It was done, finished, over. However, Satan himself was left. As we turn to chapter 20 we see that the defeating of Satan’s ‘tools’ brought about the very binding of Satan himself. He is said to be bound ‘1000 years’ - that is completely. Such was not a measure of time but rather of degree. THIS persecution was over. The church was victorious.
Satan is bound and the saints reign with Christ (vs. 4, 6). This doesn’t speak to the BEGINNING of Christ’s reign - he had already at the beginning of the book overcome and sat upon the Father’s throne as King of kings. Rather, it addresses the fact that with the overthrowing of the Roman persecution, the saints now reign WITH Him. Jesus had promised: "To the one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (3:21). They overcame and now, true to His word, they are reigning with Him. This is the first resurrection, a resurrection of the very cause for which they were willing to die for.
BUT what happens NEXT time? Will Satan try again? Yes. He is ‘loosed’ and he gathers an even larger enemy. This time they are not just the Roman Empire but come from the 4 corners of the earth and their number is ‘as the sands of the sea’ (vs. 8). They quickly are assembled and encircle the camp of the saints. Here we go again… another great ‘battle’ that isn’t fought! Instead, "fire came down from heaven and devoured them” (vs. 9). No matter how many times and no matter how large the forces gathered against the church, Jesus and His people will be victorious!
This time the devil himself is thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone and he will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Hell is not a place where Satan rules and torments, it is the place God prepared in which Satan is placed and tormented (cp. Matt. 25:41).
Along with this final judgment upon Satan comes the judgment of all people. All of the dead are gathered and judged according to their deeds (13). Death and Hades (the realm of the dead) are thrown into the lake of fire (i.e., destroyed, come to an end). Thus the last enemy, death, has been destroyed (1Cor. 15:26). Jesus has spoken and ALL that were in the tombs have come forth: some to a resurrection of life and others to a resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). All of those whose name is not found in the book of life will also be thrown into the lake of fire.
That will leave only the people of God to live in the very presence of God - which is the subject of the last two chapters. The real question for each person is not what happens to Satan or even your neighbor, but what happens to YOU? Has YOUR name ben written in the book of life? Has it been erased from the book of life (cp. 3:5). We must be faithful and then all of the blessed promises that God has made in this book will be given to us.
As Brother Grover Stevens often use to say at the conclusion of a sermon: “IF you miss heaven, you will miss all that matters in life.” Don’t miss it!