Revelation – Chapter 20

What will the millennial kingdom be like?

I. Video Data.   John Ankerberg Show. Dr. John Ankerberg (M. Div., D. Min.), Dr. Jimmy DeYoung (M. Div., Ph. D., 1940-2021).

II. Introduction.  Dr. C.I. Scofield (D. D.; 1843-1921) Scofield Study Bible (1909, 1917, 1937, 1945, 1984, 1998, 2002, 2006, Editor, C.I. Scofield, Editorial Revision 1967 Committee Members: Charles L. Feinberg, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., John F. Walvoord, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., and others.)

A. 20:1-3 – Satan bound in the abyss during the Kingdom Age.

B. 20:4-6 – Completion of first resurrection and the Kingdom Age.

C. 20:7-9 – Satan loosed at the end of 1000 years; rebellion quelled.

D. 20:10 – Satan cast into the lake of fire.

E. 20:11-15 – Second resurrection and great white throne judgment. 

III. Overview.

A. Dr. Kendell H. Easley

(M. Div.; Ph. D.) The Book of Revelation, Holman New Testament Commentary.

(20:1-6)  The Martyrs’ Great Reward. (20:7-10) The Devil’s Final Doom. (20:11-15) The Judge at the White Throne.

B. Dr. David Jeremiah. (Th. M., D.D.) Jeremiah Study Bible. 

(20:1-3) Satan Bound 1,000 Years. (20:4-6) The Saints Reign with Reign with Christ 1,000 years. (20:7-10) The Great White Throne Judgment. 

C.  Dr. John Phillips (D. Min; 1927-2010) Revelation Commentary.

(20:1-10) The Great World Threat At the End Of The Millennium. (20:11-15) The Great White Throne At The Beginning Of Eternity.

D. Dr. Daniel Green (Th. D., D. Min.) The Moody Bible Commentary.(20:1-15) The Millennium.

E. Dr. Robert L. Thomas  (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017). Revelation Commentary.

The twentieth chapter is most famous because of its revelation about the millennial kingdom of Christ, but the first ten verses function primarily as a two-part vision of the doom of Satan. First, comes the period of his enforced restraint (20:1-3), and then his permanent assignment to the lake of fire following a desperate, but unsuccessful, attempt to regain power (20:4-10). The chapter closes with a description of the judgment and commitment of lost human beings to that same lake (20:11-15).

F. Dr. Charles L. Feinberg (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., 1909-1995).

(20:1-15) The millennial reign of Christ. (20:1-3) The binding of Satan. (20:4-6 ) The resurrection and reign of the saints. (20:7-10) The final doom of Satan, the Beast and the False Prophet. (20:11-15) The Great  White Throne Judgment. G.

G. Dr. John F. Walvoord (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D.,1910-2002) The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

THE REIGN OF CHRIST.  This is one of the great chapters of the Bible. It presents in summary the tremendous series of events which relate to the millennial reign of Christ on earth. In this future period of one thousand years, many expositors believe that hundreds of Old Testament prophecies will be fulfilled, such as that of Jeremiah 23:5-6: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

H. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. B., Th., D., 1915-2014) Things To Come: P411.

Scripture shows that Israel will be resurrected at the close of the tribulation period, while the church will be resurrected prior to it. The order of events in the resurrection program would be:

(1) The resurrection of Christ at the beginning of the resurrection program (1 Cor 15:23); (2) the resurrection of the church age saints at the rapture (1 Thes 4:16); (3) the resurrection of the tribulation period saints (Rev 20:3-5), together with, (4) the resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Dan 12:2; Isa 26:19) at the second advent of Christ to the earth; and finally, (5) the final resurrection of the unsaved dead (Rev 20:5, 11-14) at the end of the millennial age. The first four stages would all be included in the first resurrection, or resurrection to life, inasmuch as all receive eternal life, and the last would be the second resurrection, or the resurrection unto damnation, inasmuch as all receive eternal judgment at that time. 

IV. Scripture Text. Revelation Chapter 20 (NASB 1995). Link pasted from Bible Gateway. 

V. Verse Examination. Revelation 20.

Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.; Litt. D., 1925-2016) Ryrie Study Bible).

A. “the abyss.” The place  where all evil spirits will ultimately be consigned. (See note on Luke 8:31).

B. “a thousand years” (mentioned six times in this chapter). Since the Latin equivalent for these words is “millennium,” this period of time is called the Millennium. It is the time when Christ shall reign on this earth (Isa 2:3; Dan 7:14; Zech 14:9). Satan will not be free to work (here in v. 2), righteousness will flourish (Isa 11:3-5), peace will be universal (Isa 2:4), and the productivity of the earth will be greatly increased (Isa 34:1-2). At the conclusion of this time Satan will be loosed to make one final attempt to overthrow Christ, but without success (vv 7-9).

C. 20:4. The occupants of the “thrones” are not identified. Some think they are the 12 disciples (Luke 22:29-30); others that they are the church saints (1 Cor 6:2; 2 Tim 12). “the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus.” These are martyrs of the tribulation days who will be resurrected to share the joys of the millennial kingdom.  

D. 20:5. “The rest of the dead.” The wicked dead will be raised and judged after the Millennium. “the first resurrection.” Refers back to the end of  verse 4. This resurrection includes all the righteous (the resurrection of life, John 5:29, and the resurrection of the righteous, Luke 14:14), who will be raised before the Millennium begins. 

E. 20:8. “Gog and Magog.” The worldwide enemies of Christ. Not the same battle as described in Ezek 38-39. See note on Ezek 38:1. The large number of rebels will come from the many people born during the Millennium who, though giving outward obedience to the King, never accept Him. 

F. 20:11-15. Here is pictured the judgment of the unbelieving dead. It occurs at the close of the Millennium; it is based on works in order to show that the punishment is deserved (v 12, though, of course these unsaved people are first of all in this judgment because they rejected Christ as Savior during their lifetimes); and it results in everyone in this judgment being cast into the lake of fire. This is the resurrection of judgment. See note on John 5:29.

G. 20:12. “before the throne,” upon which Christ sits as judge (see v 11, John 5:22, 27). 

H. 20:13. The wicked dead will receive some kind of resurrection body in which they will be tormented forever.

VI. Summary.

Dr. Orville J. Nave, Nave’s Study Bible, 1978 (D.D., LL. D., 1841-1917). Orville J. Nave (Editor). Anna Seamans Nave (Editor).

In this twentieth chapter of Revelation, we consider the following: 1 Satan bound for a thousand years. 4 The first resurrection. 7 Satan let loose again. 8 Gog and Magog. 10 The devil cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. 11 Resurrection and judgment. 14 The second death. 

VII. Parting Thoughts.

A. This parting thought is made possible by the many Biblical scholars that I have been blessed to have read their books, listened to their sermons, and watched many hours of their video teachings. Dallas Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute have provided me with the greatest number of references, in addition to other highly respected institutions of Biblical instruction. The conclusions that I have drawn come from the study, which has blessed me, of such  highly acclaimed theologians, due to their unending deep studies of God’s Holy Word. 

B. The twentieth chapter of Revelation is one of the most important of all areas of Scripture, as it shows in a nutshell, the fulfillment of God’s Covenant with Abraham, which is of “land, seed, and blessing,” which travels through the bloodline of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” with the bloodline of Isaac and Jacob being the nation of Israel, which is identified in Deu 14:2 as being “God’s chosen people.” 

C. The “land blessing” of the Abrahamic Covenant, as stated in Gen 15:18-21, shows a promise of God to Israel of a land stretching from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Iraq, with an eternal permanence that God promised in Gen 17:7-8. This land is far greater than the land of Israel that is drawn on maps today. 

D. The “seed blessing,” of the Abrahamic Covenant, is shown in the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7:8-16, where a seed of David (Jesus) will reign over David’s Kingdom forever. 

E. The “blessing” of the Abrahamic Covenant is shown in the New Covenant of Jer 31:31-34, which God will make only with the Jews, such as a change of heart, fellowship with God, knowledge of the Lord, and forgiveness of sins. All of this will be fulfilled for Israel when the Lord returns (Rom 11:26-27), per Ryrie Study Bible. 

F. The Abrahamic Covenant will not be fulfilled until Christ has returned to earth from Heaven (Mt 24:29-30), at the time of Armageddon, and He rules and reigns over the earth from Jerusalem (Isa 9:6b-7). The governance of Christ over the earth is a fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:12, 13, 16).

G. The Kingdom does not have an Old Testament length of years attached to the teaching. It is in Revelation Chapter 20. that the length of time is stated as being 1,000 years, which is stated six times in Rev 20 (vs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Just as “Israel means Israel,” “church means church,” and “Babylon means Babylon, “thousand means thousand,” with no wiggle room for any other duration to be inferred. From Ryrie Study Bible, Rev 20:2, ” a thousand years” (mentioned six times in this chapter). Since the Latin equivalent for these words is “millennium,” this period of time is called “The Millennium.” It is the time when Christ shall reign on this earth (Isa 2:3; Dan 7:14, Zech 14:9. 

H. Kingdom: Universal vs Theocratic. Got Questions.

When Adam ruled the earth, he was God’s theocratic administrator of the earth. When Adam fell, that rule was taken away, and will be given to Christ upon His return to Earth to rule over His Kingdom on Earth, and to no one else in the time in between. In the meantime Satan has gained the title of, “prince of the power of the air.” (Eph 2:1-2, 1 John 5:19, Luke 4:6). This power has been given by God to him (Luke 4:6; Matt 12:24; 9:34; 12:26; Rev 2:13), and has also given Satan power over some illnesses (Heb 2:14 (Got 

I. Kingdom: Universal vs Theocratic. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come.

A. Universal Kingdom. Ps 103:19, “The Lord has prepared His throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over all.” ( A good example is that God keeps Jupiter from bumping into Mars, mine.)

B. Theocratic Kingdom. From the onset of God’s program to manifest His sovereignty by His rule in this earthly sphere until the consummation of that program, when universal sovereignty is acknowledged (1 Cor 15:24), there has been one continuous, connected, progressive development of that program. While there might be various phases of the program and different media through which that sovereignty was exercised, it has been the development of one program. This whole program may be called the theocratic kingdom. Alva J. McClain defines this theocratic kingdom as: the rule of God through a divinely chosen representative who speaks for God; a rule which has “especial” reference to the human race, although it finally embraces the universe; and its mediatorial ruler is always a member of the human race. 

C. The theocratic kingdom is that which was discussed with the Jews by John the Baptist (Matt 3:2), Jesus (Matt 4:17), the disciples (Matt 10:7), and “the seventy” (Luke 10:9), and offered, “only to Israel” (Matt 10:5-6). But the Jews rejected the offer to accept God’s chosen King and the Kingdom (Deu 17:15). The theocratic Kingdom offer was postponed (Matt 13:37-39) and will be offered again to the Jews during the Tribulation (Matt 24:14), who must receive the kingdom by calling on Christ before He will return to Earth from Heaven with His saints (Zech 12:10; Ps 118:26). This brings us to the second coming of Christ (Matt 24:29-30, Rev 19:11-21; Zech 14:1-5, 9), which also brings us to Rev 20, where the earth’s conditions will be of perfection, as shown in: Isa 2:1-4; 11:6-9). Christ will rule and reign, per Isa 9:6b-7. The theocratic kingdom will be instituted at the second advent of Christ (Things to Come, p 472, Dwight Pentecost), 

J. The role of Jesus is described as Prophet, Priest, and King, is discussed as follows:

A. What it means that Jesus is a Prophet.

The role of a prophet in the Old Testament was to speak the word of God. Some would foretell events, perform healings, and/or do miracles. Jesus did all these things (Luke 1:76-77; Matt 4:17). 

B. What it means that Jesus is a Priest.

In the Old Testament, the priests were the temporary mediators between God and man. They offered the sacrifices required under the law. Within that priesthood was a single High Priest. He alone offered the sacrifice on the day of atonement that cleansed the people for one year. Jesus not only fulfilled the role of a priest but he exceeded the role of the High Priest removing our sins forever (Heb 4:15; 10:8-12). 

C. What it means that Jesus Is King.

1. A king is one who has the rightful complete authority over another. This position was decreed over Jesus before his birth. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:31-33).

2. Jesus has passed from Prophet to Priest, where He is seated at the right hand of God making intercession for His believers (Rom 8:34). When He returns to earth, He will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16). At Present time, Jesus is not exercising His earthly role as King. At the time that Jesus sits on His throne in Jerusalem, the world will be the condition of Isa 2:1-4, with that perfection and sinlessness that comes with such Kingdom authority being exercised by Jesus. 

K. In the overview of Dr. Pentecost he gave Scriptures that tell of various stages of “bodily” resurrection. But, it is important to understand the truth of 2 Cor 5:8, “absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” This promise is for saints of the Old Testament and New Testament periods. Body, soul, and spirit (1 Thes 5:23). The deceased body stays in the grave until the Resurrection takes place (1 Thes 4:16), at which time, the soul (mind, emotions, etc), is removed from the body and is in the Presence of God (Luke 16:23b). Upon the new birth, the spirit dwells within the Spirit of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John 14:20).  At the time of the rapture, all living born again believers in Christ will be caught up to Heaven by Jesus (1 Thes 4:16-17). There will  be a reunion of believers, of all times, living and deceased, with their glorified bodies and souls, being with their born again spirits. 

L. Consider the commentary of the Ryrie Study Bible to the follow verses: Luke 1:32-33, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

1. Ryrie Comment: As the Davidic Messiah, Jesus will reign over the “house of Jacob, which will happen in the millennial kingdom. This promise is not now being fulfilled, simply because the church is not the house of Jacob, and Christ is presently at the right hand of the Father, which is never equated with the throne of David.

2. The Kingship of Jesus during the coming kingdom is a prophetic fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Cor 7:8-16).  The Kingdom is “yet to come” (Acts 1:6-7), with the earthly conditions of Isa 2:1-4. The church is not spiritual israel. The church is the church and Israel is Israel. The church has not replaced Israel, but will be grafted into the blessings of Israel during the Kingdom Age, such as is seen in Isa 2:1-4.  The church will be raptured after God’s purpose for the church has been fulfilled, with the “fullness of the Gentiles coming in” having been achieved (Rom 11:25). At such a time, God will turn His focus from the Church to Israel, where he will make the identity of Christ known to the Jews. See Ryrie Study Bible note: on Rom 11:25,  as follows:

3. Rom 11:25: Israel’s “hardening” is partial (Jews are being saved today) but temporary (“until” they acknowledge Jesus at His coming). “the fullness of the Gentiles.” I.e., the full number of Gentiles who will be saved (Acts 15:14). After that, God will turn again to the Jews and will save “all Israel” at the Lord’s return (v 26).

M. The Kingdom is a piece of real estate, as stated in Gen 15:18-21, which extends from the Nile River in Egypt, to the Euphrates in Iraq. Such real estate can not be found within anyone. The Kingdom consists of Christ ruling and reigning on the earth, per the Davidic Covenant, and will have people ruling and reigning with Christ. No one can have people “within them.” In some Bible translations, Luke 17:21 is incorrectly translated, to say, “the kingdom of God is within you..” The  correct wording is, “the kingdom of God is in your midst.” per CSB, Darby, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NET, NIV, NLT. Consider the context. In Matt 19:28, Jesus said that the Apostles will rule and reign of the twelve tribes of Israel during the Kingdom Age; in 2 Tim 2:2 , Paul wrote said that New Testament believers will reign with Christ, Interestingly enough, Paul said in 1 Cor 6:2-3 that believers will judge the world, and angels. The Prophet Ezekiel tells of the boundaries of the land of Israel, and the division of the land in Ezekiel 47:13-48:35. Consider Ezekiel 47:13: “This shall be the boundary by which you shall divide the land for an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel.” Two things are apparent. First, the land of Israel has not been divided among the twelve tribes of Israel; therefore, “the kingdom has not yet come.” Second, because the twelve tribes of Israel will reside, and be ruled within the land of Israel, non-Jews will not be ruling and reigning over Jews within the land of Israel, but will have such responsibility outside of the land of Israel, throughout the remaining lands of the world.

N. The grafting in process of gentiles into the blessings of the Jews, will not happen until when Christ returns to earth from heaven, with His born again believers following Him (Rev 19:11-14), thus fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant with Israel (Gen 15; Deu 29-30 [Land, Land Covenant]; 2 Sam 7:8-16 [Seed, Davidic Covenant]; Jer 31:31-34 [Blessing, New Covenant]). In Revelation 20, we have discussed the Kingdom Age of the Millennial reign of Christ. We have discussed the “grafting in” of born again believers in Christ during the Kingdom age, and the “grafting in again” of Jews who come to belief in Christ (Rom 11:17-24), also during the Kingdom Age. Throughout the study of the Kingdom Age, context has been stressed. It is important to remember that God’s covenants were made with Israel, and not with the Church. The church will be blessed by God’s covenants with Israel, and is presently being blessed through a portion of the new covenant (Jer 31:33b). It must be remembered, though, that before Jesus returns to earth to rule and reign over the kingdom that Israel must accept a King (Jesus) of God’s choosing (Deu 17:15). Israel must call out to Jesus to come (Matt 23:39/Ps 118:26) and save them. Israel will not call out to Jesus to come until the end of the Tribulation period when they are about to be totally annihilated (Zech 12:10), when Israel will recognize Jesus as her Messiah, acknowledging with deep contrition that He was the One whom their forefathers had pierced (Jn 19:37), per Ryrie Study Bible. Regardless of how many Gentiles have believed in Christ for salvation, it will not be until after Israel calls on Jesus to be her Messiah that Jesus will return from Heaven to Earth to begin His rule and reign of the Earth, by sitting on His earthly throne. At the time that Christ assumes His kingship on His throne, on the earth, the conditions of Isa 2:1-4, 9:6-7, 32:18, will be present, and not until then. 

O. Ruling and reigning with Christ is a topic that will be discussed now. Israel is a nation that was promised land. The church is the body of Christ, and has not been promised land. Jews will rule and reign with Christ, during the Kingdom Age, in the land of their promise (Matt 19:28). Christians have also been promised that they will rule and reign with Christ during the Kingdom Age (1 Cor 6:2). Gentiles who survive the Tribulation will be spread throughout the world, and will be required to go to Jerusalem (for the feast of Tabernacles, Zech 14:16-19; Feast of the New Year, Ezek 45:18-20; Feast of Passover Ezek 45:21-25.). They will go to Jerusalem to be taught by the King (Jesus) Isa 2:1-4. Gentiles will come to seek the favor of the LORD (Zech 8:21-23) and to seek the LORD. The physical Land of Israel, is a gift from God to the descendants of the bloodline of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (God’s chosen people, Deu 14:2). God’s chosen people will be ruling over “God’s chosen people,” in the land that has been chosen for Israel to possess. Gentiles will rule and reign, but it seems that such rule will not force the Jews out of the land of God’s choice for them. The remainder of the world, beyond the borders of Israel, will need to have Godly rule and reign over it; it is in that area which is beyond the borders of Israel that saved Gentiles will rule and reign over other saved Gentiles (at least it seems reasonable to me).

P. We have considered the events that lead to the Tribulation, and the conditions within the Tribulation. We have considered the Kingdom Age. Our next stop on the road to eternity is a study of the eternal state of the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem, which will be the focus of Revelation 21-22. 

VIII. My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles. Please check my Pages and click on Bucket List.

IX. My Websites To Follow. Eternity Book Prep Israel Website Israel, History And Prophecy

X. Study Resource. Ryrie Study Bible. NASB 1995.

The Ryrie Study Bible NASB 1995 is my favorite study Bible. In the Gospel of Luke, there is an outline of the days of Holy Week, which should be helpful for anyone.

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