4 “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” ~ Revelation 20: 4-15
Here is the main idea of the passage: Satan has been bound in the Bottomless Pit for the duration of the Millennial Reign. Afterwards he is released for a brief period of rebellion; however, Satan is immediately defeated by God for one last time. Lastly, the Final Judgment for all occurs.
4- “Who sits on the thrones? Perhaps it is the twenty-four elders representing the church (Revelation 4:4), or the Apostles (Matthew 19:38), or the company of the saints as a whole (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).” (David Guzik Commentary)
5- The First Resurrection is for those dead in Christ. Life will be given with actual resurrected bodies (rather than their souls simply being in God’s presence, 2 Corinthians 5:8). Believers will have new bodies as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. The Second Death then occurs for those who are not in Christ.
- In between the First Resurrection and the Second Death is the 1,000 year Millennial Period.
7-8- Satan is released after the Thousand Years. Afterwards another rebellion ensues.
- Who will rebel? Those individuals that survived the Great Tribulation and their descendants.
- “Infants born during the Millennium will live its conclusion and will not be required to make a choice between the Devil and Christ until the end.” Dr. John Walvoord
- Gog and Magog- Enemies of Israel prophesized in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 38-39.
9-10- Satan is defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire. His rebellious emergence from a thousand years in captivity from the Bottomless Pit is quickly put to an end. God deals with him for one last time. The Devil, the Beast, and the False Prophet will be tormented forever and ever.
11-15- The Final Judgment involves two scenes:
- The Great White Throne- This is where all non-believers will be judged.
- The Bema Seat of Christ- “The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ. At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5).” (gotquestions.org)
- “Death, the last enemy, will be destroyed when Christ returns and raises believers (1 Corinthians 15:23-26). Therefore Death and Hades will be the last to be thrown into the Lake of Fire, the Second Death, where they will join the Beast, and the False Prophet (Revelation 19:20) and the Devil (Revelation 20:10).” (ESV Study Bible Commentary)
How is this text applicable to the 21st Century?
Hell is real. Those who chose to deny the existence of Hell clearly ignore The Bible. Scripture also negates alternative beliefs such as Annihilationism. Many within the 21st Century Church often choose to disregard this truth, fearful of offending people. In all actuality, Jesus spoke about Hell more than any other person or issue in the Bible. Moreover, Jesus Christ is offensive.
That’s right. Jesus Christ is offensive. In fact, the Bible as a whole discriminates against no one as to whom it offends. Why? The issue of Hell and Salvation in Jesus is absolutely critical throughout the Scriptures. Otherwise God would have not sent His Son to die for our sins (John 3:16), and Christ Himself would not have spent so much time conversing over the matter. Jesus Christ is not so much concerned with your personal comfort, as He is your personal relationship with Him.
Check out the links below, which dive further into this topic of Hell and Judgment.
Is God Unfair? By Dr. Erwin Lutzer
What is the Great White Throne Judgement in Revelation? By Dr. David Jeremiah
What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? By: Michael Allen Rogers, DMin
What is the Bema Seat of Christ?
What is Annihilationism?
How to Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior?
“If Jesus has reigned so wonderfully for a thousand years, then why will the Earth rebel? They will do it, and God will allow it, as a final demonstration of man’s rebellion and depravity. Outward conformity to Jesus’ rule will be required during His reign, but seemingly, an inward embrace of His Lordship will still be up to the individual.” ~ David Guzik
Prayer: Father God, I pray that I have a genuine change from the inside out. I do not want to merely live with an outward conformity to Christianity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.