20 [a]And then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding the key of the abyss (the bottomless pit) and a great chain was in his hand. 2 And he overpowered and laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent [of primeval times], who is the devil and Satan, and bound him [securely] for a thousand years (a millennium);(A) 3 and the angel hurled him into the abyss, and closed it and sealed it above him [preventing his escape or rescue], so that he would no longer deceive and seduce the nations, until the thousand years were at an end. After these things he must be liberated for a short time.
The Millennial Reign
4 And then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom judgment [that is, the authority to act as judges] was given. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had refused to worship the beast or his image, and had not accepted his mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.(B) 5 The rest of the dead [the non-believers] did not come to life again until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 [b]Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) and holy is the person who takes part in the first resurrection; over these the second death [which is eternal separation from God, the lake of fire] has no power or authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with Him a thousand years.(C)
The Final Rebellion
7 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison (the abyss), 8 and will come out to deceive and mislead the [c]nations which are in the four corners of the earth—[including] Gog and Magog—to gather them together for the war; their number is like the sand of the seashore.(D) 9 And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints (God’s people) and the beloved city [[d]Jerusalem]; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them.(E) 10 And the devil who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and burning brimstone (sulfur), where the beast (Antichrist) and false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever.
The Final Judgment
11 And I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them [for this heaven and earth are passing away].(F) 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged according to what they had done as written in the books [that is, everything done while on earth].(G) 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and Hades (the realm of the dead) surrendered the dead who were in them; and they were judged and sentenced, every one according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades [the realm of the dead] were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire [the eternal separation from God].(H) 15 And if [e]anyone’s name was not found [f]written in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire.
- Revelation 20:1 The Greek words for “And I saw” are used seven times in chs 19 through 21 to indicate a progression at the end of time from the marriage supper of the Lamb to the millennium to the new heaven and new earth.
- Revelation 20:6 This is the fifth of the seven promised blessings. See note 1:3.
- Revelation 20:8 Non-believing descendants of the survivors of the Tribulation.
- Revelation 20:9 I.e. the world capital of Christ’s reign during the millennial kingdom.
- Revelation 20:15 Lit anyone was.
- Revelation 20:15 Since everyone who goes before the great white throne is to be tried and sentenced for his deeds, and no one is sinless, the only way to escape condemnation and the “lake of fire” is to have one’s name in the “Book of Life” through authentic faith in Jesus as Lord (see Ps 69:28; Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5).