Chapter Twenty

After the devastation of Armageddon, you may have several questions, for instance:

What is going to happen now that the political, religious and economic systems of the world have been destroyed? What will happen to satan? What will happen to the righteous dead and those who are still alive at the end of the tribulation period?

The Binding of satan during the Thousand Years

Revelation 20:1-3

“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

After the tribulation period, satan will be cast into hell by an angel. This angel is an unnamed angel who has the key to the Abyss, the place where demons exist,

and who has a great chain in his hand. We know three things about satan:

1. He has controlled the political system. In Revelation 12:3 the “red dragon” was described as having “seven heads and ten horns.” It is the “dragon” who has given “the beast” of Revelation 13:1 and Revelation 17:7-18, “his power, his throne and his great authority” according to Revelation 13:2.

2. He has deceived the nations. In Revelation 12:9 the dragon was called “that ancient serpent” and is described as the one who “leads the whole world astray.” 

3. He has been accusing believers. In Revelation 12:10 we read about “the accuser of our brothers who accuses them before our God day and night”.

The angel does four things to satan:

1. He binds satan with a chain for a thousand years.

2. He casts satan into the Abyss.

3. He silences satan.

4. He seals up satan’s place of abode, the Abyss.

Other passages in Scripture speak of God’s imprisonment of demonic beings. Peter in II Peter 2:4 writes that “angels who had sinned” have been put into “gloomy dungeons to be held for judgement”. Jude, in Jude 6, writes that: 

“Angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home - these He has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgement on the great Day”.

The reason for binding satan is to keep him “from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years are ended”.

In the battle of Armageddon only the leaders and their armies will be destroyed. However, Zechariah in Zechariah 14:16 writes: 

“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the king, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”

Satan will be released from his prison for a little while after the thousand years have passed when he will deceive the nations of the world one more time according to Revelation 20:8.

The Blessing Believers will Experience 

Revelation 20:4-6

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 for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) Blessed and holy are those who have part 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.

The ones on the thrones are very likely the twenty-four elders we read about in Revelation 4:4. They represent the Church of Jesus Christ in heaven. The focus of this judgement is most probably the giving of rewards. The Old Testament Jewish believers who are resurrected at the end of the Tribulation period according to Daniel 12:1-3 and all the tribulation believers are at that time given their rewards. The ones doing the judgements are the ones who sit on the thrones, the twenty-four elders.

The “first resurrection” consists only of believers. Church-age believers will be resurrected at the rapture before the tribulation begins according to I Thessalonians 4:16-17. All Old Testament believers, along with the tribulation martyrs, will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation. They are all part of “the first resurrection” and are described as “blessed and holy”. They will never die again.

Unbelievers will be resurrected and judged after the thousand years are over. Their judgement will be before the great white throne according to Revelation 20:12.

Believers will reign with Jesus Christ as “kings and priests” according to Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10 and II Timothy 2:12. There will be “religious festivals” during the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ according to Zechariah 14:16 and a temple according to Ezekiel 40-48.

The Battle at the End of the Thousand Years 

Revelation 20:7-10

When the thousand years are over, satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 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. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The nations “deceived” must come from the children born during the thousand years. They will be required to obey and submit but that does not mean their obedience and submission is of the heart. Satan’s ability to influence them to become a part of his final scheme shows the sinful nature of man. The names “Gog” and “Magog” are mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This is not the same battle as the one in Revelation 20. The name “Gog” may refer to the demonic spirit who will be in charge of this operation. The name “Magog” may refer to the nations involved in this battle.

These nations will surround the city He loves. This is a reference to Jerusalem, the capital of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. God’s love for the city of Jerusalem is clearly established in Scripture. See Psalm 78:68 and Psalm 87:2. The actual judgement God uses to destroy this rebellion is the same one that He brought on Sodom and Gomorrah: fire will come down from heaven and will devour them.

Satan will be thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet have already been for one thousand years. They will experience torment for ever and ever!! 

The Books that Judge the Dead 

Revelation 20:11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. 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. 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 he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The throne mentioned on this passage appears to be a special place where the judgement of unbelievers is to take place.The word “great” might refer to the issues involved rather than the throne’s physical size and the word “white” pictures the purity and righteousness of the One who is the Judge of all men. According to John 5:22 God the Father has entrusted all judgement to the Son. Therefore, Jesus Christ will be the One before whom all unbelievers will stand at that time. The achievements and status of those who are to be judged will have no bearing upon the judgement they will receive. It is clear that no one will escape this judgement. “Hades” is the temporary abode of the sinful dead who await the great white throne judgement and their final sentencing. Jesus mentions this place in the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. “Hades” is to be distinguished from “Gehenna” which is the “lake of fire”.

The works of believers are judged according to I Corinthians 3:11-15 and

II Corinthians 5:10, and the issue is rewards. This is not done at the time of the great white throne judgement but has been done at the Bema Seat. Their names are recorded in the Book of Life.

“Death” is thrown into the lake of fire. Therefore there will be “no more death.” Similarly, “Hades,” the temporary abode of all sinful people, will be thrown into the “lake of fire” and all who dwell there will find themselves lost in eternal torment and punishment together with satan, the world leader and the false prophet.

The final judgement and destiny of unbelievers is called “the second death.” The first death involves the separation of the body from the soul and the spirit. The second death involves the separation of the person from God forever. 

Chapter Twenty-One