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The Millennial Reign and Great White Throne Judgment    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

(Rev 20 KJV)  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. {2} And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, {3} And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. {4} And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. {5} But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. {6} Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. {7} And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, {8} And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. {9} And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. {10} And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. {11} And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. {12} And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. {13} And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. {14} And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. {15} And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  

Chapter 20 gives a brief summary of the millennial reign of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment.  It is important to note the perspective from which John observes the action taking place in this chapter.  Since John sees an angel come down from heaven, it is apparent that John is on the earth.  Also, the dragon has been cast to the earth and this is where the angel laid hold on him, so this is conclusive proof that the place of the action is the earth.  This also confirms that the thrones that John sees are upon the earth and not in heaven.  This is highly significant since John is about to address those who were overcomers in the last half of the tribulation period, and no member of the Church would be included in this number.  This is important since the Church inherits the heavenly aspect of the kingdom.  John is now addressing the earthly aspect of the kingdom, so the focus of action has to be upon the earth.  The overcomers enter the earthly aspect of the kingdom, and they reign upon the earth.  

It is also clear that a resurrection takes place in this chapter, but there is no translation of humans that are alive since the bodies they have are suited for inhabiting the earth.  It is also significant that this resurrection is called the first resurrection.  This seems inconsistent with the rest of Scripture since we know that those in the Church have already been resurrected.  It is important to remember that the Church Age is a parenthetical insertion of an age into God's dealing with the Jews.  At this point in time in this chapter, the Church Age is over and God's determination of those in the Church who will reign in the heavenly aspect of the kingdom has been completed.  God is now dealing with the earthly aspect, and this is the first resurrection of those who will enter the earthly aspect of the kingdom.  The second resurrection is at the end of the millennium, and it is a resurrection of the unsaved dead of all ages.  

The first resurrection in this chapter is the resurrection that the Old Testament saints looked forward to since they knew nothing about the Church Age, and the resurrections for that particular dispensation.  With this understanding we will now begin our exegesis of chapter 20.  

R. The Millennial Reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-10)  

1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

a. The identity of this angel has been debated, and many great theologians believe it is Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ was given the keys to death and hades in Rev. 1:18.  The bottomless pit or abyss is the place that the unsaved dead go as a holding place until judgment day.  It is also the place where demons are held in check until Satan releases them during the last half of the tribulation.  Satan is temporarily given the keys to the abyss to release his demons to inflict punishment upon mankind.  At this point, Jesus Christ has apparently regained the keys, and He also has a great chain in His hand.  

b. It seems that only Jesus Christ has the power to perform the following act of locking and chaining up Satan for the millennium.  It is untenable to think that any created angel would have the power to do this.    

2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  

a. Four names are used for Satan.  The dragon is his name as the head over this current earthly kingdom.  He will no longer be called the dragon after Jesus Christ regains the kingdom of the earth.  The old serpent is his name for the time between his fall after the creation, and the time that he deceived Eve and caused the fall of mankind.  The adjective old simply means that he has been around since creation.  The name devil means slanderer or malignant liar, and this has been one of his primary characteristics from the beginning.  Satan means adversary or accuser.  It is used as the proper name of the devil.  

b. The names dragon and old serpent are not used any longer after Jesus Christ takes over the earthly kingdom.  

c. The Greek word for “laid hold” shows complete power over.  This further confirms that the angel with the power and authority is Jesus Christ.  

3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.  

a. Satan is incarcerated in the abyss with a seal on him for a thousand years.  

b.  Satan will be set free for a very short period of time at the end of the millennium in order to show the total depravity of mankind.  After having 1000 years of perfect government and environment, mankind will still be easily led astray by the deception of Satan.  People born during the millennium will still have the old flesh nature, and they will be saved the same way as they are now.  This confirms that without the new birth experience, it matters not how much evidence or persuasion is involved.  Man as a spiritually dead individual will always reject Christ unless he receives the gift of faith and the new birth experience.  It is a work of the Holy Spirit and not the will of man.  

4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  

a.  These are not the same thrones that the 24 elders sat on, and they are not mentioned as being in the proximity of the throne of Jesus in heaven.  From the context these thrones are on the earth.  They belong to those who were overcomers during the last half of the tribulation period.  

b. These souls that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus are truly the tribulation saints who were saved during the tribulation period, and they go through the entire tribulation period.  The souls under the altar in Rev. 6:9 were members of the Church who had to go through the first half of the tribulation period, and they were slain for the word of God.  They were resurrected in the middle of the tribulation period in Rev. 7:9-17 at the same time time the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church took place.  It is highly significant that those martyrs were before the throne in heaven, and these are on the earth.  The difference is the heavenly and earthly aspects of the kingdom of God.  

c.  It is also significant that the martyrs in Rev. 20:4 are overcomers because they refused to take the mark.  The martyrs in Rev. 6:9 were not subject to the mark since the mark is not implemented until the middle of the tribulation period.  

d. "They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" shows resurrection and entrance into the earthly aspect of the kingdom.  It is significant that they are not given white robes to wear.  The reason for this seems to be that white robes are for glorified bodies fit for dwelling in the heavenly aspect of the kingdom.  Since these are in the earthly aspect of the kingdom, jeans and white shirts would be quite appropriate.  Regular clothes made out of cotton, silk, wool, etc. are not fit for the heavenly aspect of the kingdom, so a special transcendent or supernatural robe is required.  Many believe that this robe will be made out of supernatural light.  The bodies of these believers will be immortal like Adam's body before his sin, but they will not be fit for going to and from the New Jerusalem like those in the Church.  The following Scripture describes and confirms that the bodies of those in the Church will be significantly different from those in the earthly aspect of the kingdom:  

(Isa 60:8 KJV)  Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?  

Those that "fly as a cloud" are the Church who come and go from the earth to the New Jerusalem.  The ones who see them are the nations (Gentiles) and the Jews who receive the earthly inheritance in the kingdom.  They are unable to come and go like doves or birds to the lattice or windows, since they will have bodies of flesh and blood fit for the earth.  The following verse confirms that bodies of flesh and blood cannot be part of the heavenly aspect of the kingdom:  

(1 Cor 15:50 KJV)  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.    

5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  

a. "This is the first resurrection" refers to the resurrection in verse 4 and not in verse 5.  Verse 5 is the completion of a thought and should have been included in verse 4, and this would not have been misinterpreted so often.  

b. The "rest of the dead" are the unsaved dead who will be resurrected at the Great White Throne Judgment.  

c. Every human being that died will be resurrected to stand before Jesus Christ to be judged for his works.  All judgments are for works and not for whether a person has believed in Jesus Christ.  

6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  

a. Those who will be resurrected in the first resurrection will be blessed and holy.  They will not be subject to the second death or the lake of fire.  This first resurrection has no reference to the Church.  The Church has been resurrected or translated at least 3 1/2 years earlier, and they have no part in this first resurrection.  This resurrection is the "general resurrection" that is referred to in the Old Testament.  It is also the resurrection that Post-Tribulationists think pertains to the Church.  

b. There is nothing in chapter 20 that is in reference to the Church.  

7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,  

a. Satan is set free to tempt the nations at the end of the millennium.  Satan has been bound in the abyss for the thousand years, and he has not been free to tempt the nations of the earth.  Christ has reigned in perfect righteousness for the thousand years, and the curse on the earth has been removed.  The only temptation to sin during the entire thousand years has been the old flesh nature for those still in their old bodies of flesh and blood.  All temptation to sin outwardly has been suppressed or prevented by those in the Church ruling with a rod of iron.  Those who have been born during the millennium, and who have not been born again spiritually will be ripe for rebellion with Satan as their leader.  

8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  

a. Satan will deceive or seduce the nations to wander away from the safety of being under the reign of Jesus Christ.  They will unite in rebellion against Jesus Christ as the sovereign.  Up until this point they have been forced to live in obedience to Jesus Christ, but they have not done so of their own free will.  

b. Gog has reference to the leader or "chief prince" and Magog has reference to the followers of Gog.  These followers are the enemies of God.  In Ezekiel 38 and 39 Gog and Magog have reference to the leader of Russia and the people who follow him in his invasion of Israel during the first half of the tribulation period.  The red horseman of chapter 6 represents that invasion.  Some theologians have called Gog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 the Russian Desolator.  The president of Russia appears to be the Russian Desolator that will lead Russia against Israel.  However the Gog and Magog in this verse has nothing to do with Russia, as the context refers to those who rebel in the four corners of the earth.  Gog is clearly Satan and Magog is his followers.  

c. The number "as the sand of the sea" is metaphorical and means a great number that cannot be counted.  

9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  

a. This group of people who rebel against God will go up against the whole earth and against the saints or followers of God.  They will even come against Jerusalem (the beloved city), but God will rain down fire out of heaven to incinerate them.  Those destroyed will be resurrected at the white throne judgment to be judged for their works.

10. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  

a. Satan will now be cast into the lake of fire (Gehenna).  Antichrist and the False Prophet will have been in the lake of fire for the entire 1000 years, so the third person of the Satanic trinity will now join them in the lake of fire.  

b. The Satanic trinity will be tormented or vexed with grievous pains unto the ages of the ages.  This torment can pertain to body or mind, so it is not necessary that the torment pertain to actual physical burns of the flesh.  The torment is most likely of the mind, but it is compared to the pain of the burning of fire and brimstone (sulfur).  This is the way that Sodom and Gomorrah and the other three cities of the plain were destroyed.  

c. The torment will last forever, and this is an awesome thought.  

S. The Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15)  

11. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  

a. No believer will appear at the "great white throne" judgment.  It is Jesus Christ who will sit on the great white throne to judge the unsaved dead for their works.  This is not a judgment to determine the destination of heaven or Hades.  That determination has already been made by the fact that they are at the great white throne judgment.  

b. The face of Christ in this situation will be an awesome and terrible presentation.  The earth and heaven escaped (fled away) this presence as there was no portion (place) found for them at this judgment.  At this point there is no unsaved person upon the earth.  The unsaved that were born in the millennium and never spiritually reborn have been devoured by fire from heaven.  Consequently, the inhabitants of earth and heaven are all born again spiritually, and will have no part or portion in this judgment.  The Greek word for fled away is pheugo, and it means to escape safely out of danger.  Neither those on the earth (earthly aspect of the kingdom) or those in heaven (heavenly aspect of the kingdom) will have anything to fear from the great white throne judgment.  The transliterated Greek word for "place" is topos and it means portion.  Those in the earthly and heavenly aspects of the kingdom will have no portion in the great white throne judgment.  This cannot be said of the lake of fire.  Those who are disobedient in the Church will have a portion in the lake of fire when this fire tries their works.  The Scriptures state that they will be "hurt" by the second death.  The lake of fire is the second death.  There are numerous Scriptures to confirm this.  The following are two Scriptures that refer to this:  

(Rev 2:11 KJV)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  

(Rev 21:8 KJV)  But the fearful, and unbelieving (i.e., unfaithful), and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.   

12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  

a. All of the unsaved dead "stand before God" (i.e., Jesus Christ) to be judged.  The word "stand" is used to show that a resurrection has taken place before this judgment.  The word "stand" is only used in connection with a body, and not the soul or spirit.  The books have reference to the recordation of every deed or work that was performed by everyone who appears at this judgment.  The book of life is also opened as a double check to make sure that no one has saved his soul or life.  This is done to demonstrate how meticulous the Lord is in His judgment.  Everyone will receive a just recompense of reward.  Just as there are levels of glory and responsibility in the kingdom of heaven, there will be levels of punishment and torment in the lake of fire.  Some will be tormented more than others will, and it will be more tolerable for some than it will for others.  

b. The word "dead" is in reference to their spiritual condition, since they have been resurrected in their physical bodies.  They are physically alive but spiritually dead.  

c. This verse explicitly states that the spiritually dead are judged according to their works.  Works are important even for those who will be eternally separated from God, since their punishment will be more tolerable.  The following Scripture confirms this:  

(Mat 10:14-15 KJV)  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. {15} Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.  

(Mat 11:21-22 KJV)  Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. {22} But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.  

13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  

a. This verse describes the resurrection of the unsaved dead.  Those whose bodies were buried in the sea are resurrected to physical life, but they are still spiritually dead (i.e., nekros).  Death (Thanatos) and hell (hades) also gave up the spiritually dead (nekros) that was in them.  Thanatos has reference to the body in the grave, and Hades has reference to the soul in the abode of the dead underneath the earth.  Even though there is a physical resurrection to life, the unsaved dead are still referred to as "the dead" because of their spiritual condition.  Their spirits have not been regenerated or made alive, so they are still dead.  It is extremely important to note that the word nekros is not used in Rev. 21:6-8, which refers to believers who are not overcomers.  These believers will have a part in the lake of fire, but they are not "the dead", which refers to their spiritual condition.  We will discuss this further in chapter 21.  

b. It is reiterated that every man is judged according to his works.  It should be noted that they have no good works to be rewarded, but their punishment is commensurate with their evil deeds.  It is erroneously thought that Satan will be the ruler in hell, but his punishment will be far worse than probably anyone else's, and he will certainly have no authority over anyone once he has been cast into the lake of fire.  

14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  

a. As stated above thanatos and hades refer to the body and soul respectively, so the bodies and souls of all of the unsaved dead will be cast into the lake of fire to receive their punishment forever.  As stated, the lake of fire is the second death. Death is a state or condition and not a place. Hades is the abode of those who are spiritually dead.  

b. There is a difference between being cast into the lake of fire and having a part in the lake of fire.  Unfaithful Christians will have a part in the lake of fire, but the unsaved dead will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.  

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

a. The book of life is rechecked to make sure that no one who has saved his soul or life is cast into the lake of fire.  

b. The only ones whose names could possibly appear in the book of life are those whose names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, and who lived their lives as overcomers.  There will be many Christians whose names will be blotted out of the book of life.  However, they will not be cast into the lake of fire because they are not spiritually dead.  Only the spiritually dead are cast into the lake of fire as an eternal punishment.