Revelation 20 Notes
Revelation 19:20 - 20:5

   And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. [They are two members of a three-part coalition, Rev 16:12-14]. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
   And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit [see Gen. 1:1] and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 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.
   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 [were resurrected] and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

   Here is a quick explanation of issues and events involving the thousand years the millennium. I believe we are living in the last hours of the history of this planet. This is because the world is falling apart. Also, calculating from the Genesis record we are living around the time of the beginning of the seventh millennium. We don't know exactly when creation occurred, however, so our counting could be off. It's fairly certain that Christ was not born at 0 A.D. likely it was 4 B.C. (or BCE). The scripture says that we know not the day or hour of the coming of Christ (Matt. 24:42; Rev. 3:3). It may not be at the beginning of the seventh millennium, but conditions in our world point to it being soon. So our focus must not be on ourselves, Our job is to keep watching and to be ready.
   Because of some ideas begun a couple hundred years ago and picked up by most Protestant churches, I feel there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the millennium. This means that chapter 20 has some surprises for many people who begin to study to see what it is really says and doesn't say. If I present something that is contrary to what you have been taught, just study for yourself. A lot of what I write I am just learning, although the big picture is already clear to me.
   While the righteous are taken to heaven at Christ's return (1 Thess. 4:15, 16), the end-time wicked receive the full wrath of God what Daniel (12:1) calls the "time of trouble." The chart on this chapter helps you see what is happening as you simply read the text in your Bible and, of course, pray for understanding. See the second part of the discussion of 14:9 where I explained the wrath at the end of time r14o.

   I'll make a few comments about chapter 20 for you to check out in your Bible.
   First is to see that chapter 20 follows chronologically from chapter 19. In 19 we see Christ as the one on the white horse with the armies of heaven who come to punish the wicked (verses 11-16). Punishment is through the sword of His word (v.15) not that words or ink on paper is directly lethal but punishment comes for failure to read and practice truth in the Scriptures. These sacred writings then become a witness against the wicked. In this sense, the word of God is a sword which kills them literally (See Eph. 6:17). And see literary pattern below.

In verses 17, 18, the birds are promised to feast on the wicked. In v.19 the attack is made on Christ [in attack on His people, I believe], and in v. 20 the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. These are systems of worship described in chapter 13 and named in 16:12-14. Then the wicked who are living at the end of time are killed in v.21. Immediately following we enter chapter 20 where the dragon is bound in the abyss (symbolism indicating the earth in state of chaos as it was at the beginning of creation week in Genesis 1). What we need to see that the events follow this order is to see that there were three entities working together in the verses cited from chapter 16: They are dragon (pagan forces directly under the control of Satan), the beast (the apostate church arising in the middle ages), and the false prophet (the end time apostasy that joins the beast; see comments on 13:11-13). So the first two systems are destroyed never to rise again but the third, Satan, needs more time so that no one will doubt God's justice in destroying him seen at the end of the thousand years (20:10). In other words, the three are dealt with at the end of chapter 19 and the beginning of chapter 20 in a natural sequence. (The original text had no chapter divisions.)
   Next is to ask what is happening during the thousand years. The righteous live and reign with Christ, but this is not on the earth. It's in heaven (John 14:1-3). They are judging (20:4). The righteous dead were raised at the coming of Christ and the righteous living were caught up to meet the Lord in the air (then taken to heaven)  at about the time the thousand years began (1 Thess. 4:16). The wicked dead were not raised at that resurrection (John 5:29). They are described in Rev. 20 as "the rest of the dead" who "lived not again till the thousand years were ended." v.5. They are the "rest" because the righteous who died are all now in heaven. The term "lived" in verse 4 implies the resurrection. In 20:7ff, we see them then, having been resurrected, obviously. And Satan takes charge of them. They try to take the New Jerusalem (details of it's coming down are in ch. 21) and are destroyed.
   Jesus comes at the beginning of the thousand years as you can see reading chapter 19 and its flow into 20 as we discussed. During the thousand years there will be no second chance to get righteous. This is simply not taught in the Bible. Also there are not two classes of righteous as some teach. The theory is that Jews and Gentiles are saved in different ways. This would be having two gospels which Paul warned against (Gal. 1:8, 9). In the end, there are only the righteous and the wicked.
   I've shared this rather briefly so I suggest you go to the word in prayer, and God will help you understand, although maybe not all at once. May He greatly bless you as promised in 1:3 "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near." (NKJV).
   So only Satan and his evil angels are around to "enjoy" the chaos they have caused during the thousand years on earth. The righteous are all in heaven and the wicked are still dead. At the end of the millennium there must be some time for preparing for battle. We won't be a part of it, however, if we are inside the city. We won't go out until the wicked are destroyed (not kept burning without end).
   It is well to search the Scriptures themselves, although people like me can point you to them. I have rushed through some significant truth about the thousand years without nailing down each point. You are welcome to write or to return later.
Literary pattern surrounding the thousand years
From a chart prepared by Normal Moll

Christ's second coming: White horse - 19:11-16.
Great supper of God - 19:17-21.
Satan chained 20:1-3.
The Millennium; those of 1st resurrection reign with Christ - 20:4-6.
Satan released; wicked surround city; are devoured by fire  - 20:7-10.
Great white throne judgment; all not in book go into fire - 20:11-15.
Holy City descends; New earth; God with us - 21:1-8.

May God bless you greatly,

Endnotes (linked from above)
Key  This key, or control over the abyss (bottomless pit) was earlier in Satan's own hand. Satan has proved himself not trustworthy and it now represents the authority of God to confine him. 0901b.

Old serpent  This connects Satan with his deception in Eden and his fall from heaven. See on 12:9, 1209a.

Bound him  Satan has taken many captives in his battle with Christ captivity by sin.
   And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle. . . In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance. . . . And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." (2 Tim. 2:24-26; See also 2 Chron. 6:36; Luke 4:18; Isa. 61:1-4). For 6,000 years Satan has been taking captives; now for 1,000 years he is bound.

Chap. 20 home
Revelation home
Commentary home