Revelation 20 Millennial Reign Explained

Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: February 25, 2022
. Updated December 16, 2022.

This is Part 2 of the Millennial Reign study. I recommend reading Part 1 first which can be found here: “Millennial Reign” – The Thousand Years.

Understanding Revelation 20 is THE KEY to understanding the spiritual Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ, and the rest of the bible.

This essay is a phrase-by-phrase word study on Revelation 20 using two Greek Interlinear Bibles and the Strong’s and Thayer’s Greek Dictionaries.

The KJV translation will be in bold italics. Commentary will be below in normal font.

First: History

For this study, it’s important to know that Revelation 19:11-21 is the Battle of Armageddon during the second coming of Christ in 70 AD — see Coming in the Clouds – Jesus’ Second Coming for details. The Battle of Armageddon was a physical battle on this physical elemental earth — this was the Old Covenant old heaven and old earth having passed away and all things made new (that study is here). Jesus and the Old Covenant saints came and ended the Old Covenant era Beast and false prophet and threw them alive into the lake of fire.

Chapter 20:1-6 is the Millennial Reign in heaven for the Old Covenant saints (after their Battle of Armageddon), and is the Thousand Years for us during this Church Age since the cross.

Revelation 20:7-10 is the Gog and Magog battle which is a spiritual battle that Christians go through. It will end on the last day at the last trump with Jesus returning as a bridegroom and God returning to take out His wrath on those in the earth.

Revelation 20:11-15 is the Great White Throne Judgment for which all spirits of the wicked dead will be raised. The spirits of the righteous stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Revelation chapters 21 and 22 covers the new heaven and new earth going on now during this Church Age, and also what is happening spiritually in the eternal heavenly realm. See New Heaven & New Earth is Not What We’ve Been Taught.

Once you see all the pieces fitting together, you can’t unsee it which is such a blessing from God.

Verse 1

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

Michael and his angels threw the dragon and his fallen angels down to the earth before our present creation. These evil ones were the darkness that was here with the waters and the destroyed, empty firm/earth before our present creation even began (see Earth was Destroyed BEFORE this Present Creation).

The Spirit of the holy Elohim moved over the darkness before our creation — this earth and all that is in it is created unto Jesus Christ. We are told that this action brought about salvation and the kingdom of God through the power of His Christ/Jesus’ blood (Revelation 12:7-10).

An angel DESCENDS here in verse 20:1 which means he comes to earth at the point of salvation which was the beginning of the church age at the cross. It could be said this angel is, or represents, Christ who holds the key of David (Isaiah 22:22, Revelation 3:7).

This angel has a key to the “bottomless pit.” We only see the phrase “bottomless pit” in the book of Revelation. It is only used to describe the location of the evil unseen spiritual beings. It is the Greek word Abyssou which means “abyss; unfathomable depth; depthless.” This means the dragon is literally held by darkness and deep despair — he and his fallen ones were cast out of their heavenly abode before our creation, and now since the cross, they are unable to directly hurt or attack those who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The bottomless pit is literally Satan’s death row — he was judged at the cross, found guilty and sealed/marked for destruction.

The key gives the angel access to the abyss which is the ability to bind or loose the dragon according to God’s perfect will and purpose.

The angel also has a great chain. Great means “large or great in the widest sense” which means expansive. Chain is “a light chain; bond.” This “light bond” ACCOMPANIES Satan’s time in the pit. This is his being given a little freedom to refine God’s people through wicked men which is his sole purpose for existing (see this YouTube teaching for details, or this study).

This binding of Satan gave the woman/church protection during the church age, although there have been times in history when wicked men empowered by Satan killed tens of millions of saints, first by the Roman Emperors off and on from 70-313 AD, and again under the rule of the Papacy who said true Christians were heretics (details here). Through MUCH tribulation do we enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

Verse 2

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

We see in this verse that the dragon is the serpent in the garden of Eden and is the devil and is Satan. See this article for details: Human-Nephilim Hybrids? Satan in Mankind.

The word bound here is G1210 and means “to bind, tie, fasten; to compel; to declare to be prohibited and unlawful.”

“A thousand years” is a spiritual time in a spiritual kingdom that cannot be measured in literal days or years (for this word study, see “Millennial Reign” – The Thousand Years). It is this present church age.

The dragon could not directly harm Christ’s bride during the thousand year church age because he was restrained in the Abyss. Rather, he uses wicked men to cause tribulation to refine God’s chosen.

Verse 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:

In the Greek, an alternate translation of this verse is: “He threw him into the Abyss, and shut and sealed over him so that he should no longer lead astray the foreign races (God’s people) until the church age is finished.” This earth is not the home of God’s elect and their Father is not Satan. Those foreign to Satan are God’s set-apart saints.

That word “nations” here in the Greek is “race; a foreign one” and it is plural here. This is extremely important because it points out that Satan IS allowed to deceive those who have him as their father (John 8:44). He is not allowed to deceive the foreign races indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

Satan could not deceive anyone if everyone on the earth were physically dead. And he cannot deceive anyone in the spiritual realm because he was cast out before the creation. A future earthy Disneyland-type “millennial reign” is an antichrist construct of “love the world!” and is not of God and Jesus Christ.

Some want to say that this “foreign race” is the entire human race which is foreign to the fallen celestial dragon and the fallen ones who are spirits. However, God tells us that part of the human race has the devil/dragon as their father (John 8:44). Revelation 2:9 tells us that the synagogue of Satan walks among us. These are all the people of earth who know not Christ, and are not the “peculiar people” of God’s spiritual kingdom.

The dragon is restrained during this church age, but he still communicates with his children and his works are being accomplished through the wicked/his sons.

and after that he must be loosed a little season.

This verse has been mistranslated in our English bibles. If you look at Revelation 20:3 in the Greek NT INT+ bible in eSword, it reads the following:

“And cast him into the bottomless pit, and closed it, and marked him above, so he will not roam among the races until the thousand years ends: and accompanying these things, he also is loosened a small space.”

The small space was granted to Satan after he was sentenced to death at the cross. Satan will not be completely released from his prison until verse 7 (can you even imagine what that’s going to be like?…. the worst of the worst psychopaths on steroids who will keep multiplying in number).

SATAN IS USING HIS SMALL SPACE NOW and has been since Christ shed His blood for us. In Revelation 6:11, the martyred saints were told to rest during this “little season” until their fellow brethren are killed as they were — tens of millions of saints have been martyred during this church age.

In these modern-times, it has mostly been a metaphorical killing of Christ’s bride by being cut off from the world and from the worldly, at least from my Western perspective. Over 60% of the countries in the world have deemed Christianity illegal, or severely persecutes Christians.

The dark green countries have restrictions on Christianity. The light green countries are hostile areas for Christians.
Image credit: The Voice of the Martyrs
Persecuted nations are in green. Monitored nations are in gold.
Image source: The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

The evil ones do not want us to know that the “much tribulation” for Christ’s bride has been going on throughout this entire church age (Acts 14:22, John 16:33). But if a wicked man kills one of Christ’s bride, then HE MUST BE KILLED IN LIKE MANNER and they have figured this out by now (Revelation 13:10) — all they can attempt to do at this point is try to deceive us unto a spiritual death (see Mark of the Beast). Only the truly damned of Satan and his devils do not care about “being killed”… they know it’s already in the plan for them. And these devils will be indwelling ALL men who do not know Christ when the last day comes (Jesus’ “last day” at His second coming lasted a full 3 1/2 years, 42 months! – study is here).

Verse 4

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:

Spiritual realm: Psalms 122:5 tells us that the thrones of judgment are the thrones of the house of David. Those seated on these heavenly thrones are all of God’s chosen people who kept the Old Covenant with God (see the article God’s Chosen People).

Earthly realm: Jesus Christ is the key of David (Revelation 3:7), and He made the Old Covenant the New Covenant on this new earth. All those who received the Holy Spirit baptism are reigning as priests (teachers) and kings (Christ’s example) with Christ through the Holy Spirit and have authority to judge (see The Kingdom of God is Here). God is Spirit (John 4:24) and His is a spiritual kingdom, for us on earth and those in the spiritual heaven.

and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus,

Beheaded souls? Does this sound like an earthly-realm reign or a spiritual reign?

Those beheaded are the martyred saints seen under the altar during the 5th seal in Revelation 6:11. They suffered heinous persecution from as far back as the garden, leading up to their rejection by the Jewish Sanhedrin and being cut off from their people and thrown out of their city Jerusalem prior to 70 AD.

The cruel torture and executions of Christians continued happening from 70-313 AD, under the Roman Empire, then again during the 1,260 years/prophetic days of the great tribulation from 538-1798 AD under the civil and religious rule of the Papacy. Satan realized the more he killed them and brought them to their Savior in heaven, the more people joined the true church. God ended the physical martyrdom of His people, so the beast system now seeks to spiritually kill Christ’s bride through peace, poisons, sorceries, and deception (details here).

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;

The word “beheaded” here means “to cut off.” This was a physical martyring for the earlier church, but for most of us today, this is being cut off (a serious rejection) by the world. The beast’s image IS the world (it has been here since the Garden of Eden), and when we detach ourselves from it, we are good as dead to the worldly. Jesus tells us to DIE to self and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23, Ephesians 4:22-24). Speaking only God’s truths will surely gain you a cross to bear. The redeemed do not find peace or joy by being OF this earth – our peace and happiness comes from within, from the Holy Spirit, while we are in the earth.

The people who lived from the time of Christ’s death and resurrection to the ending of the Old Covenant Sanhedrin in 70 AD, must have been forced to receive a physical etching/mark on their forehead or hand while under the rule of the Roman Empire and the Jewish Sanhedrin. He caused ALL to receive it or Satan ruined their earthly lives (Revelation 13:16). Here is an article with a photo of what they believe the physical mark was.

and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

The word “thousand” here is not a number (for a word study on “thousand,” see this article). The thousand years in Revelation 20 is this present church age.

The Old Testament martyrs are reigning in heaven where they will forever be with the Lord. Upon our physical death, we will join them. They are the great multitude in heaven who have been increasing in number since the cross — we see them in Revelation 7, 14:1-5, 15:5-8.

The righteous living are reigning as priests (teachers) and kings (Christ’s example) with Jesus Christ RIGHT NOW. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us that we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. God causes us to be seated with Him in heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). Our bodies are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). Our renewed spiritual hearts are new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-3). The kingdom of God comes not with observation because it is within you — it is spiritual and you are reigning in the kingdom NOW (Luke 17:20-21). See The Kingdom of God is Here for further study.

Verse 5

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.

The rest of the dead is all of those who refused or denied Jesus Christ. They will be raised after the church age at the last day to go before the white throne judgment and into the lake of fire (for more on this, see the article God Created Evil).

This is the first resurrection.

The first resurrection is speaking of the spiritual resurrection that causes one to escape the second death. The second death is also spiritual. Remember that the thousand/chilioi is a spiritual time in this earthly realm that is simultaneously happening in the spiritual realm for the Old Covenant saints.

The martyrs before Christ had their first resurrection after Jesus ministered to them in Sheol after His death and moved Paradise from Sheol below the earth into heaven with God — we see the physical resurrection of “many” (probably those not yet decomposed) in Matthew 27:50-54. Before Christ, theirs was a physical resurrection because they lived under the Old Covenant of physical rituals, and they had to walk the earth in resurrected flesh to give witness that Jesus was indeed the Messiah sent from God. After Christ, all things physical have been made spiritual with the New Covenant.

The redeemed during the church age had their first resurrection when they died to self by the blood of Jesus Christ and obtained aionios life. The righteous who have passed on are alive and reigning with Christ in heaven. The righteous living are reigning with Christ as overcomers in this earthly realm.

The common word for “resurrection” in the New Testament Greek is anastasis (Strong’s G386). Here is the definition of the word:

Anastasis (resurrection) means to come to life after dying. This is talking about the bride of Christ which is the Church (feminine gender). We die to the old man when we are born again and given spiritually-renewed hearts – this is our first resurrection which comes with the Holy Spirit blood baptism which is the sabbatismos (Hebrews 4:11 — also see this study). We then take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23, 1 Corinthians 15:31).

Verse 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.

Whether our physical vessels are alive or dead, all of the spiritually redeemed are alive in Christ through our spiritually-renewed agape hearts. We are ALL in the same SPIRITUAL kingdom of God and are all reigning as priests (giving witness) of God and of Christ — we will continue to do so throughout the church age and through the last day when Jesus defeats death and returns His kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Verse 7

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

The dragon is going to be released at the end of the church age which is the last day, and the fallen angels will also be released at this time. He and his angels are presently being held for judgment (2 Peter 2:4).

Verse 8

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog,

Another mistranslation. If you look at this verse in the original Greek, there is no word “deceived.” In the Greek NT INT+ bible in eSword, the verse reads “And to come forth to roam the races in the four quarters of the earth, the Gog and Magog, to lead them to warfare, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” Satan isn’t “deceiving” anyone after his release — he’s been working with the wicked all along during his restrainment… He’s only trying to deceive God’s elect… Satan already owns all those who do not know Jesus.

This is Satan’s time for a quick temper-tantrum because immediately when he is released, God devours him and the wicked people of earth with fire.

Gog (Satan; antichrist leaders) and Magog (devils; the unsaved) ARE the four corners of the earth — the earthly world IS the beast system. Gog and Magog is not the name of a physical battle; rather it’s spiritual warfare. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Gog was the name given to the antichrist leader (powered by Satan) and Magog is the anti-Christians who reside in their wicked nation of spiritual darkness.

In other words, Gog and Magog are all the wicked on all the earth who are empowered by Satan. They are already deceived when Satan and his angels are released for judgment. They will be tormented beyond anything we can imagine once indwelt by the evil ones themselves.

to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

This is Satan’s final show of force which will be a quick parade with his fallen angels (who are unseen/invisible spirit powers), but it will promptly come to an end.

When Gog and Magog, which are Satan and his Christ-denying followers, will be completely let loose again, it will end this entire globe (the earth is an IMMOVABLE globe; the geocentric model — see this free pdf book).

God’s elect are sealed when they are born again so will never experience God’s wrath. The Holy Spirit NEVER leaves God’s elect as long as they are on the earth. All the tribulations that we experience comes by way of Satan and the wicked men who serve him through their actions, only because God allowed it for our refinement so we may build treasures in heaven.

There is only one battle mentioned in the entirety of end times prophecy and that is the Battle of Armageddon on the last day of the “world”/land/region (Revelation 16:16), and that has already happened from late-66 to early-70 AD.

What we are going to experience with the release of Gog/Satan and Magog/fallen ones is going to be a spiritual battle that will end with Satan being cast into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet ALREADY ARE (they were thrown in in 70 AD — Revelation 19:20 and 20:10).

Verse 9

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:

We see the wicked armies attempting to wage war against the camp of God’s protected people in Revelation 19:19 and here in verse 20:9.

Revelation 19:19 is talking about the physical battle that happened in the physical city of Jerusalem during the second coming of Christ in 66-70 AD. Christ came in Spirit and empowered the Jews to kill one another (it was the bloodiest war in this world’s history) and empowered the Roman Army to destroy them, the temple and the city Jerusalem.

But here in Revelation 20:9, the land is that which covers the four corners of the earth… it is the entire four quadrants of the globe. Satan will surround the camp of the saints — this could be their households, or house churches, or true Christians being detained by law enforcement for being “heretics”… Satan will come at them through wicked men. This is primarily a spiritual battle because it’s Gog and Magog doing the fighting — they are evil spirits working through men, but they will be at war with the Holy Spirit who resides in His temple which is the physical bodies of the redeemed.

They go up over the entire earth and surround the camp of those set apart by God who are the inhabitants of the city of Truth. The beloved city is new Jerusalem which is the spiritually-renewed hearts of the redeemed – this is spiritual in nature (Revelation 21:2-3).

and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

Fire is God’s Word which is Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:13). Righteousness is the fire that destroys the wicked.

Jesus came to judge and make war with His eyes as a flame of fire in 70 AD (Revelation 19:12).

God will be the one returning in wrath in the future. Jesus will come as the bridegroom to catch up the spirits of the living righteous unto Him — this will complete the great multitude in Revelation 7, 14:1-5, 15:5-8.

When the evil spirit powers are devoured here, they and the earth will cease to exist.

Verse 10

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are,

The beast and the false prophet are the men who deceived all those who took the spiritual mark of the world — it was a physical mark during the Old Covenant Age, and is a spiritual mark during the New Covenant Age. God cast them alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone from 66-70 AD (Revelation 19:19-21). This will also happen to Satan on earth’s very last day, which could be 42 months in length if Jesus’ second coming “last day” was the foreshadow.

This verse tells us that the beast and the false prophet were in the lake of fire before Satan and his devils will be thrown in. We know Satan and the fallen ones were bound at the cross. And we know that the beast and false prophet has morphed over time, continuing throughout the church age — we see this happening in Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 (see these studies for details: Part 1 and Part 2).

and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The word “ever” here is an age and not an eternity. Both words “ever/age” are plural. So we see a double whammy of plural ages here. The Old Testament age lasted around 4,000 years just for an idea of how long a singular age/aion could be. For more on this, see the article God Works in Ages.

Verse 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.

We see the great white throne judgment takes place directly after the end of Satan and His fallen ones, and the end of the world. God could not find a place in His heavenly realm for the leaders and citizens of earth who fled from Him and His Son while they dwelt on the earth.

Verse 12

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;

We see this is the second resurrection which is the raising of the wicked dead’s spirits to stand before the white throne judgment. The dead here are the spiritually dead.

All the dead who had aionios life escaped the second death and went straight to heaven to join the multitude of saints upon their deaths.

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.

The books (plural) were opened for the spiritually dead and they were judged based on the works they had done while on earth. The work they will all lack – the most important work of all – is faith in Jesus Christ.

The singular book, the book of life, was opened as well. Only the names of the righteous were written in this book and they already abide with Christ. The righteous do not go through the great white throne judgment because their robes have been washed white through the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:13-14, 19:8). They were sanctified and justified in Christ while on earth and will receive their crown of righteousness on the last day (2 Timothy 4:8).

The righteous stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, but Scripture does not explain when this will be. It could happen alongside the Great White Throne Judgment of the wicked, or it could happen upon our physical deaths before joining the great multitude in heaven. During this time, the righteous will receive all that they did while in their earthly bodies, both good and bad… I believe this would be connected to the treasures we have stored up (or lack) in heaven (Matthew 6:20).

Verse 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.

This verse is describing the raising of the spiritually dead/the wicked. All of the righteous dead had already ascended into heaven prior to God’s wrath on the earth. God’s children are never subject to His wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The word hell is actually Hades which is “the unseen place.” This is the holding place of the souls of the wicked dead which is below the earth.

The word death is thanatos which is a masculine noun. It is the power that binds the spiritually lost souls to Satan.

They will all be judged according to the spiritual and physical acts they committed while on this earth. I believe this judgment is to determine how long or how severe the punishment will be in the lake of fire. Time in the lake of fire is an age — it has a beginning and an end — it is not eternal as we know eternal to be (see the article Hell is not Eternal – God Works in Ages). God says he is going to reestablish a close relationship with all things in earth and all things in heaven (Colossians 1:20). And we are told that Jesus died not for our sins only, but for the sins of the kosmos/whole world (1 John 2:2). One can only know Christ if Father draws them to Him (John 6:44).

Verse 14

And death and hell [Hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

The second death is a spiritual death which is accomplished in the lake of fire. This does not mean that the human spirit fizzles out like a match. The lake of fire is where the worm (the spirit power of Satan) is separated from the human spirits who were created by God to be vessels of wrath (see Hell is Not Eternal – God Works in Ages).

In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, Jesus tells us His reign will end when he has conquered His enemies, and His LAST enemy to be conquered is death. We see here that death was conquered by casting it into the lake of fire.

This also tells us that Jesus is reigning RIGHT NOW…. He is on the throne during this church age. Hallelujah!

Jesus tells us that after He defeats death, His reign ends when all has been put in subjection to God. This is so that God will be all in all in the eternal kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Verse 15

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

This verse makes it clear that your name must be written in the book of life if you are to escape the lake of fire which is the second death.

In Conclusion

Our eternal infallible bodies will not be communicating with anyone’s unbelieving earthly bodies on a tangible/physical earth that has passed away. NO FLESH WILL GLORY IN GOD’S PRESENCE – 1 Corinthians 1:29.

There is an age between the second coming of Jesus Christ and the spiritual Gog and Magog battle, and we are in that age right now.

Jesus Christ was the stone that crushed all Old Covenant kingdoms — He conquered the old heaven (government) and old earth (those under the law) and made ALL THINGS NEW with the New Covenant new heaven (Jesus’ reign) and new earth (those saved by grace). The physical became spiritual.

See New Heaven & New Earth is Not What We’ve Been Taught for commentary on Revelation chapters 21 and 22.

There is no Millennial Reign on a destroyed earth after Jesus returns. Jesus has already returned and God’s wrath will end all the elemental world. The thousand year era is now. The kingdom of God is HERE! Hallelujah!


[Sidenote: There is a teaching by Jim Brown that interprets the new heaven and new earth as happening now on THIS earth and will not be in the spiritual realm after Christ returns. Multiple lessons can be found here.]

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