Revelation 20 Millennial Reign Explained

Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: February 25, 2022
. Updated August 31, 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 the Greek Interlinear Bible and the Strong’s Concordance.

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

First: Chronology

We need to establish that the events in Revelation are not in the order that they occur. For example, chapter 11 tells of the church spreading the gospel message and ends with the last day, but then the very next chapter begins with God creating the church/woman/mother of the man child and the dragon in heaven then placing them on the earth. Some passages go back to the beginning and tell the story to the end.

The chronology to note for this essay is that the end of Revelation chapter 19 is the Battle of Armageddon during the second coming of Christ, but then chapter 20 starts with the beginning of the church age at the cross, and we see the battle of Armageddon again in Revelation 20:8 (Gog and Magog is not the name of a different battle — it is Armageddon).

I am accessing the Strong’s Concordance and Greek Interlinear Bible within the online Blue Letter Bible.

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 throw the dragon and his fallen angels down to the earth. We are told that this action brought about salvation (the church) 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.

This angel has a key to the “bottomless pit.” We only see the phrase “bottomless pit” in the book of Revelation. 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 is 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.

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 which is his sole purpose for existing (see this great YouTube teaching for details).

This binding of Satan gave the woman/church protection during the church age (except for the time of Great Tribulation when Satan was loosed from 538-1798 AD — details here).

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 means “to bind, tie, fasten; to compel; to declare to be prohibited and unlawful.”

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

The dragon could not directly harm Christ’s bride during the thousand year church age because he was restrained in the Abyss.

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 race (God’s people) until the church age is finished.” This earth is not the home of God’s elect.

That word “nations” in the Greek is “race; a foreign one.” This is extremely important because it means the dragon is still allowed to indwell and manipulate the wicked people — he could not do this if everyone on the earth were dead during a post-second-coming millennium.

Some want to say that this “foreign race” is the entire human race which is foreign to the fallen celestial dragon. 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 and 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 is the little season he has after he was sentenced to death at the cross. SATAN IS IN THIS LITTLE SEASON 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 — theirs was a physical killing which continued during the great tribulation from 538-1798 AD. The church age has mostly been a metaphorical killing of Christ’s bride by being cut off from the world and from the worldly.

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). People will still be eating, drinking and marrying when Jesus returns like a thief; but people are being trained to look for nuclear wars, physical slaughtering of Christians and total famine. If a wicked man kills one of Christ’s bride, then HE MUST BE KILLED IN LIKE MANNER and they are aware of this (Revelation 13:10) — all they can attempt to do is deceive you into a spiritual death (see Mark of the Beast).

Verse 4

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

Psalms 122:5 tells us that the thrones of judgment are the thrones of the house of David. Jesus Christ is the key of David (Revelation 3:7). This house consists of all of God’s chosen people from all races (see the article God’s Chosen People). 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).

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

Does this sound like an earthly reign or a spiritual reign?

Those beheaded are the martyred saints seen under the altar during the 5th seal in Revelation 6:11. Their cruel torture and executions happened for about 350 years after the cross 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 and deception.

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 (Luke 9:23, Ephesians 4:22-24). 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.

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). This thousand years is the church age.

The martyrs of the earlier church are reigning in heaven where they will forever be with the Lord. Upon our physical death, we will join them.

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 resurrection that causes one to escape the second death.

We see the only resurrection that has happened at this point in the passage has happened to the redeemed when they died to self by the blood of Jesus Christ and obtained eternal life. The righteous who have passed on are alive and reigning with Christ in heaven. The righteous living are reigning with Christ in this earthly realm.

Our first resurrection is being born again which gives our spirit eternal life. 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.

The common word for “resurrection” in the new testament Greek is anastasis (Strong’s G386). This Greek word anastasis is ALWAYS in the feminine gender. Since Jesus is not a female, it cannot be speaking of Him. This is explained in 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. 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 kingdom of God and are all reigning as priests 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 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.

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 and Magog ARE the four corners of the earth — the earthly world IS the beast system. Gog and Magog is not the name of a battle. 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.

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.

The wicked begin gathering their armies during the 6th Vial (Revelation 16:12-16). The army is counted at the 6th Trumpet – the number of the army (200 billion) is probably symbolic, but could be literal if it includes the spirit devils operating within each wicked person (Revelation 9:16).

God’s elect are sealed when they are born again so will never experience this third woe of God’s wrath. The Holy Spirit NEVER leaves God’s elect as long as they are on the earth.

There is only one battle mentioned in the entirety of end times prophecy and that is the Battle of Armageddon on the last day (Revelation 16:16). From what we have learned thus far, this is likely a spiritual battle that is just Satan being cast into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet are.

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. This sounds like it’s primarily a spiritual battle because God has supernaturally protected His saints through the Holy Spirit baptism.

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 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.

We see Jesus coming to judge and make war with His eyes as a flame of fire (Revelation 19:12).

The church was given fire that proceedeth out of their mouth (Revelation 11:5) — this fire is God’s Word which is Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:13).

God sends out the 4th angel to scorch the wicked with fire (the Word) during the 4th Vial (Revelation 16:8). Then the fire from God finally completely devours them here in verse 20:9. He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4).

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. God casts them alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19:19-21). This happens during the Battle of Armageddon which is the last day.

We then see here in verse 20:10 that the devil/Satan was cast in the lake of fire right after them during this same Battle of Armageddon (20:9).

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

The word “ever” here is an age and not an eternity. We see there are multiple ages here with the double use of the word ever. 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 second coming of Jesus Christ. God could not find a place in heaven for those who fled from Him and His Son while they were 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 to stand before the white throne judgment. The dead here are the spiritually dead.

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).

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).

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.

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.

The Last Day

The great white throne judgment is a last day event — it does not occur in a future earthly reign of Christ. Jesus told us if His kingdom were of this world, then His people would have saved Him from being crucified (John 18:36). Jesus had the opportunity to reign on this earth, but He ran from it (John 6:15).

Jesus said His reign — which is a SPIRITUAL reign not of this earth — ends when He has defeated death, and delivered up the kingdom to His Father — this happens on the last day, not in some future earthly reign (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). See the article The Kingdom of God is Here for further study.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that the dead in Christ rise first. After this, we see God’s wrath happening in Rev. 20:9.

After the wrath, Jesus is seen coming in the clouds and the sealed living ascend into the clouds with the previously ascended righteous dead.

The last trump is the final sound of the SEVENTH trump — the seventh angel begins to sound during the days (plural) of the voice of the SIXTH angel. So we see that the seventh trump sounds over days, and a day can be a year or an age in the bible. This seventh trump is the last day and includes the 3rd woe which is God’s wrath, judgment, and sentence on the wicked.

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 no age between the second coming of Jesus Christ and the Battle of Armageddon between Gog and Magog and God’s elect. The battle with Gog Magog happens at the second coming of Christ. When Christ comes as a warrior, the saints will be with Him, and He will be fighting Gog and Magog at Armageddon (which is their judgment and casting them into the lake of fire). Every human being not sealed by God will die in this spiritual battle.

After this, the new heaven and the new earth appear and the saints who are New Jerusalem descend down into it (Revelation 21:1-5). This is the fulfilling of the new covenant land promise to God’s Chosen People.

There is no Millennial Reign on a destroyed earth after Jesus returns. 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. It is a great teaching and multiple lessons can be found here.]

For the complete list of articles, click here.

Click here to contact the author or to sign up for email notifications when a new article posts.