Revelation 20 Millennial Reign Explained

Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: February 25, 2022
. Updated April 13, 2022.

This is Part 2 of the Millennial Reign study. Part 1 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 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.” The dragon is expansively restrained — he holds no power over the righteous on all the earth.

This binding of Satan gave the woman/church protection during the time, times and half a time which is the thousand year church age (Revelation 12:13-17). This time, times and a half is also the same church age period when Satan’s false prophet has been working to scatter the power of the holy people (Daniel 12:7). This scattering is the falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and when it is complete, the 42-month uninhibited reign of Satan on earth will begin with the setup of the abomination that desolates.

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.

This thousand year church age is described as “a time, times and half a time” in Revelation 12:14. It is also described as “a thousand two hundred three score” in Revelation 12:6. During this time, the earth helped the woman/the church and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had cast out to harm her. The dragon could not harm her during the thousand year church age because he was restrained in the Abyss (Revelation chapter 12).

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.”

That word “nations” in the Greek is “race; a foreign one.” This is extremely important because it means the dragon is still allowed to deceive 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.

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.

We see the bottomless pit begins to open during the 5th Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12).

This little season in which he is loosed is the time of great tribulation. It is the 42 months in 11:2 and 13:5, and the 3 1/2 days (which are 3 1/2 literal years) in 11:9 (for more info on this, see my article “The Two Witnesses”).

Satan will appear as a Christian but will turn with the abomination of desolation that he sets up which will mark the last 42 months of earth’s existence (see the timeline of events at the beginning of this article: “Abomination of Desolation”).

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 my article “God’s Chosen People”). All those who received the Holy Spirit baptism are reigning as priests and kings with Christ 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?

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 can mean a physical beheading, but for most of us, it 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 take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). The redeemed do not find peace or joy by being of this earth – our peace and happiness comes from within, from the Holy Spirit.

and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

The thousand years is the church age (for a word study on “thousand,” see this article).

Those who were slain for the word of God are told to rest for a little season until their fellowservants and brethren should be killed as they were, be fulfilled (Revelation 6:9-11). They are resting but alive in Christ in heaven until the end of the church age, but they are still seated on their heavenly throne.

The righteous living are reigning as priests and kings 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 hearts are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). 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).

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 my article “God Created Evil”).

This is the first resurrection.

This 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 dead are alive in Christ in heaven where their breath of life/spirit is held while they rest. The righteous living die to self daily and are resurrected daily.

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 daily when we take up our cross (Luke 9:23, 1 Corinthians 15:31). This means that we, the church, the bride, must resurrect daily. Source: Grace and Truth Ministries.

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. 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 abomination of desolation (see the beginning of this article for a timeline of events: “Abomination of Desolation”).

We see the bottomless pit opened during the 5th Trumpet with the release of Abaddon/Apollyon (Revelation 9:1-2 & 11). This means Satan is slowly rising to power and will eventually be given permission by God to attack and finally defeat the redeemed (Revelation 17:14). You can read about this in my article “Conspiracy of Her Prophets.”

Verse 8

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

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 leader of all the antichrists 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.

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

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 is symbolic, not literal (Revelation 9:16).

The living righteous on the earth were sealed before this third woe of God’s wrath so they are untouchable from this point on (Revelation 7:3-4, 14:1, 15:8).

There is only one battle mentioned in the entirety of end times prophecy and that is the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).

We see Gog as being the demonic triunity of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. This battle will be fought “on the great day of God Almighty” which is the last day (Revelation 16:13-16).

For a timeline of last day events, see my article “Abomination of Desolation.”

Verse 9

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

The Battle of Armageddon has begun. 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.

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 (Revelation 21:2-3). New Jerusalem is the bride (the church) who comes down from heaven and is placed in the new heaven and the new earth… this is after the second death and Jesus’ reign has ended (Revelation 21:9-11).

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.

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 my article “God Created Evil.”

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.

God could not find a spot/place 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.

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 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).

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 ascended into heaven prior to God’s wrath on the earth (Revelation 11:12-13) — see my article “The Two Witnesses” for further study on the ascension of the righteous.

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 acts they committed 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 (see my article “God Created Evil” for a word study on “for ever” and “eternal”). God says he is going to reestablish a close relationship with all things in earth and in heaven (Colossians 1:20).

Verse 14

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

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.

The second death is another age that is governed by God (for more info on this, see my article “God Created Evil”).

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 my article Events of Earth’s Last Age for details.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that the dead in Christ rise first — this ascension is recorded in Revelation 11:12-13. After this, we see God’s wrath happening in Rev. 20:9 and another account of His wrath in Rev. 12.

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 his voice. 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 (a timeline of events is in this article: “Abomination of Desolation”).

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 the sealed redeemed. The battle with Gog Magog happens at the second coming of Christ. When Christ comes as a warrior, He will be fighting Gog and Magog at Armageddon. Every human being not sealed by God will die in this battle. Casting into the lake of fire begins during this battle (19:20), the casting continues with the great white throne judgment and when it ends, Jesus’ reign also ends.

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.

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