A Study of Revelation

Revelation 20:6-15

6* Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

Again, the first resurrection is the resurrection of the soul from the grave of sin which happens when we die to sin, are buried in water, and raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

Those who are “freed” from sin are “blessed and holy” in the eyes of the Lord. They are “holy” on the basis of the blood of Christ. They are “set apart” for the service of God as priests.

The “second death” is eternal separation from God, or Hell.

Those who are part of the body of Christ will not suffer the punishment of Hell. Those who are baptized into Christ are “priests.” Rev. 5:10 says Christ has made us priests and we shall reign on earth. The apostle Peter, writing to the church of Christ, in two places says:
1 Pet. 2:5
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Pe 2:9
*
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Those who are obedient to the gospel are reigning on earth today and are a holy priesthood offering up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. This reign will continue on earth until the Second Coming of Christ when, the apostle Paul says:

1 Cor. 15:24
then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

7* When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,

We have established that the “thousand years” is the present gospel, or Church age. We reign with Christ in the church during this time on earth. Satan is bound today by the gospel. The church of Christ has great power in our world today to rescue souls from the kingdom of darkness. As the word of God is taught by the church those who are being called by God (2 Thess. 2:14) are responding in obedience and are added to the Lord’s church. Satan is going to be released from his prison after this time. This suggests that there will come a time in our world when people will no longer be obedient to the gospel. Sin will dominate the world. The gospel will spread no further. When this happens Satan will no longer be bound. He will have the power to condemn all who have not already been obedient to the Faith.

This is a frightening interpretation, but when we look at the world around us, we see sin in every hand. Fewer and fewer people are willing to obey the gospel, choosing rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin. This was the situation in the world during the time of Noah just before God destroyed the world with water. During this time, the only faithful people were Noah and his family. No one would listen to the teachings of Noah. Jesus said:

Matthew 24:37-39
37* “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
38* “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

8* and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

After the church age Satan will deceive all nations in the four corners of the earth. All people on earth who are not already Christians will be deceived by Satan or will be under his control due to their sinful state.

2 Thess. 2:10-12
10* and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

11* For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
12* in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

When people refuse to love the Truth of God’s word they set themselves up to be deluded and deceived. This will come to all the world after the last soul is brought into the Kingdom of Christ. This points to the time very near the end when sin will rage throughout the world and people will totally reject God.

“Gog and Magog” is a reference to the enemies of God’s people. In Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 God promises judgment against this numerous enemy. First Century Christians would have recognized this enemy as representing all people who oppose God and his followers, just as the term “Babylon” is used to represent the enemy of God’s people.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
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Both terms represent vast numbers of people who cannot be counted, just as the sand of the sea can not be counted. These people will be living in sin as followers of Satan. The gathering together to battle in this passage is figurative, just as every battle in the book of Revelation is figurative of a spiritual, not physical, battle. Satan will not literally gather his followers together into a certain area on earth to prepare for a physical battle against God’s people. It means that Satan will rule in these people’s lives and they will make war against God’s people by tempting Christians to engage in the pleasures of sin which they are practicing.

9* And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
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Verse nine is teaching us that sin will completely surround the camp of the saints which is the church of Christ. All those who are not in the church, the beloved city, will be intent on remaining in their sinful ways. The borders of the kingdom, the church, will spread no further.

When the world reaches this point, fire will come down form God and destroy Satan and his followers. This is representative of the second coming of Christ. At this time, God will destroy all who oppose him and gather his faithful to live with him eternally in heaven.

The apostle Paul wrote:

2 Thess. 1:6-10
6* For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7* and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
9* These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
10* when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.
10* And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

At the second coming of Christ the devil will be cast into hell where he will dwell for all eternity with those whom he has deceived. They will be in complete torment forever and ever. This eternal destruction will take them forever out of the present of God and his people. In heaven all things will be holy. There will be no evil, no temptation, and no sin to bring suffering on God’s people.

Let me remind you that the theme of chapter 20 is the destruction of Satan. Verse 10 is a description of that destruction. A description of the destruction of the beast and the false prophet was given in 19:20. The meanings of the beast and false prophet are given in chapter 13.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

The beast and false prophet are followers of Satan. The beast represents the forces which oppose God and persecute those who follow him. The false prophet represents those who practice false religion or those who claim to follow God but are unwilling to submit to his commands. All of these people will spend eternity in hell with Satan who deceived them.

11* ¶ Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

The preceding verses have given us a description of the events that will take place during the gospel age, or the thousand years, here on earth, and up to the second coming of Christ. Verse 11 takes us into the time of judgment. God is sitting on the great white throne, and all physical things as we know them, the earth and heavens, will no longer exist. When the Lord shall come, Peter says:

2 Pet. 3:10
10* But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

The throne of God is described as being great and white. As always in the book of Revelation, white indicates purity and holiness. The throne is great because it is the seat of God Almighty. Christians of the first century were suffering tremendous persecutions originating from the throne of the Roman emperors, but God’s throne is the greatest throne of all. There is no power greater than God’s. We must obey God’s laws, we come into the presence of the greatest throne of all, and if we continue faithful, we will live with him eternally.

12* And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

The event which will immediately follow Christ’s second coming is judgment. At this time everyone who has ever lived will stand before the throne of God to be judged. Both small and great will be there. No one will be able to escape, regardless of his insignificant they may have been on earth in man’s eyes, or how powerful or great they may have been.

The books will be opened and we will be judged according to the things which are written in those books. These books represent the laws which God has given man to follow. This would be the law of Moses, as recorded in the Old Testament, and the law of Christ, as recorded in the New Testament.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Jesus said:

John 12:48
48* “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

We who live in this present gospel age will be judged by the gospel, the new law which was established by Christ when he died (see Heb. 9:15-17). Those who lived under the law of Moses will be judged according to that law.

The book of life is mentioned in Philippians 4:3, and Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 20:15; 21:27. This is the book that represents God’s record of those who have been faithful to him.

All who stand before the judgment seat of God will be judged according to their works or deeds done on earth. The books which will judge us are available to us today in the form of the Bible. We are to read and study that book and do the things contained therein in order to be obedient to God. This is what it means to be judged according to our works. Paul wrote:

2 Cor. 5:10
10* For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

13* And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

Verse 13 emphasizes the fact that all must stand before God to be judged. Everyone who has undergone death at this time will be resurrected to stand before God’s throne. Verse 13 restates the fact that man will be judged according to his works. We must do the works God expects of us in order to be acceptable to him.

14* Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
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This is a description of the final destruction of all things opposed to God. Death and Hades will be destroyed. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death. Paul wrote:

1 Cor. 15:26
26* The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Man brought death into the world by his sins (Rom. 5:12) and Christ through his righteousness will destroy that death. God’s people will dwell eternally in a place where there will be no death and no grave.

This is the second death. This is the final destruction of the soul. It is a spiritual death to which those who oppose God will be doomed to suffer for all eternity.

15* And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Those who have not been obedient to God’s laws will be cast into the lake of fire which represents eternal destruction and torment in a place totally away from the presence of God. Without God’s presence, nothing good can exist. The only things which can exist in a place such as this will be torment and sorrow.

The ones who avoid this place of eternal torment will be those whose names are written in the book of life. The book of life is in direct contrast to the second death. Those who oppose God will undergo the second death, but those who are obedient to God will not (2:11). They will have the right to eternal life Those who have had a part in the first resurrection (v.5) will not be affected by this second death. They are the same ones who have their names written in the book of life. They have been resurrected spiritually never to die again. Those who have not had a part in the first resurrection are spiritually dead and will also suffer the second death or hell.

Verse 15 tells of the final dwelling place of those who are disobedient to God, but we are told nothing about the final dwelling place of Christians. Rev. 21:1 is the concluding verse of this vision. There we see a new heaven and a new earth, which according to 2 Pet. 3:10-13 is the final dwelling place of Christians. If we include Rev. 21:1 with this vision it becomes complete. All will stand before the great white throne and be judged (v.11). Sinners will be cast into the lake of fire (v.15), but Christians will dwell in a new heaven and a new earth (21:1).

21:1* ¶ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.

This verse is the conclusion to the vision above. Verse 2 of chapter 21 begins another vision. This verse must be interpreted in light of 2 Pet. 3:13

2 Pet. 3:13
13* But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Verse 1 simply tells us that after all who refuse to be obedient to God are cast into the lake of fire there will be a new heaven and new earth. This will be the final dwelling place for those who have followed Christ. This present heaven and earth will flee away as God begins to judge the world (v.11), and a new heaven and earth will come into existence (21:1). This is the concluding verse of the vision of chapter 20. We know this must be correct because throughout Revelation the “sea” is symbolic of the masses of people dwelling upon this earth who are not Christians (see chapter 12). After judgment there will be no more sea. Only those people who have been faithful to Christ will be residents of the new heaven and new earth.

Chapter 21 describes the bride, the Lamb’s wife (v.9) which is a symbol of God’s church which is in existence today.

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