Revelation chapter 20 is a continuation of chapter 19. After the battle of Armageddon is concluded and the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, the devil is chained and thrown into the bottomless pit for 1000 years.
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit 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.” – Rev. 20:1-3
Next John describes the beginning of a promise made to the saints –
” … the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.“ – Rev. 5:8-10
After the devil is cast into the bottomless pit, John sees the fulfillment of this promise –
“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 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.“ – Rev. 20:4-5
Down through the ages men and women have died hoping in this promise. Here it is at last. There will be two general resurrections and this is the first, the resurrection of the righteous. It appears the battle of Armageddon does not destroy all people alive on the earth and now all those who remain will have a chance to see what blessing living under God’s rule will be like. While the original earth will still be here, it will function like it was meant to function. Sin, disease, and disasters will be gone and peace will rule. The saints described above will live forever but those left from the destruction of Armageddon will not. But, their lives will certainly be extended (my thoughts).
At the end of the 1000 years, Satan will be released for a brief time. He will once again begin his work of deception on the nations that remain. Amazingly, they fall for the deception –
“And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” – Rev. 20:8
One last time Satan gathers them to war against the Holy City, Jerusalem. God’s longsuffering is finally done and fire comes down from heaven and destroys them all. Satan is taken and thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the Beast and the false prophet are for all eternity. Mankind is now ready for the Great Day of Judgment and the Great White Throne Judgment begins –
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; 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. 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” – Rev. 20:12-15
They will be judged “according to their works” because they had not accepted Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross. His shed blood alone can wipe away the record of our wicked works – they had refused to accept this and so, they must face this judgment and second death.
After this thousand year period the old heaven and earth will be replaced with a new heaven and earth. Chapters 21 and 22 will describe them and the blessings that will be there. Final warnings and encouragements will be given to all to prepare for these events. I will write one more article in the Revelation for Beginners series to deal with these topics.