Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (Revelation 20:1, NKJV)
This by itself has theologians on different sides of a round table. Do you say that a round table does not have sides? Then tell the theologians that.
One argument avoided by many theologians is this verse in Revelation and another found in 2 Peter 2:4, both address the “bottomless pit”. The first group has to do with Angels shackled in this retaining pit for desiring and (possibly) fathering children with “the female offspring and daughters of men in ‘ancient time’”. Many theologians claim angels can’t do that. Far too little is known about angels to make such a blind statement when scripture says the sons of God (angels in general) took women to themselves. Their offspring were giants in the land. Of course, since we are only beginning to recognize in science the DNA of man, the gene of size may already be in a man. But…who were the “sons of God” who desired and took sexual liberties with these “daughters of man”?
NOTE: Jesus is the only one referred to as THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD.
The question is found in Revelation 20. Odd as it reads, but in Revelation 20:1 there is no description or definition of this unnamed angle that was empowered to grasp and chain Satan, then take and seal him in the bottomless pit. This act tells us that once done, Satan cannot influence the spirit of man from this isolation in the pit. Any sin on earth during the Millennial reign is man’s choice. DO NOT THINK that the Millennial reign is some type of introduction to what Heaven will be. In Heaven, there is never a mention of mankind needing to be ruled by an iron rod as found during the Millennial Reign (Revelation 19:15,16). If this isn’t good enough to persuade the reader of sin-filled men during the Millennial Reign, then from where does Satan get his forces to fight against God after the end of the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth? Yes, it is possible that the hordes of angels swept from heaven with the dragon’s tail are somehow released with Satan at the end of the Millennial reign.
We know Satan’s influence over the earth is pointed out in Revelation 20:2,3. Will he be joined by other fallen angels? Very likely. In Jude 1:6 we are only told that these fallen angels are bound until the (their?) Great Judgment. Satan is bound so that he cannot deceive the nations anymore. Here is one place in scripture and human thinking where wording confuses our preconceived thoughts of word meaning. Nations by their name are not judged. It is the principles by which occupants live by within these nations. The same is true when someone thinks the “CHURCH” is somehow a group setting upon which any judgment includes all occupants of a given church directory. The Old Testament was about a nation. The New Testament is about individuals within these group settings.
A powerful footnote to the Millennium is found in Isaiah 2. (Control/click)
Pay attention to the (obvious) meaning of Revelation 20:4. “…and they lived once again and reigned with Christ a thousand years”. Who is “THEY” in this passage? It simply states in v4a “they sat upon the thrones.” In the next sentence, same verse, it reads: “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Who is missing? Revelation 20:5 (next verse) “the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.” This is called the first resurrection. Here is the blessed assurance…the second death will have no power over them.
Beginning at verses 7 and 8 of Revelation 20, we read about the defeat of Satan. When the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. This is where *Gog and Magog enter the end-time picture. This is at the end of the Millennium, not at the beginning as some confuse the chronology. [*Gog & Magog: Ezekiel 37, 38.] This will be the final war on earth.
It may shock some, but mankind does not need Satan to deceive him or her. Their sinful nature will be demonstrated DURING the 1,000-year Millennium. As difficult as this is to accept, man (Adam) was created with the ability to make choices. Sin during the Millennium is still possible even though Jesus is now the King of kings on earth. This all changes once the New Earth and New Heaven(s) are instituted. Satan’s goal, once released from bondage, is simple. To take as many “souls” as possible with him to the Lake of Fire. He knows he cannot defeat Jesus. He will try to kill off as many unbelievers as possible for one reason. Spite! He is probably not thinking he will win. He is thinking just as the destroyer he is.
Then comes the Great White Throne judgment.
AHAMOMENT: In the very popular book series “Left Behind” one reads about the beheading of believers during the 7-year Tribulation. This is fine since this is reflected in the scripture itself. However, one might wish to consider that the ancient Greek word for beheading also means executed. It is only a difference between pelekizō and place’-so. The meaning is to strike or give a blow to something. We Teach – You Decide
They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9). A point often missed is who is or are “THEY”? Since this verse states “THEY” surround the city of God’s people and it is the city God loves, *they is all nations aligning against Jerusalem. But, once again who is or are the “THEY”? These are those alive during the Millennial Reign of Jesus who may have demonstrated an outward submission to Christ’s rule but rejected his ruling within their hearts. Man judges by man’s outward appearance, but God sees the intent of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
*This includes all nations as indicated in Revelation 20:9 by the words They marched (came from) across the breadth of the earth…the breadth of the earth.
STUDY NOTE: Revelation 20:10 echoes Revelation 20:2.
Revelation 20:11 – This is a total conclusion of the global earth. Not a conclusion as in speech or activity, but the end of the End Time. As one might understand, it is an introduction to the New Heaven and Earth. Why? Click on this passage and see. The old heavens and earth vanish. Time for the Great White Throne judgment. Essentially, all created objects recognize the face of the White Throne judge. They know their perceived value is no longer. For the first time, some need to be reminded or told that the New Heaven and New Earth is not a remodel or upgrading of the original heavens and earth. This helps explain 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Revelation 20:12 – Book or books? This too is a topic for discussion. There is a difference. The book (singular) is the book of life. When one’s name is listed in it, they are judged for rewards according to their works and dedication to Christ. The books (plural) judge the unsaved but there is a twist. It lists their deeds in life but also notes their rejection of Christ. V12b: “The dead are judged according to what they had done in life as recorded in the books.” This is a debate by some theologians. Does the reference to “the dead being reunited with their bodies” mean those who believe in Christ, those who rejected Christ, or both?
If this verse is a reference to believers and unbelievers alike, work is crucial to one’s afterlife destination. Look closely at this passage. Those at the Great White Throne’s judgment seat are being judged according to their works. This falls under the category of “the books”. If one’s name is not listed in “the book” they are listed in “the books”.
The theological question: might there be a tiered level of Hell meaning the Lake of Fire? Sadly the next verse does not help.
Revelation 20:13 – “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and *death and *Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done”. All are judged.
*This is self-evident. The grave does not end all. Death and Hades cannot give up the souls of their dead unless they are already there.
Ahamoment: For the believer, this is not a trial. It is the merit measure of his or her reward. All deeds will be exposed but the sins committed will vanish from the list of deeds within the book. Neither God nor each individual will remember them.
Verse 13 addresses the fact that every soul will be judged accordingly “according to their deeds.” The difference is being judged for punishment or being judged for reward.
Revelation 20:14,15 helps conclude End Time Events. Verse 15 puts the punctuation mark on any need for any additional salvation scripture. What has been said from Genesis 1:1 to this point in Revelation regarding a path to Christ is now said and done.
Rev. Dr. Jstark