Understanding Revelation 20 – Armageddon – Judgement, Etc.
Revelation 20 is a full description of the entire Church age in a nut-shell, including the Armageddon script, illustrating the final Judgment at end age (not a literal battle, but spiritual retribution).
‘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 20:1-3
The angel coming down from heaven is Christ, the ‘key is a symbol for authority. (Rev1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death) In Rev9:1 the keys are actually given to the congregations the fallen star to open the bottomless pit of false prophets, the authority was given for them to heap false teachers upon themselves because they loved not the truth. (2Thes2:10-11, that ‘wickedness revealed) The Lord has authority over ‘hell and death’ and is the only one having authority to Bind Satan.
Eph. 1:20-23 God has raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” I Peter 3-22 All angels authorities and powers being made subject to him.
Peter received the use of the keys of authority in the kingdom, the power of God’s forgiveness and mercy upon repented sinners. ‘And I will give unto thee the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Having great power and authority. Matt16:19 Peter used those keys of authority to open the kingdom to the Jews on the day of Pentecost by pricking their hearts in Acts 2, then to the Samaritans in Acts 8, and to Cornelius and the Gentiles in Acts 10. The Gospel is the retrained of evil on earth, but as more and more corruption enters in the spirit of lawlessness enters in and the restraint is removed.
Christ bound Satan the strong man, spoiled his goods (sin) and cast him out. (Mat12:29, Col2:15, Jh12:31) he could
not stop the gospel of grace-the power of God unto salvation from going forward throughout the whole world. But understand in what manner Satan is bound, he is a spiritual being, the ‘chain that binds him is also spiritual, so the chain is a symbol of the power of the gospel that restrains evil. As more and more professed ‘love not the truth’, that wickedness is revealed and the day of judgment draws ever nearer.
The Saints are given authority to rule and reign have the chain of power to bind Satan; ‘Resist the Devil and he will flee Js4:7, Be sober and vigilant, 1Pet5:8, Put on the whole armour of God, Eph6:13. But even though Satan has been bound he has not beenmade entirely impotent. His spiritual power of influence has not yet been abolished or completely destroyed. He has received a deadly head wound which will finally cast him into the lake of fire forever. But for now, within the sphere of his prison in which he is permitted to cast his influences of evil, he rages furiously, like a roaring lion who seeks to devour whom he may, he is stilled called the ‘god of this age, the Prince and power of air, wickedness in high place. (1Pet5:9, 2Cor4:4, Eph6:12, 2:2) He is like a junk yard dog that is securely bound and restrained with a long and heavy chain but can still do great damage to anyone who trespasses within the circle of his imprisonment. (as stepping into the circle of willful sin, the phony sin-confess cycle of ruin, ouch!) but outside of that circle, the dog can do no damage nor can he hurt those who truly follow Christ: ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you, Lk10:19-20.
This is ruling and reigning with Christ over the wiles of the devil and his influence that he may not deceive you, and the unrighteous deception cannot deceive you. Therefore Satan cannot hurt God’s TRUE children because we are More than conquerors through him that loved us! Rom8:37. Gods covenant children, abiding in the Vine, have a hedge of protection around them which is off limits to Satan. the sealing of the Holy Spirit of promise, His Mark.
In Heb 11 (the faith chapter) the apostle Paul honors the OT saints for having such great faith, and in verse 40 he speaks that ‘having some better thing for us. This is the power of the living Christ that was given to all those who believe. The power to rule and reign over the wiles of the devil. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The OT people, especially the Gentiles, did not have such power. Why? Because Satan the strong man was not yet bound. In studying world population over the past 4400 years since the post-flood era, we find that 95% of the population of the world has been born after the cross, so there is no excuse to fall prey to Satan.
Further proof of this ‘spiritual binding of Satan is seen in the use of words, Rev20:1, Matt12:29, ‘binding the strong man’ is the Greek word: deh’o, used in both text, since we know that Satan still has a limit territory from which to operate, we understand that his power is limited in that he cannot prevent the true Gospel from going forth into the world, despite his many attempts throughout history to extinguish it. (for example: persecution, murder, inquisition, crusades, Babylonian corruption of establishment church, unrighteous deceptions, lying signs and wonders) Verse 2 gives us the many names used to describe Satan; the dragon, serpent, devil, and that he is bound by this Angel (Christ) in the bottomless Pit for 1000 years (age) representing his prison (limit sphere of influence) from which he is loosed (Verse 7) when the 1000 years is expired and goes forth in his last campaign raging in the spiritual realm before he is finally cast into the Lake of fire with his cohorts. Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day
The Great Day is Christ’s return, the final resurrection and the Judgment.
In the beginning of Christ’s ministry we see Him triumphing over Satan in the temptation in the wilderness (Lk4) and then casting out demons by His Word, nothing like this had ever been seen on the earth before. The power and influence of Satan over the deluded multitudes in the nations was beginning to be quenched as Christ began dividing His spoils. Satan thought he was victorious over Christ when he ‘bruised His heel’ (Gen3:15) but at the same moment it was Christ who also ‘bruised his head’, and cast him out: Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. Jh12:31-32 Not even Rome in all its might could prevent the Gospel of Christ from going forth into the world and no Kingdom of men that followed to now, can defeat it. What Christ did on the Cross is: having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Col2:14-15
Disarmed or Spoiled, means ‘He stripped Satan of his advantage’, now the ‘law of sin and death’ (the Curse Gal3:13) was triumphed over by the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Rom8:2, man could find reconciliation and mercy at the Cross having his sins purged by the blood and his soul redeemed. Before the Cross only ONE nation had the oracles of God, had Moses and the Prophets, Satan had full authority over the others to deceive and keep them in bondage to their idols. When Jesus sent forth His Apostles, Matt28:18-20, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (the gospel age, 1000 years) they went on to ‘Turn the World upside down with the Truth! Acts17:6 again, nothing of this sort had ever been seen in the history of mankind, the powers of darkness were shaken to their core and left without remedy to stop the message from going out. The Gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Christ said, Matt16:18, and now is the DAY of Salvation (2Cor6:2) the Gospel age, the Millennial Kingdom reign of Christ in which He has defeated death and Satan and is able to ‘deliver them who through fear were all their lifetimes subject to bondage, Heb2:14, but now can be ‘Set free’ from that bondage in Christ! His ‘ekklesia, called out ones, who repent and believe and endure with Him to the end. But when the Son of man returns the second time, eternity begins’, (there will be no so-called millennial kingdom set up to reign again) when this present time line is finished, any chance of Redemption is over, there is no hope of Salvation after the Gospel age is complete or anyone asleep in the grave resurrected and given another opportunity to believe. There is ONE resurrection of the Just and Unjust, to condemnation or to eternal life. Dan12:2, Jh5:28-29
Jesus is not waiting for His Throne, he occupies it now, sitting at the Right hand of God as Stephen proclaimed, Acts7. Peter clearly declared that Christ was seated at the right hand of God, Acts2:33, just as it had been prophesied before hand, Ps110:1, Ps16:8-11. Heb10:12-13 also testifies of ‘this MAN, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, SAT DOWN at the Right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made His footstool.
(Such parables as the wicked Vinedressers testify of this, at His return He destroys those who abused His Vineyard, Matt21:33-45) Peter also declared: ‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ! Therefore without a doubt, He is NOW seated, ruling and reigning with His Saints (ekklesia, called out ones) in His new Resurrected body (as was seen by the disciples) as the first-fruits of creation, 1Cor15:20, 23, Rev14:4. Some argue that Matt19:27-30 is speaking of a futuristic age, following this present age, but it must be understood in light of verse 28, ‘this shall be done in the regeneration’, when the Son of Man is already seated on the throne. The ‘regeneration is the New Birth which takes place only in the Gospel age, not afterward. The Saints ‘Reign in life in Him, Rom5:17, ‘Blessed is the man who has part in the first resurrection (new birth) for the second death has no power over him’, Rev20:6. So Jesus is speaking of that time in Matt19, where His Saints ‘sit together’ with Him, Eph2:6, in the spiritual realm, as more than conquerors through Him that loved us! Rom8:37.
So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Those who have died in the Lord and we who remain are reigning with Him in the Spirit, 1Cor15:22-28, united in His death and resurrection. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Jh11:25 All men die physically in Adam, Heb9:27, only those in Christ will remain alive in Spirit and at His final return receive their transformed resurrected bodies. The Resurrection is the ‘end of the world’ (then cometh the end, 1Cor15:24) there will be no opportunity of Salvation after death, there’s no repentance or mercy when the earth ends, or when your present life ends. (Lk16) The Pre-millennial doctrine of another age contains shades of Catholic Purgatory, vain hopes of second chances for the disenfranchised due to circumstances said to be beyond their control. But Christ’s office as Redeemer will be closed when the Kingdom is ‘delivered up to the Father’ and against the full weight of scripture that occurs when He returns to Judge the world in Righteousness, coinciding with the earth being dissolved and all matters settled in the spiritual realm, eternity follows. Dispensational theology claims that Christ will return at the end of the Great Tribulation period and set up another millennial reign in which people will still be subject to suffering and death as Rev20 is played out again. Now whether you believed in a Pre-Mid or Post Trib rapture, you’re still faced with the FACT that ‘death continues to reign in the so-called millennial kingdom. When will it be abolished? As we’ve shown again and again, when Christ returns He will put all enemies under His feed and the last enemy shall be destroyed; For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. THE LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE DESTROYED IS DEATH 1Cor15:25-26 ‘All things that offend will be cast out of His Kingdom’, the sheep will be separated from the goats, the wheat from the tares, the foolish from the wise! ALL when He Returns!
So, does He return TWICE, if so where is it shown in Scripture? The 1Thes4:17 passage is in the context of the Last Trump, the end of the age, not the beginning of another. Nothing is implied of this happening in secret, at the last trump all will see Him and mourn, Matt24:30, Rev1:7. And how could the Saints be ‘caught-up’, receive their resurrected bodies and then be returned to another earthly Kingdom, subject to temptation and deception? John says in 1Jh3:2 that when He is revealed we shall be like Him, meaning incorruptible, NO longer subject to temptation. Clearly Christ was tempted BEFORE His resurrection, but not after, if we shall be like Him, then how do you explain a second releasing of Satan, deceiving of the nations and another Armageddon… do the Saints of the Second Minimal also escape by rapture? You see the many questions and contradictions in this line of reasoning, it plainly does not harmonize with Scripture. 1Cor15:27-28 clearly shows us that all things come together in God when He returns:
For he hath put ALL THINGS under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all
Christ’s work as Mediator will be brought to an end, the Day of Salvation is finished, the Kingdom is returned to the Father. All decisions must be made BEFORE He returns, within the sphere of Light every person on earth presently has, Judgment will then be in accordance to that Light … of conscience, of nature, of knowledge. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Gen18:25. Be not deceived by the future millennial hoax, we are in the Present Reign of Christ, now is the time to Obey.
And I saw thrones, and they set 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. 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. Rev20:4-6
The events John describes are taking place during the Gospel age. Those who have overcome the beast and have not taken the Mark (identity of sin in false church) are Gospel age Saints, alive now or past-present slain for their testimony. They ‘live and reign with Christ for a thousand years (age) whether presently living in bodily form or as a disembodied spirit with Christ, John see them as so in his vision. Nothing in this passage can possibly pertain to a futuristic age, post gospel era, because the Saints shown are still subject to death, pain and suffering in the Beast System. They can not ‘die again’ in another age, having died once in this current age. The ‘first resurrection’ as we have pointed out is the New Birth through which, as the passage says, we are priests (Saints) of God reigning with Him in the Gospel age. The Throne of Christ and His people is always shown as being ‘in heaven’, 22 times in Revelation is it shown in such manner, Rev1:4; 3:21; 4:2-6,9,10; 5:6,7,11; 7:15,17; 8:3; 12:5; 14:3,5; 16:17; 19:4,5; 20:4,11; 21:5; 22:1-3, Eph2:5-6 speak of the Saints raised and sitting together in heavenly places in Christ. Thus living in our mortal bodies or as disembodied spirits, we are united in Him, across the Chronos of time-eternity.
As John explains he saw also the ‘souls (not the bodies) of those beheaded for the witness of Jesus, in verse 4, who came out of great tribulation overcoming the Beast System sealing their testimony in their own blood. Therefore this event is ‘during the gospel age, wherein persecution is still the norm. Are we to believe that after the Lord returns and settles all accounts that this kind of thing continues for another 1000 years? The Tribulation is NOW, the resurrection takes place after on the last day. (Jh6:39-40, 44, 54) There is not another Day, another return, another Judgment, its over when Christ returns. Currently the Saints, living or dead, reign with Him as John has explained.
In Rom8:18 Paul declares that the sufferings of this ‘present time, (the gospel age) are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us at the coming of the Lord. He also tells us that all creation groans to be delivered from bondage of corruption brought about by man’s sin, the chaos of nature, raging winds and catastrophes, the earth tossed to and fro by conquest, war, pestilence and death. Paul is desirous to put off this body of temptation and humiliation, to be present with the Lord, 2Cor5:8, and no longer suffer the pains and sorrows of this life. His hope was not for a partially restored earth, where all these things would occur again, but a FULLY restored earth wherein he would dwell with the Lord forever in his New body for eternity. In that hope we ‘eagerly await with perseverance’ Rom8:25. In our timeframe ‘they are the souls around the Throne waiting to be united with us when the harvest is complete, for blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, Rev14:13, for they are not dead (only departed from the physical realm) awaiting the final resurrection at the close of the Gospel age.
‘But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished’ This passage throws many for a loop who have been exposed to the dispensational teaching or have read the books written by them. But it is merely speaking of those past and present who have lived, but were dead in their sins, having never obtained Redemption in Christ or taken part in the first resurrection (new birth) They were in spiritual darkness, ‘dead while they live’, 1Tim5:6, and remaining so have (and will) die (go to the grave) and await the Lord’s return when the final resurrection of the Just and unjust takes place, Jh5:28-29. Not unconscious in spiritual sleep, but fully aware (as disembodied spirits) in a place where the worms dies not and the fire is not quenched, Lk16:19-31, Mk9:42-48. They ‘live again’ (so to speak) when body and soul-spirit is re-united at the great Judgment and as declared cast into the Lake of fire:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death Rev21:8
These remain in spiritual darkness forever wondering in the abyss of outer darkness, being separated from God for eternity. The lake of fire/hell is an eternal anguishing conscience where the worm never dies, the conscience burns forever having never been redeemed form sin, (not a literal fire, as Dante’s inferno, but an anguish of separation from God and anything decent or holy)
But the hope remains for those who would come: ‘Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Rev20:6 Those who have the Root of iniquity purged from their hearts in repentance and serve with acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
By Mike D