Revelation 20


       The Millennial Age


The twentieth chapter of Revelation has been the major battleground of the various

basic competing systems of biblical eschatology.  In general, the way in which this

chapter is interpreted seems to determine how the entire Book of Revelation and,

to a large extent, how biblical prophecy as a whole is interpreted.  It is in this chapter

that the record appears of a thousand-year period when Satan is bound and the world

is ruled in righteousness by Christ and the people of God.  But the question is whether,

and to what extent, this record should be taken literally.  Is this thousand-year period

exactly 1,000 years, or is the number merely a symbolic number?  Is Satan literally

imprisoned and powerless during this time, or is he bound only in a relative sense

by the liberating power of the gospel?  Is Christ to reign in a direct sense over the

earth, on a literal throne, or is this only a figure of speech referring to the eventual

conversion of the world to righteousness through the work of the Church and the

preaching of the gospel?  Although there are variants within each system, the three

major approaches to eschatology are as follows:


(1) Premillennialism, which takes a fully literal approach to the interpretation of

this passage.  Premillennialism teaches that Christ’s personal return to the earth in

glory, as described in ch.19, is followed by the literal binding of Satan in Hades

and a literal thousand-year reign of Christ and the resurrected saints on the earth.


(2) Postmillennialism, which takes a partially literal approach, teaching that there

will be a literal period of Christian righteousness on the earth.  Christ’s reign,

according to this teaching, will be spiritual, through His Church, which will have

won the world to Him through its worldwide ministry of evangelism and teaching

under His Great Commission.  His personal return to earth will be at the end of

 the millennium, when the new earth is established.


(3) Amillennialism, which takes a fully spiritual approach, equating the Millennial

Age with the Church Age.  Christ’s kingdom was established in a symbolic sense

on the earth when Satan was defeated and bound by the Lord’s substitutionary

death, resurrection, and ascension, and with His personal return to earth scheduled

at the end of this Church Age for a general judgment.   As pointed out in the

Introduction to this commentary, and as consistently followed throughout its

expositions, the only proper interpretation is, in our judgment, the fully literal

approach.  This necessarily entails the premillennial position, as defined above. 

Further reasons for taking this approach, especially with reference to the pivotal

question of the millennium itself, will be developed in this chapter. 



The Reign of Christ on Earth


The narration of ch. 20 follows directly from that of ch. 19, beginning with the

conjunction “and.”  It is a continuing record of actual events, and the chapter

division here is almost misleading.  In fact, the emphasis on a literal succession

of future historical events in this Revelation record is pointed up by the use of

this conjunction (Greek kai) to begin almost every verse in chapters 19 and 20. 

The chapter structure and content surely have the appearance, at least, of a

straightforward record of real events.   (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


This chapter is one of the most controversial chapters in the Bible, not because it

contains anything essentially complex, but because it touches on a subject of

preconceived bias.  Now is the time when Satan will be taken, bound and put into

the bottomless pit (abyss) where his influence will not have any effect on the

Tribulation Saints who have lived through the seven years of Tribulation.

Can you imagine a life where Satan isn't around to temp anyone? Do you

think that the 1000 year millennium will be a time of paradise? That nothing

bad will happen?  No one will enter into the 1000 year millennium unless they

are a believer. Most will live for the entire one thousand years and will procreate

 and have children. Yes even the curse on the animals is lifted and the wolf will

lie down with the lamb and will live in peace with each other.   But human nature

is what it is. The children of those Saints will still have to be taught about Jesus,

even though He will be with them constantly. Many will not accept Him.

Remember, the heart is very wicked and unfortunately, that is the nature of man.

Many of those children will be rebels and with a tremendous population explosion

during those one thousand years, there will be probably billions of people at the

end much like it is now. However the unbelievers at that point will be as "the

 number of whom [is] as the sand of the sea", v. 8.  (


1 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless

pit and a great chain in his hand.”  And I saw an angel come down from heaven;

coming down out of heaven. The usual mode of introducing a new vision (compare

ch.4:1, etc.). On account of ch.1:18, some have considered this angel to be Christ

Himself; but this is incorrect. As in ch.12:7-9, an angel is the immediate agent in this

expulsion of Satan (vide infra).Having the key of the bottomless pit; the abyss; as in

ch. 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8. In all these places the word signifies the present abode of

Satan and his angels, whence they direct their operations in hostility to

God, not the place of their final punishment (see v. 10). In Luke 8:31

the word has exactly the same meaning; while in the only remaining place

where it is used in the New Testament, viz. Romans 10:7, it stands for

the place of abode of the souls of the dead. Having the key of the abyss

therefore informs us that power is given to this angel over Satan during the

time of this world’s existence. And a great chain in his hand; literally,

upon his hand, as if lying on it and hanging from it; the chain evidently

symbolizing the power of the angel over the inhabitants of the abyss, and

the purpose with which he now comes, viz. to restrain the power of Satan.


This "angel" is not Jesus Himself but is a ministering spirit that Jesus has given authority to.

This angel comes from heaven (near the throne). We can assume from this that Jesus has

turned the key to the bottomless pit over to this specific angel and has given him power

and authority for this job. This "great chain" in this angel's hand, shows the power God

has given him over the devil for this task, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore

until the thousand years were ended.  The key shows authority, and the chain depicts

imprisonment and binding. Before the millennial kingdom begins, Satan is bound in the Abyss.

When he bound the devil for the thousand years, the angel put him in the abyss, not in the

burning hell. This burning hell was reserved for his final punishment.   Here we see the devil

spoken of as the dragon which we read about in a previous lesson. We also see him recognized

as the serpent. You see, he was the one who deceived Eve in the garden. The devil will not be

here on the earth to harass the Christians until the millennial thousand year reign of Jesus is over.



Apparently this event will follow immediately after the destruction of the assembled

armies.  With all the human rebels and their leaders vanquished, only the demonic

hosts remain opposed to the will of the conquering Lamb of God.  Now they also

must be dealt with and the decision is to bind them in Hades for the time being,

along with all the other spirits of rebellious men and angels already there.

As previously noted (see on ch. 9), various groups of fallen angels had long ago

been locked in various compartments in the great cavity at the center of the earth. 

There were still legions of evil spirits free to do their master’s bidding, however,

and they had been especially active during the years of the tribulation.  They had

long feared being cast into the abyss (translated “deep” in Luke 8:31), but finally

the dreaded time had come for them also to join their fellows in Hades (note

Matthew 8:29).  Although these malevolent spirits are not mentioned specifically in this

passage, the binding of Satan necessarily assures that all those under his command

will be put away as well.  The angel who accomplishes this mission is not identified

by John except that he has the key of the bottomless pit.  There is a possibility that

the angel is Christ Himself, once again assuming the form of an angel (note on ch.8:3;

10:1).  Christ had uniquely claimed to have the keys of Hades (ch.1:18) and it would

be fitting for Him to dispatch Satan there directly and personally.  On the other hand,

He had on at least one occasion (ch.9:1) given the key to another angel, and there does

seem a contextual intimation that “Him that sat upon the horse” (ch.19:21) and the

“angel come down from heaven” (ch.20:1), being mentioned in two successive

verses, are probably two different persons.  If the angel is not Christ, it may possibly

be the great angel Michael, who had long been a particular enemy of Satan’s (Jude 1:9;

ch.12:7).  He and his angels had cast the Devil and his angels to the earth at the middle

of the tribulation; it would be appropriate for them now to thrust them all the way to

Hades.  In addition to the keys to the abyssal pit, the angel held a great chain in his

hand; with which to “bind the strong man” (note Mark 3:27).  This chain is obviously

not a physical chain, since a spirit could hardly be restrained merely by a chain of iron. 

Whatever its nature, it will suffice to keep the Devil restrained in Hades throughout

the millennium.  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


2 “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan,

and bound him a thousand years,  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:  and after that he must be loosed a little

season.”  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and

Satan. These titles are an exact repetition of ch.12:9 (which see). And bound him

a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit. The abyss, as we have seen

(on v. 1), is the present abode of Satan; the act of binding, therefore, is now over.

This fact opposes the interpretation which makes “the thousand years” yet

in the future. When, then, did this binding take place? Only one answer can

be given. It was when Christ bruised the serpent’s head by His act of

redemption. Thus, “Christ was manifested that he might destroy the works

of the devil” (I John 3:8); “Now shall the prince of this world be cast

out.” (John 12:31); “The prince of this world hath been judged”

(John 16:11). Satan is the strong man bound (Matthew 12:26, 29).

Next, what is meant by “for a thousand years”? The best interpretation

seems to be that this phrase expresses a quality, and does not express a

period of time. That such a method of employing numbers is usual in the

Apocalypse we have frequently seen (see on ch. 1:4, “seven;” ch.13:1, “ten,” etc.).

Here, therefore, as in ch.7:4, “one thousand” signifies “completeness.” Satan is bound

for a thousand years;” that is, Satan is completely bound. In Ezekiel (from which the

following part of the vision is certainly derived) a similar use is made of the

terms “seven years” (Ezekiel 39:9) and “seven months” (ibid. v.12). But, again, in

what sense can Satan be said to have been “completely” bound by our Lord’s work

of redemption? The answer is — In relation to the godly. The purpose of this

sentence is that which is one great purpose of the whole book, viz. to encourage

the struggling Christian. Thus this sentence assures Christians that, for them, Satan

has been completely bound, and they need not despair nor fear his might (compare

“loosed,” infra). The chapter thus describes, not a millennium of the saints,

but the overthrow of Satan. Before the picture of the war and the

overthrow, the saints are invited to behold the complete security of those

who have not worshipped the beast nor his image; just as the vision of

Christ victorious introduced the seal visions. 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 shut [it] and sealed [it] over him,

etc. It is possible that there is here a reference to the death and burial of

Christ (Matthew 27:66). Satan met in reality that fate which he was

able, in a shadowy and temporary form, to inflict on Jesus — he was bound

and shut up in the abyss, and the abyss was sealed over him.  Satan was thus

bound “that he might deceive the nations no more,” etc.; that is, Satan, in his

character of the deceiver (compare ch.12:9) of the world, is thus limited in his

power by the binding which has been described. The nations; in the sense of the

world, not the ungodly world. And after that he must be loosed a little

season. Omit “and.” “A little time” (μικρὸν χρόνον – micron chronon) is the

exact phrase used in ch.6:11, where it certainly means the period of this

world’s existence. Such also is its meaning here. “He must be loosed”

signifies that Satan is, in regard to the ungodly, allowed to work his will

during this period. The thousand years’ binding, and the loosing for a little

time, describe two events which occur contemporaneously. While the

godly need have no fear, because even in this world Satan’s power as

regards them is completely limited by Christ’s act of redemption, yet in

another sense, as regards the ungodly, Satan is loosed and obtains power

over them. The chief difficulty in this interpretation lies in the words, “after

this.” But it must be remembered that the “thousand years” do not express

a period of time, but the quality of completeness. Therefore the loosing of

Satan must not be supposed to take place in a period subsequent to the

period of the binding. The seer wishes to describe the devil in a twofold

character, subordinating the second to the first. He thus says, “By Christ’s

redeeming work Satan is bound and fettered in regard to you faithful

Christians; but there is also a second subordinate fact to remember, that at

the same time he is powerful in his natural sphere, among his own

adherents.” The binding of Satan in one direction being immediately

followed by a display of power in another, and the former fact being

expressed by the chronological symbolism of being bound for a thousand

years, it is part of this chronological symbolism to express the second fact

as taking place after the first, though a subordination of the secondary to

the primary effect is really what is intended to be conveyed.


The seal indicates God's authority and guarantee that Satan will not be released until a

thousand years have passed. During the Millennium (Latin for "one thousand years")

Satan will not be able to tempt or deceive the nations. Any temptation to sin during

the Millennium must come from within those people who are born after the kingdom

begins. It must be assumed that all of Satan's demons or fallen angels are also

imprisoned at this time (Isaiah 24:21-23). Christ will reign on earth without

opposition, and His kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace,

and love (Isaiah 2:3-4; 11:3-5; Daniel 7:14; Zechariah 14:9). However, after

the thousand years Satan will be released for a short while (v.7-9).  At the end of

the thousand years, Satan will once again be released to deceive the nations. He

will find many unsaved descendants of those who lived through the millennium.

There will be a very large number as we are told in v. 8 as they will be like the sand

of the seashore or a vast uncountable multitude.  Satan's deceptive way of getting

those sinners to revolt against God is not revealed, but it will fit into God's plan

when He destroys those rebels. These rebels will come from the four corners of the

earth and is also known as Gog and Magog. The first mention of Gog and Magog

was in Ezekiel ch.38 and 39 (which I suggest reading), and is mentioned here in v. 8).



v. 2 - There is no doubt as to who is being bound.  It is the dragon, the persecutor of Christ and of

God’s people (ch.12:17).  It is the same old serpent who had tempted Eve (II Corinthians 11:3). 

It is the Devil (“accuser,” “slanderer”), the originator of sin (I John 3:8).  It is Satan (“adversary”),

the wicked prince of darkness who has tried by every means to destroy the work of Christ (Mark

1:13).  He had been identified before by all four of these names (ch.12:9), where he also had been

acknowledged as leader of a third of the created angels, who had followed him in his rebellion

(ch.12:4).  But now he is finally to be bound.  Here is the first explicit reference to the “thousand

years.”  The most obvious reason for taking this term literally is that there is nothing in the context

to indicate otherwise.  The word “thousand” or “thousands” is used frequently in the

New Testament, but never before in any kind of symbolic sense.  Occasionally it is used

in an indefinite way, for the purpose of conveying the idea merely of a large number rather

than that of a precise count, but never in such a figurative sense as would be required by

the amillennial view.  If the latter interpretation is followed (that is, if the millennium

corresponds to the Church Age), the “thousand years” has already become almost two

thousand actual years.  Furthermore, this period is said to be “a thousand years” no less

than six times in this passage (vs. 2-7).  It is as though the Holy Spirit wanted us to know

as emphatically and plainly as possible that Satan was to be bound, and Christ and the

saints to reign on earth, for a real chronological period of a thousand years!

Furthermore, the “binding” of Satan hardly squares with the nonmillennial viewpoint. 

For the two thousand years of Christianity, it would seem that Satan has been more

active than in all previous history, attempting, often very successfully, to hinder and

thwart the preaching of the Word and the strengthening and spiritual growth of God’s

people.  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,

walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).  This warning surely gives

no suggestion that Satan is presently bound and powerless.  Neither are his wicked hosts,

with whom we must “wrestle” constantly (Ephesians 6:11-13) in order to “stand against

the wiles of the devil.”  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


v. 3 - Somewhere deep in the center of the earth a prison cell has been reserved for a special prisoner,

a cell in the remotest recesses of the bottomless pit.  The Greek word for this central cavity is ἀβύσσος -

 abussos, meaning literally “without depth” or “bottomless.”  Modern translations call it the “abyss,”

but “bottomless” is a more precise derivation.  Located at the very middle of the earth, one could

not fall any deeper down, and every boundary is a ceiling. It seems that such a place will be Satan’s

confine during the millennium, as far removed from human beings as is possible to be on this planet. 

He who is the father of lies (John 8:44) and the deceiver of the whole world (ch.12:9) will be

absolutely shut off from exercising his wiles (Ephesians 6:11) for a thousand years.  Not only will he

be hurled to the center of the earth, but he will be shut up in his cell, with its entrance invincibly

sealed so that he cannot even direct his own demonic hosts while so restrained.  These latter will

presumably likewise be bound in appropriate compartments of Hades or the abyss, as will the

spirits of lost men and women, there to await the judgment of the great day.  A central cavity

no more than ten miles in diameter could easily confine the spirits of all the fallen angels and

of all lost humanity through the ages, even if each spirit still required as much space as a human

body.  It is doubtful whether such a cavity could ever be detected by scientific measurements

made by geophysicists on the earth’s surface, but the Bible says it is there. Eventually, toward

the close of the millennium, Satan “must” be released for a brief period, apparently because

the people born during the millennium must be tested.  Incidentally, this is further proof that

the binding of Satan is more than a relative semi-restraint on his power by virtue of Christ’s

victory over him at Calvary.  It is true that on the cross the Lord Jesus despoiled principalities

and powers (Colossians 2:14-15) but if this is all that is meant by the millennial binding of the

Devil, then what is the meaning of his subsequent unleashing?  Is the victory at Calvary to

become defeat again?  Such an idea is preposterous.  In the meantime, with Satan bound for a

thousand years, the world will be freed from its most virulent source of evil.  The awful physical

trauma through which the earth had just passed during the seven years of its tribulation will

not only have purged it of its human and demonic corruption but also, in considerable measure,

of its natural deformities.  Thus it will be prepared to serve appropriately as the physical setting

of the great millennial messianic kingdom.  The violent earthquakes and upheavals will have

leveled all the polluted cities of a sinful world, the better to facilitate the erection of new, clean,

peaceful communities at the beginning of the millennium.  These great land movements will also

have eliminated the great mountain ranges and islands of the world, filling up the ocean depths

and restoring gentle, globally habitable topography and geography all over the world, as it had

 been in the antediluvian age, before the cataclysmic upheavals of the great Deluge.  As Isaiah

the prophet had foretold, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be

made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (Isaiah 40:4).

This reversal of the topographic upheavals of the Flood, however, will not send waters over the

continents again, since much of the waters of the oceans will already have been re-elevated above

the atmosphere, restoring in some measure the antediluvian “waters above the firmament.” 

(Genesis 1:7)  The worldwide drought of the first half of the tribulation, the cataclysmic

splashdowns of bodies from the heavens during the trumpet judgments and the intensified

solar radiations of the bowl judgments will all have contributed to the translation of vast

quantities of water vapor far into the skies.  Quite probably, the immense tectonic movements,

eruptions, and landslides may also have trapped vast quantities of water beneath fresh sedimentary

and volcanic deposits, reinstating in partial degree the primeval pressurized reservoirs of “the great

deep”  (Genesis 7:11), facilitating the birth of copious artesian springs, including one which will

feed the vast river emerging from the millennial temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zechariah 14:8).

(I recommend Ezekiel 47 – Spurgeon Sermon – Waters to Swim In – this website – CY – 2015)

Thus the seas of the millennial world will be relatively narrow and shallow once again, as in primeval

days.  Furthermore, the restoration of the vapor canopy should, in large measure, restore the globally

pleasant warm climate of the antediluvian period to the earth again.  (A short cut to what modern

Progressives are so upset about in their theoretical “climate change?”  - CY – 2015)  No longer will

great atmospheric movements generate violent rainstorms, blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes, because

the uniform temperatures of the global greenhouse will inhibit air mass movements of more than local

extent.  In the original world, the only rains were gentle mists, from localized daily evaporation and

precipitation (Genesis 2:5), keeping the world everywhere at comfortable temperatures and humidities,

and supporting an abundance of plant and animal life in all regions of the globe.  There were no deserts

or ice caps or uninhabitable mountain heights.  It was all “very good” (Genesis 1:31).  The cataclysm of

the great Flood destroyed that beautiful world, but the global upheavals of the great tribulation WILL

RESTORE IT, at least in measure.  For example, note Joel’s prophecy: “Fear not, O land; be glad and

rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.  Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the

wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the

 former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and

the latter rain in the first month” (Joel 2:21-23); see also Hosea 6:3, and Zechariah 10:1).

The redistribution of earth’s topography and restoration of its vapor canopy will soon result in an

elimination of many, if not all, of its wastelands and deserts: “The wilderness and the solitary place

shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. . . . for in the wilderness

shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.  And the parched ground shall become a pool, and

 the thirsty land springs of water” (Isaiah 35:1-7; note also Isaiah 30:23; 32:15; 51:3; Ezekiel 34:26;

36:33-35; etc.).  Somehow there will also come a great healing of the lands and waters of the earth. 

Before the great Flood, the soils were rich in all needed nutrients, and the drinking waters all came

pure and fresh from artesian springs fed from deep underground reservoirs.  The destruction of these

deep fountains and the devastating land erosion of the great Flood largely destroyed God’s primeval

terrestrial ecology, leaving the lands depleted and waters polluted.  Originally all animals, as well as man,

were to derive nourishment only from plant foods (Genesis 1:29-30), but under the far more rigorous

conditions of the postdiluvian environment, God authorized man to eat animal flesh as well (Genesis

9:2-4).  Evidently for the same reason many animals also had to become carnivorous.  These conditions

were further  aggravated during the long centuries after the Flood, with the lands becoming further

impoverished and the waters further contaminated, requiring increasingly great expenditures on

fertilization and purification.  The traumatic upheavals of the tribulation period had brought these

conditions to a climax, with devastating famine conditions and with terrestrial waters so depleted

and poisoned that all the animals of the sea had  perished. Had such conditions been allowed to

persist much longer, all life on earth would soon have become impossible.  In some marvelous way,

however, God will use the physical convulsions of that awful  period of purging to cleanse the lands

and waters of the earth as well as its moral and spiritual climate.  Possibly the tectonic and volcanic

upheavals, and perhaps even the atmospheric bombardments, will implant new supplies of needed

nutrients and trace elements in the soils.  Even the multitudes of dead animals and plants in the lands

and oceans, as well as the skeletons of the millions of dead men and horses at Armageddon and

elsewhere, may well become fertilizing agents for the lands as their remains are scattered far and wide. 

The unprecedented global earthquakes and eruptions will trigger vast and violent landslides

and showers of dirt and rocks, entrapping tremendous volumes of ocean waters beneath

great overburdens of solid materials which will rapidly become pressurized, lithified, and

partially sealed. This will likely produce at last two important effects.  In the first place,

the sea bottoms will be raised to higher elevations than at present, compensating for the

great losses of water caused by the restoration of the atmospheric canopy and by the

entrapment of vast volumes beneath the huge landslides and rock showers.  The entire

crust itself will, to some unknown extent, have shifted and slipped over the earth’s

mantle, rearranging the various continental plates to a more nearly uniform distribution

of land and sea surface areas, but with relatively greater land areas than at present.

Second, this extensive rearrangement of topography and formation of large pressurized

subterranean water pockets will facilitate the development of a new terrestrial system of

springs and spring-fed rivers, the waters of which will be purified by the processes of heating

and percolation. “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys:

I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water” (Isaiah 41:18).

Whether or not the ocean population of fishes and other marine organisms will somehow be

replenished is uncertain.  The second bowl judgment (ch. 16:3) had caused the death of

“every living soul . . . in the sea,” so that at least those fishes requiring a marine environment

had apparently been eliminated from the so-called food chain.  The third bowl judgment had

similarly affected the fresh waters, except that no reference was made to death of fresh-water

organisms (ibid. v. 4) so that probably many of these had survived, and they would be more

important for the future millennial economy.  In the description of the great millennial river in

Jerusalem, for example, the following intriguing statement appears: “And it shall come to pass,

that every thing that liveth, which moveth, withersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and

there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they

shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh” (Ezekiel 47:9).  This river

will emerge from the new temple (ibid. v.1) and may well contain health-giving minerals acquired

from source beds deep under the city.  Perhaps also it may be artificially purified and fortified

as it issues from its spring in the temple, using the knowledge and ingredients obtained from the

accumulated research of the greatest minds of the ages, now redeemed and perhaps instructed

by Christ Himself.  The scenario inferred in the foregoing is bound to be incomplete and may

well be incorrect in many respects.  Further study and research on these fascinating possibilities

are in order, but the most important point is to realize that GOD IS  somehow going to revitalize

this tired old planet and make it ready for the glorious kingdom of Christ on earth.  And, in

order to do all this, the god of this present age, the old dragon, Satan, must be completely

restrained from continuing his nefarious and baleful influence over the earth.  He must be

bound, and then the dominion usurped by him can be unbound.  “No man can enter into a

strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then

he will spoil his house” (Mark 3:27).  “Because the creature [better translated as “creation”]

itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the

children of God” (Romans 8:21).   (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


4 “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.  And I saw thrones,

and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. This describes the

position of Christians in this life.  They sit upon thrones; that is, they reign with

Christ. Judgment is given unto them; that is, by their conduct in the world the

world is judged and condemned. John continually thus describes the Christian’s

position; and such a picture is specially applicable for his purpose here, which is to

portray the glory of the Christian calling, and the certainty of the Christian’s hope.

The redeemed have been made kings, and reign (ch.5:10). So also Paul says we are

“blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

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. This is a

special reference to the martyrs made with the object mentioned above, viz. that of

encouraging Christians in their warfare. The class here described forms part of the

whole body of Christians alluded to in the first part of the verse (compare ch.6:10;

12:17; 19:10; also ch.13; 15:2). In the same way the souls referred to in ch.6:9

are those existing during the period of this world, which we have here understood

to be denoted indirectly by the “thousand years.” And they lived and reigned with

Christ a thousand years. “The thousand years” adopted in the Textus Receptus, is

found in B and others, but omitted in א, A, and others. “They lived and reigned with

Christ” in complete and perfect assurance, as in v. 2, and for the reason given in there,

viz. that, Satan was bound completely. This living and reigning must not be limited to

the period after the death of the martyrs (though it is doubtless true in this sense also),

notwithstanding the fact that John sees them here after their death. It is as though he

would say, “You Christians sit upon thrones and reign with Christ; yea, even those

who suffered shameful deaths shared this perfect safety and exaltation, though to the

eyes of the world they were so afflicted and degraded.” They lived is described in v. 5

as the “first resurrection.”.  “He that heareth my Word… hath everlasting life, and

shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24);

We have  passed from death unto life” (I John 3:14).


Many of the writers do not believe that this thousand years is a literal time. I personally do.

They believe that this is spiritual, and that Jesus bound the devil when He defeated him

on the cross. If that were so, who is this terrible thing that has been nipping at my heels

all the time that I have been working for God. The devil is real. Just as he brought trials

and tribulation (with permission from God) on Job, Christians are allowed to go through

tribulation here on this earth to make them strong. Believe me; the devil is not locked up

now. In the scripture above, we find that the martyrs and those who refuse to take the

mark of the beast will reign with Christ right here on this earth. Christians, from all

generations, will live here on this earth during the millennium and will rule and reign

with the Lord Jesus. We will rule with Christ during those years but we will not be

equal as we will reign as His subordinates. Won't it be wonderful to reign with the

martyrs like Stephen?   The thrones represent the administration of the messianic

kingdom. Those whom John sees come to life are the Tribulation martyrs, who

refused to worship the beast. Christ will rule through three classes of kingdom



  1. Old Testament saints (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel12:2), who will be resurrected at this time;
  2. The apostles and the church (Matthew 19:28-29); and
  3. Tribulation saints (Luke 19:12-27).


Only believers will enter the Millennium at its beginning (John 3:3 - 5).  God's promises to

Abraham (Genesis12:2-3) and David (2 Samuel 7:16) will be fulfilled (Luke 1:31-33;

Romans. 11:15,29). After the Millennium, Christ will deliver the kingdom to God the

Father and will then be appointed Ruler forever (I Corinthians 15:24-28).



Four times in this chapter, John says: “And I saw” (vs. 1, 4, 11-12), thus stressing that he

was an eyewitness of these amazing events which are to come.  Immediately after he saw

the beast and the false prophet cast into the lake of fire and Satan cast into the bottomless

pit, he saw a vast array of thrones waiting to receive their kingly occupants.  Then, as he

watched, “they” sat upon them and the authority to act as rulers and judges was assigned

to them.  But who are these kingly judges, and who are they to judge?  In terms of the

narrative just preceding, there can be only one answer as to the identity of the judges. 

They are the same saints, dressed in fine white linen, appropriate not only for the wedding

feast but also for judicial robes, who comprised the armies accompanying Christ as He

returned to earth (ch.19:8, 14, 19).  All those who had been redeemed by His blood,

resurrected from the grave, raptured into His presence, and evaluated for their rewards at

His judgment seat will apparently be assigned individual thrones of authority and judgment,

unless they are deemed undeserving of any reward at all (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). This

remarkable situation is promised in many Scriptures, both directly and in parables.  “Do ye

not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).  “Judgment was given

to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom”

(Daniel 7:22).  The twelve apostles have already been assigned their own specific jurisdiction. 

“When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones,

 judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).  Other realms of authority will be assigned

in proportion to faithfulness, according to the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27) and the

parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).  Even in the introduction to the Book of Revelation,

this future role of the saints is implied: “[He] loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own

blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (ch.1:5-6; 5:9-10). 

Furthermore, such authority is to be executed rigidly, conforming to the “iron scepter” principle

already noted (see ch.2:26-27) under the direct command of Christ Himself (ch.19:15).  In fact,

as the verse under discussion plainly says: this reign of the saints will be with Christ.  Nor will the

tribulation saints be forgotten in this assignment of jurisdiction, even though they were not

among those resurrected and raptured at the beginning of the tribulation.  They are, in fact,

accorded very special recognition, in view of the unique circumstances which they have

suffered.  They had maintained a faithful witness for the Lord Jesus and the truth of His

Word under some of the most severe difficulties ever experienced.  All official or semi-

official toleration of Christianity by the governments of the nations had been withdrawn

soon after the rapture, and those who dared to accept Christ had very soon faced fierce

persecution everywhere.  Many had been slain even in the early years of the tribulation

(ch.6:9).  Then a systematic extermination of believers had become the official policy of

the world government when the beast acquired total power at the middle of the tribulation. 

Those who refused to worship the beast and receive his mark had been relentlessly hunted

and executed.  John now saw the “souls” of all these who had died for their faith, just as

he had seen the souls of some of them under the heavenly altar near the beginning of the

tribulation.  As each had been martyred during the tribulation, the soul of each had been

translated to the heavenly temple, there to await this moment.  Finally now, they also

participate in the glorious resurrection of the dead.  They “lived”!  This simple declaration

is the climax of all their sufferings, and far more than compensates for all they had endured a

s they witnessed for Christ and His Word.  They had cried “How long?” and now their blood

had been avenged (ch.6:10).  The statement that they “lived” can only refer to the resurrection

of their bodies.  Amillennialists like to interpret this as referring to a resurrection of the soul at

the time of conversion, but this is obviously a case of forced exegesis.  Souls do not die and,

hence, cannot be resurrected.  The souls of these martyrs all along had been very much alive

and aware and able even to speak, but now their bodies also “lived again” (v. 5), so that they

also could reign with Christ.  The resurrection thus includes the resurrection of Christ as the

first-fruits, then the resurrection of those who had died before His second coming in the air,

and finally the resurrection of those who die between the time He comes to the air and the

time He finally returns to earth.  Thus will these tribulation saints also be installed on

millennial thrones with appropriate spheres of authority, there to reign over the earth with

Christ for a thousand years.  In ch.5:10 the throng assembled at the heavenly throne had

anticipated this coming privilege and responsibility, singing: “Thou hast made us unto our

God kings and priests: and we shall reign over the earth.”  The declarative statement in this

verse of the millennial reign of Christ and His saints is sparse in details concerning the nature

of that reign and conditions in the world at that future time.  Such information has already

been provided, however, in previous passages of both Old and New Testaments, so is not

repeated here by John.  One very vital item of information is given here for the first time,

namely, the duration of this period.  That bit of information is given here no less than six

times, in fact, so there should be no doubt that this wonderful future “dispensation,” also

known by some as the mediatorial kingdom,” will endure for a thousand years.  The period

will apparently be initiated by an event known as the judgment of the nations, described in

Matthew 25:31-46.  Its chronology is clearly just following the tribulation.  “Immediately

after the tribulation of those days . . . they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds

of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30).  Then, in the next chapter,

the narrative part of this great Olivet discourse continues: “When the Son of man shall

come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne

of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations [or, “Gentiles,” which is the

same Greek word, ἐθνῶς - ethnos]: and He shall separate them one from another, as a

shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32). The account in

Revelation has given us the further information that, before this assumption of His

glorious earthly throne, Christ had already slain the armies massed at Armageddon

and resurrected His tribulation martyrs.  Thus the only ones left on earth are those

followers of the beast who were not in the armies at Armageddon and who had not

already perished in the plagues, as well as those who had managed somehow to escape

the beast’s executioners while still refusing to receive his mark.  These are evidently

the goats and the sheep, respectively.  These will all be gathered to His throne from the

ends of the earth by the holy angels (Matthew 24:31).  There will not be too many,

though that exact number is unknown.  “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty,

and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants

thereof . . . Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are

desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (Isaiah

24:1-6).  Superficially the basis of the judgment of these survivors of the tribulation period

may seem legalistic, but actually it is very realistic in the context of the tribulation.  Those

who were adjudged as “goats” had refused succor “to the least of these my brethren,”

when they had suffered for lack of food or drink or clothing, or were even languishing

in prison, no doubt awaiting execution, either because they were afraid to help or because

they agreed with their persecutors, or both.  Both attitudes characterized people who

either had, or would have, if the beast’s minions had reached them, received the dread

“mark” of the beast.  Consequently, in view of the dire warning of ch.14:9-11, they must

be condemned.  No doubt, they, like their compatriots at Armageddon, will then be slain,

with their souls dispatched for a time to Hades.  Ultimately, these must depart into

“everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).  The “sheep,”

on the other hand, had been both compassionate and courageous, rendering such help as

the could to these persecuted “brethren” of the son of man, at the risk of their own lives. 

Such people would undoubtedly have refused the mark of the beast if his emissaries had

reached them, and thus had exhibited that attitude of faith toward their Creator and His

Word which either had resulted in their acceptance of Him as their Lord and Savior or

would have as soon as the true gospel of Christ was made known to them.  The immediate

destiny of these, however, was not departure to heaven, but to “inherit the kingdom

prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).  Eventually, of

course, their great faith, which had manifested itself in such gracious and courageous

works, like the great men and women of faith catalogued in Hebrews 11, would assure

also their entrance into “life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).  The “brethren” of whom the

Lord had spoken could only be the persecuted tribulation martyrs, both Jew and Gentile,

Jesus said: “. . . my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it” (Luke 8:21). 

Jesus called His disciples “my brethren” (Matthew 12:49; John 20:17), but never the Jews,

as a nation.  Prophetically He said: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst

of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Hebrews 2:12).  The “goats,” no doubt, at this

time are composed almost exclusively of Gentiles (hence the “judgment of the Gentiles”),

since the nation Israel has been undergoing its “day of Jacob’s trouble”  (Jeremiah 30:7),

with the final result of its complete national conversion at the glorious return of Christ

(Zechariah 12:10; 13:1; Romans 11:26). These redeemed of Israel will also, of course, at

this time “inherit the kingdom,” and thus enter the millennium, ready to enjoy the

fulfillment of all God’s ancient promises to their fathers.  From each nation, with Israel

at the head, will thus come a remnant to rebuild their devastated countries.  Even though

the initial population of each nation will be small, the conditions and incentives will be

present to encourage large families, and the populations will grow rapidly.  Furthermore,

antediluvian longevity will be restored.  “There shall be no more thence an infant of days,

nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old;

but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” (Isaiah 65:20).  This may be

accomplished partially by the restoration of antediluvian climatological and agricultural

conditions and partially by new technologies developed by millennial scientists.  In fact,

scientific and technological research will thrive as never before, as mankind seeks as never

before to fulfill its primeval commission to “subdue the earth” (Genesis 1:28).  Israel, of course,

will  be the chief nation of the world during the millennium.  “And many nations shall come,

and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the

God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the

law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Micah 4:2).

Other nations will be expected to honor Israel and to center their worship there: “And it

shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against

Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts,

and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all

the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even

upon them shall be no rain” (Zechariah 14:16-17).  A great temple will be established

in Jerusalem, as described in Ezekiel 40-46, and a form of the ancient worship instituted

again, complete with priestly orders and sacrificial animal offerings.  The worship will not

be mere ritual, however, as it often was in pre-Christian Israel“Yea, every pot in

Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that

sacrifice shall come and take of them and seethe therein and in that day there shall

be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.!”  (Zechariah 14:21).

Such animal sacrifices had been, of course, set aside after the death and resurrection of

Christ, for “He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Hebrews 10:12).  During the 

Christian dispensation, the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ needed

no animal sacrifices either as evidence of faith or as aid to faith.  In the millennium,

however, it will be different.  It will be easy to believe in Christ – in fact almost impossible

not to believe.  No longer will one suffer ridicule or persecution if he takes a stand for Christ,

nor will he ever be led astray by evolutionary teachings in the schools or by overt temptations

to sin by his peers.  In every dispensation, salvation is offered only by the grace of God on

the basis of the substitutionary death of Christ for sin.  Before His first coming people had

given evidence of their faith in God’s promised redemption by offering sacrificial animals

in atonement for their sins.  In that case, the sacrifices had served both as a significant aid

to faith and as a testimony to their faith.  Even in the Christian age “faith without works

 is dead” (James 2:20), but that faith is exercised in THE PERSON AND FINISHED

WORK OF CHRIST as confirmed and recorded in the Holy Scriptures of the New

Testament.  In the Millennial Age, with the glorified Christ and His resurrected and

reigning saints personally present and with Satan and his hosts out of the way, there will

be no room whatsoever for intellectual doubt as to the deity of Christ and the truth of

His Word.  Nevertheless, salvation will still require a personal faith and commitment to

Christ and, more than ever, the genuineness of such faith must be evidenced by works. 

It may well be that this is at least part of the reason for the reinstitution of animal sacrifices. 

In the days of His humiliation, it requires strong faith to believe in His coming glorification. 

In the days of His glory, it will be difficult to remember and believe in His humiliation and

death, and yet it is still as important as ever that men and women understand and believe


DEATH OF CHRIST for their sins.  Thus, the animal sacrifices will be a memorial and

reminder of the great saving work of Christ, and thus will also serve both as an aid and

evidence of faith.  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


5 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were

finished.  This is the first resurrection.”  But the rest of the dead lived not again

until the thousand years were finished; should be finished. Omit “but;” omit “again.”

It is important to notice the omission of “again;” the rest of the dead lived not

until, etc. The best explanation of these words seems to be that the “rest of

the dead” refers to those Old Testament saints and others (such as godly

heathens) who were in the world before Christ’s act of atonement — “the

thousand years” (see on v. 2, above) — had been accomplished. They

could not be said to have lived, in the high sense in which John uses the

word, not having known Christ; for “in Him was life” (John 1:4; 5:40,

etc.). But by Christ’s redeeming work, these were placed on a level with

Christians (compare Luke 7:28, “John the Baptist: but he that is least in the

kingdom of God is greater than he;” also Hebrews 11:39-40, “And

these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the

promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without

us should not be made perfect”). This is the first resurrection. These

words refer both to the reigning of those mentioned in v. 4, and to the

living of those in v. 5 (vide supra). This “first resurrection” is the

spiritual rising with Christ, which is a consequence of His redeeming work.

It is to be noticed that John nowhere makes use of the phrase, “second

resurrection,” though he does use the words, “second death.” Both the

“first resurrection” and the “second death” are spiritual operations.


The first part of v. 5 is a parenthesis, and comes chronologically after v. 11.

A parenthesis is defined: A qualifying or amplifying word, phrase, or sentence

inserted within written matter in such a way as to be independent of the

surrounding grammatical structure.  The first resurrection is the resurrection

included in v. 4. It has three principal phases:

·         The resurrection of Christ (the first-fruits – ch.1:5;  I Corinthians 15:23);

·         The resurrection of the church (the dead in Christ – ibid.; I Thessalonians 4:16); and

·         The resurrection of Old Testament and Tribulation saints (v.4; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel

 12:2). The rest of the dead (unbelievers) will be raised in the second resurrection,

described in vs. 12-13.

The first resurrection is a resurrection to life (John 5:28-29), whereas the second resurrection

is a resurrection to death.  The second death is eternal punishment in the lake of fire (see vs.14)


The “rest of the dead,” of course, refers to the unsaved men and women whose souls are

imprisoned in Hades.  This statement (that they “lived not again”) makes it crystal clear

that the “resurrection” of which these verses speak is a bodily resurrection.  At the end of

the millennium, Hades delivers up these spirits so that they also live again in the body (v.13). 

Their souls had never ceased to have conscious existence (see for example, Luke 16:23, as

well as here, ch. 6:9-10).  So the phrase “live again” would be quite meaningless except in

terms of the body.  The resurrection of the unsaved will be the “resurrection unto damnation,”

which was distinguished as a separate resurrection from the “resurrection of life” by the Lord

Jesus Christ in John 5:29.  He also implied that “the resurrection of the just” was a distinct

event (Luke 14:14).  Here, finally, it is revealed that the “first resurrection” precedes the

second by a thousand years.  This resurrection of the souls of the tribulation martyrs thus

completes the first resurrection.  In the final sentence of this verse, the word “is” appears

in italics (KJV) indicating its absence in the original.  The sense of the sentence is simply,

“This completes the first resurrection.”  The word “resurrection” in Greek is

anastasis - meaning literally “standing again.”  It is used forty times in the New Testament,

and always refers most naturally to a bodily rising from the dead (John 11:24; Acts 4:33). 

There is certainly no warrant for taking it to mean something else in this passage.

The “first resurrection” does occur in more than one stage, according to I Corinthians

15:20-23.  The resurrection of the dead began with Christ Himself, as the firstfruits

of them that slept,” followed immediately by “many bodies of the saints” which

“came out of the graves after His resurrection” (Matthew 27:52-53).  Next comes the

rapture, when “the dead in Christ shall rise” along with the living saints (I Thessalonians

4:16-17).  At the middle of the tribulation the two witnesses rise (ch.11:11) and now

finally all the rest of the tribulation martyrs.  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


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.”

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; over these the second death hath

no authority. The first words describe the state of those who have part in the

spiritual resurrection with Christ (see on v. 5). The second clause gives to the

oppressed Christian the culminating reason for patience and perseverance. The

“second death” is the spiritual death of the lake of fire (v. 14). Priests of God, etc.

(compare ch.1:6; 5:10). A thousand years; in complete and everlasting

security (see on v. 2, et seq.). We may in this place briefly indicate some

of the other interpretations which have been given to this reign of. the

saints for a thousand years, or, as it is generally styled, the millennium.


(1) The literal interpretation of a future reign on earth of Christ with his

saints for a thousand years. According to this view, there is to be a first

resurrection of the dead (either of the holy dead or of all the dead), then

the period of a thousand years, during which Satan will be bound, and the

saints will reign; then finally the ultimate punishment of Satan — the

casting into the lake of fire. Some limit the locality of this reign to a

particular spot on the earth (e.g. Jerusalem), beyond which live the

ungodly. The objections to this theory are:


  1. Amongst its advocates almost every detail is a matter of dispute.

            Some place the millennium in the future, others in the past. Of these

            latter some specify the first thousand years of the Christian age, others

            the thousand years from the time of Constantine. “The length of the

            period, the number and class of the believers who shall be partakers of

             its glory, the condition in which they are to live, the work in which

            they are to be engaged, the relation in which the exalted Redeemer

            is to stand to them,” are all subjects for disagreement.


  1. The carnal nature of such a resurrection is at variance with the general

            teaching of the Bible, and unlike the spiritual nature which our Lord

            Himself assumed after His resurrection.


  1. If the saints receive a glorified body for that period, it is impossible to

            conceive of them as living in the world in its present state, and a large part

            of which is inhabited by the ungodly.


  1. It is impossible satisfactorily to conceive what relations could exist

            between the saints in such a case and the ungodly. If Satan is bound during

            this period so that he can deceive the nations no more, whence comes the

            evil which exists among the ungodly portion of the world?


  1. There is no other example of a literal use of numbers in the whole of

            the Apocalypse.


  1. The teaching of the Bible elsewhere not only negatively fails to support

            this view, but is in positive opposition to it, in such points as a continuance

            of evil after Christ’s second coming; the existence of an interval between

            His coming and the judgment instead of a sudden coming to judgment

            (compare John 6:40, “I will raise him up at the last day”).


(2)  The spiritual .interpretation, which makes the thousand years

expressive of the whole Christian age. This seems to a certain extent true,

since what the thousand years signifies does have its effect during this time

in the reign of the saints. But it seems inexact, since it makes the thousand

years symbolical of a length of time, instead of a quality attached to an

action. What is meant is not that Christ bound Satan during the period of

the Christian age (though, as we have seen, there is a sense in which he is

so bound as regards believers), for, on the contrary, he goes about like a

roaring lion; but that he bound and overthrew him completely for all

Christians by His redeeming work.


We Christians are the blessed. You can easily see that the wicked dead have no part

in this resurrection. We believers in Christ (the redeemed) are not subject to death

because we have life (which Jesus breathed into us), when we were born again.

We will never die. This second death mentioned here is for the lost. Not only

will the Christians reign on this earth with Jesus for a thousand years, but we will

live for all eternity in heaven with Jesus, because we have eaten of the Tree of Life

which is Jesus Christ our Lord.  What is the Millennium?  Christ's 1000 year reign

upon David's throne is the fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel

and to David, but its more than that. It is the final proof of the incorrigible nature

of man's sinful heart. Christ is present in Jerusalem, ruling the world, and the saints

of all ages in resurrected bodies administer the kingdom righteously under His

direction. All evil is prohibited and punished immediately. Even Satan is locked

away so that he cannot in any way influence mankind.  (


No matter which stage of the first resurrection one may participate in, he is thereby assured

that his future life will be one of blessedness and holiness.  He may have experienced the

pains of death, but these will all be forgotten in the glorious resurrection, and he will never

die again.  The awful second death which awaits the unsaved at the “second” resurrection

annot touch him any more than it could the body of the risen Christ (ch. 1:18).  (The

Biblical formula is:


·         born Once, DIE TWICE!

·         BORN TWICE, DIE ONCE!  - CY – 2015)


On the other hand, the obverse side of this fifth of Revelation’s beatitudes suggests that

the second death does have the “authority” in the case of all those who do not participate

in the first resurrection.  Their future is one of misery and corruption, forever, in the lake

of fire, rather than one of eternal blessedness and holiness in the fellowship of CHRIST!

Not only will the saints reign with Christ a thousand years, but also they will be His priests

(ch.1:6), thus directing both the civil government and spiritual instruction for the millennial

populations.  Christ is High Priest, as well as King of kings, and all the resurrected saints

will exercise varied religious and political functions under His supreme command throughout

the millennium, in accord with the faithfulness of their service in this present life.

The detailed manner and variety of these administrations is yet to be revealed.  The resurrected

saints have their citizenship in heaven, not on earth (Philippians 3:20), and it is likely that once

they have been awarded the heavenly “mansion” prepared for them by Christ (John 14:2-3),

they will never again reside on earth – at least not until their heavenly city descends from heaven

to the renovated earth at the end of the millennium (ch. 21:2).  Presumably at proper times,

they will appear on earth to exercise prescribed duties with respect to their earthly charges. 

For example, the resurrected apostles of the Lord have been promised that they will be assigned

earthly thrones from which they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:28-30).  It seems

also that the resurrected King David may be placed over the entire nation of Israel (Ezekiel

37:24-25; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5).  Some will be assigned jurisdiction over ten cities,

some over five (Luke 19:17, 19).  Apparently there will be a hierarchy of authority assigned

to the saints in either civil or religious duties or both.   It may appear at first that the hosts of

resurrected saints, including all the redeemed of all the ages, will so far outnumber the

depleted population of the earth at the beginning of the millennium, that there will be more

“kings and priests” than “subjects.”  Although the Scriptures give very little specific information

about this intriguing topic, there are a number of factors at least to be considered.  In the first place,

not all the saints will receive a reward.  Many will “scarcely be saved” and “shall suffer loss”

(I Peter 4:18; I Corinthians 3:15), so that the opportunity they might have had for fruitful service

in the millennial age will be given to others (Luke 19:24-26).  Thus there may even be many of

the raptured and glorified saints who will still themselves need some measure of supervision

and guidance during at least the first years of the millennium.  Those who had attained a

higher state of spiritual knowledge and effectiveness in the days of their flesh may well

serve as teachers and leaders for those who died as “babes in Christ,” at least for the early

years when the human population on earth is still low.  Furthermore their ministries will be

needed for all those who had died while still too young (many even still in the fetal state)

(What do you think has happened to the millions and millions of aborted children whom

those not present in the millennium, have thought were just “a blob of tissue?” – CY –

2015)  to have even reached the so-called “age of accountability.”  They must surely be

allowed to grow to maturity somehow, both physically and spiritually, and many of the

more mature saints may well have assignments to train and tutor these.  Possibly the Lord

may assign many of these specific duties to godly redeemed women in the heavenly city.

There is no way to know precisely how many resurrected saints will be there in heaven in

these glorious days to come during the millennium, but a reasonable guess might be about

4 billion.  This is roughly equal to the present population of the world and is ten percent of

what seems to be a plausible figure for the total number of men and women who have lived

since Adam (probably about 40 billion).  Since the large majority of people die in an unsaved

condition (Matthew 7:13-14), the ten percent figure seems at least reasonable.  Whatever the

number may be, it will undoubtedly be much larger than terrestrial populations at the beginning

of the millennium.  However, the conditions favorable to human fertility and longevity will

have been restored, as discussed earlier, and it will not take many years before God’s primeval

command to “fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28; 9:1) will be essentially accomplished, with numbers

of people like “the sand of the sea” (v. 8).  There will by that time be such an abundance of

people on earth as indeed to provide adequate challenge for all the saints, both those who were

prepared for such responsibilities at the beginning of the thousand years and those who had

required further training during its early years.  There is one other intriguing possibility.  There

exists “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) and these were created to be

“ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). 

This relationship presumably will continue forever, since there is no intimation in Scripture that it

will be changed in the new earth.  Many of these angels have rebelled against God, following

Satan, and these will all be consigned to everlasting fire (Matthew 25:41).  Those who had

remained faithful to their calling, however, and who thus will still be subservient to the will

of Christ, will probably also be under the direction of those who will “reign with Him.” 

This is likely the meaning of the rather cryptic reference in I Corinthians 6:3.  “Know ye

 not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”

(The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


Gog and Magog 


One of the most amazing commentaries on the fallen human nature to be found in all the

Word of God is right here in this passage.  After one thousand years of a perfect human

environment, with an abundance of material provisions and spiritual instruction for everyone,

no crime, no war, no external temptation to sin, with the personal presence of all the resurrected

saints and even of Christ Himself, and with Satan and all his demons bound in the abyss, there

are still a multitude of unsaved men and women on earth who are ready to rebel against the Lord

the first time they get a chance.  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


7 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out

of his prison,”  are finished; that is, the power of the devil having been in

principle completely overthrown by our Lord (see on preceding verses),

Satan is still permitted to wage war and exercise sway on the earth.

“His prison” is the “abyss” of vs. 1, 3 (compare also v. 3).


Satan and his demons will be imprisoned in the abyss for a thousand years while Christ

rules with unopposed sovereignty. They are not permitted to interfere in the affairs

of the kingdom in any way.  All those who initially went into the kingdom were

without doubt redeemed sinners who had turned to Christ in faith. The bad news

is that they still will possess a sinful human nature. That sin nature is passed on to

their children, grandchildren, etc.  Thus each generation born in the millennium will

have need for salvation. Many will come to salvation but amazingly despite the most

moral society the world will ever know, a great number will love their sin and reject Him.

When Satan is loosed, he provides the leadership needed to bring the latent sin and

rebellion to the surface of those unrepentant sinners. This act of rebellion will start

immediately when he is released.   (


Note that Satan does not escape from his prison.  The Lord Jesus Christ is on the throne of

the cosmos, with all power in heaven and earth belonging to Him.  Even though the saints

are reigning with Him, it is His authority which they exercise, and Satan is firmly bound

in his prison, utterly helpless to interfere.  Even though King David, in his resurrected body,

may have been assigned immediate jurisdiction over Israel (Ezekiel 34:23-24), the Son of

David, Jesus Christ, actually rules over the whole world from the throne of David in Zion,

and will do so for ever (11:15; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:31-33; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4).  He will

be in absolute control, ruling all nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:6-12).  And yet, according

to v. 3 of this chapter, Satan must be loosed a little season.  During the wonderful Millennial Age,

any crime and overt wickedness will have been rigidly prevented.  Although ample time will be

provided for such flagrant sinners to repent, they likely will be exposed to capital punishment if

they have not done so by age 100 (Isaiah 65:20).  Furthermore, everyone will be well exposed to

the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as their Creator, Redeemer, and King.  (Isaiah 11:9;

Jeremiah 31:34 – CY – 2015)  They will probably be able to see Him personally if they wish,

as well as the glorified saints who are more directly accessible to them as their own kings  

and priests.  They will be well instructed in the necessity of substitutionary sacrifice for

salvation from sin, as each nation must regularly send delegates to Jerusalem to offer

memorial animal sacrifices,  (talking about that not constitutional phrase – separation

of church and state”the loudest squawkers of today and now will not have to worry

about this if they continue their current trend as the will be LONG GONE! – CY – 2015)

keeping ever before them the remembrance that, long ago, their great King in Jerusalem had

Himself borne their sins in His own body as He died on the tree of Calvary to save their souls

(I Peter 2:24).  And yet, with all these privileges, with every possible incentive to believe on

His name and to love and serve Him, there will still be multitudes who will reject Him in their

hearts.  These will not be those who first enter the millennium, of course, but will come from

the generations of those who follow them.  These, for the most part, will refrain from overt

acts of sin and rebellion, but this restraint for many will be one of fear, not love.  To men and

women who have been born and raised in such an ideal environment, so that all they have ever

known is peace, prosperity and righteousness, the stories told them about the former ages

by their parents and by their heavenly rulers and teachers will sound increasingly fanciful

as the centuries go by.  Soon those ancient times will begin to seem glamorous, with their

supposed freedom and excitement, and many in the younger generations will begin inwardly

to resent the constraints under which they must live.  Even though Satan is bound, and there

re no external temptations to doubt God or to disobey His will, they are not innocent, like

Adam and Eve in the garden.  Their hearts are naturally “deceitful and desperately wicked”

(Jeremiah 17:9), simply by virtue of genetic inheritance, and they must consciously accept

Christ as personal Savior if they are to be saved just as their ancestors did.  With so little

contact with overt sin and with provision of every material need to easily available, this may

be even more difficult for them than it had been for their forebearers.  It is apparently for

such reasons that the Devil, and presumably all his hosts, must be released for a little season. 

All these millennial generations, all of which are living, must also be confronted with a clear-cut

choice.  Will they trust their great Savior and King in Jerusalem, or will they, when finally they

have the opportunity, choose sin as their life-style and Satan as their god?  This will be

MANKIND’S LAST AND GREATEST TEST!  In former ages, men had used their

environmental problems, such as poverty, pornography, war, intellectual pressures, and

sickness as EXCUSES FOR REJECTING CHRIST?   But with all these suppressed

for almost a thousand years, there is no more excuse but their own sinful hearts, and

these must be exposed.   (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)



8 “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.”

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the

four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog; four corners. The

signification of Gog and Magog (vide infra) shows in what sense “the

nations” is used. It is in the limited sense of the ungodly of the world, not

in the wider sense in which the expression is used (without any qualifying

clause) in v. 3. Magog in Genesis 10:2 is mentioned among the sons

of Japheth who were the ancestors of the northern nations (compare Ezekiel

38:15 and 39:2). Hence the name Magog is used to denote the northern

tribes, whose invasion of Palestine and adjoining parts took place about

B.C. 630-600. From Ezekiel 39, it seems that Gog was originally a leader

among these tribes; and from Ezekiel 38:16-17 it seems that Ezekiel took

these names to be symbolical of all the foes of the people of God. Jewish

tradition makes use of these names to indicate those nations who were

expected to war against Jerusalem in the last days, and to be overthrown

by the Messiah. Hence the employment of the terms hero by John as

denoting the ungodly people of the world, amongst whom Satan still

exercises his power, though that power is limited to these, and he is

completely bound as regards true believers. To gather them together to

battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea; to the war; the

article points definitely to the war of ch.19:19 and 16:14. It is a

prolonged war, not a battle, because lasting throughout life. The vastness

of the hosts of Gog and Magog is alluded to in Ezekiel 38:3, 16. This is

in conformity with our Lord’s teaching: “Many are called, but few are

chosen” (Matthew 22:14; compare also 7:14).


In Genesis 10:2 we find Magog was a son of Japeth, Noah’s son.  The name Magog

can mean “the place of Gog,” and so quite possible refers to Georgia, a region near

the Black Sea still known by that name.  Josephus says that Magog (or Gog) was the

ancestor of the Scythians, who also originially inhabited the Black Sea area.  Magog

is commonly associated in the Bible with two other sons of Japheth – Meshech and

Tubal (epecially Ezekiel 38:2).  Meshech clearly is preserved in the name Muskovi

(the former name of Russia) and Moscow.  Tubal is known in the Assyrian

monuments as the Tibareni, and probably has been preserved in the modern Russian

city of Tobolsk.  In Ezekiel 38:2 they are associated with “Rosh,” a name from

which modern “Russia” was derived.  Generally speaking, these three sons of

Japheth, Magog, Meshech and Tubal, can be considered as the progenitors of

the modern Russian peoples.  (The Genesis Record – Henry Morris)


In news headlines today, being October 1, 2015, Russia’s leader, Vladimir Puten, has

gotten  Russia involved in the Middle East with air strikes, reportedly, not against

ISIS, but against those Syrian natives against ISIS.   (CY – 2015)



Gog and Magog: The use of these names here and in Ezekiel 38-39 has confused some

readers. A thorough reading of the two passages will reveal that the events are not the

same. The one thing these events have in common is that both national entities (Gog and

Magog) are driven by the spirit of rebellion against God. In these two cases, God uses

the same names because of the deceptively satanic spirit that motivates them both. They

will muster their forces from one corner of the globe to the other and will march on

Jerusalem, where they will "surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city."  (v. 9)

But there will be no battle. No call to arms. No defensive strategy or late night

negotiations or propaganda campaign or deploying of gigantic nuclear weapons.

The four quarters of the earth refers to the entire globe. Gog is used as a title for

an enemy of God's people, not a particular person. Magog seems to be the term

used here to describe area where the sinful rebels of all the nations come from that

gather together for the last war in human history.  The number of these rebels will

be like the sand of the seashore which is a figure of speech used in the bible to define

a vast and uncountable multitude. Consider how when Joseph sent for his father and

family that a total of 70 people came to Egypt. A little over 400 years later there were

millions who God lead out of Egypt. There will be a lot more people left than 70 that

will go into the millennium and there will be 250% more time for procreation. There

will probably be many billions of people at that time so Satan could have a huge

gathering that will join together for that final battle. "the number of whom [is] as the

sand of the sea."  (


Satan has always been the great deceiver and even a thousand years in the bottomless pit

will not change either his character or goals one iota.  Once again, even after all his defeats,

he will set out to destroy God, using the same old strategy of deception to enlist his human

allies.  This time, his prospects are actually greater than they have ever been, because the

human population will have reached its highest number in history.  Mankind will finally,

as a result of a thousand years of longevity and perfect environment, “fill the earth,” and

the population will be practically innumerable, like the sand of the sea.  But even the old

Devil may be surprised at his success.  He will find the various nations much as he had

known them for thousands of years, but more ripe for his deceptions than they had ever

been before.  Certain of the nations had begun to neglect their duty to go to Jerusalem

for the feast of tabernacles, for example, and had been punished by a serious drought

in their lands.  Egypt had even experienced a plague (Zechariah 14:16-19).  As Satan

dispatches his demonic emissaries once again to the human kings of the earth, he will

be delighted at his quick and wide success (compare ch.16:13-16).  No doubt, the

demonic surge will be resisted by the resurrected saints serving as kings and priests

to the nations, but not even they will be able to stem the wholesale defections of the

world’s multitudes, eager for a chance to escape the bondage of righteousness.  The

age-old deceptions will again accomplish their deadly mission and gullible masses

will soon return to the evolutionary faith of their fathers, rejecting all the incontrovertible

proofs that God is Creator and Savior, preferring to hope that the universe itself is the

only eternal entity, out of which had emerged both God and Satan.  Needing human

leadership for his demon-possessed armies, Satan will find the most receptive minds

and hands among those ancient enemies of the Lord, Gog and MagogBabylon, of

course, had been completely destroyed just before the millennium, but the great

northern kingdom of Magog had again become strong and prosperous, like the other

nations, and was ready to take the lead once again in opposing God.  Magog, grandson

of Noah and second son of Japheth, had founded the great kingdom north of the Black

and Caspian Seas which became known as Scythia and eventually as Russia.  His name

seems to have been faintly preserved in the name of the ancient nation of Georgia

Similarly, Magog’s brothers, Meshech and Tubal, who also migrated into these northern

regions, are probably still slightly recognizable in the names Moskva (Moscow) and

Tobolsk.  There is little in the Scriptures about the histories of these people, except

Ezekiel 38 and 39, and not much light yet from archaeology.  But everything that is

known does point to the complex of peoples who would become the progenitors of

the great Russian empire of the latter days.  The two key chapters describing Israel’s

invasion by God and Magog and their cataclysmic destruction have already been

discussed in ch. 6.  Because of the reappearance at this point in Scripture of the

striking names Gog and Magog, it is not surprising that many commentators

interpret this section of ch.20 as the same event narrated in Ezekiel 38 and 39. 

However, the two have practically nothing in common except the names.  In Ezekiel

the armies attacking Israel are from several specifically named countries surrounding

Israel; in Revelation, they come from all over the earth.  In Ezekiel they are destroyed

by a great earthquake and volcanic eruption, in Revelation by fire from God out of

heaven.  In Ezekiel, the destruction is followed by a seven-month burial and a seven-

year bonfire of weapons.  In Revelation, it is followed by the renovation of the earth

and the last judgment.  We have already noted the reasons for believing that the events

in Ezekiel 38 and 39 occur near the beginning of the tribulation period and thus must

have taken place over a thousand years earlier than the battle of Gog and Magog

described here.  Even though most of the Magogites (or Russians) had been destroyed

during the tribulation, with their great commander Gog buried with his armies in Israel

even before the tribulation, there had been a godly remnant who had been spared, the

same as in the other nations.  The descendants of these, however, had multiplied rapidly,

so that Russia had soon again become a great millennial nation, possibly even readopting

its ancestral name of Magog.  One can suppose that after several generations the younger

Magogites had begun to rankle over the history of the destruction of their forebears, and

especially to resent the Israelites, both because it was in Israel that Gog’s empire had been

destroyed and because the Israelites now occupied the premier place among the nations. 

The armies of the other nations had been destroyed in Israel later, at Armageddon, and

now their descendants also began to share the same resentment.  But the new Magogites

and their new Gog were the readiest of all to rebel.  Therefore Satan and his demons will

use them to organize and lead one last army against the Lord.

                                                                                (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


9 “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the

camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down

from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” And they went up on the

breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the

beloved city; over the breadth. “They went up” as an army to attack the enemy

(compare Judges1:1). Either we must render the campeven the beloved city,

or else we must understand the camp as a defensive outpost placed around or

near the city. In Acts 21:34 the same word is rendered “castle.” “The beloved

city” is evidently Jerusalem (compare Psalm 78:68), that is, the Church of

God, of which it is always a type in the Apocalypse (compare ch.3:12; 21:2,10).

The description plainly portrays the Church militant here on earth. And fire came

down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. “From God” is omitted in

A, a few cursives, and Primasius, but appears in א, B, P, l, 7, and most cursives

and versions; but these authorities vary in the position of the added clause. So in

ch. 11 fire devours the enemies of the two witnesses. This sentence is introduced

in connection with the description of Gog and Magog, following the account of

Ezekiel, where the same punishment is FORETOLD (see Ezekiel 38:22; 39:6).

It is probable, therefore, that nothing more definite is intended than to convey

the general idea that God aids and protects His Church even while on earth. He,

as it were, gives the enemies of His people a foretaste, while here on earth, of their

future punishment of THE LAKE OF FIRE!  (see also on the seal visions).


These enemies of God here come against Jesus and the saints. In fact, they surround the saints.

The "beloved city" here mentioned is Jerusalem. When the devil thinks he has won, fire comes

down from heaven (from God) and devours them.  Again like in the battle of Armageddon

before the millennium started, this battle too will in all reality be an execution. As the rebel

forces moved in to attack, they are swiftly and totally exterminated. They will be physically

killed and their souls will go into the realm of punishment awaiting final sentencing to the

eternal hell that will shortly take place.  (


The narrative does not say how long a period of time will be occupied with this final

rebellion, only that it begins after the thousand years.  The pace of the record at least

suggests that it all transpires quickly.  Once Satan is released, his deceptions will find

quick and ready acceptance in disobedient minds and hearts throughout the world. 

Gog and Magog will send their agents everywhere, as will Satan, probably through

the mechanism of demon-possessed men and women.  During the millennium no

weapons of warfare will have been allowed (Micah 4:3), but it will no doubt be a

time of unprecedented scientific and technological advance, so it may not take long,

once circumstances allow, for the rebels to devise means by which they think they

can quickly conquer the great capital, Jerusalem the beloved, where Christ is reigning

with David and the apostles.  In great multitudes they will swarm from every direction

to surround the “camp of the saints” as well as the city of Jerusalem.  The word for

“camp” is also translated “castle” or “army,” and refers to an organized structure or

system for military defense.  These “saints” are the same who had come from heaven

with Christ to reign with Him on earth.  Evidently, when the dimensions of the human

rebellion reach global proportions, all of the redeemed and reigning saints will join their

Lord at the beloved city of the great King.  Presumably the people of Israel will remain

faithful to their Messiah this time, perhaps also godly remnants from the other nations

as well.  All who are faithful to the Lord, whether people in their natural bodies, resurrected

saints, or holy angels, will be gathered together in or near Jerusalem.  Surrounding them for

miles in all directions, perhaps even above them in hovering aircraft, the innumerable

multitudes of Gog and Magog, instigated and energized by the great Adversary of the

ages, will prepare one final great assault on Christ and His saints.  And now, finally, after

ages of grace and patience and mercy, God’s long-suffering comes to an end.  When mankind

is so quick to rebel against Him even after a thousand years of an all-but-perfect world,

providing every material blessing and even the personal presence of Christ Himself, there is

nothing else that the Lord can do to encourage and draw men to receive Himself as Savior. 

With all the greatest gifts of His love repudiated, and with multitudes choosing to follow

Satan instead, God will finally RING DOWN THE CURTAIN!  Suddenly it will seem

that the very heavens are on fire.  “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an

oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day

that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither

root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1).  A falling ring of fire will surround the holy city and the

legions of the saints, radiating outward in all directions until every last unregenerate human

being is engulfed and burned to death in the descending and surging sea of flames.  This is

but a foretaste of what will shortly become the rebels’ eternal fate after their bodies are

resurrected and cast into the lake of fire.  In the meantime, their disembodied souls will

commingle for a brief interlude with the raging demons of Satan, whose last and greatest

effort to dethrone God has terminated in abject failure.  Even after their release from the

pit and their easy seduction of the multitudes on earth, these principalities and powers of

darkness will still find themselves confused and powerless IN THE PRESENCE OF

THE GREAT KING!  Perhaps for a very brief moment all these lost spirits, both human

and demonic, will look to their master Satan for some desperately brilliant stroke of

diabolical cunning which can deliver them all from the terrible fate which seems about

to overwhelm them forever.  If so, they will realize soon enough that they have been

merely the willing dupes of the great deceiver, who had in turn DECEIVED HIMSELF

MOST OF ALL!  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and

brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be

tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  And they shall be

tormented. The last clause shows that this is the final judgment and

punishment of the devil. Thus at this verse is completed the whole series of

visions commencing at ch.12., in which are set forth the origin and

progress of the influence of evil, and the final termination of the conflict

between God and His Church on the one hand, and the devil and his

adherents on the other. It remains now only to shadow forth the surpassing

glory of the saints IN THEIR EVERLASTING HOME, and thus to bring

the book to a conclusion. This, therefore, is the theme of the remaining

chapters. (On “the devil that deceiveth them,” see on v. 3; and on “the lake

of fire and brimstone,” see on ch. 19:20.) Shall be tormented (compare

Matthew 8:29, “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”).


The beast and false prophet have been waiting for Satan in the lake of fire and brimstone

for the last one thousand years. Now their deceiver joins them.  There will not be a moment's

peace for them all the rest of eternity.  (


Here is the final end of the primeval cherub, the highest angel of all, the rebellious “son of

the morning” who wanted to exalt his own throne above God’s throne.  The great

blasphemer, the idol, the false god, the breaker of God’s rest, the rebel against his father,

the murderer from the beginning, the robber, the great adulterer, the father of lies, the

coveter of divine worship, the one who is the very antithesis of the holy and gracious

God, the Devil, will finally be cast forever into outer darkness.  The great deceiver is gone! 

He had deceived the whole world, beginning with Adam and Eve, and even after a

thousand-year confinement in Hades he had still been able to deceive the vast Millennial-Age

populations.  He had deceived a third of God’s innumerable company of angels into following

him in his cosmic rebellion.  BUT NOW HE IS GONE!  And if he had never realized it before,

he surely must have realized as he was hurtling toward the lake of fire, that he had deceived

himself first and most of all.  God indeed was all He had said – ETERNAL, OMNIPOTENT

AND THE CREATOR!  The cosmos was not the ultimate reality after all; God, in Christ,

had created space and time and all things, and therefore HE WAS AND IS KING FOR

EVER!   For a thousand years Satan’s two greatest human accomplices (the beast and the

false prophet) had already been tormented in the lake of fire and, as he himself plunges

into the fiery lake, he no doubt  will see them thereHELL IS TORMENT, not

annihilation!  It is the place where these evil men are, not were, even a thousand years later. 

Their bodies and souls had been “destroyed” in hell, but they are still there.  And SO WILL

SATAN and so will his angels, and so will all unsaved men and women FROM EVERY

AGE,  the antediluvians as well as the millennialites, continue in the lake of fire, in

conscious torment, day and night, forever (ch.14:11).  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


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.”  And I saw a great white throne. And I saw; introducing a

new phase of the vision (v. 1, etc.). A throne is seen as in ch.4.2; it is great, perhaps,

by comparison with those mentioned in v. 4; white, because this is the color of purity

and all heavenly virtues (compare ch.1:14; 2:17; 3:4, etc.). And Him that sat on it,

from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no

place for them. The true reading, “before the throne,” in the following

verse makes it clear that God the Judge is here intended. Perhaps from

Matthew 25:31 and John 5:22 we must infer that God the Son is meant.

The destruction of the world is complete“no place is found for

them;” they are annihilated. Such an event is nearly always portrayed in the

description of the last judgment in the Apocalypse and in the New

Testament generally (compare ch. 16:20).


This is JUDGMENT DAY!   Now John describes the terrifying scene set before him. He

sees the Judge who is seated on His throne of Judgment and all of the accused standing

before Him. The verdicts handed down from this throne will be equitable, righteous and

just.   We also remember Ecclesiastes 12:14, which promises, "God shall bring every

work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil"

as well as Romans 2:5-6, where Paul speaks of the day of God's wrath "when His

righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to

what he has done".  It is a fearful thing even to imagine standing before God

"from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away", and have nothing but your

own wicked works to show for the time on earth the Almighty had given you. On

that day the words of Paul the apostle will come true: "Now we know that

whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every

mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God"

(Romans 3:19).  The final word, of course, will be God's. This vision follows

those of the Second Coming and those of the Millennium, immediately preceding that

of the new heaven and new earth. The use for the earth is over. The earth, heaven, and

everything in them are under control of God, and if He tells them go they will have to.

This is an amazing, incredible statement that is describing the un-creation of the universe.

The earth was reshaped by the tribulation judgments, restored during the millennial kingdom,

now God will create a new heaven and a new earth as it states in II Peter 3:13. "Nevertheless

we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth

righteousness"  (


Now, before the amazed John a vision is unfolded of an even grander scene than any he had

ever witnessed before.  In fact, the spectacle is so blindingly glorious that the very earth itself

disintegrates before it. The fire which had fallen from heaven to consume the multitudes

following Gog and Magog seems to be nothing less than the unveiled glory, the pure,


Now that same cosmic power penetrates the very atomic structure of the earth and its

atmosphere, and they are vaporized in a gigantic holocaust that brings this present world

to an end.  This is the cataclysmic fire foretold by the Apostle Peter: “But the heavens

and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire

against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. . . . But the day of the

Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with

a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the

works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be

dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and

godliness, looking for the hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein

the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with

fervent heat?” (II Peter 3:7, 10-12).  The very elements (Greek στοιχεῖα  - stoicheion

a word properly referring to the fundamental components of matter, the very

“dust of the earth” out of which all things were made in the beginning) will be

“melted” (Greek λυθήσεται luthaesetailoosen; dissolve - translated “melt”

in 3:10, with respect to the elements, but “dissolved” with respect to “these things

in v.11 and with respect to “the heavens on fire” in v. 12).  The elements of the earth

are to be dissolved in the intense heat of the divine fire and all of man’s “works” on the

earth will also be burned up (Greek katakaio, καυσούμενα kausoumena -  wholly consumed). 

The agelong effects of God’s great curse on the ground (Genesis 3:17) must be purged from

the very elements before the earth can be renewed for its eternal purposes.  The great beds

of fossils and other testimonials of an age-long reign of sin and death must all be burned

away.  The atmosphere likewise will “pass away,” because its structure is inseparably

intertwined with that of the earth.  This is the same word used by Jesus in Matthew 24:35:

“Heaven and earth shall pass away.”  An even more graphic term is used here - “The

 earth and the heaven fled away.”  It is as though the sin-cursed earth quails before the

advancing glory cloud of the divine fire and runs away, disappearing in A GREAT


not be understood, however, as an actual annihilation of the earth and its atmosphere. 

By the principle of mass/energy conservation, nothing is ever actually annihilated,

except by a miraculous act of God, in God’s completed creation (Hebrews 1:3;

Colossians 1:17).  The phenomenon may well be one of mass/energy conversion,

with the “matter” of earth structure converted into “energy” (heat, sound, or light). 

This same energy will be available for reconversion into the materials of the renewed

earth, with all the contaminating effects of sin and the curse purged out of it.  On the

other hand, it may be simply that the solids and liquids of the earth will be dissociated

and vaporized by the intense heat. In either case, the solid earth and its atmosphere will

disappear and scatter their elements and energies out into space so that their former “place”

in the cosmos is bare and empty.  But then John sees the cause of their flight.  The awful

fire was merely a prologue, a field of divine energy advancing ahead of the mighty Creator

of the universe ascending His great throne of judgment.  There is no rainbow above this

throne (compare ch.4:3), speaking of grace in the midst of judgment.  There is no sign of a

Lamb on the throne, once slain in substitution for sinful men (contrast ch. 5:6).  Here is seen

only the great throne of divine justice, blinding in its whiteness.  No human figure can be

discerned there, no incarnate Son of man.  It is rather an awesome Presence, none other than

the triune Godhead, the Creator and King and Judge of the universe, “who only hath

immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” (I Timothy 6:16).

No explanation has been given concerning the inhabitants of the millennial earth, except

for the rebels who were devoured in the fire.  The camp of the saints and the beloved

city with its occupants had surely been preserved through the conflagration that

destroyed the Magogites, but then the earth itself had been burned up.  These saints

do not appear at the great white throne, and nothing further is said concerning them

until after the new Jerusalem descends to the new earth. Since at that time all the

people of God will be in the heavenly city, it is quite likely that ANOTHER GREAT

RAPTURE  will have taken place just before the dissolution of the earth.  The godly

Israelites in the beloved city as well as those from other nations who had remained

true to the Lord during the last rebellion, thus demonstrating the genuineness of their

faith in Christ, must have been “caught up to meet the Lord in the air,” translated to

the new Jerusalem still suspended high above the terrestrial atmosphere.  Those saints

who had already participated in the first resurrection and rapture, before the millennium,

will already have shared in the blessings of the heavenly city, but now there will be a

host of new inhabitants, coming out of the Millennial Age.  Before the blessings of the

holy city are described, however, the tragic events at the great white throne must be

revealed to John and recounted for our own admonition, for multitudes from our

own age will assemble there.   (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


12 “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 I saw (see on v. 11) the dead, small and great, stand

before God; the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne.

ALL THE DEAD, GOOD AND BAD as in Matthew 25:31-33. This is the

general resurrection; what John might have called the second resurrection,

with regard to the godly, who have once before risen to a life with Christ

(see on v. 5). Now, those who would not voluntarily share in the first


And the books were opened. Omit the article (compare the description in

Daniel 7:10). And another book was opened, which is the book of life.

This book has been frequently referred to (ch.3:5; 13:8; 17:8). The idea is not

uncommon throughout the Bible (compare Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1;

Luke 10:20). And the dead were judged out of those things which

were written in the books, according to their works. Both the godly and

the ungodly. “The books” show fully why certain names are selected and

inscribed in the “BOOK OF LIFE!”   Here is enforced again the lesson

with which the Apocalypse opens in the epistles to the seven Churches,

viz. that the reward will follow according to the works (compare ch.2:5;

3:15, etc.).


The "dead" are those who are spiritually dead because of their rejection of Christ. They

will stand in their resurrected state before Jesus to be judged by Him.  The books contain

the record of every unsaved person's life. Each unsaved person is judged in accordance

with his works (Romans 2:6,16), which clearly show that each one is a guilty sinner

(ibid. ch.. 3:9-19) deserving of eternal death (ibid. v.23; 6:23).  These statements

immediately call our attention back to the words of the Lord Jesus: "What you have

said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the

ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs" (Luke 12:3). And

"There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed

that will not be known or brought out into the open" (ibid. ch.8:17)

Remember that the Christian dead have already won their victory. Those are

judged by Jesus at the Bema Seat. Now is this final fearful scene, where these

include all unbelievers who have ever lived. This is the resurrection of judgment

and they stand before Christ now at the White Throne Judgment.  The scope of the

scene is chilling. The great mass of these unbelievers before God's throne includes

everyone from presidents and kings, to paupers. There is no partiality with God as

ALL WILL NOW FACE JUDGMENT!  "Books" is plural here. There are books

which contain a person's every thought, word and deed. Nothing will be hidden.

Think about the fact that God knows the secrets of one's heart.  God has kept perfect,

comprehensive and accurate records of every person's life (deeds), and those will be

measured against God's perfect and holy standard.  Those who didn't accept Jesus

will have to stand or fall on their deeds. Of course, they will all fall if they didn't

accept Him, because scripture clearly tells us that "all have sinned and come short

of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)  The Book of Life is the Lamb's Book of Life

where the names of all believers are written who have accepted, believed and followed

Christ. The Christian's sins HAVE BEEN DONE AWAY BY THE BLOOD OF

JESUS!   Those Christians all have their names written in the Lamb's book of life

and will not taste of THE SECOND DEATH!  (


The terms “dead” and “death” in these verses refer to the body rather than to the soul. 

The latter, of course, had continued its conscious existence in Hades during all the

centuries when the body was dead.  As noted before, the term “resurrection” also

applies only to the body.  Those who were “dead in Christ” (I Thessalonians 4:16)

had all been resurrected from the dead before the millennium, but the “rest of the dead

lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (v.5).  That was the first

resurrection, this is the second resurrection.  Over these will also prevail a second

death (vs. 6, 14).  But for one awful hour they must stand before God for judgment. 

This will be the “resurrection of damnation” spoken of by Christ (John 5:29). 

Actually the word “damnation” is a translation of the Greek word κρίσεως - kriseos

which is normally and properly translated “judgment” (see, for example, the next verse,

ibid. v.30, “my judgment is just”).  Thus this passage in John 5:29 says that the first

resurrection will be unto life, the second unto judgment.  Those who have believed

on Christ unto salvation will not appear for judgment at the great white throne at all. 

“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life,

and shall not come into condemnation [same  Greek word, κρίσιν - but is passed

from death unto life” (John 5:24).  God has books in heaven, so that no deed or

word of any man or woman who ever lived has been lost.  These books may be in the

form of scrolls as used in John’s day; or bound pages as in our day, or some other type

of book about which we know nothing.  Possibly they will consist of something analogous

to modern videotapes.  If man can use electronics to preserve sights and sounds, there is no

question that God, who created all forms of electromagnetic energy in the first place, CAN

CERTAINLY DO IT, and far more efficiently at that.  No unsaved man or woman should

ever take comfort in the fact that certain of their ungodly words and deeds were performed

in secret.  “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid,

that shall not be known and come abroad” (Luke 8:17).  Evidently the record of all these

works of every individual will not only be shown to God, but also will be displayed to

everyone else, so that all will know that God bases His judgment on the true facts. 

God would not need books of records Himself, of course, since He is omniscient,

so that these books apparently are mainly for a testimony to all His creatures.

(There would be nay-sayers and those who question God’s ability if there were no

records – “These things thou has done, and I kept silence; thou thoughest that I

was altogether such an one as thyself:  BUT I WILL REPROVE THEE AND

SET THEM IN ORDER BEFORE THINE EYES!” – Psalm 50:21 – CY – 2015)

There is also another book, which is not a book of records of works but THE BOOK

OF LIFE!  In this book had once been inscribed the name of every child ever conceived

and who, therefore, had been granted “life” by God.  Sadly, however, multitudes during

their lifetimes (whenever it became evident that they had irrevocably rejected God’s

provision of salvation for them through Jesus Christ) had had their names “blotted out

of the book of life” (ch.3:5; Exodus 32:33; Psalm 69:28).  This book will also be opened,

as the resurrected dead stand before the awful Majesty on the shining throne.  Then judgments

will be pronounced, one after another, as each stands before God for A REVIEW OF HIS

LIFE!  If each were to take an hour, the tribunal scene would last perhaps five million years,

(assuming 45 billion people to be judged).  But this is nothing in the scale of eternity.  This

judgment is to be based on works, so all of man’s works must be reviewed, and reviewed

fairly, in light of opportunity and motivation.  “And that servant, which knew his lord’s

will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with

many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be

beaten with few stripes.  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much

required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more”

(Luke 12:47-48).  God’s punishment, in each case, will be carefully meted out in

PERFECT JUSTICE!  (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


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.”  And the sea gave up the dead which

were in it. It is difficult to decide upon the exact signification of this clause.


(1) It may be inserted in order to show the universal nature of this

resurrection, although it may not, in conjunction with the next part of the

verse, constitute a strictly logical classification of the dead.


(2) The sea being a type of the ungodly nations, the sentence may mean

those spiritually dead, but living on the earth at the time of the judgment.

The next clause seems to support this view.


And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; death and

Hades (see ch.1:18; 6:8). As in ch.6:8, the two — really one — are

mentioned separately, the latter being looked upon as the guard house of

those whom the former has seized. This clause, taken in conjunction with

the preceding one, may mean — From the ungodly nations, those

physically living but spiritually dead were called up for judgment, and also

those who were actually dead, having been seized by death and Hades.

And they were judged every man according to their works. A solemn

repetition of v. 12 (which see).


Those who are lost wait in torment in a place of punishment until judgment day. The terrible

thing is that they are aware that they will be thrown into the lake of fire on judgment day.

These are all of the unbelievers though all ages who have died. They will be raised up by

Christ for judgment called the second resurrection.   Before the sea was uncreated and

disappeared out of existence, it gave up the dead that were in it. The sea may be

mentioned as it is seemingly the most difficult place from which dead bodies could

be resurrected. But God will summon new bodies for all who perished in the sea

throughout history.  Death symbolizes all of the places on land from which God

will resurrect new bodies for the unrighteous, unrepentant dead.  As the next scene

in this courtroom drama unfolds, the lost will be summoned to appear before the judge.

Since their deaths, their souls have been tormented in a place of punishment, now

the time has finally come for them to be judged and sentenced.  (


When “death” overtakes a man, his body decays and goes back to the dust.  However, in

most nations his body is first buried in some kind of tomb, and this was true of the nation

of Israel in particular.  Consequently, the terms “death” and “the grave” are often used

essentially as synonyms in Scripture, as in I Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting?

O grave, where is thy victory?”   However, when the body dies, the soul descends into Hades

(the word for “hell” here is Hades; see discussion on ch. 1:18).  In most cases, the body had

been claimed by “death,” that is, by a tomb in the ground.  Many, however, have drowned

in the sea, so their bodies were never in the ground.  Many also have had their bodies cremated

and their ashes scattered.  But wherever they are, God is able to call the atoms all back into

place, presumably in the same form as when they died.  Bodies will emerge from both land

and sea and, as they come, the great pit of Hades will also disgorge all its imprisoned souls,

enabling them to reenter their former bodies.  One other reason for the initial reference to

the sea here is probably the tremendous numbers of people who had been drowned long

ago in the waters of the great Flood (Genesis 6:17).  The Flood had destroyed the first

cosmos (II Peter 3:6); now the fire had destroyed the second cosmos (ibid. v.10) each

slaying multitudes of sinners.  It is possible that the souls of those who had perished in

the final conflagration had never reached Hades proper, since the physical earth had

been dissolved soon after their own destruction.  This possibility is intimated by the

reference to “the dead” in v. 12, right after the holocaust.  Thus, first there may be a

reference to those who died in the fire, then to those in the Flood, finally to all others

buried in graves, with Hades then emptying out all its lost souls when the great fire

dissolved its walls.  In any case, every unsaved man or woman through the ages, from

every nation of every time, rich or poor, mighty or insignificant, educated or ignorant,

all will be raised in their old bodies of flesh to stand before God in judgment.  This

resurrection will not, like the first, be a resurrection unto life, however – that is, the

bodies will not be immortal, like those of the saints in the first resurrection, but will

be the same old mortal bodies, still subject to pain and death.  Paul says that “death is

swallowed up in victory” at the time when “this mortal shall have put on immortality,”

but that God gives “us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:54, 57). 

Those who refuse to follow Jesus Christ obviously will not share in His victory.  There, in

an aching, trembling body of flesh, every man will have to watch his deeds in the flesh

displayed to the whole creation so that both he and every other man must finally

acknowledge that his condemnation is just.  Some may protest, as their evil works

are reviewed, that they have also done many good works, even many religious works. 

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?

 and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work

iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).  Since they have rejected God’s grace and His offer of

forgiveness and salvation through personal faith in Christ, and have chosen instead to

offer their own meritorious works in payment for salvation, God will indeed judge them

by their works.  But it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done” that He

can save us, since the measure of righteousness is Christ Himself, and “all have sinned,

 and come short of the glory of God” (Titus 3:5; Romans 3:23).  None have attained

God’s standard, and therefore “they were condemned every man according to their works.”

                                                                                (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)


14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second

death.”  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire; death

and Hades (see on v. 13). Lake of fire (see on v. 10). This is described

in accordance with Paul’s teaching. “The last enemy that shall be

abolished is death” (I Corinthians 15:26, Revised Version). Death and

Hades, though in reality abstractions, are here personified. This is the

second death. Add [even] the lake of fire. John has not used the

phrase, “the first death,” but he has alluded to the fact. The first death is

the actual death of the body, and which is the natural result of that

spiritually dead state into which, since the Fall, man is born, and which is

therefore, as it were, his normal state. In a similar manner, the first

resurrection is the risen spiritual life of conversion; while the second

resurrection is the resurrection of all men, and the bestowal of eternal life

upon the just.


The result of a judgment according to works can only be condemnation, so “death and Hades,”

that is, everyone whose body had been dead until the second resurrection and whose soul

had been locked in Hades, are cast into the lake of fire.  There they will remain forever,

with the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41), as well as the beast and false prophet,

who had already been judged and condemned a thousand years earlier (v. 10: ch.19:20).

The exact character and location of the lake of fire have not been revealed in the Scriptures,

but there is no reason to question the physical reality of its fires.  There are more than

twenty references in the New Testament alone to these fires of hell, most of them in

statements of the Lord Jesus Himself, with no indication in the context that they are

figurative fires of some kind.  If, indeed, they do symbolize something else, no

explanation is given anywhere as to what they designate.  The warnings are given with

such urgency as to leave no doubt that they should be taken with all seriousness.  At

the very least, one would have to conclude that the reality, whatever it might be, is

every bit as fearful and tormenting as actual fires would be, so that no one should take

any comfort in the thought that they might not consist of real fire.  The location of this

final and everlasting hell of fire cannot, of course, be on this present earth, since the

present earth is to be dissolved (II Peter 3:10).  It also seems highly unlikely that it

will be on the new earth, since that will be an earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness”

(ibid. v.13), and a fiery cauldron tormenting billions of unrepentant sinners forever

would surely seem out of character anywhere on such an earth.  Furthermore the lake of

fire had been in existence even before the millennium, in order to receive the beast and

the false prophet and yet it obviously survives the vaporization of the earth at the end

of the millennium.  There are Scriptures which at least intimate that it may be located

in some far corner of the universe, almost infinitely removed from the new earth and its

holy city.  Jesus spoke of apostate “children of the kingdom” who would finally be

“cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). 

He used similar terms with respect to the usurper without a wedding garment: “Bind him

hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be

weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13).  The same judgment was meted to

 the “unprofitable servant” (Matthew 25:26-30).   In Jude’s epistle, the false teachers

are said to be “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever”

(Jude 1:13).  Peter says such people are those “to whom the mist of darkness is reserved

for ever” (II Peter 2:17).  These two expressions (“blackness” and “mist”) are translations

of the same Greek word, both expressing the concept of an impenetrable cloud.  The same

word is translated “darkness” in II Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6, both speaking of the chains

now binding the fallen angels awaiting the judgment.  This “outer darkness” in some

way must correspond to the “everlasting fire” into which the Lord Jesus also indicated

the unsaved would ultimately be cast (Matthew 25:41).  The Apostle Paul says that all

those “that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord

Jesus Christ. . . shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the

presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (II Thessalonians 1:8-9). 

The term “destruction” here does not connote “annihilation,” but rather “death”

in the sense of bodily death (compare I Corinthians 5:5) or “ruin.”  The word

“from” (Greek ἀπὸ - apo) is significant, carrying a strong sense of “away from.” 

That is, the ungodly will be sent into their condition of eternal ruin in some location

far away from the location of God’s personal presence, where His glorious power is

specially manifested.  Since this location is on the earth, in the new Jerusalem (ch.21:23),

the conclusion must be that the unsaved are removed from there as far as possible.

All of these specifications seem to point to the likelihood (though we cannot be certain

at this time) that “hell” (Greek γέεννα - gehenna), or “the lake of fire,” will be located

on some far-distant star.  A star, after all, is precisely that, a lake of fire There are

indeed, stars and galaxies that, although “burning,” do not give off light in the visible

part of the spectrum, so that they consist of both “fire” and “cloudy darkness.”  One

might even suggest a “black hole,” if and when such objects are actually proven to exist,

would fit the description.  Wherever the lake of fire may be, there is still the question

as to whether resurrected physical bodies can burn forever in a cauldron of real physical

fire.  It is possible, of course, that the fire will immediately consume these bodies, so

that they will actually go through a physical “second death” similar to their first death,

leaving their disembodied souls to suffer forever in the lake of fire.  That souls can

actually suffer in some way in a fiery environment is indicated by the testimony of

the rich man in Christ’s parable.  “And in [Hades] he lift up his eyes, being in torments . . .

And he cried and said, . . . send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water,

and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:23-24).  It seems

that the souls in Hades (as well as those in Paradise – note II Corinthians 5:1-4) retain a

form of spirit body which resembles their respective earthly physical bodies.  Even

disembodied souls seem to be recognizable in terms of their earthly identities.  Note

the remarkable descriptions of the dead in Sheol in Ezekiel 31 and 32, as well as Isaiah 14. 

That being so, such spirit bodies also may possess spirit senses and are capable of

experiencing feelings analogous to those they possessed in the flesh.  We obviously

have little understanding of such things, having no instrumentation with which to

measure degrees of pain or pleasure experienced by persons who are without their

physical bodies but who still retain the spirit/soul identities associated with those

physical bodies.  We can only infer that such things are real on the basis of these and

other Biblical intimations to that effect.  This is another possibility.  Just as the

resurrected physical bodies of the saints will be living forever, perhaps the resurrected

bodies of the unsaved will be dying forever.  That is, their physical bodies will not be

consumed by the fire, but will eternally remain in a state of being consumed!  This seems

almost unthinkable, except for the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself seems to have

issued this dire warning.  Three times (Mark 9:43-48), He spoke of the awful danger of

being “cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm

dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Gehenna, translated “hell” in the above and

other passages, received its name in reference to the valley of Hinnom, outside Jerusalem. 

Into this valley in ancient times were cast the dead bodies of criminals, as well as all

the city’s refuse.  The terrible contents of the valley were continually being eaten of

worms and were also frequently set on fire, so that the valley indeed often had the

appearance of a lake of fire.  The Lord Jesus seemed plainly to be saying that in THE

ULTIMATE GEHENNA the bodies of its inhabitants would be unconsumable bodies,

everlastingly being consumed by undying worms and burned by unquenchable fires.

We have no idea how such a thing could be possible.  The Lord will see to it, however,

that the glorified resurrection bodies of the saints will be fully physical bodies, no

longer subject to pain or death, “according to the working whereby He is able even to

subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).  If He can do the one, He can

surely do the other, making the unglorified resurrection bodies of the ungodly

eternally subject to pain and death.  If this should prove to be the correct understanding

of this dread prospect, it is indeed appropriate to equate the lake of fire explicitly with

the second death!  Whatever the exact meaning of all these sobering warnings may be,

it is obvious that those who die as lost sinners face A TERRIFYING FUTURE!

 If these should all be mere symbols, the reality must be still worse.  No wonder Jude

urges that many should be saved “with fear, pulling them out of the fire” (Jude 1:23).

(The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)



15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast

into the lake of fire.”  And whosoever was not found written in THE

BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire; and if any was not, etc.

This is practically a reiteration of what has been twice before solemnly

asserted (see vs. 12-13).


The second death is eternal punishment in the lake of fire, experienced only by the unsaved.

Once this final judgment occurs, there is no further need for either death or hell (Hades)

(ch.1:18; 6:8, Isaiah 25:8; I Corinthians 15:26,55). An eternal separation is now made

between those who have life and those who have "death" (“everlasting contempt!” Daniel

12:2; John 5:29).  It does not mean these places are thrown into the lake. It means the

inhabitants of these places.  This final hell is described as the lake of fire. It may already exist

but presently is not occupied until the beast and the false prophet is cast into it. They don't

arrive there until the end of tribulation.  Those who die in their sins in this world WILL DIE

A SECOND DEATH IN ETERNITY!   They will be sentenced to the lake of fire forever

at the great White Throne Judgment.  Whether this fire is symbolic, the reality it represents

will be even more horrifying and painful. The Bible also defines hell as A PLACE OF

TOTAL DARKNESS which not only separates the unbelievers from the light, but from

each other as well.  What is written in these last two verses should drive each of us to

continue to spread the gospel as long as there is breath in your body. I cannot bear to

think of anyone I know going to this terrible place of torment.  And that's it. In a ball

of celestial flame, the rebellion is over. There will be no repeat of the plagues of the

Tribulation, nor of the judgments of the Great Tribulation. Once and for all, HUMAN


will be crystal clear to a watching universe that THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION


human heart into A RECEPTACLE OF GOD’S HOLINESS!  The Millennium will

prove that even the best of conditions, a thousand years of peace, prosperity, safety,

long life, health, abundance, cannot change the wickedness of the unredeemed human

heart. ONLY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAN DO THAT!  Awesome is the Word –

It probably is not humanly possible to meditate on these awesome truths for extended

periods of time. Who can long ponder the lake of fire, an eternal place of torment,

possibly billions of unredeemed souls, A DIVINE PERSON "from whose face the earth

and the heaven fled away," or fearsome books of judgment that seal the fate of the

unsaved?   And yet our Lord tells us of these awesome events. Why? TO GIVE US


Remember, no believer in Christ will stand before God at the great white throne. That

terrible spot is reserved only for those who have rejected Christ as Savior, who have

decided to crown themselves king, and who have refused to accept Jesus Christ as their

true Lord.  Do not make that terrible mistake! Instead, place your faith in the Lord Jesus

and ask Him to forgive your sins; then you will be ready "to stand before the Son of Man"

at the judgment seat of Christ. (Luke 21:36) One thing is certain: You will stand in one place

or the other. Hell or Heaven. Make sure its the latter. And don't think that you can choose

not to believe there is such a thing as heaven or hell. It makes no difference. Everyone will

be judged and assigned to one place or the other. As on earth, it is the same there, ignorance

is no excuse of the law!  Sometimes, when I am with a group of people who I feel are lost,

I cry for hours. I am not a crier, but I remember this Scripture. It is so easy to get your name

written in the Lamb's book of life. In Romans 10:9-10, IT WILL TELL YOU HOW!


  • 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe

        in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."


  • 10:10: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the

        mouth confession is made unto salvation."


You see, Jesus must be our Lord as well as our Savior. If you truly believe, you will repent

and be baptized. If your name is not written in the book of life, DO NOT DELAY!   DO


Not only are lost men and women condemned by the record of their works but also by the

absence of their names in the Lamb’s book of life.  One can speculate that beside each

person’s name as entered in the book at time of conception will be recorded the time of his

“age of accountability,” the date of his conversion to Christ as His Savior, and evidence

demonstrating the genuineness of that conversion.  However, if there are no entries for

the last two items by the time that person dies, the entire record will be blotted out (ch.3:5),

and an awful blank will be left in the book at the place where his name would have been. 

Exhibiting this blank spot in the book will be the final and conclusive evidence that the

person being judged must be consigned to the lake of fire.  As already pointed out, there

will be degrees of punishment in hell, just as there are degrees of reward in heaven, both

being based on works in light of opportunity and heart motivation.  With all the unsaved

alike being cast into the burning lake of fire and brimstone, it is not yet revealed as to the

 means by which the more wicked will be made to suffer there more than the less wicked. 

Exactly what is meant by the “many stripes” and the “few stripes” of Luke 12:47-48, and

 how it will be “more tolerable” for Sodom and Tyre “in the day of judgment” than for

Capernaum and Bethsaida, as Jesus warned in Matthew 11:20-24, are unanswered questions.

In one sense, wickedness generates its own suffering.  Among the last words of the Bible

are these: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still”

(ch.22:11).  Men and women will have to live with themselves and their own sinful, yet

unrequited, lusts and hatreds FOREVER!  After all, THAT IS WHAT THEY PREFERRED

TO THE LOVE OF CHRIST!  This consuming evil will surely torment them in proportion to

its intensity.  It may also be that the resurrection bodies designed for them by God at the

“second resurrection” will be designed with individual nerve systems whose sensory responses

are graduated in proportion to the degree of punishment appropriate to the individual, so that

the actual pains of hell will be felt differently by each one.  Or it may be that some other

graded system of punishment will be used of which we have no inkling at this time.  God is

surely able to inflict His punishments in PERFECT JUSTICE, INDIVIDUALLY

TAILORED!  We do not have very much specific information on this subject in the Bible,

but we do know this much: every unsaved man and woman will spend eternity in conscious

suffering in the terrible lake of fire, the second death.  These same ungodly men and women

today scoff at such a notion, even using it as an excuse for rejecting Christ. “How could a

God of love,” they say, “send someone to such a horrible fate in retaliation for a few years

of sin and rebellion on earth?”  They forget, however, that God has already suffered all

these pangs of hell Himself, in substitution for them, when Christ died on the cross.  In fact,

He suffered infinitely, as the sinless One made sin for us, THE AWFUL SEPARATION

FROM GOD  which is the essence of hell, to deliver them from suffering eternally that

same separation.  No matter how great or numerous the record of their sins in God’s books

may be, the mere record of their names in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the

foundation of the world would be MORE THAN SUFFICIENT TO SAVE THEM

from the lake of fire and reserve for them AN UNDEFILED INHERITANCE IN

HEAVEN in the presence of the Lord (1 Peter 1:3-5).  God loved them and Christ died

for them, to give them forgiveness and eternal life.  But they did not desire Him nor His

love nor His presence.  They preferred to continue in their sins, independent of God and

His will.  There is no punishment that could possibly balance such a crime as this.  To

despise the loving care of their Creator and the infinite suffering of their Savior for them

is to strike at the very heart of God and the purpose of their creation.  This infinite sin

will continue forever in their hearts, so they will actually suffer less in hell than if they

were forced against their will to spend eternity in the presence of the One whom they

have spurned and hated.  Finally, we should remember that the authority for these fearful

warnings is none other than Jesus Christ, the One who has the keys of Hades and death

(ch.1:18).  Whether we can fully understand the ways of God or not, THERE IS NO


LORD JESUS CHRIST!  He is not only:


·         the Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16) and

·         the Judge of all men (John 5:22)

·         but is the only man who has conquered death Himself. 


When He warns of everlasting fire and outer darkness and the undying worm, we can

be sure He is telling us things as they really are.  Furthermore, even the Book of

Revelation has come from Him (ch.1:1, 11) and He is Himself the Judge who will send

the unsaved to their second death in the lake of fire.  The most tragic and foolish mistake

that one could ever make would be TO IGNORE HIS WARNINGS  AND REJECT

HIS WORD!    “For the wages of sin is death; but THE GIFT OF GOD IS


                                                                (The Revelation Record – Henry Morris)



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