Rev. 20:1-6 An Exegetical Study

AN EXEGETICAL STUDY OF REVELATION 20:1-6

 

AN EXEGETICAL PAPER

 

BY

JOE HOOTEN

 

 

Revelation 20:1-6

Rev 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.

Rev 20:2  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

Rev 20:3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

Rev 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Rev 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

 

Section #1. Preliminary Passage Overview

  1. Variants
Verse NASB NET NLT KJV
vs 1 abyss abyss bottomless pit bottomless pit
vs 1 great chain huge chain heavy chain great chain
vs 2 serpent of old ancient serpent that old serpent that old serpent
vs 3 shut it and sealed it locked and sealed it shut and locked shut him up and set a seal upon him
vs 3 would not could not could not should…no more
vs 3 were completed were finished were finished should be fulfilled
vs 3 must be released must be released would be released again must be loosed
vs 4 and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them
vs 4 because of the word of God because of the word of God for proclaiming the word of God. for the word of God
vs 4 had not received refused to receive nor accepted neither had received
vs 5 come to life…were completed. come to life…were finished come back to life…had ended lived not again…were finished.
vs 6 the one who has a part the one who takes part those who share in is he that hath part

 

  1. Summary

The passage states that an angel will bind and seal away Satan for one thousand years. During this time Satan will no longer be able to deceive the nations nor us as individuals. The passage tells us that at the end of the thousand years that Satan will be released again for a short time. Those who were beheaded for their testimony in Christ and the Word of God will be resurrected and will be given the authority to judge. This is the first resurrection and we are told the second death will not be in effect for them. They are given the right to reign during this thousand years because they refused to worship neither the antichrist nor his image; they also refused to receive his mark upon their neither foreheads nor hands. The passage tells us that the rest of the dead are not resurrected until the thousand years are completed. The passage also tells us that Christ himself will reign over the earth for one thousand years and that those who have been resurrected will be his priests.

  1. Theological implications

This passage is a key passage forecasting the millennial reign and kingdom of Christ. It is also a key passage on the resurrection of the dead. It addresses the doctrine of Christology in that it predicts the millennial reign of Christ on earth. The passage also deals with the doctrine of angelology where it speaks of an angel binding Satan and sealing him away from the world. Anthropology is also present in this passage predicting the future of men after their resurrection. Theology proper is also in this passage because the resurrected dead will be priests of God. Bibliology is mentioned in the passage because it speaks of those beheaded for the word of God. Of course, being predictive prophecy and speaking of things yet to come makes this a passage of eschatology.

  1. Presuppositions

The biggest doctrinal presupposition I have in this passage is I believe in predictive prophecy. I believe that the Bible is God’s word and entirely accurate and reliable in all to which it speaks. I believe that the passage speaks of a literal thousand year period of time. I believe that Christ will return to the earth in physical form and reign over the earth. I believe in a literal resurrection of the dead and that there is more to death than nothingness and that everyone will spend eternity either with God or apart from God. I believe in the existence of a real Satan who deceives people and works against God here on the earth. I also believe in the existence of angels who are the messengers of God and do his good work.

 

Section #2. Background/Context Summary

The apostle John claims to write this book in chapter 1 verse 1. In verse 3, he specifically tells us that this is a work of prophecy. It is written in the form of a letter to the seven churches in the province of Asia (1:4). At the time of the writing of the Revelation, John is exiled on the island of Patmos having been sent there for his testimony in Christ (1:9) most likely by the Roman government.

John was one of Jesus closest friends. He is referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). We know that he and his brother James were among the first to follow Jesus. Jesus gave them the nickname the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). John wrote five books of the New Testament including: the Gospel of John; the letters 1, 2, and 3 John; and the book of the Revelation. John’s story can be found throughout the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the Revelation.

The fact that this is a prophetic letter written to the churches is extremely important when considering how to interpret the book. First, the book being prophecy will most likely have both an immediate and a future application. Second, there is symbolism that must be taken into consideration. Thirdly, this letter had meaning to the contemporaries of John to whom it was written, we should be quick to look for this meaning. It is also important to note that the letter was written by one of Jesus’ closest friends. John would have taken great care to communicate Jesus’ message clearly out of respect for his dear friend, reverence for his God, and knowing that it would hold particular importance to those who read it. We should be careful not to look too deeply for some kind of hidden meaning within the book of the Revelation and within this passage.

 

Section #3. Outline/Structural Summary

Key to structural summary/outline: Rev. 1:19 “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”

  1. What You Have Seen (the past): Rev. 1:1 – Rev. 1:20, Rev. 22:6-21
    1. The Glorified Christ: Rev. 1:12 – Rev. 1:16
    2. The Seven Stars: Rev. 1:12 and Rev. 1:20
    3. The Seven Lamp stands: Rev. 1:16 and Rev. 1:20
    4. Jesus’ Final Words to Believers: Rev. 22:6-21
  2. Things Which Are (the present): Rev. 2:1 – Rev.3:22
    1. Letter to the Church at Ephesus: Rev. 2:1-7
    2. Letter to the Church at Smyrna: Rev. 2:8-11
    3. Letter to the Church at Pergamum: Rev. 2:12-17
    4. Letter to the Church at Thyatira: Rev. 2:18-29
    5. Letter to the Church at Sardis: Rev. 3:1-6
    6. Letter to the Church at Philadelphia: Rev. 3:7-13
    7. Letter to the Church at Laodicea: Rev. 3:8-22
  3. Things Which Will Take Place After These Things (the future): Rev. 4:1 – Rev. 22:5
    1. In Heaven
  1. Worship: Rev. 4:1 – Rev. 5:14
  2. Behind the Scenes: Rev. 7:9-17, Rev. 10, Rev. 19:1-10
    1. On Earth
  1. The Seals: Rev. 6:1-17, Rev. 8:1-5
  2. The 144,000: Rev. 7:1-8, Rev. 14:1-5
  3. The Trumpets: Rev. 8:6 – Rev. 9:21, Rev. 11:15-19
  4. The Two Witnesses: Rev. 11:1-14
  5. The Announcement of Judgment: Rev. 14:6-13
  6. The Bowls: Rev. 15:1 – Rev. 16:21
  7. Satan At Work On the Earth: 12:1 – Rev 13:18, Rev. 17:1 – Rev.18:24
  8. The Second Coming: Rev. 14:14-20
  9. Satan Bound/Millennial Reign of Christ: Rev. 20:1-6
    1. Final Judgment
  1. Man: Rev. 20:5-6, Rev. 20:11-15
  2. Satan and His Crew: Rev. 19:11-21, Rev. 20:7-10
    1. New Heavens/Earth/Jerusalem: Rev. 21:1 – Rev. 22:5

 

Six times in seven verses John tells us that there will be a thousand year period. Five of those six are within this passage. There must be some importance and significance to this reiteration and that should be considered during the interpretation of this passage. The passage’s placement within the book of the Revelation could also hold some bearing to the interpretation of the passage. It is wedged between the defeat of the antichrist and his armies and the final defeat of Satan. Then, the eternal abode that God has in store for his people is created. This passage offers the fulfillment of the prophecies predicting Christ’s reign as king on the earth.

 

Section #4. Grammatical Summary

In this section, I will be exploring the grammatical keys that make up this passage. First off, there are several historical/cultural references with which the readers of the passage should be familiar.

  1. “angel”
  2. “the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan”
  3. “I saw thrones”
  4. “testimony of Jesus”
  5. “the word of God”
  6. “the first resurrection”
  7. “the second death”
  8. “priests of God and of Christ”

This passage, being a work of prophecy, must also be handled carefully as we look for figurative language. John is describing for us as best he can what he saw. There are a few things he describes that we should look at as figurative or should we look upon them as the only way John could put into words what he was witnessing or they could be taken entirely literally.

  1. ”an angel coming down from heaven”
  2. “holding the key to the abyss and a great chain”
  3. “laid hold of the dragon…and bound him”
  4. “threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him”
  5. “thrones, and they that sat on them”
  6. “the souls of  those who had been beheaded”
  7. And repeatedly, “thousand years”

There are also several key phrases used in this passage that I have not already pointed out among the historical/cultural references and the figurative language.

  1. “would not deceive the nations any longer”
  2. twice, “until the thousand years were completed
  3. “judgment was given to them”
  4. “those who had not worshiped the beast or his image”
  5. “had not received the mark…”
  6. “came to life” and “come to life”
  7. “will reign” and “reigned”

All of these references and how God leads us to handle the “figurative” language in this passage will have a profound impact on the interpretation of this passage. Within a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic, this passage should be taken literally as to its meaning and context, even though it has figurative and poetic language within it.

 

Section #5. Lexical Summary

            Within the passage there are many key words at which we should look.

  1. “angel”
  2. “abyss”
  3. “dragon”
  4. “deceive”
  5. “nations”
  6. five times, “years”
  7. “judgment”
  8. “testimony”
  9. two times, “reign” or “reigned”
  10. two times, “resurrection”
  11. death

The one word that I would like to take a closer look at is the word “years”. This one word appears five times in these six verses. What does the word mean?  In English, a year means a period of 365 or 366 days, in the Gregorian calendar, divided into 12 calendar months, a period of approximately the same length in other calendars,  a full round of the seasons.[1]  The Hebrew calendar is made up of twelve months, 360 days, which is what John would have known.

The word in Greek that John used was etos. The word simply meant a year. The word is apparently a primary word, meaning it has its root in the Greek and no where else. It is a neuter noun.[2]  Robertson’s Word Pictures tells us that etos is an accusative of extent of time as used in this context.[3]

The word years is used in the NASB New Testament 55 times. John used the word himself a total of 9 times. Six of those times are found in the book of the Revelation, all within Rev. 20:1-7. The other three times are in the Gospel of John, John 2:20, 5:5, and 8:57. In John’s gospel, the word is used to describe a person’s age two times and the number of years it took to build the temple in the third instance. John had a firm command of the meaning of a year. He also used other measures of time in writing the Revelation. He speaks of months in chapter 11 verse 2 and days in chapter 11 verse 3 and days again in a couple of other places. John gives us no indication whatever that he is not speaking of literal days, months, and years, quite the opposite. So when we read this passage, we should accept that John is describing a literal thousand year period and not look for some other meaning that stretches our understanding of the meaning of a year into something that John never intended that it be.

 

Section #6. Biblical Context Summary

            The theme of the Revelation is the future of the human race. It contains within it Christ’s final instructions to believers on how to relate to him in the best way possible. Then it contains a dynamic vision of the future that he holds for us and the rest of the world. The Revelation is a book of hope, justice, and above all, demonstrates the glory and power of God almighty. The letter also tells us that its purpose is to be a blessing to those who read it. Chapter 1 verse 3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!”

Immediately before we come to chapter 20, chapter 19 verses 11-21, Christ returns to the earth in power and glory. He destroys all those that stand to oppose him. The armies of the world that are gathered against him are slaughtered. He captures the beast and the false prophet and casts them into the lake of fire.

Then, starting in verse 7 of chapter 20, the devil is allowed to deceive the people of the world once more. The devil gathers together a new army that stands to oppose God. Fire comes down from heaven and consumes the gathering armies. The devil is then thrown into the same lake of fire occupied by the beast and the false prophet. There they stay for eternity.

In the end of chapter 20, verses 11-15, the dead are judged before the great white throne. Those whose names are not found within the Book of Life are judged according to their deeds and then thrown into the lake of fire, which constitutes the second death. The final two chapters of the book of the Revelation describe the eternal abode God sets up for those who have believed in Christ.

Chapter 20 verses 1-6 are an aside between the end of the old world ruled by evil and the final judgment to come and the eternal residence created for us by God. The power of God is demonstrated as Satan is bound and powerless. We see the hope of the resurrection we are promised in Christ fulfilled. We are given an opportunity to see a world ruled by Christ in perfect justice in fulfillment of God’s promises of a literal kingdom on earth where Christ sits as king. This passage is a preview of the eternal promises of God fulfilled.

 


Section #7. Theological Context Summary

            There are many theological principles contained within this small passage of Scripture. The doctrines of Theology proper, Christology, angelology, anthropology, and eschatology are all represented in this passage.

It says that the souls were beheaded for the word of God (vs 4). These same souls were beheaded for their testimony in Christ. That along with the reign of Christ mentioned in verse 4 and verse 6 and that they (those taking part in the first resurrection) will be priest of Christ (verse 6) make this a passage of Christology. We can look at Mark 13:13 for one of our principles, persecution for belief in Christ. Another principle here is that Christ will return to rule over the earth.

Theology proper is mentioned in verse 6, saying that they will be priests of God. The principle being that those represented in the first resurrection will be members of a royal priesthood as also mentioned in 1 Peter 2:9.

This is a passage of anthropology also. Man is represented in several ways. The nations no longer being deceived are made up of men (verse 3), those sitting upon the thrones are the souls of men (verse 4), these men were resurrected (verses 4, 5, and 6), and became priests (verse 6). The principles here are several. Men are deceived by Satan. Those martyred will have a special place as judges and rulers in the new kingdom to come. And, man has his hope in his resurrection in Christ. Men will be the priests of God and Christ in the kingdom to come.

Angelology is strongly represented in verses 1, 2, and 3. An angel comes down, binds Satan (who is also a part of angelology), and allows him to deceive the nations no more for a thousand years. One principle is that Satan is only allowed to work on earth as long as God allows him. Also, God’s angel is more powerful that Satan. Lastly, Satan is a deceiver. The passage says that the souls were beheaded for the word of God and their testimony in Christ (vs 4). So, another theological principle is that Satan has always tried to destroy those who follow God and will continue to do so in the future. This principle can also be categorized under eschatology.

Finally, eschatology is clearly represented in this passage. The reason being, that the entire passage, as with most of the Revelation, has to do with things to come in the last days. The predictive prophecy of the millennial reign of Christ is the focus of this passage of Scripture. The principle being that God is the author of history and knows not only what was and is, but also what will be.

The context of the Revelation is the future of man, most of the book is predictive prophecy of the things to come in the end times (eschatology). Angels play a key part in the unfolding of what is to come in the end times (angelology). The end of Satan and his minions comes about during the end times (angelology). Most of what we know about God is contained with the pages of God’s word (Bibliology) and the Revelation is the final chapter in God’s plan for man’s eternal destiny (Theology proper and anthropology). The central character in God’s story is his son Jesus the Christ (Christology).

 

Section #8. Correlation Summary

I reviewed five commentaries while researching Revelation 20:1-6.

  • Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Revelation by Charles Ryrie[4]
  • The Book of the Revelation by Lehman Strauss[5]
  • Lectures on the Book of Revelation by H.A. Ironside[6]
  • Commentary on the Bible by Adam Clarke[7]
  • The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck[8]

All the authors that I read with the exception of Clarke used a literal grammatical historical method of interpretation. Adam Clarke seems to use a spiritualized interpretation.

Those using a literal hermeneutic agree with me that the events in the first six verses of chapter 20 of the Revelation should be taken literally. They agree in a literal binding of Satan, though there is disagreement whether a literal chain, spiritual or not, is used in the binding of the Deceiver. I think the passage is speaking of the spiritual type of chains used elsewhere in Scripture for the binding of spirits and angels (Jude 6).

There is question whether or not the angel spoken of in verse one is Christ or a created angel. I think that since Christ has returned to the earth at this point (19:11-16) and since I could find no where in the New Testament I was satisfied Christ is referred to as an angel the angel in the passage is probably a created angel.

Most of the authors agree with me that the passage speaks of a literal thousand year period of time. Clarke does not agree however. Clarke believes that the thousand years are a figurative period of time. Most of the authors summarize the postmillennial, premillennial, and amillennial views of when the thousand years take place. Those who believe in the literal thousand years agree, as do I, that this time must come after the second coming of Christ (premillennial).

There is disagreement as to who is included in the first resurrection. The views are widely varied. Clarke doesn’t seem to believe in the first resurrection at all. Other authors disagree as to how many groups are mentioned in verse four. One suggests one group, another two groups, another three separate groups and yet another, a total of four groups. I did not really consider these different views when I made my initial interpretation of the passage. Reading over my own initial interpretation, I assumed only one group within the verse mentioned. However, upon reading these others, I agree with Ryrie, that there are three distinct groups mentioned those on the thrones, those beheaded, and those who refused the mark. I agree, also, with Ironside that the first group, those on the thrones, includes three groups in itself, the Old Testament saints, the New Testament saints, and the tribulation saints.

All the writers agree that the second death is that of eternal punishment. That those who did not believe in God and in Christ will be resurrected to be judged at the end of time and then sentenced to the second death which is separation from God for eternity. I agree with this view.

This concludes my correlation summary. Those who used a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic, as I did, were largely in agreement on all major points. However, he who used a non literal hermeneutic was in disagreement on almost every point made in this passage.

 


Section #9. Analysis and Impact

            Revelation 20:1-6 is a passage rich with meaning and promise. These verses are a source of hope and strength for believers in Christ. They provide security and assurance of the rewards to come for all those who choose to live and die for the Word of God and for Jesus. These verses predict a period of time on the Earth when Satan has been bound and no longer has the power to deceive the peoples of the Earth and the saints will reign all over the Earth with Christ as the supreme ruler. This period of time is commonly been referred to as the Millennium. As I interpret this passage, I will be using a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic.

As we look into the passage and pull out the meaning that the Lord has for us here, let us start at the beginning. In the NASB, verses 1-3 read like this:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”

Most English translations, including the KJV[9], NET[10], NKJV[11], and NLT[12], include the words, and or then, to begin verse one. In the Greek, the word kai, Strong’s tells us kai is:

apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.[13]

This suggests that verse one of chapter 20 is the continuation of the progression starting in chapter 19. In chapter 19, the Lord has returned to Earth in the form of the rider on the white horse (vss 11-16). He has conquered the beast-the antichrist, the false prophet, and all the armies of the Earth that stood against him (vss 20-21). This progression supports the premillennialist view that Christ will return to Earth prior to the start of the Millennial kingdom.  The other two views, postmillennialism and amillennialism, require the use of a non-literal hermeneutic. Postmillennialism states that Christ will not return to the earth until after the end of the Millennium. The amillennialist view denies the existence of a literal Millennial kingdom.  I believe that this passage specifically teaches us that Christ will return before the Millennial kingdom begins.

As verse one continues, we are told that John sees an angel descending from heaven. There is debate whether this angel is our Lord Jesus or a created angel. Since Christ has already returned to the Earth at this point, having returned in verses 11-16 of chapter 19, and I could find no where in the New Testament where Christ is referred to as an angel[14], this must be a created angel.

The angel is holding in his hands the key to the Abyss and a great chain. This chain which will soon be used to bind Satan could be a literal spiritual chain. In Jude 6, chains are used to bind evil angels. This chain is referred to as a great chain, a great chain to bind the great dragon (Rev. 12:3, 9).

Whether this is a literal chain, as I believe that context supports, or a figurative chain, in verse two, it is used to bind the devil, that serpent of old, Satan. He is bound and sealed away in the abyss. Satan is only allowed to work on the Earth as long as God permits it. The Lord’s angel is more powerful than the greatest source of evil the world has ever known. As believers, we can take strength and comfort in the fact that God and his angels are stronger than the devil and his minions. This means that, as in the book of Job and is stated in Romans 8:28, the things that we go through are allowed by God, and work for our own good according to his purpose.

The end of verse two, and verses three, four, five, and six, all refer to a thousand years. This is where the term millennium stems from. The word millennium is actually Latin[15], and though it actually occurs nowhere in Scripture, simply means a thousand years. The Apostle John, writer of the book of Revelation, used the Greek term, chilioi etos, simply put, a thousand years. The question becomes did the apostle mean a literal thousand years or is this some figurative number. Throughout the book of Revelation, John has used literal amounts of time. In his Gospel, he also used literal years to describe peoples’ ages in a couple places. He has spoken of days (Rev. 11:3, 11), months (Rev. 9:5, 10; 11:2; 13:5), and now in this passage years. There is no reason to suggest that John has used some figurative or spiritualized amount of time here. As believers, we can look forward to a thousand years while Satan has been bound and has no power over us.

Now, in verse three, we are told that Satan has been sealed in the abyss. It is said that he will be able to deceive the nations no longer until the thousand years are completed, and then he will be released again for a short time. The fact is that the devil is a deceiver. He twists the minds of people to make them doubt and turn against God. He is our enemy and is given this title throughout the Scriptures. He is also the enemy of God. However, he only has power so long as God allows it. He is still under the dominion of God as we all are. Though he is a deceiver, we can find solace in that God will only allow him to deceive the nations for so long. And then the Earth will experience a time when man will no longer be deceived and no longer has an excuse for his behavior other than his own desires.

The next section of this passage is one that is full of promise for those who have believed upon Christ. It reads:

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Rev 20:4-6 NASB)

 

This passage, like the one before it, begins with that same word kai. It is the continuation of a progression. Immediately after the capture of Satan, John saw these things yet to come.

He saw those sitting upon the thrones. This word, for us today, brings to mind a king. However, in John’s time, this throne would have signified a seat upon which a potentate or governor would have sat, one who could judge over the affairs of those beneath them[16]. Someone with authority, yet with a role of deference to someone higher up as well, in this case, we find out that those sitting upon these thrones is governors under Jesus as sovereign king. Those sitting upon these thrones are quite probably the believers of the ages (19:7-8, 14, 19; cf. 2:26-28; 3:12, 21). This would be those of us today who believe in Christ, one of our rewards for faithful service.  Verse 4 of chapter four says that there are twenty-four elders sitting upon thrones. It could also be these to whom John is referring.

John also saw those who had been martyred for their testimony in Christ and for their belief in the Word of God. And, those who had refused to take the mark of the beast on their foreheads and hands. Satan, as long as he is allowed power on the Earth, will always persecute those who believe in God. Compare verse 4 to Mark 13:13, we will be hated for our allegiance to Him.

All these are said to be brought back to life[17] and reign with Christ for the thousand years. This will be a time of great peace upon the Earth, the time spoken of when the Earth will be returned to a state much akin to the Garden of Eden. A time long forecast by prophets and promised by God (see, Ps. 110:3; Isa. 2:1-4; 11; 19:23-25; 35; 65:17-25; Jer. 23:5; Ezek. 40-48; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:23-27; Amos 9:11-15; Mic. 4:1-4; Zech. 14:3-12; Matt. 19:28; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:6; Rom. 11:26-27, among many others).

We are told that this is the first resurrection. This is understood to be a physical, bodily resurrection. Those who take place in it will be blessed and made priests of God and of Christ. This resurrection is the promise made to all those who believe in Christ, who persevere in their faith. Our belief in the resurrection is the hope we have in our salvation through Christ Jesus. Those who do not believe we are told do not get to take part in this resurrection and do not get to enjoy the benefits of living in paradise on Earth. Their resurrection is reserved for a later time (Rev. 20:12-15), they will suffer the second death (v. 14), the eternal separation from God that we are told that those who believe in Christ will never experience for the second death has no power over them.

Those reading this letter, John’s contemporaries, would have taken away hope from this passage. They believed because of it, that Christ would return soon. They believed they would have justice for their mistreatment at the hands of their persecutors. They would have seen this passage as the fulfillment of all the Messianic promises of God. This passage, says John Walvoord, are more crucial than any others in the Bible to the interpretation of the Scriptures as a whole.[18]  For those of us today, we can take away this same hope. Whether Christ returns in our lifetimes or in 2000 more years, we have the promise of his return. We have the promise of a kingdom in which Christ is Lord of all. Where we will suffer no more persecution, entertain no more doubts, be deceived no longer.

Studying this passage has given me a richer appreciation for the Word of God. It has given me a deeper understanding of the promises to come. It has given me even more hope and renewed my fervor that Christ will return. This passage has demonstrated to me once again the wonder of the Scriptures. The amazing power God demonstrates to us in the prophetic words that both have already been fulfilled and those yet to be fulfilled. How awesome is the Lord?  Indescribable. How wonderful are his words? Indescribable. How deserving of our love and respect?  Indescribable. I pray that these words serve as a meager offering of my love and devotion to the God of all, the Lord most high. May the beauty of the Word of God saturate your heart and mind.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Constable, Thomas L. Notes on Revelation. http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/revelation.pdf. 2010. (Accessed: March 2, 2011).

 

Ironside, H.A. Lectures on the Book of Revelation Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1930.

 

Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Ryrie, Charles C. Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Revelation. Chicago: Moody Press, 1996.

 

Strauss, Lehman. The Book of the Revelation. Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1965.

 

Strong, James. Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries. 1890. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Etos”.  “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. 1999. (accessed: February 06, 2011).

 

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. e-Sword v.9.8.3.

 

Walvoord, John F. “The Theological Significance of Revelation 20:1-6.” In Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost, pp. 227-38. Edited by Stanley D. Toussaint and Charles H. Dyer. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.

 

years. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/years (accessed: February 06, 2011).

 

 

[1] years. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/years (accessed: February 06, 2011).

[2] Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Etos”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon“. . 1999.

[3] Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[4] Charles C. Ryrie, Everyman’s Bible Commentary: Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 131-133.

[5] Lehman Strauss, The Book of the Revelation (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1965), 329-337.

[6] H.A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1930), 333-342.

[7] Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[8] John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[9] King James Version

[10] New English Translation

[11] New King James Version

[12] New Living Translation

[13] James Strong, Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, 1890, e-Sword v.9.8.3.

[14] Some people believe that the strong angel of Revelation chapter 10 is Christ. I do not agree with this view.

[15] from New Latin, from Latin mille  thousand + annus  year

[16] Strauss, 334.

[17] This resurrection must be differentiated from the rapture and resurrection of the saints in 1 Cor. 15:51-52 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17. Those of the rapture return with Christ at the second coming (Rev. 19:14) after having taken part in the marriage supper of the Lamb.

[18] John F. Walvoord, “The Theological Significance of Revelation 20:1-6,” in Essays in Honor of J.

Dwight Pentecost, p. 227.

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