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Revelation 20 Reading Guide

Dig In:

Chapter Overview:

  • v1-3 - The final perspective on Christ's coming victory begins with John seeing an angel bind Satan and lock him in the Abyss for 1,000 years.

  • v4-6 - The souls of those who've been saved in Christ came to life and reign with Christ for 1,000 years.

  • v7-10 - After this period of Christ's reign comes to an end, Satan is released from his prison.

    • He immediately goes back to his tried and true pattern of deceiving people, gathering them for a massive battle.

    • Yet this final effort ends before it even begins as fire devours the entire army and Satan is disposed of in a fiery lake.

  • v11-15 - All people who have ever lived face a final judgment, and all will face one of only two outcomes: all who have not been saved in Christ join Satan in the fiery lake, while all those in Christ join Him in the new creation described in the coming chapters.

Dig Deeper:

Revelation 20 is one of the most controversial chapters in the entire Bible. One of the biggest arguments among Christians is how to understand the thousand years of peace this chapter refers to. There are two main camps (this will be a very simplistic description, painted with a very broad brush. There are all sorts of distinctions even within these two main categories.) -

  1. Premillennialists - This interpretation has Christ returning before the 1,000 years. This position tends to be pessimistic about the future, in that society will get worse and worse. Some premillennialists think that suddenly Christians will be raptured, and those 'left behind' will face a time of tribulation. Finally, Jesus will return and usher in a 1,000 year period of peace before commencing the final judgment. This position had its heyday around the turn of the 20th century among fundamentalists and other adherents of the Scofield Bible.

  2. Postmillennialists - This position is a little more common in our circles. They understand that a duty Christians have is to build up the Kingdom of God. As this becomes more solidified, Christ will bless it in such a way that a 1,000 year period of peace occurs, at the end of which, Christ will return.

Revelation 20 is the only chapter in the Bible that refers to this 1,000 year period, and the language it uses is frustratingly vague. Both of these interpretations can claim the text supports their position, but both positions have significant holes in them as well. This is why most Reformed theologians favor a third interpretation:

  • Amillennialism - As its name implies, this position says there will not be a specific millennium. The understanding here is that the 1,000 years is a symbolic number, just like every other number in Revelation. This period of peace and Satan's repression was inaugurated with Christ's victory on the cross and will end at Christ's second coming.

Old Testament Reference:

Daniel 7:9–10 (NIV)

“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,

and the Ancient of Days took his seat.

His clothing was as white as snow;

the hair of his head was white like wool.

His throne was flaming with fire,

and its wheels were all ablaze.

A river of fire was flowing,

coming out from before him.

Thousands upon thousands attended him;

ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

The court was seated,

and the books were opened.


  1. EYE FOR DETAIL— What will the earth and heavens do win the Lord returns (v11)?

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our great and mighty Father, who will return in glory to make all things right and new;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the strength to continue to stand against the world and be preserved with God's people;


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