ON REVELATION - LESSON 19
Revelation 19 and 20
Little Stevey couldn't
believe it when his dad told him they were going to the Astrodome.
The boy had never seen a professional baseball game in person. And
he was going to, what was then, the only domed stadium in the world!
Stevey's anticipation was so intense he could hardly stand it. The
week before the game dragged by so slowly. One morning Stevey saw
his dad in the garage bent over the hood of the car. This must be
it! They were going! No, his dad told him, he was just making sure
the station wagon was ready for the trip to Houston. The boy felt
keenly disappointed. The next morning he saw dad packing. This must
be the day! No, his dad said again, they just had to make certain
preparations to stay overnight. Disappointment again.
finally the day came when they really did drive down to the city and
walk into this incredible stadium with a dome towering above them. Stevey
quickly forgot all about his earlier disappointments. He was right in
the middle of the main event. Batter up! The thing he'd dreamed about
was right before his eyes.
The book of Revelation
actually takes us through an experience similar to Stevey's. Several
times it seems to take us to the brink of the second coming of Jesus.
But then it detours back through history. Or it takes an excursion
to fill in certain prophetic details. We feel a little disappointed.
Where's the main event? But now that great spectacle that lies at
the center of the book of Revelation is here. In the excitement of
Christ's return to planet Earth, we will soon forget all about our
earlier disappointments. The long trail of human tragedy, deceit,
and death, which Revelation has unfolded, will pale into nothingness
as eternity with our forever friend Jesus becomes a realityright
before our eyes.
Second Coming of Jesus
During his vision
of the seven seals, John looked through an open door into heaven
(Revelation 4:1, 2). In Revelation 11:19 he looked deeper into heaven
and saw the chest (ark) that contains the Ten Commandments. Then
the innermost part of heaven is unveiled to him. John sees Jesus
as a celestial General seated on a powerful, perfectly-groomed, white
horse. Jesus gallops down a star-filled galactic passage, followed
by the armies of heaven. What a cavalry charge! The soldiers are
dressed in pure, white uniforms made from the finest linen. Each
is riding a horse the color of newly-fallen snow. What an imposing
sight they make! Where are they heading? To planet Earthyour
doorstep and mine. They are headed here because we are headed home!
In vision, John saw Jesus returning to earth on a white horse as a conquering
What did John say Jesus' eyes looked like? (Revelation 19:12.)
A flame of fire.
The eyes of an eagle.
What did John see on Jesus' head? (Revelation 19:12.)
A circle of bright stars.
3. What was Jesus clothed with? (Revelation 19:13.)
A bright light.
A pure white robe.
A robe dipped in blood.
What did John see coming out of Jesus' mouth? (Revelation 19:15.)
A sharp sword.
A scroll containing the Word of God.
A river of water of life.
We have discovered
in previous lessons that the pure, white robe represents Jesus' righteousness
which He offers to all as a free gift. To emphasize the significance
of His sacrifice and the purity of heaven, the riders and horses
all appear in white.
It's common for
soldiers from various countries to wear "dog tags" around their necks,
which state their name and rank. The heavenly soldiers and their
General are similarly identified.
What four names are given to Jesus in this vision? (Revelation 19:11-16.)
Messiah; the Son of Man; Counselor; King of kings.
Faithful and True; a name that only Jesus knows, the Word of God; King of kings
and Lord of lords.
Melchizedek; Michael; High Priest; the Prince of the host.
These names of
Jesus are really fantastic promises for you and me! Think about it.
and True: Jesus is your best Friend, completely dependable.
He is totally genuine, One who always keeps His word.
- The Word
of God: Jesus lived out what God is like. He makes
God understandable for us. That is why we need to contemplate
and study the life of Jesus each day.
of kings and Lord of lords: This is Jesus' royal title.
There is to be no doubt who really is sovereign in the universe.
Jesus has won complete victory over Satan.
Symbols in this scene:
- Sword: The
Bible or Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).
of heaven: angels.
on Jesus' robe: His blood He shed for
our sins (1 Peter 1:17-21).
robe of Jesus: His righteousness with
which He covers sinners.
- Rod of
iron: Symbolizes authority. Also, the shepherd used
a rod to protect his sheep (John 10:7-18; Psalm 23:4).
Destruction of Sinners at Christ's Coming
These verses portray
again the battle of Armageddon, which we read about in chapters 16
and 17. As Jesus and His angels are pictured descending from the
heavens like an army on horseback, the results of the battle are
announced. And John gives us another image. He describes the coming
of Jesus to unrepentant sinners as an invitation to the "supper of
the great God" (Revelation 19:17). This is very different from the "marriage
supper of the Lamb" in verse 9. When Jesus comes, all human beings
will have chosen between two dinner parties. We can be present at
one, but not both. Every individual is invited to the first, the
marriage feast of the Lamb. Those who refuse to attend automatically
become part of the second, the "supper of the great God." We must
choose one or the other. The first supper represents eternal life
with Jesus. The second represents eternal death.
In this final battle between good and evil, who are on the two sides
fighting against each
other? (Revelation 19:19.)
The beast, the kings
of the earth, and their armies are fighting against Jesus who sits on
horse and His armies.
The beast and the kings of the earth are fighting against Babylon and
the image of the beast.
The dragon and his armies are fighting against the kings of the earth
and their armies.
In verses 20, 21,
notice the full and complete destruction of those who've joined the
political and religious regimes which oppose God and His truth.
What happens to the beast and those who support him in this final battle?
(Revelation 19:20, 21.)
The beast and the false prophet are captured and destroyed with the sword; their
supporters are taken into captivity until it is decided what to
do with them.
The beast and the false prophet are captured and confess their sins against
God; they and
their supporters are pardoned.
The beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown into the lake
of fire; the rest of
their supporters are killed with the sword.
They were all cast
into the "lake of fire" or killed by the "sword of God" (His Word).
NONE are left alive. There is complete annihilation of sinnersnot
by God's choice, but by their choice.
Jesus did not
want this to happen. The Bible calls Him the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah
9:6). He does not like war. He did not start this battle; Satan did,
thousands of years before in heaven.
thousands of years Jesus has been patient. He has grieved deeply over
starving families, raped women, abused children, the butchery of war,
bodies racked with disease and pain. Sin has been allowed to run its
natural course so that we humans and the heavenly creation could observe
how dreadful sin really is. We will never want it to surface again for
eternity. Every created being will understand sin for what it really
is. The issues in the great controversy will be clear.
For thousands of
years, God has been working to draw human beings to Himself. He came
into this world to be born as a man, to live a perfect life, to die
sacrificially on the cross in order to save us. He demonstrated clearly
what God's character is really like. But in spite of all this, many
people still turn their backs on God's offer of salvation. In His
mercy, Jesus says it is time to end the pain and suffering of sin.
Jesus has been consistently loving and kind, "not willing for any
to perish" (2 Peter 3:9). But the time to make all things right has
come. Mercy and justice must be meted out.
The time period
in the Bible that describes how sin will end on this earth is a one-thousand-year
period called the millennium. Interestingly enough, despite its wide
use, the word "millennium" is not found in the Bible. The word "millennium" is
adapted from ancient Latin translations of the Bible. It is formed
from two Latin words: "mille," which means "a thousand," and "annum," which
means "year." Revelation 20 will help us to understand what takes
place during these 1000 years.
Millennium (Revelation 20)
As previously mentioned,
Revelation 20 centers on a thousand-year period that follows the
second coming of Jesus. The events surrounding this thousand-year
period mark the final act in the conflict between God and Satan that
has been taking place since sin entered the universe (we studied
about this in earlier lessons in this series). The drama reaches
its climax at the end of the thousand years when our sinful world
is cleansed forever from sin.
To assist in understanding
what we are going to study in the next few verses, the following
list summarizes the events that take place during the millennium.
The sections that follow this summary will give the details and supporting
Events of the Thousand Years
- Jesus returns
to this earth.
- Righteous dead
- Living righteous
taken to heaven.
- Bodies of righteous
- Living wicked
- Wicked who have
in their graves.
- Satan bound
on the earth.
the Thousand Years
- Earth desolatea "bottomless
- Wicked are all
- Satan confined
to the earth.
- Righteous are
in heaven with God.
- A judgment time
is taking place in heaven.
of the Thousand Years
- Wicked dead
on the earth are resurrected.
- Satan is loosed.
- Satan deceives
the wicked who are resurrected.
- Holy City descends
- Wicked surround
the Holy City.
- Wicked are destroyed.
- New heavens
and new earth.
shows us that two resurrections serve as boundaries of the thousand-year
period. Keep this in mind as we look at specific texts in Revelation
Beginning of the Millennium
The second coming
of Jesus takes place (Rev. 19).
8. Whom does God raise from the dead in the first
resurrection that takes place at the
beginning of the
thousand years? (Revelation
Those who have died in their sins without repenting of them.
Those who are blessed and holyGod's followers.
Those who died without ever hearing the name of Jesus.
who have accepted Jesus (the righteous dead) are resurrected and join
the righteous living to meet Jesus in the sky. This is the first resurrection.
We read additional
information in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17: "For the Lord Himself will
descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,
and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with
them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall
always be with the Lord."
At the second coming
of Jesus, when the righteous are taken to heaven, all sinful human beings
who are alive are destroyed. The sinful dead remain in their graves.
(In addition to the following texts, see Revelation 6:15-17).
2:8 refers to this event: "And then the lawless one will be revealed,
whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy
with the brightness of His coming."
9. After the righteous are raised to life, how long will it be until
the rest of the deadthe
wickedare raised? (Revelation
One thousand years.
Ten thousand years.
Twenty thousand years.
How long will those who are raised in the first resurrection reign
Jesus? (Revelation 20:6.)
One thousand years.
Ten thousand years.
Twenty thousand years.
Then the bodies
of all the righteous are changed. "For our citizenship is in heaven,
from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His
glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even
to subdue all things to Himself" (Philippians 3:20, 21).
Satan is bound
on the earth; he cannot leave this planet.
How long will Satan be bound? (Revelation 20:2.)
One thousand years.
Ten thousand years.
Twenty thousand years.
12. Where is Satan thrown after he is bound? (Revelation 20:2, 3.)
the depths of the ocean.
the bottomless pit.
an uninhabited world at the far reaches of the universe.
What happens to Satan at the end of the thousand years? (Revelation 20:3.)
is given one final opportunity to repent of his sins.
is allowed to present his case against God to the entire universe.
is released from the bottomless pit for a little while.
will Satan be doing on Earth? Absolutely nothing, except bitterly regretting
his loss of heavenly stature and bemoaning the fact that he lost the
battle with God. Satan will be unable to deceive anyone because the
wicked are scattered in death across the face of the Earth and Christians
are in heaven. Satan is chained or "bound" by circumstances to this
Those who have
accepted Jesus live with Him in heaven during the thousand-year
20:4. "And I saw thrones and they [God's people] sat on them."
What are the resurrected saints doing in heaven with Jesus during the
They are praising God day and night.
They are sitting on thrones participating in the judgment.
They are praying for their loved ones who have rejected Jesus.
During the thousand
years, the righteous will review the cases of wicked human beings
and fallen angels, including their leader, Satan. God wants to
assure us that all His judgments have been fair. It is also fitting
that the martyrs of the faith and other battle-scarred followers
of Christ who have suffered for Him will be able to understand
God's dealings with the wicked.
God gives Christians
the opportunity to evaluate His judgment on those who stubbornly
rejected Him. We know what it is like to struggle in a sinful world.
Some of those left behind may be relatives, friends, and work associates.
We may have questions, like: "Where is Aunt Mary? She donated money
to the homeless every year." "Where is Fred? He was such a good
neighbor." When we go over all the records and judge the dead "according
to their works, by the things which were written in the books" (Revelation
20:12), we will see for ourselves that God has been fair and just
in His dealings with everyone. We will see how every individual
ultimately has decided his or her own fate, choosing God's side
The Close of the Millennium
At the close
of the thousand years the curtain lifts on the final events of
What happens to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, at the end of the thousand
It comes down to earth out of heaven.
It is destroyed by the wicked under Satan's leadership.
It remains in heaven where the wicked cannot attack it.
The city that
has been the home of God's people for a thousand years descends
from heaven to our world.
What happens to the wicked dead at the end of the thousand years? (Revelation
Nothing; they continue sleeping in the grave.
They are cursed by God for their sins, and their dead bodies are burned
They are raised to life.
The "rest of
the dead" must refer to the wicked dead, because the righteous
dead came to life in the first resurrection at the beginning of
the thousand years. So it is the wicked who are resurrected in
the second resurrection at the close of the thousand years.
Satan, who has
been bound on Earth for the thousand years, is set free.
What does Satan do when he is released at the end of the thousand years?
(Revelation 20:7, 8.)
He admits that God is fair and recommends that the wicked throw themselves
on God's mercy.
He goes out to deceive the nations and gather them to battle.
He asks God for the opportunity to speak to the people of earth and present his
case against God.
What do Satan and the armies of the resurrected wicked do when they see
City? (Revelation 20:9.)
They surround it, getting ready to attack it.
They stand in awe at its beauty and strength, knowing they can never enter.
repent of their sins and ask God if they may join the redeemed inside the city.
Satan is seizing
his last opportunity. He thinks he's back in business. He has the
to attackthey've descended from heaven. He has the wicked to leadthey've
been resurrected. It's just like old times. Satan will be able to plot
strategy with military geniuses from all periods of Earth's history.
Generals who have conquered empires and ruled the world can organize
and lead Satan's armies. It's a perfect setup. The city is not fortified;
the Christians have no guns or ammunition.
gives the command to march against the city. His armies converge from
every corner of the globe, marching in precision. They approach the
Holy City, which hovers just above the earth. From it God's glory floods
the world with His majesty and grandeur. The wicked of all the ages
stand under its transparent golden walls. They are poised to attack
and seize this magnificent city. But suddenly silence grips the multitude.
No one can speak. No one can move. They realize they are standing in
the presence of God. And it dawns on them what this means. They are
lost! They've given up eternal life! This glimpse of the horror of being
lost forever is overwhelming.
Final Judgment Scene Takes Place
Here for the first
and last time, every person ever born on this earth stands in one
place at the same moment. What an event! The two sides of humanity
are face-to-face. Read verses 11-13 for a further description of
this momentous occasion.
The Bible does
not fill in all the details, but it appears from these verses that
as the wicked stand before God, their entire life opens before them.
Jesus unfolds before watching humanity what appears to be an enormous
movie. It fills the sky with the full story of His dealings with
fallen angels and fallen men and women. God is concerned that everyone
understand His fairness. He even wants the lost to see how much He
longed to save them. It's their own decision that has placed them
outside the walls of that glorious city. Christ's plan to save sinners
is displayed in living color. The wicked realize that Jesus loves
them with unshakable love. But it's too late! They are compelled
to bow before Him as King of kings and Lord of lords, recognizing
His justice and mercy.
- Romans 14:10,
11 declares, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of
Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, Every
knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.'"
- Revelation 5:13
says, "And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and
under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in
them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power
be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and
For centuries Satan
has been slandering God's character, accusing Him of being cruel
and unfair. But now all those accusations have been answered. There
are no questions left. Even Satan is silent. He has run out of lies.
The saved and those who are lost both acknowledge that Jesus, the
Lamb of God, is worthy of our love and worship. The largest choir
ever assembled, consisting of every human being ever born, declares
with one voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain" (Revelation 5:12).
What ultimately happens to sinners at the end of the thousand years?
continue their rebellion against God for another thousand years.
repent and are forgiven.
comes down from God out of heaven and devours them.
20. What finally happens to Satan at the end of the thousand years? (Revelation
He is thrown into the lake of fire.
He is chained and shut up again in the bottomless pit.
He is torn to pieces by the angry multitude of those he has deceived.
21. When sin and death themselves are destroyed, this is called: (Revelation
the first death.
the second death.
the third death.
22. Who is thrown into the lake of fire at the end of the thousand years?
Anyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life.
Only the Devil and his angels.
Only the Devil and his angels along with a few of the most wicked and
depraved sinners from all ages.
and the vast throng of wicked people have to admit that God's way
their hearts are not changed. Their characters remain sinful. God's
holy fire must destroy sin. That's the final judgment. Satan and
the wicked who gathered to seize the Holy City are destroyed forever.
is what is called the "second death," or eternal death. The fire
cleanses the earth thoroughly; no trace of sin will be left.
§ § §
June 9, 1939 England's King George the Sixth received an enthusiastic
American welcome from crowds lining the streets of Washington, D.C.
He then proceeded to the British Embassy to review a special honor guard.
Among them was Thomas J. Michael, a man who had a very special reason
for wanting to meet the monarch of the British Empire. As a boy growing
up in one of Wales' poor mining towns, he'd missed the chance of a lifetime.
The king was going to pay a rare visit to a neighboring community. Thomas
went with his dad to stand by the road and catch a glimpse of the monarch
they regarded with great awe. But some boys wanted to play soccer. So
Thomas went off to a nearby field for a few minutesand just missed
the king's carriage as it drove through.
He'd always regretted
missing the king. But now, decades later, he was standing in his
uniform outside the British Embassy, as a veteran of World War I.
There were fifty men in two rows. As King George began shaking hands,
Thomas wondered if he'd actually be able to speak to the monarch
face-to-face. His excitement and nervousness was almost unbearable.
he was, in front of him. King George asked, "Captain Michael, where
did you serve?" Thomas answered, "Your Majesty, I served in the Gallipoli
campaign, in Mesopotamia, and in India." The king reached out his
hand and said, "Thank you for all that you did for us."
Thomas J. Michael
would never forget those words. They made all the terrors he'd endured
in war meaningful. They made him feel that someone understood what
he'd been through. But above all they were spoken by his king, face-to-face.
Will You Be Standing?
God longs to speak
to us face-to-face. He longs to say those words, "Well done, good
and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21). Where will you be standing
when God gives His final verdict? Whose side will you be on? No matter
what you've done in your life, no matter what you've gone through,
God can make everything meaningful. He can give you a place inside
the city with Jesus and the redeemed. So please make a response to
Him right now, face-to-face. What would you like to say?
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