SUMMARY OF REV. 19
I. The Lord praised for His great victory over the powers of darkness (Rev 19:1-6)
Immediately following the defeat of the powers of darkness, we see a heavenly scene of praise and honor being given to the Lamb for His great victory. During this time of praise, all the saved and the angels of heaven have a part in rendering songs of praise to the victorious Lamb. Their songs include the greatness of the Lord, the reasons for His judgments with a great emphasis on His holiness in judging those who were rebellious against Him.
II. The Lord's relationship to His people - The Marriage Of The Lamb (Rev 19:7-10)
The scene next shifts to the Marriage of the Lamb, which is a symbolic representation of the Lamb and His people being prepared to spend eternity together.
We are told that the saints (the wife of the Lamb) have made themselves ready. This is speaking of the saints continuing faithfulness to Christ during the time preceding the second coming of Christ.
Christ gives to His bride robes of white symbolizing His righteousness being placed on their account, as well as their lives of faithfulness on His behalf. Perhaps these robes also symbolize the visible representation of His righteousness, their newly received glorified bodies which will be the visible proof Christ's righteousness.
Much like a marriage is the beginning point of the groom's and bride's intimate lifelong relationship, this marriage between Christ and His bride symbolically signals the beginning of their eternity together.
III. The Lord's relationship to the lost - The Battle Of Armageddon (Rev 19:11-21)
In this section of Revelation 19, the initiation of the Lord's relationship to lost mankind is presented symbolically. We see Christ at His second coming described in great detail. The symbolism of His appearance and actions reveals that Christ is faithful, holy, ultimate authority holder, righteous, revealer of God to man. Although all of these truths, and others, are presented in His description, we are also told that it is impossible to come to a complete understanding of His greatness which is shown by the name He possesses that no man can know.
Christ, at His second coming, is seem returning with His saints, who are described in this vision as "armies" which are in heaven. Keep in mind, as Christ first appears in heaven, He will take His saints up to be with Him, graciously give them glorified bodies and then begin His descent with them following Him.
As Christ continues His descent the fowls of heaven are invited to prepare for a feast which will be made up of the corpses of the enemies of Christ which will be available to them following Christ's complete victory over them. Their death is symbolizing the completeness of their defeat, while their bodies lying unburied points to their shameful lifestyle they have lived.
Those opposing Christ are the powers of darkness made up of Satan, His kingdom (both political and religious aspects), demons, and lost mankind. They all are found being opposed to Christ and in rebellion against Him at His coming. As Christ simply speaks they are defeated (His words are the sword that is seen coming out of His mouth bringing them to defeat).
At their defeat, Satan's kingdoms are cast into the Lake of Fire which will be their dwelling place throughout eternity. The remaining lost are seen being brought to death by Christ. Their bodies are consumed by the birds as a declaration of shame and their rebellious rejection of Christ, leading to their eternal separation from Christ.
SUMMARY OF REV. 20
I. The Binding Of Satan (Rev 20:1-3)
John sees an angel sent from God proceed from heaven. This angel possesses control over the bottomless pit and a great chain that will be used to bind Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit (Lake of Fire). Satan's imprisonment would last for the length of the 1000 year time period.
Satan and his work is revealed through the use of 4 titles. Satan's temptations are used to fascinate and mislead mankind (Dragon), he knows mankind's weaknesses and shortcomings (Serpent), he accuses God's people of wrongdoing seeking to bring them under the condemnation of God (Devil), he is the enemy of God constantly opposing Him (Satan).
II. The 1000 Year Reign (Rev 20:4-6)
With the imprisonment of Satan completed, John sees the saints enjoying the 1000 years with God. During this time frame John sees the saints being judged and rewarded by the Lord for their faithfulness.
John saw the thrones that were reserved for God's people, symbolically representing their reward of sharing authority with Him. We see the Lord handing down His judgment and rewards to them ... "judgment was given unto them". The saints are described in several ways, each one representing their willingness to sacrifice themselves for Christ as martyrs or as "living sacrifices" whose lives were dedicated to Christ's use.
We are told that this period of judgment, rewards, and enjoyment of rewards would last for 1000 years. Symbolically the number 1000 represents a complete timeframe. This can be clearly seen in many Biblical references including Psa 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8.
As we study the symbolism of the 1000 years, we can come to understand this time of judgment for the saints will be a set period of time set aside as part of the saint's eternity with God. This time period will come to an end when the judgment and rewarding of the saints comes to completion. At that point in time, the last phase of eternity begins, and the saints will be enjoying communion with the Lord without end.
The people (saints of God) involved in this wonderful time with Christ have all experienced "the first resurrection" . This is referring to the spiritual resurrection of all who have come to Christ, as they are "passed from death unto life" (HJon 5:24-27)
III. The Judgment Of The Lost Symbolized By A War (Rev 20:7-10)
Immediately following the time of judgment of the saved, John then sees Satan released from the bottomless pit. Even after his imprisonment, Satan continues to have a desire to rebel and oppose the works of Christ. In this case, he desires to lead mankind in a worldwide war against the Lord.
Satan is given title "Gog" which means a high mountain, covering, or roof, which speaks to us of Satan's prior position as the exalted angel that covered the throne of God prior to his fall. Those who follow him are described as "Magog" which means the kingdom or nation of Gog, revealing their submission to Satan and his desires for their lives.
Then we see the resurrection of lost mankind from their temporary abode (their spirits from the Lake of Fire; their bodies from the grave)... "they went up on the breadth of the earth'. They then are encircled around New Jerusalem where the saints and God dwell. This is all in preparation of their coming time of judgment at the hands of God.
John then jumps ahead and sees the end result of their judgment... fire devours them , removing them from the New Earth, and then Satan and the lost are committed to the Lake of Fire for an eternity.
IV. The Judgment Of The Lost Symbolized By A Court Trial (Rev 20:11-15)
A second set of symbols that are used to describe the final judgment of the lost is presented as a court trial where guilt and punishment are decided. The Lord Jesus glory is shown as He sits on a shining white throne. Jesus' identity is confirmed when we are told the One of the throne is the same one "from whose face the earth and heaven fled away."
Next, John sees the lost stand before the Lord awaiting judgment. We are told that Christ will use "the books" (the 66 books of the Bible) and the book of life to complete the judgment process. The books of the Bible will be used to judge men's works, thereby assigning guilt to them, and the book of life will be used to see if Christ's blood has covered those sins and paid their price.
Of course, all the works of the lost will be found sinful, which will render them guilty in God's sight. Then their names will be missing from the book of life, clearly revealing they owe the sin debt that they have accrued. This will result in all of them being sent to the Lake of Fire for an eternity.
We are told that the sea will give up the lost who were lost at sea, emphasizing that, no matter what may happen to the physical body, whether lost at sea, eaten by a sea creature, or decaying in the depths, the Lord is still quite capable of resurrecting the body and reuniting it with the spirit.
We are also told that "death and hell" gave up the dead and then were ultimately cast into the Lake of Fire. This teaches us that, following this resurrection of the lost, no longer will the bodies and spirits of the lost be separated from each other. As complete beings, made up of both body and spirit, they will stand before the Lord in judgment and be consigned to the lake of fire for an eternity.
Finally, we are told that this represents those who have partaken of the second death, which is the eternal separation of man from God's presence throughout eternity.
REVELATION 20 SYNOPSIS
Revelation chapter 20 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" (verse 8).
"A thousand years": This is the first of 6 references to the length of the millennial kingdom (compare verses 3-7). There are 3 main views of the duration and nature of this period:
(1) Premillennialism sees this as a literal 1000 year period during which Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of numerous prophecies (e.g., 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psalm 2; Isa. 11:6-12; 24:23; Hosea 3:4-5; Joel 3:9-21; Amos 9:8-15; Micah 4:1-8; Zeph. 3:14-20; Zech. 14:1-11; Matt. 24:29-31, 36:44), reigns on the earth. Using the same general principles of interpretation for both prophetic and non-prophetic passages leads most naturally to Premillennialism. Another strong argument supporting this view is that so many biblical prophecies have already been literally fulfilled, suggesting that future prophecies will likewise be fulfilled literally.
(2) Postmillennialism understands the reference to a 1000 year period as only symbolic of a golden age of righteousness and spiritual prosperity. It will be ushered in by the spread of the gospel during the present church age and brought to completion when Christ returns. According to this view, references to Christ's reign on earth primarily describe His spiritual reign in the hearts of believers in the church.
(3) Amillennialism understands the 1000 years to be merely symbolic of a long period of time. This view interprets Old Testament prophecies of a Millennium as being fulfilled spiritually now in the church (either on earth or in heaven), or as references to the eternal state. Using the same literal, historical, grammatical principle of interpretation so as to determine the normal sense of language, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that Christ will return and reign in a real kingdom on earth for 1000 years. There is nothing in the text to render the conclusion that "a thousand years" is symbolic. Never is Scripture when "year" is used with a number is its meaning not literal (see note on 2 Peter 3:8).
A very basic outline of the remaining chapters of Revelation includes:
1. Rev 19 - What immediately precedes eternity with the Lord? (background to eternity with the Lord)
2. Rev 20 - The opening stage of eternity with the Lord (1000 year reign - a time of judgment)
3. Rev 21 - The subsequent stage of eternity with the Lord pictured as a great city
4. Rev 22 - The subsequent stage of eternity with the Lord pictured as Eden restored
I. New Jerusalem On The New Earth (Rev 21:1-11)
John now turns our attention to a description of the renovated heavens and earth. John tells us this heaven and earth is "new" which tells us that it is different, changed from the heaven and earth with which we are familiar. This new world no longer has "seas". The sea in the Bible represents unrest and chaos of lost mankind. This new world will no longer feel the presence of the lost, nor will it experience the unrest and upheaval of sin upon it.
John sees a heavenly city descend to this New Earth. This city is the dwelling place of God come down to the earth. It symbolizes God's presence being given to the saints to enjoy Him eternally. This city is said to be very beautiful, like a bride that is prepared for marriage.
John describes God's relationship with His people in this wondrous city. God will be with them, they will learn of Him, worship Him, and serve Him. John also tells us that the results of sin will be done away. There will be no more crying, sorrow, or pain.
God promises to make an entirely new type of existence for His people. It will be like nothing we have experienced on earth. This is a promise that we can rely upon. We can know with certainty that this wonderful eternal existence awaits the people of God.
The Lord then extends an invitation for all of mankind to come to Him and enjoy these blessings that await His people. Those who come to Him will be victorious overcomers in this sinful world, they will inherit these eternal blessings and will enter into a family relationship with Him as the children of God. However, those who reject this invitation and choose to remain in their sinfulness will face a horrible eternity of separation from God and torment in the Lake of Fire.
John is invited to come and see the bride that has prepared to join her husband in marriage and live eternally with Him. This bride is the wondrous city that now awaits His presence and the presence of His people. John is taken to a high mountain that overlooks this glorious city. He sees God's glory enlightening the city as a clear Jasper stone which is symbolic of the Lord holiness and sinlessness.
This entire vision emphasizes the changed eternal world and the many eternal joys that await the people of God as they dwell in this city.
II. The Walls And Gates Of New Jerusalem (Rev 21:12-21)
After John's look at the basics appearance of New Jerusalem, he then turns our attention to the city's gates and walls. John sees the believer's security and deliverance from sin symbolized by high walls that surround the city. There walls are used to keep out sin, its effects, and those who commit them.
John sees 12 gates, the entryways to the city, which are equally divided on the four sides of the walls (N,S,E,W) showing us that the redeemed will come from all corners of the globe (every nation, language, family). They will included believers from both the OT and NT (12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles). The 12 angels standing at the gates, symbolize the messengers of God who proclaim the gospel message, the key to finding entrance into the gates. Each gate was made of a pearl which is representative of God's wisdom, the truths of His Word, the good news of Christ.
John sees the 12 foundations of the walls having the names of the 12 apostles, whose proclamation of the truths about the Christ laid the foundation for this place of security and peace for God's people. These foundations are decorated with many precious stones which give forth light similar to that of a rainbow. This speaks of the Lord's faithfulness to his promises in making and giving access to this city for His people.
An angel sent from the Lord is seen measuring the city, which symbolizes the Lord's ownership and control over this eternal city. The city is a 12,000 furlong cube showing us it is perfect, separated for the use of God and His people, and sinless.
The wall itself is made of jasper which is symbolic of preciousness and purity, while the city is of gold which speaks of God's kingly rule. The gold was of transparent, pure gold symbolic of holiness.
III. New Jerusalem: The Presence Of God and The Glory of Eden Restored (Rev 21:22-22:5)
John's vision of the city continues with John centering on the presence of God Himself within the city. He could not see a temple because none was needed. Christ's presence will be the center of worship as well as a living display of His person and works. Christ's glory, which exists due to His presence, lightens the entire city which eliminates the need for the sun and moon. The Lord will be present with His people.
The inhabitants of the city, those who are saved by God's grace, will be given 24 / 7 access to the city. There is no need for the gates to be shut because the lost will not be found on the New Earth, they will be consigned to the Lake of Fire for an eternity. Sin, and the doers of it, will be totally excluded from the city.
John attention is then drawn to "the river of water of life" that he sees flowing from the throne of God. This speaks of the work of Christ which gives to men eternal life. This river finds it origin IN the counsels and workings of the Lord and brings men TO eternal life and an intimate relationship with the Lord.
John sees the tree of life in the midst of the city, reminding us of a restored, sinless, Garden of Eden. God's people are given eternal access to this tree, symbolizing the eternal life that is possessed by the saints. It bears 12 types of fruit which symbolize the completeness of eternal life that God has brought to man. Nothing more is needed for the saints to dwell eternally with their Lord. The leaves of the tree supply that which is needed to "heal" the nations. This speaks of the total eradication of sin and its effects upon mankind. Once again this symbolizes a Garden of Eden type of existence that has been restored to mankind. Instead of a curse and separation from God (the condition of mankind in the old garden), the saints in this New Garden will be blessed with no curse, and enjoy the presence of God eternally.
The glory of God will enlighten this new Garden and the saints of God will exercise perfect dominion over it, just as in the old garden before the fall of mankind.
IV. Conclusion to The Book Of Revelation (Rev 22:6-21)
The conclusion to the book of Revelation is also the conclusion to the entire Bible. Please keep in mind, it is believed by most that the book of Revelation is the last book inspired by God and is also placed as the last book in the Biblical text. Because of this, the conclusion found in the book of Revelation concludes not only the book itself, but also the entire body of inspired writings that God gave to mankind.
A part of God's conclusion is to remind John of the faithfulness and truthfulness of His inspired writings. He also reminds John of His soon coming and the need to keep the cling to and protect His Word, following its dictates. This is the basic way in which we are to prepare for His soon coming. Christ is the beginning and ending of all things. We should not be surprised He is the One that will bring an end to this sinful world and create a New World in which we will live.
John, being overwhelmed by this experience, begins to worship the angel that has delivered this message to him. The angel responds by reminding him that worship belongs to God alone. The angel is simply a servant of God doing His will, much like John and other saints who have come before him. The angel then emphasizes John's need to share this message with others. It was not meant to be kept private, but was to be distributed to all who are willing to hear these words.
The Angel delivers sobering words to John. Those who choose to ignore these words, and continue to live a life of sin, let them be. John has done all he can for their welfare, they now are responsible to choose to follow Christ.
Likewise with those who are saved, if he chooses righteousness based upon the completed Word, let him continue on in righteousness with righteous living. Why? Nothing new will be revealed from God. He can fully commit to Christ's righteousness and righteous living because he now knows that Revelation brings all of God's Word to completion nothing more will be said that would change his mind or reveal he has made a mistake in choosing Christ.
John is told of the distinct difference between the end of the lost and the saved. The lost will be kept from the glories of the city and the presence of God. The saved will enjoy eternal bliss in the presence of God, Jesus, Himself, has said these things, He will bring them to pass.
Christ then offers and invitation for men to come to Him. It is an invitation that is to be delivered by the saints and applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit of God. It is an invitation that is issued to anyone who hears the invitation and is willing to follow it. they are to freely partake of the work of Christ which will bring to them salvation from sins and a wonderful, eternal inheritance from Him.
In closing, the Lord issues a warning to all who would change the inspired Word of God. If they add or take from it, they have proven they are lost and destined to face God's plagues. By willfully changing God's Word, they are clearly shown as being lost, in a state of rebellion against Christ, and under the bondage of sin. No one who is truly saved would ever willfully choose to change the Word of God that has wrought salvation in his soul.
The final two verses of the book of Revelation (and the Bible) are a fitting conclusion to our study of the book of Revelation....
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen