The Great White Throne
General: Chapter 19 concluded the Tribulation at Armageddon. The Antichrist and the False Prophet were defeated and sent to the Lake of Fire (Rev 19:20). Remember: The False Prophet was considered the "Holy Spirit" in the Infernal Trinity. Christ defeats the armies (Rev 19:21). The understanding and interpretation of this chapter seems to determine how the entire Revelation and Bible prophecy are interpreted. Should this record be taken literally? How long is this thousand year period? Is it really 1000 years exactly? Is 1000 years to be taken as symbolic? Is Satan literally imprisoned and powerless during this period? Is the millennial time just a figure of speech referring to the time for eventual conversion of the world to righteousness through the work of the Church? There are legitimate questions to be asked; but, there are some good logical and scriptural descriptions. See Definitions for further information on the Millennium.

The Millennium will include the binding of Satan, restoration of Israel (Jer. 31:31-34; Deut. 30:1-10; Isa. 11:11-12:6; Matt. 24:31), reign of Jesus (Isa. 2:3-4; 11:2-5), the return of the Davidic throne (2 Sam. 7:11-16; 1 Chron. 17:10-14; Jer. 33:17-26); allowing Satan to be loose for a final rebellion, and the Great White Throne Judgment of the unbelieving dead. During the Millennium, the earth will replenish all the areas that were ruined by the Tribulation (Isa. 30:23-24; 35:1-2, 7). People will live longer with good health. There will be no poverty, injustice and disease (Jer. 31:12-14). All this is because of the living presence of Jesus.

v 1-3: The scripture starts with "and" which means this is a continuation of the timing of the events. This will apparently occur right after the destruction of the Antichrist assembled armies at Armageddon. Now, only the demonic hosts remain (Satan, Antichrist, False Prophet, and evil spirit hosts). They do not accept the victor, Jesus Christ. They must be dealt their punishments. Chapter 9 described that some of the evil spirits were released.

The angel now comes with the "key" to the bottomless Pit and a great chain. The angel could be Jesus, Himself. However, Jesus does at one time give keys to an angel (Rev. 9:1). Therefore, it is probably a real angel, most likely Michael. Michael handles much of God's wars. He makes that very clear in Daniel (Dan. 10:13 commentary). He binds Satan with the chain, unlocks the Pit, puts Satan into the Pit, and seals it. He is to remain in the Pit for 1000 years. After the 1000 years he will again be let loose for a short while. Think about this: an angel by the command of God can completely overcome and chain Satan, the second most powerful entity in the universe, by a command. THAT is an example of God's power (Mark 3:27). This chain is not a physical steel chain. We do not know the nature of the chain. The chain is a symbol of the "binder" because a real chain would obviously be broken by Satan.

There is no reason that suggests that "thousand years" is symbolic. There are other mentions in the Bible of thousand or thousands. However, her it is specifically stated to be 1000 years. It should be noted, this is the only place in the Bible that the Millennium of 1000 years is mentioned. The doctrine of the Millennium is based on this chapter. This thousand years is mentioned six times in this chapter (Rev. 20:2-7). So, it must be important. It seems the putting away of Satan follows the "binding" of Satan. We know Satan has been active. If Jesus is to rule righteous.y, He would have to rid the earth of the instigator of evil. Also, there is no reason to believe Satan is bound now. After the 1000 years, Satan will be "loosed" again to test those persons born and lived during the Millennium. They must also be honestly and righteously judged as all the rest of us were. The destructive castastrophes to the earth during the tribulation now "smoothed" out the terrain of the earth. New communities can be made easily (Isa. 40:4).

When Christ comes down at Armageddon, He would stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech). The mount will split approximately east to west (earthquake?) leaving a great valley approximately north to south. The living waters shall go out of Jerusalem 1/2 east (toward Dead Sea) and 1/2 west ( toward Mediterranean Sea). It appears after the Tribulation, there will be much water in Jerusalem.; there is no water now (annual rain about 25 inches).

The interesting thing to consider here is how can anybody be bad with Satan bound and Christ ruling? One fact to remember is we were all descended from Adam, a sinner. This Adamic curse of the inherent capability to sin means it is the "nature" for us to sin. Since that is true, there will be sin during the Millennium (Matt, Zech).

In addition to the descriptions in the Definitions section of the commentary, let's look at a few other points for the Millennium conditions for Christ's coming:

Post Millennium (Christ comes AFTER MILLENNIUM):
Discussion: Earth is to get better and better by the spirit of the Gospel. Then Christ will come to claim His kingdom. Considered rather naive by most. Earth not getting better; getting worse.

AMillennium ( Greek: "A" at the beginning of a word means "no" - No Millennium):
Discussion: The Millennium is now. Peace exists on earth. Satan in bound now. Rev 20:3 says Satan bound to deceive nations no more.

Pre Millennium (Christ comes BEFORE MILLENNIUM):
Discussion: Earth getting worse. The Kingdom can't begin until the wicked are destroyed. Bible teaches this timing. Christ must come THEN the Kingdom is set up.

After Satan is released at the end of the Millennium, because of the nature of us, some will rebel and will, therefore, be taken over by Satan in his full glory.

Matt 24:29-30; 27:66; 25:31-46; Zech 14:4, 8, 16-21; Isa 11:1-10; 1 Pet 5:8; 2 King 25:7; Dan 12:4

v 4: Verse 4 is an interesting verse. It appears that it says the "saints" will be seated on thrones and will be given some rights to judge. This seems to fulfill the words of Paul and Daniel (1 Cor 6:2-3; Dan. 7:22) that the saints will judge.

John saw the martyrs; he saw those who did not worship the Beast of his image; nobody had the Beast's "mark". These are now living with Christ in the Millennium. Those beheaded will have a new resurrected body. ALL redeemed are raised with Christ's coming. The "lost" or unsaved must await the end of the Millennium.

There are two resurrections separated by the Millennium.
The first will include: all those raptured (1 Thes); the Tribulation saints who died after the rapture (Rev 20:4); all OT saints are raised "in Christ" i.e. their salvation was "purchased" by Christ's blood; any believer who may have died in the Millennium. This is considered the 1st Resurrection. (Isa).

The second resurrection is for the rest of the dead who must wait for the end of the 1000 years.

One A Millennium claim is there is only one resurrection. This does not seem to fit the bible.

What will the Millennium be?
  • Peace (Isa 24:11)
  • Happiness (Isa 11-12)
  • Long Life and Health (Isa 33, 65)
  • Prosperity (Isa 35)
  • Joy in Labor (Isa 65)

There will be children in the Millennium (Matt, Isa 11). They will make their own choices just as those before them. Some will reject Christ (Zech). Imagine having all the happiness and satisfaction you need; Christ is leading; there is no war; every person eats; minimal sickness; and some will STILL turn away from God.

v 5-6: There are two births and two deaths in the bible:

  • Original birth
  • Being born in Christ
  • Death of the soul from the physical body
  • Death of the soul from God

This is important:
If you are born once, you will die twice.
If you are born twice, you will die once and maybe not once.

The redeemed are blessed. We are so lost in sin we deserve the second death, eternal separation from God. If we take part in the first resurrection, there is no second death (Rom). Since believers are in the "Priesthood of all Believers" (1 Pet) we may pray directly to God.

Exod 19:6 Rom 8:28-30; 33-34; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1:22-25; 2:9 1 Thes 4:13-18; Dan 7:9, 22,27;
Isa 2:4; 11:6-9; 12:3; 33:24; 35:1-2; 65:20-22; 1 Cor 6:2-3 John 3:3-8; 5:28-29; Luke 22:30;
Zech 14:17-19; Matt 25:31-40

Return to Revelation TOC email to Bill
Return to BJM Master Home Page