We talked about the dynamic of Advent this past week in worship. This is a season of anticipation and waiting. We are considering how God’s people were looking forward to the coming Messiah prior to Jesus’ birth. But we are also living in expectation of Jesus’ second coming. It is a great time to wrap up our study in the book of Revelation. This week, we come to chapter 20.
This chapter raises several questions. I hope you will read the chapter and bring your questions to worship with you on Sunday. I will not promise to give you direct answers to all of them. But my hope is that we will engage them together as we gather on Sunday. I have included the NTE version of Revelation 20 below.
(Revelation 20 NTE) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven. In his hand he held the key to the Abyss, and a large chain. He grabbed hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and the satan. He tied him up for a thousand years, threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he wouldn’t be able to deceive the nations any more, until the thousand years were complete. After that he must be let out for a short time. Then I saw thrones, with people sitting on them, who were given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had had their heads cut off because they had borne witness to Jesus, and because of the word of God; and also those who had not worshipped the monster or its image, and had not received the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years were complete. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests to God and the Messiah, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are complete, the satan will be released from his prison. Out he will come to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog. He will summon them for battle, a throng like the sand of the sea in number. They came up over the full width of the earth, and closed in on the place where God’s holy people are encamped, and the beloved city. Then fire came down from heaven and burnt them up. And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the monster and the false prophet had already been thrown. They will be tortured day and night for ever and ever. Then I saw a large white throne, and the one who was sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled away from his presence, and there was no room left for them. Then I saw the dead, great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged on the basis of what was written in the books, in accordance with what they had done. The sea gave back the dead that were in it; Death and Hades gave back the dead that were in them; and each was judged in accordance with what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, they were thrown into the lake of fire.