Throughout Revelation, and specifically chapters 19 and 20 the victory of the risen and exalted Christ is depicted from varying viewpoints rather than a linear sequence of events. Consequently, readers of Revelation often get stuck on how and when the events of the apocalypse occur rather than the overall theme, which is God's victory over evil, the lordship and royalty of the Godhead, the resurrection of the believer, and the Kingdom of God/Heaven coming to earth.
Vs 1 - 3
Vs 1: An angel comes down from heaven holding in his hand the key to the Abyss or the bottomless pit and a heavy chain to bind Satan. Abyss was thought of as a vast deep cavern that serves as a place of imprisonment for evil spirits awaiting judgment.
Vs 2 – 3: The angel seizes the dragon, that old serpent, the devil, binds him, and throws him into the abyss for 1,000 years. When trying to decipher the binding of Satan for 1,000 years depends upon whether the passage is taken as descriptive of the present age or of a period that will follow the second coming of Jesus Christ.
1,000 years is a period elected as a thousand years or a long period of time the devil is bound and thrown into the Abyss, which is then locked and sealed. The reason for imprisonment is not intended to punish the dragon. Imprisonment is to stop him from deceiving the nations. A thousand years of confinement does not change the devil’s plans, nor does a thousand years of liberty from the encouragement of wickedness change people’s basic tendency to rebel against their creator.
Three views of the Millennium Doctrine
Vs 4 - 6
Vs 4: John sees thrones with people sitting on them, and they are the faithful martyrs who willingly and obediently gave their lives rather than worship the beast or receive his mark. We do not know much about the people on the thrones other than they have been given the authority to judge. Their judgment does not relate to the question of who is worthy to be resurrected and share in the millennial reign with Christ.
The judgement appears to be connected to the vindication of the martyrs and their right to undertake the territory of the defeated powers of evil. John also sees the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus and the word of God.They are the ones who stayed faithful to God and refused to worship the Beast and the False Prophet/idolatry. “These are the souls under the altar in 6:9 and all who are to meet a similar fate until the time of their vindication (6:11). They are called souls because, at this point, they are still awaiting the resurrection.” Note, John does not speak of a reign of all saints, instead, he refers to the reign of the martyrs. Lastly, John does not relate this reign with Jesus’ second coming. He doesn’t refer to his return at all in this chapter. Instead, like previously stated, John is recording what he is seeing, and it is simply giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse.
Vs 5 – 6: Those who partake in the first resurrection are called “blessed and holy”. They are priests of God, they will reign for the thousand years or period of time, and the second death has no power of them.
Vs 7 - 10
Vs 7 - 8: Satan is released from his chains, and he picks up where he left off. He goes out and does what he does best… deceives the nations. He assembles an army to wage war on God.
In Revelation, both Gog and Magog are symbols that represent the nations that are against God and assemble for one final attack on God and his people.
These are not specific regions; they represent nations across the world who oppose God.
Vs 9: The nations that are allied with Satan surround the city where God’s people rside. We anticipate a great battle, but none ever comes, instead, the enemies of God are consumed by fire from heaven.
Vs 10: The devil does not suffer the same fate as his followers. He is cast into the lake of fire of burning sulfur. He will join both the Antichrist and False Prophet. In this lake, they will be tormented day and night for all eternity. The lake of fire was always intended for the dragon/devil, the beast, and the false prophet.
Vs 11 - 15
Vs 11: This is the final scene of judgment.
John looks and sees a Great White Throne descending from the heavens. There is one seated on the throne, who is most likely God, and all creation flees from his presence, because of his awesome grandeur.
The symbolism behind this is to show God is in charge and he will implement justice upon all that is under the control of evil.
In its departure from the presence of God, no place is found for the terrified universe.
Vs 12: The rest of the dead the “great and the small” all stand before God.
This shows that no one is so important that they are immune from judgment, and that no one is so unimportant as to make judgment inappropriate.
There is a book with deeds written in it and the other is the book of life.
Concerning the deeds, the issue is not that salvation is attained by works but that works are the evidence of a person’s relationship with God. Our deeds matter. Salvation is by faith and obedience, and faith is revealed by the works of obedience it produces. The second is the book of life. This would be considered a divine registry. If one’s name is not written in it, they are thrown are not permitted into God’s Kingdom.
Vs 13- 15: The sea now gives up its dead, as do death and Hades, and all people are judged based on what they have done. The sea is specifically mentioned to show that no one—not even those whose bodies had gone unburied because lost at sea—would escape resurrection and judgment. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name is not written in the book of life will suffer the fate of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.
This concludes the judgment of evil. The church reigns triumphant with the Messiah.
 Steve Gregg, Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1997), 27.
 Steve Gregg, Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1997), 28.
 Steve Gregg, Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1997), 28.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 365). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Vs 1 – 5: The “Song of Victory” breaks out in heaven which contrasts with the woes of the kings, merchants, and seafarers lose everything as a result from the fall of Rome. There is a celebration in heaven because evil has not triumphed.
We hear the praises from the nations who declare God as their salvation. The angels also all sing out in praise for the salvation, glory, and power of God.
His judgment of the prostitute who tarnished the earth with her infidelities is a true and just judgment.
In this crowd we also hear the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures as they sing, “Amen, Praise the Lord!”
We hear a voice from the throne inviting the whole earth to join in response of praise to God.
Vs 6: John hears a sound like the sound of a vast crowd, like the roar of a mighty ocean waves, and the crash of thunder. Such a spectacle is appropriate for the proclamation that God has at last proven his worldwide reign on earth.
Vs. 7: The heavenly choir resumes its song of praise with the exhortation.
“Time has come for the wedding...” In biblical times a marriage involved two key factors… the betrothal and the wedding ceremony. These two were usually separated by a period of time during which the future bride and groom were considered husband and wife and as such were under the contracts of faithfulness. weddings in the near east is appropriate to help us get a better feel as to what is going on. A wedding celebration in Jesus’ time could last as long as a week. It was truly a festive celebration. From what we gather there was no religious ceremony that precedes the celebration. We do know the groom would get dressed up in his best outerwear and go to the parent’s house of the bride. He was accompanied by friends, musicians and torch bearers if it was nighttime. He received his bride from the parents and a celebration followed (signing of a contract or document of sorts did occur). In the evening the bride was escorted to the nuptial chamber by her parents, and the groom by his companions or the bride’s parents. On the next day the festivities were resumed, continuing for seven days. It was a festive time and the whole community celebrated it. The groom was the one who footed the bill and was expected to provide enough food and drinks for the whole party. To run out of supplies would be a huge embarrassment to the groom. It was possible for legal action to be taken against a family if they failed to provide enough food and drink for their guests.
By analogy, the church, espoused to Christ by faith, now awaits the (second-coming) when the heavenly groom (Jesus) will come for his bride and bring heaven to earth for the marriage feast that lasts for all eternity.
his bride has prepared herself. The bride, the wife, or the woman, here is the reverse of Babylon, the depraved woman. The white robe is symbolic for one’s standing before God. The readers are warned that sin contaminates their garments, thus making them unfit for entrance into God’s presence. Hence, they must wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb by receiving the benefits of Christ’s death. Thus, the cleansing allows access into the New Jerusalem. The white robes are given as a promise of resurrection for those who were martyred. Being clothed in splendor was a traditional way to refer to resurrection.
Vs 8: The prostitute who was once adorned with fine clothes and jewels is now in tatters and destitute is now contrasted with the church (the Bride of Christ) that is attired in linens of pure white. It is explained to John that the linen represents the good deeds of the saints.
Vs 9 – 10: John is told to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The church portrayed as both the bride and the guests who are invited to the wedding. In Revelation those invited to the Lamb’s wedding feast enjoy God’s kindness; they are “called” and “chosen” The Lamb’s wedding feast is gracious, in contrast to the “banquet” on the battlefield in the next scene, where the allies of evil are defeated and are devoured by birds.
Overwhelmed, John falls and worships the angel, most likely mistaking the angel with Jesus. Immediately John is told not to worship him because he is a mere servant of God. Such an act of worship is unsuitable because the angel is also a fellow servant with John.
Vs 11: Without warning heaven opens and suddenly there appears a white horse whose rider (named Faithful and True) is ready to wage a righteous war and end the present age.
Vs 12: John sees a rider on a horse, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. John describes this rider’s eyes were like flames of fire. This represents that nothing can be hidden from the Messiah. Upon his head are many crowns. This is an apparent contrast to the seven crowns of the dragon and the ten crowns of the beast out of the sea. Many crowns indicate unlimited power. He is King of all kings; all authority and power are is his and his alone.
“A name written on Him...” The most common understanding of this name is that it is a secret name whose meaning is hidden from all creation. It expresses the mystery of Christ. There will always be a mystery about Jesus that humanity will never fully grasp or understand.
Vs 13: According to Craig Koester, “There are two principal interpretations concerning the source of the blood. The most probable is that this is Christ’s own blood. Revelation says that Jesus’ blood advances God’s kingdom by delivering people from sin. Jesus’ blood makes the robes of the redeemed white, like the robes of those who follow him into battle. His blood also brings victory over evil, and here he defeats the satanic beast and false prophet. Since Christ appears in a bloodstained robe before the battle begins, the blood must be his own. A second interpretation is that it is the blood of Christ’s enemies. Revelation’s battle scene draws on Isa 63:1–3, in which God is portrayed as a warrior who has trampled the winepress of wrath so that his robes are red with the blood of his enemies. Since Jesus tramples the winepress in Rev 19:15, one might assume that his robe too is spattered with his adversaries’ blood.” 
Vs 14: One would think the heavenly army is composed of angels, but more likely refers to the “called, chosen and faithful” in Revelation 17 and this would certainly include the faithful martyrs. Their “finest pure white linen” points to the righteousness of divine retribution.
Vs 15: “Strikes down nations with sword” - The sword represents the conquering power of his judgment through word. This is not a literal sword, but it is a fatal pronouncement that goes out like a sharp blade from the mouth of Christ.
“Rule with an Iron scepter” - To rule with an iron scepter means to obliterate rather than to govern in a harsh manner. Just like the shepherd, he not only leads his flock to pasture but defends the sheep from predatory animals.
This final picture of ruling with an iron scepter can also remind us of the words of Jesus who calls himself the Good Shepherd in the Gospels.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
John 10:14 - 18
Vs 14 - 15: “I am the Good Shepherd…” Jesus knows those who belong to him. Take a moment and let that sink in. If you are a believer in Jesus, it is because He called you by name, He chose you to be part of His flock; He willingly died for you so you can have an abundance of life.
The word “know” is an intimate word. It isn’t a general, “yeah I know her”, but has also been used as a Jewish idiom for intimate intercourse between a male and female. It is a type of “oneness”. Jesus is one with his flock.
Our relationship with Jesus could/should be the same as the relationship between the Father and the Son.
Vs 16: “I have sheep that are not of this fold…” refers to Gentiles. The Jew’s thought salvation was reserved for them alone because they were God’s chosen race. However, Jesus tells us there are some sheep who are not of this fold who will hear his voice and respond. Thankfully Jesus expands his folds to us who are not of the Jewish fold.
Vs 17 - 18: The Father and the Son’s love are directly linked to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This is a very interesting passage to me because Jesus GIVES HIS LIFE (it is not taken from him) to be raised again. Jesus’ death AND resurrection has always been the plan. It has always been plan A, B & C. The resurrection was not something God thought of after Jesus was crucified. Jesus went to the cross knowing he would live again.
Verse 18 tells us so much about the death and resurrection. You have probably heard a discussion or read an article about “who killed Jesus?” Was it the Romans? Was it the Jews? Was it sin? Was it humanity? The answer is none of the above. Jesus was not killed; he gave his life… He laid it down. He did it on his own accord. Jesus had/has authority over death. He submitted to it on his terms. In the same sense Jesus has the authority for resurrection. This authority was given by the Father.
If Jesus has the authority over death and the resurrection in his life, can you trust he has authority over them in yours? Do you believe Jesus is willing and able to raise you up on the last day? We have no reason to fear death because death is subject to Jesus, and we are in Jesus, so death has no dominion over us. Sure, we will all die one day but we also live in the hope and expectation that we will also be resurrected through the authority of Jesus.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 347). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 Craig R. Koester, Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, ed. John J. Collins, vol. 38A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2014), 756.
The announcement of Babylon’s judgment comes in two divisions. The fist is an angel who comes down from heaven with “bright splendor.” and with great authority. The angel announces that Babylon (Rome) has fallen. The second is when another voice from heaven calls God’s people out of the city, for it is about to receive double the penalty for the suffering it imposed on others. There is nothing ahead for the city but death, mourning and famine. The once proud kingdom is now about to be ruined.
As we will see Rome has become a home for demons, evil spirits, and unclean birds. Nations drink her adulterous wine, kings commit adultery with her, and merchants grow rich from her excessive luxuries.
Vs 1 – 2: Babylon has always been figurative of resistance to the expansion of the kingdom of God. As it fell in times past, so will it be destroyed in the future. Rome is called “Babylon” so readers will know what God did to the first Babylon and then recognize that in giving Rome that title he will once again carry out his judgment on the city. The once magnificent city of Babylon will lie entirely forsaken. It is to become the hideout for evil spirits and all kinds of unclean creatures. This is it is a prophetic representation of complete isolation where the accomplishments of humanity have become the demonic dwelling place of unclean and abominable creatures. Since Rome is already the habitation of evil spirits, it follows that when she falls nothing will remain but the evil spirits and ceremonially unclean creatures.
Vs 3: This verse gives the reason for the fall of Rome. Rome is fallen because she has coerced the nations to drink the wine of her passionate adulteries. Adultery is often symbolic in the OT for apostasy from God. It is used here to denote the impure and illegitimate relationships between Roma and all the nations of the earth. In the last days it will be personified by worship of the beast.
Vs 4: God’s people are called to leave this ill-fated city. Prophets of former days had issued similar warnings. The call to leave suggests a literal departure from the doomed city, but when, according to theologian Robert Mounce, “projected on the larger screen of the consummation it becomes a call to the last generation of believers for ‘spiritual withdrawal from Vanity Fair.’”
Two reasons they are to leave the city:
Vs 7 - 8: Rome is to receive sorrow and torment in the exact proportion to the self-glorification and luxurious lifestyle she has chosen. This humiliation of Babylon will involve torment and grief. The judgment that will fall on Rome will be like in kind to what she has dished out to others. She will receive a double portion from her own cup. She who once boasted of her invulnerability will be brought to nothing. Just as she has caused many to experience every kind of adversity, she herself will experience the distress of poverty and demise. The point, however, is not that the church will rejoice because others suffer but because God in his justice will see to it that the haughty vindictiveness of Rome will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
Vs 9 – 10: The kings and nations that turned to Rome and profited and benefitted their allegiance to her will all mourn because the city they depended on and loved has fallen. They were involved in illegitimate affairs (immoral business practices, and power) with the prostitute and at one time enjoyed the luxuries that their adulterous relationship with Rome provided to them. The nations do not rush to the rescue of their concubine but “stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment”. They are amazed that judgment could fall upon a city in such a swift manner, as great and strong as Rome. They raise their voices in the sorrowful lament.
Vs 11: The mourning is also taken up by the merchants not out of sympathy for the fall of Rome who is now brought low, but because with its destruction they have lost their major source of financial gain
Vs 12 – 14: The merchants mourn the fact that all the rich luxuries that Rome longed for have vanished forever. The concluding clause, “never to be recovered,” brackets the list along with the earlier statement, “no one buys their cargoes anymore”
Vs 15 – 17: The merchants had profited richly from their trade with the great city of Rome. Now, like the kings of the earth, they take their stand at a safe distance to weep and mourn. Their lament is poetic in form. Continuing the use of triplets, the merchants describe the city as dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet; she glitters with gold, precious stones, and pearls.
Vs 18: The mourning continues with a third group, and it involves those in and connected with the shipping industry. As they watch the smoke rise from the burning ruins, they cry out in amazement, “Where is there another city as great as this?”
Vs 21: Another mighty angel appears and takes a “huge millstone” and throws it into the water, never to be seen again. This represents the fall of Babylon (Rome). She will be cast out, forever lost and no one will ever be able to see this great city again. The angel violently throws the millstone into the sea. This emphasizes how quickly and astonishingly the judgment of God will be accomplished not only upon an ancient city but the entire ungodly and anti-Christian world who opposes God.
Vs 22 – 23: John describes the effects of the sudden overthrow of Rome. He describes numerous characteristics of everyday life in Rome that cease to exist.
Vs 24: The angel speaks about the blood of Christian martyrs that flowed in the streets of Rome. Rome’s guilt extends to all who have been slain upon the earth because she is the reigning sovereign of the entire world.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 339). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 327). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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