The next vision in this chapter describes the future judgment of the Antichrist and the False Prophet and the decimation of all those who allied and pledged their allegiance to them. The conclusion of the enemies of God is swift and bloody. The two beasts are thrown into the fiery abyss and the allies are killed with the sword that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. The birds feed on the flesh of the dead and the victory of the Lamb is complete.
Vs 17 - 18: The great banquet of God presents a solemn difference to the wedding feast of the Lamb. It is the banquet of God in the sense that God will provide it.
In this final battle, there will be no partiality to rank or station. The bodies of the allied (kings and slaves) will lie on the field of battle to be consumed by the vultures. The corpses that remain exposed for the predators were historically considered a dishonorable destiny. Overall, the scene is one of worldwide disgrace and annihilation of the enemies of God.
Vs 19: Now the Antichrist, False Prophet, and the allied kings gather to fight against the Messiah. The battle of Armageddon has arrived. The scene is eschatological in an absolute sense. John is not describing the slow conquest of evil in the spiritual scuffles of the faithful, but it is a great historic event that concludes the reign of the Antichrist and his minions and begins the long-awaited era of righteousness.
Vs 20: There is no description of the battle of Armageddon. The battle of Armageddon portrays the end-times battle of Antichrist (an event that takes place in time and brings to a close this age as we know it) but does not require that we accept in a literal fashion the specific imagery with which the event is described. The Antichrist and false prophet are apprehended and thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The beast/Antichrist is the embodiment of secular power in its hostility to the church. The false prophet symbolizes the role of false religion in coaxing people to worship the antichristian power. The lake of burning sulfur would not only be extremely hot, but foul and putrid as well. It is a suitable place for all that is evil and wicked in the world. The Antichrist and the false prophet are its first inhabitants.
Vs 21: The allies and armies of the Antichrist are killed by the sword that comes from the mouth of the Messiah. This is not a literal sword, and it is not symbolic of the Gospel message. This scene is one of judgment, and the sword is the declaration of vengeance of the Lord that kills all who have in loyalty displayed themselves against God and all that is righteousness. The supper of God is ready, and the vultures gorge themselves on the flesh of the wicked. Their destruction is complete. There now remains but one who must still meet a like fate—Satan himself, and his demise is detailed at length in the following section.
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. The 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 Satan, 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. All this passage says is that during a period elected as a thousand years the devil is bound and thrown into the Abyss, which is then locked and sealed. The reason for imprisonment is not to punish Satan but to stop him from deceiving the nations. A thousand years of confinement does not change Satan’s plans, nor does a thousand years of liberty from the encouragement of wickedness change people’s basic tendency to rebel against their creator.
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. It 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. “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.”
They come to life again and then reign with Christ for a thousand years. The length of this reign is said to be a thousand years. It is this number that gives us the term “millennium”.
Three views of the Millennium Doctrine
Vs 5 – 6: Those who partake in the first resurrection are called “blessed and holy”. They are priests of God, they will reign for a thousand years, and the second death has no power of them.
Vs 7 - 8: After this literal or symbolic millennium 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 of the world that assemble for one final attack on God and his people. There are no specific regions, they simply represent nations across the world who oppose God.
Vs 9: The nations that are allied with Satan surround the millennial city. We anticipate a great battle, but none ever comes, instead, the enemies of God are consumed by fire from heaven.
Vs 10: Satan 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.
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 reality of this entire description is to show that God is in charge and that 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. The point is that no one is so important as to be immune from judgment, and no one is so unimportant as to make judgment inappropriate. There is apparently a book with the deeds written 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 actual relationship with God. Salvation is by faith, but faith is revealed by the works it produces. The second book is the book of life. This would be considered a divine registry. If one’s name is not written in it, they are thrown into the lake of fire.
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 Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet.
Thus concludes the judgment of evil and now the church reigns triumphant with the Messiah.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 365). 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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