Thursday, May 21, 2020

Teaching Notes Book of Revelation - Chapter 20

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Teaching Notes Book of Revelation - Chapter 20

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Quarantine Day 70.  Thursday.  Georgia is going back to work.  Much of the NE USA and Calif. are still on lockdown but few deaths.  

Hugh C. Wood, Atlanta, Georgia

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Revelation 20

New International Version

The Thousand Years

20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They[a] had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

The Judgment of Satan
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The Judgment of the Dead
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:4 Or God; I also saw those who

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Bible Project
Revelation 12-22

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Satan Is Imprisoned for a Thousand Years
Verses 1-3
1I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2He took hold of the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up and set a seal upon him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished, but after that he must be set free for a short time.
Commentary: These first three verses function more as a conclusion to the preceding chapter than as a beginning to the rest of this chapter. The Beast and his prophet have already been handled. Now it is time for the third member of this unholy trinity. His various names are listed in verse 2 to remind readers of his various characteristics: dragon – ancient enemy of God; serpent – tempter and liar of humankind; and Ha Satan or the Devil – the accuser. He is then bound and thrown in a bottomless (i.e., inescapable) pit for a thousand years. The triple imagery of being thrown in, locked in, and sealed off show how completely Satan is out of the game, at least for now. It is important to note, however, that Satan is not killed. It seems that evil can never be completely destroyed, only contained. This should serve as a warning against complacency to the believer. Christ’s victory on the cross and the promise of his final victory do not allow us to let down our guards.[1]

It is also interesting to note that since the angel comes down from heaven with the key, this would indicate that these events occur somewhere other than heaven. Perhaps they are even to have happened on earth's surface.

It is safe to say that the bottomless pit is not in Heaven, but is representative of a place for those separated from God and demonic spirits. Satan's dominion and influence has now become curtailed because of the victory Christ had when he conquered the grave.

The First Resurrection
Verses 4-5
4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, nor his image, nor had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, 5but the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.'
Commentary: In the New Testament, the resurrection was exemplified in Jesus, who is said to have risen from the dead after three days. Paul writes, "Since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at his coming."[1 Cor 15:21-23] Another development in the New Testament is the understanding, principally from this passage, that there are two resurrections: one for the people of God before the Millennium; the other for the rest of the people after the Millennium. Those who are a part of the first resurrection will not have to worry about the "second death" and the "lake of fire” associated with the Last Judgment (see below). Jesus’ words agree with those of Revelation: "He who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and will not come into judgment… The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth: those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."[Jn 5:24-26]

The persecuted and martyered saints are once again mentioned. The reference to the martyrs once again seems to appear quite a few times in Revelation. Given the context that John writes his revelation in, this reoccurring theme is not surprising. During this time the early church was undergoing persecution and John's words served to bring solace and encouragement.

The Bible teaches that our resurrected bodies will be different from those we have now. Jesus said, "In the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven."[Mt22:30] The resurrected body, therefore, is a spiritual body which does not have the needs of the physical body. Paul adds, “So also is the resurrection of the dead: the body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body."[1 Cor 15:42-44] For Paul, the words of the prophet Hosea[Hos 13:14] find their fulfilment in the resurrection: "O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"[1Cor 15:55]

In his letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul writes, "The Lord himself will descend from heaven... and the dead in Christ will rise first.” But he adds that “we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."[1Th 4:16-17] The rising of those who are still alive to join the resurrected dead is known as the Rapture. Paul's words imply that he believed the three events —- the coming of the Lord, the Resurrection, and the Rapture —- would be more or less simultaneous.

This passage also has a great deal to do with Rome. Beheading was a common method of Roman execution. However, it was not a punishment that was given to just anyone. It was an execution designed for Roman citizens, since it was considered to be less humiliating than crucifixion. It is interesting to note that John never directly says anything about those who followed Christ, but were not martyred for their beliefs. It can be assumed from the passage about the faithful in the book of life that they are rewarded, but the book uses passages like these to comfort and console those who find themselves on trial for their beliefs.

Verse 6
6Blessed and holy are those who have a part in the first resurrection. On such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him a thousand years.
Commentary: Although there are other passages in the Bible which speak of an age of peace, only Revelation tells us how long it lasts. The word millennium simply means "one thousand years" and could refer to any thousand-year period, but through common usage, the Millennium has come to be understood as referring to the age of peace of Revelation. In the Millennium, the forces of darkness have no power on the Earth. It is a time of love and unity, of peace and harmony. Isaiah speaks of such a time and describes it in Edenic terms:

The wolf will dwell with the lamb; the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf, and the young lion, and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze; their young ones will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the cobra's hole; and the weaned child will put his hand in the viper's den. They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.[Is 11:5-9]
Just as the physical bodies of people are changed into spiritual bodies in the resurrection, so Isaiah implies that animals will undergo a transformation which enables them to live in peace with human beings and with each other. There is no more killing, either in the human or the animal kingdoms. God reverses the covenant made with Noah in which he said, "The fear and the dread of you will be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that moves on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea."[Gen 9:2] If the passage in Isaiah is interpreted literally, a return to the vegetarian diet of Eden[cf. Gen 1:29-30] seems to be a natural conclusion.

Micah expresses similarly lofty thoughts, adding that Jerusalem will be the Lord’s capital in those days:

Out of Zion the word of the law will go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more. But everyone will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.[Micah 4:2-4]
John continues to encourage his readers, especially those in persecuted regions and lifts their spirits helping them to endure. It is interesting to note that the martyrs are given a priestly role. This may suggest that these priests can intercede for those that still remain on earth.

The Final Confrontation between Good and Evil
Verses 7-8
7After the thousand years have expired, Satan will be freed from his prison, 8and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Commentary: There is continuing discussion over the identity of Gog and Magog. In the context of the passage, they seem to equate to something like “east and west.” There is a passage in Ezekiel, however, where God says to the prophet, "Set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him."[Ezek 38:2] Gog, in this instance, is the name of a person of the land of Magog, who is ruler (“prince”) over the regions of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. Ezekiel says of him: "You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you..."Ezek 38:2 Despite this huge show of force, the battle will be short-lived, for Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation all tell us that this last desperate attempt to destroy the people and the city of God will end in disaster: "I [i.e. God] will bring him to judgement with pestilence and bloodshed. I will rain down on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him: flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone."[Ezek 38:22]

Verse 9
9They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, but fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
Commentary: It may be that the images of fire raining down are an ancient vision of modern weapons, though these passages may also be interpreted as a supernatural intervention by God, or they may be interpreted symbolically.It is hard to distinguish if the beloved city here is referring to Jerusalem or a different place. Some believe that the beloved city is actually referring to the "New Jerusalem", the city of God, because old Jerusalem was earlier in the book equated with Sodom and Gomorrah. Witherington guesses that the beloved city is neither Jerusalem nor Rome nor any other city we've heard of before, but only a metaphor for the society of the saints. The battle is not fight by the saints, but by God, as He is the one that brings down the fire. This attack is similar to the results and methods of destruction used in the battle of God and Magog, as described by Ezekiel.

Verse 10
10The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and he will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Commentary: This verse shows Satan joining the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire. (Recall the beast and the false prophet were condemned at the beginning of the Millennium in Revelation 19:20, and now we are at the end of the 1,000 years.) In other words, this is the final overthrow of Satan. It is important to note that this punishment is clearly described as a permanent, eternal one, quite unlike Satan's earlier punishment of Revelation 20:2 in which Satan is captured for a thousand years. It is interesting to note that many Christians conceive of Satan as the tormenter of the damned, but this verse clearly indicates that Satan will also be tormented for all of eternity, a punishment worse than death because there is no escape.

The Last Judgment
Verse 11
11And I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them.
Commentary: The Last, or Final, Judgement is sometimes called the Great White Throne Judgement because of this description. Jesus sits on the throne, and this is where He, the Judge will do the final judgment. This throne is different from any mentioned previously in the book of Revelation and signifies that the person who is seated there is more important than any mentioned before (it could be Jesus or God himself). The white throne represents the righteous and holy ways that the judgment will convey. All must pass before this throne to be judged. The fact that the earth and heaven attempt to flee is metaphorically saying there was no place for anyone to escape too to hide from God's judgment, and that it is so overwhelming they try and escape it but can't.

Verses 12-13
12And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. The books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life, and the dead were judged according to those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead who were in them, and they were judged everyone according to their works.
Commentary: Everyone must stand before and be judged before God, this is everyone who has ever lived since the biginning of time. It even states in these verses that the sea will give yo the dead, symbolizing that no one is able to escape the judgement. This is the seventh vision of the prophet which begins in Chapter 19. All are reunited with their bodies to be judged. This is the second resurrection. The fact that God is using to books to judge implies that he is doing it justly and fairly, taking all actions into account. Every person's name will either be in the Book of Life or in the book of damnation. The people will not be able to give excuses or become sorrowful. Their destination is chosen and written in the books. Despite the comfort of just and fair judgement, this passage has a dark focus on death, the sea, and the wicked. This verse toys with the idea of salvation being dependent by faith or works, as the dead are judged by their works. Witherington suggests that we consider the dead coming from the sea as people who have not made it into Hades due to incomplete or improper burial rituals.

Verses 14-15
14Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Commentary: Just as the Bible speaks of two births (the physical and the spiritual), it speaks of two deaths. The first death is physical death, and the second is the death of the soul in the lake of fire.

While the Antichrist and False Prophet, who are thrown into the lake of fire before the Millennium, are said in Revelation to suffer eternal torments, no mention is made of eternal torment in connection with those who are banished to the lake of fire at the last judgment. The description of the lake of fire as the "second death" implies that the souls of those who go there at the last judgment do not live forever, but die, either immediately or after a suitable period of punishment. Many people believe that the souls of the lost will, nevertheless, suffer eternally, and offer scriptural passages to support their argument. Others offer passages which indicate that the nature of God only allows for punishment until such a time as justice has been served, and no more. There are therefore conflicting viewpoints on the subject.

While it is not specifically stated, it is implied that those who are a part of the second resurrection, i.e. the rest of humanity that were not martyrs, go on to suffer the second death in the lake of fire. Also, the specific mention of Death and Hades being cast into the lake of fire make it clear that those two entities were not associated with Hell itself.

Much of the judgment of Revelation 20 is echoed in Daniel 7. Both texts speak of a divine judgment, the defeat of a beast, and those in whom God finds favor. There may also be an allusion to Daniel 7:10 in Revelation 20:15's mention of the Book of Life as Daniel 7:10 speaks of books which are part of the process of divine judgement at the end of times. Isiah 24 and Ezekiel 36-39 also contain similarities to Revelation 20. -

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Daniel 7
New International Version
Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts
7 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

9 “As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,
    and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
    the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
    and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
    coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
    ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
    and the books were opened.

11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

The Interpretation of the Dream
15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.[b]

26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

Daniel 7:13 The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.
Daniel 7:25 Or for a year, two years and half a year

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Hugh C. Wood, Atlanta, Georgia

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

(c) Ben Witherington III, Revelation, Cambridge University Press: New York, 2003.

Witherington, Ben. Revelation. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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"Hugh C. Wood", "Hugh Wood", Book of Revelation, John the Elder, Peachtree Church, Revelation 20, Dead Are Judged, Satan in prison 1000 years, 1000 Christ on Earth,

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