Revelation Chapter 20
In Revelation 20:1 - 3 Satan is bound for a thousand years. He is cast into the bottomless pit and shut up. During this time he is not able to deceive the nations as before. Nations do exist at this time. There will be those of every nation who survive the tribulation period and enter into the thousand year millennium period.
In verse 4, John sees thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. These would have to be the ones of Revelation 11:18 who are to be rewarded before the bowl judgements. The servants, the prophets, and the saints, and them that fear the name of the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 also speaks of these. They will rise at the shout of the Lord. And verse 17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
The souls that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God are a different group, These are tribulation saints which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. Their fate is to be beheaded. They will also be resurrected and will live and reign with Christ a thousand years.
Verse 5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. The first resurrection is an on going event which ends when the beheaded tribulation saints are made to live again. It started with Christ who was the first fruits and the saints of old whose graves were opened and their bodies arose in Matthew 27:52. And they came out of the graves after the Lords resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many. It continues with the rapture of the believers referenced in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The first resurrection concludes when the beheaded tribulation saints are made to live again. Revelation 20:4.
The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. People will die of natural causes during the thousand year reign and will be judged at the end of that period along with the rest of humanity from all the ages. Revelation 20:12.
Verse 6.. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. These resurrected saints will have no part in the final judgement at the end of the thousand year millennium.
In verse 7, Satan is loosed once again. Verse 8.. And shall 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. Verse 9.. An they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. Verse 10.. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever an ever. Satan finally gets his due. He takes his place along side the beast and the false prophet who were dispatched at the beginning of the millennium period.
Verse 11.. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. The awesome power of God holds an atom together. Such tremendous force pushing against itself. Only the hand of God keeps it in check. Look what happens when an atom is split. That tremendous force is released. That is just one atom. Imagine what will happen when God releases his grip on creation. Heaven and earth will indeed flee away.
Verse 12.. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those thing which were written in the books, according to their works. 13.. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14.. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15.. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
In Revelation 13:1 we found that the sea of humanity gave power to the beast. It could be that this same sea is being referred to in verse 20:13.