Revelation 19:17–20:6 (NKJV)
As was foretold in the last passage studied, the actual completion of the battle of Armageddon occurs in this passage. The aftermath and the subsequent reign of Christ on the earth for a thousand years is also discussed here.
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”Revelation 19:17-21
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
As the battle is about to start, an angel stood in the sun on earth and cried out loudly, inviting the birds of the air to come and eat the flesh of kings and mighty men, horses and those who sit on them. He proclaims that the battle which will commence momentarily will not go in favor of those who reign and live on the earth at this time. Instead, the One Who sits on the white horse will prevail, and beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies will suffer the defeat in this military encounter. The beast and his false prophet were captured first and thrown into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. All the rest of the earthly army, vast in number and deceived in their thinking, were then killed by the sword that came from the mouth of Christ, who sat on the white horse. It was then that the birds of the air flew in and began to feast on the flesh of the fallen soldiers. As is always the case, those who opposed Christ will not prevail. Christ is the Supreme ruler over all the earth, and no one can contend with Him and succeed.
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.Revelation 20:1-3
Once the conflict in the Valley of Megiddo was settled, an angel came down from heaven to subdue the dragon. This dragon, the serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, was bound with a chain for a thousand years. He was then cast into the bottomless pit and locked in it. This door was then sealed, so that no one could escape the bottomless pit and deceive the nations any longer, for the duration of the thousand year reign of Christ on earth. After the millennial reign, Satan will be loosed for a brief time to tempt those born during the millennium.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.Revelation 20:4-6
The twenty-four elders, presumably, are seated on thrones and the power of judgment is committed to them. Those who had given their lives for Christ during the Great Tribulation are here recognized, and are allowed to live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. This is a union of sorts of many groups who served God faithfully over the history of the world. “The first resurrection includes the resurrection of 1) Jesus Christ, 2) many dead saints of OT times (Matt. 27:52, 53), 3) the dead saints of the church, 4) the rapture of the living saints (1 Thess. 4:16, 17), and 5) those who are martyred for their testimony during the Great Tribulation.”* Therefore, all those who served God and believed in Christ are counted in this first resurrection, and are blessed to reign with Christ for the millennium. The sinful, unsaved throng will not be resurrected here, but will be at a later time for their judgment. The second death will sting them, but not those resurrected in the first resurrection.
*Jack W. Hayford et al., eds., New Spirit-Filled Life Bible: Notes (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Bibles, 2002), 1844.
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