Revelation 20.1-6 – The first resurrection and the millennium

Today an angel comes down from heaven and binds the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and binds him for a thousand years. He is thrown into a shut, sealed pit for a thousand years so he cannot employ his main tactic, his principal approach, deception; so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended.

He will be released at the end of this time, for a little while, when we will see Christ’s ultimate and eternal victory over him. Until then, he is bound and cannot influence people on earth by deception.

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who 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 for 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 is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

You would think that this is then all that is needed for us to see paradise on earth – the devil is out of the picture – but, sadly, this is not the case and due to our fallen sinful nature, the fact that the devil is bound and Christ is reigning on earth for a thousand years is still not enough for some people. Eternity starts at the beginning of chapter 21, and that is when we will see a permanent paradise.

This then is the first resurrection;

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who 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 for 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 is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

How we long to be a part of this first resurrection!

Should our time on earth come to an end before Jesus snatches up His church out of the Great Tribulation then we are assured that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5.6-8). We would then be a part of this millennial reign with our Lord along with the raptured church, saints of the Great Tribulation, and all others who have fallen asleep in the Lord.

To be a part of this means we are not part of the second resurrection, and therefore not part of the judgement before the great white throne.

Two resurrections, a thousand years apart.

The first is far preferable, right? By the grace of God we can be part of the first because the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, and it is by this very same grace of God we have been saved. All we need to bring to the party, so to speak, is faith…faith in the name of Jesus, for it is by grace we have been saved through faith in Jesus.

Revelation 19.19-21 – A no-go zone

When I was younger I used to walk to school. It took around 25-30 minutes, but this could be made considerably shorter by cutting through what we called a snicket, or a ginnel, or an alley, or whatever you call the narrow connecting passageway that joins two roads but is only wide enough for a person. If it was dark in the morning when I left (as it was for a few months a year), there were some snickets that I would not dare go through unless I was with my friends…peer pressure can really cut time off the walk to school…no, I’m not scared, are you, good, let’s go

Anyway, along with the snickets, there was also the possibility of garden-hopping. This involved, basically, cutting through someone’s garden to cut a big chunk off the walk. However, in my mind that was not a good thing to do, what if they came out and there I was strolling through their lovely manicured lawn? So the garden was a no-go zone, somewhere that was very real, it existed, but was out of bounds for me because I chose not to go there.

Today, we read of the ultimate no-go zone;

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

The Antichrist and the kings of the earth gather with their armies to make war on Jesus and the army of saints He has with Him. However, it doesn’t even get started, the beast was captured, also the false prophet. Then, the no-go zone – These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

The Bible translates differen words as ‘hell’ (sheol, hades, tartaros, gehanna), but it is clear here that the Antichrist and the false prophet are sent to hell, the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. They are sent before the great judgement before the great white throne of 20.11-15, and they receive special treatment, so to speak, in that they are sent there before the judgement. They are joined in the next chapter by Satan, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. No annihilation, no disappearing, no “I’m dead and that’s the end of it”, that’s now how we are made.

Friends, we need to be doing everything we can to avoid this no-go zone. I once heard a wise man and good friend give a speech to around 300 young people and they asked him for his one golden piece of life advice. This is what he said, and this is where we need to begin and constantly circle back to in our earthly efforts to avoid the no-go zone that is the very real place of hell and eternal separation from God, he said;

25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Luke 10.25-28

Revelation 19.11-18 – Jesus and the fourth supper

Today, He’s back! There is no doubt that this white horse is carrying the King of kings and Lord of lords, unlike 6.1-2 which was not Jesus.

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

There is so much here that points to Jesus;

Faithful and True…His eyes are like a flame of fire, the insight Jesus has is unparalleled…

on his head are many diadems, the royalty and authority Jesus has is unprecedented…

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God, takes you back to John’s Gospel, no?, In the beginning was the Word

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations, the power of His Word is unrivaled…

We could go on and on, but the picture is clear;

this is Jesus, this is His coming again, He is back, His second coming, He is back to rule and reign.

Yesterday we talked about the four suppers we see in Scripture, you can read yesterday’s devotional here, and we said there is a fourth supper that we must avoid at all costs.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

Some would call this great supper of God Armageddon, but no matter how we describe it, it is going to happen. If we live in the flesh, we will die in the flesh, regardless of the station in life we hold, see;

“Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

This fourth supper must be avoided, and to do that we must first partake of the first supper on offer, that of the salvation of Jesus (Luke 14.16-24).

So today let us take stock and evaluate

What in me is destined for the fourth supper?

What in me do I need to remove to make sure I am not present at the fourth supper, the great supper of God?

Have I truly partaken of the first supper, the salvation on offer through Jesus?

We can either be following him on white horses as part of His redeemed, or we can be at the fourth supper. Through His gracious, merciful lovingkindness, all we need to is accept the free gift on offer; our invitation to the first supper.

Revelation 19.6-10 – Four suppers

Today we hear the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder worshiping in heaven. Think about the most Spirit-filled, enthusiastic, loud worship experience you have ever had…earthly worship is just a shadow of what heavenly worship will be like.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

John is absolutely beside himself and falls down to worship the angel who quickly reminds him to worship God.

In v.9 we read that blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This will be the best wedding feast and party we could ever imagine…and then some! Back in Old Testament days, so I am reliably informed, the commandments by which people lived were temporarily suspended at wedding feasts so people could really cut loose and enjoy themselves! When Jesus comes back for His Bride (the church) God’s plan for history will almost be at a climax and the wedding party will be out of this world!

There are four suppers to be read of in the Word;

  1. Salvation – Luke 14.16-24
  2. Lord’s – Luke 22.14-20
  3. Marriage – Revelation 19.9
  4. Supper of the Great God – Revelation 19.17-18

Today then, we’ll keep it brief;

if we reject the first supper,

the second is meaningless to us,

we will not be present at the third,

but will be present at the fourth.

So, if we reject salvation,

we will not partake of the Lord’s Supper, why would we?

Then, we will not be present at the marriage supper of the Lamb and His Bride,

which means that we will be present at the fourth and least-desirable of all the suppers.

We need to check that we have really attended the first supper, not just seen the invitation and glanced through the door, maybe stayed for a few minutes until something better came along.

Once we know we are firmly fixed at the first, we can take the second supper with gratitude and thanksgiving and look forward to the third with joyful expectation.

However, if not, as we will see tomorrow, the fourth supper is not something we want to find ourselves at.

So…are you attending the first?

Revelation 19.1-5 – Hallelujah!

1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah!

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

2 for his judgments are true and just;

for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality,

and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3 Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!

The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying,

“Amen. Hallelujah!”

5 And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,

all you his servants,

you who fear him,

small and great.”

Chapter 18 ended with the enemies of God lamenting that their commercial haven had been judged and destroyed, and now there is rejoicing in heaven. We said before that we are never to rejoice at someone else’s judgement or misfortune, the Bible also speaks to this in Obadiah 1.12.

The word Hallelujah only appears four times in the New Testament, and all in Revelation 19. Three appear in this first five verses, and it is a Hebrew word that means praise the Lord!

So here we see the voice of a great multitude in heaven crying out praise the Lord! They are not rejoicing over and praising the judgement, rather the just, holy, and righteous God who has affected it. They cry out that his judgements are true and just, then give an example by saying for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. The praise, then, is for the fact that salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgements are true and just.

Again, then we see our examples of heavenly worship, the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fall down and worship God who was seated on the throne. They are in agreement with the great multitude and reply with a simple Amen. Hallelujah!


The point in all this is that it is right to ascribe glory and praise and worship to our great God.


He has said He will judge the wicked and He does, He has said He will save the righteous, and He does. He is a God of His Word, His Word is true and just, as are His judgements.

If we are ever on the receiving end of some corrective, loving, Fatherly discipline, it is never a nice place to be and we certainly don’t enjoy it. But, think of the alternative; the just, right, righteous, and definitive judgement of Almighty God against a fallen world. It seems a pretty easy choice as to which we want to experience; loving corrective discipline aimed at turning hearts and minds to the Lord, or righteous judgement that leads to eternal separation.

How do we ensure we are receivers of the former not the latter?

The way, the truth, and the life.

Revelation 18.21-24 – Addicted to the system

Today is the death knell for Babylon, the final stages of judgement against a fallen world that no one city is responsible for, yet all have Babylon-esque characteristics in them somewhere.

21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;

22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,

will be heard in you no more,

and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more,

and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more,

and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more,

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,

and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,

and of all who have been slain on earth.”

In Matthew 18.6 we see the imagery of the millstone, and here an angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, showing the final judgement has come. We saw this prophesied in Jeremiah 51.61-64, and the accuracy with which he spoke is chilling.

In vv.22-24 we see this repetition of the words ‘no more’;

22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,

will be heard in you no more,

and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more,

and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more,

and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more,

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,

and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.

Simply, all industry and commerce, everything human, fleshly, and of a worldly nature will just cease to be, will stop, will come to an end. As we progress into chapters 19 to 22 of Revelation we will see why there is no need for this kind of activity anyway.

This fleshly, wordly system, the world system at large is like a drug addiction. The word we read as sorcery is pharmakia in Greek…sound familiar? Sounds like pharmacy right, a place where drugs are prepared and distributed.


The fleshly, worldly system is like a drug addiction, and all nations have been deceived by it and become enslaved to it.


There is no one city that is responsible, remember, Babylon is representative of this system, and because of this we all need to pause and think; do I have any of this in me? Because there is nowhere that we could have come from that has not been influenced by the fallen ways of mankind, we all need to stop and think; am I living – at least in part – in Babylon?

Where is my treasure?

What do I hold as precious and important?

1 Peter tells us that Jesus is precious to those that believe, He is a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame (2.6).

So, what is precious to us, that which is represented by commercial Babylon here, or that which Jesus is?

Revelation 18.15-20 – Sad for selfish wealth

Today, more of the same in that commercial Babylon aka worldly selfish living is being judged and more people are lamenting this.

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16 “Alas, alas,

for the great city that was clothed in fine linen,

in purple and scarlet,

adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls!

17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

“What city was like the great city?”

19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

“Alas, alas,

for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!

For in a single hour she has been laid waste.

20 Rejoice over her, O heaven,

and you saints and apostles and prophets,

for God has given judgment for you against her!”

The merchants of the non-essential luxuries are pretty sad today, to say the least, they weep and mourn aloud. They’re cut up because the luxuries they sell to the rich are never to be seen again, and because of this they lose their trade, they cease to make money from the rich.

Interestingly, in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste…how fickle and finite wealth is. My Grandmother used to say, rather morbidly, that “There are no pockets in shrouds, and you can’t take it with you.” What she means is that wealth accumulated in this life stays in this life. Wealth laid up in heaven is wealth laid up where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Jesus said that where our treasure is, so our heart is, and we see that here with the mourning and weeping of the merchants.

The shipmasters and seafaring men too are making money from transporting goods to and from money-minded places, and they too lament, Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!.

Then, the quesiton for us, should we rejoice over the judgement? For God has given judgement for you (you saints and apostles and prophets) against her.

So, should we rejoice when judgement comes, that others are being made to eat the cake of the ingredients they have been baking with, being made to lie in the bed they have made? Do we rejoice at this?

No, we shouldn’t. We should never rejoice to see others suffering.

However, we can rejoice in the righteousness of God, we should rejoice in the fact that He does what He will say He will do. That thinking extends to all the promises He has made because our God is a God of absolutes; He is absolute power, absolute knowledge, absolute wisdom, absolute love, He cannot change, He cannot lie…so when He says He will do something, He will do it. He says He will judge immorality, but He also says that there is everlasting eternal life for those who by faith believe in the name of Jesus.

What God says is true, tried, and tested…what we do with this is, through His grace and benevolence, up to us.