And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
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.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
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.
9 And 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.
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 and ever.
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.
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 things 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.
Revelation 19 ends with the destruction of the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire and the death of the wicked. Revelation 20 describes the destruction of Satan and the second death of the wicked. Satan is called here an old serpent, reminiscent of Genesis 3, because what will happen to him is the fulfillment of what God had promised to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15: crushing (Rm 16:20) the serpent's head. While Satan is in prison for one thousand years, those who did not worship the beast reign with Christ (v. 4). Ironically, those who worshiped him to preserve their lives (Rev 13:15) are now dead (Rev 19: 20-21; v. 5). The martyrs who cried out for judgment (Rev 6:9-10) now not only receive justice, but also are seated on the thrones to judge (v.4).
Revelation 20 assures us that all the promises of God will be fulfilled, and soon there will be the final eradication of sin and death. Then we will have new Heavens and a New Earth (Rev 21: 1), there will be no more curse (Rev 22:3) and we will have access again to the tree of life (Rev 22:14). What could be better than this? Do not exchange eternal life for the world’s illusions. Remember, God wants to spend eternity with you.
Flávio da Silva de Souza
Systematic Theology Professor
Latin American Adventist Theology Seminary