Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #11)
Chapter 20:1 “And I saw an angel
come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in
his hand." We are still in types, shadows, symbols, and pictures. This scene is
presented in a manner we can understand naturally. Let's look at the spiritual
side of it though to get the right meaning. I believe the angel who came down
from heaven was Jesus, the angel of the covenant, for he said in the beginning
of Revelation that he has the key of hell and of death. So Jesus Christ is the
angel of the covenant, and he has the key. That key represents authority and the
chain in his hand which is a binding instrument is a means of restraint, a power
or force. It doesn't mean the Devil which is a spirit can be bound with a
literal chain. We know this is symbolic. Chapter 20:2 “And he laid hold on the
dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a
thousand years," This means he was restrained from the former use of the means
to deceive the nations. He used all the names of the Devil so there would be no
mistake about whom he was talking. This is generally used as a key of the Book
of Revelation. This verse is where the thousand year millennium has it's
beginning. Yet how much ground have we covered in order to get to this twentieth
chapter? How much has been wrought on earth and in heaven before we got here?
The twentieth chapter cannot be the key to the Book of Revelation and make all
the rest of it harmonize or agree with it. All the other chapters in Revelation
cannot be forgotten. Some people get the idea to bind Satan is to kill him,
which is not true. There has never been a soul saved yet except the Devil was
bound. I can prove that by the scriptures in Mark 3:27 "No man can enter into a
strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong
man; and then he will spoil his house." This is also found in Matthew 12:29 "Or
else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he
first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house." That strong man is
the Devil. But when one stronger comes along, he will bind the strong man and
take from him his goods and possessions. Thus each time someone is saved, the
Devil's power over that person must be restrained. The restraint of the Devil is
exactly what is taught here. The Devil's power is not completely severed because
there are many devils that are evil spirits in the world. Therefore the binding
of Satan is simply the restraint placed upon him that he should deceive the
nations no more. He used Rome and her civil powers to execute his will through
the Roman church in his fight against the true church. He has failed in
everything he has done, but he is constantly trying other things. In the Book of
Revelation, he's trying through a counterfeit church to destroy the Lord's
church. It has been a great battle waged down through the centuries in that
respect. Someone might like to know if this period of time is a literal one
thousand years. I do not believe it is. Also I do not believe the 144,000 Jews,
12,000 out of every tribe of Israel, are literal numbers. These are definite
numbers for indefinite numbers--in round figures, definite for an indefinite. If
I believed there were exactly 12,000 of every tribe of Jacob saved, I'd have to
join the hard-shells in their belief that God fixed it in eternity to save just
a certain number. The number 12,000 is a square since 12 times 12 is 144. This
is the meaning of the numbers. There is no way to tell, however, how long the
thousand years will actually be. In the twelfth chapter persecutions, including
the Roman Empire--pagan and papal, drove the early church into the wilderness.
Following paganism, the civil government joined with the ecclesiastical force of
the Roman Catholic Church preventing the true church from exercising her
liberties worldwide. The true church hid in dens and caves in order to carry on
her work. The true church stayed in the wilderness for 1260 years. The
wilderness does not mean literally dry and barren land. We have not yet studied
that the seat and authority of the beast was given to him by the dragon who is
the Devil. He was loose to use paganized Rome and ecclesiastical Rome or the
Roman Catholics to deceive the nations. The nations were deceived then in the
use of civil force to disallow the laity liberty to decide for them what truth
was. There is a different deception I want you to think about. The Roman
Catholic Church and its papal head backed up by the civil powers of Rome was the
force which deceived the nations of the world. All nations were under Roman
rule. As long as the Catholic Church was backed by Rome's civil powers, the
Devil was loose with all of his power. As a result of this, the true church was
in the wilderness in obscurity but yet carrying on her work. With God's help and
by the help of governments, the church prevailed. The doctrines and principles
of the church were preserved for us. However, this work had to be done in
private or the wilderness. Satan is bound here, but don't think he is entirely
without help. Even if he were, man is still left with his depraved nature. Yet
some believe in the thousand years the nature of the animals will be changed.
They don't say anything about man's nature changing though. This is an example
of their belief: The lion, the fiercest of the wild animals, will be as tame as
a housecat. Children, during that time, will be able to lead the lion by the
mane without harm to them. If the nature of wild animals will be changed, then
why not man? By excluding the nature of man, these people would have to admit
their belief is false. Man is a sinner by nature as beasts are wild by nature.
Someone might want to know how I arrived at this. See Isaiah 11:6-7 and the
tenth chapter of Acts. Have you ever heard anyone preach that the nature of
animals will be changed during that thousand year reign? I certainly have, and
there is a song that so teaches, "Peace in the Valley." I want to tell you what
it means in a manner everyone can understand. Peter was a very strict Jew, and
he looked at Gentile nations as nothing. The Apostle Peter knew in Jewish law
only certain animals could be used for meat. They were animals which chewed the
cud and had cloven feet. The animal would be unclean if he chewed the cud but
did not have cloven feet, etc. Peter did not dare touch an unclean beast. The
unclean beast represented the Gentile, and the clean beast represented the Jew.
In the tenth chapter of Acts read about Peter's vision. Acts 10:9 "On the
morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went
up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:" Acts 10:10 "And he became
very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a
trance," Acts 10:11 "And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon
him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the
earth:” Acts 10:12 "Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth,
and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air." Acts 10:13 “And
there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." Acts 10:14 “But Peter
said, not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.”
Acts 10:15 "And the voice spoke unto him again the second time, what God hath
cleansed, that call not thou common.” Acts 10:16 "This was done thrice: and the
vessel was received up again into heaven." What lesson did Peter learn? He
learned there was no difference between the Jew and the Greek. For the same Lord
over all was rich unto all that call upon him. Peter said later that he then
understood. He was shown there was no difference between the Jew and Gentile by
the means of the clean and unclean beast. After Peter went to the household of
Cornelius, a Gentile, it was questioned by those of the circumcision in
Jerusalem. Look at these verses from Isaiah to see the clean and unclean beasts
mentioned together each time. It is not accidental. Isaiah 11:1 “And there shall
come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his
roots:” David was a child of Jesse, and he was of the stem of Jesse. The branch
that grew out of his roots was none other than Jesus Christ. Isaiah 11:2 "And
the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and
understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of
the fear of the LORD;" Isaiah 11:3 "And shall make him of quick understanding in
the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:" Isaiah 11:4 "But with
righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of
the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the
breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” This goes back to what we pointed
out earlier. Isaiah 11:5 “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins." Isaiah 11:6 "The wolf also shall
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf
and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead
them." The wolf, leopard, and young lion all represent the Gentile. The Jews are
represented by the lamb, kid, and calf. "...a little child shall lead them." Has
that ever been the case? Even a little child when it is first converted, Jew or
Gentile, having something in his heart, the Spirit of God, leads him to lead
others. Jesus said in Matthews 11:25: "At that time Jesus answered and said, I
thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these
things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Isaiah
11:7 "And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down
together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." Again in this verse the
bear and the lion represent the Gentiles and the cow and the ox represent the
Jews. What is being taught in these scriptures? It means by the death of Christ
he made twain one new man, so making peace between Jew and Gentile bringing them
all together in one body (Jesus’ body) by the cross. God put no difference
between the Jew and Gentile for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that
call on him. Some teach however, that because the Jews had the first chance at
the gospel and rejected it, Christ postponed setting up his kingdom. They say it
will be set up at the beginning of the millennial age. This belief denies the
authority of all the churches since Jesus left. Jesus set up his church during
his personal ministry. See Luke 16:16 and Daniel 2:44. To tell you the truth
premillenarian counts the church just a shadow or a figure of what is to come.
But they contend for a literal one thousand years to come. Let us get back to
Chapter 20:3 "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." In this verse some people stop to believe in the millennial. I do not believe the teachings and interpretations of post-millennialism or the pre-millennialests views. You'd have to call me a millenarian, because I do not believe there is a literal reign of Christ on earth with his saints. If I couldn't prove that, I'd be afraid to make the statement.
Chapter 20:4 “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." "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them..." I said previously that every pronoun had an antecedent. B. H. Carroll will tell you the antecedent of the pronoun "they" here in the fourth verse can be found in the nineteenth chapter which is going too far back. An antecedent is the noun closest to your pronoun. That's the rule of English. So the antecedent of the pronoun "they" in the fourth verse is "nations" in the third verse. The purpose of his being restrained was that he should deceive the nations no more. They had been deceived and pushed back by civil authority. So his being restrained ended his deception of the nations. The nations were not under his power any longer. John said I saw thrones, and they (these nations no longer under his power) sat upon them. These thrones represent authority, and the binding of Satan or the restraining of his power gave the nations the liberty and authority to judge or to govern which they did not have before. These nations are now on top until the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Regardless of how long the thousand years represent, at the end of that time, the Devil will be loosed from the bottomless pit for a little season. To find out how long the "little season" is, go back to the sixth chapter in the ninth verse where John saw the souls of them that were slain for the word of God. 6:11 "And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." When the fellow servants are killed for the word of God in the thousand year period or the "little season," then the thousand year period will be fulfilled. It has been a long time, but it is a little season. "...and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus..." There is nothing said about a body in this verse for it's not a bodily resurrection. If it had been, he would have said he saw the bodies. Who were the souls he saw? It tells in the sixth chapter about those souls in another of John's visions. He saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the word of God and the testimony which they held, and he saw them under the altar of God. And they cried out and said O Lord how long till thou will judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell upon the earth. White robes were given to everyone of them. And it was said to them that they should wait a little season until their fellow servants should be killed as they were. White robes were being given to those disembodied souls because their bodies were left on earth. The same thing applies here. So we have the principles for which these souls whose bodies stood and defended. He said I saw these souls that were beheaded, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This has reference to principles personified which are continued by the Lord's people. As we said, this is not a bodily resurrection. Anyone who takes the position that it's a spiritual resurrection or regeneration of being saved, you will have to say the rest of the dead were the unredeemed or the lost. You can't make one physical and the other spiritual. They both have to be measured on the same scales and by the same rule. I know some people teach the first resurrection is the conversion of the soul or regeneration. If you are going to take that as being regeneration, what about the rest of the dead? The rest of the dead would be wicked people, sinners, and there wouldn't be anybody saved through that period of time. You can't take one spiritually and the other literally. This is not a parable. The church for 1260 years appeared as dead, completely obliterated. It appeared there was no one to advocate the cause of Christ. When liberty came their way, history tells us they came up out of the earth like grasshoppers. There's the first resurrection of those who appeared dead. It's a public rising to active duty of the true church. The church had been elevated to its former position before the rising of this beast and this false church which was used to hold it back for the period of 1260 years. Who were the rest of the dead? The rest of the dead were those that were very much alive and using their power and influence against the church of Jesus Christ. They kept it in seclusion for 1260 years, but when the Devil was bound and could no longer use the civil government and the powers of the Roman church to persecute the true church, they were dead (inactive) as far as their power and authority were concerned. So the rest of the dead are the ones who lost their power as a result of the binding of Satan. They do not have power anymore to act legally until the thousand year period (whatever time that represents) is over. When that period is over, and the Devil loosed, some government will rise with the same persecuting power. However, it will not be with the Roman Catholics and Rome as before. It will be a different line. It is found in II Thessalonians, second chapter as to how it will be. II Thessalonians
Chapter 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,"
Chapter 2:2 "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand."
Chapter 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" Who is he? Look at the next verse.
Chapter 2:4 "Who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sat in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." Someone might say he is Catholic, but I deny it. The Catholics have never denied God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They may have gone to extremes with Virgin Mary, but they never have denied the Godhead. So it's not Catholic.
Chapter 2:5 "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" It wasn't the false prophet, because he was cast into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Chapter 2:6 “And now ye know what withhold that he might be revealed in his time."
Chapter 2:7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." What is taken out of the way? It is that ecclesiastical Roman power, the Catholic Church cast into the sea like a millstone together with the beast and false prophet to be seen no more forever.
Chapter 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:" He's going to be right here on earth when the Lord returns on a cloud of glory. If words mean anything at all, he'll be right here at work. Who will he be? He will be that world dictator, the man of sin. I'd just like to say that the nations of this world, including this United States of America, are getting in the condition right now to be taken over by a world ruler. I wouldn't be surprised if this man of sin is not living now. He may be a child, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he is not alive and waiting his time. This man of sin will be here on earth demanding to be worshipped as God, sitting in the temple of God, and declaring him to be God. Has there ever been anyone who fulfilled this scripture? No. Verse eight says he'll be here when the Lord comes, and he'll be destroyed with the brightness of his coming. This is going to take place after the Devil has been loosed that little season. When the Devil is loose and goes up on the breadth of the earth and encompasses the camp of the saints about (the church), fire is going to come down out of heaven and destroy them. It will be the destruction of the same enemy who will be here when Jesus comes.
Chapter 20:5 "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." The fifth verse said, "But the rest of the dead lived not again," showing that they had lived. Do you get the point? They lived not again, but they had lived. The rest of the dead lived not again in character until the thousand years were finished.
Chapter 20:6 "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." The second death is the casting of both soul and body in hell at the resurrection. These who had part in the first resurrection could not be hurt of the second death.
Chapter 20:7 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,” What’s he going to do when he is loose? Let that thousand years symbolically represent an unspecified amount of time. I'm not speculating because it's a definite figure for an indefinite. As soon as that period is over, the Devil will again have his power to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth. The Devil was restrained from deceiving the nations for the thousand year period of time as he had done for 1260 years. Notice the beast, which is Rome, and the false prophet, which was the pope, were cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, and are no longer in existence. They are not with him when he starts his last move against the church. Thus after the Devil is unchained, he will use another means.
Chapter 20:8 "And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gogh, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." Look at how some people interpret this: A thousand years of peace and tranquility on earth. Christ would be sitting on the Throne of David in Jerusalem governing the entire world. All offices of every nation would be filled by a resurrected saint. These people believe during that thousand years the ferocious nature of the wild beast will be tame. Also they believe Satan will have no power to hurt, hinder or harm anyone during that time. If their belief is true, consider this: Our nation has been in existence for over two hundred years. In that two hundred years, look at the increase in population. How many would be here in a thousand years if there were no deaths or disease. Also where is the Devil going to get the uncountable number to deceive the nations after the thousand years? He would not have had any influence whatsoever on the world to gather a great army during that "thousand years of peace and tranquility." Chapter 20:9 “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." The camp of the saints is the church, and the Devil is making his last attempt to destroy the church that Jesus left in the world.
Chapter 20:10 "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.""...where the beast and the false prophet are..." Since the beast and false profit were already in the lake of fire, the Devil could not use them in his last move against the church.
Chapter 20:11 "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." This eleventh verse starts with the judgment. It comes after the Devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and he said they shall be tormented day and night forever. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;" (And I want you to notice that next clause.) "And there was found no place for them." I don't see where folks get their doctrine who says the earth is just going to be seared over like burning off a brooms age field. Peter said in his writing that the earth and all the works that are therein shall be burned up. This said there was no place found for them.
Chapter 20:12 "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." Verse twelve is not a judgment as to whether or not the soul is saved. If you're not saved on earth, you'll spend eternity in hell. It sets forth the judgment of the people, the nations of the world. All nations of earth will be gathered before God as the scripture said, and he will judge them out of the things written in the books according to their works. This judgment is after the resurrection of the body. Rewards will be given for good works, and rewards will be lost for works which are displeasing to God. The soul that's been regenerated, born again, or saved by God's divine grace has already been before the judgment. It was condemned, but by faith in Jesus Christ who took his place, that soul was acquitted and made free from sin. The soul was made alive unto God and will never appear again before any judgment. Jesus said in John 5:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." The word "condemnation" there is simply judgment. Why? Because he is passed from death unto life, and John said in 1 John 3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remained in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." You might ask if it is possible for a saved person to come to the judgment with only bad works. Well, I'll just let Paul tell us in I Corinthians,
Chapter 3:11: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 3:12: "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;" 3:13: "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." 3:14: "If any man's work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." 3:15: "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." If that doesn't simplify the judgment, I don't know where to go to. There'll be people at the judgment who say they were saved, and I have no right to dispute them. Some will say they can't believe it because their lives didn't show it. I'm telling you there are some saved people whose lives have been spent largely for the Devil. They will have no rewards at the judgment, because their works will all be burned up. That's strange preaching to some people, yet it is what the Bible says, and I believe it. There are those that will tell you there is going to be two resurrections and two judgments. The first resurrection is going to be of the righteous. I'd like you to read this following scripture.
I Thessalonians, Chapter 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." 4:14 "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." 4:15 "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." In other words, we'll not go up before them. 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 4:17 "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." This simply teaches those in Christ who are living on earth will not precede those in the grave, but they will be raised before the living are changed. Both will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. We should all know the wicked will not go up to meet the Lord. There is one verse of scripture I told you in the beginning of this study that what I teach from this stand or any other is what I believe. I'm not trying to cram anything down anybody's throat, because you are going to have to answer for how you hear, and I'm glad that I don't have that responsibility resting on me. My responsibility is to tell you. It's your responsibility to hear it as it is in truth. In the fourteenth chapter of Job, I want you to listen to this eleventh verse: "As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayed and dried up:" "So man" (Now that means all mankind.) "Man lieth down, and rises not: till the heavens are no more,” The premillennialist have a moral right to their opinion, but I don't think they have a scriptural right. This says that man will not be raised from the dead until the heavens pass away. But they say that the righteous dead will be raised a thousand years before the heavens pass away. Let's look at this. There was another book opened. Some people will tell you this white throne judgment is the judgment of the wicked. I wonder where they get that. I'm just going to use this simple illustration. According to these people this is the judgment of only the wicked. The righteous had already been judged a thousand years before this judgment whose names were written in the book of life. If this is true, why is the book of life there? Why bring the book of life to the judgment of the wicked at the end of the thousand years if it is only for the wicked. The fact is my brother, this is the general judgment of the righteous and the wicked for this says in the last three verses of this chapter.
Chapter 20:13 “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." There have been lots of people buried at sea, saved and unsaved. Boys in the navy, out on the briny deep have died and were buried at sea. That was their grave. Hell here is Hades which means the state of the disembodied. It just refers to a state or condition
Chapter 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." As far as the wicked are concerned, the hadean state is the bottomless pit. When those in Hades that are dead in sin are delivered up, what happens? Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, and this is the second death. What is the second death? It is the casting of both soul and body of the wicked into the lake of fire and brimstone. Those whose names were not in the book of life were the only ones cast into the lake of fire. Were there not names found in the book of life? If not, the book had no business there! Selah.
Chapter 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Doesn't that take into consideration both classes? If it doesn't, I'm just as blind as a bat. If God is not the judge of all (saved and lost) people at that day, how could it say those who were not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire? If this is the judgment of only the wicked, there would be no need to search in the book of life because the righteous were judged a thousand years previous to this judgment. I find no logic in this.