Revelation Study Guide: Week 24, Chapter 20, Part 1

By Coty Pinckney

Read Revelation 19:11 to 21:8 once, and chapter 20 two more times. This week we will examine Scriptures related to the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world, trying to compare Revelation 20 with other prophecies about end times. In this week's preparation, I want you to avoid altogether commentaries and notes; we will only read a few pages in Wilcock where he lays out the three basic millennial positions. In week 25, we will read some different interpretations of this passage. But first, we must be sure we understand the thrust of what the entirety of Scripture says about the end.

    (1) What is the progression from the end of chapter 19 to the beginning of chapter 20? What event is depicted at the end of 19? How does chapter 20 build on chapter 19? We have seen before that sequence in John's vision need not imply sequence in the occurrence of events he sees.

    (2) Is there evidence in the passage regarding whether or not the events described in chapter 20 follow those of 19? One of the key elements in interpreting Revelation is distinguishing between prophecies that should be taken literally and those that are symbolic. Is the chain of 20:1 literal? Is the abyss? What type of creature is Satan? For more on the binding of Satan, see Mark 3:22-27. Is that passage referring to the same event as 20:2? See also Acts 1:8, Matt 28:18-20, Acts 17:30-1, John 12:20-23 & 30-32, and Luke 10:17-18.

    (3) In verse 4, does John see people in their bodies? What possibilities are there for understanding where they might they be reigning? What evidence in this verse helps us to know where they are reigning? On reigning with Christ, see 1 Corinthians 6:1-3. To whom is Paul speaking in those verses? Who is John talking about in 20:4-6?

    (4) Compare 20:7-10 with 14:18-20, 16:13-16, 17:12-14, and 19:19-21. What evidence suggests that these are all describing the same event? What evidence suggests otherwise?

    (5) Compare 20:11-15 with other prophecies of judgment, such as Isaiah 24 and 2 Peter 3:3-15. Will judgment come suddenly, like a thief? Can this be the case if it occurs after a literal 1000 years, when we know the exact time?

    (6) Is there any reference to Jews or Israel in Revelation 20? Is there a distinction between the way Jews and Gentiles are saved? See Colossians 3:11, Romans 11:17-22, and Ephesians 2:11-22.

    (7) Now consider these other passages referring to the end times. In particular, consider how many "second comings" of Christ are prophesied in each passage. In particular, are the prophesies of what we find in Rev 6:12-14 and the verses cited in question 4 the same time as the coming of Christ and the final judgment, or separated from those events by a considerable period of time? How do we understand the prophecies of blessings to Israel? Here are the passages: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2:1-12, Isaiah 65, 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, Isaiah 2:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 5:28-29, John 6:54, 2 Peter 3:3-15, and Matthew 24:9-31.

    (8) Now read Wilcock 175-182. Please do read this even if you don't normally read Wilcock. This is an excellent treatment of the advantages of each of the three millennial positions. To which position do you now lean? Why?

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