The Seven Beatitudes in the Book of Revelation, taken in context (perhaps more than I have done so far), literally provides a snap synopsis of the Book. The opening of chapter 20 deals with the period of time from Jesus’ First Coming (His Incarnation – God taking human flesh and becoming man) to Jesus Second Coming to usher in Judgment. So we move slightly backwards again to be taught more and given more information of eschatology (death, judgment and what happens thereafter) … but we quickly move into the Judgment! Notice a few important matters in this chapter:
1) The dragon, ancient snake, devil or satan, verse 2.
(If you ever wonder why I use a small “s” for satan unless at the start of a sentence, it is because he is inferior to God all the time.) These four names are referring to the same being, the enemy of God, the evil one. The names describe him adequately and expose him as the “ancient snake” … of Genesis chapter 3. He is the “serpent”, the devil incarnate. Many want us to believe Genesis 3 (in fact 1 to 11) is just a story, made up to give some credibility to the rest of the Bible’s message. When you discard these chapters, especially chapter 3, you deny a personal evil being who is God’s enemy and that of His people, plus you remove any concept of sin and its effects upon the race. The result is then believing all humans are good and not having a need for God to help them deal with sin because they are sinless. Yet, belief in Genesis 3 supports the Doctrine of Total Depravity with man needing a Redeemer to deliver him from sin. We may blame Eve for tempting Adam and Adam falling into sin that effects all of the race (he was our substitute) … but behind it all was the serpent, the devil … satan.
2) The dragon, ancient snake, devil or satan is bound for a thousand years, verse 2, 3 and 7.
The same thousand year period is also seen in verses 4, 5 and 6, but is applied to the Children of God. There are different eschatological views, yet I prefer the view that this thousand year period is from the First Coming to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! My reason for saying this is because it is easier to prove this view from the Bible. Others believe the thousand year period is still to come and will be a literal thousand years … but I feel this view stretches Scripture to prove that belief. Right now we are in the thousand year period … however long that will be. So, during this period (Hebrews 1 speaks of the last days that we are in, which is the same period), the enemy of the soul is bound in the Abyss … but this does not mean he is powerless and harmless. His powers are severely limited for the benefit and the sake of the redeemed on earth. This means the devil cannot cause the havoc he is capable of because God has restrained him for our sake … otherwise life would literally be a living hell on earth.
3) The Judgment of the dragon, ancient snake, devil or satan and the dead.
In verse 7-10 we see satan released from the Abyss (prison – verse 7). The thousand years are passed and he causes havoc, deceiving the nations across the planet who arise in rebellion against the Church of God. Notice his eternity (v10b&d)! The Lake of Burning Sulphur (v10a) accompanied by his closest generals (v10c). Then from verse 11 to 15 we see the sorting out of the wheat and the weeds … the believers and the unbelievers, the Children (saints) of God and the children (slaves) of the satan. The Book of Life contains all the names of those who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. Those whose names do not appear there receive the just Judgment of the Second Death which is the Lake of Fire (v14-15). You need to get this … a record of your entire life is found in the Books of Heaven. If you have not been born again, made spiritually alive through confession, repentance and faith … a literal spiritual bath in the Blood of the Lamb (washed), that record stands … and … condemns!
4) The Fifth Beatitude in the Book of Revelation.
Going back to verse 4-6 we see that many are redeemed through faith in the Gospel (“Word of God” – verse 4). This is the Church Age or if you like the “First Resurrection” period. The First Resurrection refers to being made spiritually alive … your dead soul (Eph 2v1-9) being made alive with Christ! This is the distinguishing mark, spiritual mark, between Christian and non-Christian. It is spiritual life here on earth whilst in the Body! Now look at the beatitude:
Rev 20:6 “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”
(a) Taking the word “blessed: to mean happy or congratulations … will mean that the believer is happy and congratulated because he or she has participated in the First Resurrection … they have believed … they have saving faith … they are God’s Blood Washed Children.
(b) They are “holy” because they are set apart from the wicked world and claws of satan for the Lord Jesus and His Eternal purposes. That being so, the “Second Death” has no power over them. The First Death refers to dying in the flesh whilst spiritually dead. In that condition, Judgment is the Second Death which is the Lake of Fire or the Lake of Burning Sulphur. Blood covered saints are not affected by the Second Death.
(c) The saints reign with their Lord as priests! How do we reign? Through our prayers, through our gospel preaching and activities, through our renouncing the devil and all evil and through our Intentional Christian Living.
(d) This reign lasts throughout the thousand year period because once in glory our Lord reigns supremely. What a future to look forward to! What an encouraging message for the believer … yet … the tension is Everlasting Bless or Everlasting Damnation, and we need to recall two important things.
(1) We were once lost and through the gospel presented by someone we were saved.
(2) Our duty is to take the gospel, be it through preaching or sharing … and reach lost souls.
O Lord, your Blood applied to my soul is so amazing. Please use me to reach others. Amen.