1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and 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 completed. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20 features a battle scene—the ultimate throw-down between God and Satan.
One of the ugliest temptations in life is to lose hope. We lose hope when we forget who will win the battle in the end. John reassured us that those whom the world rejects—“the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus” (v. 4)—are those whom God notices.
In God’s world, the last come first; the losers are actually the winners. John says, “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (v. 6).
The life of the Christian is a battle.
Not only do we battle the spiritual forces of darkness in the world, but we also battle the temptation toward sin inside of us. This battle, for the Christian, is waged from a posture of victory.
Jesus has ultimately won.
We will ultimately win. Not only does this passage remind us who will win in the end, but it also reassures us who will lose: “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone” (v. 10).
Satan’s damnation and our vindication are biblical promises. The reality of Christ’s victory and Satan’s defeat increases our resolve to fight temptation.
The promise of Satan’s destruction is reassuring as we face his temptations: we will soon find that the temptations of a loser end up looking, well, kind of pathetic.
- How does Satan’s final destruction encourage our endurance amidst his temptations?
- How can we encourage one another this week in our battle with sin and with remembering our true identity as victors in Christ?
Close with a time of prayer requests focused specifically on areas where your group members need God’s victory over evil and death to be real to them.