Revelation 20: The imprisonment & 2nd coming of Satan

Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation

Revelation Chapter 20: The imprisonment & 2nd coming of Satan 

by I Gordon

Revelation 20 Bible study lesson 2nd coming of SatanWelcome to the 30th message in this Revelation series. 29 gone... only 48 to go! Well, ok, we're getting close to the end so 48 might be a wee bit ambitious! We've moved past the tribulation period now, ending last time with the epic and glorious return of the Lord! We saw the judgment upon a world that faced the return of the Lord and reacted by trying to kill Him... again. Oh foolish, deceived and wicked creation! Will you never change? So all that now remains is to deal with the rebellious spirit realm. This lesson will focus on Revelation 20:1-10 where we shall see the imprisonment and release of Satan. Yep, Satan is going... and then coming... and then going again... There is a second coming of Satan, but thankfully not for very long. If that all sounds as clear as mud we'll try to wash it down and clean it up a bit! Here is what we will look at today:

  • The ease of Satan's capture and imprisonment into the abyss - What does that teach about Satan and God?
  • The establishment of Jesus' Kingdom on Earth - why is it 1000 years and what are you looking forward to?
  • The second coming of Satan - why is he let out again and what does he do?
  • The heart of mankind - how could they rebel against the King in such perfect conditions and what does this teach us?

Satan's imprisonment

Rev 20:1-3 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. (2) He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (3) He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

With Jesus now beginning His reign on earth, what is the first thing that has to occur so that the peace and joy of the Kingdom age can begin? Well, get rid of the one who does all he can to steal peace and joy! So we see that an angel comes down from heaven and seizes Satan, the dragon, and throws him into the abyss. Now note that it doesn't say 'a mighty angel' like it has it other times in Revelation. No, just an angel. Some people think of Satan as the equal of God, but on the dark side. Nothing could be further from the truth! When God gives the order, it just takes a simple angel to lock Satan up in the abyss and there is nothing he can do! We saw him banished from heaven earlier in Revelation 12:9 and now he shall be banished from the earth. A 1000 year sentence will give Satan lots of time to do absolutely nothing but think... and fume!

Now you should remember the abyss. It is that bottomless pit that the demons begged Jesus not to send them into. It was also seen opening in Revelation 9 allowing all sorts of demonic locust-like creatures out, to terrorize the planet. Well, there is no opening or getting out of the abyss this time. Not for 1000 years anyway (which we'll discuss later!) While it only mentions Satan, all of his fallen foolish followers in the angelic realm will be cast into this place for the 1000 years of Jesus' reign on earth. Finally! At last! With the abyss sealed there is no way for Satan to deceive or have any influence over the nations for the entire 1000 years.1 He literally won't have any idea what is happening on earth during this time. In this age to come, no one can or will say 'the devil made me do it!'  

The deception of the nations
It is interesting that it says that the reason Satan is locked up is so that he cannot deceive the nations anymore. It is pretty obvious but important to remember that we don't live in this age yet. He is not locked up and he is very much currently in the business of deceiving the nations. Remember that when you see the United Nations gather. Watch what they do. Note their desire for more control. Note the discussion about global health control. Note any discussion about global governance. Note their move towards a global financial system. Note the preoccupation and condemnation of Israel. The people see themselves as the world's elite making important decisions for the "good" (very subjective term and according to their plans!) of humanity. In reality there is another puppet-master pulling the strings. As scripture says:
1Jn 5:19 We know... that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
2Co 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
So as Jesus said, expect the deception to increase leading up to His return. It is all Satan can do. Because of this believers should 'Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.' (1 Peter 5:8) But thankfully in the Messianic Kingdom to come, there will be done of this. He can't deceive, he can't prowl around this world... and as mentioned he won't even know what is going on! For 1000 blissful years anyway!   

Now the Old Testament also speaks of the imprisonment of Satan at the start of the Messianic Kingdom. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the tribulation period, where the earth is seen swaying under the weight of its sin, and goes onto the imprisonment of both mankind and the 'host of heaven on high' - in other words the fallen demonic spirits:

Isaiah 24:19-23 the earth is broken asunder, the earth is split through, the earth is shaken violently. (20) The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it, and it will fall, never to rise again. (21) So it will happen in that day, that the LORD will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on earth. (22) They will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon, and will be confined in prison; and after many days they will be punished. (23) Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.

Why a kingdom age and why 1000 years?

Some have wondered why Jesus has to rule upon this planet. Why not just go straight to the eternal state of the new heaven and the new earth? Why not just wipe everything away at Jesus' coming and start again? Well, Jesus must show that He has overcome and righted everything that Satan tried to destroy at the fall. The kingdom age declares to heaven and earth that all of Satan's works and deception will be overcome. This planet, that he usurped and tried to destroy, will be restored to its former glory as it was before the fall. The curse will be removed, the deception eliminated and the current ruler of this world will be replaced by the true King. Everything currently setup by Satan will be wiped away and Jesus will be openly seen by both humanity and the angelic realm to have conquered all.

So this brings us to a second question... the observant among you would have noticed '1000 years' coming up a bit so far. But before patting yourself on the back, I'm pretty sure the unobservant among you would have as well! : ) You kinda can't miss it as it is repeated 6 times in the first 7 verses of Revelation 20. So is it symbolic or specific? Well, if God goes to the trouble of saying 1000 years 6 times then I'm going to believe Him! I mean how many times does He have to tell us? It is 1000 years. This was the belief of both the ancient Jews and the early church fathers.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion says that the Rabbis of Christ’s day interpreted Psalm 90:4, which states 'For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night', to mean that the six days of creation pointed to the world lasting 6,000 years and the seventh day would be 1,000 years of the Messiah’s rule. This belief was also held by the church fathers in the first and second century2. For example Irenaeus (AD 130–202) was a very prominent church father, a disciple of Polycarp who was himself a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus wrote:

For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: ''Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works''. Genesis 2:2. This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. ''For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years''; 2 Peter 3:8. In six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.
Irenaeus "Against Heresies" (Book5, Chapter 8)

So when we look at the days of creation, can we see any patterns or pictures of what was to come for this earth?

Creation Day History (1000 years - approx.)
1 Light  1st 1000 years: Adam to Noah - The knowledge of God shone in this time. Noah was the last light and that light was spurned!
2 Sky / atmosphere 2nd 1000 years: Noah to Abraham - The period begins with God opening the sky in judgment. God gives the Noahic covenant, with a new sign in the sky, promising not to judge the earth in that way again. 
3 Dry ground & plants 3rd 1000 years: Abraham to David - God establishes the Abraham covenant promising the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. And later the Davidic covenant promising an eternal kingdom, from that same land, to one of David's descendants.
4. Sun, moon and stars 4th 1000 years: David to Jesus - The true light of the world, Jesus Christ, comes during this 4th millennium. 
5 Birds & sea creatures 5th 1000 years: 1st millennium of church history - The church is established with a heavenly calling and citizenship.
6 Land animals & humans 6th 1000 years: 2nd millennium of church history - As man was created on the 6th day and 6 comes short of God's perfect number 7, so fallen man is given 6000 years to rule this planet before God's perfect rule.  
7 The sabbath rest 7th 1000 years: The 7th Millennium will be the Lord's! It is the Messianic Kingdom where the rest will be seen just as on the 7th day God rested.  

A little glimpse - what are you looking forward to?

So this 7th 1000 years is the rest. It is peace. It is harmony. Man is not at war. WWII was meant to be the war to end all wars and it has been said that since then we have only had 26 days without war somewhere on earth. 26 days! Well that is going to change and it will extend further than just conflict within humanity. The animal kingdom also will be at peace. This time is the fulfillment of many prophecies and the hope of humanity going back 1000's of years. For example, can you answer these questions?

  • What was Gabriel's prophecy over Mary's unborn son? Luk 1:32-33 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
  • What was the proclamation of the people when Jesus rode in on a donkey? Mar 11:9-10 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! "Hosanna in the highest!"
  • What was the request of the thief on the cross? Luk 23:42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. "
  • What was the question of the disciples after Jesus' resurrection? Act 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

All of these longed for Jesus' kingdom to come upon the earth4. Now little is written about the conditions of this kingdom in Revelation 20 itself because so much has been written before - especially within the Old Testament. I have written a series on it previously3 so we won't go into great detail here, but for a little taste read the following prophecy and think about what you are looking forward to...

Isa 65:17-25 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. (18) "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. (19) "I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. (20) "No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed. (21) "They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (22) "They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. (23) "They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them. (24) "It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. (25) "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

  • There will be no thoughts about the tribulation or the horrors and difficulties that have gone before.
  • There will be no conflict. Jerusalem, which is currently 'a stone of stumbling' and a source of great conflict, will be a source of rejoicing and gladness
  • There will be no more weeping and crying amongst God's people
  • There will be no more stillborn babies, sickness or premature death
  • There will be no more injustice or theft or people losing all that they worked for
  • There will be no more conflict in the animal kingdom but only harmony. The wolf and the lamb will be great friends!
  • And most importantly, there will be no more of fallen man's rule for the Lord shall rule over the whole earth!

Ruling and Reigning With Christ

Rev 20:4-6 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. (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.

One of the amazing things coming for believers will be to rule and reign over this world with Him. We see that here in our passage. Thrones are established and believers are given authority to rule and judge. Those that lost their life for the King during the tribulation will rise and reign!5 They will go from being the persecuted and hunted to being the leaders and rulers! This is all in keeping with other scriptures. For example:

  • Jesus' disciples will rule over Israel: 'Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" (28) And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (29) "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. (30) "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.' (Matthew 19:27-30 )
  • Saints will judge the world and angels: 'Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? (2) Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? (3) Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?' (1 Corinthians 6:1-3)
  • The Kingdom will be given to the saints: 'But the court will sit, and his (the Antichrist) power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. (27) Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.' (Dan 7:36-27)

Now the scripture also speaks of 'the rest of the dead' which is speaking of the unbelievers. They too will be raised but not until the 1000 years are complete. Theirs is not a happy resurrection. They will be raised to stand before the Great white throne of judgment. This will be the topic of the next message. But for believers, they will be raised to life and death will no longer have any power over them. So with everything perfect, what could go wrong? Well, there is an odd twist and ending to this story...

The Second Coming of Satan

Rev 20:7-9 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison (8) and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. (9) They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves...

So with the devil imprisoned, the curse removed, a perfect environment renewed like the garden of Eden... something odd then happens... Satan is released! Why oh why? Why not just leave the abyss locked and throw away the key? Better still, why not just throw Satan into the lake of fire with the antichrist and false prophet at Jesus' return? Oh why oh why let Satan out for a short season to reek havoc once again? Well this is important so let's break it down verse by verse and see what it teaches about God, Satan and humanity.

Learning about God, Satan and Humanity

Rev 20:7 'When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison.'

What does it teach about God? - It teaches that He is sovereign and He uses Satan in His sovereignty. He is in full control. In that sovereignty everyone needs to be tested and He will use Satan in that testing. That is why Satan is released. Remember that at this stage humanity has lived for 1000 years in utter blissful conditions. There has been no curse upon the earth. No sickness. No poverty. No crime. Only abundance. And yet in this perfect state, those still in their fallen bodies have not been tested. Christians are tested today. Will we follow the Lord or the world? Will we stand for Jesus or shrink back? Today is our day of our testing. But those living in the Messianic Kingdom, still in their fallen bodies, have not been tested. That is why Satan is allowed out one last time. Will humanity still follow the Lord when there is an option not to do so? Or will they rebel and try to usurp the true King? 

Rev 20:8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 

What does it teach about Satan?  - Satan has had a lot of time to think and reflect yet when released we see that nothing has changed. He is thoroughly evil and unredeemable and letting him out one last time will display this to all watching on. He still thinks he can overcome God and if not, he desires to take as many people down with him as he can. So upon release he immediately starts doing the only thing he knows - deceive and destroy. He holds that position today and the nations are deceived.  All he knows is destruction and goes about, albeit for a very short season, to deceive and destroy again.  

Rev 20:9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 

What does this teach about mankind? - Oh humanity! You will have the perfect environment and yet given the opportunity you are not only willing but desiring to fight the King of Kings! What does this teach about mankind? It teaches what scripture teaches -that the human heart is deceitful and wicked and who can know it. Today the believer has three enemies - the world, the devil and the flesh. God will take the world and the devil out of the picture for 1000 years so that all that remains is the flesh. And we see their response. And it is not just a few crazed individuals either, for we read that those that come against the king are “as the sand of the seashore.” "

For all of human history, man has wanted to blame his sinful condition on his environment.  "Of course I turned out the way I did.  Did you see the family I came from?  Did you see the neighborhood I grew up in?"  With the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus, God will give mankind a thousand years of a perfect environment - with no Satan, no crime, violence, evil, or other social pathology.  But at the end of the 1,000 years, man will still rebel against God at his first opportunity.  This will powerfully demonstrate that the problem is in us, not only in our environment.
David Guzik

Beware the fallen nature and have no confidence in the flesh!
So summing it up, what does this passage teach about mankind? That ultimately, the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. It is sad to think that each dispensation has ended with human failure:
  1. Innocence (Gen 1:28) - Ends with failure and judgement in the garden
  2. Conscience (Gen 3:7) - Ends with the flood in the days of Noah
  3. Human Government (Gen. 8:15) - Ends with the rebellion at the tower of Babel
  4. Promise (Gen 12:1) - Ends with the judgement upon Egypt 
  5. Law (Exodus 19:1) - Ends with the crucifixion of the Messiah
  6. Grace - ends with apostacy
  7. Kingdom (Rev. 20:4) - Ends with a Satanic inspired rejection of the King by many upon the earth

If this is to speak to us today it yells nice and loud "Do not trust your fleshly nature!' "Have no confidence in the flesh!" According to God's word, believers are those that worship by the Spirit of God, glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3:3) The heart of fallen man is deceitful and desperately wicked. Do not trust it! 

Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

The Second & Eternal Imprisonment of Satan

Rev 20:9-10 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.

So how does it end?6 Well, we have seen the second coming of Satan. Thankfully it all ends very quickly with the second and eternal imprisonment of Satan. With Satan leading this one last rebellion of mankind against the King of kings at Jerusalem, divine fire falls from heaven, judging these wicked men. Fire has often been seen in the Bible in times of divine judgment upon wicked men. God's judgment upon Sodom and Elijah calling down fire upon the men of the wicked king Ahaziah are two notable examples that give a glimpse of what happens on this day (Gen 19:24; 2Ki 1:10, 12). And so this battle is over faster than it began. And the one who lead this deceptive revolt, the one who has deceived the nations for thousands of years, is finally and utterly judged! It is all summed up in verse: 

Rev 20:10 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.

Finally! This is the place that was first designed for Satan and his fallen angels. 

Mat 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

You will also note that scripture says that this is where the beast and false prophet are. Note the present tense in that verse. It is now 1000 years on from when they were thrown into the lake of fire but the terrible twosome are still there, The Bible does not teach annihilation. And it does not teach universal salvation either. They will be tormented forever and ever just as scripture says.


So in 10 short verses the Bible has described the events of the most amazing 1000 years this planet will see. Until there is a new heaven and a new earth that is! If this was a movie it would be an action movie! And you might put a mature audience rating on it. In 10 short verses...

  • We've seen Satan thrown into the abyss for 1000 years. 
  • We've seen the Old Testament and tribulation saints raised from the dead. 
  • We've seen all the believers ruling with Jesus in a curse-free perfect, fully renovated earth. I mean if you think that the extreme make-overs of some homes are incredible, wait till you see what Jesus has prepared from this earthly home!
  • We've seen Satan released and go about the only business he knows - deception and destruction.
  • We've seen the men like the sand on the seashore unite against Jesus in one final act of utter wickedness that gives the greatest picture of the human heart.
  • We've seen fire fall from heaven in a quick and dramatic end to this rebellion.
  • And we've seen the one who was behind all this trouble, right from the very beginning, finally get his just eternal desserts in the lake of fire!

Boy! That is a lot. Yet it is only half of this chapter! In fact the most sobering verses are still to come. That is the great white throne of judgment which is the theme of the next message!

God Bless!


  1. It is odd that some believe we are already in the Millennium. This is the belief of 'amillennialism'. If that is the case then Satan must be on a very long chain and they didn't lock up the abyss very well because, as the New Testament clearly says, he is currently loose and prowling around in this current age! (1 Pet 5:8, Eph 6:10, 2nd Cor 11:14). Clearly the events of Revelation 20 are still to come.

  2. A couple of other examples noting the same belief:

    Barnabas 15:4 Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days. He meaneth this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years; and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end
    Epistle of Barnabas

    "And 6, 000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day on which God rested from all His works. For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they shall reign with Christ, when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6, 000 years must be fulfilled
    Hippolytus, Fragment 2 of of his Daniel commentary

  3. See

  4. Some names for the coming Kingdom are:
    1. The Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 3:2 “and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
    2. The world to come. Hebrews 2:5 “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.”
    3. The times of refreshing. Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”
    4. The period of restoring all things Acts 3:21 “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
    5. The regeneration 'Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man'

  5. Note that scripture speaks of two resurrections - a resurrection of the just and the unjust. The resurrection of the just is in stages - first Jesus, then those that are His at the rapture. Then the Old Testament and tribulation saints. It is this latter group that we see in Rev 20;4 and it is the unjust that are mentioned in Rev 20:5 - they shall be covered in the next message on the great white throne of judgment as shown in Rev 20:11-15. See Dan 12:2, John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15.

  6. "As soon as Satan is released, a great company, who have been under the personal reign of Christ under ideal circumstances, goes over to Satan. From where did such a company come is a worthy question. The answer lies in the fact that not only do multitudes enter the Millennium, but multitudes also are born during the Millennium (see Isa_11:6; Isa_65:20). This will be the time of the earth's greatest population explosion. Disease will be eliminated. Since the curse of sin will be removed from the physical earth, it will produce enough foodstuffs to feed its greatest population. The human heart alone remains unchanged under these circumstances, and many will turn their backs on God and will go after Satan. This seems unbelievable, but what about today? Satan is doing pretty well in our day."
    J.Vernon McGee

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