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Revelation 20

The context of this chapter is the gruesome “supper of the great God” in which “all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven” are invited to partake of the “flesh of captains . . . mighty men . . . horses, and  . . . them that sit on them, and  . . . of all men, both free and bond, both small a great.” They had not been “cast . . . into a lake of fire” that had previously consumed “the beast . . . and . . . the false prophet” (Revelation 19:19, 20) a short time before. But, their fate was just as sure because they “were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse . . . an all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (verse 21) leaving the whole world devoid of any living human presence.

Foolishly, they had tried “to make war against him that sat on the [white] horse, and against his army” (Revelation 19:17, 18 & 14). Now, “his army” “followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” and made their way through intergalactic space into heaven to make preparation for returning to the “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 20:1). But, it will take a while before they return.

Verse 1: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

The last “angel” is depicted “standing in the sun” (Revelation 19:17) of Christ’s radiance. It could be Gabriel, Jesus’ right-hand-man. The least we can say is that this one is a good “angel come down from heaven” instead of falling “from heaven” like the two stars “Womwood” and “Abaddon,” or “the great dragon . . . and his angels” who were “cast out” of heaven.”

This good angel now has “the key of the bottomless pit,” the same “key” given the “star” who fell “from heaven unto the earth” (Revelation 9:1) who is “the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name . . . is Abaddon” or “Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11) the destroyer. Unless we are willing to concede the angel holding this “key” is the devil, we must conclude that the “key,”[1] representing power and authority, had, somehow, changed hands from Abbadon to Gabriel.

Indeed, it did change hands when “the second woe [was] past; and . . . the third woe [came] quickly.” That as when: “The kingdoms of this world” became God’s as He took to Himself His “great power” (Revelation 11:14, 15, 17)[2] represented by this “key” that had temporarily been turned over to Satan when the “four winds” (Revelation 7:1) were released. That was when he became “the angel of the bottomless pit” of Revelation 9:11.

In effect, that transfer of power happened when Jesus “took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth” (Revelation 8:5) denoting the end of His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and the end of probationary time accompanied by the release of the “four winds” representing the destructive power of Satan. Thus, the metaphoric “bottomless pit,” first mentioned in Revelation 9:1, is, in general, symbolic of post probationary time.[3]

The “chain” in the angel’s hand is not literal, but significant of the fact that Satan, who now has nothing more to do then to view the pathetic remains of the “remnant [that] were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse” (Revelation 19:21). Now, he has been committed to solitary confinement with “the slain of the LORD [strewn] from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground” (Jeremiah 25:33).

Verse 2: And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

There are a number of symbolic names for “the Devil, and Satan” in the book of Revelation. Not only is he listed as a “dragon,” and a “great red dragon” (Revelation 12:3), is he also called a “star” (Revelation 9:1), a “beast” when “he ascended “out of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 11:7) in full view of those “whose names were not written in the book of life” (Revelation 17:8). Additionally, he is named “Abaddon” or “Apollyon” and disguised as “Wormwood” (Revelation 9:11; 8:10, 11) leading his followers, under both deceptions, “into perdition,” or utter ruin. He is identified as the rider of the “horse that was red” who takes “peace from the earth,” in Revelation 6:8, and as the rider of the “pale horse,” he is given the name “Death.”

Twice, this “great dragon . . . called the Devil, and Satan” is called “old,”[4] and probably the oldest created being in the universe, perhaps millions if not billions of years old suggesting “he was old enough to know better!”

To us, “a thousand years of time” seems preposterously long, but to Satan, from his perspective of time while he busies himself in the fevered activity of attempting to frustrate God’s purposes, it probably seems quite brief. But, when silence descends with nothing more to do, his suffering will be intense. Time, in spite of his old age, will drag.

But, he was not created a Devil. He, like all other angels and men, were created with the power of choice. In fact, he was “perfect in [all his] ways from the day that [he was] created, till iniquity was found in [him]” (Ezekiel 28:15). In other words, “the Devil, and Satan” created himself. He chose to be a Devil. God was not responsible for his choice or even the choices of all the other angels who “were cast out with him” (see Revelation 12:9).

Verse 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.

This is the seventh and last time the figurative “bottomless pit” is mentioned (see Revelation 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 2). Mrs. White explains “the expression ‘bottomless pit’” in this setting to represent “the earth in a state of confusion and darkness . . . evident from other scriptures . . . . Looking forward to the great day of God, the prophet Jeremiah declares: ‘I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens had not light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down.’ [Jer. 4:23-27].”[5]

But, in Revelation 9:1-11 the fallen angel was “given the key of the bottomless pit” during which time “many men wished to die, but were unable.” Also recall that “they that dwell [or live] upon the earth in Revelation 11:10 were celebrating even after “the beast [had ascended] out of the bottomless pit” in Revelation 11:7. The same condition pertains to the beast’s ascension in Revelation 17:8. Consequently, the only element that the “bottomless pit” in Revelation 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7 and 17:8 have in common with that of Revelation 20:1, 3 is that it is figurative of post probationary time while men are still alive.[6]

Now, in this chapter and according to Revelation 19:20, 21, they are all dead. But, as this verse indicates, Satan will be “loosed a little season”[7] suggesting a little time of liberty from solitary confinement before his execution.

But, why was a “seal” set upon him when in verse 1 and 2 he was already “bound” with “a great chain? The Commentary remarks that the “seal” indicates “Satan will be effectively restrained for the period indicated”[8] suggesting being “bound” with a “great chain” was not enough. The “judgment” depicted in the next verse hints of the possibility that the human judges might harbor a degree of sympathy for the “poor” dragon whose suffering is intense, and might even consider reducing the sentence! The “seal” guarantees it won’t happen.

Verse 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.

While verses 1-3 depict an earthly scene where Satan is “bound,” the pronoun “they” must be indicative of “much people in heaven” who were rejoicing before “God that sat on [His] throne”  in Revelation 19:1-4. “They” have been “made . . . kings and priests unto God and his Father [and] shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) [9] later on “when the thousand years are expired” (verse 7).

In the meantime, here in heaven, they occupy “thrones” where they are given “power over the nations” to “rule . . . with a rod of iron: as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as [Jesus] received of [His] Father” (Revelation 2:27) after He was “caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5).

Now they exclaim: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:12-16).

At this point, of course, the “nations” will indeed have already been “broken to shivers” when the last “remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse” in Revelation 19:21. So, how can these people who are already in heaven break them “to shivers?” Obviously to asses then ratify God’s fairness in His dealings with such things as the “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies [who had] gathered together to make war against him that sat on the [white] horse, and against his army” (Revelation 19:19).

Among the heavenly gathering, we see a particular group of the saved called “the souls of them that were beheaded.” Of course, thousands of martyrs have been “beheaded” throughout time, but this group is special. They were killed because they refused to worship “the beast . . . image” and refrained from receiving “his mark upon their foreheads, or . . . hands.”

This is a scenario that is yet to take place because the “image” and “mark” will be enforced by the earth “beast” who began to speak “as a dragon” causing “all . . . to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” If they refused, they will be prohibited from buying or selling and even “killed” as we learned in Revelation 13:15.

Therefore, these are the “fellowservants” and “brethren” of the “souls” John “saw under the altar” when the “fifth seal” was “opened” (Revelation 6:9-11). Those “souls” were instructed to “rest yet for a little season” until these “fellowservants” and “brethren” would be “killed.”

That killing spree must have taken place during the “ten days” of “tribulation” just before the close of probation when those who said “they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” put them on trial and cast them “into prison.” Yet they were “faithful unto death.” (Revelation 2:9, 10) [10]

Now, in the first scene depicted under this verse, we see the “souls” and “fellowservants” who had been resurrected and join with all the others in the work of judgment God assigns them. Even though they were martyred, they had just passed the test the “people of God must have before they are sealed”[11] when the “fifth seal” of Revelation 6:9-11 was opened. Consequently, not all of God’s sealed people will escape the first death, at least until after Jesus casts the “censer . . . into the earth” (Revelation 8:5).

This illustration is shocking, not only because of the manner of execution with no trial by jury, but because of the callous behavior of the bystanders as well as the executioner. It depicts how unpopular and life threatening it will be to take a stand for truth when the “beast, image and mark” test will actually be fulfilled. This will be “the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10). Very soon after this, the bystanders and the mockers will will themselves die shortly thereafter while the victim will ultimately live and reign “with Christ a thousand years!”

So, instead of worrying about survival, leave it in the hands of God who knows what is best. Just be faithful unto death” or faithful throughout the “great tribulation.” All will be rewarded alike.

Verse 5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

The “rest of the dead” include the executioner, the mockers and the bystanders in the above illustration. They are guilty of murdering the martyrs of verse 4 when the “fifth seal” of Revelation 6:9-11 was opened, as well as all “the wicked dead, those who from the beginning of time have gone into Christless graves and those who have perished at the second coming of Christ” depicted in Revelation 6:14-17. [12]

But,those resurrected in “the first resurrection” include the martyrs like the man bound awaiting death in the guillotine. He represents them “which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had receive his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” in verse 4. Therefore, the term “first resurrection” implies a “second resurrection” called “the second death” in the next verse.

Verse 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.

They are “blessed” or “happy”[13] and “holy” because they, even like the 144,000, are “without fault before the throne of God”[14] They arise “in the first resurrection” implying a “second” resurrection is to follow, otherwise a “second death” would be impossible.

But, there are actually three resurrections: the “special” resurrection followed by the “first,” then the second a “thousand years” later.

The “special resurrection,” preceding the “first,” is depicted in Daniel 12:1, 2 where, at the end of the “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation . . . many . . . that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” The same concept is repeated in Revelation 7:1 when Christ “cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”

Follow Mrs. White’s spectacular account of the “special” followed by the “first resurrection”: “It is at midnight that God manifests his power for the deliverance of his people [this must be at the last of the seven last plagues, and, at this point those who lived through the “great tribulation” and will be translated]. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up, and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying, ‘It is done’” (Revelation 16:17).[15]

After those remarkable events: “ Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth’ ‘awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’[DAN. 12:2.] All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept his law. ‘They also which pierced Him,’[REV. 1:7.] those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of his truth and his people, are raised to behold him in his glory, and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.”[16] That is the “special resurrection.” But, more is to follow:

At that same time: “The voice of God is heard from Heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to his people.”[17] Therefore, even though “graves” had already been opened in this “special resurrection, Jesus had not yet come. This is when God announces the exact time of his arrival.

Then, after the “special resurrection” when God will have announced the exact “day and hour” of His coming: “there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour, and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. . . . [and] Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror.”[18]

Then: “Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. . . . All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb.” Among them is “Adam, who stands among the risen throng, is of lofty height and majestic form, in stature . . . all arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth.”[19] This is the “first resurrection” which follows the “special resurrection.”

Consequently, most of the righteous will die only once, some will never die and be translated. On the other hand, most of the wicked will die twice, but, some, such as those who actually “pierced Him,” will die three times after the first death, after the “special resurrection,” then after the “second resurrection” that John identifies as “the second death!”

Verse 7: And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

This is the sixth and last time the “thousand years” are mentioned in Revelation making it the second, most frequently mentioned time prophecy in the Bible![20] But, is the “thousand years” to be understood literally, or as prophetic day-for-a-year time?

The Commentary remarks: “Some commentators take this to be prophetic time, that is, 360,000 literal years, basing their interpretation on the fact that these verses are symbolic, and that therefore the time period must be symbolically interpreted. Others point out that this prophecy contains a mixture of literal elements, and that therefore, it is not necessary to understand the expression symbolically. This commentary takes the position that the thousand years are literal.”[21]

And, there is good support for that “position” in Revelation 1:6 where Christ, depicted as a “mighty angel,” swore “that there should be time no longer.” “This time, which the angel declares with a solemn oath, is not the end of this world’s history, neither of probationary time, but of prophetic time, which should precede the advent of our Lord. That is, the people will not have another message upon definite time.[22] After this period of time, reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844.”[23] [24]

As the Commentary implies by alluding to those who interpret the “thousand years” as “360,000 literal years,” “prophetic time” is the “year-day principle.” Coupled with Ellen White’s quote, there will be no more “prophetic time” or “year-days” after 1844, it is clear that the “thousand years” should be interpreted as literal time.

Some, believing there are no more time prophecies after 1844, and struggling with how to apply the “thousand years” of future, literal time, have decided the “thousand years” cannot be called a “time prophecy”! But, that argument can be dismissed out of hand. Consider that the Greek word for “years” is from “etos,”[25] meaning “year” in the literal sense. Therefore, the “thousand years” is definitely a “time prophecy.”

Therefore, instead “definite time” the “thousand years” should be categorized as a “thousand years” of “indefinite time” because the exact beginning point is unknown. It will become known only when “The voice of God is heard from Heaven, just after the special resurrection, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming,[26] and delivering the everlasting covenant to his people.”[27] Then, and only then will it become “definite time.”

With that digression and looking back to verse 7, we find Satan being “loosed out of his prison” which implies the second resurrection, called the “second death”[28] in verse 6, has taken place.

Therefore, in spite of being resurrected to life in the second resurrection, they are still in “the bottomless pit.” They are resurrected to life only to prove to the onlooking universe by their behavior, that they are unworthy of eternal life, therefore eternal extinction is the only solution. Consequently, the “bottomless pit” metaphor still applies and should be understood to represent post probationary time.

In effect, therefore, the “key,” Satan, the fallen “star” was given that made him him “the [temporary] angel of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:11) when the “four winds” were released but taken back when the “seventh” trumpet bearing “angel sounded,” is again returned to him. The saints, who are watching breathlessly, wait to see what he will do with his newfound freedom, wondering perhaps that the thousand year period of solitary confinement might have produced a change in his attitude.

Verse 8: And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

This is God’s prediction. The “thousand years” of solitary confinement will produce zero change in Satan’s character and behavior. So, what is the point of going through all this? It is because, even for the faithful angels in heaven, let alone the saints on earth, “seeing is believing.” God understands this and, in order to insure that “affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9), He has to allow Satan, once and for all, to demonstrate there is absolutely no alternative to the extermination of Satan and his followers.

If God dealt with Satan prematurely, even at the end of the pre millennial executive judgment,[28] somebody, even among the host of the faithful angels, would, eventually, be sure to question God’s fairness. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows this final demonstration will amply satisfy all the doubts about His justice that could possibly arise throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity even before they are asked!

So, Satan, without any thought of the misery and isolation he suffered during the “thousand years,” goes “out to deceive the nations” that have just been resurrected. Here, the “nations” are given a strange name: “Gog and Magog” representing “Satan and his hosts at the end of the millennium.”[30] They “represent the hosts of the unsaved of all ages who come forth in the second resurrection.”[31]

Verse 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.

With this assault on the “camp of the saints,” the “little season” mentioned in verse 3 when “the Devil, and Satan” were cut lose, has come to an end.

During the previous “thousand years,” Satan’s army, “Magog,” was lying strewn about the earth with most of their decomposed bodies moldering in the grave and thus, oblivious. Now, in spite of being resurrected by God’s power, they still “bear the traces of disease and death . . .” Worse yet, they “come forth, with the same enmity to Christ, and the same spirit of rebellion . . .” they had before being smitten in the first death. Consequently, they “resume the [same] current of their thoughts just where it ceased . . .”[32] Evidently, they realize they had been unconscious in the grave where death found them, but with no idea how they were resurrected until Satan assures “them that his power has brought them forth from the graves, and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny” even though he knows better.

He had just spent the past “thousand years” mulling over his past, and, being more fully aware of this prophecy than most Christians. He knew, based on verse 8, that the “nations” would be restored to him. Instead of taking verses 14 and 15 into consideration that depict his destruction, he dismissed them and concentrated on what his next move would be when the hour of freedom would arrive.

One glimpse of the vast multitude lying before him reassures him he cannot fail. Any thought of turning back is swept away by the same pride he had been cultivating for, perhaps, millions of years. “This multitude,” he must have thought, “is devoted to me, and there is no limit to what I can do with them.” Thus, the attack, the plans of which could have taken a number of post millennial years, is launched.

When Gog gives “the order to advance . . . the countless host moves on,–an army such as was never summoned by earthly conquerors, such as the combined forces of all ages since war began on the earth could never equal . . .” Then, “By command of Jesus, the gates of the New Jerusalem are closed . . .”[33] meaning, the gates had been standing open throughout the “little season” of verse 3 when Satan was organizing his army! This suggests God was prepared to allow entrance to anybody, even during the time Gog and Magog were preparing for battle with skillful artisans constructing implements of war and military leaders, famed for their success, were marshalling the throngs of warlike men into companies and divisions.[34]

Nevertheless, in spite of the intense preparation being made for war, it seems none of Satan’s intelligence corp considered infiltrating the city to spy out the land of the saints, and for good reason.

Going back to the second resurrection, just before the time the wicked were called forth from the grave, “Jesus leaves the city surrounded by the redeemed host”[35] and then calls “forth the wicked dead.”[36] Therefore, the redeemed, instead of remaining behind the walls of the holy city, follow Jesus outside the city and witness the second resurrection first-hand!  Except for a few who God mercifully “permits . . . to be as if he had not been,”[37] all the wicked who ever lived from the beginning to the end of earth’s history will arise right at their feet. But, the wicked do not greet the life giver with joy. Instead “they flee to hide from the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords.” Such fear persists throughout their war preparation and none have the least inclination to enter the open doors of the city.

Thus is demonstrated that “It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven: they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.” The same attitude was demonstrated during the second coming when the wicked called for “the mountains and rocks” to “fall on” them and hide them “from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, . . .” (Revelation 6:16).

Quite likely, during the time Jesus performed the second resurrection in the presence of the saints, they would converse with lost family members, past friends and enemies, even those who were responsible for some of their (first) deaths. They speak with them pointing to the holy city which has been their home for the last thousand years and what a wonderful place it is to live.

To the wicked, it seemed but a moment since they died, and in astonishment and utter disbelief they view the home of the saved. They are attracted to it, but when “Jesus . . . accompanied by all the saints, again go to the City . . . bitter lamentations and wailings of the doomed wicked fill the air”[38] because they experience an intense ambivalence of feeling. Even though they would love to go in, they are terrified of the Saviour and are seized with an unnamed fear of His presence.  As saddened as the saints are by this attitude, it is clear to them that the fault lies entirely with the wicked. Jesus did everything He could possibly do to get them to accept him, but they refused. Their exclusion from the city is their own fault, not God’s.

They had neglected to avail themselves, during probationary time, of having their sins blotted out of the “book” depicted in chapter 5 and entering it into the book of life. Furthermore, the penetrating gaze of Jesus reminds them that they would be miserable and totally unfit to live in His kingdom throughout eternity. The righteous, who have thoroughly examined the record and know the sinful, unconfessed secrets of their lives, now understand more than ever that hope of restitution is impossible. In fact, if they were forced “into the company of the pure and holy [they would be] exceedingly miserable”[39] and heaven would be hell for them. Consequently, the saints must bid their lamenting loved ones a tearful farewell.

This is the reason for the final post millennial scenario when Gog is freed from bondage. It is to eradicate, once and for all, any lingering doubt about the fairness of God’s forthcoming administration of justice.

We are not told how much time elapses between the second resurrection and the time the wicked lay siege to the holy city. It seems unlikely that the saints will have any desire to mingle with the wicked as they prepare for the onslaught. Nevertheless, they probably witness in stunned amazement as Gog quickly deceives the multitude as he passes among them making “the feeble and week strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy.”[40]

So, when the saints see their loved ones fully united with Gog and Magog in their effort to capture the city and, preposterous as it might seem, to disposes of God and His saints, any lingering doubt about God’s fairness vanishes as quickly as frost disappears under the heat of the blistering sun.

After “Jesus closes the gates of the city and this vast army surround it placing themselves in battle array. . . Jesus and all the angelic host . . . and all the saints ascend to the top of the wall of the city.  Jesus speaks with majesty and says Behold ye sinners the reward of the just! And behold ye my redeemed the reward of the wicked.”[41]

Then “in the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and Heaven the final coronation of the Son of God takes place. . . invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels . . .”  “As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. . . All appear as if written in letters of fire. . . Satan and his angels, and his subjects have no power to turn from the picture . . . Each actor recalls the part which he performed. . . Satan seems paralyzed as he beholds the glory and majesty of Christ . . . Memory recalls the home of his innocence and purity” and now “he sees only failure and ruin.” “With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare, ‘Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.’”

“Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God’s justice, and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged . . . Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle . . . He rushes into the midst of his subjects, and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury, and arouse them to instant battle. But . . . His power is at and end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with fury of demons they turn upon them.”[42]

At this point “ fire [comes] down from God out of heaven, and devoure[s] them.”

Verse 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.

In contrast, to the time “the devil,” known as “Wormwood, Abaddon” or “Apollyon” (Revelation 8:10, 11; 9:11) during the pre millennial time of Jacob’s trouble and who was spared destruction but rather thrown into solitary confinement  (verse 1), now with the proceedings of the post millennial judgment complete, God’s just sentence committing him to eternal extinction, is executed.

But note, according to the way this verse seems to read, “the beast and the false prophet” had already been cast into this “lake of fire” that they had been “cast alive into” during the pre millennial time of the second trumpet with “the remnant” being “slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse” (Revelation 19:20, 21). But, with a “thousand years” separating the pre millennial time of the second trumpet depicted as “a lake of fire burning with brimstone” and the post millennial “lake of fire” burning also with “brimstone,” it is clear they are two entirely different fires.[42]

In contrast to the first “fire,” with the “remnant” being “slain with the sword,” in the second, there is no surviving “remnant” remaining to be slain with the sword. All the wicked, according to the next few verses, will be consumed in that “fire.” This means that the penalty suffered by the “beast” and the “false prophet” in the first fire will be the same penalty visited upon all the wicked in the second “fire.” Therefore, those who were “cast alive” into the first “fire” will probably be resurrected to be cast into the “second.” Thus we see the final reward of the “beast power” whose “sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double” (Revelation 18:5, 6).

Verse 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.

Here, John backtracks from the “lake of fire” scenario of verse 10 to this majestic judgment scene which takes place just before the fire erupts directly from the hand of God causing ‘the earth and heaven” to fly away[43] or to be enveloped in flame with “no place for” the wicked.  In other words, they could not escape from God’s righteous indignation.

But, prior to that, just after Satan had given “the order to advance . . . and the countless host moves on . . . the gates of the New Jerusalem [were] closed . . .”  Then “Christ again appears to the view of his enemies. Far above the city, upon a foundation of burnished gold, is a throne, high and lifted up. Upon this throne sits the Son of God, and around him are the subjects of his kingdom”[44] who are depicted in verse 4 as having been seated there as “they lived and reigned with Christ [for the past] thousand years.”

“Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,’ ‘before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.’ [Rev.7:9]”[45]

Verse 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.

This is “the time of the dead, that they should be judged” (Revelation 11:18). It is an executive judgment the succeeds the investigative judgment beginning in Revelation 5:7 when Jesus “came and took the book.” There are at least three stages of the executive judgment: pre millennial, millennial and post millennial.

The pre millennial executive judgment began when Jesus “took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth” (Revelation 8:5) followed by seven trumpet events. As we have learned, the first six trumpet events demonstrated to the world and the universe what Satan’s unrestrained rule was like. The final series of events called “the third woe” (Revelation 11:14) amounting to “seven last plagues,” brought Satan’s pre millennial rule to an end.

Following the last plague when “there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven” and men called for “the rocks and mountains” to “fall on [them], and hide [them] from the face of him that sitteth on the throne,” the saints who had been carried to heaven by “the Lamb” and were given “thrones, and they sat upon them” and “judgment was given unto them” for a “thousand years” to examine the “books” containing the open record of the wicked “dead, small and great” during the millennial phase of the executive judgment that could be called the “assesory judgment.” The wicked “stand before God” metaphorically during the thousand years while their records are being examined.

Then, during the post millennial judgment, they literally “stand before God” after they have been resurrected and demonstrate once and for all that their character and behavior remains unchanged.

Both the pre millennial and post millennial executive judgments are two phased. During the seven trumpet pre millennial executive judgment, Satan is first given free hand with the wicked during the first six trumpets followed by God Himself taking control when He pours out the seven last plagues of the “third woe.”

The post millennial executive judgment is similar. As we have seen in this chapter, following the second resurrection, Satan is again given a free hand with the wicked. Then God sends the “fire . . . out of heaven” that “devoured them” (verse 9).

Even though the wicked were alive prior to the first death, here they are temporarily given life, as implied in verses 5 and 7 “in the second resurrection.”[46] And, although John saw them literally standing “before God” to hear the Judge’s verdict, he still considered them “dead.” Therefore, they are soon to “be hurt of” it and fall under the “power” of the “second death” (Revelation 2:11; 20:6) when the sentence is executed in “the lake of fire” depicted in verse 10. They will remain “dead” for eternity. There is no such thing a post millennial “third resurrection” except for a special group of the wicked whom Christ awakened “to shame and everlasting contempt” because they had actually “pierced him” (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 1:7) at His crucifixion prior to their first death. Those in that group will have been resurrected the third time (in “the second resurrection”) and will die for a third time, but now, in “the [post millennial] lake of fire.”

Extrapolating that thought even further, some, like those who were closely related to the “great whore” and the “false prophet” will have already been “cast alive into a [pre millennial] lake of fire” (Daniel 7:11; Revelation 17:16; 19:20) and in the post millennial lake of fire depicted in verses 9, 13 and 14 of this chapter.

Here, as they stand paralyzed before the spectacular display of God’s majesty and power, which up to that point, was kept hidden. Now, while the “books of record [Revelation 5:1-5, 7-9; Daniel 7:10] are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. They see just where their feet diverged from the path of purity and holiness, just how far pride and rebellion have carried them in the violation of the law of God. The seductive temptations which they encouraged by indulgence in sin, the blessings perverted, the messengers of God despised, the warnings rejected, the waves of mercy beaten back by the stubborn, unrepentant heart,–all appear as if written in letters of fire.” [47]

Verse 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.

“These words set forth the universality of the second resurrection implied in v.12.”[48] Note the sequence of the “second resurrection” scenario depicted in chapter 20. The “thousand years” of Satan’s solitary confinement on the earth is portrayed in verses 1 to 3 while the saints are sitting in judgment in heaven for the same “thousand years” in verse 4. Those judged are depicted as “the rest of the dead” in verse 5. Verse 6 compares the extreme desirability of the “first resurrection” over the “second death.” Verses 7 to 10 predict that the character of Satan, in spite of the solitary confinement he will suffer for a “thousand years” and the nations of the unsaved that will be resurrected to free him from his confinement, remain unchanged. At that time, “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devours them” including “the devil” together with “the beast and the false prophet.”

Then, in verses 11-15, John takes us over the same ground again, but, in a post millennial executive judgment context.

The next two verses bring us to the conclusion of the “post millennial executive judgment.”

Verse 14: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Here we see “death and hell” “personified”[49] as they already were in Revelation 6:8 where John saw “a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” This verse confirms that the “pale horse” and its rider will outlive the “horse that was red.” Those represented by the  “black horse” will live on forever when they receive the “white linen, white and clean” and follow the “white horse; and he that sat upon him” (Revelation 129:14, 11).

Usually, “death” simply means the cessation of life. It is regarded by the living as the ultimate calamity unless we grasp this concept. “Hell” is the home of the dead, which is the grave. Conceptually, “death and hell” are immaterial and cannot be literally consumed by fire. Consequently, their destruction by “fire” in the “second death” means “death” and the grave will become obsolete, a concept very difficult to grasp at this current time where both “death and hell” are stark realities of what we call this “present life.” We simply accept this assurance by faith, not by sight.

Prior to Satan’s rebellion, cessation of life and the place of the dead were unknown. Since then, both elements have become so common that many, having accepted Satan’s lie “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), consider “death” a friend instead of “the last enemy that shall be destroyed . . .” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

For the past 7,000 years, Satan has been enormously successful in marshalling the majority of earthlings to his side, but as far as total numbers were concerned, he could only influence a few at a time before death laid them in the grave. Never before had he been able to take total control because God put a stop to his power with such unusual things as the global flood, the destruction of the tower of Babel, and the confusion of languages, including the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone directly from heaven.

Now, during this post millennial scenario, God allows  all who ever lived who chose the side of the devil in the great controversy throughout time, to be released from the grave. Then almost by habit, they allow themselves to be swayed by Satan’s charismatic influence. In spite of enduring solitary confinement for a thousand years to reflect on his misdeeds, the immense multitude, known as “Magog,” inspires Satan (now called “Gog”) with an overwhelming sense of euphoria and he determines to capture the city. That is his final undoing. At this point it becomes unquestionably evident that God has no option but to destroy “Death” and “Hell” in the person of Satan and his angelic and human followers.

But, still the final moment of their lives does not come until “all the facts of the great controversy in  [are] in view, [and] the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare, ‘Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.’”[50] “Notwithstanding that Satan [was] constrained to acknowledge God’s justice . . . his character remains unchanged . . . Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. . . He rushes into the midst of his subjects, and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury, and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy.  His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them.”[51]

But men, regardless of the strength of their weapons, are powerless to destroy Satan and his angels. Only God, who (unlike humans to whom He gave the power to procreate) created them individually can take out what He brought in. Therefore, “Fire comes down from God out of heaven” and devours them. “Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished ‘according to their deeds.’” But Satan “is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on.”[52] Nevertheless, he too will, at last, succumb to the flames and “Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin” for God has no interest in ruling by intimidation. Consequently, only “One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion” that will inspire gratitude, love and praise instead of fear. Therefore, “the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise, and declare His power.”[53]

Verse 15: And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Some complain that God is cruel, even “criminal”[54] to destroy the wicked in this manner. Why not annihilate them all in a moment without inflicting such “unnecessary” suffering?  But, is it really “unnecessary?” Are any of God’s dealings unnecessary?  Since this devouring fire is a manifestation of “his strange (unusual, foreign, unknown) act” (Isaiah 28:21), this action is something the inhabitants of the universe have never witnessed before. For the past 7,000 years, they have seen, time after time, God’s patience stretched to the absolute limit and have frequently been tempted to accuse God of permissiveness. Like David who cried: “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalms 10:1) they too must have wondered why God did not interfere with the treachery and injustice of men more often than He did!

If God’s final act of justice were manifested in such a way that made no distinction between the magnitude of each sinner’s guilt, the heavenly witnesses could easily conclude God was indifferent, uncaring and, worst of all, unjust. Although God is merciful, there is no such thing as mercy without justice. Mercy without justice can only be called “indifference.”

Because His mercy and patience were by far the most demonstrated attribute of His character throughout the history of the world, it becomes absolutely imperative that He validate the reality of His justice; that He really does care and that He was not, in any way, indifferent to the treachery, injustice and cruelty of evil men and angels.

Therefore, the “second death” will be painful to many of the wicked, if not most.  Nevertheless, it will only last a relatively short time. The fire will go out and never be lit again. God “will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time;” (Nahum 1:9) but, not because the universe feels cowed into submission! God’s “strange act” will be seen as an essential component of mercy that was long overdue! After”Gog and Magog” are destroyed, and the molten earth has cooled, “One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought.”[55] It will inspire love, devotion and gratitude. None will obey because they feel intimidated. Sin will be regarded with absolute revulsion because of what it cost our Creator and Redeemer! Quite likely, the record “books” that “were opened” in verse 12 and held in “the right hand of him that sat on the throne” in Revelation 5:1 and scrutinized during the “thousand years” will also be cast into the lake of fire and never ever referred to again. They will never again be needed!

How can we avoid the “second [forever terminal] death?” By making sure our names are written in “the book of life.” Nothing could be simpler or more desirable.

Summary of chapter 20: This chapter, whose context is the gruesome “supper of the great God” where vultures are depicted feasting on the dead bodies of “the remnant” who were “slain with the sword of him that sat upon the [white] horse” at the end of the “third woe” or “seven last plagues,” now turns it attention to Satan who will be obliged to remain idle and to the saved who find themselves in heaven for the next “thousand years” to asses God’s fairness for not resurrecting the wicked in the “first resurrection.” Afterwards, Satan regains an unprecedented degree of freedom when all the wicked who ever lived from the beginning to the end of earth’s history are restored to life. They witness the glories of the “camp of the saints” and, while they feel drawn to it, they are terrorized to be in the presence of Jesus, and thus, in effect flee into the arms of Satan who marshals them into a vast army called “Magog” with himself being called “Gog.” Their attempt to capture “the beloved city” settles once-and-for-all any doubt about God’s justice in not resurrecting them in the first resurrection then destroying the wicked in the post millennial lake of fire.


[1] “key” is from “kleis” (Strong’s #2807) “the keeper of the keys has the power to open and shut; a metaphor in the NT to denote power and authority of various kinds.” Jesus defines it as the power “of hell and of death” in Rev.1:18 and the power of “David” (Jesus’ humanity) to open and shut in Rev.3:7, and given temporarily to a fallen “star” in Rev.9:1. It is found twice more in Matthew 16:18, 19 to represent the authority given the “church” and in Luke 11:52 to represent “knowledge” when Jesus was reproving the Pharisees.

[2] That “power,” as we learned in Revelation 9:1, was actually turned over to Satan when the “four winds” depicted in Revelation 7:1-3 representing the “terrible power of Satan” were released when the seven trumpet bearing angels began to sound in Revelation 8:6 and onwards. Note in Revelation 9:1 that the “key” “was given” past tense.

[3] if the term “post probationary time” is difficult to understand, it simply means time, as we know it, lingering on after the close of probation. Probationary time is what we are enjoying right now.

[4] “For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth, to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense. Since his fall, his life of unceasing activity has banished reflection; but he is now deprived of his power, and left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of Heaven, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future, when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done, and be punished for the sins that he has caused to be committed.” (Great Controversy page 660)

[5] Great Controversy pages 658, 659

[6] As an example of the mistakes that a strict Historicist application can lead to, consider this suggestion from the Commentary: “With respect to the Arabs, the bottomless pit may be thought of as representing the vast wastes of the Arabian deserts, whence these followers of Mohammed issued forth, to spread their conquests over vast areas.” (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol.7, page 791 top right column) I bring this up, not to ridicule, but as a point of constructive criticism.

[7] The duration of the “little season,” from “mikros” (Strong’s #3398) and “chronos” (Strong’s #5550) meaning “little time,” cannot be determined. But, note the same phraseology used in Revelation 6:11 where the “souls” “under the altar” were told to “rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants . . . should be killed . . .”

[8] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 880 (left column under “Set a Seal.”)

[9] “During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection, the judgment of the wicked takes place. Daniel declares that when the Ancient of days came, ‘judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.’ At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says, ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.’ It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and his people.” (The Southern Watchman 3-14-05)

[10] Remember, the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia represent the experiences of the church during the last moments of time as will as two former periods of the Christian church. Note Acts of the Apostles page 585

[11] see Manuscript Releases Vol. 15, page 15; 1888 Materials page 701; Review and Herald 1-11-87

[12] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 881 (left column under “5. Rest of the dead.”)

[13] “blessed” from “makarios” (Strong’s #3107) “happy” or “happier)

[14] This phrase, describing the character of the 144,000 in Revelation 14:5 encapsulated by the term “holy,” must be applicable to every person who will at last stand before the throne of God and who will occupy the “thrones” depicted in verse 4. Faultlessness, of course, is what Christ confers upon the true believer.

[15] Great Controversy page 636 2nd paragraph (brackets supplied)

[16] Ibid page 637 2nd paragraph (bracketed texts appear in the CDROM, and at the bottom of the page in the book.

[17] Ibid page 640 2nd paragraph

[18] Ibid pages 640, 641 (bottom of page to top of next)

[19] Ibid page 644 2nd and 3rd paragraphs

[20] The most frequently mentioned time prophecy is the 1260 of Daniel 7:25; 9:27 (where the final week of the seventy is split into two 1260’s); 12:7; Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14 and 13:5.

[21] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 889 (top left column under “Thousand years.”)

[22] interestingly, the phrase “definite time” is found some 83 time in the Spirit of Prophecy which means there will be no more “time setting” as was done by the Millerites prior to 1844. Consider what Daniel may have understood back in 538 B.C. Having understood the beginning point of the 2300 day “mar’eh” was at “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (Dan.9:25),” he must have considered Cyrus’ decree in 538 to be the beginning point of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14. If he did, he would have been 80 years in error. Therefore, when Daniel received the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14, it had to be “indefinite time.” It became “definite” when Wm. Miller came to the conclusion retrospectively, that 457 BC was the actual beginning point. This is exactly how the future time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation should be understood. Their beginning points, such as the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days of Daniel 12 can only be understood retrospectively. The events outlined in the trumpet scenario beginning in Revelation 8:7, will offer way-marks by which God’s people will be enabled to establish the beginning points of those prophecies with certainty, but even then they will not be able to establish a date for the second coming. Only God will do that at the time of the special resurrection as we have just read. Therefore, Ellen White’s counsel against “definite time,” is against time setting, not future time.

[23] see SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 7 page 971; Manuscript Releases Vol. 19 pages 320, 321; Vol. 1 page 100 (italics supplied)

[24] some commentators suggest is means “no more delay.” But, if that were the case, how would we explain the overwhelming evidence that God really has delayed His second coming?!

[25] see Strong’s #2094 found some 48 occasions in the NT exclusively as literal time.

[26] Mrs. White counseled repeatedly that nobody will know the “day and the hour” of Christ’s coming. Nevertheless several statements allude to a time (clearly postprobationary) when God Himself will announce it prior to His coming. You can find that statement in: The Day-Star 3-14-42, par.2; Maranatha page 287; Word to the Little Flock page 20; Manuscript Releases Vol. 10, page 270; Vol.16 page 176; Review and Herald 7-21-51; Great Controversy page 640; Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1 page 59; Spiritual Gifts Vol. 1 page 205; Vol.2  page 31; Spirit of Prophecy Vol.4 page 458; Selected Messages Vol. 1 page 75; Vol. 3 page 112; My Life Today page 344; Life Sketches page 102;  Last Day Events page 272;  Amazing Grace page 356; Faith I Live By page 182;  Early Writings pages 15, 285,  297.

[27] Great Controversy page 640 2nd paragraph

[28] The “second death” is depicted four time in Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14, and 21:8. It is a fate far worse than the “first death” because it is permanent.

[29] The term “pre millennial executive judgment” basically delineates the seven trumpet scenarios of Rev.8: 7 to 9:20; 11:7-19; then chapters 15 and 16. Chapters 17 and 18, backtrack to provide more information regarding some of the important details of the trumpets.

[30] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 704 (top left column)

[31] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 882 (left column under “8. Nations . . . Gog and Magog.”)

[32] see Great Controversy pages 662, 664

[33] see Great Controversy page 664 paragraph 2

[34] ibid paragraph 1 paraphrased

[35] Spiritual Gifts Vol.3 page 84

[36] Spiritual Gifts Vol.1, page 214

[37] Early Writings page 276

[38] Spiritual Gifts Vol.1, page 215

[39] Early Writings page 221 (bracket supplied)

[40] Great Controversy page 663

[41] Spiritual Gifts Vol.1, page 216

[42] There are six references to the first, pre millennial “fire” in Daniel 7:11; Revelation 17:16; 18:8, 9, 18 and 19:20

[43] “fled away” from: “pheugo”(Strong’s #5343) “to flee something abhorrent; to be saved by flight, to escape safely out of danger; poetically, to flee away, vanish.”

[44] See Great Controversy pages 664, 665

[45] It should be carefully noted that Revelation 7:9 depicts “a great multitude . . . clothed with white robes . . .   which came out of [the] great tribulation . . .” (see verses 13, 14), the same “tribulation” experienced by the 144,000 (see Great Controversy 649). At this point, the “great multitude” will have been greatly expanded. The great majority of them, having lived a great number of years prior to the close of probation, could not have come through that post probationary, pre millennial experience.

[46] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 883 (left column under “12. The dead.”) Note that the Commentary rightly uses the term “second resurrection” even though it is called the “second death” in Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14, and 21:8. Therefore, the “second resurrection” is only implied.

[47] Great Controversy page 666

[48] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 883 (left column under “13. Sea . . . death . . . hell.”)

[49] see SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 883 (left column under “14. Death and hell.”)

[50] Great Controversy page 671 (brackets supplied)

[51] Great Controversy page 672 (brackets & ellipses supplied)

[52] Great Controversy page 673

[53] Great Controversy page 674

[54] see “Behold Your God” by F.T. Wright in the chapter titles “God Is Not A Criminal” page 220

[55] Great Controversy page 674