This series of posts is my attempt to demonstrate that the language of the Revelation was actually symbolic code that was very intelligible to a first-century Jewish Christian living in the Roman Empire. I’m re-writing the Revelation to communicate the same message, but to a twenty-first century American Christian audience, using symbols we understand. This particular section parallels Revelation chapter 20. If you want to catch up, here’s a PDF of the entire series so far: The Revelation to JR. – Chapters 1-20.
Then I saw an angel descending from Heaven, holding the key to the bottomless pit and enormous hand-cuffs. He seized the dragon – that ancient monster, who is the Deceiver and Prosecutor, and bound him for a billion years and tossed him into the pit, then locked and sealed it over him, so that he couldn’t deceive the nations anymore.
At least until the billion years were up… (after that, he has to be let out for a little bit).
Then I saw desks, and those seated behind them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of everyone who’d been executed for living the story of Jesus and the word of God. They had not pledged allegiance to the beast or to its image, and had not received its mark over their hearts or on their wallets. They were resurrected and ruled with Christ for a thousand years (the rest of the dead weren’t resurrected until the billion years were up).
This is the first resurrection. Everyone who shares in the first resurrection are holy and blessed. The second death has no power over them; instead, they’ll be priests for God and Christ, and they’ll rule with him for a billion years.
When the billion years are up, Satan will be released from his prison and will travel to the four corners of the earth to deceive the nations – Babylon and Rome – in order to gather them for war. They’re as numerous as the grains of sand on the beach. They mobilized from all over the earth, and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the Holy City.
Fire fell from Heaven and destroyed them all.
The Deceiver who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and lava, where the Beast and the false prophet were, and they’ll be tortured 24/7 for the rest of eternity.
Then I saw an enormous white desk and the one who sat behind it. All creation fled from his sight, and I saw the dead – both insignificant and important – standing before the desk, and books were opened. A separate book was opened – the book of life. And the dead were judged according to what they’d done as recorded in the books. The oceans gave up the dead in them, and Death and the Underworld gave up the dead that were in them, and everyone was judged according to what they’d done.
Then Death and the Underworld were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death, and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.