On Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D., the Messiah rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. That event has come to be called “The Triumphal Entry”, and is celebrated annually on Palm Sunday. The Book of Revelation tells us that a similar event will take place at the end of “The Great Tribulation”, that future time which is vividly portrayed in chapters six through nineteen.
There are many similarities between these two events. In both, He rides an animal. In both, He comes to the Mount of Olives. In both. He enters Jerusalem. In both. He is received with the cry, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord”. Therefore, this second event described in Revelation 19:11 ft. may be termed “The Triumphal Re-entry”. There are differences, however. In His First Coming, Messiah entered to die as the Lamb of God; in His Second Coming, Messiah re-enters to reign as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
John’s description of “TheTriumphai Re-entry” involves three separate events: I. The Return of the Savior (Rev. 19:11-21); II. The Restraint of Satan (Rev. 20:1-3); and III. The Reign of the Saints (Rev. 20:4-6).
The Return Of The Savior (19:11-21)
This is the culmination towards which the Book of Revelation has been moving. John stated earlier, “Behold, he cometh with clouds . . . ” (1;7), and here we view that coming as the opened heavens reveal Him to our wondering gaze. He is a rider, not on a lowly donkey (cf. Zech. 9:9), but on a white horse, the symbol of conquest and victory. There are three things that should be noted about this returning Rider.
His Characteristics (19:11-13)
He is given two titles in these verses. First, He is called “Faithful and True”. Scoffers may mock at the Second Coming (2 Pet. 3:3, 4), but Jesus will prove “Faithful” to His promise that He will come again. His words will be vindicated as “True” to those who have doubted them. He is also called ‘The Word of God”. As a spoken word is an outward manifestation of an inward thought, so Jesus is the visible manifestation of the invisible God (Jn. 1:1, -14).
John further describes His eyes as being like “a flame of fire”. This denotes the omniscience of the Savior who will pierce through every facade to reveal the inner thoughts hidden from human gaze. In other words, we may be able to fool others by our outward display, but we do not fool Him. “On his head were many crowns”. These are not the thorns that “crowned” His brow at His First Coming, but these are “diadems” that befit the King that He is.
The last characteristic of the Rider is that His garments are stained with blood. Although it would be lovely to think of this blood as His own which was shed at Calvary, a comparison with the Old Testament prophetic parallel reveals this blood to be that of His enemies defeated in battle (cf. Isa. 63:1-6).
His Companions (19:14)
He is not alone as He re-enters, but the “armies that were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Who are these heavenly riders who form the retinue of the conquering King? Some have said that they are angels since God’s Word does state that angels will return with Jesus (Mt 25:31). However, in this passage, the riders are not angels, but are believers who are previously described as the “Lamb’s Wife” i.e., the Church (cf. 19:7′, 8; 21:9). Jesus, then, will return with His saints at the end of the Tribulation Period (cf. 1 Th. 3:13; 4:14). Obviously, if the Church returns with her Bridegroom at the end of the Tribulation, then she must have spent that period of time with Him in Heaven. Therefore, this verse confirms the truth implied in other passages that there will be a coming of the Lord Jesus for His saints before the Tribulation begins (cf.Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Th. 4:13-5:9; Rev. 3:10). This coming is commonly called the “Rapture”.
It is interesting to note that the Savior’s garments are stained while His bride’s garments are “fine linen, white and clean”. This is a picture of the Church’s cleansing from sin (Eph. 5:27). Although wives often wonder what they will wear for special occasions, there will be no fretting about our apparel in that day – it will be appropriate and sufficient for everyone!
His Conquests (19:15-21)
This”Triumphal Re-entry” will be marked by judgment on the Rider’s enemies. The nations that have set themselves against the Lord and His Anointed (Ps. 2:2) will be defeated at the battle of Armageddon. These nations will be smitten with the sharp sword that goes out of the Savior’s mouth. The nations will be tossed into a winepress and be trodden down by His fierceness and wrath (cf. Joel 3:1-17; Rev. 14:14-20; 16:12-16).
An angel then invites ail the birds to come and feed on the carcasses which are casualties of the greatest battle ever fought. This day will be called “The Supper of the Great God”. The contrast is not accidental. Just a few verses earlier, an invitation was issued for “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (19:9). That blessed experience will be shared and enjoyed by believers oniy. This “Supper” wili be enjoyed only by the ravenous birds who gorge themselves on the rotting flesh of the defeated armies.
Having vanquished the armies of the earth at Armageddon, the Rider proceeds to deal then with the Satanic Trinity. The beast (the Satanic Son) and the false prophet (the Satanic Spirit), that insidious pair who wreaked havoc on the Tribulation saints, are cast alive into the lake of fire. Special treatment, however, is reserved for Satan, the Satanic Father, and that treatment is described in the following chapter.
The Restraint Of Satan
Revelation 20 is one of the great chapters of the Bible. It presents the tremendous events which relate to the reign of Christ on earth. Before we begin our examination of the chapter, it would be good to present the various views regarding the principal subject of this chapter — the Millennium.
The word “millennium” comes from two Latin words, mille, meaning “thousand”, and annus, meaning “year”. The phrase “thousand years” appears six times in verses 2-7. There are three views about this millennial period. (1) Postmillennialism teaches that through the gospel, world conditions will gradually improve until the Millennium arrives, after which Jesus will return to earth. Postmillennialism is not espoused as widely today as it once was. (2) Amillennialism teaches that there will be no future millennial period, but that the present church age is the Millennium. Satan is bound now and the saints are presently reigning on earth during a “spiritualized” thousand years. At the end of this so-called “Millennium” Christ will return.
(3) Premillennialism teaches that Christ must come first and then the Millennium will take place. This is the view espoused by Israel My Glory and careful interpretation of Revelation 20 reveals that premillennialism is clearly taught in this chapter.
The Place of His Restraint (20:1)
John sees an angel coming down from Heaven (Michael the Archangel? cf. Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Jude 9). This mighty angel seizes “the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil and Satan”, binds him with a great chain and casts him into the “bottomless pit”. This place is literally the “abyss” (cf. 9; 1, 2, 11; also “the deep” of Lk. 8:31; Rom. 10:7) and is the home of demons and unclean spirits. In other words, Satan’s activity is entirety removed from the earth during this time.
The Period of His Restraint (20:2)
Satan is bound in the “abyss for a thousand years. In other words, during the entire Millennial period, his influence is absent. The fact that Satan is bound for a thousand years is confirmed by the multitude of passages dealing with the kingdom period in which Satan is never found working in the world (e.g., Isa. 2:1-4; 11:1-9, Jer. 23:5, 6; Mic. 4:1-5; Zeph. 3:9-20). It is impossible to conceive that John intended this as a description of the present age.
When the thousand years expire, Satan is released for a little while, during which his malevolence is manifested again by leading a rebellion that is summarily put down by God (20:7-9). It is then that the great deceiver and enemy of men’s souls is cast into the lake of fire where he joins the beast and the false prophet, and the Satanic Trinity is “tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:10).
The Purpose of His Restraint (20:3)
Why is Satan bound for a thousand years? John tells us that it is so “he should deceive the nations no more” (v. 3). It should be remembered that amillennialists teach that this passage is a description of the present age. Opposed to this idea is the uniform revelation of the New Testament that Satan is presently very active. Examination of the following passages wilf reveal that it simply is unscriptural to think that Satan is presently bound and is no longer deceiving the nations (Acts 5:3; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4; 11:14; Eph. 2:2; 1 Th. 2:18; 2 Tim. 2:26). First Peter 5:8 should settle the matter beyond dispute; “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Why are we premillennialists? For many biblical reasons, not the least being because Revelation 19 clearly reveals that Jesus’ return is prior to the thousand years and because Scripture teaches that the binding of Satan is a future and not a present event.
The Reign Of The Saints (20:4-6)
Having described the severe judgments associated with the “Triumphal Re-entry”, John turns his attention to the blessedness of the saints’ reign with Christ in the Millennium.
The Groups of the Saints (20:4)
A careful examination of this verse reveals that two groups are mentioned. John saw people sitting on thrones “and judgment was given unto them”. Most probably, these throne-sitters are the twenty-four elders who are said to reign on earth (5:10) and who are representative of the Church. This accords with Jesus’ promise to His disciples in Luke 22:29, 30 and Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. …”
The other group is the Tribulation martyrs. They were beheaded because of their witness for Jesus and because they refused to worship the beast (the Antichrist) and receive his mark. The background for this experience is found in Revelation 13:15-17. The great privilege now afforded these sufferers is the answer to their heart-rending prayer recorded earlier in Revelation 6:9-11.
The Government of the Saints (20:4, 6)
These glorified saints reign with Christ for a thousand years during Satan’s imprisonment. To them is given the special privilege of being both priests and kings — offices which were always separated in the Old Testament. Believers are called “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9) under their great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Although some commentators have suggested that this reign will be in glory. Revelation 5;10 states that this reign will be “on the earth”.
The Glory of the Saints (20:5, 6)
The saints will be physically raised from the dead. John uses a verb which means “they came to life” and calls this great event the first resurrection”. Those who participate in the “first resurrection” are Christ himself (1 Cor. 15:20} and the saved of all ages (Dan. 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:51-54). They receive the benediction, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power . . . ” (20:6). The bodies of the unsaved dead, however, remain in their graves and their souls in Hades until after the thousand years when they will be resurrected at the Great White Throne Judgment described in 20:11-15.
This is called “the second death”. It is a sobering thought that if you have been born twice (physically and spiritually) you will only have to die once (physically), but if you have been born only once (physically) you will have to die twice (physically and spiritually).
What a gathering that will be! His coming will certainly be a “Triumphal Re-entry”, and we who know Him will share His triumph. Do you know Him?