Revelation 20

Final Rebellion, Final Judgment


I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the abyss (Revelation 20:1).

The two iron and wood keys shown here were probably intended for use on the lock that secured the bar and door of a house. They were apparently brought to the Cave of the Letters by refugees of the Second Jewish Revolt in the hope that the owner would eventually return home and find the structure secured. These iron keys with wood handles were photographed at the Israel Museum.

A Beast Released

When the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison (Revelation 20:7).

Peter warned that the devil prowls about “like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). This Assyrian relief of a lion being released from a cage was photographed at the Getty Villa in southern California while on loan from the British Museum.

Gog and Magog

To deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8).

Some have identified “Gog” mentioned in Ezekiel 38–39 and Revelation 20:8 with Gyges, a first king of Lydia (687–652 BC), who is buried in this tumulus. Others identify Gog with a people group, or with Magog, who was a son of Japheth, and the progenitor of an ancient nation (Gen 10:2; 1 Chr 1:5). But unlike the use of the expression “Gog from the land of Magog” (Ezek 38–39) as a reference to a specific geographical location north of Israel, John seems to use these terms as a general reference for all the nations from every point of the compass.

White Throne

And I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat upon it (Revelation 20:11).

The object shown in this photo is the tribune from the sanctuary of Eshmun in Bostan esh-Sheikh. A tribune was the raised platform from which a praetor or magistrate exercised his authority (in the Christian era, it developed into the bishop’s throne in churches), and thus was at times a place of judgment. This tribune was photographed at the Beirut National Museum.


And death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them (Revelation 20:13).

Both “death” (Gk. thanatos) and “Hades” (Gk. hadēs) are personified here by John. A similar kind of personification was used by the Hebrew prophet Hosea when he said, “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. Death, where are your barbs? Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes” (Hos 13:14, CSB). The Greeks and Romans also personified Death and Hades (as they did many other concepts), as illustrated by this relief of Hades sitting enthroned as the ruler of the dead. This limestone relief was photographed at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

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