Revelation 20 tells us that these events occur at the end of the 1000 years:
- All the lost, called “rest of the dead,” are raised to life (vs. 5a).
- Satan is loosed as a result (vs. 7).
- Satan gathers Earth’s lost billions around the New Jerusalem for a final battle (vs. 8).
- A final judgment of Satan and all the lost occurs (verses 11-13).
Although Revelation 20 follows a clear sequence, each successive verse is not strictly chronological. Sometimes things are repeated and sometimes things back up a bit. The resurrection of the saved is mentioned in verses 4b, 5b, and then 6. The resurrection of the lost is mentioned in verse 5a, but then again also in 12 and 13. Satan being loosed is mentioned in vs. 3 and 7. The fire of destruction (the destiny of the lost) is mentioned in verses 9, 10, 14, and 15. Thus we can see just a bit of bouncing around here.
After the lost are gathered around the New Jerusalem (vs. 8) the next verse says, “fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (vs. 9). This fire is again described in verses 14 and 15.
Before the fire falls and the lost experience their doom, a vast cosmic judgment scene takes place. The Bible says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it … And I saw the dead standing before God [they had been resurrected], and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it [another description of the resurrection of the lost], and Death and Hades [the grave] delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged each one according to their works” (verses 11-13).
This judgment takes place while the lost are all gathered outside the city and only concerns the unsaved. They alone are judged at this time. As the books are opened above them, they are allowed to see the complete record of their lives. They are shown why they are lost, and why they are outside the city. As the Book of Life is opened, they can see that their names are not there. Then Jesus will probably show them how much He loved them, how hard He tried to save them, and yet how by their own persistent efforts they resisted His calls of mercy. Yes, they will see that Jesus Christ died for them! They could have been inside the city! But, by their own choices, they turned from their best Friend. Now they are lost, and it’s too late! There will be no second chances!
Revelation 22:14,15 describes the same scene, and gives the reason why the saved are inside the city, and lost outside. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (New King James Version).
Solemn thought! Dear friend, now is the time to repent of our sins, to trust in Jesus Christ for full forgiveness, and to “do His commandments” in the strength of the Spirit. We simply cannot afford to make any mistakes and to end up outside the City of God with Satan and all the lost at the end of the 1000 years!