Consistency in Preterism: Annihilation and Revelation 20:10

The nature of final punishment is a topic which falls under the theological category of eschatology, the study of last things. Also discussed as part of that category is the timing of the fulfillment of certain biblical prophecies, such as the coming of the Son of Man foretold by Jesus in his Olivet discourse, the nature and activity of the beast of Revelation, and so forth. Perhaps constituting the majority view of the church in America today, futurists believe that most of these prophecies will be fulfilled in our future; preterists like me, on the other hand, believe most of these prophecies—but not all of them1—were fulfilled in our past, specifically in the first century surrounding the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 70.

As I mentioned in a previous article, there’s a strong argument to be made in favor of conditionalism from the apocalyptic imagery of death and Hades in Revelation chapter 20. This argument carries force regardless of one’s eschatological position concerning the timing of prophetic events, and I will make that argument in the future here at Rethinking Hell. In the meantime, however, because of my interest in this particular eschatological persuasion, I want to reach out to my fellow preterists and make a bold, provocative and controversial statement: You can’t be a consistent preterist unless you’re also a conditionalist.

That’s right, I said it. If your understanding of the book of Revelation is preteristic but you believe that it supports the traditional view of hell as eternal conscious torment in immortal bodies and souls, you are being inconsistent. I was, too. I have been a preterist for years but I didn’t realize how inconsistent I had been until I was already nearly convinced of conditionalism roughly six months ago. If you are reading this and you are likewise a preterist, my hope is that the camaraderie I share with you will allow me to challenge you to think more deeply about this issue than you may have in the past.

You likely point to as evidence supporting the traditional view of final punishment, since a few verses later the risen wicked are seen thrown into this lake of fire in which the devil, beast and false prophet are tormented eternally. Chances are that you view the millennium depicted in this chapter as being the present church age, and that you believe the beast is a symbol representing imperial Rome generally, and perhaps Nero Caesar specifically. Yet despite the fact that this beast is seen thrown into the lake of fire at the onset of the millennium, corresponding to events which took place in the first century, I seriously doubt that you believe Nero (or anybody else associated with imperial Rome) is suffering torment right now in resurrected, immortal bodies. If you do not, then you are being inconsistent in your interpretation of the lake of fire imagery. If you do, then you are being inconsistent in other ways, but either way your doctrine is fraught with problems.

Shared Fate, a Thousand Years Between Them

To set the stage, consider that in the closing verses of Revelation John sees that2

20 the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.

The next chapter begins by depicting the binding of Satan for a thousand years, after which he is released and gathers the nations to make war against the saints, a war he loses when fire comes down from heaven and devours his armies. Then,3

10 the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Notice that immediately prior to the onset of the millennium this beast is thrown into a lake of fire, and at the close of the millennium it is still there. Its torment is often assumed to have begun when it was thrown in, which is sometimes alleged to challenge conditionalism. For example, Robert Morey says, “That the false prophet and Antichrist still existed in the lake of fire after a ‘thousand years’ of torment is a grammatical necessity … If they had passed into nonexistence, then John would have said ‘he’ and not ‘they’.”4 Robert Peterson says that “they are still there ‘one thousand years’ later … The Beast’s ‘destruction’, therefore, is not annihilation.”5

Whatever fate the lake of fire represents, the beast experiences it long before Satan does. “The beast and the false prophet plunge at once into the extremest degree of torment, without being reserved in chains of darkness till the judgment of the great day,” John Wesley writes.6 Commenting on the beast’s being thrown into the lake of fire at the onset of the millennium, Robert Jamieson notes that “Satan is subsequently cast into it, at the close of the outbreak which succeeds the millennium,”7 and Albert Barnes points out that whereas the beast meets this fate before the thousand years “Satan, on the other hand, instead of being doomed at once to that final ruin, was confined for a season in a dark abyss.”8

The Risen Wicked Join Them

But it is not only Satan who shall join the beast and false prophet following the conclusion of the thousand years; so, too, will the risen wicked:9

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds… 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

While John does not mention the eternal torment of those who rise uncovered by the blood of Christ, their torment is often assumed since they are thrown into the same lake of fire as the devil, beast and false prophet are being eternally tormented in. “The assertion that has nothing to do with the fate of lost human beings is false,” writes Peterson, explaining that “the verses that follow in depict resurrected humans being thrown into the lake of fire.”10 It is the same fate that “awaits everyone who has not got right with God during his lifetime,” says John Blanchard.11 Gregory Beale insists that there is no justification for not identifying the fate of these risen wicked with that of the devil, beast and false prophet, and that “the fact that the ungodly are thrown into the same ‘lake of fire’ as their satanic leaders further confirms this.”12

There is another reason for identifying the fate of the risen wicked with that of the devil: Jesus says they will depart into “the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels,”13 which compels Larry Dixon to ask, “How can one deny that the ‘place’ which has been prepared for the ‘devil and his angels’ () is not the same ‘place’—(‘the lake of burning sulfur’)—into which he will be thrown at the judgment ()?” And he answers his own question: “That ‘place’ will be a place of unceasing torment ().”14 Kenneth Boa and Rob Bowman say that the devil “will be cast into the lake of fire, where ‘they will be tormented day and night forever and ever’ () … The wicked will depart and go away into ‘eternal punishment’ along with the Devil and his angels ().”15 Robert Reymond quotes Jesus’ words about the fate of the wicked in and instructs his readers to “see for an elaboration of the nature of the devil’s punishment in the lake of fire in terms of ‘torment day and night for ever and ever.”16

A consistent application of the imagery of Revelation, therefore, is one which recognizes that the beast and false prophet begin to experience their eternal torment a thousand years before Satan and the risen wicked join them to experience the same fate. With that stage set, let us turn to how we preterists understand John’s apocalypse.

First Century Fulfillment

We believe it is exegetically untenable to deny that the bulk of the vision was fulfilled in the first century. Based on John’s opening words, that he was shown “the things which must soon take place,”17 R.C. Sproul writes, “The preterist argues, not only that the early church believed the Lord’s coming was near (at least with respect to his coming in judgment to Israel), but also that this belief proved to be true.”18 Regarding John’s statement that the time is “near” or “at hand,”19 Kenneth Gentry says that “if the expected events were to occur within a period of from one to five years … then all becomes clear.”20 Concerning the angel’s statement that “the time is near,”21 Hank Hanegraaff rhetorically asks, “Are we really to suppose that the angel was referencing a time more than two thousand years hence?” And he answers emphatically, “Of course not!”22

We do recognize, however, that the millennium of “is symbolic of a long, indeterminate period, corresponding to the age of the church (now).”23 James Jordan says the millennium begins some “40 years after Jesus’ ascension.”24 Gentry writes, “The thousand years is a symbolic time frame covering Christian history from the first century down to the end.”25 And so whatever events are represented by the imagery, as preterists we believe the beast was thrown into the fire in the first century, and that Satan will be cast into it in our future.

When it comes to the identity of the beast, preterists typically argue that it represents first century imperial Rome, the imagery pointing to the line of its early Caesars. Referring to the seven heads of the beast26, Gentry says that “the ‘five’ are Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius who have already ‘fallen’ (i.e., are dead). We know, therefore, that the sixth one ‘is’ (estin) the reigning emperor, Nero. And ‘the other who has not yet come’ is the seventh, Galba, who will only ‘remain a little while’.”27 Sproul concurs but identifies two other options which begin with Augustus rather than Julius, and which have Galba or Vespasian as the then-reigning emperor.28 James Jordan sees the beast’s ten horns29, rather than its heads, as pointing to this succession of Caesars, adding Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian.30

Eternal Torment in Living Bodies

Now consider that the traditional view of final punishment is one in which those thrown into the lake of fire are tormented for eternity in living souls and bodies. John Gill wrote that the soul “cannot be killed” and that “though [the body] rises to damnation and everlasting contempt, yet [it] dies not again.”31 Saint Augustine said, “It is not incredible that the bodies of men condemned to everlasting punishment may retain in their soul the fire, may burn without being consumed, and may suffer without perishing.”32 Peterson insists that Jonathan Edwards was “constrained to preach the truth that ‘the bodies of the wicked men as well as their souls will be punished forever’.”33

Where, then, does this leave the preterist who affirms the traditional view of final punishment? Consistency requires him to believe that several of Rome’s early Caesars—not to mention every other individual human being comprising the institution of first century imperial Rome—are suffering torment right now in immortal bodies and souls. However, I suspect that few, if any, preterists believe that, for such a view is fraught with numerous problems. It would mean that these Caesars are being tormented physically in living bodies right now somewhere in the universe. It would mean that these Caesars began their eternal torment in living bodies at least 2,000 years before the final judgment of the rest of mankind, a judgment they will never face. It would mean that most of these Caesars were resurrected bodily from the dead at least 2,000 years before the general resurrection of the rest of mankind, which would be inconsistent with the arguments most preterists level against the two future resurrections posited by dispensational premillennialists. And each of these problems exists even if one is inclined to limit the first century onset of bodily eternal torment to Nero alone.

What are the preterist’s alternatives to this problematic position? Perhaps he could say that it is the torment of the intermediate state into which Rome’s Caesars entered in the first century and from which they will rise at the general resurrection, at which point they’ll be tormented bodily for eternity. But this would be inconsistent, since the eternal fire would communicate one thing at the onset of the millennium and something different afterwards. What is more, it would mean the Caesars were thrown into the lake of fire only to rise out of it at the general resurrection and be thrown right back into it to experience a different fate. And why is the beast said to be thrown alive into the lake of fire while its armies are killed by the sword34 if both, in fact, die and enter the intermediate state? Clearly this alternative preteristic interpretation of the imagery, while avoiding some of the more serious problems of what would be a more consistent traditionalist reading, is ultimately no less absurd.

Or perhaps the preterist traditionalist could say that demonic powers, rather than any human beings comprising the institution represented by the beast, began their torment in the lake of fire in the first century. But having identified numerous human beings in the imagery of the beast, what indication is there in the text that demons are also a part of that institution? And what exegetical justification can be offered for limiting the first century onset of eternal torment in the lake of fire to these demons, and excluding the Caesars so clearly depicted in the imagery? This alternative attempt at consistency would seem, then, to be an entirely ad hoc attempt to evade the problems faced in the previous proposed interpretations.

The Beast’s Dominion Annihilated

The best preteristic interpretation of the beast being thrown into the lake of fire is that its ungodly dominion over God’s people will come to a permanent end or annihilated. This is clear from the interpretation given by Scripture of the very similar imagery of , characteristics of whose four beasts are found in the beast of Revelation. Taken at face value, these two visions are contradictory; whereas in Revelation the beast is thrown alive into the lake of fire and tormented for eternity, Daniel’s beast is killed and its body destroyed in a river of fire.35 But the angel interprets this imagery, saying,36

23 The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.

Scripture provides us with no interpretation of the imagery of Revelation, but it does provide us with an interpretation of the imagery upon which it draws to foretell the same events, and the interpretation given is that the oppressive dominion of the institution represented by the beast will be “annihilated and destroyed forever,” at which point the saints will begin their reign. It is no wonder that John, too, sees the onset of the saints’ reign following what happens to the beast.37 When we let Scripture interpret Scripture, we have no reason to think that the fate of the beast in the imagery has anything to do with the individual human beings who comprise the institution it represents; its being thrown into the lake of fire communicates the permanent end to its dominion.

Thus many preterists appear to understand the fate of the beast in the imagery as communicating the spiritual conquest of the institution it represents. Jay Adams writes that “the beast and false prophet … represent the contemporary Roman world empire and its religious agent … the conflict described here is spiritual … a battle waged and won by the Word of God.”38 David Clark says, “Is this not the conquering power of the gospel and the triumph of Christianity? The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, by preaching, and teaching, and testimony conquers the world for Christ.”39 David Chilton40 insisted that “any nation that does not submit to the all-embracing rule of King Jesus will perish; all nations shall be Christianized some day. It is only a matter of time.”41 Jordan writes, “Now all nations are to be conquered by the Gospel, beginning with the Sea Beast and False Prophet … The remnant of the kings of the land who survived the destruction of Babylon, as well as the Sea Beast and False Prophet (Herods and High Priests), are destroyed and removed from history.”42

Consistency in Preterism

Many preterists, then, accept what seems to be the obviously correct interpretation of the beast’s torment—the permanent end to the dominion of first century Rome over God’s people. They correctly reject its absurd alternatives in which Caesars were resurrected in the first century and are suffering eternal torment in living bodies somewhere in the universe right now, or in which the lake of fire symbolizes their suffering in the intermediate state a few verses before symbolizing their eternal state when they are thrown back into it, or in which, lacking any textual basis, demonic powers are the ones thrown into the lake of fire in the first century, rather than any of the several human beings they find in the beast’s imagery.

Recall, however, that many traditionalists point to the fact that the risen wicked are thrown into the lake of fire as evidence that, like the devil, they will be tormented for eternity. If the eternal torment of the beast in the lake of fire symbolizes the permanent end to the ungodly dominion of first century Rome over God’s people, preterists cannot be consistent while insisting that the same imagery communicates the torment of the devil or of the risen wicked in immortal bodies for eternity. Consistency in preterism requires that it symbolize a permanent end to everything symbolically thrown into the lake of fire. Since there is no indication that the devil and risen wicked represent institutions like the beast and false prophet, and since those who rise out of death and Hades have no dominion, I posit that their eternal torment in the lake of fire must symbolize the permanent end to themselves. You can’t be a consistent preterist when it comes to the imagery of Revelation unless you’re also a conditionalist.

  1. I’m referring to what was historically termed preterism, which has in recent years been unfortunately called “partial” preterism. I am not a hyper- or “full” preterist. For more information, listen to Episode 3 of my friend Dee Dee Warren’s podcast or read her article, “Perfuming the Hog.” []
  2. []
  3. []
  4. Morey, R. Death and the Afterlife (Bethany House, 1984), 137. []
  5. Peterson, R. Hell on Trial (P&R Publishing, 1995), 164. []
  6. Wesley, J. “Commentary on Revelation 19“. John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible. 1765. []
  7. Jamieson, R. “Commentary on Revelation 19“. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. 1871. []
  8. Barnes, A. “Commentary on Revelation 20“. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. []
  9. []
  10. Peterson. 89. []
  11. Blanchard, J. Whatever Happened to Hell? (Crossway Books, 1995), 141. []
  12. Morgan, C. and Peterson, R., editors. Hell Under Fire (Zondervan, 2004), 116. []
  13. []
  14. Dixon, L. The Other Side of the Good News (Christian Focus Publications, 2003), 109. []
  15. Boa, K. and Bowman, R. Sense & Nonsense about Heaven and Hell (Zondervan, 2007), 105. []
  16. Reymond, R. Contending for the Faith (Christian Focus Publications, 2005), 348. []
  17. []
  18. Sproul, R.C. The Last Days According to Jesus (Baker Books, 1998), 135. []
  19. []
  20. as cited in Sproul, 1998, p. 139. []
  21. []
  22. Hanegraaff, H. The Apocalypse Code (Thomas Nelson, 2007), 92. []
  23. Gregg, S., editor. Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 1997), 457. []
  24. Jordan, J. The Vindication of Jesus Christ (Athanasius Press, 2009), 85. []
  25. Gentry, K. Navigating the Book of Revelation (Goodbirth Ministries, 2010), 167. []
  26. []
  27. Gentry. 162. []
  28. Sproul. 147. []
  29. []
  30. Jordan. 76-77. []
  31. Gill, J. A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, book VII, chapter X (The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., 2001), 679. []
  32. St. Augustine. The City of God – Enhanced (Kindle Locations 16494-16496). Kindle Edition. []
  33. Peterson, R; Fudge, E. Two Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological Dialogue (Kindle Locations 1985-1986). Intervarsity Press – A. Kindle Edition. []
  34. []
  35. []
  36. []
  37. []
  38. as cited in Gregg, 1997, p. 450. []
  39. Ibid. []
  40. Note that Chilton became a hyperpreterist late in his life. []
  41. Ibid., 452. []
  42. Jordan. 81-82. []

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

19:1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:15

15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:46

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated;

12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

“As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.