Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 20

Three prisons: the sea, the grave, and hell

Revelation 20:13

Often, a person must wait in prison before the judge will deal with him. On the day of the court, the judge issues an order that the prison guard must hand over the prisoner. Then the prisoner must come to the court, so that the judge can make his decision. Finally, the judge issues his judgement and, if guilty, the prisoner begins his punishment.

That is Johnís description here. There are three places where the bodies and spirits of evil people wait for Godís final judgement. Those places are the prisons from which people must come on the day of judgement.

It is especially sad when people die at sea. In the ancient world, there was usually no way to find out what had happened. People only really knew that their relatives had not returned from their journey. They did not really know whether their relatives were dead or alive. Without even a dead body, there was no grave. It seemed that the sea, like a cruel prison guard, had simply taken their relatives from them.

It is hardly better when people die somewhere else. Then, the relatives usually know about the death, and they can dig a proper grave. However, this kind of death seems as cruel as death at sea. Death, like a prison guard, has taken that person away, and the person will never return.

The sea and the grave seem like terrible prisons, but there is something much worse. The sea and the grave only take away a personís body - but an evil personís spirit goes to hell (also called Hades). That is the worst prison, because its punishments are awful.

At Godís command, all these places will hand over the people who are prisoners there. So, both the bodies and the spirits of evil people will stand in front of God for the last judgement.

Next part: The punishment of the spirits called Death and Hell (Revelation 20:14-15)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.