Craig A. Blaising writes:
[Fowler White] argues that a sequential interpretation of 19:11—20:3 is not logically coherent, that its “credibility. . . suffers considerably” because at the Parousia, Christ will destroy all the in inhabitants of all the nations except the redeemed (“Reexamining the Evidence for Recapitulation in Rev. 20:1–10,” 325). Thus, he concludes, there will be no nations left who were previously deceived and are now to be deceived no longer. But nowhere in 19:11–21 does it say that Christ at the Parousia will destroy all the inhabitants of all the nations. Rev. 16:13–16 and 19:11–21 describe a military battle. The gathering of the nations for this battle is not a gathering of all their inhabitants but of their armies. This point is made explicit in 19:19: “I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse [Christ] and his army.” When 19:21 says, “the rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth [of Christ],” it refers to the destruction of these armies, not all the inhabitants or even all the wicked inhabitants of the nations, as White apparently thinks . . . . While he quotes 19:15, White overlooks the phrase “he will rule them with an iron scepter.” This future, or subsequent rule is a stated purpose in his coming, and the “them” refers to the nations. If he completely destroyed them all, he could hardly fulfill his intent to rule them. Furthermore, the “iron scepter” recalls Ps. 2:9 as well as the rod of Isa. 11:4. The description conveys the image of potentially rebellious subjects. The pattern of Parousia followed by a rule over restless subjects, even involving discipline of those subjects, has already been set in Zech. 14. The use of the rod of iron description in Rev. 19 fits well with the subsequent millennial rule as described in 20:1-10, after which the potential of rebellion finds actual expression and is suppressed. But the language is ill suited to describe the conditions of the new earth (Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, 220).