The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them
Hades followed along when Death rode forth at the fourth seal which resulted in widespread death (Rev. Rev. 6:7+). Jesus has the keys of Hades and Death (Rev. Rev. 1:18+). The righteous dead, whose soul and spirit were at one time in Hades,1 have already been resurrected. Their soul and spirit has been reunited with their body at their participation in the category of the first resurrection. Thus, Jesus has emptied Hades and Death of those who are His prior to this judgment. See commentary on Revelation 1:18.
This delivery of the deadtheir casting outprobably occurs at the moment when the earth and heaven flee away at the presence of the Mighty Judge (Rev. Rev. 10:11+). As the old order dissolves, the dead are brought back to this judgment, their bodies being delivered from the grave, whether in the sea or on the land, and their soul and spirit is brought up from hades.2 Every person born into the world has eternal existence and is resurrected after death. The essential identity of the dying and risen body is hereby shown; for the sea and grave give up their dead. The body that sinned or served God shall, in righteous retribution, be the body also that shall suffer or be rewarded.3 The number given up by the sea will be enormous, the overwhelming majority being those lost in judgment in the global flood (Luke Luke 17:27).
The abhorrent fate of those whose bodies were devoured by the fish accounts for the special mention of this group at the resurrection . . . Both Greeks and Romans attached great importance to land burial and the inviolability of the tomb. They recoiled with great horror at the thought of death by drowning or even burial at sea.4This is the resurrection of condemnation (John John 5:29). See Order of Resurrection. See commentary on Revelation 20:11.
they were judged, each one according to his works
See commentary on Revelation 20:11.
1 Before the crucifixion. After the ascension they relocated from Hades to heaven.
3 A. R. Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 20:13.