Revelation: Binding Satan and the Thousand Years

July 10, 2011

Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
Rev 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Rev 20:3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

The Roman Empire, the great enemy of the early church, had been destroyed. Now God took measures to prevent Satan from raising up another nation to make war on the church.

It was not the first time God had restrained Satan to varying degrees:

Job 1:12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 2:6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

Mat 12:29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.

Col 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

1Co 10:13b … And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

There is a mistaken notion that God and Satan are two great powers of near equal strength, in an eternal stalemate between good and evil. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has always held absolute power over Satan, and has limited his evil activities as he saw fit. This time, God sent a single angel to arrest Satan and bind him with a chain. He saw no need to send his legions of angels for the task.

Satan was bound for a thousand years — not a literal time period but representative of a long time. The period began after the destruction of the beast, the Roman Empire. And it lasts until shortly before the final judgment. So we are currently in this period, protected by God from the kind of persecution faced by the early church under Rome.

Meanwhile, during this thousand years, we see another remarkable scene:

Rev 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

The apostle John reports that he saw the souls of the martyrs reigning with Christ during the thousand years. These same souls were seen under the altar in the throne room of God (Rev 6:9), and again before the throne of God in Rev 7:15, and yet again in Rev 14:3. John saw these souls in his vision, reigning with Christ. Since we are now in the midst of that thousand year period, that reign continues today.

Those reigning with Christ are those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. So it is the martyrs who reign. Nothing is said in the passage of anyone other than the martyrs reigning with Christ for a thousand years.

So, since they reign with Christ, where is Christ?

Mar 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

Act 7:56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Heb 8:1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
Heb 8:2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

Clearly Christ is in heaven at the right hand of God. And what is Christ doing?

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Heb 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Heb 9:24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
1Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

So Christ is in heaven, at the right hand of God, serving as our high priest, interceding on our behalf. And since the souls are reigning with Christ they must also be in heaven serving with Christ on our behalf.

Rev 7:15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.

The martyrs will continue to reign with Christ until Satan is loosed just before Judgment Day.

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