Judgment of the Beasts (Revelation 12-20) >Seven Final Visions >5th vision >Binding of Satan
This lesson is about a vision that covers a broad sweep of time on earth —the time between the ascension and second coming of Christ. The focus is on the binding of Satan during the reign of Christ. The climax is the demise of Satan who gets out of the frying pan and into the fire.
¶“1Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven. He held in his hand the key to the bottomless pit. He also held a great chain. 2The angel seized the dragon, who is the ancient serpent, the devil, also known as Satan. The angel bound him for a thousand years, 3throwing him into the great pit. The angel shut the pit and sealed it over the dragon. This was so the nations might not believe his lies anymore, until the thousand years were finished. After that he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3).
The abyss We are introduced to the abyss in an earlier vision (Revelation 9:1). The abyss is an evil deep, a great and bottomless hole, the domain of Satan, and yet also his dungeon. It represents the powers of darkness.
This abyss does not represent eternal hell. In John’s visions eternal hell is seen as a lake of fire distinct from the abyss (Revelation 20:10).
One thousand years A particular period of 1000 years, usually called simply "the millennium", is talked about so much by Bible teachers that you would think the Bible mentions it frequently. In fact the Bible mentions that 1000 years in only one passage in the very last book (Revelation 20:1-10).
This 1000 years took place in a vision which John saw, but John did not need to live 1000 years to see it. The 1000 years did not take place in earth time. It took place in God’s time so to speak, and "a thousand years in [God’s] sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night" (Psalm 90:3-5).
We'll find out more about this thousand years as we progress through the rest of this lesson.
Satan... bound In this vision, Satan is bound and locked in the Abyss for the entire 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). This represents the impotence of Satan compared to the mighty power of Christ.
In real life of course, Satan tempts and evil is everywhere. Nevertheless Christians are blessed with a ward against evil and so long as they stay at the throne of Jesus Christ, Satan cannot touch them by his temptations (1Corinthians 10:12-13).
¶“4Next I saw thrones. Seated on them were those bestowed with authority to judge. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God —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 one thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4).
Beheaded One does not have to be actually beheaded in order to take part in the first resurrection and thousand year reign. The vision represents a commitment so solid that one stands ready to be killed rather than give up the testimony of Jesus by yielding to Satan.
This commitment is taken on in baptism, where one dies with Christ, is buried with him, and is raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-10). Not every Christian is a martyr in reality, but every Christian must be a martyr at heart.
Reigned with Christ In the vision, Christ reigns, and his faithful with him, for the entire 1000 years (Revelation 20:4). Peter declared that Christ commenced his reign when he ascended to heaven (Acts 2:29-36).
Paul said, "God rescued us from [Satan’s] domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son" (Colossians 1:13).
John, who understood better than anybody the meaning of the visions he saw, knew that he and his fellow Christians were already reigning with Christ (Revelation 1:6). So the thousand year reign in the vision represents the reign of Christ from his resurrection and ascension until his second coming on Judgment day.
First resurrection In this vision there were two resurrections. The first resurrection was at the beginning of the 1000 years. It was a resurrection of those who kept the word of God, and these then reigned with Christ (Revelation 20:4-6).
This first resurrection represents the new birth which takes place when one obeys the word of God in baptism (John 3:5-6, Romans 6:1-6).
Rest of the dead The other resurrection was at the end of the 1000 years. It was a resurrection of "the rest of the dead" —those who had not obeyed the word of God.
Those in this second resurrection were subject to the second death, but those who had a part in the first resurrection had no part in the second death, but rather entered into eternal life in the heavenly city (Revelation 20:5-6, 22:14-15).
The statement in verse 5, "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished" should be regarded as a parenthetical explanation.
The sentence that follows, "This is the first resurrection," should be regarded as attached to the primary statement at the end of verse 4, "And they lived and reigned with Christ for 1000 years".
Mark of the beast The mark of the beast (Revelation 20:4), represents allegiance to the kingdom of Satan and to the spirit of Antichrist typified by the Roman empire and its idolatry.
The mark of the beast relates to the number of the beast (Revelation 13:17-18).
That number is 666. In Roman numerals this is DCLXVI —the inferior numerals in descending order: 500+100+50+10+5+1=666. Because 666 can be represented by this significantly ordered Roman numeral set, it identifies the Roman empire as the Beast, and its emperor as the "man".
The war In this vision, after the 1000 years were completed, Satan was released. He set about making war again. However this was a war that never happened. Although it was planned, and the vast armies gathered for battle, they never got to fire a shot or thrust a sword because fire came down out of Heaven and devoured them (Revelation 20:7-9).
Our next lesson, by the way, will provide an overview of the battle of Armageddon.
Lake of fire Satan himself is cast into the lake of fire where already the other two beasts have been thrown.
Thus the story of Satan’s opposition to Christ is portrayed in the visions as follows: Cast out of Heaven to earth; thwarted in his battle plans; locked in the Abyss; thwarted in his battle plans again; cast into the lake of fire. What a demise for this fool Satan!
Is there really any point in your being on the side of this biggest loser in the universe? Surely the Lord’s side is the only place to be.