So far in this series about Revelation we have seen how to read Revelation, and John’s intention with the letter was to warn his brothers and sisters in the various churches on “things which must happen soon” (Rev 1:3, 22:6) – the judgement!. We’ve seen a couple of important characters who played a major role in this judgment, as the harlot, the beast and the other beast. We have seen the mountains move, the 32.4 kg’s of hail falling from the sky and the city divided into three parts. We have even seen the blood that flowed as high as the horses’ bridles. Yes, it’s hard to get away that Revelation is a book with strong visual depictions, but what is left of Revelation?
What I feel is left for me to explain is the 1000 year binding of Satan, the new creation (new heaven and the new earth) and the church, so let’s jump on the first one, “1000 years”, which many call the “millennium”, and the binding of Satan.
First and foremost, the term “Millennium” and its teaching did not come up until the early 1800’s, so it is relatively new. You can read more about the history of this theological belief here.
I have previously emphasized that the things the angel shows John “is at hand” (Rev. 1:3) and it “must happen soon” (Rev. 22:6), which fits with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. But as we enter the term 1000 years, we may think it not exactly fit into a “near-time” expectation. Still “1000 years” starts in the first century, when John looks into the future, beyond the “near” the term events to see its consequences. John reveals to us in Rev. 20 long-term outcome of the verdict was near.
Even in all the discussions I have been into about Christ’s millennial rule, which many call “the Millennium”, we must all admit that this description is very rare, in fact it occurs only here in Revelation 20:6. But to explain something in a more far-reaching importance, it is not uncommon for the Bible to use “1000”. In Exo. 20:6 we read that God “showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me”, which does not mean that the 1001 generation would not receive mercy from God. The Lord promises to make Israel “a thousand times as many as you are” than in Moses time, (Deut. 1:11), which does not set an upper limit of their growth potential. Lord even claim “every animal of the forest..” “and the livestock on a thousand hills.” is his (Psalm 50:10), but nowhere is it suggested that the animals in the other millions of heights on the earth belongs to someone else. To calculate the time gradually, as the 1000 year will be as one day of God’s time (2.Pet. 3:8), as 2000 years doubles the impact of him for two days, etc., will cause wear and tear on God. None of the above passages ought translator literally. 1000 expresses a remarkable and far-reaching consequence and not an exact number.
Number 1000 is talking about a quantitative perfection (10 x 10 x 10), which is a figure drawing of a huge consequence. These 1000 years began in the first century and has already used up 2000 years of time and is not yet over.
Binding of Satan
“I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time.” (Rev. 20:1-3).
What does this mean, what is the purpose and when is this happened? Like much else in Revelation, it is talking about images and visions. This picture speaks of Christ first-century diminution of the power of Satan, so that the gospel could and still can have its progress in the world.
In Matt. 12:24 the Pharisees accuses Jesus that He was in league with Satan, but Jesus disproves this, that He cast out demons and says: “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matt 12:26), and then he challenges them with the truth by saying:
“But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and plunder his goods, unless he first bind the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.” (Mat. 12:28-29).
Already here proclaims Jesus his victory over Satan. Satan is the strong and Jesus as the intruder intends to cast out Satan. This is a parallel to Revelation. 1:6, where John opens with an affirmation that Christ’s reign has already begun and that the disciplines already are “priests” to his God and Father.
“and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” Rev. 1:6).
This means that His first-century rule include the binding of Satan, man’s greatest enemy. Rev. 1:6 corresponds very well with Revelation. 20:1-6:
“He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years,… but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years.” (Rev. 20:2, 6).
Obviously requires Revelation. 1:6 that the kingdom of priests already exists and that Christ’s reign has already begun. Also Rev. 1:5 states that Jesus Christ is “the ruler of the kings of the earth”
By Jesus’ death and resurrection, He binds Satan, which Jesus strongly proclaims in John. 12:31-32. “Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” We can also read about Christ’s victory over Satan elsewhere. “having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15), “Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14-15).
Naturally enough, people asked me if the devil no longer work in the world and if I say that he is totally inactive? No, he is not totally inactive, but his constriction and thwarting. However, Jesus himself says he has bound Satan during His earthly ministry (Matthew 12:29), even if Satan continues to work among men. (Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Pet. 5:8; Jak. 4:7).
In the OT (Old Testament), and before the coming of Christ, we see God’s special care for Israel as the only nation. ““You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth …” (Am. 3:2) (see also Exo. 19:5). Or as Paul puts it: “Then what advantage does the Jew have?… Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:1-2).
So become the rest of the ancient world under the dominion of Satan, who inspired them to worship other gods. Most historians, and certainly many laymen today, know that each nation had their own gods: Isis, Osiris and Ra in Egypt, Dionysius of Assyria; Marduk in Babylon; Baal and Astarte in Canaan; Cybele (Magna Mater or Great Mother) in Anatolia (most of Turkey), Zeus in Greece, An, Ki and Enki in Sumer, and Jupiter in Rome. Also Hittites, Moabites, Phoenicians, Arabs, Armenians, Iranians and others had also gods.
“However every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived.” (2.King. 17:29).
In the ancient world and before the New Testament it’s clear that Satan dominated by a deceptive power. When Satan tries to tempt Jesus, we can read that he had domination over the world, for it was given him (Luke 4:5-6), as Jesus did not deny.
But this would change drastically with the victory of Christ on the cross and resurrection, and John can proudly say that he (Satan) is “bound” so that “he should no longer seduce the nations” (Rev 20:3). The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is an issue just to liberate individuals and nations through spiritual conversion. If we now take Satan’s statement that the world was given him, Jesus comes now with a NEW condition: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28:18-19).
Because of Christ’s victory over Satan can Paul say: “For so has the Lord commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you as a light for the Gentiles, that you should bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.’” And read what he says in Acts. 26:17-18: “‘I will reveal to you; delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”
Satan is bound and Christ has claimed his authority so he can disciple the nations.
What du you think?
Bible verses are taken from the WEB (World English Bible).