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The 1000-Year Reign

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The 1000-year Reign

Text: Rev. 20:1-10

Thesis: To observe what is and is not intended by this passage.


(1)   This passage is one of the most misunderstood passages in all of Scripture.

(2)   From this passage, one’s view of the millennium is seen as either:

(a)    Pre-millennial

(b)   Post-millennial

(c)    Amillennial

(3)   Let us study this text and learn God’s view of the millennium.


I.                    The Binding of Satan (vv. 1-3):

A.     An angel (Christ? Not likely because He is not referred to as an angel elsewhere in Revelation) is pictured as coming out of heaven in order to bind Satan.

1.      The “key” is symbolic of the power to bind.

2.      The “chain” is symbolic of the binding.

3.      The “abyss” is “the symbolic abode of the wicked in this present age” (Roper 2:301).

B.     Satan is thus bound by the angel for “a thousand years.”

1.      How is Satan bound?

a.       ‘Bound’ (Gr. deo) means “to confine a person or thing by various kinds of restraints” (BDAG).

b.      “The chaining of the devil did not render him powerless but only limited his power and what he was able to accomplish” (Myers 319).

(1)   Satan is still walking about as a roaring loin seeking whom he may devour (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8).

(2)   How then is his power limited?  “Satan cannot destroy Christianity through an universal persecution” (Pack 2:72).

c.       Concerning the timing of the binding, note:

(1)   According to Matthew 12:29, Jesus had bound the strong man (i.e., Satan).

(2)   According to Colossians 2:15, Jesus’ death bound the powers and authorities (i.e., ranks of evil angels).

2.      How long is Satan bound?

a.       “A thousand years” is best understood in figurative terms.

(1)   Everything else in the context is understood figuratively (e.g., the chain).

(2)   Further, there are other Biblical references to a thousand years in which it is best understood as an undetermined but full period of time (cf. Job 9:3; 33:23; Psa. 50:10; 90:4; Ecc. 6:6; 7:28; 2 Pet. 3:8).

(3)   Hence, it is a “symbolic way of saying that he was bound completely” for a period of time (Roper 2:303).

b.      Note: The thousand years of Satan’s binding occurs at the same time as the thousand years of Jesus’ reign.

II.                 The Reigning of Jesus and the Saints (vv. 4-6):

A.     As Satan is bound, Jesus and the saints are reigning for a thousand years.

B.     What is the first resurrection?

1.      Some allege that it is a bodily resurrection of the righteous.

a.       However, verse 4 clearly indicates that John is referring to souls and not bodies.

b.      Further, John 5:28-29 teaches that both the righteous and the unrighteous will be resurrected at the same time.

2.      Some connect the first resurrection with a special reigning with Christ for Christian martyrs.

a.       However, some commentators believe that there are two groups under consideration (i.e., martyrs and those who died who were faithful but not martyred).

b.      Also, does the Bible teach that martyrs will be more blessed than others who also lived faithfully but who were not martyred?

3.      Some believe that the resurrection refers to the resurrection of the cause of the dead Christians now that Satan is bound.

-  However, why would the emphasis switch from a people to an ideology?

4.      Some view the resurrection in salvation terms.

a.       It is true that baptism is pictured as a resurrection (e.g., Rom. 6:3-5; Eph. 2:5; John 3:5).

b.      Further, this view is easily connected with verse 6.

c.       However, this view fails to easily connect verse 4.

5.      My opinion: There is no view without its shortcomings; therefore, view # 4 is to be preferred.

C.     What is the second death?

1.      Revelation 21:8 clearly shows that the second death is the lake of fire (i.e., eternal punishment).

2.      Obviously, the second death will have no effect upon Christians because they will experience everlasting punishment.

III.               The Loosing of Satan and His Outcome (vv. 7-10):

A.     After the thousand years of Satan’s being bound, He will be loosed and will again have the ability to deceive the nations.

B.     “Gog and Magog” (cf. Ezek. 38 & 39)

1.      “In apocalyptic literature these two mythlike symbols came to stand for forces which fight against the Messiah” (Myers 325).

2.      Thus, they “symbolize the nations [and forces] of the world as they go against the Lord and his people” (Pack 2:76).

C.     Basically, the idea is that things will get bad right before the Lord returns; however, it will be done in such a way that the Lord will still return as a thief in the night.

D.     Yet, Satan’s efforts will be short-lived as He will be destroyed by the Lord.


(1)   While this passage may be difficult, the point is that God’s people will overcome.

(2)   Are you on the winning side?

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