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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
Revelation 20

 

 

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Introduction

Satan Is Bound A Thousand Years
- Revelation Twenty -

Revelation Twenty provides the picture that we have waited for. Satan is bound. A strong angel is able to bind Satan for a thousand years, and lock him in a bottomless pit. "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Revelation 20:1-3)

In Revelation nineteen the enemies of God were defeated. Now we see the defeat of Satan himself. He is defeated by the word of God. The Christians that had been killed for the cause of Christ were still living and reigning with the Lord. They are called priests of God and of Christ, and they reign with Him a thousand years. This thousand-year reign with Christ is in heaven, not on the earth.

Satan is allowed a period of freedom to deceive the nations. The figure is that of Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29. God and Magog represent forces of evil thrown against the Israel of God. These "compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."

The last verses of Revelation chapter twenty consider the final judgment of the wicked. Both the righteous and the wicked will be present at this judgment but only the wicked are considered in this section. At Judgment all that are not found in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire.


Verses 1-3

Satan is bound - Revelation 20:1-3 : Revelation twenty provides a look at the final judgment. We observe that Satan falls and that the people of God enjoy victory. The theme of the book of Revelation could easily be "the victory of the saints." We have already observed the fall of the Roman Empire in the overthrow of the Sea beast and the Earth beast. (Revelation 19:1-21) There was also the picture of the fall of the great Harlot, which is the city of Rome itself. Now we learn of the destruction of the evil one himself. "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:2)

The first thing that we observe about Satan is that he is bound a thousand years in order that he will not deceive the nations. After this time he is given a period of freedom. Satan is still active during this entire period only a part of his power is limited. He is unable to deceive the nations. The devil had deceived the nations with emperor worship. God limited that power of deception for a period of time. However, we must remember that the devil is not finished and he will make a final effort to destroy the people of God.


Verses 4-6

Saints of God reign - Revelation 20:4-6 : God gives great comfort to His people by showing that the departed saints will reign with Him. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6)

Some simple information will help us understand this reign. First, the reign was not on earth. It is in heaven with Christ. Second, those that reigned had already left the earth. They had been beheaded. Third, their reign was that of living and reigning with Christ. This was the first resurrection. Fourth, these that are reigning are the souls of those that had died faithful. They did not have the mark of the beast. Over these the second death has no power. The rest of the dead went to torment to await the final judgment. (Luke 16:19-31) Those that missed the first resurrection will face the second death.

The thousand years is a complete period of time. Only Jesus, His death and the word of God bind the devil. The souls had been under the altar, now they are on the throne. Satan is bound.


Verses 7-10

Satan is loosed - Revelation 20:7-10 : There is a time when Satan is again given power to deceive the nations. The figure of Gog and Magog is from Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29. The lesson was that the strongest forces Satan could throw against God people would not overcome the faithful. Those who stay faithful can withstand Satan's strongest efforts.

Gog and Magog was a picture of God being able to sanctify Himself. He used this illustration to teach Israel that He was "the Lord their God." The illustration form Ezekiel was that God would receive His proper glory regardless of what Satan thinks he can do.


Verses 11-15

Sinners face their destiny - Revelation 20:11-15 : These few verses provide a brief glimpse into the final state of the wicked. They will stand before the throne of God to be judged by the things written in the books. The fact that they were not found written in the book of life caused them to be cast into the lake of fire. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15) The Bible forcefully teaches that God will punish the wicked for their unbelief and disobedience. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31) Hell is terrible because it is a place of torments.

All will stand before the great white throne to give account to God. Every man will be judged according to his works. We will be judged as individuals, not as a group. God will punish the wicked for unbelief and disobedience. "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:46) Hell is a terrible place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:42) Please do not wait too late to learn the meaning and the horrors of Hell. "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night..." (Revelation 14:11)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 20:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-20.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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