Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 20:3

and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Millennium;   Pit;   Satan;   Vision;   Year;   Thompson Chain Reference - Adversary;   Destiny;   Evil;   Satan;   Satan-Evil Spirits;   Serpent;   Tempter;   The Topic Concordance - Devil/devils;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Seals;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Millennium;   Satan;   World;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abyss;   Pit;   Seal;   Second Coming of Christ;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Croisade, or Crusade;   Hell;   Millennium;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Amillennialism;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Millennium;   Pit;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Devil;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abyss;   Bottomless Pit;   Dragon;   Gentiles;   Millennium;   Prison, Prisoners;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chiliasm;   Millennium;   Parousia;   Time;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abyss;   Angels;   Ascension of Isaiah;   Day of Judgment;   Devil ;   Divination;   Dragon ;   King;   Resurrection;   Seal ;   Sin (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bottomless Pit;   Dispensation,;   Millennium;   Prophets, the;   Revelation, the;   Seal, Signet;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Fire;   Gog;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Abyss;   Millenarians;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abyss, the;   Bottomless Pit;   Parousia;   Print;   Revelation of John:;   Satan;   Seal;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abyss;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apocalypse;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He should deceive the nations no more - Be unable to blind men with superstition and idolatry as he had formerly done.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And cast him into the bottomless pit - See the notes on Revelation 9:1. A state of peace and prosperity would exist as if Satan, the great disturber, were confined in the nether world as a prisoner.

And shut him up - Closed the massive doors of the dark prison-house upon him. Compare the notes on Job 10:21-22.

And set a seal upon him - Or, rather, “upon it” - ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ epanō autouThe seal was placed upon the “door” or “gate” of the prison, not because this would fasten the gate or door of itself, and make it secure, for this was secured by the key, but because it prevented intrusion, or any secret opening of it without its being known. See the Daniel 6:17 note, and Matthew 27:66 note. The idea here is, that every precaution was taken for absolute security.

That he should deceive the nations no more - That is, during the thousand years. Compare the notes on Revelation 12:9.

Till the thousand years should be fulfilled - That is, during that period there will be a state of things upon the earth as if Satan should be withdrawn from the world, and confined in the great prison where he is ultimately to dwell forever.

And after that he must be loosed a little season - See Revelation 20:7-8. That is, a state of things will then exist, for a brief period, as if he were again released from his prison-house, and suffered to go abroad upon the earth. The phrase “a little season” - μικρὸν χρόνον mikron chronon“little time” - denotes properly that this would be brief as compared with the thousand years. No intimation is given as to the exact time, and it is impossible to conjecture how long it will be. All the circumstances stated, however, here and in Revelation 20:7-10, would lead us to suppose that what is referred to will be like the sudden outbreak of a rebellion in a time of general peace, but which will soon be quelled.

Section a. - Condition of the world in the period referred to in Revelation 20:1-3

It may be proper, in order to a correct understanding of this chapter, to present a brief summary under the different parts (see the Analysis of the chapter) of what, according to the interpretation proposed, may be expected to be the condition of things in the time referred to.

On the portion now before us Revelation 20:1-3, according to the interpretation proposed, the following suggestions may be made:

(1) This will be subsequent to the downfall of the papacy and the termination of the Muhammedan power in the world. Of course, then, this lies in the future - how far in the future it is impossible to determine. The interpretation of the various portions of this book, and the book of Daniel, have, however, led to the conclusion that the termination of those powers cannot now be remote. If so, we are on the eve of important events in the world‘s history. The affairs of the world look as if things were tending to a fulfillment of the prophecies so understood.

(2) it will be a condition of the world “as if” Satan were bound; that is, where his influences will be suspended, and the principles of virtue and religion will prevail. According to the interpretation of the previous chapters, it will be a state in which all that has existed, and that now exists, in the papacy to corrupt mankind, to maintain error, and to prevent the prevalence of free and liberal principles, will cease; in which all that there now is in the Muhammedan system to fetter and enslave mankind - now controlling more than one hundred and twenty million of the race - shall have come to an end; and in which, in a great measure, all that occurs under the direct influence of Satan in causing or perpetuating slavery, war, intemperance, lust, avarice, disorder, scepticism, atheism, will be checked arid stayed. It is proper to say, however, that this passage does not require us to suppose that there will be a “total cessation” of Satanic influence in the earth during that period. Satan will, indeed, be bound and restrained as to his former influence and power. But there will be no change in the character of man as he comes into the world. There will still be corrupt passions in the human heart. Though greatly restrained, and though there will be a general prevalence of righteousness on the earth, yet we are to remember that the race is fallen, and that even then, if restraint should be taken away, man would act out his fallen nature. This fact, if remembered, will make it appear less strange that, after this period of prevalent righteousness, Satan should be represented as loosed again, and as able once more for a time to deceive the nations.

(3) it will be a period of long duration. On the supposition that it is to be literally a period of one thousand years, this is in itself long, and will give, especially under the circumstances, opportunity for a vast progress in human affairs. To form some idea of the length of the period, we need only place ourselves in imagination “back” for a thousand years - say in the middle of the ninth century - and look at the condition of the world then, and think of the vast changes in human affairs that have occurred during that period. It is to be remembered, also, that if the millennial period were soon to commence, it would find the world in a far different state in reference to future progress from what it was in the ninth century, and that it would “start off,” so to speak, with all the advantages in the arts and sciences which have been accumulated in all the past periods of the world.

Even if there were no special divine interposition, it might be presumed that the race, in such circumstances, would make great and surprising advances in the long period of a thousand years. And here a very striking remark of Mr. Hugh Miller may be introduced as illustrating the subject. “It has been remarked by some student of the Apocalypse,” says he, “that the course of predicted events at first moves slowly, as one after one, six of seven seals are opened; that, on the opening of the seventh seal, the progress is so considerably quickened that the seventh period proves as fertile in events - represented by the sounding of the seven trumpets - as the foregoing six taken together; and that on the seventh trumpet, so great is the further acceleration, that there is an amount of incident condensed in this seventh part of the seventh period equal, as in the former case, to that of all the previous six parts in one. There are three cycles, it has been said, in the scheme - cycle within cycle - the second comprised within a seventh portion of the first, and the third within a seventh portion of the second. Be this as it may, we may, at least, see something that exceedingly resembles it in that actual economy of change and revolution manifested in English history for the last two centuries. “It would seem as if eyelets, in their downward course, had come under the influence of that law of gravitation through which falling bodies increase in speed, as they descend, according to the squares of the distance” (First Impressions of England and its People, pp. 7,8.). If to this we add the supposition, which we have seen (see the notes on Revelation 20:2) to be by no means improbable, that it is intended, in the description of the millennium in this chapter, that the world will continue under a reign of peace and righteousness for the long period of three hundred and sixty thousand years, it is impossible to anticipate what progress will be made during that period, or to enumerate the numbers that will be saved. On this subject, see some very interesting remarks in the “Old Red Sandstone,” by Hugh Miller, pp. 248-250,258,259. Compare Prof. Hitchcock‘s “Religion and Geology,” pp. 370-409.

(4) What, then, will be the state of things during that long period of a thousand years?

(a) There will be a great increase in the population of the globe. Let wars cease, and intemperance cease, and slavery cease, and the numberless passions that now shorten life be stayed, and it is easy to see that there must be a vast augmentation in the number of the human species.

(b) There will be a general diffusion of intelligence upon the earth. Every circumstance would be favorable to it, and the world would be in a condition to make rapid advances in knowledge, Daniel 12:4.

(c) That period will be characterized by the universal diffusion of revealed truth, Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 25:7.

(d) It will be marked by unlimited subjection to the scepter of Christ, Psalm 2:7; Psalm 22:27-29; Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 66:23; Zechariah 9:10; Zechariah 14:9; Matthew 13:31-32; Revelation 11:15.

(e) There will be great progress in all that tends to promote the welfare of man. We are not to suppose that the resources of nature are exhausted. Nature gives no signs of exhaustion or decay. In the future there is no reason to doubt that there will yet be discoveries and inventions mere surprising and wonderful than the art of printing, or the use of steam, or the magnetic telegraph. There are profounder secrets of nature that may be delivered up than any of these, and the world is tending to their development.

(f) It will be a period of the universal reign of peace. The attention of mankind will be turned to the things which tend to promote the welfare of the race, and advance the best interests of society. The single fact that wars will cease will make an inconceivable difference in the aspect of the world; for if universal peace shall prevail through the long period of the millennium, and the wealth, the talent, and the science now employed in human butchery shall be devoted to the interests of agriculture, the mechanical arts, learning, and religion, it is impossible now to estimate the progress which the race will make, and the changes which will be produced on the earth. For Scripture “proofs” that it will be a time of universal peace, see Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:6-9; Micah 4:3.

(g) There will be a “general” prevalence of evangelical religion. This is apparent in the entire description in this passage, for the two most formidable opposing powers that religion has ever known - the beast and the false prophet - will be destroyed, and Satan will be bound. In this long period, therefore, we are to suppose that the gospel will exert its fair influence on governments, on families, on individuals; in the contact of neighbors, and in the contact of nations. God will be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and not in the mere “forms” of devotion; and temperance, truth, liberty, social order, honesty, and love, will prevail over the world.

(h) It will be a time when the Hebrew people - the Jews - will be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and will embrace the Messiah whom their fathers crucified, Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1; Romans 11:26-29.

(i) Yet we are not necessarily to suppose that “all” the world will be absolutely and entirely brought under the power of the gospel. There will be still on the earth the remains of wickedness in the corrupted human heart, and there will be so much “tendency” to sin in the human soul, that Satan, when released for a time Revelation 20:7-8, will be able once more to deceive mankind, and to array a formidable force, represented by Gog and Magog, against the cause of truth and righteousness. We are not to suppose that the nature of mankind, as fallen, will be essentially changed, or that there may not be sin enough in the human heart to make it capable of the same opposition to the gospel of God which has thus far been evinced in all ages. From causes which are not fully stated Revelation 20:8-9, Satan will be enabled once more to rouse up their enmity, and to make one more desperate effort to destroy the kingdom of the Redeemer by rallying his forces for a conflict. See these views illustrated in the work entitled “Christ‘s Second Coming,” by Rev. David Brown, of James‘ Free Church, Glasgow, pp. 398-442; New York, 1851.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-20.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And cast him into the bottomless pit,.... Or deep, into which the devils desired they might not be sent, and which they dreaded as a torment, it may be, because a place of confinement, Luke 8:31 for this is called a prison, Revelation 20:7 and is distinguished from the lake of fire, into which the devil is afterwards cast, Revelation 20:10.

And shut him up; that so he might not rove about in the air, nor go to and fro in the earth, nor walk about like a roaring lion, seeking to affright, disturb, or devour:

and set a seal upon him; or upon the door of the pit, for further security, as was upon the stone at the mouth of the lion's den, Daniel 6:17 and of Christ's sepulchre, Matthew 27:66. The JewsF21Targum Jon. in Exod. xxviii. 30. make mention of a stone they call "Shetijah", with which the Lord of the world "sealed the mouth of the great deep", or bottomless pit, at the beginning; but here not that, but Satan in it, is sealed. The Alexandrian copy reads, "and sealed him firmly", so that it was impossible for him to break out: the end of this apprehension, binding, imprisonment, and security of Satan is,

that he should deceive the nations no more; that is, by drawing them into idolatry, false worship, and false doctrine; and by exciting them to make war against the saints, or to persecute them, as appears from Revelation 20:8 as he had done before; and it is notorious enough that he has deceived them both these ways; he deceived the Pagan nations not only before, but since the coming of Christ, to worship the Heathen deities; and the Papists, who are called Gentiles, or nations, Revelation 11:2 to fall down to idols of gold, silver, stone, and wood; and the nation of the Jews to entertain a false and deluded notion of the Messiah; and all of them, in their turns, to persecute the people of God, as the Jews at the death of Stephen, and afterwards; the Pagan emperors for the first three hundred years after Christ; the Papists from the rise of the beast, who had power given him to make war with the saints, and overcome them; but now he will be under such restraint, and in such close confinement, that he will not be able to move the wicked nations to anything of this kind, as he will when he is loosed at the end of the thousand years; nor will he be able so much as to tempt any of the saints, during this term of time, nor give them the least molestation or uneasiness.

Till the thousand years shall be fulfilled; or ended, the whole space of them run out:

and after that he must be loosed a little season; a small space of time, in comparison of the thousand years; how long it will be exactly, cannot be said; and this "must" be, not because he cannot be held any longer, or through any weakness in Christ; but because of the decree of God, who has so appointed it, for the glorifying of himself, in the salvation of his people, and in the final destruction of the devil, and the Gog and Magog army.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations 4 no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed 5 a little season.

(4) Namely, with that public and violent deceit which he attempted before in chapter 12 and which after a thousand years (alas for woe!) he most mightily achieved in the Christian world. {(5)} Which being once expired, the second battle and victory shall be; (Revelation 20:7-8).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

shut him — A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas omit “him.”

set a seal upon himGreek, “over him,” that is, sealed up the door of the abyss over his head. A surer seal to keep him from getting out than his seal over Jesus in the tomb of Joseph, which was burst on the resurrection morn. Satan‘s binding at‘ this juncture is not arbitrary, but is the necessary consequence of the events (Revelation 19:20); just as Satan‘s being cast out of heaven, where he had previously been the accuser of the brethren, was the legitimate judgment which passed on him through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (Revelation 12:7-10). Satan imagined that he had overcome Christ on Golgotha, and that his power was secure for ever, but the Lord in death overcame him, and by His ascension as our righteous Advocate cast out Satan, the accuser from heaven. Time was given on earth to make the beast and harlot powerful, and then to concentrate all his power in Antichrist. The Antichristian kingdom, his last effort, being utterly destroyed by Christ‘s mere appearing, his power on earth is at an end. He had thought to destroy God‘s people on earth by Antichristian persecutions (just as he had thought previously to destroy Christ); but the Church is not destroyed from the earth but is raised to rule over it, and Satan himself is shut up for a thousand years in the “abyss” (Greek for “bottomless pit”), the preparatory prison to the “lake of fire,” his final doom. As before he ceased by Christ‘s ascension to be an accuser in heaven, so during the millennium he ceases to be the seducer and the persecutor on earth. As long as the devil rules in the darkness of the world, we live in an atmosphere impregnated with deadly elements. A mighty purification of the air will be effected by Christ‘s coming. Though sin will not be absolutely abolished - for men will still be in the flesh (Isaiah 65:20) - sin will no longer be a universal power, for the flesh is not any longer seduced by Satan. He will not be, as now, “the god and prince of the world” - nor will the world “lie in the wicked one” - the flesh will become ever more isolated and be overcome. Christ will reign with His transfigured saints over men in the flesh [Auberlen]. This will be the manifestation of “the world to come,” which has been already set up invisibly in the saints, amidst “this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 2:5; Hebrews 5:5). The Jewish Rabbis thought, as the world was created in six days and on the seventh God rested, so there would be six millenary periods, followed by a sabbatical millennium. Out of seven years every seventh is the year of remission, so out of the seven thousand years of the world the seventh millenary shall be the millenary of remission. A tradition in the house of Elias, a.d. 200, states that the world is to endure six thousand years; two thousand before the law, two thousand under the law, and two thousand under Messiah. Compare Note, see on Hebrews 4:9 and, Margin; see on Revelation 14:13. Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Cyprian, among the earliest Fathers, all held the doctrine of a millennial kingdom on earth; not till millennial views degenerated into gross carnalism was this doctrine abandoned.

that he should deceive — so A. But B reads, “that he deceive” (Greek, “{plana},” for “{planeesee}”).

and — so Coptic and Andreas. But A, B, and Vulgate omit “and.”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-20.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Into the abyss (εις την αβυσσονeis tēn abusson). The one in Revelation 9:1. and the one spoken of by the legion of demons in Luke 8:31 under the charge of the angel of the abyss (Apollyon, Revelation 9:11) who is either Satan himself or a kindred power. “Already he has been cast out of Heaven (Revelation 12:9), now he is cast out of the earth, and returns to his own place” (Swete).

Shut it and sealed it (εκλεισεν και εσπραγισενekleisen kai esphragisen). Effective first aorists active indicative of κλειωkleiō and σπραγιζωsphragizō he should deceive no more (ινα μη πλανησηιhina mē planēsēi). Negative purpose clause with ινα μηhina mē and the first aorist active subjunctive of πλαναωplanaō Glorious relief after the strain of the previous visions of conflict. Small wonder that Christians today cherish this blessed hope whatever the actual meaning may be.

Until should be finished (αχρι τελεστηιachri telesthēi). Temporal clause of future purpose with αχριachri (as a conjunction like εωςheōs) and the first aorist passive subjunctive of τελεωteleō Repeated in Revelation 20:5 and see αχριachri and the subjunctive in Revelation 7:3; Revelation 15:8.

He must be loosed (δει λυτηναιdei luthēnai). Sad necessity, alas, with δειdei and the first aorist passive infinitive of λυωluō a little time (μικρον χρονονmikron chronon). Accusative of time. Whatever the thousand years means, it is here said plainly that after it is over the devil will again have power on earth “for a little time.”

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Sealed

See on John 3:33.

Must ( δεῖ )

According to God's purpose. See on Matthew 16:21; see on Luke 2:49; see on Luke 24:26.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

And set a seal upon him — How far these expressions are to be taken literally, how far figuratively only, who can tell? That he might deceive the nations no more - One benefit only is here expressed, as resulting from the confinement of Satan. But how many and great blessings are implied! For the grand enemy being removed, the kingdom of God holds on its uninterrupted course among the nations; and the great mystery of God, so long foretold, is at length fulfilled; namely, when the beast is destroyed and Satan bound. This fulfilment approaches nearer and nearer; and contains things of the utmost importance, the knowledge of which becomes every day more distinct and easy. In the mean time it is highly necessary to guard against the present rage and subtilty of the devil. Quickly he will be bound: when he is loosed again, the martyrs will live and reign with Christ. Then follow his coming in glory, the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. The bottomless pit is properly the devil's prison; afterwards he is cast into the lake of fire. He can deceive the nations no more till the "thousand years," mentioned before, verse2, Revelation 20:2 are fulfilled.

Then he must be loosed — So does the mysterious wisdom of God permit.

For a small time — Small comparatively: though upon the whole it cannot be very short, because the things to be transacted therein, verses8,9, Revelation 20:8,9 must take up a considerable space. We are very shortly to expect, one after another, the calamities occasioned by the second beast, the harvest and the vintage, the pouring out of the phials, the judgment of Babylon, the last raging of the beast and his destruction, the imprisonment of Satan. How great things these! and how short the time! What is needful for us? Wisdom, patience, faithfulness, watchfulness. It is no time to settle upon our lees. This is not, if it be rightly understood, an acceptable message to the wise, the mighty, the honourable, of this world. Yet that which is to be done, shall be done: there is no counsel against the Lord.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-20.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Set a seal upon him; that is, upon the door of the pit; according to a custom particularly alluded to in Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-20.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 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.

Ver. 3. And cast him into the bottomless pit] That is, into the earth, Revelation 12:9; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:11; the earth is the bottomless pit, out of which the beast was raised by the dragon.

Deceive the nations] The Gentiles, by defending Gentilism, and hindering the course of the gospel among them.

And after that he must be loosed] He must, because God hath so decreed it, for the glory of his own name in the defence of his people, but destruction of his enemies. As also that the devil may show his malice, which God can restrain at his pleasure. Roger Holland, martyr, said to Bonner, This I dare be bold in God to speak, which by his Spirit I am moved to say: that God will shorten your hand of cruelty, that for a time you shall not molest his Church. And after this day in this place shall there not any be by him put to the fire and fagot. And it proved so; for none after that suffered in Smithfield for the testimony of the gospel. (Acts and Mon. fol. 1852.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-20.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 20:3. ἔκλεισε) Erasmus adds αὐτὸν,(215) against the MSS. and the text of Andreas himself. In general, κλείειν, to shut, may be used, not only, for instance, of a prison, but also of a captive: but here Apringius rightly construes, shut upon him, so that both ἔκλεισεν and ἐσφράγισεν cohere with ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ, as, Genesis 7:16, it is said, ἔκλεισεν ἔξωθεν αὐτοῦ· and altogether יסגר על איש, Job 12:14.— ἵνα μὴ, that not) One benefit only is here expressed, but that of itself is by far the greatest, and has many great blessings joined with it. For when the chief enemy is removed, the kingdom of God gains vigour without impediment among the nations, and the great mystery of God, announced by the prophets, is finished. Revelation 10:7.

Winckler, in his Disquisitions, p. 193, etc., refutes modern Chiliasm, as an error, and that a fundamental one, by arguments drawn from the article on creation, on redemption, and on sanctificiation; and he also censures me as a defender of that error. And yet not even one of your arguments, most courteous Winckler, affects my comment: but you have gratified me. For nothing can more plainly and efficaciously demonstrate the soundness of my opinion respecting the millennium, than a comparison of my treatise with yours. Look, I pray you, to Erkl. Offenb. p. 950, etc. I altogether differ from the things which you attribute to the Chiliasts; nay, that exegesis of mine, equally with your Disquisition, lays down the natural state of the world,—wayfaring men needing remission of sins and believing, the use of the law and the Gospel, death not yet swallowed up, etc. And do you, reader, admonished by this circumstance also, remember that the other side ought always to be heard. So far about Winckler: we return to the subject.

Whilst Satan is loosed from his imprisonment of a thousand years, and the earth is harassed by the last and lowest dregs [of its inhabitants], the martyrs live and reign, not on the earth, but with Christ: then the coming of Christ in glory at length takes place at the last day: then, next, there is the new heaven, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem. Those events, which pseudo-chiliasm confounds, a true interpretation in conformity with the text distinguishes. In such a manner, I had far rather be regarded as a maintainer of the thousand years, which prophecy publishes so decidedly, than take part with the indiscriminate antichiliasts, who, under this very name of theirs, assail even the plain letter of prophecy, and trample upon truth and error alike. The mystery of God is in progress: Revelation 10:7. That is then finished, when the beast is destroyed, and Satan is bound. That consummation approaches nearer and nearer. It also comprises events by far the most important, and most closely connected with the glory of God. The knowledge of these events from day to day emerges into greater clearness, distinctness, and readiness of discernment. And meanwhile it is highly necessary to meet and oppose the extreme rage of the devil. But to speak against God, whose mystery it is, as many do; to weaken the oath of the angel, who confirms the mystery; ignorantly (Jude 1:10) to assail interpreters, who handle the subject in a befitting manner; and by thus assailing them, to hunt after favour among those of like character with themselves,—will not this at length be σκληρὸν, hard to the person himself [Acts 9:5]? On the other hand, care must be taken, not to attribute to the millennium things which are reserved for eternity itself. Nor is it sufficient to assert, that it is still future; but its true character ought also to be soberly weighed. But these things are not to be imparted to the many by a lengthy treatise; spiritual maturity must be waited for.— μετὰ, after) An elegant Asyndeton,(216) in the case of an antithesis, as in the beginning of Revelation 20:5.— μικρὸν χρόνον, a little chronus [period]) This, as is collected from certain marks, is equal to the half καιροῦ, of a time. [Nor does it begin later than the millennarian rule of those, who shall be partakers of the first resurrection. We must adhere closely to the order of the prophecy. The greatest affairs of the last times are briefly described: but it is not on that account befitting that they should be passed over with a light bound.—V. g.]

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And cast him into the bottomless pit; that is, into hell, his proper place: he shall no longer, or at least not till these thousand years be expired, exercise his power, as prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2, or compassing the earth, and walking up and down in it, as Job 1:7.

And shut him up, and set a seal upon him; he shall be restrained as much as one shut up in prison, whose doors are sealed up.

That he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; that till this time of God’s counsel for the quiet of his church be run out, he shall not deceive people by his old arts.

And after that he must be loosed a little season; and after that he shall have a liberty again {as Revelation 20:7} for a little time.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-20.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

освобожденным на малое время Сатана будет выпущен; таким образом Бог сможет навсегда положить конец греху перед установлением нового неба и земли. Все, кто переживут великую скорбь и войдут в Царство, будут верующими. Однако, несмотря на это и на личное присутствие и правление Господа Иисуса Христа, многие из их потомков откажутся верить в Бога. Тогда сатана соберет этих неверующих на последнее тщетное выступление. Он будет быстро и решительно подавлен, за этим последует великий суд у белого престола и установление вечности.

в бездну Все 7 раз, когда это выражение упоминается в Откровении, оно означает место, где содержатся падшие ангелы, т.е. злые духи в ожидании наказания в озере огненном – последнем аду, приготовленном для них (Мф. 25:41).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-20.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

That he should deceive the nations no more; not be permitted to have influence over men, to seduce them into error, tempt them to sin, or afflict them by persecution.

He must be loosed; again suffered to tempt men, excite their evil passions, and influence them to array themselves against Christ and his cause. Though Satan is a powerful, malignant, and artful spirit, who has for ages deceived the nations and led vast multitudes to ruin, yet he is under divine control. He can go no further than God shall suffer: when God sees best, He can bind, imprison, and so restrain him, that men shall no longer be under his influence, or annoyed by his wiles.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-20.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

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 should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time.

Cast him into the abyss ... shut it ... sealed it ... This merely stresses the effectiveness of the binding and restraint of the devil by divine power. The shutting and sealing are only the inert trappings of the metaphor.

Until the thousand years should be finished ... The gospel age will finally close; and when the last person to accept the Son of God shall have done so, that age will end.

That he should deceive the nations no more ... The contrast between the gospel age and the pre-Christian hardening of the Gentiles, as expounded by Paul in Romans 1, is in view here. Satan has never again achieved the complete mastery over the nations which characterized his domination of the pre-Christian Gentile world. This cannot mean that no individual will ever again be deceived by Satan; it merely means that the blessed knowledge of the truth shall always be available for those who truly desire and will receive it. This cannot deny that many shall be deceived because they reject the truth, not through being deceived, but with their eyes wide open, just like Adam sinned. Having rejected it through a moral decision against it, they will then receive the "strong delusion" of 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

After this, he must be loosed for a little time ... Some respected scholars identify the "little time" here with the whole dispensation, the "loosing" being applied to Satan's operations against the vast majority who reject the truth, and the "binding" being applied to the effectual restraint of Satan as far as the righteous are concerned. The time-periods, a little time, and a thousand years, are therefore qualitative and not relative. However, we believe that the "little time" mentioned here means literally a brief period, beginning at the point after which God shall have finally achieved the full salvation of the total number of the redeemed, and lasting only a relatively very short while. Satan will be "loosed" without any restraint whatever during that brief period. Due to all that is revealed of Satan's nature in the Bible, it cannot be supposed that the race of man, or the whole world, would continue very long after such an eventuality. See more on this in CMY, pp. 129-134. We must point out that in such an interpretation we might indeed have fallen into the constant danger that assails all commentators on Revelation, that of literalism. That some things in the prophecy are literal is certain; but just which are, and which are not, cannot always be accurately judged. Our interpretation of this requires the construction of "little while" in a literal sense, contrary to the generally figurative nature of the whole prophecy. However, there are a number of other examples of the same necessity throughout Revelation. Summarizing our interpretation of Revelation 20:1-3, we have given the following meanings to the symbols:

The abyss is the present abode of Satan on the earth.

The key is the angel's authority from God.

The chain is the word of God.

The dragon and serpent is Satan.

The 1,000 years is the gospel age.

Deceiving the nations no more means that the availability of the truth shall not fail from the earth.

The binding of Satan refers to the limitations imposed upon the devil regarding his hurting the righteous (Matthew 12:29).

The binding of Satan took place in the events of the Incarnation of Christ (Matthew 12:29).

The loosing of Satan "a little while" refers to the ravages of Satan when all men at least finally reject the truth.SIZE>

Before going on, we shall notice some of the pertinent observations by various scholars on this famous passage:

The millennial theories are merely the revamping of the old Jewish dream that the Jews would dominate the whole world.[12] The origin of millennialism is not Christian, but is to be found in certain Jewish beliefs about the Messianic age which were common after 100 B.C.[13] This chapter describes not a millennium of the saints but the overthrow of Satan.[14] The binding of Satan and the casting of him into the abyss mean that during the gospel age Satan is unable to prevent the extension of the church.[15] This passage is parallel to 2 Thessalonians 1:8, indicating that the binding of Satan extends to the Second Advent.[16] How long will this "little while" be? Merely long enough for Satan to gather his host and for the fire out of heaven to destroy them.[17] John never thinks of Satan as having a free hand. Again and again, "is given" was used when he speaks of any authority to do evil.[18] From these verses we must conclude that we are now in the millennium.[19]

Perhaps the greatest single obstacle to seeing the 1,000 years as a figure of our own age is the consecutive or sequential view of the several sections of this prophecy. To be sure, if Revelation is interpreted as giving a consecutive, chronological series of events throughout history, the fact of our just having had a view of the final judgment at the end of Revelation 19, would then have to mean that this binding of Satan, etc., comes after the judgment. In our interpretation, Satan was cast into hell (the lake of fire) in Revelation 19:20; and that forces the understanding that the events of this chapter took place before that event. If not, will someone kindly explain to us how Satan got out of hell? This same problem exists in all the other sections of this prophecy concluded by visions of the final judgment; and, to us, this absolutely requires us to see not consecutive events in the prophecy, but repeated recapitulations in the seven sections.

Another great impediment to the acceptance of our interpretation of the millennium here was thus stated by Wilbur M. Smith:

If this war-ridden age of anarchy and atheistic communism is the Millennium, then the hopes created by the word of God must be abandoned.[20]

No doubt, many others feel the same way; and we have the utmost sympathy for those who are "hung up" on dreams of a Utopia on earth, where all shall be peace and light for an incredibly beautiful Golden Age; but, if the people who are thus deluded, can bear to hear, there are no promises of any such thing in the New Testament. We must through "many tribulations" enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22); we must "suffer with him" (Romans 8:17); all of the godly "shall suffer persecutions" (2 Timothy 3:12); all who follow Christ must "take up their cross daily" (Luke 9:23), etc. We could cite a hundred other such passages in the New Testament. Where did all this nonsense come from, anyway, that envisions that "Glorious Millennium" with the lemonade pools and the big rock candy mountain? People overwhelmed with such "hopes" did not get them out of the word of God, but out of the vain speculations of men. The very idea that for an entire, literal thousand years Christians shall be exempt from the sorrows, temptations, and tribulations of life is utterly foreign to the sacred Scriptures. The popular view of the millennium leaves out the essential quality of suffering in the Christian life. Back of the popular view of the millennium is a false, carnal view of salvation. The heresy eliminates tribulation by putting it in what they call the Great Tribulation and then rescuing the church from it by means of a so-called Rapture. The whole scheme is ingenious but absolutely wrong. There is no Great Tribulation in this prophecy, or anywhere else in the whole New Testament. There will be great tribulations, of course, many of them; and, in a real sense, the entire gospel age might be called "the great tribulation"; but no isolated event or series of events in history may be so designated.

People unconsciously tend to materialize the blessings in Christ. Some scholars even make the elevation of Constantine the Great to the throne of Rome the beginning of the millennium. Instead, it was the beginning of the inundation of the church by the world and one of the major steps toward the great apostasy and the onset of the Dark Ages. Yes, the elevation of Constantine was a great victory for Christians, but it did not mean that they were through with Satan; it heralded merely a change in Satan's strategy.

[12] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 570.

[13] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 187.

[14] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 471.

[15] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 226.

[16] Michael Wilcock, I Saw Heaven Opened (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1975), p. 190.

[17] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit. p. 577.

[18] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 20, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 236.

[19] John T. Hinds, A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Nashville: The Gospel Advocate Company, 1962), p. 272.

[20] Wilbur M. Smith, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 1095.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The angel will throw Satan into the abyss and then shut and seal the opening to it to guarantee that he will not escape (cf. Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66). This action assures his confinement, but it does not specify that he will suffer otherwise. Satan will not have access to the earth but abide in the abyss (bottomless pit, Revelation 9:1-2; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 17:8) throughout the Millennium. His confinement will preclude his deceiving the nations, which he had been doing ( Revelation 13:14; Revelation 16:13-14).

The nations in view will be the descendants of mortal believers who do not die during the Great Tribulation but live on in the Millennium ( Revelation 11:13; Revelation 12:13-17). All unbelievers will evidently perish when Christ returns to the earth ( Revelation 19:19-21). Life spans will be much longer in the Millennium ( Isaiah 65:20), so the earth"s population will increase rapidly, as was the case before the Flood. The children who are born during the Millennium will need to believe on Jesus Christ for salvation, and some of them will not do so. This group will probably constitute the unbelievers whom Satan leads in rebellion at the end of the Millennium ( Revelation 20:8-9). God will release Satan out of divine necessity (Gr. dei) to fulfill His plans after the thousand years. White argued that the epic ideology of victory over the dragon followed by house-building constitutes a fundamental hermeneutical paradigm for the historical-grammatical, yet non-literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1-3. [Note: R. Fowler White, "On the Hermeneutics and Interpretation of Revelation 20:1-3: A Preconsummationist [i.e, Amillennialist] Perspective," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society42:1 (March1999):53-66.]

"The final answer as to why God sees this as a necessity with its fruition in another rebellion is hidden in the counsels of God (cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 4:1; Isaiah 55:8; Mark 8:31; Mark 13:7; Luke 24:26; Luke 24:44) ... Yet one purpose may be a partial answer. Through his release the whole universe will see that after the thousand years of his imprisonment and an ideal reign on earth, Satan is incurably wicked and men"s hearts are still perverse enough to allow him to gather an army of such an immense size." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p411. See also David J. MacLeod, "The Third "Last Thing": The Binding of Satan ( Revelation 20:1-3)," Bibliotheca Sacra156:624 (October-December1999):469-86.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-20.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 20:3. And east him into the abyss, i.e into the place to which he naturally belongs.

And shut it. The angel closed the door of which he has the key, doubtless at the same time locking it, so that Satan should no longer continue the mischief he had done.

And sealed it over him, not only locking the door, but sealing it in order to make it doubly fast (Daniel 6:17). In each of the acts thus described, the laying hold of Satan, the binding him, the putting him into the abyss, the closing and sealing the abyss, we have a mocking caricature of what was done to Jesus in the last days of His passion (John 18:12; Matthew 27:60; Matthew 27:66).

That he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be finished. ‘The’ thousand years, as shown by the use of the article, are the same as in Revelation 20:2, and nothing more therefore need be said of them at present. But who are ‘the nations’? They are mentioned again in Revelation 20:8, as being in the ‘four corners of the earth,’ as being ‘Gog and Magog.’ One distinguished commentator (Bleek) regards them as ‘the heathen nations still remaining on the earth, which are also supposed to remain there during the thousand years’ kingdom, but at its most extreme and minutest points, so that the citizens of the Messianic kingdom do not come in contact with them, nor is their power disturbed by them.’ Another (Alford) has the same general idea, but with this difference, that he considers them to be, during the thousand years, ‘quiet and willing subjects of the kingdom,’ who are again seduced by Satan after he is let loose. A third (Dusterdieck) makes them simply the heathen. A fourth (Kliefoth) draws a distinction between them and those meant by the ‘whole world’ or the ‘whole inhabited world’ (chaps. Revelation 3:10, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 16:14). These latter expressions are referred to the civilized and cultured nations of antiquity, while the more distant and barbarous peoples, living as it were upon the confines of the globe, are comprehended under the former. Over the one ‘the beast’ had exercised his sway, and they alone were destroyed at chap. Revelation 19:17-21. The other, ‘the nations,’ were not involved in that destruction, but were still left upon the earth. The distinction thus drawn between cultured and uncultured peoples seems, however, to be inconsistent with various direct statements of the Apocalypse. Thus at chap. Revelation 3:10 not only is there nothing to suggest the thought of only cultured peoples, but the ‘whole inhabited world’ spoken of must be understood in a sense as wide as that belonging to the words ‘them that dwell upon the earth’ which immediately follow. At chap. Revelation 12:9, where the rule of the dragon is described, it is impossible to limit the expression ‘the whole inhabited world’ in the manner proposed, for chap. Revelation 13:7 gives the beast, the vicegerent of Satan, universal power, and the influence of Babylon, with which that of the beast and therefore of Satan must be coextensive, extends to ‘all the nations,’ including the ‘kings’ and ‘merchants’ of the earth (chaps. Revelation 14:8, Revelation 18:3; Revelation 18:23). Again, the words ‘the nations’ are used in a much wider sense than that of barbarous tribes in Revelation 11:18, where they have their part in history; in chap. Revelation 11:18, where they must refer to the wicked in general in contrast with the good; in chap. Revelation 16:19, where they have ‘cities;’ in chap. Revelation 19:15, where they embrace all the enemies of Christ; and in chap. Revelation 21:24, where they cannot be limited to one section only of the heathen. In short, there does not appear to be a single passage of the Apocalypse in which ‘the whole inhabited world’ means the polished, or ‘the nations’ the unpolished, undeveloped, nations of the globe. The only admissible interpretation, therefore, of the phrase ‘the nations’ is that which understands by it the unchristian godless world.

These nations Satan is to ‘deceive’ no more until the thousand years are finished. The word ‘deceive’ is again used in Revelation 20:8, where we have a further description of that in which the deception consists. In the meantime it is enough to say that the word ‘till’ employed by the Seer takes us forward to the deception practised at the end of the thousand years as that which he has in view. What the dragon will then do he does not do till then. It is thus not a general but a particular deception that is contemplated. We are not necessarily to think of a cessation of Satan’s misleading of the world; but the ‘deceiving’ which he does not practise till the thousand years are finished is definite and special.

After this he must be loosed a little time. The word ‘must’ expresses, as usual, conformity to the purposes of God, who will certainly carry out His own plan.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-20.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

him. Greek."it" (the pit).

set, &c. Literally sealed it over him.

that = in order that. Greek. hina.

should, &c. = should not (App-105) deceive (App-128).

more = longer.

fulfilled. Compare App-125.

and. Omit.

after that. Greek. meta tauta, as Revelation 1:19 (hereafter).

season = time. Greek. chronos. App-195. Satan is literal; the angel who binds him is literal; the abyss into which he is cast is literal; and the chain, whatever it may be composed of, is literal too.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

Shut him. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas, omit "him."

Set a seal upon him, [ epanoo (Greek #1883)] - sealed up the door of the abyss 'over' his head. A surer seal than his seal over Jesus in Joseph's tomb burst on the resurrection morn. Satan's binding at this juncture is not arbitrary, but the necessary consequence of the events, Revelation 19:20; just as Satan's being cast out of heaven, where he was previously accuser of the brethren, was the legitimate judgment passed on him through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (Revelation 12:7-10). Satan imagined that he had overcome Christ on Golgotha; but the Lord in death overcame him, and, by His ascension as our righteous Advocate, cast out the accuser from heaven. Time was given him on earth to make the beast and harlot powerful, then to concentrate all his power in Antichrist. The anti-Christian kingdom, his last effort, being destroyed by Christ's mere appearing, his power on earth is at an end.

He thought to destroy God's people by persecutions (just as previously to destroy Christ); but the Church is not destroyed from the earth, but raised to rule over it; and Satan himself is shut up for a thousand years the 'abyss' ("bottomless pit"), preparatory to the "lake of fire," his final doom. As before he ceased, by Christ's ascension, to be accuser in heaven, so during the millennium he ceases to be seducer and persecutor on earth. As long as be rules in the darkness of the world, we live in an atmosphere impregnated with deadly elements. A mighty purification will be effected by Christ's coming. Though sin will not be abolished-for men will still be in the flesh (Isaiah 65:20) - sin will no longer be a universal power, for the flesh is no longer seduced by Satan. He will not be, as now, 'the god and prince of the world;' nor will the world 'lie in the wicked one:' the flesh will become ever more overcome.

Christ will reign with His transfigured saints over men in the flesh (Auberlen). The nations in the millennium will be prepared for a higher state, as Adam in Paradise, supposing he had lived in an unfallen state. Compare Revelation 21:1-27, notes, at beginning. This will be the manifestation of "the world to come," already set up invisibly in the saints, amidst "this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 2:5; Hebrews 5:5). The rabbis thought, as the world was created in six days, and on the seventh God rested, so there would be six millenaries, followed by a Sabbatical millennium. Of seven years, every seventh is the year of remission: so of the seven thousand of the world, the seventh millenary shall be the millenary of remission. A tradition in the house of Elias, 200 AD, states, the world is to endure 6,000 years: 2,000 before the law, 2,000 under the law, and 2,000 under Messiah. Compare note and margin, Hebrews 4:9; Revelation 14:13. Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Cyprian, expected a millennial kingdom on earth: not until millennial views degenerated into carnalism was this doctrine abandoned.

That he should deceive. So A 'Aleph ('), 'shall;' but B, 'that he deceive' [ plana (Greek #4105), for planeesee (Greek #4105)].

And. So Coptic, Andreas; but 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, omit "and."

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) And cast him into the bottomless pit . . .—Rather, and cast him into the abyss (same word as in Revelation 20:1), and locked and sealed (the door or mouth) above him, that he may not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years shall have been finished; after these things he must be loosed for a little time. The sealing reminds us of the sealing employed when the wicked one had power through man’s agency to imprison God’s messengers. (Comp. Daniel 6:17, and Matthew 27:66.) Of the exact moment when this binding and imprisoning took place it is not needful to inquire too curiously. That which in the vision is described as the work of ä moment may in the fact and fulfilment be a very gradual work; or rather, the full manifestation of its accomplishment may be only gradually made clear. To fix it therefore, to any incident (for example, as Hengstenberg is disposed to do to the coronation of Charlemagne), is to fall into the “vicious realism” against which he rightly protests. The same applies to the duration of the imprisonment; it is not to be understood literally any more than the other numbers in the book; it symbolises a lengthened period. This period is followed by the loosing again of the devil for a short time. (See Note on Revelation 20:7.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-20.html. 1905.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

2. Satan cast into the abyss. "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."--20:3.

In the vision Satan returned from his prowling to his diabolical abode in ignominious and complete defeat. His abysmal abode was shut by the angel with the key to the bottomless pit that he held; which angel also set a seal upon him, as an authoritative act; such as the seal of state stamped on the documents signed by officials of government.

The purpose of this satanic imprisonment was that he should deceive the nations no more--that is, in the idolatry of Caesar-worship, a repetition of the previous symbols of the mark and image of the beast in the heathen emperorworship.

The next clause till the thousand years be fulfilled referred to the complete victory over the imperial persecutors, after which Satan was represented as being unleashed to exert influence, not in the form of persecution, but in the spiritual conflict between heathenism and Christianity--a symbolic representation of the upsurge of heathenism.

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Bibliographical Information
Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-20.html. 1966.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
cast
1; 17:8
and set
Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66
should deceive
8; 12:9; 13:14; 16:14-16; 17:2; Matthew 24:24; 2 Corinthians 11:3,13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11
the thousand
Psalms 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8
and after
7-10
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 13:6 - entice;  Deuteronomy 33:27 - thrust;  1 Kings 22:22 - a lying spirit;  Job 38:11 - but;  Job 41:34 - he is;  Psalm 28:1 - I become;  Psalm 86:9 - All;  Isaiah 29:24 - also;  Isaiah 35:7 - in the;  Isaiah 44:20 - a deceived;  Isaiah 65:22 - for as;  Isaiah 65:25 - dust;  Daniel 2:35 - and filled;  Zechariah 9:11 - out;  Matthew 7:13 - for;  Matthew 12:26 - his;  Matthew 13:39 - enemy;  Mark 4:15 - Satan;  Luke 4:6 - All;  Luke 8:31 - the deep;  John 8:44 - When;  John 12:31 - now;  John 14:30 - the;  John 16:11 - the;  Acts 26:18 - and from;  Romans 8:39 - depth;  2 Corinthians 4:4 - the god;  2 Corinthians 11:15 - his;  Galatians 1:7 - pervert;  Ephesians 6:11 - the wiles;  Colossians 2:4 - lest;  Colossians 2:15 - having;  1 Timothy 4:1 - seducing;  2 Timothy 2:26 - out;  James 2:19 - the;  2 Peter 2:4 - but;  1 John 3:8 - this purpose;  1 John 5:19 - in wickedness;  Revelation 20:10 - the devil

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-20.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Cast him into the bottomless pit is symbolical of the restrictions that were placed upon Satan as to his influence over nations, for he has been there personally all the time. The restrictions were caused by the chain of the Bible that had been placed in the possession of the national leaders. (See again the note at beginning of this chapter.) These restrictions were to continue as long as the leaders of nations and other heads of the channels of thought continued their active defense of the Book. Knowing that human weakness would assert itself causing a letting down of the activities for the truth, the Lord saw the advantage it would give Satan and that he would again come out in his fight against the Bible. Hence it is stated that after the thousand years were expired—-after the restrictions of the Bible had weakened due to the loss of activities of the professed friends of truth——Satan would be loosed a little season. This little season is the same as the "battle" of verse8 which will be discussed at that place.

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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-20.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 20:3

Revelation 20:3 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.

And cast him unto the bottomless pit

that he might go into perdition with the beast, and the false prophet. Revelation 20:10

And shut him up, and set a seal upon him;

that Isaiah, secured him in his prison, from tempting and deceiving the nations by himself, or by his instruments; pagan, papal, or Mahometan false teachers, {as 2 Peter 2:1-3}

Till the thousand years shall be fulfilled, (and ended or finished) and after that he must be loosed a little season

{as Revelation 20:7-8}

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Bibliographical Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-20.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Bottomless pit—See note on Revelation 9:1. Why are the beast and false prophet (Revelation 19:20) said to be cast into the lake of fire, the final doom of all the wicked, and Satan only into the “bottomless pit?”

The reason we would suggest is this: The former two are not real personages, but only principles or organisms which arise in human history, (really originating from that bottomless pit, see notes on chap. ix,) and so are consigned to their finality; whereas, the latter is a real being, whose life-history commences before the creation of man, who procures the human fall, and is, therefore, destined by the divine order to receive his finality when the period of human history is closed at the final judgment.

Set a seal upon—So that he cannot break out without breaking the seal.

Deceive the nations no more—Hence, the nations are still in existence, and blessedly exempt from all infernal influences. The bottomless pit of chapter 9 is closed up, and the demon-locusts fly no more. The prince of the power of the air no longer works in the hearts of men, rendering them children of disobedience. A blessed negation of evil forces—an abolition of depraving influences—is now established. So that whereas a Christian civilization of an impure kind has heretofore been extending itself over the world, that Christian civilization is itself now becoming purer and far holier. This is, however, to a great degree of a negative character. Great oppressions, injustices, impurities, falsities, and corruptions, are disappearing. But there are needed yet the positive blessed influences of the reign of Jesus and his paradise over the earth to kindle the heart of the world with the glow of a sublime piety. Those come in the next paragraph.

Must be loosed—It is the divine order that he be permitted to show himself worthy of his final doom.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 20:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-20.html. 1874-1909.