“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.” ~ Revelation 20: 1-3
Here’s the main idea of the passage: This text very well might be one of the most controversial passages in Scripture, concerning the thousand year period found in Revelation.
Before I dive into the specifics, first let me re-iterate one point I stressed strongly at the beginning of this study. Theologians, scholars, and pastors alike often disagree on The Book of Revelation. More specifically, disputes occur concerning the meaning of the 1,000 year period in this text. Christians must give one another grace in this regard. One of the silliest follies I see often is Christ Followers at each other’s throats because of a disagreement over Eschatology.
Jesus Christ rose from the grave and will return again. He overcame this world- this we know for sure. I refuse to debate or argue another Christian over these issues on End Times. Discussions are good. But very rarely is that the case, it seems. To me, it is merely a waste of time for Christians to debate with anger over the non-essential items. Quite frankly, I’ve heard convincing arguments by all sides and from different scholars. Our goal should be to further Jesus, not our intellectual insights on the matter.
In order to avoid confusion and address the most common perspectives concerning this text, this study will appear differently than the rest. Please know I am speaking in only general terms here, as this series within 2 Minutes with God is meant for the layman and not the theologian. Here are the three main viewpoints for this passage simplified into layman’s terms:
- Premillennialists– Those who believe Christ will return before the Millennium. This thousand year period is a time of peace, and begins when Jesus returns to reign on Earth as theocracy. Resurrected believers will be present.
- Postmillennialists- Those who believe Christ will return after the Millennium. This theory suggests that before Jesus returns, societies will be transformed to such an extent, that there will be a great peace on earth for a thousand years. Afterwards Christ returns for the Final Judgment.
- Amillennialists- Those who believe the thousand years is the same as the present age of the church. In other words, there will be no Millennium before Jesus returns for the Final Judgment.
How is this text applicable in the 21st Century? (Presented from a Premillennialist viewpoint)
After the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14-16 through Revelation 19:19), there will still be unbelievers living on Earth, even amidst the Millennial Reign of Christ. Why would this be so? Why would God allow a thousand years to occur between Armageddon and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), where non-believers are condemned to Hell for an eternity?
Obviously, there are questions to only the Good Lord will be able to answer. However, here is one proposed rebuttal to consider:
“Why is there a millennium? Why doesn’t God go straight from Armageddon to eternity? Why this interim period and then another final battle- Gog and Magog? We don’t know, but it appears that unbelievers on earth are given the opportunity to experience what the Rule of God is like. However, as shown…even though unbelievers will experience the Reign of Christ, they will continue to rebel against God even without Satan’s deceptive influence. And the moment that Satan is let out of the prison, these people will flock after Satan and go to war against Christ. This will prove their absolute depravity, their true allegiance, and the necessity of the final punishment in the lake of fire.” Life Application New Testament Commentary
For me, this re-affirms what I already knew about mankind-our sin is great as is its hold on our life. Moreover, humanity is completely depraved without the Blood of Jesus. It is only by His sacrificial death that we are made whole and not by our good deeds or heartfelt intentions. Given enough time the flesh will fail every time, guaranteed.
“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Additional Readings: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/millennial-maze/
Prayer: Father God, forgive me of my sin. Without You I am lost. Only by the Blood of Jesus Christ am I saved. Thank you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.