Satan is chained and the Saints Reign
Satan is Chained and incarcerated(1-6)
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.”
Verse 1: In our chronology of end time events, this occurs on the last day of the war of Armageddon. There is really no chapter break between Rev. 19 & 20. Here an angel came down from heaven, with the key to the abyss. This angel is not identified here. He is probably archangel Michael, the warrior angel of God, that standeth for His people, Israel(Dan.12:1). He it was who contended with the devil over the body of Moses(Jude 9), who previously, in the midst of the 70th seven cast him down to the Earth alongside his hordes of fallen evil angels, the demons, the principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this age, and the wicked spirits in the heavenlies(Rev.12:7-9; Eph.6:12). He has the key; there is only one key to the bottomless pit. No angel has access to this key but at the behest of the Almighty. So it is obvious that Michael acted under the orders of the Almighty. He has also a great chain in his hand. The use of this chain is obvious as we shall see in the next verse.
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,”
Verse 2: In this verse the object of his mission is identified. To ensure the identity is not confused with those of other angels, he was identified several times. The phenomenon of double reference is for emphasis. The personality hereby identified, has several appellatives, each of which speaks volumes on his character and personality. Inasmuch as this is not a study on demonology, we shall not go into the meaning of those appellatives, but shall simply identify him as Lucifer, the former highest archangel of God, in charge of praise and worship in heaven, who through pride and arrogance led a revolt against God. He was cast out of heaven with one-third of the angels of God that sided with him in the revolt, into the dark void and starry heavens. Subsequently in the middle of the 70th seven he and his fallen demons were cast out of the dark void and the starry heaven to the Earth. The execution of the sentence against Satan is in stages. The first and second stages have already been carried out. This is the third stage. In this stage, he is incarcerated in the abyss for a thousand years. The abyss or bottomless pit is a part of the under World of the dead. In the OT, the abyss separated Hell from Paradise(Luke 16:26). Some translators render it as gulf as in the KJV. In this day and age, the abyss is occupied by hordes of fallen angelic beings which are as locusts. Their head is Abaddon(Hebrew) or Apollyon(Greek) the angel of the bottomless pit. These hordes of demons are probably those angels who cohabited with human females and fathered the nephilim or humanoids or transhumans(Gen.6:1-8). “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”(Jude 1:6). These shall be released from the bottomless pit at the sounding of the fifth trumpet to torment the wicked earth-dwellers branded with the mark of the Beast(Rev.9:11).
In the OT dispensation, paradise was the abode of the departed Saints and prophets of God. Abraham was in paradise with Lazarus awaiting the coming of The Christ. He saw him was glad. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”(John 8:56). The OT saints in paradise were taken to heaven when Jesus rose from the dead(Matt 27:53). They have received their own glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies, and play angelic roles in heaven. Today this part of the underworld of the dead is either empty or nonexistent. After the resurrection of Christ, in NT parlance, Paradise is now synonymous with heaven.
The period of incarceration of the Devil is one thousand years. This period corresponds with the seventh millennium which is the Shabbat of the Lord. During this period, God’s rule over the Earth is restored through His earthly representative, an Adam, the last Adam, the second man who is the Lord from the heavens, Jesus The Christ, who now retakes physical possession of the Earth. It is imperative that Satan be bound, and his minions, the Beast-antiChrist and the false prophet, and his hordes of fallen angelic beings named demons be removed from the Earth’s premesis in order to eliminate their negative and sinful influences on the the citizens of the New Millennium.
“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.”
Verse 3: In this verse, Satan is cast into the bottomless pit, and shut up. A seal was set on it. This is the seal of the Almighty God. In the ancient Near East, in the context of which this scene is set, as is today in the modern world, seals are for authenticity, identification, protection, preservation, and ownership. Seals could belong to individuals, organizations, governments and their parastertals. In this case, the seal is the seal of the Almighty God; it is the seal of the government of heaven. The abyss is sealed with this seal, the seal of the Almighty to show that Satan’s incarceration in the abyss is just, because God is just, authentic because it is the seal of the Almighty, authoritative because it is approved of the Almighty and protective, so that no one shall tamper with the incarceration. No angel in heaven, no matter his rank, has the authority to free him from his incarceration in the bottomless pit until his allotted period of one thousand years is over, after which he shall be freed for a little season: that also on the orders of the Almighty. At the end of one thousand years, God puts him on parole as it were, but he shall default again, being the Devil that he is.
The Saints Reign(4-6)
“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.”
Verse 4: in this verse, the revelator is taken to God’s Throne Room in the millennial temple on Mount Zion. This temple is contiguous with the New and heavenly Jerusalem which has no temple of its own. It is from this throne Room that Jesus shall sit on the throne of His father David and reign over Israel and the whole World. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”(Luke 1:32,33). Besides the throne of Jesus, there shall be other thrones. These thrones shall be occupied by resurrected saints who reign with Christ in their glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies. Their residence shall be the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven and is hollow and contiguous at its base with millennial temple on Mount Zion. There seem to be special thrones for those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus. This segment of the 5th seal martyrs(Rev.6:9-11) did not go into hiding during the reign of the Beast-antiChrist and his persecution of the saints called the Great Tribulation. They refused the mark of the Beast which permits anyone who took it to buy and sell and move around. At great danger and risk to themselves, they went about persuading others not to take the mark of the Beast. They dissuaded them from worshipping the Beast or his image. They persuaded them to worship God instead, and to keep away from the false religion instituted by the Second Beast, the false prophet. They echoed and re-echoed the voices of the three angels at the midpoint of the 70th week(Rev.14:6-12). They paid with their dear lives. The Beast-antiChrist was furious and ordered a special kind of execution for them, death by beheading. The Greek word is cephalizomai. These men and women had their heads cut off. It is little wonder therefore that Daddy rewards them in a special way. They not only had special thrones but were also resurrected specially on the first day of the millennium as taught by Robert van Kampen and Marvin J. Rosenthal in their marvelous and glorious works on eschatology, The Sign, and The Prewrath Rapture of the Church respectively. Alan E. Kurschner believes their reign began on the first day of the Millennium not that they rose from the dead on that day. He believes that they rose from the dead with the rest of the saints of the Church age at the Prewrath rapture of the Church. This view is more logical inasmuch as there is no justifiable reason to delay their resurrection till the first day of the Millennium. These men like other resurrected saints dwelt with Christ in the New Jerusalem and reigned with Him a thousand years. Apparently not all sixth seal martyrs were beheaded. Some died in some other ways. But the martyrs spoken of here were beheaded for the word of God and the testimony which they upheld.
“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
Verse 5: In the millennium, there will be men and women in their natural bodies who due to improved condition on Earth shall live a very long time. But there will be some who because of sin will die before the expiry of the Millennium. These men and women who died during the Millennium shall be raised at the expiration of the Millennium to appear before the White Throne Judgement. Even though the scripture did not explicitly say this, it does seem implicit however that all those living in their mortal bodies during the Millennium, shall be translated at the expiry of the Millennium to receive an eternal immortal resurrection body, to appear before Christ at White Throne judgement. They shall not take part in the first resurrection. The first resurrection consists of the OT saints and prophets who were raised from the dead and taken into heaven when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven; and the NT saints, apostles and prophets who shall be raised from the dead at the rapture and given new glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies, who will reign with Christ for a thousand years. Therefore the first resurrection consists of those who lived in their glorified eternal immortal resurrection body in the Millennium. Verse 6 concludes the reign of the saints with a benediction. Revelation is a book of sevens, indicating completeness and perfection: the completion of man’s imperfect rule and the completion of the wicked reign of the Satan and the Beast-antiChrist, and the introduction of the perfect and righteous reign of The Christ. Therefore there are seven benedictions. This is the fifth benediction. It shall indeed be wonderful and glorious to reign with Christ in the Millennium in a glorified eternal immortal resurrection body uncluttered and unfettered with the ravages of sin, the frailty and mortality of the human body.
The Final Revolt(7-10)
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,”
Verse 7: At the expiry of the Millennium, Satan is released from prison, as it were on parole. He had been in the bottomless pit, falling and never getting unto the bottom for a thousand years. When he is released, he imerges unrepentant. He proves true to type and does what he does best, rebellion.
“And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”
Verse 8: He, Satan shall go out to deceive the nations who are in the four quarters of the Earth. Who are those in the four quarters of the Earth? Gog and Magog. Gog is a title rather than the name of a person. He is the leader of Magog. In Eze.38 & 39, he was the antiChrist. Inasmuch as the Beast-antiChrist is cast into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone alongside the False Prophet, at the end of the war of Armageddon, he cannot be the same person referred to here as Gog. This is a different person, another ruler of Magog. The magogites are the Germanic peoples. They led the world into two world wars. Hitler was a magogite from Austria. The 8th and final Beast Empire shall also be magogite in origin, and will be led by a magogite, the antiChrist.
We know of a surety that the antiChrist will be a magogite. There are some who believe that the Gog and Magog mentioned here are a different person and people because at the reckoning of the nations in the Millennium, Magog is not mentioned(Is.66:18,19). The list in Isaiah is not comprehensive and exhaustive table of nations at the beginning of the Millennium. Apart from Magog, Cush is not mentioned. Does this mean therefore that no cushite(black) shall enter the millennium? I beg to differ. Here is my thought on what I believe to be a difficult question. Because of the rebellious nature of the magogites, at the beginning of the Millennium, Christ the overall ruler of the Kingdom of God on Earth shall disperse them to the four corners or outer fringes of the Earth at the commencement of His reign over the Earth in the New Millennium.
Not every German agreed with Hitler; some even opposed him and paid with their lives like Stauffenberg and Dietriescht Bonhoeffer or with their freedom like Pastor Martin Niemöller. Not every German shall agree with the antiChrist. Some will even oppose him. There will be magogites who will not be raptured who will not take the mark of the Beast either. How they will survive is a mystery or perhaps a miracle. May be they would be resident as foreign nationals in other parts of the world. These shall enter the Millennium alongside their colleagues from other nations. Hence the need to consign them to the outer fringes of the Earth because of their rebellious nature. They are vulnerable to rebellion. True to type, Satan finds followers amongst them when he is freed from prison at the expiry of the Millennium. The rebellion gains momentum. Satan shall gather them together to battle. Their number is as the sand of the sea, innumerable.
Why such a large number? Because of improved condition on Earth in the Millennium, food will not be a problem. Therefore there shall be an explosion in the world population during the Millennium. Even in this age, scientists have found out that one-fourth of the ice-free surface of the Earth can support a population of 40 billion. In this age food does not go round because of human greed and corruption rather than unavailability. On a daily basis, the leftovers and wastes from America alone can feed the whole of Africa. The oceans and seas of the Earth shall vanish, freeing huge expanses of land for farming and human settlement. The Canadian and Siberian permafrost shall be reclaimed, providing huge expanse of land for farming and human habitation. It is likely world population will run into hundreds of billions or perhaps trillions, and the magogites themselves might be numbered in the tens of billions or perhaps trillions. The sand of the sea is a figure of speech, a hyperbole. It does mean a large number, as in God’s reference to the stars of heaven and the sand which is by the sea shore in description of the number of the children of Israel(Gen.22:17). The Jews are not the most numerous of peoples on Earth; in fact they are one of the smallest, a mere less than 1% of the world population. What this does mean is that the magogites shall be a large number of people.
“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
Verse 9: Deceived, energized and empowered by Satan, they surround the camp of saints. This is the Temple Mount, the temple itself which is contiguous wih the heavenly Jerusalem. God is fade up with humanity’s intransigence, insubordination and rebellion. God answers them with divine conflagration; fire came out of heaven and devoured them.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Verse 10: God is also done with Satan’s rebellion and consigns him to eternal flame in the lake of fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the False Prophet have been, tormented for ever and ever(Rev.19:20).
The White Throne Judgement(11-15)
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”
Verse 11: There is a great White Throne and an Occupier, from whose face the Heavens and the Earth fled away and there was no place for them. Who is this personage? Am persuaded He is Jesus in His glory. The reason is that God has committed all judgement to Him(Acts 10:42; 17:41).
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Verse 12: This is the final resurrection. It is the resurrection of those who lived and died in the millennium, and also those who died before the Millennium who did not take part in the first resurrection. I also believe implicitly that those who did not die during the millennium but lived to the end of it, shall be translated to appear before the White Throne Judgement. No man in his natural mortal body shall be able to appear in the presence of so much glory which neither the Heavens nor the Earth can withstand. In this heavenly court, there were no advocates. The scrolls of records were opened, and every man, small and great, were judged according what is recorded in the scrolls concerning them. There was no partiality(James 3:17). God is no respecter of persons(Acts 10:34). God does not have one law for the rich, great and famous and another for the poor, downtrodden and underprivileged. Every man is judged according to his works.
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
In verse 13, all the dead were raised: the sea delivered up those who were in it, and so also death and Hell and all were judged according to their works recorded in the scrolls. The scrolls here are different from the one in Rev.6. There were two scrolls, the scroll of works and the scroll of life.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
In verse 14: Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire: this is the second death. The first death is the severance of the spirit and soul, the immaterial part of man from the body, the material part of man. This is based on the dichotomous view of man- the basar and the nefesh. The second death therefore is the consignment of the spirit and soul(nefesh), the immaterial part of man into the lake of fire. This is the real man . The body is disposable, but the spirit and the soul are not. The sipirit and the soul are inseparable and indivisible. It is only the word of God that divides between the two(Heb. 4:12). There is no spirit without a soul.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
In Verse 15: the judgement is very simple and open. There were two scrolls, the scroll of works and the scroll life. Any man whose name was not found in the scroll of life shall be cast in the lake of fire. There are some who believe that no man who appears at The White Throne judgement shall be justified. I do not share that view. I believe there would be some whose names are found in the scroll of life. If those whose names were not found in the scroll of life were condemned and consigned to the lake of fire, this implies there were some whose names were found who shall be justified and enter the eternal state. After this judgement shall be the eternal state. So, chronologically, the Scroll Of Revelation ends with the White Throne judgment. Revelation 21,22 record events in the early part of the millennial reign of Christ.