The Thousand Years
1I saw an angel come down from heaven, carrying the key to the deep pit and a big chain. 2 He chained the dragon for 1,000 years. It is that old snake, who is also known as the devil and Satan. 3Then the angel threw the dragon into the pit. He locked and sealed it, so 1,000 years would go by before the dragon could fool the nations again. But after that, it would have to be set free for a little while.
4 I saw thrones, and sitting on those thrones were the ones who had been given the right to judge. I also saw the souls of the people who had their heads cut off because they had told about Jesus and preached God's message. They were the same ones who had not worshiped the beast or the idol, and they had refused to let its mark be put on their foreheads or hands. They will come to life and rule with Christ for 1,000 years.
5-6These people are the first to be raised to life, and they are especially blessed and holy. The second death has no power over them. They will be priests for God and Christ and will rule with them for 1,000 years.
No other dead people were raised to life until 1,000 years later.
Satan Is Defeated
7At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be set free. 8 He will fool the countries of Gog and Magog, which are at the far ends of the earth, and their people will follow him into battle. They will have as many followers as there are grains of sand along the beach, 9and they will march all the way across the earth. They will surround the camp of God's people and the city God loves. But fire will come down from heaven and destroy the whole army. 10Then the devil who fooled them will be thrown into the lake of fire and burning sulfur. He will be there with the beast and the false prophet, and they will be in pain day and night forever and ever.
11 I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. Earth and heaven tried to run away, but there was no place for them to go. 12 I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done.
13The sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done. 14Afterwards, death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15Anyone whose name wasn't written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Five significant events take place in this chapter: Satan is seized and sealed in the Abyss for a thousand years, Christ and the saints rule on earth for a thousand years, Satan is released at the end of the Millennium and makes a final attempt to overthrow Christ, then the dramatic conclusion with Satan’s end, the scrolls opened, and all sinners cast into the lake of fire.
Satan seized (vv 1-3) – A great angel (see Rev. 9:1), possibly the archangel Michael, binds Satan with a great chain and he’s incarcerated in the Abyss (Hebrew tehom meaning “the deep”). The chain indicates the total restraint and limitation of Satan’s power. According to Isaiah 24:21-23, Satan’s army of demons and evil powers are also confined in the Abyss during the Millennium.
Saints reigning (vv 4-6) – Christ brings peace and prosperity to the earth for 1,000 years. This fulfills the promise made in Rev 5:10 that the believers will rule with him. During the Millennium the damage of the Tribulation period will be reversed and the earth will be bountiful.
Satan judged (vv 7-10) – At the end of the Millennium, Satan is released. He deceives the nations, rebels against Christ’s rule, and is subsequently thrown into the lake of burning sulphur with no hope of escape or release. The Scriptures are unambiguous on the fact that Satan will be eternally damned.
Scrolls opened (vv 11-12) – All the unsaved dead come before the Great White Throne to be judged. Sinners can’t escape this judgment. The accounts of their lives are kept in a great library of biblia (Greek for scrolls) which testify to their sin (Daniel 7:10, Isaiah 65:6, Malachi 3:16 mention how God keeps written records of our deeds). Final judgment of every sinner’s life is made on the basis of these records.
Sinners judged (vv.11-15) – The saints are seated (v 4) and watch while the sinners stand before the Great White Throne to be judged for what they have done (v 13). “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10:31). Hell (hades – seen here as a temporary holding place) is emptied and the judgment of each sinner’s works determines the degree of their punishment before they are banished from God’s presence and consigned to the lake of fire.
Lord, thank you that Satan’s days are numbered and the wickedness and evil he perpetrates will one day be brought to an end forever. Until that day comes, help your people to faithfully live for you. Amen.