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Revelation of the Apostle John
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  • An Angel from Heaven - John is on earth when he sees this part of the vision

  • Having the key to the abyss - Satan, referred to as a star fallen from heaven, in chapter 9 had this key, but now an angel from heaven has it indicating Satan has been defeated."

  • The dragon bound for 1000 years - The devil is totally and perfectly [completely] defeated and bound with reference to his working through Rome against the church, (witness the chain, the pit and the sealing closed). This was the end of the history of the Roman Empire but not for Satan. He would be released to try again using other nations.

  • For 1000 years - 1000 years does not speak of a time period but a state of affairs. Applied to Satan it is total defeat. Applied to the saints it is total victory. The number 1000 means totality. Psalm 50:10 says God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Deuteronomy 7:9 says God keeps His promises for a thousand generations. Psalm 105:8 and 1 Chronicles 16:15 says God commanded His word for a thousand generations. The idea is totality and not a limited time period.

  • Notice some other ideas regarding the 1000 years:

    1. 1000 years is the whole Christian dispensation (from then until the end of time). The problem with this idea is that it requires a little time period of earth history after the end of time.
    2. 1000 years is all of time until just before the second coming of Christ. The problem with this idea is that it would limit the reigning priesthood period of the Christians to less than the whole Christian era.
    3. 1000 years following the destruction of Rome when Christianity flourished. The problem with this idea is that it would require the dead martyrs to be raised about a thousand years ago.

  • Satan in the sealed abyss - Satan is not limited in action, he is stopped!

  • Satan loosed for a little time to deceive the nations - This is not a time period but a message where God says to the Christians: "I protected you in the past and will do it in the future, anywhere, anytime, against any foe. This is God's guarantee for the future, just like in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

  • Those sitting on thrones - Those who sit on thrones are reigning. They are those to whom was given the authority to judge. Who are they? They are victorious, faithful saints, living or dead. Jesus had promised that the overcomers would share with Him in ruling over the nations (Revelation 2:26f; 3:21; 11:15-18; 18:20). This is the same as Daniel 7: 21, 22.

  • Souls of them beheaded for Jesus' sake - These are the martyrs in the persecution. They are resurrected (they live) and reign with Christ. Picture the battleground after the battle of Revelation 19 with the ground littered with the bodies of the slain. Those slain that are Christian martyrs are resurrected and join the living saints on thrones to rule with God. Those who were killed did not lose out because immediately they were raised to die no more. This is the "first resurrection." Notice that these are only the martyrs in the conflict of Revelation and not those Christians who had died all throughout history. This is not a literal resurrection that will happen when Jesus returns. Here is only a symbolic way of saying the faithful saints are victorious and secure.

  • The rest of the dead - are those who died in the vision in service of the beast and they remain dead for 1000 years (symbolically) only to be raised up and destroyed again. They were living losers. They are dead losers and they will live again only to be losers. Verse 5 is parenthetical. To get the sense read v4 then v5b: ("The Christian martyrs lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. This is the first resurrection.") That the foes of Jesus remain dead for a thousand years simply means that they were totally defeated in their war against Christ and the church. It is not referring to a literal time period.

  • The first resurrection - this is the resurrection of martyrs for Jesus. It is called "first" because John will see a second resurrection. Both God's servants and the beast's servants died in the first death but only the good guys are in the first resurrection. The first resurrection is to life and reigning but the second resurrection is to the second death. The message is that the dead in Christ share in the victory just as surely as do the living servants of God.

  • Priests of God …reign 1000 years - this doesn't talk about how long Jesus reigns but how long the saints would reign. The point here is not time but total victory and blessedness. What they had before they died (kingdom of priests), continued after they died. In life and in death the servants of God are victorious.

  • Satan loosed and deceives the nations (again) - Satan will continue to operate in the world to destroy the faith of God's servants.

  • Gog and Magog - They are anybody yet nobody in particular just as they were used in Ezekiel 38, 39. The message is this in both places: God says to His people: "I have already defended you and made you victorious in this present crisis and I will do it again whenever you need it." The emphasis is on the size of this new future enemy (whatever) and the ease with which God will defeat them also. Christians, don't worry about God's desire and ability to protect you against any and all enemies, now or in the future! A note about pre-millennial theories: All attempts to create a huge army of God-haters in a world where Satan does not act and only God's servants live is doomed to failure (especially if you believe in the impossibility of apostasy).

  • The devil cast into the lake of fire - The lake of fire symbolizes total defeat. Nobody returns after being thrown into the lake of fire. This is not about eternal punishment but victory of God's people and defeat of God's enemies.

  • Great white throne - is not the literal judgment day before which all men must appear one day. This is just like Daniel 7:9-12 where Rome (the fourth kingdom) is judged.

  • Second resurrection - the beast's worshippers are raised. The servants of God are not because they were raised 1000 years earlier (in the vision).

  • In this vision the devil is bound 1000 years to show how he was totally defeated in his war against the church using Rome. He is loosed a little while because after Rome there would be other attempts and they would meet the same fate. Victory is presented by the vision of saints (living ones and raised ones) reigning and judging in perfect [complete] victory. This chapter says complete victory of the church and complete defeat for Satan and Christ church persecuting Roman Empire.

In the persecution by Rome some Christians died. They sit on thrones and judge for 1,000 years.

The Martyrs are raised to reign with Jesus for 1,000 years
Satan is defeated in his attempt to destroy the church using the Roman Empire.

Rome goes under and disapears.

Future attempts by Satan using other nations will also fail.

Satan is ultimately destroyed.

In the vision's battle between good and evil all who serve the beast are killed.

These remain dead for 1,000 years.

After 1,000 years the dead servants of the beast are raised, only to be judged and destroyed in the lake of fire.

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