The Chaining of Satan

MAN’S ENEMY CAPTURED, BOUND AND INCARCERATED (20:1-3). Since the Archangel Michael defeated Satan, he could be the one who incarcerates the Devil. The imprisonment of the Dragon coincides with the reign of Christ. The names used of man’s archenemy reveal the cessation of cruelty (the dragon); cunning deception (that ancient serpent); malicious slander (the devil) and adversary (Satan).

Only Satan is mentioned here, but it’s likely that the rest of the demons also were bound and thrown into the Abyss, the place of incarceration pending their final sentencing to the Lake of Fire (cf. Matthew 25:41).

In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously (Isaiah 24:21-23).

Chapter thirty-three of Second Enoch speaks of the history of the world comprising seven thousand years. The first six thousand correspond to the six days of creation; the last thousand form the Sabbath. Other Intertestamental Jewish literature speaks of angels seizing and binding demons in the depths of the underworld. John’s readers of the first century would have understood this imprisonment literally. The destructive influence of the demonic in all areas of human thought and life will be removed. Temptations of the world and Devil will cease for a thousand years; however, the flesh still will have some sway.

At the end of the thousand years, Satan must be set free for a short time. Why? So that God can bring an end of sin prior to His creating the new heaven and earth. All who survive the Tribulation and enter the kingdom in natural bodies are believers. However, despite that and the personal presence of the rule of Christ, many of their descendants will refuse to trust in Him under Paradise-like conditions.

Those who believe Satan is presently bound and that the thousand years indicates present Church history are hard-pressed to prove their point since other passages teach that he blinds unbelievers and attempts to hinder believers (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Timothy 2:26).

Additionally, 1 Peter 5:8 warns:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The Reign of the Saints

REIGN OF THE SAINTS (20:4-6). The thrones John saw might recall Daniel 7:9. Tribulation saints beheaded for their testimony are certainly in view. Abel was the first martyred because of the Word of God (Genesis 4:1-10); possibly, OT saints are in view also. Every Christian who overcomes will reign with Christ on the earth as His bride as well.

TWO RESURRECTIONS are mentioned: (1) to life and (2) to death. It appears that all saints of every dispensation will be resurrected by the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. This is the fifth beatitude of Revelation. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. Is Job’s assurance, your hope?

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27).

Amillennialists view the first resurrection as the life of the departed saints in heaven or the privileges of the saints living on earth. Clearly, Job was not an amillennialists; he anticipated resurrection and a life on earth with his Redeemer.

The Release of Satan

THE LAST TEMPTATION (20:7). When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison. Apparently, the angel unlocks the Abyss and chains that bind the Devil. Satan had no change of heart after a thousand years of captivity. He still hates God; so it will be with everyone who awaits the final judgment.

The reign of righteousness (Law) will not change the hearts of many born during the Millennium, who will rebel against Christ. The heart that rejects Christ continues to harden; whether in the torment of Sheol/Hades or living in Paradise. Like Adam and Eve, those born into the restored Paradise of the Millennial Kingdom will be tempted by the Serpent. They must choose to trust the Lord or reject Him.

The Battle of Gog and Magog

THE LAST INSURRECTION (20:8-9). Through this final test, God will demonstrate that even under Paradise conditions, man harbors rebellious resentment in their hearts. Satan will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. The size of the rebellion against Christ is staggering. In number, they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves, which is Jerusalem.

Many commentators incorrectly identify this battle as the one described in Ezekiel 38-39. Some expositors place Ezekiel’s so-called Gog and Magog prior to the Rapture of the Church, at the middle of the Tribulation, or at end of Tribulation as Armageddon.

Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog cannot come after the Millennium since the clean up period after the battle takes seven years and the dead will be buried over a period of seven months (Ezekiel 39:9-13). At the final battle, there will be no bodies to bury since fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

The End of Satan

THE LAST OF SATAN (20:10). No prophetic world would be complete without a word about the destiny of man’s archenemy. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Hell is a place of eternal punishment. Most likely, the demons are judged at this time and thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

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