11. The Millennium
A. Satan Bound (Rev 20:1-3)
B. The Millennium (Rev 20:4-6)
C. The Final Battle (Rev 20:7-10)
The judgment on earth is complete. Two of the three members of the satanic trinity are now in the lake of fire. One more person remains to be judged – the dragon, Satan.
Based on the relationship between the Parousia and the Millennium, there are 3 views. The Premillenial view is that the Parousia happens before the millennium, the postmillennial view is that the Parousia happens after and the Amillenial view is that there is no millennial period – there is only the Parousia and then the eternal state.
I hold to the Pre-Millennial view and so, we will discuss the millennium after the Parousia.
A. Satan Bound
An angel comes from heaven. He takes the Devil, binds him and casts him into the abyss. Satan, the king of the Abyss, is now a prisoner in it. The Abyss – a bottomless pit – seems to be a different place than the lake of fire (Gehenna). The mention of a physical chain to bind a spiritual being may be symbolic. Regardless, the fact remains that Satan will be bound in the Abyss for a thousand years. The multiple naming of this person removes any doubt of who he is. He is the Devil, the accuser; Satan, the enemy and the one who started it all in the garden of Eden.
The tomb of Jesus was sealed with two stones – a great stone, called the Golel covering the entrance and then laid against it, another smaller stone, the dopheq. It was at the area where one stone laid against the other that a seal was placed by the Roman authorities so that the slightest disturbance might become apparent.
Similarly, the abyss which now holds Satan is sealed – not with human stones and seals, but by God. He is bound and locked for a thousand years. This number is mentioned several times in this passage and is likely to be a literal time period.
B. The Millennium
During this time, Christ will rule on earth. There will also be reigning by Christians. (1 Cor 6:2-3). This includes the faithful martyrs who did not worship Satan. Rev 6:9.
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the end of the 1000 years. Who is this group of people? This is the wicked dead. All the righteous dead have come to life from the Rapture to the end of the Tribulation. They are both blessed and holy and are part of the first resurrection.
They will be priests of God. How will believers be priests in heaven? There are 3 main roles for human priests on earth – making atonement, intercession, and access to God. All these were done for the priest himself and for the people he was representing. Once in heaven, there is no need for either atonement or intercession. The only remaining function of a priest that believers will engage in is in the privilege of having continuous access to an infinite God.
Though this chapter in revelation is the only place where the 1000-year reign is mentioned, the theme of such a time runs throughout the old testament.
Isa 2:2; Isa 11:6; Isa 19:23–25; Isa 35:1–2; Isa 62. Just prior to his ascension, Jesus’ disciples asked him about the restoration of Israel. (Acts 1:6). Jesus did not deny it, instead, he told them that it was not for them to know about it yet.
In the prophecies of the end times starting from Daniel 2 and 7, there is mention of a sixth kingdom – one that comes after the Revived Roman empire – that of Jesus Christ who will reign. It only makes sense that that reign of Jesus happens where the other kingdoms reigned. The contrast between the human, sinful rulers and King Jesus will be obvious.
What is the purpose of the millennial period?
Why is it that this period even exists? Wouldn’t it have been possible to go straight into the eternal age without the millennial period. It would, but I believe that this particular period exists for several reasons.
Maybe it is to show how life under a holy and just God would have been if sin was not introduced in the Garden of Eden. The bliss of Eden would have continued into the millennium.
Maybe to restore the earth that God created. Sin took its toll not just on the inhabitants, but on all creation. In addition, the consequences of sin, the repercussions and the judgments destroyed the earth beyond recognition. Romans 8:19-22. As Creator, God wants to restore his creation from the ravages of sin.
Maybe to give one more chance to the wicked living. They have been given many chances throughout the tribulation period and they spurned it with disdain. But the God of grace wants to show them how beautiful it is to live under a holy, just, loving and good God as their leader. And if they choose to turn to Him, He would accept them.
C. The Final Battle
Once the millennium is over, Satan, who was bound in the abyss, will be released. After having a thousand years to ruminate about his actions concerning the previous many millennia, he once again emerges, persistent in his delusion that he can overthrow God. The pride that started his sin, is still present. His previous defeat at Armageddon wasn’t a lesson enough.
He is released, comes out of his prison and deceives people again to fight against God. He deceives a significant number of people. Sadly, these people that have been under the reign of God for a thousand years, willingly get deceived. Their arrogance can be outmatched only by that of Satan.
The battle of Gog and Magog is a prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39. Gog is probably an individual and Magog a geographical/political unit that is being represented.
In the table of nations after the flood, the families of Japheth are listed. Gen 10:5
The seven sons of Japheth are Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (Gen 10:2). We also see another name – Togarmah, the son of Gomer (Gen 10:3; 1 Chron 1:5f.).
The Ezekial prophecies (38-39) are set in the later years. (Eze 38:8), likely talking about this period in the end times.
Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, as head of a great army will come from the land of Magog against Israel as he returns from exile. His troops include Gomer and Beth-togarmah from the north and from Paras (Persia), Cush (Ethiopia), and Put (Libya?) (Eze 38:1–9).
Gog still plans to go against Israel and attack and plunder Israel. They gather for battle likely in Jerusalem. But he will be able to go against Israel permitted by God only to show forth His glory. (Eze 38:10–16). Gog may be Satan himself or a name that represents the enemy. God will rain fire from heaven and destroy the enemies. (Rev 20:9). In addition, when he attacks, an earthquake will destroy the land. (Eze 38:17–20); and destruction will come upon Gog and his troops (Eze 38:21–23) – destruction from above and from below. The predatory birds and animals that have been patiently waiting will scavenge the corpses. (Eze 39:1–8)
Finally, after all these years of Satan running around, opposing and dishonoring God, He will put an end to this. Satan is cast into the lake of fire where the antichrist and the false prophet were cast 1000 years ago where they will be tormented forever and ever. Jesus refers to this place as Gehenna (Hell) and mentioned who it was created for. Matt 25:41.
The journey of Satan has transitioned through many falls. He started in heaven and when he sinned, he was thrown out of heaven in a pre-cosmic period and for a long time, he was the lord of the air while he continued his activities on earth (Eph 2:2). During the mid-tribulation period, he was thrown to earth to form the Unholy Trinity during the Great tribulation. Then, at the end of the Great Tribulation of 3 ½ years and just prior to the Millennium, he was sent from earth to the Abyss and now at the end of the Millennium and just before the start of the blessed eternal age, finally finds himself in the lake of fire where he will spend the rest of eternity.
Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 258–297
Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 2 (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896
B. Otzen, Gog and Magog, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (Book 2), Eerdmans; Revised ed, 419