1. And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time.
No longer does Satan have free access to humanity. His open door of opportunity has been slammed shut. Because of Jesusí exaltation his opponents are humiliated.
For Satan it is not the last word- he still has a further humiliation to experience. His being chained is not enough; for his final punishment is yet to come.
But during his imprisonment people have rest from struggle and conflict. It is a Sabbath in the truest sense of the word.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Christ has freed us from the power of evil. Jesus is for those who believe the savior while for those who do not believe he is simply the judge. Those who believe enter into partnership with Him. They have not abandoned Him and He shall never abandon them.
5 The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The Christianís fellowship with God has eternal value. The number 1000, as all the numbers in the book, stands for utter completion. They shall reign with Him completely as priests and kings.
7 And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them.
Cf. Ezek 38. These symbolic countries represent those foreign peoples who oppose God and His people. Satan is set free for a brief time and he leads these foreign nations to fight against God in a last gasp effort to overthrow His rule.
What is the meaning of this? I have argued throughout this study that John is having a visionary experience which is communicating Spiritual truths. In order to communicate these truths he describes in narrative form the ongoing struggle between God and Satan. In this chapter John is simply describing the fact that no matter how clear it is to Satan that he is defeated he still attempts to rebel. This text also teaches us that humans are the same way. For this reason hell is prepared; for God knows that those who rebel in time will also rebel in eternity.
Thus, Satan must be consigned to hell, along with his followers; for if they were not they would foment rebellion throughout eternity.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Satan can now, no longer, resist God or lead others to rebel against Him. When will this take place? At the end of history.
11. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaound no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Every act is recorded and every person will have to give an account for everything they have done.
13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
The rule of death is over.
14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire.
15 And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.
Even hell is cast into hell!
No longer is there any power, person, or thing which will oppose God or disobey Him. Now all is right and the glory of God is in place for eternity.
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