“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:1-2)
A close reading/re-reading of Revelation 20 gives me the notion of the following:
The 1000 year binding has already been, I believe, from approximately 500 to 1500 AD. Since then, the devil has been free to deceive the nations.
After the Romans made Christianity the state religion, there was much that went wrong within the Church of Jesus Christ. But the nation states — of the West at least — were all kingdoms ruled by God-fearing kings.
The Reformation, which made available the Word of GOD to non-clergy, gave a freedom not experienced previously and a Truth hitherto hidden from the time of Christendom. The truth could be studied, digested, practised, no longer necessarily under the interpretation or influence of scholars in power. It was a time of revelation, enlightenment, study and truth.
But as the Word of GOD became available to the common man, so too did Satan become free to confuse and confound.
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.” (Revelation 20:7)
Although there has always been war, it is since 1500 that war has become more sophisticated: nation state against nation state, conflict arising across vast distances and with increased levels of violence and destruction. War culminated in World War I (the Great War to end all wars — such a major deception) and World War II (the epitome of anti-Semitism with the most sophisticated attempt to exterminate the Jews). To this day, Satan continues to confuse, divert, oppress and destroy humanity, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.
End of the Church Age
And so, I believe we are now at the end of the Church Age. Faith has dwindled. Man is waiting, whether he knows it or not, for the final war: the fire that destroys.
“And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:9b-10)
Once Satan is cast out forevermore, a new heaven and a new earth will be instated. I consider they are not necessarily new physical places, but our heaven and earth refreshed, free of evil, and with one king in the character of Jesus. He rules and reigns, and Satan, the beast and false prophet are no more.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” (Revelation 20:12)
There will be a judgment toward those who have never accepted Jesus. It will, I believe, include those who attest to know him but whom he does not recognise (Matthew 7:23). There are wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24); there are ones who have heard the Word but who’s “soil” fell on shallow or rocky ground (Mark 4:3-8).
Reigning with Jesus
And yet, “Hallelujah,” there will be those who have already been ruling and reigning with him for a thousand years. These are they who are the first resurrection, who were once martyred for Jesus’ name and who have been raised from the dead: “Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4b)
And there are also those who’s names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, who have known Jesus but who either died naturally, not as martyrs. This is the Second Resurrection.
And what of those who are alive at the Second Coming of Jesus/Yeshua, the Messiah? I believe those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will join the host. There will be no more grief or evil in the new Age as, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
And all who live will attest to the name of the Prince of Peace. Hallelujah and Amen.