“and when the thousand years were completed, Satan will be loosed from his prison” (Καὶ ὅταν τελεσθῇ τὰ χίλια ἔτη, λυθήσεται ὁ σατανᾶς ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς αὐτοῦ). Verse 7 continues the progression of John’s narrative and takes place after verses 1-6. After the church age, Satan will be released from his prison to engage in a time of heightened spiritual warfare against Christ and His people. Just as his binding was the result of the authority of Christ who holds the keys, so he does not escape from prison and so release himself but is let out by Christ and is still under His sovereign hand.
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 8”
“blessed and holy is the one having a share in the first resurrection, over these the second death does not have power, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah and they will reign with Him a thousand years” μακάριος καὶ ἅγιος ὁ ἔχων μέρος ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τῇ πρώτῃ· ἐπὶ τούτων ὁ δεύτερος θάνατος οὐκ ἔχει ἐξουσίαν, ἀλλ᾽ ἔσονται ἱερεῖς τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ βασιλεύσουσιν μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ [τὰ] χίλια ἔτη). Verse 6 is an interpretation of the first resurrection and constitutes the main point of verses 1-6. John’s assertion that the saints are blessed is grounded in three realities: the second death has no power over them, they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with Christ for a thousand years. This is the fifth of seven benedictions in the book of Revelation (1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:19, 20:6, 22:7, 22:14), and contains close parallels with 2:10-11 and 14:13.
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 7”
“and they came to life and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years. This is the first resurrection” (καὶ ἔζησαν καὶ ἐβασίλευσαν μετὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ χίλια ἔτη. οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν νεκρῶν οὐκ ἔζησαν ἄχρι τελεσθῇ τὰ χίλια ἔτη. Αὕτη ἡ ἀνάστασις ἡ πρώτη). Verses 4e-5 are in series with the rest of verse 4 and relate to each other in a positive negative relationship. Verse 4e and 5 are the most contested sections of the whole passage because how one takes ἔζησαν in 4e determines his view on the millennium. Ladd says, “The crux of the entire exegetical problem is the meaning of this word,” and “The exegete must decide whether or not it means [physical] resurrection; and upon this decision will be determined how he interprets the entire passage.”
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 6”
“And I saw” (Καὶ εἶδον). Here again John repeats the phrase “and I saw” reminding his readers that what follows is still describing his vision and we should interpret it as such. This verse is a progression from John’s vision of Satan to his vision of the reigning saints.
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 5”
“in order that he might no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years are completed” (ἵνα μὴ πλανήσῃ ἔτι τὰ ἔθνη ἄχρι τελεσθῇ τὰ χίλια ἔτη). This clause introduces the purpose of the binding of Satan and raises the second difficulty the premillennial interpretation faces. It is entirely possible that Satan is bound with respect to deceiving the nations but not with respect to other activities, i.e. persecuting Christians. The parallel phrase in verse 8 (“deceiving the nations”) indicates we ought to look at Satan’s actions once he is released. In verse 8 John tells us that after Satan is released from his prison he will come out “to deceive the nations…to gather them together for the war.” The result of the removal of Satan’s binding is that he deceives the nations so as to bring them together in war against God’s people. Therefore, at least part of what it means for Satan to be bound is that he is not able to accomplish the scale of deception necessary to gather the nations for war.
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 4”
“the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is [the] Devil and Satan.” (τὸν δράκοντα, ὁ ὄφις ὁ ἀρχαῖος, ὅς ἐστιν Διάβολος καὶ ὁ Σατανᾶς). Verses 2 and 3 progress from verse 1 and John describes the actions of the angel as coordinate with each other. John uses nearly identical language to that of 12:9 where he describes Satan as ὁ δράκων ὁ μέγας, ὁ ὄφις ὁ ἀρχαῖος, ὁ καλούμενος Διάβολος καὶ ὁ Σατανᾶς. Osborne notes that the list of names is similar to the legal naming of a condemned prisoner before his sentence is carried out. The evil one is named as the dragon who inspired the beast, the ancient serpent who deceived Eve in the garden, the devil or slanderer who maligns God and His people, and Satan the one who accused God’s people day and night (12:10).
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 3”
“And I saw” (Καὶ εἶδον). John begins the section with a phrase he has used twenty-seven prior times and will use four more times afterwards, every time introducing a vision. This is significant because the rest of chapter 20 is the continuation of his vision and should be interpreted as such, that is, with all four levels of meaning in view. All too often interpreters appeal to the “prima facie” meaning of Revelation 20 or to a “literal hermeneutic” and then proceed to interpret Revelation 20 jumping straight from the linguistic to the referential levels of meaning. However, if we interpret Revelation 20 as a vision, it is entirely possible to admit that John saw a physical resurrection without necessarily implying a physical resurrection at the referential level. For example, Revelation 13:1 begins with Καὶ εἶδον and then proceeds to narrate what John saw, namely, a composite bear-leopard-lion beast with ten horns, seven heads, and ten crowns. Yet, no serious exegete of Revelation would argue that on the referential level John was speaking of a literal, physical beast that would come up out of the sea in the end times. What he saw was a symbolic picture meant to convey certain truths about the nature of evil governments who oppose Christ and persecute His church.
Continue reading “The Millennium: Part 2”