The Millennium- Revelation 20:1-6

What is the Millennium? Will it ever happen or has it already happened? The Millennium is a very controversial topic among many people. There are many different views of how it will happen if at all, or how it did happen. The main Scriptures in which this subject comes out of is in Revelation 20. The book of Revelation tends to scare and perhaps confuse some people, so many just avoid it and it’s subjects. Yet, it is still God’s inspired word, we cannot avoid it just because we don’t understand it. We must study it in-depth to find out what God is trying to tell us. So, that is what we’re going to do now. We’re going to figure out what God is telling us in Revelation 20.

Let’s read the whole chapter of Revelation 20 first, and then we will break it down to figure out this mysterious chapter. Revelation 20 reads,

1“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. 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.

7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Now, to understand Revelation we must first understand a key role that figurative language plays in the book. Figurative language is used when someone is trying to describe something by comparing it with something else. Revelation uses a lot of this technique in it’s own unique way. So now let’s begin our study of this fascinating chapter.

Verses 1-3 state, 1“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

  • First let’s figure out who this angel is that seized Satan. According to Revelation 12:7-10, it appears that Michael is the one who fought against Satan and won. John brings up again here in the 21st chapter the fact that Michael is the one who seized Satan. So Michael is the angel that has the key to the Abyss. Well what is the Abyss? According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, in the Greek tongue it is a hole in the ground, or a pit. So was there a pit in heaven? This is where figurative language comes in. John is just describing a place where Satan was bound and could not get out to deceive the nations. Perhaps there was no pit at all. John just described it to us in that way so we can picture what God was showing and telling him.
  • Let’s look at verse 3 now. It says that Satan was thrown in prison to keep him from deceiving the nations. Well does that mean we are not deceived now because Satan is locked up? The answer is no. We are still tempted and deceived by Satan. It is just that he can’t be physically on this earth. But there are also his evil spirits and demons that can deceive us. Satan’s power is limited but not futile.

Now let’s look at verses 4-6. They state, “4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. 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.”

  • Who was given authority to judge? Christ was given authority to judge (2 Timothy 4:1, John 5:22). Also, according to Matthew 19:28, the disciples will also judge. Now another question for these set of verses is, who are the souls of the beheaded? Those who had not received the mark and who had reigned with Christ? The answer is simple. The elect. Those who followed Christ and died before Christ’s second coming.
  • Now what is the thousand years? It is again use of figurative language. It is not a literal thousand-year period. Remember what 2 Peter 3:8 says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Perhaps it will only a short amount of time before the rest of the dead come to life, or are judged. According to 1 Thessalonians 4, the dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are still alive will meet them and the Lord. So even Paul says that there will be a separation in time between the dead in Christ arising, and those who are still alive in Christ on the earth meeting together. This is the time John mentions here in Revelation 20. The time period being described here is most likely talking about paradise. The souls of the dead in Christ abide in paradise until Christ comes again. The souls “coming to life” is figurative language representing them coming to life spiritually. They were physically dead, now they are spiritually alive. The “thousand years” is a representation of the amount of time that is passing with souls in paradise until Christ’s second coming. It is not exact, for we do not know the exact day when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:42-44)
  • The thousand years spoken of in verse 6 can be taken as an eternal time. They will reign with Christ forever in heaven.

This concludes the first six verses of Revelation 20.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.