This passage is set in the context of a vision by John. John sees an angel bind Satan, and place him in the abyss for one thousand years. Once the one thousand years is up Satan must then be realised for a short time. John then sees the faithful followers raised to be with Jesus for one thousand years. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be realised from prison to deceive the nations again. Then as Satan gathers his army around God’s people, he will bring fire down from heaven; Satan will then be thrown into the lake of burning fire. The key issue that this text contains is the timing of the millennium; and why God released Satan from the abyss. CONTEXT
The only hope of understanding this section is in the light of close parallels in Revelation and elsewhere in the New Testament.1 The closest parallel of this section occurs in Revelation 12 and 20; this is shown in both language and structure.2 This connection gives us insight into the role of the blood of the lamb in overcoming evil and the inauguration of the new heavens and earth.3 Boring suggests that instead of understanding Revelation in sequential order, we look at it through the lens of seven pictures each showing the victory of Jesus.4
This section falls into the larger literary section extending from 17:1 to 21:8.5 The first sections of this unit have been the announcement of the fall of Babylon the end times; Christ’s judgment on the ungodly world forces at the end of this age and the inauguration of the age to come.6 The direct relationship between chapter 19 and 20 is hotly debated; this exegesis will argue that 20:1-6 refers to the church age and temporarily precedes the final judgment that has been narrated in chapter 17-19 and was recapitulated in 20:7-15.7 COMMENT
This text contains one of the most difficult texts in revelation; and one of the most disputed sections in the bible, the issue of the millennium.8 Issues are found in both biblical interpretation, and historical context scholars find themselves in; thus three dominant interpretations have been found, pre-millennium, post-millennium, and a-millennium.9 I will argue the Augustinian position of a-millennium,10 while understanding the deep complexities and variety of nuances, which make holding strongly to a position difficult and humility necessary. This position will become apparent throughout this exegesis. 20:1-3
This section begins with Kai eidon11, it is debated whether this is a chronological indicator on the sequence of events in the vision.12 Considering it use through the book of revelation I have concluded that it is not; the narrative sequence flow on from one another, but chronological sequence is unlikely from this alone.13
The beginning of this section the angel has close parallels with Christ, who as Revelation 1:18 say has the keys to Hades; while also closely parallels the “star fallen from heaven” in 9:1 who was given the key to the shaft of the abyss.14 As Boring implies this may just be different angels of the same story, implying Christ to be seen in all three instances.15 This angel comes wielding both the keys to the abyss, and a great chain. This is the fourth of the key passages in the book. The key of David (3:7) is similar to the keys of the kingdom of heaven given to the church is Mathew 16:19; the other three (1:18, 9:1, 20:1) refer to God’s sovereign control over all demonic powers.16 The great chain intensifies the imagery of the abyss being an Alcatraz like location where the angel has complete control to bind the devil.17 The powerlessness of Satan is evident; Michael was able to cast him out of heaven (12:7-9), likewise this angel has power to take hold of him and cast him out of heaven.18 We should take the one thousand years that Satan is locked up symbolically.19 One thousand is the cube of ten, which is the number of completeness; John is clearly implying here that Satan is bound for the complete time that God has...
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