And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:1-6 (KJV)
In these three verses, we find power is given to “an angel” to bind Satan for “a thousand years”.
Some have speculated and said, “an angel” is referring to Christ himself. It is unnecessary to speculate. Christ is completely capable of delegating power to whom He will. This angel is given a key and holds “a great chain in his hand” (SEE Judge 6).
The angel “laid hold on” the devil who is described in verse 2 in four different terms:
- Dragon – this shows his beastly nature and leadership as he inspired the government of the beast of Revelation 13;
- Serpent – this name shows his subtle nature as a smooth operator, deceiver, etc.;
- Devil – this shows he is a liar, and murderer and Jesus said this was so, “from the beginning”;
- Satan – this shows him as the accuser – he accuses us before God. He was Job’s accuser.
After laying hold of the deceiver (Satan) the angel binds him for one thousand years, cast “into the bottomless pit” and “shut up” and “sealed”. This is for the purpose of giving the earth, under the administration of Jesus Christ, complete tranquility, without the deceit, fraud, and destruction of the old serpent.
There is, however, a somewhat sad note at the end of verse three. The devil will be released at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ, but only for a short duration. Only the Lord Himself and give the answer to the multitude of questions that come to our minds.
These verses deal with the “first resurrection”, the ruling and reigning of the saints with Christ, and also speaks of the one thousand years we often call the “Millennial reign of Jesus Christ” on earth.
One thousand years is where the word “Millennium” is derived. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millenniums. There are at least three groups of interpretation concerning the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:
- Amillennial view – this group believes in no literal earthly reign of Jesus Christ – some in this camp believe that Christ is already ruling and reigning on earth…
- Post-millennial view – many in this camp believe Jesus will come again only after the Church has won the world to Christ, by the preaching of the gospel – the latter part of the victory being a thousand years (not necessarily literal) of peace, prosperity, and long life – with Jesus coming after the millennium…
- Pre-millennial view – Jesus returns again before the thousand years to rule and reign on earth with His saints. The pre-millennial view is literal concerning the one thousand years.
The thousand years is mentioned in Revelation 20 six different times, in only 15 verses. Is that an accident of, or a clue to interpretation? Six is the number of man. It could be a clue to being one thousand literal years of men. The very fact it is mentioned six times seems to stress the point “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalms 90:4 (KJV).
Those whom John sees on the throne are most likely the saved of God. It could be that John saw the twenty-four elders on the thrones, but that does not negate the above statement if we keep in mind that the “elders” represent the redeemed. A great emphasis is placed upon the martyrs. Saints who gave their physical lives, through death, for Jesus during great trials and persecutions.
Sometime shortly after the fall of Babylon – religious, economic, political – those who die for Jesus during the Great Tribulation are resurrected and given new bodies. These are the last to be resurrected before the millennium begins. These are the ones who have part in the “first resurrection” along with all those who were raptured at the beginning of the tribulation. The “first resurrection” began with the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and others who came out of their graves also (Matthew 27:51-53). A third group to be raised – of the “first resurrection – are those who “died in Christ” before the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (the tribulation period). This will take place at the rapture when both the dead and living [in Christ] will be “caught up together” (1 Thessalonians. 4:16-18).
In verse six we find the fifth of the seven Beatitudes in the Revelation. “Blessed [Happy] and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:…” The promise is that “the second death” – eternal damnation will have no power, no affect, or effect on the ones who are of the “first resurrection”. What a blessing it is. Those who have part in the first resurrection will be “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”.
During the thousand years, those who survived the great tribulation without succumbing to the vices of Satan will live on earth and repopulate it under the rule of Jesus as the King of kings. Some aspects of Christ’s earthly reign will be 1) Complete peace, 2) Prosperity, 3) Long life, 4) The animal kingdom will be practically domesticated (Isaiah 11:1-9). There will be no fear of the animals or beasts of the field. There will be children born during this beautiful era.
To be sure you are in the group of the First Resurrection call on the name of Jesus for eternal salvation. He is the only Savior there is.