1000 Years, 2 Views

Revelation 20:1-6

Lots of people have wrong-headed ideas about Bible prophecy. Basically two kinds of people: those obsessed with prophecy and figuring out signs and timelines, those who don’t see how prophecy applies to present circumstances. What they miss is: great thrust of prophecy from Genesis 3:15 on – how God would carry out his redemptive purpose in Christ Jesus. The one in prophetic spotlight, center stage is Christ, not Antichrist. Emphasis on what God is doing to bring people to Christ, what Christ has done and is doing to establish and rule his kingdom, what Christ’s people have to anticipate and Christ’s enemies have to fear.

Three statements of Jesus provide good overview of these times in which we live:

Matt. 16:18I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

John 14:2I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:3I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Certainly are hints in OT of what is yet to come, clearest view here in Revelation. This what really keeps from getting discouraged down in the trenches – looking to Christ as he is portrayed here, the triumphant King, victorious over all his enemies, bringing his church with him to ultimate victory… forever!

This one of more divisive portions of Bible, source of conflict among Christians, ought not to be! Will seek not to perpetuate conflict; rather proclaim plain truth of God’s word in its immediate and larger context. What John describes here is one sweep of time and what is happening in two different spheres.

A. context

how this section meshes with surrounding text

recapitulation / repetition instead of succession – “recapitulation: That is to say, the structure of the book is such that it returns at the opening of each of its sections to the first advent, and gives in the course of each section a picture of the whole interadvental period – each successive portraiture, however, rising above the previous one in the stress laid on the issue of the history being wrought out during its course.” Warfield

cp. Rev. 20:9-10 with

Rev. 6:12-17 end of seals: “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”

Rev. 11:15-19 end of trumpets: “Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged”

Rev. 14:14-20the angel …gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”

Rev. 16:17-21 end of bowls: “ Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath”

Rev. 19:11-21He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God”

in chapter 20, once more see whole sweep of human existence from First to Second Advent ending with final judgment as fierce wrath of God poured out on rebellious sinners

if this vision ends with same final judgment as previous visions, would be logical to think might begin at same time as others

B. Satan bound on earth v.1-3

opens with vision of “binding of Satan”, the dragon, first of unholy counterfeit trinity – impostor attempting to take place of Father

knowing what dragon wants to achieve, is tremendous encouragement: somehow he is restrained, does not have free rein to carry out destructive purpose

timing

Matthew 12:28-29 Christ has bound the strong man – rebuking Pharisees: equating his casting out demons by Spirit of God with presence of the kingdom of God and binding Satan

Luke 10:17-19 Satan’s fall “like lightning from heaven” coincides with effectual preaching of the Gospel by the Seventy

John 12:31-32 Satan cast out from the earth (cast into the pit) by Christ’s death – declared by Christ to be so and that he would by his death draw all men to himself

Hebrews 2:14-15 Satan rendered powerless by death of Christ – “through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil”

purpose

Luke 10:17-19 the Gospel has freedom to spread – each time sinner comes to Christ, Satan loses territory, falls from heaven

consider how ineffective Israel was in spreading Gospel – barely penetrated surrounding culture in 1400 years; since Satan bound, nearly circled globe in similar span of time

2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 limit delusion of the lost

when lawless one comes, near the end, will deceive with “power, signs, and lying wonders with unrighteous deception among those who perish”

is not only Satan who is bound, enemies of Christ and his church limited in their ability to harm or destroy

nature

not literal chains and locks and seals – remember, is apocalyptic literature, and… Satan is angel, spirit being

is real restraint by power of almighty God, limiting Satan’s power and effect

keep in mind: shackled prisoner, chains/handcuffs/leg irons, is not immobilized or silenced

“The devil is limited by the chain of the sovereignty of a reigning Saviour. There is a curtailment of Satan’s influence, a limitation imposed on his kingdom by the exaltation of Jesus Christ. The great chains of the blood of Christ and his session at the right hand of God effectually curtail the activities of Satan.” Geoff Thomas

C. saints rule in heaven v.4

location

not until Rev. 22:1-3 that throne comes to earth, the Holy City on the new earth

reign of saints with Christ coincides with binding of Satan, iow, now… for 1000 years, a long yet limited period of time

not a surprise: Matthew 16:21-23 further fleshed out John 18:33-36

started telling disciples he would die; they protested, messing with their kingdom plans; told Peter, “Get behind me Satan” – rebuked him for not setting his mind “on the things of God, but on the things of men”

Pilate’s question: are you King of the Jews? Jesus’ answer: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight”

was because Christ did not set up an earthly kingdom Jewish leaders convinced he was a blasphemer – their hope so strongly in Messiah who would be their earthly ruler could not recognize Jesus as true Messiah

thrones

Rev. 3:21 sharing in reign of Christ over his kingdom – don’t know what it all signifies, but those who overcome sit with Christ

1 Cor. 6:2-3 wonder what loved ones who died in the Lord are doing? it’s right here – judging the world and judging angels

agreeing with and affirming Christ in his just and righteous rule over his kingdom that spans heaven and earth

occupants

those who have died in physical dimension of kingdom, raised to life in spiritual dimension… God’s presence

to lose life in domain of beast not a disaster or defeat – death in reality is passport to next stop on way to final destination

righteous dead whose souls presently live and rule with Christ

those who did not worship the beast, did not live according to his principles and mandates, iow had mark of Christ

promises kept

2 Tim. 2:12If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.”

role-reversal

Jesus’ promise/declaration “I will build my church and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it” – here is how

“Defeating Christians is impossible. Even when demonic forces rage and strut and do their utmost, they only succeed in establishing Christians in positions of real power!” Poythress

rest from “earthly” labors

Heb. 4:9-11There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”

Rev. 6:11rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren …was completed.”

Rev. 7:14-17 devoted to heavenly service: “before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple”

Rev. 14:13 “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord… Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors”

D. first resurrection v.5-6

1 Cor. 15:20-23 further participation in “first resurrection” of Christ, culminates in bodily resurrection at his coming

made alive at regeneration, made more alive in intermediate state, made most alive at his coming

only those who are holy participate – those who are “priests of God and of Christ, and reign with him” – Christ allows no pretenders to share his throne

subject to first (physical) death, not subject to second death (eternal consignment to hell and God’s wrath)

promise of blessing: those who overcome receive what has been promised them

see Rev. 2:11, 26; 3:5, 12, 21 – will not be hurt by second death; given authority over the nations; clothed in white garments; name of God, the city of God, Christ’s own new name; sit with Christ on his throne

How do we live now? In light of what awaits us. Remember Jesus’ rebuke to Peter: “you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Must be mindful of the things of God, that what might appear to be defeat here and now is in reality victory, bringing us closer to day when number of our fellow-servants and brothers will be complete.

Do not need to be afraid. Can live confidently, certain of Christ’s protecting care. Whether we experience first death or not, next step for us when leaving this life: face to face with Christ our Savior. Not true for all – many will come face to face with Christ their Judge. What about you? your loved ones? Since the strong man is bound, we can fearlessly declare the Gospel, knowing God will make it effectual to bring sinners to salvation. May God use us as his instruments to bring others to Christ, that when they meet him face to face it will be as Savior rather than Judge.

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