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How to interpret Revelation 20.1–6 and explain the references to the “thousand years"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Alan Gross, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    How to interpret Revelation 20.1–6 and explain the references to the “thousand years"

    vv 1–3: The binding of Satan. Jesus indicates that his inauguration of the kingdom of God during his earthly ministry involved the binding of Satan.

    “How can Satan cast out Satan?

    If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

    And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

    And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.

    No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man.

    Then indeed he may plunder his house.” (Mark 3.23–27)

    Note that, in Revelation 20.3, the purpose of the binding of Satan is specifically “that he might not deceive the nations any longer.”

    Thus his “binding” is not complete; he has some freedom especially by means of his agents to bring deception, though he is “restrained” by the Holy Spirit until the time of the end (2 Thess. 2.6).

    During the church age,(1,000 YEARS, in Prophetic Symbolism ) Christ promises to accompany his people by his Spirit in order to actively bring about the response of the nations to the gospel.

    Any success of the gospel in the present age is an indication that Satan’s power is inhibited.

    • v 3: “until the thousand years are ended.” ... Satan will be released during the period right before the return of Christ.

    He will deceive the nations and bring about a rebellion which will then be quelled by the return of Christ

    . • v 4: “I saw those to whom the authority to judge was committed…. Also…the souls of the [martyrs]”: This refers to all believers.

    True believers persevere in their faith through the various tribulations experienced in all places and times during the church age.

    • v 4: “they came to life”:

    Note that the New Testament frequently uses the concept of resurrection in a spiritual (or metaphorical) sense to refer to new life in Christ.

    They contend that the first use of “came to life” in verse 4 is spiritual (saints that die during the church age immediately enter into their victory and reign with Christ in the intermediate state between death and resurrection), and the second use is literal (the unbelieving dead are raised to judgment at the end of the church age).

    Note that Romans 6.4–13 contains a mixture of metaphorical and literal uses of the words “resurrection” and “life.”

    Consider the following examples: “Just as Christ was raised from the dead [literally]…we too might walk in newness of life [spiritually].” (Rom. 6.4)

    “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead [literally] lives in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life [spiritually] to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom 8.11).

    ...the word translated “came to life” in Rev. 20.4 (ezēsan), usually refers to physical resurrection.

    It is sometimes, however, used metaphorically in the New Testament to refer to conversion.

    The use of the word “raised” to refer to a spiritual resurrection at conversion as well as the fact that related words are used to refer to conversion (such as “make alive together with Christ” in Eph. 2.5 and Col. 2.13)7 indicates that this idea is possible in this passage.

    Thus, the words “came to life” in Revelation 20 means that those who, having received eternal life through faith in Christ, at the point of physical death, reign with Christ in heaven during the period of the church age.

    • vv 5–6: “first resurrection”: Note that there is no reference to a “second resurrection” at a later point.

    This is most likely because the word “resurrection” does not really describe what happens to unbelievers; though they do exist forever in conscious, eternal separation from God, “life” is hardly a description of the experience.

    “First” is simply a way of underlining the difference between the experience of believers and unbelievers – “blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection” (verse 6).

    These verses simply refer to the general resurrection that Jesus spoke of in John 5.28–29.

    • v 4: “They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (also vv 2, 3, 5, 6).

    Again, this is referring to the present experience of the saints in the intermediate state in heaven before bodily resurrection at the end of the age.

    The “thousand years” is simply a symbolic way of referring to a long period of time.

    According to this view, it has already been 2,000 years.

    In summary, Revelation 20 is found in the sixth cycle in the book of Revelation that covers the history of redemption from beginning to end – particularly from the ministry of Jesus through the final judgment.

    Though many earlier cycles ended with the eternal kingdom (such as Rev. 1:7, Rev. 7.15–17 and 11.15–19; see chart), this cycle expands on that image of vindication by describing the present time as “a thousand year” reign of Christ and saints.

    At the end of a long period of Christ’s rule which is the church age, Satan is released for a short time.

    He again deceives the nations and foments a rebellion against the church.

    Seems like they are pretty deceived right now.

    Almost NEVER do you see "Jesus", or Spiritual Truths on TV, at all, much less the News.

    Of course you also rarely see the name "Jesus" or God", or "Holy Spirit", or a Scripture sited in a church bulletin, newsletter, or ad.

    And for that matter, there are precious view "Spiritual Topics" posted as New Threads on the Forum, compared to, "The Latest Worldly News".


    Satan is released for a short time.

    He again deceives the nations and foments a rebellion against the church.

    At this point, Christ returns, God destroys the rebellion, brings final judgment on all who have ever lived, and establishes new heavens and a new earth.
    • Agree Agree x 1