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25/10/2007 / Test All Things

What Does Revelation 20:1-3 Mean?

We read in Revelation 20:1-3:
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.

When we look at these verses in the light of everything else the Bible teaches, we know that what is recorded here is what happened at the cross.

When Christ was in the process of enduring the wrath of God for our sins, He was also in the process of binding Satan or destroying Satan so that Satan could not frustrate or get in the way of God’s plan to save many people during the New Testament era. The proof of this is that seven weeks later at Pentecost, 3,000 people were saved.

Now bear in mind that Jesus preached for three and one half years, and there were only a handful of believers, 120 in the upper room, and 500 in Galilee are the biggest numbers we find. Yet in one afternoon, Peter preached one sermon, and 3,000 were saved. Something had happened to Satan’s ability to hinder getting the Gospel out. God speaks of this here in Revelation 20 as being put into a pit, that is, being placed under the wrath of God.

The bottomless pit is a picture of hell, and hell is to be under the wrath of God. He is kept there for the completeness of God’s plan. The fact that the thousand years cannot be literal is seen in the way God uses the term a thousand years in the next couple of verses. Thousand indicates completeness, and thousand years indicates the complete timetable for Satan to be bound. Satan will be loosed a little season, which is during the final tribulation when God prepares the world for the end.

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