Chapter 23 - Satan Is Loosed And The Wicked Destroyed
The Binding Of Satan And The End Of Evil
We arrive now at the end of the vision of John. Throughout the Revelation we have found a great number of symbols that were shown to John so that he might testify to things that were, things that are, and things that will be. John was told by the Messiah that he was going to see things past, present and future. We then are left to try to distinguish between those things and discern which, if any are yet to come;
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; Revelations 1:19
The Revelation John has, culminates with a fantastic vision of the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down from the sky where it is said by John that is adorned as a bride for her husband. This image is intended to tell the hearer that at the end of an era where evil was present in human hearts and minds; there will be a utopian existence for the true believers in Yahweh where Yeshua inaugurates an age of righteousness. The age of everlasting righteousness which is yet to come, was spoken of in a prophecy in the Book of Daniel. That prophecy told of the Messiah doing away with wickedness forever at some point in history.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
The vision that announces there will be an end of wickedness and the arrival of a truly magnificent age where men no longer desire to practice sin, teaches us something. The audience John was writing to is shown that hope can always be a part of their persecuted faith walk because Yahweh will have the ultimate victory over man’s wickedness by bringing ultimate peace.
This occurrence of wickedness ending and one thousand years of peace ensuing may have a more literal application than much of the other symbolism in the Revelation. Yet it may also still be symbolic of a period that will be distinct in many ways from all other periods in history. However, based on the “thousand years is equal to a day” in Yahweh’s timeline, it is possible we are being shown there will literally be an end of the present age. After 6000 years are complete from Adam, then there will be the beginning of a New Age, which lasts for 1000 years. After the 1000 years are come to a close, then eternity begins where there is no more death. There is no more death because all the wicked dead have been resurrected, judged, and destroyed. Once this judgment occurs, there will be no more “satan” because the people who preferred to go against God will no longer exist. As was the situation in the edenic environment, perfection will be the pattern for the Kingdom where Yahweh has begun to dwell. This Kingdom is the restored Earth with men dwelling in the presence of the Creator similar to the original Garden environment talked about in Genesis. The concept really displays how everything has come full circle. God gets what He wants because the original pattern of perfection was thwarted by humans who chose to make their own path.
The whole period can seem mysterious and difficult to understand unless one accepts and understands the teachings of the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets about where the dead go. It is there we learn what happens to the two classes of dead who are resurrected at different points in time. Yeshua and the Apostles have many teachings on the coming resurrection. The Pharisees were a sect that believed in the coming resurrection of the dead and the Sadducees chose not to believe in a resurrection. Yeshua said;
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:14.
We see here the Messiah thought there would be a resurrection. In the revelation John has, we are told of the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked. The wicked are those who will then be judged and rendered non-existent by the Creator. If the 1000 years are an actual period of peace and if there are two resurrections as is taught by the Scriptures and the Apostles, then the verses of chapter 20 that talk about the binding of “Satan” for a thousand years only to be loosed for a time, can be understood. These statements are understood by comprehending that evil exists only when men with wicked hearts are alive. If there are no wicked men, then there is no evil. To put that another way I ask; If all humans are dead is evil still alive?
Sin came into the world by man and it is when men with sin are dead that the sin is bound. Allow me to explain how it could play out in the thousand years when the supposed “satan” is bound and then loosed at the end of that period.
Satan Is Bound for 1000 years
According to the Bible, at the end of 6000 years from Adam, the second Adam, Yeshua the Messiah, is going to return to Earth as was promised. At that time, a number of things will happen. The dead who are deemed righteous will be resurrected to life with new bodies and those who are alive at that time will be clothed in immortality, which means they too will get new bodies. If Yahweh created man out of dust at the beginning, it is no great feat for Him to re-create man from dust again.
Now, with all those who are righteous possessing spiritually perfected bodies, they will somehow spend time in God’s care while He destroys all wickedness. Thankfully, He is a righteous judge and is able to judge every individual on a case-by-case basis. I can’t say who is and who isn’t going to make it through this redemptive yet destructive period. There is some indication of what is expected of those who claim loyalty to Yahweh and His Messiah in the Scriptures, so perhaps one should start there if they have access to a Bible. There are so many variables in humanity that knowing what is really in a person’s heart and how they have acted based on that, will have to be assessed by the Righteous Judge. So, all the wicked who were alive at his coming will then join the wicked who did not get resurrected yet because they too missed out on making a choice to serve the Master, while they were alive. All the wicked are dead in the grave returning to dust while all the righteous are beginning the 1000 year reign with Messiah in the place where Yahweh has caused His name to abide. That place is said to be the Holy Land, Israel proper, according to the biblical boundaries established for the Millennial period.
They who have arrived at that age will be participating in Biblical festivals and there will be a sacrificial system implemented. Perhaps this is a reminder that Yeshua has rescued us from our desire to achieve self-salvation and from sin. The Scriptural manner of keeping festivals and honoring God will be properly observed as was intended since the creation. Isaiah 66:22-23, Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48, and Revelation 22:19 are some of the verses that tell of the way this period of near perfection and eternity beyond that will look. Here is a sampling from those passages;
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
The Millennial Kingdom Period seemingly goes on for a thousand years. Then, when the thousand years are completely over, there is another resurrection and it is at this time that wickedness is alive once again; but not for long. Let me be clear here because there are many who muddy the waters of this concept by suggesting that “satan” a literal devil, is loosed near the end of the thousand years.
The words of John’s revelation teach us that when the thousand years have “finished,” “expired,” and “been fulfilled,” there is a release of something. But what exactly is released? “Satan” is not released during the thousand years of peace nor are the wicked dead resurrected during the thousand years of peace. It is once the thousand years have completely ended that a release of the wicked occurs. This release is said to be “satan.” It is not a cosmic “satan” and John knew it when he saw the vision that used so many symbols to express the evil that comes from man. John calls the dragon, which we have seen is a symbol for government and the wickedness of man and is often manifested in a false religious system, by a few labels that we have discussed earlier. We have seen that John is not giving the names of the cosmic satanic being when he speaks of the “dragon” as “satan” and the “devil” or even the “old serpent.” John is describing what that false religious system with its lies and heresies is seen to be, from a behavioral perspective.
Satan Is The Sin In Man While Man Is Alive
The metaphor he is using is representing sin and wickedness. Those who are still dead were the very stubborn who refused to see the truth about the Messiah and the God of the Universe. And they are the wicked who will be resurrected when the thousand years are finished as verse 5 tells us. The resurrection of the wicked dead and the release of a “satan” are one and the same.
The resurrection of the wicked dead and the release of a “satan” are one and the same.
The “satan” is sin in man personified. When man is dead, sin/satan is bound; when man is resurrected then sin/satan is loosed for a season. So how is satan loosed at this time? It is a contingent of wicked dead who are resurrected that have the ability to deceive. As we have learned earlier, man deceives man and therefore when this wicked contingent is dead and bound, then none of the deceivers are around to sow their web of lies and deceive innocent men.
The resurrection of the wicked dead who want to go up to Jerusalem is spoken of by John in symbolic language. The image is painted when we are told that some were gathered from the four corners of the Earth to come against the Holy City. This is often thought of as one final war between good and evil but the verses only speak of the intent of these resurrected wicked not that a war actually takes place. They go up to make war but it seems they do not actually get that far into their plan.
Do You Really Think You’re Getting In To The Kingdom?
Remember as we look at this, to be dead means one is no longer able to form any conscious thought and essentially stops existing. To be resurrected then means there is a restoration of the conscious state of a person. That said, the resurrection of the wicked then brings with it a multitude of disgruntled folk who are conscious again. They died thinking they were “righteous” and worthy to be in God’s Kingdom. But they are sorely wrong. It appears that their destruction happens suddenly and swiftly after they are resurrected, before any real advancement is made in their plot to enter the land where the righteous dwell. Let’s look at it this way…
What If I Were Wicked And Died Today?
Today let’s say I am an anti-Messiah person who has decided to reject God and suddenly, due to a car accident, I die. Also today, it isn’t your lucky day. But you are a righteous person who has chosen to accept God and you also die. That leaves both you and me dead and if we understand the Bible, we now await for the Messiah to resurrect us. The day after we both died the Messiah comes to take the living and the righteous dead off the Earth while He destroys the wicked who are living. To put a fine point on it, basically God cleans the whole Earth with various cleaning agents of divine intensity. Now you are alive with all the righteous people that made it into the Kingdom of God. You’re hangin’ with the Messiah and talking to Noah about the flood. Adam and Eve share their story about choosing sin in the garden and Stephen the Martyr recalls the day he was killed because of his faith. Just play along here even if you don’t believe some of the Bible characters were real people. The point is, things are going great in this period of peaceful existence. Yeshua is the premiere Torah teacher and now, as Micah and Isaiah say, the Torah is going forth from Zion and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. Festivals and worship are done the way they should be and everyone is having a great time because they know they are now with the Messiah forever. You and all your righteous buddies know that because you made it alive to that resurrection, you will not experience the second death. The second death is said to await the wicked ones who are still in the grave for a thousand years.
Jump Ahead A Thousand Years To The Second Resurrection
Next, we jump to when the thousand years has elapsed and it is the moment when me and the rest of the wicked get resurrected. Time for the rest of us to wake up and be brought back to life. This is called “the resurrection of the wicked.” Thinking back to when I died I believed I was in good with Jesus because I had taught Sunday School and was kind to old ladies. I even believed Yeshua/Jesus died and was resurrected on Easter Sunday. Many of the other wicked dead who are instantly restored to life were in the same spot. They went to confession occasionally or went up to Mecca for a pilgrimage in their lifetime. Maybe some of them even lived as monks or gave thousands of dollars to those “less fortunate.” There are many possibilities for how the wicked dead did things that they thought were part of a ticket to the Kingdom. They have been dead for at least One Thousand years and had no conscious thought or torment or any feeling or existence of their personality since the moment they died. You might have heard the saying that we will not only be surprised who made it into Heaven when we get there, but we might be surprised who didn’t. Well this is the perfect example of that scenario. For the folk who are raised to life for the second resurrection, we can imagine that the last thought they had when they died is followed by the very next thought they have when they are resurrected. All over the world, from the four corners so to speak, the wicked are resurrected and are thinking the same thing. “Hey,” they say, “Why aren’t we in the Kingdom? Let’s get over there to Jerusalem so we can take our place in the Kingdom.” Alas, this is too little too late and the wicked dead had been given their chance to submit to the Master of the Kingdom before they died, just as you had been given your chances. Sadly though, they made their choice and now their intention is to get into the kingdom but they are not worthy to enter. This is the moment when Yahweh destroys the wicked forever and death is now defeated forever. There is no more death and the Eternal age of dwelling with God begins. His throne is now established in the middle of the Earth, at the place where He has chosen long ago and it will be in the Holy Land whatever that looks to be at that time. The wicked who were resurrected were loosed for a time. This is what is meant by “Satan was loosed for a season.” When all the wicked people were dead the adversarial attitude of humans, which is the satan, was bound. Now that they are resurrected for a little while, the adversarial attitude of man, the satan, is loosed. And now when they attempt to get into the Kingdom, they are obliterated. Yahweh destroys them so they are never again to exist.
Is Their Destruction A Sentence To Hell?
The destruction of the wicked is the second death, not eternal life in Hell. This state is metaphorically represented by the phrase, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…” A true “lake of fire” has never existed and that is why John uses a metaphor as the place to cast in the personified sin and wickedness. The “Dragon,” “Satan,” the “Devil,” and that “Old Serpent” are all terms that represent the evil and wickedness that emanates from the heart of man. We must remember the heart is deceitfully wicked above all else. The deception that comes from our evil inclination has long been called the “serpent” and certainly is old as we saw how Adam and Eve did not overcome it in the Garden. It is the resurrection of these wicked persons that is spoken of as the “loosing of Satan.” This occurrence takes place so that the second resurrection, known to be those resurrected “to contempt,” takes place and then death has no more sting because when no one is alive who desires to do wickedly then death is destroyed. This is important to remember because according to the Scriptures, sin brings death. No more sin…no more death. From this point on there will be no more death for anyone ever. Death was the last enemy and is now officially defeated. Paul speaks of this situation in this manner;
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
If you would like you can stop reading right here as you see the sense in saying that the binding of Satan is referring to wicked people who are dead during the Thousand Year Reign. In addition, the “loosing of Satan” is the resurrection of those wicked dead who want to become part of a Kingdom they rejected while they were alive. However, for some of the more difficult to convince readers, you might want to continue and try to understand this concept a little further. If so then let’s continue.
Explaining How Satan Is Loosed For A Little While
A bit of background information to help us understand the verses about “satan” being bound for a Thousand Years will help us make sense of the verses in chapter 20.
In the Book of Daniel, we were told about two groups of people who will be resurrected. Daniel tells us the righteous will be resurrected unto life and the wicked will be resurrected unto judgment. If we remember how vitally important it is to see the Revelation of John as a document that has taken much of its material from Daniel, then we will better perceive John’s perspective on the two resurrections. Both the writings of John and the writings of Daniel are apocalyptic writings. The two resurrections according to Daniel are spoken of in Daniel Chapter 12;
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
John speaks of the resurrection unto everlasting contempt as the “second death,” in his letter. The second death is the same then, as being resurrected to “everlasting contempt.” That is a brief overview of the two resurrections and Revelation 20 verse 6 firms up the point. The resurrection of the dead is spoken of all over the Bible. What we note here is that there are two resurrections according to Daniel and John.
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.
Is A Thousand Years Equal To A Day?
Now, let’s discuss how the thousand years is equal to a day under certain circumstances found in Scripture. John was a Hebrew man who believed in the Messiah. He would have had a very clear understanding of the Hebraic model of time. A model that many of us today have not been privileged to learn about. Numerous scholars can better explain the plan but for the moment indulge me a little as I address this 7000-year plan of God. This is an ancient understanding based on a literal interpretation of certain passages in Scripture. At this point, I am leaning towards accepting the 7000-year plan of Yahweh as a fixed period of time but there are other theories. It is possible there is room for this 1000-year millennium and the 6000 years preceding it to be symbolic of a yet undefined time period. For now though, I would like to continue with explaining this plan from the more literal perspective so you might see how it relates to the resurrections and the release of evil at the end of the period.
The six days of creation with the seventh day of rest is understood to be a model for the chronological time span that will incorporate world history from start to finish. Psalm 90 verse 4 tells us that yesterday is as a thousand years to Yahweh and 2nd Peter 3:8 tells us to not be ignorant of the fact that a day is as a thousand years to God. Both of these verses together give evidence that there is some component of Yahweh’s timeline that could be calculated as 1000-year periods. This then, when seen in conjunction with the 6 days of creation, represents 6000 years of time passing before there is a thousand years of Sabbath, or rest. A Millennial Reign if you will.
Just as Yahweh created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rested on the seventh, so too will man have a six-on one-off schedule. Humans will strive with God for six Millennial days and then the seventh will bring a Millennial day of rest. Six-thousand years of world history, then one-thousand years of rest.
According to commonly received teaching on this topic, we humans are hurdling towards the end of the age. That would mean that almost 6000 years have passed since Adam first walked the Earth. When these 6000 years have elapsed, there is expected to be 1000 years of blissful existence in a restored Kingdom with the Messiah leading the way.
Who Is In The Millennial Kingdom?
Who then gets to be part of this 1000-year reign with Messiah, commonly called the Millennial Reign? To answer that question we should first of all recognize there are millions of people who have died and been buried. Once dead and buried a person decomposes and is returned to dust. Isaiah prayed that the dust he returns to after death would once again be animated by the miraculous power of the King of the Universe. It seems from Isaiah’s words that the dust will be brought back to life at some point. At least that was his view. It is no coincidence that we started as dust, will return to dust, and then be resurrected or made alive again from that dust. Moreover, we also see Genesis confirms the Creator’s thoughts that we came from dust and will return to dust when we die.
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
True then, we are all destined in some respects to return to dust when we die. However, there is a catch here. Does this mean that every person alive on the Earth is going to physically die before the 1000-year reign of Messiah? That just doesn’t make sense does it? There is a teaching according to Scripture, that there will be some who do not die. Some people are alive when the Messiah returns. We are given very strong opinions of what the “catch” is for those of us who may be alive when Yeshua starts the Millennial Reign. Paul tells us that not all of us will die but that in a very quick wink of the eye, we will all be changed. One understanding of this concept is thus. Those of us who are not deemed “wicked” by Jesus will be given new bodies and will then be incorruptible. Our old bodies are corruptible but the new bodies we will need to be part of the Eternal Kingdom must be imperishable. Paul puts it this way;
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
When Do Believers Get Their New Bodies And When Is The Last Trump?
According to Paul, the dead who are known by Yahweh to be followers of Messiah will be raised from their graves and given new bodies, then, perhaps in the same instant, those of us who are alive will be given incorruptible bodies. I cannot say for certain exactly what that will look like but it is clear when this is supposed to take place. This is all supposed to occur at what is known as “the last trump.” To reiterate Paul; he said they who are resurrected and those who are living at the time will be changed. This occurs at the moment the last trumpet is sounded. So then, our next question would be, “When is the last trumpet?”
Some Of Us Might Want To Know When The Trumpet Will Sound
The last trump is the trumpet that was historically connected to the first day of the seventh month on God’s astronomically correct calendar. God’s calendar ran on a different system than our calendar does today. If you find out when the first day of the seventh month is in God’s calendar, you will be able to watch for the return of Christ and for the resurrection. That sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?
Once the trump is sounded and the dead are resurrected death is then considered as being defeated. At this point, none of Yahweh’s servants will be affected by death anymore. The only death left to occur is the Second Death. This is the final death of the wicked but those who have made it to the resurrection of the righteous will not be subject to it. Death comes from sin and all the righteous who are now alive are the only people around during the Millennial Kingdom period. Although the kingdom of God is active in the peaceful millennial period, the wicked are dead in the graves until the judgment of the wicked. Again, I remind you, this judgment is the second death. If you and I are deemed righteous and are enjoying the Millennial Kingdom, we will not have a part in the second death. Messiah has come bringing in everlasting righteousness for His faithful and Revelation 20 tells us that the second death has no power on us after that time.
Revelation 20:6 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.
We understand from this then, that there are some who never die a physical death but they cross over, so to speak, into the Messianic Kingdom. We also understand that there are some who are dead but will be resurrected to be part of the Messianic Kingdom. And we understand still further, there are some who are dead presently but are deemed wicked and will not be resurrected at the start of the 1000 year reign. These wicked, as I have said, will stay dead until they are resurrected at the end of the 1000 years. I want to be perfectly clear on that point. This is when they are judged for their works and destroyed forever. This group includes those who are alive until the coming of the Messiah where He fulfills His promise to do an end to wickedness. Therefore, any who have not chosen to ally themselves with the truth of God will be removed from existence upon the Messiah’s return. From that moment on, they will await the second resurrection where they will be judged then destroyed in the aforementioned second death, which is the resurrection to condemnation instead of to life.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Is The Resurrection Of The Wicked The Release Of Satan?
Knowing about some who are dead through the thousand-year period of the Messiah’s Reign, we are able to understand then, the release of “Satan” after a thousand years of being locked up. I think you can see that it doesn’t make any theological sense why Yahweh would lock up the supposed most evil and rebellious creature ever, who rejected an eternity in Heaven with the Creator, only to liberate him from captivity after such a peaceful thousand years to harass the saints once again? Understanding this comes only through understanding where wickedness comes from. Many commentators will try to spin a tale that Yahweh needs to release “Satan” at the end of the thousand years of peace so that those born in the Millennial Kingdom are given a chance to choose to serve God. Others will tell you that “Satan” is released so that he can see the power of God and that all those who are loyal to the Kingdom of Messiah can see his destruction. There are litanies of theories out there and feel free to add any one of them in here if you like. But most of these theories, although drastically mistaken, are honest attempts at understanding a senseless act of Yahweh by people who sincerely believe a doctrine of Satan. Because they have an incorrect foundational understanding of “sawtawn”, they build what they believe to be comprehendible theories on the backs of their incomprehension. Here is what Charles Larkin posits in his 1919 Book commenting on Revelation;
As the evening shadows of the Millennial Day fall, the Angel who imprisoned Satan will unlock the "prison house" of the "Bottomless Pit," and Satan will come forth embittered by his forced confinement to vent his anger upon the people of God, a refutation of the claim that the miseries of perdition will lead to repentance. Satan will still be the same malignant being after his 1000 years of confinement that he was before. His hatred against God and His people will be unquenched.
Larkin and others have taken the elements of John’s vision, which are symbols, and given them the most literal application that the words will allow. There is no real pit or literal angel with keys nor is there a tangible prison house. There is not even a literal “Satan.” These are all just symbolic references to different human components and end time concepts.
As for myself, when I used to believe in a cosmic Satan, I was very confused at why Yahweh would release this sinister, maniacal, anti-Messiah being when we are supposed to be starting eternity with Him dwelling on Earth. According to the Revelation, the period that begins right after the thousand years has finished is the Eternal period. A period of infinite time that boasts a perfect existence with the Creator of the Universe. John puts it like this when he envisioned God coming to Earth to once again live with humans;
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
When God Dwells With Men On Earth
According to the Bible, this is a period when death does not occur anymore because Yahweh has finally resurrected the wicked dead and destroyed them forever with the “second death.” Evil men are now gone so sin and death are destroyed forever. At this time, the Earth that was once pure but became “defiled” by man’s disobedience and rebellion, is now pure again. Therefore, Yahweh can dwell with us. Once all of this has occurred, we will dwell with Yahweh forever on the Earth and evil will not flourish again as man has become the true whole and healthy being that Yahweh had hoped him to be at the point of Creation. When man sinned though, a separation from the Creator was formed and according to biblical chronology, 6000 years have brought this thing full circle. Once paradise on Earth is restored, we will get to eat of the tree of life that we removed ourselves from by the first act of changing Yahweh’s words and talking ourselves into disobeying the rules of the Creator. The end of John’s Revelation tells it like this;
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
To be thorough, I have provided a verse-by-verse commentary of chapter 20 below. At least the pertinent verses in the chapter. Of course, the perspective with which these verses are commented on is one that does not include a cosmic satan.
The Dragon, The Serpent, The Devil, And Satan are Simply Not Real Beings
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
John sees in a vision symbols that represent the binding of wickedness when the death of all the wicked men who are on the earth occurs at the time of Yeshua’s return. John’s use of mythological and metaphorical imagery continues. This is seen in how he applies other titles to the dragon he is referring to. The dragon is the governing Roman false politico-religious system. Contained in that image is the representation of evil and wickedness in man. This symbolic “angel” represents the righteous judge who assigns the wicked to remain dead for a thousand years while Yeshua is establishing His Kingdom. Because the “dragon” is clearly the Roman Empire representing the ancient Babylonian false religious system and associated wickedness, the three metaphors John uses to identify this system are understood to be equally referring to a wicked system and the wickedness of those involved with that system. The dragon is the deceiver as is the serpent; and the deceiver is indeed a traducer, a devil, hence the word diabolos. All the while, the Satan is no more than an adversary as the word satanassuggests. If the “dragon” equals Rome, then that which equals the “dragon” also equals Rome.
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.
The wicked have now been sealed up in death and will not be released until the Thousand Year Reign has reached the full thousand-year mark. Being shut-up in a bottomless pit is a metaphor for being dead. Since men are the deceivers of men, there will be no more deceiving because all the anti-Messiah, wicked men are dead. John uses the symbolic language of a bottomless pit here to represent “death” for the wicked. The symbolism shows that just as a mythological creature would be incapable of exiting a bottomless pit that had been sealed by a sovereign, so too would a dead person be incapable of exiting death unless that one in the pit were released by the Sovereign. Here John begins to relate the connection between the “loosing of satan” with the resurrection of the wicked dead.
4 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.
In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul calls those men who were part of the ruling government that he struggled with “beasts.” Here we are listening to John tell of the exalted position some who have been faithful to Yahweh are placed in. Those who did not accept and become part of the false religious system that Rome represents are said to have not worshipped the “beast” by practice, by thought, or by action. They live during the 1000-year reign as opposed to being locked up for the thousand years. Notice the connection between who was locked up for the thousand years in the previous verse as contrasted by the righteous who got to “live” during the same thousand year period.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
John makes clear reference to who is locked up for a thousand years. He has told us that satan was locked up. And here he is clarifying who it is that is meant by his previous statements. The “rest of the dead” are locked up for the thousand years and it is they who will be “loosed.”
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.
Going back and forth contrasting those who are alive during the thousand years with those who are dead, John tells the hearers in the account of his divine vision that the ones who are not dead are blessed. He states the living ones will not be affected by the second death, which is for those he mentions next.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
The wicked dead are said to be “Satan” by John and will be resurrected after the thousand years are over. John may be using the word satanas as a reference to the wickedness that emanates from the hearts and minds of the wicked dead.
Just as being locked in a bottomless pit or prison speaks of death, conversely, being released from that death by a resurrection is spoken of as being “loosed out of a prison.” The word “his” here in “his prison” often throws people off causing them to take this personification literally. In so doing they continue to think of Satan as a personal being. The word “his” however can be translated as “same” as seen in Revelation 14:10 and should be done so here. This correct translation suggests a prison that was spoken of earlier. That prison is the prison of death.
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
When the wicked dead who are lying in their graves all over the world are resurrected after the Thousand-Year period, they will have a very strong desire to go to where the action is. That place will be the Holy Land with an operating Temple as seen in Ezekiel. The wicked dead are now “loosed,” meaning their prison of death has been opened and they are resurrected. Thinking they are worthy of being in God`s Kingdom they will intend to go and be part of the kingdom but will, at that moment, be destroyed forever. Destruction of these resurrected wicked is said to be by a fire from heaven. If this is literally a divine destruction, then it will be swift and they will exist no more, forever. Second Thessalonians 1:9 says the punishment of the wicked is the destruction from the presence of God forever. This permanent destruction of the wicked is represented here when fire from God destroys those who were just resurrected. As mentioned above, the resurrected wicked are said to surround the camp of the saints. It is often taught that this “Satan” starts one final war with the people of God. However, this passage gives no indication of there actually being a war at the hands of these scorned fellows. The entire allusion to a gathering for war around the Holy City may be apocalyptical enhancement of a concept intended to mean that they do not agree they are not worthy to enter the Kingdom and then they are destroyed.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
It is men and concepts in the minds of men that deceive. These things are “the devil”. Notice one important designation in the above verse. For many, the beast is Satan. However, in the above statement, there is a separation of the two. The devil is distinct from the beast. Seeing this, one can clearly conclude they are not one and the same. Both are anti-God organizations that are given their final notice and ejected from the place where they can influence man to go against God any longer.
Being as how the wicked dead are humans and are resurrected then destroyed, John is telling of his vision that showed the power of the oppositional force that is adverse to Yahweh. By stating that it was thrown into the lake of fire, he is proclaiming the final destruction of those wicked persons who were resurrected after the thousand years. Destruction of the wicked that harbor evil is what is meant by the devil being thrown into a lake of fire. We simply learn from this the wicked who are destroyed do not come back. There is no place under the earth where our dead family members and friends go to be eternally tormented. They are just removed from any existence and miss out on an eternal life with the Creator. This is true of the metaphor John uses to describe the complete and utter decimation that brings the finality of all who propagated falseness. It is likely here that John is speaking of more than one single system. Perhaps he is referring to the Roman false religious system and all who associate themselves with her, the Rabbinic Jewish system and all affixed to it, as well as the Christian false religious system and all who are loyal to her. The vision has a strong emphasis on what would be felt by any person who was able to continue forming conscious thought after being rejected forever by the God of the Universe. This feeling would be one as great or greater than undergoing eternal torment. A literal torment of the devil, the beast, and the false prophet is not the message John is relating. We must remember this is a vision and the theatrical elements of it express intensity not literality.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
How Big Might Those Books Be?
Closing out this part of John’s vision, we are told of a moment when all the books of the Heavenly court are opened. At this time, judgments are rendered based on the works of those who stand before the judge. Let it be known that the omniscient Creator does not have to resort to literal books to make his decisions. The image of books is yet another symbolic element and refers to an authoritative list. Yahweh is the only God and He knows all things. Contained in Him is the ability to instantly know every person’s works and decide their fate. The image John portrays brings thoughts of a cumbersome judicial system where those present are waiting for their turn before the judge so they can move on. At this point in John’s vision, the primary points he wanted to relay are simple. John sees a time where all humanity stands before the Heavenly judge and are judged for their works. We learn from this that there is none who escape judgment. Not one person who has ever lived will be exempt from the Father making a decision as to their eternal reward or their eternal destruction.
We see this amplified by John envisioning the “small and great” going before the judge and the “seas” and “the grave” (hell) giving up all the dead that are in them. Hell is the grave and once again, I must mention that a literal burning Hell does not open up for dead souls to exit.
To Hell With Death
Another point made by this part of John’s vision is that once the final judgments are rendered and all judging is complete, there will be no more death of any sort and no one will ever go to the grave again. Hell and Death are personified here as if they themselves could be sent to some mythological place of eternal burning. However because we are familiar with the practice of personification in the Scripture, the Apostolic testimony and this apocalyptic literature of John’s, we can understand that he is being given a sign that expresses there will be no more death and none will be sent to the grave, which is called “Hell “ in his writing. That hell and death are cast into the symbolic lake of fire means nothing more than death and the grave are conquered forever. We must question how Hell could be cast into the lake of fire if the lake of fire is believed to be Hell in the first place. Death and the grave are revealed to John as being abolished forever. Cast into the lake of fire means just that. There is now no more death because final judgment with the second death has taken place. There are now no more people waiting in the grave to be resurrected for judgment.
There is one more mention by John of who will be sent to the “second death.” In verse 8 of chapter 21 we are told those who are; fearful, non-believers, sinners and polluted, practicers of lascivious and lustful perversions, those who pretend to be able to contact the dead and speak in incantations or ventriloquial muttering as if under the influence of a dead person, idolaters, and finally, liars. It is these who will not be kept in the Kingdom of Yahweh. These will receive the death that is absolutely final and is expressed by the term “cast into the lake of fire.”
The second death is the fulfillment of all things. Eternity continues on from this point. Now there is no more sorrow, death, or crying.
May we all be kept from the destruction of the “second death” and be the ones who overcome the seduction of false religions made by man. That we might inherit all things...whatever that proves to be.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
1 THE BOOK OF REVELATION - A Study of The Last Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture By CLARENCE LARKIN, Philadelphia PA-1919
Be sure not to miss Jim's
Imagine There's No Satan Blog!
Articles Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4