Revelation 20:7

Monday, 26 July 2021

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison Revelation 20:7

John has, since the beginning of the chapter, been dealing with events just as the tribulation period ends, and then the events that follow in a time known as the millennial reign of Christ. As it says, “Now when the thousand years have expired.”

This verse now marks the sixth time in just six verses that the “thousand years” have been mentioned. This is again notably stated because, as has been seen in the previous five occasions, God expects us to accept that this is referring to a literal timeframe. We are not to gloss over it with merely “symbolic” connotations. As such, this thousand-year timeframe is at its close.

Of note, is that in Revelation 20:3, 20:5, and 20:7 the same form of the verb teleó has been used. It is in the aorist subjunctive verb form, telesthē. Young’s Literal Translation correctly translates all three instances as “may be finished.” It is indicating that the event will come at a set time. When this set time arrives, only then will the thing which is to take place actually occur.

The verb form telesthē is only used elsewhere in Luke 12:50 and gives the sense of the anticipation of a coming event –

“but I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I pressed till it may be completed!” YLT

An actual event lies ahead, and it is anticipated by the close of a set time. This is the sense of the coming end of the thousand years in Revelation. It is thus a certainty that this timeframe is not a symbolic representation, but rather a definite timeframe with an anticipated concluding event, which is that “Satan will be released from his prison.”

The fact that Satan was bound means that he was completely subdued. The fact that Satan is released shows that this is a part of a set plan and is accomplished for a set purpose. The Lord is completely in control of the events, and what occurs is then to be instructional. The result of the release of Satan will be seen in the coming verses, but the reason for allowing it is not given. Thus, the reader is being asked to come to a conclusion as to why this will come to pass. That reason has been alluded to already and will continue to be considered as the coming verses are presented.

Life application: The thousand-year period, mentioned six times in six verses, is to be taken as a literal timeframe. The constant repetition of this leaves no other reasonable explanation. However, and despite this, it may lead the student of the Bible to ask, “If this is a literal thousand-year period, then why are no specific details given about it? Why such little detail about the millennium?” There are at least three good answers for this:

First and foremost – very, very specific details have been given. They just haven’t been given here. Rather, the millennial period is described in the Old Testament, particularly in Isaiah, but elsewhere as well. They are also in the four Gospels. Why in these areas? Because the promises were made to Israel and not to the church!

The inclusion of Gentiles in the church age was a previously unknown mystery (Ephesians 3:4-6). A certain number of Gentiles would be brought into what God is doing (Romans 11:25), and then Israel would be reinstated as God’s main focus and in fulfillment of those Old Testament promises (and which are inferred in Jesus’ words as well, such as in Matthew 19:28).

The Gentile-led church age is thus a timeframe prior to the Millennial Reign of Christ. The “throne of David” (see Isaiah 9:7) implies the physical people of Israel with their Messiah reigning and ruling in their midst. Unless one is willing to accept this premise, the rest of the Bible becomes a book of “spiritualized” truths being incorrectly interpreted by trial and error and a lack of proper analysis concerning future events. There is no true surety except in the words of the epistles. This should clue the reader into the fact that God has a plan working that such scholars have thus misinterpreted.

The second reason why no specific details are given in Revelation is because they are not necessary for faith in worship. From creation to the Flood of Noah is a 1656-year period and yet very little is included there, despite the fact that there could have been as many as billions of people on the earth by then. In all, only a few are mentioned by name. The reason for this is that only they were relevant to the narrative. The same is true with the coming millennial period. Any further details than those previously stated are not necessary for us to understand what God is doing and why.

The third reason for the minimal detail takes the opposite view. What does occur and what is relevant to the people who live during that time is specifically not noted because it may interfere with the people’s faith in worship if known in advance. As such, God has not revealed it.

This would be similar to the church knowing the day of the rapture. Having this information would actually work against our conduct on numerous levels and for several very distinct and obvious reasons. And, therefore, God has not given us that (and so very much more) information. The millennial reign is no different. God has determined to reserve any information outside of the Old Testament and the Gospels for Himself.

The exception, however, is those verses we have looked at so far in this chapter and which continue through verse 10. This is all that God has added for our understanding of this thousand-year period.

As noted in a previous commentary, the releasing of Satan is a necessary occurrence to show us the utter depravity of man and his tendency to accept deception over the truth. Even in ideal conditions, with the Lord ruling on earth, man can be led astray from what is true. This then highlights the great grace and mercy of the Lord, and it shows how desperately we need to cling to Him.

There is no time or situation where man can stand alone without the grace of Jesus Christ, even under the most ideal of conditions. Our very nature and tendency is towards wickedness and away from the things of God. When we see this, especially when noted during a time of such wonderful beauty and harmony on earth such as the Old Testament prophets reveal concerning this thousand-year period, we should marvel at the majesty and glory of the cross. Without it, we stand completely and utterly exposed before our infinitely holy Creator.

Take time to reflect on this today. Reflect on the beauty of the Lord, our Lord JESUS.

O Jesus, how could You do what You did for beings such as us? We have turned away from You, mocked You, ridiculed You, and blasphemed You. And yet, knowing this would occur, You came and fulfilled the law that condemns us and then took our punishment upon Yourself. And now, You offer us Your righteousness in exchange for our unrighteousness. My God, how great Thou art. Amen.