(1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is theDevil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; (3) and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
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The great hope of Christians—and the essence of the gospel message—is that Jesus Christ will return to establish His Kingdom on earth. He will be King of kings and Lord of lords, governing mankind in a way that has never happened before. In addition, He will depose Satan from his current rulership of this world, thus silencing the malignant, unseen influence that has snared the unwary from the time of Eve.
English theologian Richard Baxter wrote, “The devil is always the governor where God's government is rejected,” an observation that speaks to why the world continues to produce such misery. Humanity has spurned God's government from the very beginning, choosing to follow that cruelest of governors.
Conversely, we can glimpse in Baxter's statement why the prophets speak of the Millennium in such extravagant terms. They foretell a time we can hardly imagine now, as we live and work in a spiritually bombed-out culture. We are surrounded by masses of human brokenness, urged on and tricked by the Deceiver, and as men further oppose God, the suffocating darkness deepens. But the Millennium will be glorious precisely because God will flip this order on its head. Satan will no longer rule, and God's government will no longer be rejected.
Revelation 20:1-3 describes Satan's future binding, when he will not be permitted to deceive the nations for the duration of the Millennium. We have no frame of reference for what life will be like for humankind without the constant spiritual pressure, the unending broadcast of falsehood and rebellion against God. For the first time in human history, the Devil will not be whispering in man's ears to do it his way.
Some have speculated that the binding and sealing of Satan means that sin will not occur during the Millennium, but that is not the case. The pulls of the flesh exist wherever there is flesh, and those pulls always—eventually—break out in sin (see James 1:14-15). Even the apostle Paul observed that nothing good dwelled in his flesh and that he had sin and evil indwelling simply by virtue of having flesh (Romans 7:18-23). He nowhere suggests that the solution to indwelling sin is to bind Satan. It is not until man becomes spirit that he puts on incorruptibility (I Corinthians 15:42-54).
Scriptures show that people will be sinning during the Millennium. Ezekiel's vision shows the priests making sin offerings during that time (see Ezekiel 40-46), and Zechariah 14:18-19 prophesies that some nations will sin by choosing not to attend the Feast of Tabernacles. Christ will rule with a rod of iron precisely because that is how carnal—sinful—people must be ruled (Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).
Even though Satan's binding will not destroy carnality and sin, consider how much easier it will be for humans to make right decisions when he is not continually receiving the persuasions of the Serpent. What an incredible blessing that will be!
— David C. Grabbe