The Thousand Years (v. 1-6)
An angel came down from heaven, scooped up Satan, threw him in the bottomless pit and sealed it over so that he couldn't deceive the nations any longer...for a thousand years. After that he must be released "for a little while".
This is awesome. It seems to show that there is no permanent punishment. If the devil himself needs to get released after a while, you would think that your average sinner would not have to spend eternity in hell. This is obviously not what people think though, I wonder where that line of reasoning breaks down. [Note from later: permanent punishment is coming, there is just a strange 1000 year period of intermediate punishment before the permanent punishment...why?]
God could easily stop Satan’s activity at any time. Yet God allows Satan to continue, because even in his evil, he indirectly serves the purposes of God.Once again, we see this point. And I agree with it completely, but where Guzik sees this as a good thing somehow, I just see it as a demonstration of what a monster God really is. He lets Satan do evil things to fit according to God's plan even though it causes problems for so many people. And it makes God ultimately responsible for everything Satan does.
Another point made is that this is a parallel of Jesus. Satan tried to imprison Jesus but he escaped in 3 days. On the other hand, Satan was imprisoned successfully for 1000 years.
Anyone who does not have the mark of the beast and instead followed God will be resurrected and reign with Jesus for a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. Everyone else will be resurrected at the end of the thousand years.
See, once again, eventually everyone gets resurrected. It would seem this also supports my previous point, no punishment is forever.
I guess one other thing I should mention here. I'm guessing they chose 1000 years because it sounds like it is so long it's basically forever. And yet it has been 2000 years an no apocalypse has happened yet. I just find that...interesting.
The Defeat of Satan (v. 7-10)
After a thousand years, Satan will be released from prison. He will deceive the nations of the 4 corners of the earth and gather an army as numerous as the sand of the sea. They will surround the camp of the saints but fire will come down from heaven and consume them. Then the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire with the beast and the false prophet where they will be tormented day and night forever.
There we go. I thought that the beast was Satan, so him being thrown into the pit for a thousand years must have included him being released from the lake of fire, or alternatively, the lake of fire and the pit both really meant the same thing. But I was wrong there. Satan and the beast are different. Satan was thrown in the pit first for a while, then allowed to sucker a bunch of other people to die with him, THEN he was thrown into the lake of fire forever. So we clearly can't take this to mean that no punishment is forever, oh well.
I'd also like to highlight that Satan is being allowed to deceive a bunch of people and get them killed here. Why not just throw him into the lake of fire in the first place? Why does God let him screw over all of those people and get them killed? I'm guessing it's because they are evil anyway, so what's the difference! Screwed up logic.
There is a bunch of talk in the commentary about the message being contained in the fact that there is another battle. What does it mean? It demonstrates mans rebellious nature. It shows that deep down people will reject God if they aren't in his presence. It shows that even if the environment is great (god set up a world without the devil) the heart of man is really evil. So plenty of people who were born and raised in this time will still want to go to war with God.
All of these explanations seem to miss the fact that they are being tricked. Verse 8 explicitly says that Satan deceived the armies to follow them. If they really wanted to rebel or whatever, then why was it necessary for Satan to trick them?
Judgment Before the Great White Throne (v. 11-15)
|This looks like an angelic scene, but many|
of these people are about to burn
All of the dead were gathered before the white throne. Many books were open, the dead were judged by what was written in the book and what they had done. Death and Hades ever gave up their dead, then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire, and anyone who wasn't in the book of life was also thrown into the lake of fire.
Presumably they were thrown into the lake of fire forever. It is interesting that Death an Hades are characters here, more evidence that Yahweh was just part of a pantheon? This is a story about how he came out the winner in the duel of Gods? Seems that way to me.
What lessons are in today's reading?
Revelation 20:7-9 Satan allowed to trick people and get them killed by God
"when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,"
Revelation 20:15 Eternal punishment
"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."