The Binding of the Dragon

Revelation 20:1-3
The End Times

In my last post, we dug a little deeper into The Three Views of the Millenial Rule of Yeshua. In this post, we begin our exploration of Revelation 20:1-3 ~ The Binding of the Dragon.

“Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven, who had the key to the Abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and HaSatan [the Adversary], and chained him up for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, locked it and sealed it over him; so that he could not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were over. After that, he has to be set free for a little while.” ~ Revelation 20:1-3 (CJB)

HaSatan’s expulsion from heaven in Revelation 12:9 was connected with the start of the Great Tribulation; here HaSatan’s binding is connected with the Second Coming of Yeshua. Some think the two passages refer to the same event, but in chapter 12 HaSatan made trouble for the earth, while here he is kept from causing trouble. The Abyss was the home of his demons (Luke 8:31). HaSatan’s domain presided over by one of his archangels (Revelation 9:11), now becomes his prison. He had been the ruler of this world, but will not be during the Millennium. The Abyss is not the lake of fire and sulfur in verse 10, which will be the final destination of the HaSatan.

Next I saw an angel coming down from heaven, who had the key to the Abyss and a great chain in his hand. There are two possibilities as to the identity of this angel; either it is Mikha’el the archangel or the Lord Yeshua Himself. It is known from Scripture that no ordinary angel could handle HaSatan in this fashion. Realizing all the destructive ruin caused by HaSatan, it seems only fitting that Yeshua Himself would handle this task. The other reason for selecting Yeshua is the fact that Mikha’el and HaSatan seem to possess comparable power! Remember the dispute between Mikha’el and the Devil, recorded in Jude verse nine: “When Mikha’el, one of the ruling angels, took issue with the Adversary, arguing over the body of Moshe, he did not dare bring against him an insulting charge, but said, ‘May Adonai rebuke you.’”  Mikha’el knew his limitations and left the fate of HaSatan to Yeshua. Oliver Greene comments: [1]

We need not speculate on the identity of the angel in our first verse, it is the angel of the Lord. In Revelation 1:18 we read that Jesus has the keys of hell and death, and He would not trust those keys to anyone else. I believe He personally binds Satan and puts him into the bottomless pit, thus denoting by sealing the pit that the government of Almighty God is behind the prison term of Satan, and will see to it that he does not escape.

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and HaSatan [the Adversary], and chained him up for a thousand years. The Life Application Commentary posses an interesting question:

Why is there a Millennium? Why doesn’t God go straight from Armageddon to eternity? Why this interim and then another final battle – Gog and Magog? We don’t know, but it appears that unbelievers on earth are given the opportunity to experience what the rule of God is like. However, as shown in the following verses, even though unbelievers will experience the reign of Christ, they will continue to rebel against God even without Satan’s deceptive influence. And the moment that Satan is let out of the prison, these people will flock after Satan and go to war against Christ. This will prove their absolute depravity, their true allegiance, and the necessity of the final punishment in the lake of fire.

 He threw him into the Abyss, locked it and sealed it over him; so that he could not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were over. After that, he has to be set free for a little while. In looking back and reviewing Revelation 9:1-6, the Abyss would appear to be the abode of HaSatan and his demon followers, which raises a question about demons. If Satan is going to be bound for 1000 years, what will happen to the demons during this time? Although Yochanan doesn’t address this question in the book of Revelation, there is a hint of what will happen to them in Isaiah, chapters twenty-four through twenty-seven. These chapters are often referred to as the little apocalypse. A close study of these four chapters will give the Bible student a more complete knowledge as to what all is taking place at this time, in addition to that which is recorded in the book of Revelation.

With a particular interest in the fate of demons read specifically Isaiah 24:21-23: “When that day comes, Adonai will punish the armies of the high heaven on high, and the kings of the earth here on earth. 22 They will be assembled like prisoners in a dungeon and shut up in prison to be punished many years. 23 Then the moon will be confused and the sun ashamed, for Adonai-Tzva’ot will rule on Mount Tziyon and in Yerushalayim, with his glory manifest to the rulers of his people. By this it would seem the demons along with HaSatan will be banished from this earth for 1,000 years.

David Stren gives this background for our consideration. [2]

The ideas of binding demonic beings and of punishing them with eternal fire are also found in the Jewish Apocrypha (Tobit 8:3) and pseudepigrapha (1 Enoch 10:4-17, 18:12-19:2, 21:1-6, 54:4-6; Testament of Levi 18:12; Jubilees 48:15-16), and in Christian Apocrypha (Acts of Pilate 22:2).

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 20:1-3 [3]

Premillennialists interpret Next to suggest a chronological sequence following the events of Chapter 19.  Hence the events described in Chapter 20 are to occur after the Second Coming of Yeshua.  They view the angel as Mikha’el the archangel. There can be no doubt that the earth is still experiencing satanically inspired deception today, which challenges any interpretation that this vision would make HaSatan to be currently bound. After his release, there will be one final rebellion following the 1,000-year reign of Yeshua.

Amillennialists believe that Next speaks only to the order in which the visions were presented to Yochanan, not the chronology of its fulfillment. They think that the angel is Mikha’el the archangel or the Lord Yeshua Himself. They see this passage as entirely symbolic. They think that HaSatan was bound by the death and resurrection of Yeshua.

Postmillennialists concur with the Premillennialists as to the meaning of Next, but the successful preaching of the Besorah precedes Yeshua’s Second Coming. His Second Coming will be revealed in verse 9ff.  The view the events of this chapter as following the blowing of the seventh shofar in chapter 11.  They do believe that there will be a Millennium that will result from the preaching and teaching of the Besorah.

In my next post, we’ll examine The Thousand-Year Reign in Revelation 20:4-6.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern.

[3] Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.

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