Some of the various perspectives on Biblical Prophecy center on the question of the placement of the "Millennium" in the interpretation; asking, is your "eschatology" (study of end-times) "Pre-Millennium", "Post-Millennium", or "A-Millennium". Others frame their interpretation on the question of the Great Tribulation and the placement of the rapture; asking, does your interpretation place the rapture before or after the Great Tribulation?

We are introduced to the idea of the Millennium here:
Revelation 20
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years
Later in Revelation 20 we see also that Christ rules during this time. The symbolic number of 1000 simply means "vast". Other places in scripture we read, "God owns the cattle on a thousand hills", or "To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day." In these places it is entirely obvious that one thousand is not an exact number, if it were, then why doesn't God own the cattle on hill numbered 1001? I apply the same logic to the interpretation of Revelation 20:2. Satan is bound for a long time and Christ rules for a long time.

So what does it mean that satan is bound during this time? As I posted in my last blog entry about our tendency to attempt to interpret biblical prophecy in a fantastical way, I believe this verse has been way over-literalized. Jesus taught in parables, highly symbolic language. Revelation should be read with that in mind.

Most interpret the binding of satan to mean that he has no impact on people during that time or that we will see no evil during that time. This over-literalization forces them to conclude that we must not be in the millennium depicted here at this time on the earth. I believe that is an error that greatly skews the various interpretations, making them "not common" to the experience of man. (see my last post).

The binding of satan should be understood in the context of the work of Christ on the cross. We no longer stand accused before God by satan.
Colossians 2:13-15
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
We are forgiven, the record of debt has been erased! Satan can no longer hold a list of our sins before God and say, "see what they did!" Jesus triumphed over him on the cross. Satan is disarmed. He has been put to shame.

In this he is "bound". He has no authority over us and has been defeated. In this he is "thrown into the bottomless pit", a place from which he cannot prevent our salvation. Jesus even said in John 12:31

Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.

There are so many other scriptures that confirm this. The Bible says that Christ defeated death. It says that we've been handed the keys of the Kingdom, it says we now have the authority to bind and loose. For the saints, if we resist satan, he must flee.

So this one reference to the millennium in Revelation 20 is not talking about a far off, mythical, thousand year window of time in which we hear no evil and see no evil. It's now! Christ does reign now! Satan is defeated now!

If you can accept this, then there will obviously be implications for your interpretation of the placement of the rapture, the timing of the Great Tribulation, and the eventual release of satan from the bottomless pit. Lets dig into those next.

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