The 1000 years of Revelation 20, traditionally called the Millennium, was actually fulfilled in a relatively short period of time.
There are many different interpretations of the 1000 years which the Apostle John saw in the Revelation.
However, they all agree that the 1000 years is a literal 1000 years. These interpretations do not allow for the probability that the number 1000 could be symbolic, as the rest of the Revelation is. In fact, by labeling the 1000 years as ‘the Millennium,’ it makes it even harder for one to realize this.
When one looks carefully at what John actually wrote about the 1000 years, as well as what did Jesus and his apostles taught, we begin to see that the 1000 years had its fulfillment in the time of the apostles.
The Events of the Revelation, including the ‘Millennium,’ were contemporary to John’s time
The angel instructed John that the events portrayed in the Revelation were about to take place. Not only that, these events would conclude in a short time.
In the very first chapter of the revelation, in the very first verse, John was informed that the vision was “to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John…” (Revelation 1:1)
The directive continued in verse 3, specifying that “…the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)
And just 8 verses later in the first chapter, again John was instructed to “write the things that you have seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to take place after these…” (Revelation 1:19)
Clearly, Christ was very insistent that all the events of the Revelation, were either already occurring in John’s time, or were about to occur. John would be alive to witness their fulfillments. This would equally apply to the 1000 years, as well as the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
The Key and the Chain was the ability to Loose and Bind
At the beginning of the 1000 years, John was show “an angel descending out of heaven, holding in his hand the key of the Abyss, and a great chain.” (Revelation 20:1)
John wrote that the angel “seized the dragon… who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the Abyss, and shut and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed.” (Revelation 20:2-3)
Restraining the deception of the nations
John wrote indicated that the binding of Satan was for the purpose of restraining the deception of the nations.
When we consider the teaching of Jesus, he told Peter “I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
Notice that Jesus would give to Peter the power loose and bind, the ability of the Key and Chain. This is exactly what the angel was doing at the beginning of the 1000 years.
This binding and loosing is a function of the Gospel, for it binds deception by revealing truth. It looses those held in bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. The ‘Millennium’ was not about 1000 literal years, but what Jesus would accomplish during that period.
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The binding of Satan was at the beginning of Christ’s reign!
In his battle with Satan, Christ indicated that in order to “enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, he [must] first bind the strong man… and then he will spoil his house.” (Matthew 12:29)
Therefore, the first thing Christ did on ascending to his throne where he “sat down on the right hand of God; from now on expecting till his enemies be made his footstool,” (Hebrews 10:12-13), was to first bind the strong man. That means that the 1000 years began at pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Angel that John saw descending with the key and the chain, was the Holy Spirit-empowered Gospel.
When we examine all that the Revelation revealed concerning the ‘Millennium,’ we see that it happened in John’s time, just like all the other events given in that vision.
For a comprehensive study of the 1000 years of Revelation 20, watch these video presentations
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