Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
“IV. Final Judgment at the Arrival of the Eschaton (17:1-20:15)” pp. 603-725.
“C. The Thousand-Year Reign of Christ and Final Destruction of Satan (20:1-10)” pp. 696-718.
Osborne notes that the idea of a thousand year reign of Christ prior to Satan’s final destruction has created a great deal of debate and division in Christianity, particularly prior to Augustine and then again some 1200 years later in the 1700s (Osborne 2002, 696). Osborne takes a premillennial point of view but tries not to entirely discount amillennial or postmillennial stances. The passage and its place in the larger passage (17:1-20:15) about God’s judgment is of greater importance than the theological debate over the sequence of events (Osborne 2002, 697). This passage divides into three segments: the binding of Satan (20:1-3), the saints’ reign (20:4-6), and Satan’s release and final battle (20:7-10) (Osborne 2002, 698).
In verses 1-3, introduced with the typical “and I saw,” an angel descends from heaven to the abyss to bind Satan with a chain and lock him up (Osborne 2002, 699). Osborne thinks it likely that this is the same angel who opened the abyss in Revelation 9:1. Satan is not able to resist the angel’s power. The names given to him appear much like names read in a formal sentence, leading to imprisonment (Osborne 2002, 700). Osborne finds the binding of Satan reminiscent of Jesus’ statement in Mark 3:27 and the parallels, where the strong man is bound and his house is plundered. The theme of a binding of fallen angels is not uncommon in late Judaism. The period of imprisonment in Revelation 20 is a thousand years, which is based on Jewish traditions of a significance of the multiples of ten. Osborne thinks it may refer to a long but clearly defined and spiritually significant period of time (Osborne 2002, 701). Satan is locked and sealed in with no means of escape, “so as not to deceive the nations” (20:3). Osborne here observes that an amillennial view sees the binding of Satan as the age of the Church, while a premillennial view expects the binding of Satan at some point in the future (Osborne 2002, 702). Since Osborne finds Satan’s primary work as deception, he does not think our current age could be that described in Revelation 20. There seems to be too much deception for him to believe Satan is bound (Osborne 2002, 703).
Revelation 20:4-6 describes a thousand year reign of the saints. Some individuals are seated on thrones judging. Osborne observes that the text never says clearly who the judges are (Osborne 2002, 703). Due to the proximity of the mention of martyred Christians, Osborne thinks those who have died for their faith are the judges (Osborne 2002, 704). This power of judgment is given to them, presumably by God. They had been beheaded and refused to worship the beast or receive his mark. These were alive and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Osborne, noting that verse 4 is before the mention of bodily resurrection inverse 5, is unsure if this would be an early resurrection (Osborne 2002, 706). In 20:5 there is a clear statement of resurrection. There is a “first resurrection” but Osborne sees there is no second resurrection, but that unbelievers will face a second death (20:6). He takes the resurrection to be a raising of all saints from the dead (Osborne 2002, 708). Those who are raised will be “priests of God and of Christ,” serving before God. AGain, this is in sharp contrast to those who died in unbelief so are raised not to life, but to a second death (Osborne 2002, 709).
In Revelation 20:7-10, Satan is released, he once again deceives the nations, and they surround God’s people only to be destroyed and cast into a lake of fire (Osborne 2002, 710). Again, Osborne is critical of an amillennial position because only at the end of the millennium does Satan regain power to deceive. He is released and immediately begins to successfully deceive the people of the earth, who have known no deception for a thousand years. Osborne sees their immediate capitulation as a sign of the sinful nature (Osborne 2002, 711). The assembly of the nations for battle is a parallel to Ezekiel 38-39, where the nations rise up against God’s people. Osborne takes this as a battle which is distinct from that of Revelation 16:14-16 and 19:17-21. Here there is a different outcome and aftermath (Osborne 2002, 713). The saints, pictured here as being in Jerusalem, are surrounded by armies of the nations. Fire comes down upon the nations, again, as before, presumably from God (Osborne 2002, 714). The devil is placed into eternal punishment in a lake of fire. The concept of eternal torment for demonic forces was a common theme in the New Testament (Osborne 2002, 715). Osborne observes again that those who did not believe were immune to the presence of Christ and the lack of deception for a thousand years. They would not believe under any circumstances.