20:1 And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the Abyss and a huge chain on his hand. 2 And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is a slanderer, even Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 he threw him into the Abyss and locked and sealed it over him so that he should not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were finished. And after these years he must be loosed for a short time.
Introduction - a brief intro to the debate
Revelation 20 is a fun chapter, but it is also a chapter that has the potential of being very confusing. And I hope I don't make it more confusing than it needs to be today. It would be an easy and straightforward twenty minute sermon if it was not for the fact that so much bad stuff has been written on these verses. And I can't ignore these controversies. They are deeply embedded into the Christian community. And how you interpret these first three verses is critical to how you understand chapters 20-22. So we are going to be digging a bit deeper today.
I should also mention that this is the first chapter that tends to strongly divide between Amillennialists, Premillennialists, and Postmillennialists - at least on the nature of the 1000 years and the binding of Satan. And let me briefly define those three terms. The "A" in "Amillennialism" means "no" - no millennium" - no golden age on earth. In fact, most Amillennialists see the 1000 years as referring to what happens in heaven, not what happens on earth. The "Pre" in "Premillennialism" means that Christ is coming back before a future 1000 years - thus pre-1000 or pre-millennium. The "Post" in "Postmillennialism" means that Christ is coming back after the world becomes Christianized - thus "post-1000" or "post-millennium." At least on these verses, those are the three main divisions.
And I wish it actually were that easy, but each of those three groups are further sub-divided into a bewildering variety of interpretations. And I want to emphasize that very intelligent and very godly men and women have held to all of these different viewpoints, and I don't pretend to be able to say the last word on this subject. I think I've nailed it (or I wouldn't be preaching it), but I want to be humble and admit that the church worldwide is still working through these issues.
But having said that, I do believe that my approach to Revelation has significantly simplified our understanding of the book. By the time I get through chapters 20-21 I think you will see that my approach is way more simple than any of the others. And my approach has also solved conundrums in the previous chapters that other approaches have been absolutely mystified by. And at least for me, the same is true of this chapter. This chapter has been easy and straightforward for me. I don't see the confusing jumping backward and forward that so many approaches are forced to take. Let me explain five of the rules that I have followed as I have studied this chapter over the past thirty years:
My first rule has been to not allow my mind to be closed to correction by defending a system. My goal is to understand what the text says, not to try to explain how it fits a Premil, Amil, or a Postmil view. In his commentary, Mounce (who is a Premillennialist) rightly complains, "The tendency of many interpreters at this point is to become apologists for a particular view of the millennium." I think he is right. Way too many people even in our own camp have been blinded to what the text clearly says because they are trying to fit their pre-made system into this chapter rather than letting the chapter change their system. I think that is especially true on the nature of the resurrections.
As I already mentioned, there are godly and intelligent people who hold to all three views of eschatology, and if they are indwelt by God's Spirit, it is unlikely they are going to get everything wrong. I have learned a great deal from almost all of the views of Revelation. For example, just in the first three verses, I hold to something very close the Amillennial view of the 1000 years (obviously with a few corrections). I hold to the Postmillennial view that the purpose of undeceiving the nations is to see all nations converted, and I also hold to the Postmil view that Jesus won't come back until after the millennium. And I hold to the Premillennial view that there are two physical resurrections being talked about in verses 4-6 - one that immediately precedes the thousand years and one at the end of the thousand years. It is only when the contributions of those three systems are put together that the problems in this chapter completely dissolve. Obviously, where those resurrections occur is quite different for me than for Premillennialists, but their arguments for two physical resurrections are quite strong. I've never seen them adequately answered. The point is that each school of eschatology has strong exegetical proofs for at least parts and pieces of this chapter. And I think we rob ourselves of God-given insights if we only read books from within our circles. So I have learned a great deal by looking at the insights of all three schools.
Second, we have seen all through this book that the structure of the book helps us to interpret the book. The structure of a book is so important. It's why I refused to preach on this book until I felt I thoroughly understood its Hebraic structure. I've once again copied the detailed structure onto one of your inserts. It's a God-given structure that, if followed, would solve so many supposed problems that people scratch their heads over. So just as we have seen that the inspired structure of this book has resolved debates earlier in the book, that structure automatically forces me to certain conclusions - even if I am initially uncomfortable with those conclusions.
I'll just give you one tiny example of how the structure has driven my exegesis of this chapter. I didn't have my mind made up, but I used to be open to two views of the binding of Satan - a metaphorical binding in AD 30 (that's the Amillennial view) and a literal binding in our future (that's the view of Premils and many Postmils). But the structure does not allow me to adopt either option. And I'm glad. Many years ago I was blinded to a solution to the controversy simply because I only considered those two options, whereas a third option completely evaporates the tension.
Let me explain what I am talking about: Everybody agrees that we are in the last section of the book of Revelation. But the divine structure shows that this last section does not start in chapter 20. If you look at the handout titled, "Outline of the Book of Revelation," (it's this one that has the picture of the toppling statue and the seven headed beast coming up out of the fire), you can see that there are seven units of seven in this book. The blue print text gives the introduction to each section. And at the bottom left of the page next to the big B you will see that the introduction to our section starts in chapter 19:11. And if it didn't, we wouldn't have an introduction and the book would lose its symmetry. Every one of the seven sections of the book has an introduction, and the introduction to this section goes from chapter 19:11 to chapter 19:21. Well, that automatically indicates that the events of the first three verses of chapter 20 have to start after the events of chapter 19. Most Postmils and Amils completely miss that. In other words, the 1000 years does not begin in AD 30 or way off in our future. It begins in AD 70 right after the events at the end of chapter 19. So all through this book I have sought to be faithful to the divinely inspired structure that I have put into your hands.
Third, just as I have done throughout the book, I take the sequence and timing words in this chapter very seriously. Several interpretations are ruled out when you do so. And even this past week as I have been reading in commentaries, it is astonishing to me to see the creative ways that people say that even though it seems like this comes after that, it can't - it has to come earlier. The "has to" comes from their system, not from the text. And they rationalize the seemingly sequential terms later in the next two chapters as well. But we have seen numerous times in this book that you can really mess up your exegesis when you ignore the time sequence indicators. They are clues to interpretation.
Fourth, because this book is rooted in the Old Testament and because it is a prophetic literature, not an apocalyptic literature, how we interpret the various words of this chapter must flow from the Old Testament - not from unbelieving apocalyptic literature. Beale's commentary, as insightful as it is in places, is constantly going to pagan and unbelieving Jewish sources to interpret symbols, and even claims that John is getting his ideas from these unbelieving sources. And I say, "No. This book is immersed in the Old Testament. And you don't need to go beyond the Bible to interpret the Bible." Everything outside the Bible is only supplemental and illustrative. And actually Beale does get the 1000 years right because he also looks at the Old Testament and sees that the evidence is crystal clear there. And we will look at that in a bit. Some people impose a common sense definition to words (which amounts to imposing our twenty-first century Western definition of words) and they are not defining the words the way John, as a Hebrew prophet would.
Finally, your view of "last days," "this age" and "the age to come," (the major demarcations of history) impact your interpretation of this chapter. Too often, people will use a system approach to define those things rather than an exegetical approach. But on the back table is a four page handout that graphically looks up every single verse related to "last days," and it shows numerous Scriptures that contradict every view except the one that says the last days begin before Christ was born (long before He was born) and they terminate with AD 70. Well, that instantly impacts these chapters.
I'll stop there because I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information about the debates. Instead, let's just dig into the text and see where it takes us.
The timing ("And I saw" - v. 1a)
The first words are, "And I saw..." Or many versions draw out the sequence more clearly by translating it, "Then I saw." If you have a New King James Version you will see the word "Then." Why the difference? Well, the word "And" can refer to either logical sequence or chronological sequence, and you have commentaries that land on both sides of that divide. I believe there are five arguments that show that the first three verses happened chronologically after chapter 19. And realizing this some years ago turned my whole paradigm upside down and pieces began to fall together.
Use of Hebraic "Waw Consecutive" for Greek "and"
First, we have seen in the past that John frequently uses the word "and" following the rules of Hebrew grammar. This is the most Hebraized book of the New Testament. In fact, you will find grammar books that just give the grammar of the book of Revelation, since it is so different as the one New Testament Covenant Lawsuit. Anyway, one of those Hebraic rules of grammar is known as the "waw consecutive," where the "and" shows historical sequence. John already used the word "and" in exactly that Hebrew way fifteen times in chapter 19, and as Premillennialist Walvoord points out, "There is thus no linguistic or grammatical suggestion that these events are anything other than events following ...[chapter 19] and occurring in sequence" This is one place where I stand solidly with Premils over against most Postmils and Amils. Of course, I should mention that Walvoord doesn't realize it, but this totally rules out his Premillennialism as well. But at least he recognizes the tight connection.
The structure of the book (19:11-21 = intro to last section)
Second, I have already mentioned that the structure of the book itself connects chapter 20 with the last portion of chapter 19. The structure necessitates this "and" be translated as "then" just as the NKJV does. It would be very odd to have an introduction that deals with AD 70 and then to jump back to AD 30 or to jump forward thousands of years into our future. That would be to cut the introduction completely off from the rest of this section.
Connected themes of beast and martyrs (see v. 4)
Third, the introduction deals with the beast and the false prophet who killed God's people and verse 4 picks up on exactly those themes as if they had just happened. He's at least thematically connecting chapter 20 with chapter 19. But I think verse 4 is chronologically connecting it as well.
Causal connection between beast and false prophet (ch. 19) and driving force behind them (Satan)
Fourth, commentaries point out that there is a causal connection. In chapter 19 Christ deals with the Beast and False Prophet when He comes in judgment, and chapter 20 shows Jesus dealing with the cause of all that trouble - Satan himself. They are all wrapped up together.
No persuasive evidence for recapitulation
And lastly, Mounce (who is also a Premillennialist that I have learned from) points out that with the strong impression of sequence in these chapters, "The interpretation that discovers recapitulation for the segment 20:1–6 must at least bear the burden of proof." Recapitulation means going backwards and starting over. He says that Recapitulationists have the burden of proof that this is what was intended. And I have not seen such proof very convincing.
So with that being said, we can rule out a multitude of interpretations with one fell blow. Most Amils place chapter 19 at the end of history and then have chapter 20 going back to AD 30. That doesn't work with sequence or with the structure. Most Premils are good with a sequence from chapter 19-20 because they place both in our future. But then, since their interpretation forces them to see the end of chapter 20 as the very very end of history, they have to recapitulated (or jump backwards) 1000 years to start chapter 21 at the beginning of the Millennium, even though chapter 21 begins with exactly the same sequential marker. So they are not consistent.
My view sees the main theme of verses 1-3 (the binding of Satan) as occurring immediately after chapter 19. The first resurrection in verse 4 follows immediately after that - still in AD 70. It is a simple and straightforward interpretation of sequence in the next chapters.
The angel (v. 1b)
Verse 1 goes on to say, "And I saw an angel..." Commentaries point out that this angel is given no description. And I believe deliberately so. If the angel was described as glorious and mighty, we might assume that he bound Satan by his own power. But the truth of the matter is that even Michael the archangel, who was the most powerful of God's elect angels, was no match for Satan by himself. Jude 9 says that Michael dared not bring a railing accusation against Satan, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." He dared not take on Satan alone. He appeals to heaven.
So what is a nondescript lesser angel doing in this scene? He is showcasing the fact that when we have heaven's power on our side, even a nondescript ordinary angel can dispose of Satan. That is encouraging to Christians who fear demons.
an angel with heavenly authority (v. 1c)
And that's why verse 1 goes on to say, "And I saw an angel coming down from heaven..." When backed up by heaven, our lack of power or an angel's lack of power is irrelevant. And as Leon Morris words it, "The final unimportance of Satan is perhaps indicated in the fact that it is not the Father who deals with him, nor the Christ, but only an unnamed angel."
The key to the Abyss (v. 1d)
And what had heaven granted this angel? First, he had a key to the Abyss. So this implies permission to open and close it. Apparently there is no one on the inside of this subterranean chamber that has a key. So the door to the Abyss can only be opened from the outside, and only by heaven's permission.
In chapter 9 we saw that an angel fro heaven who was given a key to the Abyss and was allowed to open the Abyss and release billions of demons in AD 66. Now begins the process of confining some of these demons back inside that Abyss.
And by the way, just as Satan knew in AD 66 that he would be soon be bound in the Abyss (and you can read that in Revelation 12:12 - he knew he only had a short time remaining), so too, other demons know that they can be bound in the Abyss by Christians and they know that they have a timetable. Luke 8 says that the Legion of demons "begged Him [Jesus] that He would not command them to go into the abyss." (v. 31). And in the Matthew parallel, it says that they were worried that Jesus would torment them before their time (Matt. 8:29). They knew that they too had a time table in which to work and after that, they would be bound. In Luke 10:19 Jesus gave the church the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions (those are types of demons) and "over all the power of the enemy."
And the church should be actively involved in binding more and more of the demons into the Abyss. This angel starts the process that ongoing spiritual warfare will continue. Let me just give you a hint of that continued process. Zechariah 13-14 deals with some of the exact same details that Revelation has already dealt with, such as the great tribulation of the saints, the war against Jerusalem, the end of prophecy, Mount Vesuvius blowing up, the scattering of the Jews in the Bar Kochba rebellion, and the growth of the kingdom worldwide until eventually the world will be 100% converted and everything (even the horse's bells) will be holiness to the Lord. It's an amazing passage. But part of that trajectory in Zechariah 13-14 is this amazing prophecy "I will also cause ... the unclean spirit to depart from the land" (13:2). That is the trajectory of history. Eventually there will be a long period of time in which no demons will be found anywhere in the world.
Well, the binding of the demon-Beast, the demon-false-prophet and now Satan (the prince of all demons) begins the process of the binding of Satan's kingdom. With trillions of demons, it may take a long time. But when the three most evil and most powerful of the demons were bound easily by a non-descript angel, it gives us confidence that we too can bind the rest of the demons with heaven's help and in heaven's timing.
The huge chain
The text goes on, "having the key of the Abyss and a huge chain on his hand." Was it a literal chain or a metaphorical chain? Well, it depends on what you mean by literal. I don't think it was made of metal, because spirits do not seem to be contained by that. But just as angels' swords are literal swords, though made of something different than our swords, I take the key and chain as literal, though made of something different than our keys and chains. But these were instruments that had to be used for Satan's imprisonment. They were real tools of imprisonment. Do they symbolize something? Yes - the beginning of the downfall of Satan's kingdom. But the symbols are also literal events.
Satan described with four titles
Verses 2-3 go on to say, "And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is a slanderer, even Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years; he threw him into the Abyss and locked and sealed it over him..."
All four titles of Satan were given earlier in the book. And all four descriptions are full of Old Testament meaning. He is likened to a deadly dragon, and Isaiah 27 prophesied that the dragon would be stopped in AD 70. We've looked at that passage in the past. We'll look at it again today.
He is called the ancient serpent - and called "ancient" because we see him deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. And Christ legally crushed his head on the cross, but the book of Romans applies the passage to the first century Christians and says, "the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." In AD 70 Satan was crushed, pierced, and sent to hell.
Satan is called the slanderer because just as he slandered Job to God in Job 1-2, he had been involved in the work of slander non-stop since then. Revelation 12 says that Satan could no longer slander in heaven, as he had done in the book of Job. But his slander continued on earth - until AD 70.
And he is called Satan, which means adversary. And he was a fierce adversary.
Here is the point. If the worst of the worst of all enemies (as described by these four titles) was easily bound by a nondescript angel, it gives us hope in our duty to bind other demons. Nothing can successfully stand against God's kingdom. It is all a matter of timing.
His binding described (v. 3) - Theories
But his binding is next described in verse 3. "...he threw him into the Abyss and locked and sealed it over him..." As can be expected, there is controversy over the nature and the timing of that binding. No surprises there, right? And let me rule out some of the inadequate views.
Inadequate theory 1 - Satan now restricted from believers
Some people believe that Satan was only restricted in his activities, and he was only restricted from working in the lives of believers. They do not see the restriction as applying to unbelievers. Two problems with that interpretation. First, it contradicts verse 3. But more importantly, it fails to show a contrast between pre-cross and post-cross history. Satan had been restricted from the lives of believers long before the cross. In Job 1-2 Satan complained that God had put a protective hedge around Job and Satan could not get at him. So I think we are looking for much more of a restriction of Satan than that.
Inadequate theory 2 - Satan was bound in AD 30 only in the sense that he can't keep Gentiles from believing
A second inadequate theory invented by Amillennialists is that Satan was bound in AD 30 only in the sense that Gentiles can no longer be kept from believing. They translate verse 3, "so that he should deceive the Gentiles no more till the thousand years were finished." They call our time the times of the Gentiles - a time when many Gentiles will be converted. Well, I agree with that. It is true that the Gospel has gone to the ends of the earth and Gentiles are being saved in numbers beyond anything they had before. So this is a bit more credible than the previous interpretation.
But why do they start this binding in AD 30? Why was the church of the next forty years primarily a Jewish church? And since these people believe that only a tiny remnant of Gentiles are being saved in any given period of the New Covenant, how is this different from the remnant of Gentiles who were saved in every period prior to the cross? For example, David's armies of Pelethites and Cherethites were all Philistine converts. In Esther 8:17 it says that many Gentiles became Jews. They converted and became believers. How is a remnant being saved from the Gentiles in post AD 30 history different from the remnant being saved from the Gentiles before the cross? At least on an Amil interpretation, I don't see much of a contrast.
Inadequate theory 3 - Same as above, but with AD 70 beginning
So a split-off of this group says that this change happened in AD 70. Prior to AD 70 the church was predominantly Jewish, but after AD 70 it became predominantly Gentile. And that is true. So post AD 70 history is the times of the Gentiles. That fits better, but this metaphorical view does not do justice to the seven words describing the binding. Not at all. And secondly, both theories 2 and 3 put a huge gap between chapters 19 and 20. They see chapter 19 as in our future, and chapter 20 as going back either to AD 70 or AD 30. So even though it has some credibility, it messes up on the timing.
Inadequate theory 4 - Satan is bound in AD 30 or 70 in the sense that Satan will no longer be able to stop entire nations from being Christianized.
The fourth inadequate theory has been proposed by some Postmillennialists. It is that Satan is only bound in the sense that he will no longer be able to stop entire nations from being Christianized. He still roams around, but he can't stop nations from believing. And I think that at least takes seriously the phrase in verse 3 that says, "so that he should not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were finished."
So let me explain their theory. There is some validity to it, even though it doesn’t go far enough. They correctly say that if Satan can no longer deceive the nations, then those nations should be able to be converted if the church is doing its job. (And I will explain why later.) They say that the contrast between undeceived nations and then deceived nations at the end of history is the contrast between the Christianizing of the world and then a final falling away of most nations. That's where I part company. They see the nations as backsliding so badly that they attack and seek to destroy the true church, but Christ returns and destroys them before they are successful in doing any damage. I've read an interesting sci-fi trilogy that the Millers gave to me based on this theory. It's worth a read. But even though this is a far stronger view (and I used to hold to it), I believe it does not do justice to the seven words describing the binding that I will go ahead and talk about under my theory.
My theory - this is an actual imprisonment of Satan (though not all his angels) in a maximum security prison in the heart of the earth - the Abyss
My theory is that in AD 70 Satan was actually bound in exactly the same way that the Beast and False Prophet were bound. All three of them are absent from our lives. But because God has a plan for Satan at the end of history, he does not cast Satan into the lake of fire. Instead, he casts Satan into the Abyss, where all other unbelievers currently are waiting for the final resurrection.
Reason 1 - seven expressions related to imprisonment (vv. 2-3)
And the reason I think it has to be an actual imprisonment is because of seven words in verses 2-3 that give every impression of a maximum security prison. Listen to the words. The key, the huge chain, seizing him, binding him, throwing him into the Abyss, locking the Abyss, and then sealing the Abyss sure seems like overkill description if this is just a metaphorical binding that still allows Satan to roam anywhere in the planet that he wants to roam. What's the point of seizing the dragon if you are going to let him go so that he can roam anywhere? How is restricting what he can do on the planet in any way a confining of him to the Abyss? The Abyss has been an actual place everywhere else in the book of Revelation. Why does it suddenly just become a metaphor of restricted activity in chapter 20? And for that matter, why is only one angel involved? Does one angel monitor Satan's activities over the next thousand years to make sure he doesn't go beyond his restrictions? While these commentators write a great deal about the binding of Satan, they don't take seriously the seizing, throwing, locking, and sealing. The metaphorical binding does not make sense to me. Those seven descriptions sound much more like a maximum security prison from which Satan cannot escape until God releases him.
Reason 2 - compare 9:1ff
Second, the previous time when the same angel is given a key to the Abyss, demons come up out of the Abyss. It was a literal unleashing of demons from a literal place. And then in verses 7-10 of our chapter, the same words are used of Satan and the dead unbelieving nations coming up from the depth of the earth. So when you compare those three passages with each other, I just do not see how you can take the Abyss as metaphorical or merely symbolical.
Reason 3 - The AD 70 restrictions on Satan must be greater than the very great restrictions placed upon him after the cross (Mark 14:17-18; Heb. 2:14; Col. 1:13; 2:15; 1 John 4:4; Rev. 12:9; 1 John 3:8; James 4:7; 2 Thes. 2:6-7)
My third criticism of the metaphorical binding does not apply to theory 4, but it does apply to the first three Amillennial bindings. I've already mentioned that the structure of the book mandates that this take place in AD 70, not in AD 30. It occurs right after the binding of the Beast and the False prophet in chapter 19. This means that whatever the binding or the restrictions that are involved, it must be much more pronounced than the restrictions placed upon Satan before AD 70 - and there were huge restrictions placed upon Satan after the resurrection. Theory 4 can account for these verses, but not the first three. Let me read you some of the very encouraging Scriptures that show the degree to which all demons were hugely restricted after AD 30 and before AD 70.
We all know the verses that say that Jesus gave the twelve disciples power over demons and then in Luke 10 He gave the seventy power and authority over all of the demonic hosts. But Mark 14:17-18 (the last verses of Mark) promise the same authority over demons to every believer after the resurrection. The moment a person believes after the resurrection, he has authority over all the power of the demonic enemy. That's huge. That is something way beyond any power that Old Testament saints had. It is a sign that the kingdom had come in some way. But there's more. Listen to the following Scriptures.
Hebrews 2:14 says that through Christ's death, Jesus rendered Satan powerless over believers. That's incredible! The Greek word καταργέω does not mean destroy (as the NKJV renders it) but is defined by the dictionary as "to cause someth. to lose its power or effectiveness, invalidate, make powerless" (BDAG). Satan was rendered powerless in the first century by the cross and resurrection. Whatever binding happened in AD 70, it must be more than that or it makes no sense of the passage. There is an additional binding. He is prohibited from doing something that he had been doing prior to AD 70. How can you have a greater metaphorical binding than to be rendered powerless? Perhaps theory 4 can account for that, but in light of the way the Great Commission is worded, I doubt it.
Colossians 2:15 says of Jesus, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." What an incredible comfort first century Christians had. Yes, they were in battle, but Jesus disarmed the demonic enemies.
Colossians 1:13 says, "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love." Every believer was delivered from the power of darkness - and that was before AD 70. There is something more going on in our chapter.
1 John 4:4 assures believers, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." They were overcoming demons even before AD 70.
Revelation 12:9 says that Satan was cast out of heaven in AD 66 (that’s a major restriction before AD 70), and verse 11 says that the saints overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. That happened before AD 70, so we should now expect something more.
1 John 3:8 says that Jesus was destroying the works of the devil ever since the cross.
James 4:7 guarantees Christians that when they resist Satan, Satan must flee from them. His power was drastically limited by the cross.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 shows that even during the tribulation years leading up to AD 70, the power and activities of even the beast were restrained. And the word κατέχω means to keep within limits or restrain. So whatever restraint is put upon Satan after AD 70 must be greater than all those things. As powerless as the Amillennial idea of restraint is, with Satan winning and things getting worse and worse (it sure doesn't sound like restraint to me), I fail to see how their interpretation does justice to the text.
Reason 4 - it makes even better sense of the fact that nations will stop being deceived in v. 3 - see theory 4 above
But if Satan was literally bound and imprisoned in the Abyss in AD 70, then it is the time to plunder his kingdom and bind the rest of his agents. It makes even more sense of theory 4 if there is a literal and not merely a metaphorical binding. Jesus said about Satan,
No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house. (Mark 3:27)
Reason 5 - It dovetails with the legal basis that Jesus provided in his death and resurrection
Christ's life and death provided the legal basis for doing that. That is why Jesus said,
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:31-32)
Everybody agrees that Satan was not literally cast out of the world in AD 30, but the legal basis for it was made. When Jesus said, "It is finished," it was finished for Satan as well. Everything needed for his defeat was provided. He wasn't cast out of the world yet because he continued to be roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. But he was legally bound at Christ's death and experientially bound in AD 70, and Satan's kingdom has been progressively plundered since that time. But make no mistake about it, there was a literal binding in AD 70 that was prophesied to take place in AD 70.
Reason 6 - Prophecy places this binding squarely in AD 70 (Is. 24:21-23; Isaiah 27:1)
And let me deal with that prophesy in Isaiah 27. Beale points out that whatever chapter 19 is talking about, it is tightly connected to Revelation 20's binding by Isaiah 24 and Isaiah 27. Isaiah 24:21-23 speaks of the same war that chapter 19 was talking about followed by some being bound in the Abyss. But if you turn to Isaiah 26 and 27 I want to remind you of a passage that we went through before. And we will begin in Isaiah 26 to get context.
We saw that Hebrews 10 quotes Isaiah 26:20 as being Jesus speaking to the remnant church in the first century. So if verse 20 is Christ's voice speaking, then verse 19 is also Christ's voice speaking. Look at verse 19:
Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
That is a reference to the resurrection of Jesus and of a tiny firstfruits of the first resurrection. Then verses 20-21 is Jesus calling his people to flee from Jerusalem until the war is over. And they did; they went to Pella and were protected for the duration of the war against Jerusalem. Then chapter 27:1 speaks of the binding of Satan in AD 70 at the end of that period.
In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
This is the end of Satan's activities on earth. As other passages in Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel point out, it is not the end of other demons, but it is the time when the Strong Man is bound.
The 1000 years
But let's look next at the 1000 years of Revelation 20. If the binding happened in AD 70 (which I think the text absolutely demands - and there are other texts like Daniel that mandate it as well), was Satan unleashed in AD 1070 (a thousand years later)? Is this a literal 1000 years? And the answer is, "No." I do not believe so. But let's look at the interpretive options.
Inadequate theory 1 - The 1000 year reign is the 40 years between Christ's death and AD 70 (Full Preterist)
Full Preterists are forced to take the 1000 years as a reference to the forty years between AD 30 and AD 70. They have no choice but to do that. But there are several problems with that view. The first problem is that this would mean Satan was bound between AD 30 and AD 70, something absolutely contradicted by numerous Scriptures. Let me give a few. Acts 5:3 says that Satan filled Ananias' heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. Satan was still around. Acts 26:18 gives Paul's commission as turning people from the power of Satan to God. He still had power, even if it was limited. Romans 16:20 tells the Roman Christians , "And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." That definitive crushing hadn't happened yet when Paul wrote Romans in AD 55. But it would happen shortly. Church discipline in 1 Corinthians 5:5 involved delivering a person over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 7:5 tells the Corinthians that Satan was still able to tempt them. 2 Corinthians 2:11 says that Satan could take advantage of them, and chapter 11:14 says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and comes into churches. 2 Corinthians 12:7 says that a messenger of Satan came to buffet Paul. How could that be true if Satan was bound? 1 Thessalonians 2:18 says that Satan hindered Paul's team. 1 Peter 5:8 (written in AD 65) says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
They may respond that Satan was only bound in respect of deceiving nations. We've already dealt with that and shown how it is not adequate. But let's deal with that argument again specifically with regard to Full Preterism. Were the nations in the Roman empire still deceived from AD 30-70? Yes they were. The Majority Text of verse 2 says that the whole inhabited earth (that’s a reference to the Roman Empire) was deceived, and 1 John 5:19 affirms the same thing. It says "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." That does not sound like was Satan no longer able to deceive the nations.
Some have responded that Satan was bound in respect to believers and cannot touch believers. But I have already pointed out that that has always been true. Satan complained in Job 1 that God had put a hedge around Job so that he couldn't get at him. In any case, many full preterist agree that the church was almost extinguished in the years AD 62-70. So it just doesn't fit.
But there is an even more devastating problem with Full Preterism in chapter 20. Duncan McKenzie (who is mostly preterist on this book) can't go full preterist for the following reason. He says,
Full preterists attempt to separate the millennium (which they see as being from around AD 30 to shortly before AD 70) from the saints full possession of the kingdom (which they have to admit started at AD 70, cf. Dan. 7:21-22). They have to separate the two because if a full preterist acknowledges an AD 70 beginning to the millennium, he is violating the basic premise of their paradigm (i.e., all prophecy fulfilled by AD 70. cf Rev. 20:7-10)
And there are other problems with their viewpoint - including reconciling it with 1 Corinthians 15.
Inadequate theory 2 - the day-for-a-year theory makes 365 days in a year x 1000 years = 365,000 years between cross and Second Coming (some Premils and Postmils)
At the other end of the spectrum is a view held to by some Premillennialists and Postmillennialists. This is a strange view, but it claims to follow Daniel in making each day stand for a year, so a year of days equals 365 years, and 1000 years equals 365,000 years before Jesus comes back. They also buttress their argument with 2 Peter 3:8, which explains why the Second Coming has not yet happened. It says, "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years..." Since one day is as a thousand years in God's time table of First Coming to Second Coming, then (they say) 1000 years in God's prophetic calendar is 365,000 years. Thirdly, they point out that long before Revelation was written, ancient rabbis taught exactly this theory. They taught that Messiah's kingdom would be 365,000 years long - 1000 years for each day of the year. So they claim that this exegesis is consistent with the earliest interpretations. All I can say is that I am extremely skeptical. It really doesn't seem to flow from Old Testament symbolism. I guess it's a possibility; but I'm skeptical.
Inadequate theory 3 - this is a future literal 1000 years (some Postmils and most Premils)
But most Premillennialists and many Historic Postmillennialists insist that this has to refer to a future period of bliss that lasts exactly 1000 years. I was inclined to that view even as a Postmillennialist because I tend to take most things in this book fairly literally. Two things changed my view. The first was that I felt forced by exegesis to start the 1000 years in AD 70, no matter what problems that raises. The second was that the Old Testament never used the number 1000 in connection with the kingdom in a literal way. And I'll get to that in a bit. But I am sympathetic to that view. John MacArthur seeks to prove that this is literal this way: He says, "the length of the period for which Satan will be bound is defined as a thousand years, the first of six precise and important references to the duration of the Millennium (cf. vv. 3,4,5,6,7)." And he discusses why John wouldn't have mentioned it six times if it wasn't intended to be literal.
The problem with that logic is that Jesus is called the Lamb twenty-eight times in Revelation, but that does not make him a literal lamb. I am open to it being literal if it can be squared with the rest of the text. One way people have tried to do so is to say that the events of the first century (including resurrection in verses 4 and following) do indeed precede a literal 1000 years in our future, but that they don't immediately precede those events. But while that is possible, it doesn't seem to be a natural reading of the text. So I just can't buy it.
The biggest problem I have with the futurist interpretation is that it puts a huge gap between chapter 19 and chapter 20. It's a gap so vast that I can't jump over it. We have proved that the Beast and his war against Jerusalem actually happened from AD 67-70, and the first resurrection of verse 4 sure seems to take place shortly after the Beast is bound. And both Daniel 12 and Zechariah 14 clearly connect the resurrection with those same events.
So we have looked at 1) the Full Preterist view that 1000 years = 40 years. That's not credible. 2) Second, the minority Premil and Postmil view that it equals 365,000 years. 3) Third, the Historic Postmil and the Premil view that it is a future literal 1000 years.
Inadequate theory 4 - 1000 years = time from AD 30-end of history
The fourth view is the majority Amillennialist view that starts the millennium in AD 30 has it go to the end of time. There is much to commend that view, which was the view of Augustine. But the problem I have with that is it puts chapter 19-20 out of sequence as well. They see chapter 19 as occurring at the end of history, whereas chapter 20 recapitulates way back to AD 30. But then I fail to see how the last verses of chapter 19 form any introduction to this section, as the inspired structure mandates that they do.
My view (and many Amils & Postmils; one Premil) - 1000 years = AD 70 to end of history
My view is that Satan was vigorously at work on earth all the way up to AD 70. He was probably even training replacements for himself so that his work would continue. So it is still appropriate to speak of Satan's kingdom since his officers continue to be at work. They represent Satan. So I still speak of Satan when referring to his demons. But in AD 70 Satan himself was imprisoned in the Abyss. So the Millennium starts in AD 70 and continues to the end of history. Why do I not take the "1000" as literal?
Reason 1 - structure and sequence force this view
Well, I have already mentioned that the structure forces me to not take it literally.
Reason 2 - Even Dispensationalists agree that some numbers in Revelation are symbolic, not literal (On "seven" see 3:1; 4:5; 5:6; 12:3; 13:1; 17:3; etc. On "ten" see 2:10; 12:3; 13:1; 17:3,7,12,16)
Second, there are other numbers in Revelation that even Dispensationalists take as symbolic numbers. I've given several examples in your outline. For example, the number "seven" is used symbolically most if not all of the 31 times that it occurs in this book. So it is not without precedent to take numbers symbolically rather than literally. For example, when the Bible speaks of the Seven Spirits of God, it is not denying the Trinity. It is speaking about the perfection of the Holy Spirit. And even the most literal of the literalists agree. There are certain numbers in the bible that you instantly assume might be symbolical because of how commonly they are used as symbols. Dispensationalists instantly recognize that with the number 7.
Reason 3 - immediate context has symbols
Third, the immediate context has symbols. Satan is not literally a dragon; he is not literally a serpent. Those are symbols pointing to a literal figure in history. And I believe the 1000 years is a symbol pointing to an actual period in history. Remember that Revelation 1:1 says that God would use symbols to communicate actual history. If the Old Testament did not clearly use the number 1000 as a symbol (just like it does the numbers 3,7, and 10), then I would be forced to take it at face value. But because the numbers 3, 7, 10, and 1000 are common symbols, we have to evaluate based on context whether their use is literal or symbolic.
Reason 4 - the Old Testament (from which this borrows) never uses "a thousand" literally with respect to time (see Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9 1 Chron. 16:15; Ps. 84:10; 105:8; Ecc. 6:6), and uses "a thousand" symbolically for other things as well (Ps. 50:10; Deut. 32:30; Josh 23:10; Job 9:3; 33:23; Ps. 90:4; 91:7; Eccl 7:28; Is. 60:22)
So what does 1000 symbolize in the Old Testament? Even Dispensationalist books admit that the number 1000 in the Old Testament is a symbol for the full number of something. It is almost impossible to avoid this conclusion when studying the Old Testament. Symbology books give numerous examples of the symbolic use of "a thousand" with reference to people, places, and things. And when it comes to time, one author correctly stated that in the Old Testament, "the term 'thousand,' when in reference to time, is always used symbolically." There are no exceptions. Understanding that was huge for me.
Let's test that theory out by looking at some of the Old Testament verses I have listed for you that connect "a thousand" together with time.
It would be hard to find a more literal book than Deuteronomy. Yet in Deuteronomy 7:9 it says, "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments..." Dispensational commentaries insist that this is not a reference to a literal 40,000 years of history. Yes a literal generation is 40 years, and yes 1000 generations would literally be 40,000 years of history, but that would mess up their idea that the millennium is about to start for us now at the end of what is only 6000 years of history. And it would also mess up parallel passages that say God keeps His covenant forever. So they treat that occurrence of "1000" symbolically. I happen to agree with them, but I just don't think they are being consistent. When "a thousand" is used in the Old Testament, it is usually a reference to "the full number" of anything.
1 Chronicles is another incredibly literal book. After all, it is a history book. So one would expect that numbers in it are literal. Most are. But interestingly, the symbolic numbers are not. And in reference to time, 1 Chronicles 16:13 uses "forever" as a synonymous parallel with "thousand generations." It says, "Remember His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations." God does not let generation 1001 off the hook with respect to their responsibility to his word.
Likewise, Psalm 105:8 says, "He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations..." That's the same idea. I checked out every one of my commentaries, and none of them say that the Abrahamic covenant ends after 40,000 years. They rightly say that the Hebrew word olam (עוֹלָם) in the first parallel phrase is a synonym of "a thousand generations" in the second parallel phrase. Olam is defined by the dictionary this way:
Though עוֹלָם is used more than three hundred times to indicate indefinite continuance into the very distant future, the meaning of the word is not confined to the future. There are at least twenty instances where it clearly refers to the past. Such usages generally point to something that seems long ago, but rarely if ever refer to a limitless past...
In other words, it doesn't mean forever or eternity in any of the passages I read. It means for a long indefinite period of history. That is a verse that defines "a thousand years" in exactly the way that most Amils and Postmils do today. That is the pervasive meaning of the term "a thousand" in the Old Testament. I find it interesting that Premils are quick to agree with that conclusion in the Old Testament, but when they come to Revelation 20 they suddenly insist that it must be literal. Why? Revelation is immersed in Old Testament symbology.
Read their commentaries on Psalm 50:10, and you will see that they all interpret the word "a thousand" symbolically - yes, even Dispensationalists do. God says, "For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills." Does that mean that God owns only 1000 hills, but the other 23,300,242 hills don't belong to Him? No. Everyone recognizes that 1000 is used over and over in the Old Testament to refer to the "full number" of something.
I won't bore you with more examples, but the point is that whenever common symbolic numbers of the Old Testament come up, we need to ask, "Is this being used symbolically or literally in this passage?" It could be either, and the intellectually-honest Premillennial commentators like Mounce agree. He says,
Nothing in the immediate context favors either interpretation. It is the larger concern to find a consistent millennial position that leads exegetes to commit themselves on the meaning of the thousand years."
And that is precisely what I have done. Numerous details of structure and exegesis have forced me to conclude that this is using the number 1000 just like the Old Testament did - as a symbol of the full number of years until God ordains for Jesus to come back. It's a synonym for the Hebrew word olam (עוֹלָם).
But actually, there is just a little bit more involved in that number. The number 10 is also the number of fullness or completion, so what is the difference between 10 and 1000? The answer is that 1000 is 10 amplified. We are not just looking for fullness or completion; it is the perfection of fullness or completion of God’s purposes. It is a trinity of 10s. So 10x10x10=1000 and points to the perfection of time when all things have been placed under Christ's feet. It is such a beautiful symbol.
The results of Satan's binding
And it ties in with the results of the binding that are mentioned in our text. The Majority Text of verse 2 says that in AD 66 (when the book was being written) Satan was currently deceiving the whole inhabited earth. The New King James doesn't have that phrase, but the majority of Greek manuscripts do, and certainly the Ecclesiastical text does. And then verse 3 gives the reversal. It says he is imprisoned with this result: "so that he should not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years were finished."
Now, consider that. In AD 66 there were many Roman Gentiles who had become Christians, but verse 2 says that the entire empire was still deceived. So this is not simply talking about deception of individuals and conversion of individuals. It is talking about the deception of nations and then the conversion of nations. That's why later in chapter 20 and into chapter 21 it is a converted earth. The lack of deceiving in verse 3 must be interpreted in contrast to the deceiving of the entire empire in the majority text of verse 2. And only the Postmillennial interpretation does justice to that.
AD 70 and following begins the fulfillment of the Great Commission where entire nations (as nations) become Christian and entire nations are baptized (as mandated in the Great Commission). It predicts the progress of the Gospel will eventually be so glorious that the Old Testament promises of beating swords into plowshares, peace, prosperity, knowledgeable application of the Word of God, and the Christianization of every square inch of planet earth will indeed happen. Just as pervasively as Satan and his demons had deceived the whole inhabited earth prior to AD 70 and kept them in bondage (that's verse 2) - to the same degree the deception will be removed and true knowledge of God will happen over the course of Christ's kingdom. The in-deception will be just as universal. So the Majority Text is particularly clear about the conversion of all nations. Now he will go on to say it explicitly later, but it is found even in these words.
The loosing of Satan for a short time
Our discussion of the loosing of Satan for a short time and the deception of nations for a short time will have to wait till verses 7-10. But I'll give you a sneak peak by saying that it won't be a deception of nations that are alive before Christ's coming. That is a common error of both Postmils and Amils. It will be the deception of the nations that are resurrected on the last day of history. On one day the Abyss will be emptied of the trillions of demons and humans that have gone there, and after that resurrection Satan will seek to deceive the newly resurrected nations that they have one last chance for freedom. He will convinced them to fight with all their might against God and God's people in one last stand on the last day of history. In glorified bodies they will make a mad rush at God's people. But God will then intervene, prevent anything from happening, and judge the sheep and goats.
Conclusion - three applications
If all of this is true (and I am 100% convinced that it is), then what difference should it make? Three things:
First, it means that Christ is not coming back for a long time. The doctrine of the imminence of the Second Coming is a blatantly false doctrine. It has never been a test of orthodoxy. In fact, liberals have mocked modern Christians over prophecies of imminence that Futurists claim have not happened. We have seen that every imminent passage was indeed fulfilled to a t shortly after it was prophesied. So the first application is that we must not expect Christ to come back soon. His soon appearing in judgment (only in the skies) was soon, but His Second Coming to earth is consistently said to be after a long time - after the "olam."
When the church is convinced of that fact, it will stop engaging in the failed short-term strategies that they have been addicted to and will start planning and working for the long haul. We will build solid foundations that will last. We must have multi-generational plans. That's one of the reasons for the upcoming conference on covenant succession. Just think of economics alone. If instead of investing for our retirement (that's just one generation), we instead start making plans on how to build wealth and pass on wealth so that succeeding generations can leverage that wealth for God's kingdom, think of the financial leverage that our great-great grandchildren will have. Instead of barely scraping by, they will have billions of dollars for kingdom expansion at their disposal. As long as we stick to short-term strategies alone (our generation alone), we are not being driven by our eschatology.
Second, if what I have said is true, it means that our work on evangelism has not yet been finished - not by a long shot. We cannot be satisfied with millions or even billions of individual conversions to Christ. We should make sure these billions are taught the Scriptures so thoroughly that the very nations become Christian in all of their actions. We must work till every demon is flushed from the earth. We must work till all deception is removed from the nations. According to the Old Testament, there will be no nations still deceived; there will be no demonic United Nations at some point in history. There will be no need for a military. Imagine that - our biggest budget item gone. We must work for a Christianized world.
Third, our work of dominion has only just begun. We are in the infancy of applying the Bible to all of life. You've heard me say that many times. But I also think that we are in the infancy of taking dominion. Someone told me the other day that they read an essay that said that we will never again have the degree of technological breakthroughs that the last century saw. I say, "No. Scripture itself would seem to indicate technological breakthroughs and growth in knowledge that we cannot even imagine." I don't see Moore's Law as stopping any time soon.
I won't discuss some of the specifics of technology that the Bible speaks to. I don't have time for that. But let me mention one big picture item - our work on cosmology and the way the universe works. My Uncle Mark has shown me books on a new Christian cosmology that may well herald another paradigm shift from Einsteinian physics to something more Biblical. The Christian who is writing on this subject is an absolute genius. And it is coming just as the pagan paradigm is beginning to collapse. If you want something to blow your mind on the weakness of the pagan paradigm, watch "The Principle" at theprinciplemovie.com. It demonstrates that modern cosmology is crumbling. And it demonstrates it from their own mouths. It’s a fascinating film. But there needs to be something Biblical to replace it. In any case, the Bible has numerous hints that our dominion is going to keep going for a long time. And again, we should approach it with a long-term perspective.
For handouts referenced, here are electronic versions
Last Days handout: https://kaysercommentary.com/Blogs/Last%20Days%20BeginBC.md
The general chiastic structure of the text Revelation can be seen here: https://revelation.biblicalblueprints.org/structure/text This text can be toggled between Greek and English, and parallel parts of the chiasm can be compared by collapsing the outline
Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 360. ↩
John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 978. ↩
Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 361. ↩
Leon Morris, Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 20, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 223–224. ↩
Duncan W. McKenzie, The Antichrist and the Second Coming: a Preterist Examination. Volume II: The Book of Revelation (Xulon Press, 2012), p. 398. ↩
John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: REvelation 12-22 (Chicago: Moody Publications, 2000), p. 235. ↩
http://www.scripturerevealed.com/bible-studies/the-meaning-of-numbers-the-number-1000/ This website has a very short introduction to the symbolism of 1000. ↩
Allan A. Macrae, “ע,” TWOT, 2:672. ↩
Just use a concordance to find other examples. Here are two more: Isaiah 60:22 speaks of the times of Messiah when "A little one shall become a thousand," referring to the Abrahamic promise of a full and uncountable seed. Cowles says, "We may trace an allusion here to the promise made to Abraham, that from himself alone, even in his old age, after all hope of offspring had nearly died within his heart, and he was thus a little and a small one, there should yet be 'so many as the stars of heaven for multitude.'—God will hasten this in its time." Henry Cowles, Isaiah; With Notes, Critical, Explanatory and Practical (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1869), 497." Likewise, Psalm 84:10 says, "A day in the courts of the Lord is better than a 1000 days anywhere else." Beale summarizes the evidence, saying, "One thousand is used often as both a literal temporal and a nontemporal indicator in the OT and NT (nontemporal figurative uses in Deut. 1:10–11; 32:30; Josh. 23:10; Job 9:3; 33:23; Pss. 68:17; 50:10; Cant. 4:4; Isa. 7:23; 30:17; 60:22 LXX; Dan. 7:10; Amos 5:3; temporal figurative uses in Deut. 7:9; Ps. 84:10; Eccl. 6:6; 7:28; Jub. 30:20). Especially noteworthy is 1 Chron. 16:15–17 (= Ps. 105:8–10), where God’s “covenant forever” and his “everlasting covenant” are equated with “the word that he commanded to a thousand generations.” Whether “a thousand years” in Ps. 90:4 and 2 Pet. 3:8 is literal or figurative is debated, though the latter is probable, as attested by early Jewish interpretation of Ps. 90:4: Sir. 18:9–11 substitutes “a few years” for the “thousand years” of Psalm 90, while 2 Bar. 48:12–13 and pseudo-Philo 19:13a respectively substitute “hours … and days” and “this age [reading seculum instead of celum, “heaven”].” Likewise figurative is CD (ms. A) 7.5–6 (“the covenant of God is assurance that they will live for a thousand generations [= eternal life]”) and 4QpPsa 2.1 (“the converts of the desert who will live for a thousand generations … [and to them will belong all the glory] … forever”)." G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 1018. ↩
Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 362. ↩