We see the meaning of the millennium by understanding what John sees in the three paragraphs of this morning’s text:

Verses 1-3 Satan ____________________.

Verses 4-6 Saints ______________________.

Verses 7-10 Sinfulness ____________________.

Put these three truths together to get the meaning of the millennium:


“thousand years” verse 2 Contrast this with other (much smaller) time periods in the book. John makes a point similar to Paul’s in Romans 8:18: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us,” and 2 Corinthians 4:17, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” In the context, the thousand years of Satan’s imprisonment contrast with the short time he’s freed

“must be set free” verse 3 As in 1:1; 4:1; 10:11; 11:5; 17:10, and 22:6, “must” underscores divine sovereignty. It must take place as written because God has so determined.

“they came to life” verse 4 Seems to indicate physical resurrection, not inward experience: one of the main reasons for the premillennial interpretation of Revelation 20. “first resurrection” verses 5,6 Implies a second. Yet when “the rest of the dead come to life” it is not called a resurrection, only “the second death” or “lake of fire.” The first resurrection is the one that matters, and the second death is the one that matters.

“Gog and Magog” verse 8 The nations Satan deceives are given names from Ezekiel 38-39. G.B. Caird wrote that when Gog and Magog’s armies are destroyed, “John’s emotional attitude toward them is very much like that of a modern reader of science fiction, who can contemplate with equanimity the liquidation of Mars-men with a ray gun, because they do not belong to the ordered structure of human existence. They come from . . . the outlandish territory beyond the bounds of civilization.”