Peeling the Onion: Revelation 20:1-10

Visualize another great angel,

Coming down from the heavens,

To chain and lock Satan, the Devil,

In the bottomless pit,

Unable to continue that reign of terror,

The tribulations evoked earlier in the vision

The big powers of evil are sequestered,

Restrained and contained

Making safe space for former victims

There is room now for war crimes adjudication,

Of the villains and victims of the terror

By the magistrates of God –

Till the Devil is released again,

gathering forces from 4 corners,

Gog and Magog,

for a final battle

he will lose

to fire from heaven

then join the beast and the false prophet,

in the burning lake of fire.

Why does popular culture insist

that individuals are selected

for burning in that lake of fire –

populating ‘hell’ with some of us,

and ‘heaven’ with others us,

when it is the collective entities,

‘bigger than us, smaller than God’,

Who are burned up

to give us all heavenly sanctuary?

Are we living now before the ‘thousand years’,

During them – or waiting for them to start?

I argue our tradition is a-millennial,

saying ‘yes’ to envision all 3 options!

NJB Millennium

1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain.

2 He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years.

3 He hurled him into the Abyss and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not lead the nations astray again until the thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.

4 Then I saw thrones, where they took their seats, and on them was conferred the power to give judgment. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God's word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not accept the brand mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over; this is the first resurrection.

6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection; the second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of Christ and reign with him for a thousand years.

7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison

8 and will come out to lead astray all the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, and mobilise them for war, his armies being as many as the sands of the sea.

9 They came swarming over the entire country and besieged the camp of the saints, which is the beloved City. But fire rained down on them from heaven and consumed them.

10 Then the devil, who led them astray, was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their torture will not come to an end, day or night, for ever and ever.

NSRV Millennium

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.

2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

3and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

4 Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

6Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

7 When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison

8and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea.

9They marched up over the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from heaven and consumed them.

10And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.