Written by Paul J Bucknell on January, 02, 2023
At the Millennium’s End (Revelation 20:1-10)
A Selective Discussion on Satan’s Release and Global Rule and Deception
1 And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (Rev 20:1-3, NASB)
This thousand-year era, only mentioned in Revelation 20:1-10, interestingly does not clearly describe what happens during the millennium age, though 20:4-6 affirms God’s care for His people. This vagueness has undoubtedly aided in the confusion about the nature of the millennium, its length, and its chronological relation to the church period. Most notably, it reveals how the millennium’s beginning and end link with Satan’s worldwide power.
I’m taking the most natural viewpoint that the final release of the evil one happens at the end of the millennium, occurring just before the final judgment at the end of the great tribulation period at the end of the age. The release of Satan ushers into the final period. I’ll avoid presenting the various viewpoints as I already have done elsewhere. I also showed how Revelation’s usage of symbolic numbers, non-chronological markers, style (chiastic), doctrinal conflict, and recapitulated themes compel us to view Revelation 20:1-10 as the closing-out period of the church age, ushering in the final judgment before the new heavens and earth. I will also skip any discussion on verses 4-6, the details of the judgment, and the general resurrection.
The main reason for our selected focus is to provide biblical support for the connection of deception and globalism with the devil’s release, which has offered significant, much-repeated signs in our current age.
After presenting biblical observations in Revelation of the devil’s release and its possible connection with the recent global reset efforts, I’ll reflect on how this might interconnect with our world. After all, Satan’s release is to make us aware and warned.
“Until the thousand years were completed; after these things he (the devil) must be released for a short time” (Rev 20:3).
A. The Biblical Teaching of the Coming Global Threat (Rev 20:1-3,7-10)
The chief marker of the millennial age’s closing of 1000 symbolic years is the brief release of Satan, bringing in globalism and renewed persecution, which will usher in the final judgment, the second coming of Jesus, and the promise of the new world. God’s angel will release Satan, also known as the devil, the serpent of old, and the dragon (halfway through the tribulation?) for a brief period (20:2). Verses 4-6 are interposed in the middle of the otherwise unified section of 20:1-10. The repetitive assurance of briefness indicates God’s complete purposes will be accomplished, and nothing will go awry, assuring us of evil’s end; all is in His hand—unlike Zoroastrianism, which permits evil to ongoingly struggle with good. God’s angel releases him, suggesting a controlled purpose, though things look chaotic from an earthly point of view.
The source of the escalated trouble seen earlier in Revelation is now revealed—nothing but the devil and his fury (Ez 28; Is 14). I’ll primarily keep the discussion within the bounds of the Book of Revelation.
The heavenly angel took the devil, a great chain, and “bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him” (Rev 20:1-3). These definitive actions depict an unparalleled treatment of the devil “so that he should not deceive the nations any longer” (Rev 20:3). Our focus, like the Scriptures, is not on what happened during the millennium and depicted earlier in Revelation, including chapters 2-3, but on what happens upon his release.
The “until” indicates that immense global changes will occur on the earth once he is released. “Until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time” (Rev 20:3).
Revelation is not a chronological presentation of end-time events but a presentation of recurring themes with added clarity and finality. These verses record the final attempt of the evil one to regain authority over the earth and seize the people over whom he has power. We get proof of the devil’s evil character through how he treats those under him, bringing pain and death (Rev 13:11-18; 16). The Lord arranges for this brief portrait of darkness to display the glory of Jesus Christ’s kingdom unequivocally. There is no real contest, as the “short time” (Rev 12:12; Mark 13:20) reveals that God has the upper hand. Verses 7-9 manifest his final, flailing, and failed efforts, summarizing the earlier depiction of the great invasion (Rev 16:16, 19:19-20).
7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Rev 20:7-9)
Verse 8 again states clearly the devil’s purpose, once allowed out of his prison—“will come out to deceive the nations” (Rev 20:7). We are less concerned with the battle’s details in verses 8-10, as they have already been leaked out, starting in Ezekiel 28 and throughout Revelation, especially in the prior section at the end of chapter 19. Also, because the dragon’s end is sure (see verse 10), our primary focus is the eruption of global trouble, forming the two following detectable marks of Satan’s release.
1. The Mark of Mass Deception
Delusion and deception are terms associated with the antichrist and Satan, working behind the scenes in Daniel, Paul, and Jesus —besides those in Revelation.
“He will practice deception” (Dan 11:22).
“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” (—Jesus, Mark 13:33).
“9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false” (2 Thes 2:9-11).
Our major focus, however, is on how ‘deceive’ is used seven times of the evil one in Revelation, three times from our Revelation 20:1-10 passage!
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Rev 12:9).
“And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life” (Rev 13:14).
“And the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Rev 18:23).
“And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone” (Rev 19:20).
“And he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time” (Rev 20:3).
“And will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore” (Rev 20:8).
“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev 20:10).
The devil’s efforts oppose the Lord’s ways, who is “true and righteous” (Rev 16:7). “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war” (Rev 19:11).
Deception uses falsehood to hoodwink, steal, and manipulate people. Deception is the opposite of honesty, even as darkness only can exist in the void of truth and light. Though used by people and governments in the past, social media brings this deception to a new level due to the daily use of a person’s phone and computer device. Neural implants threaten to obliterate any discernment, having us assume the input as true and trustworthy.
False news can only, with difficulty and research, be separated from the truth. One day a report is called extremism, but then the next, its campaign to label it extremism is found to have ulterior motives. News is no longer the result of good journalistic research but propaganda, a series of sinister messages to guide the unknowing into Satan’s nest of delusion. Deception utilizes lies, confusion, and outright falsehood, all webbed in a net of darkness. Jesus’ appearance and glorious light will expose the devil’s lies.
However, let’s understand that no matter how bad it might be now, when Satan is released, most will be deceived—they won’t detect the dragon’s lies.
To summarize, God imprisoned the devil so he “would not deceive the nations any longer”… after these things he must be released for a short time” (Rev 20:3). God limited the amount of deception while he was imprisoned. After he is released, he predictably will “come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth” (Rev 20:8). We should expect a significant increase of deception at some point, where people will follow the two beasts, receive his mark, and offer their worship to Satan (Rev 13:3-6). Reflections on our current world’s situation are given later in part 2.
Let’s look at the second mark of the devil.
2. The Mark of Global Occupation
Many have scoffed at the chaining of the devil, describing the devil’s limited powers on earth during the church’s age (acc. to the amillennial interpretation). But this is what our text clearly states, though we can debate the timing. I hardly think there is a need to start with an idyllic millennium to show the significant increase of evil. However, the devil is limited today, it will get much worse upon his release. The devil, while imprisoned, uses his many demons to do his work to hinder the growth of God’s kingdom, but he cannot hinder the Gospel from reaching the nations!
The Lord has held off a global occupation of the earth in complete rebellion to His plan and kingship. This enables the gospel to go off to the nations, saving millions. The final implementation of God’s global plan must wait until the dragon’s release from his prison, the abyss. Then, Satan, being entirely deceived and deluded, will complete his plan to control the earth’s four corners.
“7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev 20:7-10)
The emphasis on “the four corners of the earth” delineate the world as we now know it, differentiating this situation from the countries surrounding Israel. Just as Jesus’ truth has gone out to the nations, the snare of darkness will arise and spread from Argentina to Japan and New Zealand to Greenland. Let’s look at the testimony of the Book of Revelation.
Twenty times “nations” is used in Revelation (NASB), sometimes referring to God’s kingdom but mostly depicting Satan’s wicked rule over the whole world. The word ‘nations’ comes from the commonly-used Greek word ethos, meaning Gentiles or nations—non-Jews. We should remember that the Lord first assures that the Gospel went out to the nations before this most devious time (Rom 11:12,25—translated Gentiles here; Rev 7:2-4). When used, “tongues” refers to different people using varying languages.
Below are 11 uses of the word nations in Revelation—twice from our passage—alluding to the evil one’s brief totalitarian control of the nations—think globalism of the worst kind.
“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.” (Rev 11:2)
“Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.” (Rev 11:9)
“And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18)
“And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.” (Rev 14:8)
“The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.” (Rev 16:19)
“And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.” (Rev 17:15)
“For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” (Rev 18:3)
“And the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.” (Rev 18:23)
“From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” (Rev 19:15)
“And he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.” (Rev 20:3)
“And will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.” (Rev 20:8)
Observations of these “Nations” in Revelation
• This emphasis on the evil one’s global domination starts in chapter 11 and goes up to 20, where the word ‘nations’ becomes oft-used, emphasizing what happens after Satan is released.
• Though troubles and hints of globalization, such as in trade, will occur earlier, they will not compare to the destructive forces released when the devil himself comes upon the scene, seizing all power and worship for himself, horribly destroying those who hold faithful to the Lord. This global campaign only happens once the devil is released, accompanied by a deluge of fake, persuasive information.
• Sorcery powers and “great men” will be associated with the deception campaign, “for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Rev 18:23). Today, they are called billionaires, oligarchs, and CEOs of international companies.
• Satan’s purpose is to gather the people of the world to smash the one nation of Israel— “gather them together for the war” (Rev 20:8). Though quashing the saints everywhere, he seeks to eliminate Israel and so brings God and Magog from the north against them. There is some debate on whether the nation of Israel is pointed here, but this is the place of Har-Magedon (Rev 16:16).
The Usage of World
Though the word ‘nations' is convincingly used many times, the word ‘world’ is also used three times to describe the evil one’s purpose of world domination. He grabs all power to squash his enemy. The word in Rev 12:9 and 16:14 is not ‘cosmos’ but means the ‘inhabited earth (oykoumen’ay), while 17:8 states the inhabitants on the earth.
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Rev 12:9)
“For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” (Rev 16:14)
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” (Rev 17:8)
The Global Conflict—God Wins, the Lamb Overcomes
This global rule directly opposes God’s rule over the nations and His plans. It’s a full-scale rebellion against “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:5).
“He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations” (Rev 2:26)
“And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” (Rev 12:5)
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Rev 3:10)
“Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Rev 11:15)
The dragon leaves other marks, including an open display of a crude, immoral, Christ-hating spirit, but that is obvious and too broad, going beyond our purpose. But from above, we can expect at the end of this age that a worldwide effort of totalitarian control will come upon the earth, persuading people to follow this evil one, promising help but bringing catastrophic disaster and grievous pain to the devil’s followers, concluding with the eternal final judgment (Rev 20:10).
B. Reflections on Today’s World
This section might be looked at skeptically by some. I remember some criticizing efforts to apply their eschatological studies to help God’s people. In the seventies, it was said the Bible was open in one hand and the newspaper in the other, seeing how these truths would work themselves out. Agreed, many mistakingly applied their teachings; however, waves of dark patterns will precede the end. They will look like the end but only characterize it. For example, consider the outbursts of vitriolic hatred some have for Israel.
I have purposefully focused on the two repeated marks of the endgame: deception and globalism. These two repeatedly-used markers serve as warnings for God’s people. This does not mean there are no other periods of darkness or evil schemes using deception. There are, and I will list, many happening currently that concur with these two major marks. But these might pass on before a more extraordinary wave of evil comes at the end.
Though we face much deception and globalism, Revelation describes worse scenes yet to arrive. They will come.
The purpose of chapter 20:1-10’s revelation is to comfort God’s people during oppressive dark times, to establish their loyalty to the Lamb, and to build up discernment, avoiding deception.
We need to prepare ourselves—something for which the church is ill-prepared. Some still insist that the church will be raptured out of the picture, taking any sense of caution from them. All the suffering Christians portrayed throughout Revelation do not give us this picture. Christians will suffer, some greatly.
Here are some current dangers, not mere speculations, that hurl us toward globalism today. I will not put web links here to keep us focused, but I am compelled to generally warn all about how these events make us susceptible to a world government that the evil one will, in the end, temporarily control. But again, threats, deceitful schemes, and plans of globalism are just that until Satan is released, who brings it all together in a brazen show of evil for a very short period.
• Numerous world organizations (e.g., WHO, United Nations, etc.) openly aim to secure control over the peoples of the earth.
• These organizations have secured funding by having larger governments fund them—often through climate policies.
• The recent decade's economic policies of zero percent interest policies have led most countries, businesses, pension funds, and families into crippling debt. Today’s world has an unprecedented global debt (over 300 trillion), making us susceptible to complete control.
• CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies) have arrived, with many more planned to come out in 2023. The aim is to bring everyone under direct reliance upon them for their livelihood, enabling the governments to trace spending, track people, and censor spending. China already serves as a model.
• Disasters, only seen in small ways now, will mount, causing famine, little available energy, pain, disease, and much death.
• There will be wars and rumors of wars. Even now, further troubles exacerbate the present wars and bombings. Threats of nuclear bombs are surprisingly used often by numerous nations.
• Super-rich businessmen have come to the forefront of the world, often boasting of their means and desires to control the world.
• The agenda of destroying the USA’s control of the world currency enable a restructuring of the world.
• With the fast-coming arrival of robots and AI, many small businesses will disappear, and people will become further dependent on the government (which will be one world government in the end).
• Digital vaccine passports, implants of different kinds, are now occurring—not just something for the future.
• Some world leaders and groups seem happy with the destruction of large swaths of the earth’s population. Satan delights in death (John 10:10).
• The WEF confidently announces and sponsors numerous global “reset” ideas.
• The United Nations supports a new international religion associated with climate control, which might play a critical role in seizing world control (see harlot; ref: COP27)
• Unheard of immorality and injustice of every kind are openly brandished and defended.
• Christians are increasingly under threat of persecution.
• Deception and censorship are being masterfully used to control countries and subdue unwanted opinions and publicity.
There are many other signs, some connected with the recent advances of Israel, including in its recent past regaining nationhood and the recent development of gas offshore. The scriptures seem clear that the forces of the north will descend upon Israel. The world and Europe are reshaping, making it an opportune time for war.
Let’s keep these two most significant markers in sight: great delusion and worldwide domination.
While the other events above are evident, we live by faith, not by sight. If this is the time for the evil one to be released, a cruel tyranny and great deceit will accompany him. But even if so, it will be but for a brief time. God will care for His people. This is not our home and remains a time to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
The timing remains uncertain. Many pointers and signs surround us and increase weekly. However, we need to wait until the evil one is released. Without this, the globalists’ plans will fail, even though great and powerful individuals seek control of the world. Revelation 20:1-10 convince us, however, even if what we see fails, and we gain a reprieve, world tyranny will occur, marking Satan’s release from prison and unprecedented delusion will be seen. But it will be brief.
Discussion Questions on Revelation 20:1-10
- Read Revelation 20:1-3 and 7-10. What stands out in these verses?
- What are two large markers from this passage associated with Satan’s release?
- Quote three verses from Revelation that support the first marker.
- Do you see any deception around you? Explain.
- Do you think the confusion of truth and the use of social media are precursors to this great delusion?
- Quote three verses from Revelation that support the latter.
- Explain whether you see any signs pointing to a coming global dictator around you.
- Has globalism come fully around yet? What does its delay tell you about Satan’s release?
- What are God's purposes in this prophecy in Rev 20:1-10?
- What brings you the most comfort from this passage? Why?
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