Arrested, bound and thrown into the pit – Friday, 34th Week in ordinary time – Revelation 20:1-4,11, 21:2

Arrested, bound and thrown into the pit – Friday, 34th Week in ordinary time – Revelation 20:1-4,11, 21:2

Babylon has fallen (Rev. 18:1) and with a mighty millstone an angel threw it in the sea. (Rev. 18:21). Alas for the great city, clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels and with pearls (Rev. 18:16). In chapter 18 the song of victory, the great Hallelujah is proclaimed four times in praise of God. Rome and its evil emperors who have persecuted the Christians in Rome and Asia Minor are defeated; so is Satan the tool and instrument of this neo-Babylonian nation. Now the millennial reign of God begins.

It has been evident that God’s judgments in this book are frequently carried out by some representative of the angelic host. Chapter 20 opens with the mention of an unnamed angel holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. Satan who has been described by various names, such as, the dragon, the ancient serpent, and the Devil, is bound, thrown into the pit, and confined in this abyss for a thousand years. His power to deceive mankind is thus terminated, though the warning is added that, at the
end of the millennium, he is to be loosed for a little while.

Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ’s resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God’s people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin; cf. Rom 6:1–8; Jn 5:24–25; 16:33; 1 Jn 3:14; Eph 2:1.

Chapter 20:11-15 also speak of the Last Judgment. After the intermediate reign of Christ, all the dead are raised and judged, thus inaugurating the new age. God alone is the judge. He sits on a great white throne, emblematic of his power and purity. All but the martyrs, who have been raised in the first resurrection (chapter7), all dead, both just and wicked, stand before the Judge. They are judged from the heavenly records that have been kept, the book of life for the faithful (Rev 3:5) and other books for the wicked and idolatrous. Their recorded works are the basis of their acceptance or rejection.

Finally, John views a new creation. All that God made in the beginning is removed. With the coming of a new heaven and a new earth. The new Jerusalem descends and is personified as a bride made ready for Christ (Rev 19:7-9). It is to be the eternal dwelling place of the church, the redeemed community. God himself will dwell with men, will comfort them, will support them. Grief, pain, and death shall be no more. All this belonged to the former dispensation and has no place in the new and G od will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Rev. 7:17c; Isa. 25:8).

Finally, in Revelations 20:3 we are told once again that satan in a deceiver. Many Christians think that Satan is a name for the devil. Satan is the description of his works; satan means the one who deceives. This is an interesting job description for the most evil power in the world. Yet he employs the simplest technique, that of deception. And so, he continues to say that God does not exist, why believe in him, why go to Sunday Mass, why make your confession, why…….

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