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.

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