Revelation 20:7

(7) And when the thousand years are expired.--Rather, And when the thousand years have been finished. The binding of Satan implied restraint put upon his power and freedom of action; the loosing means the removing of these restraints. The reign of Christ with His saints has been a witness to the power of our Master over the wicked one. This witness has been an opportunity also to the world. It was the earthly approximation to the ideal picture. It testified how completely "all power in heaven and in earth was given to Christ," and how there lay, therefore, within the reach of men the power of Him who would tread down their true enemies, and turn His hand against their adversaries (Psalm 81:13-14). But the time of opportunity must end. "O that Israel would have hearkened," is a cry that might have its counterpart over the history of earth's lost opportunities. Christendom is planted in the world to be a framework of regenerating power to mankind, just as the Law and its adjuncts were designed to be in Israel. But, as there the old idolatrous influences broke in upon the rule of God's covenant, so here do we find the vision picturing to us how Christendom will be invaded by the influences of the evil one, when mankind has let slip this splendid opportunity of a really golden age.

Verse 7. - And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison; are finished; that is, the power of the devil having been in principle completely overthrown by our Lord (see on preceding verses), Satan is still permitted to wage war and exercise sway on the earth. "His prison" is the "abyss" of vers. 1, 3 (cf. also ver. 3).

20:7-10 While this world lasts, Satan's power in it will not be wholly destroyed, though it may be limited and lessened. No sooner is Satan let loose, than he again begins deceiving the nations, and stirring them up to make war with the saints and servants of God. It would be well if the servants and ministers of Christ were as active and persevering in doing good, as his enemies in doing mischief. God will fight this last and decisive battle for his people, that the victory may be complete, and the glory be to himself.And when the thousand years are expired,.... Which are not yet expired; not in the year 1000, or 1033 or 4, reckoning from the birth or death of Christ, when Paganism, which had been destroyed in the Gentile world, was introduced into the church, which bore the Christian name, through the man of sin; for this had been bringing in by degrees more or less from the times of Constantine; whence it appears, that Satan in this respect was loose before, and therefore this was not the time of his loosing; nor in 1073, reckoning from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the carrying and spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles, in which year Hildebrand came to the popedom, who may be truly called the brand of hell; Damianus, a brother cardinal, who lived at the same time with him when he was archdeacon of Rome, calls him the holy devil; he was an impostor, sorcerer, and necromancer, and by wicked arts got into the Papal chair; this pope raised the Papal power over princes to a very great height, and made the see of Rome absolutely independent, and all bishops dependent on it; he forbid bishops receiving their investiture from the emperor, or any lay person, under pain of excommunication: this is the pope that made the emperor, with his empress and child, wait three days barefoot at his gates, in the depth of winter, before they could be admitted to him; that doctrine of devils, forbidding priests to marry, was established by him; and in his days that monstrous and absurd notion of transubstantiation began to prevail, though he himself used his breaden god but very roughly; for taking it to be really God, he required an answer from it against the emperor; but it not speaking, he threw it into the fire, and burnt it. Now it will be allowed, that the devil was loose at this time, but then so he was before: there had been popes before this who were conjurers, necromancers, and had familiarity and confederacy with the devil; and near five hundred years before this time, the pope was declared universal bishop by Phocas; and the forbidding priests marriage was started in the council of Nice, and was approved of by Pope Siricius, long before this time, though it was now more firmly established; add to this, that if the expiration of the 1000 years and the loosing of Satan were at this time, he must have been loosed near 700 years, which can never be called a little season, as in Revelation 20:3 especially in comparison of the 1000 years, the time of his binding; when it is two thirds of that time: nor did these years expire in or about 1300, reckoning from Constantine, about which time Pope Boniface the Eighth lived, of whom it is said, that he came in like a fox, railed like a lion, and died like a dog; upon his accession to the popedom, he instituted a jubilee, and on the first day he appeared in his pontifical habit, and gave the benediction to the people, and on the next day he clothed himself with an imperial habit, and put on a rich diadem, and sat on a throne, with a naked sword bore before him, when he uttered these words, "Ecce hic duo gladii", "Behold here are two swords", referring to Luke 22:38 which the Papists would have understood of the temporal and spiritual power which Peter and his successors are possessed of; at the same time Ottoman was crowned emperor of the Mahometan nations, who founded the Turkish empire, and spread the Mahometan religion in Asia and Greece; and by both these, great disturbances and wars were occasioned, both in the east and west: but still this does not make it appear that now was the time of Satan's loosing; since before this time the Papal power was at its utmost height, and the Mahometan religion had been hundreds of years in the world, and had greatly prevailed; and therefore Satan must be loosed before; and indeed it is in vain to seek after the expiration of these years, and the loosing of Satan, when as yet the years are not begun, nor has Satan been bound, as has been shown on Revelation 20:2 but however, when they will be ended,

Satan shall be loosed out of his prison; during the thousand years he will be in a state of confinement, being bound, shut, and sealed up in the bottomless pit, which is therefore here called a prison, as is the place of damned spirits, in 1 Peter 3:19 but when these will be at an end; his chain will be taken off, at least will be lengthened; the seal upon him will be broken off, the bottomless pit will be opened, and he let loose; which will be done not by himself, but by him that bound him, or by divine permission.

Revelation 20:6
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