In Revelation 20:1, 2, Satan is bound with “a great chain” and placed in “the bottomless pit” for 1000 years. The expression, “a great chain,” doesn’t mean a literal gold, silver, or metallic chain. Even today, all of “the angels that sinned” are described in the Bible as being in “chains of darkness” (2 Peter 2:4). These words do not refer to actual clinking, clanging chains, but rather to the chains of darkness these angels find themselves in after having been cast out of heaven. During the 1000 years, Satan is represented as being bound with a chain. Why is this? Because the new circumstances he finds himself in will prevent him from deceiving the nations during the millennium (Revelation 20:2).
What about the expression, “the bottomless pit”? If you pick up any concordance, and look up the word “pit” in the Old Testament, and you will see how many times it refers to a grave, a cemetery, or to the place of the dead.
- Ps. 55:23 – Evil men will go “down into the pit of destruction.”
- Nu. 16:32,33 – “the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up … into the pit.”
- Ezek. 32:22,23 – “his graves are about him … in the sides of the pit … all of them slain.”
- Ezek. 31:16 – “them that descend into the pit … in the nether parts of the earth.”
- Ps. 28:1 – David prayed not to “become like them that go down to the pit.”
- Ps. 69:15 – “Let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.”
- Ps. 94:13 – “until the pit [the grave] be digged for the wicked.”
Isaiah 14 contains one of the Old Testaments clearest prophecies about Lucifer. He was cast out of heaven (vs. 12) for exalting himself (vs. 13). Yet he is to be brought down “to the sides of the pit” (vs. 15). Verses 18-21 parallel the prophecy in Revelation 20:1-3. Notice carefully what the prophet predicted: “All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house [the grave]. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet. Thou shall not be joined with them in burial.” These verses predict a time when all the nations are slain and lie in their graves, yet Satan will not join them in burial. He will be left to wander among the ruins of Earth.
Notice carefully the words of the prophet: “Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, thou inhabitant of the earth … The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be moved like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in prison, and after many days shall they be visited” (Isaiah 24:17 – 22). Here we have a prediction of a totally destroyed and devastated earth. It’s inhabitants are gathered as prisoners in the pit [the grave], yet after many days they shall be visited.
Thus when Revelation 20:1-3 describes Satan as bound with a chain for 1000 years, this means that a chain of circumstances will prevent him from deceiving the nations. The major circumstance is the return of Jesus Christ in “flaming fire” (2 Thess. 2:8), the “sudden destruction” of sinners (1 Thessalonians 5:3), the largest earthquake in history (Revelation 16:18), the global crumbling of cities (Revelation 16:19), the disappearing of mountains and islands (Revelation 16:20), and the total depopulation of planet Earth just like “it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37-39). This “great day of the Lord” will come “as a destruction from the Almighty” (Joel 1:15). “And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be as dung upon the ground” (Jeremiah 25:33).
Planet Earth will then be like one gigantic bottomless pit, like a huge cemetery. Jeremiah predicted: “I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger” (Jeremiah 4:23-26). As Satan and his angels behold their kingdom in ruins, they can only wander about, counsel together, and contemplate with trembling the final events to occur at the end of the 1000 years.
Then those who lie dead in their graves “shall be visited” (Isaiah 24:22).
There is more to come!