Bible Society of South Africa

A thousand years of peace? - 28 June 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

The Thousand Years

1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the abyss and a heavy chain.

Revelation 20:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

From chapter 13 to chapter 20, we see a number of visions that describe the battle between the church and Satan. We are not going to discuss it in detail, but just touch on a few issues. Again, please keep in mind that the book was written to comfort the faithful during a time of severe persecution by Rome. In these mentioned chapters, Rome is seen as the modern Babylon, the place of spiritual exile. Babylon can also be seen in a wider perspective as the world that is hostile towards the church.

We see a vision of a beast from the sea, a beast from earth and a false prophet. Do not think about three separate creatures. It is meant as a sum total of Satan. John’s readers would see Rome as the beasts and the false prophet. The message of these chapters is still, that no matter what Satan tried to do to the church, Jesus is the victor, and the church and its members will also be victorious. In Revelation 19:11, we see Jesus again as the rider on the white horse, the symbol of total victory.

In our verse today, we read that after the battle in heaven, Satan will be bound for a thousand years and there will be peace on earth during that time. People who interpret Revelation in a literal way, believe that there will be a kingdom that will rule for a thousand years and bring about complete peace for that length of time. To other interpreters, it is the time between the ascension and second coming of Jesus. Another opinion is that it is meant for the martyrs who were not rewarded with a long life, as they died young while serving God. They will now be rewarded with a thousand years of peace. We might not know exactly what is meant by the thousand years of peace, but the most likely interpretation is that it refers to the time between ascension and the second coming. What we do know is that since Jesus conquered death and, thereby, also Satan by way of the empty tomb, we can all live in his peace every day.

Prayer: We praise you Jesus, who has been victorious, and we pray that you will help us to go into the world without fear, to spread your message of eternal peace. Amen

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