Satan Bound

The Apocalypse gives us a stunning vision in chapter 20 of the struggle in which the church was engaged. Already there is an indication at the end of chapter 19 of what is going on. As the liturgical action continues, the binding of Satan for 1,000 years is depicted as a clear victory of the orthodox believers. What John is communicating, using the counter-Christ as a cover story for the unorthodox group, is that for a very long period orthodoxy prevails, the unorthodox group has been cast into a pit, shut up and sealed away for a very long time. That after a while Satan must be loosed “for a little while,” may indicate after the unorthodox group much later tried once again to prevail, but lost again. John describes the liturgical action as a scene filled with “thrones,” persons who had the responsibility of judging those who held fast to faith in Jesus Christ, and as a result of their judgment, these souls were raised from the dead, to be priests of God and of Christ for the 1,000 year period. John is saying that those who had been imprisoned for their beliefs were now set free and again assumed leadership positions in the church in the period of the victory over the deceivers. However, the heretics once again arose and spread their heresy across the land, but they were again defeated. Verses 11-15 now present what appears to be a service of remembrance, as the liturgy continued. The dead are remembered, their names are read from the records, in the congregation. Those whose names were kept secret, hidden under “Death and Hades” were now honored publicly in the recitation of their names. The ones whose names were no longer in the book, i.e., those who were forced out of the church, were no longer recognized, their names were not read, they were gone forever. It is likely that these membership records were kept in a very secure place until the time was right, so that those whose names were there may be protected. The victory of Christ is complete, the heretics were cast out of the church, and the orthodox beliefs of the early Christian faith was assured.

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