The Binding of Satan.
"And I saw an angel descending from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the old serpent, who is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut him up, and set a seal over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were completed; and after that, he must be loosed a short time." Rev.20:1-3.

The angel descending from heaven, must be a representative of his own order; for at this epoch there are no other orders of beings for him to be a representative of. He therefore symbolizes the angels who are commissioned to "gather out of his kingdom all things that offend," Matt.13:41.

The "key," "pit," and "chain," symbolize the instruments of restraint and confinement to which Satan is to be subjected; and his being bound and confined symbolize his restraint.

The "Dragon" is expressly called "that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan." With the appendages of heads and horns -- symbols of political sovereignty -- he is used in Rev.12:3, as a symbol of the Roman civil power, under Pagan rule; and in verse 7, when divested of political insignia, of the pagan hierarchy. But now, as the beast, another symbol of Roman civil rule, has been cast into "the lake of fire and brimstone," and the "remnant" are "slain with the sword" (19:21), there are no analogous powers remaining on earth for him to be a representative of, and consequently he is here represented as a symbol of himself.

Of his identity there can be no question: He is "that Old Serpent," who, being "more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made" (Gen.3:1), "beguiled Eve through his subtlety," 2 Cor.11:3. He is also the Devil, by whom our Saviour was tempted in the wilderness, (Matt.4:1-12); and the Satan, whose working is "with all power and signs and lying wonders," 2 Thess.2:9. He is our adversary the devil, who, "as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour," (1 Pet.5:8); and against whom we are to guard continually, "lest Satan should get an advantage of us," 2 Cor.2:11.

Coeval with the fall, the promise was given that his head should in due time be bruised, and he is not ignorant of his doom; for when the legion saw the Saviour about to dispossess them of the two men among the tombs, they recognized him as "the Son of God," and cried, "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matt.8:29); "and they besought him, that he would not command them to go out into the deep," -- the pit, or abyss, Luke 8:31. The epoch when he should be there confined, is also shown by Isaiah to be when "the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity," when "the earth also shall disclose her blood, and no more cover her slain," Isa.26:21. For "in that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan [the dragon], the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent," Ib. 27:1. This synchronizes with the slaying of the remnant with the sword, when Satan is bound and cast into the abyss, to continue there a thousand years.

His being bound and confined must symbolize his dejection to a position where he can have no possible influence over the nations during the time he is bound. It can be no partial restraint, as some theologians hold; for that is contrary to the conditions of the symbolic representation. His restraint is full, complete, and entire. Consequently his influence, for the time being, will have entirely ceased. The period of his confinement, therefore, cannot be one of partial exemption from sin; but the living will be perfectly free from all its contagious influences. He is to deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years shall be fulfilled.

"The nations" who are freed from his influences, and also those whom he is subsequently to deceive, are not, necessarily, organized political bodies, under civil rulers, as they now exist. The original term, {GREEK SMALL LETTER EPSILON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER THETA}{GREEK SMALL LETTER NU}{GREEK SMALL LETTER OMICRON}{GREEK SMALL LETTER FINAL SIGMA}, is defined by Robinson to be "a multitude, people, race, belonging and living together." At this epoch, the national organizations having disappeared, and the people constituting them being translated or slain, the only nations remaining will be "the nations of them which are saved" (21:24), over whom the influence of Satan will have ceased forever; and those constituting "the rest of the dead" (20:5), who will not live again till the end of the thousand years -- at the very time when Satan is to be loosed from his prison to go out to deceive them, 20:7, 8.

the final conflict
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