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Revelation 20:2

    Revelation 20:2 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And he took the dragon, the old snake, which is the Evil One and Satan, and put chains on him for a thousand years,

    Webster's Revision

    And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

    World English Bible

    He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years,

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

    Definitions for Revelation 20:2

    Bound - Landmark.
    Devil - Slanderer; false accuser.
    Dragon - Jackal; wild dog.
    Satan - Adversary.

    Clarke's Commentary on Revelation 20:2

    The dragon - See the notes on Revelation 12:9.

    That old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan - He who is called the old serpent is the Devil - the calumniator, and Satan - the opposer. He who supposes that the term old serpent here plainly proves that the creature that tempted our first parents was actually a snake, must enjoy his opinion; and those who can receive such a saying, why let them receive it. Selah.

    A thousand years - In what this binding of Satan consists, who can tell? How many visions have been seen on this subject both in ancient and modern times! This, and what is said Revelation 20:3-5, no doubt refers to a time in which the influence of Satan will be greatly restrained, and the true Church of God enjoy great prosperity, which shall endure for a long time. But it is not likely that the number, a thousand years, is to be taken literally here, and year symbolically and figuratively in all the book beside. The doctrine of the millennium, or of the saints reigning on earth a thousand years, with Christ for their head, has been illustrated and defended by many Christian writers, both among the ancients and moderns. Were I to give a collection of the conceits of the primitive fathers on this subject, my readers would have little reason to applaud my pains. It has long been the idle expectation of many persons that the millennium, in their sense, was at hand; and its commencement has been expected in every century since the Christian era. It has been fixed for several different years, during the short period of my own life! I believed those predictions to be vain, and I have lived to see them such. Yet there is no doubt that the earth is in a state of progressive moral improvement; and that the light of true religion is shining more copiously everywhere, and will shine more and more to the perfect day. But when the religion of Christ will be at its meridian of light and heat, we know not. In each believer this may speedily take place; but probably no such time shall ever appear, in which evil shall be wholly banished from the earth, till after the day of judgment, when the earth having been burnt up, a new heaven and a new earth shall be produced out of the ruins of the old, by the mighty power of God: righteousness alone shall dwell in them. The phraseology of the apostle here seems partly taken from the ancient prophets, and partly rabbinical; and it is from the Jewish use of those terms that we are to look for their interpretation.

    Barnes' Notes on Revelation 20:2

    And he laid hold on - Seized him by violence - ἐκράτησεν ekratēsen. The word denotes "the employment of strength" or "force"; and it implies that he had power superior to that of the dragon. Compare Matthew 14:3; Matthew 18:28; Matthew 21:46; Matthew 22:6; Matthew 26:4. We can at once see the propriety of the use of this word in this connection. The great enemy to be bound has himself mighty power, and can be overcome only by a superior. This may teach us that it is only a power from heaven that can destroy the empire of Satan in the world; and perhaps it may teach us that the interposition of angels will be employed in bringing in the glorious state of the millennium. Why should it not be?

    The dragon - See the notes on Revelation 12:2. Compare Revelation 12:4, Revelation 12:7, Revelation 12:13, Revelation 12:16-17; Revelation 13:2, Revelation 13:4, Revelation 13:11; Revelation 16:13. There can be no doubt as to the meaning of the word here; for it is expressly said to mean the devil, and Satan. It would seem, however, that it refers to some manifestation of the power of Satan that would exist after the beast and false prophet - that is, the papacy and Mohammedanism - should be destroyed, and probably the main reference is to the still existing power of paganism. Compare the notes on Revelation 16:13-14. It may include, however, all the forms of wickedness which Satan shall have kept upon the earth, and all the modes of evil by which he will endeavor to perpetuate his reign.

    That old serpent - This is undoubtedly an allusion to the serpent that deceived our first parents (Genesis 3:1 ff.), and therefore a proof that it was Satan that, under the form of a serpent, deceived them. Compare notes on Revelation 12:3.

    Which is the devil - On the meaning of this word, see the notes on Matthew 4:1.

    And Satan - On the meaning of this word, see the notes on Job 1:6. In regard to the repetition of the names of that great enemy of God and the church here, Mr. Taylor, in the Fragments to Calmet's Dictionary, No. 152, says that this "almost resembles a modern Old Bailey indictment, in which special care is taken to identify the culprit, by a sufficient number of aliases. An angel from heaven, having the key of the prison of the abyss, and a great chain to secure the prisoner, 'apprehended the dragon, alias the old serpent, alias the devil, alias the Satan, alias the seducer of the world,' who was sentenced to a thousand years' imprisonment." The object here, however, seems to be not so much to identify the culprit by these aliases, as to show that under whatever forms, and by whatever names he had appeared, it was always the same being, and that now the author of the whole evil would be arrested. Thus the one great enemy sometimes has appeared in a form that would be best represented by a fierce and fiery dragon; at another, in a form that would be best represented by a cunning and subtle serpent; now in a form to which the word "devil" ("accuser"), would be most appropriate; and now in a form in which the word "Satan" - an adversary - would be most expressive of what he does. In these various forms, and under these various names, he has ruled the fallen world; and when this one great enemy shall be seized and imprisoned, all these forms of evil will, of course, come to an end.

    A thousand years - This is the period usually designated as the millennium - for the word "millennium" means "a thousand years." It is on this passage that the whole doctrine of the millennium as such has been founded. It is true that there are elsewhere in the Scriptures abundant promises that the gospel will ultimately spread over the world; but the notion of a millennium as such is found in this passage alone. It is, however, enough to establish the doctrine, if its meaning be correctly ascertained; for it is a just rule in interpreting the Bible, that the clearly-ascertained sense of a single passage of Scripture is sufficient to establish the truth of a doctrine. The fact, however, that this passage stands alone in this respect, makes it the more important to endeavor accurately to determine its meaning. There are but three ways in which the phrase "a thousand years" can be understood here: either:

    (a) literally; or,

    (b) in the prophetic use of the term, where a day would stand for a year, thus making a period of three hundred and sixty thousand years; or,

    (c) figuratively, supposing that it refers to a long but indefinite period of time.

    It may be impossible to determine which of these periods is intended, though the first has been generally supposed to be the true one, and hence the common notion of the millennium. There is nothing, however, in the use of the language here, as there would be nothing contrary to the common use of symbols in this book in regard to time, in the supposition that this was designed to describe the longest period here suggested, or that it is meant that the world shall enjoy a reign of peace and righteousness during the long period of three hundred and sixty thousand years. Indeed, there are somethings in the arrangements of nature which look as if it were contemplated that the earth would continue under a reign of righteousness through a vastly long period in the future.