My question comes from Revelation 20, where we read that Satan will be bound for 1000 years while the people who have not worshiped the beast will be with God. This is a very confusing chapter for me; can you shed some light on the meaning? -- Michelle

Revelation is a book of symbols, including symbolic numbers. To take these numbers literally is very risky. (For example, does anyone really think that there will only be 144,000 people -- and only men -- in heaven? Read Revelation 7 and 14 carefully, and you will see what I mean!) The question to ask is, "What does this represent?"

The image of Christ reigning for a millennium, having triumphed over Satan, is certainly meant to demonstrate the victory of the cross. This is a recurrent theme in Revelation (for example, in chapter 12). I believe the millennium (Latin for 1000 years) represents Christ's defeat of Satan. He is reigning NOW!  Satan still has some limited power (he still gets out and causes trouble), but Jesus is on the throne of the kingdom (as in Acts 2:30).  There is nothing here to take literally.  Nor will Jesus be returning to earth to set up his kingdom based in Jerusalem —as many evangelicals teach.

The number 1000 has significance, which any good commentary on Revelation will explain. Or just go online and find what you can on numerology. Be careful, however; many modern explanations of Revelation are nonsensical. For more, please hear my audio series Revelation & the End of the World.

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