So up to this point in Revelation we have continued to recognize we are looking at pictures. We see a red dragon, recognize that its a symbolic picture and seek to determine what truth is behind the picture. We see a beast, recognize that it is a picture, and seek the truth behind the picture. So now, we read about 1,000 years and a dragon and thrones, its a figure, an image that indicates a truth. It’s also fitting that this is the conclusion of what we have been talking about (the fall of Rome) rather than something new.
The first three verses show that Satan has indeed been defeated, is now chained and captive. His defeat is complete. Rome is destroyed. The persecutor is no more. Then verses 4-10 tell us what happens to the saints. Although they suffered for a time, they have seen their enemy destroyed by Jesus and they now join him on thrones. They are safe and secure from all alarms. There is no more reason to fear or suffer.
The 1,000 years is not something that can be shown on a calendar. Its a symbolic figure. 10=completeness. 10x10X10=1,000 or very complete. So what we see here is that after the time of destruction of Rome is complete there will come another time when Satan will return to have another go at God’s people. When? Sometime. Where? Somewhere. The point is that although God defeated Satan and Rome, Satan will continue to wage war against the saints. That’s why this book continues to matter to us today. We need to know what the saints learned in Rome, that God will be faithful and will bring them through whatever trials face them. God is greater than any force against us and God will be victorious and we can share in his victory.
However, the victory isn’t for everybody. Now the celebration earlier in the chapter was figurative so this judgment is as well. This judgment is still against Rome. It’s telling us that Rome and the enemies of God and his people will suffer utter, irrevocable defeat.
I close with Ryan’s oft used assessment of Revelation because it certainly fits here as in other places: God wins, pick a side, don’t be stupid.