Reading through the Bible together
This is the only place in the Bible that names a thousand-year period following the Second Coming. The Second Coming has left this planet totally devastated and uninhabitable. The “bottomless pit” (KJV) or “abyss” (NIV) depicts this world returned to its pre-creation state—formless, empty, dark and deserted. To this ruined and battered planet Satan will be confined, with nothing to do and a thousand years in which to do it! His thoughts during this time will be those of a condemned man on death row as he contemplates the tragedy of his wasted existence. It’s as though God is saying to him, “You wanted to play God, so go ahead and show you can by turning this ash-heap into a paradise. I did it in six days, but I’ll give you all the time you want—a thousand years, in fact.” Surely by the end of that time not even his angels will believe in him.
The beginning and end of the thousand years are marked by two resurrections: that of the saved and that of the lost. The saved ascend to heaven at Christ’s coming to reign with Him. This will be a time of healing. Imagine what it will be like to find people missing whom you expected to see there, and to discover some whom you did not think should be there. But God will wipe away our tears as he opens the books of judgment, allowing us to see and understand why He has judged thus.
The second resurrection occurs with the descent of the New Jerusalem to earth. As the lost come back to life (although they are still called “the dead”) Satan rallies them to attack the city. But they are stopped in their tracks as they come face to face with the divine Judge in all His glory. Again the books are opened and they have the opportunity to see where they went wrong. As the drama of salvation unfolds on the “video screen” of the skies, they recognize the rightness of God’s decisions. At this point “every knee will bow to [Jesus], and every tongue will confess to God” (Rom 14:11). Only then, when even Satan has acknowledged that God and all His ways are right, does fire come from heaven to totally devour them. It won’t last long, but it will be final—the second death.
Greater Sydney Conference