Summary Interpretation of Millennium in Revelation 20
With parts 1 and 2 as background (see prior posts), the words of Revelation 20 are plain and pregnant with meaning. Those martyred for their faith in the coming horrible time of tribulation will rise from the dead and will rule with Christ on the earth for a thousand years. During that time Satan will be bound, unable to deceive the nations (as he does continue to deceive many now). Those who participate in this resurrection and millennial rule are truly blessed.
The “thousand years” may refer to a literal time period. John Walvoord explains:
While amillenarians and others have tended to view this as nonliteral, there is no evidence to support this conclusion. This is the only chapter in Revelation where a period of a thousand years is mentioned, and the fact that it is mentioned six times and is clearly described as a period of time before which and after which events take place lead to the conclusion that it means a literal thousand-year period.
[John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of The Scriptures, Volume 2, ed. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 980]
A plain reading of Revelation 20 suggests two separate resurrections. It is important to not disregard this based on the excuse that such a teaching is not found elsewhere in Scripture. David Aune writes, “However problematic the conceptions of two resurrections might be, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that precisely such an innovation has been formulated by the author” [David E. Aune, Word Biblical Commentary: Revelation 17-22, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 1090].