Revelation 20:1-3 / The Bottomless Pit

Posted on June 27, 2016


This is the Forty-ninth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church. This message looks at the 1000 year imprisonment of satan. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not necessarily a full transcript.

Rev 20:1-3



This bottomless pit is the same place that some of the demons have been imprisoned since the time of the flood.

  • 2 Peter 2:4

This impenetrable pit, in which these demons are held awaiting their final sentence to the lake of fire is about to receive 1 more prisoner. 
The criminal is positively identified in this verse. In fact, this verse identifies this as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. With chains in hand, satan is bound and cast into his prison to await sentencing. That serpent of old who deceived Adam and Eve into rebelling against God is none other than Satan.

He is often viewed in Scripture as a “great dragon” (Revelation 12:9).
As a side note, there is no reason to believe that use of dragon imagery in the Bible isn’t based in reality. From the behemoth in Job 40, the leviathan in Job 41, to the many mentions of dragons, these were all animals that the people of that time had first hand knowledge of. Its ludicrous to think that such imagery is based on fairy tales, the Bible is a book of reality. It’s as real as you can get. That fearsome animal of ancient times is almost certainly what we know today as the dinosaur.

Back to Satan: His ultimate doom is sure—he will be bound a thousand years, then finally be “cast into the lake of fire . . . tormented day and night for ever and ever”

  • Revelation 20:10

Currently, however, he is not bound.

  • 1 Peter 5:8

We must be sober and vigilant. His tricks are many, but all are deceptive, he is the most cunning of all God’s creatures.

  • Genesis 3:1

His only desire is to turn us away from the true Christ. This is why we must always be on guard. He is a great deceiver. He can appear as a dragon or a roaring lion, deceiving us into fearing and obeying him instead of God. 

He can also be “transformed into an angel of light” deceiving us into trusting the lies of his “false teachers” (2 Peter 2:3, 1) instead of the truth of the Holy Scriptures of the God of creation. 

  • 2 Corinthians 11:14
  • 2 Peter 2:3

Our recourse against his deceptions is to put on the whole armor of God, submit to God and resist the devil.

  • Ephesians 6:11
  • James 4:7-8

This is our recourse while we await his ultimate defeat and imprisonment.
However, when satan is imprisoned, it will have a dramatic effect on the world. With satan is no longer free to roam about and devour people, the major sinful influence in the world will be removed. This pit will be his home for 1000 years, unable to tempt anymore. 

This is the first of 6 references to the length of the millennial kingdom, and what a glorious time it will be. Can you imagine a world without any evil influences? Probably not, because we’ve never known any such thing. This will be a world without satan, a world that is bathed in the glory of Jesus Christ. Its something that we should all look forward to.

This is truly good news that Satan is cast into the pit. It should be cause for much hope and rejoicing. He will; however, be briefly released after 1000 years. 

I’ve often wondered why God would release him. John doesn’t say why God releases Satan for a little while, but it is part of God’s plan for judging the world. Perhaps it is to expose those who rebel against God in their hearts and confirm those who are truly faithful to God. 

Whatever the reason, Satan’s release results in the final destruction of all evil, which is even a greater source of hope and joy. 

  • Revelation 20:12-15

In the end, we can only speculate as to why God is taking this particular path. The Bible is full of examples of God working in ways that confound the wisest of men. Understanding that, we should realize that this is all part of God’s will and plan. That alone should be enough, because that is a guarantee that it is the best course of action. 

Though Satan may have a lot of leeway now, God hasn’t ever left us defenseless. The most sure-fire defense against the wiles of Satan have already been noted:

  • Put on the full armor of God
  • submit to God
  • resist the devil.

Of course none of this is possible apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 
We should be utilizing these tools, and we should be doing our best to see to it that everyone has these tools available. We should not want to see anyone devoured by the enemy. 

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