“And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
King James Version (KJV)
20:3 And set a seal upon him - How far these expressions are to be taken literally, how far figuratively only, who can tell? That he might deceive the nations no more - One benefit only is here expressed, as resulting from the confinement of Satan. But how many and great blessings are implied! For the grand enemy being removed, the kingdom of God holds on its uninterrupted course among the nations; and the great mystery of God, so long foretold, is at length fulfilled; namely, when the beast is destroyed and Satan bound. This fulfilment approaches nearer and nearer; and contains things of the utmost importance, the knowledge of which becomes every day more distinct and easy. In the mean time it is highly necessary to guard against the present rage and subtilty of the devil. Quickly he will be bound: when he is loosed again, the martyrs will live and reign with Christ. Then follow his coming in glory, the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. The bottomless pit is properly the devil's prison; afterwards he is cast into the lake of fire. He can deceive the nations no more till the thousand years, mentioned before, verse 2, #Rev 20:2 are| fulfilled. Then he must be loosed - So does the mysterious wisdom of God permit. For a small time - Small comparatively: though upon the whole it cannot be very short, because the things to be transacted therein, verses 8, 9, #Rev 20:8|,9 must take up a considerable space. We are very shortly to expect, one after another, the calamities occasioned by the second beast, the harvest and the vintage, the pouring out of the phials, the judgment of Babylon, the last raging of the beast and his destruction, the imprisonment of Satan. How great things these! and how short the time! What is needful for us? Wisdom, patience, faithfulness, watchfulness. It is no time to settle upon our lees. This is not, if it be rightly understood, an acceptable message to the wise, the mighty, the honourable, of this world. Yet that which is to be done, shall be done: there is no counsel against the Lord.
Re 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit . . . till the thousand years should be fulfilled. During this millennial period the chained enemy of man is cast into a prison house, but not the lake of fire. Had he gone there he should never more return. He shall go there as his ultimate fate (Re 20:10), but after the thousand years, he is to return to the earth for a little season, and until the final effort of his long struggle against God he shall be confined in the abyss, from whence there is the possibility of escape, instead of being cast into the lake of fire, which is an eternal doom. In the bottomless pit the great deceiver shall remain till the thousand years are ended, when for a little season he shall regain his power.