Dear Sr. S____,

Sorry i did not get to my email yesterday. Am glad the comments on Rev. 20:2-3 made sense to you. I too remember how this subject was a problem for the brethren in the past and in recent years have heard brethren still discussing this and not having understanding. As far as i am able to determine they seem to get hung up on two points.

1. If Satan is bound, how come there is so much trouble – especially when we consider he is bound by a Divine Being?

2. If the church is to reign with Christ 1,000 years, doesn't that indicate that this 1,000 year reign is entirely future (since we believe the church is not yet complete and with Him in glory)?

These are reasonable questions if we do not consider other scriptures, most notable the Matt. 12:29 text where our Lord indicated one cannot even enter the strong man's (Satan's) house unless he is first bound. At that point we need to drop our pre-conceived ideas as to just exactly what the term 'bound' means. Especially is this the case when we remember that 'bound' is only one of four things that combined put Satan into his prison where he can 'deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are fulfilled.'

As we go forward to vss. 6 and 7 we discover that the church reigns with Christ for 1,000 years and that when that 1,000 years is up Satan is 'loosed' out of his prison. That is exactly what happens at the end of the 1,000 years that he is 'bound,' i.e., Satan is 'loosed' (out of his prison) for a 'little season.'

No matter what way these verses may be parsed the clear conclusion must be that the 1,000 year period that Satan is 'bound' is EXACTLY the same 1,000 year period that the church reigns with Christ. To attempt to divource these two events would be a violation of both scripture and of reason. Nevertheless there are many who attempt to do just that. One of the results of this is what has been termed a 'slide rule milennium,' which has two separate dates for the beginning of this 1,000 year period. I confess that this thought of two distinct and separate 1,000 year periods has never been explained to me. All i have ever heard are brethren with questions and then coming to the conclusion that both the binding and the 1,000 years are still future.

In the Father's arrangements all things begin with His Son. Once we recognize that our Lord returned as King and began His reign at His return in 1874 (consider the parable of the young nobleman going into a far country to receive a Kingdom and then he returns 'having received the kingdom') it seems to me that all controversy should end. The only thing to do from that point is to attempt to understand how it can be that our Lord returns and begins His reign in 1874 and yet none of the church is with Him until the spring of 1878. That is a legitimate line of reasoning.

So which is it?

The scriptures alone give us the answer.

2 Pet. 3:6-8 " Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: [7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

Here we note that the 'Day of Judgment' is 1,000 years long. This is the day when the symbolic earth is symbolically burned up. This is the day in which we are now living.

Verse 10 then tells us: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

It is in "the day of the Lord," during His thief-like presence, that the symbolic heavens and earth will pass away and be symbolically burned.

When does this "day of the Lord" begin? It begins at His return "as a thief" in 1874.

Mark 3:27 "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house." (also Matt. 12:29)

This verse tells us another thing that takes place at the time of our Lord's return in 1874, i.e., His first work is to 'bind the strong man' (Satan.) That this was also Pastor Russell's understanding is indicated by the following reference:

"This binding of Satan is accordingly shown to be the first work of the new dispensation." A68:2
See also E19:4

Rev. 20:6-7 "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him the thousand years. [7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison."