Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, by Watchman Nee


A. Revelation 20:1-2

"And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."

Revelation 9:1 says that the key of the pit of the abyss is given to Satan, with which he then does two things: (1) he causes two men to be resurrected, and (2) he causes the locusts to hurt people.

Satan is cast down to the earth as a result of the war in heaven. Now he is cast into the abyss as a result of the Lord being the King of kings and the Lord of lords. God’s victory is by authority; His word has authority.

B. Revelation 20:3

"And cast him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be loosed for a little while."

Some may ask why the dragon is not immediately cast into the lake of fire. The Bible says, "And inasmuch as it is reserved for men to die once" (Heb. 9:27) and "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). The dragon has never died according to the flesh. However, because the abyss is used to imprison the dead spirits, to imprison the dragon there is like putting him through death.

Escape is impossible once the seal is sealed (Dan. 6:17).

There are perhaps three reasons why the dragon will be imprisoned for one thousand years and then released: (1) to show that the dragon will never repent, (2) to reveal the unexposed sins of man, and (3) because God likes to do so.


A. Revelation 20:4

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and of those who had not worshipped the beast nor his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

Three kinds of people reign with the Lord.

(1) The overcomers, that is, those who sit on thrones (20:4a). To receive the authority to judge here means to possess the kingdom (Dan. 7:10, 18, 22). (Today, according to the Bible, no Christian should work as a judge, a magistrate, or so forth.)

(2) The martyrs throughout the past two thousand years. These were the souls underneath the altar during the opening of the fifth seal. They have been martyred for the Lord’s testimony throughout the past two thousand years. Men are resurrected, not spirits.

(3) The martyrs during the tribulation. These are those who did not worship the beast and his image nor have his mark on their foreheads or hands.

"They lived and reigned." Here we have to pay attention to two things:

(1) These people are not resurrected at the time of Revelation 20:4. Their resurrection is merely mentioned here as a postscript. John does not see their resurrection at this moment; he only sees them alive here.

(2) The living people mentioned here refer not only to the resurrected ones, but also to those who are raptured alive, because we cannot say that only those who are resurrected from the dead will reign with the Lord. Although there may not be many who are raptured alive, nevertheless, they shall also reign with the Lord.

Resurrection from the dead is mentioned in 1 Kings 17:22, 2 Kings 13:21, and Revelation 1:18. Second Timothy 2:11-12 speaks of dying, living, and reigning with the Lord.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)