Revelation is not an easy book to interpret due to its codes and symbolism; but a little effort and perseverance with the spirit of God will result in a proper understanding which we present here.
John begins by informing us that Satan, the serpent of Genesis 3, will be bound for 1000 years, where the Revelator uses the articular construction for the Greek word translated 1000. This mention is the first instance of 1000, so why does John use the article? And is John really referring to a literal 1000 years - an age old debate among Apocalyptic students?
The answer to the first question is, yes, John has already referred to a long period of time - 1260 years to be exact, and is thus entitled to use the article. While he uses the period of 42 months, it corresponds precisely to Daniel's 3 1/2 years of tribulation which, in reality, is code for 1260 years. In effect John is rounding off 1260 to 1000, and doing so in order to keep the proper interpretation for he who has Wisdom in order to protect the saints living in dangerous times. In other words, John is not casting his pearls before swine.
We must also interpret Satan who is the False Accuser, Adversary, or Devil. In terms of Revelation, Satan is synonymous with the Jew of whom John warned in Chapters 2 and 3 to be aware. The Jews murdered Jesus and are to this day his sworn enemies. Their chief authority, the Talmud, speaks of Jesus as a blasphemer, devil, and evil person who is burning for eternity in human excrement. In his epistles, John tells us that the anti Christ is he who denies that the Son is of the Father, and denies that he has come in the flesh. It is very clear that the Jews are anti Christs whose eternal enmity with God begins in the garden of Eden, a subject which we cannot explore further in this essay.
So Satan, i.e. the Jews, is bound for the 1000 years, in actuality 1260 years, from which place they are unable to deceive the nations. The period in question began in 538 AD when Justinian relinquished the title of Pontifex Maximus to the Pope of Rome who, at the time, was Vigilius. Thus the Pope became a different type of horn out of the beast who ruled the Roman world with a combination of primarily religious power and augmented civil power.
The Pope had the power to issue interdicts, anathemas, and ex-communications to compel both great and small to worship the beast of which the Pope was the image and standard bearer. The punishments mentioned included preventing targets of Papal decrees from buying and selling.
John also informed us that the anti Christ would also change the times and laws, something which some theologians attribute directly the Pope, but to which others attribute to either Constantine or to Justinian. Ultimately the Pope is the responsible party as Pontifex Maximus in changing the commandments of God, in particular the 10 commandments sometimes known as the Decalogue.
In removing the 3d commandment, and altering the 4th commandment relating to the Sabbath, the Pope indeed changed the times and the laws of God. In fact the Roman Catholic Church declared that such prerogatives accrue to it because the Pope is God and his vicar.
Moses spoke of the sign of the people of God, referring to Israel, as the Sabbath which he commanded them to keep without fail for the ages. In 6 days shall you work, but on the 7th - in other words Saturday - you shall rest and worship God who created the earth and all that is within it. This reference to the 4th commandment is contained in Revelation 14:7 as the primary issue in correct and false worship.
When Jesus walked on the earth, he stated firmly and without equivocation that he came not to abolish the Law but to make it of full effect. John stated that those who love God will keep his commands, but God has called out specifically the 4th commandment as the litmus test of fidelity to Christ. Thus John states that he who takes the mark of the beast is damned.
If keeping the Sabbath is the mark of the people of God, then keeping the first day of the week, in accordance with popery, is the sign of the anti Christ. Contrary to faulty interpretations of Colossians 2, the Sabbath has always been and always will be the seventh day. During the 1260 years of Tribulation, only those who kept the true Sabbath were counted among the elect.
Then John makes the explosive statement is verse 20:4 that those who took not the mark of the beast reigned and ruled with Christ. He is not speaking of a resurrection. John is relating what he saw in reverse order. The Papacy murdered the saints who kept the Sabbath, a practice which was widespread, especially in Eastern Europe, until as late as the 8th century after which it became an obscure practice. Yet John states that these are the very people who reigned and ruled with Jesus for that 1260 year period. These saints were the Kingdom of God which Jesus recognized - not the civil or religious authorities who kept not the Sabbath of God.
If at this point you are thinking that I am stating that the majority of medieval Christendom will not inherit the Kingdom of God, then you are understanding me properly.
To be clear then, two events are occurring concurrently. The first is the 1260 year Tribulation during which the Papacy persecuted and murdered the true saints of God who worshipped him only on the Sabbath which is 7th day Saturday. The second event was the binding of Satan which ran concurrently with the Tribulation.
At the end of the Tribulation, we learn in 20:7 that Satan - ie the Jew - will be loosed - in this case from his ghetto, to deceive the nations. The first fruit of their deceits was the French Revolution. The rise of the house of Rothschild is the very story of this loosing to deceive the nations. These miscreant anti Christs are the incarnation of Mammon, having concentrated all wealth in their hands via their criminal central banking, their fomentation of wars and rumors of wars since the time of Napoleon, their wars against all Christian nations, and the foisting of gross immoralities upon the nations, plus the advocacy of anything which inverts right and wrong.
This loosening of Satan is about to come to an end. I dare say that, without any authority other than interpretation of Scripture, Jesus will return as he left within the next dozen years or so. The great wickedness of Satan will be demolished by the glorious and powerful armies which will attend the Savior and Potentate in his second advent. The enemies of God will be consumed with great fires as were the soldiers of Ahab who attempted to apprehend the prophet Elijah.
Thus our interpretive framework is historical with some events yet future. Even so, come now Lord Jesus.