BOUND, AND THE
CAMP OF THE
CONSIGNED TO THE
1. The destruction of his representatives, the beast and the
false prophet, to whom he had given his power, throne, and
authority, is followed by the binding of Satan himself for a
the key of the bottomless pit--now transferred from Satan's
hands, who had heretofore been permitted by God to use it in letting
loose plagues on the earth; he is now to be made to feel himself the
torment which he had inflicted on men, but his full torment is not
until he is cast into "the lake of fire"
2. that old--ancient serpent
thousand years--As seven mystically implies universality,
so a thousand implies perfection, whether in good or evil
[AQUINAS on ch. 11]. Thousand symbolizes
that the world is perfectly leavened and pervaded by the divine; since
thousand is ten, the number of the world, raised to the
third power, three being the number of God
[AUBERLEN]. It may denote literally also a
3. shut him--A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and
ANDREAS omit "him."
set a seal upon him--Greek, "over him," that is, sealed
up the door of the abyss over his head. A surer seal to keep him from
getting out than his seal over Jesus in the tomb of Joseph, which was
burst on the resurrection morn. Satan's binding at' this juncture is
not arbitrary, but is the necessary consequence of the events
just as Satan's being cast out of heaven, where he had previously been
the accuser of the brethren, was the legitimate judgment which passed
on him through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ
Satan imagined that he had overcome Christ on Golgotha, and that his
power was secure for ever, but the Lord in death overcame him, and by
His ascension as our righteous Advocate cast out Satan, the accuser
from heaven. Time was given on earth to make the beast and harlot
powerful, and then to concentrate all his power in Antichrist. The
Antichristian kingdom, his last effort, being utterly destroyed by
Christ's mere appearing, his power on earth is at an end. He had
thought to destroy God's people on earth by Antichristian persecutions
(just as he had thought previously to destroy Christ); but the Church
is not destroyed from the earth but is raised to rule over it, and
Satan himself is shut up for a thousand years in the "abyss"
(Greek for "bottomless pit"), the preparatory prison to the
"lake of fire," his final doom. As before he ceased by Christ's
ascension to be an accuser in heaven, so during the millennium he
ceases to be the seducer and the persecutor on earth. As long as the
devil rules in the darkness of the world, we live in an atmosphere
impregnated with deadly elements. A mighty purification of the air will
be effected by Christ's coming. Though sin will not be absolutely
abolished--for men will still be in the flesh
--sin will no longer be a universal power, for the flesh is not any
longer seduced by Satan. He will not be, as now, "the god and prince of
the world"--nor will the world "lie in the wicked one"--the flesh will
become ever more isolated and be overcome. Christ will reign with His
transfigured saints over men in the flesh [AUBERLEN]. This will be the manifestation of "the world
to come," which has been already set up invisibly in the saints, amidst
Heb 2:5; 5:5).
The Jewish Rabbis thought, as the world was created in six days and on
the seventh God rested, so there would be six millenary periods,
followed by a sabbatical millennium. Out of seven years every seventh
is the year of remission, so out of the seven thousand years of the
world the seventh millenary shall be the millenary of remission. A
tradition in the house of Elias, A.D. 200, states
that the world is to endure six thousand years; two thousand before the
law, two thousand under the law, and two thousand under Messiah.
Compare Note, see on
Margin; see on
MARTYR, IRENÆUS, and
CYPRIAN, among the earliest Fathers, all held the
doctrine of a millennial kingdom on earth; not till millennial views
degenerated into gross carnalism was this doctrine abandoned.
that he should deceive--so A. But B reads, "that he deceive"
(Greek, "plana," for "planeesee").
and--so Coptic and ANDREAS. But A,
B, and Vulgate omit "and."
4, 5. they sat--the twelve apostles, and the saints in general.
judgment was given unto there--(See on
The office of judging was given to them. Though in one sense having to
stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yet in another sense they "do
not come into judgment (Greek), but have already passed from
death unto life."
souls--This term is made a plea for denying the literality of
the first resurrection, as if the resurrection were the spiritual one
of the souls of believers in this life; the life and reign being
that of the soul raised in this life from the death of sin by vivifying
faith. But "souls" expresses their disembodied state (compare
as John saw them at first; "and they lived" implies their coming to
life in the body again, so as to be visible, as the phrase,
"this is the first resurrection," proves; for as surely as "the rest of
the dead lived not (again) until," &c., refers to the bodily
general resurrection, so must the first resurrection refer to
the body. This also accords with
"They that are Christ's at His coming." Compare
I infer that "souls" is here used in the strict sense of spirits
disembodied when first seen by John; though doubtless "souls" is
often used in general for persons, and even for dead
beheaded--literally, "smitten with an axe"; a Roman
punishment, though crucifixion, casting to beasts, and burning, were
the more common modes of execution. The guillotine in revolutionary
France was a revival of the mode of capital punishment of pagan
imperial Rome. Paul was beheaded, and no doubt shall share
the first resurrection, in accordance with his prayer that he
"might attain unto the resurrection from out of the rest of the dead"
(Greek, "exanastasis"). The above facts may account for
the specification of this particular kind of punishment.
for . . . for--Greek, "for the sake of"; on
account of"; "because of."
and which--Greek, "and the which." And prominent
among this class (the beheaded), such as did not worship the beast. So
Greek, "and the which," or "and such as," particularizes
prominently among the general class those that follow in the
description [TREGELLES]. The extent of the
first resurrection is not spoken of here. In
1Co 15:23, 51;
we find that all "in Christ" shall share in it. John himself was not
"beheaded," yet who doubts but that he shall share in the first
resurrection? The martyrs are put first, because most like Jesus in
their sufferings and death, therefore nearest Him in their life and
reign; for Christ indirectly affirms there are relative degrees and
places of honor in His kingdom, the highest being for those who drink
his cup of suffering. Next shall be those who have not bowed to the
world power, but have looked to the things unseen and eternal.
foreheads . . . hands--Greek, "forehead
. . . hand."
reigned with Christ--over the earth.
5. But--B, Coptic, and ANDREAS read,
"and." A and Vulgate omit it.
again--A, B, Vulgate, Coptic, and
ANDREAS omit it. "Lived" is used for lived
again, as in
John saw them not only when restored to life, but when in the act of
first resurrection--"the resurrection of the just." Earth is not
yet transfigured, and cannot therefore be the meet locality for the
transfigured Church; but from heaven the transfigured saints with
Christ rule the earth, there being a much freer communion of the
heavenly and earthly churches (a type of which state may be seen in the
forty days of the risen Saviour during which He appeared to His
disciples), and they know no higher joy than to lead their brethren on
earth to the same salvation and glory as they share themselves. The
millennial reign on earth does not rest on an isolated passage of the
Apocalypse, but all Old Testament prophecy goes on the same view
Isa 4:3; 11:9; 35:8).
Jesus, while opposing the carnal views of the kingdom of God prevalent
among the Jews in His day, does not contradict, but confirms, the Old
Testament view of a coming, earthly, Jewish kingdom of glory: beginning
from within, and spreading itself now spiritually, the kingdom of God
shall manifest itself outwardly at Christ's coming again. The papacy is
a false anticipation of the kingdom during the Church-historical
period. "When Christianity became a worldly power under Constantine,
the hope of the future was weakened by the joy over present success"
[BENGEL]. Becoming a harlot, the Church ceased to
be a bride going to meet her Bridegroom; thus millennial hopes
disappeared. The rights which Rome as a harlot usurped, shall be
exercised in holiness by the Bride. They are "kings" because they are
Re 1:6; 5:10);
their priesthood unto God and Christ
is the ground of their kingship in relation to man. Men will be willing
subjects of the transfigured priest-kings, in the day of the Lord's
power. Their power is that of attraction, winning the heart, and not
counteracted by devil or beast. Church and State shall then be
co-extensive. Man created "to have dominion over earth" is to rejoice
over his world with unmixed, holy joy. John tells us that,
instead of the devil, the transfigured Church of Christ; Daniel, that
instead of the heathen beast, the holy Israel, shall rule the world
Re 14:13; 19:9).
on such the second death hath no power--even as it has none on
Christ now that He is risen.
priests of God--Apostate Christendom being destroyed, and the
believing Church translated at Christ's coming, there will remain
Israel and the heathen world, constituting the majority of men then
alive, which, from not having come into close contact with the Gospel,
have not incurred the guilt of rejecting it. These will be the subjects
of a general conversion