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The Dragon taken and confined.
CHAP. XX. VER. 1-3.
1 Και είδον αγελος xalahairovla &x r8
åpars, xorla rho κλείν της αβύσσε, , και άλυσιν μεγάλης
επί την χείρα αυ2 το. Και εκράτησε
τον δράκουλα, τον όφιν τον αρχαίον, , ός εςι διάβολος και สนใas, xai EOpen
αυτόν χίλια έτη. . 3 Και έβαλεν αυτόν
us thin a vorov, ry έκλεισεν, και έσφράγισεν επάνω αυτά, , ένα μη σλανήση τα έθνη έτι, άχρι τελεσθη τα χίλια έτη και μεία ταύτα δει αυτον λυθήναι μικρών χρόνον. .
1 And I saw an angel
coming down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit,
and a great chain in 2 his hand. And he laid
hold on the dragon, (that apcient serpent, who is the devil and
satan,) and bound him 3 a thousand years; And
cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut up; and set a seal over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be completed : and after these, he must be loose ed a little time.
1 And I saw an angel
come down froin heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit,
and a great chain in 2 his hand: And he laid
hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan,
and bound him a thou3 sand years, 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
The removal of the beast and false prophet is followed by the decline of impiety and wickedness, and by the rapid growth of true Religion and Virtue. This is symbolically displayed. The dragon, that ancient foe of man, who, under the disguise of a serpent, had be
guiled Eve; who had lent his throne, his authority and his arts, to the beast and the false prophet; to mislead the nations and their kings *; is taken and confined. His influence upon earth is wonderfully diminished. And this important object is accomplished by the same superior agency. For, though an angel is represented as binding satan, yet, whence has he the commission and the power? whence the key of the bottomless deep, but from him who alone is described, as having “ the “ keys of hell and of death t;" from him, who shutteth, and no man openeth? By his permission the bottomless deep had been opened $; by his power it is now closed and sealed. The author of all iniquity is confined in it, for a time; after which he is permitted to come forth again“ for a season,” and “to deceive the nations.” But the beasts rise up no more. They are no longer the successful agents of satan. He is no longer permitted to employ this kind of civil and religious tyranny against true Religion, and the happiness of man. The blissful season, during which satan continues bounden, is called a thousand years. But of this more particularly, under the next section.
* See notes, ch. xii.
+ Cb. i. 18. I Ch. iii. 7. $ See note, ch. ix. 1.
4 Kai zidor Içoves, zij 4 And I saw thrones, 4 And I saw thrones, and
εκάθισαν επ' αυτές, , and they sate upon they sate upon them, και κρίμα εδόθη αυ
them and judgment and judgment was τους και τας ψυχάς was given unto them : given unto them: and των σεπελεκισμέ- and the souls of those I saw the souls of them νων δια την μαρο- who had been slain that were beheaded for giay 'Inde, uzida with the axe for the the witness of Jesus, τον λόγον το Θεό, , testimony of Jesus, and for the word of και οίτινες και Topogee
and for the word of God, and which had κύνησαν τα θηρίω, God; and whosoever not worshipped the έτε τη εικόνα αυτά had not worsbipped beast, neither his και έκ έλαβον το the beast
his image, neither had χάραγμα επί το image, and had not
received his mark upon μέτωπον, και επί received the mark their foreheads, or in την χείρα αυτών upon their forehead
their hands; and they και έζησαν, και εβασί- and
their hand : lived and reigned with λευσαν μελα τε Χρι- and they lived and Christ thousand σε τα χίλια έτη. . reigned with Christ
5 years: But the rest of 5 οι δε λοιποί των the thousand years :
the dead lived not rexçün éx inox, 5 But the rest of the again until the thouέως τελεσθή τα χί
dead did not live till sand years were finishλια έτη. Αύτη η
the thousand years ed. This is the first ανάςασις ή σπρώτη. should be completed. 6 resurrection. Blessed 6 Μακάριο και άγιο.
This is the first resur- and holy is he that ó i xar kéęQ in the 6 rection. Blessed and
hath part in the first αναςάσει τη σρώ
holy is he who bath a resurrection: on such της επί τέτων : part in the first resur- the second death hath δεύτερο θάνατο
rection: over these, the no power, but they έκ έχει εξεσίαν, second death hath no shall be priests of God, αλλ' έσονlαι ιερείς power : but they shall
and of Christ, and B R2
TË Oci ry T&Xeise, και βασιλεύσεσε με αυτέ χίλια έτη. .
be priests of God and
shall reign with him a thousand years.
Ver. 4. And I saw thrones ; &c.] In Daniel, vii. 22, 26, “ the judgment sits;”—“ judgment is given to " the saints ;—they possess the kingdom.” To this passage, St. Paul seems to allude in i Cor. vi. 2, 3, as well as does our Lord's promise in Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 30. giving thrones of judgment to his Disciples. These prophecies, dark in themselves, until the event and completion shall illustrate them, are here repeated, with some additional information : for, it is affirmed, that this reign of the Saints shall continue" a thousand “ years.” Who the saints are, is at first expressed in very general terms; as also is the prophecy of Daniel.
They sate; judgment was given unto them.” But among those who sit upon these thrones, are afterwards expressly enumerated, they who during the long conflict with the beast and false prophet, have kept the faith, even unto death, and refused the idolatrous worship, to which they were tempted or forced, by the worldly powers. These faithful sons and champions of the Church, are described as living and reigning with the Anointed, or Christ, the thousand years. And this early or first resurrection appears to be their exclusive privilege, and not to belong to the rest of the dead, who, it is said, shall not live, until the thousand years shall be completed.
Much has been written upon this promised Millennium, or reign of the Saints; yet little that can afford
satisfaction to the judicious * The meaning of a prophecy of this kind can only be made manifest by the event wbich is to fulfil it. Before that time shall arrive, it is unsafe to conjecture after what method it shall be fulfilled; whether, as some prophecies literally, or as others, typically; whether the departed Saints and Martyrs shall actually be raised again in their own persons, to effect so glorious a change in Religion and morals; or, whether, like Elijah in the person of John Baptist, and David in that of Christ, they shall live again in the persons of other saints, who shall fulfill their characters and offices, no man may presume to determine. It is best therefore, after the example of the wise father Irenæus, respecting another prophecy, to “ wait the completion of the prediction f.” Yet, if we are not permitted to descend to a special interpretation, we may receive advantage from a general view. We may confidently indulge a well-grounded expectation, that happy times, of long duration, are yet destined
* Augustine, in Civ. Dei, lib. xx. c. 7, commenting on this chapter, says, that the doctrine of a Millennium, in which the saints were to enjoy a corporeal resurrection in this world, was founded on a notion that, after six thousand years of trouble, the saints should enjoy one thousand years of sabbath, or rest. But the doctrine was founded on this passage of the Revelation. The notion of the time only, in which the prophecy will be fulfilled, was laken from this tradition of the Church. From Papias, a good man, but weak and credulous, seem to bave been derived those earthly notions of a Millennium, branded with the name of Chiliasm, which were adopted by some eminent writers of the ancient Church; by Irenæus, Apollinaris, Tertullian, Victorinus, Lactantius, &c. But there was another, and much more debasing, notion of a Millennium, entertained in those early times, in which, gross, sensual, corrupting delights were supposed to make the felicity of the Saints. This seems to have been derived from Cerinthus, and thence to have passed on to other heretics. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iii. c. 28. + Iren. lib. v. 30.