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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 1 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 wor. ship, 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 ycars. 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 Millen. nium, 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 which 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 taken from this tradition of the Church. From Papias, a good man, but weak and credulous, seem to have 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.
for the Christian Church, even here upon earth. For the days will come, and seem at no very great distance, (the present century may perhaps disclose them,) when, the beast and false prophet being removed, and Babylon sunk for ever, the devil, that ancient foe, shall be deprived of his wonted influence; and the prophecies, which in the Old Testament, as well as in the book of Revelation, promise happy times, shall be accomplished *
* An abstracted view of the sentiments of the Ancients on this difficult, and as yet obscure subject, may be seen in Bishop Newton's Dissertations, vol. iii. 329—343. 8vo; and of the Moderns, in Lowman's Paraphrase and notes on Rev. p. 242—248. Some ingenious and useful hints are suggested in Mr. Kett's last volume on Prophecy. And a comprehensive, learned, and very judicious view of the whole subject may be read in Mr. Gray's Discourse on Rev. xx. 4, 5, 6. It is remarkable that Dr. Whitby, who had declined to comment on the Apocalypse, assigning as his motive, that he felt himself unqualified for such a work, has ventured to explain this particular prediction of the Millennium ; which being, as all agree, a prophecy yet unfulfilled, is, of all others, the most difficult. Yet his Treatise on the true Millennium may be perused with advantage. But, as it plainly appears that no one, who lived before the completion of the prophecies of the Seals, the Trumpet, or the Harlot of Babylon, however learned and sagacious, was able to penetrate through the veil of these mysteries; nor was any progress made in assorting these prophecies, until the historical events fulfilling them appeared; so, to the events alone are we to look with confidence for the complete illustration of these predictions. We can at present collect from them with safety, only general notions and assurances. Such however are sufficient to support our faith, if not to gra. tify our curiosity.
Satan loosed, deceiveth the nations, and is cast into
the burning lake.
CHIAP. xx. Ver. 7–10.
7 Kai őrzy Tile Oñ 17 And when the thou-.17 And when the thou
tà minor érn, Ava sand years shall be sand years are expired, θήσεται ο σατανάς completed, satan shall Satan shall be loosed εκ της φυλακής αυ be loosed from hiss out of his prison, And 8 tő: Kei tenevoiles | 8 prison : And he shall
shall go out to deceive waxrñoni tá porn come forth to deceive
the nations which are τα εν ταις τέσσας the nations which are in the four quarters of or ywvízos tñs yñs, in the four corners of
the earth, Gog and τον Γωγ και τον
the earth, the Gog, Magog, to gather them Maywny, ouvezésiv and the Magog, to ga
together to battle: the αυτές τις σόλεμον, ther them together to
number of whom is as ών και αριθμός αυτών battle, the number of
the sand of the sea. s polos tñs Dx
whom is as the sand of | 9 And they went up on 9 hoons. Käidye 19 the sea. And they
the breadth of the βησαν επί το πλάwent up on the exteut
earth, and compassed TOS" tñs yñs, kai of the earth, and sur
the camp of the saints έκύκλωσαν την παrounded the camp of
about, and the beloved çou bonne twv éyiwy,
city: and fire came nai rhy tóny any the saints, even the
down from God out of nryannuévyo nai beloved city. And fire
heaven, and devoured καλές και σύρ από τα came down from God
10 them. And the devil e 8 ix T8 ápzv8 out of heaven, and de
that deceived them, rj acélépayev xitós. | 10voured them. And the
was cast into the lake 10 Kai é diccbonos ó devil, who deceiveth
of fire and brimstone, σλανών αυτές, ε them, was cast into the
where the beast and the Cahom zis the hizo lake of fire and brim
false prophet are, and γην τα συρός και stone; where were like
shall be tormented day Sis, 6m8 xa rồi wise the wild-beast and
and night for ever and Angior ty o teudo the false prophet: and προφήτης και βασα they shall be torinent
After the grand period of the Millennium, so favourable to the Christian cause, shall have come to its end, another apostacy shall unhappily take place. This is expressed figuratively, by satan being again loosed, to deceive the nations. This new rebellion against the laws of God, and against the easy yoke of the Redeemer, is of formidable extent. The four corners of the earth, (that is, the nations of the whole earth) * are engaged in it. It is an apostacy of a new kind; different at least from the former apostacy, in which the beast and false prophet were satan's instruments of mischief. Beyond this we have little ground of conjecturę. The enemies of the Christian Church, numerous as the sands upon the sea-shore, surround the camp of the Saints, which is represented as in a state of siege. But the extinction of these enemies shall be sudden, miraculous, and complete. They shall be destroyed by fire, by fire from heaven, that is, miraculously, and utterly t.
This description is conformable to other ancient prophecies, still remaining to be fulfilled; or which have received only a partial and typical completion. Such are Isaiah Ixiii. Ixvi. Joel jii. Ezek. xxxviii, and xxxix; which is the last prophecy in the book, and is said expressly to be of the latter days. Gog and Magog will be found to signify the nations; those which were
* See note, ch. iv. 6. + See note, ch. xvii. 12. · 1 Excepting the exhibition of the temple, which, being a subject entire of itself, was reckoned by the Jews as an additional book, See Joseph. Ant. Jud. lib. x. c. 6.