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voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; The salvation, and the glory, and the power, to our God. 3 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants
3 at her hand. (And again they said Hallelujah,) and her
4 smoke ascendeth for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, and the four living creatures fell down, and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen,
5 Hallelujah. And a voice came forth from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that
6 fear him, small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah:
T for the Lord God, the Almighty reigneth. Let us be
blood the great whore had shed, saying, Hallelujah—This Hebrew word signifies, Praise ye Jah, or him that is. God named himself to Moses, EHEIEH, that is, / u ill be, Exod. ii. 14; and at the same time, Jehovah, that is, He that is, and was, and is to come: during the trumpet of the seventh angel, he it styled, He that is, and was, (ch. xvi. 5,) and not He that is to come: because his long expected coming is under this trumpet actually present. At length he is styled, Jah, He that is, the past, together with the future being swallowed up in the present, the former things being no more mentioned, for the greatness of those that now are. This title is of all others the most peculiar to the everlasting God. The salvation, is opposed to the destruction which the great whore had brought upon the earth. His power and his glory appears from the judgment executed on her, and from the setting up his kingdom to endure through all ages.
V. 2. For true and righteous are his judgments—Thus it's the cry of the soul*, under the altar changed into a song of praise.
V. 4. And the four and twenty elders, and the four living creatures fell down —The living creatures are nearer the throne than the elders. Accordingly they are mentioned before them with the praise they render to Goi|, ch. iv. g, io, ch. viii. 14, in as much as there the praise moves from the centre to the circumference. But here, when God's judgments are fulfilled, it moves back from the circumference to the centre. Here therefore the four and twenty elders are named before the living creatures.
V. 5. And a voice came forth from the throne—Probably from the four living creatures, laying, Praise our God—The occasion and matter of this song of praise follow immediately after, ver. 6, &c. God was praised before for his judgment of the great whore, ver. 1—4. Now for that which follows it: for the Lord God, the Almighty, takes the kingdom to himself, and avenges himself on the rest of his enemies. Were all these inhabitants of heaven mistaken? If not, there is a real, yea, a terrible anger in God.
V. 6. And I heard the voice of a great multitnde—So all his servants did praise him. The Almighty reigneth—More eminently and gloriously than ever before.
V. 7. The marriage of the Lamb is come—I* near at hand, to be solemnized speedily. What this implies, none of the spirits of just men, even in paradise, yet know. O what things are those which are yet behind! And What purity of heart should there be to meditate upon them! And his wife hath made herself ready—Even upon earth: but in a far higher sense, in that world. After a time allowed for this, the New Jerusalem comes down, both made ready and adorned, ch. xxi. 3.
glad, and rejoice, and give the glory to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, ana his wife hath made her
8 self ready. And it is given to her to be arrayed in fine linen, white and clean; the fine linen is the righteousness
, of the saints.
9 And he said to me, Write: Happy are they who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he
10 saith to me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell before his feet to worship him: but he saith to me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that keep the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
11 And I saw the heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sitteth on him, called Faithful and True: and in righteousness he judgeth and maketh war.
12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many diadems, and he hath a name written, which none knoweth
13 but himself. And he is clothed in a vesture dipped in
14 blood, and his name is called, The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white
V. 8. And it is given to her—By God—The bride is, all holy men, the whole invisible chin ch, to be arrayed in fine linen, white and clean—T his is an emblem of the righteousness of the saints—Both of their justification and sanctification.
V. 9. And he—The angel, saith to me, Write—St. John seems to have been so amazed at these glorious sights, that he needed to be reminded of this: Happy are they who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb—Called to glory: And he saith—After a little pause.
V. 10. And I fell before his feet to worship him—It seems mistaking him for the angel of the covenant: But he saith, See thou do it not—la the original it is only, see not, with a beautiful abruptness. To pray to, or worship the highest creature, is flat idolatry. I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus—I am now employed as your fellow-servant to testify of the Lord Jesus, by the same Spirit which inspired the prophets of old.
V. 11. And I saw the heaven opened—This is a new and peculiar opening of it, in order to shew the magnificent expedition of Christ and his attendants against his great adversary: And behold a white horse—Many little regarded Christ, when he came meek riding upon an ass. But what will they say, when he goes forth upon his white horse, with the sword of his mouth? White— Such as generals osein solemn triumph : And he thatsittethonhim,calledFaithful—ln performing all his promises, and true—In executing all his threatenings, and in righteousness—With the utmost justice, he jndgeth andmaketh war —Often the sentence and execution go together.
V. 12. And his eyes are a flame of fire—They were said to be as or like a flame of fire, before, ch. i. It. An emblem of his omniscience; and upon his head are many diadems—For he is King of all nations, and he hath a name written, which none knoweth but himself— As God, he is incomprehensible to every creature.
V. l& And he is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood— The blood of the enemies he hath already conquered, Ha. lxiii. 1, Sec.
15 horses, clothed in clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth goeth forth a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he might smite the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: And he treadeth the wine-press of the
16 fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty, And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King
17 of kings, and Lord of lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come, and gather yourselves together to the great supper of God.
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of chief captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of those that sit on them, and the flesh of all
19 men, both freemen and slaves, both small and great. And I saw the wild beast, and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war with him that sat
20 on the horse and with his army. And the wild beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, who had wrought the miracles before him, with which he had deceived them who had the mark of the wild beast, and them who had worshipped his image. These two were cast alive into
V. 15. And he shall rule them—Who are not slain by hi' sword, with a rod of iron—That is, if they will not submit to his golden sceptre. And he treadeth 'the wine-press of the wrath of God—That is, he executes his judgments on the ungodly.
This ruler of the nations was born (or appeared as such) immediately after the seventh angel began to sound. He now appears not as a child, but as a victorious warrior. The nations have long ago felt his iron rod, partly while the heathen Romans, after their savage persecution of the Christians, themselves groaned under numberless plagues and calamities, by his righteous vengeance; partly, while other heathens have been broken in pieces by those who bore the Christian name. For although the cruelty, for example, of the Spaniards in America, was uurighteous and detestable, yet did God therein execute his righteous judgment on the unbelieving nations. But they shall experience his iron rod as they never did yet. And then will they all return to their rightful Lord.
V. 16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh—That is, on the part of his vesture which is upon his thigh, a name written—It was usual of old, for great personages in the Eastern countries to have magnificent titles affixed to their garments.
V. 17. Gather yourselves together to the great supper of God—An to a great feast which the vengeance of God will soon provide; a strongly figurative expresssion, (taken from Ezekiel, ch. xxxix. 17,) denoting the vastness of the ensuing slaughter.
V. 19. And I saw the kings of the earth—The ten kings mentioned, ch. xvii. I3, who had now drawn the other kings of the earth to them, whether Popish, Mahometan, or Pagan, gathered together to make war with him that sat on the horse—All beings, good and evil, visible and invisible, will be concerned in this grand contest. See Zech. xiv. 2, &c.
V. 20. The false prophet who had wrought the miracles before him—And therefore shared in his punishment, these two ungodly men were cast alive—Without undergoing bodily death, into the lake of fire—And that before the devil him
12 the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were slain by the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which went forth out of his mouth; and all the birds were satisfied with their flesh.
CHAP. XX. 1. And I saw an angel descending out of heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a 2 great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound
self, ch. xx. 10. Here is the last of the beast. After several repeated strokes of Omnipotence, he is gone alive into hell. There were two that went alive into heaven: perhaps there are two that go alive into hell. Enoch and Elijah entered at once into glory without first waiting in paradise. The beast and the false prophet plunge at once into the extremest degree of torment, without being reserved in chains of darkness, till the judgment of the great day. Surely, none but the beast of Rome would have hardened himself thus against the God he pretended to adore, or refused to have repented under such dreadful, repeated visitations! Well is he styled a beast, from his carnal and vile affections; a wild beast from his savage and cruel spirit! The rest were slain—A like difference is afterwards made between the devil and Gog and Magog, ch. xx. 9, 10.
V. s1. Here is a most magnificent description of the overthrow of the beast and his adherents. It has, in particular, one exquisite beauty, that, after exhibiting the two opposite armies, and all the apparatus for a battle, (ver. 11 —19,) then follows immediately (ver. 20) the account of the victory, without one word of an engagement or fighting. Here is the most exact propriety; for what struggle can there be between Omnipotence, and the power of all the creation united against it! Every description must have fallen short of this admirable silence.
CHAP. XX. Ver. 1. And I saw an angel descending out of heaven—Cuming down with a commission from God. Jesus Christ himself overthrew the beast: the proud dragon shall be bound by an angel: even as he and his angels were cast out of heaven, by Michael and his angels, having the key of the bottomless pit—Mentioned before, ch. ix. 1, and a great chain in his hand—The angel of the bottomless pit was shut up therein, before the beginning of the first wo. But it is now first that Satan, after he had occasioned the third wo, is both chained and shut up.
V. 2. And he laid hold on the dragon—With whom undoubtedly his angels were now cast into the bottomless pit, as well as finally into everlasting fire, Matt. xxv. 41. And bound him a thousand years, —That these thousand do not precede or run parallel with, but wholly follow the times of the beast, may manifestly appear, 1. From the series of the whole book, representing one continued chain of events: 2. From the circumstances which precede. The woman's bringing forth is followed, by the casting of the dragon out of heaven to the earth. With this is connected the third wo, whereby the dragon through, and with the beast, rages horribly. At the conclusion of the third wo the beast is overthrown and cast into the lake of fire. At the same time the other grand enemy, the dragon, shall be bound and shut up. 3. These thousand years bring a new, full, and lasting immunity from all outward and inward evils, (the authors of which are now removed,) and an affluence of all blessings. But such a time the church has never yet seen. Therefore it is still to come. 4. These thousand years are followed by the last times of the world, the letting loose of Satan, who gathers together Gog and Magog, and is thrown to the beast and false prophet in the lake of fire. Now Satan's accusing the saints in heaven, his rage on earth, his imprisonment in the
3 him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he might deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled. After this he must be loosed for a small time.
4 And I saw thrones, and they that sat on them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of them who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the wild beast nor his image, neither had received the mark on their forehead or on their hand: and they lived
abyss, his seducing Gog and Magog, and being cast into the lake of fire, evidently succeed each other. 5. What occurs from ch. xx. 11, to ch. xxii. s, manifestly follows the things related in the xixth chapter. The thousand years came between: whereas if they were past, neither the beginning nor the end of them would fall within this period. In a short time those who assert, that they are now at hand, will appear to have spoken the truth. Mean time let every man consider, what kind of happiness he expects therein. The danger does not lie, in maintaining, that the thousand years are yet to come, but in interpreting them, whether past or to come, in a gross and carnal sense. The doctrine of the Son of God is a mystery. So is his cross: and so is his glory. In all these he is a sign that is spoken against. Happy they who believe and confess him in all.
V. 3. And sit a seal upon him—How far these expressions are to be taken literally, how far figuratively only, who can tell? That he might deceive the nations no more—One benefit only is here expressed, as resulting from the confinement of Satan. But how many and great blessings are implied! For the grand enemy being removed, the kingdom of God holds on its uninterrupted course among the nations, and the great mystery of God, so long foretold, is at length fulfilled: namely, when the beast is destroyed and Satan bound. This fulfilment approaches nearer and nearer, and contains things of the utmost importance, the knowledge of which becomes every day more distinct and easy. In the mean time it is highly necessary to guard against the present rage and subtilty of the devil. Quickly he will be bound: when he is loosed again, the martyrs will live and reign with Christ. Then follow his coming in glory, the new heaven, new earth, and New Jerusalem. The bottomless pit is properly the devil's prison: afterwards he is cast into the lake of fire. He can deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years mentioned before, ver. 2, are fulfilled. Then he must be loosed—So does the mysterious wisdom of God permit, for a small time—Small comparatively: though upon the whole it cannot be very short, because the things to be transacted therein (ver. 8, 9) must take up a considerable space. We are very shortly to expect, one after another, the calamities occasioned by the second beast, the harvest and the vintage: the pouring out of the phials, the judgment of Babylon: the last raging of the beast and his destruction; the imprisonment of Satan. How great things these! and how short the time! What is needful for us! Wisdom, patience, faithfulness, watchfulness. It is no time to settle upon our lees. This is not, if it be rightly understood, an acceptable message to the wise, the mighty, the honourable, of this world. Yet that which is to be done, shall be done. There is no counsel against the Lord.
V. 4. And I saw thrones, —Such as are promised the apostles, Matt. xix. a*, I.ake xxii. 30, and they—Namely, the saints whom St. John saw at the same time, Dan. vii. 22, sat upon them; and judgment was given to them, 1 Cor. vi. e. Who and how many these are, is not said. But they are distinguished from the souls., or persons, mentioned, immediately after, and from the s»iu|s