[* The following two chapters - (“Abridged from the Four Volume Edition, 1864.”) - are from

 The Apocalypse Expounded By Scripture.” (pp. 319-338.)]










The following two chapters inthis book is an abridged edition of Govett’s four volumes on the Apocalypse, which are now totally out of print.  Govett’s excellence does not lie in his style, in his mastery of language of learned authors, but in infinitely the most important of all the qualities of a commentator, a disclosure of the exact meaning of the Holy Ghost.  In all my life I have discovered no author so exactly aware of what God has said; and who is able to make it clear in plain and simple language.


There is no kook more important to the world at this moment than the apocalypse.  It is our Lord’s warning to both the church and the world of the awful cataclysmic events that will crowd the closing epoch.  The Apocalypse reveals judgements simply preliminary to a never ending Hell; [i.e, in “the lake of fire” – Ed.] and it closes with an exquisite picture of the Holy City, the endless home of the redeemed.  When we pass on Govett’s book [or any of his many other writings] to others we are doing a signal service.


                                                                                                                          - D. M. Panton






This book comes from the pen of a great Bible scholar and a prince among Scripture Expositors.  It is a book of the greatest value of truths for present day conditions.  It ranks among the first and best books on Revelation.  It is filled with light on the last book of the Bible.  It is clear, plain, very plain; it is fearless in its declarations; it is deeply heart searching with its illumination and contains the ‘gold key’ to the understanding of the last message to the church by the Head of the Church our Lord Jesus Christ.



Published by Voice of Truth - P.R.H.. 


Washington, D.C.




*       *       *       *       *       *       *

[Page 319]








1-3. “And I saw an angel coming down out of the heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain on his hand.  And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit and locked and sealed (it) over him, that he should not deceive the nations any more, until the thousand years were fulfilled: after that he must be loosed a little while.”



The victory over men is not sufficient.  The Evil Spirit, by whose instigation the troops were collected and the battle joined, needs to be arrested.  For want of this, former successes have been turned into defeats, sooner or later.  New plot have been framed by the great Deceiver; and new tools found to carry them into effect, Justice then proceeds to seize the chief culprit.



The key that was lent him awhile was taken away to heaven.  It is brought again to earth only to be used against him.



He is dealt with by himself: he is not a man, but a spirit.  He is not found, like the others, with arms in his hands.  Hence his treatment is different: an angel seizes him.  He is beyond man’s power to retain.  In chapter 12. Michael the archangel and his angels cast him down after a battle.  Now there is no fight: but a single angel arrests him.



By the act of angels Satan was defeated on high.  By an angel he is arrested on earth.  This is the last act of an angel in open interference on the earth.  The millennium is the time, not of angel’s rule, but of men’s.



He has “a great chain on his hand,” The key is in the angel’s hand; the chain is coiled up around it.  The chain is long and heavy: for it is to bind the great and strong dragon.  His jailor is duly furnished for his office.



He seizes the fallen spirit.  If I mistake not, Satan when cast down to earth will appear visible: as visible as he did to Eve.  The world will not receive the Holy Spirit, “because it seeth him not.”  It will receive the great Adversary: will it not be, because it seeth him?  To show that the same fallen being who tempted Eve in the garden is now removed from the scene of his wickedness, both the angel and the Tempter will, I suppose be seen.  Good angels made themselves visible: so may evil angels.  Angels ate with Abraham: why may not angels be bound?  Another example of this binding of angels has previously arisen.  11: 14, 15.  And in Peter and Jude like assertions are made.  2 Peter 2.; Jude 6.  Those angels that fell long after Satan, and received Jesus’ preaching, when as a spirit He entered the place of spirits, now come forth from their darkness and chains to be judged, and to be released.  It is “the judgment of the great day.”  Satan, after long liberty, is cast into the close durance from which they have just been delivered.



He is cast into the bottomless pit.”


[Page 320]

It is very remarkable how different a style of punishment overtakes Satan, from that which arrests his two coadjutors.  They are cast into the lake of fire: he, into the bottomless pit.  But the reason of this difference is, that his two assistants were already in the bottomless pit, ere he released them.  They go, therefore, into hell proper, or the Gehenna of fire.  Satan himself has not yet suffered more than ejection from heaven: imprisonment in the bottomless pit is therefore his sentence.



The angel further locks and seals the pit-door.  The open pit was the signal for God’s terrible judgments on men.  ’Twas the time of woe to earth: locusts tormented and the False Christ deceived.  It remained open all the time of Satan’s power.  The angel has not to open the pit, in order to cast Satan into it.



Now the pit is shut and locked again.  Its sulphurous flames and terrible executioners shall no more be free to come forth.



What is the intent of all those actions?  That Satan’s deception of the nations of the earth may no longer be carried on.  Deception is his constant trade.  His angels may deceive individuals: he deceives nations.  The truth is against him, he is therefore driven to use falsehood.  He excites false hopes.  He makes promises of success in sin, which are sure to end in the destruction of his dupes.  He knows from the first the wrath which will descend on himself and them: but still he goes on.  His deceits prevail: the old serpent rules the old man.



But Satan must be loosed again after the thousand years are over.  Why?



It were not necessary that we should be able to see the reason of this “must” on God’s part.  But I think several very substantial and satisfactory ones may be assigned.



1. The great aim of God in this and in all other things is not to glorify man, but Himself.  His design is to display the golf which serves the Creator unchangeable in holiness, from the creature perpetually changing to evil, whenever he is tried, and not upheld by sovereign grace.  It will probably be fancied, as it is imagined by some now, that Jesus is to appear in person, to raise the dead, to rule the earth, to give authority to His saints, to cut off His foes, and to display them burning in the fiery lake, that none will be found hardy enough to attempt to resist Him.  God means, on the other hand, to discover to us, that man, placed under the most favourable circumstances [during Christ’s Millennium], will yet fall if left to his own choice under temptation.  Yes, even against Christ in person he can rebel!



2. This displays the foreknowledge of God.  Ages ere they take place, God has foretold the things that shall be.  The choice of men, and Satan himself, is discerned by Him from afar.  Much as Satan must desire to dishonour God, and to prove His words false, still his hatred of God will prevail, and thus will he act.  God knows, too, what man is, and how he will choose.  Man is unchanged in nature, wherever grace has not stepped in to heal.


[Page 321]

3. This discovers to us Satan’s incurable wickedness, and the enduring character of sin in general.  Though he foresees the coming wrath of God, he is not even restrained for awhile from open acts of rebellion against God.  Sin overlaps all calculations of self interest, all past results of experience, all threatenings of God.



4. This discovers also to us the futility of the ideas of many on a point of much importance.  Many will not believe God’s testimony concerning the eternity of punishment.  They trust in the efficacy of penal inflictions on the sinful to restore them to a right mind.  The fire will burn out the dross from the corrupt: the gold will at length appear.”  This is a false and foolish supposition.  It is here negatived by the voice of prophecy.  The mighty intellect of Satan knows the unchangeable holiness of God, sees that as long as God shall be holy, and himself sinful, so long God must be against him.  He has experienced imprisonment a thousand years: has felt the superior might of the Most High: has learned by the slow lapses of centuries how vain are all his plans, how uniformly defeat has extinguished them.  Surely, then, we should be apt to imagine, he will say to himself – “It is folly to strive with God.  This heavy captivity of a thousand years has not indeed destroyed my hatred of God, but it has at least taught me prudence.  I will not offend against Him openly.  I will keep my enmity locked in my own bosom.  I am once again at liberty: I will not do aught rebellious again to forfeit it, and to draw down final and eternal wrath.”  Is such the result?  Nothing of the kind.  He is the tiger; while enclosed in his dungeon, his love of blood is undiminished by his captivity: and as soon as his prison doors are loosed, he is off to his jungle and his prey once more.






4. “And I saw thrones, and (men) sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and (I saw) the souls of those that had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus, and because of the Word of God: and whoever worshipped not the Wild Beast nor his image, nor received the mark on their forehead, or on their hand, both lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5. And the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were fulfilled.  This is the first resurrection. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; over these the second death hath not authority, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”



We have now arrived at a much controverted portion of the book: may the Holy Spirit enlighten us with true conceptions of the period described!



We inquire first:-



Is the resurrection here spoken of FIGURATIVE or LITERAL?



This is the great point of controversy on this book.  We think that the case is very easily decided.



We ask first - Will the literal interpretation stand here?  It will. [Page 322] Does it produce absurdity to suppose that the resurrection may be of persons really slain?  By no means.  Then the literal interpretation is the true one.



Allegorists would have is believe that the resurrection here spoken of is a figurative and corporate one.  The party of Antichrist is put down, the Christian party (or the Church) is exalted and in power.”



Now we reply first, That if this resurrection may be explained away, so may all others.  We answer next, That if the resurrection be figurative and corporate, the death which precedes it is figurative and corporate also.  We forbid you, then, to assume that Christ’s cause is put down by the literal beheading and slaughter of individual believers.  That is literal death, and you may not steal our weapon.  There may be the figurative and corporate extinction of a party, by the dying out of the principles which created it, in the minds of its partisans.  That you may take, if you will: and if you are Calvinists, you will find it a live bombshell in your camp.



We proceed, then, to apply our leaver.  The death which is suffered by the saints is literal and individual; such, therefore, is the resurrection.  The first proposition needs no longer proof.  It will not be denied that Jesus calls His followers literally and individually to die for Him.  Matt. 10: 21, 28, 30; 24: 9; Rev. 1: 13; 6: 11; 13: 15; Luke 12: 4, 5, etc.  It will not be disputed, either, that not a few have, in obedience to our Lord’s words, simply and literally given up live for His name.  As, then, the life surrendered was literal and individual, literal and individual is the life restored.



We advance.  Is the second resurrection* literal of figurative?


[* That is, at the resurrection of the dead after the thousand years have expired.]



Hitherto it has been assumed almost universally, that the judgment of the dead (verses 11-15) is a literal resurrection.  But if that be literal, then, as the first resurrection is related to the second, as a part of the rest of one great whole, if the second resurrection be literal, so is the first.  You cannot have the real root of a figurative tree; or the figurative branch of a literal tree.



The question may be brought to a point briefly thus.  On anti-millenarian views, the present dispensation [or evil age] is to continue till the end of the world.  More and more is the gospel to increase, and to subject at length all nations to its sway, while believers become more and more patterns of everything good and holy.  Whence, then, is to come the burning up of the globe for sin?  Where is the evil on man’s part, and the wrath on God’s, which are to be the causes of the world’s destruction?  On this view, Christ should return, only to welcome His people, and they to receive Him with joy.  What say the Scriptures about the Lord’s Second Advent?  Joel 3.; Isa. 13., 24.; Matt. 24., etc.



I saw thrones, and the souls of the beheaded (Accusative case.)  And whoever worshipped not lived (Nominative case.)



Three classes are named in the verse.



1. The first is indefinite.  Men sat on the thrones.”

[Page 323]

2. The second consists of early martyrs for God’s cause.


3. The third is composed of those who struggle with the last enemy, even Antichrist.



To these three parties resurrection and royalty are assigned.



The thrones of the twenty-four elders on high [presumably angelic creatures, presently invested with divine authority to rule] have disappeared: they are seen no more.  Here are unnumbered thrones set on earth.



What, then are the conditions of obtaining a seat on one of these thrones?



The occupants of them are here spoken of only indefinitely.  They are, I believe, the same parties who descend with Christ as His army.  This would appear more clearly, if we read verses 1-3 of this [20th] chapter as a parenthesis.  The army of warriors who come with Christ, reign with Christ.  As those who fought with Joshua, with Joshua inherited the land; so those with Christ war, with Him reign.



Will all believers, then, reign with Christ?”  By no means.  The kingdom of the thousand years is never said to belong to those who only believe.  There are not a few texts addressed to [regenerate] believers which declare that certain classes of them shall not enter the kingdom.



(1) Those whose (active) righteousness shall not exceed that of the Pharisees.  Matt. 5: 20.


(2) Those who, while professors of Christ’s name, do not the will of His Father.  Matt. 7: 21.


(3) Those guilty of strife, envy, and contention.  Luke 9: 46-50; Mark 9: 33-50; Matt. 18: 1-3.


(4) [Certain] Rich disciples.  Matt. 19: 23; Luke 6: 24; 18: 24.


(5) Those who deny the millennium.  Luke 18: 17; Mark 10: 15.


(6) The unbaptized.  John 3: 5.



(7) See also 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10; Gal. 5: 19-21; 6: 7, 8; Matt. 10: 32, 39; 16: 26; 18: 17, 18; Luke 9: 26. 



But will only martyrs have part in the millennial kingdom?”



This is making the gate too narrow, as the other makes it too wide.  Those who suffer for Christ, even though not unto death, will reign with Christ.  Rom. 8: 17; 2 Tim. 2: 11, 12.



The conquerors [or ‘overcomers’ as translated by other yranslations] in Christ generally will have part in it.  Rev. 2: 26, 27.  Those who receive the abundance of the grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life by the one Christ Jesus” (Rom. 5: 17). (See Greek.)



But many other texts describe those who will partake of the first resurrection.



And judgment was given to them.”



There seems to be a direct reference to Dan. 7.  The judgment was [Page 324] set, and books were opened” (10) The saints of the heavenlies (Heb.) shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever” (18).  The false Christ prevailed “Until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given unto the saints of the heavenlies: and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (22)  (See also verse 27 and 2: 44.)  Thus the latter portion of the verse expounds the former.  We learn that the thrones which John saw were no mere pageant of royalty; but that royal power to decide causes, and to pass sentence, and to regulate the nations, accompanied the outward ensigns of sovereignty.



This is the more observable, as contrasted with God’s previous injunctions upon His Church.  Jesus forbade His disciples to act the civil magistrate, as unsuited to the present dispensation of mercy, and to their own sinful condition now.  Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7: 1, 2; 5: 40).  Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come” (1 Cor. 4: 5).  And the apostle blames the Corinthian believers who were already full, rich, and “reigning as kings” while apostles were hungry, thirsty, naked, in danger of death.  He desired indeed, that both might reign together.  1 Cor. 4: 8-14.  But all reigning now, while our Lord is rejected, is the exercise of judgment “before the time.”  There is judging indeed of those within the Church; but, as regards the world, the apostle dismisses it.  What have I to do to judge them that are within?  But them that are without God will judge* (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3).


* So read the best MSS., and the critical editions.



Jesus Himself, when asked to decide in a civil suit, refused.  Man, who made Me a judge, or a divider over you?” (Luke 12: 14).  He refused to judge, because, as He said, He came not to judge, but to save the world.  John 12: 47.



But now Jesus is sent forth with power to reign, and to subdue all to His Father.



Hence now is fulfilled the word, Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?”  Know ye not that we shall judge angels?  How much more things that pertain unto this life?” (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3).



And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded.”  How,” say some, “can a soul be seen?”  Very easily: the [disembodied] soul or ghost resembles the body which it has left and is perfectly an object of sight, although it cannot be handled.  Thus Saul saw the soul or ghost of Samuel.



Why is it noticed so specially, that John saw the souls of “the beheaded with an axe,” it is not easy to say.  It is not meant to exclude those slain by other modes of death.  Else the apostle Peter would be shut out, because he was crucified; the apostle James, and John Baptist, for they were slain, not with an axe, but with a sword; and John himself, who was put into a cauldron of boiling oil, but escaped alive.  So also the Two Witnesses would be excluded, for they are to be crucified; and those who have endured the more fearful death by fire. [Page 325] The beheading by axe is probably mentioned, because it was, or because it will be the more common mode of death to the saints.  The Romans scourged with the lictor’s rods, and then beheaded with his axe.  This view is confirmed by the word used concerning those under the altar: of them it is only said that they were slain,” the mode of death being undefined.



Here, then, the martyrs alone appear.  But they are only one of three classes.  And the difficulty experienced by Burg and others with regard to the passage, as though martyrs alone would be partakers of the first resurrection - has arisen from overlooking the previous class, which is not composed exclusively of the saints for Christ.  The beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, and many other passages, prove that others also shall partake in the joys of that [millennial] day of glory.  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of [the] heaven[s]”; that is, the [heavenly sphere of] the millennial kingdom.* So it is promised [after the ‘first resurrection] to the doers of God’s will (Matt. 7: 21), and the vehement seekers after it. (11: 12.)  Also the Saviour promises a recompense at “the resurrection of the righteous,” for those who make feasts not to receive a return now, but for such as cannot requite [i.e., repay or compensate] them.  Luke 14: 12, 14.  Jesus in the Seven Epistles [Rev. chapters 2. & 3.] promises chiefly reward to [our] works: here consolation is held out chiefly to the sufferers for Him.


[* NOTE: Being “equal unto the angels” (Luke 20: 35, R.V.), with bodies of “flesh and bones” after Resurrection - (like our Lord’s post-resurrection body, Luke 24: 39), will distinguish those “accounted worthy to attain to that age,” (by their ability to access and rule also in the heavenly sphere of His coming messianic kingdom), from those living upon earth at that time, in natural bodies of “flesh and blood”.]



Why were these servants of God slain?



For the witness of Jesus.”  This marks them as martyrs of the New Testament.  John describes himself as thus suffering for his testimony.  Rev. 1: 2, 9.  They did well, and suffered for it.”  This is our strange calling: quite contrasted with that of men under Moses’ law, where obedience was to win honour and present reward.  Deut. 4: 6.  These were slain not for sin, but for holiness.  These bearers of Jesus’ flag of truce into the camp of the rebels were assassinated by those whom they came to serve.  Thus they resemble Christ, and are by His Father “counted worthy” to reign with Jesus.  They lost their lives for Him.  A thousand years requites the loss of ten or twenty for Jesus’ sake.



Behold the fulfilment here of that favourite word of Jesus, so often recorded by the Holy Ghost.  He that found his life (soul) shall lose it; and he that lost his life (soul) for My sake shall find itMatt. 10: 39. (Greek); 16: 25, 26; Mark 8: 35-37; Luke 9: 24; 17: 33; John 12: 25.  Those who gave up life for Christ receive the peculiar bliss of the thousand years: those who saved life by refusing to witness for Christ, or by denying Him, lose life - they are not admitted to the glory of the thousand years.



There were others slain “for the word of God.”



This distinguishes the saints of the Old Testament.  They are described in the same terms as the fifth seal.  The Kingdom of Christ encircles God’s martyrs, both under the Law and under the Gospel.  Even so the Saviour’s beatitudes include both.  Blessed are they who have been persecuted (see Greek) for righteousness’ sake.  Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matt. 5: 10, 11).


[Page 326]

The next words point out to us another group.*


[* Contrary to the popular belief and false teachings, that all Christians will be either Resurrected from the dead, or Translated, (changed from mortality into immortality) at the time of Death, and at the end of the Great Tribulation, 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17.) - there is, according to the Word of God, to be a translation of living “saints,” beforehand: and those “left,” will have to endure Anti-Christ’s persecutions! Luke 21: 34-36; Rev. 3: 10.  Some “prevail to escape” the coming end-time events; others will be “left” to endure them.]



And whosoever worshipped not the Wild Beast, nor his image, nor received the mark on their forehead or their hand, both lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years



A new class is here presented to us: a new construction ushers it in.  The False Christ is the enemy whom Jesus finds in possession of the field at His return.  But there are a few, who, upheld by the spirit of God, and fearing the awful threatenings of this book, refuse to adore him.  To such belongs a place in the millennial kingdom, to whatever dispensation they might have been assigned originally, whether believers in Jesus, born under the law of Moses, or dwellers in heathen lands.



While the dragon and his king rule, the mark which carries damnation is set by each on his person.  But soon Satan’s king s dethroned, and he himself imprisoned, and now the heroic refusers of his mage and mark live and reign.  We have been introduced to this company before, n the conquerors who stand on the sea of fire.  15: 2.  As they have peculiarly suffered for God, they have peculiar glory and bliss.



These three classes, then, “both lived and reigned with the Christ a thousand years.”  The companies of saints named in chapters 5: 9, 10; 6: 9; 7: 9; 12: 11; 15: 2; all meet in this time of reward.  All three classes consist (in general) of the dead restored to life.  The Hebrew word “lived” includes the idea of a return to life.  The soul of the child comes into him again, and he returned to life” (1 Kings 17: 22).  As they were burying a man when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha he revived (returned to life) and stood upon his feet” (2 Kings 13: 21; 20: 7; Isa. 38: 9).  That is the sense of the Greek also, as we find in this book, 1: 8, where it is spoken of Jesus’ return to life after death.



In the faith of this lies the especial consolation of those called to suffer persecution unto death for Jesus’ sake.  If all the saved will be possessors of the same duration of glory, why should so many pass quietly through life, and I have to endure suffering, imprisonment, martyrdom?  Why should I not yield for peace’ sake, and for the sake of self-preservation (the first law of nature), what is required of me.”



Here is the answer vividly given.  Because by so doing, you lose the special glory of the thousand years, and meet Christ’s face of displeasure.  Surrender life, and a thousand years of joy are provided by God to recompense that small loss endured for His sake.”  Faithful is the saying, if we died with Him, we shall live with Him.  If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him, if we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Tim. 2: 11, 12).  The “we” who suffer, are the “we” who reign.  Real as the headman’s axe now, so real is the throne to the sufferer.  Can the martyr be one party, and the reward be given to one that never suffered, nor is to suffer?  Is that the act of the righteous Judge?



They not only lived, “they reigned with Christ.”



These favoured ones “reign” with Christ.  Life” and a “kingdom[Page 327] are by no means necessarily connected.  This, then, communicates to us the news of a fresh privilege.  They not only live with Christ; with Him they reign.  Their reign begins only after resurrection.  The Creed of Pope Pius supposes that the saints reign with Christ as naked spirits.  Likewise that the saints reigning together with Christ are to be vererated and invoked” (7th Article).



At length they reign awhile: for a thousand years, while the earth lasts.  Afterwards when the earth is destroyed, they reign for ever and ever.  22: 5.  If the reign here be only figurative, so is the reign there.



At this point most of the year-day interpreters are inconsistent.  For if a day in prophecy signify a year, then the thousand years of bliss intend a period of 365,000 years!  Or if they affirm the thousand years to be only literal years, then we hold them to the inference that the thousand and odd days must be literal days.  This follows, not only from the principle of consistency in computation, but also on the ground of equity.  Can it be accordant with justice, that the False Christ should rule two thousand and sixty years longer that the True Christ?



5. “And the rest of the dead lived not* until the thousand years were finished.”


* So read the best MSS, and Critical Editions.



If this be the revival of a party of holy men, it is not the first,” or the twentieth.  But,” it is replied, “there was a resurrection also of dead persons before this, as Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus, and others” (Matt. 27: 52, 53).  The Holy Spirit does not reckon these cases as the first resurrection.* The [first] resurrection is not the mere act of rising; it includes the [millennial] glory then possessed.**  The time of enjoyment and reigning with Christ ensuing on the rising from the dead, is here taken into account.  The raptures of the saints occur in different battalions.  But all resurrections, beginning to be reckoned from the thousand years, and introducing their partakers [unto immortality, (Luke 20: 36a)] into the kingdom of Christ, constitute together the first resurrection.


[* All previous resurrections (with the exception of our Lord’s) from the dead were not unto immortality.  ** See 1 Pet. 1: 9, 11, R.V.]



This is the first resurrection.”  Here is a word of explanation, resembling many like passages in the book.  That must be taken literally, whatever be symbolic.  Then resurrection is not figurative here, but literal.  The sacred writer in saying, “the first resurrection,” implies that there is a second.  He implies, too, that while the resurrections differ in regard of time or order, they are of the same description in regard to their essence as resurrections.



To the overcoming saint Jesus promises a place on His throne as distinct from the Father’s, a place on that which He now occupies.  3: 21.  Where is Christ’s throne seen to be distinct from the Father’s?  Not in chapters 4. and 5.  There Jesus is between the throne and the elders.  Not in the final state of things in the city.  There it is the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22: 1).  It must be, then, in this chapter, 20: 4.  There the throne of the Christ is set up, and favoured ones reign with Him.


[Page 328]

The elders, when Christ takes the book, confess His worthiness, because of His death, and acknowledge those whom He has made priests and kings, and will reign over the earth. 5: 9, 10.



This is nowhere asserted or beheld, if not fulfilled in 20: 4.  For after it, the earth is wholly destroyed.



5. When the seventh trumpet sounds, The kingdom of the world becomes that of our Lord and of His Christ” (11: 15).  And the elders describe further the results which ensue.  God exerts His power and reigns.  The nations are wroth, and God’s wrath descends.  Neither of these is the case now.  ’Tis the time of mercy, the nations are indifferent.  ’Tis then the time of reward for God’s people, and of destruction to the destroyers of earth.  Neither of these things is going on now.  ’Tis the evil day, as yet, of the combat with Satan.  Eph. 6: 10-18.  ’Tis not the destruction of the wicked now.  But God is reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Cor. 5: 19).



The kingdom has come to heaven, when favoured saints, awaking from the dead in resurrection-bodies, are caught up to God’s throne, and are rapt thither that they may rule the nations with rod of iron.  12: 5-12.  They reign, after Satan is cast down, first from heaven, and then into the pit.  Neither of these things has yet been effected.  Not yet is it Woe to earth, because Satan has but a short time!”  Or else “woe also to the saints:” because the day of the Lord, the great and very terrible, is upon them!  Against this the Holy Spirit comforts His watchful ones.  The presence of the Lord will gather us to itself ere the falling away from Christianity takes place, and the great apostle of Satan’s lie appears.  2 Thess. 2: 9.  Not yet has a king of Rome risen from the dead; not yet is Satan worshipped as the lord of the kings of earth; not yet have the ten kings appeared who reign as long as the Antichrist does, 17: 2.



Of the resurrection of reward there are several notices.



1. Jesus advises His disciples to make feasts for those who cannot repay them, because they should be “blessed,” and be “recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14: 14).  There are, then, two resurrections: one for the righteous alone.



2. Jesus, in His reply to the Sadducees says, They which shall be accounted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from among the dead (not ‘from death’), neither marry, nor are given in marriage.  Neither can they die any more,* for they are equal unto angels, and are children of God, being the children of the resurrection” (Luke 20: 34-36).  That resurrection into none but persons accounted worthy can enter, must be a resurrection of the righteous only.  It is identified with a special portion of time - that age.”  All who partake of it are God’s sons, because they partake of it.  This could not be true, if the wicked and the righteous rise together.  It must be, then, the resurrection of Rev. 20., for Blessed and holy is he that has part in that.”  The righteous only partake in that.



3. There is a resurrection of life,” for those who have done good” (John 5: 29).  After it comes the resurrection of judgment, for those who have done evil.  How clearly the two resurrections of Rev. 20. expounds this.



4. In Phil. 3: 11, Paul tells us what was the prize of his calling towards which he pressed onward.  If by any means I might attain to the select resurrection that is [out] from amongst the dead (Greek).  Here is a resurrection which leaves many [bodies] in their graves, a select resurrection ’Tis a resurrection of privilege, not obtained even by all believers.  For was not Paul a believer when he wrote those words?  Yet he was seeking for it, as a prize proposed to believers.  He feared lest, having acted the herald to others, he himself should become rejected with regard to this prize, 1 Cor. 9: 27. (Greek).



5. He confirms this in Romans 6: 5.  Speaking of those immersed upon the confession of faith in Christ, and thus buried and risen with Christ in baptism, he adds, For if we become planted together in the likeness of His death, yea we shall be also of the resurrection(see Greek).  See to it, believer, that that “if” does not impede your entrance into the [millennial] kingdom!



6. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the Second Death hath not authority, but they shall be priests of God, and of the Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”



The general description of the risen as “blessed and holy,” is the result of Jesus’ previous adjudication of them.  The king has called His servants before Him; but some have behaved themselves unworthy of their calling as servants, and have been dismissed as unworthy to partake that reward.



Those that enter the kingdom are blessed.”  They are happy in their circumstances: they are “holy,” in relation to their state.



Blessed” is the word continually used by our Lord to describe the lot of those partaking the millennial kingdom.  Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5: 3-11; Luke 6: 20; 12: 37, 38, 43).  Thou shalt be blessed: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14: 14, 15).



Their blessedness seems to have an especial reference to their situation, as kings; their holiness is in closest connection with their priesthood.  The world taunted them as hypocrites in their life, despised them as fools and fanatics, that threw away the good things and enjoyments of the world for nought.  But they trusted the promises of God and are not deceived.  Their holiness is owned, and as pure of heart they have access to God.  Their suffering for Christ is confessed, and rewarded with the [promised] kingdom* of God.


[* See Eph. 5: 5; Gal. 5: 21. cf. 1 Tim. 6: 19ff.).]



Happiness and holiness are now wedded together, never to be severed.  Here holiness is often led into deepest trouble, through the might of Satan, the wickedness of the world, the weakness and struggles of the flesh.  This is the resurrection and kingdom of “the saints,” as foretold by Daniel 7: 18, 22, 27.  Those then, who, though [regenerate] believers, have displayed an unsanctified spirit and conduct, will be [unless repentance is granted and forthcoming] will be excluded. 1 Cor. 6: 8-11.  Ye are doing wrong and defrauding, and that your brethren.  Know ye not that unrighteous persons shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor Sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye were washed clean, but ye were justified, but ye were sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”* The apostle esteemed this so clear a deduction, so well known a principle, that persons unsanctified would not partake the kingdom of the saints, that he wondered how any Christian could be ignorant of it.


*For the corrections, see the Greek.



And he warned them to let no thought of election or conversion, or of the privileges of believers in Christ, embolden them to persevere in the way of [wilful] sin, with the hope that no threats of God could apply to His elect.



Three blessed results attach to their position of trust and honour,



1.    Over these the Second Death hath no authority.”



We have first the negative advantage.  No punishment is theirs.  There are in the Apocalypse two deaths, a present and a future.  Both are places.  The first Death, or the bottomless pit, exists now.  Jesus holds the keys.  1: 18.  The Second Death is the lake of fire; as the chapter teaches.  Verse 14.  Exemption from this latter is a promise to the conquerors of the churches.


The promise made to the conquerors of the churches during the time of their previous life is now fulfilled.  He that overcometh shall not be hurt by the second death.”  These, then, are in great part the overcomers from among Christ’s churches.



This statement sounds strangely in our ears: for we are quite accustomed to forget that even those justified by faith will be recompensed according to their works.  Matt. 16: 24-27; Rev. 22: 12.  Here it is implied that over some guilty offending believers the Second Death may have authority.



And his Lord was wrath, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matt. 18: 24, 25).



Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.  That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in the matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified” (1 Thess. 4: 5, 6).



The promise of escaping this was made to the angel of Smyrna when in danger of death for Christ’s sake.  But what if a believer through fear of death denied Christ?  What seems the manifold implication of Luke 12: 4, 5?


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And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell [Gk. ‘Gehenna]; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him.”



Do you mean, then, to deny, with the Wesleyans, the perseverance of God’s elect?”  By no means; that is a truth standing on firm grounds.  But even John, who in his gospel so strongly teaches that, as strongly asserts in the Saviour’s words, the punishment of believers who die in sin unrepented of.  What says the memorable passage?



If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15: 6).*


[* See “Reign of the Servant Kings” by Joseph Dillow. pp. 401- 412.]



And the Saviour’s promises of the saint’s perseverance are made in a way whose force has been missed by our translators.  Verily [or truly] I say unto you, If any keep My sayings, he shall not for ever see death” (John 8: 51, 52).



I give unto them (my sheep) eternal life, and they shall not perish for ever: neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.”  I am Resurrection and Life: he that believeth on me shall not die for ever” (John 11: 25, 26).



Do you mean, then, that all those who are excluded from the millennial glory taste of death for a thousand years?  By no means.  Some will be simply shut out, as unworthy of reward.  But some are great offenders: some have been cut off in their sins: witness Ananias and Sapphira.



2. But they shall be priests of God and of the Christ.”



By priests we understand those holier than others, accepted by the God they worship, admitted nearer to Him than others, and bearers of messages to and from Him.  All these things belong to the favoured ones of this scene.  They are holier than others, clothed in resurrection-bodies, privileged to enter the Holiest if the temple in heaven.  They are intercessors for the earth in that [millennial] day: they bear to God the petitions of men: they receive back from God His replies to men.



At this time there are two temples, and two sets of priests; the earthly temple and the priests of Aaron’s line, who offer sacrifices that cleanse the flesh.  Heb. 9: 13.  There are the risen priests also who minister in the temple of the new covenant.  The temple below is but “the outer court” of the temple above.  But in the temple below Jesus as the Christ takes His seat.



The life of a believer in Jesus now is intended to be a preparation for that day.  He [or she] is constituted already a priest to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2: 5, 9; Heb. 13: 15, 16).  He is directed to lift up prayer and praise for all.  1 Tim. 2: 1, 2.  He is learning to discern between good and evil.  Heb. 5: 14.  He [Page 322] is endeavouring to instruct others, and turn them to God.  At length, if obedient to his calling, he is accounted worthy to exercise his priesthood in the day of Messiah’s kingdom, while yet the earth lasts; to see with Messiah of the travail of his soul onto death.  The nations dispute not their priesthood, as did the Israelites that of the sons of Aaron; it is sealed, not with the token of resurrection, but in its reality.



They are priests of God and of the Christ.”



God and Jesus as the Christ are worshipped during the millennial age, in preparation for the final adoration of God and the Lamb.”  Jesus, therefore, is God: for the priest is a minister of God.  The title “the Christ” is only four times used in this book, and on all four occasions it refers to the millennial kingdom.



3. They shall reign with him a thousand years.”



Is the promised kingdom a session with Christ on His throne, while the dead are being judged at the close of the thousand years?  Nay, the kingly authority is exercised during the thousand years, previous to the judgment of the dead.  And what place is there for priesthood, while the dead are judged?



The subjects of these kings are the Gentiles; the authority over the twelve tribes of Israel being given by promise to the twelve Jewish apostles.



Here is at length the lawful union of the kingly and priestly offices.  Under the Law, the kings might not be priests: and no priest became a king.  Under the Gospel, the saints were priests, but were forbidden to be kings.  1 Cor. 4: 8-14.  Now [i.e., during Christ’s millennium] the risen [i.e., the Resurrected] are both priests and kings.  Here is the perfection of government.  For the rulers are the righteous, no longer tempted by sin or Satan.  With full knowledge, perfect impartiality, and love of God and man, they rule their subjects.  If there be any evil, it springs from the governed, but from the governors.



But this is not the final state.  ’Tis only for a thousand years.  ’Tis a transition-period between the old [or present] earth and the ‘new’, partaking of the characteristics of both.  Then is fulfilled the word of the elders - They shall reign over the earth.



*       *       *









7-10. “And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth to deceive the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where both the Wild Beast and the False Prophet are, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”



The Jewish prophets have in general no glimpse beyond the millennial period, in which their nation attains the district height of supremacy and glory.  But this book looks far beyond into eternity, where the Jew’s distinctive position is no longer maintained.



Satan led our first parents to be discontented: he will thus lead the nations.  But what mode will he adopt?  I think we may fairly conjecture, that he will stir up the Gentiles against the Jews.* It is natural to man to be jealous of a superior.  The Jew during the millennium is made to take a height far above the nations or Gentiles.  Isa. 60: 10-12, 14, 16; Isa. 61: 5, 6.


[* See included: “Why We Should Love the Jewish People” by Ivan Foster.]



These words fret many Gentiles souls now.  How will they gall the spirits of the unconverted then?  Here, then,  is fuel which he will know how to kindle.  Gentiles!  Are you poor spirited enough to submit any longer to the Jews? that ill-favoured, money-getting, abject race, whom your fathers despised and loathed?  Whose are the great warriors of whom history speaks? whose the mighty kings? the great in arts? the giant discoverers of science?  Gentiles!  Your fathers!  Will you, then, any longer tamely bow at the feet of these outcasts?  Why should the Jew hold the primacy?  ‘The Gentile his inferior?’  It is a lie against nature and history: the past and the present.  Assert your native superiority.  Rise and wrest the sceptre from those oppressors!  Determine that you will be free!  Will it, and liberty is yours!  Go up to Jerusalem once more, not to pay homage there, not to confess that the metropolis of earth, but to destroy it, and set up a centre of your own!



Thus he deceives them.  He makes them imagine it degradation to submit to God’s appointment.



All past mercies are forgotten in deep ingratitude.  They will not have the holy to reign over them: they refuse Christ Himself, the Perfect King.



Satan does not now attempt to deceive Israel or their king, though once he prevailed against David, and threw down God’s displeasure on Israel and Jerusalem.  1 Chrom. 21: 1.  The promise of God preserves them from any further wile of his.  Isa. 59: 21.



The devil goes into the four quarters of the globe on his errand, a new Peter the Hermit, preaching the crusade of many races against one.  Great his encouragement.  Multitudes unnumbered answer to his [Page 334] call.  The nations are in the main still his seed.  The seed of Satan must be purged out from among men, that in the [eternal]new’ earth there may be a peace never disturbed.  The evil generation will not have passed away till the earth itself is destroyed.



But this is a stumbling-block to some.  Whom will he find willing?  Only the holy are left on the earth, after the Saviour’s sword and His judgment have severed the evil from among the good” (Rev. 19.; Matt. 25: 31-46).  It is true that, at the commencement of the millennium, only the holy will be found.  But are the offspring of the holy, holy likewise?  Must not grace step in, or the child of pious parents is only a fallen son of Adam?  This, then, accounts easily for the last fearful hosts of sin.  At the close of the millennium there are thousands not renewed.



Amidst the nations, or as inclusive of them, two names are given, “Gog and Magog.”



Asia, north of the Oxus, was described by the Arabian writers as inhabited by Turks.  Turk with them is a widely-diffused term, applied as that of Seythians by the ancients, to designate all the nomadic tenants of those extensive regions.  They seem already to have been viewed with no small portion of dread and horror.  Bakoui describes them as living partly in tents and partly in villages; as brave, hardy, and having the air of wild beasts; their face broad, their nose flat: ‘they are furious, unjust, and live like beasts.’  The Tartars are mentioned as a race of Turks further to the north, and still more savage.  They resemble beasts, their heart is hard, their character bad, they are without faith or religion’” (Murray’s Discoveries of Asia, I, 56).  Gog and Magog were by the Arabian writers considered to be located about these parts.



The writer observes that from the east of Asia, almost as far as the confines of Germany, is a wide expanse of level plain, resembling the ocean.  This was called by the ancients Scythia.  The moderns, serving the European part, call the residue Tartary.  Fierce and wild were their manners; so that tribes by us considered barbarous, spoke with horror of a Seythian devastation.  The series of invasions, therefore, which have poured down from those regions, have always been numbered among the most dreadful calamities to which the human race is liable; they have been compared to a scourge, which the Deity holds continually in His hand to chastise the crimes of mankind” (p. 71).  Thence came the hordes of Goths, Huns, Turks, and then the Mogul Tartars under Zinghis Khan.



We are to understand, then, that the northern nations, especially the Tartars, Russians, and the adjacent nations, will be conspicuous in this invasion.



We must distinguish it, however, from the invasion of Gog and Magog in Ezek. 38.  It is after that the millennial times occur.  After this later inroad, the earth is burnt up.



The number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”



Satan has now no king with him: all the kings are of Christ’s appointment: they are the favoured risen.  Before the devil sent out evil spirits with miracles to persuade; and had two supernatural human assistants.  Now he is alone.  Then he set up a false religion as the basis of the rebellion.  Now, his time is probably being far shorter than before, he aims only at collecting an army for battle.



At the commencement of the thousand years, but few are left alive on earth, because of the fearful destruction of the ungodly.  But now, as the result of peace and plenty for a thousand years, the population of earth is enormous.  In their vast numbers they put their trust: forgetful that God in former days has destroyed armies characterized by the same incalculable proportions.



It is worthy of remark, that the point for which these go up to fight against God is granted in the next dispensation, and on the new earth.  In the new world, all the nations occupy the same level.  Of course the rebels have no place there.  But God in mercy there removes this stone of offence.  And had they waited but a brief period, they would have attained the object they so unlawfully and ungratefully sought.



Satan’s last resource is war.  Once he has fought in heaven; once on earth.  He attempts it now for the third and last time.



But some say of this scene, - “It is incredible, if all that has preceded be literally true, that ever men should be so frantic as to rush on Jerusalem when defended by the Son of God visibly seated in glory there!



Such little know what man and Satan are.  Such have little profited by the records of the past.  It is incredible that after ten plagues supernaturally sent and confessed to be from God, Pharaoh and his hosts should still assail the people of Israel visibly defended by the pillar of cloud?



Is it incredible, that after the earth had opened and swallowed up the congregation of Dathan and Abiram, and the fire of God had struck dead the two hundred and fifty presumptuous burners of incense, that the next day all the congregation of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord”?  (Num. 16: 41).  Was that a fact?  So will this be.



They went up on the breadth of the earth.”



But what isthe breadth of the earth?”  It is once used of the earth, or globe in general.  Job 38: 18.  But I am inclined to think that in this place we should translate it, on the breadth of the land,” referring the expression to the land of Israel, as it is in Isa. 8: 8.


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The expression seems to intend a design on their part to enclose the whole of the land of Israel, so as to cut off all, allowing none to escape.



Zech. 14: 16-19 teaches us that, in general, the nations will be disinclined for the long yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem, in order to keep the feast of tabernacles.  For God’s threats are directed against their not going up.  But in this case, there is too great a willingness: they go up, not for worship, but for war.  And no doubt, it seems both to Satan and to themselves a master stroke of policy, to turn against Christ the command hitherto enforced to go up to Jerusalem.  If He will have us go, go we will: not to bend before Him, but to overturn His throne.  This enforced pilgrimage is the point in which their subjection to the Jew most strikingly appears.



In the previous war against God, it seems as if He had been foolish in drying up Euphrates, and the Easterns take advantage of it to fight against Israel.  Now the command to go up to Jerusalem seems another weakness on the part of the Most High, of which they will avail themselves.  But the foolishness of God is wiser than man.  Jehovah sees the heart of these warlike pilgrims: known unto Him are their plots.  He gathers them, as weeds, for destruction.



In pursuance of their purpose, they compassed the camp of the saints.”



What is meant by the camp of the saints?  The expression, rightly understood, is full of interest.



When Israel was moving out of Egypt under God’s guidance, into the land of promise, it became the Lord’s host.  Exod. 12: 17, 41, 51.  When the tents were pitched it became the Lord’s camp.  Exod. 14: 19; 16: 13.



Now, under the guidance of the greater Joshua, the armies of heaven have descended from on high.  19: 11.  They are the camp of heaven on earth now; for the aspect of heaven towards earth is military.  Though at rest, they are prepared for war.



I cannot agree with those that believe that the [resurrected] saints who rule with Christ will not be upon the earth.  They can, no doubt, ascend to heaven, and to the new Jerusalem - their real centre - when they will; but Christ will be oft on earth, and surely they will be there also.



The millennium is Messiah’s rule” “in the midst among enemies” (Ps. 110: 2).  The iron rod tells of martial law proclaimed.  It descends to judge and make war” “in righteousness.”  Against this, destruction to foes.  Earth is treated as conquered in battle.  Messiah then, as the chief obstacle to Satan’s project, their advance is mainly directed.  This body of heavenly kings can be, on occasion, warriors also.  So were they at first: so are they seen at last.  This confirms our inference, that the armies who come from heaven become the kings enthroned in 20: 4.  They watch over Jerusalem and its temple.



That the camp of the saints refers to the army of the risen who come with Christ, seems to be corroborated by the immediately precedent occurrences of the word saints.”  They are those especially holy before God.  Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints.”  The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (18: 20; 19: 8).  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (20: 6).



It is probable that this attack of the nations is made at the time of the feast of Tabernacles, when less suspicion would attend the gathering of such vast multitudes, and when most of Israel would be gone up to the temple.  This would be the time, too, at which the Gentiles’ subjection to the Jews would be felt most sorely, and when the nations might be most easily collected; that being the time when the autumnal fruits had been gathered in.



Lest any should imagine that the wickedness of earth is owing to a corrupt form of government, and should any “as many might be apt to do, from a view of the forms of wickedness in the last days), “Ah, you see these evils spring from kings.  Again and again Scripture traces the latter-day transgressions to them.  The people are always sound-hearted for Christ in the main; but for the influence of corrupted kings they would never have been leagued against the Lord Jesus, as we see, at His coming.”  Scripture shows us that when there are no kings of earth but the perfect governors of Christ’s appointment, the people go astray.  Satan deceives the nations, even when the weight of government is all against them.  No! No! the mischief lies deeper far than any form of government.



They assail also the beloved city.”



Their encompassing at once the camp and the city, and filling the breadth of the land, shows something of their immense multitudes.  For the land of Israel near Jerusalem, where it is hemmed in by the Dead Sea, is fifty miles broad.  And the distance between the millennial temple and the millennial Jerusalem of Ezekiel is something like forty miles.  They assail the two, then, from north, south, and east, perhaps from the west also.



It is not named Jerusalem, it is not called even the old Jerusalem;” a name of greater tenderness distinguishes it.  But it is entirely supplanted by the New Jerusalem, as soon as its day is over.  The slave (Ishmael) abideth not in the house forever: but the son (Isaac) abideth ever” (Greek).  John 8: 35.



Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them.”



For the offence of not coming up to Jerusalem to worship, God threatens the withholding of rain: a slow punishment, which would, at any time, admit of repentance on the nation’s part.  But, for the crime of coming up in warlike array against His city and king, the stroke of wrath is instant, and there is no room for patience.  Offenders are cut off in their sin in a moment.



Here, as in the former case, the dupes of Satan are first dealt with, then Satan himself.  As the incorrigible Deceiver, who loves and makes a lie, his career is finished in woe: fire falls on them, and kills them. But he is cast “into the lake of fire and brimstone.”  That awful abode of the lost was kindled as soon as the millennium began.  It now receives him, for whom and for those angels it is destined.  Matt. 25: 41.  For Satan is not consumed by the fire from above, as men are.  He is not in flesh, as are the hosts whom he leads.  He is to dwell visibly in eternal fire, as before he was shut up in the bottomless pit, away from sight.



In that awful pool of woe the Wild Beast and the False Prophet foe awhile delivered from the bottomless pit, by means of the key granted him.  After their increased wickedness displayed during the time they were at liberty, they were consigned to a more fearful place still.



Satan has now sinned after judgment tasted the mercy experienced, even as those two had.  He is therefore smitten as they have been, and are.  All three are evidently persons.  For a thousand years the two sons of men punished more severely than he, because more mercy had been shown to them.  For before both of them had the good news of a Saviour been brought, and rejected.  Paul stood before Nero to make his defence (2 Tim. 4: 17), and was at last slain by him, together with unnumbered other Christians.



As the thousand years are a period of peculiar glory to the saints who wrought on behalf of God’s [millennial] Kingdom, so it is a time of especial woe to these its most inveterate enemies.



Thus we trace God’s general appointment.  At death the souls of the lost go into the pit [Gehenna].  Out of it they come to be tried; and after being sentenced as risen men, they are cast into hell, or the lake of fire.



In that lake they and the three specially mentioned shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  No further exit, for these firebrands, into God’s universe!  Eternally they shall suffer.  It is no marvel, if in our day the awful doctrine of eternal punishment is frequently attacked: but the evidence for it is overwhelming.



Here the difference between temporary and eternal punishment comes directly into view.  We are set at the close of the temporary vengeance: and there the Holy Spirit traces for us the line of future wrath.  It is not millennial wrath alone that the wicked are to endure.  After that period is over, we are instructed that onward, without a break, torment is to continue.  It is not annihilation, and relative punishment, in consequence of transgressors being blotted out of conscious existence.  It is life and conscious life in misery - Tormented For Ever And Ever.”



*       *       *



Why We Should Love the Jewish People






(This is the substance of talks given at the Kilskerry Independent Christian School on Holocaust Memorial Day, 2016).






Now the LORD had said into Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12: 1-3).



It is clear from the first words spoken to Abraham, from whom sprang the Jewish people, that he and his descendants would be those about whom there would be a division of opinions.  There would be those that would bless them and there would be those who would curse them!  Those that bless them would be blessed of God and those that cursed them would be cursed of God.  They were, in heaven’s eyes, a very special people.



On this day in 1945, there took place the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp.  With that event the world was given irrefutable evidence of the cruel and satanic attack upon the Jewish people by Nazi Germany.  It has been set as a day to remember that dreadful wickedness.



Today I want to tell you why we should and must love the Jewish people.



1. Our Blessed Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, was a Jew



We are given the Saviour’s ancestry repeatedly in the Holy Scriptures



The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1: 1).



Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1: 3).



Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever.  Amen” (Romans 9: 4, 5).



The Lord Jesus was the Son of God but He took into union with His divine nature, spotless human nature, being born of the Virgin Mary.  By race He was a Jew!  How can we not love that people of whom our blessed Redeemer sprang?



2. The Jew Gave Us the Holy Scriptures



The Bible you hold in your hands today is a Jewish book.  The writers, inspired by God, were almost all Jews.  Since we do not know who wrote the book of Job, we make that the only exception.



What a blessing has to come to the world from these blessed scriptures!



What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3: 1, 2).



For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?  And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4: 7, 8).



3. They Became God’s Missionaries to us in Europe

and to All the World



And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16: 15).  The eleven men thus commissioned with the task of telling the world the glorious message of salvation were all Jews.  How we rejoice in their obedience and in their sacrifice, for each one with the exception of John died a martyr for the cause of Christ.



And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man in Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.  And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel to them.  Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we went in that city abiding certain days” (Acts 16: 8-12).



Here is the promise of the gospel to Europe.



After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome” (Acts 19: 21).



The gospel is moving further west and nearer to us here in Ireland.



Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you.  If first I be somewhat filled with your company” (Romans 15: 24).



The westward movement continues and the light was soon to dawn in the British Isles. 



Today we salute those, chiefly Jews, whose labours brought us that light.



4. We Should Love the Jews Because of the Terrible Suffering

They Must Yet Face



While marking the sufferings under Nazism, we sadly note what the Saviour tells us regarding the future of the Jewish people.  The Lord Jesus tells us that the Jewish people will go through great tribulation under the Antichrist.  It must be said that by rejecting their Messiah and by uttering those dreadful words, recorded in Matthew 27: 24-25: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children,” the Jewish nation brought upon their heads the terrible wrath of God.



Of this the Saviour had warned.  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you my come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how oft would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23: 34-39).



The Saviour warns of future suffering, greater than any yet endured, which will come upon the Jewish people in the days of the Antichrist.  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which are in Judaea flee into the mountains: let him that is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24: 15-22).



5. God Will Yet Bless the World Through the Jew



They that were the means under God of bringing the gospel to the world 2000 years ago, will yet be used of God in an even greater way in the future.  God is not yet finished with the Jews!



Listen to the words of Paul.  I say then, Hath God cast away His people?  God forbid.  For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew” (Romans 11: 1-2).



I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall?  God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles: how much more their fullness?” (Romans 11: 11, 12).



For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11: 15).



For I would not brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11: 25-27).



There is a future, a great and glorious future for the Jew!



And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19: 28).



That ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22: 30).



6. A Promise of Blessing is Given to Those

[that have continued with Christ in His trials (Luke 22: 28) and] that love Israel



Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122: 6).



Peace will one [millennial] day come to Jerusalem as a result of the prayers of God’s people.  The peace that will come will then fill the world.



How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith into Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52: 7).



Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.  For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.  As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.  And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and His indignation toward His enemies” (Isaiah 66: 10-14).



It will be a [millennial] day of peace for the world.



And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 4: 4).



He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire” (Psalm 46: 9).



They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11: 9).



This, very briefly, is a setting forth of the glorious future God has planned for the Jewish people and through them for the world.



Ought we not therefore to love them and pray for them now that God would hasten the day of their redemption and that of the world?



Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things, and blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 72: 18-19).





Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands

to war and my fingers to fight.” (Psalm 144: 1.)



Waxed valiant in fight.” (Hebrews 11: 34.)



We are to attack Satan, as well as secure ourselves; the shield in one hand and the sword in the other.  Whoever fights with the powers of hell will need both.  How shall we conquer if we do not fight? – J. Wesley.



Stand forth, my soul, and grip thy woe,

Buckle the sword and face the foe.

What right hast thou to be afraid

When all the universe will aid;

Ten thousand rally to thy name,

Horses and chariots of flame.

Do others fear, do others fail?

My soul must grapple and prevail.

My soul bust scale the mountainside

And with the conquering army ride –

Stand forth, by soul!

-        Angela Morgan.



God could have kept Daniel out of the lion’s den.  He could have kept Paul and Silas out of jail.  But God had never promised to keep us out of hard places.  What He has promised is to go with us through every hard place, and to bring us through victoriously. - Nanna W. Smith.



I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock: and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Wherefore watch ye, remembering by the space of three years I ceased not to admonish every one night and day with tears.  And now I commend you to God,* and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified:” (Acts 20: 29-32, R.V.).


* Some ancient authorities read the Lord.