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to the beast and the false prophet, they will long since have gone to perdition. It may be by a persecuting infidelity, the spirit inspired by the dragon himself, that this last effort will be made. Having seen so much of Christianity in the world, the hearts of the wicked will rise against it, and be so far "deceived" by the wicked one as to imagine themselves capable of extirpating it from the earth.
The name given to the enemies of Christ is borrowed from the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel, where mention is made of Gog and Magog. It does not appear, however, that the prophecy of Ezekiel and John refer to the same period; but that the language is merely allusive. Ezekiel's Gog and Magog seem to refer to a combination among the nations against the house of Israel, soon after their restoration to their own land and their conversion to Christ, and which will be prior to, or at the commencement of, the Millennium: but the Gog and Magog army of John is "after the thousand years are expired." The meaning may be, that like as the nations will combine against restored and converted Israel, so will the whole world of the ungodly combine to exterminate Christianity from the earth and as the one would issue in the utter overthrow of the assailants, so would the other.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
As there is nothing in the account which intervenes between this and the resurrection of the dead, the "fire that cometh down from God out of heaven" may be no other than the general conflagration itself, spoken of by the apostles Peter and Paul-"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.-The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking ven
geance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. iii. 10. 2 Thes. i. 8.
And now the grand mover of all the mischief which has taken place in the world, is not merely bound for a season as before, but cast into perdition, where his agents, the beast and the false prophet, are. There is no mention of their being "tormented," because they as political bodies were incapable of it; but of him it is said he shall be " tormented day and night for ever and ever." Perdition to them will be oblivion; but to him a state of everlasting punishment.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their morks. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
A more impressive description of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment, is scarcely in the power of language. The words are simple, but the sentiments exceedingly sublime. "The language is so plain, (says Mr. BLACKWELL,) as not to need, and so majestic and grand as to exceed, commentary or paraphrase." But it is not for us to stand admiring the language till we overlook the event itself.
Lo, the dead, both "small and great, stand before God!" young and old, rich and poor, all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. None are so insignificant as to be overlooked; none so mighty as to escape: the governers and the governed, the parent and the child, the master and the servant, the oppressor and the oppressed, the preacher and the hearer, all must give an account of themselves to God!
Men, owing to the imperfection of their knowledge, and of their memories, make use of "books:" but God's infinite knowledge requires no such assistance. It is merely in allusion to human proceedings that this is spoken. His memory is itself the book from which he will judge the world.
Believing sinners are justified by grace: but both believers and unbelievers will be judged "according to their works." Those who have sinned without the light of revelation, will be judged by the light of nature. Those who have sinned against revelation will be judged by it, according to the light they had, or might have had. Believers themselves, though not dealt with according to their deserts, (for they will "obtain mercy of the Lord in that day!") yet their works will be censured or approved according to what they were. Their sinful works will be burnt up, though they themselves are saved; and as to their good works, though there be nothing in them deserving eternal life, or furnishing the least ground for boasting, yet will they be admitted as evidences in their favour. Matt. xxv. 31-40.
There have been many days of judgment, as it were, in miniature, but this will be universal. Whether men have died at sea, or on land; and whatever became of their bodies, whether slain in battle, devoured by beasts of prey, or decently interred in their graves, all will rise and be judged. Ver. 13.
"Death and hell (or the grave) were cast into the lake of fire." Death and the grave are things which belong to time, and which, as rivers are lost in the ocean, will now be swallowed up in eternity. Prior to the day of judgment the ungodly were confined under their power as in a prison: but having received their doom they shall not be remanded thither, but shall go away into everlasting punishment. "This is the second death." Into this dreadful abyss all will be cast, as the just punishment of their sins, excepting those whose names are "written in the book of life.” An interest in the salvation of Christ is the only security against eternal death.
THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH, WITH THE NEW JERUSA
Chap. xxi. xxii. 1—5.
And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and the was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne, said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely, 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcer
rers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels, which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone, most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. 13 On the east, three gates; on the north, three gates; on the south, three gates; and on the west, three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth four-square, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper ; the second sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth an eme
rald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl; and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light