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Verse 1, “ An angel come down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit, (abyss,) and a great chain in his hand." We have seen before, that the whore is taken first, and is burning with fire; next we have seen, that the beast is taken who carried her, and with him the false prophet is taken, and they both are cast into the lake of fire. The only source of iniquity that now remains is the devil, or dragon, the old first source of iniquity who gave the beast (when the beast first arose) his. power, and seat, and great authority; and the devil, or dragon, being left alone, without the help of the beast, or false prophet, or whore, he may now expect soon to share the same fate with them, for this angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, or abyss, signifies a dispensation from God, with such a searching and powerly testimony, as to search out the remains of enmity and iniquity in men, and so to disclose its deceptions as to bind its power from deceiving them.
Verse 2, shows plainly that the devil, satan, dragon, and old serpent, is the same thing, meaning the same serpent which first deceived the woman, Eve. And these, all of them, are a figure of the enmity, or main sources of iniquity which have reigned unto death so long in the world.
Verse 3, “ And cast him into the bottomless pit," (which Abner Kneeland, in a late translation of the New Testament, renders abyss, whether abyss means a pit without bottom or not, the meaning of satan being cast into it is, that sin and iniquity are driven wholly from intelligent creatures into an unknown state, represented by the term, bottomless pit, or abyss; "and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season."
Means that God had determined that iniquity should wholly stop for a season; although the time had not yet come for it to be wholly destroy. ed, and therefore it is not yet said, that the devil is cast into the lake of fire to destroy him.
Verse 4, " And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. Here we have a view of what is said in 111, 21, “. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as. I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Signifying that those who overcome sin, or the devil, shall be exalted with delighting in the presence of Jesus by his spirit in their hearts, and in this throne with. the Spirit of Christ, they reign over all their own senses, passions, and appetites, and these are the thrones mentioned in the present verse. And the judgment given to them, means that the spirit and light of truth, gives them judgment to discern between that which is of God and that which is not, so that they know how to refuse the evil and choose the good. Now, in addition to these on the thrones, it is added : "and the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, &c. and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Whether they were actually slain or not, those who are willing to lose the head, or life of the old man, or man of sin, rather than to leave the truth, would lose their temporal lives rather than to leave the truth if they were put to it, and of .course all such are, spiritually, martyrs, the souls or lives of these are said to reign in company with those on thrones," with Christ a thousand years," or the same term that satan is bound, but you must remember that "a thousand years," mentioned in this great vision, or any other length of time, is not time itself, but time is used as a figure of some spiritual process, therefore, you must not understand this to be just a thousand years, neither do I suppose that any paticular length of time is intended.
VERSE, 5 " But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were fulfilled. This the first resurrection." It appears then that the thousand years means the first resurrection or the first resurrection, is the thousand years, which means a resurrection in Christ, in the spirit of the mind, and, no doubt, many through all the gospel dispensation experience the first resurrection, which (I think) is the same as the thousand years. But, with regard to the rest of the dead who lived not again till the first resurrection, or thousand years were fulfilled, it appears that although satan, or sin, will be completely shut up, or stopped, in that day when such a powerful testimony shall be ushered in from heaven, so that there will be no false religion to be supported, no false prophet teaching lies, and, of course, no rebellion, nor fighting against the truth of God. Yet, there will be many thoughts of the people, and, of course, many people who will not be quickened or made alive by the spirit of Christ, and so will not even then have a part in the first resurrection, these will stand open to the deception of sin or the devil*
Verse 6. Those who have part in the first resurrection, it is said,) “ shall be priests of God and of Christ." That is, they offer themselves and also the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and: make intercession by prayer, all which things are the work of priests.
Verse 7. It is said, “ And whien the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.' Signifying that when the first resurrection is completed in those who received it by means of that powerful testimony which bound satan; then immediately after that great reformation is accomplished, sin or satan will rise again in those who did not receive the first resurrection, or life in Christ, and a process like this has always been the case in all instances of real reformations from the commencement of the Christian era: to thig
day. When God has poured out a testimony by which many have been converted to God; in the time of its process satan seems to be bound, opposition ceases, but as soon as the work of reforma, tion is accomplished, for which the testimony which effected it was sent: then sin, or satan, generally reigns in those who are not reformed, equal to what it did before.
Verse 8, “ And shall go out to deceive the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth.” (Mind ye, it is those who dwell in the earth, that is, in themselves, in the earthly mind, and have not risen out of themselves into Christ, and being in this sense in the earth, is the ground of their deception, for their deception is this, that they think they can detect and stop the progress of divine truth by the sophistical arguments of the wisdom of this world.)" Gog," means leader, "and MAGOG," means those who follow, so they are gathered, leaders and followers, " to gather them together to battle : the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." Signifies that when satan, or sin, shall make its last effort against the trirth, all the sophistry of worldly wisdom that exists in all the earth, (or minds of men,) will then be raised for leaders, and all the vain imaginations, and false reasonings, and arguments will be made use of for followers, or soldiers; and seeing they are all mustered, the number is as the sand of the sea, so now there must be another battle, but seeing the earth is ransacked in all its four quarters, and the host of darkness is all gathered to this battle, therefore, when they are all destroyed there will be no more war, and this we shall find will be the result of the battle.
Verse 9," And they went up on the breadth of the earth." (By which is signified that their sophistical proceedings will be so extensive, that they will fill the whole earth, or minds of the people who are thus deceived ;)" and compassed the camp
of the Saints about, and the beloved city." That is, as they will not think they are fighting against God or Christ, but only against the Saints, which is another part of their deception; therefore there will be such an army of sophistical, darkening, false reasoning thrown around the Saints, (as it appears that the Saints at that time will not have any special testimony,) that the Saints will seem to be wholly shut up like an army surrounded by their enemies. But now hear what will follow: and fire came down from Go:l out of heaven, and devoured them." Which signifies that the testimony by which so much lias been wrought before, will be given to the Saints in so powerful, and convincing a degree, as shall convince all the people that they have been fighting against God/ and of course will devour all their army of worldly wisdom and its sophistry, and vain imaginations, and false reasonings, and arguments together.
66 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” So now the devil is detected, and is delivered, or cast into that testimony which is like fire, that is, continued to burn by the breath of the Lord, which is like brimstone, for his final end, or destruction; where he must be tormented day and night; that is when the sun of righteousness shines in the minds of men, it is day, but when it is a time of gloomi. ness of mind, it is night. But an objector will say, perhaps : How can the devil be tormented if he is not a real being, but only sin, or the en mity, how can sin be tormented, and not the sinner ?answer, that sin cannot be tormented without the sinner, and you will find directly that the sinner is cast into the lake of fire and brim. stone with the devil; for the devil is cast in for that very purpose, to punish the sinner in order