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The Connection of the twentieth Chapter of the Revelation

with the preceding portions of the Book stated—The Identity of the Dragon throughout the Apocalypse maintained— The Binding of the Dragon explained-Its date determined Confirmed by History-- Particulars of the symbolic Imagery further elucidated-Symbol of the Bottomless Pit or Abyss explained-Opinions of Lightfoot, Turretin, Mastricht, and Marck quoted-Satan's deceiving the Nations explainedWhether the Millennium to consist of a thousand literal years—Explication of the Thrones, and of the Souls of the Martyrs seen in the Vision, and of their Living and Reigning with Christ a thousand years.


1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, 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. 4. And I saw thrones, and

they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark in their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8. And shall go out to deceive the nations which 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. 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 here the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and est vill night for ever and ever.

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het A fresh vision of the Dragon here opens upon us. the We are now called to contemplate him in an ulterior ime stage of degradation. In the allegorical narrative The these already considered we have seen him discomfited in the

contest with the celestial legions of Michael, and vioos lently precipitated from heaven to earth. But, as if de

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termined to avenge the ignominy of his defeat, we left him still plotting against the mystical Woman, aiming to compass her destruction by disemboguing a flood of waters from his mouth; and, when baffled in this attempt, instituting a stupendous scheme of persecution against her seed through the instrumentality of the Beast, to whom he delivered up his seat and his power.

From that time, it will be observed by the careful reader of the Apocalypse, the Dragon himself retires from the stage; the scope of the prophetical visions being henceforth occupied mainly with the pernicious doings and the retributive destiny of his septemcephalous successor through the space of the seven ensuing chapters. In the close of the nineteenth, immediately preceding the portion which we have quoted, the final catastrophe of the secular imperial Beast and of the ecclesiastical False Prophet is expressly detailed. “ And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth (rather, • even the kings of the earth”), and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burn | ing with brimstone.” Having thus portrayed by these significant emblems the remediless doom of the Beast, and having consequently no more to say of him, the order of the visions is now reversed, and the prophet is carried back in the train of supernatural disclosure to the point where the history of the Dragon had been in ! terrupted to make way for that of his vicegerent the Beast. In accordance with a feature of the sacred writings of incessant occurrence, in which events, whether historically or symbolically related, are transposed out of their just chronological order, the thread of the story is resumed and continued in the twentieth chapter. * The Dragon had acted a part too prominent and momentous to be so summarily dismissed from among the actors of the mystical drama. Nor did his machina

tions by any means cease with his personal withdrawEm ment from the scene of his former exploits. Very im

Bei portant events, the effect of his procurement, were yet hef to be brought about ; and in order that a connected and

end unbroken view of his operations and his fates might be crema" recorded for the benefit of the church, the symbolical Be*history remounts to the period of his sending forth upon videre the territories of Christendom his bestial substitute, and th(z embraces in the present vision all the chronological

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the b *It is a well-known and well-grounded maxim among the talen. Jews, that “non est prius et posterius in Scriptura.” Their oles del meaning in it is this, that the order and place of a text as it

slands in the Bible doth not always infer or enforce the very

time of the story, which the text relateth ; but that sometimes, _ his l* -nay it occurreth very oft,--stories are laid out of their natural

and chronical place, and things are very frequently related God hat before, which, in order of time, occurred after : and so 'e conwhile tra. Nor is this transposition and dislocation of times and

texts proper to the evangelists only, but the same Spirit that dictated both the Testaments, hath observed this course in both

the Testaments alike : laying texts, chapters, and histories out Elisclosure of the proper place in which, according to natural chronical med hell order, they would have lain."-Lightfoots Works, vol. ii. p. 61.

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space between that and the time of his ultimate perdition, when he too is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, to which the Beast and the False Prophet had been already adjudged. So that, in fact, the vision of the twentieth chapter of the Revelation is to be considered, as far as the events shadowed forth are concerned, as connecting itself immediately with that of the twelfth ; and a more important clew to the genuine structure of this wonderful book cannot, we believe, be laid before the student of prophecy.

In attempting, therefore, to fix the legitimate sense of the symbols here employed, the first position which we assume, and which, if we mistake not, will inevitably draw after it the whole interpretation that follows, is, the identity of the Dragon which is bound with the Dragon which was cast out of heaven. Unless this point be conceded in the outset, it will be in vain to hope ever to attain to a satisfactory solution of the prophetic enigmas of this book. If the Dragon or the Devil is to be regarded as a hieroglyphic in one portion of the Apocalypse, we affirm that he is to be so viewed in every other portion ; otherwise we are left in the mazes of inextricable confusion in every attempt to unravel the mysteries which it contains.* But that this assumption, in

*“ There is another thing which particularly deserves attention, and which, as it appears to me, must materially contribute to settle the question relative to the time of the vision : the power which is here described as chained, is denominated the Dragon ; but this is no new charaeter; and may we not from preceding scenes learn some of the circumstances of his history? In the 12th chapter he is introduced and styled the Old Ser.

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