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seem principally to tend, and in which they have their completion; the grand and decisive combat between the Christian and antichristian powers. Here the seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, and all their accompanying warnings, unite. Heaven opens, and the white horse appears,
Qualis ab incepto processerat;met sibi constat.
He is the same white horse, whom we saw proceeding on his career of victory, in the early part of the vision ; whose rider went forth conquering, and for to conquer,” (ch. vi. 1.) He has been pursuing his destined course, though not always equally in sight;
-he now appears again in more splendid array. The Christian Church, again pure (ev leukois,) sees her Messiah in person, leading her forces, and fighting her battles.
“ Faithful and true” to his promises, (Matt. xxviii. 20; Rev. i. 6 ; ii. 14.) he now gives more manifest assistance to the cause of his religion. And while he confounds and destroys his enemies, it is apparent that “ his judgments are righteous.” He appears in this passage as a dreadful warrior, yet there is little new in the description; we acknowledge the same King of kings whom we have before seen in other parts of the prophecy. The epithets, elsewhere applied to the Messiah, are here collected, and so arranged as to display his glory, his power, and his anger, terrible to his unrepentant foes. He leads his armies, the faithful and pure Christians, (ch. xii. 13; xix. 8.) to assured victory; victory so decisive, that none of his enemies escape. The birds, who prey on flesh, are bidden to a banquet on their carcases, (Ezek. xxxix. 17, 18.) The angel stationed in the sun, betokening the light and knowledge which shall then beam upon mankind, invites all the world to join true religion, and partake the victory.
1 This title is attributed to the conquering Messiah, in ch. xvii. 14. The conquerors of the east had vainly usurped it. On a tombstone of Cyrus, in the city of Pasargadæ, was a Persic inscription ending with this Greek line,
Ενθαδό Εγω κείμαι, Κυρος βασιλευς βασιληων:
Strabo, lib. 15. p. 100.
The Asiatic monarchs followed the example; and medals also of Parthian kings, of Tigranes, of Pharnaces, &c., are found with the Ch. xix. ver. 19, to the end. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
The Conflict, and the Victory over the Wild Beast
and his False Prophet.
20 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 burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse ; which sword proceeded out of his mouth ; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
After the appearance of the Messiah and his same title inscribed. - Pinkerton on Medals, vol. i. p. 203.-See ch. i. 14, 16; ii. 12, 17, 18, 27; iii. 7, 12, 14 ; xiv. 19, 20; xvii. 14; and the notes. Compare also Isa. lix. Ixv. 17. Ixiii. 1, &c.
armies, the armies of the worldly powers, under the beast, the false prophet, and the kings, who are (ch. xvii. 13) mustered by the spirits of demons to the great battle, (ch. xvi. 14,) come in view. But the conflict, for which so vast preparation had been made, is finished in an instant. The leaders, they who during so many ages had abused their civil and ecclesiastical power, are taken, and consigned to that everlasting prison, to which such offenders were originally doomed, (ch. xvii. 8; Matt. xxv. 41.) Their followers, both small and great, fall, and are utterly destroyed by the word of God.?
Thus the kingdom of the beast and false prophet, of the civil and ecclesiastical power, administered so long and so abusively, comes to its end; and the kingdom of the Messiah, and of righteousness, is established. This is that happy period, the theme of many prophecies, which, being still future, it is presumptuous to explain particularly: yet thus far we may generally and safely conclude, that as we have already seen the reign of the beast and false prophet, the mystery of iniquity, so exactly foretold, and the prophecy so wonderfully fulfilled ;tyranny, irreligion, hypocrisy, and immorality triumphant and oppressive, by the means of pretended commissions from heaven; so this usurpation will be utterly destroyed, and pure religion, and peace and happiness, succeed. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down
1 There is great propriety and sublimity in this rapidity of victory. An inventor would probably have dwelt upon this conflict, and have described it in a variety of detail : but this is a victory in which the arm of Omnipotence is displayed ; and of which it may be said without extravagance, Venit, vidit, vicit.
2 Ch. i. 16. Compare with the battle here represented, Isaiah xxxiv; Jer. vii. 32, &c.; Ezek. xxxix. 17, &c.; Zeph. i. 7. See also Bishop Lowth de Sac. Poës. Heb. lec. xx.
3 See notes, ch. xiii.
with the kid,” &c. “ They shall not hurt or destroy
c in all the holy mountain ; the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. xi. &c.)
The Dragon taken and confined.
CHAP. XX. ver. 1-3.
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.
The removal of the beast and false prophet is followed by the decline of impiety and wickedness, and by the rapid growth of true religion and virtue. This is symbolically displayed. The dragon, that ancient foe of man, who under the disguise of a serpent, had beguiled Eve; who had lent his throne, his authority and his arts, to the beast and the false prophet; to mislead the nations and their kings ;' is taken and confined. His influence upon earth is wonder fully diminished. And this important object is accomplished by the same superior agency. though an angel is represented as binding Satan,
1 See notes, ch. xii.
yet, whence has he the commission and the power ? whence the key of the bottomless deep, but from him who alone is described as having " the keys of hell and of death,” (ch. i. 18,) from him who shutteth, and no man openeth? (Ch. iii. 7.) By his permission, the bottomless deep had been opened ;' by his power it is now closed and sealed. The author of all iniquity is confined in it, for a time; after which he is permitted to come forth again season,” and “to deceive the nations. But the beasts rise up no more. They are no longer the successful agents of Satan. He is no longer permitted to employ this kind of civil and religious tyranny against true religion and the happiness of man. The blissful season, during which Satan continues bounden, is called a thousand years. But of this more particularly, under the next section.
só for a
CHAP. xx. ver. 4-6.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sate 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 upon 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.
1 See note, ch. ix. 1.