1 And I saw an angel <descending from the> heaven [the King of King's throne established in Jerusalem], having the key of the <abyss,> and a great chain <upon> hand.
The Descending Angel
The angel descending from the heaven with the key and chain is the same angel that descends, and illuminates the earth with his glory (ch. 18:1).
In this place, he is said to have "great power", which he exerts in causing Babylon to fall; and after this, in laying hold of the fourth Beast of Daniel in his Dragon, Beast, and False Prophet, manifestations: the last two of which he destroys, so that similar political organizations never again appear upon the earth; while the Dragon, in consequence of flesh and blood nature being still the constitution of the subject nations, is only shut up and bound, waiting its opportunity to reassert its independence of the Divine government of the Saints.
The Blessed and only Potentate upon the white horse, with the hosts of the heaven, marching at the head of his army, from his capital against the kings of the earth and their forces, is the Apocalyptic angel katabainonta, descending with key and chain to arrest, imprison, and destroy, the powers of the world.
He descends "out of the heaven," in which he opened the door, when he set up the throne in Jerusalem.
When potentates leave their capitals on warlike expeditions, they are said to descend upon the countries they invade: so with this angel, he descends from the heaven of his habitation and government upon the territories of "the Devil and Satan," to convert them into a lake of fire burning with the brimstone of torment and destruction, inflicted by his terrible and invincible hosts.
The Key and Chain
The Seventy render the Hebrew word, tzulah, deep, by abussos, abyss, in Isa. 44:27; the great sea, or aggregation of nations acknowledging the sovereignty of Babylon. For like reasons, abyss in the prophecy before us, is representative of the aggregate of the nations occupying the Dragon-section of the inhabited earth.
A key is representative of power to open and shut. To have the key of the abyss, is to possess the power of developing political organizations...in the case of the Dragon, the Saints to whom "judgment is given," will be the holders of the key and chain, and do with him, and place him in the... abyss.
...This mere human power is to remain in the national abyss without dominion; Sin's flesh is to be turned out of office, and to exist only in absolute subjection to Spirit, as manifested in Jesus and his Brethren, all the glorified sons of the Deity, ruling the habitable in righteousness for a thousand years. To keep Sin's flesh, so long accustomed to rule and revel in its own lusts and superstitions, in subjection, will require a government strong as iron.
2 And he laid hold <of> the Dragon, < the> old serpent, <who> is Devil and Satan [(The Eighth Head is the Dictator of the confederacy)], and < he> bound him 1 000 years,
This expression we take in its literal sense, and conclude, that the millennial dispensation, the period of the personal reign of Christ on earth, will be one thousand years. The phrase is repeated four times in this and the three following verses; and, as there is nothing figurative or symbolical in the language of the passages in which it occurs, we are warranted in taking the words in their literal sense.
As to the nature of this millennial reign of Christ and his saints, we conceive that Jerusalem will, in fulfilment of the prophecies, become the metropolis of the world; and that all the other nations of the earth shall have been subdued and become subordinate to the kingdom of Israel, restored to God's favour, and in possession of the blessings promised and secured by covenant to the fathers, with Christ their acknowledged King, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling gloriously with his saints on Mount Zion.
...They [the nations] shall be witnesses of, but not communicants in, the glory of Christ and his saints, as the Israelites were witnesses of God's presence with Moses on Mount Sinai; and as Peter, James, and John beheld the glorified Saviour in company with Moses and Elias, on the mount of transfiguration.-M'Causland's Times of the Gentiles.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1855
... man form THE CONSTITUTION Of the Serpent-World, or KINGDOM OF SIN; and termed in Scripture "the Kingdom of Men" - dominion hostile to the Divine law administered by the Serpent's Seed. It matters not what form the dominion assumes, whether imperial, regal, republican, or papal, its basis is one and the same; and most appropriately symbolized by the serpent which was in the beginning - ho ophis, ho archaios.
In after times, far distant from the beginning, the serpent-world acquired an immense development. From two persons it had increased to myriads of millions; and without specifying the outlying savages of the dominion, is treated of in Scripture as "the kingdom of Egypt;" which, in the days of Moses, had attained great political proportions - a kingdom of kingdoms.
It was "the dragon, the old serpent," of his day -the great enemy and bruiser of the woman's seed, who sought their extirpation from the earth. This was the political relation of things then. The "Woman's Seed" was identified with Israel; the "Serpent's Seed," with all that had enmity against, or oppressed, them; while the "Head of the Serpent," styled in the sentence upon the serpent "thy head," is that chief government of the Gentiles, or nations, which directs, controls, or influences, the policy of the world for the time being.
The Scriptures oftentimes connect the beginning and the end without taking cognizance of the interval of a multitude of generations and ages, or, if at all, only very slightly. Thus, in Psa. 74:12, the Mosaic salvation from Egyptian bondage, and the future Messianic salvation from the down-treading of the mystic Babylon, apocalyptically and "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt" (Apoc ch. 11:3), are so connected: as it is written,
"My King of old is Elohim, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength."
Then, predictive of what will assuredly come to pass, and befall the same Serpent-power in its latter-day manifestation, as apocalyptically displayed in the binding of the Dragon, it proceeds in verse 14 to state,
"Thou bruisedst the heads of leviathan, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness."
LEVIATHAN signifying "a serpent coiling himself in folds," is the Dragon of Apoc. 20:2; and embraces all the intermediate dragonic manifestations of previous ages and generations, which are the folds of his coil.
The "heads of leviathan" are those apocalyptically exhibited.
"The people inhabiting the wilderness" are the saints, and Israel after the flesh made willingly subject to them.
... there is reason to believe that the Millennium will commence a few years before the world attains to 6,000 years. It is apocalyptically revealed, that it will end at the "LITTLE SEASON," which comes within the limit of the Millenary Week of 7,000 years from the Creation - "after the 1 ,000 years are fulfilled, Satan must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:3, 7).
This puts the beginning of the Millennium back into the Sixth Chiliad, and before its termination, as many years as may constitute the Little Season. If this consists of four years, then the Millennium will begin four years before the world is 6,000 years old - in A.M. 5996; and consequently end A.M. 6996..... Thus, the end of the Little Season will synchronize with the end of the A.M. 7000....
... There can be.no Millennium until the judicial work of ... 40 years is accomplished. They are the period of the Seventh Vial; and "no one can enter into the Nave until the Seven Plagues of the Seven Angels" of the Vials "have been fulfilled" (Apoc. 15:8).
Chronologists make no allowance of time for the last of these plagues.
With them, this "TIME OF THE END" is left to chance. "We have no chronological data," say they, "by which to determine its length." True, they have none; but only because they are unacquainted with what exists.
The whole world of powerful kingdoms has to be revolutionized. The governments, aristocracies, hierarchies, and democracies, have all to be broken up; the nations, emancipated from these destroyers, illuminated and blessed in Abraham and his seed.
And to accomplish all this, theologists and chronologists, with their "science falsely so called," crowd us into an unchronological period between A.M. 6000 and the year after, A.D. 1869! This is doing the work up in a flash, which none but the spiritual inebriates of the clerical kingdom could for a moment admit.
3 And cast him into the <abyss> pit, and shut him up, and set a <mark over> him, that he <might> deceive the nations no more, < until> the 1 000 years <had been finished>: and after < these it is necessary that he be loosed a short time.>.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment <had been> given unto them. And I saw the souls of <those who had been> beheaded < on account of the testimony > of Jesus, and < on account of> the word of <the Deity>, and <who> had not worshipped the beast, <nor> his image, <and had not> received <and had not> upon their forehead, <and upon> their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead < ones > lived not again until the 1 000 years <had
been> finished. This is the first resurrection.
That the Kingdom of God, thus constituted, will continue a thousand years, during which sin and death will continue among the earth's subject inhabitants, though in a much milder degree than now ( Rev. 20: 4-8; 12:15; Isa. 65:20; Ezek. 44: 22, 25; 1 Cor. 15: 24, 28).
The Rest of the Dead
The Apocalypse was showed to John, not alone for the benefit of the servants of the Deity in the Times of the Gentiles; but also for the same class among the subjects of the Millennial Kingdom.
... The "rest" is the remainder of a whole number of certain dead ones, to whom eternal life is to be imparted by the Son. The Firstfruits are only the earnest of the harvest to be gathered in. The Millennial Generations will have the, happy assurance that, though the resurrection of a Firstfruits had passed, there would be a resurrection of a remainder to complete the whole number originally given by the Father to the Son.
"Thou, 0 Father, hast given the Son power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him".
...the whole number is a gift bestowed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he must bring, and upon whom he is to bestow eternal life; so that, when they die before the Aion, they may have part in the resurrection of Firstfruits; and if they die in the Aion, they may not perish in the Aion; but live again when the thousand years are past.
Hence the whole number of the dead is a collection of persons taken out from mankind from the time of Abel to the end of the thousand years. Seven thousand years inhabitation of the earth by flesh and blood subject to death, is the Aion of Mortality: through all of which progresses the work of taking out a people from the race, who shall attain to incorruptibility and life upon the principle of a loving and faithful obedience to the Truth.
These are given to the Son for Brethren by the Father; who bestows upon them the earth, in a finished and paradisaic perfection, as their inheritance and abode for ever.
The manifestation of this whole number "redeemed from among men," is assigned to two notable and extraordinary epochs; the first, the beginning of the thousand years: the second, the end thereof. The first epoch precedes the Millennium, and is illustrated by the Resurrection of the Firstfruits; the second epoch after the Millennium is passed, is celebrated by the manifestation in life of "THE REST OF THE DEAD" given by the Father to the Son to complete the fold -
"One fold and one Shepherd" - "the Deity the all things in all".
6 Blessed and holy is he <having> part in the first resurrection: <upon these> the second death hath no power, ["He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the Second Death" (ch. 2:11)] but they shall be priests of <the Deity> and of <the> Christ, and <they> shall reign with him a thousand years.
Here are two distinct things, the Resurrection, anastasis, and "the Life," the zoe. The life pertains to the thousand years, styled in Dan. 7:18, ad-ahlmah, wead ahlam ahlmaiyah; and in the English Version, for ever, even for ever and ever: but literally
"during the hidden period, even during a hidden period of the hidden periods, the Saints shall possess the kingdom".
This preeminent hidden period is termed in Dan. 7:12, "a season and a set time;" it is the COURSE OF TIME which reaches to "the end," when the Saints shall deliver up the kingdom, as mediatorially constituted, to the Father. In John's report of the discourses of Christ Jesus, this hidden and future course of time is termed aion; and in the Apocalypse, revealed to be of a thousand years duration; and the things related to it, such as "the life," and the kingdom, are termed aionian.
The formula in Dan. 7:18, is equivalent nearly to the Apocalyptic form of words hoi aiones ton aionon, the Aions of the Aions; to the commencement of which, the Beast and the False Prophet are to be tormented by the Saints "day and night" (Apoc. 20:10).
...it is not living by resurrection simply that determines a man's destiny; this depends upon the resurrected being "accounted worthy of the Aion:" if at the Judgment Seat, they are accounted worthy to obtain of that, they are quickened by the Spirit; and become the children of the Deity, and the children of the resurrection, and equal to the angels (Luke 20:35,36). Such will not die in the Aion; nor will they hunger or thirst any more (Apoc. 7:16).
7 And when the thousand years <shall have been finished, the> Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
The end. Rebellion against the government of the saints. The Devil and Satan, whose dominion had been suppressed a thousand years before, is permitted to renew the struggle for sovereignty over the nations of the earth.
These are deceived to a vast extent by the illusions of the flesh, stimulated into insurrection by the ambition of evil counsellors, by whom they are precipitated into a great war against their divine rulers, which eventuates in the manifestation of "the end" (1 Cor. xv. 24-28). The lake is rekindled by the fire and brimstone of God's wrath, and the saints torment them in war to the end of the aions of the aions, or expiration of "the little season."
The rebellion being destroyed, the heaven and earth of the previous thousand years are superseded by a New Order of things, in which there is no more sea of nations of mortal men to be lashed into tempest and fury by ambitious and deceitful demagogues (Apoc. xxi. 1).
The Son -- Jesus and his brethren -- has reigned until the Father hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy, death, comes now to be abolished, and all things made new. The mediatorial kingdom of the thousand years is delivered up to the Father by his kings and priests, who become subjected to Him, who becomes the all things in all the dwellers upon the earth -- ta panta en pasin --
But after the thousand years are passed, the restraint, represented by the great chain in the angel's hand, will be relaxed. A generation of flesh and blood will then be living, whose men and women will have been born in times of peace and great prosperity. They will know nothing personally and practically of war...
It is very different with us. The governments are wasting their revenues on standing armies; but then the government of the world will not have a single soldier in its pay! Its subjects will remember the binding, or suppression, of the Dragon-power a thousand years before, as our generation remembers the overthrow of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. But this remembrance will have as little moral influence upon them, as Pharaoh's overthrow has upon the Pope and the kings of the earth in our time.
Some ambitious men, who would "rather reign in hell than serve in heaven," will think the season favourable to the recovery of the lost independence of Sin's Flesh, or the Devil. They will conspire against the best government the sun ever shone upon; for they are styled the Satan, which signifies adversary". They commence to agitate and plot in the national abyss; and at length their secret society emboldened by numbers constantly increasing, proceeds more openly to preach revolt.
Multitudes will be deceived with false hopes of glory, honour, and power, in the proposed new dominion of the Devil and Satan. Sin's Flesh under the rule of the Saints is ineligible for office. Under their iron rod and chain, men and women are only permitted to serve. This is a yoke too galling to the pride of human nature, and hence a determination to destroy the existing government, not doubting the enterprise might easily succeed.
Some new demon, who would rather reign as Satan than serve in heaven, will arise among the nations, and unfurl the old satanic standard of the Dragon empire, which will be known to the generation of that remote future as the past existence of the Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman empires are known to us; that is, historically.
A giant will this rebel be in presumption and crime, and surpassing in hardihood the pre-millennial Autocrat, whom Michael bound with a great chain and cast into the abyss.
But what will not a man adventure inspired with the pride of life! Enchanted thus, he becomes the Adversary (Satan) of the King of Glory; and goes forth to the remotest nations, to Gogue's Magogian people, and falsely accuses his administration, by which means he succeeds in detaching them from their allegiance, and in deceiving them into a vain attempt to recover their ancient dominion (Rev. 20:7-10).
The King, instead of nipping the, insurrection in the bud, permits the Adversary and Seducer (the Satan and the Devil) to mature his plans, marshal his hosts, and lead them on to an invasion of the land of Israel.
The King permits him to come up on "the breadth of the land," and to "compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city." Having inclosed the Governor of the world and his ancients in the metropolis, and so hemmed them in as to prevent all escape, with no army in the rear to raise the siege, the sceptre of universal dominion would seem once more to be within the grasp of the Head of the old Serpent empire.
Like our contemporaries, professing to believe the past, but denying that its scenes will ever be repeated, he remembers the overthrow of the former Gogue, as the Autocrat of Russia now remembers that of Sennacherib in the days of Hezekiah, but believes not in the repetition of so terrible a destruction.
He will know, doubtless, and who after that the knowledge of the Lord shall have covered the earth for a thousand years will not know, that "he must reign till he have put all enemies under his feet?" but he will no more believe that it will be so, than the Old Serpent, the founder of his dominion, believed 'that God would subject Adam to death in the day of his transgression though he had declared it. He will persuade the nations that the King of Israel shall not reign for ever, and that the overthrow of his government is possible.
Thus deceived, we find them enrolled under Satan, or the Adversary, and "encompassing the camp of the saints, and the beloved city," full of savage exultation at the expected destruction of the best of kings. But fallacious will be the hopes of the rebel multitude, and dreadful the vengeance to burst upon them.
The trembling earth and the blackening heavens warn them of a coming tempest. The dark vapours and thick clouds of the sky, curling in dense and lowering masses, suddenly hiss forth the forked lightning, and the heaven is rent by the deafening roar of the voice of God. Hail and fire, mingled with hail, pour down upon them, and they are destroyed from the face of the land. Thus God will deliver his King; for "fire shall come down from God out of heaven, and devour them."
Thus, though corruption of the flesh, nationally expressed, was restrained by the overthrow of Gogue, the Dragon-chief, at the pre-millennial advent of the King of Israel, it is finally subdued only when the head of the Serpent-power is crushed at the end of the thousand years. After this victory, another enemy remains to be destroyed to perfect the work of the Son of Man. Death is the last enemy.
Elpis Israel 3.6.
- The millennial harvest
The Scriptures which speak of a "general resurrection and judgment at the end of the thousand years," are more particularly (though not exclusively) the apocalyptic Scriptures (Rev. 20.). There we have a resurrection and judgment referred to, manifestly following upon the post-millennial revolt of nations against Christ's authority. This is evidently also the time spoken of by Paul, when death (the last of Christ's enemies) shall meet with the same fate as the rest (1 Cor. 15:24-26.)
Preceding this Paul speaks of a "first fruits" referring to Christ's own resurrection, and as it were of a second first fruits at Christ's coming-for so John describes them, saying
"these are the first fruits unto God and the Lamb" (Rev. 14:4.)
In relation to these first fruits the post-millenial resurrection will be a kind of harvest; for which the times of universal enlightenment preceding, will doubtless more amply provide than anything hitherto. The revolt of nations towards the end of the thousand years (corresponding to our time of the end), will provide the conditions necessary to the trial of the faithful. These answer to
"the rest (or residue) of the dead," that "lived not again till the thousand years were finished."
The Christadelphian, Apr 1888
8 And <he> shall go <forth> to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, <the> Gog and <the> Magog, to gather them together <for war>: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
They are styled Gogue and Magogue because the confederacy is similar to that of Ezekiel's prophecy; being a combination of the posterity of the same populations to invade the same land, to take possession of the same city, and for the same purpose, namely, to seize the sceptre of universal empire, which has been the matter of contest since God first put enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman [Gen. 3:15].
Elpis Israel 3.5.
Their emissaries go forth among the nations of the old Dragon territory, which before the Dragon was bound, and in the time of his binding, was occupied by
"Gog of the land of Magog, Rosh prince of Meshech and Tubal,"
and therefore styled "the Gog and the Magog". These agents of insurrection will be marvellously successful in deceiving the Gog and Magog nations. They call them to arms, and in response they forsake the plow, seize their weapons, and gather together for war.
The rebellion is widespread, and the insurgents numerous as the sand of the sea. Their numbers make them bold and confident. Their commander-in-chief, and his council of war, whoever they may be, do not wait to be attacked; but assume the offensive, and order the invasion of the Holy Land, which is the Camp of the Saints.
Their aim is to possess themselves of Jerusalem, the city that had been beloved, but now hated. To capture "the joy of the whole earth," and to dethrone the government, and to destroy, or imprison, the saints in the abyss, as they had served the Dragon-Power a thousand years before, would be the crowning success of the rebellion.
But the reasoning of the carnal mind deceives them. They forget, or choose to disbelieve, that Jerusalem is Yahweh's furnace; and that He is unto her a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her (Zech. 2:5).
The preadventual invasion of the land of Israel, and war between Gog and the Lion-Power of Tarshish being shown, all arguments for the post-millennial display of Russian ambition fall to the ground.
The Russian Power at the end of Messiah's Aion will be like the literal Amalek at the present time; and the question is about the Power as now extant among the nations. The Dragon is bound, and thrust into the abyss at the descending of the symbolic "angel from the heaven"—the angel multitude energized by Omnipotence for the execution of the judgment written.
At the end of the Messianic Aion, or Millennium, the Diabolos and the Satan, the rebellious world of flesh and blood, are permitted to burst the cerements of their prison-house, and to make a last effort for the possession and dominion of the earth; but the Dragon organization of the Devil and the Satan, of which Russia is an important element at the Advent, appears no more.
We read no more of the Dragon after the inauguration of the Messianic Aion; the Dragon, or Fourth Beast, in its completeness, is utterly abolished at that time.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1859
9 And they <ascended over> the breadth of the earth, and <en> compassed the camp of the saints, and the < city which had been beloved>: and fire <from the Deity descended> out of heaven, and devoured them.
They approach the place of devouring fire with reckless infatuation. The King of kings who could have crushed the rebels as the moth in their own lands, permits them, as a trial of faith and loyalty, to have great success to a certain point.
They are in sight of the Holy City, and as confident and defiant as Sennacherib of old; or as Gog when the city was wrested from him a thousand years before.
But, like the Beast and False Prophet then, the ground they occupy becomes the arena of a fiery destruction: and, although the locality and time of their judgment are not the same; yet, in coming to their end similarly, the postmillennial Devil and Satan combination of nations, is said to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, by fiery judgment descending from the Deity out of the heaven, and devouring them.
10 And the Devil <who> deceived them <had been> cast into the lake of <the> fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet, <also,> shall be tormented day and night <unto the aeons of the aeons.>
"the end, when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Deity, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign until He (the Father) hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. For He hath put all things under his feet (Psa. 8:6). But when He (the Father) saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that He (the Father) is excepted who did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (the Father) that put all things under him, that the Deity may be the all things in all".
The mission of the Lord Jesus Christ was to
"destroy that having the power of death, which is the devil;"
or Sin's Flesh; in other words, to "take away the Sin of the world;" and to "destroy the works of the devil," or of Sin (Heb. 2:14; John 1:29; 1 John 3:8). In consummating this
"the Woman's Seed bruises the Serpent's head".
The "short time" at the end of the thousand years is the epoch when the work is finished.
It hath been Divinely purposed that the earth shall be inhabited by flesh and blood for seven thousand years; but beyond that period its presence will not be tolerated.
The postmillennial rebellion against the benign government of the Saints is the consummation of its iniquity, and the crisis of its fate.
Symbolically speaking, the Devil is devoured by the fire of the Deity, in the lake of fire and brimstone, into which he is cast, as were the Beast and the False Prophet, who shall be tormented day and night, by the third angel (Ch. 14:11; 19:20; 20:10) to the aions of the aions; or beginning of the thousand years.
11 And I saw a Great White Throne [Messiah and his brethren - a principal throne encompassed by other thrones], and him < sitting upon> it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and no place <had been found> for them.
It is the throne of the new kingdom ruling over all without a rival. John's position in the vision when he saw this great throne of the redeemer, and the redeemed, who had
"washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,"
and therefore communicated whiteness in vision to all things identified with them - is when he and they had "executed the judgment written" and "given to them;" and were able to "rest from their labours" (ch. 14:13).
... The earth was conquered to the ends of it, and all the nations were inherited by the King of kings and Lord of lords (Psa. 2:8). ln the words of the Seventh Vial,
"every island had fled away, and the mountains were not found"
- the kingdoms and empires of the world had disappeared ... The Gentile Constitution of Society in Church and State is entirely abolished... "the spirituals of wickedness", as Paul styles them, who constitute the hierarchies, aristocracies, and office-holders, of the body politic, will be abolished with it, being "scattered," "put down." and "sent empty away" (Luke 1:51-53).
...Popes, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Parsons, and all other sorts of superior and inferior dealers in "sorcery" and "lies;" emperors, kings, cabinets, diplomatists, officers of state, military and naval commanders, parliaments, congresses, and all sorts of legislative bodies - these all will be chased into the darkness of annihilation, and historical contempt, as "the Devil and his Angels," who for ages were "them who destroy the earth" (ch. 11:18).
All these constituted things, with the peoples, nations, and tongues, in their political aggregation, are the Gentile "Heavens and Earth," or Body Politic. Its complete supersession by the world-wide dominion of the Saints, is Apocalyptically represented by the saying,
"the Heaven and the Earth fled away; and place had been found for them no more."
The manner of their flight is symbolically illustrated in Dan. 2:34,35, where, as elements of Nebuchadnezzar's political image, they are smitten by the Stone Power, and
"broken to pieces together, and become like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the Stone that smote the image become a GREAT MOUNTAIN, and filled the whole earth"
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, <who had stood before the Deity>; and books <had been> opened: and another book <had been > opened, which is of <the> life: and the dead <had been> judged out of < the> things which <had been> written in the books, according to their <deeds>.
13 And the sea < had given> up the dead in it; and death and <the grave had given> up the dead in them: and <every one had been> judged according to their <deeds>.
"the time of the dead hath come, that they should be judged, and that the reward be given to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them who fear thy name, both small and great". [11:18]
The just and unjust are all mixed up together in their coming forth; hence the necessity of some arrangement whereby the two classes may be respectively separated the one from the other. This is provided for in the institution of the Judgment Seat of Christ in Teman.
Before this, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and saints, whether good or bad, great or small, are all to be gathered for manifestation. Through the account each will be able to render of himself, it will appear who he is, and what he is (Rom. 14:10,12).
The judge hears, that he may judge; and according to what he hears from each, so will he decide, making the words and principles of the open books the standard whereby the things laid before him will be determined to be right or wrong, good or bad. All this John saw in vision; and taking his stand at the opening of the Millennial Aion, when the Second Death had been consummated.
14 And death and <the grave had been> cast into the lake of <the> fire. This is the second death.
à...the vessels of wood and of earth, the earthy vessels that come forth from the unclean charnel-house of the dead; and who are not accounted worthy of promotion to honour; and therefore remain in the earthiness with which they come forth; are symbolically represented by the phrase, "Death and the Invisible", ho thanatos kai ho hades.
This represents them collectively. The several classes of character comprised in this dishonorable and unworthy crowd, who, at the judgment, had been refused permission to
"eat of the Tree of Life, and to enter through the gates into the City" (ch. 22:14)
are styled in ch. 21:8,
"the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers and idolators, and all liars;" and in ch. 22:15, "without the city are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolators, and whosoever loveth and inventeth a lie".
These are the characters who are the children of Death and the Grave; and have no part in the Life of the Aion. The fearful and unbelieving are a numerous class of professors of godliness, "who say Lord, Lord", but neither believe what he says, nor do what he commands them. They acknowledge their ignorance of the prophetic writings; but refuse to be taught by them who are able to enlighten them.
"I say unto you, that every injurious word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in a day of judgment: for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. 12:36);
but the unbelieving, who love and invent lies, when their attention is directed to these words, reject them; and say they "don't believe a word of it". They say, that there is no judgment for the saints when they have come forth from the graves; and that the only judgment day for them is the time of their existence between immersion and death.
In this time, they would have the simple believe, they are standing before the tribunal of Christ and giving an account of themselves; and that at death the account closes: so that in their coming forth from the charnel-house of corruption, sentence is executed; and they will know their acceptance before they even see Christ! Such is the latest invention in the department of lies, which the inventors, with good words and fair speeches, seek to impose upon the hearts of the simple.
But to these unbelieving lovers of lies, though they may say Lord, Lord, and prophesy in his name, Jesus says,
"he that receiveth not my words, hath that which judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day".
To receive his words is to "believe on him". They do not believe on him who receive not his words; but of them who do, he saith, "I will raise him up at the last day". This shows that judgment by the Word is to be in the day of resurrection: concerning which Paul saith, in Rom. 2:12,
"as many as have sinned without law shall perish without law; and as many as have sinned under law shall be judged through law in the day when the Deity shall judge the secret things of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel".
These sayings of Christ Jesus and Paul, expound the Apocalyptic idea of "the dead" being
"judged out of those things written in the books, according to their deeds".
..."Death and the Grave," then, represent those who come forth from the house of corruption, are tried before Christ "the Judge of all," found guilty of cowardice, faithlessness, devotion to lies, and so forth, and are condemned. Though they "come forth" in the same "hour of judgment" with all well-doers, they are not "the first resurrection;" but simply heirs of the inheritance styled "Death and the Grave," whence they came, and to which they are consigned again with shame, and the contempt of angels, and of those whose honor and privilege it is to
"eat of the Tree of Life, and to enter through the gates into the city" (Dan. 12:2; Apoc. 3:5; Matt. 10:33; Luke 12:9).
...Others are also cast in the same lake, who had never died before. Such are the rejected vessels of wood and of earth in the House of Christ living in the time of his appearing; together with the worshippers of the Beast and his Image, and the receivers of the sign upon their foreheads, and in their hands; in short, all who have not been found written in the book of the life of the Aion; all these are cast into the lake of fire with the Devil and his Angels: so that the same fire becomes the first death to those who do not survive its judicial torments.
...men are not only made, or constituted sinners by the disobedience of Adam, but they become sinners even as he, by actual transgression. Having attained the maturity of their nature they become accountable and responsible creatures.
At this crisis, they may be placed by the divine arranging in a relation to His word. It becomes to them a tree of life (Prov. 3:18), inviting them to "take, and eat and live for ever."
If, however, they prefer to eat of the world's forbidden fruit, they come under the sentence of death in their own behalf. They are thus doubly condemned. They are "condemned already" to the dust as natural born sinners; and secondarily, condemned to a resurrection to judgment for rejecting the gospel of the kingdom of God; by which they become obnoxious to "the SECOND death" (Rev. 20:14).
Elpis Israel 1.4.
15 <And if anyone had not been> found written in the book of <the> life, <he had been> cast into the lake of <the> fire.