Revelation 19
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

Second Special End-Judgment, or the Judgment upon the Beast (Antichrist) and his Prophet. a. Heavenly World-picture of the Victory. (Revelation 19:1–16.)

General.—The heavenly post-celebration of the judgment upon the Harlot issues in a pre-celebration of the marriage of the Bride. For the Harlot and the Bride bear toward each other the indissoluble relation of a contradictory antithesis. Heaven, or the Church Triumphant, and not God’s Church on earth, celebrates, pre-eminently, the judgment of the Harlot; for an exalted stand-point is requisite for this celebration, and with lesser spirits, vulgar minds, it might easily degenerate into fanaticism. Even in the Heaven of consummate spiritual life, the positive result of that judgment is the thing which is first rejoiced over. The salvation and the glory and the power are our God’s. Not until after this, is the satisfaction of justice touched upon (Rev 19:2). The perfect fixedness of the judgment is next set forth (Rev 19:3). The whole heavenly post-celebration of the judgment is completed in an antiphony, in which the natural relations seem to be inverted, in that the twenty-four Elders and four Life-forms utter the Amen, which is supplemented by the third Hallelujah. Thus a three-fold heavenly Hallelujah is devoted to the rejoicings over the judgment. The Church of God on earth is now commanded to join in the celebration, and her rejoicing assumes the form of a pre-celebration of the marriage of the Bride. The delineation of the simple, yet august, adornment of the Bride, and the glorification of the imminent marriage, are followed by the appearance of the Bridegroom, coming from Heaven, on His warlike and victorious march against the Beast.

Special.—[Rev 19:1–4.] Three-fold Hallelujah of the Church Triumphant over the fall of Babylon. This feature is the more significant, since it is here only that the Hallelujah appears in the Apocalypse. The Hallelujah is also philologically significant; Jehovah, the Covenant-God, is glorified, because Babylon obscured His glory and power to the uttermost through her idolatry; in that she, on the one hand, corrupted the earth with her idolatry, and, on the other, killed the servants of God, who sought His glory. The rising of the smoke of her torment becomes a Hallelujah as an eternal visible assurance that the salvation and the glory and the power of God, in redeemed souls, are established forever.—[Rev 19:5.] The heavenly order for a general song of praise.—[Rev 19:6, 7.] The song of praise: 1. The sound of it; 2. The contents of it.—The marriage of the Lamb. It will essentially consist in the fame of God’s glory.—The beholding of the glory of God constitutes the bliss of the beatified. The bliss of the beatified is the highest glorification of God.—Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.—[Rev 19:8.] The Bride in her adornment.—In antithesis to the Harlot in her gorgeous, but blood-colored, attire.—[Rev 19:9.] Blessedness of those who are called to the marriage of the Lamb.—Every previous beatitude has this for its end and aim. This is true, above all, of the beatitudes in Matt. 5.; and also of that in Rev. 14:13.—God’s words, pure essential facts: They will be manifested to be the most real realities.—[Rev 19:10.] Repeated repudiation of the worship offered by John to angelic beings—comp. Rev 22:9.—The measure of inward devotion is the measure of the purity of the worship which we offer to God. This inward devotion, however, is not to be defined simply in accordance with our feeling; least of all, as a mere ecstatic sentiment; but also intellectually, and as an ethical readiness.—The witness of (concerning) Jesus, the real prophecy of this world’s history.—[Rev 19:11–16.] The Bridegroom, in His going forth for the final redemption and emancipation of the Bride: 1. His forth-going from Heaven; 2. His character; 3. His appearance; 4. His title; 5. His army; 6. His power (Rev 19:15); 7. His right.

STARKE (Rev 19:1): Hallelujah. There is here, probably, an allusion to the six Psalms, from the 113 to the 118, which were called the great Hallelujah, and were sung at high festivals, especially at the Feast of Tabernacles (Ps. 104:35).

Rev 19:2, from Deut. 22:43. Splendor, power, subtlety, adherents—all cannot save when God wills to punish. He fears none of them.

Rev 19:3, from Is. 34:10.

Rev 19:4. The praise of God that issues from a heart that is full of God, fills and kindles other hearts to His praise.

Rev 19:6. (This verse Starke interprets as holding forth the prospect of the conversion of the Jews.) Although there are diverse voices and powers, there is yet one Spirit, one faith, one consonance of the whole Church.

Rev 19:7. The preparation of the Bride consists in her constantly becoming more qualified for the reception of all the treasures of salvation acquired by her Bridegroom.

Rev 19:9. [Write.] The Divine authority of the matter to be recorded and of this entire Book is the more strongly indicated, the more frequent the occurrence of this expression (Rev 1:11, 19; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; 14:13).—[Rev 19:10.] John was not mistaken in the person of the Angel, for he well knew that he was no Divine person. (Starke here wrongfully assumes that not worship, but only an humble expression of reverence, is here denoted.)

Rev 19:11. Heaven opens before Christ, both in the condition of His humiliation and in that of His exaltation.

Rev 19:12. Christ has, not one, but many crowns, because He has gained many victories, and is the King of kings.

Rev 19:14. [In heaven] the faithful are resplendent in white linen, though here they may bear the cross.

Rev 19:16. Kings cannot be happier than in yielding themselves subjects of Christ.

SPURGEON, Stimmen aus der Offenb. Joh., p. 132. [Rev 19:12. And on His head many crowns.] The Saviour’s many crowns. Oh, ye well know what a Head that is; its wondrous history ye have not forgotten. A Head that once reclined, lovely and infantine, on the bosom of a woman. A Head that bowed meekly and willingly in obedience to a carpenter. A Head that in later years became a well of weeping and a fountain of tears (Jer. 9:1; Heb. 5:7). A Head whose sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling upon the earth (Luke 22:44). A Head that was spit upon, whose hairs were plucked out. A Head which at last, in the fearful death-struggle, wounded by the crown of thorns, gave utterance to the terrific death-cry (Ps. 22:1): Lama Sabachthani! (The death-cry was: Father, into Thy hands, etc.) A Head that afterwards slept in the grave; and—to Him Who liveth and was dead, and behold, He is living now forever-more (Rev. 1:18), be glory—a Head that rose again from the grave, and looked down, with beaming eyes of love, upon the woman who stood mourning by the sepulchre.

[From M. HENRY: Rev 19:10. This fully condemns the practice of the papists in worshipping the elements of bread and wine, and saints, and angels.—From THE COMPREHENSIVE COMMENTARY: Rev 19:1–4. All heaven resounds with the high praises of God, whenever He executes His “true and righteous judgments” on those who corrupt the earth with pernicious principles and ungodly practices, and when He avenges the blood of His servants on their persecutors. Who then are they that throw out insinuations, or openly speak of cruelty and tyranny, on hearing of these righteous judgments, but rebels who blasphemously take part with the enemies of God and plead against His dealings towards them? (SCOTT.)

Rev 19:10. If the highest of holy creatures greatly fear and decidedly refuse undue honor, how humbly should we sinful worms of the earth behave ourselves! (SCOTT.)—From BARNES: Rev 19:1. All that there is of honor, glory, power, in the redemption of the world, belongs to God, and should be ascribed to Him.—From BONAR: Rev 19:10. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The theme or burden of the Bible is Jesus. Not philosophy, nor science, nor theology, nor metaphysics, nor morality, but Jesus. Not mere history, but history as containing Jesus. Not mere poetry, but poetry embodying Jesus. Not certain future events, dark or bright, presented to the view of the curious or speculative, but Jesus; earthly events and hopes and fears only as linked with Him.]


Second Special End-Judgment. b. Earth-picture of the Victory over the Beast. The Parousia of Christ for Judgment. The Millennial Kingdom. (Revelation 19:17–20:5.)

General.—We must distinguish here: 1. The premise of the last time, the features of which are to be gathered from other passages; 2. Christ’s war, in His Parousia, with the Beast and the False Prophet, and the judgment upon them and their Antichristian kingdom; 3. The chaining of Satan, and the Millennial Kingdom thus introduced.

The features of the last time, corresponding to its character as here pre-supposed, are visible throughout the eschatology of the Scriptures. See Matt. 24:22 sqq.; Mark 13:21 sqq.; Luke 17:26 sqq.; 21:26 sqq.; Rom. 11; 2 Thess. 2:7 sqq.; 2 Tim. 3:1 sqq.; 2 Pet. 3.; 1 John 2:18; Jude 14, 15. Compare especially the terminal points in the cycles of the Apocalypse itself: Rev 3:20; 6:12 sqq.; 10:7; 11:7; 13,—beginning, particularly, with Rev 19:11; 17:16. These traits are incipiently set forth in the Old Testament; comp. Is. 63. sqq.; Ezek. 36:33; 37:21; Dan. 9:2; Hosea 14:6; Joel 3:1; Zephaniah; Hag. 2:6; Zech. 12. It should be noted, that in Zechariah as well as in Ezekiel two judgments upon the nations are distinguished: viz. a more special one, followed by the restoration of Israel, and a general one, with which the end-time closes. Comp. Zech. 12 and 14, and also Ezek. 36 with 38 and 39.

The spiritual situation which superinduces the symptoms of the last time consists in the complete secularization of the Church—the carnal security of Christians, the spiritual luke-warmness of congregations, an extinction of the old foci of Christendom, and a corresponding extension of the Kingdom of God amongst heathen and Jews.

The actual date at which the last time begins corresponds with the fall of Babylon. The consummate Antichristianity of the world has executed judgment upon the wavering Antichristianity in the Church; the former has, however, drawn an apostate of the Church—the False Prophet—into its service, and with his help it obtains a social victory, in that τὸ κατέχον is taken away (2 Thess. 2:6), or in that the two Sons of Oil (Rev. 11) are killed.

Antichristian pseudo-Christianity, expressing itself not only in hierarchical, but also in sectarian announcements of Here is Christ and There is Christ, has turned into pseudo-Christian Antichristianity; practical atheism, or the negation of all faith, has begotten a lying positivism which prosecutes human deification even to the production of the deified man, the culmination point of the Antichristian tendency. For human deification is at this Juncture no longer a “worship of genius,” but the deification of the masses—nay, more, of the Beast, of the brutal power and carnal self-seeking of the masses, and this fundamentally depraved generalization must necessarily, through the worship of agitators, turn into the worship of the agitator κατ’ ἐξοχήν.

The actual mark of the last short, but grievous time, is a social terrorism which develops in company with the principles of Antichristianity. The perverted congregation of the Beast seeks to give itself a dogmatical and symbolical shape by its sign of recognition, the mark of the Beast: the faithful fall under the subtile social excommunication of the last time. The characteristics of this grievous time are: a great testing, a great temptation, a great trial of endurance, a great purging, all of which, however, result in a great development of the sealed. The traits of the oppressed Widow thus develop into the traits of the Bride, and the cry of the oppressed forces its way to Heaven (Luke 18:1–7).

The Parousia of Christ for war and victory is here, as in the Gospels, heralded by signs in Heaven and earth. With the cosmical sign of the Angel standing in the sun and proclaiming the approaching judgment, the cosmical signs in the Eschatological Discourse of the Lord correspond. The ethical sign on earth is the consummate conspiracy of the kings, i. e., the supporters of Antichristianity, and their preparation for battle against Christ. Comp. Ps. 2. In respect of the day of rebellion, the following declaration holds good for ever: To-day have I begotten Thee—i. e., set Thee in royal dominion.

As to the battle itself, the Seer intimates that the same turn of affairs takes place here as in the building of the tower of Babel and in the Crucifixion of Christ, and, it might also be said, in the great persecution of the Christians under Diocletian. The point of an external combat is not reached; the Antichristian army seems to be smitten with absolute confusion (Rev 16:10). For the Beast is taken, like an individual malefactor; with him the False Prophet is seized, and both are cast into the lake of fire. That the slaying of the Antichristian army is expressive of a spiritual annihilation, is evident from the fact that they are slain with the sword which proceeds from the mouth of Christ.

In respect to the chaining of Satan and to the Angel who accomplishes it, we refer to the EXEG. NOTES. We make the same reference in regard to the Millennial Kingdom. The idea of the coming of this pervades the whole of Sacred Writ (see Ps. 72; Isa. 65, etc.).

The First Resurrection, as the blossom of the resurrection time, as the result of the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15.), as the foretoken of the general resurrection, is also a time of great spiritual awakening and resurrection; to this period, doubtless, belongs the prospect of a more general restoration of Israel, for it occurs between the penultimate judgment upon the heathen ([nations] (the οἰκουμένη) and the last judgment (upon Gog and Magog).

With the first resurrection, the first new heavenly order of things is connected: the rule of Christ, in the midst of His people, over the world—a spiritual and social governing and judging as a foretoken of the last judgment.

The abyss of the curse shut, the Heaven of blessing wide open: these are the characteristics of the great crisis which makes the σωτηρία visibly manifest throughout an entire æon.

Special.—The appearing of Christ in its two aspects: 1. The war (Rev 19:17–21); 2. The victory (Rev 20:1–5).—[Rev 19:17, 18.] The Angel in the sun, and the meaning of his outcry.—[Rev 19:19.] The Antichristian revolt against the Lord and His army.—The spiritual combat in its form and results. [Rev 20:1–3.] The Angel who chains Satan (see EXEGET. NOTES).—Satan shall receive his full dues when he shall be let loose again at the end of the thousand years. In other words, evil must live itself out, or completely accomplish its self-annihilation.—[Rev 20:4–6.] Import of the first resurrection.—Traits from the picture of the Millennial Kingdom.

STARKE (Rev 19:18): Those who apprehend this mystically, interpret thus: That ye may spoil the goods, etc.

Rev 19:20. Those who apprehend this mystically, explain thus: The others, who were seduced [by the False Prophet], were more gently dealt with; they were either conquered and overcome by the sword of Christ’s mouth, His word, and willingly subjected their life and possessions to Christ, or they lay prostrate, proscribed and despised, as dead bodies. Those who, like birds of prey, have impoverished and devoured others, shall themselves be devoured (2 Sam. 12:9–11).—Rev 20:3. Marginal note by LUTHER: The thousand years must have begun at the time when this Book was written. STARKE, on the other hand: The thousand years are not past, but to come.—Satan has his certain time to be bound and to be loosed.

Rev 20:4. Those who regard the thousand years as having already expired, apprehend the resurrection spoken of here as a spiritual resurrection. (Starke adduces another explanation, according to which the resurrection is a physical one, but the life of the risen is in Heaven [2 Tim. 2:11, 12]. The difficulty here originates, probably, in a fear of the ill-understood Seventeenth Article of the Augsburg Confession. The Seventeenth Article, however, negatives the assumption of a millennium (a) before the Parousia of Christ and the resurrection of the dead; (b) as a secular kingdom of the righteous, based on the oppression and subjection of the wicked.)

RIEMANN, Die Lehre der Heiligen Schrift vom tausendjährigen Reiche oder vom zukünftigen Reiche Israel (in opposition to J. Diedrich, Schönebeck, 1858). It is only by caprice that the Millennial Kingdom can here be styled the future kingdom of Israel.—FLÖRKE, Die Lehre vom tausendjährigen Reiche (Marburg, 1859). “Our view (of the Millennium) has its point of departure in a difference with the Augsburg Confession.” (On this misunderstanding, see the remark in the preceding paragraph.) STEFFANN, in his work entitled: Das Ende der Zeiten, Vorträge über Offenb. des heil. Joh. (Berlin, 1870), also controverts this misunderstanding and Hengstenberg’s interpretation: “Ebrard is right in saying that, in drawing up this Article, the Reformers rejected their own view of the Millennial Kingdom and thereby opened the way for a future correct view, etc. The rôles are changed, therefore; not those who reject the Millennial Kingdom on the basis of this Article, but we, who teach it in accordance with the permission given us in this Article, stand on the platform of the Augsburg Confession” (p. 336). MUENCHMEYER, on the other hand, intimates with sufficient plainness, in his Bibelstunden über Offb. Joh. (Hanover, 1870, p. 186), that orthodoxistic exegetical tradition and the ill-understood Seventeenth Article have induced him to place the Millennial Kingdom in the past. He, however, does not reckon the thousand years from the time of John to Gregory VII, with Luther, nor, with others, from the time of Constantine, but from the conversion of Germany—“according to which interpretation the thousand years are now approaching their end, if we have not already entered upon the little lime” (in which view he resembles Hengstenberg).

HEBART, Für den Chiliasmus (Nuremberg, 1859), points to the profitableness of the doctrine of the Millennial Kingdom (p. 24).—Die chiliastische Doktrin und ihr Verhältniss zur christlichen Glaulenslehre, by Dr. JOHANN NEPOMUK SCHNEIDER (see p. 73).—Das tausendjährige Reich (in opposition to Hengstenberg), Gütersloh, 1860, p. 98. In Ezek. 37:1–14 the house of Israel is spoken of in precisely the same manner (as in chap. 36.), and there is nothing in the chapter which could indicate that in this section the house of Israel is not to be apprehended as the natural Israel, but that the prophecy relates to the Church. (See the further remarks on the subject, p. 99. Emphasis is judiciously laid upon the fact that the part which treats of Gog and Magog follows this promise.)

CHRISTIANI, Bemerkungen zur Auslegung der Apokalypse (Riga, Bacmeister, p. 28). “Empirical ecclesiasticity must be highly overrated by those who ascribe to such a Church-historical event as the constituting of Christianity the state-religion of the Roman world-kingdom, so high an import in the history of salvation [as to date the Millennial Kingdom therefrom], not. withstanding that the benefits of this event were accompanied by many evils attendant upon the externalization of the Church” (in opposition to Keil).

RINCK, Die Schriftmässigkeit der Lehre vom tausendjährigen Reich (in opposition to Hengstenberg, Elberfeld, 1866, p. 35). This expositor places the transformation of the faithful in this time. He also assigns the fulfillment of the following prophecies to the same period: Micah 4:1–4; Isa. 11.; 65:17–25; Acts 3:19–21; Rom. 11; Amos 9:9–15. Rinck likewise places the people of Israel at the head of the nations in the Millennial Kingdom, and makes them the leading missionary people of the earth. The Judaizing anticipations of Baumgarten, et al., do not, however, appear with any greater distinctness than attaches to them in the view just stated. It is in any case as one-sided to drop the symbolic element in favor of the historic, as to surrender the historic in favor of the symbolic element. Can the following words be understood of the Jewish people in the historical sense: “When the multitude of the sea is converted unto him?” Israel has already, in the person of the historic Christ, taken the leading place amongst the nations, and in the persons of the Apostles it has become the principal missionary people on earth—this might suffice. According to Rom. 11, all Israel is to be saved, after the fullness [full number] of the Gentiles has come in. In the end, only dynamical distinctions can be of weight, and when Christ comes to earth with all the elect Gentile Christians of all ages, an external preponderance of the newly converted Jewish people is out of the question. The prospect of the more general conversion of Israel is, doubtless, rightly assigned to the Millennial Kingdom. A Christ in glory will remove the last hindrance of faith for all who have failed to accommodate themselves to the offense of the cross, not out of malice, but through weakness and an obedience to Jewish traditions. For the Israelitish view, moreover, the expectation of a time of the glorification of the Theocracy on earth lay at the door, although this did not involve an approximation to the Christian modification of this doctrine. Yet even Isaiah, viewing the power of evil in the light of the Spirit, perceived that a chasm would intervene between the time of the Messiah’s humiliation and sufferings and the time of His glorification. Again, Ezekiel, in distinguishing between the corruption of the central civilized world and that of the remote barbarian world, arrived at the foreview that the victory over anti-Messianism and Israel’s restoration should be followed by a late conflict with Gog and Magog.

VOLCK, Der Chiliasmus, seiner neuesten Bekämpfung (KEIL, Kommentar über Ezechiel) gegenüber Dorpat, 1869). “It may now be seen what importance should be attached to the position of Lünemann, who affirms (commenting on 1 Thess. 4:14) that the idea of an intervening space between the resurrection of believers and that of other men (Rev. 20.) is entirely foreign to the mind of the Apostle Paul. Precisely the contrary is true. That idea is perfectly familiar to him—a fact which is admitted by Meyer, who remarks on 1 Cor. 15:24, that Paul, following the example of Christ Himself, has bound up the doctrine of a two fold resurrection with the Christian faith. Meyer here alludes to the ἀνάστασις τῶν δικαίων, mentioned by the Lord in Luke 14:14.”

LAVATER, Aussichten in die Ewigkeit. Our Lord replies to the question of the Sadducees (Luke 20.) in the following terms: “Those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection of [E. V.: from] the dead, can die no more,” etc. From this it is evident that our Lord, in this passage, speaks of the resurrection of the righteous as a felicity which pertains exclusively to them.

[From M. HENRY: Rev 20:1. Christ never wants proper powers and instruments to break the power of Satan, for He has the powers of heaven, and the keys of hell.]


CHAP. 19:1–20:10


Revelation 19:1–16

1. The Harlot and the Bride (Rev 19:1–10)

1And [om. And]1 After these things I heard [ins. as]2 a great voice of much people, [a great throng (ὄχλου πολλοῦ)] in [ins. the] heaven, saying,3 Alleluia [Hallelujah]; [ins. The] salvation, and [ins. the] glory, and honour [om. and honour],4 and2[ins. the] power, unto the Lord [om. unto the Lord—ins. of] our God: For true and righteous [just] are his judgments; for he hath [om. hath] judged the great whore [harlot], which did corrupt [that corrupted] the earth with her fornication, and3hath [om. hath—ins. he] avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again [a second time] they said, Alleluia [Hallelujah]. And her smoke rose up4[ascendeth] for ever and ever [into the ages of the ages]. And the four and twenty [twenty-four] elders and the four beasts [living-beings] fell down and worshipped God that sat [who sitteth] on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia [Hallelujah].5And a voice came out of [or forth from]5 the throne, saying, Praise [Give praise to] our God,6 all ye [om. ye] his servants, and ye [om. and ye7ins. those] that fear him,both [om. both—ins. the] small and [ins. the] great. 6And I heard as it were [om. it were] the [a] voice of a great multitude [throng], and as the [a] voice of many waters, and as the [a] voice of mighty [strong] thunderings [thunders], saying,8 Alleluia [Hallelujah]: for the Lord [ins. our] God omnipotent [om. omnipotent—ins. the All-ruler]reigneth [(ἐβασίλευσεν)—hath assumed the Kingdom]9. 7Let us be glad and rejoice [exult] and [or ins. we will]10 give honour [the glory] to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come [came], and his wife hath made [om. hath made—ins. prepared]herself ready [om. ready]. 8And to her was granted [given] that she should be arrayed [array herself] in fine linen, clean [bright]11 and [and]11 white [pure]11: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteousnesses (τὰ δικαιώματα)] of [ins. the]saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which [who] are called unto the marriage [om. marriage] supper [ins. of the marriage] of the Lamb. Andhe saith unto me, These are the12 true sayings [words] of God. 10And I fell at [before] his feet to worship him. And he said [saith] unto me, See thou do it [om. See thou do itins. Take heed] not: I am thy [om. thy—ins. a] fellow servant[ins. of thee], [om.,] and of thy brethren that have the testimony [witness] of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony [witness] of Jesus is the spirit of [ins. the] prophecy.

2. The Bridegroom as the Warrior-Prince, prepared to do battle with the Beast. (Rev 19:11–16).

11And I saw [ins. the] heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was [om. was] called13 Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth12judge [judgeth] and make war [warreth]. His14 eyes were as [om. were as]15 a flame of fire, and on his head were [om. were] many crowns [diadems]; [,] and he had [om. and he had—ins. having]16 a name written, that no man [one] knew13[knoweth] but he [om. he] himself. [,] and he was [om. he was] clothed with [in] a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is [has become to be]17 called The Wordof God. 14And the armies which were [om. which were] in [ins. the] heaven followedhim upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [pure]. 15And out of his mouth goeth [ins. forth] a sharp sword (ῥομφαία), that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule [shepherdize] them with a rod of iron [an iron rod] and he treadeth the winepress [ins. of the wine] of the fierceness and [om. fierceness and—ins. anger of the] wrath18 of Almighty [om. Almighty] God [ins. the All-ruler].16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.



The first great special judgment upon Babylon, or upon Antichristianity in a hypocritical disguise, is now followed by the second great special judgment, the judgment upon the open, bold and specific Antichristianity of the Beast and the false Prophet. After this Antichristianity has accomplished God’s judgment upon Babylon, its hour likewise comes. It comes, because the downfall and disappearance of the Harlot, “the fallen Church,” result in the consummation and appearance of the Bride or the pure Church [Congregation] of God. The alternation of these two womanly forms in their visible appearance, is based both upon ethical and historical laws. When the spirit of idolatry, of deifications—in the form of party and sectarian spirit, as well as in other forms—is destroyed in Christendom; when, consequently, all hierarchism and sectism are thoroughly annihilated, then, and not until then, can the Church of Christ appear as a Virgin without spot or blemish—as His Bride.19 Until then, moreover, her simple, retired existence had been historically concealed by the gaudy and ostentatious form of the Harlot. Hence, also, the investment of the Bride is prepared by a backward glance at the downfall of the Harlot. But the Virgin Church, having no earthly means of defence, stands, armed only with the weapons of the Spirit, opposed to the terrible power of Antichristianity. The hour of tribulation, therefore, is now come—the hour which occasions the return of Christ. He comes in celestial conquering power—for the rescue and emancipation of His Church. Hence His appearing results first in judgment upon the Beast; this judgment, again, is the preliminary condition of the Marriage of the Lamb, which begins with the Millennial Kingdom.

The heavenly songs of praise, and the pre-celebration of the Marriage, in the description of the Bride and the portrayal of the Bridegroom at the head of His martial train, form the Heaven-picture of the judgment upon the Beast. The heavenly songs of praise are distributed into two choruses. The first chorus, led by the Church Triumphant, finds its lofty finale in the assent of the twenty-four Elders and the four Living-beings; the second chorus takes an opposite direction, starting from a voice from the Throne, and diffusing itself throughout the spirit-realm. The first chorus is a post-celebration of the downfall of the Harlot; the second chorus is the pre-celebration of the glorification of the Bride.

The Seer has separated the celestial triumph over the judgment of the Harlot from the vision of Rev 17., in which place we should, in accordance with foregoing analogues, have expected it; he has done this for the following excellent reason—that he may constitute this triumph an introduction to the appearance of the Bride and the Bridegroom. The manner in which he has set forth the antithesis of the Harlot and the Bride—each related to the other, each opposed to the other—leads to very definite conclusions. That the Bride of Christ can be only the true Church of Christ, needs no proof. From this very fact, however, it is evident that she has had a present, but, in her heavenly purity, invisible existence, previous to, this—as the invisible Church, therefore. Her false image and counterpart, the Harlot, can, in accordance with this, be only the outward and externalized Church, in the consistency of her fall and decay.

How universal and unceasing is the triumph of all good spirits over the fall of Great Babylon! The hosts in Heaven cry, with the unanimity of one voice: Hallelujah! Their rejoicing has reference, above all, to the fact that the glory of God, which had been increasingly obscured by all idolatry, in MINOREM dei gloriam, is completely restored. Before, at the establishment of the invisible Church in the Heaven of the spirit, the heavenly voice proclaimed: Now is come [ἐγένετο] the salvation, and the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ (Rev 12:10). Now, however, glory supervenes to these; the Kingdom of δόξα is on the point of appearing (Rev 19:1). Out of the darkness of God’s essence-conformed (veritable) and righteous judgments upon the great Harlot, bursts forth the radiance of His glory. The judgment is a double judgment, as a recompense of the great double sin of the Harlot in corrupting the earth with her fornication, i. e., idolatry, and persecuting and slaying the servants of God; on the one hand, it is a judgment of unmasking, and on the other, it is a judgment of avengement of blood. The decisive character of the heavenly sentence is once more expressed in a repeated Hallelujah, based especially upon the fact that the smoke from the burning of Babylon ascends into the æons of the æons. She shall never arise from her ashes. In conjunction with, the song of praise of the heavenly hosts, the twenty-four Elders and the four Living-beings utter, worshipping, the Hallelujah, together with an Amen. The four Living-beings are especially called upon to say Amen (see Rev 5:14), because they have been the single factors who have brought about the final result of the judgment, or because the fallen Church was thoroughly at variance with each of these ground-forms of the Divine rule: with ideality (the eagle), humanity (the human image), with alacrity in sacrifice and suffering (the bullock), and with true moral bravery (the lion). Heaven has spoken, but God’s servants on earth apparently still forbear to utter their sentiments in regard to the fall of Babylon. In face of the kings of the earth, the merchants or mighty men, the international lords of the sea, who are all still lamenting over Babylon—aye, in view of reminiscences of the apparent holiness, the former merits and proud security of Babylon through many centuries, the servants of God, and the truly pious in general, have become reticent and silent. Therefore must a voice from the throne of God issue the command: Give praise to our God, all His servants [Lange: and] those (in general) that fear Him, the small and the great. For besides believers, the Seer recognizes fearers of God, not only great ones, but also little ones. With this, a storm of praise is loosed on earth also: a voice of a great throng—partly, a voice of many waters or peoples; partly, a voice of strong thunders or prophetic geniuses—repeats the heavenly Hallelujah. But these loosed tongues still seem timidly to pass by the name of the Harlot—and this so much the more since it is the world of the ten horns and the Beast which has destroyed Babylon; they fasten immediately upon the glorious positive result: “For the Lord our God, the All-Ruler, hath assumed the Kingdom.” Thus, not the dominion of Christ merely, but the dominion of the Almighty, in the general acceptation of the term, has been obscured by the pseudo-kingdom of Babylon. Let us be glad and exult, say the pious on earth, and we will give to Him the glory which was so long alienated from Him. And they speak not of foreign things when they introduce the Woman, the Bride of Christ—who, like a Cinderella, if we may venture to make the comparison, has so long been retired from sight and sound—into the field of view, with the announcement: The Marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath prepared herself.

And now the Seer himself takes up the story, speaking first concerning the Woman, and then, in obedience to an angelic voice, concerning her imminent marriage-feast. The appearance of the Woman forms a highly edifying contrast to the appearance of the Harlot. The latter had decked herself with purple and scarlet, and loaded herself with gold and jewels; to the former it is given by God to array herself in the right adornment, and her vesture is snow-white, shining linen, a byssus-robe. The material of her dress, the Seer adds in explanation of its brilliancy and purity, are the δικαιώματα of the saints, their final, eschatological judicial acquittals (Matt. 25:34 sqq.) which are grounded upon the principial justification (Rom. 5:1), upon the δικαίωμα of Christ, in the most manifold forms of a now manifestly appearing righteousness of life. For this cause, the Marriage can now begin. The herald of it is an Angel whom the Seer marks, without further explanation, as one already brought upon the scene of action: And he saith unto me. A lack of precision in form which reminds us of similar instances in the Gospel of John. What Angel is meant? This question has been variously answered. Since the reference here is to a personal, and not a symbolical Angel, we do not, with Düsterdieck and others, go back to Rev 17:1, as it is one of the seven Angels of the Vials of Anger who there speaks; nor do we think that the Angel of Rev 18:1 is referred to; but we hold that the reference is to the Angel who, according to Rev 18:21, executed the judgment by a symbolical act, because we here find ourselves in the sphere of the return of Christ, Who is to be surrounded by personal Angels, and also by glorified believers.20 And such an one [a glorified believer] John here sees in the form of an Angel, according to Rev 19:10; the other world begins to grow visible, in spiritual shapes, in this world. Again is the Seer commanded to write a grand and inviting word of revelation concerning the blessedness of proved believers, as in Rev 14:13. Write: Blessed are they who are called unto the supper of the Marriage of the Lamb. The great beatitude is strengthened by the addition: These are the true (veritable, based deep within the kernel of life) words of God.

John describes the impression which the sublime Gospel of the blessedness of the guests at the imminent Marriage has made upon him: I fell before his feet to worship him. The Seer cannot have erred in his inclination to worship, but he made a mistake in the object of his adoration. It did not seem possible for any but Christ to utter so, confident a declaration of so speedy a blessedness. And the Seer was not mistaken in his feeling that the Lord was near. That nearness, however, was announced by a celestial herald; the dividing wall between the hither and the further world [Diesseits und Jenseits] is beginning to fall. The herald of the Marriage reveals himself to the Seer as a glorified saint in angelic form. Take heed not, might be said by an Angel. And so might, I am thy fellow-servant. But the words, I am one of thy brethren who have the witness of Jesus [the true rendering is: I am a fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren that have the witness of Jesus. See the text, Rev 19:10.—E. R. C.], could not suitably be uttered by a real Angel in the literal sense of the term. Worship God. This, certainly, is a didactical reprimand and exhortation which is calculated for millions of men; but in the case of John, the words must have reference to something especially calling for worship. And this something is expressed in the words, for the witness of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy. It might, indeed, likewise be said, The spirit of prophecy witnesses of Jesus; but still something particularly worthy of adoration is here expressed in the idea: The witness of and concerning Jesus in His saints is the spirit of prophecy, which is sure of the imminent Marriage. Living, practical Christianity is prophecy from beginning to end. As a witness concerning Jesus, therefore, the Angel is the bearer of, and voucher for, the glorious promise. Worship God Who has put the certainty of the most glorious future into the kernel of the life of faith.

Did John perhaps think that Peter, his fellow-servant and one of his brethren of the witness of Jesus, would re-appear as the forerunner of the Parousia of the Lord, to execute judgment upon Great Babylon? However this may be, the conversation of the Angel with John is followed by the Parousia itself. We must of course take it for granted that a period intervenes between the judgment upon the Harlot and the judgment upon the Beast—the period of the troubled and waiting Church, the hour of heaviness, depicted Rev 13:15–17. But in the prophetic perspective, the period vanishes, as, Matt. 24., the period between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world; the second judgment follows quickly after the first.

John sees the Heaven opened. Again the white horse appears, as in Rev 6., now, however, no longer to dominate the course of the world, but to conclude it. The Rider has now, on the one hand, an open name, proved in the history of the world; whilst, on the other hand, the unnamableness of His personality, His mysterious essence, has attained full recognition.21 He is called Faithful and True (ἀληθινός), the purest consequence and the innermost kernel of world-history, in personal completion; He is, therefore, entirely the administrator of righteousness in the judgment which He has just executed, and in the war which. He is about to begin. With His righteousness corresponds His all-piercing glance; His eyes are as a flame of fire, illuminating the object to which He directs them; as this was formerly the case with regard to the fanatical Church at Thyatira (Rev 2:18), so it is now the case with regard to the whole world. Issuing from many victories, His head is adorned with many wreaths of victory or diadems, which, in accordance with the textual variation, may be accompanied by many names; but the full import of His essential name is known to Himself alone, in His blissful consciousness. For that which is true of every personality renewed by Christianity—that it has a mysterious, almost anonymous depth (Rev 2:17)—is true in the highest degree of the Crown of all human personalities. His garment, also, is of the color of blood, like that of the Babylonish woman; in His case, however, it is the pure blood-color, not offensively mixed with the hue of royalty; it is the color of His own blood, for He has not yet waged an external war with His foes—least of all, by means of an external sword—hence the sense is not the same as that of Isaiah 43., although the expression is similar, and the bearings of the two passages are kindred.22 One with this perfected glory of beauteous humanity, the adornment of self-sacrifice in love, is His mysterious Divine essence which the Church has sought fully to express by the name, THE LOGOS OF GOD. John was, doubtless, perfectly aware that He uttered a mystery of unfathomable depth when, in his Gospel, he called Christ the LOGOS. But now the great Bearer and Forbearer [Dulder] comes as a victorious King for judgment upon the world; He has waited sufficiently long to have destroyed every suspicion of passionate reaction [against His injuries]. The world has even accustomed itself to the thought that His crucial passion will never be completely reckoned for. The universal character of His passion and victory appears in His escort—a host of triumphant believers, seated, like Himself, on white horses, and clothed in white and shining linen [Byssus], the color of righteousness, like the Bride of Christ.23 His weapons of attack are three-fold: first, the two-edged sharp sword which goeth forth out of His mouth, and which is designed to smite the nations (the modern heathen) (Is. 11:4; 2 Thess. 2:8; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16). From the spiritual victory which He gains with this sword, the symbolism of the Seer distinguishes the fact that He will, secondly, shepherdize the heathen [nations] with an iron rod (Ps. 2). This, doubtless, refers to the dynamical, strict social government which Christianity will exercise from, the time of the Parousia of Christ. Again, in relation to Antichrist and his company, Christ will, thirdly, manifest Himself as the Treader of the wine-press Who will tread the press of the wine of the anger of the wrath (wrathful indignation) of God, the All-Ruler (Is. 63:1), i. e. execute the actual reprobationary judgment upon Antichristianity in the final catastrophe of the course of the world. It seems enigmatical that He should wear the Name, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, on His vesture and on His thigh. The Name is, doubtless, to be apprehended as twice written, not as inscribed simply upon the girdle of the tucked-up garment (as Düsterdieck maintains). We understand this as intimating that the Seer desired doubly to express the idea that it is a small thing for Him to be KING OF KINGS; He wears this Name, not on His crown, not on His brow, but, as a passing decoration, upon His garment. In this place, however, it has deep significance, inasmuch as it is with the blood of His vesture that He has achieved His dominion over the kings of the earth. But why does He bear the name upon His thigh also? Because the generality of kings wear their names there, upon the hilt of the sword, as a title based, for the most part, upon the right of the sword; at least, it is thus with the titles of the ten kings, who are from the outset designated as democratic violence-kings. In view of all this, we regard the Name of Christ in this place as expressive of a declaration of war preparatory to the conflict which is now to begin.


By the American Editor

[ELLIOTT: Rev 19:1–4 are connected with the preceding section, and present the heavenly doxology over the fall of Babylon.

Rev 19:5–21 form the concluding portion of the inside-written (see foot-note, p. 281) prophecy of events under the Seventh Vial. The first part of this section contains a hymn of praise, uttered by all God’s servants, whose themes are the approaching establishment of Christ’s Kingdom and His marriage. (By the establishment of the Kingdom, he understands the introduction of the millennial era; by the Bride, the completed number of the saints of the old and present dispensations; by the righteousnesses of the saints, the badges of their justification; [by the marriage, the glorification of the risen saints with Christ?]). The latter part of the chapter describes the glorious personal appearing of Christ and the destruction of Antichrist; which events are subsequent to the utterance of the hymn, but precede the glorious events pre-celebrated therein.

BARNES: “This chapter, as well as the last, is an episode, delaying the final catastrophe, and describing more fully the effect of the destruction of the mystical Babylon.” It consists of four parts: I. A hymn of the heavenly hosts in view of this destruction, Rev 19:1–7. II. The marriage of the Lamb, Rev 19:8, 9,—i. e. “the Church is now to triumph and rejoice as if in permanent union with her glorious Head and Lord.” III. The offered worship of the Seer and the rebuke, Rev 19:10. IV. The final conquest over the Beast, etc. “The general idea here is that these great Antichristian powers which had so long resisted the gospel.… would be subdued. The true religion would be as triumphant as if the Son of God should go forth as a warrior in His own might. This destruction … prepares the way for the millennial reign of the Son of God.”

STUART: Rev 19:1–9, an episode (delaying the main action) of praise, thanksgiving, and anticipated completion of victory.

Rev 19:11–21, the final contest. (This author, in his concluding remarks on chaps. 13–19, writes: “That Nero is mainly characterized in 13, 16, 17, we cannot well doubt. But in chap. 13, when the beast out of the sea is first presented, he has seven heads, and each one of these is itself a king or emperor, 17:10. Of course, the beast, generically considered, represents many kings, not merely one. Yet as the reigning emperor, for the time being, is the actual manifestation of the beast, or the actual development of it, so the word beast is applied, in the chapters named, mainly to Nero, then persecuting the Church. Insensibly almost.… this specific meaning appears to be dropped, and the more generic one to be employed again in chap. 18. sq. … That Nero’s fall was in the eye of the Apocalyptist here (chap. 16), I can hardly doubt. But this was not the end of the Church’s persecutions; although a respite of some twenty years or more was now given. Farther persecutions were to arise; and so, a continued war with the beast, and a still further destruction of great Babylon, are brought in the sequel to our view. … As soon as the writer dismisses the case of Nero from his consideration, he deals no longer with anything but generic representations. Persecutions will revive. The war will still be waged. At last the great Captain of Salvation will come forth, in all His power, and make an end of the long-protracted war. Then, and not till then, will the millennial day of glory dawn upon the Church.… In order to designate the final and certain overthrow of heathenism, as opposed to Christianity, the writer has chosen to represent the whole matter by the symbol of a great contest between the two parties.”)

WORDSWORTH: This writer regards the whole section as having respect to the blessed condition of the Church after the destruction of Rome. His comments are of the most general and indeterminate kind.

ALFORD: Rev 19:1–10 form the concluding portion of the general section begun Rev 18:1, entitled, “The Destruction of Babylon;” Rev 19:1–8 present “the Church’s song of triumph at the destruction of Babylon; Rev 19:9 sets forth the Bride as the sum of the guests at the marriage feast. Rev 19:11 begins a general section extending through Rev 22:6, entitled “The End:” the subdivisions of this section are, (1) Rev 19:11–16, “the triumphal coming forth of the Lord (personal and visible) and His saints to victory; (2) Rev 19:17–21, the great defeat and destruction of the beast and false prophet and kings of the earth; (8) Rev 20:1–6, the binding of Satan and the millennial reign; (4) Rev 20:7–10, the great general judgment; (5) chs. 21:1–22. 5, the vision of the new heavens and earth, and the glories of the new Jerusalem. (See also in loc.)

LORD: Rev 19:1–4, the hymn of the heavenly host on the destruction of Babylon. Rev 19:5–10, the Marriage of the Lamb, i. e. the literal resurrection of departed saints, and their exaltation to the thrones on which they are to serve Christ throughout their endless existence; (the guests, Rev 19:9, “are different persons from the raised and glorified Saints who are denoted by the Bride, and are doubtless the unglorified Saints on Earth”). Rev 19:11–21 describes “a personal and visible advent” of Christ, accompanied by the raised and glorified saints, and the subsequent destruction of all His civil, ecclesiastical and military enemies who are to be arrayed in organized and open hostility to him (see Abstracts under following sections).

GLASGOW: Rev 19:1–10 show us what transpires among the Saints of God in immediate connection with Babylon’s fall; they present a vision of the events that are now begun to be developed in the Church and nation. By the “wife,” Rev 19:7, is to be understood the Church, not merely invisible, but visible; henceforward, she, as a whole, will be honorable and pure, acknowledging the sole supremacy of Christ, and altogether Scriptural in her doctrine, discipline and government; by the γάμος is to be understood the marriage festivities. Rev 19:11–16. The opening of the heaven took place only once, and at the beginning of the gospel age,—this scene takes us back to the beginning. In the first seal (Rev 4:2) Christ appears in His sacerdotal character—here is represented as going forth simultaneously in His office as King; the white horse in both appearances is identical and symbolizes the body of Christian teachers; the entire vision represents Him as going on to complete victory and supremacy.—E. R. C.]


[Rev 19:1–8.] Earlier songs of praise may be found Rev 4:8; 5:9; 11:15; 15:3; 16:5. [“As each of the great events and judgments in this Book is celebrated by its song of praise in Heaven, so this also; but more solemnly and formally than the others, seeing that this is the great accomplishment of God’s judgment on the enemy of His Church.” (References as above.) ALFORD.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:1. I heard as a great voice. It is, certainly, the voice of a great people, but it is also that of a heavenly people, and hence is to be compared with [as] the tumult of voices of an earthly multitude. This throng is to be symbolically defined in general as the heavenly Church of God, without further random conjecture concerning those from whom the praise proceeds. Hallelujah.—With this specific shout of joy, the song begins. It is thus from beginning to end a song of praise. In Heaven there is no regret for the fall of Babylon. “It is certainly not unintentional that just here, after the complete judgment upon the enemies of God and of His faithful ones has begun, we find the express Hallelujah, which does not appear any where else in the Apocalypse” (Footnote: “Nor is it found in all the rest of the New Testament).” DUEST. A four-fold Hallelujah appears in the New Testament with reference to the fall of Babylon, and is found nowhere else! (for even the Hallelujah of Rev 19:6 has reference to the fall of Babylon). In the quaternary of the Hallelujah, Hengstenberg discovers God’s victory over the earth, “whose mark is four,” in opposition to which Düsterdieck judiciously remarks that it is not a victory over the earth, but one over the Harlot, that is being celebrated. The salvation.—Comp. Rev 7:10 and 12:10.

[Elliott infers from the introduction of the Hebrew Hallelujah that at the time contemplated the Jews will have been converted. Wordsworth regards the introduction of the word as “proving that whatever appertained to the devotion and glory of the Ancient People of God is now become the privilege of the Christian Church.” The idea of Alford is preferable to either, viz.: “The formula must have passed with the Psalter into the Christian Church, being continually found in the LXX.; and its use first here may be quite accounted for by the greatness and finality of this triumph.”—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:2. For true.—The reason assigned becomes more efficient and solemn when both ὅτι ’s are coördinated, in accordance with De Wette and others (see Rev 18:23; 11:18).

Rev 19:3. And a second time, etc.—We cannot apprehend these words as forming an antistrophe to the foregoing, with De Wette, since a grander antiphone is formed between Rev 19:1 and 6. Hallelujah.—A Hallelujah based upon the fact that the smoke of Babylon ascends into the æons of the æons! This far surpasses modern sentimentalities. And her smoke, etc.—In Rev 18:9 and 18, the reference was to the uprising smoke in a historical sense; here the smoke takes a more æonic and metaphorical import, as Rev 14:11. [Into the ages of the ages.—“Another proof that the destruction of the mystical Babylon will be final, and that therefore Babylon cannot be heathen Rome.” WORDSWORTH.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:4. And the twenty-four Elders and the four Living-beings fell down, etc.—The four Life-forms are set above the Elders; hence it is here, also, evident that they should not be regarded as types of creature-life. That as ground-forms of the Divine government in the world they, likewise, worship God, occasions no difficulty. The Amen corroborates the truth [Wahrhaftigkeit], the Hallelujah, the Divine authorship of the fact celebrated. [See foot-note †, p. 152, and ADD. NOTE, p. 161 sq.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:5. A voice came forth from the throne.—The first voice proceeded from the experience and conviction of the spirit-world; it I went from below upwards. The second song is the more developed Amen to the first; it is begun at the Throne of God, and proceeds from above downwards. The expression, Praise our God, gives the voice the appearance of issuing from the centre of the Church Triumphant; it is more natural, therefore, to think of the twenty-four Elders, with Düsterdieck, than to refer the voice to Christ, with Hengstenberg, or to the four Living-beings, with Bengel. Everywhere, however, where one voice is spoken of, stress is thereby laid upon the unison, the one spirit of a company; here it is that of the highest company, the one nearest to the Throne (comp. Rev 5:9). The αἰνεῖν τῷ θεῷ is the development of the foregoing Hebrew Hallelujah. See Düsterdieck. Comp. Pss. 115:18; 135:1.

Rev 19:6. As a voice, etc.—Quite unique is the harmony in the antithesis of many waters and strong thunders (see chapter 1:15, 14:2; Ezek. 1:24, 43:2; Dan. 10:6). The song of praise, now beginning, passes from the post-celebration of the judgment upon the Harlot to the pre-celebration of the marriage of the Bride. [“The triumphant song being ended, an epithalamium, or marriage-song, begins.” M. HENRY.—E. R. C.] The central point of the song lies in the fact that the Lord our God hath taken to Himself [assumed24] the Kingdom, i. e., His Kingdom in the hearts of men25 (see Rev 11:17, where, however, the manifest appearing of kingly power in the general judgment is referred to). The Harlot deified herself and robbed God of His glory; the purity of the Bride, on the other hand, consists in the fact that she gives the glory altogether to God.

[The All-Ruler.—See additional comment on Rev 1:8, p. 93.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:7. And we will give the glory to Him.—This is the fountain of the gladness and exultation, aye, it is the preparation for the marriage itself,—which preparation consists in the right fellowship of human souls, in their participation in a faith—ripening to sight—in the glory of God.

Saying (λέγοντες) [Rev 19:6].—This grammatical irregularity is based upon the Seer’s intention to give prominence to the individual nature of the song of praise, as founded upon subjective heart-truth. It is not merely the jubilation of a sympathetically excited crowd; that which the voice says as one voice, they all say singly likewise.

For the marriage of the Lamb came.—This is proleptical, according to De Wette, Hengstenberg and Düsterdieck. In the sense of the vision, however, the judgment upon Babylon, from the consummation of which the vision starts, coincides with the preparedness of the Bride, and the two items are not only preliminary conditions of, but also indices for, the beginning of the marriage.26 That the terms, the marriage and the supper, of the marriage, although distinct in themselves, coincide in point of time, should be understood as a matter of course. Züllig, in contradistinguishing the millennial Kingdom from the marriage, as a fore-feast of the Messianic marriage, overlooks the fact that even in the Parables of the Lord His Parousia is designated as the beginning of the marriage. The spiritual marriage is characterized by the moment when the ideal Christian view and the outward appearance coincide in perfect oneness. Hence the first appearance of Christ was the fore-celebration of the marriage (Matt. 9:15). It is taking a contracted view of this marriage, the idea of which runs through the whole of Sacred Writ (Song of Sol., Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc.), to understand thereby, “the coming Lord’s distribution of the eternal reward of grace to His faithful ones, who then enter, with Him, into the full glory of the heavenly life” [Düsterdieck]. Three elements, above all things, pertain to the constitution of the idea. First, the personal relation between the Lord and His people. Secondly, perfect oneness on the part of His people. Thirdly, their receptivity, conditioned by homogeneousness. Hence it is also evident that the marriage must be blessedness, in the reciprocal operation of a spiritual fellowship of love. And His Wife.—The Bride—after the espousal, His Wife (Matt. 1:20; comp. Gen. 29:21). Prepared herself.—That is, adorned herself in a spiritual sense. In active self-appointment, as a free Church, that has attained its majority, she has prepared herself; nevertheless, the material of her readiness is given to her by the grace of God. According to The Shepherd of Hermas, the Church, in the form of a woman, undergoes a process of development which is directly opposed to nature. From an aged matron, she is transformed more and more into a youthful appearance. In the end, therefore, when she is free from all spots and wrinkles, she is the perfected Bride of the Lord (Eph. 5:27).

[ADDITIONAL NOTE ON THE MARRIAGE.—Alford most strangely comments in loc.: “This figure of a marriage between the Lord and His people is too frequent and familiar to need explanation.” Rather, for the very reason assigned, should an explanation be given. Matters most frequent in the Scriptures are matters most important; and those most familiar are often, because of their very familiarity, least studied, and therefore least understood. There are few phrases more frequently on the lips of Christians than “The marriage supper of the Lamb,” and it is probable that there are few utterances with which less definite ideas are connected. At first glance, the most natural hypothesis is, that the reference in this verse is to the manifestation of the New Jerusalem, Rev 21:2. This reference, however, necessitates one of two subordinate hypotheses,—either (1) that the visions of chs. 21, 22. are merely supplementary; that they do not refer to events to occur after the millennium, but are descriptive of some event mentioned Rev 19:11–20:15; or (2) that the song of triumph now under consideration had respect, not to the immediate, but to the entire future. The former of these hypotheses seems to be forbidden by the phraseology of the chapter mentioned, which manifestly contemplates a new order of things (a new Heaven and new earth), in which there shall be neither sin nor death (see EXCURSUS ON THE NEW JERUSALEM, pp. 389 sqq.); the latter is hardly admissible in view of the language of the Song, the marriage is come (ἦλθεν)—something in the present, or the immediate future seems to be contemplated; we can hardly suppose that a space of at least a thousand years should be grasped by such an expression. The foregoing considerations lead us to seek for something in the events represented as immediately following the Song as the event contemplated therein, and this the writer thinks is found Rev 20:4–6. Whether the first resurrection mentioned in that passage be literal or spiritual (i. e., whether it be a literal resurrection of departed saints, or a more complete deliverance of living saints from the power of sin), it is undeniable that the entire description contemplates the Church as brought into a new condition—a condition of higher spiritual adornment and of closer relation to Christ—one therefore that may be appropriately figured as her marriage to Christ. It is proper here to remark that the writer regards (1) the resurrection as literal, (2) the Bride as the whole body of the saints (the quick and the dead), at the Second Advent of the Lord, and (3) the marriage as the union of this body with a personally present Christ in glory and government (i. e., as the establishment of the Basileia). As to the truth of the first of these hypotheses, see the Excursus on THE FIRST RESURRECTION, p. 352. The second and third hypotheses best satisfy the elements of the marriage relation so beautifully and justly set forth by Lange in the immediately preceding comment; and they are also in perfect consistency with the normal interpretation of Rev 20:4–6, and of the whole body of Apocalyptic teaching. It should here be distinctly noted, however, that these hypotheses require that the number of those entering into the constitution of the Bride or the New Jerusalem (their identity is admitted) should be complete at the first resurrection, and consequently that the vision of Rev 21:1, 2 should refer, not to the marriage, but to a new manifestation of the Bride. For a discussion of this portion of the subject, see the Excursus on the New Jerusalem.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:8. And to her was given.—Her adornment is simply pure and beautiful [cultus gravis ut matronæ, non pompaticus, qualis meretricis. Grot.). Byssus [fine linen] denotes the most precious of plain, unostentatious, yet elegant, material; a similar character attaches to its hue, as opposed to scarlet and purple. A species of contrast is, doubtless, indicated by καθαρός and λαμρός; the negative purity and positive glory of the hew life. For the fine linen [byssus], etc.—Even in describing the simple adornment of the Bride, the Seer is anxious to bring out the spiritual import of the same. The righteousnesses [Lange: Gerechtigkeitsgüter=possessions of righteousness].—Τὰ δικαιώματα. The δικαίωμα is always a means by which justice is satisfied or acquittal [Gerechtsprechung] is obtained, whether it be the performance of the right, or the explation of the wrong (by undergoing punishment), or atonement, as the concrete unity of the doing and the suffering of that which is right. Reference is not here had “to the white garment of righteousness before God in Christ (as Beza maintained), which garment the Church does not first receive in the last time” (Ebrard). But whether the fulfillment of God’s commandments (De Wette, Ebrard, et al.) or “righteous deeds” (Düsterd.) be intended, is the question. Righteousness of life is itself established by suitable δικαιώματα and consequent acquittals [or justifications]. Such is the verification of faith treated of Jas. 2:21 (comp. the Lange Commentary on James, in loc.), which, according to Matt. 25:31 sqq., ramifies into a multitude of individual verifications. “A delicate allusion to the grace given by God, as the cause and source of the δικαιώματα peculiar to the saints, is contained in the ἐδόθη αὐτῇ ἵνα κτλ.” (Düsterdieck). According to Ebrard, it is “thus prophesied that sanctification shall be perfected, that it shall be given to the eschatological Church to put off the last remnant of sin while yet in the flesh.” [“The plural -ματα is probably distributive, implying not many δικαιώματα to each one, as if they were merely good deeds, but one δικαιώμα to each of the saints, enveloping him as in a pure white robe of righteousness. Observe that here and everywhere the white robe is not Christ’s righteousness imputed or put on, but the Saints’ righteousness, by virtue of being washed in His blood. It is their own; inherent, not imputed; but their own by their part in and union to Him.” ALFORD.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:9. An analogue of Rev 14:13. The two superscriptions of the everlasting Gospel correspond. The former characterizes the existence of the faithful of the last time, with reference to this world; the latter characterizes it with reference to the other world. These two beatitudes of the eschatological Gospel correspond to the beatitudes of the principial Gospel, Matt. 5. They are summed up together in the beatitude and superscription, Rev 21:3–5.

And he saith unto me.—What Angel is meant? See SYN. VIEW. They who are called, etc.—The Church in its unitous form is the Bride; in its individual members, it consists of wedding-guests (Matt. 22:1; 25:1). These are the true words of God—Since all the words of God are ἀληθινοί, the saying can mean only: these are the true [or genuine] words of God in the most special sense; or, to be more definite, in these words are concentrated the true [or genuine] words of promise of God, in analogy with the declaration, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” The highest summit of human consummationbliss has the highest Divine reality. Different explanations of the sentence, by Hengstenberg (“these words are genuine, are words of God”), De Wette, Züllig, Düsterdieck (the words of revelation from Rev 17:1 are intended), see in the latter, p. 537.

Rev 19:10. And I fell, etc.—This action of the Seer must be regarded entirely as a procedure taking place within the vision—not, therefore, as a subject for moral criticism. There is as little reason, therefore, for Hengstenberg’s praising the Seer, on this occasion, for his humility, as for his blaming him elsewhere for visional actions and charging him with faint-heartedness. These, also, are strange words of Hengstenberg’s; “As John here offered (sought to offer) adoration to the Angel, so it befits the Church, that receives this glorious revelation through John, to bow before him [John] because of it, and so, also, it befits John to say to her: Take heed not.” See Ebrard against Hengstenberg, p. 499. It is remarked, not without reason, by Düsterdieck, that it is probable “that John regarded the Angel who was speaking with him, not as a fellow-servant, but as the Lord Himself.” Take heed not.—Properly, Take heed that thou [do it] not. Aposiopesy. The whole deliverance is certainly decisive against all angelolatry. A fellow-servant.—A symbolized Angel could in no case become an object of adoration. But neither could a real, personal Angel. The passage may be so understood that the term σύνδουλος expresses the common characteristic of the angelic and apostolic functions. I, as an Angel, am a fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren, etc. So De Wette and Düsterdieck. Or σύνδουλος is indicative of the category of believers. I, in angelic form, am a fellow-servant of thee, and one of thy brethren (Eichhorn, Züllig). Against the former apprehension is the consideration that the final sentence, The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, would be idle in this connection. Opposed to the second apprehension is the fact that it would call for the reading: καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἀδ. We therefore suppose that the meaning of the Angel is as follows: I, who appear to you as an Angel, am thy fellow-servant, and, as such, a fellow-servant of all who cleave to the witness of Jesus.

Worship God.—This does not mean simply, Worship no creature, but also, Thou hast certainly cause to worship God for the revelation that is made to thee, for it is a glorification of the God who has placed the spirit of the prophecy concerning the great marriage-feast of the consummation, in the witness of [concerning] Jesus. The witness of Jesus.—Since the Angel has commenced to instruct the Seer, we cannot see why he should not speak these words also, especially as they are expressive of the profound unity betwixt historical Christianity and the ideo-dynamical development of the world, and characterize Christianity as absolute prophecy. According to Düsterdieck (in opposition to Vitringa, De Wette, et al.), the concluding sentence belongs to John. The declaration contained therein is entirely different from Rev 19:8. Equally untenable is the assertion of Düsterdieck (in opposition to Vitringa, De Wette, et al.) that the genitive τοῦ ̓ Ιησοῦ must be taken only as subjective, signifying the witness proceeding from Jesus. That which constitutes the μαρτυρία a μαρτυρία is the very fact that Jesus is its object (see Rev 6:9). According to De Wette indeed, the concluding words simply mean: He who, like thee, confesses Christ, has also the spirit of prophecy; according to Düsterdieck, the meaning is: When Christ communicates His revelation-witness to a man, He fills him likewise with the spirit of prophecy! According to this latter commentator, an attestation of the prophetic Book of John is contained in these words (and yet he maintains that the Book was not written by John, and that the prophecy is in part an error which has not been fulfilled).[27]

Rev 19:11–16. The Bridegroom in His warlike Forth-going for the Destruction of the Beast, i. e., also, for the Redemption of the Bride.

Rev 19:11. The Heaven opened.—According to Düsterd. the movement within the visions is very cumbrous. “The Seer was in spirit carried to the earth in Rev 17:3 (De Wette).” But in Rev 4:1 his exaltation to Heaven was identical with his translation into the spirit. A white horse.—As in Rev 6:2. And He that sat upon him, calledκαλούμενος is in apposition [to ὁ καθήμ. κτλ.]. Faithful.—The germ and blossom of all Divine life in the history of the world. True.—The fulfillment of all world-historical prophecies, especially promises and threats (see Rev 3:7, 14). And in righteousness (Isa. 11:3, 4) He judgeth and warreth.—He must execute His judgment upon Antichrist in a warlike form.

Rev 19:12. His eyes.—See Rev 1:14. Many diadems.—“If the many royal crowns upon His head are regarded as trophies of victories already won (2 Sam. 12:30; 1 Macc. 11:13; Grotius, Wetst., Bengel; comp. also Vitringa), we should necessarily have to conceive of kings as conquered—for instance, the ten kings of Rev 17. (Züllig). But judgment is not yet executed upon these. It might also be said that the Lord Who goes forth as a triumphant Conqueror, Who, Rev 6:2, receives a victor’s wreath in advance, here appears proleptically decked with the crowns of the kings whom He is to judge. But more obvious is the reference to Rev 19:16, where Christ is called the βασιλεὺς βασιλέων (Ewald, De Wette, Hengstenb., Bleek, Volkmar, Luthardt”). DUESTERDIECK. The antithesis thus set forth is based upon deficient, atomistic conceptions. History testifies that Christ, in dynamical operation, has become the King of kings by a grand succession of victories, not necessarily eschatological in form, as was evidenced by Constantine, and even Julian. A name.—A wondrously beautiful designation of the personality of Christ in accordance with its peculiar Divine-human essential name. On the random conjectures concerning this name see Düsterdieck, p. 542 (it is the name given in Rev 19:13; the name Jehovah; no definite name. It is placed on the forehead—on the vesture; see also De Wette, p. 179). The mystery, however, is sealed only from a worldly understanding, not from the knowledge of love.

Rev 19:13. With a vesture, etc.—The expression of Isa. 63:1, but in a New Testament sense. And His name hath become to be called.—The theological name of Christ, that which marks His Divine nature alone, and which John has also introduced in the most significant manner [in his Gospel?], is therefore in itself. more intelligible than the mystery of personal God-manhood. Futile objections to a reference to the Logos, John 1:1, see in Düsterd., p. 75. The Logos is indeed here characterized as τοῦθεοῦ; but His historical mission is here also referred to.

Rev 19:14. And the armies in the heaven, etc.—Not Angels simply (Matt. 25:31; Hengstenb., Luth.), but also the perfected righteous (Düsterdieck); nay, these pre-eminently, since they are clothed in pure byssus, and since it is not simply the local Heaven that is intended here, but rather the Heaven of perfected spirit-life.—The byssus of their garments is white and pure; they are perfected in innocence and righteousness, and yet their vesture does not shine, like that of Christ.

Rev 19:15. And out of His mouth, etc.—Even in the Old Testament the all-conquering power of the word of Revelation is expressed in figurative forms (Is. 11:4; Jer. 23:29; comp. 2 Thess. 2:8; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16). In the last time, the immediate, spiritually dynamical operations of the word of God coincide with its mediate, physically dynamical operations in a unity which is prefigured Acts 5:5. In Ps. 2, also, the iron seeptre has manifestly a symbolical import. And He treadeth the wine-press.—Isa. 63:3. The wine of the anger of the wrath [Lange: wrathful indignation] of God is the historic concrete of the wrath of God, on the one hand, and the wrath of the heathen [nations], on the other hand (Rev 11:18). The judgment of God, in the uprising of “the heathen” [nations]. is brought to a decision by Christ by His appearing. Hengstenberg’s explanation—The winepress is the wrath of God; the wine flowing out of it is the blood of His foes—is marvellously amended by Düsterd.: “The form of the statement, in which the two figures of the wine-press (Rev 14:19) and the cup of wrath (Rev 14:10) are combined (De Wette), denotes rather that out of the wine-press trodden by the Lord the wine of the wrathful indignation of God streams, which wine shall be given to His enemies to drink.”

Rev 19:16. On His vesture.—See SYN. VIEW. Comp. Düsterdieck, p. 543.


By the American Editor.

[This chapter, beginning with the strong disjunctive, Μετὲ ψαῦτα ἤκουσα, introduces a new series of visions that flow on in unbroken sequence to the close of the Revelation.

Rev 19:1–8 present the heavenly song of triumph over the destruction of the apostate Church, and in prospect of the immediate establishment of the Basileia; it is the hallelujah that marks the beginning of a new æon—the times of refreshing and restitution (Acts 3:19–21). (See foot-note† in the following column.)

Rev 19:11–16 narrate the vision of the SECOND ADVENT of Jesus, the Advent contemplated Rev 1:7. (See the following NOTE.) In the judgment of the majority of interpreters, the Rider here described is the same as the one of the First Seal. For the views of the Am. Ed. on this point see ADD. NOTE, pp. 177–179.—E. R. C.]


By the American Editor

[It is admitted by all that there is to be a visible Advent of the glorified Messiah. Two views divide the Church as to the time of the Advent—some contending that it is to be Pre-millennial; others, that it is to be synchronous with the Consummation, the, general Resurrection and final Judgment.

The advocates of the former hypothesis rely principally on two classes of passages; 1. Those which seam to connect the future Advent with the restoration of Israel, the destruction of Antichrist, or the establishment of a universal kingdom of righteousness on earth, such as Isa. 11; 12; 59:20 sqq. (comp. with Rom. 11:25–27); Jer. 23:5–8; Ezek. 43:2 sqq.; Dan. 7:9–27; Joel 3:16–21; Zech 14; Rom. 11:1–27; 2 Thess. 1:1–8;[28] Acts 3:19–21.[29] 2. Those which speak of the coming of the Lord as imminent (in connection with those which declare that there is to be a period of generally diffused peace and righteousness preceding the final consummation), such as Matt. 24:42–44; Mark 13:32–37; Luke 12:35–40; 1 Thess. 5:2, 3; Tit. 2:11–13; Jas. 5:7, 8.

The upholders of the hypothesis that the Second Advent is not to take place until the final Consummation, base their opinion upon those Scriptures which manifestly connect an Advent with that event. The following is the summation of the argument by Dr. David Brown, one of the most eminent advocates of this view. I. The Church will be absolutely complete at Christ’s Coming; 1 Cor. 15:23; Eph. 5:25–27; 2 Thess. 1:10; Jude 24; Col. 1:22; 1 Thess. 3:13. II. Christ’s Second Coming will exhaust the object of the Scriptures, in reference—(1) to Saints; Luke 19:13; 2 Pet. 1:19; James 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:13; 2 Tim. 4:8; Phil. 3:20: (2) to sinners; 2 Thess. 1:7–10; 2 Pet. 3:10; Luke 12:39, 40; 17:26, 27, 30. III. The sealing ordinances of the New Testament will disappear at Christ’s Second Coming: Baptism; Matt. 28:20: The Lord’s Supper; 1 Cor. 11:26. IV. The Intercession of Christ, and the Work of the Spirit for saving purposes, will cease at the Second Advent—(1) The Intercession of Christ stands intermediate between His first and second Coming; Heb. 11:12, 24–28: (2) The work of the Spirit is dependent upon the Intercession, and terminates with it; John 7:38, 39; 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7, 14; Acts 2:33; Tit. 3:5, 6; Rev. 3:1; 5:6. V. Christ’s proper Kingdom is al ready in being; commencing formally on His Ascension to the right hand of God, and continuing unchanged, both in character and form, till the final Judgment:—(1) Acts 2:29–36, comp with Zech. 6:12, 13; Rev. 5:6; 3:7, 8, 12; Isa. 22:22; 9:6, 7: (2) Acts 3:13–15, 19–21: (3) Acts 4:25–28, comp. with Ps. 2: (4) Acts 5:29–31 (Him hath God exalted to be a SAVIOUR-PRINCE, i.e., a PRIEST upon HIS THRONE): (5) The Apostolic comment on Ps. 110. 1, viz.: Acts 2:34–36; Heb. 10:12, 13; 1 Cor. 15:24–26. VI. When Christ comes, the whole Church of God will be “made alive” at once—the dead by resurrection, and the living immediately thereafter by transformation; their “mortality being swallowed up of life;” 1 Cor. 15:20–23; John 6:39, 40; 17:9,24. VII. All the wicked will rise from the dead, or be “made alive,” at the Coming of Christ; Dan. 12:2, with John 5:28, 29; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52, with 1 Thess. 4:16; Matt. 13:43, with Dan. 12:3; Rev. 20:11–15: (He interprets the first resurrection of Rev. 20:4, 5, as “figurative”—indicating “a glorious state of the Church on earth, and in its mortal state”). VIII. The righteous and the wicked will be judged together, and both at the coming of Christ; Matt. 10:32, 33; Mark 8:38; Rev. 21:7, 8; 22:12–15; Matt. 16:24–27; 7:21–23; 25:10, 11, 31–46; 13:30, 38–43; John 5:28, 29; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5–16; 2 Cor. 5:9–11; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Thess. 1:6–10; 1 Cor. 3:12–15; Col. 1:28; Heb. 13:17; 1 Thess. 2:19–20; 1 John 2:28; 4:17; Rev. 3:5; 1 Tim. 5:24, 25; Rom. 14:10, 12; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10, 12; Rev. 20:11–15; 2 Tim. 4:1. IX. At Christ’s Second Appearing, “the heavens and the earth that are now,” being dissolved by fife, shall give place to “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” without any mixture of sin; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10–13; Rev. 20:11; 21:1.

A careful study of all the passages that have been adduced in support of these hypotheses respectively, has induced in the mind of the writer the thought that two Advents still future are predicted—the one for the establishment of the Basileia (at which shall take place a partial resurrection and judgment); the. other at the final consummation, at which time shall take place the general judgment.

It will at once be objected that but one future Advent seems to be predicted in the Scripture. To this it may be answered, first, that, whilst this may be true in reference to the earlier portions of the New Testament, in the Apocalypse a twofold Advent seems to be indicated; comp. 19:11–16 with 20:11, 12. And in the second place, it may be remarked, that, in deferring a distinct intimation of a twofold Advent to one of the concluding Books of the Canon, the New Testament follows the analogy of the Old.

It is admitted by all that a twofold Advent of the Messiah, one in humiliation and the other in glory, was predicted in the Old Testament. In the earlier prophecies, however, but one Coming seems to have been contemplated. Even in Isaiah, where the Messiah is in one place spoken of as a Man of sorrows, and in another as appearing in royal glory, but one Advent is, in express terms, referred to. The whole of prophecy seems to be cast upon one plane, without reference to the succession of those events, which, we now know, were to be separated by millennia. It is only in the Book of Daniel, and there only obscurely, that a twofold Advent is, in terms, intimated; compare 9:25, 26, 26, with 7:13, 14. The hypothesis of a double Advent could have been deduced from the Old Testament Scriptures only from the consideration that things were predicted of the coming Messiah, on the one hand humiliation and on the other exaltation, that could not be realized in one visit to earth—and this hypothesis exactly satisfies the obscure intimation in the Apocalypse of Daniel. It will also be observed by the careful student that one and the same prophecy sometimes relates to both Advents, in matters in which the first is typical of the second—as, for instance, the prophecy of Joel (2:28–32) which had an initial fulfillment on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16–21), but which is to have another and more complete fulfillment in a day yet future (Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:11, 25). So also in respect of the prophecies of the New Testament—things are predicted concerning the coming Messiah which cannot find a fulfillment in one Advent,—as, for instance, that He shall establish a Kingdom of righteousness on earth (Acts 3:21; see preceding foot-note on the passage), and that He shall terminate the present order of things in a general judgment (2 Pet. 3:4–13). These two classes of statement find their best reconciliation in the hypothesis of a twofold Advent—and this hypothesis finds support in a comparison of Matt. 24:30 with 25:31, and still more clearly in Rev. 19:11–16 compared with 20:11–15.

It is impossible to present the details of this scheme in the present Note. It is submitted with the foregoing general remarks, which sufficiently indicate its leading features, to those interested in prophetic studies. It is proper, in addition to what has already been said, to call attention to the probability that, as certain prophecies of the Old Testament have reference to both the acknowledged Advents, finding an initial fulfillment in the one and being completely fulfilled in the other, so will it be in the prophecies of the New Testament.—E. R. C.]


[1]Rev 19:1. [Καί is omitted by א. A. B. C. P., el al.—E. R. C.]

[2]Rev 19:1. A. B. C. [א. P.], et al., give ὡς.

[3]Rev 19:1. Λεγόντων. [So Crit Eds. with א. A. B. C. P., et al.—E. R. C.]

[4]Rev 19:1. The readings καὶ ἡ τιμή and κυρίῳ are not based upon secure authorities. [Crit. Eds. give ἡ σωτηρία καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ ἡ δύναμις τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμών with preponderating authorities.—E. R. C.]

[5]Rev 19:5. [Tisch. (8th Ed.) gives ἐκ τοῦ with א. P. 1, 31, 32, et al.; Lach., Tisch., (1859), Alf. and Treg. give ἀπό with A. B. C., et al.—E. R. C.]

[6]Rev 19:5. Τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν in acc. with A. B. C., et al. [Crit. Eds. give τῷ θεῷ with א. A. B. C. P., et al.—E. R. C.]

[7]Rev 19:5. [Tisch. (8th Ed.) omits καί with א. C. P.; Lach., Tisch. (1859) give it with A. B*., 1, 7, 14, 38, et al.; Alf. and Treg. bracket it.—E. R. C.]

[8]Rev 19:6. Cod. A. [P.], et al., Lach. and Rec. give λεγόντων. [Gb., Sz., Tisch. (1859), Alf. give λέγοντες with B*; Tisch. (8th Ed.) Treg., λεγόντων.—E. R. C.]

[9]Rev 19:6. [“Here is a case where we cannot approach the true sense of the aor. ἐβασίλευσεν but by an English present: ‘reigned’ would make the word apply to a past event limited in duration: ‘hath reigned’ would even more strongly imply that the reign was over.” ALFORD). Still better is Lange’s translation hath assumed the kingdom, presenting the idea of a special reign then begun.—E. R. C.]

[10]Rev 19:7. Δώσομεν in acc. with א. and A. [Lach., Tisch. (1859), Alf. give δώσομεν with אo. A. (δωσωμεν) P. 11, 79; Treg., Tisch. (8th Ed.) δε͂μεν with א*. B*. 1, 7, et al.—E. R. C.]

[11]Rev 19:8. [Crit. Eds. give λαμπρὸν καθαρὸν with א. A. P. 7, et al.—E. R. C.]

[12]Rev 19:9. Οἱ ἀληθινοί: in acc. with A., et al., with the article. [So Lach., Alf., Tisch. (1859); but Lach. (8th Ed.) Treg. Omit the article with א. B*. P., et al.—E. R. C.]

[13]Rev 19:11. [Treg. and Tisch. give καλούμενος with א.; Lach. omits with A. P. 1, 4, 6, et al.; Alf. brackets.—E. R. C.]

[14]Rev 19:12. [In the original οἱ is followed by δέ. Alf. remarks, “The δέ, as often, is best given in English by an asyndeton, marking a break in the sense, passing from the subjective to the objective description.”—E. R. C.]

[15]Rev 19:12. ̔Ως in acc. with A., Vulg., et al.; against it א. B*., et al. [Lach. gives it; Treg. and Tisch. omit with א. B*. P., et al.; Alf. brackets.—E. R. C]

[16]Rev 19:12. Cod. B*., et al., ὀνόματα γεγραμμένα afterἔχων. [So Tisch. (1859); but Tisch. (8th Ed.), Lach., Treg., omit with A. P. 1, 7, Vulg., et al.; Alf. brackets.—E. R. C.]

[17]Rev 19:13. Κέκληται with א. A. B*., et al. [So Crit. Eds. generally.—E. R. C.]

[18]Rev 19:15. [For this rendering of τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς ὀργῆς see NOTE 29 on Ch. 15., p. 275.—E. R. C.]

[19][The underlying spirit of idolatry, or spiritual adultery, is worldliness, which manifests itself in a multitude of other, and more obnoxious forms than those mentioned above. Until this spirit be destroyed, together with all the forms in which it manifests itself, the Church will not be, or appear as, a pure Virgin.—E. R. C.]

[20][The most natural reference most certainly is to the Angel of Rev 17:1, of whose withdrawal from the Seer no mention is made. The implication of Rev 19:9 seems to be that this Angel had continued with the Seer giving him instruction. The reason assigned by our author for denying that the reference is to him, seems to be without foundation, for most certainly the implication of his coming to John and giving him instruction (17:1, et pass.) is, that he is a personal being.—E. R. C.]

[21][See ADD. NOTE, pp. 178 sq.—E. R. C.]

[22][Is not the sense in both cases precisely the same? In both cases, the Conqueror, at His first appearance, is dramatically represented as sprinkled with the blood which Ha shed in the course of His advance.—E. R. C.]

[23][See ADD. NOTE, p. 336.—E. R. C.]

[24][See TEXT, and TEXT. AND GRAM, note 9.—E. R. C.]

[25][See EXCURSUS on the BASILEIA, pp. 93 sqq.—E. R. C.]

[26][“In every instance of the word marriage (γάμος) in the New Testament it means the festivities, which were sometimes a considerable period after the actual covenant or bond of marriage. ‘The wedding day was rather the day when the bride was taken home to her husband’s house, than what we should designate the day of marriage’ (Fairbairn, Imp. Dict. of Bible). … By His incarnation, Jesus became the Bridegroom (νυμφίος), and His Church the Bride (νύμφη). And if it be necessary to distinguish ‘wife’ from ‘bride,’ let it be observed that ‘wife’ (γυνή) is the word employed in the text: ‘His wife has prepared herself.’ ” GLASGOW. In his comment on Rev 19:9 the same writer remarks: “The same festive occasion which in Rev 19:7 is called the marriage is here called the marriage supper (τὸ δεῖπνον τοῦ γάμου); which shows that not the marriage ceremony, but the joyous festivities, are meant.”—E. R. C.]

[27][Düsterdieck merely claims that the Book was not written by the Apostle John.—TR.]

[28][The last clause of Rev 19:2 should not be translated is at hand, but is present. (See LANGE Comm., Am. Ed., p. 124.) The original is ἐνἐστηκεν. It is inconceivable that the Apostle should have spoken of the approaching Advent, elsewhere described as the hope of the Christian Church (Tit. 2:13), as the ground of distress. His object was to warn them against the false idea that the Advent had already taken place—that the hope that once had cheered them of blessings in the future was a vain one.—E. R. C.]

[29] [The ̓Αποκατάστασις. It is universally admitted that the rendering of Acts 3:19–21 in the E. V. is incorrect. The translation as given in the LANGE Comm. is: Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out in order that the times of refreshing may come from the face of the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah Jesus who was appointed unto you; whom the heavens must receive until times wherein all things will be restored (times of restitution, χρόνων ἀποκατασάσεως), which God hath spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old.

It may at once be remarked that the period here referred to is a lengthened one, as is evident from the use of the plural term, χρόνοι.

To determine what is meant by times of restitution, our first appeal must be to the Old Testament Prophets. They are times of which God has spoken by the mouth of His Prophets.

The noun ἀποκατάστασις does not occur in the LXX.; its verbal root ἀποκαθίστημι appears however in several important passages, and points unmistakable to an oft-recurring Hebrew word of which it is the translation; see Mal. 4:6; Jer. 16:15; 24:6; 1. 19. In the first three of these passages it is the translation of the Hiph. of שׁוּב, and in the last of the Piel, which in this verb, is also causative (see Robinson). The verb also occurs Isa. 1:25, 26; 58:12; Jer. 33:7; 32:37: 23:5–8; 24:6, 7; Joel 3. (4) 1. The ἀποκατάστασις referred to in these passages seems to be the only one spoken of by the Prophets. That these prophecies were partially and typically fulfilled in the restoration of Israel from Babylon is admitted. It would seem to be manifest, however, that they did not receive their complete fulfillment in that event. And still further, if they were then fulfilled, there were no unfulfilled prophecies of an ἀποκατάστασις in the days of Peter. (Manifestly connected with the passages quoted above, as the completion of the restitution therein predicted, are Isa. 11.; 65:17—66:24; compare especially Jer. 23:5–8 with Isa. 11:10–14. So connected are they that they must be regarded as referring to the same event, although the term under discussion does not appear in them.)

The following seem to be the elements of the restitution predicted in the foregoing Scriptures:—1. A restoration of the hearts of the fathers to the children, Mal. 4:6. 2. The restoration of the rejected seed of Jacob to holiness and the consequent favor of God, Isa. 1:25; Jer. 24:7. 3. The restoration of Israel to their own land, passim. 4. The establishment of Israel, not again to be dispersed, Jer. 24:6, 7. 5. The establishment of the Kingdom of righteousness as a visible Kingdom, in power and great glory, with its seat at Jerusalem, Isa. 1:25, 26 (2:2, 3); 58:12–14; Jer. 23:5–8; 33:7 sqq. 6. The gathering of all nations as tributary to Israel or the Church. (For the views of the writer as to the identity of Israel and the Church, see foot-note †, p. 27.) 7. The Palingenesia, Isa. 11.; 65:17 sqq.

In the New Testament the noun occurs only in the passage under consideration, and the verbal root only eight times. Two of these instances, however, are of marked significance. In Matt. 17:11 Jesus said: “Elias truly shall first come and restore all things (ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα).” That the restoration was future is evident from—(1) the future form of the verb, (2) the fact that the prophecy referred to was not completely fulfilled in the Baptist—he did not restore all things. (The subsequent words of our Lord, ver.12, are not opposed to this view. They clearly imply that John had not accomplished the work prophesied by Malachi. The Scribes and Pharisees would not receive him as the restorer. Matt. 11:14; they rejected the counsel of God against themselves, and Elias is yet to come for the fulfillment of the prophecy.)

The verb next occurs Acts 1:6. The disciples asked: “Lord, wilt thou at (in) this time restore again (ἀποκαθιστάνεις) the kingdom to Israel?” Now it seems impossible to suppose that, after forty days’ converse with the Great Teacher, during which time “he opened their understanding that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45), and spake “of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), the Apostles should have been in ignorance as to the nature of the restoration. It is equally impossible to suppose that if they had been mistaken, He would not have corrected them. So far from correcting mistake, His answer implies the correctness of their view as to the nature of the restoration. At that time their view was, confessedly, the one now characterized as literal or normal. A few days after (and subsequent to the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost) Peter speaks, in the passage under consideration, of an ἀποκατάστασις still future, without the slightest intimation that he had previously been mistaken as to its nature.

The next instance of the occurrence of the term is in the passage now under consideration. The Apostle spoke of a restitution, foretold by the Prophets and manifestly spoken of by our Lord, which he declared to be then future. It seems most natural to connect that restitution with the event spoken of by Paul. Rom. 11:25–27—a glorious ἀποκατάστασις, in the description of which all the Old Testament Scriptures referred to above seem to have been in the Apostle’s mind.—E. R. C.]

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
B.—Earth-Picture of the Victory over the Beast. The Parousia of Christ for Judgment

Revelation 19:17—20:5

a. The Judgment upon the Beast

17And I saw an [one][30] angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud [great] voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven [mid-heaven], Come and gather yourselves [om. and gather yourselves—ins., be gathered][31] together unto the [ins. great]32 supper of the great [om. the great] God; 18That ye may eat the [om. the]33 flesh of kings, and the [om. the]4 flesh of captains [ins. of thousands], and the [om. the]4 flesh of mighty [strong] men, and the [om. the]4 flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the [om. the]4 flesh of all men [om. men], both19 [om. both] free and [as well as]34 bond, both [and] small and great. And I saw the beast [wild-beast], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make [ins. the]35 war against [with] him that sat [the one sitting] on the horse, and against [with] his army. 20And the beast [wild-beast] was taken, and with him36 the false prophet that wrought miracles [the signs] before him [in his presence], with which he deceived [seduced or misled (ἐπλάνησεν)] them that had [om. had] received the mark of the beast [wild-beast], and them that worshipped his image. [:] These both [the two] were cast alive into a [the] lake of [ins. the] fire burning [that burneth] with brimstone. 21And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat [the one sitting] upon the horse, which sword proceeded [goeth forth] out of his mouth: and all the fowls [birds] were filled [satiated] with their flesh.

b. The Millennial Kingdom [Rev 20:1–5)

1And I saw an angel come down from [descending out of—ins. the] heaven, having the key of the bottomless [om. bottomless] pit [abyss] and a great chain in [upon] his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that [or the] old [ancient] serpent,37 which [that] is the Devil [or Slanderer], and Satan [or the Adversary]38, and bound him a thousand years, 3and cast him into the bottomless [om. bottomless] pit [abyss], and shut him up, and set a seal upon [om. him up, and set a seal upon—ins. and sealed over]39 him, that he should [might] deceive [seduce or mislead (πλανήσῃ)]40 the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled [finished]: and [om. and]41 after that [these] he must be loosed a little season [time]. 4And I saw thrones, and they sat [ins. down]42 upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were [had been] beheaded for [on account of] the witness of Jesus, and for [on account of] the word of God, and which [who] had not [om. had not] worshipped [ins. not] the beast [wild-beast], neither [nor yet]43 his image, neither had [om. neither had—ins. and] received [ins. not] his [om. his—ins. the] mark upon their [the]44 foreheads, or in [om., or in—ins. and upon] their hands [hand]; and they lived and reigned with Christ a455 thousand years. But [om. But]46 The rest of the dead lived not again [om. again][47] until [till] the thousand years were [should be] finished. This is the first resurrection.



a. The Judgment

The judgment upon the Beast is accomplished, not in a manner purely of this world and in a form purely historical, like the judgment upon the Harlot, but in a more spiritual form, which is based upon the appearance of Christ from the other world, and which introduces the cosmical transition-form between time and eternity, the Millennial Kingdom.

The first point for consideration is that cosmical change itself, which proceeds from the sun and summons all the birds under the Heaven, all the forces of earthly metamorphosis, to consume all the dead flesh, the exanimate materials which shall be the issue of the great defeat of the Antichristian world—to consume them, in order to convert them into new life.

The second point is ethically mysterious. A decisive act of judgment takes the place of the battle contemplated by the Beast and the Kings. The two leaders and misleaders of the infatuated Antichristian host, the Beast and the False Prophet, are seized. That which seizes them seems to be a judgment of madness, for they are cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. For them, hell begins in this life; the fire of the fuel in which they have wrapped themselves, surrounds them on all sides—a flame of infinitely wild, fanatical agitation, doomed, in consequence of its absolute worthlessness, to form the pool of a mortal and dead stagnation—the unprogressive and eternally monotonous movement in a circle, or the fiery whirlpool of phrases and curses. In the case of the False Prophet, his guilt is once more noted, in explanation of his judgment; the most bitter reminiscences cling to the perfidy of his apostasy.

The third point is the judgment upon the followers of the Beast. They are not immediately cast into the fiery lake, but are for the time only killed. They are killed by the sword issuing from the mouth of Christ. They are morally judged and annihilated. What remains of them is a world of shadows, a sort of realm of the dead on the surface of this earth itself. All the birds become satiated with their flesh; i. e., all their sensuous and earthly possessions have lost their value and are decayed like the flesh strewed over a field of dead bodies. All the birds are satiated with their flesh; i. e., all the forces of metamorphosis are laboring for their transformation into a new shape. The fullness and manifoldness of the flesh to be devoured by the birds is vividly described in Rev 19:18. A complete end is to be made of all this.

Though it might with reason be said that because the sun is the symbol of the revelation of salvation, the Angel of judgment, standing in the sun as the angel of the whole salvatory development of revelation, indicates the hour when the work of the revelation of salvation is entirely completed, when the world clock of the history of salvation in this world has run down—we must not overlook the fact that this moment must coincide with the perfect ripeness of our cosmical system, and that, consequently, a catastrophe must start from the centre of our cosmical system, as well as from the focus of our religious moral system. The harvest of the earth and the harvest of the Kingdom of God coincide, in accordance with the parallelism between spirit and nature, as is declared in the Eschatological Discourse of our Lord (Matt. 24:29), although the Day of the Harvest, the Last Day, stretches out into an æon of a thousand years in a symbolical sense.

The birds of the heaven have, in typical preludes, often been invited to similar feasts upon the slaughter fields of history (Deut. 28:26; Jer. 7:33; 16:4; Ezek. 39:17). In this fact there is not only an expression of irony concerning the vanity of earths glory, but also an expression of the triumph of life over death. The Kingdom of God is acquainted with a transformation of matter; it is, however, of another and higher sort than that of which modern materialists talk; it does not lie under the curse of an eternal rotation, but is, on the contrary, under the law of the highest life, which changes this lower world of becoming into the eternal world of the City of God.

b. The Millennial Kingdom

The prophecy of the thousand years of Christ’s reign on earth is, in and for itself, a true pearl of Christian truth and knowledge, because it throws light upon an entire series of difficult Christian conceptions.

In the first place, it mediates an understanding of the Last Day, in that it shows how the latter expands into a Divine Day of a thousand years, in a symbolical sense, i.e., a specific æon; and thus it also casts light backwards upon the import of the days of creation.

Secondly, it mediates the understanding of a catastrophe which is to divide between this life and the life to come, time and eternity, the world of becoming and the world of consummation, in that it shows how the great and mighty contrast is harmonized by an æonic transition-period, in perfect accordance with the laws of life and vital development, as was clearly explained by Irenæus (see Dorner, Geschichte der Christologie, p. 243).

Especially does it mediate the fact of the resurrection, in that it represents a first resurrection as preceding the general resurrection, in harmony with the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:23). Thus the resurrection is characterized as an affair of growth or progress, conditioned upon spiritual circumstances. In accordance with this, we apprehend the fact that even in this life the believer advances towards the resurrection (Phil. 3:11); that a resurrection-germ gradually develops within him (Rom. 8.); that the beginnings of the resurrection commence with his removal into the other world (2 Cor. 6.); that believers, in their ripening towards the resurrection, are, as blossoms of the general resurrection, a whole æon in advance of the rest of mankind—a fact which is also indicative of a higher form of resurrection; and that Christ must needs have been the firstling and the principle of the whole resurrection (Eph. 1:20).

Thus also the great antithesis is explained which must necessarily exist between the original transruption (Durchburch) of sin or the curse in humanity and the final transruption (Durchburch) of salvation and blessing. As, in the primitive age, pneumatic corruption was for a long time hindered in its outbreak by the resistance of healthy vital substance in the psychical, somatic and cosmical sphere, so in the New Testament time, pneumatic salvation in humanity has had to struggle long with the resistance of evil in the psychical, somatic and cosmical sphere. With the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, however, begins the transruption of the blessing, in opposition to the old transruption of the curse.

Whilst, on the one hand, the communication of believing humanity with Heaven and its pure spirit-world is spiritually consummated by the Parousia of Christ, and destined to be also physically consummated, the communication between the spiritual sphere of earth and the Satanic sphere of the abyss, on the other hand, is discontinued:—in the first place, because the organic mediators of Satanic operations, the Beast and the False Prophet, as also Great Babylon, are judged and destroyed. Though at the close of the great transition-æon Satan again obtains a foot-hold on the earth, it is the last convulsive struggle of the serpent-nature manifesting itself in a brutal mutiny, which, for the very reason that it is veiled under no spiritual pretexts, like former Satanic efforts, but is the issue of consummate boldness and insolence, is blasted, not by Christological weapons, but by the fire of the Almighty from Heaven.

But of this great effulgent picture of the Millennial Kingdom, the lack of patience and hope in the Christian sphere (Rom. 8:24, 25) has made the most manifold caricatures.

We distinguish the caricatures of real so-called Chiliasm; the caricatures of the spiritualistic denial of Chiliasm, even to the misapprehension of its primal type—according to this class, the Apocalypse itself is chiliastic, and the same character is finally attributed to the concrete Christian hope; finally, the caricatures of the Millennial Kingdom which were produced by placing it in the past or the present (see the Introduction).

True Chiliasm existed, so far as its element was concerned, long before the doctrinal forth-setting of the χίλια ἔτη, whence it takes its name. It is based upon the great family failing of all Judaizing Christianity; to such Christianity, the cross of Christ is still, more or less, an offence; to such Christianity, the redemption accomplished in the first Parousia of Christ is unsatisfying, and the centre of gravity of the redemption is consequently regarded as situate in the second Parousia, when Christ shall appear in His glory, and shall also promote His people to the state of glory. This Judaizing Christianity has no understanding of the principial completion of redemption in its depth and inwardness; hence, only in the final, peripheral redemption does it behold the true redemption. According as its ideals of glory are nobler or more base, its eschatological hopes assume a purer or an impurer form, so that a perfect scale of Chiliasms is formed, stretching from an anticipation of the sensuous glorification of Israel to the most carnal orgies in pre-celebration of the return of Christ. This is material Chiliasm proper. It has been rejuvenated in three Anglo-American sects of our own time. The element of truth which is perverted into falsehood and extravagance in it, is the Christian and Biblical expectation of the real, and in a religious sense ever near, coming of Christ.[48]

But material Chiliasm early sought and found a formal supplement, in that it boldly converted the words of the Apostle Peter (2 Pet. 3:8)—words which, spoken with reference to Ps. 110:4, were designed as a counteraction against chiliastic impatience—into a chronological article of doctrine, in which it believed that it had discovered the key to the computation of the time of Christ’s coming. A Judaizing presupposition was here involved—viz., that God’s historical work of salvation would arrive at completion in a Divine week, reflected in the human week. To this was added later the further assumption, that at the first coming of Christ the world had been in existence for about four thousand years. Upon these bases men reckoned, and determined the time of the second Advent. Here another arbitrary assumption arose, converting the Millennial Kingdom into the real Sabbath of God, though the latter is to last forever, whilst the Apocalyptic æon appears as a mere transition-period. In many respects, this formal Chiliasm, whence the system has its name, was subservient to material Chiliasm; in many other respects, however, especially in more modern Theology, formal Chiliasm, as a theological subtilty, detached itself entirely from material tendencies, although it continued to be afflicted with the material infirmity of a somewhat superficial and extravagant conception of the history of salvation.

In face of all these Judaizing conceptions, the spiritualistico-ethnical conception has always considered itself bound, not only to combat true, sensuous Chiliasm, but also to controvert, or at least cast a shade upon, its assumptions—the expectation of the real coming of Christ, for instance; and it has especially felt itself obliged to cast the reproach of Chiliasm upon the putative originator of the same, the Apocalypse. And this, particularly, on account of the thousand years, the χίλια ἔτη. The Tales of a Thousand and One Nights might, with about equal justice, be denominated a chiliastic composition.

A turbid mixture of both one-sided views is formed by the placing of the Millennial Kingdom in the course of Church History. In reference to this mixed form, we can distinguish two species. Mediæval Catholicism beheld in the Romish Church the actualized Kingdom of God itself, especially in respect of the papal system. The Old Lutheran orthodox dating back of the Millennial Kingdom into the Middle Ages—a view recently revived by Hengstenberg—was a fruit of the stunting of Eschatology in the era of the Reformation, especially in adherence to utterances of Luther’s. We here refer partly to the history of the interpretation of the Apocalypse, as already presented by us, partly to the following exegesis in detail.

The singular opinion of Stier and others, that there is to be a double Parousia, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, seems desirous of conjoining so-called “Chiliasm” with the older orthodoxy.[49]

With the judgment upon the spiritual motive powers of the Beast, with the destruction of his powerful lies, Satan has lost his foot-hold within the infatuated human race—his right of naturalization, we might say, in this earthly sphere. He is therefore cast into the abyss. An Angel descends from Heaven to execute God’s sentence upon him. The office of this Angel reminds us of the offices of Michael; his name, however, is not mentioned. He has the key to the abyss—not simply to the pit of the abyss; this key he has in order that he may shut the abyss, i. e. entirely shut off Satanic influences from men for the time of the thousand years. This power, however, is connected with the moral fact that all the spiritual pretences contained in the Satanic illusive promise, eritis sicut deus, are destroyed by the beauteous reality of the great appearance of the Kingdom. All that Satan falsely promised concerning the path of impatience and guilt, is here attained in the path of pious patience: fullness of blessing, happiness, glory of life of every sort. Thus Satan has come to the end of his Latin, and needs, agreeably to the serpent’s tenacity of life, a thousand years to contrive the last desperate stroke of senseless heaven-storming—a procedure which is reported to have been the first act of the revolted Titans of Grecian story.[50] And for this last rebellion a further existence is granted him, for the judgment upon him must be complete. His existence during the thousand years, however, consists in a sojourn in the abyss, betwixt death and damnation (the Realm of the Dead [Hades] and Gehenna), fastened to the chain which the Angel brings with him from Heaven. He has now made an open show of his entire nature, and is therefore called by his various forms and titles, except that the appellation of Accuser is no longer given to him—although even this name is contained in the διάβολος. The condemnatory sentence is executed in four acts which follow each other in rapid succession. He is seized, cast chained (not chained to any object external to himself, but hand to hand, 2 Pet. 2:4) into the abyss, shut in, and sealed. The seal is the symbolic expression for the appointed Divine doom upon him, and is more powerful in its effect than the seal with which the grave of Jesus was sealed. The purpose of all this is that he may not prematurely seduce the heathen, the remnants of heathenism which still constitute the old border of the new world that is in process of becoming.

This, then, is the negative side of the Millennial Kingdom. The positive side appears in three features: [1] The first resurrection, [2] the first judgment of restitution, [3] the first period of imperishable triumphal rest and rejoicing and unfading glory in the fellowship of Christ. The first resurrection is represented as a special reward of the faithfulness of Christ’s martyrs—above all, the martyrs of the last time, who have not worshipped the Beast; hence these latter constitute a particular class by the side of those slain at an earlier period. They stand in the fore-ground, as representatives of the Victorious Church (see 1 Cor. 15:23); but we must recollect that this Church is itself of greater extent than here appears. For Christ has come with the hosts of Heaven, according to Rev 19:14; according to the Epistle of Jude (Rev 19:14), He is to come with His myriads of saints. With the sphere of this resurrection, the full liberation of the life-power on the sanctified earth is expressed (see Is. 65:13 sqq.). The second sphere is the sphere of the preliminary judgment. For the Seer, this occupies the foreground, since Christian longing cries for the removal of all the shame and wrong which, in this world, weigh upon the name of Christ and Christians; hence the Seer first sees the thrones of judgment set. If we consider that the judgment upon the Antichristian host has already been held, and that the last judgment upon the last revolt, which is as yet but germinating deep in the darkness, cannot be anticipated, there results, as a middle domain of judgment, an instruction (Pädagogik) and discipline exercised by Heaven upon the human race, as extant at the Parousia, and thus sharing in the cosmical metamorphosis. It is that process of elimination and sanctification which must take place before the perfect appearing of the City of God on this earth; it is a judgment of peace, in accordance with Ps. 72 and Matt. 19:28. The third sphere is the living and reigning with Christ in the glory of a spiritual life which dominates and clarifies all creaturely essence—the organization of earth for its union with Heaven. There is no trace here of an external restoration of Israel in the sense of a privileged people of God, or of a restoration of the Old Testament cultus in an inconceivable New Testament sublimation; unless we should apply the subsequent words, they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and the words the beloved City, to the support of such a theory—in which case the symbolism of the expression must necessarily be di-carded. We cannot suppose that there is to be a two-fold heavenly Jerusalem; and the one true Jerusalem is still in Heaven, whence, according to Rev 21:2, it does not descend to earth until the end of the thousand years.


By the American Editor

[The word Millennium means, etymologically, a thousand years, and may with propriety be used in reference to any period of that length. By common consent, however, the specific term THE MILLENNIUM is employed to denote the period mentioned in Rev 20:4–7. The theories on this subject that have been held in the Church are divisible into two classes—the Preterist and the Futurist—the former of which set forth that the origin of the Millennial period was in the past; the latter, that it is in the future. Each of these classes consists of two or three generic theories, the respective upholders of which differ amongst themselves on many specific points. It is proper to remark that in the following statement the writer has been greatly indebted to the work of Elliott.

a. Preterist Theories

I. The Augustinian. This theory is so styled as it was first propounded by the great Augustine in his Civitate Dei, 20:7–9. It has been upheld in all ages of the Church since its first promulgation, and in modern times by Wordsworth. Its main elements are—1. The period began at the first Advent, when Satan was bound and cast out of the hearts of true Christians and their reign over him (regnum militiæ) began: 2. The Beast symbolizes the wicked world, and its image a hypocritical profession: 3. The first resurrection is that of dead souls to spiritual life,[52] a resurrection continued in every true conversion throughout the period: 4. The thousand years is a symbolical expression of completeness appropriately indicating the entire period of the Messiah’s reign:[53] 5. This period to be followed by a new persecution of the Saints under Antichrist; the destruction of whose hosts by fire from heaven would be followed by the universal resurrection of the good and bad, and the general judgment; after which will begin, in heaven, the glorious period of the New Jerusalem.

II. The Grotian. This theory was first propounded by Genebrard in the 16th Century; it found its chief advocates, however, in Grotius and Hammond.[54] It differs principally from the preceding in that it makes the reign of Saints to be, not that of the individual Christian in the domain of his own heart, but that of the Church in the world. The elements of this theory are—1. By the Beast is denoted Pagan Rome, whose destruction under Constantine was predicted in Rev 21: 2. The power of Satan was then broken, as was manifested in the establishment of the Christian religion as the religion of the State: 3. The Millennial period began in that establishment, it was continued through a thousand years to the 14th Century, and closed with the attack on Christendom by the Ottoman Turks: 4. Gog and Magog denote the Mohammedan power, at the close of whose gradual destruction is to take place—the universal resurrection, the general judgment, and the eternal blessedness of the Saints in heaven.[55]

III. The Gippsian. This view, suggested by Mr. Gipps in 1831, makes the beginning of the period synchronous with the rise of Papal Antichrist. It represents (according to Elliott) “ those who lived and reigned with Christ to be men endowed with the spirit of the early Antipagan martyrs, now revived, as it were, to testify for Christ: after which, at the end of the Beast’s and witnesses’ concurrent (!) Millennial reign, the second and glorious resurrection of the rest of the dead is to be fulfilled in the Jews’ conversion and restoration.”

b. Futurist Theories

IV. The Pre-Millennial. This theory, as to its general features, is the most ancient. It was held by the primitive Fathers, and has been taught with various specific modifications in all ages of the Church. Amongst its most prominent English speaking advocates, in modern times, are Mede, Caryll, Gill, Noell, Elliott, the Bickersteths, the Bonars, Alford, Lord, etc. The elements are that—1. The Millennium is to begin in a glorious personal advent of Christ, immediately after the destruction of Antichrist: 2. The binding of Satan is to be “an absolute restriction of the powers of hell from tempting, deceiving, or injuring mankind:” 3. The duration is to be one thousand years (literal or symbolical): 4. The resurrection is to be a literal resurrection of Saints of the preceding æon (either the martyrs, or the specially faithful, or the entire body): 5. The entire government of the earth is to be exercised by Christ and His risen and transformed Saints, the latter being ὡς ἄγγελοι (Mark 12:25): 6. Under this government, all false religion having been put down, the Jews and all nations having been converted to Christ, Jerusalem being made the universal capital, righteousness, peace and external prosperity shall prevail throughout the earth: 7. At the close of this period, Satan having been loosed, there shall be a great apostasy, followed by (1) the destruction of the apostates, (2) the universal resurrection of the remaining dead of all dispensations, (3) the general judgment, (4) the consummation.

The principal variation amongst those who hold this theory are as to—1. The continuance of Christ on earth;—some holding that it is to be only for the establishment of the Kingdom; others that it is to continue more or less uninterruptedly throughout the whole period: 2. The duration, some holding that the thousand years are literal; others that they are symbolic: 3. The subjects of the resurrection;—some holding that they are all the saints; others that they are only the martyrs; others still, that they are the specially faithful, including the martyrs: 4. The relation of the Jews to the other nations;—some contending that they are to occupy a position of superiority; others denying or modifying this opinion.

V. The Post-Millennial. This theory, which is the one most generally adopted by English speaking Protestant Theologians, was first fully developed by Whitby.[56] Faber, Brown and Barnes have been amongst the most prominent of its advocates. The scheme as set forth by Whitby is as follows:—

“I. I believe that, after the fall of Antichrist, there shall be such a glorious state of the Church, by the conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith, as shall be to it life from the dead; that it shall then flourish in peace and plenty, in righteousness and holiness, and in a pious offspring; that then shall begin a glorious and undisturbed reign of Christ over both Jew and Gentile, to continue a thousand years during the time of Satan’s binding; and that, as John the Baptist was Elias, because he came in the spirit and power of ELIAS,—so shall this be the church of martyrs, and of those who had not received the mark of the Beast, because of their entire freedom from all doctrines and practices of the Antichristian Church, and because the spirit and purity of the times of the primitive martyrs shall return. And therefore—

1. I agree with the patrons of the Millennium in this, that I believe Satan bath not yet been bound a thousand years, nor will he be so bound till the time of the calling of the Jews, and the time of St. John’s Millennium.

2. I agree with them in this, that the true Millennium will not begin till the fall of Antichrist; nor will the Jews be converted till that time, the idolatry of the Roman Church being one great obstacle of their conversion.

3. I agree both with the modern and ancient Millenaries, that then shall be great peace and plenty, and great measures of knowledge and of righteousness in the whole Church of God.

I therefore only differ from the ancient Millenaries in three things:

1. In denying Christ’s personal reign upon earth during this thousand years; and in this both Dr. Burnet and Mr. Mede expressly have renounced their doctrine. [57]

2. Though I dare not absolutely deny what they all positively affirm, that the City of Jerusalem shall be then rebuilt, and the converted Jews shall return to it, because this probably may be collected from those words of Christ, Jerusalem shall be trodden down till the time of the Gentiles is come in, Luke 21:24, and all the prophets seem to declare the Jews shall then return to their own land, Jer. 31:38–40; yet do I confidently deny what Barnabas and others of them do contend for, viz.: that the temple of Jerusalem shall be then built again; for this is contrary not only to the plain declaration of St. John, who saith, I saw no temple in this new Jerusalem, Rev. 21:22, whence I infer there is to be no temple in any part of it; but to the whole design of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is to show the dissolution of the temple-service, for the weakness and unprofitableness of it; that the Jewish tabernacle was only a figure of the true and the more perfect tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man; the Jewish sanctuary only a worldly sanctuary, a pattern, and a figure of the heavenly one into which Christ our High Priest is entered, Heb. 8:2; 9:2, 11, 23, 24. Now, such a temple, such a sanctuary, and such service, cannot be suitable to the most glorious and splendid times of the Christian Church; and therefore the Apostle saith, The Lord God omnipotent, and the Lamb, shall be their Temple.

3. I differ both from the ancient and the modern Millenaries, as far as they assert that this shall be a reign of such Christians as have suffered under the heathen persecutors, or by the rage of Antichrist; making it only a reign of the converted Jews, and of the Gentiles then flowing in to them, and uniting into one Church with them.”

With the above presentation, post-millenarians, in the main, agree. The chief point of difference is as to the return of the Jews to their own land—some holding, with Whitby, that it is to take place; others, denying it. There are also differences as to—1. The nature of the Second Resurrection implied in 20:5,—some, with Vitringa, identifying it with the general resurrection of Rev 19:12, 13; others, as Whitby, Faber and Brown, explaining it as the uprising of Antichristian principles in the confederacy of Gog and Magog: 2. The New Jerusalem,—some, with Whitby, regarding it as relating to the Millennial condition of the Church; others, as Brown and Faber, understanding by it the post-millennial condition of blessedness and glory.—E. R. C.]


Rev 19:17. One angel standing in the sun.—“In the sun, because from this stand-point, fitted, as it also was, to the glory of the Angel, he can best call to the birds, flying ἐν μεσουρανήματι (Ewald I., De Wette, Hengstenberg, Ebrard, Volkmar).” DUESTERDIECK. If this were the motive for the position of the Angel, he might much better have taken his stand in the moon. His position in the sun has an import relative at once to the Kingdom of God and to the Cosmos. The sun, as revelation, is the principle of the spirit-realm of this present life; the sun, as a celestial body, is the domain of this present Cosmos (see SYN. VIEW; comp. Rev. 1:16; Matt. 24:29). Come, be gathered together.—See the citations above; comp. also Matt. 24:28. According to Düsterdieck, the slain λοιποί of Rev 19:21 are the whole mass of the inhabitants of the earth. But whence, then, would come the mutineers at the end of the thousand years? The Eastern kings should also be distinguished from the ten kings. Gog and Magog have not yet joined the conflict. The λοιποί are, manifestly, the Antichristian host, from which the mass of earth’s inhabitants are still to be distinguished. Unto the great supper of God.—Antithesis to the Marriage-Supper of the Lamb. At the former, all the flesh of the fleshly-minded becomes a prey to the birds; at the latter, believers, as heirs of God, become heirs of all things.

Rev 19:18. That ye may eat.—The prospective complete destruction of the hostile host is set forth in detail.

Rev 19:19. And I saw the wild-beast.—The war-making, on the part of the Beast, is entirely of this world; it is a march, a drawing up in order of battle, the combatants being provided, perhaps, with the most terrible material weapons. But, opposed to them, stands an army of God, partially and predominantly as a host of spirits. And yet more, the στράτευμα of Christ stands contrasted, in its perfect unity, with the internally confused and divided στρατεύματα of the Beast. The attempt at an external conflict is immediately frustrated. The prophetic chiaroscuro resting upon this double array and battle cannot be brushed aside. It may only be gathered from the nature of the armies, that upon the side of Christ all the dynamic forces of spiritual humanity are concentrated, whilst upon the side of Antichrist demonic excitement may summon to its aid all the contrivances of craft and violence.

Rev 19:20. And the wild-beast was taken.—In what way, is reserved for the future to make known. Since there is no mention made of any preceding battle, a spiritual process of dissolution is pre-supposed as taking place in the hostile army—especially a separation between the ringleaders and the Antichristian host, mediated by Divine terrors. And with him the false prophet.—In the crisis of the disunion between Babylon and the Beast, the False Prophet has espoused the side of the Beast; a view which is prepared by the general description in Rev 8. It is a result of a failure to distinguish between the general judgment-picture of chap. 8. and the three subsequent pictures of judgment, when Ebrard seeks to distinguish between the pseudoprophet “in the sixth world-kingdom” and an analogous lying power in “the eighth world-power” (p. 507).

Cast alive into the lake of the fire.—See Rev 20:10, 14 and chap 21:8. It is equally incorrect to apprehend Gehenna or the lake of fire as a mere internal condition of the damned, as to apprehend it purely as a cosmical region of punishment. A remark which is true concerning the Apocalyptic Heaven—viz., that it has the import of a spiritual region as well as a corresponding cosmical region—applies also, in antithesis to Heaven, in the first place to Hades, in the second place to the Abyss, and in the third place to Gehenna. Hengstenberg advances a marvellous view. “The term alive, without bodily death (comp. Rev 19:21), confirms the idea that the Beast and the False Prophet are not human individuals, but purely ideal forms. A human individual cannot enter hell alive.” Against which Ebrard: “If the Beast and the lying Prophet be emblems of mere powers, we do not rightly know what the emblematic trait of being cast alive into the lake of fire can mean,” etc. “In Rev. 20:12 (comp. John 5:29) the wicked are raised from their graves and re-united to their bodies expressly to the intent that they may be able to endure the flames of eternal torment (Rev 20:15) in their bodily natures as well as in their spirits.” But, little congruity as there is between purely ideal forms and the lake of fire and brimstone, there is as little necessity to make the possession of a body a preliminary condition of Gehenna suffering. When the lake of fire is called “the second death” (Rev 20:14), this fearful conception stretches, on the one hand, beyond ideal forms, and on the other, beyond a corporeal suffering by fire. De Wette judiciously remarks, in respect of the distinctions between the punishment of the two Antichristian forms and the punishment of Satan: “They are judged earlier than Satan—who, Rev 20:3, is bound but for a thousand years—because their existence and activity have attained their end, whilst, on the other hand, Satan, by virtue of the course of development of things, still has a root in the world and must again make his appearance.” De Wette has, moreover, not apprehended the term alive as corporeally as Hengstenberg most strangely takes it in express connection with ideal forms. That the Beast and the False Prophet may be apprehended as collective personalities, is not to be denied; but neither is it to be denied that they converge into symbolically significant units. In the statement that they were cast alive into the lake of fire, it is doubtless intimated that they could fall under the judgment of Gehenna whilst still on earth. “Fire and brimstone,” remarks Hengstenberg, “as designations of hell torments, have already appeared in Rev 14:10,11. The lake of fire and brimstone is first mentioned here, and then again spoken of in Rev 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8. As the fire and brimstone are suggestive of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha (comp. the remarks on Rev 14:10), the inference is obvious that the Dead Sea is referred to as the earthly reflection of hell.” The term γεέννα, he further observes, is found neither in the Apocalypse nor the Gospel of John, whilst the first three Gospels have it. Ebrard remarks, in opposition to this, that though the Dead Sea owed its origin to a rain of fire and brimstone, it does not burn with brimstone, but consists of brackish water. As it is as little possible to doubt the identity of the two terms, lake (or, to use a word which seems to us more applicable, pool) of fire and Gehenna, as it is to doubt the distinction between Gehenna and Sheol, our next task must be to inquire into the origin of the idea of Gehenna. See Comm. on Matthew, p. 114 [Am. Ed.]; Mark, p. 90 [Am. Ed.]. If the Dead Sea were the foundation of this figurative principle of doctrine, distinct traces of the fact would necessarily be found in the Old Testament. Besides the fire of Gehinnom, we have, Isa. 30:33, a stream of brimstone, equally without reference to the Dead Sea. Comp. the article TOPHET in the Lexicons; also in Winer; see also Ps. 11:6. The marshes and sloughs by the side of the river of salvation (Ezek. 47:11) have also, doubtless, contributed to the completeness of the image. That the figure as a whole is an original idea of John’s, as a pool of fire, is evidenced by the opposite figure of the crystal sea. Moreover, the Dead Sea could not well have been employed as an image of hell, without giving rise to the idea that the people of Sodom fell under the judgment of damnation on the very occasion of their destruction—an idea which the Spirit of Scripture has avoided presenting. Comp. Matt. 11:23; 1 Pet. 3:19; see our Introduction, p. 34. [See the Excursus on HADES, p. 364 sqq.—E. R. C.]

Rev 19:21. And the remnant.—The Antichristian host itself—not the whole remaining human race. They were slaini. e., according to Hengstenberg and Ebrard, they were not cast body and soul into the lake of fire, but they suffered only bodily death, whilst their souls went into Hades. “They are sent into hell,” observes Hengstenberg, “only at the universal judgment (comp. Rev 20:12–15), that is, if they do not in the meantime, whilst they are in the intermediate state, attain unto salvation (1 Pet. 3:19, 20) as those who have committed only the sin against the Son of Man, and not that against the Holy Ghost.” It is questionable, however, whether the slaying of the whole Antichristian host should be apprehended literally or not. They are slain with the sword of the One sitting upon the horse.—As this sword goeth forth out of His mouth, we should, apprehending the words literally, have to assume that they were all stricken down by the word of Christ, like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). But if this were the case, it would be necessary that they should all have passed through the spiritual experiences of those two. This, however, is by no means supposable; on the contrary, great masses of them are seduced, infatuated, pitiable people—portions of them having even been impressed into the service of the Beast and the False Prophet. We therefore assume that they are slain in that they are, in a social respect, rendered absolutely null by that new order of things in the Millennial Kingdom which is instituted by the word of Christ, and, furthermore, that all those properties of theirs that have become utterly valueless (their flesh) become subjects of a metamorphosis in order to their incorporation into the new order of things. According to Düsterdieck, the slaying by the sword of Christ is but significant of a perfectly toil-less conflict [on the part of Christ]. According to Ebrard, the sword slays them as the word of omnipotence.

De Wette remarks on the entire section: “This grand picture of the downfall of Antichristianity has been much weakened by the historical exegetes.” Grotius finds here depicted the abolishment of idolatry by the Christian emperors of Rome, and refers Rev 19:18 to the fall of Julian in the Persian war. The interpretation of Wetstein is the most petty and insignificant: “Vespasianus cum familia in Domitiano extincta, uti prius familia Cæsarum.” Ulrich refers this judgment to the unnatural death of persecutors of the Christians. Herder: “The leaders of the insurrection, Simon, the son of Gorion, and John, met with the fate here depicted.” For additional particulars see Düsterdieck, p. 545. From amongst other items we quote the following: “Corn. à-Lapide cites authors who relate concerning Luther that he killed himself, and that his funeral was attended not only by a multitude of ravens, but also by devils that came from Holland.”

Revelation 20:1–5

The Millennial Kingdom

This section is by Düsterdieck assigned to the third judgment. Manifestly, however, the Millennial Kingdom is the result of the second judgment. Apart from this, Düsterdieck has a remark which is well worthy of notice—viz.: that the order of succession of the individual acts of judgment is the reverse of that in which the Antichristian forms appear. Sequence of the manifestations of Antichristianity: Satan, the Beast with the False Prophet, the Woman. Sequence of the judgments: The Woman, the Beast with the False Prophet, Satan himself. This antithetic parallelism must not, however, be reckoned amongst the organic relations of the Apocalypse, unless we behold the revelation of evil in the corruption of the Woman sketched in the features of the False Prophet; a view which does, indeed, pass muster, insomuch as the False Prophet in the form of a lamb seems to represent the Woman herself.

Rev 20:1. I saw an angel descending out of, etc.—Opposed to the spirit-form of Satan there must be a spirit-form from Heaven, just as Christ, the God-man, stood opposed to Antichrist, the Beast. This spirit-form of the Angel has been most diversely interpreted (as Christ; the Holy Ghost; the Apostolate; Constantine the Great; Calixtus II.; Innocent III.; see De Wette, p. 183). As the fallen angel or star of remorse ([Verzweiflungsbusse] chap. 9) opens the pit of the abyss, so it is the Angel of consummate evangelic peace, the Angel of the developed bliss of justification, of blessedness in the Parousia of Christ, who, descending from Heaven, can cast Satan into the abyss, because he has destroyed all his points of appliance in humanity, with the exception of the one consisting of the suppressed rancor of mob-nature, which finally breaks out in Gog and Magog. We have here, therefore, an angelic form representative of the polemical victorious operation of the peace of Christ—a Michaelic form. This is evident from the further fact that he has the key of the abyss.—In accordance with Rev 1:18, Christ has the key of death and the realm of the dead [Hades]. We have already seen that the abyss forms the deepest border-region of the realm of the dead; it is contiguous to Gehenna, which latter is not ready for the reception of its guests until the time of the universal judgment. Consequently, Christ possesses the key to the abyss likewise, and hence it is evident that the Angel is significant of a fundamental form of the operation of Christ. And a great chain.—The concrete means of fettering Satan—and that, completely, and for a very long time. This is the power of the Spirit of grace and truth, making the genius of malice and falsehood powerless to injure for a whole æon. The key to the pit of the abyss (Rev 9:1) must not be confounded with the key to the abyss simply. Nothing is more erroneous than, with Ewald, to identify the fallen star (Rev 9:1 sqq.) with this Angel. We translate in his hand, instead of on his hand (ἐπί), for it is not good German to say, a chain on his hand.[1] As a matter of course, the chain is not all contained within the closed hand.

Rev 20:2. And he laid hold on the dragon.—Great and irresistible turn of sentiments in the spirit-world, concretely expressed—the more so since the consummate spiritual operations likewise become real dynamic operations. That [or the] ancient serpent.—See SYN. VIEW. Comp. Rev 12:9. And bound him a thousand years.—The thousand years are a symbolic number, denoting the æon of transition. The millennial binding of Satan is the preliminary condition of the Millennial Kingdom. Those who deny the demonic origin of sin, deriving sin exclusively from the sensual or material nature of man, here meet with a mighty contradiction to their theory. But, on the other hand, those who refer all evil to Satan cannot explain the loosing of the latter.

Rev 20:3. And cast him into the abyss.—Rev 9:1; 11:7; 17:8. A more general idea, is presented in 2 Pet. 2:4, where it is declared that the fallen angels have been cast down to Tartarus, in chains of darkness, held fast or preserved unto judgment. For, first, Tartarus is a more general term for the whole sub-terrestrial region; secondly, the term ταρταροῦν is indicative of a hurling away with a constant tendency toward Tartarus; thirdly, the bonds of darkness are those self-perplexings, self-enchainings of evil which impel toward Tartarus; fourthly, the judgment is in prospective here only as a certain future. The various statements concerning the abode of the Devil and bad spirits may readily, if pressed as to the letter of the Scripture, be involved in contradictions, as has been evidenced by Strauss, for instance (see the author’s Positive Dogmatik, p. 572). But as we must needs distinguish between the dwelling-places and spheres of operation of spirits, so likewise is it necessary to distinguish between the different stages of their history. The abyss may indeed be regarded as the proper dwelling-place of Satan and the fallen angels, inasmuch as it, as the specific region of God-estranged rancor and grief, or despair, denotes the transition from the realm of the dead to hell, or from the sadness of death to damnation. The realm of the dead is only more tormented through the operations of demons than the human world (brooks [E. V.: floods] of Belial [Ps. 18:4]); but hell is prepared for the Devil and his angels as the region of final punitive suffering (Matt. 25:41). But as Satan is not at home with himself, neither does he stay at home (Jude 6); by nature he is excursive and rambling (Job 2:2), given to appearing and disappearing, fond of roving about (hence Azazel)—i. e., modes of existence and spheres of operation are to be distinguished especially here. In this relation, Scripture distinguishes Heaven as the pure domain of spirits (Job 1 and 2; Rev. 7; Luke 10:18); earth, especially the atmospheric sphere, as the sphere of sympathetic and antipathetic worldmoods,—and in reference to this sphere of operation, it distinguishes the forms of the serpent, or hypocritical craft (Matt. 4; 2 Cor. 11:14), and the roaring lion of terroristic might (1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 8). The import of the judgment upon Antichrist is that Satan is cast entirely out of the sphere of earth for a thousand years, and shut up in his true home, the abyss.

Shut and sealed over him.—Expressive of the inviolable Divine determination, manifest in the equally unshakable Divine operation. Likewise an antitype of the impotent sealing of Christ’s grave on the part of hell and the world.—After these he must be loosed.—This also is a Divine decree—a decree, however, conditioned by the ethical design of causing the remnants of evil, of heathenism, in the sphere of Christ’s Kingdom, to appear, and thereby destroying them.—A little time.Little from the stand-point of triumphant faith. See Rev 17:10.

Rev 20:4, 5. Fundamental Traits of the Millennial Kingdom.

And I saw thrones.—According to Düsterdieck, the θρόνοι “do not come under consideration as kings’ thrones (Eichhorn, Züllig), but only as judges’ seats (Heinrich, Ewald, De Wette, Hengstenberg, etc.),” as is shown (he declares) by the prefigurement of Daniel 7:9,[2] 22, and the κρίμα, expressly mentioned in our passage also. But what then is the force of the words: They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him [Rev 20:6]? Christ Himself also is amongst the sitters on the thrones as their centre. Moreover, the κρίμα can be understood only in the Old Testament sense, as significant of a princely judicial rule, since the special judgment upon the Antichristian world has been previously executed. It is highly characteristic that the thrones constitute the foreground of the picture. They are significant of the beginning of the Church Triumphant in this world—the visible appearance of the Kingdom of God. Distinct as is the presentment of the thrones themselves, of their occupants it is indefinitely said: and they sat down [seated themselves] upon them. Who are meant by they? According to Beza, Eichhorn, Ebrard, et al., the martyrs mentioned further on; this view is opposed by De Wette and Düsterdieck. The context also is against it. First, John saw the thrones and those who seated themselves upon them, and then the beheaded ones who revived and reigned with Christ. We must not forget, however, that Christ has not come alone from Heaven, but that He was accompanied by a chosen army (Rev 19:14). Without doubt, the occupants of the thrones are those who form the peculiar escort of the Lamb (Rev 14:4); who even in this world, as sealed ones, constituted the kernel of the Church of God (Rev 7), the proper centre of which is formed by God’s men of revelation [i. e. God’s revealers], particularly the Apostles (ch 21:14). In considering their position toward Christ, however, something more than mere martyr faithfulness or even mere historic dignity as Prophets or Apostles comes in view—namely, the endowment and destination of the Father, the special electness lying at the base of the special glory. These mysterious co-regents of Christ (comp. also Matt. 5:9) have been very variously interpreted (God and Christ; the Angels; the Apostles; the Martyrs; the saints, Dan. 7:22; the twenty-four Elders [De Wette and Düsterdieck]; Hengstenberg, “the twelve Apostles and the twelve Patriarchs”). Here, however, we have no longer to do with forms that are partially typical [the Elders]; we will simply say: those who in a special sense have been inwardly endowed as joint-heirs with Christ, seated themselves upon the thrones.

And judgment was given unto them.—This κρίμα cannot possibly refer to Rev 20:1–3 and Rev 19:20, 21, as Ebrard maintains, since in those passages the sentence of judgment was decided by war, and the execution of judgment was a very brief process. We should hardly expect that Antichrist or Satan himself would have to be sentenced through a trial by jury.

The judgment may be regarded primarily as a two-fold decision—a decision concerning those who are still living (who were not in the Antichristian army), as to whether their lives shall be preserved throughout the thousand years; and a decision concerning those who were beheaded, as to how far they are worthy of being called to the first resurrection. Nevertheless, the antithesis of life and death is now, in a high degree, dynamically, psychically and ethically modified (see Is. 65:20), i. e. dying and reviving are effects which proceed from within. In general, however, the entire æon is to be conceived of as an æon of separations and eliminations in an ethical and a cosmical sense, separations and eliminations such as are necessary to make manifest and to complete the ideal regulations of life. Of judgments of damnation between the judgment upon Antichrist and the judgment upon Satan, there can be no question; the reference can be only to a critical government and management, preparatory to the final consummation. The whole æon is a crisis which occasions the visible appearance of the Heaven on earth; the whole æon is the great Last Day. We may even conceive of the mutiny which finally breaks out as a result of these separations, for a sort of protest on the part of the wicked was hinted at by Christ in His Eschatological Discourse (Matt. 25:44), and the most essential element of the curse in hell is the continuance of revolt, the gnashing of teeth. To the degree in which this can decrease, torment can approach indifference. Opinions concerning this judgment are marvellously at variance.

According to Augustine, the reference is to a judgment upon the old earth: Sedes Præpositorum et ipsi Præpositi intelligendi sunt, per quos ecclesia gubernatur. According to Hoë, on the other hand, the judgment relates to Heaven itself, as a theological disclosure as to the fate of the souls of the martyrs and others in Heaven, during the thousand years. According to Piscat., De Wette, et al., “the probable idea is that the judgment now held has to decide as to who are worthy to have part in the first resurrection and the Millennial Kingdom.”

And (I saw) the souls of them, etc.—Two main points modify the entire picture: a. The thrones; b. The souls of the martyrs. As these were cut off from the most lively life by a violent death, they abode nearer to life than other dead persons; their more intimate communion with Christ produced the resurrection principle within them; and as men upon whom the ban of the world pre-eminently fell, they must be pre-eminently honored in the Kingdom of God [als die vorzugsweise Geächteten müssen sie die vorzugsweise Geachteten des Reiches Gottes sein]. As beheaded, they also accompany Christ from the other world, and though it cannot be said that their category precisely coincides with that of the occupants of the thrones, neither can it be affirmed that they may not be amongst those enthroned ones. The Seer distinguishes three categories of the participants in the first resurrection, or those “that are Christ’s in His Parousia” (1 Cor. 15:23). First, the sitters on the thrones; secondly, the martyrs generally, who were beheaded for Christ’s sake; thirdly, all the faithful of the last time, who have worshipped neither the Beast nor his image, nor have assumed his mark. These are the macrobii of the last time, who sleep not, but are changed (I Cor. 15:51, 52; 2 Cor. 5:4, 5; 1 Thess. 4:17). Over and above these, as a fourth category, are the remnants of the old humanity that have not belonged to the Antichristian army; the inhabitants of the domain of Gog and Magog, who find themselves only in the periphery of the renewing crisis. It was perhaps on account of the third class that the Seer employed the term ἔζησαν. But even if this is, with reason, made emphatic: they revived—lived again (=ἀνέζησαν, De Wette), it does not prove that we should regard the last [third] class (consisting of those who are alive at the time of Christ’s appearing), with Düsterd., et al., as having likewise died in the mean time. The expression, [Rev 20:5] but the rest of the dead, finds its antithesis in the martyrs; and the transformation, as well as the awakening, shall lead to the first resurrection.

Rev 20:5. The rest of the dead, etc.—That is, those not pre-eminently animated by the principle of the life of Christ, not led toward the first resurrection (Rom. 8:17 sqq.; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 3:11), and therefore a whole æon deeper under the power of death.

This is the first resurrection.—With these words the Seer constitutes that entire resurrection-process which begins with the Parousia of Christ, a distinct dogmatical conception. We have already discussed the gloriousness and naturalness of this conception. The manifold evasions of this idea, this Christian hope, seem like a general horror—not, however, a horror vacui, but a horror vitæ et spiritus.

In regard to the thousand years, the number, as has already been observed, is symbolical, like all other apocalyptic numbers; it denotes an æon, and is specifically the transition-æon between this present world and the world to come. “The Jews indicate the duration of the Messianic Kingdom by different numbers; according to R. Elieser, however, the days of the Messiah amount to a thousand years; this opinion is based upon the statement, Is. 63:4, ‘the day of vengeance was in my mind’ [E. V. is in mine heart], and the further declaration, Ps. 90:4, ‘a thousand years in Thy sight are as yesterday,’ etc. The weightier reason of the Ep. Barnab. c. xv. might be added to this, that as God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, so in six thousand years all things would be consummated and in the last chiliad a great world-Sabbath would be celebrated.” (DE WETTE.)

The slavish dread of Chiliasm felt by the Old Catholic Church and the mediæval Theology, amounting to an avoidance of the misunderstood Apocalypse itself and a dread of the historical sense of its text, whilst the Old Catholic Church and mediæval Theology were themselves sunk deep in material Chiliasm, has found expression in the most diverse interpretations, from Augustine down to Hengstenberg; there is a maximum of excuse for the beginning of the series, but scarcely a minimum for the end of it. On the course of the exegeses see pp. 63 sqq. Likewise Düsterdieck, pp. 554 sqq. In this exegetical party, the elder Lutheran Theology continues most involved in the toils of mediæval tradition. The slavish Theology of the letter has found a support in the view of John Gerhard in particular (Düsterd., p. 556). The Apocalypse, Gerhard declares, is a deutero-canonical book—the Kingdom of Christ will never on earth, not even at the end of the days, be one of external sovereignty (a sentiment dictated, doubtless, by a misunderstanding of Article XVII. of the Augsburg Confession)—all the dead are to arise in one day—there is to be but one general resurrection of the dead at the Parousia of the Lord. Accordingly, it is further stated, the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom probably falls in the time of Constantine—Gog and Magog are to be regarded as significant of the Turks. A partiality for this prejudiced tradition can in general be regarded only as the sad fruit of partyism. In regard to the view of Hengstenberg in particular, we refer primarily to the notices of Apocalyptic Literature, pp. 69 sq., 71.3 The starting point of Hengstenberg’s view is by Rinck (Die Zeichen der letzten Zeit, p. 333) declared to be the assumption that the Beast can be understood only as the Pagan, not as the Christian, State. This assumption is a proof that Hengstenberg had no just conception of the idea of Antichristianity—which cannot possibly be a product of pure heathenism4—and no idea of the fall of an external State or Church. And yet according to the same commentator, Satan himself is at last to break forth—or rather has broken forth—immediately, (in a worse mode, therefore, than in the form of the Beast) in the midst of Christendom.

Many arguments employed by Hengstenberg in his article entitled, “The so-called Millennial Kingdom,” to be found in the second volume of his commentary, have a very ad hominem sound; for instance, the argument from the inscription on the dome of the royal castle. We are justified in assuming that Hengstenberg was more concerned for the credit of Christian Rome than for the credit of the Christian State (which appears not merely in German, but also in French, Romance, and Slavonic forms), in declaring that the Woman also should be apprehended exclusively as Pagan Rome. Furthermore, the text of the Apocalypse constantly suffers violence at the hands of Hengstenberg. The chaining of Satan (Rev 20:1–3) ill admits of an assignment to the Middle Ages—hence he explains: “Satan is able to ensnare individual souls during this time, but not the nations as a whole.” As if the individual souls of many princes and popes had not had a highly decisive influence in the working of their political and hierarchical systems—Machiavellism, the Inquisition, Dragonnades and the like. Again, the first resurrection, according to the same expositor, can not be apprehended as a bodily resurrection; it merely denotes the translation of the souls spoken of into that glorious intermediate condition in the other world, where they lived and reigned with Christ. ̔̀Εζησαν, he affirms, is not equivalent to ἀνέζησαν. But, manifestly, this coming to life is distinct from the blessed living-on in the other world (chs. 7 and 14), and prominence is given to it as antithetic to the condition of the dead who did not become alive again during the thousand years. Hengstenberg arrived at a much wished-for result by dating the thousand years from Charlemagne; the loosing of Satan might thus be assigned to the time of the French Revolution and the movements connected therewith (see Hengst. 2., pp.367 and 375 sqq. [Ger.]). A series of kindred and opposite constructions of the Millennial Kingdom see noted in De Wette, p. 189; Düsterd., p. 555.

According to Düsterdieck (pp. 554 sqq.), the unbiased determination of the exegetical result of the text, and the theological estimate of it, based Upon the analogy of Scripture, are two different things. The Millennial Kingdom falls, according to him also, in the time immediately preceding the universal judgment—but he seems to be unable to reconcile the developed Apocalyptic Eschatology with the less developed Eschatology of the other Scriptures of the New Testament. If, however, the one day of the resurrection be regarded as a literal day, rather than as the symbolical term for a period; if one general resurrection of all the dead, in one day, as an immediate wonder of omnipotence, be regarded as more credible than the profound, organically modified idea of the gradational and hence double resurrection; and if a sudden annihilation of all evil at once, be considered more probable than the abolition of it by a succession of judgments;—the same method of interpretation should, if consistency be at all regarded, be employed in the case of the other portions of Holy Writ, though this would involve a reduction of the living Scripture either to the orthodoxy of the Seventeenth, or the rationalism of the Eighteenth Century—or a taking up with a compound of positive elements and ideal descriptions.


By the American Editor

[The writer believes that he cannot better begin this note than by the presentation of the views of two distinguished writers on the subject,—the one advocating the doctrine of a literal resurrection, the other defending the so-called spiritual view.

ALFORD, on 20:4, 5, thus comments:

“It will have been long ago anticipated by the readers of this Commentary, that I cannot consent to distort words from their plain sense and chronological place in the prophecy, on account of any considerations of difficulty, or any risk of abuses which the doctrine of the Millennium may bring with it. Those who lived next to the Apostles, and the whole Church for 300 years, understood them in the plain literal sense; and it is a strange sight in these days to see expositors who are amongst the first in reverence of antiquity, complacently casting aside the most cogent instance of consensus which primitive antiquity presents. As regards the text itself, no legitimate treatment of it will extort what is known as the spiritual interpretation now in fashion. If in a passage where two resurrections are mentioned, where certain ψυχαὶ ἕζησαν at the first, and the rest of the νεκροὶ ἔζσαν only at the end of a specified period after that first,—if in such a passage the first resurrection may be understood to mean spiritual rising with Christ, while the second means literal rising from the grave; then there is an end of all significance in language, and Scripture is wiped out as a definite testimony to anything. If the first resurrection is spiritual then so is the second, which I suppose none will be hardy enough to maintain;5 but if the second is literal, then so is the first, which in common with the whole primitive Church and many of the best modern expositors, I do maintain, and receive as an article of faith and hope.”

BROWN, whose work on the Second Advent is, confessedly, one of the ablest that has ever been published on his side of the question, devotes an entire chapter to the discussion of the Millennial Resurrection. It is of course impossible to reproduce the entire argument. The following, however, is presented as a perfectly fair synopsis thereof:

“If the question then be, Was this celebrated passage (Rev. 20:4–6) designed to announce A LITERAL AND GENERAL RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS? The following appear to me to be strong


1. It is very strange that the resurrection of the righteous a thousand years before the wicked, if it be a revealed truth, should be directly and explicitly announced in one passage only.

2. If this was to be the chosen place for announcing such a prior resurrection, it is surely reasonable to expect that a clear and unambiguous revelation of it would be made. (Such a revelation he denies was made in the passage.)

3. If a resurrection of the righteous in general—as distinguished from the wicked—be the true sense of this prophecy, the description is very unlike the thing to be described. It is not in the least like any other description of that event in the New Testament. Every other description of the resurrection and glory of the saints as such is catholic in its character, while this is limited.


1. If the first resurrection mean rising from the grave in immortal and glorified bodies, we do not need the assurance that on such the second death hath no power (v. 6), or in other words, that they shall not perish everlastingly. Can it be believed that the Holy Spirit means nothing more than such a truism? But suppose that the first resurrection signifies a glorious condition of mortal men, and the promise becomes intelligible.

2. There are but two alternatives in the prophecy—either to ‘have part in the first resurrection,’ or to be under the ‘power of the second death.’ Into which of these classes are we to put the myriads of men who are to people the earth, in flesh and blood during the millennium?

3. The express mention of how long this ‘life and reign with Christ’ will last, viz.: a thousand years, if meant to inform us what a long period of earthly prosperity the Church is yet destined to enjoy, is intelligible and cheering. But to say that the risen and glorified Church is to live and reign with Christ for a period of a thousand years, is totally unlike the language of Scripture in every other place.

4. By making the party that ‘live and reign with Christ a thousand years’ to he the entire Church of God risen from their graves, we are forced to do violence to the whole subsequent context. Thus—(1) The rest of the dead must be expected to live again in the same bodily sense ‘when the thousand years are finished.’ But we read of no bodily resurrection at all on the expiring of this period. Satan shall then be loosed out of prison, and when we consider the work he has to do, the little season of his deceiving the nations can hardly be overstretched by extending it to a century or so. This first millennial period is to be filled up with something else than bodily resurrections. It will indeed be employed in the raising of a wicked party. We read of no bodily resurrection until after its expiration: (2) None but the wicked would remain to be judged in the last judgment, which is inconsistent with the implication of the opening of the Book of Life (5:12).

5. (This argument is given in the language of Gipps, substantially as follows): The opening of the Book of Life (5:2) signifies the manifestation of those who are written in it. It is inconceivable that this manifestation can take place one moment before what is called the opening of the Book of Life. But the manifestation of the Sons of God will take place at their (bodily) resurrection, Rom. 8:19, 23. Their bodily resurrection, therefore, will not take place until the general resurrection of (5:2).

6. (Also in the language of Gipps): The omission of any declaration as to the sea, death and the grave, giving up the dead at the first resurrection, and the making such a declaration respecting ‘the dead’ in Rev 20:13, convinces me that ‘the first resurrection’ is not that of the Saints, and also that the ‘dead’ in Rev 20:12, 13, include all mankind, both the saints and the ungodly. In every other part of the Word of God the information given concerning the resurrection of the saints is not only much more frequent, but also much more explicit, than concerning the resurrection of the ungodly. I feel convinced, therefore, that in this portion of the Scripture, if it were intended to foretell a resurrection of the saints distinct from that of the ungodly, much more explicit information would be given concerning the former than concerning the latter.

7. The clause ‘This is the first resurrection’ (Rev 20:5), which is thought to prove it literal, seems to me, if it prove anything, to prove the reverse. It is reasonable—say the premillennialists—to suppose that if the second or last resurrection be literal, the first will be so also—differing from the second only in time. Unfortunately fur this way of reasoning, what is said in the verse immediately following contradicts it: ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power’ (Rev 20:6). Here ‘the first resurrection’ and ‘the second death’ are intentionally brought together and contrasted. Is the first death, then, of the same nature with the second? Does one merely precede the other? No: the first death is that of the body, the second that of both body and soul; the first death is common to the righteous and the wicked, the second is the everlasting portion of the wicked and of them alone. To suffer the first death for Christ in made the ground (not, of course, the meritorious ground) of exemption from the power of the second death (see Rev 2:10, 11). Now as exemption from the power of the second death is here made to rest upon a certain character, namely, fidelity to Christ even to death, and in our millennial chapter exemption from the power of the same second death is made to rest upon participation in the first resurrection, is it not reasonable to conclude that this ‘first resurrection’ is meant to signify a certain character in the present life, and not the possession of bodily resurrection and glory? … To my mind this view of the first resurrection is put beyond doubt by the following words: ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.’ I cannot see what important information is conveyed by these words if ‘the first resurrection’ mean a restoration to bodily life. To tell us that saints risen from the dead, and reigning in glorified bodies with Christ, are holy, seems to me to be very unlike the language of Scripture every where else, and very superfluous.

8. It is a fatal objection to the literal sense of this prophecy, as announcing the bodily resurrection of all dead, and the change of all living saints, that it is exclusively a martyr-scene—the prophet beholding simply a resurrection of the slain, whereas this very circumstance eminently favors the figurative sense. The literal sense is utterly inadequate to express the resurrection of the whole Church of God bodily from the grave; the figurative sense is in consonance with the figurative language of Scripture (comp. Rev. 11:11; Ezek. 37:12–14; Hos. 6:2; Isa. 26:19, 14), with that of the best writers in every language and age, and expresses a conception worthy of the Spirit of God to dictate.

9. The literal sense offers no consistent explanation of the ‘judgment that was given unto’ the slain martyrs. This judgment was clearly that referred to in Rev 6:9–11.7 If this be correct, of course the slain and those who slew them, must be taken in the same sense. If the judgment is to be given to the martyrs personally at the millennium, their blood must also be personally avenged on them that dwell on the earth. If the martyrs are to rise bodily from their graves in order that judgment may be personally given to them, then their persecutors must be raised that vengeance may be rendered to them.”

The writer adopts the view of this celebrated passage that is advocated by Alford—the view that has been held in the Church from the earliest ages. It seems to be undeniable that this is the view that results from the normal interpretation of the passage,—a view that should not be set aside but for most cogent reasons. Whilst it is admitted that there is much apparent force in many of the considerations urged by Brown, it is submitted that they are not of sufficient force to overthrow the normal interpretation.

In continuance it should be remarked that the normal interpretation is in line with, and gives special and beautiful significance to, many otherwise inexplicable declarations in the word of God. An anonymous writer in a work entitled CREATION AND REDEMPTION (Edinburgh: Thomas Laurie. 1866. Second Ed.) thus comments:

“It is incumbent on us here to say a few words on the subject of the First Resurrection, for there is a general impression that the belief in it rests solely upon this passage, (Rev. 20:6). But this is a great mistake. The truth of a resurrection of some at a different time from that of the general resurrection, is evident from Scripture, independent of this passage in the Apocalypse. Omitting the passages from the Old Testament Scriptures, sustained by the promises of which the Old Testament worthies, as St. Paul says, suffered and served God in the hope of obtaining ‘a better resurrection’ (Heb. 11:35), we will state as briefly as may be the conclusion to which we are led by the words of the Lord and His Apostles.

Our Lord makes a distinction between the resurrection which some shall be counted worthy to attain to, and some not, Luke 20:3, 5. St. Paul says there is a resurrection ‘out from among the dead’ (ἐξανάστασις) to attain which he strove with all his might as the prize to be gained, Phil. 3:11. He also expressly tells us, that while as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; yet it shall not be all at once, but ‘every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at His coming.’ It is particularly to be remarked, that wherever the resurrection of Christ, or of His people, is spoken of in Scripture, it is a ‘resurrection from the dead;’ and wherever the general resurrection is spoken of, it is the ‘resurrection of the dead.’ This distinction, though preserved in many instances in the English translation, is too frequently omitted; but in the Greek the one is always coupled with the preposition ἐκ, out of, and the other is without it; and in the Vulgate it is rendered by à mortuis or ex mortuis, as distinct from resurrectio mortuorum. In Rom. 8:11, ‘The Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead,’ it is ἐκ νεκρῶν, à mortuis. So in Rom. 10:7; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:3, 21. So Lazarus was raised ἐκ νεκρῶν, John 12:1, 9. Our Lord, in His reply to the Sadducees, made the distinction between the general resurrection of the dead, and the resurrection which some should be accounted worthy to attain to. The children of this age (αἰῶνος) marry, but they who shall be accounted worthy to attain that αἰῶν, and the resurrection from the dead (ἀναστάσεως τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν), shall not marry (Luke 20:34, 35). St. Paul, when he spoke of a resurrection to which he strove to attain (Phil. 3:8, 11), and to which he was with all his might pressing forwards, as the high prize to gain which he was agonizing, and for which he counted all else loss, as if one preposition was not enough to indicate his meaning, uses it doubled, εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ‘Si quomodo occurram ad resurrectionem, quæ est ex mortuis.’ If St. Paul had been looking only to the general resurrection, he need not have given himself any trouble, or made any sacrifice to attain to that; for to it, all, even Judas and Nero, must come; but to attain to the First Resurrection he had need to press forward for the prize of that calling. And thus in his argument for the resurrection in 1 Cor. 15 (Rev 20:12, 21), when he speaks of the resurrection generally, he speaks of the resurrection of the dead, (ἀνάστασιςνεκρῶν); but when he speaks of our Lord’s resurrection, it is ἐκ νεκρῶν, from the dead. And he marks the time when Christ’s people shall be raised from the dead, namely, ‘at Christ’s coming,’ ‘every man. in his own order;’ 1st, Christ; 2d, Christ’s people; 3d. all the remainder, at some other period, which he terms ‘the end,’ when the last enemy, death, is to be destroyed, put an end to (Rev 20:23–26). And it follows as a matter of course, that if those who are Christ’s are to be raised from the dead at His coming, and if He comes previous to the destruction of Antichrist, and to the millennium, this first resurrection must be at least a thousand years before the general resurrection.”—E. R. C.]


[1][In the text of the translation, the form of the Greek (επὶ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ=upon his hand) is preserved. The idea seems to be that the chain was, not held the hand, but looped over it.—E. R. C.]

[2][The E. V. has here (Dan. 7:9) “till the thrones were cast down;” the Germ. has “bis dass Stühle gesetzt wurden,”=until seats (or thrones) were set.TR.]

[3]On Kraussold (Das tausendjährige Reich) see Düsterdieck, p. 658. Lutharde, in his work entitled, Die Offenb. Joh., recognizes the futurity of the Millennial Kingdom. Grau, on the other hand, in his lecture on the Contents and Import of the Revelation of John (in Zur Einführung in das Schriftthum N. T.), deals in generalities previous to Rev 20.

[4]Hengstenberg it is manifest, has entirely lost the idea of Antichristianity by his Eschatology. If Antichristianity is summed up in the Beast, it is also abolished in company with the Beast. Consequently, there can no longer be any Antichristianity. And therefore, according to Hengstenberg, the final outbreak of Satan results in a new heathenism in the original sense of the term. But the world can not fall back into pure heathenism at the end of the days; Antichristianity can be formed only from elements of decomposed Christianity—Christianity that is converted into mighty lies (2 Thess. 2).

[5] [Whitby, Faber and Brown, all distinguish between the second resurrection implied, Rev 20:5, in the words the rest of the dead, etc., and the general resurrection brought to view in Rev 20:12, 13. Whilst they admit that this general resurrection is literal, they contend that both the first and second millennial resurrections are spiritual,—the former signifying a resuscitation of the martyr spirit at the beginning of the thousand years: the latter, the re-vivification of the spirit of evil in the hosts of Gog and Magog.

Barnes agrees with these commentators save in the last particular. He understands, however, by the rest of the dead the ordinarily pious. He writes: “But the rest of the dead. In contradistinction from the beheaded martyrs, and from those who had kept themselves pure in the times of great temptation. The phrase ‘rest of the dead’ here would most naturally refer to the same general class which was before mentioned—the pious dead. The meaning is, that the martyrs would be honored as if they were raised up and the others not; that is, that special respect would be shown to their principles, their memory, and their character. In other words, special honor would be shown to a spirit of eminent piety during that period, above the common and ordinary piety which has been manifested in the church. The ‘rest of the dead’—the pious dead—would indeed be raised up and rewarded, but they would occupy comparatively humble places, as if they did not partake in the exalted triumphs when the world should be subdued to the Saviour. Their places in honor, in rank, and in reward, would be beneath that of those who in fiery times had maintained unshaken fidelity to the cause of truth, ¶ Lived not. On the word lived, see Notes on ver 4. That is, they lived not during that period in the peculiar sense in which it is said (Rev 20:4,) that the eminent saints and martyrs lived. They did not come into remembrance; their principles were not what then characterized the church; they did not see, as the martyrs did, their principles and mode of life in the ascendency, and consequently they had not the augmented happiness and honor which the more eminent saints and martyrs had.”—E. R. C.]

[6][BROWN thus disposes of a common objection (first urged by Whitby) to the literal view: “It is frequently urged that because ‘souls’ (ψυχαὶ) were seen in this vision, and no mention is made of bodies, it cannot be a bodily resurrection that is meant. But this is to mistake what the Apostle saw in the vision. He did not see a resurrection of souls. He saw ‘the souls of them that were slain:’ that is, he had a vision of the martyrs themselves in the state of the dead—after they were slain, and just before their resurrection. Then he saw them rise: ‘They lived’—not their souls, but themselves.”—E. R. C.]

[7][Is it not rather probable that κρίμα was used in the sense in which it was employed, Matt. 7:1; John 9:39; Rom. 2:2, 3; and that the sentence means, that to he saints, as kings, was given the authority to judge?—E. R. C.]

[30]Rev 19:17. [Crit. Eds. give ἔνα with A. P. 1, et al; it is om. by B.*—E. R. C.]

[31]Rev 19:17. [Crit. Eds. read συνάχθητε with א. A. B*. P., et al., instead of καὶ συνάγεσθε—E, R. C.]

[32]Rev 19:17. [Crit. Eds. give τὸ δεῖπνον τὸ μέγα with א. A. B*. P. instead of τοῦ μεγάλου with 1, 36, 49, 79.—E. R. C.]

[33]Rev 19:18. [These articles do not occur in any Cod., nor are they required by the English idiom.—E. R. C.]

[34]Rev 19:18. [Crit. Eds. generally give ἐλευ. τε καί with א. A. B*. P. et al.—E. R. C.]

[35]Rev 19:19. Codd. א. A. B*. give the article before πόλεμον. [The reference, doubtless, is to the war predicted chs.16:14; 17:14.—E. R. C.]

[36]Rev 19:20. [Lach., Treg., Tisch. (8th Ed.) read καὶ μετ̓ αὐτοῦ ὁ with א. P.; Alf. brackets οἱ before μετ̓ with A.; Tisch. (1859) reads καὶ ὁ μετ’ αὐτοῦ with B*.—E. R. C.]

[37]Rev 20:2. Cod. A. gives the nominative ὁ ὄφις ὁ ἀρχαῖος. Codd. B, et al. give the accusative, which is more in accordance with the text. [Lach., Alf., Treg., Tisch. give the nom. with A.; the acc. is supported by א. B., et al—E. R. C.]

[38] Rev 20:3. Lach. [Alf., Treg.] and Tisch. [1859] give ὅς ἐστιν διάβολος καὶ ὁ σατανᾶς in acc. with A. B. et al. Cod. א gives the article both times with perfect propriety. [Tisch. (8th Ed ) gives ὅ εστιν ὁ διάβολος καὶ ὁ Σατανᾶς; the pronoun before ἐστιν, and also the article before διάβολος, with א—E. R. C.]

[39] Rev 20:3. Codd. א A. B., et al. omit αὐτόν after ἔκλεισεν.

[40] Rev 20:3. The Rec. πλανήσῃ is adopted instead of the reading πλανᾷ. [So read Lach., Alf., Treg. Tisch. (8th Ed.), with א. A.; Gb., Sz., Tisch. (1859) give πλανᾷ with B*.—E. R. C.]

[41]Rev 19:3. [Crit. Eds. omit καί with א. A. B*.—E. R. C.]

[42] Rev 20:4. [The force of ἐκάθισαν can be presented only by the phrase sat down. Lange translates seated themselves.—E. R. C.]

[43] Rev 20:4. [Crit. Eds. read οὐδέ with א. A. B*. et al.—E. R. C.]

[44] Rev 20:4. [Crit. Eds. generally omit αὐτῶν after μέτοπον in acc. with א. A. B*., Vulg., et al.—E. R. C.]

[45] Rev 20:4. The article τά before χίλια should be omitted. [The article occurs in B*.; it is omitted, however, by Crit. Eds. with א. A. et al.—E. R. C.]

[46] Rev 20:5. [Lach., Alf., Tisch., omit the copula with A., Clem., Am., Fuld., Tol, Lips.; Treg. reads καὶ οἱ λοιποί with B.* 1, 38, 91, 95, Memph.—E. R. C.]

[47] Rev 20:5. [Crit. Eds. read ἔζησαν with A. B., Vulg., et al.; ἀνἐζησαν is without authority.—E. R. C.]

[48][See foot-notes on pages 3, 58, and 62.—E. R. C.]

[49][See Note on the Future Advent of Christ, pp. 339 sqq.—E. R. C.]

[50][The slowness of invention which Lange here attributes to the Devil is more in harmony with the character attributed to that personage in numerous popular German tales,—in which he appears as a sort of Deutscher Michel, being frequently outwitted and imposed upon by sharp practicers of earth—than with the exalted intellect with which we usually conceive of him as endowed.—TR.]

[51] [The Am. Ed. deems it inexpedient to continue in this portion of the work his “ Abstract of Views.”—E. R. C.]

[52][Wordsworth explains the ἔζησαν of Rev 19:4 as the glorified life with Christ after martyrdom, and the ἀνάστασις of Rev 19:5 as spiritual life begun in baptism and completed at the death of the body.—E. R. C.]

[53][Augustine himself, probably, held the view that the thousand years were literal, to terminate with the sixth chiliad of the world’s existence.—E. R. C.]

[54][A similar theory, indeed the same with specific variations was propounded by Prof. Bush in a work on the Millennium published in New York in 1832.—E. R. C.]

[55][The elder Turretin, P. Mastricht, J Marckius, Light foot, Brightman, and Usher, all teach that the Millennium is past. The continental Theologians suggest as possible eras of its beginning, without deciding which is correct, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the destruction of Jerusalem, the era of Constantine. Marckius thinks that it may have begun in increased measure at each one of these in succession. These Theologians seem to regard the binding as a general weakening of the power of Satan. Lightfoot adopts the view that the origin is to be placed in the first proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles by Paul and Barnabas, and that the binding refers, not to the power of Satan over the Church, but to his influence over the nations. He writes: “There is not a word here of the devil’s binding that he should not disturb the Church, but of the devil’s binding that he should not deceive the nations.” These all agree that the duration of the period was (or was about) one thousand literal years.—E. R. C.]

[56][Elliott writes: “Vitringa, however, who alludes to Whitby’s as a work just published, makes brief citations from two earlier writers, Conrad of Mantua and Carolus Gallus, as expressive of the same general view.”—E. R. C.]

[57][Bush judiciously remarks on this declaration of Whitby: “ This may be questioned. These writers have modified the creed of the ancients on this subject, without renouncing it.” The views of Mede, as expressed by himself, are as follows: “What the quality of this reign should be, which is so singularly differenced from the reign of Christ hitherto, is neither safe nor easy to determine, further than that it should be the reign of our Saviour’s victory over His enemies, wherein Satan being bound up from deceiving the nations any more, till the time of His reign be fulfilled, the Church should consequently enjoy a most blissful peace and happy security from the heretical apostasies and calamitous sufferings of former times; but here (if any where) the known shipwrecks of those who have been too venturous should make us most wary and careful, that we admit nothing into our imaginations which may cross or impeach any catholic tenet of the Christian faith, as also to beware of gross and carnal conceits of Epicurean happiness misbeseeming the spiritual purity of Saints. If we conceit any delights, let them be spiritual. The presence of Christ in this Kingdom will no doubt be glorious and evident, yet I dare not so much as imagine (which some ancients seem to have thought) that it will be a visible converse on earth. Yet, we grant, He will appear and be visibly revealed from heaven; especially for the calling and gathering of His ancient people, for whom in the days of old He did so many wonders.” Mede believed that Christ would appear literally and gloriously for the establishment of the Millennium, and that in a special sense He would reign throughout the period. In so believing, he held the essential elements of the pre-millennial hypothesis.—E. R. C.]

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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Revelation 18
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