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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
Revelation 20



Other Authors
Verse 1

A great chain; such as was used for the confinement of prisoners.

Verse 2

The dragon; described as such Revelation 12:3-9.

Verse 3

Set a seal upon him; that is, upon the door of the pit; according to a custom particularly alluded to in Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:66.

Verse 4

Beheaded for the witness of Jesus; for the witness which they bore. And they lived; were restored to life. This language has been commonly understood to mean that the martyrs thus raised were to appear upon the earth again; but the place which was to be the scene of their new existence, does not seem to be indicated.

Verse 6

Priests of God. The word priest is used in such a connection as this, simply to denote, in accordance with Jewish ideas, very honorable rank and station. It does not appear to be intended to convey to us any idea in respect to nature of the duties of that station.

Verse 7

And when the thousand years are expired. The period of the thousand years designated in the Revelation 20:1-3, is the origin of the idea of the millennium,--an idea which, under various modifications has prevailed very extensively in the Christian church. The word millennium means simply a period of one thousand years, as the word century expresses a period of one hundred. Some have supposed that the language here used teaches the resurrection from the dead of individual martyrs of former times, and their reign upon the earth with Christ, who will then return in person to this world again; and that the time when this period shall commence, is to be pretty accurately determined by means of calculations based on the various predictions of this book. Others, on the other hand, going to the opposite extreme, suppose that only some indefinite period of ordinary prosperity is intended,--such, for example, as that which occurred in the time of Constantine, when persecutions ceased, and the civil power of the Roman empire was, for a time, the friend and protector of Christianity; and between these two extremes, there is scarcely any conceivable hypothesis which has not been framed and defended. On sober reflection, however, two points would seem to be clear, in reference to this prediction; first, that it is intended to convey to us the idea that a period of great and long-continued prosperity awaits the cause of Christ, before the great final consummation,--a period during which this world shall be the abode of piety, peace, and happiness; and, secondly, that the language in which the prediction is clothed is such as purposely to withhold from us a knowledge of the time in which God designs that it shall be fulfilled, and of the circumstances which will attend and characterize the fulfilment.

Verse 8

Gog and Magog; words taken from the prophecies of the Old Testament, (Ezekiel 38:1-39:29:) where they are used to denote heathen and idolatrous enemies The words seem to be here employed figuratively to express ferocious hostility to the cause of God.

Verse 9

And compassed the camp of the saints about; were preparing to assault and destroy the people of God.--And fire came down, &c.; that is, God interposed in a remarkable manner to save his people and to destroy their foes.

Verse 10

Where the beast and the false prophet are; as stated Revelation 19:20.

Verse 11

From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; a sublime image of power and majesty.

Verse 12

The books were opened; the books containing the record of their sins.

Verse 13

And hell; the grave.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 20:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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