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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Writings

Revelation 20

Verses 1-15

(20: 1-3) We have seen the fearful climax of evil to which Christendom of to-day is heading, when the nations under the rulers of these Western lands will be gathered together in open revolt against Christ and the armies of heaven. We have seen, too, the awful doom that awaits the leaders and their armies, and thus, with all the assurance of God's word, we learn the solemn crisis that awaits the world around us. But there remains the arch enemy of God and man, of Christ and His saints. Now we are told who he is and how he will be deprived of all his power. We are reminded that this enemy is that fallen being, "that old serpent," who from the beginning of the world's history, and throughout the ages, has been the active source of all rebellion against God. As the serpent he has, from the beginning, been the seducer of man; as Satan he has been the adversary of man; as the devil he has ever been the accuser of the saints; and as the Dragon he has wielded his power in seeking the destruction of men. Revelation 12 we have learned that he will be cast out of heaven "into the earth," and now we learn that he will be cast from earth "into the bottomless pit," to be loosed for a little season when the millennium is fulfilled, before receiving his final doom in the lake of fire.

18 The Millennium (Rev 20:4-15)

We have learned from the visions seen by the apostle that the leaders, together with their followers, in the final rebellion of apostate Christendom, will come under summary judgment at the appearing of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.Rev 19:14), and that followed the King of kings are invested with judicial authority. Are we not to distinguish in these armies three classes of saints? Firstly, there is the church, together with the Old Testament saints. Already we have seen these saints represented under the figure of elders as surrounding the throne in heaven and intelligent in the mind of God (Rev. 4, 5); then we have seen them presented as the bride and guests at the marriage of the Lamb, for the satisfaction of the heart of Christ (Rev. 19); now we see them as forming part of the armies that follow the Lord out of heaven to be associated with Him in His reign.

Secondly, John sees the resurrection of those who had suffered martyrdom on account of their witness of Jesus, and their faithfulness to the word of God, and who, in the days of the fifth seal, had cried to God, saying, "How long, O Holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on those that dwell on the earth?" They were told to rest yet a little season. That season is over, and the answer to their cry is come, for they are raised to have a glorious reward for all their sufferings, by being associated with Christ in the blessings of His reign.1Co 15:23); then follows the resurrection of Old Testament saints, and those who have fallen asleep during the present period, at the time of the rapture (1Th 4:16-17); and finally the resurrection of the saints at the appearing of Christ, who have died or suffered martyrdom during the period between the rapture and the appearing.

It is clear that the expression "the first resurrection" includes Christ and His saints, and blessed and holy are those who have part in this first resurrection. On such the second death - that final separation between God and the soul - will have no power. The unregenerate will alone have part in the final resurrection at the close of the millennial reign.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Revelation 20". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/revelation-20.html. 1832.