Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 19:20

And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   Antichrist;   Brimstone;   Death;   Hell;   Horse;   Lake;   Miracles;   Vision;   Wicked (People);   Scofield Reference Index - Armageddon;   Beast (the);   Beast the;   Day (of Christ);   Day (of Destruction);   Day (of Jehovah);   Summary;   Thompson Chain Reference - Beauty-Disfigurement;   Destiny;   Error;   Evil;   Impress of Sin;   Lying Wonders;   Magic;   Sin;   Sin-Saviour;   Transgression;   Wonders;   The Topic Concordance - Deception;   Hell;   War/weapons;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death, Eternal;   Hell;   Miracles through Evil Agents;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Lake;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Freedom;   Hell;   War;   Worship;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abyss;   Armageddon;   Dead Sea Scrolls;   Eternal Punishment;   False Prophet;   Hell;   Lake of Fire;   Nahum, Theology of;   War, Holy War;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Hell;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Brimstone;   Cutting;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Armageddon;   Babylon, Mystical;   Brimstone;   Cuttings;   Miracles;   Tyre;   War;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Armageddon;   Army;   Beast;   Birds;   Brimstone;   False Prophet;   Fire;   Miracles, Signs, Wonders;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Brimstone;   Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Antichrist ;   Ascension of Isaiah;   Beast;   Brimstone;   Brimstone ;   Fire;   Hell;   Image;   Inspiration and Revelation;   Lake of Fire;   Lying ;   Miracles;   Sign ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Brimstone;   Fire;   Hell;   Horse;   Prophets, the;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Divination;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abyss, the;   Crime;   Enchantment;   Lake;   Lake of Fire;   Mark;   Parousia;   Peter, Simon;   Revelation of John:;   Satan;   Unquenchable Fire;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Brimstone;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the beast was taken, and - the false prophet - See the notes on Revelation 17:8, etc.

That worshipped his image - The beast has been represented as the Latin empire; the image of the beast, the popes of Rome; and the false prophet, the papal clergy.

Were cast alive into a lake of fire - Were discomfited when alive - in the zenith of their power, and destroyed with an utter destruction.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-19.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the beast was taken - That is, was taken alive, to be thrown into the lake of fire. The hosts were slain Revelation 19:21, but the leaders were made prisoners of war. The general idea is, that these armies were overcome, and that the Messiah was victorious; but there is a propriety in the representation here that the leaders - the authors of the war should be taken captive, and reserved for severer punishment than death on the battlefield would be - for they had stirred up their hosts, and summoned these armies to make rebellion against the Messiah. The beast here, as all along, refers to the papal power; and the idea is that of its complete and utter overthrow, as if the leader of an army were taken captive and tormented in burning flames, and all his followers were cut down on the field of battle.

And with him the false prophet - As they had been practically associated together, there was a propriety that they should share the same fate. In regard to the false prophet, and the nature of this alliance, see the notes on Revelation 16:13.

That wrought miracles before him - That is, the false prophet had been united with the beast in deceiving the nations of the earth. See the notes on Revelation 16:14.

With which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast - notes on Revelation 13:16-18. By these arts they had been deceived - that is, they had been led into the alliance, and had been sustained in their opposition to the truth. The whole representation is that of an alliance to prevent the spread of the true religion, as if the papacy and Mohammedanism were combined, and the one was sustained by the pretended miracles of the other. There would be a practical array against the reign of the Son of God, as if these great powers should act in concert, and as if the special claims which each set up in behalf of its own divine origin became a claim which went to support the whole combined organization.

These both were cast alive into a lake of fire - The beast and the false prophet. That is, the overthrow will be as signal, and the destruction as complete, as if the leaders of the combined hosts should be taken alive, and thrown into a pit or lake that burns with an intense heat. There is no necessity for supposing that this is to be literally inflicted - for the whole scene is symbolical - meaning that the destruction of these powers would be as complete as if they were thrown into such a burning lake. Compare the notes on Revelation 14:10-11.

Burning with brimstone - Sulphur - the usual expression to denote intense heat, and especially as referring to the punishment of the wicked. See the notes on Revelation 14:10.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-19.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the beast was taken,.... At the first onset, as soon as ever the battle begun, and carried away captive, as it was threatened he should, Revelation 13:10 and this by Christ, who will destroy him with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

And with him the false prophet; that is, the second beast in Revelation 13:11 as appears by the characters by which he is here described, or antichrist in his ecclesiastic capacity; that is, the pope with his clergy: and indeed, when the antichristian princes and states are taken and destroyed, which are the support of the Papacy, that must in consequence sink, be crushed and ruined; the Alexandrian copy reads, "and they that are with him, the false prophet Jezebel"; the false prophetess and her children, who will now be killed with death, Revelation 2:20

that wrought miracles before him: the beast, or the civil antichristian powers, even signs and lying wonders, which were approved of, and applauded by him, by which, believing them, he was confirmed in antichristian principles:

with which he deceived them that had the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image; the several subjects of the antichristian states; see Revelation 13:14 but none of God's elect, who cannot be seduced by such means, Matthew 24:24.

These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone; which is the second death, Revelation 21:8. The severe punishment of antichrist, considered in both his capacities, civil and ecclesiastic, is expressed by being "cast into a lake of fire", not material fire, but the wrath of God, which will be poured out like fire, and will be intolerable; and by this lake "burning with brimstone", which, giving a nauseous stench, aggravates the punishment. Says R. JodenF20Bereshit Rabba, sect. 51. fol. 45. 4. , when a man smells the smell of brimstone, why does his breath draw back at it (or catch)? because he knows he shall be judged with it in the world to come. The allusion seems to be to the place where Sodom and Gomorrah stood, which is become a sulphurous lake, and is an emblem of the vengeance of eternal fire, Judges 1:7 and these two are said to be "cast alive" into it, which shows that they will not only suffer a corporeal death at this battle, and in the issue of it, but will be destroyed, body and soul, in hell: the phrase denotes the awfulness, inevitableness, and severity of their punishment; there seems to be some reference to the earth's swallowing up Korah and his company alive, Numbers 16:33 see Daniel 7:11.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the beast 21 was taken, and with him 22 the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

(21) Namely, that beast with seven heads; (Revelation 13:1) ; (Revelation 17:3).

(22) That is, that beast with two heads; (Revelation 13:11) ; (Revelation 16:14).

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-19.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

and with him the false prophet — A reads, “and those with him.” B reads, “and he who was with him, the false prophet.”

miraclesGreek,the miracles” (literally, “signs”) recorded already (Revelation 13:14) as wrought by the second beast before (literally, ‹in sight of‘) the first beast. Hence it follows the second beast is identical with the false prophet. Many expositors represent the first beast to be the secular, the second beast to be the ecclesiastical power of Rome; and account for the change of title for the latter from the “other beast” to the “false prophet,” is because by the judgment on the harlot, the ecclesiastical power will then retain nothing of its former character save the power to deceive. I think it not unlikely that the false prophet will be the successor of the spiritual pretensions of the papacy; while the beast in its last form as the fully revealed Antichrist will be the secular representative and embodiment of the fourth world kingdom, Rome, in its last form of intensified opposition to God. Compare with this prophecy, Ezekiel 38:1-39:29; Daniel 2:34, Daniel 2:35, Daniel 2:44; Daniel 11:44, Daniel 11:45; Daniel 12:1; Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 12:1-14:21. Daniel (Daniel 7:8) makes no mention of the second beast, or false prophet, but mentions that “the little horn” has “the eyes of a man,” that is, cunning and intellectual culture; this is not a feature of the first beast in the thirteenth chapter, but is expressed by the Apocalyptic “false prophet,” the embodiment of man‘s unsanctified knowledge, and the subtlety of the old serpent. The first beast is a political power; the second is a spiritual power - the power of ideas. But both are beasts, the worldly Antichristian wisdom serving the worldly Antichristian power. The dragon is both lion and serpent. As the first law in God‘s moral government is that “judgment should begin at the house of God,” and be executed on the harlot, the faithless Church, by the world power with which she had committed spiritual adultery, so it is a second law that the world power, after having served as God‘s instrument of punishment, is itself punished. As the harlot is judged by the beast and the ten kings, so these are destroyed by the Lord Himself coming in person. So Zephaniah 1:1-18 compared with Zephaniah 2:1-15. And Jeremiah, after denouncing Jerusalem‘s judgment by Babylon, ends with denouncing Babylon‘s own doom. Between the judgment on the harlot and the Lord‘s destruction of the beast, will intervene that season in which earthly-mindedness will reach its culmination, and Antichristianity triumph for its short three and a half days during which the two witnesses lie dead. Then shall the Church be ripe for her glorification, the Antichristian world for destruction. The world at the highest development of its material and spiritual power is but a decorated carcass round which the eagles gather. It is characteristic that Antichrist and his kings, in their blindness, imagine that they can wage war against the King of heaven with earthly hosts; herein is shown the extreme folly of Babylonian confusion. The Lord‘s mere appearance, without any actual encounter, shows Antichrist his nothingness; compare the effect of Jesus‘ appearance even in His humiliation, John 18:6 [Auberlen].

had received — rather as Greek, “received,” once for all.

them; that worshipped — literally, “them worshipping” not an act once for all done, as the “received” implies, but those in the habit of “worshipping.”

These both were cast  …  into a lakeGreek, “  …  the lake of fire,” Gehenna. Satan is subsequently cast into it, at the close of the outbreak which succeeds the millennium (Revelation 20:10). Then Death and Hell, as well those not found at the general judgment “written in the book of life”; this constitutes “the second death.”

alive — a living death; not mere annihilation. “Their worm dieth not, their fire is not quenched.”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-19.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Was taken (επιαστηepiasthē). First aorist (prophetic) passive indicative of the Doric πιαζωpiazō (Attic πιεζωpiezō). Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

The false prophet (ο πσευδοπροπητηςho pseudoprophētēs). Possibly the second beast of Revelation 13:11-17; Revelation 16:13; Revelation 20:10. Charles takes him to be “the priesthood of the Imperial cult, which practised all kinds of magic and imposture to beguile men to worship the Beast.”

That wrought the signs in his sight (ο ποιεσας τα σημεια ενωπιον αυτουho poiesas ta sēmeia enōpion autou). As in Revelation 13:14.

Wherewith (εν οιςen hois). “In which” signs.

He deceived (επλανησενeplanēsen). First aorist active indicative of πλαναωplanaō He was only able to deceive “them that had received” (τους λαβονταςtous labontas articular second aorist active participle of λαμβανωlambanō “those receiving”) “the mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:9.; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 20:4) “and them that worshipped his image” (τους προσκυνουντας τηι εικονι αυτουtous proskunountas tēi eikoni autou) as in Revelation 13:15.

They twain (οι δυοhoi duo). “The two.”

Were cast (εβλητησανeblēthēsan). First aorist passive Indicative of βαλλωballō They fall together as they fought together. “The day that sees the end of a false statecraft will see also that of a false priestcraft” (Swete).

Alive (ζωντεςzōntes). Present active participle of ζαωzaō predicative nominative, “living.”

Into the lake of fire (εις την λιμνην του πυροςeis tēn limnēn tou puros). Genitive πυροςpuros describes this λιμνηνlimnēn (lake, cf. Luke 5:1) as it does γεενναgehenna in Matthew 5:22. See also Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8. It is a different figure from the “abyss” in Revelation 9:1; Revelation 20:1. This is the final abode of Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and wicked men.

That burneth with brimstone (της καιομενης εν τειωιtēs kaiomenēs en theiōi). Note the genitive here in place of the accusative λιμνηνlimnēn perhaps because of the intervening genitive πυροςpuros (neuter, not feminine). The agreement is regular in Revelation 21:8. For εν τειωιen theiōi (with brimstone) see Revelation 14:10; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8. The fact of hell is clearly taught here, but the imagery is not to be taken literally any more than that of heaven in chapters Revelation 4:1-11; Revelation 5:1-14; 21; 22 is to be so understood. Both fall short of the reality.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-19.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Was taken ( ἐπιάσθη )

See on Acts 3:7.

Mark

See on Revelation 13:16.

Lake ( λίμνην )

See on Luke 5:1.

Brimstone

See on Revelation 14:10.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-19.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The false prophet, who had wrought the miracles before him — And therefore shared in his punishment; these two ungodly men were cast alive - Without undergoing bodily death.

Into the lake of fire — And that before the devil himself, Revelation 20:10. Here is the last of the beast. After several repeated strokes of omnipotence, he is gone alive into hell. There were two that went alive into heaven; perhaps there are two that go alive into hell. It may be, Enoch and Elijah entered at once into glory, without first waiting in paradise; the beast and the false prophet plunge at once into the extremest degree of torment, without being reserved in chains of darkness till the judgment of the great day. Surely, none but the beast of Rome would have hardened himself thus against the God he pretended to adore, or refused to have repented under such dreadful, repeated visitations! Well is he styled a beast, from his carnal and vile affections; a wild beast, from his savage and cruel spirit! The rest were slain - A like difference is afterwards made between the devil, and Gog and Magog, Revelation 20:9,10.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-19.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Beast

The Beast, Summary: This "Beast" is the "little horn" of Daniel 7:24-26 and "desolator" of Daniel 9:27 the "abomination of desolation" of Matthew 24:15 the "man of sin" of 2 Thessalonians 2:4-8 earth's last and most awful tyrant, Satan's fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of Revelation 6:2 who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ.; Matthew 4:8; Matthew 4:9; Revelation 13:4. See "The great tribulation," Psalms 2:5.

(See Scofield "Revelation 7:14").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 19:20". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-19.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Ver. 20. And the beast was taken] Taken suddenly, or as he was fleeing, and so thinking to escape. {a} Dio maketh mention of a notable thief that did much mischief in Italy (afterwards the pope’s seat) in the days of Severus. This emperor used all the means he could to catch him, but could not do it, Quippe qui visus non videbutur, non inveniebatur inventus, deprehensus non capiebatur, saith the historian. But this subtle beast meeteth with his match and more; for he is caught and cast into the lake, &c. Christ is a conqueror so soon as ever he comes into the field, Venit, vidit, vicit. He came, he saw, he couquered. When the enemies are tumultuating, he comes upon them as out of an engine, and hurls them headlong into hell.

And with him the false prophet] This is the same with the beast; only the pope is called the beast in respect of his civil power, and the false prophet in respect of his spiritual. {See Trapp on "Revelation 13:12"} I remember, saith Aretius here, that many learned men in the year 1546 interpreted these words of the war that then was, and were confident that the emperor was the beast here mentioned, that should be overcome, and taken in battle by the Protestants; and together with him some false prophet of his (perhaps the pope), but it proved much otherwise, and the event showed that this application of the text was false.

" Fallitur augurio spes bona saepe suo."

These both were cast alive] Death shall not end their misery, but they shall suffer most exquisite torments. Potentes potenter torquebuntur.

{a} επιασθη, proprie dicitur de iis quos fugientes arripimus. Beza.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-19.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 19:20. (213) ἐπιάσθη) The beast was taken: but the angel ἐκράτησε, laid hold of the dragon, ch. Revelation 20:2. The beast and the false prophet even then shall be reduced to extremities; the dragon shall have strength, but shall be restrained.— ζῶντες, alive) This destruction is much more dreadful than the death itself of the body. Comp. respecting the Son of Perdition, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; also Daniel 7:11; Daniel 7:26, and Isaiah 11:4, where רשע, LXX., ἀσεβὴς, the Chaldee paraphrast has ארמילום רשיעא, the impious Roman.— τὴν λί΄νην τοῦ πυρὸς, the lake of fire) The word gehennah [hell] does not occur in the Apocalypse.

19. μετὰ, with) The enemies will undoubtedly attempt to attack the saints on the earth. But Christ the Lord, with His heavenly band, will engage with them.—V. g.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-19.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The issue of this great battle will be the total ruin of all enemies of the church, their bodies being made meat for the fowls of the heaven, their souls cast into the bottomless pit of hell. The secular part of antichrist is here meant by

the beast; the ecclesiastical antichrist, by

the false prophet, that had cheated credulous princes and credulous people, with his pretended miracles, into an idolatry, that was but the image of the old idolatry of the heathens, in worshipping demons, and the images of such as were in great estimation amongst them while they were alive.

These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone; both these, the laic and secular popish party, and all their church party, that should be left to this day, shall all now be destroyed. In a matter of fact, not likely to appear in the world yet of two hundred years or more, and thus darkly foretold, who can be positive and particular? But this seemeth the sense of it, upon the former hypotheses: That the beast with the seven heads and ten horns, mentioned Revelation 13:1, and the beast with two horns, also there mentioned, Revelation 13:11, are antichrist, beginning with those Roman emperors that favoured the idolatry introduced by the bishops of Rome, and ending in ending in the universal bishop, or popes of Rome, and their clergy, who quickly wormed out the emperor’s power, and for one thousand two hundred and sixty years reigned, setting up idolatry and superstition, and corrupting the doctrine of faith, and for the six hundred years of time, persecuting the true church of Christ more notoriously. After which God will begin to reckon with him, gradually pouring out five vials upon him. I am very inclinable to think, that we in this age are yet under the pouring out of the second of these vials, seeing little yet effected towards the ruin of the papacy, more than the exposing of their idolatries and cheats to several princes and states, and to the generality of thinking people; nor hath the providence of God proceeded far in that as yet. The three other vials are yet to be poured out upon the papacy, besides that upon Euphrates, and then this last upon all the enemies of the church together: and who shall live when God shall do these things?

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-19.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

схвачен был зверь илжепророк В одно мгновение армии мира остались без своих лидеров. Зверь – это антихрист (см. пояснение к 13:1-4); лжепророк – его религиозный соучастник (см. пояснение к 13:11-17).

живые брошены Тела зверя и лжепророка будут изменены, и они живыми будут брошены прямо в озеро огненное (Дан. 7:11) – первые из бесчисленных миллионов ожесточившихся в грехе людей (20:15) и падших ангелов (ср. Мф. 25:41), которые придут в это ужасное место. То, что эти двое еще раз появятся 1000 лет спустя (20:10), говорит о несостоятельности учения об уничтожении (ср. 14:11; Ис. 66:24; Мф. 25:41; Мк. 9:48; Лк. 3:17; 2Фес. 1:9).

озеро огненное Последний ад, место вечного наказания для всех нераскаявшихся грешников: ангелов и людей (ср. 20:10, 15). Новый Завет много говорит о вечном наказании (ср. 14:10, 11; Мф. 13:40-42; 25:41; Мк. 9:43-48; Лк. 3:17; 12:47, 48).

огненноесерою См. пояснение к 9:17. Эти два слова часто ассоциируются с небесным судом (14:10; 20:10; 21:8; Быт. 19:24; Пс. 10:6; Ис. 30:33; Иез. 38:22; Лк. 17:29).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-19.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The beast; the first beast, described in chap Revelation 13:1.

The false prophet; the same as the second beast, chap Revelation 13:11.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-19.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone:

And the beast was taken ... and the false prophet ... The false prophet (the harlot, the land-beast; all three terms refer to the same thing) was destroyed in the judgment scene of chapter 18, and the mention of the same thing being done here, under a different figure, is merely to show that this judgment is exactly the same as that.

They two were cast alive into the lake of fire ... There is no way to understand a statement like this as being anything else except a reference to the final judgment of the wicked as foretold by Christ (Matthew 25:41). Note that the destruction of the harlot, here called the false prophet, shall be simultaneous with the destruction of the scarlet sea-beast of Revelation 13:1. This means that apostate Christianity will not perish before the final judgment. Both the harlot and the sea-beast (in the form of his eighth head) will be alive and doing a flourishing business when the end comes. Earle likewise stressed the truth that the two beasts of chapter 13 are the same as the beast and the false prophet here.[59] We have also identified the harlot with the second beast (land-beast). Note that John says nothing here of any "battle." "He may mean that there was no battle."[60] Of course, he could hardly mean anything else. And the wrath of the Gentile unsmote by the sword Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

[59] Ralph Earle, op. cit., p. 608.

[60] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 232.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who wrought the signs in his sight, by which he had deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those that worshipped his image. They two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.’

The deceivers are taken and destroyed. No mention is made of a battle (unless it is between two earthly armies) for there is no battle. If anything it is a rout. They are simply taken and can offer no resistance. For their false signs see Revelation 16:13-14. But those false signs will be of no use to them now. As we have seen earlier the beast and the false prophet are especially satanically inspired. Indeed the beast came out of the abyss.

They are not ordinary men, for ordinary men are but their tools. In so far as they are ‘men’ at all, for they represent ideas and systems, it is because they have taken possession of human beings. Those human beings will die as do the others, but the evil spirits that possess them face torment day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:10). What its actual form will take we cannot know, for the ‘fire’ is a spiritual fire for spiritual beings and incomprehensible to human beings. (Fire in Revelation rarely actually means literal fire, but rather spiritual forces of one kind or another). The contrast between their fate and the fate of human beings is stressed. Their beings could not die nor could the birds eat them. In contrast the humans did die and the birds ate them.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-19.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord Jesus Christ will then cast the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire alive (cf. Numbers 16:30; Psalm 55:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). The description of the false prophet vindicates his punishment. They will still be there1,000 years later ( Revelation 20:10). Thus consignment to the lake of fire does not mean annihilation. The wicked who have died throughout history are not yet in the lake of fire (cf. Matthew 5:22; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43; James 3:6). They are in Hades (or "the grave;" cf. Matthew 16:18; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27), the temporary abode of dead unbelievers before their resurrection. The Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, was a foreview of this lake (cf. 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31-32; Jeremiah 19:6; Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:43). Neither is the lake of fire "the abyss," which is a temporary place of confinement for angels ( Revelation 9:1; Revelation 20:1). At the end of the Millennium, Christ will cast all unbelievers into the lake of fire ( Revelation 20:14-15). God originally prepared the lake of fire for Satan and his angels ( Matthew 25:41).

"Because no one has yet experienced the lake of fire, it is difficult to portray in human language the awful nature of that punishment. The figure of a burning lake is God"s chosen imagery for visualizing eternity separated from Him. One should remember that figures of speech are always less than the reality, not more!" [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p398.]

Brimstone is a sulphurous material that, united with fire, represents indescribable torment (cf. Genesis 19:24-25; Ezekiel 38:22).

"The fact that in the gospels hell is pictured not only as a place of fire but also as a place of darkness ( Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30) suggests that both descriptions use metaphorical language drawn from contemporary Judaism to describe final and irremedial [sic] judgment." [Note: Ladd, p258.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-19.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 19:20. The description given in this verse can leave no doubt that we have here the two enemies of chap. 13, the beast and the lamb-like beast with the two horns.—The ‘lake of fire’ is again mentioned in chaps. Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14, and Revelation 21:8.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-19.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The beast, &c. Antichrist is taken alive. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-19.html. 1859.

A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scriptures

THIRD DOOM .

"THE BEAST" AND "FALSE PROPHET ."

Revelation 19:20.

"And the "BEAST" was taken, and with him the "FALSE PROPHET" that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the "Mark of the Beast," and them that worshipped his "Image." These both were cast ALIVE into a "Lake of Fire" burning with brimstone."

The issue of the "Battle of Armageddon" will never be in doubt. The previous summoning of the birds and beasts of prey, prove this". Before the destruction of the army of Antichrist, he and the False Prophet will be cast "alive" into the "Lake of Fire." This shows that they are not "Systems" but "Persons," and as Enoch and Elijah were taken to Heaven without dying, so Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the "Lake of Fire" without dying, and will be still there and alive when Satan is cast in a1000 years later.

Before Antichrist is seized and cast into the "Lake of Fire," Satan will make his exit from his person, and after the battle is over, Satan will be bound and cast into the "Bottomless Pit," where he will be "sealed up" for1000 years". This is the culminating act of the "Tribulation Period."

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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clr/revelation-19.html.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

taken = arrested. In Acts 12:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:32, "apprehend". See the use of the verb in John 7:30; John 10:39.

false prophet. See Revelation 16:13 with Revelation 20:10.

Wrought = did. Greek. poieo. Same as "make", Revelation 19:19.

miracles = the signs. App-176.

deceived. App-128.

worshipped. App-137.

cast, &c. Compare Daniel 7:11.

a = the.

brimstone. Greek. theion. See Revelation 9:17.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-19.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

And with him ... So 'Aleph ('); but A, 'and those with him;' B, 'and the false prophet who was with him.'

Miracles - `the miracles' ('signs') recorded already (Revelation 13:14) as performed by the second beast in sight of the first beast. Therefore the second beast is the false prophet. Many represent the first beast the secular, the second the ecclesiastical, power of Rome; and think the change of title for the latter, from the 'other beast' to the "false prophet," is because, by the judgment on the harlot, the ecclesiastical power will then retain nothing except the power to deceive. I think the false prophet will succeed to the spiritual pretensions of the papacy; while the beast, in Its last form, as the fully-revealed Antichrist, will be the secular embodiment of the fourth world-kingdom, Rome, in its last intensified opposition to God. Compare Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29; Daniel 2:34-35; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 11:44-45; Daniel 12:1; Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 12:1-14; Zechariah 13:1-9; Zechariah 14:1-21. Daniel (Revelation 7:1-17; Revelation 8:1-13) does not mention the second beast, but "the little horn" with "the eyes of a man" - i:e., spiritual and intellectual culture.

This is expressed by the apocalyptic "false prophet," embodying man's unsanctified knowledge, derived from the old serpent. The first beast is political, the second is spiritual. Both are beasts-anti-Christian wisdom serving anti-Christian power-both lion and serpent. As God's moral government requires that "judgment should begin at the house of God," executed on the harlot, the faithless Church, by the world-power with which she intrigued, so also that the world-power, after being God's instrument of punishment, should itself be punished. As the harlot is judged by the beast and the ten kings, so these are destroyed by the Lord in person. So Zechariah 1:1-21 : cf. Revelation 2:1-29. Jeremiah, after denouncing Jerusalem's judgment by Babylon, ends with denouncing Babylon's own. In the interval between judgment on the harlot, and the Lord's destruction of the beast, etc., earthly mindedness will culminate, and anti-Christianity triumph, for its short three and a half days while the two witnesses lie dead. Then shall the Church be ripe for glorification, the anti-Christian world for destruction. The world, at its highest development of material and spiritual power, is but a decorated carcass round which the eagles gather. Antichrist and his kings, in their blindness, imagine they can war against the King of heaven with earthly hosts: betraying the extreme folly of Babylonian confusion. The Lord's appearance, without actual encounter, shows Antichrist his nothingness. Compare the effect of Jesus' appearance even in His humiliation, John 18:6 (Auberlen).

Had received - `received,' once for all.

Them that worshipped - `them worshipping:' not an act once for all, as "received," but in the habit of 'worshipping.'

These both were cast alive into a lake - `the lake of fire,' Gehenna. Satan is subsequently cast in, at the close of the outbreak, after the millennium (Revelation 20:10). Then death and hell, with those not found at the general judgment "written in the book of life:" this constitutes "the second death." "Alive" - a living death; not annihilation. 'Their worm dieth not, their fire is not quenched' (Mark 9:44; Mark 9:46; Mark 9:48).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-19.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
the beast
19; 13:1-8,18; 17:3-8,12; Daniel 2:40-45; 7:7,12-14,19-21,23
the false
13:11-17; 16:13,14; 20:10; 22:15; Daniel 7:8-11,24-26; 8:24,26; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11
These
20:10,14; Daniel 7:11; 11:45
burning
14:10; 21:8; Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 18:15; Psalms 11:6; Isaiah 30:33; 34:9; Ezekiel 38:22
Reciprocal: Exodus 7:11 - wise men;  Leviticus 19:28 - print;  Numbers 31:8 - Balaam;  Deuteronomy 13:5 - prophet;  Deuteronomy 18:20 - in the name;  Joshua 8:23 - GeneralJoshua 13:22 - Balaam;  Judges 9:56 - God rendered;  1 Kings 13:18 - But;  1 Kings 18:19 - the prophets of Baal;  1 Kings 18:40 - slew them there;  1 Kings 22:6 - Go up;  1 Kings 22:25 - Behold;  2 Kings 10:11 - his priests;  2 Chronicles 18:5 - Go up;  2 Chronicles 18:11 - all the prophets;  Nehemiah 6:14 - on the prophetess;  Psalm 18:37 - GeneralPsalm 48:4 - GeneralProverbs 19:9 - and;  Isaiah 1:31 - and they;  Isaiah 9:15 - the prophet;  Isaiah 14:15 - thou;  Isaiah 26:11 - fire;  Isaiah 30:22 - defile;  Isaiah 50:11 - ye shall;  Isaiah 51:13 - where is;  Jeremiah 14:15 - Sword and famine shall not;  Jeremiah 23:14 - walk;  Jeremiah 23:32 - to err;  Jeremiah 27:15 - ye;  Jeremiah 29:8 - Let;  Jeremiah 50:36 - upon the liars;  Ezekiel 13:4 - like;  Ezekiel 13:9 - mine;  Ezekiel 24:5 - the choice;  Daniel 3:7 - all the people;  Daniel 8:23 - and understanding;  Joel 3:11 - Assemble;  Micah 5:12 - GeneralHabakkuk 2:18 - a teacher;  Zephaniah 3:4 - light;  Zechariah 12:6 - they;  Zechariah 13:2 - cause;  Malachi 2:12 - the master and the scholar;  Matthew 7:15 - false;  Matthew 13:39 - enemy;  Matthew 13:42 - cast;  Matthew 15:14 - And if;  Matthew 18:7 - but;  Matthew 24:11 - GeneralMatthew 24:24 - and shall;  Luke 8:31 - the deep;  Luke 16:24 - for;  Acts 13:6 - a false;  Romans 8:39 - depth;  2 Corinthians 2:17 - which;  2 Corinthians 11:13 - false;  Galatians 1:7 - pervert;  Ephesians 4:14 - by the;  Ephesians 6:11 - the wiles;  Philippians 3:19 - end;  2 Thessalonians 2:2 - by spirit;  2 Thessalonians 2:9 - is;  1 Timothy 4:1 - seducing;  James 3:6 - a world;  Revelation 9:17 - brimstone;  Revelation 11:7 - the beast;  Revelation 11:18 - the nations;  Revelation 12:9 - deceiveth;  Revelation 13:2 - gave;  Revelation 13:13 - he doeth;  Revelation 13:14 - deceiveth;  Revelation 13:15 - cause;  Revelation 13:16 - a mark;  Revelation 20:5 - the rest;  Revelation 20:15 - was cast;  Revelation 22:18 - God

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-19.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 19:20. — "And the Beast was taken." The personal chief of the empire gave to it his character. The empire and its ruling head were really to all intents and purposes one. They can, of course, be distinguished as in Daniel 7:1-28, but here, and elsewhere in the Apocalypse, the Beast and its last great imperial chief are so vitally connected that the former perishes in the everlasting ruin of its head. The Beast is cast alive into the lake of fire — a man, of course, yet spoken of as "the Beast" — the usual designation of the empire.

20. — "And the False Prophet that was with him." This is the Antichrist, the embodiment of religious apostasy. His fellow, the Beast, is the distinguished Gentile chief on whom Satan conferred almost boundless political authority. Three times is the title "the False Prophet" used of the Antichrist as descriptive of his seductive teachings in Judea and in Christendom generally."{*See remarks on Revelation 16:13, on Revelation 19:20, and on Revelation 20:10.} "Was with him," i.e., the Beast, intimates that they were acting together. The Beast supplied the strength, the False Prophet the counsel. The latter is by far the more energetic of the two.

20. — "Who wrought the signs before him" (i.e., the Beast) by which he deceived them that received the mark of the Beast, and those that worship his image. He deceived them by the miraculous signs he wrought, his grand effort being to get world-wide worship for the Beast, his superior in temporal power, although his inferior in craft and malignant satanic influence. The diabolic work of the "False Prophet," that which had been his special work as the coadjutor of the Beast, is the main subject of Revelation 13:11-17, there entitled "another Beast," here "the False Prophet," but one and the same person.

AN ETERNAL DOOM.

20. — "Alive were both cast into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone." Who can paint in words the horror of such a doom? Literally, actually this is the predetermined punishment of two individuals, one a Jew and the other a Gentile, and perhaps both on the earth at this moment! These two men are not killed, as their deluded followers are. Physical death in their own persons they will never know, but grasped by the hand of Omnipotence, seized red-handed in their crimes, they are at once cast into the lake of fire — a collection of agonies unutterable. They do not proceed, nor are driven onward to their fearful doom, but are cast alive into it, as you would throw aside that which is worthless. A thousand years afterwards Satan joins them in the same awful place, as the next chapter unfolds. The lake of fire is never at rest. Fire and brimstone denote unspeakable torment (Isaiah 30:33). The lake, not of water, but of fire, is the eternal place of punishment for the devil and for lost men and fallen angels. It is a place, and not a condition. And is it not significant that the phrase, which has rightly become crystallised in our minds from earliest years as the expression of all that is dark and agonising, should be mentioned here for the first time? Perhaps the first inhabitants of the lake may be those two men.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-19.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The lake of fire for the present is the destruction of Babylon, but in the day of judgment it will be the lake of fire that is unquenchable. The false prophet and miracles are explained at various passages preceding this.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-19.html. 1952.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 19:20. And the beast was seized, and the false prophet with him, who did signs before him, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast, and worshipped his image: alive these two were cast into the lake of fire, that burns with brimstone. The beast was seized, which had so often endeavoured to seize Christ in his members, St John, for example—comp. John 7:30, John 7:32, John 7:44, John 10:39. (The verb πιά ζω often occurs in John's Gospel, and in connections, in which elsewhere other expressions are used). Züllig: "How and by whom it is not said, but without doubt the army of Christ must here be conceived to take part, since otherwise we could not understand for what purpose it had been assembled, what is done afterwards being accomplished by the leader himself." It is at all events significant, that the action is not expressly attributed to Christ himself here, as it is in respect to Satan in ch. Revelation 20:2.

In reference to the false prophet, comp. ch. Revelation 13:11, sq. Bengel: "Who did signs, etc., expresses the reason why the false prophet receives a like punishment with the beast, and at the same time."[Note: The ὁ μετʼ αὐ τοῦ ψευδοπροφή της, is recommended in preference to the reading followed by Luther, μετʼ αὐ τοῦ ὁ ψευδ.,, by ch. 13:12, 14, 15, where the second beast, the false prophet, is represented as only the servant and tool of the first.] The alive, without corporeal death (comp. Revelation 19:21), confirms the view, that the beast and the false prophet arc not human individuals, but purely ideal forms. A human individual cannot proceed alive into hell. Psalms 50:15 does not admit of being compared. For there, what is meant by alive, is in the fulness of life and strength; and in this sense also alone was it, that the rebellious company in the time of Moses went down alive into hell. That vicious realism, which is unable to distinguish between form and essence, vision and reality, must be put to the blush at ch. Revelation 20:14, where death and hell, in like manner purely ideal forms, are cast into the lake of fire.— Fire and brimstone as a description of hell-torments have occurred already at ch. Revelation 14:10-11. A lake (sea) of fire and brimstone is mentioned here for the first time; but occurs again in ch. Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14-15, Revelation 21:8. As the fire and brimstone point to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrha (comp. on ch. Revelation 14:10), so it is very natural to suppose, that allusion is made to the dead sea as the earthly image of hell.[Note: The expression γεέ να occurs as little in the Apoc. as in the Gospel of John; all the three first evangelists have it.]

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-19.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Capture of the adverse leaders. The beast and the false prophet—The latter the two-horned lamb, and so clearly an ecclesiastical deceiver. In the false prophet the entire pseudo-spiritual body (the image of xiii included) as the corrupt spokesmen of a corrupt Church are individualized as a single person.

Lake’ brimstone—Note on Revelation 20:14-15.

Alive— Not slain, like the remnant of next verse. As both these personages are allegorical, we may be at a loss, at first, what can be meant by their being cast into Gehenna. But the thought appears to be, that hell is the final receptacle of all that is essentially evil, whether persons, systems, or principles, whether personal or abstract; just as the bottomless pit, (Revelation 20:9,) is its source. It is not said (Revelation 20:10)

that these two were tormented as the dragon is.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-19.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 19:20. This marks the culmination of many previous oracles: the messiah meets and defeats (Revelation 16:13 f.) the beast (i.e., Nero-antichrist, Revelation 11:7, Revelation 13:1 f.) and the false prophet (i.e., the Imperial priesthood = second beast of Revelation 13:11 f.) and their allies (the kings of the earth, cf.Revelation 11:9; Revelation 11:18, Revelation 14:8, Revelation 16:14, Revelation 17:12 f.), according to a more specific form of the tradition reflected in Revelation 14:14-20. Possibly the ghastly repast of Revelation 19:21 is a dramatic foil to that of Revelation 19:9. At any rate there is a slight confusion in the sketch, due to the presence of heterogeneous conceptions; whilst one tradition made messiah at his coming vanquish all the surviving inhabitants of the earth, who were ex hypothesi opponents of God’s people (cf.Revelation 2:26-27, Revelation 11:9 f., Revelation 12:9, Revelation 14:14 f., Revelation 16:13-16, Revelation 19:17 f.), the prophet at the same time used the special conception of a Nero-antichrist whose allies were mainly Eastern chiefs (Revelation 9:14 f., Revelation 16:12, Revelation 17:12 f.), and also shared the O.T. belief in a weird independent outburst from the skirts of the earth (Revelation 20:8). Hence the rout of nations here is only apparently final. See on Revelation 20:3. The lake of fire, a place of torment which burns throughout most of the apocalypses (Sibyll. ii. 196–200, 252–253, 286, etc.; Apoc. Pet. 8), was lit first in Enoch, (sec. cent.) where it is the punishment reserved for Azazel on the day of judgment (Revelation 9:6) and for the fallen angels (Revelation 21:7-10) with their paramours. The prophet prefers this to the alternative conception of a river of fire [Slav. En. 10.]. The whole passage reflects traditions such as those preserved (cf. Gfrörer ii., 232 f.), e.g., in Targ. Jerus. on Genesis 49:11 and Sohar on Lev.–Exodus (miracula, uariaque et horrenda bella fient mari terraque circa Jerusalem, cum messias reuelabitur), where the beasts of the field feed for one year, and the birds for seven, upon the carcases of Israel’s foes. The supreme penalty inflicted on the opponents of Zoroastrianism is that their corpses are given over to the corpse-eating birds, i.e., ravens (Vend. 3:20, 9:49). cf. Introd. § 4 b.

The messiah who forms “the central figure of this bloodthirsty scene,” written like the preceding out of the presbyter’s “savage hatred of Rome” (Selwyn, 83) has a semi-political rather than a transcendental role to play. The normal Christian consciousness (cf.Revelation 22:12) viewed the return of Jesus as ushering in the final requital of mankind; but in these special oracles (cf.Revelation 17:14) where a semi-historical figure is pitted against Christ on earth, the latter is brought down to meet the adversary on his own ground—a development of eschatology which is a resumption of primitive messianic categories in Judaism. The messiah here is consequently a grim, silent, implacable conqueror. There is no tenderness in the Apocalypse save for the pious core of the elect people, nothing of that disquiet of heart with which the sensitiveness of later ages viewed the innumerable dead. Here mankind are naïvely disposed of in huge masses; their antagonism to the messiah and his people is assumed to have exposed them to ruthless and inexorable doom. Nor do the scenic categories of the tradition leave any room for such a feeling as dictated Plutarch’s noble description (De Sera Uind. 555 E. F.) of the eternal pangs of conscience. Upon the other hand, there is no gloating over the torments of the wicked.

Now that the destructive work of messiah is over, the ground seems clear for his constructive work (cf. Ps. Sol. 17:26 f.). But the idiosyncracies of John’s outlook involve a departure from the normal tradition of Judaism and early Christianity at this point. Satan, who survives, as he had preceded, the Roman empire, still remains to be dealt with. The third vision of doom, therefore (Revelation 20:1-10) outlines his final defeat, in two panels: (a) one exhibiting a period of enforced restraint, during which (for 2, 3 and 4–7 are synchronous) messiah and the martyrs enjoy a halcyon time of temporal and temporary bliss, (b) the other sketching (Revelation 19:7-10) a desperate but unavailing recrudescence of the devil’s power. The oracle is brief and uncoloured. It rounds off the preceding predictions and at the same time paves the way for the magnificent finalê of 21–22, on which the writer puts forth all his powers. But it is more than usually enigmatic and allusive. “Dans ces derniers chapitres les tableaux qui passent sous nos yeux n’ont plus la fraícheur vivante de ceux qui ont précédé. L’imagination ayant affaire à des conceptions absolument idéales et sans aucune analogie avec les réalités concrètes de la nature, est naturellement moins sûre d’elle-même, et ne parvient plus aussi facilement à satisfaire celle du lecteur” (Reuss). Ingenious attempts have been made (e.g., by Vischer, Spitta, and Wellhausen) to disentangle a Jewish source from the passage, but real problem is raised and solved on the soil of the variant traditions which John moulded at this point for his own Christian purposes. In the creation-myth the binding of the chaos-dragon or his allies took place at the beginning of the world’s history (cf. Prayer of Manass. 2–4). As the dragon came to be moralised into the power of spiritual evil, this temporary restraint (cf. on Revelation 19:2) was transferred to the beginning of the end, by a modification of the primitive view which probably goes back to Iranian theology (cf. Stave, 175 f., Baljon, Völter, 120 f., Briggs, etc.). The conception of messiah’s reign as preliminary and limited on earth was not unknown to Judaism (Encycl. Relig. and Ethics, i. 203 f.) or even to primitive Christianity (cf.1 Corinthians 15:21-28, where Paul develops it differently). But the identification of it with the sabbath of the celestial week (which was originally non-messianic, cf. Slav. En. xxxii. 33.) and the association of it with the martyrs are peculiar to John’s outlook. A further idiosyncracy is the connection between the Gog and Magog attack and the final manœuvre of Satan. The psychological clue to these conceptions probably lies in the prophet’s desire to provide a special compensation for the martyrs, prior to the general bliss of the saints. This may have determined his adoption or adaptation of the chiliastic tradition, which also conserved the archaic hope of an earthly reign for the saints without interfering with the more spiritual and transcendent outlook of Revelation 20:11 f. His procedure further enabled him to preserve the primitive idea of messiah’s reign [4] as distinct from that of God, by dividing the final act of the drama into two scenes (4 f., 11 f.).—With the realistic episode of 1–3, angels pass off the stage (except the angel of Revelation 21:9 f. and the angelus interpres of xxii. 6–10), in accordance with the Jewish feeling that they were inferior to the glorified saints to whom alone (cf.Hebrews 2:4) the next world belonged. There is no evidence to support the conjecture (Cheyne, Bible Problems, 233) that in Revelation 19:1 represents “an already corrupt text of an older Hebrew Apocalypse, in which mal’âk was written instead of mikâ’çl” (cf. above on Revelation 12:7).

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 19:20". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-19.html. 1897-1910.