Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 20:9

And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Fire;   Millennium;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Death;   The Topic Concordance - Deception;   Devil/devils;   Hell;   Israel/jews;   War/weapons;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Millennium;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Condemnation;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Conflagration;   Croisade, or Crusade;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Amillennialism;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Canticles;   ;   Devil;   Encampment;   Gog;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Camp, Encampment;   Castle;   Dragon;   Jerusalem;   Revelation, the Book of;   Suffering;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Chiliasm;   Gog;   Time;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ascension of Isaiah;   Fire;   Judgment Damnation;   Resurrection;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Camp;   Millennium;   Prophets, the;   Saint;   Satan ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Fire;   Gog;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Camp;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Gog and Magog;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Print;   Revelation of John:;   Satan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The beloved city - Primarily, Jerusalem, typically, the Christian Church.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And they went up on the breadth of the earth - They spread over the earth in extended columns. The image is that of an invading army that seems, in its march, to spread all over a land. The reference here is to the hosts assembled from the regions of Gog and Magog; that is, to the formidable enemies of the gospel that would be roused up at the close of the period properly called the “millennial” period - the period of the thousand years. It is not necessary to suppose that there would be “literally” armies of enemies of God summoned from lands that would be called lands of “Gog and Magog”; but all that is necessarily implied is, that there will be a state of hostility to the church of Christ which would be well illustrated by such a comparison with an invading host of barbarians. The expression “the breadth of the land” occurs in Habakkuk 1:6, in a description. of the invasion of the Chaldeans, and means there “the whole extent of it”; that is, they would spread over the whole country.

And compassed the camp of the saints about - Besieged the camp of the saints considered as engaged in war, or as attacked by an enemy. The “camp of the saints” here seems to be supposed to be without the walls of the city; that is, the army was drawn out for defense. The fact that the foes were able to “compass this camp about,” and to encircle the city at the same time, shows the greatness of the numbers of the invaders.

And the beloved city - Jerusalem - a city represented as beloved by God and by his people. The whole imagery here is derived from a supposed invasion of the land of Palestine - imagery than which nothing could be more natural to John in describing the hostility that would be aroused against the church in the latter day. But no just principle of interpretation requires us to understand this “literally.” Compare Hebrews 12:22. Indeed, it would be absolutely “impossible” to give this chapter throughout a “literal” interpretation. What would be the “literal” interpretation of the very first verses? “I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the “key” of the bottomless pit, and “a great chain” in his hand; and he laid hold on the “dragon and bound” him.” Can anyone believe that there is to be a literal “key,” and a “chain,” and an act of seizing a “serpent,” and “binding” him? As little is it demanded that the passage before us should be taken “literally”; for if it is maintained that this should be, we may insist that the same principle of interpretation should be applied to every part of the chapter, and every part of the book.

And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them - Consumed them - fire being represented as devouring or eating. See the notes on Revelation 17:16. The meaning is, that they would be destroyed as if fire should come down from heaven, as on Sodom and Gomorrah. But it is not necessary to understand this literally, anymore than it is the portions of the chapter just referred to. What is obviously meant is, that their destruction would be sudden, certain, and entire, and that thus the last enemy of God and the church would be swept away. Nothing can be determined from this about the “means” by which this destruction will be effected; and that must be left for time to disclose. It is sufficient to know that the destruction of these last foes of God and the church will be certain and entire. This “language,” as denoting the final destruction of the enemies of God, is often employed in the Scriptures. See Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 29:6; Ezekiel 38:22; Ezekiel 39:6.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-20.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they went up on the breadth of the earth,.... Either the whole earth, in the several parts of which they will be raised; or the land of Israel, where Christ and his people will be; and so the wicked being raised, will come up from the several parts of the world, and spread themselves over the holy land; just as Gog and Magog are said to cover the land of Israel, as a cloud, Ezekiel 38:16 and it may be observed, that the very phrase of רחב ארצך, "the breadth of thy land", is used of Immanuel's land, or the land of Israel, in Isaiah 8:8

and compassed the camp of the saints about; these are the blessed and Holy Ones, who have part in the first resurrection, even all the saints; not only the martyrs under the Heathen persecutions, and the confessors of Christ under the Papacy, but all the saints from the beginning of the world; these will be all encamped together, with the tabernacle of God in the midst of them, Revelation 21:3 and Christ their King at the head of them, Micah 2:13 the allusion is to the encampment of the children of Israel in the wilderness, about the tabernacle, which was in the midst of them, Numbers 2:2 &c. afterwards the city of Jerusalem itself was called a camp, and answered in all respects to the camp in the wildernessF6T. Bab Zebachim, fol. 116. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Beth Habbechirah, c. 7. sect. 11. , to which the reference is in Hebrews 13:11 and which serves to illustrate the passage here, since it follows:

and the beloved city: not Constantinople, as some have thought, but the holy city, the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2 the general assembly and church of the firstborn, beloved by God and Christ, and by the holy angels, and by one another; and these very probably will be with Christ upon the same spot of ground where the Old Jerusalem stood, a city so highly favoured, and so much distinguished by God; so that where Christ suffered so much reproach and shame, and such an accursed death, he will now be glorified, and live in triumph with his saints:

and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them; not material fire; with this the earth, and the bodies of the wicked then upon it, will be burnt at the beginning of the thousand years; but now their bodies will be raised immortal, and not capable of being consumed with such fire; but the fiery indignation of God, or his wrath, which will be poured out like fire, is here meant, which will destroy both body and soul; this is no other than the lake of fire, or second death, into which they will be cast; and which will not be until the judgment is over, though it is here related to show what will be the event and issue of their attack upon the saints: the allusion is to the fire sent upon Gog and Magog, and to the burning of their weapons, in Ezekiel 38:22 and so the JewsF7Targum Jon. in Numb. xi. 26. say of their Gog and Magog, that

"they shall be killed with the burning of the soul, with a flame of fire, which shall come from under the throne of glory.'

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And they went up on the b breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and 17 fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

(b) As if he said, in so much that the whole face of the earth, however great it is, was filled.

(17) The wrath of God, consuming the adversaries, and overthrowing all their enterprises; (Hebrews 10:27). This is the second part mentioned {See (Revelation 20:7) }, in the overthrow of Satan.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

of the [holy] land.

the camp of the saints and the beloved city — the camp of the saints encircling the beloved city, Jerusalem (Ecclesiasticus 24:11). Contrast “hateful” in Babylon (Revelation 18:2; Deuteronomy 32:15, Septuagint). Ezekiel‘s prophecy of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:1-39:29) refers to the attack made by Antichrist on Israel before the millennium: but this attack is made after the millennium, so that “Gog and Magog” are mystical names representing the final adversaries led by Satan in person. Ezekiel‘s Gog and Magog come from the north, but those here come “from the four corners of the earth.” Gog is by some connected with a Hebrew root, “covered.”

from God — so B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas. But A omits the words. Even during the millennium there is a separation between heaven and earth, transfigured humanity and humanity in the flesh. Hence it is possible that an apostasy should take place at its close. In the judgment on this apostasy the world of nature is destroyed and renewed, as the world of history was before the millennial kingdom; it is only then that the new heaven and new earth are realized in final perfection. The millennial new heaven and earth are but a foretaste of this everlasting state when the upper and lower congregations shall be no longer separate, though connected as in the millennium, and when new Jerusalem shall descend from God out of heaven. The inherited sinfulness of our nature shall be the only influence during the millennium to prevent the power of the transfigured Church saving all souls. When this time of grace shall end, no other shall succeed. For what can move him in whom the visible glory of the Church, while the influence of evil is restrained, evokes no longing for communion with the Church‘s King? As the history of the world of nations ended with the manifestation of the Church in visible glory, so that of mankind in general shall end with the great separation of the just from the wicked (Revelation 20:12) [Auberlen].

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-20.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

They went up (ανεβησανanebēsan). Second aorist active indicative of αναβαινωanabainō a return to the manner of the seer as in Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:5.

Over the breadth of the earth (επι το πλατος της γηςepi to platos tēs gēs). ΠλατοςPlatos is old word, in N.T. only here, Revelation 21:16; Ephesians 3:18. The hosts of Satan spread over the earth.

Compassed (εκυκλευσανekukleusan). First aorist (prophetic) active indicative of κυκλευωkukleuō to encircle, late verb (Strabo) from κυκλοςkuklos (circle), in N.T. only here and margin in John 10:24 (for εκυκλωσανekuklōsan from κυκλοωkukloō).

The camp of the saints (την παρεμβολην των αγιωνtēn parembolēn tōn hagiōn). ΠαρεμβοληParembolē (παρα εν βαλλωparaτην πολιν την ηγαπημενηνenαγαπαωballō) is common late word for military camp, in lxx for the Israelites in the desert (Exod 29:14, etc.), in N.T. for Roman barracks (Acts 21:34, Acts 21:37) and for an army in line of battle (Hebrews 11:34; Revelation 20:9).

The beloved city (και κατεβη πυρ εκ του ουρανουtēn polin tēn ēgapēmenēn). Perfect passive participle of καταβαινωagapaō “the city the beloved.” See Psalm 78:68; Psalm 87:2 for Jerusalem so described. So Charles takes it here, but Swete holds it to be “the Church the New Zion” that is meant.

And fire came down out of heaven (κατεπαγεν αυτουςkai katebē pur ek tou ouranou). Second aorist (prophetic) active indicative of κατεστιωkatabainō Cf. Genesis 19:24; Genesis 39:6; Ezekiel 38:22; 2 Kings 1:10, 2 Kings 1:12; Luke 9:54 (about John).

Devoured them (katephagen autous). Second aorist (prophetic) active of katesthiō to eat up (down). Vivid climax to this last great battle with Satan.

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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 20:9". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

On the breadth ( ἐπὶ τὸ πλάτος )

Lit., over ( ἐπί ). As distinguished from the “four corners” of Revelation 20:8. They overspread the earth.

The camp ( τὴν παρεμβολὴν )

See on castle, Acts 21:34. Encompassing and defending the city. Compare Psalm 78:7.

The beloved city

Compare Psalm 78:68.

From God

Omit.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, or the land — Filling the whole breadth of it.

And surrounded the camp of the saints — Perhaps the gentile church, dwelling round about Jerusalem.

And the beloved city — So termed, likewise, Ecclesiasticus xxiv11.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-20.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

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.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-20.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

Ver. 9. And they went up] As a flood, Ezekiel 8:9; Ezekiel 8:16.

And compassed] As resolved that none should escape them, Psalms 118:11-12; 2 Kings 6:14-15; 2 Kings 25:1.

The camp of the saints] The Church militant.

And the beloved city] The New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2; "The dearly beloved of God’s soul," Jeremiah 12:7; or, "God’s dearly beloved soul," την ψυχην την ηγαπημενην, as the Septuagint render it. (Spec. Europ.) For present the Turk is the bridle that holds in the pope with all his followers from any universal proceeding against the Protestants; who herein are greatly advantaged above them, in that their opposites lie between them and the Turk; or in that their countries, coasting so much as they do toward the north (as Denmark, Switzerland, &c.), are out of his way, and no part of his present aim. Italy is the mark he shoots at. And when once he shall rise against the true Church, fire from heaven shall devour him.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-20.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 20:9. τὴν πόλιν τὴν ἠγαπημένην) Jerusalem is called πόλις ἠγαπημένη, Sirach 24:11. But here it comes under the name both of camp and city, ἓν διὰ δυοῖν. ΄εμισημένος, ch. Revelation 18:2, and ἠγαπημένος, are opposed to one another: and yet in this place there seems to be pointed out a security on the part of the city, which is not altogether harmless, as Deuteronomy 32:15. In the Greek it is ἀπελάκτισεν ἠγαπημένος.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And they went up on the breadth of the earth; that is, in all parts of it where the church of Christ was.

And compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; the church of God (typified by old Jerusalem, which was God’s beloved city) they encompassed in a military order and manner, designing to destroy it, or make it subject to their lusts.

And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them: thus Ezekiel prophesied of the issue of the Gog and Magog by him mentioned, Ezekiel 38:18-22: Ezekiel 38:22, And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. The meaning is, that God would destroy them with a quick and terrible destruction, such as is that destruction of persons and places which is by fire.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-20.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

огонь В Писании часто ассоциируется с небесным судом, посылаемым на грешников (Быт. 19:24; 4Цар. 1:10, 12, 14; Лк. 9:54; 17:29).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-20.html.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them.

And they went up over the breadth of the earth ... All of the world will be swallowed up by the empire of evil; and their vicious hatred of the truth and of Christ will not rest as long as any souls, no matter how few, are true believers in Christ and his holy religion. Therefore, they will move to destroy utterly even the remnant of believers left. That is the picture when the judgment falls.

And encompassed the camp of the saints about ... This has no reference whatever to some locale where Christians will be encamped, as in an army, and barricaded against evil. No! It just means that the devil will finally take it in hand to destroy, utterly and finally, the last vestiges of truth and righteousness upon the earth. Fire from heaven will be God's answer to that decision on the part of Satan. Ladd, and many others, envision the literal Jerusalem as the earthly scene of this event;[47] but there is no basis in the bible for such a notion.

And the beloved city ... This symbolizes the true church of God, certainly not literal Jerusalem which crucified Christ and both earned and received the outpouring of the wrath of God upon her as a consequence. This racial thing about literal Jews that gets into millennial calculations is as unchristian and unreasonable as any nonsense ever advocated. Long ago, God thundered the edict from heaven that there is "NO DISTINCTION" between Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:22; 10:12), and the Christian is gullible indeed who allows himself to accept any theory of "distinction" regarding Jews, Gentiles, or any other races of mankind. It is just as Scriptural to suppose that God has separate plans for the Albanians, the Laps, the North American Indians, or the Japanese, as it is to imagine that racial Jews shall enter in any special manner into God's plans for the future.

And fire came down from heaven and devoured them ... Not much of a "war" was it? God spake, and it was done. God settled the full account with evil in a single fiery blast.

ENDNOTE:

[47] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 270.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The rebels will occupy Palestine ("the broad plane;" cf. Ezekiel 38:9; Ezekiel 38:11-12; Ezekiel 38:15-16; Ezekiel 39:2). This probably refers to the Plain of Jezreel in northern Israel (cf. Ezekiel 11-16). However topographical changes will precede and accompany Christ"s second coming, so the location of this plain may not be exactly identifiable now. The rebels will also surround the dwelling place ("camp") of believers, even the earthly city of Jerusalem. This city will be Christ"s capital during the Millennium ( Jeremiah 3:17; cf. Isaiah 24:23; Ezekiel 43:7; Micah 4:7; Zechariah 14:9-11), the center of the world ( Ezekiel 38:12). Nevertheless, God will destroy the rebels with fire from heaven (cf. Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 10:2; 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12; Ezekiel 38:22; Ezekiel 39:6; Luke 9:54). John described the destiny of these mortal rebels in Revelation 20:12-15.

Many less literal interpreters understand this verse as a description of the church"s final victory over her enemies. They usually equate this city with the New Jerusalem. [Note: E.g, Swete, pp268-69; and Beale, pp1025-28.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-20.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 20:9. And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about and the beloved city. The two appellations here used are evidently intended to express only two different aspects of the same thing, although we are probably to think of the camp not as within the city, but as round about it and defending it (comp. Psalms 34:7). ‘The beloved city’ can be no other than Jerusalem, and this is allowed by all commentators. But it is neither the new Jerusalem, which has not yet come down from heaven, nor the actual city of that name, which is supposed by many to play ‘so glorious a part’ in the latter days. It is in the nature of things impossible that such enormous hosts should encompass one small city. The whole, too, is a vision, and must be symbolically understood. As ‘the nations’ denote the enemies, ‘the beloved city’ denotes the people, of God; and surely not a select number, but all the ‘saints;’ all to whom the term ‘Jerusalem’ in its best sense may be properly applied. It was in a similar sense that in chap. Revelation 14:1 the 144,000 stood upon Mount Zion, and that in chap. Revelation 14:20 the slaughter took place ‘without the city.’

And fire came down out of heaven and devoured them. The destruction is complete even without mention of a battle being fought (comp. 1 John 5:4). The imagery is taken from Ezekiel 38:22; Ezekiel 39:6, with allusion also to such a destruction as that of 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12; 2 Kings 1:14.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-20.html. 1879-90.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Satan"s forces will come up against the barracks of the faithful and the holy city, or church (Hebrews 12:22-28). Their intent is to destroy God"s faithful once and for all but God intervenes with the fire of his judgment and consumes his enemies.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-20.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

earth. App-129. Compare Isaiah 8:8 and Habakkuk 1:6.

saints. See Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:27. Acts 9:13.

beloved. App-135.

devoured. As Revelation 12:4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

On the breadth of the earth - completely overspreading it. Perhaps translate, ' ... of the (holy) land.'

The camp of the saints ... and the beloved city - the camp of the saints encircling the beloved city, Jerusalem (Sirach 24:11). Contrast "hateful" in Babylon, (Revelation 18:2; 'Jacob, the beloved,' Deuteronomy 32:15; Septuagint) Ezekiel's prophecy of Gog and Magog refers to the attack on Israel before the millennium; but this attack is after the millennium; so that "Gog and Magog" represent the final adversaries led by Satan. Ezekiel's Gog and Magog come from the north, but those here 'from the four corners of the earth.' Gog is by some connected with a Hebrew root, 'covered.'

From God. So B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, Andreas; but A omits. Even during the millennium there is a separation between heaven and earth, humanity transfigured and humanity in the flesh. Hence, an apostasy can take place at its close. In the judgment on this the world of nature is destroyed and renewed, as the world of history was before the millennium: it is only then that the new heaven and new earth are perfected. The millennial heaven and earth, connected but separate, are but a foretaste of this everlasting state, when the upper and lower congregations shall be no longer separate, and new Jerusalem shall descend from God out of heaven. Man's birth-sin, the flesh, shall be the only influence during the millennium to prevent the saving of all souls. When this time of grace shall end, no other shall succeed. For what can move him in whom the Church's visible glory, while evil is restrained, evokes no longing for communion with the Church's King? As the history of nations ended with the manifestation of the Church in glory, so that of mankind in general shall end with the separation of the just from the wicked (Revelation 20:12) (Auberlen).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9) And they went up on the breadth of the earth.—The hostile multitudes spread like swarms over the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. Jerusalem is the beloved city—in it was the Mount Zion which God loved (Psalms 78:68). It is the figure of the true spiritual Zion and Jerusalem which has been faithful to her king. The beloved city has its camp; it is ready for war. It has waged its spiritual warfare against all forms of evil, Its citizens, like the returned exiles (Nehemiah 4:17-18), could never lay down the sword (comp. Ephesians 6:10; John 2:14; John 5:4); but the hostile demonstration is arrested by divine intervention. There came down fire out of the heaven (the words “from God” are of doubtful authority) and devoured them. The Shechinah light tabernacled over the holy city. Its light was also a flame ready to break forth upon the wicked. (Comp. Revelation 1:14; Revelation 7:15, Note; Hebrews 12:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.) There may be allusion to the overthrow of the cities of the plains (Genesis 19:24), but other incidents may have been in the prophet’s mind: the fire which fell from heaven upon the enemies of an earlier prophet, Elijah (2 Kings 1:9-14), and the fire which broke forth from the tabernacle in the wilderness upon those who defied the laws of the God of Israel (Numbers 16:16-17; Numbers 16:35; Leviticus 10:1-2). It must be remembered that, in the passage before us, the prophet is using the incidents and actions of the past as imagery, and that the present vision is figurative, though of course not mere empty figure: for Christ will thoroughly purge His floor (Matthew 3:12).

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-20.html. 1905.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

As the beast was symbolic of the Roman empire, personified in the persecuting emperors, so was the Gog and Magog personification symbolic of the spiritual forces of heathenism launched against the church in the "battle" of verse eight, in which the heathen forces of Gog and Magog were represented to be in number as the sand of the sea, which symbolized the proportions of the conflict and its challenge to the church; and verse nine stated that they compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. The reference to the "beloved city" here could not mean Jerusalem--the apostate harlot Jerusalem was no longer "beloved," and was no more. This beloved city was the church, the New Jerusalem, which was compassed about with heathenism, in the midst of its idolatries, surrounded by all of its antagonism to the church.

The first chapter of Romans, and the Corinthian, Ephesian, and Colossian epistles confirm this great danger to the church. It was concerning this threat of heathen influence that Paul specifically exhorted the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. The description of verse nine that the legions of the heathen ruler went upon the breath of the earth in the forays of his satanic forces against the church emphasizes the extent of the opposition to Christianity, and of its threat to the church. But as in the finale of the imperial persecutions, the church prevailed against heathenism, and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

This was the symbol of the consuming power of the word of God in exposing the error and evil of heathen idolatry. The apostle declared in 2 Corinthians 4:2-4 that the light of the gospel of Christ dispelled the darkness of "the god of this world." Neither the imperial beast nor the heathen Magog could withstand the power of God. It was in reference to these same things that Paul said in Romans 16:20 : "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-20.html. 1966.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
went
Isaiah 8:7,8; Ezekiel 38:9,16; Habakkuk 1:6
and compassed
2 Kings 6:15; Micah 2:13; Matthew 16:16-18; Luke 19:43; 21:20
the camp
Psalms 48:1-3; 74:2-4; 125:1,2; Hebrews 13:13
and fire
11:5; 13:13; Genesis 19:24; Exodus 9:23,24; Leviticus 10:2,3; Numbers 11:1; 16:35; 2 Kings 1:10-15; Psalms 97:3; 106:18; Isaiah 30:33; 37:36; Ezekiel 38:22; 39:6; Luke 9:54; 17:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:8
Reciprocal: Joshua 9:2 - gathered;  1 Samuel 23:26 - away;  Job 38:18 - GeneralPsalm 48:4 - GeneralPsalm 110:5 - strike;  Psalm 118:10 - All nations;  Isaiah 8:9 - Associate;  Isaiah 25:5 - shalt bring;  Isaiah 29:7 - the multitude;  Isaiah 34:2 - the indignation;  Isaiah 51:13 - were ready;  Isaiah 54:15 - they shall;  Ezekiel 13:5 - to stand;  Daniel 7:22 - the Ancient;  Daniel 11:45 - he shall come;  Joel 3:11 - Assemble;  Micah 4:3 - and rebuke;  Micah 5:9 - hand;  Zephaniah 3:19 - I will undo;  Zechariah 9:8 - I will;  Zechariah 12:3 - though;  Zechariah 12:6 - like an hearth;  Philippians 3:19 - end;  Revelation 12:17 - to make;  Revelation 20:5 - the rest

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-20.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 20:9. — "And they went up on the breadth of the earth,and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city." They crowd and cover the earth in its entirety. They come from north, south, east, and west. They gather under one leader, swayed by one deadly impulse of hatred, and to one centre. The nations have experienced for one thousand years the beneficent rule of Christ. Satan has been for one thousand years restrained,his liberty curtailed, and yet the mad attempt is entered upon to crush the camp of the saints, and to destroy the beloved city, Jerusalem. The nations converge upon Jerusalem. Christ does not intervene. It is a matter for God to take up. The camp of the saints on earth, and the "beloved city," a beautiful designation of Jerusalem in the future (Isaiah 60:1-22), are surrounded by the multitudinous hosts of earth. No mention is made of how Christ and Hispeople, heavenly or earthly, regard this last mad attempt of Satan and his deceived followers. All is silent in the camp and city. The apostate nations march into the jaws of death. Their judgment is sudden, swift, overwhelming, and final. God deals with the hosts of evil, "Fire came down out of Heaven and devoured them," the Authorised Version adding "from God." The words should be deleted on the authority of the critics, yet the sense is the same, for the judgment is from God.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-20.html.

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

The pronoun they stands for the hostile forces of Satan symbolically mustered from the regions of Gog and Magog. This is the army of Satan that is described in the preceding paragraph. They will fight under his directions with the object of destroying men's faith in the Bible. The apostate church of Rome taught that the religious conduct of men should be regulated according to the pope and his college of cardinals. The teaching of Christ is that men's lives should be regulated by the Bible ( 1 Peter 4:11; 1 John 1:7), that the sole institution for making that Book known is the church ( Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 3:15). Hence the army of Satan was to compass the camp of the saints. This means the church when considered as a group of individuals, and the beloved city means the church if spiritual Jerusalem is used as a symbol. So here is where the issue is joined in this great battle of Armageddon. The church of Christ is on one side, and everything else is on the other in all controversies that involve moral and religious interests, and where belief in or opposition to the Bible is at stake. The first two thirds of this brief verse covers the entire period of the war of Armageddon, beginning when Satan was loosed and extending to the coming of Christ. The last sentence of the verse marks the end of the war. Not that it tells of the date (no passage does), but it names the event that will bring the conflict to a close, namely, the consuming fire out of heaven. We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 that the pope will be destroyed at the coming of Christ. It is very fitting that the war of Armageddon should be destroyed at the same time, since the pope and Satan have been allies arrayed against the forces of Christ for centuries. And with this verse the prophetic symbols of the book of Revelation bring us to the judgment day for the final showing. At various places in our study we have been brought to that event, then taken back to some earlier period and started all over again. But the rest of the chapter will describe the events on the day of judgment and not go back.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-20.html. 1952.

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

Revelation 20:9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down out of heaven from God, and consumed them. The going up is used of any warlike expedition, because the object of it appears a height to be ascended and taken.[Note: Somewhat differently Gesenius in his Thes. on עלה: Quoniam urbes castraque expugnanda in loco edito extructa sunt.] By the breadth of the earth the whole compass of it is denoted. In Habakkuk 1:6, the Chaldeans march "through the breadth of the earth," that is, they go through it after its whole extent and compass, comp. Isaiah 8:8; Genesis 13:17; Job 38:18. Those deceived by Satan are, according to Revelation 20:8, scattered over the entire breadth of the earth; but others also dwell with them, who do not yield to the seduction. Against these they now go forth; they would possess the whole compass of the earth, and verify the opposite of the statement, "the meek shall inherit the earth." And it appeared as if they were going to succeed, not less than of old when Assyria marched against Jerusalem.

One can suppose that the church is here denoted by two distinct and independent images, that of the camp and that of the city. But we may also suppose that the camp of the saints is placed in the beloved city, as in Acts 21:34 the fortified camp of the Romans in the city of Jerusalem is spoken of, comp. Acts 21:37, Acts 22:24, Acts 23:10, Acts 23:16, Acts 23:32. Any how, the prefixing of the expression: the camp of the saints, indicates the warlike and armed condition, which is an essential characteristic of the saints, whose spiritual armoury is described in Ephesians 6:10, sq., comp. 1 John 2:14, 1 John 5:4. In the times of Moses and Joshua the church even externally presented the form of a military camp, (comp. Hebrews 13:11), imaging what in substance was to be continued through all times.

The beloved city is Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is in the Apocalypse always used as a symbol of the church (comp. vol. i., p. 425). Prosperous events, times in which the contest should assume a milder character, are not excluded by their being said to encompass the camp. As little are they excluded by the enemies being represented as pressing into the outworks of the holy city—comp. ch. Revelation 11:2. Our Lord said of the literal Jerusalem, in Luke 19:43, "Days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side." The same state of things shall here also take place, and indeed for the same reason, as a deserved punishment; for if the church had done her duty, Satan would never have been able by his deceptions to make such way against her. But nothing shall now happen like what is said in Luke 19:44, "And they shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another." For, this Jerusalem, with all its failings, still is the beloved city of God; and the word can never hold respecting it, which was spoken of ancient Jerusalem, "My house is an house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves."

By faith the walls of Jericho of old fell when they had been compassed for seven days (Hebrews 11:30). By faith also shall the walls of the beloved city be preserved. The fervent prayer of the faithful calls down fire from heaven (comp. at ch. Revelation 8:3-5).— After Satan has made those ripe for judgment, who through their guilt have been led away by him, the divine judgment falls upon the deceiver and the deceived. First upon the latter. The words, "And fire came down out of heaven from God," refer to Genesis 19:24, "And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;" to which also, as the image of all future judgments of God on the wicked, allusion is made in Ezekiel 38:22, Ezekiel 39:6. Here, this allusion, especially after the peculiar combination of the expressions, "out of heaven," and "from God," cannot be doubtful. The "from God" appeared a superfluous addition to some copyists, who did not perceive the reference to the fundamental passage. That it is not, however, to be regarded as a simple repetition from that passage, is plain from the order being the reverse of that there. It is there, from the Lord out of heaven; here, out of heaven from the Lord. The heaven forms here the contrast to the earth, God to Satan. From the allusion to Genesis 19, it is clear, that nothing is here indicated respecting the form of the judgment. What appears to refer to it, belongs to the ancient type. So much, however, may be regarded as certain, that here an unexpected, quick, frightful, overwhelming execution of divine vengeance is represented.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-20.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9.Went up—These hosts from all parts of the earth are concentrating upon Jerusalem.

Breadth of the earth—The earth visible to the seer is a vast surface, with four corners, or compass points, and over the plain the armies from every point are making themselves visible.

Camp—The heroic body of champions and defenders of the faith.

The beloved city—Not the “New Jerusalem,” for that is yet to come down “out of heaven,”

Revelation 21:2; nor the old Hebrew capital; but the mystic Jerusalem, the true Church, the antithesis of the mystic Babylon. She is at this period the earth’s centre, and upon her are gathering from all the horizon the hosts of Satan.

Fire’ devoured them—As it once did Sodom. And now is fulfilled St. Paul’s wonderful prediction of the Man of Sin. See our notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:6-9. This is the final parousia of Satan preceding the second advent. As before the millennium antichrist was consumed “by the breath of his mouth,” so here he is destroyed by “the brightness of his coming”—blazing forth in devouring fire. Even Romanistic interpreters admit this future antichrist. Just before the great white throne appears antichrist is consigned to gehenna. There was no need of trial and sentence for him.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-20.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

, either camp (as in O.T., e.g., Deuteronomy 23:14) or army (Hebrews 11:34), the saints being supposed to lie in a circle or leaguer round the headquarters of the messiah in Jerusalem, which—by an association common in the ancient world (e.g., Nineveh, “the beloved city” of her god Ishtar)—istermed his beloved city. The phrase is an implicit answer (cf. on Revelation 3:9) to the claim of contemporary Judaism which held to the title of “God’s beloved” as its monopoly (Apoc. Bar. Revelation 20:1, xxi. 21, cf. Sir. xxiv. 11). In the Hebrew Elias apocalypse of the 3rd century (cf. Buttenwieser, E. J. i. 681–2), where Gog and Magog also appear after the millennium to besiege Jerusalem, their annihilation is followed by the judgment and the descent of Jerusalem from heaven. This tradition of Revelation 20:4-10 therefore belongs to the cycle from which Revelation 11:1-13 (Revelation 14:14-20) was drawn; Jerusalem, freed from her foes and purified within, forms the headquarters of messiah’s temporary reign, tenanted not simply by devout worshippers but by martyrs (cf.Revelation 14:1-5, on mount Zion). Yet only a new and heavenly Jerusalem is finally adequate (21. f.); it descends after the last punishment and judgment (Revelation 11:15 f. = Revelation 20:10 f.). Wetstein cites from the Targ. Jonath. a passage which has suggested elements in this and in the preceding (Revelation 11:17-19) vision: a king rises in the last days from the land of Magog, et omnes populi obedient illi; after their rout by fire their corpses lie a prey to wild beasts and birds. Then “all the dead of Israel shall live ’ and receive the reward of their works”. In the highest spirit of the O.T., however, John rejects the horrible companion thought (En. lxxxix. 58, xciv. 10, xcvii. 2) that God gloats over the doom of the damned. An onset of foreign nations upon Jerusalem naturally formed a stereotyped feature in all Jewish expectations of latter-day horrors; here, however, as the city is ipso facto tenanted by holy citizens, the siege is ineffective (contrast Revelation 11:1 f.). Neither here nor in Revelation 19:21 are the rebellious victims consigned at death to eternal punishment, as are the beast, the false prophet, and Satan. The human tools of the latter die, but they are raised (Revelation 20:11 f.) for judgment (Revelation 20:15), though the result of their trial is a foregone conclusion (Revelation 13:8, Revelation 14:9-10). In En. vi., from which this passage borrows, Gog and Magog are represented by the Medes and the Parthians from whom (between 100 and 46 B.C.) a hostile league against Palestine might have been expected by contemporaries. But the destruction of the troops is there caused by civil dissensions. In our Apocalypse the means of destruction is supernatural fire, as in 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:4 Esd. 12:33, 13:38–39, Ap. Bar. xxvii. 10, Asc. Isa. iv. 18 (where fire issues from the Beloved to consume all the godless); the Parthians also appear some time before the end, in the penultimate stage when the Roman empire and its Nero-antichrist make their last attack. But the prophet is still left with the orthodox eschatological tradition of Gog and Magog, an episode (consecrated by the Ezekiel-prophecy and later belief) which he feels obliged to work in somehow. Hence his arrangement of Satan’s final recrudescence in juxtaposition with the Gog and Magog outburst (cf. on Revelation 16:16, and Klausner’s messian. Vorstellungen d. jüd. Volkes im Zeit. d. Tannaiten, pp. 61 f.). The latter, an honoured but by this time awkward survival of archaic eschatology, presented a similar difficulty to the Talmudic theology which variously put it before, or after, the messianic reign (Volz, pp. 175 f.). In his combination of messianic beliefs, John follows the tradition, accepted in Sib. Or. iii. 663 f., which postponed the irruption till after messiah s temporary period of power.

Revelation 20:11 to Revelation 22:5. The connexion of thought depends upon the traditional Jewish scheme outlined, e.g., in Apoc. Bar. xxix.–xxx. (cf. 4 Esd. 7:29, 30) where the messiah returns in glory to heaven after his reign on earth; the general resurrection follows, accompanied by the judgment. Developing his oracles along these current lines, the prophet now proceeds to depict his culminating vision of the End in three scenes: (1.) the world and its judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), (2.) the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1-8), centring round (3.) the new Jerusalem as the final seat of bliss (Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5). The last-named phase was associated in eschatology (Sib. Or. ver. 246 f., 414 f.) with the return of Nero redivivus and the downfall of Babylon which preceded the sacred city’s rise. The destruction of hostile forces, followed by the renovation of the universe, is essentially a Persian dogma (Stave, 180 f.), and is paralleled in the Babylonian mythology, where after the defeat and subjugation of Tiâmat in the primeval age creation commences. From this point until Revelation 21:9 f., Jesus is ignored entirely.

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 20:9". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-20.html. 1897-1910.