on Revelation 20 :3
He should deceive the nations no more - Be unable to blind men with superstition and idolatry as he had formerly done.
on Revelation 20 :3
And cast him into the bottomless pit - See the notes on Revelation 9:1. A state of peace and prosperity would exist as if Satan, the great disturber, were confined in the nether world as a prisoner.
And shut him up - Closed the massive doors of the dark prison-house upon him. Compare the notes on Job 10:21-22.
And set a seal upon him - Or, rather, "upon it" - ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ epanō autou. The seal was placed upon the "door" or "gate" of the prison, not because this would fasten the gate or door of itself, and make it secure, for this was secured by the key, but because it prevented intrusion, or any secret opening of it without its being known. See the Daniel 6:17 note, and Matthew 27:66 note. The idea here is, that every precaution was taken for absolute security.
That he should deceive the nations no more - That is, during the thousand years. Compare the notes on Revelation 12:9.
Till the thousand years should be fulfilled - That is, during that period there will be a state of things upon the earth as if Satan should be withdrawn from the world, and confined in the great prison where he is ultimately to dwell forever.
And after that he must be loosed a little season - See Revelation 20:7-8. That is, a state of things will then exist, for a brief period, as if he were again released from his prison-house, and suffered to go abroad upon the earth. The phrase "a little season" - μικρὸν χρόνον mikron chronon, "little time" - denotes properly that this would be brief as compared with the thousand years. No intimation is given as to the exact time, and it is impossible to conjecture how long it will be. All the circumstances stated, however, here and in Revelation 20:7-10, would lead us to suppose that what is referred to will be like the sudden outbreak of a rebellion in a time of general peace, but which will soon be quelled.
Section a. - Condition of the world in the period referred to in Revelation 20:1-3
It may be proper, in order to a correct understanding of this chapter, to present a brief summary under the different parts (see the Analysis of the chapter) of what, according to the interpretation proposed, may be expected to be the condition of things in the time referred to.
On the portion now before us Revelation 20:1-3, according to the interpretation proposed, the following suggestions may be made:
(1) This will be subsequent to the downfall of the papacy and the termination of the Muhammedan power in the world. Of course, then, this lies in the future - how far in the future it is impossible to determine. The interpretation of the various portions of this book, and the book of Daniel, have, however, led to the conclusion that the termination of those powers cannot now be remote. If so, we are on the eve of important events in the world's history. The affairs of the world look as if things were tending to a fulfillment of the prophecies so understood.
(2) it will be a condition of the world "as if" Satan were bound; that is, where his influences will be suspended, and the principles of virtue and religion will prevail. According to the interpretation of the previous chapters, it will be a state in which all that has existed, and that now exists, in the papacy to corrupt mankind, to maintain error, and to prevent the prevalence of free and liberal principles, will cease; in which all that there now is in the Muhammedan system to fetter and enslave mankind - now controlling more than one hundred and twenty million of the race - shall have come to an end; and in which, in a great measure, all that occurs under the direct influence of Satan in causing or perpetuating slavery, war, intemperance, lust, avarice, disorder, scepticism, atheism, will be checked arid stayed. It is proper to say, however, that this passage does not require us to suppose that there will be a "total cessation" of Satanic influence in the earth during that period. Satan will, indeed, be bound and restrained as to his former influence and power. But there will be no change in the character of man as he comes into the world. There will still be corrupt passions in the human heart. Though greatly restrained, and though there will be a general prevalence of righteousness on the earth, yet we are to remember that the race is fallen, and that even then, if restraint should be taken away, man would act out his fallen nature. This fact, if remembered, will make it appear less strange that, after this period of prevalent righteousness, Satan should be represented as loosed again, and as able once more for a time to deceive the nations.
(3) it will be a period of long duration. On the supposition that it is to be literally a period of one thousand years, this is in itself long, and will give, especially under the circumstances, opportunity for a vast progress in human affairs. To form some idea of the length of the period, we need only place ourselves in imagination "back" for a thousand years - say in the middle of the ninth century - and look at the condition of the world then, and think of the vast changes in human affairs that have occurred during that period. It is to be remembered, also, that if the millennial period were soon to commence, it would find the world in a far different state in reference to future progress from what it was in the ninth century, and that it would "start off," so to speak, with all the advantages in the arts and sciences which have been accumulated in all the past periods of the world.
Even if there were no special divine interposition, it might be presumed that the race, in such circumstances, would make great and surprising advances in the long period of a thousand years. And here a very striking remark of Mr. Hugh Miller may be introduced as illustrating the subject. "It has been remarked by some student of the Apocalypse," says he, "that the course of predicted events at first moves slowly, as one after one, six of seven seals are opened; that, on the opening of the seventh seal, the progress is so considerably quickened that the seventh period proves as fertile in events - represented by the sounding of the seven trumpets - as the foregoing six taken together; and that on the seventh trumpet, so great is the further acceleration, that there is an amount of incident condensed in this seventh part of the seventh period equal, as in the former case, to that of all the previous six parts in one. There are three cycles, it has been said, in the scheme - cycle within cycle - the second comprised within a seventh portion of the first, and the third within a seventh portion of the second. Be this as it may, we may, at least, see something that exceedingly resembles it in that actual economy of change and revolution manifested in English history for the last two centuries. "It would seem as if eyelets, in their downward course, had come under the influence of that law of gravitation through which falling bodies increase in speed, as they descend, according to the squares of the distance" (First Impressions of England and its People, pp. 7, 8.). If to this we add the supposition, which we have seen (see the notes on Revelation 20:2) to be by no means improbable, that it is intended, in the description of the millennium in this chapter, that the world will continue under a reign of peace and righteousness for the long period of three hundred and sixty thousand years, it is impossible to anticipate what progress will be made during that period, or to enumerate the numbers that will be saved. On this subject, see some very interesting remarks in the "Old Red Sandstone," by Hugh Miller, pp. 248-250, 258, 259. Compare Prof. Hitchcock's "Religion and Geology," pp. 370-409.
(4) What, then, will be the state of things during that long period of a thousand years?
on Revelation 20 :3