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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 19 - Verse 20

Verse 20. And the beast was taken. That is, was taken alive, to be thrown into the lake of fire. The hosts were slain, (Re 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 battle-field 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 Barnes on "Re 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 Barnes on "Re 16:14".

 

With which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast. See Barnes on "Re 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 peculiar 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 east 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 Barnes on "Re 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 Barnes on "Re 14:10".

 

{d} "beast" Re 16:13,14 {e} "lake of fire" Re 20:10; Da 7:11

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