Home>Dr. John Gill

Dr. John Gill
(1697- 1771)

An Exposition of the New Testament, 3 vols. (Paris, AR: The Baptist Standard Bearer, [1809] 1989)

1769 Body of Divinity | Gill’s Archive | Matthew 24: Exposition of the Entire Bible

“Serve God, not a creature, nor the elements of this world, the ceremonial  law, and its rites: nor is he to be served in any form, only in a spiritual  way.”

(On Psalm 95 ; Forty Years and That Generation)
“Ver. 10. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, &c.] The generation of the wilderness, as the Jews commonly call them; and which was a stubborn and a rebellious one, whose heart and spirit were not right with God, #Ps 78:8, wherefore, speaking after the manner of men, God was grieved with them, as he was with the old world, #Ge 6:6, or he was “weary” of them, and “loathed” them as the word {l} sometimes signifies; wherefore, after the affair of the spies, to which Aben Ezra thinks this had reference, they did not hear from the mouth of the Lord, there was no prophecy sent them by the hand of Moses, as the same writer observes; nor any history or account of them, from that time till they came to the border of Canaan; so greatly was their conduct and behaviour resented: and it was much such a term of time that was between the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Christ, and the destruction of Jerusalem; during which time the Jews tempted Christ, tried his patience, saw his works, and grieved his Spirit, which brought at last ruin upon them:”

(On Hebrews 3; Forty Years and That Generationand saw my works forty years; that is, God’s works of providence, in furnishing them with the necessaries of life, in guiding, protecting, and supporting them for the space of forty years, in the wilderness; and his miracles, and the punishment of their enemies; yet they saw and perceived not, but all this time sinned against the Lord, see #De 29:2-8 the space of time, forty years, is in the psalm placed to the beginning of the next verse, and is joined with God’s grief and indignation at the people, as it is also by the apostle, in #Heb 3:17 but the people’s sin, and God’s grief at it, being of equal duration, it matters not to which it is placed, and therefore to both; perhaps, one reason of its being repeated, and so much notice taken of it is, because there was just this number of years from Christ’s sufferings, to the destruction of Jerusalem; which the apostle might have in view.”

(On Deuteronomy 28:49)
“Ver. 49. The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, &c.] Now though Babylon is represented as a country distant from Judea, and said to be a nation “from far”, #Jer 5:15; yet not “from the end of the earth”; as here; and though the Roman nation, strictly speaking, was not at so great a distance from Jerusalem, yet the Roman emperors, and great part of their armies brought against it, were fetched from our island of Great Britain, which in former times was reckoned the end of the earth, and the uttermost parts of the world {s}; and so Manasseh Ben Israel {t} interprets this nation of Rome, and observes, that Vespasian brought for his assistance many nations (or soldiers) out of England, France, Spain, and other parts of the world: and not only Vespasian was sent for from Britain to make war with the Jews, but when they rebelled, in the times of Adrian, Julius Severus, a very eminent general, was sent for from thence to quell them. And it appears to be a very ancient opinion of the Jews, that this passage is to be understood of the Romans, from what is related in one of their Talmuds {u}: they say, that

“Trajan, being sent for by his wife to subdue the Jews, determined to come in ten days, and came in five; he came and found them (the Jews) busy in the law on that verse, “the Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far”, &c. he said unto them, what are ye busy in? they answered him, so and so; he replied to them, this is the man (meaning himself) who thought to come in ten days, and came in five; and he surrounded them with his legions, and slew them:”

[as swift] as the eagle flieth; which may respect not so much the swiftness of this creature, the words which convey the idea being a supplement of the text, as the force with which it flies when in sight of its prey, and hastes unto it and falls upon it, which is irresistible; and this is the sense of the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, and is what is ascribed to the eagle by other writers {w}. Now though this figure is used of the Chaldeans and Babylonians, #Jer 4:13 La 4:19 Hab 1:8; it agrees full as well or better with the Romans, because of their swiftness in coming from distant parts, and because of the force and impetus with which they invaded Judea, besieged Jerusalem, and attacked the Jews everywhere; and besides, the eagle was borne on the standard in the Roman army {x}:

a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; which, though it is also said of the language of the Chaldean nation, #Jer 5:15; yet as the Chaldee and Hebrew languages were only dialects of one and the same language, common to the eastern nations, the Chaldee language, though on account of termination of words, pronunciation, and other things, might be difficult, and hard to be understood by the Jews, yet must be much more easy to understand than the Roman language, so widely different from theirs.

{s} “—-In ultimos orbis Britannos”, Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 35.
{t} De Termino Vitae, l. 3. sect. 3. p. 129.
{u} T. Hieros. Succah, fol. 55. 2.
{w} Vid. Homer. Iliad. 21. l. 252
{x} Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 4.

(On Matthew 10:23)
“ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, or “finished” them; that is, their tour through them, and their ministry, or the preaching of the Gospel in them,

“till the son of man be come; either of his resurrection from the dead, when he was declared to be the Son of God, and when his glorification began; or of the pouring forth of the Spirit at the day of Pentecost, when his kingdom began more visibly to take place, and he was made, or manifested to be the Lord and Christ; or of his coming to take vengeance on his enemies, that would not have him to rule over them, and the persecutors of his ministers, at the destruction of Jerusalem.”

(On Matthew 21:43)
He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, &c.] Which had its accomplishment at the destruction of Jerusalem: according to the other evangelists, these words are the answer of the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, to the above questions put to them by Christ, after he had delivered the parable; but here they seem to be the words of Christ, who also said the same, and confirmed what they had observed, and could not but own, that it was just and right, and what might be expected, with what follows: and shall give the vineyard to others; the land of Judea to the Romans in particular, and the church state, with the Gospel and ordinances of it, to the Gentiles in general, sometimes called “others”; see Gill on “Lu 5:29” and see Gill on “Lu 18:11”. and when they heard it, they said, God forbid; though they were their own words, yet repeated and confirmed by Christ, and perceiving that they were the persons intended, deprecate the fulfilment of them; at least so far as they understood they related to the killing of the Messiah, and to the destruction of their nation, city, and temple. (John Gill, Online Bible.)

(On Matthew 24:14)
Ver. 14. And this Gospel of the kingdom, &c.] Which Christ himself preached, and which he called and sent his apostles to preach, in all the cities of Judah; by which means men were brought into the kingdom of the Messiah, or Gospel dispensation; and which treated both of the kingdom of grace and glory, and pointed out the saints’ meetness for the kingdom of heaven, and their right unto it, and gives the best account of the glories of it:

shall be preached in all the world; not only in Judea, where it was now confined, and that by the express orders of Christ himself; but in all the nations of the world, for which the apostles had their commission enlarged, after our Lord’s resurrection; when they were bid to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; and when the Jews put away the Gospel from them, they accordingly turned to the Gentiles; and before the destruction of Jerusalem, it was preached to all the nations under the heavens; and churches were planted in most places, through the ministry of it:

“There was a necessity of the promulgation of it by the will of God, the command and commission of Christ; and for the gathering in of the Jews, that were the elect of God, “among all nations” of the world, especially in the Roman empire; and that “first”, or before the destruction of Jerusalem.”

for a witness unto all nations; meaning either for a witness against all such in them, as should reject it; or as a testimony of Christ and salvation, unto all such as should believe in him:

and then shall the end come; not the end of the world, as the Ethiopic version reads it, and others understand it; but the end of the Jewish state, the end of the city and temple: so that the universal preaching of the Gospel all over the world, was the last criterion and sign, of the destruction of Jerusalem; and the account of that itself next follows, with the dismal circumstances which attended it.”

(On Matthew 24:15, The Abomination of Desolation)
Ver. 15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, &c.] From signs, Christ proceeds to the immediate cause of the destruction of Jerusalem; which was, “the abomination of desolation”, or the desolating abomination; or that abominable thing, which threatened and brought desolation upon the city, temple, and nation: by which is meant, not any statue placed in the temple by the Romans, or their order; not the golden eagle which Herod set upon the temple gate, for that was before Christ said these words; nor the image of Tiberius Caesar, which Pilate is said to bring into the temple; for this, if true, must be about this time; whereas Christ cannot be thought to refer to anything so near at hand; much less the statue of Adrian, set in the most holy place, which was an hundred and thirty years and upwards, after the destruction of the city and temple; nor the statue of Titus, who destroyed both, which does not appear: ever to be set up, or attempted; nor of Caligula, which, though ordered, was prevented being placed there: but the Roman army is designed; see #Lu 21:20 which was “the wing”, or “army of abominations making desolate”, #Da 9:27. Armies are called wings, #Isa 8:8 and the Roman armies were desolating ones to the Jews, and to whom they were an abomination; not only because they consisted of Heathen men, and uncircumcised persons, but chiefly because of the images of their gods, which were upon their ensigns: for images and idols were always an abomination to them; so the “filthiness” which Hezekiah ordered to be carried out of the holy place, #2Ch 29:5 is by the Targum called, aqwxyr, “an abomination”; and this, by the Jewish writers {w}, is said to be an idol, which Ahaz had placed upon the altar; and such was the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus caused to be set upon the altar:

“Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;” (1 Maccabees 1:54)

And so the Talmudic writers, by the abomination that makes desolate, in #Da 12:11 9:27 to which Christ here refers, understand an image, which they say {x} one Apostomus, a Grecian general, who burnt their law, set up in the temple. Now our Lord observes, that when they should see the Roman armies encompassing Jerusalem, with their ensigns flying, and these abominations on them, they might conclude its desolation was near at hand; and he does not so much mean his apostles, who would be most of them dead, or in other countries, when this would come to pass; but any of his disciples and followers, or any persons whatever, by whom should be seen this desolating abomination,

spoken of by Daniel the prophet: not in #Da 11:31 which is spoken of the abomination in the times of Antiochus; but either in #Da 12:11 or rather in #Da 9:27 since this desolating abomination is that, which should follow the cutting off of the Messiah, and the ceasing of the daily sacrifice. It is to be observed, that Daniel is here called a prophet, contrary to what the Jewish writers say {y}, who deny him to be one; though one of {z} no inconsiderable note among them affirms, that he attained to the end, “of the prophetic border”, or the ultimate degree of prophecy: when therefore this that Daniel, under a spirit of prophecy, spoke of should be seen,

standing in the holy place; near the walls, and round about the holy city Jerusalem, so called from the sanctuary and worship of God in it; and which, in process of time, stood in the midst of it, and in the holy temple, and destroyed both; then

whoso readeth, let him understand: that is, whoever then reads the prophecy of Daniel; will easily understand the meaning of it, and will see and know for certain, that now it is accomplished; and will consider how to escape the desolating judgment, unless he is given up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart; which was the case of the greater part of the nation.

{w} R. David Kimchi, & R. Sol. ben Melech, in 2 Chron. xxix. 5.
{x} T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 28. 2. & Gloss. in ib.
{y} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1. & Megilla, fol. 3. 1. & Tzeror Ham, mor, fol. 46. 4. Zohar in Num. fol. 61. 1.
{z} Jacchiades in Dan. i. 17.

(On Matthew 24:16)
“…it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, on a sudden without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made, and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over to Jordan, as Eusebius says, to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few months after, there was not a Christian in the city . . ” (John Gill, on Matthew 24:16).

(On Matthew 24:26)
“It was usual for these imposters to lead their followers into deserts, pretending to work wonders in such solitary places: so during the siege, Simon, the son of Giora, collected together many thousands in the mountains and desert parts of Judaea; and the above-mentioned Jonathan, after the destruction of the city, lead great multitudes into the desert: behold, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not; or should others say, behold, or for certain, the Messiah is in some one of the secret and fortified places of the temple; where, during some time of the siege, were John and Eleazar, the heads of the zealots; do not believe them. Some reference may be had to the chamber of secrets, which was in the temple; ‘for in the sanctuary there were two chambers; one was called … the chamber of secrets, and the other the chamber of vessels’ ” (John Gill, on Matthew 24:26).

(On Matthew 24:29)
Ver. 29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, &c.] That is, immediately after the distress the Jews would be in through the siege of Jerusalem, and the calamities attending it; just upon the destruction of that city, and the temple in it, with the whole nation of the Jews, shall the following things come to pass; and therefore cannot be referred to the last judgment, or what should befall the church, or world, a little before that time, or should be accomplished in the whole intermediate time, between the destruction of Jerusalem, and the last judgment: for all that is said to account for such a sense, as that it was usual with the prophets to speak of judgments afar off as near; and that the apostles often speak of the coming of Christ, the last judgment, and the end of the world, as just at hand; and that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, will not answer to the word “immediately”, or show that that should be understood of two thousand years after: besides, all the following things were to be fulfilled before that present generation, in which Christ lived, passed away, #Mt 24:34 and therefore must be understood of things that should directly, and immediately take place upon, or at the destruction of the city and temple.

Shall the sun be darkened: not in a literal but in a figurative sense; and is to be understood not of the religion of the Jewish church; nor of the knowledge of the law among them, and the decrease of it; nor of the Gospel being obscured by heretics and false teachers; nor of the temple of Jerusalem, senses which are given into by one or another; but of the Shekinah, or the divine presence in the temple. The glory of God, who is a sun and a shield, filled the tabernacle, when it was reared up; and so it did the temple, when it was built and dedicated; in the most holy place, Jehovah took up his residence; here was the symbol of his presence, the mercy seat, and the two cherubim over it: and though God had for some time departed from this people, and a voice was heard in the temple before its destruction, saying, “let us go hence”; yet the token of the divine presence remained till the utter destruction of it; and then this sun was wholly darkened, and there was not so much as the outward symbol of it:

and the moon shall not give her light; which also is to be explained in a figurative and metaphorical sense; and refers not to the Roman empire, which quickly began to diminish; nor to the city of Jerusalem; nor to the civil polity of the nation; but to the ceremonial law, the moon, the church is said to have under her feet, #Re 12:1 so called because the observance of new moons was one part of it, and the Jewish festivals were regulated by the moon; and especially, because like the moon, it was variable and changeable. Now, though this, in right, was abolished at the death of Christ, and ceased to give any true light, when he, the substance, was come; yet was kept up by the Jews, as long as their temple was standing; but when that was destroyed, the daily sacrifice, in fact, ceased, and so it has ever since; the Jews esteeming it unlawful to offer sacrifice in a strange land, or upon any other altar than that of Jerusalem; and are to this day without a sacrifice, and without an ephod:

and the stars shall fall from heaven; which phrase, as it elsewhere intends the doctors of the church, and preachers falling off from purity of doctrine and conversation; so here it designs the Jewish Rabbins and doctors, who departed from the word of God, and set up their traditions above it, fell into vain and senseless interpretations of it, and into debates about things contained in their Talmud; the foundation of which began to be laid immediately upon their dispersion into other countries:

and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; meaning all the ordinances of the legal dispensation; which shaking, and even removing of them, were foretold by #Hag 2:6 and explained by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, #Heb 12:26,27 whereby room and way were made for Gospel ordinances to take place, and be established; which shall not be shaken, so as to be removed, but remain till the second coming of Christ. The Jews themselves are sensible, and make heavy complaints of the great declensions and alterations among them, since the destruction of the temple; for after having taken notice of the death of several of their doctors, who died a little before, or after that; and that upon their death ceased the honour of the law, the splendour of wisdom, and the glory of the priesthood, they add {g};

“from the time that the temple was destroyed, the wise men, and sons of nobles, were put to shame, and they covered their heads; liberal men were reduced to poverty; and men of violence and calumny prevailed; and there were none that expounded, or inquired, or asked. R. Elezer the great, said, from the time the sanctuary were destroyed, the wise men began to be like Scribes, and the Scribes like to the Chazans, (or sextons that looked after the synagogues,) and the Chazans like to the common people, and the common people grew worse and worse, and there were none that inquired and asked;”

that is, of the wise men there were no scholars, or very few that studied in the law.

{g} Misn. Sotah, c. 9. sect. 15.

(On Matthew 24:30 ; Nature of Christ’s Return)
Ver. 30 And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven, &c.] Not the sound of the great trumpet, mentioned in the following verse; nor the clouds of heaven in this; nor the sign of the cross appearing in the air, as it is said to do in the times of Constantine: not the former; for though to blow a trumpet is sometimes to give a sign, and is an alarm; and the feast which the Jews call the day of blowing the trumpets, #Nu 29:1 is, by the Septuagint, rendered hmera shmasiaj, “the day of signification”; yet this sign is not said to be sounded, but to appear, or to be seen, which does not agree with the sounding of a trumpet: much less can this design the last trumpet at the day of judgment, since of that the text does not speak; and, for the same reason, the clouds cannot be meant in which Christ will come to judgment, nor are clouds in themselves any sign of it: nor the latter, of which there is no hint in the word of God, nor any reason to expect it, nor any foundation for it; nor is any miraculous star intended, such as appeared at Christ’s first coming, but the son of man himself: just as circumcision is called the sign of circumcision, #Ro 4:11 and Christ is sometimes called a sign, #Lu 2:34 as is his resurrection from the dead, #Mt 12:39 and here the glory and majesty in which he shall come: and it may be observed, that the other evangelists make no mention of the sign, only speak of the son of man, #Mr 13:26, Lu 21:27 and he shall appear, not in person, but in the power of his wrath and vengeance, on the Jewish nation which will be a full sign and proof of his being come: for the sense is, that when the above calamities shall be upon the civil state of that people, and there will be such changes in their ecclesiastical state it will be as clear a point, that Christ is come in the flesh, and that he is also come in his vengeance on that nation, for their rejection and crucifixion him, as if they had seen him appear in person in the heavens. They had been always seeking a sign, and were continually asking one of him; and now they will have a sign with a witness; as they had accordingly.

And then shall the tribes of the earth, or land, mourn; that is, the land of Judea; for other lands, and countries, were not usually divided into tribes, as that was; neither were they affected with the calamities and desolations of it, and the vengeance of the son of man upon it; at least not so as to mourn on that account, but rather were glad and rejoiced:

and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. The Arabic version reads it, “ye shall see”, as is expressed by Christ, in #Mt 26:64. Where the high priest, chief priests, Scribes, and elders, and the whole sanhedrim of the Jews are spoken to: and as the same persons, namely, the Jews, are meant here as there; so the same coming of the son of man is intended; not his coming at the last day to judgment; though that will be in the clouds of heaven, and with great power and glory; but his coming to bring on, and give the finishing stroke to the destruction of that people, which was a dark and cloudy dispensation to them: and when they felt the power of his arm, might, if not blind and stupid to the last degree, see the glory of his person, that he was more than a mere man, and no other than the Son of God, whom they had despised, rejected, and crucified; and who came to set up his kingdom and glory in a more visible and peculiar manner, among the Gentiles.

(On Mark 13:26)
“Ver. 26, And then shall they see the Son of man, etc. Not in person, but in the power of his wrath and vengeance; of which the Jews then had a convincing evidence, and full proof; and even of his being come in the flesh, as if the had seen him in person: this shows, that the sign of the Son of man, in Matt. xxiv. 30, is the same with the Son of man: coming in the clouds with great power and glory; not to judgment, but having taken vengeance on the Jewish nation, to set up his kingdom and glory in the Gentile world” (Mark 13:26)

(On Matthew 24:32)
And when he saw a fig tree, &c.] In the Greek text it is “one fig tree”, one remarkable fig tree: he must see a great many, as he went along; for a large tract of the Mount Of Olives was full of fig trees, and therefore called “Bethphage”: and notice has been taken already of the figs of Bethany: but he saw none that had such large and spreading leaves as this; for it was the time when the fig tree was just budding, and putting forth its leaves: wherefore he took notice of it; and though it was “afar off”, as Mark says, yet being hungry, he made up to it, expecting, from its promising appearance, to find fruit on it. This fig tree was “in the way”; by the road side, and probably had no owner; was common to any body, and so no injury was done to any person by losing it: he came to it,
and found nothing thereon but leaves only: Mark says, “he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon”; which must be understood of him as man; for as he hungered as man, so he judged and expected as man, from the appearance of this fig tree, that he might find fruit upon it; and which is no contradiction to his deity, and his having the spirit of God, as the Jew {t} objects; and especially since, as Bishop Kidder {u} observes, such an expectation is attributed to God himself, in Isa 5:2,4 and it may be added, and with regard to that people, of which this fig tree was an emblem, and designed by Christ to be considered as such in what he did to it. The same evangelist further observes, “and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet”. The word “yet” is not in the original text; which last clause is a reason, either why he found no fruit, or nothing but leaves upon it, because it was not a time, or season of figs: it was not a good fig year, so Dr. Hammond interprets it; and yet though it was not, since this tree was so very flourishing, fruit might have been expected on it: and also, it furnishes out a reason why Christ took so much pains to go to it, seeing there were very few figs to be had elsewhere, and this bid very fair to supply him with some in this time of scarcity: or else, as a reason why, besides its promising appearance, he expected fruit upon it, because the time of figs, that is, of the gathering of the figs, was not come: in which sense the phrase is used in Mt 21:34; [And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.] and is Bishop Kidder’s interpretation of the passage: and since therefore the time was not come for the ingathering of the figs, none had been taken off of it, the more might be expected on it. This sense would be very probable, did it appear that figs were usually ripe about this time; but the contrary seems manifest, both from Scripture, which represents the fig tree putting forth its leaves, as a sign the summer is nigh, Mt 24:32 and from the Talmudists, who say {w}, that the beginning of leaves, or putting forth of the leaves of trees, is in the month Nisan, the month in which the Passover was kept, and so the then present time of the year; and who, from this time, reckon three times fifty days, or five full months before the figs are ripe {x}: so that these words are rather a reason why Christ did not expect to find figs on other trees, which he saw in great abundance as he passed along, because the time of common, ordinary figs being ripe, was not come; and why he particularly expected to find some on this tree, because it being full of leaves, appeared to be of a different kind from other fig trees: and was either of that sort which they call …, “Benoth Shuach”, as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures which were a kind of white figs that were not ripe till the third year {y}. This tree put forth its fruit the first year, which hung on it the second, and were brought to perfection on the third: so that when it was three years old, it had fruit of the first, second, and third year on it: this being such a tree, by its being full of leaves, when others had none, or were just putting out, fruit, of one year, or more might have been expected on it, when it had none at all, and therefore was cursed: or it might be one of that sort which brought forth fruit twice a year; for of such sort of fig trees we read in the Jewish writings {z}: and therefore though it was not the time of the common figs being ripe, yet this being one of the seasons, in which this tree bore ripe fruit, and being so very flourishing, might reasonably be expected from it: but there being none, he said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; or, as it is expressed in Mark, “no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever”: for if none grew on it henceforward, no man could hereafter eat of it. Both expressions design the same thing, the perpetual barrenness of the fig tree: and presently the fig tree withered away: immediately, upon Christ’s saying these words, its sap was dried up, it lost its verdure; its leaves were shrivelled and shrunk up, and dropped off, and the whole was blasted. This tree was an emblem of the Jews: Christ being hungry, and very desirous of the salvation of men, came first to them, from whom, on account of their large profession of religion, and great pretensions to holiness, and the many advantages they enjoyed, humanly speaking, much fruit of righteousness might have been expected; but, alas! he found nothing but mere words, empty boasts, an outward show of religion, an external profession, and a bare performance of trifling ceremonies, and oral traditions; wherefore Christ rejected them, and in a little time after, the kingdom of God, the Gospel, was taken away from them, and their temple, city, and nation, entirely destroyed.
{t} R. Isaac, Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 30. p. 421.
{u} Demonstration of the Messiah, par. 2. p. 38.
{w} Jarchi & Bartenora in Misn. Sheviith, c. 4. sect. 10.
{x} T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 35. 4.
{y} Misn. Sheviith, c. 5. sect. 1. & Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
{z} Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & Maimon. in ib. T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 18. 1. (John Gill, Online Bible.)

(On Matthew 24:34 ; Forty Years and That Generation)
“Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, etc. Not the generation of men in general; as if these sense was, that mankind should not cease, until the accomplishment of these things; nor the generation, or people of the Jews, who should continue to be a people, until all were fulfilled; nor the generation of Christians; as if the meaning was, that there would always be a set of Christians, or believers of Christ in the world, till all these events came to pass; but it respects that present age, or generation of men then living in it; and the sense is, that all the men of that age should not die, but some should live till all things were fulfilled; see Matt. xvi.27-28, as many did, and as there is reason to believe they might, and must, since all these things had their accomplishment, in and about forty years after this: and certain it is that John, one of the disciples of Christ outlived the time by many years; and, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, many of the Jewish doctors now living, when Christ spoke these words, lived until the city was destoryed; as Rabbi Simeon, who perished with it, R. Jochanan be Zaccai, who outlived it, R. Zadoch, R. Ishmael, and others: this is a full and clear proof, that not any thing that is said before, related to the second coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and the end of the world; but that all belong to the coming of the Son of man, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the end of the Jewish state.” (vol 2, 1809, p. 240)

(On Matthew 24:36)
Ver. 36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, &c.] Which is to be understood, not of the second coming of Christ, the end of the world, and the last judgment; but of the coming of the son of man, to take vengeance on the Jews, and of their destruction; for the words manifestly regard the date of the several things going before, which only can be applied to that catastrophe, and dreadful desolation: now, though the destruction itself was spoken of by Moses and the prophets, was foretold by Christ, and the believing Jews had some discerning of its near approach; see #Heb 10:25 yet the exact and precise time was not known: it might have been: calculated to a year by Daniel’s weeks, but not to the day and hour; and therefore our Lord does not say of the year, but of the day and hour no man knows; though the one week, or seven years, being separated from the rest, throws that account into some perplexity; and which perhaps is on purpose done, to conceal the precise time of Jerusalem’s destruction: nor need it be wondered at, notwithstanding all the hints given, that the fatal day should not be exactly known beforehand; when those who have lived since, and were eyewitnesses of it, are not agreed on what day of the month it was; for, as Dr. Lightfoot {i} observes, Josephus {k} says,

“that the temple perished the “tenth” day of “Lous”, a day fatal to the temple, as having been on that day consumed in flames, by the king of Babylon.”

And yet Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai, who was also at the destruction of it, as well as Josephus, with all the Jewish writers, say it was on the “ninth of Ab”; for of this day they {l} say, five things happened upon it:

“On the “ninth of Ab” it was decreed concerning our fathers, that they should not enter into the land (of Canaan), the first and second temple were destroyed, Bither was taken, and the city ploughed up.”

Though the words of R. Jochanan, cited by the doctor, refer to the first, and not to the second temple, and should have been rendered thus:

“If I had been in the generation (which fixed the fast for the destruction of the first temple), I would not have fixed it but on the tenth (of Ab); for, adds he, the greatest part of the temple was burnt on that day; but the Rabbins rather regarded the beginning of the punishment {m}.”

And so the fasting of Rabbi, and R. Joshua ben Levi, on the “ninth” and “tenth” days, were on account of the first temple; for they were under the same difficulty about the one, as the other:

no, not the angels of heaven; who dwell there, always behold the face of God, stand in his presence ready to do his will, and are made acquainted with many of his designs, and are employed in the executing of them, and yet know not the time of God’s vengeance on the Jews; to this agrees the sense that is given of the day of vengeance in #Isa 63:4 it is asked {n},

“what is the meaning of these words, “the day of vengeance is in my heart?” Says R. Jochanan, to my heart I have revealed it, to the members I have not revealed it: says R. Simeon ben Lakish, to my heart I have revealed it, ytylg al trfh ykalml, “to the ministering angels I have not revealed it”.”

The Ethiopic version adds here, “nor the son”, and so the Cambridge copy of Beza’s; which seems to be transcribed from #Mr 13:32 where that phrase stands; and must be understood of Christ as the son of man, and not as the Son of God; for as such, he lay in the bosom of the Father, and knew all his purposes and designs; for these were purposed in him: he knew from the beginning who would betray him, and who would believe in him; he knew what would befall the rejecters of him, and when that would come to pass; as he must know also the day of the last judgment, since it is appointed by God, and he is ordained to execute it: but the sense is, that as he, as man and mediator, came not to destroy, but to save; so it was not any part of his work, as such, to know, nor had he it in commission to make known the time of Jerusalem’s ruin:

but my Father only; to the exclusion of all creatures, angels and men; but not to the exclusion of Christ as God, who, as such, is omniscient; nor of the Holy Spirit, who is acquainted with the deep things of God, the secrets of his heart, and this among others.

{i} In Mark xiii. 32.
{k} De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 26.
{l} Misu. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 7. T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 68. 3. & Maimon. Hilch. Taanioth, c. 5. sect. 2.
{m} T. Bab, Taanith, fol. 29. 1.
{n} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 99. 1.

(On Luke 16:19-31)
The rich man died: ‘ It may also be understood of the political and ecclesiastical death of the Jewish people, which lay in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the temple, and in the abolition of the temple worship, and of the whole ceremonial law; a Loammi was written upon their church state, and the covenant between God and them was broken ; the gospel was removed from them, which was as death, as the return of it, and their call by it, will be as life from the dead ; as well as their place and nation, their civil power and authority were taken away from them by the Romans, and a death of afflictions, by captivity and calamities of every kind, have attended them ever since.’

In hell — in torments: ‘ This may regard the vengeance of God on the Jews, at the destruction of Jerusalem, when a fire was kindled against their land, and burned to the lowest hell, and consumed the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains ; and the whole land became brimstone, Bait, and burning ; and they were rooted out of it in anger, wrath, and great indignation — see Deut. xxix. 23, 27, 28, xxxii. 22—or rather the dreadful calamities which came upon them in the times of Adrian, at Either; when their false Messiah, Bar Cochab, was taken and slain,* and such multitudes of them were destroyed, in the most miserable manner, when that people, who before had their eyes darkened, and a spirit of slumber and stupidity fallen upon them, in those calamities began to be under some convictions.” (Expos. in loc.)

(On Luke 21:11)
Verse 11. And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines and pestilences,…. See Gill on “Mt 24:7.”

and fearful sights; or “terrible things”; whether heard, or seen, as dreadful thunderings, and lightnings; and a voice heard in the temple, saying, let us go hence; and an idiot that went about several years together, saying, woe to the people, woe to the city, &c. a flame was seen in the temple, and the doors of it opened of themselves:

and great signs shall there be from heaven; as comets and blazing stars, a flaming sword, or a comet like one, hanging over Jerusalem, and armies in the air engaged against each other {b}. The Syriac version adds, “and great winters there shall be”; that is, very long and cold; and so the Persic version, “and winter, and cold, shall be protracted.”  {b} Vid. Joseph. de Bello Jud, l. 6. c. 5. ”

(On Luke 21:16)
” And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren,…. See Gill on “Mt 10:21”

and kinsfolks, and friends. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions add, “your,” to each of these relations, as your parents, &c.

and some of you shall they cause to be put to death; as Stephen was stoned to death, and James, the brother of John, Herod killed with the sword, Acts 7:58 and indeed all of them were put to death, except John, before the destruction of Jerusalem. “

(On John 12:31)
Ver. 31. Now is the judgment of this world, &c.] That is, in a very short time will be the judgment either of the Jewish world, when that shall be reproved, convinced, and condemned for their sin of rejecting Christ, and crucifying him, by the spirit, in the ministration of the Gospel; and they still continuing in their impenitence and unbelief, in process of time wrath will come upon them, upon their nation, city, and temple, to the uttermost; or of the Gentile world, when there shall be a discrimination, and separation made in it, of the chosen of God, who shall be called by special grace, and with the converted and believing Jews, shall form a Gospel church state, separate from the world of the ungodly; or of the world of God’s elect among Jews and Gentiles, whose cause, being undertook by Christ, he will now vindicate it, and redeem them from sin and Satan, who have usurped a power and dominion over them: hence it follows,

now shall the prince of this world be cast out. The phrase, …, “the prince of the world”, is much used by Jewish writers {d}, by whom an angel is meant; and they seem to design the angel of death, which is the devil: and it is certain, that he is here intended, and is so called, not because he has any legal power and authority over the world; but because he has usurped a dominion over it, and has great power and efficacy in the hearts of the children of disobedience, who yield a voluntary subjection to him, as if he was their proper lord and sovereign: now the time was at hand, when he should be cast out of the empire of the world he had assumed, and out of the temples of the Gentiles, and out of the hearts of God’s elect among them. (John Gill.)

(On 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
And to you who are troubled, rest with us : this is another branch of the justice of God, in rendering to them who are afflicted and persecuted for righteousness’ sake, rest; a relaxation or rest from persecutions, for a while, at least; as the churches of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, had, from that persecution, raised at the death of Stephen, Acts ix. 31, and as the Christians had, at the destruction of Jerusalem ; which, though it was a day of vengeance to the unbelieving Jews, were times of refreshing to the saints, who were now delivered from their persecutors.” (Expos. in loc.)

(Hebrews 8:13)
“But still the carnal Jews continued them, and even sacrifices, until the destruction of Jerusalem, which put an end to them; for according to the law of God, no sacrifice might be offered but at Jerusalem, and upon the altar there; so that when the city, temple, and altar were destroyed, they ceased to offer any sacrifice, and never have offered any since; whereby that prophecy is remarkably fulfilled; “the children of Israel shall abide many days without a sacrifice” (Hosea 3:4), as they have for nineteen hundred years, and still do; not even a passover lamb is slain by them, as well as no other sacrifice offered; which yet they would gladly offer, in defiance of Christ, the great Sacrifice, were it not for the above law, which stands in their way, and by which they are awed; and which is no small instance of the wisdom and goodness of God in providence. Now it was a little before the destruction of Jerusalem the apostle wrote the epistle to the Hebrews, and therefore, with great propriety, he says of the old covenant, that it was not only decayed, and waxen old, but was “ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13).” (
Of the Abrogation of the Old Covenant)

A Brief Memoir

The Life and Writings of


The subject of this Memoir was born at Kettering, in Northamptonshire, Nov. 23, O. S. 1697, of amiable and serious parents, Edward Gill, and Elizabeth his wife whose maiden name was Walker. By the indulgent providence of God, they were equally delivered from the snares of poverty and of affluence. “Beneath the dome, above the hut”, by peaceful industry, and genuine religion, they spent their days, a blessing to the pious circle which Heaven had assigned them. The father, Mr. Edward Gill, first became a member of the Dissenting congregation in that place, consisting then of Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists. Besides their pastor, they had a teaching elder of the Baptist denomination, Mr. William Wallis, who was the administrator of baptism, by immersion, to such adult persons among them as desired it. But, at length, the Baptists having been rendered uncomfortable in their communion, by some particular persons, they were obliged to separate, with Mr. William Wallis, their teacher, and soon formed themselves into a distinct church of the Particular Baptist :

As Mr. Gill’s father, and himself, were of this denomination, it may be necessary for some persons to learn what is meant by a Particular Baptist. The Rev. Mr. Benjamin Stinton, who projected a plan of the Baptist History, and who was Mr. Gill’s predecessor in the pastoral office, will inform us:

“There have been two parties among the Antipaedobaptists in England, ever since the beginning of the Reformation; those who have followed the Calvinistic scheme of doctrines, from the principal point therein, “personal election”, have been termed Particular Baptists; and these who have professed the Arminian or Remonstrants’ tenets, have also from the chief of their doctrines, universal redemption, been called General Baptists.”

–Rev. Mr. Stinton’s Manuscript, written in 1714.

In harmony with the above, but more at length, is the definition which is given in the Rules and Orders of the Particular Baptist Fund in London–it is as follows:

“By Particular Baptists are intended those that have been solemnly immersed in water, upon a personal confession of faith; and who profess the doctrines of three divine Persons in the Godhead– eternal and personal election–original sin– particular redemption–efficacious grace in regeneration and sanctification –free justification, by the imputed righteousness of Christ– and the final perseverance of the saints–according to the Confession of Faith that was published [it should be re-published] in London, by the Calvinistic Baptists, in the year 1689.”

Rev. Andrew Fuller is now, and for many years has been, pastor. Mr. Edward Gill was one of their number, and, in due time, was chosen to the office of deacon among them; and, to the very last, obtained a good report for his “grace, his piety, and holy conversation.”

His young son, with the dawn of reason, discovered a fine capacity for instruction; and being soon out of the reach of common teachers, he was very early sent to the grammar school, in the town, which he attended with uncommon diligence, and unwearied application; quickly surpassing those of his own age, and others who were considerably his seniors. Here he continued till he was about eleven years old. During this time, notwithstanding the tedious manner in which grammatical knowledge was then conveyed, besides going through the common school books, he mastered the principal Latin classics, and made such a proficiency in the Greek, as obtained for him marks of distinction from several of the neighbouring clergy, who condescended, occasionally, to examine and encourage his progress, when they met him at a bookseller’s shop in the town, which he constantly attended on market days, when only it was opened. Here he so regularly attended,

“for the sake of consulting different authors, that it became an usual asseveration with the people of the neighbourhood, when speaking of anything which they considered certain, it is as sure, said they, as that John Gill is in the bookseller’s shop.”

And, as the same studious disposition attended him through life, so did nearly the same remark,–those who knew him usually employing this mode of affirmation, “as surely as Dr. Gill is in his study.”

His leaving the grammar-school, so early in life, is attributed to an impropitious accident–the master of it insisted that the children of Dissenters, as well as others, should go with him to church, on weekdays, at the hours of prayer. The parents, considering this as an imposition, removed their children from under his care, and our young friend was among the number. Affluent families placed their children at a distance to finish their education, but this, not being as convenient to his parents, proved a discouraging circumstance. Various methods, however, were devised by his friends, but all proved fruitless. Ministers also, of different denominations, endeavoured to place him under the patronage of one or other of the Funds in London, that he might enjoy the additional advantages, which the most liberal Dissenters provide for the education of young men in their seminaries of learning, who are considered, by competent judges, as persons of real piety, and of promising talents for the work of the ministry. With this view, specimens of his attainments were sent to the proper persons in town, who replied, that he was too young, at present, to be admitted on their foundations; and that should he continue, which was a very supposable thing, to make such rapid advances in his studies, he would pass through the common circle of learning, quite in his juvenile days, before it was usual to employ young persons in the sacred service of the sanctuary. …

Yet, with all the obstructions thrown in the way of his becoming a scholar, such was his thirst for learning, he not only retained the knowledge of the Latin and of the Greek he had acquired, but incessantly improved himself in both. At length he studied logic, rhetoric, as also natural and moral philosophy. He likewise learned Hebrew, without any living assistance, by the help of Buxtorf’s Grammar and Lexicon. With these only he surmounted the chief difficulties of that language, and could soon read Hebrew with great ease and pleasure. In this language he always took particular delight. He was next improving his mind by reading Latin authors in the various branches of literature, and particularly some of those systems of divinity, by the foreign professors, of which he afterwards made so liberal an use, and which give such a distinction to various of his publications.

Yet, though he had arrived at some degree of satisfaction in his mind, concerning the safety of his eternal state, he did not make a public profession of religion until he was almost nineteen years of age. This delay, at first, was occasioned by a consideration of his youth, and the solemnity of making a profession; and, afterwards, by finding that the eyes of the church were upon him to call him to the ministerial work, as soon as convenient, should he become a member of it. To this they were the more inclined, as their pastor, at that time, was greatly taken up in his temporal occupations, and much needed ministerial assistance.

During Mr. Gill’s stay at Higham-Fetters, he frequently preached to the church at Kettering; and, the circumstances of its pastor requiring assistance, Mr. Gill, soon after his marriage, wholly removed thither. Here his ministry, from the beginning, had been blessed, not only to the comfort but to the conversion of many, who long continued the seals of his ministry. Accordingly, as soon as the pastors of the churches, who had been invited to be present on the occasion, came in, the Rev. Mr. John Skepp, author of that valuable book, entitled “Divine Energy”, proposed several questions to the church; which were answered by Mr. Thomas Crosby, a deacon, afterwards author of “The History of the Baptists”; who stated, in the course of what he said, that on the day which had previously been appointed by the church to proceed to the election of a pastor, “Mr. Gill was chosen by a `very great’ majority.” The Rev. Messrs. Matthews and Ridgeway now prayed, when the Rev. Mr. Noble desired the members of the church to recognise their choice of Mr. Gill to the pastoral office. This done, he requested Mr. Gill to confirm his acceptance of the call; which he did with a full and solemn declaration.

Mr. Gill’s `preaching had been very acceptable from the beginning,’ and his `auditory became so numerous, that the place of worship, though a large one, could hardly contain them.’ And now being settled, `his people were very zealous in manifesting their affections towards him, and, to the utmost of their abilities, raised him a suitable maintenance.’

When Mr. Gill, in 1719, settled in London, he became more intimately acquainted than before, with that worthy minister of the Gospel, Mr. John Skepp, pastor of the Baptist church at Cripplegate, London, and author of “The Divine Energy”: the second edition of which book his friend Gill revised, and divided the work into chapters, with contents, for the more easy reading and better understanding it; prefixing a recommendatory preface to it, the memory of that excellent man being dear to him. This gentleman, though he had not a liberal education, yet, after he came into the ministry, through great diligence and industry, acquired a large acquaintance with the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written; and especially with the Hebrew language; in which he took immense pains, under the tuition of a Jew, and dipped into the Rabbinical Hebrew and writings pretty deeply. As Mr. Gill had previously taken great delight in the Hebrew, his conversation with this worthy minister rekindled a flame of fervent desire to obtain a more extensive knowledge of it; and especially of Rabbinical learning, which he then had but little acquaintance with, and scarcely any notion of its utility. But he now began to perceive its importance, and saw it more fully afterwards. This gentleman dying a year or two after, Mr. Gill purchased most of his Hebrew and Rabbinical books; and now went to work with great eagerness, reading them, and many others, which he afterwards obtained of a Jewish Rabbi with whom he became acquainted. He plainly saw, that as the New Testament was written by men who had all of them been Jews, and who, notwithstanding their being inspired, must needs retain and use many of the idioms of their language, and allude to rites, ceremonies, and customs peculiar to that people; so the writings of the Jews, especially the more ancient ones, who lived nearest the times of the apostles, could not but be of use for the better understanding the phraseology of the New Testament, and the rites and customs to which it frequently alludes. With this settled opinion, he set about reading their Targums, the Misnah, the Talmuds, the Rabbot, their ancient Commentaries, the book of Zohar, and whatever else, of this kind, he could obtain. And in a course of between twenty and thirty years’ acquaintance with this class of writings, he collected together a large number of learned observations. Having also, in this time, gone through certain books of the Old Testament, and almost the whole of the New Testament, by way of Exposition, in the course of his ministry, in a method which will be explained hereafter; he put all the expository, critical, and illustrative parts together, and in the year 1745 issued proposals for publishing his Exposition of the whole New Testament, in three volumes, folio. The work meeting due encouragement, it was put to press the same year, and was finished, the first volume in 1746, the second in 1747, and the third in 1748.

In 1752, he published his pamphlet on “The Doctrine of the Saints’ final Perseverance”, in answer to one called “Serious Thoughts upon the Perseverance of the Saints”; written, as it afterwards appeared, by Mr. John Wesley: who, in another pamphlet, first shifted the controversy, from Perseverance, to Predestination; entitling his piece, “Predestination calmly considered”, and then chiefly `harangued on reprobation, which he thought would best serve his purpose.’ To this the Doctor returned an answer the same year, and to the exceptions Mr. Wesley had made to part of his treatise on Perseverance, respecting certain passages of Scripture employed in the controversy. It is very observable in it how `he wanders to free will and irresistible grace, being sometimes for free will, sometimes for free grace; sometimes for resistible and sometimes for irresistible grace.’ Yet `owning,’ Dr. Gill says, `that he had no understanding of the covenant of grace.’ But the Doctor having stated and defended the doctrine of predestination largely from Scripture, next refers Mr. Wesley to the articles of his own church, particularly the seventh, part of which when abridged runs thus: `Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and condemnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.’ And having made this reference, he solemnly adds, `This is an article agreeable to the Scripture, an article of his own church, an article which he, as a true son of the church, has treacherously departed from, and an article which Mr. Wesley must have subscribed and sworn to; an article which will therefore stare him in the face, as long as subscriptions and oaths stand for anything.’ But Mr. Wesley, through the whole, did not so much as attempt `to refute anyone argument’ advanced by the Doctor in vindication of the certain perseverance of the saints in holiness to eternal felicity.

But that he went into real Antinomianism, either doctrinal or practical, must be peremptorily denied, in the most unqualified terms. Neale, in his “History of the Puritans”, says, that `he was certainly a learned and religious person, modest and humble in his behaviour, fervent and laborious in his ministerial work, and exact in his morals.’ This testimony is sufficient and honourable respecting his Conduct; and, as for his Doctrine, his Sermons speak for themselves. This is the language of one of them. Writing of Christ’s mystical members, he says, `The law continues till the whole body of Christ be made complete, by an actual subsistence of every member in him. Now this seed will not be wholly complete till the consummation of all things.’ But if it be objected that the apostle saith, “Ye are not under the law, but under grace”, he adds, `I answer, that in respect of the rules of righteousness, or the matter of obedience, we are under the law still, or else we are lawless, to live every man as seems good in his own eyes, which I know no true Christian dares so much as think.’ On another Scripture he thus writes: `Men commonly dream of a strange kind of Gospel which never came into God’s mind; that, seeing Christ hath died, they may live as they list, letting themselves loose to all impiety, and yet go to heaven. Certainly, had God opened such a gap to let in such an inundation of impiety, he could never have justly complained of the deluge of it, that overflows the world. Far be it from the holy God, whose purity abhors it, to allow such licentiousness to men. It is true, indeed, that Christ justifies the ungodly, that is, he finds them ungodly when he imputes his righteousness to them; but he doth not leave them ungodly after he hath justified, them, but teacheth them to deny ungodliness. He that denies not ungodliness, him will Christ deny before his Father which is in heaven.’ Also in his Sermon, on “The Revelation of Grace no Encouragement to Sin”; referring to such who are taxed with saying, that their sins are laid upon Christ, that they are believers, and therefore may live in sin, he replies `If there be any such, let me deal plainly with them. For my part I must account them the greatest monsters upon the face of the earth, the greatest enemies to the church that ever were; and I say of such disturbers of the consciences of God’s people, that they are carnal, sensual, devilish. They are the greatest enemies to the free grace of God, the greatest hinderers of the course of it. I dare be bold to say, open drunkards, harlots, and murderers, that profess not the Gospel of Christ, come infinitely short of these in abomination–and if there be any such here, let me tell them, their faith is no better than that of devils, for they believe and tremble; and that Christ will have heavier reckoning with such, when they come to judgment, than with any other under heaven besides.’ Where, in all the regions of practical theology, can be found more explicit, more solemn, and more practical ideas than these? But he took the evangelical road in order to enforce duty, and his reigning principle in preaching seems to be this, which we give in his own words, that “revealing the grace of God is the best way in the world to take men off from sin”. To those remarks it may be necessary only to subjoin; that it will not be easy to find in the whole English language, among the best evangelical and practical writers, any sermons, which, for solidity of matter, precision of ideas, and `the circumnavigation of the subject’ equal, not to say excel, the substance of his four Discourses, in one hundred pages, entitled, “Free Grace the Teacher of good Works”. These should be read before Dr. Crisp is called an Antinomian. But if they are read and understood, and this opprobrious term is yet applied to their author, the charge of Antinomianism may then be fairly brought; but, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, it will righteously apply, not to Dr. Crisp, but to the man who has audacity enough to sin against the law of God and man, by bearing false witness against his neighbour.

Towards the close of his life, as it appears, when the Doctor had narrowly watched the Trinitarian controversy, and long stood in its defence, he seems to have put his finishing hand to a piece which must have cost him immense pains. It is published in the posthumous edition of his Sermons and Tracts, vol ii. p. 534, and is styled, “A Dissertation concerning the Eternal Sonship of Christ”.

The doctrine of A TRINITY OF PERSONS IN THE UNITY OF THE DIVINE ESSENCE; or, of three distinct divine Persons in one God, he considered to be as truly the “fundamental” article of “revealed” religion, as the Unity of God is the foundation of what is called “natural” religion. In stating and defending it, he was decidedly against the many strange representations and comparisons which have been introduced into this subject, some of them to its great disadvantage. But he certainly had “precise ideas” of this sublime mystery; and as he advanced in his discussion of the doctrine of three Persons in the unity of the divine essence he defined his terms.

Dr. Gill universally defended the doctrine of the Trinity, or of a threefold personality in God; but he apprehended that its very foundation is the proper Sonship, or filiation of Christ–the doctrine to which the last tract mentioned above entirely relates; and a doctrine, without the admission of which, he is confident a Trinity of Persons in God cannot be defended. Thus he writes: `It is easy to observe, that the distinction of Persons in the Deity depends on the generation of the Son. Take away that which would destroy the relation between the first and second Persons, and the distinction drops. And that this distinction is natural, or by necessity of nature, is evident, because had it been only arbitrary, or of choice and will, it might not have been at all, or have been otherwise than it is–and then he that is called the Father might have been called the Son, and he that is called the Son might have been called the Father. This has so pressed those who are of a contrary mind as to oblige them to own it might have so happened, had it been agreeable to the will of God.’ That is, if we understand them, that the divine Being, who is necessarily what he is, might never have existed as he does; and that if he had not, God would never have been known as Father, Son, and Spirit, only as God. This seems to be a legitimate conclusion from their sentiments, whether they perceive and admit it or not.

In 1769, he published “A Body of Doctrinal Divinity”, in two volumes, quarto. This work contains the substance of what he delivered from the pulpit to the people under his care, through the space of more than five years. There are but few, if any, theological publications, in the English language, of more deserved repute than these 1091 pages. Here is the Doctor’s whole creed. Here his very heart appears, while he states, maintains, and defends, the Truth as it is in Jesus. His meaning cannot be mistaken. Like the sun, he transmits his own rays with him wherever he goes, and is himself seen in the light which he dispenses. He has his system; and, without a system, he would have considered himself little other than a sceptic; and this Form of sound words, according to divine direction, he held fast in the exercise of faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. He was sensible that systematical divinity had become very unpopular, and says, `Formulas and articles of faith, creeds, confessions, catechisms, and summaries of divine truths, are greatly decried in our age; and yet, what art or science soever but has been reduced to a system? physic, metaphysic, logic, rhetoric, &c. Philosophy in general has had its several systems: not to take notice of the various sects and systems of philosophy in ancient times; in the last age, the Cartesian system of philosophy greatly obtained, as the Newtonian system now does. Astronomy in particular has been considered as a system; sometimes called the system of the universe, and sometimes the solar, or planetary system. In short, medicine, jurisprudence or law, and every art and science, are reduced to a system or body; which is no other than an assemblage or composition of the several doctrines or parts of a science. And why should Divinity, the most noble science, be without a system? Accordingly we find that Christian writers, in ancient times, attempted something of this nature; as the several formulas of faith, symbols or creeds, made in the first three or four centuries of Christianity; the Stromata of Clemens of Alexandria; the four books of Principles, by Origen; with many others that followed. And even those who now cry out against systems, confessions, and creeds, their predecessors had those of their own; Arius had his creed; and the Socinians have their catechism, the Racovian catechism; and the Remonstrants have published their confession of faith; not to mention the several bodies of divinity, published by Episcopius, Limborch, Curcellaeus, and others.’

But labour and literature, abstractedly considered, are not intended to constitute the highest style of man; and as they form not his only excellence, our attention is recalled to the other walks of life, which Providence had assigned him, in each of which he appears to advantage.

He was a genuine dissenter from the Established Religion, as appears by his whole life, and by his little piece, entitled, “The Dissenters’ Reasons for separating from the Church of England”. But as a Dissenter, he considered himself under signal obligations always to discover his love to the Hanoverian succession–no one was a heartier friend to the present family on the throne than John Gill. The “Amor Patriae” roused his best feelings; and in his prayers you might feel the love of his country. It swelled his bosom in his earlier career, and continued with him to the very last of life. Had pride been made for man, with towering ambition we should have introduced part of one of his sections under this article, which he wrote in the time of the great Rebellion; and the page bears his own date at the foot of it, December 2, 1745. Writing on “#Ps 25:3”, “Let them be ashamed which transgress without cause”; or, as he reads it, “act treacherously without cause”, as King David’s subjects did; he adds, `Such are those who are now risen up against our rightful Sovereign King George; a parcel of perfidious, treacherous wretches; some of them who were in the last rebellion, and obtained his father’s pardon; others that partook yearly of his royal bounty, for the instruction of their children, and all have enjoyed the blessings of his mild and gentle Government; and therefore are without cause his enemies.’ This is the heart of a genuine Dissenter–here is the true patriotism–and manifested at a time, when tribes of the national hierarchy had been tacking from one side to another, entirely as it suited their interest. This was the Dissenting minister and pastor of Garter-lane; and as was the shepherd so were his flock.

As a minister, in his early days few persons were more animated than himself; and he gave himself wholly to divine things. His constant studies prepared him for his public work, rendering it easy to himself, and beneficial to his people.

The Doctor not only watched over his people, `with great affliction, fidelity, and love;’ but he watched his pulpit also. He would not, if he knew it, admit anyone to preach for him, who was either cold-hearted to the doctrine of the Trinity; or who denied the divine filiation of the Son of God; or who objected to conclude his prayers with the usual doxology to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as three equal Persons in the one Jehovah. Sabellians, Arians, and Socinians, he considered as in perfect opposition to the Gospel, and as real enemies of the cross of Christ. They dared not ask him to preach, nor could he, in conscience, permit them to officiate for him. He conceived that, by this uniformity of conduct, he adorned the pastoral office.

At Church meetings he was admired; one while for his gentleness and fidelity; and another while for his self-possession and wisdom. And when it was necessary for him to magnify his office (and no one knew better how to do it), he discovered himself to be both the servant of Christ, and the servant of the church for his sake.

During the two last years of his life, he was seldom capable of preaching more than once on a Lord’s Day. This affected the attendance in the congregation. The juvenile part of the audience first attended in other assemblies, and afterwards joined them. Hence it became matter of conversation, whether, on the whole, it might not be desirable to procure constant assistance for the Doctor in his ministerial work.

When young his voice was pretty loud, but, as he advanced in years it was much lower. In the last part of his ministry it became very feeble, but he was generally heard by his audience, and his own people perfectly understood him. And what had abated in the energy of his manner was compensated by the solidity of his matter, and the devotional spirit with which he delivered it.

The Doctor’s person was of the middle stature, neither tall nor short, well proportioned, a little inclined to corpulency; his countenance was fresh and healthful, expressive of vigour of mind, and of a serene cheerfulness, which continued with him almost to the last.

He now gave his Body of Divinity to the world, which was the last thing he ever expected to publish.

His decline increasing daily, he could not appear in the pulpit, and proceed in his delightful work. Notwithstanding, he continued to be employed in his study, till within two or three weeks of his decease, and always appeared calm, serene, and cheerful. He received the warning of his dissolution, being seized for death in his study. BUT HIS FAITH WAS UNSHAKEN, AND HIS HOPE FIRM TO THE LAST.

To his dear relative, the Rev. Mr. John Gill of St. Albans {a}, he thus expressed himself: `I depend wholly and alone upon the free, sovereign, eternal, unchangeable, love of God, the firm and everlasting covenant of grace, and my interest in the Persons of the Trinity, for my whole salvation; and not upon any righteousness of my own; nor on anything in me, or done by me under the influences of the Holy Spirit;’ and then, as confirming what he had said, `not upon any services of mine, which I have been assisted to perform for the good of the church,’ do I depend, `but upon my interest in the Persons of the Trinity; the free grace of God, and the blessings of grace streaming to me through the blood and righteousness of Christ, as the ground of my hope. These are no new things to me, but what I have been long acquainted with; what I can live and die by. I apprehend I shall not be long here, but this you may tell to any of my friends.’

Thus he gloriously terminated his mortal career, without a sigh or groan, on the 14th day of October 1771, at about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, at his house in Camberwell, Surry, aged seventy-three years, ten months, and ten days.

His removal was deeply felt. It spread a solemn gloom over the church in which he had honourably presided more than fifty-one years. They immediately assembled to consult on the best method of showing the last token of respect to their departed, venerable, pastor.

After his decease, most of his printed Sermons and Tracts were collected together and published in three volumes quarto.

We terminate this imperfect Memoir with the subsequent, brilliant, paragraphs; furnishing what we flatter ourselves will be considered one of the first pieces of Biography that has ever appeared in the English language. We are indebted for it to the pen of that elegant and forcible writer, the Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady, A. B. written July 29, 1772.

His Doctrinal and Practical Writings will live, and be admired, and be a standing blessing to posterity, when their opposers are forgotten, or only remembered by the refutations he has given them. While true Religion, and sound Learning, have a single friend remaining in the British Empire, the Works and Name of Gill will be precious and revered.

May the readers of this inadequate sketch, together with him, who (though of a very different denomination from the Doctor) pays this last and unexaggerated tribute of justice to the honoured memory of so excellent a person, participate, on earth, and everlastingly celebrate in heaven, that sovereign grace, which its departed Champion so largely experienced–to which he was so distinguished an ornament–and of which he was so able a defender!

His works are: his Exposition of the Old and New Testament, nine volumes, folio; Exposition of the Canticles; The Cause of God and Truth, each one volume, quarto; Body of Divinity, three volumes, quarto; and Sermons and Tracts, published after his death, in three volumes, quarto.

Historicist Premillennialism
The Particular Baptist View of the Millennial Reign of Christ

by Dr. John Gill


This chapter contains the binding of Satan, the saints’ n with Christ, the loosing of Satan again, the destruction of him, and the Gog and Magog army, and the last judgment: the angel that is to bind Satan is described by his descent from heaven; by his having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand; and by the use he made of them, laying hold on Satan, binding him, casting him into the bottomless pit, and then shutting it up, and setting a seal on him; by all which he will be prevented from deceiving the nations for the space of a thousand years, (Re 20:1-3). After this thrones are seen, with persons on them, to whom judgment is given; who are said to be such as had been martyrs for Jesus, and had not worshipped the beast, or professed his religion; whose happiness is represented by living and reigning with Christ a thousand years, when others will not; the second death will have no power on them; they will be the priests of God, and Christ, and reign with him during the said term, having a part in the first resurrection, (Re 20:4-6).

At the expiration of which term Satan will be loosed, and go out of prison, deceive the nations, and gather Gog and Magog to battle; who, being exceeding numerous, will cover the breadth of the earth, encompass the camp and city of the saints, when fire will come down from heaven and destroy them, and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, where the beast and false prophet are, and be tormented for ever and ever, (Re 20:7-10). And next an account is given of the general Judgment; and the judge is described by the throne he sat on, a white cloud, and by his majesty, which is such, that the heavens and the earth flee from before him, (Re 20:11). And next the persons judged are described by their common state, the dead; by their age or condition, great and small, and by their position, standing before God; and then an account of the procedure, or rule of judgment; the books are opened, and the execution of judgment according to what is found in the books, (Re 20:12) in order to which the sea, death, and the grave, give up the dead in them, and the two last are cast into the lake, and with them those who are not in the book of life, (Re 20:13,14).

Ver. 1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, &c.] All Christ’s enemies, and Satan’s instruments being removed, the devil is left alone, and only stands in the way of Christ’s kingdom; and what will be done to him, and how he will be in the issue disposed of, this vision gives an account: by the “angel” John saw, is not to be understood Constantine the great; for though he is the man child that was taken up to God, and his throne, being advanced to the empire, yet he cannot, with that propriety, be said to come down from heaven; and though he vanquished the Heathen emperors, in which the dragon presided, and cast Paganism out of the empire, by which the devil ruled in it, yet the binding of Satan is another kind of work, and seems too great for him; and besides, did not take place in his time, as will be seen hereafter: nor is an apostle, or a minister of the Gospel intended; such are indeed called angels in this book, and may be said to come down from heaven, because they have their commission from thence; and particularly the apostles had the keys of the kingdom of heaven, but not the key of the bottomless pit; and a chain and system of Gospel truths, which they made good use of for the establishing of Christ’s kingdom, and weakening of Satan’s, but not such a chain as is here meant; and they had the power of binding and loosing, or of declaring things lawful or unlawful, but not of binding and loosing of Satan; nor was he bound in the apostolic age: nor is one of the ministering spirits, or a deputation of angels designed; for though Christ will be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, and will make use of them, both to gather together his elect, and to cast the wicked into the lake of fire, yet not to bind Satan; but the Lord Jesus Christ himself is this angel, who is the angel of God’s presence, and of the covenant; and who is in this book called an angel, (Re 7:2 10:1) to whom all the characters here well agree, and to whom the work of binding Satan most properly belongs; for who so fit to do it, or so capable of it, as the seed of the woman, that has bruised serpent’s head, or as the Son of God, who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, yea, to destroy him himself; and who dispossessed multitudes of devils from the bodies of men, and is the strong man armed that dislodges Satan from the souls of men, and is the same with Michael, who drove him from heaven, and cast him out from thence before, (Re 12:7,8). And his coming down from heaven is not to be understood of his incarnation, or of his coming from thence by the assumption of human nature; for Satan was not bound by him then, as will be seen hereafter; but of his second coming, which will be from heaven, where he now is, and will be local, visible, and personal: of no other coming of his does this book speak, as seen by John, or as future; nor will the order of this vision, after the ruin of the beast and false prophet, admit of any other.

Having the key of the bottomless pit: the abyss or deep, the same out of which the beast ascended, (Re 11:7 17:8). And the key of this becomes no hand so well as his who has the keys of hell and death, (Re 1:18) who has all power in heaven and in earth, and has the power of hell, of opening and shutting it at his pleasure, which is signified by this phase; (Re 9:1). The Ethiopic version reads, “the key of the sun”, where some have thought hell to be; and yet the same version renders the word, the deep, in (Re 20:3).

And a great chain in his hand; the key in one hand, and the chain in another; by which last is meant, not any material chain, with which spirits cannot be bound, nor indeed sometimes bodies possessed by evil spirits, (Mr 5:3,4) but the almighty power of Christ, which he will now display in binding Satan faster and closer than ever.

Ver. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, &c.] By whom is meant not Paganism, for that was destroyed in the Roman empire under the sixth seal, and was the consequence of the war between Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his; and before this time it will be destroyed in other parts under the sixth and seventh vials, when the kings of the earth, being gathered together at Armageddon, will be slain, and the cities of the nations will fall, not only Papal, but Pagan, and Mahometan; and what will not will be converted, for before this time the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of Christ: but the devil himself is intended, so called, partly because of his great power, authority, and cruelty he has exercised in the world; and because of the venom and poison of idolatry, superstition, false doctrine, and worship, with which he has infected the inhabitants of it.

That old serpent; so called with respect to his cunning and subtlety, as well as his antiquity, being from the beginning of the creation, and having as early beguiled our first parents; which is the devil and Satan; the accuser of God and men, and the adversary of them both. The Complutensian edition and Syriac version add, “which deceiveth the whole world”; and the Arabic version, “the deceiver of the whole world”; which seems to be taken out of (Re 12:9). Him Christ “laid hold on”, and whom he held fast, as the word signifies: Christ will now take him, apprehend him, and detain him, as his prisoner; in the wilderness, Satan only felt the dint of his sword, the written word of God, and was obliged to leave him: but now he will feel the weight of his hand, and the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger; in the agony or conflict with him in the garden, he was conquered by prayer; and on the cross Christ destroyed him through death, but now he will be seized by his power, and crushed under his hand.

And bound him a thousand years, with the great chain he had in his hand: the devil is in chains now, is under the power of divine Providence, and can do nothing without divine permission; but this chain is long, and he appears oftentimes to have great liberty, and ranges about the air and earth, and does much mischief; but now he will be so bound by the power of Christ over him, that he will not be able to stir hand or foot, to disturb the saints, or deceive the nations, whether with false worship, and false doctrine, or by stirring them up to persecute the saints. So of the devil, Asmodaeus, it is said in the Apocrypha, And Raphael was sent to heal them both, that is, to scale away the whiteness of Tobit’s eyes, and to give Sara the daughter of Raguel for a wife to Tobias the son of Tobit; and to bind Asmodeus the evil spirit; because she belonged to Tobias by right of inheritance.

The selfsame time came Tobit home, and entered into his house, and Sara the daughter of Raguel came down from her upper chamber. (Tobit 3:17) that the angel Raphael, “bound him”. The space of a thousand years is not a certain number for an uncertain, or a large and indeterminate space of time, as in (Ps 90:4 105:8) these years are to be taken, not indefinitely, but definitely, for just this number of years exactly, as appears from their having the article prefixed to them; and are called afterwards, no less than four times, “the thousand years”, or these thousand years, (Re 20:3-5,7) and from the things which are attributed to the beginning and ending of these years, which fix the epoch, and period of them; as the binding of Satan, when they begin, and the loosing of him when they end, as well as the reign of the saints with Christ during the whole time; to which may be added, the resurrection of the saints at the commencement of them, and the resurrection of the wicked at the close: but the great question is, whether they are begun or not? if they are begun, when they began; and if not, when they will. Some think that they began either at the birth of Christ, or at his resurrection, or at the destruction of Jerusalem. I put these together, because they were all in one century, within the compass of seventy years, or thereabout; so that if the thousand years began at either of them, they must end in the same century, in 1100. Now though, upon Christ’s coming Satan fell like lightning from heaven, and multitudes of men, possessed with devils, were dispossessed by Christ, and he that had the power of death, the devil, was destroyed by him; and upon the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles in the Gentile world, the prince of the world was cast out, his oracles were struck dumb, multitudes were converted, and churches were set up everywhere, yet still Satan was not bound: he was not bound before the death of Christ; witness the many bodies of men possessed by him; his tempting Christ himself in the wilderness; his attacks upon him in the garden, and on the cross; his putting it into the heart of Judas to betray him; and filling the chief priests and scribes with malice and envy against him, to seek his death, which they brought about: nor was he bound, so as not to deceive the Jews, either before or after the death of Christ, nor is he to this day; they were in Christ’s time under the influence of their father the devil, whose lust they would do, and did, in putting Christ to death; and after his death, they were instigated by Satan to persecute his apostles in Judea, and elsewhere; and though after the destruction of Jerusalem they had no more power to act in this way, yet they had no less ill will and malice against the Christians, and are to this day filled with enmity against them, and are led captive by Satan, and given up to believe a lie, that the Messiah is not come, and to reject the true Messiah, and to expect a false one: and as for the Heathen world, not withstanding the progress of the Gospel in it, yet for the first three hundred years Paganism was the established religion of the Roman empire; and Christianity was everywhere spoken against, despised, and persecuted, and sometimes triumphed over, as if it was extinct; and Satan could never be said to be bound, and in prison himself, when he cast such multitudes into prison, and caused them to have tribulation ten days, (Re 2:10) in which so many martyrs suffered; nor did Satan appear to be bound, with respect to the church; the mystery of iniquity began to work in the apostle’s times, and there were then many antichrists in the world, deceivers, false teachers and heretics; there was a synagogue of Satan,(Re 2:9) and such a set of vile persons under the name of Christians, as scarce ever was in the world; to which may be added, the great decline of love, and other graces, and of the purity of doctrine and worship in the best churches, and the many contentions among themselves, in which Satan had a great hand, and therefore could not be bound: moreover, some hundreds of years before the thousand years ended, beginning from either of the above dates, the man of sin, the son of perdition, the pope, or western antichrist, was revealed, whose coming is after the working of Satan, (2Th 2:9) and therefore surely he could not be bound then; besides, Mahomet, the eastern antichrist, sprung up, who opened the bottomless pit, and let out the smoke of it, by the Alcoran he delivered, and the false worship he set up: nor was there anything in the eleventh century, which answered to the loosing of Satan, to the Gog and Magog army, their war with the saints, and the issue of it; nor were the nations then more deceived than they had been in some centuries past; at least they were deceived in centuries past, both by the pope and Mahomet, which they would not have been, had Satan been bound then: to which may be subjoined, that if Satan was loosed, then he cannot be said to be loosed a little season, as in (Re 20:3) in comparison of the thousand years, as that must be understood; since it is now between six and seven hundred years since, which is more than half a thousand years. Others begin these years at Constantine’s coming to the imperial throne; but though there was at that time a great spread of the Gospel, an enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, and a weakening of Satan’s, yet Satan was far from being bound; see (Re 12:7,8 13:15) witness the flood of errors and heresies which he quickly brought in, as the Eutychian and Nestorian heresies, the one confounding the natures, the other dividing the person of Christ; the Pelagian heresy, which obscured the grace of God, and advanced the free will of man; the Macedonian heresy, which denied the divinity of the Spirit: and especially the Arian heresy, which was opposed to the deity of Christ, and which introduced great contentions and confusion the churches, and issued in a violent persecution of them, being embraced by the sons of Constantine: not to take notice of Julian, an Heathen emperor, ascending the throne, who by many devilish arts endeavoured to extirpate Christianity; nor what has been observed before, the rise of both Mahomet in the east, and the Romish antichrist in the west, which were both within this period; in process of time the western empire was overrun by the Goths and Vandals, and the eastern empire by the Saracens and Turks; to which may be added, the violent persecutions of the Waldenses and Albigenses, before the year 1300, about which time the thousand years must cease, according to this computation, for opposing the pope of Rome, and who were slain where Satan had his seat, (Re 2:13) and therefore not bound; nor was there anything happened in that century which might answer to the loosing of him. Others date these thousand years from the Reformation, and so not much more than two hundred of them are yet passed; but that Satan was not bound then, and is not now, is manifest. All the Popish nations have not been reformed, but still remain under the deception; and some, that have been, have revolted again; and the devil has continued to deceive the nations with that false worship, and to stir them up to persecute the reformed. Witness the burning of them here in Queen Mary’s days, the massacres in France and Ireland, the present inquisition in Spain and Portugal, and the persecution of the Hugonots in France, and other Protestants elsewhere: and this is further evident from the decline in the reformed churches, both as to doctrine, discipline, and conversation; from the spread of errors and heresies of al

l kinds ever since, and especially in our age; and from the general profaneness and infidelity of the times, which, when considered, no man in his senses can ever think that Satan is bound; nor indeed will he be bound, or these thousand years begin, till after the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the destruction of all the antichristian powers, Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan, as appears from the order of this vision, and its connection with the preceding chapter.

Ver. 3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, &c.] Or deep, into which the devils desired they might not be sent, and which they dreaded as a torment, it may be, because a place of confinement, (Lu 8:31 Mt 8:29) for this is called a prison, (Re 20:7) and is distinguished from the lake of fire, into which the devil is afterwards cast, (Re 20:10).

And shut him up; that so he might not rove about in the air, nor go to and fro in the earth, nor walk about like a roaring lion, seeking to affright, disturb, or devour: and set a seal upon him; or upon the door of the pit, for further security, as was upon the stone at the mouth of the lion’s den, (Da 6:17) and of Christ’s sepulchre, (Mt 27:66). The Jews {u} make mention of a stone they call “Shetijah“, with which the Lord of the world “sealed the mouth of the great deep”, or bottomless pit, at the beginning; but here not that, but Satan in it, is sealed. The Alexandrian copy reads, “and sealed him firmly”, so that it was impossible for him to break out: the end of this apprehension, binding, imprisonment, and security of Satan is, that he should deceive the nations no more; that is, by drawing them into idolatry, false worship, and false doctrine; and by exciting them to make war against the saints, or to persecute them, as appears from (Re 20:8) as he had done before; and it is notorious enough that he has deceived them both these ways; he deceived the Pagan nations not only before, but since the coming of Christ, to worship the Heathen deities; and the Papists, who are called Gentiles, or nations, (Re 11:2) to fall down to idols of gold, silver, stone, and wood; and the nation of the Jews to entertain a false and deluded notion of the Messiah; and all of them, in their turns, to persecute the people of God, as the Jews at the death of Stephen, and afterwards; the Pagan emperors for the first three hundred years after Christ; the Papists from the rise of the beast, who had power given him to make war with the saints, and overcome them; but now he will be under such restraint, and in such close confinement, that he will not be able to move the wicked nations to anything of this kind, as he will when he is loosed at the end of the thousand years; nor will he be able so much as to tempt any of the saints, during this term of time, nor give them the least molestation or uneasiness.

Till the thousand years shall be fulfilled; or ended, the whole space of them run out: and after that he must be loosed a little season; a small space of time, in comparison of the thousand years; how long it will be exactly, cannot be said; and this “must” be, not because he cannot be held any longer, or through any weakness in Christ; but because of the decree of God, who has so appointed it, for the glorifying of himself, in the salvation of his people, and in the final destruction of the devil, and the Gog and Magog army. {uTargum Jon. in Exod. xxviii. 30.

Ver. 4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, &c.] Besides the throne of God the Father, and the throne of glory, on which the Son of God sits, and the twelve thrones for the twelve apostles of the Lamb; there will be thrones set, or pitched, for all the saints, (Da 7:9) who will sit on them, in the character of kings, and as conquerors, and shall sit quiet, and undisturbed, and be in perfect ease, and peace, for they that sit on them are the same persons hereafter described in this verse; for after the binding of Satan, an account is given of the happiness and glory of the saints during that time: and judgment was given unto them; that is, power, dominion, regal authority, possession of a kingdom, answerable to their character as kings, and to their position, sitting on thrones, (Da 7:22,27) unless it should be rather understood of justice being done them, which does not so manifestly take place in the present state of things, and of which they sometimes complain; but now righteous judgment will be given for them, and against their enemies; their persons will be openly declared righteous; their characters will be cleared of all false imputations fastened on them; and their works and sufferings for Christ will be taken notice of in a way of grace, and rewarded in a very glorious manner.

And so it may respect their being judged themselves, but not their judging of others, the wicked, which is the sole work of Christ; nor will the wicked now be upon the spot to be judged; nor is that notion to be supported by (see Gill on Mt 19:28, 1Co 6:2-3″). The Jews fancy that their chief men shall judge the world in the time to come; for so they say {w}, “in future time, (or in the world to come,) the holy blessed God will sit, and kings will place thrones for the great men of Israel, and they shall sit and judge the nations of the world with the holy blessed God:” but the persons here meant are not Jews, but sufferers for the sake of Jesus, as follows: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God: these, with the persons described in the next clause, are they who will sit on thrones, during the thousand years of Satan’s being bound, and will have judgment given them; even such who have bore witness to the truth of Jesus being the Son of God, the true Messiah, and the only Saviour of sinners, and to him as the essential Word of God, or to the written word of God, the whole Gospel, all the truths and doctrines of it; and who have been beheaded for bearing such a testimony, as John the Baptist was, the first of the witnesses of Jesus: and since this kind of punishment was a Roman one, it seems particularly to point at such persons who suffered under the Roman Pagan emperors, and to design the same souls said to be under the altar, and to cry for vengeance, (Re 6:9). This clause, in connection with the former, is differently rendered; the Syriac version renders it thus, “and judgment was given to them, and to the souls that were beheaded”, &c. the Arabic version, “and to them was given the judgment the souls killed”, &c. the Ethiopic version, “and then I saw a seat, and the son of man sat upon it, and he rendered to them judgment for the souls of them that were slain for the law of the Lord Jesus”.

And which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, see (Re 13:1,4,14-16). This describes such who shall have made no profession of the Popish religion, nor have supported it in any way; who shall not have joined in the idolatry of the Romish antichrist, but shall have protested against it, and departed from it, and shall have adhered to Christ, and to the true worship of God; see (Re 14:1 15:2). And so this, with the preceding character, includes all the saints that lived under Rome Pagan, and Rome Papal, to the destruction of antichrist, and the setting up of Christ’s kingdom; not that these martyrs and confessors, or even all the saints of their times, are the only persons that shall share in the glory and happiness of the n of Christ, and binding of Satan; for all the saints will come with Christ, and all the dead in Christ will rise first, or be partakers of the first resurrection; and all that are redeemed by his blood, of whatsoever nation, or in whatsoever age of the world they have lived, even from the beginning of it, shall be kings and priests, and reign with him on earth, (Zec 14:5 1Th 3:13 4:14,16 Re 5:9,10) though John only takes notice of these, because the design of this book, and of the visions shown to him, was only to give a prophetic history of the church, from his time, to the end of the world; and these particularly are observed to encourage the saints under sufferings for Christ: and they lived; meaning not spiritually, for so they did before, and while they bore their testimony to Christ, and against antichrist, and previous to their death; nor in their successors, for it would not be just and reasonable that they should be beheaded for their witness of Christ and his word, and others should live and reign with Christ in their room and stead; nor is this to be understood of their living in their souls, for so they live in their separate state; the soul never dies; God is not the God of the dead, but of the living: but the sense is, that they lived again, as in (Re 20:5) they lived corporeally; their souls lived in their bodies, their bodies being raised again, and reunited to their souls, their whole persons lived; or the souls of them that were beheaded lived; that is, their bodies lived again, the soul being sometimes put for the body, (Ps 16:10) and this is called the first resurrection in the next verse: and reigned with Christ a thousand years; as all that suffer with him will, and as all that will live godly must, and do, (2Ti 2:12 2Ti 3:12).

Christ being descended from heaven, and having bound Satan, and the dead saints being raised, and the living ones changed, he will reign among them personally, visibly, and gloriously, and in the fullest manner; all the antichristian powers will be destroyed; Satan will be in close confine- ment; death, with respect to Christ and his people, will be no more; the heavens and the earth will be made new, and all things will be subject to him; and all his saints will be with him, and they shall reign with him; they shall be glorified together; they shall sit on the throne with him, have a crown of righteousness given them, and possess the kingdom appointed for them; they will reign over all their enemies; Satan will be bruised under their feet, being bound; the wicked will be shut up in hell, and neither will be able to give them any disturbance; and sin and death will be no more: this reign will not be in a sensual and carnal way, or lie in possessing worldly riches and honours, in eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage; the saints will not be in a mortal, but in an immortal state; the children of this resurrection will be like the angels; and this reign will be on earth, (Re 5:10) the present earth will be burnt up, and a new one formed, in which these righteous persons will dwell, (2Pe 3:13) of which (Re 21:1) this is a perfect number, and is expressive of the perfection of this state, and is a term of years that neither Adam, nor any of his sons, arrived unto; but Christ the second Adam shall see his seed, and shall prolong his days longer than any of them, (Isa 53:10). It is an observation of the Jewish Rabbins {x}, that the day in (Ge 2:17) is the day of the holy blessed God (i.e. a thousand years), and therefore the first Adam did not perfect, or fill up his day, for there wanted seventy years of it: and it is a notion that prevails with them, that the days of the Messiah will be a thousand years {y}; and so they will be at his second coming, but not at his first, which they vainly expect, it being past: and also they say {z}, that in these thousand years God will renew his world, and that then the righteous will be raised, and no more return to dust; which agrees with John’s new heaven and new earth during this state, and with the first resurrection: and so Jerom, who was conversant with the Rabbins, says {a} that the Jews expect a n.

{w} Yalkut Simconi, par. 2. fol. 41. 4.
{xBemidbar Rabba, sect. 5. fol. 185. 4. vidJacchiad. in Dan. vii. 25.
{yMidrash Tillim, fol. 4. 2.
{z} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 93. 1, 2. & Gloss. in ibYalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 42. 1. & 49. 3. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2.
{a} Comment. in Zach. xiv. 16, 18.

Ver. 5. But the rest of the dead, &c.] Meaning not the dead saints, for they will be all raised together, but the wicked dead; and not them as morally or spiritually, but as corporeally dead: these lived not again until the thousand years were finished; so that there will be such an exact term of years between the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of the wicked; nor will there be any wicked living upon earth, or in bodies, during that time; for the wicked dead will not be raised with the saints at Christ’s coming, and the wicked living will be destroyed in the conflagration of the world, and neither of them shall live again until the end of these years. This clause is left out in the Syriac version.

This is the first resurrection; which is not to be connected with the living again of the rest of the dead at the end of the thousand years, for that will be the second and last resurrection; but with the witnesses of Jesus, and the true worshippers of God living again, in order to reign with Christ a thousand years; for this resurrection is not meant of a resurrection from the death of sin to a life of grace; though the work of grace and conversion is sometimes so represented, it cannot be designed here; for such a resurrection the above witnesses and worshippers were partakers of before their sufferings, and which was antecedently necessary to their witness and worship; besides, this resurrection was future in John’s time, and was what was to be done at once, and was peculiar to the commencement of the thousand years; whereas the spiritual resurrection was before his time, and has been ever since the beginning, and is successive in all ages, and not affixed to anyone period of time, though there may be more instances of it in one age than in another; nor is this ever called the first resurrection, nor can any reason be given why it should; for though one man may be converted before another, his conversion cannot be called the first resurrection, since there are many instances of this nature before, and many more after; besides, at this time, there will be none of God’s people to be raised in this sense; they will be all quickened and converted before; the nation of the Jews will be born again, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in; to which may be added, that if the first resurrection is to be understood in a spiritual sense, then the second resurrection of the wicked dead, at the end of the thousand years, must be understood in like manner: nor is a reviving of the cause of Christ and his interest here intended, particularly through the calling of the Jews, and the numerous conversion of the Gentiles; for though the former of these especially is signified by the quickening of the dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision, and is expressed by bringing the Jews out of their graves, and is called life from the dead, (Ro 11:15) yet that cannot with any propriety be called the first resurrection; for there was a great reviving of true religion in the time of John the Baptist, Christ and his apostles, especially after the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, both among Jews and Gentiles; and there was a revival of the Christian religion in the times of Constantine, and again at the reformation from Popery; and as for the conversion of the Jews and the Gentiles in the latter day, that will be the last reviving of the cause and interest of Christ, which will usher in his spiritual reign, and therefore should rather be called the last, than the first resurrection; besides, this affair will be over before this time; this is signified by the marriage of the Lamb in the preceding chapter; and the kingdoms of the world will become Christ’s under the seventh trumpet, and both will be in the spiritual reign: moreover, this does by no means agree with the character of the persons who shall share in this resurrection, they are such who shall have lived and suffered, at least many of them, under Rome Pagan and Papal, (Re 20:4) and therefore can never be understood of Jews and Gentiles in the latter day, when neither one nor other shall be any more. To which may be subjoined, that if this was the sense, then this cause must revive also among the wicked at the end of the thousand years, whereas when they are raised, they will attempt the very reverse. It remains then, that by this first resurrection must be meant a corporeal one; for as some of those that will live again were corporeally beheaded, and all of them corporeally died, they will be corporeally raised again; and in such sense will the rest of the dead be raised at the end of these years; with respect to which this is properly called the first resurrection; it is the first in time, it will be at the beginning of the thousand years, and the second will be at the close; the dead in Christ will rise first in order of time, (1Th 4:16); they will have the dominion in this sense over the wicked in the morning of the resurrection: Christ’s resurrection is indeed first, but that is the cause and pledge of this; and there were particular resurrections both before and after his, but they were to a mortal state; and there were some saints that rose from the dead immediately after his resurrection; but these were but few, and were designed as an earnest of this; besides, though it was a resurrection, it was not the resurrection; and it may be further observed, that the resurrection of the righteous will be the first at the coming of Christ, (1Co 15:22) there will be none then before theirs; theirs will be the first; the resurrection of the wicked, to which this is opposed as the first, will not be till a thousand years after: add to all which, that this resurrection will be, ~h prwth~, “the first”, that is, the best, as the word is used in (Lu 15:22) the chief, the principal; the resurrection of the wicked can hardly be called a resurrection in comparison of it, and in many places theirs is not taken notice of where this is, as in (1Co 15:12-57 1Th 4:13-18) the righteous will be raised by virtue of union to Christ, in consequence of his having the charge both of their souls and bodies, and in conformity to his glorious body, and to eternal life, which will not be the case of the wicked,

Ver. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, &c.] This may be considered either as descriptive of the persons that shall partake of this privilege; as that they are only such who are blessed with spiritual blessings, with a justifying righteousness, with pardon of sin, and regenerating grace, and who are sanctified by the Spirit of God; these, and these only, will be first raised, and will be called to inherit the kingdom prepared for them, (Mt 25:34) or else as expressive of their happiness and holiness when raised; they shall be perfectly blessed in soul and body, and perfectly holy in both: they shall be “blessed”, for on such the second death hath no power; which is the lake of fire, (Re 20:14 21:8) the sense is, they shall escape everlasting burnings, the fire of hell, the torment and misery of the wicked; they shall be delivered from wrath to come; and as their bodies will die no more, their souls will not be subject to any sense of wrath, or to any sort of punishment: and they will be “holy”; they will have no sin in them: but they will be priests of God and of Christ; of God the Father, and of his Son Jesus Christ, being made so to the former by the latter, (Re 1:6) or of God, even of Christ, that is, of God, who is Christ, since it follows: and shall reign with him; they will be wholly devoted to and employed in the service of God and of Christ, and will be continually offering up the sacrifices of praise, or singing the song of the Lamb, adoring the grace and goodness of God and Christ unto them, shown them both in providence and in grace: and shall reign with him a thousand years; this is mentioned again, partly to assert the certainty of it, and partly to point at the blessedness of the risen saints.

Ver. 7. And when the thousand years are expired, &c.] Which are not yet expired; not in the year 1000, or 1033 or 4, reckoning from the birth or death of Christ, when Paganism, which had been destroyed in the Gentile world, was introduced into the church, which bore the Christian name, through the man of sin; for this had been bringing in by degrees more or less from the times of Constantine; whence it appears, that Satan in this respect was loose before, and therefore this was not the time of his loosing; nor in 1073, reckoning from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the carrying and spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles, in which year Hildebrand came to the popedom, who may be truly called the brand of hell; Damianus, a brother cardinal, who lived at the same time with him when he was archdeacon of Rome, calls him the holy devil; he was an impostor, sorcerer, and necromancer, and by wicked arts got into the Papal chair; this pope raised the Papal power over princes to a very great height, and made the see of Rome absolutely independent, and all bishops dependent on it; he forbid bishops receiving their investiture from the emperor, or any lay person, under pain of excommunication: this is the pope that made the emperor, with his empress and child, wait three days barefoot at his gates, in the depth of winter, before they could be admitted to him; that doctrine of devils, forbidding priests to marry, was established by him; and in his days that monstrous and absurd notion of transubstantiation began to prevail, though he himself used his breaden god but very roughly; for taking it to be really God, he required an answer from it against the emperor; but it not speaking, he threw it into the fire, and burnt it. Now it will be allowed, that the devil was loose at this time, but then so he was before: there had been popes before this who were conjurers, necromancers, and had familiarity and confederacy with the devil; and near five hundred years before this time, the pope was declared universal bishop by Phocas; and the forbidding priests marriage was started in the council of Nice, and was approved of by Pope Siricius, long before this time, though it was now more firmly established; add to this, that if the expiration of the 1000 years and the loosing of Satan were at this time, he must have been loosed near 700 years, which can never be called a little season, as in (Re 20:3) especially in comparison of the 1000 years, the time of his binding; when it is two thirds of that time: nor did these years expire in or about 1300, reckoning from Constantine, about which time Pope Boniface the Eighth lived, of whom it is said, that he came in like a fox, railed like a lion, and died like a dog; upon his accession to the popedom, he instituted a jubilee, and on the first day he appeared in his pontifical habit, and gave the benediction to the people, and on the next day he clothed himself with an imperial habit, and put on a rich diadem, and sat on a throne, with a naked sword bore before him, when he uttered these words, “Ecce hic duo gladii“, “Behold here are two swords”, referring to (Lu 22:38) which the Papists would have understood of the temporal and spiritual power which Peter and his successors are possessed of; at the same time Ottoman was crowned emperor of the Mahometan nations, who founded the Turkish empire, and spread the Mahometan religion in Asia and Greece; and by both these, great disturbances and wars were occasioned, both in the east and west: but still this does not make it appear that now was the time of Satan’s loosing; since before this time the Papal power was at its utmost height, and the Mahometan religion had been hundreds of years in the world, and had greatly prevailed; and therefore Satan must be loosed before; and indeed it is in vain to seek after the expiration of these years, and the loosing of Satan, when as yet the years are not begun, nor has Satan been bound, as has been shown on (Re 20:2) but however, when they will be ended,

Satan shall be loosed out of his prison; during the thousand years he will be in a state of confinement, being bound, shut, and sealed up in the bottomless pit, which is therefore here called a prison, as is the place of damned spirits, in (1Pe 3:19) but when these will be at an end; his chain will be taken off, at least will be lengthened; the seal upon him will be broken off, the bottomless pit will be opened, and he let loose; which will be done not by himself, but by him that bound him, or by divine permission.

Ver. 8. And shall go out, &c.] Of his prison, the bottomless pit, and shall walk to and fro in the earth, and go about like a deceitful serpent, and roaring lion, as before: to deceive the nations: as he had done before the thousand years began, and from which he was restrained during that time; he had before deceived the Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan nations, and now he will go forth to deceive those at this time which are in the four quarters of the earth; all the world over: the names of which nations are, Gog and Magog: not the same which are mentioned in (Eze 38:1-39:16) though there is an allusion to them, and from thence the names are taken, and some of the figures borrowed, and design the enemies of God’s people, who will be in the world at this time; so the Jews {b} speak of a Gog and Magog, that will come up against Jerusalem in the days of the Messiah, whom they still expect, by whom they shall be destroyed: to gather them together to battle; not one against another, as some think, as the pope against the Turk, and the Turk against the pope, nor are they designed at all; nor “to kill them”, as the Ethiopic version renders it; but against the saints and people of God, in the beloved city and camp; herein will lie his deception of them: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea; that is, innumerable, in allusion to Gog and Magog in (Eze 38:9,15,16) but the great question is, who are meant by these?–Not the Papists, the nations made drunk with the wine of Rome’s fornication, the Gentiles, by whom the holy city is trodden under foot, and who will be angry when the time of avenging the saints is come, (Re 11:2,18 18:2) for these will be all destroyed, even all the remains of them, at the battle of Armageddon; nor is antichrist himself intended, who will be destroyed in the spiritual reign of Christ, with the breath of his mouth; and at the above decisive battle the beast and the false prophet will be taken alive, and cast into the lake of fire: nor are the Turks designed, the people of Magog being Scythians originally, as Josephus says {c}, from whence the Turks sprung; or Tartarinns, for Paulus Venetus {d} says the countries of Gog and Magog are in Tartary, called Jug and Munjug; hence some think these are the same with the four angels bound at the river Euphrates, and loosed, whose armies are represented as exceeding numerous, (Re 9:14,16,17) but though the Turkish dominions are very large, yet they do not extend to the four quarters of the world; and when the Turks were let loose, and came even into Europe, it was not against the true Christians, the camp of the saints, the beloved city, as here, but against the antichristian party; the Papists have suffered most by the incursions of the Turks, though it has not brought them to repentance; besides, the loosing of the four angels, or the Turkish nations, and their chiefs, is long before these thousand years begin; that is past already, under the sixth trumpet, whereas the seventh trumpet will be blown, and all the seven vials poured out, and the world cleared of all Christ’s enemies, and after that a thousand years must run out, before this Gog and Magog army will appear: nor are the Americans the nations, here spoken of; for they are but in one quarter of the world; nor is there any reason to believe there will be there more enemies of Christ’s people than in any other part, since in the spiritual reign of Christ the earth shall be full of his knowledge, and his spiritual kingdom will be to the ends of the earth: and as for that notion that those inhabiting the other hemisphere will be saved from the general conflagration, there is no reason to believe it, since the earth, and whatsoever is therein, shall be burnt up, (2Pe 3:10). Some think that the wicked living in the distant parts of the world, in the corners of the earth, are meant, who, upon Christ’s coming, will flee thither, and remain in continual dread and terror to the end of the thousand years, when Satan will gather them together, and spirit them up against the saints; but this cannot be, because they will all be destroyed at the universal conflagration of the world; nor will there be any in the new earth but righteous persons: but these will be all the wicked dead, the rest of the dead, who lived not again until the thousand years are ended, when will be the second resurrection, the resurrection of all the wicked that have been from the beginning of the world; and these, with the posse of devils under Satan, will make up the Gog and Magog army: all the characters agree with them; these may be called nations, or Gentiles, being aliens from the true Israel of God, the dogs that will be without the holy city; these may be said to be in “the four quarters” of the world, since where they die and are buried, there they will rise and stand upon their feet, an exceeding great army; and as they will die enemies to Christ and his people, they will rise such; as they will go down to hell with their “weapons of war”, as is said of Meshech and Tubal, the people of Gog, (Eze 32:27) they will rise with the same; the grave, the dust of the earth, will make no change in their vile bodies, nor the flames of hell any alteration in the disposition of their minds; yea, as is said in the above place, they will “lay their swords under their heads”, and so be in a readiness, when they rise, to make use of them against the saints, and to avenge themselves; for their envy, malice, and revenge, will be heightened and increased by their confinement and punishment in hell: nor need this be wondered at, since the devils, notwithstanding they have been so long expelled the realms of light, and have been in chains of darkness, and in expectation of everlasting torment, retain the same enmity as ever; and though the deception will be very great, to attack saints in an immortal state, who are like the angels that die not, nor will these die any more, and especially since Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who rules the nations with a rod of iron, will be at the head of them; yet it need not seem strange, when they will rise as weak and feeble, and as little able to resist temptation, and as much exposed to seduction, as they were before; Satan will have as much power over them as ever; and what with their own numbers, and the posse of devils at the head of them, and especially considering the desperateness of their state, and that this is their last struggle and effort for liberty, they will animate themselves and one another to this strange undertaking. These now may be called Gog and Magog, as the one signifies “covered”, the other open, or “uncovered”: these being all the enemies of Christ and his people, both secret and open: and this sense well accounts for their number, being as the sand of the sea; and which the Arabic version seems to confirm, “and Jagog and Magog shall rise with him”. The Jews have a notion that this deception of Satan will be at the day of judgment, which agrees with this account; for immediately upon this will follow the judgment of the wicked: they say {e}, “in the day that judgment shall be found in the world, and the holy ble

ssed God shall sit upon the throne of Judgment, Satan ^attw alyel yjoa^, “shall deceive above and below” (angels and men), and he shall be found to destroy the world, and to take away souls.”

{bTargum in Cant. viii. 4. & Targum Hieros. in Numb. xi. 26.
    {c} Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.
{d} In Schindler. Lex. Pentaglott. col. 288.
{eZoharin Gen. fol. 73. 1.

Ver. 9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, &c.] 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, (Eze 38:16) and it may be observed, that the very phrase of ^Kura bxr, “the breadth of thy land”, is used of Immanuel’s land, or the land of Israel, in (Isa 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, (Re 21:3) and Christ their King at the head of them, (Mic 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, (Nu 2:2) afterwards the city of Jerusalem itself was called a camp, and answered in all respects to the camp in the wilderness {f}, to which the reference is in (Heb 13:11-13) 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, (Re 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 (Eze 38:22 39:6,9, 10) and so the Jews {g} 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.

{f} T. Bab Zebachim, fol. 116. 2. MaimonHilch. Beth Habbechirah, c.7. sect. 11.
{gTargum Jon. in Numb. xi. 26.

Ver. 10. And the devil that deceived them, &c.] Both before death, in the present life, by tempting and drawing them into immorality and profaneness, or idolatry, superstition, and will worship, or persecution of the saints; and after their resurrection, by instigating them to make this foolish attempt upon the saints of the most High: was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone; the same with the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; this will be his full torment, in which he is not as yet; and this will not be until the judgment is finished hereafter described; though it is here mentioned to issue the account of Satan at once, and to show what will be his final state and condition:
where the beast and false prophet are;(Re 19:20) who for so many years have been companions in wickedness together; the beast being the first beast that received his power, seat, and authority from the dragon, or devil; the false prophet being the second beast, or antichrist in his ecclesiastical capacity, as the beast is antichrist in his civil power, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with signs and lying wonders: and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever; that is, not only the devil, but the beast and false prophet, for the word is in the plural number: and this will be the case of all wicked men, of all whose minds are enmity to God and Christ, and to his people; and is a proof of the eternity of hell torments.

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