Of the Thousand Years in which the Dragon or Satan is bound, with the Seventh Trumpet, or the Interval from the Destruction of the Beast.
That this account of the binding of Satan may be better understood, it must be premised for a demonstration that it is said in the text, Satan was not only cast into the abyss, but shut up there, and that the angel set a seal upon him, that he might no longer seduce the nations until the 1000 years were completed. For it was the custom of the Hebrews and neighbouring nations, when they wished to have a door firmly secured and barred up, to affix a seal to it.
Thus king Darius sealed with his signet and the signet of his nobles, the stone which was placed over the den of lions into which Daniel was cast. In the story in the Apocrypha, the servants of Daniel shut the doors of the Temple of Bel, and sealed them with the king's seal. In like manner the Jews secured the sepulchre of our Saviour, |sealing the stone and setting a watch;| or made it sure by sealing the stone, where it is to be observed that the Greek words asphalizein and sphagizein mutually explain each other. It is one thing then, and far different to be cast down from heaven, (which many accommodate to this place), and another to be bound, shut up in an abyss, and sealed. The former did not deprive him of his power of wandering about and doing mischief, the latter does not suffer him by any means to come out of his prison. Nay, I dare to affirm that not one of those things which are related in the 20th chapter is to be found in the 12th, nor, on the other hand, is there one word to be found in the 20th of what is related in the 12th. So far from truth is the supposition that the same event is represented on both occasions. Let us, however, examine a little. In the 20th chapter four things are related of the dragon: first, that he was seized by the angel who descended from heaven; secondly, that he was bound; thirdly, that he was cast into the abyss; fourthly, that he was shut up and sealed there.
You will find none of these things in the 12th. On the other hand, of what alone is narrated in the 12th chapter of the casting down the dragon from heaven to earth, not even a trace is to be found in the 20th. Nay, from the very context it is easy to collect that no such transaction then took place. For there it is said, that the angel who came to bind the dragon, came down from heaven. Therefore the dragon was already on earth; for otherwise why should the angel have descended to lay hold of him? Hence, Michael did not descend from heaven, but had an engagement with the Devil in heaven itself. These things being premised, let us proceed to the exposition of the synchronism.
Argument 1. -- Under the first six seals the dragon, or Satan, was free and at large, and also under the first six trumpets of the seventh seal. It follows, therefore, that the 1000 years for which Satan is bound, are brought within the seventh trumpet. That Satan or the dragon was not bound while the first six seals were yet running their course, is plain from this circumstance, that in all that interval, as a red dragon with his seven heads and crowns, he was contending with Michael about the offspring of the woman, as was just now demonstrated. But neither did this take place under the first six trumpets of the following seal; for this is the period of the woman in the wilderness, and of the domination of the ten-horned beast, as appears from Synch. I. of this Part. In truth, while the woman was living in the wilderness, it was very unlikely that the dragon could. be considered as bound, who, when free and precipitated from heaven, in the first place attempted to overwhelm her with a flood of waters which he cast out of his mouth, as she was preparing to depart; and afterwards, when this attempt did not succeed according to his intention, (the earth having absorbed the flood, and the woman having withdrawn into the wilderness,) inflamed with wrath and fury, he went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Are these proofs of Satan's being bound? But let us see likewise (what is said of him) respecting the beast,and hear how the dragon was bound under his reign: Namely, the dragon gave him his power and his throne, and great authority, and all the world wondered after the beast, and worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast. But could Satan perform all these acts while he was in prison Certainly in one shut up and sealed it was not possible. But that there may be no room for subterfuge, and that it may clearly appear how far the dragon was still free, and at liberty to perform such deeds, from those into whose custody he is said to be committed, in order to be restrained, behold his other pupil, the false prophet, the inseparable companion of the ten-horned beast, and the minister of the bestial power, of whom you have it written expressly, that he should perform great wonders, and deceive the inhabitants of the earth by the miracles which it was given him to perform. Now, who can readily believe that while these beasts were in possession of authority, the dragon, or Satan, was cast into the abyss, and a seal put upon him, that he might not deceive the nations any more? But from the trumpets themselves, (of the intermediate time at least,) there is not wanting an argument of the devil's being free and unbound. For is not that king of the locusts of the fifth trumpet, who is called the angel of the abyss, to whom the Hebrew name of Abaddon is applied, and the Greek of Apollyon, and whom John points out as him who had long since fallen to the earth, that very dragon himself and Satan whom Michael, before the trumpets had begun to sound, had cast down from heaven to earth? For in the whole Apocalypse, I do not remember to have read of any other besides him who fell to the earth, nor do I know any one else to whom those titles of the angel of the abyss and Abaddon could apply. However that may be, Satan was certainly not bound at that time; the bottomless pit (as it is there called) was not closed upon him and sealed, but open to that degree, that the smoke arose out of it, like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and air were darkened by the smoke: And lastly, the liberty of the dragon, or Satan, to deceive the nations, must have continued to the very ruin of the beast, and was therefore entirely coeval with the six first trumpets, which I think it impossible for any one to doubt, who has sufficiently attended to what is said to be done after the effusion of the sixth phial, that when the seventh, which is the last phial, is just about to be poured out, and therefore the last day of the beast was just at hand -- |Out of the mouth of the dragon and his vicars, the beast, and the false prophet, three unclean spirits of demons working miracles go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.|
So the thousand years of Satan's bondage, in order that he might no longer deceive the nations, cannot be placed under the first six seals, nor under the first six trumpets. They must consequently be referred to the seventh trumpet.
Argument 2. -- Afterwards, when the thousand years are finished, and Satan, having been loosed from his prison for a short time, had excited new commotions, the rabble of deceived nations which he had collected having been consumed by fire sent down from heaven, he himself being taken as a deceiver, is said to be cast into a lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and false prophet were. Observe here, reader, the mark of the time by which it is intimated that this event, whatever it is, of Satan's captivity and condemnation, after his renewed deliverance, succeeds as well in order of relation, as also in time of action, to the vision of the former chapter concerning the beast and false prophet being vanquished, captured, and in like manner cast into a lake of fire burning with sulphur, by him who sat on the white horse. For it would not otherwise be said that Satan was cast into the place where the beast and the false prophet were, unless the beast and the false prophet had been previously sent there.
Nor let any shrewd person say, by way of evasion, that there is no difference between this war of the 20th chapter, after the one thousand years, and that of the former chapter; since not only the character displayed, but all the circumstances likewise, on both sides, are in direct contradiction to it -- the parties, kind of battle, and mode of destruction. There by the sword; here by fire; nay, the event of each battle is also dissimilar, as will presently appear by demonstration. In that instance, it was the binding of Satan for a time; but in this, it is his condemnation to eternal fire.
Since the war then in which the beast and the false prophet, when captured, are cast into a lake of fire, is different from the last, to which Satan, who was to be finally cast into the same lake, had excited the nations immediately after his liberation, it must have been waged either within the thousand years, or before they began. But within the thousand years it could not be waged, because so long Satan is said to have been shut up in the abyss, that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were completed; c. xx. v.3. But in the war in which victory was at length obtained over the beast, the false prophet, and their associates, (if ever otherwise,) lie was most free and at perfect liberty to deceive, as is apparent from what we have justly alleged from the 16th chapter, of the preparation for this war; namely, that after the effusion of the sixth phial, when the seventh, by which the beast was utterly destroyed, was just ready to be poured out, |from the mouth of the dragon, and from the mouth of the beast, and the false prophet, three impure spirits, like frogs, being the spirits of demons working miracles, went forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.| Since then the period of the thousand years by no means admits of these disturbances and satanic commotions, it follows that this war of the beast preceded them in time. And thus at length the thousand years of Satan's bondage will contemporize with the interval from the destruction of the beast. Q. E. D.
Argument 3. -- Lastly, since, during the thousand years in which Satan is detained in custody, Christ may be said to have reigned with his followers over that august and magnificent kingdom, therefore, by the same arguments and marks by which the synchronism of the one is established, that of the other will be confirmed. That this august kingdom of Christ then begins with the seventh trumpet, or from the destruction of the beast, it is now our business to show.