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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 20

2. The Key and Chain



"Having the Key of the Abyss, and a Great Chain upon his hand".

The word abussos, is rendered in the English Version by the fancy phrase "bottomless pit". The Seventy (*)render the Hebrew word, tzulah, deep, by abussos, abyss, in Isa. 44:27; the great sea, or aggregation of nations acknowledging the sovereignty of Babylon. For like reasons, abyss in the prophecy before us, is representative of the aggregate of the nations occupying the Dragon-section of the inhabited earth.

A key is representative of power to open and shut. To have the key of the abyss, is to possess the power of developing political organizations, after the example of the first Napoleonic Empire; and of su-pressing them, as in the same instance. In 1815, this empire was laid hold of, and cast into the abyss, and shut up there and bound there for thirty-seven years; but when these years were finished, it was loosed for a short time under Napoleon III. This that was accomplished by mere human agents, will illustrate what is meant by the descending angel laying hold of the Dragon-Power, and keying him up, and chaining him in the abyss. The Allied Powers of Europe held the key and chain in the case of the first Napoleon; but in the case of the Dragon, the Saints to whom "judgment is given," will be the holders of the key and chain, and do with him, and place him in the same abyss, but for a longer time, and with more terrible manifestations, as did the Allies the dominion of the Corsican. This mere human power is to remain in the national abyss without dominion; Sin's flesh is to be turned out of office, and to exist only in absolute subjection to Spirit, as manifested in Jesus and his Brethren, all the glorified sons of the Deity, ruling the habitable in righteousness for a thousand years. To keep Sin's flesh, so long accustomed to rule and revel in its own lusts and superstitions, in subjection, will require a government strong as iron. The necessity is provided for; for it is written, "He shall rule the nations with an iron rod;" so that no deceivers will be permitted to ply mankind with their sorceries, causing them to err from the way of truth and righteousness. The clerical sorceries of the Great Harlot and her Daughters will all be destroyed with the False Prophet by the judgments of the fiery lake. This signal destruction of all existing ecclesiastical establishments will effectually alienate the nations from their professional prophets, who now deceive and bewitch them with sorceries and lies in the name of the Lord; so that "when any (parson, priest, or rabbi) shall yet prophesy, then his father and mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of Yahweh and his father and mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth And it shall come to pass in that day that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision when he hath prophesied  or preached  neither shall they wear a rough garment," or clerical vestments  to deceive (Zech 13 3 4) The time for all this hypocrisy and grimace will have passed for no one buyeth their merchandise any more  At present their sorcery and lies are in considerable repute; and to be a "prophet", or clergyman, is regarded by the deceived, and strongly deluded populations of "Christ-endom," as a highly respectable profession. But when Daniel's fourth Beast shall have been slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame; and the other three Beasts have their dominion taken away, the descending angel will have bound the Dragon; the vocation of the false prophets will be abolished; there will be no hypocrites to keep the people in ignorance for the support of the church and state; and to subserve the interests of political adventurers and political factions; all this soul and truth-destroying machinery will have been broken up, and the nations shall be deceived by it no more for a thousand years.

But after the thousand years are passed, the restraint, represented by the great chain in the angel's hand, will be relaxed. A generation of flesh and blood will then be living, whose men and women will have been born in times of peace and great prosperity. They will know nothing personally and practically of war: for, to use an expression of Homer, Mars will have been bound with a strong chain, for a thousand years. It is very different with us. The governments are wasting their revenues on standing armies; but then the government of the world will not have a single soldier in its pay! Its subjects will remember the binding, or suppression, of the Dragon-power a thousand years before, as our generation remembers the overthrow of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. But this remembrance will have as little moral influence upon them, as Pharaoh's overthrow has upon the Pope and the kings of the earth in our time. Some ambitious men, who would "rather reign in hell than serve in heaven," will think the season favorable to the recovery of the lost independence of Sin's Flesh, or the Devil. They will conspire against the best government the sun ever shone upon; for they are styled the Satan, which signifies adversary". They commence to agitate and plot in the national abyss; and at length their secret society emboldened by numbers constantly increasing, proceeds more openly to preach revolt. Multitudes will be deceived with false hopes of glory, honor, and power, in the proposed new dominion of the Devil and Satan. Sin's Flesh under the rule of the Saints is ineligible for office. Under their iron rod and chain, men and women are only permitted to serve. This is a yoke too galling to the pride of human nature, and hence a determination to destroy the existing government, not doubting the enterprise might easily succeed. Their emissaries go forth among the nations of the old Dragon territory, which before the Dragon was bound, and in the time of his binding, was occupied by "Gog of the land of Magog, Rosh prince of Meshech and Tubal," and therefore styled "the Gog and the Magog". These agents of insurrection will be marvelously successful in deceiving the Gog and Magog nations. They call them to arms, and in response they forsake the plow, seize their weapons, and gather together for war. The rebellion is widespread, and the insurgents numerous as the sand of the sea. Their numbers make them bold and confident. Their commander-in-chief, and his council of war, whoever they may be, do not wait to be attacked; but assume the offensive, and order the invasion of the Holy Land, which is the Camp of the Saints. Their aim is to possess themselves of Jerusalem, the city that had been beloved, but now hated. To capture "the joy of the whole earth," and to dethrone the government, and to destroy, or imprison, the saints in the abyss, as they had served the Dragon-Power a thousand years before, would be the crowning success of the rebellion. But the reasoning of the carnal mind deceives them. They forget, or choose to disbelieve, that Jerusalem is Yahweh's furnace; and that He is unto her a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her (Zech. 2:5). They approach the place of devouring fire with reckless infatuation. The King of kings who could have crushed the rebels as the moth in their own lands, permits them, as a trial of faith and loyalty, to have great success to a certain point. They are in sight of the Holy City, and as confident and defiant as Sennacherib of old; or as Gog when the city was wrested from him a thousand years before. But, like the Beast and False Prophet then, the ground they occupy becomes the arena of a fiery destruction: and, although the locality and time of their judgment are not the same; yet, in coming to their end similarly, the postmillennial Devil and Satan combination of nations, is said to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, by fiery judgment descending from the Deity out of the heaven, and devouring them.

This is the epoch of the consummation of the mission of the Son of the Deity. In 1 Cor. 15:24, Paul styles it "the end, when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Deity, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign until He (the Father) hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. For He hath put all things under his feet (Psa. 8:6). But when He (the Father) saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that He (the Father) is excepted who did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (the Father) that put all things under him, that the Deity may be the all things in all".

The mission of the Lord Jesus Christ was to "destroy that having the power of death, which is the devil;" or Sin's Flesh; in other words, to "take away the Sin of the world;" and to "destroy the works of the devil," or of Sin (Heb. 2:14; John 1:29; 1 John 3:8). In consummating this "the Woman's Seed bruises the Serpent's head". The "short time" at the end of the thousand years is the epoch when the work is finished.

It hath been Divinely purposed that the earth shall be inhabited by flesh and blood for seven thousand years; but beyond that period its presence will not be tolerated. The postmillennial rebellion against the benign government of the Saints is the consummation of its iniquity, and the crisis of its fate. Symbolically speaking, the Devil is devoured by the fire of the Deity, in the lake of fire and brimstone, into which he is cast, as were the Beast and the False Prophet, who shall be tormented day and night, by the third angel (Ch. 14:11; 19:20; 20:10) to the aions of the aions; or beginning of the thousand years.

(*) That is, the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament, the name deriving from the fact that it was translated by a group of 72 Hellenistic Jewish scholars into Alexandrian Greek for Ptolemy Philadelphus. It is also suggested that the work was completed in 72 days. "Septuagint" is Latin for "70" — Publishers.




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