And the beast was taken, and - the false prophet - See the notes on Revelation 17:8, etc.
That worshipped his image - The beast has been represented as the Latin empire; the image of the beast, the popes of Rome; and the false prophet, the papal clergy.
Were cast alive into a lake of fire - Were discomfited when alive - in the zenith of their power, and destroyed with an utter destruction.
And the beast was taken - That is, was taken alive, to be thrown into the lake of fire. The hosts were slain Revelation 19:21, but the leaders were made prisoners of war. The general idea is, that these armies were overcome, and that the Messiah was victorious; but there is a propriety in the representation here that the leaders - the authors of the war should be taken captive, and reserved for severer punishment than death on the battlefield would be - for they had stirred up their hosts, and summoned these armies to make rebellion against the Messiah. The beast here, as all along, refers to the papal power; and the idea is that of its complete and utter overthrow, as if the leader of an army were taken captive and tormented in burning flames, and all his followers were cut down on the field of battle.
And with him the false prophet - As they had been practically associated together, there was a propriety that they should share the same fate. In regard to the false prophet, and the nature of this alliance, see the notes on Revelation 16:13.
That wrought miracles before him - That is, the false prophet had been united with the beast in deceiving the nations of the earth. See the notes on Revelation 16:14.
With which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast - notes on Revelation 13:16-18. By these arts they had been deceived - that is, they had been led into the alliance, and had been sustained in their opposition to the truth. The whole representation is that of an alliance to prevent the spread of the true religion, as if the papacy and Mohammedanism were combined, and the one was sustained by the pretended miracles of the other. There would be a practical array against the reign of the Son of God, as if these great powers should act in concert, and as if the special claims which each set up in behalf of its own divine origin became a claim which went to support the whole combined organization.
These both were cast alive into a lake of fire - The beast and the false prophet. That is, the overthrow will be as signal, and the destruction as complete, as if the leaders of the combined hosts should be taken alive, and thrown into a pit or lake that burns with an intense heat. There is no necessity for supposing that this is to be literally inflicted - for the whole scene is symbolical - meaning that the destruction of these powers would be as complete as if they were thrown into such a burning lake. Compare the notes on Revelation 14:10-11.
Burning with brimstone - Sulphur - the usual expression to denote intense heat, and especially as referring to the punishment of the wicked. See the notes on Revelation 14:10.
What is soon coming upon us? Seducing spirits are coming in. If God has ever spoken by me, you will before long hear of a wonderful science—a science of the devil. Its aim will be to make of no account God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Some will exalt this false science, and through them Satan will seek to make void the law of God. Great miracles will be performed in the sight of men in behalf of this wonderful science.—Letter 48, 1907. 3SM 408.1Read in context »