A fiery stream issued and came forth from before
Or, "a river of fire" F19; which denotes the copious judgments of God, the abundance of them; the full flow of his wrath, and the fierceness of it; and also its rapidity, which cannot be resisted and stopped: thousand thousands ministered unto him;
attended upon him, waiting his orders, and ready to execute them; an innumerable company of angels, ( Psalms 103:20 Psalms 103:21 ) : and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
to be judged by him; the numerous inhabitants of the several monarchies, with their kings; particularly all the antichristian states, and the worshippers of the beast, whom the whole world went after, ( Revelation 13:3 Revelation 13:8 ) ( Revelation 14:10 Revelation 14:11 ) : the judgment was set;
that is, the court was set; the Judge was upon the bench, and all his assessors and apparitors about him, and that ministered to him: and the books were opened;
both to take the trial in writing, and to produce evidence against the criminals; the book of God's purposes and decrees concerning these beasts; the book of prophecies relating to them; the book of God's remembrance, and of their own consciences, with respect to the evils committed by them; and the book of records, statutes, and laws made in such cases; even the book of the Scriptures, which contains the revelation of the will of God. In some things there is a likeness between this and the last and future judgment, and in other things a disagreement; the Judge in both is a divine Person, the eternal God, omniscient, omnipotent, holy, just, and true, which is absolutely necessary for carrying on such a process; none but God over all is equal to such a work: in the last judgment, as in this, there will be thrones; the throne of God and of the Lamb, particularly a great white throne, a symbol of purity, justice, and equity, on which the Judge himself will sit, and execute judgment, from whose presence the earth and heaven will flee away; and besides, there will be other thrones for the martyrs of Jesus, and true professors of his name, to sit upon as spectators, witnesses, and approvers of the solemn procedure, and shall reign with Christ a thousand years: likewise the number of the persons judged, as here, will be very great, even innumerable; all, both small and great, as to age or dignity, will stand before the Judge, to be judged by him, and receive their sentence from him; and there will be books for that purpose, as here, even the same, and particularly the book of life, in which, if a man's name is not written, he will be cast into the lake of fire; see ( Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:11 Revelation 20:12 Revelation 20:15 ) , but in other things they differ; here the Judge is God the Father, the first Person in the Trinity, called the Ancient of days, distinguished from Christ, said to be like the Son of man; whereas the last and future judgment will be committed to the Son of God, the second Person, who is ordained Judge of quick and dead; and who will come a second time to judge the world in righteousness; and, though the description of the Ancient of days will agree well enough with him, he having the same glorious perfections his Father has, which qualify him for a Judge; see ( Revelation 1:14 ) , yet it is certain not he, but his divine Father, is intended: nor in the account of the future judgment is there any mention of "a fiery stream" issuing forth before him, as here, for the burning of the body of the beast; unless the lake of fire may be thought to answer to it, into which will be cast all such who have no part in the Lamb, nor a name in his book of life: however, the accounts of both are very awful and striking; and this may be considered as a type, example, presage, and pledge, of the future judgment; this will be at the beginning of the spiritual reign of Christ, when antichrist will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming; the judgment of the saints will be at the beginning of his personal reign, even of the quick and dead, those that will be found alive, and those that will be raised from the dead, at his appearing and kingdom; and the judgment of the wicked will be at the close of it, or at the end of the Millennium; see ( Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:12 ) .