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they shall be gathered together ['acaph], as prisoners ['acciyr] are gathered ['acephah] in
the pit [bowr], and shall be shut up [cagar] in the prison [macger], and
after many [rob] days [yowm] shall they be visited [paqad]. KJV-Interlinear
22 They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will
be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. ESV
Christ deals with the condemned. But probably not as you think. This is the most terrifying predicament in which anyone can find themselves. To be collected without mercy and tossed without recourse, into prison. But not alone, but in mass with many others.
In ancient times, when enemy combatants were captured, they were chained together and tossed into a pit or a dungeon, or a prison as it were, in extreme conditions, with little food or clothing and certainly no comfort.
Captives were typically insolent, disruptive, and full of anger and hate and attitude. The whole experience of the dungeon and chains and such, was to soften their disposition and bring about a humility into their nature.
Some would soften and want to repent, while others would remain hardened and obstinate toward their captors.
And so we have more than the symbolism of the captives and their conditions, it will be an extreme situation for those who have rejected Christ.
We have in other studies, seen that Satan initially rejected Christ and was followed by all of the angels in that rejection. Two-thirds of the angels repented, while the remainder remained in their stubborn rejection of Christ.
Satan wanted the throne to the north, which is the seat of power at the right hand of the Father. That seat was reserved for Christ.
And so Satan and all of His fallen angels will be placed in the Abyss, while humans who reject Christ will be imprisoned in Torments. And this is important, in that Satans influence is overpowering, but while in prison in Torments, all of the Satanic influence will be removed and separated away from those people who will occupy that prison cell, as it were. This separation will give everyone time to think without undue influence.
Since the time of Cain, or the death of the very first unbeliever, all unbelievers have been in Torments, a compartment in the underworld, and there awaiting their final judgment.
Some have been there for a very long time. And of course, at the end of history some will spend a very short time there. Perhaps some need more time to think about their errors, while others need a very short time to come to their senses.
Now the important part of this verse is the word, visited, ‘paqad.’
After many days, is the duration, of the captivity. And after that time has expired, then there is a visit.
The word for visit has two meanings.
In ancient times, prisoners were forced to wait in extreme conditions before their punishment is carried out, or that visit could bring a review or aiding or numbering as in evaluations for either punishment or mercy and grace to those who have had a change of heart.
Therefore, note the separation of the captives into their respective groups, namely the fallen angels in one place and unbelieving humanity in another.
They are imprisoned and that is a promise and a guarantee for all who defy Christ.
They will remain in their respective prison for a period of time. For those who are incarcerated at the Second Advent, that period will be no less than one-thousand years, or the duration of the Millennium.
They will all receive a visit, or an evaluation or a review, and then the final promise, they will all receive a sentence of some sort, and as is implied here, some may have a change of heart, believe in Christ and as we know, since God is merciful, that may be their last and only way out of the Lake of Fire.
And since Satan and his fallen band, have had many millennia to live and fail, then any given person, should have an opportunity to see the real evil of their ways, namely a period of time spent in Torments, so that they can have a chance at rethinking their rebelliousness.
The Bible indicates that many will remain in their rejection, and they will remain stubborn all the way into the Lake of Fire, but there is always the possibility, right up to and until the actual commission to the Lake of Fire, that some or all will have at least one last opportunity to repent.
Otherwise there would be no reason for placing anyone in a temporary holding area for punishment and then again more punishment if there was no chance of reprieve.
Rejecting Christ is the absolute worst thing that anyone can do. Many a criminal has gone into prison and become even more hardened, to their own detriment.
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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.