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we bear in mind that the apostle at present sees the harlot only in ber glory and power, rioting in the midst of the exercise of her cruelty and oppression. As yet, he knows nothing of her end ; that she should be permitted thus to triumph, appears to him, therefore, a mystery—something indeed wonderful. The feelings of the apostle may be compared here with those of the Psalmist when he saw the prosperity of the wicked, and before he understood their end, (Ps. Ixxiii. 4-17.)
* And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel ?'-As if appealing to the knowledge which the apostle must have had of the dealings of God, in permitting the temporary prosperity of the wicked, the angel reminded him that he should have perceived this short-lived triumph of the harlot to be designed for some peculiar exhibition of the power and providence of the Most High.
• I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her.'- I will tell the end, the purpose for which this wickedness is permitted. As the woman was drunken with the blood of saints and martyrs, and as the beast carried or sustained her, the conduct of both constitutes one and the same mystery; so in the sequel we find the woman destroyed by the horns of the animal, upon which she had depended for support.
· Which hath the seven heads, and ten horns.”—This repetition of the description just before given of the beast, would appear hardly necessary were it not designed to fix our attention to the fact, that this monster is the same as that seen rising from the sea, (Rev. xiii. 1,) whose peculiar characteristics we have already analyzed, ($ 294.)
V. 8. The beast that thou sawest was, Το θηρίον, και είδες, ήν και ουκ έστι, και and is not ; and shall ascend out of the μέλλει αναβαίνειν εκ της αβύσσου και εις bottomless pii, and go into perdition: and απώλειαν υπάγειν· και θαυμάσονται οι they that dwell on lie earth shall wonder, (whose names were not written in the κατοικούντες επί της γης, ων ου γέγραπbook of life from the foundation of the ται τα ονόματα επί το βιβλίον της ζωής world.) when they hehold tlie beast that από καταβολής κόσμου, βλεπόντων το θηwas, and is not, and yet is.
ρίον, ότι ήν και ουκ έστι, και παρέσται.
8388. "The beast that thou sawest,' &c.—The explanation of the mystery of the woman is here preceded by an account of the beast, which occupies the principal part of the remainder of the chapter.
We are not obliged to suppose that the beast was to be annihilated, and afterwards created a second time. The language of the angel is apocalyptical, and is to be taken in that qualified sense. A thing is when it is revealed or manifested : it is not when it is not revealed or manifested; it will be when it is again manifested.
We have supposed this beast to be the principle or element of self ;something in the heart of man pretending to an independence of God, ($
301,) and even assuming the position of God as the author and efficient cause of eternal life.
This blasphemous principle (self) was manifest under the legal economy. It then ruled with undisputed sway, for the law was supposed to recognize no fulfilment of its requisitions, except by the works or righteousness of man: the beast then was. No sooner, however, is the gospel introduced, than the principle of self is banished. Christ having fulfilled the law and satisfied its demands, he alone appears, as he is, the efficient cause of salvation : the creature (man) in this work is nothing--the beast then is not. Again, the language of revelation is misconstrued; some of the leading doctrines of the gospel are perverted; the economy of grace is represented as a mixture ; salvation no longer appears a free gift ; the sinner is supposed to have been redeemed on account of something meritorious in himself; he claims now to be the efficient cause of his own eternal happiness ; he forms in his own mind an image of his fancied righteousness; he adores the image of himself; he builds his hope upon the baseless system of salvation by human merits. The beast is now seen to ascend, as it were, out of the bottomless pit, ($ 206.)
These different processes of manifestation may take place in some sense in different ages of the visible church, or they may at times be more plainly discernible in some portions of Christendom than in others ; but we think the declaration of the mighty angel, (Rev. x. 7) there shall be time no longer, is to be applied here as elsewhere, (§ 230 ;) the changes in contemplation being of a nature to take place in the mental experience--the doctrinal views—of Christian disciples of all ages and of all denominations, the reign of the beast representing the ascendency of a certain principle of error opposed to the element of sovereign grace.
* And they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder,' &c.—As if it had been said, in allusion to the astonishment of the apostle, It is not for you to wonder even at this extraordinary power and prosperity of the wicked, for by you the end should be considered; but there is room for those that dwell upon the earth to wonder, as with great fear, when they see the downfall and final perdition of this impostor, or element of imposition, to which they have been accustomed to look as to the great power of God ;' the word rendered wonder expressing the kind of amazement felt by an ignorant multitude in beholding some extraordinary celestial phenomenon, prodigy, or portentous omen. These dwellers upon the earth, with a certain exception, we have uniformly considered principles of the earthly system personified, those especially subject to the influence of the beast, and made drunk with the wine of the harlot. This is the last passage in which the appellation occurs; and we may suppose this predicted wonder or amazement to be
indicative of the approaching end of those by whom it is experienced an end perhaps simultaneous with that of the beast, (Rev. xix. 20, 21.)
When they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.'—We think the wonder here spoken of is applicable rather to the sight of the perdition of the beast than to the sight of the beast itself. It is said, in the first description of this extraordinary animal, that all the world wondered after the beast. The wonder then was in beholding his power and exaltation; it is now to be in seeing his downfall. There is, however, some difference in both the Greek and English editions in the words here given, which it appears necessary to notice.
$ 389. According to some, the reading of the last words, rendered and yet is in our common version, should be xained ioziv ; according to others, xui nagédia. The English editions of Wielif, Tyndale, Cranmer, and Reimes, omit the expression altogether : őrı also may be rendered that or because, although it is sometimes put for őre, when. The reading of Wiclif is, “and men dwellinge in erthe schuln wonder, seyinge the beest that was is not." In one case the wonder is in seeing the beast ; in the other, in seeing that, although he was, he no longer is; while in another, as in our common version, the greatest wonder would seem to be that, although he is not, yet he is ;--a contradiction apparently in terms.
If ragéordi, however, be the correct reading, as the latest editions represent it to be, and if, as we suppose, this word be from doeru, a compound of nupé and ciui, as čorai is the third person of the future tense of slui, and not of the present, the compound napesta must signify will be, and not is. The sentence will then read, shall wonder when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and will be ;" corresponding with what is said of the monster in the first part of the verse, that he shall ascend, or is to ascend (uénhet ivaßuireis) from the abyss. This reading appears preferable, as it does not involve even an apparent contradiction in terms, while it does not militate with a fair construction of the subsequent
If we prefer rendering the last clause according to our common version, the result cannot vary materially upon a fair construction of it. The beast that was, and is not, and yet is, must be that which is not apparently, and yet is in reality. As the verb régeru is used, John xi. 28, “ The Master is come, (núgeotı, is present,) and calleth for thee ;”? that is, he is hard by, although not seen ; so the experience of every one may convince him that the principle of self or selfishness operates within him, although its existence is not recoynized by him.
The apostle seems to have been told here of something already seen by him ; that is, the ascending of the beast from the abyss. But he was not then acquainted with the peculiarity, that prior to the coming of the beast from the sea he had existed, and had been in full power; this power having been subsequently taken from him; and his rising from the sea, Rev. xiji., being his second appearance, equivalent to his ascending from the bottomless pit. The present narration of the angel going back to the commencement of the history of the beast, in order that the mystery of both beast and woman may be the better explained.
Vs. 9, 10, 11. And here (is) the mind Ωδε ο νούς ο έχων σοφίαν· αι επτά κεwhich hath wisdom. The seven hearts φαλαί επτά όρη είσίν, όπου η γυνή κάθηare seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five
ται επ' αυτών. Και βασιλείς επτά εισίν: are fallen, and one is, (and) the other is οι πέντε έπεσαν, και εις εστιν, ο άλλος ούπω not yet come ; and when he coιneth, he ήλθε, και όταν έλθη, ολίγον αυτόν δει μείmust continue a short space. And the Και το θηρίον, και ήν και ουκ έστι, και beast that was, and is not, even he is tlie αυτός όγδοός έστι, και εκ των επτά έστι, eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into xui siç úzóhelay únáyki. perdition.
$ 390, “Here is the mind which hath wisdom ;” or, here the understanding having wisdom—Hic sensus habens sapientiam, (G. & L.)—an intimation of the peculiarly mystic sense of the explanation about to be given ; for as there is no conjunction in the original corresponding with and at the commencement of the verse in our common version, the sentence seems to be set off from the preceding matter, and to apply more particularly to what follows. The angel is about to interpret the meaning of the seven heads and ten horns of the beast, and the notice is necessary to remind the hearer that the interpretation itself is something to be also interpreted. The intimation is of the same character as that we have attributed to the words, He that hath ears to hear, &c. Here is matter for the understanding of those who possess the hidden wisdom--the wisdom of God in a mystery--the opposite of the wisdom of this world, toū viūros roúrov, and the opposite of the wisdom of the princes (principles) of this world, (1 Cor. ii. 6, 7.)
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.'— As this seems to be an explanation it might be taken literally, if it were pot for the caution just given. In fact, the angel is telling a mystery, rather than explaining it; or, if explaining, bis language is the language of vision. The terms he employs in the explanation are as apocalyptical as those of any other part
of the book, and as such are subject to further explanation. The woman was first said to be sitting on many waters, (Rev. xvii. 1.) She is again said to be seen in a wilderness, sitting on a beast, (v. 3 ;) again she is said to be carried by the beast, (v. 7;) she is now spoken of as sitting, as being seated upon seven mountains. There must be something analogous in all these sites—something in which they have a common resemblance.
The waters, the beast, and the mountains, are apparently different figures of the same foundation, upon which this mystery, Babylon, depends. Not only this, but, according to what we suppose to be the correct reading, there is yet another figure of the same foundation, site, or support.
• And there are seven kings.'— There is no warrant, in our apprehension, for the introduction of the word there in this place, as if the verb eisív were to be rendered impersonally; nor should there be a period at the end of the ninth verse. If we are right in these particulars, the exact reading of the Greek must be as follows: The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sits upon them, and are seven kings. That is, these seven heads are both seven mountains and seven kings—seven mountains or foundations, as representing fundamental principles; and seven kings, or chiefs, as representing ruling or leading principles. There is still another figure for this foundation of the mystery, or woman, as we shall find in the fifteenth verse. The waters upon which she is seen to sit are declared to be "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” a figure we have already supposed to represent powers of the earthly system. The mystery, Babylon, is thus sustained and carried forward by waters, by mountains, by kings, by peoples, nations, &c.—all of them representing fundamental, or leading principles, or supposed powers, of a pseudo economy of salvation ; the different figures being intended to illustrate different characteristics of the same controlling or sustaining principles.
The figure of a woman is preserved throughout, but this woman is declared to be both a mystery and Babylon ; and Babylon is known to have been both a city and an empire. The mystery must be always the same, however differently it is illustrated. It is always Babylon, having the same mixture ; a system of the same adulterated character. As a human being, this mixed system is sustained by the beast; as a city, it is seated upon seven hills or mountains; and as an empire, it is said to be seated upon many waters, or rivers; while, as a kingdom, it is under the guidance or control of seven chiefs.
We have already enumerated, by way of suggestion, seven leading elements of a self-righteous system of salvation as the seven heads of the beast, ($ 294.) These elements may figuratively be spoken of either as foundations, (mountains,) or as chiefs or kings; that is, either as the fundamental or ruling principles of a system-principles from which the mixed system of the harlot emanates. These seven principles are composed however of a mixed multitude of subordinate doctrinal principles, originating from a misconstruction of the language of revelation, and tending to advocate supposed means of propitiation, (the atoning elements of the barlot's plan of salvation.) Such a mixed assemblage of self-righteous elements may be spoken of sometimes as waters, (waters of the earth,) and sometimes as peoples, nations, &c., in contradistinction to the chosen people of God.
If we supply the definite article immediately in connection with the