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words “seven kings,” the reading would be, And the kings are seven ; or, And the seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth, and are the seven kings. The question would then occur, What kings ? which carries us back to the second verse of the chapter, where certain kings of the earth are spoken of, with whom the harlot is said to have maintained an illicit connexion. Our interpretation would then be about the same, limiting only these kings of the earth to the number seven-indicating an admixture of this Babylonish system, or mystery of atonement, with seven leading elements of that view of revelation (the earth) which supposes man to be dependent upon his own works, the position of our first parents when expelled from Paradise. As we have before remarked, the word translated kings may not only be rendered chiefs or leaders, but may apply to those presiding over sacred things, and is therefore a figure so much the more appropriate for leading elements of religious doctrine.
$ 391. “Five are fallen,' &c.—A king or chief fallen, is one deprived of his power, or shown to be powerless. So we may suppose these five fallen kings to be principles, manifested to be without the power previously imputed to them. One, however, (the sixth,) still remains apparently in power. As all the world wondered after the beast, considering him the great power equal to God, so the world may be supposed still to wonder after the sixth element spoken of as a king.
If we are right in supposing the beast carrying the woman to be that seen rising from the sea, if his heads be the same seven heads then seen, and if these seven heads represent the seven kings as well as seven mountains, then one of these kings must be represented by the head which appeared as it had been slain and subsequently resuscitated.
We suppose the beast to represent a certain spirit of error, the parent or source of other errors. His seven heads we take to be so many leading erroneous principles. The head apparently once slain and alive again, we take to represent an error especially on the subject of the atonement; that which we have termed self-atonement, (9$ 294 and 298,) an opposite of the true atonement of which Christ only is the source. Under the legal dispensation every subject of the law was held to make an adequate atonement for his own transgressions—this head of the beast was then living. Under the gospel, when fully understood, it is manifest that no atonement is sufficient, except that which Christ has offered. This head of the beast is then, as it were, wounded to death, slain. Under the mixed system, however, of the harlot, sustained as it is by the beast, the error prevails that the propitiation for the transgression of the sinner is something to be effected partly by the disciple and partly by Christ ; the sinner is to atone for himself as far as he can ; Christ is to make up the deficiency; or the sinner, by some peculiar influence of the Holy Spirit, obtained through the oral intercession
of Christ, is now supposed to be enabled to atone for himself, or something of this kind, the error being susceptible of a variety of modifications. Such mixed views constitute the harlot's cup; and thus, under ber reign or influence, this mistaken view of the power of self-atonement (the sixth king) may be considered in fact in full vigour ; appearing, in this stage of revelation, to be in the full enjoyment of supreme authority ; that is, wherever the harlot is seen sustained, as she here appears to be, by the beast.
The five fallen kings may be five doctrinal elements, or errors, so manisestly involving a supposition of the continuance of the legal dispensation as not to be admissible even in the harlot-system. The system of Babylon being an adulterated evangelical system, in the state of things now under contemplation, all elements purely legal are supposed to be powerless as means of salvation ; their reign accordingly may be said to have passed away.
$ 392. When Joshua was about to take possession of the promised land, he was opposed by five kings or chiefs, (Joshua x.5,) who had till then held possession of that country; one of these five, Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, calling in the other four as his auxiliaries. The name of this leader signifies the God of Justice, or the Justice of God. The Jerusalem, of which he was the king, was the old Jerusalem—the old vision of peace-peace to be obtained only by man's fulfilment of the law. The kingdom of this chief may have represented the economy of man's position by nature, of which divine justice is the controlling principle; the four auxiliary kings we may suppose to represent kindred judicial principles. The promised land represented, as before noticed, the Rest of the disciple—the position of relief afforded to the spiritual children of God by the free gift of eternal life; Joshua, or, as the name is expressed in Greek, Jesus, being the type of Christ—the leader of the disciple into the spiritual position of rest. As Joshua was opposed by these five aboriginal chiefs, so Christ, in leading his followers into rest, is opposed by corresponding judicial elements. The opposers of the Hebrew leader were entirely overcome; the sun standing still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, till their destruction was completely accomplished. In like manner, the revelation of the light of the Sun of righteousness must be continued until the manifestation is complete that the elements of man's position by nature have been superseded by the principles of that economy of grace which may be said to constitute his promised rest.
In adverting to a similar figure, it was said by an apostle, Acts xiii. 19, that seven nations, the original possessors of Canaan, were cast out to make room for the people of Israel ;-as if all elements of man's legal position must be removed before a full view of his state of rest by grace could be fairly exhibited. Nevertheless, to humble and to prove the Israelites, prone as they were to forget the only author of their enjoyments, certain of these aboriginals were left amongst them, (Judges ii. 22, 23 ;) nor were they
ever entirely relieved from this mixed multitude till after the rebuilding of the temple, subsequent to returning from their Babylonish captivity, (Nehemiah xiii. 1-3.) So it appears to have been with the exhibition of the means of salvation afforded in the time of the barlot, and under the reign of this sixth king. The legal principles are supposed to be overcome, but there are still certain self-righteous powers asserting their prerogative to reign in this kingdom of the beast ; for we suppose the beast himself to govern, through the instrumentality of bis seven heads.
The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hiviles, and Jebusites, and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods, (Judges iïi. 5 ;) an illustration of the amalgamation subsequently taking place in the views of the Christian world, and of Christian disciples individually, in matters pertaining to the mystery or economy of salvation.
The existing error at the epoch contemplated in this passage of the Apocalypse, is a mixed view of the doctrine of atonement, an essential power of salvation, and accordingly represented as a king or chief. It is said to be, not merely in reference to a latent existence, but rather in reference to its manifestation. It is now manifested; the cup of the harlot, and the harlot herself, as figures, being instruments of bringing this peculiar error to light.
· The other is not yet come.'-It would be premature for us at present to attenipt to point out what is to be understood by this seventh king. Like the others, we suppose it to be some leading erroneous principle of the dominion of the beast, (self;) and from its number (seven) we think it probable that it pertains especially to the doctrine of the REST peculiar to the Christian plan of salvation, and typified by the seventh day of the week, even as early as the creation of the world. If the sixth king be considered as remaining in power till the destruction of Babylon, we cannot look for a revelation of this seventh till after we have completed the details of that destruction ; that is, not will after the conclusion of the next chapter. When this seventh error is manifested, it is said that he (the king) is to continue but a short space. We suppose this to be an intimation that the eradication of the previous six errors will so pave the way for the fall of the seventh, that its exhibition and the termination of its power will be almost coincident.
And the beast that was, and is not,' &c.—The beast representing the element of self was manifest as in full power under the legal dispensation ; he was then recognized. Under the gospel dispensation it is not so, although his influence secretly lurks in the prevailing perverted views of the gospel.
• Even he is the eighth.'—That is, when the chief element to which these seven principles belong (or which itself is constituted of these seven principles) shall be revealed, its manifestation will be equivalent to that of an eighth king, or ruling principle. He “is of the seven,” or out of, or from the seven, as the Greek preposition éx implies; the element of self emanating from these seven selfish principles. An exhibition of the seven leading errors involves that of the parent stock. And as error is no sooner detected and exhibited than it is overthrown; so the manifestation of this eighth, consisting as it does in that of the seven, is no sooner perfected than the error itself is destroyed, or goes into perdition. The seventh king may be said to remain a short space. The eighth, when thus detected and exposed, is not to be considered as enduring even for a time: he goeth into perdition almost simultaneously with the exposure of his true character ;—this revelation and destruction of the eighth king, or the beast itself, corresponding with the manifestation and destruction of that wicked spoken of by Paul, 2 Thess. ii. 8, whose revelation and perdition appear to be equally coincident. So we suppose the predominance of the seven erroneous principles, the constituent elements of the beast, to correspond with the working of the mystery of iniquity alluded to by the apostle in the verse immediately preceding that above quoted.
Vs. 12, 13. And the ten horns which Και τα δέκα κέρατα, και είδες, δέκα βασιthou sawest are ten kings, which have λείς είσιν, οίτινες βασιλείαν ούπω έλαβον, received no kingdom as yet; but receive αλλ' εξουσίαν ως βασιλείς μίαν ώραν λαμβάpower as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their
νουσι μετά του θηρίου. Ούτοι μίαν γνώ. power and strength unto the beast. μην έχουσι, και την δύναμιν και την εξου
σίαν έαυτών των θηρίω διδόασιν. . $393. And the ten horns which thou sawest,' &c.-These ten horns we have before supposed to be figures of the ten commandments—the decalogue—the ten collectively representing the whole power of the law; kings or chiefs being political powers, as horns are animal or physical powers. The terms horns and kings are convertible; neither of them to be taken in a literal sense, and both alike are terms of vision.
These ten kings or powers are said to have received no kingdom as yet ; or, as the Greek word ouro might be rendered, have not received, or have never received a kingdom ;* which seems more consistent with what is said immediately afterwards of their being overcome by the Lamb, implying that if they have not hitherto received a kingdom, neither are they hereafter to receive it. They receive power as kings or chiefs, however, one hour with the beast; that is, their power is contemporaneous with that of the beast.
The word translated hour, in its original sense, expresses time, year,
* Oiro, nondum, nunquam, (Suiceri Lex.,) not yet, never, (Donnegan.)
season, (Donnegan.) We cannot suppose the sense to be restricted bere literally to one hour ; but it appears very reasonable to consider that, as the ten horns of an animal would possess their physical power during the life of the animal, so these ten kings, represented by such horns, must possess their power, whatever it be, during the reign of the beast, for the same time or period-certainly not subsequently to his destruction. So, according to our views of the element represented by the beast, wherever self reigns, there the power of the law must be felt in full operation. So long as man is dependent upon his own works, so long he must be subject to the power of the law, and obnoxious to its penalties. Thus the ten kings and the beast possess power for one and the same period.
Corresponding with this construction, it is added, “ these (the ten kings) have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast,” They act in concert with the beast; the tendency of their action is the same; they have, as it were, the same end in view ; their action thus in unison in effect is the same in subjecting the disciple to a state of bondage, placing him in the position of a slave, furnishing only mercenary and selfish motives of conduct, and prompting him in his efforts to fulfil the law for himself, to seek his own glory instead of seeking the glory of God.
The ten kinys give their power and strength unto the beast, and indeed the beast depends upon them for his power and strength. They are, as we have remarked in treating of the ten horns, ($ 294,) his weapons—the instruments of power by which he enforces his authority, and maintains his dominion. “ The law is good, if a man use it lawfully ;"here its use is supposed to be perverted. These ten horns, as we shall see hereafter, are designed to fulfil the will of God, (Rev. xvii. 17;) but while on the beast, and while acting in concert with him, and while he sustains the harlot, they are fulfilling the will of the beast, and not that of God; that is, for the period allotted for this joint action. During this period they represent the law unlawfully used ; its power and strength being given to a service for which it was not designed, except in a qualified sense.
As the power to work out a righteousness of one's own depends upon the continuance of the legal economy, so the power of self depends upon the power of the law; as, if the law be fulfilled by Christ, there is no room for the pretensions of self; in which case his reign ceases.
V. 14. These shall make war with the Ούτοι μετά το αρνίου πολεμήσουσι, και Lamb and the Lamb slhall overcome them: το αρνίον νικήσει αυτούς, ότι κύριος κυρίων for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, εστι και βασιλεύς βασιλέων, και οι μετ' and they that are with him (are) called, αυτού κλητοι και εκλεκτοί και πιστοί. and chosen, and faithful.
$394. These shall make war,' &c.-We are here to ask, With what