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the soldiers prior to his execution in a purple robe, in mockery on their part, but, according to the counsel of God, apparently to typify the penal consequences, of which he assumed the burden when he was 66 wounded for our transgressions,” and when “the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all,” (Is. liii. 5.) The evidence of this transmutation, as we may call it, is itself a weapon with which the advocates of truth go forth to contend with their opponents, the beast, the false prophet, and his forces.
The term translated armies is said (Rob. Lex. 707) to signify sometimes, by implication, the body-guard of the commander-in-chief. In this particular the armies in heaven, as followers of the Word of God, may be equivalent to the one hundred and forty-four thousand attendants of the Lamb, ($ 326,) a chosen band of principles, the elements of the combined testimony of the old and new dispensations.
*And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword.'—The sword of the Spiritthe revealed word of God, (Eph. vi, 17.) Not merely the decision of the divine mind, but the revelation of that decision ; the one being put for the other. The sharp sword out of the mouth of the Word of God, we suppose to be the written word of God, in its proper spiritual sense; according with the idea already adopted of the nature of the controversy here representeda manifestation of the true principles of redemption, through the instrumentality of the written word, brought to act upon the elements of an opposite system or systems. In the contest between the divine purpose of mercy and the requisitions of the law, the Lamb (the element of propitiation) is the instrument by which the latter is overcome, (Rev. xvii. 14,) and the accuser of the brethren is overcome by the blood of the Lamb, (Rev. xi. 11 ;) but, in the contest between truth and error, the revealed word is the weapon of the conqueror. The written word, even as ordinarily understood, may be said to be the sword of the Lord; but its sharpness is its spiritual sense. Indeed, unless understood in this latter sense, it can hardly be said to be unsheathed to human apprehension, (Ezek. xxi. 1-17, 28.) The sword from the mouth of the rider of the white horse is a sharp sword, drawn from its scabbard; it is the revealed word properly understood, piercing to the dividing asunder-discriminating between the natural and the spiritual meaning; or rather, when fully displayed, carrying with it these two meanings, corresponding with the action of the two-edged sword out of the mouth of the one like unto the Son of man, (Rev. 1. 16.)
$ 435. “That with it he should (or may) smite the nations.'--Strike down or beat down-rarásow by implication sometimes signifying to kill; as, Acts vii. 24, natáčas ròr Aiyóntior, He smote the Egyptian. What the nations represent, may be gathered from the character of the weapon employed against them. They are to be smitten with the revelation of truth, the revealed word of God. They are not, therefore, political bodies, or
assemblages of human beings, but powers, as we have heretofore supposed them to be, of a system of error—the earthly system. The nations to be smitten are powers under the control of the kings or chiefs summoned together by the three spirits unclean as frogs. They are now gathered together at the place appointed, where they are to be met and smitten by Him, out of whose mouth the sharp sword proceedeth ; an oral weapon : it is not even represented as wielded in the hand, or girt upon the thigh. In the employment of this weapon man may be an apparent instrument, but the power really in operation is the Word of God; as it is said, (Is. xl. 4,) “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked”—" that Wicked, whom the Lord shall consume (as it is also said) with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming,” (2 Thess. ii. 8.) This last expression referring, as we apprehend, to the spiritual sense in which the word of divine revelation is to be understood ; the same operation being sometimes represented as that of a fire, at others as that of an oral sword; as, (Is. ix. 6,)“ For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood ; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire ;” and, (Is. Ixvi. 15, 16,) “ For behold the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire ; for by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many."
If we render the term nations by Gentiles, ($ 80,) the illustration will be the more obvious ;-Gentiles standing in relation to the inhabitants of Jerusalem figuratively, as elements of all human systems of doctrine stand in relation to the principles of the divine economy of salvation. All elements not belonging to this true economy, must be smitten, destroyed, or overcome, when the truth is finally and fully manifested.
· And he shall rule them with a rod of iron.'—The word rendered rule having a pastoral allusion, ($ 83,) the whole expression carries us back to the promise given to him that overcometh, (Rev. ii. 27.) The Saviour there promises to give to rule as he had received of his Father; we now see what he has received, (for this word of God is the same Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us, John i. 14.) We have before considered this rod as an emblem of complete and perfect sovereign sway. To say that the Deity, as such, has control over the nations of the earth, in the ordinary sense, would be the assertion of a mere truism. It is a position to be disputed by none but an Atheist. Taking these nations or Gentiles, however, as powers or elements of doctrinal systems, and contemplating this rod as some peculiar principle of the divine system of government, there seems to be a reason for revealing to us the fact that to this controlling principle all others shall be manisested to be subordinate: as much so as a flock of sheep would be when under the guidance and direction of a shepherd leading and controlling them with an iron rod or staff. This staff in the hand of a shepherd we suppose to be equivalent to a sceptre in the hand of a king, (5 276 ;) and, as it is said of the Most High, “A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom,” so we suppose this principle, employed as an instrument in controlling all other principles, to be what we term the element of imputable righteousness, or something of the same character; this element, so peculiar to the economy of grace, being that which manisests most directly the sovereignty of God.
$ 436. ' And he treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.'—Or, according to our Greek, He treadeth the wine-press of the wine of the vehemence of the wrath of God; this fierceness, or vehemence bearing, as appears from the Septuagint, the same signification as the term fury, in the picture presented by the prophet of the warrior from Edom. In that description the treading of the wine-press is spoken of in the past tense as something done, finished. Here, it appears to be something doing. The verb is in the present tense. If the allusion be to the Saviour's work of atonement, this also may be spoken of, both as a thing done, and as continually being done. The interposition of the merits of Christ in behalf of the sinner is something continually in operation, as it is said, (Heb. vii. 25,) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them ;” this intercession being not a mere oral pleading, but a virtual intercession—the atonement and righteousness of Christ virtually and perpetually pleading for the pardon and justification of his people. In this sense he treadeth continually the wine-press of wrath, and performs the work alone; but we cannot suppose bim to be represented on the present occasion as doing the same thing, or about to do the same thing with the aid of the armies of heaven.
In the contest with error, the fact of the continual virtual intercession of Christ, as above set forth, is an argument calculated to overcome a certain portion of the pretensions of self-justification ; as if we supposed the polemical champions on the side of the beast to admit a full and sufficient atonement to have been once made by the Lamb, and the disciple on his first conversion to have availed himself of it; but subsequently to this they say, whatever sins he commits, he must atone for them himself. Here is an error to be combated by an exhibition of the truth, that this treading of the wine-press is a process,
in the sight of God, in continual operation. The Leader of the heavenly armies, therefore, goes forth with this qualification. As his bloodstained garment, and the white robes of his followers, show the work of sub
stitution to have been once accomplished ; so the fact, that the operation is continual, is equally a weapon of the advocates of the truth.
We prefer this construction as most in keeping with the figure.
The warrior is going forth to the battle, and the enemies' forces are known to be assembled in a certain position ; but the two parties are not yet represented as having encountered each other. The WORD has the sword of the Spirit, that he may,* or with which he shall, strike the nations : that is, when the great conflict takes place ; but he already treads the winepress—which, indeed, is part of his preparation for the coming contest ; although it is not a part of the contest itself.
We suppose the only other construction would be, that this treading of the wine-press represents the execution of divine wrath, that the Word of God is here represented as the executive officer of infinite Justice, and that as such he is now going forth to execute wrath upon the enemies' host. If this be correct, this host is still that of the beast and the false prophet-of the evil principle self, and the delusive element, false interpretation. The forces under these two commanders (the beast and his aid) are erroneous principles, and not human beings; and it is accordingly against these principles that this wrath is directed in the representation here made. There is no reason to suppose that the battle about being described represents the judgment, or the punishment to be administered in a future state of existence ; still less a defeat and slaughter of certain military forces of this world, in the ordinary sense of the term.
$ 437. “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written.' - The same vesture as that said to be dipped in blood ; the garment with the name upon it thus serving the warrior for a cuirass. The thigh, with the wrestler as well as with the treader of the wine-press, was probably considered the limb most calculated for an exhibition of strength. The Greek term (urgóv) may apply in this case to the upper part of the thigh, to which the sword was usually attached; the girding of the sword upon the thigh being indicative of equipment for battle. Here the warrior, instead of a sword, exhibits his all-powerful name, or title-corresponding with the language of the Psalmist, “ The name of the God of Jacob defend thee.” ** In the name of our God will we set up our banners.”
" Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Ps. xx. 1, 5, 7. And Prov. xviii. 10, “ The name of the Lord is a strong tower.” So the miracles performed by the apostles of Jesus Christ were done in his name- -by the power or virtue of his name.
King of kings, and Lord of lords.'-We have already had occasion to remark upon this name, ($ 395,) considering it, when applied to the Lamb,
* Ilardoon, according to some editions.
expressive of the ascendency of the element of divine propitiation over every principle or element of legal requisition ; the fact that the Lamb is Lord of lords and King of kings, being assigned as the reason for his overcoming the ten horns, (Rev. xvii. 14.) But there is still a further peculiarity of this name here developed. This title of the Lamb is asserted to be also the name of the Word of God: the name which is to serve in the present contest as the means both of offence and defence..
According to our usual association of ideas, the term Lord of lords appears to be something subordinate to that of King of kings, as we have ourselves before considered it only as equivalent to Master of masters; but it
may have here a more important signification. The word Krgros, (Lord,) although applied in the Septuagint promiscuously to God and man, is almost uniformly employed also to express the proper name of the true God, (Jehovah*)—a name which the Jewish compilers of that version probably considered too sacred to be incorporated into a heathen language.
They accordingly made use of the noun Kópios to express the proper name Jah, , and Jehovah, and Adonai-Jehovah, although on some occasions the term ó Drós (God) was sometimes used by them for the same purpose. It might be said of the Greeks in the times of the apostles, as it was said even of the early patriarchs, (Ex. vi. 3,) although they had learnt something of the true God, by his name JEHOVAH he was not known to them. The name was not known in the Greek language, and for this reason, perhiaps, it does not appear
in the New Testament. We cannot but suppose, however, that there is in that portion of the sacred writings an equivalent for it. Such an equivalent we think may be found in the name borne upon the vesture and the thigh of the rider of the white horse. It is the all-powerful name of Jehovah of Hosts, which gives to the blood-stained garment its protecting quality, and exhibits itself as an irresistible weapon on the thigh of the conqueror.
The representation here given us of the going forth of the Word of God, appears intended to illustrate the mysterious truth, that Jehovah our righteousness is the power by which the wine-press of wrath has been trodden; and that it is by the manifestation of this truth that the errors opposed to a just exhibition of the economy of grace are to be overcome. As it is said, (Ps. xliv. 5,)“ Through thee (Jehovah) will we push down our enemies; through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.” The all-prevailing argument in favour of the economy of grace, is this important
* Kúpos, Dominus, mn", passim omnes. Lex. Gr. ad Hexapla. 271, nomen veri Dei (Rad. 17 vel ox), rígios, Dominus. 7 Index Heb. ning Idem (Rad. 777 yirouar, sum), uduvai xípios, Idem. Set Chald. See also Concord. Tromm. Tom. I. 944.