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truth, that the name of the perpetual Intercessor, Substitute, and Redeemer, is JEHOVAH of Hosts, the King of kings.
Vs. 17, 18. And I saw an angel stand- Και είδον ένα άγγελον εστώτα εν τω ing in the sun; and he cried with a loud ηλίω· και έκραξε φωνή μεγάλη, λέγων πάσι voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in tože opvéoş toīz nr10uévoiş év uzoorpurrithe midst of heaven, Come, and gather yourselves together unto the supper of ματι: δεύτε, συνάχθητε εις το δείπνον το the great God; that ye may eat lie Hesh μέγα του θεού, ένα φύγητε σάρκας βασιλέων of kings, and the flesh of captains, and moi ouorus 212119ov xai oupnus ioz gur', the deslh of mighty men, and the best of και σάρκας ίππων και των καθημένων επ' horses, and of them that sit on them, and
αυτών, και σάρκας πάντων ελευθέρων τε και the flesh of all (men, both) free and bond, both small and great.
δούλων, και μικρών και μεγάλων.
$ 433. “And I saw an angel,' &c.—Having completed a description of the heavenly force with its divine Leader, and the earthly powers having been previously set forth, (Rev. xvi. 14,) we now come to what may be termed the proclamation of defiance, as by the voice of a herald, on the eve of a general engagement.
The appearance of the sun we suppose to be symbolical of a manifestation of Christ, the Sun of righteousness. An angel or messenger, standing in the sun, may be supposed to be equivalent to the revelation of some principle of truth-some element of doctrine indicating the approaching destruction of the errors, and systems of errors, represented by those whose flesh is thus to be devoured or consumed. The crying of the angel with a. loud voice, is indicative of the powerful nature of the revelation made.
Saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven ;' or, in the midheaven, (§ 205.)—The birds thus addressed are carnivorous birds, (medicor.) As such they would appear to be of the same genus as the unclean and hateful bird domiciled in the ruins of Babylon, but there may be a differa ence between these birds encaged in that city of desolation, and those flying in the midst of heaven. If we consider the mid-heaven a revelation equivaa lent to that of the legal dispensation, or to an exhibition of divine government peculiar to that dispensation, we may then consider these birds of prey as legal elements, principles of law, by which all pretensions of human merit are necessarily tried. The unclean and hatesul birds of Babylon are legal elements, nourished by and confined to a mixed system. *
Come, gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God;'or, according to some editions, Come, assemble to the great supper of God. The supper of the ancient Hebrews being the principal meal of the day,
* The birds flying in the midst of heaven, or birds of the air, may be such as the eagle, vulture, &c.; carnivorous birds flying at a great height froin the earth. The unclean hirds dwelling in Babylon may be such as the owl, the pelican, and the bat, animals of a mixed character, keeping near the earth. Both are unfit for food, but the latter are especially an abomination, Lev. xi. 13-20.
($ 110.) The word youos, indicative of a feast, is not here employed. The supper is a feast to these mid-heaven elements, but the occasion is not that with which the idea of festal enjoyment can be associated; it is an opposite or converse of the marriage feast. At the same time, as to cause and effect, the two occasions are identic ; the manifestation of truth causing the destruction of error, and the destruction of error being a means of the exhibition of truth ; the same result affording a festal scene to one party and an occasion of dismay and despair to the other.
• The supper of the great God’ may be considered a term in contradistinction to the supper of the Lamb; the difference being equivalent to that between the attribute of divine justice and the attribute of sovereign mercy, or between the wine of the wrath of God, and the new wine of propitiation.
* That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains,' &c.This figure reminds us of the action of the ien horns in the destruction of the harlot, (Rev. xvii. 16 ;) as it is said, they shall eat her flesh, &c. Flesh we suppose to be a figure of righteousness or moral perfection—merits, either real or pretended, as means of justification in the sight of God, ($ 397.) The word in the original is in the plural, corresponding with the prophet's term of righteousnesses, and with the dixclouata of Paul, (Rom. ii. 27.) The use of the term here is evidently applicable to false pretensions, such as cannot withstand the requisitions of the law. These kings, captains, mighty men, horses and their riders, men bond and free, small and great, apparently represent false doctrines, or principles of such doctrines, of every grade and variety; their fleshes being the means of justification they severally profess to furnish. The time has now come when these erroneous principles are to be put to the test; the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion, (Is. xxxiv. 6; lxiii. 4:)—the great day of discrimination, the period of retributive discrimination, Ημέρα κρίσεως Κυρίου, και ενιαυτός ανταποδόσεως κρίσεως Σιών.
The trial about to be represented as a great battle, is identic with that elsewhere spoken of as a trial by the agency of fire; the birds of prey are such as are usually known to accompany large armies on their march, and especially to hover over them on the eve of battle, and during the conflict. The language of the herald is a figure of speech expressive of the certainty with which the speaker contemplates the defeat and slaughter of the enemy ; the giving of the flesh to birds of prey implying the previous slaughter of those whose flesh was to be thus given—"Come to me," said the boasting Goliath, “and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” So, in the curses for disobedience, (Deut. xxviii. 26,) “ The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies,"
" and thy carcass shall be meat unto all the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.” The implied prediction of the herald that the flesh of these armies shall be entirely consumed, implies, also, the previous slaughter by the sword out of the mouth of the Word of God. The crisis here contemplated is sarcastically spoken of as a supper. As such it may be considered an opposite of the feast of fat things alluded to Is. xxvi. 6. So far, however, we have only reached the summons to these mid-heaven elements, to prepare themselves for the exercise of their peculiar functions; their appellation (carnivorous birds) reminding us of the answer to the question, “ Where, Lord?” in reference to the coming of the Son of man, (Luke xvii. 37.) “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together,”—wherever the error prevails, there will be the contest for truth, and there the elements of falsehood will be consumed.
V. 19. And I saw the beast, and the Και είδαν το θηρίον και τους βασιλείς kings of the earth, and their armies, gath- tīs vis xui tù orputztuata avto ourny. ered together to make war against him that eat on the horse, and against is μένα, ποιήσαι πόλεμον μετά του καθημένου
επί του εππου και μετά του στρατεύματος army.
$ 439. “And I saw,' &c.—Immediately after the pouring out of the sixth vial, the apostle learned the fact (Rev. xvi. 14, and 16) that the kings of the earth and of the whole world, summoned through the instrumentality of certain unclean spirits, were collected together by Almighty power into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. He did not then see this gathering. His eyes are now open to behold the whole battle array. In this array the beast appears as commander-in-chief; for the dragon had given his power unto the beast, (Rev. xiii. 2 ;) and although the principal instigator of the war, he (the dragon) may be said to act in this scene only in the beast : not appearing himself personally. The false prophet (the grand vizier and acting commander) is supposed of course to accompany his master ; a supposition confirmed by the statement in the subsequent
As we take the beast to be a principle in the heart of man virtually setting itself up in its pretensions in opposition to Jehovah, and as we suppose the false prophet to represent a false construction of revelation, sustaining this blasphemous principle in man, so we consider the kings of the earth and their armies as subordinate powers of the beast, with their auxiliary principles, --standing in relation to the beast as earthly kings or chiefs might be contemplated in relation to a leader of imperial dignity. The kings are subordinate to the beast, though ruling in their respective spheres; as the seven heads of the beast might be resolved into seven leading principles of self-exaltation, constituting the element wbich, for want of a more significant
appellation, we denominate self. The seven heads, as we have before observed, may represent a totality. All the kings of the earth, that is, all kings of a certain kind-or, if this were not understood of the number seven, the same idea of totality might be derived from the expression employed in the sixteenth chapter—the kings of the earth, and of the whole world.
Gathered together to make war against,' &c.; or, to make battlenoinoa ról.ruor—not merely to take counsel, but to fight; the crisis having now arrived for an actual collision. The apostle bad accompanied, in vision, the armies of heaven until they reached the spot where the enemy was to be encountered; the conflict itself may be presumed to take place immediately afterwards.
Vs. 20, 21. And the beast was taken, Και επιάσθη το θηρίον, και ο μετ' αυand with him the f-lse prophet flat του ψευδοπροφήτης και ποιήσας τα σημεία wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that bad received the trutor avioi, tv ois énhúngs tous 20póv mark of the beast.and then flat worshipped τας το χάραγμα του θηρίου και τους προςliis image. These both were east alive xuroirtas ti sixóvı avtoở • Gürteç Bli 9ninto a lake of fire burning with brimstone. σαν οι δύο εις την λίμνην του πυρός την And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse: Jour év 11 gouqaiq roủ zu9querov in
καιομένην εν θείω. Και οι λοιποί απεκτάνwhich (sword) proceeded out of his mouth : and all the fowls were filled with του ίππου, τη εξελθούση εκ του στόματος their flesh.
αυτού, και πάντα τα όρνεα εχορτάσθησαν
εκ των σαρκών αυτών. . $ 440. “And the beast was taken,' &c.-In the account of a human victory, in proportion to its magnitude, we should have a minute detail of the manner in which the battle was fought-the maneuvering of the hostile parties, with the alternations of success and defeat, in different portions of the battle-ground. Here nothing of the kind is to be met with. The mixed multitude of earthly opponents, with their earthly leaders, have to contend, as in a pitched battle, with the chosen band of the King of kings, led on by their divine commander. It is unnecessary to relate the issue, or to state on which side victory declared itself; the only inquiry to be made being such as may relate to the fate of the vanquished. The sententious brevity of the Roman, veni, vidi, vici, would contain on this occasion a redundant particular. As in the beginning God said, Let there be light, and there was light, so no sooner is the Word of God revealed, as here represented, than all the powers of darkness are overcome.
The Greek term rendered taken, is one applied to the taking of wild beasts in a snare. The beast and false prophet are both taken as in a snare.
Of the nature of this snare we may form some idea by comparing the result of this battle with the language of the prophet, (Is. xxiv. 17, 18:) “ Fear, and the pit, and the snare are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth,
. . for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.” The opening of these windows from on high can be
nothing else than a peculiar revelation of truth, and it is such a revelation or exhibition of divine truth that operates as a snare in taking these leading elements of error. Their true character—the character of the system they advocate—is manifested by a counter manifestation of the opposite system of truth. Thus, like the wicked, they fall by their own snare, (Ps. ix. 16 ;) a crisis apparently alluded to Luke xxi. 35: “For as a snare shall it (the kingdom of God) come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth,” the inhabiters of the earth ; not because there is a deception in it, but because the destruction is sudden and unexpected, like that of a snare. These false principles or elements, (the beast and false prophet,) whatever they may be, are taken by a manifestation of the Word of God, with the peculiar attributes of that Word; and the weapon with which they are overcome, is the sharp sword out of the mouth of that Word. We cannot suppose this narration to be capable of any other construction than that here put upon it, viz., taking it as detailing the effect of a peculiar revelation of religious truth upon an opposite system of errors. This construction corresponds with that applied to the fate of the harlot, and of the great city ; and we suppose this battle to be but another figure of the same crisis.
"And with him the false prophet that wrought miracles,' &c.-- There is a particular recurrence here to the mischief produced by this instrument of false interpretation, as if to give a reason why the same fate should be experienced by both of these elements; the power of the one depending upon, or being carried into effect by the delusive practices of the other. The remarks already made on the subject render it unnecessary to enlarge further upon it here.
• These both were cast alive into a lake burning with fire and brimstone.'—The beast with seven heads and ten horns, and the false prophet or beast with two horns, are not human beings, neither are they animals in a literal sense ; they are figurative things, and being so, the lake into which they are cast must be something figurative. Our common version employs the indefinite article in designating this lake, as do also the Geneva, Cranmer, and Tyndale versions : “ These both were cast into a ponde of fyre burnynge with brymstone,” as if governed by the consideration that no such lake had been previously mentioned. The original, however, uniformly, we believe, has the definite article, with which the rendering of Wiclif accords: “ These tweyne werun sent quyk in to the pool of fier brennynge with brymstoon.” So, also, the version of Rheims, as if referring to a lake previously known to exist.
There is no previous mention of a lake of this description, either in the A pocalypse or in any other part of the Old or New Testament; but there is a preparation of fire and brimstone alluded to Rey. xiv. 10, 11, as the