Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sume them to be the witnesses whose souls were seen under the altar. Not that this beheading, as it is called, is a second martyrdom, but that the two representations point to the same truth. The first series of developments terminated with the conclusion of the sixth chapter, immediately after the description of the coming of the great day of wrath. The revelation of the state of the souls under the altar formed part of this series. They were then told that they should rest for a season, and white robes were given them. This position of rest, and enjoyment of white clothing, described in the sixth chapter, corresponds, we apprehend, with the reigning with Christ a thousand years, in the twentieth chapter. It might be said, indeed, that these souls of the beheaded are probably the brethren of those whose bodies were under the altar, and that the period alluded to, Rev. vi. 11, has now approached. We do not suppose these brethren to be literally such, or even collateral evidences or witnesses: we are rather inclined to consider them corresponding illustrations; the witnesses under the altar, and the witnesses killed or wounded in the battle with the beast, being the same elements of revelation, bearing testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus.

$ 449. · Which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image,' &c.These particulars may be necessary to contrast more pointedly the condition of the individuals here spoken of, with that of the opposite class elsewhere described; the comparison serving to indicate the kind of enjoyment granted to these sufferers in the cause of truth. “ They have no rest, day nor night,” it is said, (Rev. xiv. 11,) “who worship the beast, and his image,” &c.; the smoke of their torture ascending up for ever. On the other hand, those that do not worship the beast, &c., live and reign with Christ a thousand years ; consequently, as we conceive, this millennial state is the opposite of the state of no rest, and of continual torture, or trial as by a refiner's fire. Corresponding with the idea before suggested, that this figure of a thousand years is intended to express a position, not a period of time in the ordinary sense.

• And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.'—The accuser is bound and confined to the pit for a thousand years, and the elements of truth live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. This term of years thus, as in the case of the twelve hundred and sixty days, &c., serves the purpose of a standard of equivalents, ($ 240 ;) a scale of comparison, indicating the manifestation of the restriction of the power of the accuser to the bottomless pit position to be equal to a reigning with Christ, on the part of the elements of truth. To be secure from the power of the accuser, is to be in a position of rest as regards the works and requisitions of the law. Such is the position of those spoken of as not having worshipped the beast, because their position is the opposite of those which have worshipped him.

[ocr errors]

* But the rest [ren ainder) of the dead lived not.'— The words rendered the rest here, are the same as those translated the remnant in the preceding chapter-oi 201701, the remaining ones. These remaining ones cannot be those on the side of the Word, which had not suffered death ; because these could not be said to be of the number of the dead. The only remaining ones to which this reference can be made, are the dead slain by the sword of the Word, whose flesh was given to the birds. These, although entirely destroyed by the first death, are capable of being again, by divine power, restored to life. They do not share in the first resurrection ; but that there is another resurrection, in which they will share, is implied. They have all partaken, we may presume, of the worship of the beast or of his image, or they have received his mark in their foreheads, or in their hands; for which reason they cannot live and reign with Christ, or participate in the position designated by this thousand years' reign. They have a resuscitation to undergo, but it is something irrespective of this millennial position ; and is, therefore, described as not taking place till after the termination of the thousand years. In effect, where Christ reigns these elements of subserviency to the beast can find no place. So, too, in the nature of the case, they can find no place in the order of things, or in the arrangement of principles, constituting the first resurrection or position of rest.

V.6. Blessed and holy (is) he that hath Ιακάριος και άγιος και έχω μέρος εν τη part in the first resurrection: On such fle ανασιάσει τη πρώτη επί τούτων και δείτε. second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and poş gúrato; o'z irai džovoiw, uik toorshall reign with him a thousand years.

ται ιερείς του θεού και του Χριστού, και βασιλεύσοισι μετ' αυτού χίλια έτη.

$ 450. · Blessed and holy,' &c.—Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, it is said, Rev. xiv. 13; and the reason assigned for this blessedness is, that those thus dead rest from their labours, ($ 338;) the same blessed position of rest being spoken of in one part of the Apocalypse as being dead in Christ, which in another part is termed a first resurrection. The disciple in Christ is accounted dead to the law, as if in Christ he had suffered the penalty of the law, and could therefore be no more obnoxious to its requisitions ; at the same time, in Christ he is also accounted justified, freed from the power of the law, and thus raised to a new position of lifea first resurrection. So it is said, (Rev. xvi. 15,) Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments ;-he that is always clothed with the garments of salvation--the covering of his Saviour's merits, the robe of his Redeemer's righteousness. He, too, in this state of readiness, ($ 367,) is in a position corresponding with that of the first resurrection, as well as with that of rest.

As with the disciple, so with the elements of the economy of grace personified as disciples, ($ 427.) Blessed are those called to the marriage

rest.

feast; those participating in the manifestation of the mystery of salvation by grace. We suppose the marriage-feast to be an equivalent of the first resurrection ; the blessedness of the same elements being represented by different figures. Those called to the marriage-feast, are evidently such as have not worshipped the beast or his image, or received his mark; and, consequently, are such as live and reign with Christ, and participate in his

We apply this blessedness here to elements of doctrine personified as disciples, and not to disciples themselves directly, because the whole representation is connected with the conflict just decided between the Word and the beast ; a conflict of manifestation, resulting in an exhibition of the triumph of elements of truth over those of falsehood.*

On such the second death hath no power.'—It was said in the epistle to the angel of the church in Smyrna, (Rev. ii. 11,) “ He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.In remarking upon that expression, we have given our reasons for considering this second death a perpetual trial, to which systems and elements of systems are to be subjected, ($ 57.) We have seen no reason since to alter our views, and the construction then adopted applies here with equal facility. The elements enjoying the benefits of the first resurrection, are those which have borne witness to the truth as it is in Jesus, and which, in the great contest for truth, have been the advocates on the side of the Word of God : fighting, as it were, in the ranks of the Word, they have overcome the beast and the false prophet. They have been killed by the axe, indeed, but they now enjoy a resurrection from that death; and over them, as promised to him that overcometh, the second death hath no power, or they cannot be hurt by it, in the sense before attributed to this term, (5 174.)

* But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign,' &c.It was the peculiar office of priests to offer sacrifices; both thank-offerings (sacrifices of gratitude and praise) and propitiatory offerings. Christ having once offered himself as a sacrifice for sin, this last portion of the priest's service must be ended ; and we may presume it especially to be dispensed with in the position represented by the first resurrection ; but the offerings of thanksgiving still remain to be made, and this forever. The elements of the economy

of grace tending to exhibit the cause of gratitude and praise, are accordingly personified as those destined to be priests of God and of Christ. They are elements of truth, setting forth such views of God and of Christ as tend to make him the object of gratitude and praise; they are thus, figuratively, priests or sacrificators in this position of rest.

* We have not enlarged upon the term holy (arros) here, because applying it to principles or elements of truth set apart; our views of its use in this place must be sufficiently obvious, from the remarks elsewhere made, (S$ 88, 262.)

These elements of truth also predominate in the arrangement of principles exhibiting the position of rest in Christ, for which reason they are said to reign with him a thousand years ; the scale or standard of parallelism being here again employed, showing that to be priests, and to reign in the sense alluded to, is equivalent to enjoying the second resurrection ; that is, equivalent to entering into the composition of that arrangement or economy which affords the position of rest in Christ, the opposite of the condition of the worshippers of the beast, (principles sustaining the dominion of the beast.)

[blocks in formation]

Vs. 7,8. And when the thousand years Και όταν τελεσθή τα χίλια έτη, λυθή. are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of σεται ο σατανάς εκ της φυλακής αυτού, his prison. And shall go out to deceive και εξελεύσεται πλανήσαι τα έθνη τα εν the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to rather ταις τέσσαρσι γωνίαις της γης, τον Γωγ και them together to battle: the number of τον Μαγώγ, συναγαγείν αυτούς εις πόλεwhom (is) as the sand of the sea. μον, ών ο αριθμός αυτών ως η άμμος της

θαλάσσης. .

$ 451. 'And when,' &c.—Here the chapter might have been very properly divided, something like a new series of illustrations being commenced. The great battle of Armageddon has been fought; the fate of the enemy has been recounted, and the reward allotted to the faithful adherents of the conqueror has been set forth, including even a designation of the term or period for the enjoyment of this reward. This term is now supposed to be expired ; Satan is released for “ a little season," and the reign with Christ, or position of rest, ceases for a corresponding season. The expressions in these two verses, it is true, imply something to come, but the narrative gradually merges itself into a relation of something having already taken place; a versatility of representation not inconsistent with the account of a dream or vision ; but, perhaps, hardly otherwise allowable. Admitted as it is here, the peculiarity serves to remind us that a literal construction in any respect is to be carefully avoided.

• Satan shall be loosed out of his prison ;' released from custody or confinement.—The accuser was not only cast into the bottomless pit, as into prison, he was also bound with a great chain. He is now loosed, unbound, no longer confined in the pit, or by the great chain. The concatenation of doctrinal truths, as we have supposed it to be, (8 443,) is for a time lost sight of, and the adversary appears in full power; or, as we may say, whenever the chain of evangelical truths, showing the confinement of Satan to the abyss system, is lost sight of, then the accuser appears to reassume his legal power, and the position of rest is no longer discernible; the thousand

[ocr errors]

years serving to point out the parallelism ($ 240) in this verse as before, time being otherwise out of consideration.

And shall go out to deceive the nations,' &c.;or, rather, to lead them astray, to pervert the doctrinal powers figuratively spoken of as the nations.

• In the four corners of the earth;'—that is, on all the earth, ($ 172,) the earth being taken for a square fat surface. The recesses in each of the angles of a square being those parts at the greatest distance from the centre, to say that even these angles are reached, is a strong expression for reaching every portion of the square. Satan is thus represented as deluding the nations in every portion of the earth.

On the former occasion, Rev. xvi. 14, the summons to battle was directed to the kings of the earth and of the whole world ; and those under the command of the beast with the false prophet were supposed to gather together their respective forces. There was a great variety in the grades or ranks of these forces, from their captains and mighty men down even to the slaves of the common soldiers. Still, these were only the military portion of the nations ; every nation furnishing its quota of troops. Now, there is a general rally of the nations themselves—a levy en masse is to be imagined throughout the world ;-corresponding with a universal falling away from the truth, or general perversion of all elements of religious doctrine ; and this, too, not under the lead of the spirit of error, or under the influence of the false prophet, or of a misconstruction of divine revelation, but influenced and led on solely by the spirit of accusation—the legal adversary. The blasphemous pretensions of self (the beast) have been overcome—the fallacies of misinterpretation or of literal interpretation have been exposed ; but the whole earthly scheme of doctrine is now led astray by the spirit of fear—the fear of legal accusation, the opposite of that love which casteth out fear.

$ 452. "Gog and Magog, to gather,' &c.—These names appear to be put as an equivalent for the nations in the four quarters of the earth. The Gog mentioned in the Old Testament is said to have been the king of a people called Magog, inhabiting regions far remote from Palestine. Some suppose, by this name Magog, the ancients to have intended to denote northern nations generally, (Rob. Lex. 132 ;) and that the term is used in a similar sense in this passage. If this supposition be well founded, the use of these names here may be merely as an intensive, indicating the nations in question to be gathered from the utmost ends of the earth ; the force now assembling being figuratively all that the earth can possibly furnish : all the elements of the earthly system, without exception, are perverted to establish the power of legal accusation, or of the legal adversary.

The names employed in the sacred writings, however, are not, we think,

« AnteriorContinuar »