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new earth, and the exhibition of the new Jerusalem in her bridal character, with the making of all things new, may be regarded as the means or process by which the false doctrines contemplated in this eighth verse, are made to have their part in the second death.
480. The verse we have last examined should close the chapter, as the remaining verses, together with the principal part of the next chapter, constitute the description of a distinct vision,—a vision, however, which does not add to the thread of the narration, being rather an amplification of a single particular previously adverted to.
The New Jerusalem was seen coming down from heaven immediately upon the coming in of the new heaven and of the new earth ; but as if to avoid distracting attention from the main course of events, a particular description of this new Jerusalem is postponed; and the apostle hastens to give us an account of the remaining portion of the vision, the various par ticulars of which are so intimately woven with each other.
In our remarks upon the last chapter, we noticed that the occupant of the great white throne was not specifically revealed, ($ 457.) We have now, however, reached that stage of the development when he is expressly declared to be both the Alpha and Omega, and the sovereign God. The end has now come, when the Son is manifested to have given up the king dom unto the Father, (1 Cor. xv. 24.) God himself is to be recognized in the Son, and God and the Lamb, as we shall find, are henceforth exhibited as identic : constituting one and the same temple, (Rev. xxi. 22,) and occupying one and the same seat, or throne, (Rev. xxii. 1, 3.) Whatever is affirmed of the one, we now see may equally be affirmed of the other.
“ He that cometh unto me,” said Jesus, “ shall never thirst ;” and corresponding with this is the language of him who declares that he will be the GOD of him that overcometh. “To him that is athirst I will give of the water of life freely.” “Come unto me,” said Jesus, “ all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" and corresponding with this, also, we have it here declared that God shall wipe away tears from all eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying. “If any man be in Christ,” says the apostle Paul, 6 he is a new creature. have passed away, all things have become new ;” and here we find Him that sat upon the great white throne declaring, “Behold, I make all things
We are thus brought to the conclusion that it is God, in Christ, who thus effects this great change. As it is said, God was in Christ recon
Old things ciling the world unto himself, not imputing to men their trespasses. A reconciliation involving all that is here represented.
The Sovereign, Judge, and Ruler of the universe taking upon himself the burden of the sinner's guilt, and imputing to that sinner the merit of his own righteousness! A mystery indeed; and a mystery capable of being adapted to the comprehension of finite minds, perhaps in no other way than that by which it has been revealed. The cavilling objection to the gospel plan of redemption can no longer be made,—that it would be unjust in the Supreme Being to lay the guilt of a sinful world to the charge of an innocent being—for it is here manifested that he does not lay it upon a third being, but he himself assumes it. He interposes himself—his own merit—his own righteousness, in behalf of the disciple. God and the Lamb are thus identified; or, which is the same thing, Christ having given up the kingdom to the Father, God is manifested to be all in all, od návra åv rãow, in the work of redemption, as he is also in the works of creation and providence.
Vs. 9, 10. And there came unto me Και ήλθεν εις εκ των επτά αγγέλων των one of the seven angels which had εχόντων τας επτά φιάλας τας γεμoίσας των the seven vials full of the seven last επτά πληγών των εσχάτων, και ελάλησε plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, μετ' εμού, λέγων· δεύρο, δείξω σοι την νύμthe Lamb's wife. And he carried me φην, την γυναίκα του αρνίου. Και απήaway in the spirit to a great and high νεγκε με ένα πνεύματι επ' όρος μέγα και mountain, and showed me that great city, υψηλόν, και έδειξέ μοι την πόλιν την αγίαν the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Ιερουσαλήμ, καταβαίνουσαν εκ του ουραheaven from God.
νού από τού θεού, ,
$ 481. “And there came unto me one of the seven angels,' &c.; or, the first of the seven angels, ($ 353.) This first angel, as we suppose, showed the apostle the judgment of the harlot; the same messenger now shows the glory of the bride. All of the angels having the vials of wrath came out of the temple, (Rev. xv. 6,) the developments with which they were charged being peculiarly directed to a purification of the temple service, ($ 356.) The effusion of the first vial brought forth the noisome sore, indicating the impurity of any worship resulting from the motive of self-service or self-glorification, ($ 98.) The exhibition of the harlot, or great commercial city, carried out this development, more especially by a representation of the mercenary feature of this selfishness, ($ 412.) The instrument of revelation employed in showing the disease on both these occasions is now engaged in pointing out the remedy. As if the first and great commandment, requiring a perfect love of God, brought home to the conscience, detected the absence of this love in the human heart; and thence directed the mind to the necessity, in the nature of the case, of some arrangement by which such a principle of grateful affection could be created.
"And talked (spake) with me, saying, Come,' &c.—These words so closely correspond with those employed by the angel on the former occasion, (Rev. xvii. 1,) that we may suppose them intended to bring our minds to a comparison of the circumstances peculiar to both invitations ; showing the harlot and the bride, or Babylon and the New Jerusalem to be, as we have considered them, symbolical opposites. The first representing a mer
cenary system of mixed principles peculiar to the reign or kingdom of the beast; the last a system or plan of unmixed principles of grateful love as peculiar to the reign or kingdom of the Lamb. Of the first, we have been furnished with a very full development, and have learned its history even to its end; we are now about to be made acquainted with the character or peculiar features of the last, of the history of which there is no end. We do not enlarge upon the terms bride, or wife, or woman, here, because they have already, in some degree, engaged our attention, ($$426, 466.)
$ 482.' And he carried me away in the spirit,' &c.—The apostle is to be understood as in spirit witnessing the day of the Lord throughout the whole of this book of Revelation, ($ 24;) but he reminds us from time to time, parenthetically, that what is said to occur to him in spirit is nothing in a literal or ordinary sense. Thus, he tells us it was in spirit he was taken up into heaven ; in spirit, too, he was taken into the wilderness to see the judgment of the harlot ; such a spiritual position being indispensable for his seeing the harlot system in its full power, ($ 383.) wilderness the disciple looks around him in vain for some sufficient refuge or protection, and here, for want of any thing better, he may resort to the first object appearing to furnish the security desired. For the same reason, the position, as on the summit of a high mountain, is peculiar to a contemplation of the true means of salvation.
It was on Mount Zion that the Lamb appeared in glory, ($ 326 ;) and it was upon a high mountain that Moses and Elias appeared ministering to Jesus
; as the law and the prophets may be seen in this apocalyptic mountain to minister to the economy of salvation. It was (in spirit) in an exceeding high mountain, that Jesus was shown by the accuser all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them ; but a still higher inountain exhibits his own kingdom and its glory; for in the last days, it is said, “ the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established upon the tops of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills,” (Is. ii. 2.) So, the revelation of the true shelter or economy of grace, of which the new Jerusalem furnishes a representation, appears to be alluded to, Ezek. xvii. 22–24 : “ Thus saith the Lord God, I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it ; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high mountain, and eminent in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar : and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing, in the shadow of the branches thereof shail they dwell : and all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, and have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish : I the Lord have spoken, and have done it."
And he showed me that great* city, the holy Jerusalenu,' &c.; or, " he showed me the city, the holy Jerusalem,' &c.—The apostle was taken to see a bride, a woman, and he was shown a city; and this city, it is implied, is the bride, the Lamb's wife. So it was in the case of the harlot ; the woman seen in the wilderness, sustained by the beast, bore upon her forehead the name Babylon, and was expressly declared at the close of the chapter, (Rev. xvii. 18,) to be that great city; and, thenceforth, the whole account of the judgment upon her consists in a description of the desolations of a great city. There can be no question in any mind as to the entire identity of the woman and the city in both of these illustrations. What the city represents the woman represents, and vice versa ; different figures representing the same thing. So, as the bride or wife is the opposite of the harlot, the new Jerusalem must be the opposite of Babylon, and the holy city the opposite of the self-styled great city.
We do not suppose the term holy to be applied here to Jerusalem merely in contradistinction to Babylon or to other cities. Two Jerusalems appear to be contemplated, both in the Apocalypse and in the prophecies—one heavenly, the other earthly; one free, the other in bondage, (Gal. iv. 26 ;) one holy or set apart, the other not holy; or if once holy, subsequently so perverted or abused, as to be no longer considered such.
The holy Jerusalem here contemplated, is described as descending out of heaven from God; identifying her with the new Jerusalem described in the second verse of the chapter. She is, besides, in both passages represented as the bride, the Lamb's wife; the new Jerusalem is therefore the holy, and that which is not holy, must be the old Jerusalem.
The new vision of peace is set apart, destined to endure for ever, being essential to a just representation of the worship or service of God; the first vision was not intended to endure : like an old garment, it is now to be Laid aside. Babylon (the system of confusion) was sitting on many watersresting on many mountains—sustained by a power seen to have arisen from the sea or abyss. The holy city (the true plan of safety) comes immediately from God out of heaven. The old vision of peace was represented by an earthly city, repeatedly made captive; her beauty marred, and finally destroyed, while yet in bondage. The new vision is represented as coming
* Some editions of the Greek, according to our common English version, attachi the epithet qeycin (great) to the holy city; other Greek editions, as that from which we copy, omit it, and apparently with good reason. Babylon, we may presume, was particularly designated the great city, as great in her pretensions, or as great in the estimation of men; but it appears more in keeping with the style of the Apocalypse, to avoid applying any epithet to the holy city which might seem to assimilate her with the other.