Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the manifestation of the sons of God. The same Greek term, as a verb, apocalypto, is applied (2 Thess. ii. 3,8) to the coming (revelation) of the man of sin ; the revelation of " that wicked,” and the revelation of the Lord Jesus with his holy angels being coincident, the last destroying the first “ with the brightness of his coming”—the manifestation of truth, in its own nature, detecting, exposing, and consequently destroying error. The same verb is applied (1 Peter i. 5) to the revelation in the last time, of the way of salvation ; and immediately afterwards, in the seventh verse, the noun apocalypsis is rendered by the word appearing ; and, in the thirteenth verse, by the word revelation, (Tyndale and Cranmer, declaring,) both applicable to the final manifestation of Christ. From these examples we seem to be warranted in the conclusion that, in the scriptural sense, the revelation, or showing, or apocalypse of Christ, and the coming, or appearing of Christ, are equivalent and interchangeable terms : when and where Christ is fully revealed or unveiled, then and there he is come.

$ 547. In sixteen other passages of the New Testament the term coming, as applied to the second advent of our Lord, is expressed in the original by the word napovoid, (parousia,) a word signifying actual presence, or being present, (not the act or motion of coming,) from the verb nderui, compound of napà and ciui, to be present, to be by the side of one : Lat. adsum. From signifying actual presence, the word seems to be taken in Scripture for the appearance of that presence, the one implying the other; as the opponents of Paul said of him, (2 Cor. x. 10.) “ His letters are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence (the parousia of his body, his personal appearance) is weak, and his speech (2.6yos, discourse, doctrine, reasoning) contemptible.

Jesus gave his apostles the assurance of his being with them in effect at all times, (Matt. xxviii. 20 ;) but this was not the parousia, or manifestation of his presence alluded to Matt. xxiv. 3, 27, 37, 39, which is evidently identic with the coming, or rather the being come, in the clouds, (iozóuevos éni rāv vegɛlov,) spoken of in the thirtieth verse of the same chapter. Paul declares himself to have been present with the Corinthians in spirit, (1 Cor. v. 3 ;) but this was not the manifestation of his presence, or parousia, which some of them considered so insignificant. The term parousia is also employed (2 Thess. ii. 1-8) to express the coming spoken of as a revelation in the preceding chapter—a revelation the counterpart or opposite of that of the man of sin. So the coming of that wicked is distinguished by the same appellation, (parousia,) in immediate connection with what is said of the parousia or coming of the Lord. These peculiarities warrant, we think, the further conclusion that the terms parousia and apocalypsis are equivalents : both, as used on these occasions, signifying an intellectual appearance or presence : a manifestation to the unierstanding, bearing a strict analogy with the exhibition of a corporeal or personal presence, or of

[ocr errors]

a being come. Where and when Jesus Christ is unveiled or revealed, there and then he is present; his coming has taken place, in the scriptural sense of the expression. The coming of Jesus Christ and the coming of the man of sin are to be understood in the same sense ; the revelation of the first being the means of destroying the last, and one being no more a personal or corporeal appearance than the other.

$ 548. As the revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ and his coming (parousia) appear to be nearly interchangeable expressions, so we think the coming of the kingdom of God and the coming of the Lord are equivalents, in the same Scripture sense of the terms.

To the inquiry of the Pharisees, When does the kingdom of God come ? Jesus replied, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation ; neither shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you : and immediately upon giving this answer, he described to his disciples what he terms the day of the Son of man; the state of things " in the day when the Son of man is revealed,” (unveiled, đnoxohúnetai, Luke xvii. 20–24.) So, after a vivid description of the circumstances of his own advent, in which he says, (Luke xxi. 27,) “ And then shall they see the Son of man coming (éqxóuevov) in a cloud with power and great glory,” he adds in reference to this description, (v. 31,) “ So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.In the account given of the transfiguration on the mount by three evangelists, there is the same interchangeable use of these terms to be noticed: “ Verily, I say unto you, (Matt. xvi. 28,) there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom ;" Mark ix. 1, · Verily, I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power ;” Luke is. 27, “But I tell you of a truth, (verily,) there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God.The circumstances attending this declaration corresponds so precisely in the three accounts, that we cannot hesitate to believe that they all refer to that same prediction; and we can only account for the difference between the expression employed by Matthew and that given by Mark and Luke, as the words of Jesus, by taking it for granted that these evangelists considered the coming of Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God, or seeing the kingdom itself, as equivalents. In the Scripture sense, to see one is to see the other. We conclude, accordingly, that what is affirmed of the one may be equally affirmed of the other ; and further, that, as the coming of the kingdom of God is identic with the coming of the Lord, so either of these must be identic with the apocalypse, revelation, or unveiling of Jesus, which we have shown to be identic with his parousia, or coming; as any two objects equal to a third object, must be equal to each other. It is barely necessary to add that the term kingdom of heaven, which is peculiar to the gospel of Matthew, must be an equivalent of that of the kingdom of God.

It was said by Jesus to a certain scribe who had justly defined the whole pirit and bearing of the law, (Mark xii. 32–34,)“ Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” The law being a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; to understand the full force of the requisitions of the law, is something very near to understanding God's plan of redemption, or the things of his kingdom, the economy by which he reigns. To see the kingdom of God is to possess a right understanding of the divine plan of government, and this understanding can only be possessed by a just appreciation of the condemning power of the law on the one hand, and of the redeeming power revealed by the gospel on the other. A sight of the kingdom of God is thus a matter for the exercise of the understanding: nothing involving objects presented to the physical organs of vision, or not a thing to be seen in the ordinary sense of the term; and, for the reasons just now given, we say the same of the

coming” (parousia) and “revelation” (apocalypse) of Christ : they are alike the objects of intellectual contemplation, something to be seen by the mind, and to be seen by a spiritual understanding of the language of divine revelation,

$549. Six days after the declaration of Jesus to his disciples, (just now referred to,) that there were some of them which should not taste ol death till they had seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom, or till they had seen the coming of the kingdom of God, he took Peter and James and John into a high mountain apart, where he was transfigured before them His face shone as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light; and Moses and Elias were seen talking with him. Peter, apparently supposing the three personages whom he beheld to be of equal dignity, proposed the building of three tabernacles, one for each of them, when a bright clouc overshadowed his master, and a voice from heaven pointed him out as the peculiar object of consideration ;-—as if it had said, Not Moses or Elias, bu Jesus, the anointed Saviour : “ This is my beloved Son.” To this mani festation of the divine character of his Lord, Peter appeals as an evidence that they who were with him on the mount, and beheld the honour and glory bestowed upon him, were not the subjects of delusion, in making known his “power and coming ;” for they had been "eye-witnesses of his majesty," (2 Pet. ii. 16, 17.) They had seen in anticipation the coming of the Lord in his glory. Here, too, was the fulfilment of his prediction, concerning those who should be thus favoured before they tasted death; corresponding with this intellectually, we say, To see Jesus manifested as the beloved Son of God, ($ 525,) as the Sun of righteousness, as clothed in the garment of divine perfection ; to perceive the writings of Moses, and the predictions of the prophets, co-operating in exhibiting his glorious character, as in coinmunion with him ; to see him, in fine, as he is exhibited in the gospel, (the mount, $ 369,) spiritually understood, is to see him coming in his kingdom.

Such, we may suppose, to have been the peculiar privilege afforded the writer of this Apocalypse.

With Peter and James, he saw the coming of the Lord, as prefigured in the mount; but in spirit, as related in this book, he saw that coming in all its details. Here he saw Jesus manifested as one like unto the Son of man, as the Lanıb, as the Word of God, as the Tabernacle of God, as the Holy City, the Bride, (the divine purpose of mercy, the beloved of God,) and finally, as the Sovereign on the throne, occupying the seat of the Deity, and identified with the Supreme BeingGod in Christ—the Word, the dictum of sovereign grace-overcoming all things, in a spiritual sense, by the power of his righteousness, as he created all things by the word of bis power. Thus, to John, this apocalypsis or revelation was, at the same time, the parousia or coming of Christ, and an exhibition of the kingdom of God with power. The apostle may not have been favoured with a concurrent spiritual understanding of what he saw in vision ; this understanding may have been subsequently afforded bim. As Jesus opened the minds of two of his disciples in their walk to Emmaus, that they might understand the Scriptures, with the letter of which they were already acquainted ; so he may have opened the understanding of his beloved disciple, during his confinement in Patmos, to perceive the spiritual purport of what had been already symbolically represented to him. This subsequent illumination of the mind may be implied in the declaration, Verily, I come quickly; the coming consisting especially in a development of the spiritual meaning of the things just exhibited.*

$ 550. 'Amen. (Even so,) come, Lord Jesus.'—According to the pointing of some editions, the word Amen would seem to be part of the annunciation of Him, who says, I come quickly ; but according to the Greek edition we copy, which seems to be most correct in this particular, this amen is part of the response of the apostle. The words even so, are a translation of the word vai, found in some editions of the Greek immediately after duýv, (amen,) and is the same word which in the preceding clause was

* Under this construction, it must be evident that the moment of death is, to every ndividual of the human species, the coming of the Lordthe transition from a state of imperfect understanding, and even of ignorance, to a state of perfect knowledge of the truth; “ For now," as it is said, (1 Cor. xiii. 12,)“ we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” Such we believe to be the common, although undefined, impression of Christians generally. The moment of death, like the day of the Lord, comes to every one quickly or suddenly: and to those unprepared, as a thief in the night. So it is only in an entire reliance upon the merits of his Saviour that the disciple can welcome death in the language of the apostle: Even 80, come, Lord Jesus.

[ocr errors]

rendered surely. Consistently, it should have been again so rendered ; and the word amen, signifying so let it be, or, so be it: the whole expression is that of perfect concurrence. He that testifieth these things, saith, “ Verily, I come quickly;" to which the apostle responds in vision, apparently, “. So let it be, verily come, Lord Jesus ;" a response according with the instruction given to him that heareth, in the seventeenth verse. The Spirit and the bride saith, Come; whereupon, he that testifieth these things, saith, Surely, I do come, or, I come; perhaps in the sense of, I am coming, quickly or suddenly : to which the hearing apostle responds, So let it be, surely, come, Lord Jesus ; that is, come as thou hast said, quickly, suddenly.

This is the apostle, of whom it was said by Jesus, “ If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die ; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ?” (John xxi. 22, 23.) Now let us suppose the coming of Jesus to consist in that unveiling of himself, which results from a spiritual understanding of this book of Revelation, and we have only to suppose that such an understanding was afforded to the apostle, to perceive that he did tarry till he saw in effect, even in this life, the second coming of his Master.

Whatever that coming may be, however, the apostle, in vision, declares himself prepared for it: his loins girt about with truth, his garments of salvation gathered about him, arrayed in the robe of his Saviour's righteousness, washed and cleansed and sanctified in the atoning sacrifice of his great High-Priest, he is found watching—waiting, even in a state of eager anticipation. In this position, he appears to speak, not only for himself, but for all who, like him, are trusting in the merits of the same Redeemer, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” To such, the day of the Lord may come suddenly, but it will not come as a thief in the night; because they are always prepared—with them it is always day. Their position in Jehovah's righteousness, is a position of light; they are not exposed to the dangers of darkness; their lamps are always trimmed and burning : or what is equivalent to it, Christ is their lamp, as the Lainb is the lamp of the holy city, and they walk in the light of the glory of his perfection. Having on the breastplate of divine righteousness, shod with the preparation of the glad tidings of reconciliation with their God; their faith serving them as a shield, and the hope of salvation as a helmet; the sword of the Spirit enabling them to combat with the deadly tendency of the letter ; they are always on guard, ready for the presence (parousia) of the Captain of their salvation; with the assurance that, when he shall appear, they shall be like him: for as they have once borne the image of the earthy, so adopted in him they will then bear the image of the heavenly-being now new creatures in Christ.

« AnteriorContinuar »