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this first heaven are darkened ; no sources of righteousness are now exhibited : the bottomless pit system (chap. ix.) is seen to send forth no principles but such as are calculated to torment, (torture,) as with a scorpion's sting, all pretensions of merit coming in contact with them. The Euphratean system of atonement (the great river in human apprehension) is seen to be even of a more deadly character, its principles resulting in the condemnation of those trusting to it as a means of eternal life—the horsemen killing where the scorpion-locusts only hurt or tortured.
The six first trumpets thus exhibit, in a summary manner, the downfall of the system of error; each of them representing the same process by different figures, or in a different light. The last of the six affords, also, in the narrative of the two witnesses, (chap. xi.,) a kind of historical epitome of the progress of error, from its most triumphant stage to its destruction : from the possession of the outer court of the temple and of the holy city by the Gentiles, and the destroying of these witnesses by the beast from the pit, to their final glorification, and the shock given to the false system represented by the great city, as by an earthquake. As a result of the revelation of the sixth trumpet we learn, also, as a rule of interpretation, from the mighty angel, (chap. x.,) that time is not to be taken into consideration ; and, comparing the measures of time mentioned in the eleventh chapter with those afterwards met with, we perceive this rule of time no longer to be applied to the events of the sixth trumpet, as well as to those subse-quently related. From the same mighty angel we receive the intimation of the twofold sense of the language of revelation, illustrated by the sweet and bitter taste of the little book.
$ 555. We now come to the voice of the seventh or last trumpet, the sounding of which gives occasion to a choral action of praise and thanksgiving of peculiar solemnity : it constitutes, also, the last of the three woes denounced upon the inhabiters of the earth, and seems to be the revelation designed to be most peculiarly instrumental in the destruction of error and in the final manifestation of truth. Still this trumpet is not to be taken as announcing occurrences subsequent to those already detailed: on the contrary, it goes back even to a revelation of the divine counsels prior to the events already unfolded ; its purport may therefore be considered an amplifcation and more extended view, or more detailed exhibition, of the subjects revealed in the preceding chapters.
The war in heaven, (chap. xii.,) with which the revelation of this trumpet commences, teaches us the difficulty existing in the nature of things in reconciling the principles of divine justice with those of mercy, the difficulty in overcoming the power of the legal adversary (the dragon) by that of the intercessor, (Michael.) The propitiatory principle, (the blood of the Lamb,) however, secures the ascendency to the latter, and the accusing spirit, ejected from the heavenly view of the divine plan of government, is to be found only in the earthly exbibition of that government. Even here the power of the adversary is manifested to predominate only so long as the true exhibition of the economy of grace is lost sight of. So long as the witnesses are prophesying in sackcloth, and the woman which bore the man-child is secluded in the wilderness, so long the dragon is enabled to make war with the remnant of her seed. But the dragon does not carry on this war in his own person; he does not appear on earth in his proper character; he gives his power to a certain blasphemous principle represented (chap. xiii.) as a beast originating from the sea or abyss; and this beast exercises his influence through the instrumentality of a certain other principle, denominated the false prophet. The secret is here unfolded, that the legal adversary (Satan) is actually to be found in the blasphemous principle to which we have given the appellation of self, and that the power of this self, and consequently of the adversary, is sustained by a misconstruction or false interpretation of the language of revelation. We do not suppose the reign of this beast to depict a different error, or a different system of error, from that previously alluded to; it only constitutes a new and more detailed illustration of the course and power of the same errors.
The mind having been turned aside for a short interval, to contemplate the particulars of the beast and false prophet, the narrative is again resumed in the description of the Lamb upon Mount Zion, (chap. xiv ;) in the annunciations of the preaching of the gospel, of the fall of Babylon, and of the visitation of wrath upon the worshippers of the beast; with a description of the appearance of the Son of man upon a white cloud, of the harvest, and of the vintage : Jesus Christ being revealed upon the white cloud in the same character as he appeared amidst the golden candlesticks. Immediately upon this we have the account (chaps. xv. and xvi.) of the pouring out of the vials of wrath; operations, it may be presumed, concurrent if not identic with those of the harvest and vintage-different illustrations of the same exercise of divine power in terminating the reign or influence of error by the exhibition of truth : with this difference, that whereas the preceding revelation consisted more especially in the application of the principle of divine justice, as a test of the erroneous doctrines to which it was applied ; the effusion of the vials of wrath represents the application of the true principle of divine worship ($ 356) as a test in the exhibition of the same or similar errors.
$ 556. The result of the pouring out of the sixth vial of wrath, the preparation for the battle of Armageddon, (Rev. xvi. 14,) indicates the immediate connection between this part of the narration and the account subsequently given (chap. xix.) of the victory obtained by the Rider of the white horse over the beast and his forces. The Conqueror going forth at the opening of the first seal, “overcoming, and that he might overcome,” s not indeed so termed here, but the fact sets him forth as the overcoming,
(ó vixõv,) and this in a most signal manner.
We follow him then after his victory, and we next meet with the representation (chap. xx.) of one that sat upon the great white throne. We coinpare this appearance with the promise made in the Epistle to the angel of the Laodicean church : “ To him that overcometh, (or, to the overcoming,) will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne." We look forward to the declaration of Him who makes all things new, (chap. xxi.,) and we find this great white throne to be the throne of God. We look further, and find (chap. xxii.) God and the Lamb occupying one and the same throne or seat. The promise is then fulfilled : the overcoming—the conqueror of the beast and of the false prophet—is manifested to occupy the seat or throne of God and the Lamb.
Again, in the Epistle to the church of Pergamos, we find a white stone promised to the overcoming ; "and in the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth except he that receiveth it.” It is not said of Him that overcame the beast, that he had a white stone given him, but it is said that he had a name written, that no one knew but himself. So it is said of the overcoming in the Epistle to the church of Philadelphia, “I will write upon him the name of my God;" and of the warrior of Armageddon we find it said, “He hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS.” In the address to the church of Thyatira, it is said, “ Unto him that overcometh, I will give power over the nations : and he shall rule them with a rod of iron ; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers.” Corresponding with this, the Rider of the white horse is described as having a sharp sword proceeding from his mouth, “ that with it he should smite the nations, and rule them as with a rod of iron :" and so we find he did smite the kings of the earth and their forces, under the conduct of the beast, with the sword out of his mouth. On this occasion, too, his name is expressly declared to be the Word of God ;-ó dóyos toő troő is, therefore, ó lóyns ó vizār. The Word of God is he that overcometh. Connecting this declaration with the implied definition of the Deity of his own Word, (Jer. xxiii. 29,) we see in the fire from heaven, by which the nations, Gog and Magog, were destroyed, (Rev. xx. 9,) a further fulfilment of the same promise ; while the fire by which the harlot and the city (Babylon) were destroyed (chap. xvii. and xviii.) affords a like exhibition of the power of this overcoming Word ;—fire and the sword being interchangeable figures of the instrument employed in the destruction of error. We have already supposed the same Word to be the occupant of the great wbite throne, both as suggested by the course of the narrative, and as a fulfilment of the promise to bim that overcometh. If we are correct in this particular, the accuser, and death, and hell, must be all overcome by the same all-powerful Word.
We find no other champion in the Apocalypse to whom we can apply
this epithet of the overcoming in connection with the promises, except the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who overcame to open the book; the Lamb by whose blood the brethren overcame the dragon, and by whom the ten kings in alliance with the beast were to be overcome, (Rev. xvii. 14;) and Jesus, who speaks in the introductory Epistles as having himself overcome, (Rev. iii. 21.) The Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Lamb, and Jesus, we know to be identic ; and as there cannot be two conquerors, we are shut up to the conclusion, that the Rider of the white horse is Jesus, the Son of God ;—the manifestation of this truth being a fulfilment of the promise of the Alpha and Omega, Rev. xxi. 7: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things ; and I will be his God, and he shall be my Son."
The Word of God is thus manifested or revealed to be the Son of God. Certain promises are made to him that conquers. The Rider of the white horse undertakes to conquer ; he does conquer, and he obtains the promised reward. This, we think, must be indisputable ; although some portion of these promises may not be easily explained. The conqueror is identic with Jesus Christ; all, therefore, that is revealed of the one, is a revelation or unveiling of the other. So, as the beast and false prophet are represented to be antagonists of the Word of God, whatever is revealed of them as opposites, serves to throw light upon the character and offices of him with whom they are so directly at variance.
$ 557. As before suggested, we do not suppose the contest on the battle-field of Armageddon to be something in addition to the occurrences previously detailed; it is rather a representation of the same contest between truth and error, under a different figure. We lost sight of the Rider of the white horse immediately after his first appearance, at the opening of the first seal, but the overcoming operations of the Word of God were then commenced. They were to be seen in the results of the opening of the sixth seal ; in the effects of the hail and fire mingled with blood, of the burning mountain cast into the sea ; of the star cast from heaven, “burning, as it were a lamp.” They were to be seen in the stroke inflicted upon the sun, moon, and stars ; in the action of the scorpion-locusts, and in that of the Euphratean horsemen; in the testimony of the two witnesses, and in the results of that testimony: and from the moment that the dragon began his persecution of the seed of the woman, when the seven-headed beast first rose from the sea, and the two-horned beast from the earth, the warfare was commenced. The same operations are to be seen in the proclamations of the heavenly herald, in the harvest, in the vintage, and in the process of the wine-press; in the effusion of the seven vials of wrath, in the thunder and in the earthquake, and in the lightning and the hail ; in the war between the ten horns and the harlot, in that between the ten horns and the Lamb, and in the final judgment upon Babylon. In all these processes the Logos, or Word of God, was pursuing his victorious career, going forth
conquering (overcoming) every principle of error ; sustained by the same power of divine righteousness, although that power may not have been equally manifested. The Spirit of the mouth of the Lord was employed, although not always exhibited as a drawn sword.
Whatever shape the adversary may assume, and whatever may be the figure by which the contest is illustrated, the weapon of the victor is the same ;—the revelation of truth is the instrument of destroying error.
The revelation of the purpose of God, as it is in truth, is the means of destroying every system or principle of doctrine inconsistent with it. In this respect it must be perceived, that as the new Jerusalem is an exhibition in detail of the purpose of God, as pertaining to the means of salvation ; and as the divine purpose or economy of grace is, in fact, the Word of God; so the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven must be in substance equivalent, as a figure, to the appearance of the Rider of the white horse upon the field of battle. The two representations are exhibitions of the same Word (Logos) of God. The revelation of the new Jerusalem, rightly understood, like that of the Word or purpose of God, is the destined instrument of destroying every principle or doctrine inconsistent with the divine plan of salvation ; the Spirit and the bride performing the same part in the destruction of error, as is performed by the Word and the sharp sword. The holy city is thus a convertible term for the Word of God; and is, accordingly, an appellation applicable to the overcoming, (the rider of the white horse.) It is, at the same time, that scheme of doctrine by which, and by which alone, the worship of God, in the true sense of the term, can be sustained, as by a pillar; corresponding with the promise of Jesus in the address to the angel of the Church of Philadelphia : “ Him that overcometh (the overcoming) will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, (King of kings,) and the name of the city of my God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and my new name,” (Jehovah our righteousness.)
The overcoming Word of God being identic with the new Jerusalem, and the new Jerusalem being the wife or bride of the Lamb, we see in the bridal array of the wife, prepared for the marriage feast, the fulfilment of another of these promises : “ He that overcometh (the overcoming) the same shall be clothed in white raiment: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” The exaltation of the overcoming Word on the great white throne may be considered a fulfilment of the latter portion of this promise.
As the bride or wife is identic with the Lamb, and the Lamb identic with Jesus, and Jesus himself is the morning-star, the promise to give the morning-star to him that overcometh is fulfilled in the manifestation, that the overcoming Word and the new Jerusalem are identic with the star itself.