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44. So the power of falsehood is destroyed when it is manifested to be falsehood; as it is said, 2 Peter ii. 12, “ They shall utterly perish in their own corruption,” εν τη φθορά αυτών καταφθαρήσονται, shall be utterly corrupted in their own corruption.
With the close of this verse the chapter should end ; the action of the chorus, consisting of the voices in heaven and of the responsive voices of the elders, constituting an intermediate scene, the description of which commences with the fifteenth verse and terminates here,
V. 19. And the temple of God was Και ήνοίγη ο ναός του θεού εν τω ουopened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the art of his testament and ρανώ, και ώφθη η κιβωτός της διαθήκης there were lightnings, and voices, and αυτού εν τω ναώ αυτού και εγένοντο ασ. thunderings, and an earthquake, and great τραπαί και φωναι και βρονται και σεισμός hail.
και χάλαζα μεγάλη.
$ 264. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven.'—“One thing have I desired of the Lord,” says David, “ that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple,” (Ps. xxvii. 4.) Something like this privilege appears to be now enjoyed by the Apostle—an opportunity of inquiring into the mysteries of the temple—for although it is not expressed, the natural inference must be that the exhibition subsequently made, as described in the next chapter, is a result of this opening of the temple—a temple in heaven, not on the earth—something entirely of a spiritual character; a system, as we suppose, of principles peculiar to that position necessary to enable the worshipper of GOD to worship him in spirit and in truth.
We have just witnessed the demolition of the tithing system of the antievangelical city; those pretended elements of worship which served as a substitute for a temple. Our attention is now directed to the true templethe opposite of this substitute-a temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens—there is said to be no temple in the New Jerusalem, (Rev. xxi. 22,) because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. That is, there is no other than this; and this we suppose to be the temple now seen in heaven. An arrangement of those principles of eternal truth by which God himself, as manifested in Christ, appears in the light of his own temple. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself; and in Christ (God manifest in the flesh) the disciple finds an access unto God, by which he is enabled to worship Him acceptably.
And there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament,'-—or the
ark of his covenant, as the word translated testament here is rendered, Gal. iv. 24, (ú xiporòs iñs diatýuns avrov) or the ark of the testimony, as it is sometimes called in the Old Testament.* The ark was not the testament itself, but that which contained the testament, or covenant.
The ark is seen, but the testament within the ark is not yet exhibited. That this exhibition is about to take place, seems however to be implied. The opening of the temple, then, and display of the ark, are equivalent to certain preparations requisite for the representations or developments about to be made.
The ark of Noah we suppose to be a symbol of Christ as a means of preservation for all taking refuge in it. The ark of the testament we suppose also to be a type of Christ, as that in which all the elements or mysteries of the economy of salvation are contained; or as Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Col. ii. 3.) To see the ark was to see that which contained these treasures; but the treasures themselves yet remain to be exhibited.
$ 265. "And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an
* The term diainun occurs thirty-three times in the New Testament, being twelve times rendered in our common version by the word testament, and twenty-one times by that of covenant. In the ninth chapter of Hebrew-, the same term is rendered twice corenant, and five times testament. In these remarks we employ the term testament, covenant, dispensation, economy, arrangement or disposition, indiscriminately for this Greek term diatheke; but in using the word covenant we would not have the idea associated with it of a compact between two equal parties, mutually binding themselves to some engagement, which they might either of them decline entering into is so disposed. There can be no such compact between God and man. There is no equality of parties here; neither is there room here for voluntary action on the part of man. Man has not the right, or power, or liberty, to refuse to do or to agree to do any thing required of him by his God; he can engage to do nothing which it was not previously his duty to do. Here, therefore, only one of the parties is at liberty, and has the power and the right to promise or not to promise; to give or to withhold. It is the part of God to agree to give if he please, and to prescribe the way in which he will give; but it is not for man to stipulate, or to enter into a contract with the Deity.
Such being the peculiarity of relationship between the Creator and the creature, we must either understand by the English word covenant, when used as here contemplated, an agreement of one party only; or we must render the Greek term diatheke by testament, dispensation, economy, arrangement, &c.; in Latin, dispositio, according to Trommius—that is, the disposition which a testator makes of his property by will, for the benefit of his heirs. The testator having a perfect right to give his estate by will to whom he pleases, and to give it conditionally, or freely, as he may see fit; as also to annul his testament at any time and to substitute another in its place; whereas a covenant in the nature of a contract cannot be annulled without the consent of both parties. We accordingly substitute for the term covenant, on some occasions, the word economy, although this term expresses rather the state of things consequent to the disposition of the testament than the testament itself. The term Aadnan occurs but in this one place in the Apocalypse, although the thing itself is necessarily a principal subject of the book.
earthquake, and great hail.'—These are legal indications, and the ark of the testament is known to have contained the two tables of the law. So the first sight of it may be said very naturally to call up the recollection of all the denunciations of Mount Sinai. According to 1 Kings viii. 9, this ark, too, was to contain nothing else than the two tables of the law; but this we may look upon as a prescription of the old dispensation rigidly carried out.
According to Heb. ix. 3, 4, the ark of the testament contained also the pot of manna, and the rod of Aaron that budded, thus representing him in whom the provisions of both covenants are fulfilled. If therefore the first sight of the ark be attended with these terrific denunciations only, it is because these two representations of divine mercy are not yet perceived ; and the ark is supposed to contain only the testimony of legal requisition : as if Christ were contemplated in no other light than as a lawgiver and judge, and as such to be approached only with fearful apprehension.
Apocalyptically, however, we presume this judicial array of lightnings, &c., to be directed against elements of doctrine opposed to truth. They are intimations of the power of the truth about to be developed : as it is said, Ps. lxxvii. 18, “ His lightnings enlighten the world;" and Is. xxviii, 17, “ The bail shall sweep away the refuge of lies.” The earthquake, or rather shaking or commotion, (triqués,) indicating the approaching shaking of systems of error, and the voices and thunderings the powerful character of revealed truth, when fully developed.
This temple of God must be the same as that mentioned in the first verse of the chapter, which the apostle was called upon to measure; the difference being in the circumstances in which it is seen. On earth, under an earthly construction, the temple is apparently shut-a foreign power having possession of its court—while in heaven, under a spiritual construction, it is opened ; the veil is withdrawn, and its mysteries are capable of being revealed or laid open. The ark is seen, and perhaps too the manna or heavenly bread in the ark, or before the ark. This symbol of the righteousness of Christ being preserved with that of divine justice, (the books of the law,) as the tree of life was originally in Paradise with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The rod of Aaron which budded, showing the choice of the house of Levi for the priesthood, (Num. xvii. 8,) and pointing out the intercessorial character of our Great High Priest, (who, like Aaron amidst the plague, stands between the living and the dead, *) may be supposed also to be seen in or near the ark.
In the literal temple the ark was placed in the inner recess, called the holiest of all, into which the High Priest alone entered once a year. Of
* Between the Living God and those who are dead in trespasses and sin,
course, if the temple was so laid open that the ark was seen, the holiest of all must have been disclosed ; corresponding with the rending of the veil of the temple at the time of the crucifixion of our Saviour. This consummation of his work constituting in effect the development of the mysteries of the temple—showing the way into the holiest, or indicating the position by which the disciple obtains access unto GOD. If the ark of the testament be not elsewhere mentioned in the New Testament, it must be because we have its equivalent in Christ, as when the antitype makes its appearance the type is no longer required.
The apostle occupies the same position now that he did when first called up into heaven; the scenery in the back-ground being the same; but in front the exhibition of it is so far changed that a view of the opened temple is afforded, which was not before perceived ; while the apostle's attention, instead of being occupied with changes taking place on earth, as it must have been while taken up especially with what he saw of the two witnesses, is now directed altogether to appearances and transactions within the heavenly sphere of his observation,