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accuser of the brethren or of the legal adversary: “ All this power will I give thee, (said the devil to Jesus,) and the glory of them,” (that is, of the kingdoms of the world,) “ for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” We may presume the beast to be a worshipper of Satan, or he would not have received the strength, authority, and power, spoken of: “ The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Strictly speaking, the devil has no power or dominion ; but, spiritually, he had been cast to earth;—the earth had been allotted to him as a field of operation : in the earthly system he has power. The condition prescribed by Satan was therefore equivalent to this, that if the Redeemer would make his work of propitiation subservient to establishing the power of the accuser,
, the elements of the earthly system should be subordinated to him, (Christ.) It is only in this sense that the devil could be supposed to give power and authority. The beast accordingly renders his ministration subservient to the views of the accuser ; he may be presumed to fulfil this condition ; and by so doing he obtains, virtually, power and authority over the elements of the world, or over what we call the earthly system.
It is a peculiarity of the management of Satan, that he does not appear in this earthly system in his own character. This is the assigned field of his operation : here he is to carry on the war against the woman, and against her seed; but he does not do this in his proper person. Another takes his seat, supplies his place, and occupies his throne, if such it can be called; and to this other he gives his strength—the strength which he derives from the law, as symbolized by the ten horns, (transferred from his own head to that of the beast,) and great authority, or ruling power, as figured by the diadems upon the horns. We may therefore consider the two characters nearly identic ; as much so as the viceroy and the sovereign ; remembering only that when the viceroy is taken away the sovereign may still be supposed to remain. Meantime the beast for a certain space possesses the legal power of the accuser, and is directed probably by the same heads or ruling elements of condemnation.
Something parallel with this seems to take place in the gospel dispensation, when viewed under a certain aspect. The legal dispensation is generally admitted to have passed away, and of course the office of the public prosecutor is no more avowedly recognized; or rather he himself is not recognized in that capacity. If, however, in this professedly new state of things the disciple be supposed to depend for eternal life upon the working out of some holiness or righteousness of his own, the office of the accuser is again revived,—the element of self becomes in effect the legal adversary; self or man, like the betrayer of Jesus, becoming his own accuser and executioner. For if a man pretend to justify himself by works of righteousness of his own doing, he becomes in the result bis own legal prosecutor. It is sufficient for us, however, at present, to bear in mind that, whatever be the delegated power possessed by the beast, the whole of it is derived from the accuser, and depends for its efficiency on the false assumption that the law still remains to be fulfilled by the disciple—that, notwithstanding all that Christ has done, salvation is not of grace.
Vs. 3, 4. And I saw one of his heads Και μίαν εκ των κεφαλών αυτού ως έσ. as it were wounded to death; and his φαγμένην εις θάνατον, και η πληγή του deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast. And θανάτου αυτού εθεραπεύθη. και εθαύμαthey worshipped the dragon which gave σεν όλη η γή οπίσω του θηρίου, και προςpower into the beast: and they worship- εκύνησαν το δράκοντι, ότι έδωκε την εξουped the beast, saying, Who (is) like unto clav TẬ Fygio, xai aposexúvrgav to Inthe beast ?, who is able to make war with ρίω, λέγοντες· τις όμοιος το θηρίω ;
και him ?
τις δύναται πολεμήσαι μετ' αυτού ;
$298. “And I saw.'—These words are not to be found in all editions of the Greek, but the sense is unavoidably the same; the appearance of this head, as well as that of the others, being part of the vision.
• One of his heads as it were wounded to death ; —or, I saw one of his heads as (if) it had been slain or slaughtered, as xogaypévnv ;—precisely the same words, with a change only of the gender, as those applied to the Lamb as it had been slain, Rev. v. 6 ;-a slaying or slaughtering as of a victim offered in sacrifice. Death in this vision is not merely a circumstance, but a personage or mystery ; and the preposition eis may be rendered unto, as well as in : είς τί ούν εβαπτίσθητε ; εις το 'Ιωάννου βάπτισμα“Unto what then were ye baptized ? Unto John's baptism,” Acts xix. 3. The passage therefore might be thus rendered : I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain or slaughtered in sacrifice unto death ;—the same death that was seen riding on the pale horse, and which is on that occasion, as well as on others in this Apocalypse, associated and almost identified with hell or Hades. Taking these particulars into view, whether the passage will bear this construction altogether or not, we cannot help thinking that the phrase wounded to death, or slaughtered to death, is not a mere redundancy. The idea intended to be conveyed seems to be, that one of those heads appeared as if it had been offered in atonement, or that it represented a principle of professed propitiation.
* And his deadly wound was healed ;'-—or, the stroke or plague of its death was healed, or, his plague of death was healed. A deadly wound or a stroke of death must be a mortal wound or stroke, and it could not be so unless attended with death. To heal such a wound must be equivalent to a restoration to life. The head appeared as if it had been slain or dead, but it was now alive. In explanation of this, we suppose the apostle to see the
beast in its proper light. To other eyes a propitiatory sacrifice appears to have been made by the beast. The head to them appears as if it had been slain—as if an atonement had been made ; while to the view of the apostle the head is healed, or appears, as in fact was the case, as if it had never been slain. Or perhaps we may say, at first sight the head appeared as having been slain ; but upon more just examination the illusion vanished, and it appeared otherwise. Or, as we might say of a doctrine of Christian faith, which apparently on a first apprehension admits of the efficacy of an element of propitiation, but afterwards, in effect, sets the agency of such an element aside. Reminding us of the theories of those who commence their views of religiouş doctrine with an avowed reliance upon the atonement of Christ, as the only means of salvation, but who virtually, if not professedly, lose sight of this element in their reliance upon other foundations of hope, or other supposed means of justification. Without shedding of blood, or loss of life, there is no remission of sin. Here there was no actual loss of life, and consequently no actual atonement. Such we may suppose to be the pretended propitiatory provision peculiar to a principle, which, notwithstanding its professed support of the doctrine of the atonement, places all the disciple's hope of pardoning mercy upon some merit or righteousness of his own.
$ 299. 'And all the world wondered after the beast;or, as it is in the Greek, all the earth wondered, &c. That is, all they of the earththe dwellers or inhabiters of the earth those against whom the wo is pronounced : the elements of the earthly system, personified as human beings led away by their admiration of what appears to them the wonderful power of the beast. The devil had come to the earth and to the sea with great vehemence; but from the account here given we find him no sooner on the earth than he gives his power and authority to another. He does not appear himself; he deludes and governs in his earthly dominions by the specious appearance and pretensions of his viceroy. The whole earth is deceived or led astray, excepting, we suppose, the sealed ones mentioned in the seventh chapter ; this perversion of the elements of the earthly system being apparently coeval with the operation of withholding the wind from the earth—of suppressing the spiritual sense of revelation as far it is connected with this earthly system. We were not told indeed what the four angels did after the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the tribes were sealed, but we may presume they then fulfilled the functions assigned them. When the dragon came down to earth, the court was given to the Gentiles, the two witnesses prophesied in sackcloth, the woman bearing the man-child fled to the wilderness, the beast with seven heads and ten horns made his appearance, and all the elements of the earthly system were perverted to sustain his authority ; as the people of Samaria were led away by their wonder after Simon the sorcerer, saying, Surely this is the great power of God, (Acts viii. 9, 10.)
· And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast;' -— or, according to some editions of the Greek, because he gave power unto the beast. It is said of some, Rom. i. 25, that they worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator. Here the inhabiters of the earth worship and serve the accuser of the brethren, rather than the intercessor ; the legal adversary, rather than the mediator. This we may suppose they do, not because they recognize the dragon in the beast, but because, being deluded through the instrumentality of the beast, in following after him, they virtually worship and serve the devil in their ignorance and unbelief of Christ. Some barbarous nations, it is said, professedly worship the evil spirit; and do this, as they declare, lest he should harm them. Strange as this may appear to more enlightened minds, there is something analogous to it in the views of those who are operated upon in their religious conduct by no other motive than the fear of accusation, on the part of their legal adversary, before the tribunal of divine judgment. Instead of flying for refuge and protection to him who has fulfilled the law for them, and subsequently performing their duty to Him, in gratitude for their deliverance, they are driven to obedience, as by the lash of the task-master, and literally pay divine honours to the accuser, or worship the dragon from fear of his malice. Such we suppose to be the mistake illustrated by the conduct of these inbabiters of the earth.
$ 300. “And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him ?'—It is a characteristic of idolatry, that it admits of the worship of more gods than one; but we do not suppose these earthly idolaters to be taken as professedly worshipping both the devil and the beast. We are not to suppose them so far acquainted with the history of the dragon and with the mystery of his representative, as to recognize these two distinct characters. They have not been witnesses of the war in heaven, or of the expulsion of the dragon from heaven to earth, nor are they privileged as we are with a knowledge of these transactions, through the account given by the apostle. Nor have they like the apostle seen this beast originating from the element of wrath ; they see him only as he is in the exercise of his power, with his seven 'heads or attributes, and his ten instruments of exacting obedience. If they perceive his head as it had been slain and again restored, they see in this a token of his triumphant power ; but they do not recognize him as a mere creature. They are supposed to substitute him in their apprehension for the Creator and sovereign Ruler of all, or for a representative of the Deity, identified with God. They apply to the beast the question implied in the name of Michael, ($ 279,) Who is so like unto God? Who is so able to save to the uttermost ? And who is so much like Jehovah that there is not any able to contend with him? To them the beast is a manifestation of Deity.
The beast however, as a figure, we suppose to be rather an opposite of God the Saviour and Redeemer, (Christ,) than of God the Creator and Supreme Governor. As in the heavenly scene the accuser or dragon is the opposite of the man-child, or element of propitiation and justification ; so, in this earthly scene the beast is something the opposite of Christ, as he is also in some respects of the woman ; with this difference, that the accuser opposes the man-child and the woman in heaven as an open enemy: the beast on earth operates against both of these, by substituting himself in their place. On this account he is, apparently with good reason, supposed to be a figure pre-eminently of Antichrist ; that is, of some supposed principle or element of salvation, the opposite of the means represented in Christ. For to whatever object the disciple ascribes his eternal salvation, to that object he is bound to devote all his worship and service. The earthly system, or the elements of this system as a whole, here personified, in their tendencies exalt the principle represented by the beast to an equality with God; or rather, they virtually recognize no other God or Saviour than that thus represented. This delusion or perversion of these earthly elements being, as we have observed, part of the war carried on by the dragon against the woman and against the remnant of her seed; the remnant keeping the commandments of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ, being exceptions to those denominated all the earth—exceptions probably elsewhere symbolized as the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed ones.
Vs. 5, 6. And there was given unto Και εδόθη αυτώ στόμα λαλούν μεγάλα him a mouth speaking great things and και βλασφημίας, και εδόθη αυτώ εξουσία blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty (and) two months. rolioai užvaç tęgoapázovta dúo. Kai irAnd he opened his mouth in blasphemy oιξε το στόμα αυτού εις βλασφημίαν προς against God, to blaspheme his name, and τον θεόν, βλασφημήσαι το όνομα αυτού και his tabernacle, and them that dwell in την σκηνήν αυτού και τους εν τω ουρανό heaven.
$ 301. “And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.”—The beast is described in the first instance as having the mouth of a lion ; but this we may suppose to be a separate figure from the present. In addition to the lion's threatening aspect, and the language of terrible denunciation, it was given to the beast to speak great things ; and as these great things are coupled with blasphemies, the conclusion is suggested that they are something of the same kind—something corresponding with the language of the fourth beast, spoken of Dan. vii. 25, “ And he shall speak (great) words against the Most High.” The word things