Imágenes de páginas

indeed is not in the original in this passage of Revelation, the adjective uszála only being expressed ; as it occurs also, according to the Septuagint, Dan. vii. 8, where the little horn is said to have a mouth speaking great things, halo ūv usycha ; which things are styled by the interpreter words, in the twenty-fifth verse, where the term great is omitted in the original Hebrew, as well as in the Greek of the Septuagint: the term 2óyovg in the last being put for words; a term which carries with it the idea of doctrines or reasonings. Speaking great things is very different from doing great things ; as it is said of God, (Luke i. 49,) He hath done great things; or, He doeth great things. The beast is only a speaker of great things--a vain boaster. Such was the character of Nebuchadnezzar previous to his humiliation, when walking in his palace he boasted of the might of his power, (Dan. iv. 30 ;) and such was the language of Lucifer, who is described to have said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north : I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High,” (Is. xiv. 13, 14.) Similar characters are alluded to 2 Pet. ii. 18, “Who speak great swelling words of vanity ;" Rom. i. 30, “Proud boasters, inventors of evil things,” (false doctrines ;) and 2 Tim. iii. 2, “Covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers;" so the tongue is described, James iï. 5, as a little member boasting great things. Of the nature of this boasting, we obtain a further insight from the argument of the Apostle Paul, showing that a great design of the plan of sovereign grace is to exclude the possibility of any foundation for such arrogance : Eph. ii. 8, 9, “ For by grace are ye saved,"

,” * * * * “ Not of works, lest any man should boast.Rom. iii. 23, 24, and 27, “ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ;" * * * “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law ? of works ? Nay: but by the law (or rule) of faith.”

We suppose the speaking great things and blasphemies of the beast to be of this description ; corresponding with the pretensions of the man of sin, 2 Thess. ii. 4, already quoted; in effect giving himself out to be God.

Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) is called the author of life, doznyós ñs coñs, Acts iii. 15; óexnyós rñs cornoías, Heb. ii. 10, the author or cause of salvation ; airios owinpias aloríov, Heb. v. 9, the efficient cause of eternal salvation, (Rob. Lex.)--the merits or righteousness and propitiation of Christ, imputed to the disciple, being this efficient cause of salvation. Opposite to this, any one making his own merits the efficient cause of his salvation, puts himself in the place of Christ-making himself equal with Christ ;—which is equivalent to putting his own righteousness in the place of God's righteousness—making himself equal with God. Such is in effect the boasting, vain words, blasphemy, pride and arrogance of the principle of self-righteousness; a very different sentiment from that charity, which vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, (1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5.) We readily recognize the unseemliness of this boasting spirit, when it exhibits itself between man and man; how much more must we admit its extremely odious character, when exhibited by the creature towards his Creator ; by the sinner towards his Redeemer. Yet such is the presumptuous operation of that spirit which, however professedly Christian, places the eternal happiness of man upon some meritorious work, or goodness, or righteousness, or perfection of his own. If we ask, Where is such a spirit to be found ? the answer appears unavoidably to be, that we shall find it in the heart of man. As it was said of the kingdom of God, (Luke xvii. 21,) so we may say of the kingdom of the beast to every inquirer, “Behold, the kingdom of the beast is within you."

$ 302. “And power was given to him to continue forty and two months ;'-or, more properly, power was given him to do, or to act, or, as some editions have it, ).euov noiñoai, to make war ; that is, not merely to exist, but to continue in full operation, to contend with the truth ; the term forty-two months being applicable to the active agency of the beast, and not merely to his continuance in being. This period of forty-two months corresponds with that of the treading of the holy city under foot, (Rev. xi. 2;) and turning the months into days, as before, it corresponds also with the other periods of twelve hundred and sixty days, Rev. xi. 3, xii. 6; and allowing times and days to represent years, with the three and a half days of Rev. xi. 9, and the time, times, and half a time of Rev. xii. 14. As in all the other cases there is no epoch given for the commencement of this term, we must suppose the beast to begin to act when the dragon gave him his power ; and the dragon (the devil and Satan) to have given this power when he was cast down to the earth ; and we must then inquire when it was that the devil was not in the earth, or had not come down upon

the earth ; and unless we can find a more recent period when Satan did not operate upon the hearts of men, we must go back at least to the period of the creation.

Our only course, therefore, here is, as it has been in other instances, to call to mind the declaration of the mighty angels, Rev. x. 6, that there should be time no longer. These forty-two months, accordingly, we suppose to be not a measure of duration, but a standard of parallelisms, showing us the action of the beast during the whole of his operation to be correlative, simultaneous, and interchangeable with the actions of all of the other series of figures of the same measure. The beast has the power to act in consequence of the treading of the holy city by the Gentiles, of the prophesying of the witnesses in sackcloth, of the spiritless state of their bodies, and of the seclusion of the woman in the wilderness.

$ 303. · He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme,' &c.—The nature of this blasphemy in general we have already considered ; something in effect equivalent to a proud and vain assumption of equality with God, especially as the efficient cause and author of eternal life. There appears besides to be three subdivisions of this blasphemy :-first, against the name of God; second, against the tabernacle of God; and third, against the dwellers in heaven.

• His name.'-As the opening of the mouth, here mentioned, is not to be taken in a literal sense, so neither is the blasphemy against the name of the Most High to be supposed to consist literally in an act of speech :-it is something virtually equivalent to blasphemy. To blaspheme the name of God, accordingly, must be something else than literal profanity, or what is commonly called the taking of God's name in vain. The glory of God's name consists especially in this, that his righteousness is the efficient cause of the sinner's salvation : his name prevails in this matter, not the name of the sinner; or, which is the same thing, the name of Christ, God manifest in the flesh, prevails. To blaspheme the name of God is to deny to his naine the glory due for the work of redemption ; to give that glory to the creature which belongs to the Creator. A system of salvation representing the glory of the sinner's salvation to be due to himself, is a system that exalts the name of the sinner in opposition to that of the Saviour. Corresponding with this view, we find the reason given by God himself for publishing the glad tidings of peace is, that his name may be known ; and this because that name had been every day blasphemed, (Is. lii. 5–7.) The plan of salvation alluded to in this prediction, is published to counteract a blasphemy of the name of Jehovah. So we suppose this blasphemy of the name of God, by the beast, to be something opposed to the exhibition of salvation by grace; that salvation by which only the name of God is honoured.

· His tabernacle.'-To blaspheme the tabernacle of God must be something nearly of the same import; a tabernacle being a covering, or shelter, or refuge. Jesus Christ is called a minister of the true tabernacle, Heb. viii. 2. The true tabernacle, or shelter, is that imputed righteousness by which alone the disciple can be protected from the wrath to come: “For we (says Paul) that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we should be unclothed, but clothed upon ;” that is, “with our house (shelter) which is from heaven.” To blaspheme the tabernacle of God is to set a Daught this provision of imputed righteousness; to make the righteousness of man a substitute for it, exalting this tabernacle, as Paul calls it, above the tabernacle of God; and such we suppose to be the tendency or spirit of this blasphemous principle, represented by the ten-horned beast. • Them that dwell in heaven.'—It will be perceived from the Greek that the idea of the tabernacle is to be preserved. Under this head, also, the blasphemy of the beast was directed against the name of God, against his tabernacle, and against those tabernacling in heaven : those that dwell or tabernacle in heaven being opposites of the dwellers upon earth. As such, those that tabernacle in heaven are such as belong to the tabernacle of God. We suppose the tabernacle itself to be the shelter provided for the sinner-Christ, or the righteousness of Christ; and those that tabernacle in heaven to be corresponding principles (personified), truths, and doctrinal elements connected with the distinguishing doctrine of imputed righteousness; as we have before supposed heaven to be a display of the divine counsels, or a spiritual exhibition of the divine purposes, in opposition to the earthly or literal exhibition. The blasphemy of the beast, under this head, is exhibited in denying to the name of God the glory due for man's salvation, in rejecting his imputed righteousness as a means of that salvation, and in scoffing at all the doctrines or principles connected with such a view of the plan of man's redemption; the accuser setting at defiance the purposes of sovereign grace.

Vs. 7, 8. And it was given unto him Και εδόθη αυτώ πόλεμον ποιήσαι μετά to make war with the saints, and to over

των αγίων και νικήσαι αυτούς και εδόθη come them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and na

αυτω εξουσία επί πάσαν φιλήν και λαών tions. And all that dwell upon the earth και γλώσσαν και έθνος. Και προσκυνήshall worship hun, whose names are not σουσιν αυτόν πάντες οι κατοικούντες επί written in lie book of life of the Lamb της γης, ων ου γέγραπται το όνομα εν τω slain from the foundation of the world.

βιβλία της ζωής του αρνίου του έσφαγμέ

νου από καταβολής κόσμου. $ 304. "And it was given unto him to make war,' &c.—The dragon was wroth, it is said in the preceding chapter, and went to war with the remnant of the woman's seed. We now find this war carried on, not by the dragon in person, bu by his vicegerent, the beast. The war is the same, and those against whom the war is made are the same ; that is, the seed of the woman—the elements or principles of the economy of graceboly ones, saints, or those set apart ;-priciples which, although perhaps to human understanding not forming part of that economy, are yet set apart in the divine mind with reference to it, and are eventually to be manifested as subservient to it, or as proceeding from it, in conformity with what we have before considered the strict meaning of the term holy, or saint, or any person or thing sanctified, ( 88.) The terms servants and saints we consider different appellations of the same thing; the servant being the person or principle which really and directly serves God, and the saint, or holy one, being the person or principle set apart in the divine mind for this real and direct service.

· And to overcome them.'—That is, we may presume, for the period of the predominance of this power. The evil principle represented by the

beast, armed as he is with all the power of the law, is permitted for a period to overcome the principles of the economy of grace; not the economy itself, for that is in a position of safety, beyond the reach of the power of the beast; but all other principles or doctrines of salvation, although really belonging and pertaining to that economy, are for a time permitted, on earth, or in an earthly view, to appear subservient to the system or king-, dom of the beast. So we have seen the beast from the bottomless pit permitted to make war against the two witnesses, and to overcome and to kill them, which we have supposed to be equivalent to the present overcoming of the saints ; the two witnesses representing the whole multitude of the saints, as the Old and New Testaments represent the whole multitude of truths and doctrines contained in them.

* And power was given bim over all kindreds, tongues, and nations.'— “ Thou couldst have no power,” said Jesus to Pilate, “except it were given thee from on high.” So the power given to the Beast is from God, and given to fulfil His purposes. The original of the word kindreds is rendered elsewhere tribestribes of the earth ; probably the same as those mentioned Matt. xxix. 30, kindreds, tongues, and nations.

There is a pleonasm of expression here, seemingly furnishing us with a hint that these terms are not to be taken in a literal sense, either one of them being sufficient to designate all the inhabitants of the earth in such a sense. Taken together, they represent powers of the earth as opposites of heavenly powers : powers of salvation of the earthly system, as opposites of those of the heavenly system ; and, together or separate, they may be intended to direct our attention to other portions of Scripture, where they are symbolically employed in such a manner as to throw light upon their meaning here. These earthly powers are subservient to the beast ;-not as the saints just mentioned, conquered or overcome and brought into subjection for a time, but as the proper subjects of bis realın; excepting always, as we may suppose, the one hundred and forty-four thousand of the sealed ones before spoken of as to be exempted from the desolations of the earth, Rev. vii. 3.

$ 305. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him,' &c.That is, all the opposites of the dwellers in heaven—all the elements of the earthly system, inhabiters of the earth, shall be subservient to him ; excepting again, those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, another figure of the one hundred and forty-four thousand. This book of life, as we have already had occasion to notice, is not literally a book or schedule of the names of human beings, the subjects of salvation ; we suppose

it to be something equivalent to the plan of salvation, or the covenant of grace. So those, whose names are said to be written in it, are the principles or elements of truth belonging to this plan or covenant; these ele

« AnteriorContinuar »