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righteousness, to which he virtually bows down as to an object of adoration, considering it the source of all his hopes, for time and for eternity. In this image of his own perfection, his own self is the real deity; he has not two objects of worship,—one is represented in the other,—self is worshipped in the image of its own merits.
• The heart is deceitful above all things.'—A delusion such as we have here depicted finds, therefore, a ready reception ; but the immediate cause of the error is the false interpretation, leading astray or perverting the language of revelation ; causing the elements of the earthly system, or plan of salvation, as drawn from a literal or carnal view of the written word, to substitute an image of human fabric for the true object of worship—the Creator and Redeemer of the world.
$312. The action of the second beast is to place the worshipper (the elements of the earthly system spoken of as worshippers) under the dominion of the first beast, whose ten horns, or legal powers, are the instruments of enforcing his authority. It is the misinterpretation of the false prophet which places the disciple under the dominion of self, and puts him in the position of a worshipper of self, and consequently brings him back from his position of freedom in Christ to a state of bondage under the law.
So the first beast is represented as making war upon the saints : a war probably of the same kind as that carried on in heaven between Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his angels ; with this difference, that the war in heaven is a contest between the elements of redemption and those of accusation. The war on earth is between the true elements of redemption on the one side, and the elements of falsehood, of self-justification, and of self-propitiation, on the other. The latter war, although said to be made by the first beast, is in fact carried on by the second beast ; the false prophet (misinterpretation) leading the elements of falsehood just spoken of to contend with those of truth, figuratively spoken of as the saints, or holy ones. This spirit of misinterpretation, ostensibly evangelical, and bearing the insignia of propitiatory power, comes from the earth : a literal and self-righteous origin. Its tendency is to bring into operation the whole power of the law, and, like the letter which killeth, to destroy the opposite elements of grace, by re-establishing the dominion resulting from the power of condemnation.
Such is the action of the second beast; but this action is through the instrumentality of his two horns, or powers, the weapons of his warfarecarnal weapons—the opposites of those of which the apostle speaks, as
* The war in heaven may be considered equivalent to the contest in the nature of things between the elements of justice and those of mercy, figuratively represented as a division in the councils of the Most High; the war on earth is equivalent to a manifestation of truth resulting from this heavenly contest.
mighty to the pulling down of strong holds, (2 Cor. x. 4.) Such is the misinterpretation we may also say of the false prophet; which misinterpretation is effected, or put into operation, and made efficient, by the instrumentality of two doctrinal powers, or weapons; two leading doctrines, bearing the appearance of something evangelical; professing to advocate, no doubt, a system of atonement or propitiation, but in reality wresting the meaning of the sacred oracles in a manner to deceive even the very elect, (Matt. xxiv. 24.) The disciple, carried away by this misinterpretation, operating as it does by the means of these two doctrines, being led not only to worship, or serve something opposed to God, (self,) but also to form in his own mind or heart an image of the moral perfection of self; which image, according to his system, he actually adores without being conscious of it. Such, indeed, is the effect; but we suppose here, as elsewhere, the immediate design of the Apocalypse to be, that of pointing out and illustrating the end to be repudiated, not that of designating literally a class of human beings eventually to suffer from it.
Nothing is said of the time allotted to the action of the second beast, but we take the term of forty-two months (verse 5) to be equally applicable to the predominant influence of both of these monsters; the last cooperating with the first, or rather the first acting in, and manifesting itself in the last, from the beginning to the end of his career. The several operations of the beast from the sea, described in the first part of the chapter, are effected by the agency of the beast from the earth. The particulars related of both beasts, although described successively, are in fact coeval; the requisition of the work set forth in the seventeenth verse of the chapter, all being of as early a date, so to speak, as the worship of the dragon and of the beast, adverted to in the fourth verse ; and this worship, as well as the overcoming of the saints, and the subjugation of the dwellers upon the earth, being the result of the intervention of the false interpreter, with his signs and lying wonders, exhibited through the instrumentality of his two important, most prominent, and leading doctrinal powers.
Which had the wound by a sword, and did live,' or, as it is in the Greek, by the sword. The first beast is mentioned in the third verse as having one of his heads wounded to death. In the twelfth verse he is spoken of as one whose deadly wound was healed; and here, in the fourteenth verse, as the beast which had the wound by the sword and did live. There seems to be a gradual development in the character of this wound. The animal appears at first as having been wounded only in one of its members—a wound deadly indeed to that member, but not so to the whole beast; next, his wound seems to be alluded to as altogether mortal, a deadly wound of the beast itself; and lastly, we are informed by what in
strumentality the wound had been inflicted, viz., by the sword. This sword, according to our previous interpretation of the symbol, we suppose to represent the revealed Word of God, spiritually understood—the sword of the Spirit: the sword of the magistrate, when employed for the destruction of error; that of the warrior, when engaged directly in the defence or promulgation of the truth.
Having supposed (by way of approximation) the beast from the sea to represent the element of self, or something of that kind, we suppose this element to be contemplated as having been alive under the legal dispensation ; self being then supposed to depend upon its own strength for the means of eternal life. Under the gospel dispensation it receives a mortal wound -a wound manifestly effected by the revealed word, properly understood. Wherever this word is so understood, there the beast (self) is wounded to death--manifested to be without life; that is, without the means of eternal life. Where this word, on the contrary, is not rightly understood, or where the Scriptures are taken literally, (carnally,) under a false construction, there the beast is alive again ; self-righteousness being then contemplated as the element of eternal life. So, in a system of doctrine, according to which the disciple is supposed capable of satisfying the requisites of the law by merits or by works of his own, the element of selfjustification prevails in full power ; the sword of the Spirit only being able to destroy the error,
V. 15. And he had power to give life Και εδόθη αυτώ δούναι πνεύμα το εικόνι unto the image of the beast, that the image του θηρίου, ίνα και λαλήση η εικών του θηthat as many as would not worship the giov, xai 10110n, öooi üv un apoşxuri owot image of the beast should be killed.
την εικόνα του θηρίου να αποκτανθώσι. . $312. “And he had power ;'—or, it was given him to give life, or rather to give spirit unto the image. The word translated life here, (avevạc,) is the same as that rendered spirit, as opposed to the letter, (rò godupa,) 2 Cor. iii. 6; and in its adverbial form, spiritually, (mvevuasıxws,) Rev. xi. 8, it is to be distinguished from the term [wń, properly rendered life, John i. 4, and v. 26. The false prophet, or false interpreter, had power given him, (this office was assigned to him,) to cause the image of the beast to appear to have been created in accordance with the spiritual sense of Scripture, and to appear to speak the spiritual sense ; appearing to have life in itself—that is, appearing to possess in itself the means of eternal life. As we may suppose the advocates of self-righteous views to claim for these views a certain refinement of ethics, to which they apply the appellation of spirituality, or perhaps of spiritual mindedness; the appellation, nevertheless, being misapplied, and the views being in reality the dictate of the letter, and not of the spirit. This appearance is a part of the deception practised by the false prophet, and so practised we may presume through the instrumentality of his two horns, or doctrinal powers, for he is not represented as possessed of any other weapons or instruments. By this delusion he causes all principles of faith or doctrine opposed to the service of the beast, or not tending to exalt the beast as an object of worship, to appear as dead works : figuratively speaking, he causes them to be killedto appear to be void of spirituality, and inconsistent with the means of eternal life; the action of the false prophet upon the elements of true doctrine, being an opposite of that of the sword of the Spirit upon the wounded head of the first beast. As when Moses, the true prophet, the true interpreter of the will of God, performed certain real miracles in the presence of the king of Egypt, the magicians of the king (the false prophets) professed to perform precisely similar miracles; it being given to them to delude the monarch and his court, that their hearts might be hardened, and that the purpose of God might be fulfilled.
The first monster gives himself out as in the place of God; or is made to appear as God, through the instrumentality of the second beast. The image of this monster we suppose to be the opposite of him who is declared to be the image of God, 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; the image of the invisible God, Col. i. 15; and the brightness of the glory, and the express image of the person of God, Heb. i. 3. We may define the image of God, spiritually, to be his righteousness, personified in Jesus Christ ; in whom dwelt all the fulness (perfection) of the Godhead-bodily. On this account, while the disciple is said to bear the image of Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 49, being clothed by imputation with the moral perfection or righteousness of his Redeemer, he is also said to be conformed to the image of this image of God. The disciple thus, in and through Christ, being contemplated as clothed even with the righteousness of God himself—Jehovah our righteousness.
The image of the beast, to be the opposite of this divine perfection, must be the righteousness or pretended perfection of man—the righteousness of self ; a conclusion similar to that before reached ($ 310) by a different process. To give life to this image is accordingly to cause this human righteousness to appear to be spiritually the image of God and not of man ; in other words, it is to cause the pretended moral perfection of man to be substituted for the real perfection of God. The false prophet, assuming this to be the just interpretation of the written word of revelation, causes all elements of doctrine not subservient to the worship of this image of man's righteousness, to be denounced as inconsistent with the means of eternal life. In like manner, perhaps, the speaking of the image of the beast may be defined to be what might be termed a speaking for itself; the false interpretation placing this element of self-righteousness in such a plausible aspect as to cause it to argue as it were for the reasonableness of its own claims.
This false interpretation, in effect, causes the opposing elements to be killed, but it is through the agency of the image that it does this; and the effect produced is a result apparently of the appearance of life or of spirituality given to the image. It is given to the false prophet to give spirit to the image of the beast, in order that the image should both speak and cause that the subsequent idolatrous requisitions may appear as of the image and not of the prophet.* Self-righteousness (the image) under the sanction of professed spirituality, arguing its own cause, virtually revives the operation of the law, and thus causes the death, that is, the temporary deadness, of the elements of the gospel—we do not say destruction, because the terms destroy and destroyed imply annibilation. The elements of truth cannot be annihilated ; so, those opposed to the worship of the image, although killed, may be presumed to be subsequently resuscitated. The speaking of the beast, its apparent spirituality, and its action in killing, we are to remember are things taking place in the sight of men only, not in the sight of God.
Vs. 16, 17. And he causeth all, both Και ποιεί πάντας, τους μικρούς και τους small and great, rich and poor, free and μεγάλους, και τους πλουσίους και τους πτωbond, to receive a mark in their right χούς, και τους ελευθέρους και τους δούhand, or in their foreheads; and that no man [no one] might buy or sell
, save he lovę, ira duoi uvrois zupayua éni vīs that had the mark, or the name of the χειρός αυτών της δεξιάς ή επί το μέτωπον beast, or the number of his name. αυτών και ένα μή τις δύναται αγοράσαι ή
πωλήσαι, ει μή ο έχων το χάραγμα, το όνομα του θηρίου και τον αριθμόν του ονόματος
αυτού. . $ 313. “And he causeth all,' &c.;-or, and he moveth all. The Greek verb noiew does not necessarily imply an external compulsion. In this, as well as in the twelfth verse, it is rendered in the Latin version of L. and G. by moveo. He moves the earth and its inhabitants that they should adore the first beast, so he moves them that a certain character or mark should be received by them. The influence of the false prophet, in causing the infliction of the mark, is something taking effect in the element itself, as by spontaneous action ; the officious sycophancy of the subject under the delusion of the false interpreter leading to the ready performance of an act of servility, which the sovereign himself alone might be sup
* As if we might suppose the courtiers of Nebuchadnezzar to have persuaded their monarch, and the people of Babylon, that the golden image of his setting up, itself required the destruction of those refusing to worship it; thus shielding the barbarity of the contemplated persecution under the pretence of its being a requisition of the divinity.