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champion, the only champion capable of undertaking the performance calling for the exercise of his strength. He makes his appearance with the weapons peculiarly requisite for the trial to be encountered ;-the seals of a certain book are to be opened;-a Lamb once slain is to accomplish this task; and besides his general fitness for the work, as having been slain, or sacrificed, his implements are seven powers, and seven means of understanding, comprehended in the one power and one mean of the Spirit of truth-the Spirit destined to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and at the same time to testify of Jesus-teaching his followers all things, and bringing all things to their remembrance. The book had seven seals, and the opener of the book appeared with the seven Spirits of God. We are not told whether to each seal the operation of a particular Spirit is to be applied; or whether the seven Spirits are equally engaged in opening each seal. Perhaps some light may be thrown upon this hereafter.
$138. Sent forth into all the earth.'-The earth, as an opposite of heaven, we suppose to be figuratively the exhibition of a plan of salvation, -a view of the position of man in his relation to God,-the opposite of the exhibition symbolically spoken of as heaven. This earth is to be a scene of trial, apocalyptically; a test is to be applied to it, and certain woes are pronounced against its dependents; these Spirits going forth into all the earth, (or this Holy Spirit, as a totality,) are to be the instruments of carrying the anticipated trial into effect. Perhaps we may say these seven Spirits each furnish a spiritual understanding, peculiar to each seal, and capable of developing its meaning; this understanding being consistent in every case with that by which the whole volume of revealed truth has been dictated. This same standard of interpretation, applied to the earthly exhibition before spoken of, is to be the means of detecting its errors, and exposing its fallacies. The same searching element as that elsewhere compared to a two-edged sword; as it is said, The eyes of the Lord are in every place, (Prov. xv. 3;) His eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men, Ps. xi. 4. This is literally and spiritually true; in the latter sense the action is equivalent to that of the seven Spirits apocalyptically going forth into all the earth.
Vs. 7, 8. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken
the book, the four beasts, and four and
twenty elders fell down belore the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.
Καὶ ἦλθε καὶ εἰληφε τὸ βιβλίον ἐκ τῆς δεξιᾶς τοῦ καθημένου ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου. Καὶ ὅτε ἔλαβε τὸ βιβλίον, τὰ τέσσαρα ζῶα καὶ οἱ εἰκοσιτέσσαρες πρεςβύτεροι ἔπεσον ἐνώπιον τοῦ ἀρνίου, ἔχοντες ἕκαστος κιθάρας καὶ φιάλας χρυσᾶς γεμούσας θυμιαμάτων, αἱ εἰσιν αἱ προςευχαὶ τῶν ἁγίων.
And he came and took the book.'-There is a parity of circumstance
between this passage and that of Ps. xl. 7, 8, referred to Heb. x. 7, 9, “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book (it is) written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." This may be the same book as that in the hand of him that sat on the throne, the volume of divine purpose. Christ virtually takes this book by fulfilling this purpose: He unseals it, by bringing about the comparison of what he has done with what was predicted of him; and we may add, with what was predicated of him in the mind of the Sovereign Ruler from all eternity.
'Out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.'-The right hand of God, as we have elsewhere noticed, is a figure especially of his righteousness-the power by the intervention of which the salvation of the sinner is effected. This righteousness furnishes the plan or purpose which grows out of it, or emanates from it, as the particle &x implies—the Son of God, the express Image of the Father, and consequently the representative of his righteousness, takes this book, or plan, fulfils its prescription, and developes its meaning, when he interposes himself, with all the divine righteousness of which he is the image or symbol, in behalf of those whom he came to seek and to save. The righteousness is that of him who alone possesses the attribute of perfect sovereignty; the book contains the plan, or purpose, by which this righteousness is rendered the efficient means of salvation; this purpose is fulfilled, and the plan developed by him, who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might become rich.
$139. And when he had taken the book,' &c.-According to the preceding chapter, (Rev. iv. 9,) the adoration of the four living creatures gives occasion to the prostration of the twenty-four elders. Here, the taking of the book by the Lamb, or the undertaking of the development of its mysteries, produces the prostration both of the living creatures and of the elders.
Fell down before the Lamb.'-Those, that before fell down before Him that sat on the throne, now fall down before him who takes the book from the hand of the former object of adoration; "All these things," said Satan, "will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." "Get thee hence, Satan," was the reply of the Lamb of God himself; "for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve;" and yet, here we find the four elements of divine sovereignty, and the twenty-four elements of divine revelation, prostrating themselves before the Lamb. We can only reconcile this apparent inconsistency, by recognizing the identity of the two personifications; at the same time, the particle when, calls our attention to the peculiarity, that it is just at this juncture, when the Lamb presents himself to open the book, that he is recognized as identic with him to whom alone divine honours are due:-the prostration
of the living creatures, and of the elders, being equivalent to an admission, that the sovereign on the throne was then manifest in the Lamb.
Having every one of them harps.'-The harp was especially used, amongst the Hebrews, in offerings of praise and acts of rejoicing. It is mentioned by the afflicted patriarch, (Job xxx. 31,) as an exception to the general rule, that his harp was turned to mourning. So the Israelites, when in captivity, hanged, as they said, their harps upon the willows. David sang the praises of God, as the God of his salvation, upon the harp; and we may presume, from Ps. xlix. 4, that he sang also, in figurative language, the wonders of redeeming love. Such we may suppose to be the use of the harps in possession of the living creatures and of the elders.
Our common version conveys the impression that the vials only were of gold, but the adjective rendered golden, agrees in the original with harps, as well as with vials :-" having each harps and vials golden," &c. These harps, therefore, are instruments of truth; their material, or composition, being such as to withstand any test administered to them;-corresponding with which, David says, Ps. lxxi. 22, “I will praise thee with the psaltery, (even) thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp." The publication of the truth as it is in Jesus, being in effect an ascription of praise to God, as it is a setting forth of the cause for which he is to be praised; thus the Gospel itself may be compared to a golden harp, as an instrument of truth, by which the praise due to Jehovah is virtually set forth.
'And golden vials full of odours,' &c., or, as the original might be rendered, laden with incense; the Greek vuíaua, being rendered also elsewhere, incense, as we shall have occasion to notice hereafter. The offering of incense, under the Levitical arrangement, was a representation of sacrifice, generally. Here these odours (incense) are said to be the prayers of the saints. We presume the offering to be rather that of praise and thanksgiving, than of the character of a petition as we find from 1 Tim. ii. 1, the term 7000ɛvyaí, rendered, in our common version, prayers, to be synonymous neither with supplications nor intercessions. The season of petition may now be supposed to have passed away. The Lamb had been slain, and was again living-He had redeemed his people-He had taken the book to develope its mysteries—the aspirations of the universe were complied with, and that which prophets and kings had been so desirous of seeing and hearing, was being made known. The supplications of Daniel, the prayers of David, the urgent entreaties of the prophets, were ended, and had been complied with; in heaven, at least, the tribute of gratitude, the voice of praise and thanksgiving only, is to be heard. Such, we suppose, to be the tribute of praise represented by these odours; the action of the scene shadowing forth that period of glorious manifestation, when those most remote, being brought nigh by the blood of Christ, shall bring gold and
incense, and shall show forth the praises of God, Is. lx. 6. The material of these vials was also of gold; the truth of God being the instrument of exhibiting the sacrifice of gratitude offered by his redeemed.
Vs. 9, 10.And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou
wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Καὶ ᾄδουσιν ᾠδὴν καινήν, λέγοντες· ἄξιος εἶ λαβεῖν τὸ βιβλίον καὶ ἀνοῖξαι τὰς σφραγῖδας αὐτοῦ· ὅτι ἐσφάγης, καὶ ἠγόρασας τῷ θεῷ ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ αἵματί σου ἐκ πάσης φυλῆς καὶ γλώσσης καὶ λαοῦ καὶ ἔθνους, καὶ ἐποίησας αὐτοὺς τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν βασιλεῖς καὶ ἱε ρεῖς, καὶ βασιλεύσουσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.
§ 140. And they sung a new song.'-The old song, apparently, was the ascription of praise rendered the Supreme Being, as the creator and sovereign of all things, (Rev. iv. 9-11 ;) "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." The new ode, or song, is the song of redemption—the ascription of praise, by the same four living creatures and twenty-four elders, to the same object of worship, as the Redeemer-the Lamb.
'Thou art worthy,' &c.-We have already remarked upon the fitness of Christ for developing the divine purpose, from the fact of his having wrought out that purpose by his sufferings and vicarious sacrifice; by which, indeed, he becomes in effect the instrument of this development, (§ 135.)
'And hast redeemed us to God,' &c.-This is the language of the four living creatures, and of the twenty-four elders; not that the work of Christ had no other object than this, but that this is the subject under consideration here. The elements of truth, represented by these living creatures and elders, have been redeemed from amidst all other elements. The same elements of truth and revelation which set forth the sovereignty of God, from the fact of his having created all things, set forth also the praise due Him for his free act of mercy, as exhibited in the work of redemption.
'And hast made us kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.'— Here there is a difference in the Greek editions; some of them, as that of which we are making use, read, as it will be observed, "and hast made them kings and priests; and they shall reign." According to this rendering, we must suppose the living creatures and the elders to be speaking in this verse of the saints, whose prayers filled the golden vials, although they were speaking of themselves in the preceding verse. Or, if we suppose the new song to constitute what is called "the prayers of the saints," then the saints would speak of themselves as redeemed, and of the four living creatures and twenty-four elders, as constituted kings and priests. We cannot, otherwise, account for the employment of the pronoun us in one case, and them in the other. The rendering of the common version is probably the
most correct; the living creatures and the elders being the kings and priests alluded to in this song of praise.
As we have elsewhere noticed, the term rendered kings, is sometimes used to denote those who preside over sacred things. The terms, king and priest, may thus be, apocalyptically, nearly equivalents. These elements, or principles are rendered, by the work of redemption, ruling principles-predominating over all others, as kings, and as chiefs, which the term likewise signifies-bringing their respective forces or subordinate principles into the service of God;-as priests, they promote and maintain the true worship in his temple, in the spiritual sense in which we have already defined that worship. This predominating influence over all the elements of the earthly system, we suppose to be alluded to in the expression, "and we shall reign. on the earth."
Vs. 11, 12. And I beheld, and I heard
the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts [the living_creatures] and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and
honour, and glory, and blessing.
Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἀγγέλων πολλῶν κύκλῳ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῶν ζώων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων· καὶ ἦν ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτῶν μυριάδες μυριάδων καὶ χιλιάδες χιλιάδων, λέγοντες φωνῇ μεγάλῃ· ἄξιόν ἐστι τὸ ἀρνίον τὸ ἐσφαγμένον λαβεῖν τὴν δύναμιν καὶ πλοῦSósar xai siloyiur. τον καὶ σοφίαν καὶ ἰσχὺν καὶ τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν εὐλογίαν.
$141 'I beheld, and heard the voice of many angels round about,' &c.These angels, messengers, or ministering spirits, are all in some sense connected with, or dependent upon the throne, the principle of sovereignty, or that which exhibits the sovereignty of God. Like the four living creatures and elders, we suppose them to be subordinate principles, truths, or elements of truth-innumerable, indeed, but all virtually, or in effect, ascribing worthiness to the Lamb. Perhaps, as attendants of, or about the throne, they may be said to ascribe this worthiness to him more particularly, because it is by his work of redemption that the sovereignty of God is most fully exhibited.
'Saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches,' &c.-This is an ascription of homage in addition to that of the four living creatures and twenty-four elders. The words beasts and elders, in the 11th verse, being governed in the Greek by xúxλ, about, and not by qorr, voice-many angels round about the throne, and about the beasts and the elders. The throng of angels do not say that they are made kings and priests, but they say that the Lamb is worthy to receive, or rather to take power; they may be viewed in the light of a chorus. This immense multitude of the heavenly host, being put for the whole, as in the 13th verse, every creature in heaven and in earth, is represented as uttering nearly the same language. Corresponding with the statement of Paul,