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and an instrument of peace, but also a foundation for ascriptions of praise and thanksgiving.
Besides its other qualities, however, this sea was mingled with fire. As we suppose fire (the revealed word of God) to be the element of trying the character of doctrines submitted to its test, so we may suppose crystal sea, mingled with fire, to represent the doctrine of atonement, either as having undergone this test, or as co-operating with the revealed word, in furnishing the basis of praise and thanksgiving alluded to. We are inclined to adopt the latter interpretation. The sea with its waves roaring, is changed by the power of the sin-atoning Lamb to a body of crystal. This body thus changed, in unison with the action of the revealed word, constitutes the basis upon which, as we shall see, the overcomers of the beast offer these songs of praise.
· And them that had gotten the victory over the beast,' &c.—To obtain the victory over the beast, is something which might be understood in a temporal or literal sense ; but to obtain the victory over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, can be conceived of in no other than a spiritual and doctrinal sense. Doctrinal errors may be supposed to possess characteristics equivalent to these marks. These errors are overcome by the power of countervailing truths: these truths are gathered from the joint and interchangeable action of the Old and New Testament revelations; for which reason they are represented by the one hundred and forty-four thousand elements, bearing the seal of the living God ;—the same elements having been described in the last chapter, as standing with the Lamb upon Mount Sion—a position, as we have just now remarked, equivalent to that of standing upon a sea of crystal. We are still unable to point out definitively what is to be understood by the beast and his various characteristics; but we may form some idea of them, by knowing more of those which have obtained the victory over them. As yet, however, it has only been intimated to us that such a victory has been obtained. We have not had the particulars of it. It is something already past in the divine counsels ; but it remains yet to be exhibited to the sight of mortals ;—the account of the battle and the victors being deferred for the present, (vid. Rev. xix. 19, 20.)
Our last account from the earth (Rev. xiii.) left the beast in full power: a power to continue forty and two months, the term assigned for the reign of the beast ; this exhibition of the chorus in heaven leaving us to take it for granted that the time has elapsed, and that the reign of the beast has ceased.
The earthly account, which gives us the particulars of these things, being resumed in the sixteenth and following chapters, we must here consider ourselves as having advanced beyond the period of the great battle ; enjoying in prophetic anticipation a view of the rejoicing of the victors.
These victors are represented as having “ the harps of God,” (not the harps of man.) As the harp was the instrument amongst the Hebrews especially for singing the praises of God, we suppose these harps of God to be elements of divine truth pertaining especially to his praise, as the God of our salvation—truths virtually resulting from the action of the doctrinal elements represented by the one hundred and forty-four thousand; for we assume these victors to be identic with the chosen number, bearing the Father's name in their foreheads.
Vs. 3, 4. And they sing the song of Και άδoυσι την ωδήν Μωϋσέως του δούMoses the servant of God, and the song λου του θεού και την ωδήν του αρνίου, of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous (are) thy works, Lord God Almighty; l<yovreş uspánc xuì Favugorà tù ëgya just and true (are) thy ways, thou King cov, xúque ó Gros ó navtoxgátog. dixular of saints. Who shall not fear thee, o xoà úhr, Fırai oi odoi gov, ó Buoihai's towy Lord, and glorify thy name ? for (thou) étrūv• tis où un poßrfij, xuqlę, xui dosaonly (art) holy: for all nations shall come
το όνομά σου ; and worship before thee; for thy judg- πάντα τα έθνη εξουσι και προσκυνήσουσιν
ότι μόνος όσιος ότι ments are made manifest.
ενώπιόν σου· ότι τα δικαιώματά σου έφανερώθησαν. .
$ 349. 'And they sing the song of Moses,' &c.—Here there is a marked distinction between Moses and the Lamb—the servant as in contradistinction to the Son ; as it is said, John viji. 35, 36, “ The servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed ;" —corresponding with the difference between the temporary character of the Mosaical dispensation, and the permanent and enduring character of that of the gospel.
These are also two different songs; although they are both sung by the same elements of truth, accompanied with the same instruments of praise. There are two songs of Moses particularly mentioned in the Old Testament: the song of praise for deliverance from Egyptian bondage, Ex. xv. 1-19; and the song of remembrance, contrasting the mercies of God with the hardness of the hearts of the people, Deut. xxxii. 1-43. The songs
of Moses were songs of judgment as well as of deliverance, 'setting forth, as they did, the dealings of divine justice in the first instance with Pharaoh, and subsequently with the children of Israel. The song of the Lamb, we may presume to be the new song referred to Rev. v. 9, showing the worthiness of the Lamb to develope the mystery of salvation, (the sealed book,) especially on account of the redemption wrought out by his atoning blood. This new song, then, sung by the living creatures and the elders, being perhaps in substance the same song as that afterwards said to be sung by the one hundred and forty-four thousand upon the mount; the latter being so much a new version of what was before termed a new song, that it appeared to be entirely new, and is therefore styled, as it were a new song, (os o8iv xoriv,) Rev. xiv. 3 ;—this latter version being also of that character that it can be learnt or sung only by the conjoint action of the Old and New Testament revelations.
These elements are here represented as singing both of these songs ; the sum of both consisting in an ascription of praise to the Lord God Almighty; setting forth the greatness of his works, the justice and truth of his ways, and his sovereignty as King of saints, (or, as our edition of the Greek has it, King of nations ;) showing Him also to be the only object of fear, the only holy Being, (uóvos 66105,) and the Being to whom all nations are to be manifested as in subjection; and this because his judgments (8ıxarduera, justifications, or righteousnesses) are manifested ; that is, are made manifest by the victory represented as just now gained over the beast. Not that God would not be holy and powerful, if the manifestation were not made, but that He is now manisested to be so.
$ 350. “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ;-—or, as the Greek might be rendered, O Lord, the Almighty God. The allusion is here, in the first place, to the power of God; especially, we think, with reference to his power as a Saviour. When we speak of the works of God we are apt to associate with this term ideas only of his works of creation and providence; but it is undeniable that the work of redemption is as much the work of God as those of the creation and preservation of the tvorld in which we dwell. Taking into view the whole tenor and subject of the Apocalypse, we think the purpose of this portion of the song or songs is, to ascribe to God the glory of all of his works, including particularly that of salvation by grace; or rather, taking into view what we believe to be the case, that this world was created to be redeemed, the works of creation and of providence are included as parts of the great and marvellous work of salvation. In heaven, that period is now reached when the Son gives up the kingdom unto the Father, and God is all in all ; corresponding with a similar stage of doctrinal development, which according to Paul is to take place on earth, (1 Cor. xv. 28;) the elements of both the Old and New Testament revelations tending to this end,—that of showing all saving, as well as all creating and preserving power, to be in God alone.
• Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints; -or rather, according to most Greek editions, thou King of nations ; which we are inclined to think correct, as it corresponds with what is afterwards said of the coming of all nations to worship, and with the prediction of the power of him who is to rule all nations as with a rod of iron, to whom all things are to be made subject, for the purpose of his transferring this subjection to the Father. Besides, the term nations is more comprehensive than the other; as nations may include saints, although saints would not include nations. God is the
Sovereign, not merely of a select portion of creation, but also of the whole universe, in every sense, natural, temporal, and spiritual.
With the terin ways we are apt also to associate only the ways of God's providence-his dealings with men, especially in judgment. But the way of salvation is indisputably one of God's ways, and one not to be omitted in the enumeration of those in which the justice and the truth of God are exhibited. The justice of God is manifested in the way in which he has magnified the law, and made it honourable, (Is. xlii. 21 ;) while his truth is exhibited in the way in which all his promises and covenants of mercy have been fulfilled. This also we suppose to be the language both of the Old and New Testament revelations: “the way of truth,” “the right way,"
“ the way of righteousness,” 2 Pet. ii. 2, 15, 21, must be one of the ways of the Lord; so also “ the way into the holiest," “ the living way," Heb. ix. 8, and x. 20; “ the way of God,” Acts xviii. 26. There can be but one way of salvation, but this way may be variously illustrated ; as it was predicted of John the Baptist, Luke i. 76, that he should go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways. So David is represented, Acts ii. 28, as speaking of the way of salvation in the plural: “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;" and the prophet, in reference to the same one way, Lam. i. 4, declares that the ways
of Zion mourn. So it is predicted, Is. ii. 3, “ And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” This way, or these ways of God, (the means of salvation,) we suppose to be especially declared by these elements of revelation to be just and true.
So we suppose the term King of nations to apply, apocalyptically, not merely to political bodies, but to all those human elements, or pretended elements of salvation, which Paul speaks of as principalities, powers, &c., Col. ii. 15 ; legal elements, perhaps, having power in a certain respect, but this power being subordinate to that of sovereign grace.
$ 351. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord ?'— Fear thee, that is, fear God, in contradistinction to fearing any other being, or acting from the fear of any other being ; as it is said, Luke xii. 5, “ Fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell, (eis inu yékrvav ;) yea, I
say unto you, Fear him."
Fear him.” The fear of the Lord, as we have before noticed, ($ 330,) being the beginning of wisdom, although it is designed to end in that perfect love (charity) which is to cast out fear; so also the intimation is given, Luke i. 74, that the end of the gospel dispensation is, that the disciple, delivered from the powers opposed to his salvation, should thenceforth serve God without fear. The fear above alluded to being (as the beginning of wisdom) a necessary preparation for the reception of the gospel, such a preparation may be considered the purport of the instructions of Moses and the prophets, and of Christ and his apostles ; all setting forth those terrors of the law by which men are to be persuaded to seek the refuge provided for them, (2 Cor. v. 11.)
* And glorify thy name.'—The element self, represented by the beast, being now overcome, the principle is manifest that the motive of every action of the creature should be to promote the glory of God; not partly to glorify the name of God, and partly to glorify the name of man, or one's own name. The creature is now manifestly in that position in which the glory of his salvation, as well of his subsequent works, is ascribed to his divine Redeemer alone.
· For thou only art holy;' lógios.)— The term in the original expresses a holiness of quality, as distinguished from öyıos, which we suppose to apply only to a holiness of position, ($ 321.) God only is holy in the sense of perfect moral purity and goodness ; corresponding with the declaration of Jesus, Matt. xix. 17, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good (ayajós) but one, that is, God.” This, we may say, is a fundamental principle of the gospel dispensation ; for if there were any being good, in this strict sense of the term, beside God, that being would be independent of God-having a right to an eternal life and happiness on the ground of his own merits. The legal and gospel dispensations, (the song of Moses and that of the Lamb,) accordingly, both coincide in establishing the position that God alone is holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before thee.'--As before observed, we suppose these nations to represent all things; as it is said of Christ, whom God “exalted far above all principalities, and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come,” (Eph. i. 21.) The sign of the future tense, shall, applies to the manifestation, and not to the fact. All things were created by God and for God, Col. i. 16 : “ The nations are but as a drop of a bucket, and as the small dust of the balance before him," (Is. xl. 15;) and this has been the case from the beginning. The subordination and subserviency of every thing and principle to the element of divine sovereignty, yet remains, however, to be manifested. This is spoken of as a thing known and admitted in the divine counsels, although not yet developed on earth.
When it is manifested that the Son, as Paul expresses it, has delivered up the kingdom unto the Father, and God is all in all, then apparently, in the apocalyptic sense of the phrase, the nations may be said to come and worship before God.*
* It is said, in the preceding chapter, of Babylon, that "she made all nations (novca tà lorn) drink of her wine;" and in the thirteenth chapter, of the beast, that - power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations ;” and Rev. xiv.