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indicative of the approaching end of those by whom it is experiencedan end perhaps simultaneous with that of the beast, (Rev. xix. 20, 21.)
'When they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.'-We think the wonder here spoken of is applicable rather to the sight of the perdition of the beast than to the sight of the beast itself. It is said, in the first description of this extraordinary animal, that all the world wondered after the beast. The wonder then was in beholding his power and exaltation; it is now to be in seeing his downfall. There is, however, some difference in both the Greek and English editions in the words here given, which it appears necessary to notice.
$389. According to some, the reading of the last words, rendered and yet is in our common version, should be xaineg koriv; according to others, xai napora. The English editions of Wiclif, Tyndale, Cranmer, and Reimes, omit the expression altogether: öz also may be rendered that or because, although it is sometimes put for őzɛ, when. The reading of Wiclif is, "and men dwellinge in erthe schuln wonder, seyinge the beest that was is not." In one case the wonder is in seeing the beast; in the other, in seeing that, although he was, he no longer is; while in another, as in our common version, the greatest wonder would seem to be that, although he is not, yet he is;-a contradiction apparently in terms.
If nagora, however, be the correct reading, as the latest editions represent it to be, and if, as we suppose, this word be from nágeiμui, a compound of naqd and ciui, as ora is the third person of the future tense of iuí, and not of the present, the compound nagέorai must signify will be, and not is. The sentence will then read, "shall wonder when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and will be;" corresponding with what is said of the monster in the first part of the verse, that he shall ascend, or is to ascend (uée avaßaire) from the abyss. This reading appears preferable, as it does not involve even an apparent contradiction in terms, while it does not militate with a fair construction of the subsequent
If we prefer rendering the last clause according to our common version, the result cannot vary materially upon a fair construction of it. The beast that was, and is not, and yet is, must be that which is not apparently, and yet is in reality. As the verb nápeu is used, John xi. 28, "The Master is come, (náneori, is present,) and calleth for thee;" that is, he is hard by, although not seen; so the experience of every one may convince him that the principle of self or selfishness operates within him, although its existence is not recognized by him.
The apostle seems to have been told here of something already seen by him; that is, the ascending of the beast from the abyss. But he was not then acquainted with the peculiarity, that prior to the coming of the beast
from the sea he had existed, and had been in full power; this power having been subsequently taken from him; and his rising from the sea, Rev. xiii., being his second appearance, equivalent to his ascending from the bottomless pit. The present narration of the angel going back to the commencement of the history of the beast, in order that the mystery of both beast and woman may be the better explained.
Vs. 9, 10, 11. And here (is) the mind
which hath wisdom. The seven heads
are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, (and) the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
Ωδε ὁ νοῦς ὁ ἔχων σοφίαν· αἱ ἑπτὰ κεφαλαὶ ἑπτὰ ὄρη εἰσίν, ὅπου ἡ γυνὴ κάθηται ἐπ ̓ αὐτῶν. Καὶ βασιλεῖς ἑπτά εἰσίν· οἱ πέντε ἔπεσαν, ὁ εἷς ἐστιν, ὁ ἄλλος οὔπω
ɛ, zai örar 29, óhiyov aitòv dei μɛiναι. Καὶ τὸ θηρίον, ὃ ἦν καὶ οὐκ ἔστι, καὶ • αὐτὸς ὄγδοός ἐστι, καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά ἐστι, xai is unkɛlav vñáɣei.
$390, Here is the mind which hath wisdom;" or, here the understanding having wisdom-Hic sensus habens sapientiam, (G. & L.)—an intimation of the peculiarly mystic sense of the explanation about to be given; for as there is no conjunction in the original corresponding with and at the commencement of the verse in our common version, the sentence seems to be set off from the preceding matter, and to apply more particularly to what follows. The angel is about to interpret the meaning of the seven heads and ten horns of the beast, and the notice is necessary to remind the hearer that the interpretation itself is something to be also interpreted. The intimation is of the same character as that we have attributed to the words, He that hath ears to hear, &c. Here is matter for the understanding of those who possess the hidden wisdom-the wisdom of God in a mystery-the opposite of the wisdom of this world, rov xiāvos roúrov, and the opposite of the wisdom of the princes (principles) of this world, (1 Cor. ii. 6, 7.)
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.'As this seems to be an explanation it might be taken literally, if it were not for the caution just given. In fact, the angel is telling a mystery, rather than explaining it; or, if explaining, his language is the language of vision. The terms he employs in the explanation are as apocalyptical as those of any other part of the book, and as such are subject to further explanation.
The woman was first said to be sitting on many waters, (Rev. xvii. 1.) She is again said to be seen in a wilderness, sitting on a beast, (v. 3 ;) again she is said to be carried by the beast, (v. 7;) she is now spoken of as sitting, as being seated upon seven mountains. There must be something analogous in all these sites-something in which they have a common resemblance. The waters, the beast, and the mountains, are apparently different figures of the same foundation, upon which this mystery, Babylon, depends. Not only
this, but, according to what we suppose to be the correct reading, there is yet another figure of the same foundation, site, or support.
'And there are seven kings.'-There is no warrant, in our apprehension, for the introduction of the word there in this place, as if the verb ɛisiv were to be rendered impersonally; nor should there be a period at the end of the ninth verse. If we are right in these particulars, the exact reading of the Greek must be as follows: The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sits upon them, and are seven kings. That is, these seven heads are both seven mountains and seven kings-seven mountains or foundations, as representing fundamental principles; and seven kings, or chiefs, as representing ruling or leading principles. There is still another figure for this foundation of the mystery, or woman, as we shall find in the fifteenth verse. The waters upon which she is seen to sit are declared to be "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues," a figure we have already supposed to represent powers of the earthly system. The mystery, Babylon, is thus sustained and carried forward by waters, by mountains, by kings, by peoples, nations, &c.—all of them representing fundamental, or leading principles, or supposed powers, of a pseudo economy of salvation; the different figures being intended to illustrate different characteristics of the same controlling or sustaining principles.
The figure of a woman is preserved throughout, but this woman is declared to be both a mystery and Babylon; and Babylon is known to have been both a city and an empire. The mystery must be always the same, however differently it is illustrated. It is always Babylon, having the same mixture; a system of the same adulterated character. As a human being, this mixed system is sustained by the beast; as a city, it is seated upon seven hills or mountains; and as an empire, it is said to be seated upon many waters, or rivers; while, as a kingdom, it is under the guidance or control of seven chiefs.
We have already enumerated, by way of suggestion, seven leading elements of a self-righteous system of salvation as the seven heads of the beast, ($294.) These elements may figuratively be spoken of either as foundations, (mountains,) or as chiefs or kings; that is, either as the fundamental or ruling principles of a system-principles from which the mixed system of the harlot emanates. These seven principles are composed however of a mixed multitude of subordinate doctrinal principles, originating from a misconstruction of the language of revelation, and tending to advocate supposed means of propitiation, (the atoning elements of the harlot's plan of salvation.) Such a mixed assemblage of self-righteous elements may be spoken of sometimes as waters, (waters of the earth,) and sometimes as peoples, nations, &c., in contradistinction to the chosen people of God.
If we supply the definite article immediately in connection with the
words "seven kings," the reading would be, And the kings are seven; or, And the seven heads are seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth, and are the seven kings. The question would then occur, What kings? which carries us back to the second verse of the chapter, where certain kings of the earth are spoken of, with whom the harlot is said to have maintained an illicit connexion. Our interpretation would then be about the same, limiting only these kings of the earth to the number seven-indicating an admixture of this Babylonish system, or mystery of atonement, with seven leading elements of that view of revelation (the earth) which supposes man to be dependent upon his own works, the position of our first parents when expelled from Paradise. As we have before remarked, the word translated kings may not only be rendered chiefs or leaders, but may apply to those presiding over sacred things, and is therefore a figure so much the more appropriate for leading elements of religious doctrine.
§ 391. Five are fallen,' &c.-A king or chief fallen, is one deprived of his power, or shown to be powerless. So we may suppose these five fallen kings to be principles, manifested to be without the power previously imputed to them. One, however, (the sixth,) still remains apparently in power. As all the world wondered after the beast, considering him the great power equal to God, so the world may be supposed still to wonder after the sixth element spoken of as a king.
If we are right in supposing the beast carrying the woman to be that seen rising from the sea, if his heads be the same seven heads then seen, and if these seven heads represent the seven kings as well as seven mountains, then one of these kings must be represented by the head which appeared as it had been slain and subsequently resuscitated.
We suppose the beast to represent a certain spirit of error, the parent or source of other errors. His seven heads we take to be so many leading erroneous principles. The head apparently once slain and alive again, we take to represent an error especially on the subject of the atonement ; that which we have termed self-atonement, (§§ 294 and 298,) an opposite of the true atonement of which Christ only is the source. Under the legal dispensation every subject of the law was held to make an adequate atonement for his own transgressions-this head of the beast was then living. Under the gospel, when fully understood, it is manifest that no atonement is sufficient, except that which Christ has offered. This head of the beast is then, as it were, wounded to death, slain. Under the mixed system, however, of the harlot, sustained as it is by the beast, the error prevails that the propitiation for the transgression of the sinner is something to be effected partly by the disciple and partly by Christ; the sinner is to atone for himself as far as he can; Christ is to make up the deficiency; or the sinner, by some peculiar influence of the Holy Spirit, obtained through the oral intercession
of Christ, is now supposed to be enabled to atone for himself, or something of this kind, the error being susceptible of a variety of modifications. Such mixed views constitute the harlot's cup; and thus, under her reign or influence, this mistaken view of the power of self-atonement (the sixth king) may be considered in fact in full vigour; appearing, in this stage of revelation, to be in the full enjoyment of supreme authority; that is, wherever the harlot is seen sustained, as she here appears to be, by the beast.
The five fallen kings may be five doctrinal elements, or errors, so manifestly involving a supposition of the continuance of the legal dispensation as not to be admissible even in the harlot-system. The system of Babylon being an adulterated evangelical system, in the state of things now under contemplation, all elements purely legal are supposed to be powerless as means of salvation; their reign accordingly may be said to have passed away.
§ 392. When Joshua was about to take possession of the promised land, he was opposed by five kings or chiefs, (Joshua x. 5,) who had till then held possession of that country; one of these five, Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, calling in the other four as his auxiliaries. The name of this leader signifies the God of Justice, or the Justice of God. The Jerusalem, of which he was the king, was the old Jerusalem-the old vision of peace-peace to be obtained only by man's fulfilment of the law. The kingdom of this chief may have represented the economy of man's position by nature, of which divine justice is the controlling principle; the four auxiliary kings we may suppose to represent kindred judicial principles. The promised land represented, as before noticed, the Rest of the disciple-the position of relief afforded to the spiritual children of God by the free gift of eternal life; Joshua, or, as the name is expressed in Greek, Jesus, being the type of Christ-the leader of the disciple into the spiritual position of rest. As Joshua was opposed by these five aboriginal chiefs, so Christ, in leading his followers into rest, is opposed by corresponding judicial elements. The opposers of the Hebrew leader were entirely overcome; the sun standing still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, till their destruction was completely accomplished. In like manner, the revelation of the light of the Sun of righteousness must be continued until the manifestation is complete that the elements of man's position by nature have been superseded by the principles of that economy of grace which may be said to constitute his promised rest.
In adverting to a similar figure, it was said by an apostle, Acts xiii. 19, that seven nations, the original possessors of Canaan, were cast out to make room for the people of Israel ;—as if all elements of man's legal position must be removed before a full view of his state of rest by grace could be fairly exhibited. Nevertheless, to humble and to prove the Israelites, prone as they were to forget the only author of their enjoyments, certain of these aboriginals were left amongst them, (Judges ii. 22, 23;) nor were they