Imágenes de páginas

ever entirely relieved from this mixed multitude till after the rebuilding of the temple, subsequent to returning from their Babylonish captivity, (Nehemiah xiii. 1-3.) So it appears to have been with the exhibition of the means of salvation afforded in the time of the harlot, and under the reign of this sixth king. The legal principles are supposed to be overcome, but there are still certain self-righteous powers asserting their prerogative to reign in this kingdom of the beast; for we suppose the beast himself to govern, through the instrumentality of his seven heads.

The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites, and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods, (Judges iii. 5 ;) an illustration of the amalgamation subsequently taking place in the views of the Christian world, and of Christian disciples individually, in matters pertaining to the mystery or economy of salvation.

The existing error at the epoch contemplated in this passage of the Apocalypse, is a mixed view of the doctrine of atonement, an essential power of salvation, and accordingly represented as a king or chief. It is said to be, not merely in reference to a latent existence, but rather in reference to its manifestation. It is now manifested; the cup of the harlot, and the harlot herself, as figures, being instruments of bringing this peculiar error to light.

[ocr errors]

The other is not yet come.'-It would be premature for us at present to attempt to point out what is to be understood by this seventh king. Like the others, we suppose it to be some leading erroneous principle of the dominion of the beast, (self;) and from its number (seven) we think it probable that it pertains especially to the doctrine of the REST peculiar to the Christian plan of salvation, and typified by the seventh day of the week, even as early as the creation of the world. If the sixth king be considered as remaining in power till the destruction of Babylon, we cannot look for a revelation of this seventh till after we have completed the details of that destruction; that is, not till after the conclusion of the next chapter. When this seventh error is manifested, it is said that he (the king) is to continue but a short space. We suppose this to be an intimation that the eradication of the previous six errors will so pave the way for the fall of the seventh, that its exhibition and the termination of its power will be almost coincident.

And the beast that was, and is not,' &c.-The beast representing the element of self was manifest as in full power under the legal dispensation ; he was then recognized. Under the gospel dispensation it is not so, although his influence secretly lurks in the prevailing perverted views of the gospel.

'Even he is the eighth.'-That is, when the chief element to which these

seven principles belong (or which itself is constituted of these seven principles) shall be revealed, its manifestation will be equivalent to that of an eighth king, or ruling principle. He "is of the seven," or out of, or from the seven, as the Greek preposition ex implies; the element of self emanating from these seven selfish principles. An exhibition of the seven leading errors involves that of the parent stock. And as error is no sooner detected and exhibited than it is overthrown; so the manifestation of this eighth, consisting as it does in that of the seven, is no sooner perfected than the error itself is destroyed, or goes into perdition. The seventh king may be said to remain a short space. The eighth, when thus detected and exposed, is not to be considered as enduring even for a time: he goeth into perdition almost simultaneously with the exposure of his true character;—this revelation and destruction of the eighth king, or the beast itself, corresponding with the manifestation and destruction of that wicked spoken of by Paul, 2 Thess. ii. 8, whose revelation and perdition appear to be equally coincident. So we suppose the predominance of the seven erroneous principles, the constituent elements of the beast, to correspond with the working of the mystery of iniquity alluded to by the apostle in the verse immediately preceding that above quoted.

Vs. 12, 13. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

[ocr errors]

Καὶ τὰ δέκα κέρατα, ἃ εἶδες, δέκα βασιλεῖς εἰσιν, οἵτινες βασιλείαν οὔπω ἔλαβον, ἀλλ ̓ ἐξουσίαν ὡς βασιλεῖς μίαν ὥραν λαμβά νουσι μετὰ τοῦ θηρίου. Οὗτοι μίαν γνώ μὴν ἔχουσι, καὶ τὴν δύναμιν καὶ τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἑαυτῶν τῷ θηρίῳ διδόασιν.

§ 393. And the ten horns which thou sawest,' &c.-These ten horns we have before supposed to be figures of the ten commandments-the decalogue the ten collectively representing the whole power of the law; kings or chiefs being political powers, as horns are animal or physical powers. The terms horns and kings are convertible; neither of them to be taken in a literal sense, and both alike are terms of vision.

These ten kings or powers are said to have received no kingdom as yet; or, as the Greek word ouzo might be rendered, have not received, or have never received a kingdom ;* which seems more consistent with what is said immediately afterwards of their being overcome by the Lamb, implying that if they have not hitherto received a kingdom, neither are they hereafter to receive it. They receive power as kings or, chiefs, however, one hour with the beast; that is, their power is contemporaneous with that of the


The word translated hour, in its original sense, expresses time, year,

* Ойлw, nondum, nunquam, (Suiceri Lex.,) not yet, never, (Donnegan.)

season, (Donnegan.) We cannot suppose the sense to be restricted here literally to one hour; but it appears very reasonable to consider that, as the ten horns of an animal would possess their physical power during the life of the animal, so these ten kings, represented by such horns, must possess their power, whatever it be, during the reign of the beast, for the same time or period-certainly not subsequently to his destruction. So, according to our views of the element represented by the beast, wherever self reigns, there the power of the law must be felt in full operation. So long as man is dependent upon his own works, so long he must be subject to the power of the law, and obnoxious to its penalties. Thus the ten kings and the beast possess power for one and the same period.

Corresponding with this construction, it is added, "these (the ten kings) have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” They act in concert with the beast; the tendency of their action is the same; they have, as it were, the same end in view; their action thus in unison in effect is the same in subjecting the disciple to a state of bondage, placing him in the position of a slave, furnishing only mercenary and selfish motives of conduct, and prompting him in his efforts to fulfil the law for himself, to seek his own glory instead of seeking the glory of God.

The ten kings give their power and strength unto the beast, and indeed the beast depends upon them for his power and strength. They are, as we have remarked in treating of the ten horns, (§ 294,) his weapons-the instruments of power by which he enforces his authority, and maintains his dominion. "The law is good, if a man use it lawfully ;"-here its use is supposed to be perverted. These ten horns, as we shall see hereafter, are designed to fulfil the will of God, (Rev. xvii. 17;) but while on the beast, and while acting in concert with him, and while he sustains the harlot, they are fulfilling the will of the beast, and not that of God; that is, for the period allotted for this joint action. During this period they represent the law unlawfully used; its power and strength being given to a service for which it was not designed, except in a qualified sense.

As the power to work out a righteousness of one's own depends upon the continuance of the legal economy, so the power of self depends upon the power of the law; as, if the law be fulfilled by Christ, there is no room for the pretensions of self; in which case his reign ceases.

V. 14. These shall make war with the Lamb and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lorde, and King of kings; and they that are with him (are) called,

and chosen, and faithful.

[ocr errors]

Οὗτοι μετὰ τοῦ ἀρνίου πολεμήσουσι, καὶ τὸ ἀρνίον νικήσει αὐτούς, ὅτι κύριος κυρίων ἐστὶ καὶ βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, καὶ οἱ μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ κλητοὶ καὶ ἐκλεκτοὶ καὶ πιστοί.

$394. These shall make war,' &c.-We are here to ask, With what

is it that the Lamb has to contend? What is it that the Lamb overcomes? The allusion is indisputably to Christ in his propitiatory character, as "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," (John i. 29.) The war or contest must be between the power of propitiation on the one side, and the power or requisitions of the law on the other. The ten horns, or ten kings, represent the exactions of the law, which, so far as the sinner is concerned, are requisitions of vindictive justice, calling for the condemnation and punishment of the offender. The law, in the first instance, exacts perfect obedience; this exaction not having been complied with, the legal call is for vengeance upon every soul of man that doeth evil. Here the mercy of God is exhibited, not in changing the nature of the law, or in relaxing the claims of divine justice, but in providing an adequate satisfaction for these claims-fulfilling the commandments of the law by substitution; a vicarious fulfilment equal to an atonement for the past, and a provision for the future. The propitiatory and justificatory elements of the plan of redemption being all represented in the person of the Lamb of God, as the opposite legal elements are represented in the persons of the ten kings, or in the combined power of the ten horns of the beast.

Here then we have, in the exhibition of a contest on earth, a figure parallel with that before represented as a war in heaven-Michael and his angels fighting against the accuser and his angels, ($279.) The field of battle, in which these ten kings ventured to meet the Lamb, is the wilderness; an earthly field; an exhibition of transactions on the earth, while the other was a representation of something going on in heaven, equivalent to a delineation. of the operations of the divine mind, in that process in which mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness (justice) and peace are reconciled. The contest on earth represents the gradual development of the same issue between the same conflicting elements, and the same final result. These are not two wars, but two representations of the same war; the question at issue being not merely whether man shall be saved or lost, but also whether, if saved, the glory shall redound to God, the deliverer, or to the redeemed sinner, the helpless object of divine mercy. Christ and his forces (the principle of divine propitiation and the elements of evangelical truth) contend for the glory of GOD, and the exaltation of his name alone; the principles of legality warring on behalf of self, as the horns of the beast aim only at promoting the glory and exalting the name of man.

The Lamb shall overcome them,' &c.-As Michael, the representative of the gracious power of divine Sovereignty, overcame the dragon, (the representative of the condemning power of legal accusation,) so the element of propitiation, the offspring of that divine Sovereignty, overcomes the condemning power of those legal elements upon the action of which the beast

(self,) depends for his claim to sovereignty, and for the blasphemous promotion of his glory.

The Lamb overcame these ten kings when He who knew no sin became, as the apostle says, (2 Cor. iii. 9,) sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. As Jesus himself said to his disciples, (John xvi. 33,) "In the world (in your position by nature under the law and dependent upon your own merits) ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." To which we may add, as an explanation, the language of Paul, Rom. vi. 14, "Ye are no longer under the law, but under grace." So when the same apostle, labouring under a deep sense of humiliation, apparently occasioned by some besetting sin, earnestly prayed for deliverance, the answer he received was not a removal of this thorn in the flesh, but the assurance of a counteracting remedy: "My grace is sufficient for thee: my strength is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Cor. xi. 9;) the greatness of the power of Christ to save being manifested by the weakness of the sinner, in whose behalf that power is exercised, as sovereign grace alone is sufficient to counteract the liability to condemnation to which the transgressor is subjected. "The law entered that the offence might abound, (that sin might be manifested to be exceeding sinful;) but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord," (Rom. v. 20, 21.) Such is the nature of the contest between the Lamb and the ten kings, and such the manner in which they are overcome.

$395. For he is Lord of lords and King of kings.'-He, the Lamb, (God, once manifest in the flesh,) is supreme; as in fact nothing but sovereign supremacy can control and overcome the requisitions of sovereign justice. Christ overcomes even the power of the divine law, because it is God himself who performs the wondrous work, (2 Cor. v. 19.)

'He is King of kings,' &c., or Chief of chiefs-not merely supreme over temporal dignitaries or political chiefs, but over all principles or elements, whether in a spiritual or temporal sense. The righteousness of Christ is sufficient to fulfil the law in behalf of man, because it is the righteousness of God himself; wherefore it is said, he shall be called Jchovah our righteousness. The vicarious arrangement above contemplated is effectual, because it is the arrangement of the Sovereign Ruler, who virtually takes upon himself the penal consequences of the redeemed sinner's guilt, that He may impart to that sinner the merit of his own righteousness; the revelation of the mystery being adapted to the comprehension of the feeble intellect of man by the work of Christ on earth-the work of him who was the express image of the Father, and the brightness of his glory.

« AnteriorContinuar »