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continuing for a certain number of days in succession. It is also employed in the plural, Matt. xxv. 10: Those that were ready went in with him (the bridegroom) to the feasts,-the marriage itself having, as we suppose, already taken place; the feasting being something consequent to the marriage, and not the marriage itself. In Mark the substantive does not occur. Luke it is met with but three times, and only in the plural. In two of these instances the idea of a marriage does not necessarily form a part of the subject in contemplation. Luke xii. 36, servants are required to be ready for their master when he returns from any feast, or all feasts; and Luke xiv. 8, the rule is applied to all festal occasions: When thou art bidden of any one to feasts, sit not down in the principal seat,' &c. Luke xvi. 18, and Heb. xiii. 4, the term appears to be used in the secondary sense, as applicable to the state of marriage generally. John ii. 1, 2, the rάuos is very evidently a feast subsequent to a marriage.
The importance of this distinction may appear more plainly when we come to consider the declaration in the ninth verse of the chapter. In the meantime we are to bear in mind that the cause of joy and rejoicing, on the part of the elements represented by these voices, is the approach of the marriage feast. The Lamb may be considered as having been previously united with his bride, but the time has now come for giving publicity to this union, or for its manifestation.
And his wife hath made herself ready;' or, rather, his woman.-The term rendered wife here, i vrh, is the same as that translated woman, Rev. xvii. 4, and xii. 1. Both the harlot and the bride are denominated women ; but the important question is, whose woman each or either of them may be. The one now spoken of is the woman of the Lamb. The one spoken of in the seventeenth chapter may be said to be the woman of the beast, or of the seven kings, represented by the seven heads of the beast. The woman of the Lamb has made herself ready: that is, ready for the feast; for the celebration of the nuptials; for the festal occasion which is to give publicity to the union—a union in fact necessarily existing from all eternity. The bride is now ready for the manifestation of this union. The next verse will show us in what manner she has been prepared.
V. 8. And to her was granted that she καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῇ, ἵνα περιβάληται βύσσιshould be arrayed in fine linen, clean and νον λαμπρὸν καθαρόν· τὸ γὰρ βύσσινον τὰ white: for the fine linen is the righteous-Sinaiata to úɣion ¿oti. ness of saints.
426. And to her was granted;' or, it was given to her. She is ready, because her bridal dress is given to her her preparation is a matter of gift. Not merely that permission is given her so to array herself, but this is the portion allotted her; a provision made for her marriage settlement.
an arrangement made not merely for the occasion, but one previously made, to endure as long as the union endures.
It does not appear whether this announcement is part of the utterance of the voice, declaring the readiness of the woman, or whether it is added by the apostle by way of explanation, as information obtained by him from some other source. If we read the words, And to her it has been given, they would appear a continuation of the declaration in the seventh verse ; otherwise they are introduced in the same manner as the sentence above, concerning Babylon, " And her smoke rises up," &c., or as the explanation at the close of that chapter, "And in her was found the blood," &c. With either of those explanatory clauses the present is strikingly antithetical.
That she should be arrayed;' or, clothed, as the word is elsewhere rendered. The verb negßálh∞, of which the expression here is a form of the middle voice, (Rob. Lex.,) appears to be almost exclusively applied to the putting on of an outer garment, or something corresponding with it; as, Acts xii. 8, "Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me;" and as Jesus, by way of mockery, was clothed by Herod with a gorgeous robe, Luke xxiii. 11. The mighty angel was so clothed with a cloud; the two witnesses with sackcloth; the woman in heaven with the sun; the harlot in the wilderness with purple; and even Babylon, in her glory, with fine linen. The idea to be associated with the term is that of the appearance exhibited; as the woman in heaven appeared clothed with the sun, or arrayed in the glory of the Sun of righteousness, so it is given to the bride to appear in public as here described.
In fine linen, clean and white;' or, according to our edition of the Greek, white clean, or rather shining clean (Launoòv xaðagór) ;—the word rendered white being the same as that rendered clear when applied to the water of the river of life, (Rev. xxii. 1,) and bright when applied to the morning star, (Rev. xxii. 16,) λaμngov. To her was given to be clothed in fine linen of resplendent purity. Babylon had been clothed in fine linen, but her linen was purchased of the merchants; the fine linen of the bride is the gift of the Father of the Lamb, and its appearance differs as much from that of Babylon, as does the mode by which it has been obtained, or the source whence it is received. The fine linen of Babylon has none of this transparent, lucid purity.
For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.'-The righteousnesses (plural) or the justifications of the saints, (zà dixióμara rāv ázíær,) the means by which the saints are justified, (§ 352.) This shining white fine linen being the righteousnesses of the saints, it is given the bride to appear in it as her peculiarly appropriate bridal array for the contemplated feast; this array being a consequence and not a cause of her marriage.
As yet this woman of the Lamb is only spoken of as a person to make
her appearance; we know that she is a bride only by inference; the term itself (run) not having yet occurred in the Apocalypse in relation to her; nor has she been previously alluded to, unless under the character of the woman clothed with the sun, or under the figure of the New Jerusalem. We delay at present, therefore, any further definition of what we suppose to be represented by her; bearing in mind only that she must be an opposite of the woman in the wilderness, and that her array is an opposite of that of the harlot, as the saints are opposites of the inhabiters of the earth.
V. 9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed (are) they which are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Καὶ λέγει μοι· γράψον· μακάριοι οἱ εἰς τὸ δεῖπνον τοῦ γάμου τοῦ ἀρνίου κεκλημέsio Tov Jov. νοι. καὶ λέγει μοι· οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι ἀληθινοί
$427. And he saith unto me, write,' &c.-The apostle on a previous occasion (Rev. xiv. 13) was told, in a similar manner, to write. It was then also a cause of blessedness of which he was to write, although apparently a kind of blessedness very different from the present. It was then said, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord." Now, those are said to be blessed who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. We suppose these to be only two different figures of the same cause of beatitude. To die in the Lord is to be identified with Christ, ($337,) or to be so accounted in the sight of God-dead indeed as to the matter of sin or condemnation, but living to God in Jesus Christ, (Rom. vi. 11.) So, to be called to the supper of the feast of the Lamb, (marriage feast understood,) is equivalent to partaking of the elements of that feast, the bread and the wine, the flesh and the blood, or the righteousness and the atonement of Christ; the guest being accounted, quoad hoc, identified with the host, so long as the two dwell together, (§ 110.)
Here, however, we suppose principles, and not disciples, to be primarily alluded to. This marriage supper, or feast, is a manifestation of the union between the Lamb and that which is represented by the bride. Marriage is a rite pre-eminently identifying two parties, the husband and wife, making of both one. Such was the original purpose and effect of the institution, as we are informed by the inspired writer, (Gen. ii. 24.) Such was contemplated to be its purpose and effect in the times of the apostles, and by Jesus Christ himself, and such has been the universal construction put upon this mysterious connection, legally and practically, throughout the world. The celebration of a marriage feast is the manifestation of this identity; the guests at the feast bearing their testimony to the fact that the parties have been thus lawfully united—that henceforth they are to be accounted identic, being no more twain but one flesh.
Those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb apocalyptically, we accordingly suppose to be those elements of doctrine, or of revelation, bearing testimony to this identity of the Lamb with his bride. They are personified as human guests invited to a marriage feast, for the purpose of illustration, and are therefore termed blessed or happy. So, as if anticipating the question from the apostle, Who are these blessed individuals? his angelic companion informs him, "These are the true sayings of God." The true sayings of God being the words or elements of divine revelation, all these words, elements or doctrines, (as we have them in the sacred Scriptures,) are the chosen, selected instruments of proclaiming and bearing testimony to the mystic union in contemplation; and, as such, are spoken of as persons called or invited to a feast: probably the same elements as those represented by the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed ones, with the name of the Father of the Lamb written in their foreheads.
We are confirmed in this suggestion by the consideration that no part of sacred Scripture can be more true than another; neither can truth itself, as a predicate of matters of revelation, be subject to degrees of comparison. All the sayings of God, as we have them in his written word, must be true, although clothed in the language of fiction; and if we would draw any distinction in this respect, the terms employed in relation to this marriage-supper of the Lamb are as evidently figurative as any other portion of the book.
V. 10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See (thou do it) not: I am thy fellow-servant, and
of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus : worship God : for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Καὶ ἔπεσον ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ· καὶ λέγει μοι· ὅρα μή· σύνδουλός σου εἰμὶ καὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν σου τῶν ἐχόντων τὴν μαρτυρίαν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ· τῷ θεῷ προσκύνησον. ἡ γὰρ μαρτυρία τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐστι τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς προφητείας.
§ 428. And I fell at his feet,' &c.-That is, apparently, at the feet of the angel, mentioned Rev. xvii. as one, or as the first of those having the seven vials; this angel being now about to quit the apostle, although perhaps to reappear, as we find from Rev. xxi. 9. The present scene is drawing to a close, preparatory to the presentation of a different spectacle. The mistake of the apostle in his act of prostration, and the admonition of the angel, may be intended to place in a prominent point of view what may be called the definition of the testimony of Jesus. The angel describes himself to be a fellow-servant of the apostle, especially as being with him an instrument of developing the mysteries of the gospel. The messenger is put for the message-the revelation of truth, represented by the pouring out of either of these vials, is a message bearing testimony to the character and offices of Christ in his works of redemption. The same may be said of all prophecy, and of all interpretation of prophecy; the
prophet or the interpreter being put for the message or development made through his instrumentality, the real messengers, or angels, are the truths revealed. The spirit, or true meaning of the prophecy, is the testimony to be relied upon the testimony of Jesus; the messenger, whether angel, or prophet, or teacher, is himself nothing. It is the testimony only which he bears, that is to be the subject of consideration. This testimony is entitled to reverence only so far as it emanates from God; and this, for the reason that God only is to be worshipped: all other beings are but instruments of revealing his will.
So it may be said of every expounder or commentator of the sacred volume, that he is but a servant in the same cause. It is the message (not the messenger) that is entitled to attention; and this only so far as it is that testimony of (concerning) Jesus which is in accordance with the spirit of prophecy, and in conformity with the word of God. As it is expressed by another fellow-servant, (2 Cor. iii. 5, 6,) "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." The spirit, especially of prophecy, as distinguished from the letter, is the testimony of Jesus: Babylon being held guilty of the blood of prophets and saints, inasmuch as she had suppressed this spirit, or testimony, (§ 420.)
The testimony of Jesus must be the things concerning him and his doctrine as, in his walk to Emmaus with two of his disciples, before alluded to, he showed them all that the prophets had spoken of his sufferings and his glory, expounding and explaining no doubt the design of these sufferings and the nature of this glory; and this, in a manner to warm their hearts with the recital, or rather with the application of it; for of the facts they had themselves been eye-witnesses. That he was wounded for their transgressions, and bruised for their iniquities, was a view of the subject entirely new to them; the spirit, and not the letter of this testimony, causing their hearts to burn within them as he opened to them the Scriptures, (Luke xxiv. 32.)
Corresponding with our views of this whole book of Revelation, as announced at the commencement of these remarks, (§ 2,) we take it for granted that this testimony of Jesus is not a matter of church history, or a prophetic narration of events, political or ecclesiastical, in the bringing about of which men are to be the principal actors. It is an exhibition of the doctrine of Jesus. An illustration of the doctrine of God's plan of salvation. The apostle's mistake may be supposed to have arisen from the apprehension that the angel had been revealing those secret things which belong only to the Most High, and that consequently he must be himself a