« AnteriorContinuar »
plaint; and seems to be assigned as the cause of a manifestation of truth, of the same character as that under consideration. "And judgment," it is said, "is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter; yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey," (" is accounted mad," margin ;)" and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment:"-because there was no discrimination between truth and error, õri ovx v xgíois; and therefore, apparently, it is added, "he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helment of salvation upon his head," &c. The exhibition of the means by which God's work of salvation has been wrought, being the weapon for overcoming and destroying the errors in contemplation.
As the name Edom signifies red, earthy, or bloody,* and as Bozrah was a city of Edom, we suppose the figure of coming from Edom to be equivalent to a coming from man's position under the law; the position of the sinner obnoxious to the penalty of the broken law. To come from Edom with garments dyed red, must be equivalent to bearing the evidence of having endured this penalty. The prophet, accordingly, is supposed in spirit to be addressing the Redeemer subsequently to the completion of his propitiatory work: a work performed by him alone-a work in which no element of human merit, no Gentile power, had a part. As he says of the nations, or Gentiles, there was not a man with me, rāv ¿ðvæv ovx ëotiv ávne μɛr' ¿μov, (Sept.) And yet it would appear that these very Gentiles, or self-righteous principles, claimed the glory of the work; and for this reason are represented as making war against the Redeemer. Therefore it is, that after having trodden the wine-press alone, the year of his redeemed being come, when the truth of salvation by grace is to be manifested, the Author of that salvation now goes forth to vindicate the truth; putting on for this purpose the garments of vengeance for a clothing, and being clad with zeal as a cloak; exhibiting at the same time his dyed garments as the evidences wherewith to vindicate his title to the glory of the only Redeemer. We suppose the circumstances, and attributes, and object of the Rider of the white horse, in this passage of the Apocalypse, to be parallel with this representation of the prophet. The work of redemption has been accomplished; the vesture dipped in blood bears testimony to it. But the nations, (the Gentiles,) the elements of self-righteousness-pretended powers of human merit-these claim the glory of the work of salvation for the beast, (self.) They have arrayed themselves under his standard, and, led by their ruling principles, (the kings of the earth,) they are now set in order of battle on the field of Armageddon against the Lord, and against his Anointed. The
*Edom i Rufus, sive terrenus, aut sanguineus, (Onomas. Leusden.)
very peculiarity of the array-the enemy being summoned by unclean spirits from the mouths of the accuser, the beast and the false prophet, and, as we shall find, being headed by the beast-affords evidence that the object of the expedition now describing, is to vindicate truth and to suppress error.
§ 433. And his name is called the Word of God,' (ó hópos rov dɛov.) -This appellation, as we have already noticed, (§ 147,) is peculiarly adapted to a personification of the Deity; the Word of God being put for the decision of the divine mind, as the word of man expresses the decision of the human mind. The going forth of the Word of God may be put for the act of execution, or for that of revelation. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all of the host of them by the breath of his mouth here the word went forth in its execution-the work of creation:as it is also said, Heb. xi. 3, The worlds were framed by the word of God. There is a like going forth of the mind of God in the works of his providence, upholding all things by the Word of his power. "He sendeth forth his commandments, and his word runneth very swiftly." So, in the work of redemption, the same Word went forth, when He who was the express image of the Father was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us ;-when he died for our sins, and was raised for our justification. Or, rather, this was a going forth in the work of manifestation: the Word of God virtually going forth in the work of redemption, in every instance in which his righteousness is imputed to the objects of his mercy for their justification.
Besides this, the Word of God goes forth in every revelation made of the decision of the divine mind. The promulgation of the glad tidings of salvation is a going forth of the Word of God. The peculiar inspiration with which prophets and apostles have been favoured, is a going forth of the Word of God. The editing and circulation of the sacred Scriptures-from the line first committed to writing, to the stereotyped millions of copies which now cover the earth-are a going forth of the Word of God. So the exposition and development of the true meaning of these Scriptures, wherever these are made, and whatever may be the instrumentality, are a going forth of the Word of God. This last we suppose to be more especially that going forth contemplated in this representation of the Apocalypse; the development of the peculiar truths of the mystery of redemption constituting that going forth of the Word, which is here represented by the action of the Rider of the white horse.
We must judge of the nature of the going forth by the occasion on which the figure is employed. Here, the occasion is a contest with the beast and false prophet, and the forces under their command; a contest between truth and error. A peculiar revelation of the decision of the divine mind, in reference to the plan of redemption, is the display of sove
reign power here called for. The work of salvation has been accomplished; it remains only to manifest its truth by a development necessarily resulting in the destruction of every opposing error.
Vs. 14-16. And the armies (which were) in heaven followed him upon white
horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a
sharp sword, that with it he should emite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on (his) ves
ture and on his thigh a name written,
KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF
Καὶ τὰ στρατεύματα τὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ἐφ ̓ ἵπποις λευκοῖς, ἐνδεδυμένοι βύσσινον λευκὸν καθαρόν. Καὶ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ ἐκπορεύεται ῥομφαία ὀξεῖα, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῇ πατάξῃ τὰ ἔθνη· καὶ αὐτὸς ποιμανεῖ αὐτοὺς ἐν ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ, καὶ αὐτὸς πατεῖ τὸν ληνὸν τοῦ οἴνου τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς ὀργῆς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ παντοκρά. τορος. Καὶ ἔχει ἐπὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν μηρὸν αὑτοῦ ὄνομα γεγραμμένον· βασιλεὺς βασιλέων καὶ κύριος κυρίων.
$434. 'And the armies,' &c.-As the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the Word of God accomplished the work of redemption alone. What we have now to contemplate, however, is not the work itself, but the revelation of it. In this revelation all the powers of heaven are represented as being engaged. All the elements of the representation of divine government, figuratively termed heaven, co-operate with the going forth of the Word in the manifestation and vindication of evangelical truth. Both the leader and his armies are sustained by the same exhibition of divine righteousness; the auxiliary elements of gospel truth depending upon the principle of salvation by imputed righteousness for their own efficacy and power, as the warrior depends upon his horse.
So too they appear clothed in the same imputed perfection ;* the exhibition of this raiment being to them an armour or means of defence; as every element of doctrine belonging to God's plan of salvation depends for the evidence of its verity upon this characteristic, that it tends to exhibit the interposition of divine righteousness in behalf of the sinner, as the efficient instrument of justification.
The Leader is arrayed in a blood-red garment, while his followers are clothed in white robes. So Christ assumes the penalty, and wears the garb of the transgressor, in order that his followers may be clothed in the white robe of his righteousness; as it is said of the multitudes spoken of, Rev. vii. 9,-15, These are they who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and as, on the other hand, Jesus was arrayed by
The heavenly armies are arrayed not merely in fine linen, but in fine linen white and clean, or white clean. The term (Levzòv zaðagóv) is not so significant of resplendent transparency, as that applied to the array of the wife of the Lamb, (aμnçòv za Jagóv;) and which is also employed in describing the attire of the seven angels from the temple, Rev. xv. 6; although their pure and white linen (lvov,) is not the fine linen (Bvootvov) said to be the righteousness of the saints, (Rev. xix. 8.)
the soldiers prior to his execution in a purple robe, in mockery on their part, but, according to the counsel of God, apparently to typify the penal consequences, of which he assumed the burden when he was "wounded for our transgressions," and when "the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all," (Is. liii. 5.) The evidence of this transmutation, as we may call it, is itself a weapon with which the advocates of truth go forth to contend with their opponents, the beast, the false prophet, and his forces.
The term translated armies is said (Rob. Lex. 707) to signify sometimes, by implication, the body-guard of the commander-in-chief. In this particular the armies in heaven, as followers of the Word of God, may be equivalent to the one hundred and forty-four thousand attendants of the Lamb, (§ 326,) a chosen band of principles, the elements of the combined testimony of the old and new dispensations.
'And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword.'-The sword of the Spirit— the revealed word of God, (Eph. vi. 17.) Not merely the decision of the divine mind, but the revelation of that decision; the one being put for the other. The sharp sword out of the mouth of the Word of God, we suppose to be the written word of God, in its proper spiritual sense; according with the idea already adopted of the nature of the controversy here representeda manifestation of the true principles of redemption, through the instrumentality of the written word, brought to act upon the elements of an opposite system or systems. In the contest between the divine purpose of mercy and the requisitions of the law, the Lamb (the element of propitiation) is the instrument by which the latter is overcome, (Rev. xvii. 14,) and the accuser of the brethren is overcome by the blood of the Lamb, (Rev. xi. 11;) but, in the contest between truth and error, the revealed word is the weapon of the conqueror. The written word, even as ordinarily understood, may be said to be the sword of the Lord; but its sharpness is its spiritual sense. Indeed, unless understood in this latter sense, it can hardly be said to be unsheathed to human apprehension, (Ezek. xxi. 1-17, 28.) The sword from the mouth of the rider of the white horse is a sharp sword, drawn from its scabbard; it is the revealed word properly understood, piercing to the dividing asunder-discriminating between the natural and the spiritual meaning; or rather, when fully displayed, carrying with it these two meanings, corresponding with the action of the two-edged sword out of the mouth of the one like unto the Son of man, (Rev. 1. 16.)
435. That with it he should [or may] smite the nations.'-Strike down or beat down-zarάsow by implication sometimes signifying to kill; as, Acts vii. 24, narážas ròv Aiyóntior, He smote the Egyptian. What the nations represent, may be gathered from the character of the weapon employed against them. They are to be smitten with the revelation of truth, the revealed word of God. They are not, therefore, political bodies, or
assemblages of human beings, but powers, as we have heretofore supposed them to be, of a system of error-the earthly system. The nations to be smitten are powers under the control of the kings or chiefs summoned together by the three spirits unclean as frogs. They are now gathered together at the place appointed, where they are to be met and smitten by Him, out of whose mouth the sharp sword proceedeth; an oral weapon: it is not even represented as wielded in the hand, or girt upon the thigh. In the employment of this weapon man may be an apparent instrument, but the power really in operation is the Word of God; as it is said, (Is. xl. 4,) "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked"-" that Wicked, whom the Lord shall consume (as it is also said) with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming," (2 Thess. ii. 8.) This last expression referring, as we apprehend, to the spiritual sense in which the word of divine revelation is to be understood; the same operation being sometimes represented as that of a fire, at others as that of an oral sword; as, (Is. ix. 6,) “For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire ;" and, (Is. lxvi. 15, 16,) "For behold the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire; for by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many."
If we render the term nations by Gentiles, ($ 80,) the illustration will be the more obvious;-Gentiles standing in relation to the inhabitants of Jerusalem figuratively, as elements of all human systems of doctrine stand in relation to the principles of the divine economy of salvation. All elements not belonging to this true economy, must be smitten, destroyed, or overcome, when the truth is finally and fully manifested.
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron.'-The word rendered rule having a pastoral allusion, (§ 83,) the whole expression carries us back to the promise given to him that overcometh, (Rev. ii. 27.) The Saviour there promises to give to rule as he had received of his Father; we now see what he has received, (for this word of God is the same Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us, John i. 14.) We have before considered this rod as an emblem of complete and perfect sovereign sway. To say that the Deity, as such, has control over the nations of the earth, in the ordinary sense, would be the assertion of a mere truism. It is a position to be disputed by none but an Atheist. Taking these nations or Gentiles, however, as powers or elements of doctrinal systems, and contemplating this rod as some peculiar principle of the divine system of government, there seems to be a reason for revealing to us the fact that to this controlling prin