« AnteriorContinuar »
out, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing;" "Touch not, taste not, handle not."
§ 532. He that is righteous, let him be righteous still:' justus justitium præstet adhuc, (G. & L.)—the just, let him do justice still. If we were not assured by divine inspiration that there is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not; that there is none righteous, no not one; and if experience and self-examination did not confirm this divine testimony, we might suppose this sentence to apply to human beings in a literal sense, but with this authority of Scripture, and this knowledge of ourselves, we are constrained to look out for some other than a literal construction of the passage.
It is very evident that the two classes now calling for our notice are opposites of the two we have just commented upon. Odizatos must be the δίκαιος opposite of ó adıxor, as the justifying principle is the opposite of that operating against that of justification. So, δικαιοσύνην ποιησάτω (let him or it do or make righteousness) must be the opposite of adixyoáro (let him hurt.) As if it were said, The principle opposite to justification, let it continue to act, and let the principle tending to justification act. That is, let the tendency of both be manifested. To justify, in the scriptural sense of the term, is equivalent to making a righteousness where none would otherwise. exist; as when Jehovah says, (Is. xlvi. 13,) “I bring near my righteousness;” He maketh righteousness; as, also, when the prophet says, (Is. 1. 8,)" He is near that justifieth me, who is he that condemneth?" So, in allusion to the same operation, it is said, (Is. xlv. 8,) "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation; and let righteousness spring up together: I the Lord have created it," (made it.) It may be said that God made or created a righteousness, in bringing forth a plan of redemption by which he could justify the ungodly, (Rom. iv. 5.) Corresponding with this view of justification, every principle of the economy of grace may be contemplated as something doing or making righteousness, and consequently as something itself righteous or justified; as it is said, (1 John iii. 7,) ὁ ποιῶν τῆν δικαιοσύνην δίκαιός ἐστι—the person or principle making righteousness is righteous. Here in the Apocalypse we may suppose, as in the opposite case, in this verse 2óros (doctrine) to be understood. The doc trine tending to justification, through the imputed righteousness of Christ, is just, and when once manifested to be so will ever remain so manifested.
And he that is holy, let him be holy still.'-We give a similar con-struction to this sentence-o ayos, the consecrated, or set apart, is the opposite in this connection of ó vzor, the defiling. The elements (oi 2órci) of the economy of grace, are the consecrated principles. Let these remain set apart, and remain so manifested. In their own nature they must
separate from those opposed to them. But it seems to be implied that
they are not only to be thus separated in fact, they are to be exhibited iu this new state of things in their distinct position. The time of the harvest we may suppose to be now come, when the wheat is to be discriminated from the tares, and this discrimination is to be made manifest. The whole of this verse may be supposed to have reference to the sayings (oi 26701) of this book just spoken of as not to be sealed, on account of the immediate coming of the time of development.
What we have said elsewhere (§ 88) of the term holiness as a characteristic of position, or as a quality, and of the different Greek terms rendered by this English word, might be repeated here; but we do not suppose the term ó aos to be intended to apply here to human beings, none of whom pretend to a perfect holiness of their own; and the passage certainly does not admit of the application to something partly holy and partly not holy. There is no partial sanctification in the objects or elements contemplated— they are things entirely set apart, or not so in any degree.
Vs. 12, 13. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward (is) with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the end, the first and the last.
̓Ιδού, ἔρχομαι ταχύ, καὶ ὁ μισθός μου μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ, ἀποδοῦναι ἑκάστῳ ὡς τὸ ἔργο αὐτοῦ ἔσται. ̓Εγὼ τὸ Α καὶ τὸ 22, πρῶτος καὶ ἔσχατος, ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος.
§ 533. And behold.'—The conjunction xai (and) is not in all the editions of the Greek, and seems to be correctly omitted, unless the words. 'saith the Lord,' be understood at the commencement of the verse; for the messenger, declaring himself to be the fellow-servant of John, would not assume the title of Alpha and Omega. Different voices we apprehend to be speaking here alternately. The vision of the Bride is closed, and the apostle, with his heavenly interpreter, is restored to the position occupied prior to being taken in spirit to the great and high mountain, (Rev. xxi. 9.) The scene to be imagined is such as it then was. The great white throne, the new heaven, and the new earth, and the new Jerusalem, are all supposed to be in view. The angel now gives the apostle an account of the authority by which he had been directed, in all that he had done and said, respecting the things shortly to be done. A voice from the throne here utters the words, in allusion to what has just been said, "Behold, I come quickly," (shortly.) The apostle then gives us an account of his mistaken act of adoration which calls forth the caution and admonitory warning of the angel, from the 9th to the end of the 11th verse. The voice from the throne now again repeats the announcement," Behold, I come quickly," &c., followed by an admonitory address, extending as far as the first clause of the 20th verse; this concluding address, from the first and the last. serving the purpose of an application of the whole subject.
'I come quickly.'-We have already considered this coming quickly or suddenly equivalent to the things being shortly done, mentioned in the 6th
verse we are here, however, further informed who it is that comes quickly, viz., he who styles himself "Alpha and Omega." By comparing this information with what is said in the preceding chapter, (v. 5, 6,) we find
Alpha and Omega" to be Him that sat upon the throne; and, taking into view the language of Him that sat on the throne, (in the 7th verse of the same chapter,) we perceive Alpha and Omega to be, also, God. It is, therefore, God himself that cometh quickly; and this, we suppose, in the sense of manifestation, by some peculiar revelation or development of truth; for, of the Deity, strictly speaking, it is said that He dwelleth in light inaccessible, (φῶς ἀπρόσιτον,) "whom no man hath seen, or can see." According to our construction, the coming of the Bride is equivalent to the coming of the Lamb, and the coming of the Lamb is equivalent to the coming of "Alpha and Omega," the beginning and ending. In other words, the complete revelation of the economy of grace, (the things which are to be suddenly,) is equivalent, in a spiritual sense, to the coming of Christ; and, in the same sense, is equivalent to the coming of God: that is, the Deity is manifested in the manifestation of his truth, as declared in the words of Jesus himself: "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father;"-the same advent which is spoken of in the New Testament as the coming of Christ, (2 Thess. i. 7, 10,) being spoken of in the Old Testament as the coming of the Lord God, (Ps. 1. 1-6,) corresponding with the declaration, (Rev. i. 7, 8,) that he who cometh in the clouds (§§ 17, 18) is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
'And my reward (is) with me, to give every man—or to give to each, as the work of him or it shall be.'-The word translated reward, ó adós, is, in many places of the New Testament, rendered wages, or hire, which is its proper signification. The householder or contractor, who comes forth with the means of paying his hired servants or labourers the wages due to them, may be said to come, and his reward with him. The work performed may be of a good or bad character, and the recompense to be received may be of a desirable or of an undesirable kind; still the idea to be associated with the term is that of an exact equivalent for what has been done. In Latin, it is expressed by merces, whence our terin mercenary is derived. The adjective, Motos, signifies hired, to be hired, mercenary, venal; which signification is to be associated with all the compounds of the word, as Miðagros, one who works for hire, a mercenary, (Donnegan.) He that worketh receiveth wages, says our Saviour, (John iv. 36,) alluding to the universal rule of compensation. To him that worketh, says Paul, (Rom iv. 4,) the hire, or wages earned, is not accounted a matter of grace, but, on the contrary, it is a debt, a compensation not to be withheld without an act of injustice; as James v. 4, "Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud."
The wages or He that transIf we say we
We cannot suppose the reward mentioned in this passage of the Apocalypse to be that of the wages, or hire, of human beings. reward of sin is death. Sin is the transgression of the law. gresses one commandment of the law, is guilty of the whole. have no sin, we deceive ourselves; consequently all are sinners, and all, when rewarded according to their works, must receive the wages of sin, which is death. Consistently, however, with our uniform construction of this book of Revelation, we think this reward or hire applies to principles, elements of doctrine, and not to human beings. As it is said of works, 1 Cor. iii. 13, "Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." In the season of trial, the work which is incapable of abiding the test is to be destroyed, but not the man. If the work or doctrine be correct, its reward is the manifestation of its correctness.
As in remarking upon Rev. xi. 18, (§ 262,) we suppose doctrines or principles of doctrine to be personified as men, although the word man or men is not here expressly employed. That no man is saved by works, (Eph. ii. 9,) is so repeatedly and expressly set forth in other portions of Scripture that there can be no possibility of mistaking that position, and we must presume every doctrine taught in the Apocalypse to be consistent with it. If no man can be saved by his works, still less can his works entitle him to hire, compensation, wages, or reward ;* neither can we suppose the Supreme Being to have occasion of a day or of an hour when He is to determine whether this or that man be a sinner or not; or whether this or that human being be less of a sinner than another: to imagine this would be to imagine something entirely inconsistent with all that is revealed in Scripture of the omniscience of God. So far as the language of the Apocalypse is concerned we think, therefore, there can be no hazard in considering the reward in question to be that of a manifestation of the truth or falsehood of all doctrines and principles of doctrine; a manifestation probably effected through the just construction of the written word of revelation, comprehending that law and testimony by which every work, and device, and doctrine
*The most faithful disciple is but an unprofitable servant, he can do more than it is his duty to do, (Luke xvi. 10.) As Paul says of himself, (1 Cor. ix. 16,) " Though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me: yea, wo is unto me if I preach not the gospel!" His preaching was nothing more than the performance of a duty; and if he had neglected to preach, this neglect would have been the absolute transgression of a command. If the apostle then could no pretend to a reward or recompense from God for his works, what reason is there for supposing the pretensions of others in this respect to be well founded?
are to be tried as by a chemical test, the coming with reward being identic with the coming as by fire, as elsewhere described.
'I am Alpha and Omega,' &c.-We have already commented upon this annunciation. The importance of its introduction here appears to be that it identifies the present speaker with him who sat upon the white throne, (Rev. xxi. 6;) with him who declares himself to be the Almighty, (Rev. i. 8;) and with him whose voice, as of a trumpet, directed the apostle (Rev. i. 11) to write all that he has written in this book, and to send it to the seven churches of Asia.
Vs. 14, 15. Blessed (are) they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in
through the gates into the city. For without (are) dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idola
ters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.*
Μακάριοι οἱ ποιοῦντες τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ, ἵνα ἔσται ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς καὶ τοῖς πυλῶσιν εἰςέλθωσιν εἰς thy now. "Ešw oi xúves xaì oi qaquazoì καὶ οἱ πόρνοι καὶ οἱ γονεῖς καὶ οἱ εἰδωλολάτραι καὶ πᾶς ὁ φιλῶν καὶ ποιῶν ψεῦδος.
$535. "Blessed are they,' &c.-This declaration, taken in a literal sense, would imply that there is a certain portion of mankind who do all the commandments of God, and who, accordingly, by their perfect obedience acquire a right to participate of the tree of life. We have said enough, however, to show why we do not and cannot take these words in a literal sense; if the reading be correct as above, we suppose those doing the commandments in the sense of the text, to be elements of doctrine in strict conformity with the truths of the economy of grace-principles admissible into that economy, and forming constituent parts of it; corresponding with such as we suppose allowed to enter the gates, ($ 507,) admitted by the angels at the gates, (§ 485,) and probably identic with the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed ones; their right, or rather power, (ovoía,) to the tree of life, consisting in their correspondence with the truth represented as the tree of life. As we might say of such doctrines, that all belonging to the divine plan of salvation must correspond with the representation, that the imputed righteousness of Christ is the only element of eternal life. It would be a mere truism to say of human beings, that it would be well for them, or that they would be happy, if they kept the commandments of God. If Paul could have hoped for happiness in this way, he would not have said of himself, as well as of others, "when the commandment came sin revived, and I died."
The term rendered commandment, or commandments, occurs in no other place of the Apocalypse connected with the verb to do, (now,) but it is
* These two verses appear to be the interlocutory response as of a chorus, although they may be taken for the words of the apostle, or of the angel; but the expression, his commandments instead of my commandments, appears intended to show that they are not directly the language of Him who declares himself to be Alpha and Omega.