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equal to each other. It is barely necessary to add that the term kingdom of heaven, which is peculiar to the gospel of Matthew, must be an equivalent of that of the kingdom of God.
It was said by Jesus to a certain scribe who had justly defined the whole pirit and bearing of the law, (Mark xii. 32-34,) “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." The law being a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; to understand the full force of the requisitions of the law, is something very near to understanding God's plan of redemption, or the things of his kingdom, the economy by which he reigns. To see the kingdom of God is to possess a right understanding of the divine plan of government, and this understanding can only be possessed by a just appreciation of the condemning power of the law on the one hand, and of the redeeming power revealed by the gospel on the other. A sight of the kingdom of God is thus a matter for the exercise of the understanding: nothing involving objects presented to the physical organs of vision, or not a thing to be seen in the ordinary sense of the term; and, for the reasons just now given, we say the same of the "coming" (parousia) and "revelation" (apocalypse) of Christ: they are alike the objects of intellectual contemplation, something to be seen by the mind, and to be seen by a spiritual understanding of the language of divine revelation,
§ 549. Six days after the declaration of Jesus to his disciples, (just now referred to,) that there were some of them which should not taste of death till they had seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom, or till they had seen the coming of the kingdom of God, he took Peter and James ant John into a high mountain apart, where he was transfigured before them His face shone as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light; ane Moses and Elias were seen talking with him. Peter, apparently supposing the three personages whom he beheld to be of equal dignity, proposed the building of three tabernacles, one for each of them, when a bright clou overshadowed his master, and a voice from heaven pointed him out as the peculiar object of consideration;—as if it had said, Not Moses or Elias, bu Jesus, the anointed Saviour: "This is my beloved Son." To this mani festation of the divine character of his Lord, Peter appeals as an evidence that they who were with him on the mount, and beheld the honour and glory bestowed upon him, were not the subjects of delusion, in making known his
power and coming;" for they had been "eye-witnesses of his majesty," (2 Pet. iii. 16, 17.) They had seen in anticipation the coming of the Lord in his glory. Here, too, was the fulfilment of his prediction, concerning those who should be thus favoured before they tasted death; corresponding with this intellectually, we say, To see Jesus manifested as the beloved Son of God, (§ 525,) as the Sun of righteousness, as clothed in the garment of divine perfection; to perceive the writings of Moses, and the predictions
of the prophets, co-operating in exhibiting his glorious character, as in communion with him; to see him, in fine, as he is exhibited in the gospel, (the mount, $369,) spiritually understood, is to see him coming in his kingdom.
Such, we may suppose, to have been the peculiar privilege afforded the writer of this Apocalypse. With Peter and James, he saw the coming of the Lord, as prefigured in the mount; but in spirit, as related in this book, he saw that coming in all its details. Here he saw Jesus manifested as one like unto the Son of man, as the Lamb, as the Word of God, as the Tabernacle of God, as the Holy City, the Bride, (the divine purpose of mercy, the beloved of God,) and finally, as the Sovereign on the throne, occupying the seat of the Deity, and identified with the Supreme Being— God in Christ-the Word, the dictum of sovereign grace-overcoming all things, in a spiritual sense, by the power of his righteousness, as he created all things by the word of his power. Thus, to John, this apocalypsis or revelation was, at the same time, the parousia or coming of Christ, and an exhibition of the kingdom of God with power. The apostle may not have been favoured with a concurrent spiritual understanding of what he saw in vision; this understanding may have been subsequently afforded him. As Jesus opened the minds of two of his disciples in their walk to Emmaus, that they might understand the Scriptures, with the letter of which they were already acquainted; so he may have opened the understanding of his beloved disciple, during his confinement in Patmos, to perceive the spiritual purport of what had been already symbolically represented to him. This subsequent illumination of the mind may be implied in the declaration, Verily, I come quickly; the coming consisting especially in a development of the spiritual meaning of the things just exhibited.*
§ 550. Amen. (Even so,) come, Lord Jesus.'-According to the pointing of some editions, the word Amen would seem to be part of the annunciation of Him, who says, I come quickly; but according to the Greek edition we copy, which seems to be most correct in this particular, this amen is part of the response of the apostle. The words even so, are a translation of the word vai, found in some editions of the Greek immediately after duv, (amen,) and is the same word which in the preceding clause was
* Under this construction, it must be evident that the moment of death is, to every ndividual of the human species, the coming of the Lord-the transition from a state of imperfect understanding, and even of ignorance, to a state of perfect knowledge of the truth; "For now," as it is said, (1 Cor. xiii. 12,) "we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face." Such we believe to be the common, although undefined, impression of Christians generally. The moment of death, like the day of the Lord, comes to every one quickly or suddenly and to those unprepared, as a thief in the night. So it is only in an entire reliance upon the merits of his Saviour that the disciple can welcome death in the language of the apostle: Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
rendered surely. Consistently, it should have been again so rendered; and the word amen, signifying so let it be, or, so be it: the whole expression is that of perfect concurrence. He that testifieth these things, saith, "Verily, I come quickly;" to which the apostle responds in vision, apparently, “So let it be, verily come, Lord Jesus;" a response according with the instruction given to him that heareth, in the seventeenth verse. The Spirit and the bride saith, Come; whereupon, he that testifieth these things, saith, Surely, I do come, or, I come; perhaps in the sense of, I am coming, quickly or suddenly to which the hearing apostle responds, So let it be, surely, come, Lord Jesus; that is, come as thou hast said, quickly, suddenly.
This is the apostle, of whom it was said by Jesus, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John xxi. 22, 23.) Now let us suppose the coming of Jesus to consist in that unveiling of himself, which results from ■ spiritual understanding of this book of Revelation, and we have only to suppose that such an understanding was afforded to the apostle, to perceive that he did tarry till he saw in effect, even in this life, the second coming of his Master.
Whatever that coming may be, however, the apostle, in vision, declares himself prepared for it: his loins girt about with truth, his garments of salvation gathered about him, arrayed in the robe of his Saviour's righteousness, washed and cleansed and sanctified in the atoning sacrifice of his great High-Priest, he is found watching—waiting, even in a state of eager anticipation. In this position, he appears to speak, not only for himself, but for all who, like him, are trusting in the merits of the same Redeemer, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." To such, the day of the Lord may come suddenly, but it will not come as a thief in the night; because they are always prepared—with them it is always day. Their position in Jehovah's righteousness, is a position of light; they are not exposed to the dangers of darkness; their lamps are always trimmed and burning or what is equiva lent to it, Christ is their lamp, as the Lamb is the lamp of the holy city, and they walk in the light of the glory of his perfection. Having on the breastplate of divine righteousness, shod with the preparation of the glad tidings of reconciliation with their God; their faith serving them as a shield, and the hope of salvation as a helmet; the sword of the Spirit enabling them to combat with the deadly tendency of the letter; they are always on guard, ready for the presence (parousia) of the Captain of their salvation; with the assurance that, when he shall appear, they shall be like him: for as they have once borne the image of the earthy, so adopted in him they will then bear the image of the heavenly-being now new creatures in Christ.
Hence, the argument of Paul with the Thessalonian disciples: We are not of the night, nor of darkness, therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Being thus children of the day, thus clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ, it became them to walk consistently for his sake who died for them, that his name might be glorified; thus judging, as he elsewhere expresses it, that He who died for all, died that those which live, might live not to themselves, but to Him who died for them.
V. 21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (be) with you all. Amen.
̔Η χάρις τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων.
551. The grace,' &c.-We do not suppose this verse to form a part of the narrative of the vision, or to be uttered in vision. That narrative is now closed; the apostle has gone through with the account of all that he saw and heard; and he now transmits this account to those for whose edification it was intended, without any comment of his own, other than this apostolic benediction, as it is usually termed.
The word be is supplied in our common version, no verb being expressed in the original. If we suppose is to be understood instead of be, the reading will be equivalent to a declaration, that the grace referred to, Rev. i. 4, has now been fully exhibited. As if it had been said, in reference to the completion of this unveiling of the Lord our righteousness, Behold, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with you; or, is now set before you. This grace we suppose to be the same as that referred to, Acts xv. 11, as the means of salvation for Jew and Gentile; the same that is spoken of, 2 Cor. viii. 9: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich;" this grace of Christ consisting in the substitution of himself in behalf of the sinner; an act entirely of free, unmerited favour, and for that reason strictly entitled to the appellation of grace.
This grace of our Lord Jesus Christ constitutes, we apprehend, the gift by grace, spoken of and enlarged upon, Rom. v. 15-21: "For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as by one that sinned, the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation; but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one's man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offence of one (judgment came) upon all men to condemnation; even so, by the [imputed] righteousness of
one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For, as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offence might abound: but where sin abounded grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign (predominate) through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Such is the arrangement (dian) of grace, and this we suppose to be the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, here referred to; either as that which has been set before those to whom the Apocalypse is addressed, or as that grace in which the apostle prays that they may all participate.
Some of the Greek editions read with all, others with you all, and some, as that from which we copy, with all the saints or holy ones. If this last be correct, the language of this verse not being the language of vision, we suppose these holy ones to be disciples, so termed on account of their position by adoption in Christ; whereas, the holy ones of the vision we have taken to be principles of the economy of grace personified. The term holy, however, has in both cases the same meaning; it is a term of position, not of innate quality. Adopted in Christ, the disciple is accounted holy, or set apart; as the vessels of the temple were holy, not by any peculiarity of their composition, but by the use to which they were appropriated. This distinction cannot be too much insisted upon, as the disciple can no more depend upon a quality in himself called holiness, or upon a holiness of his own, than he can upon a righteousness of his own; and it is especially to set forth these truths and their opposite errors, that Jesus Christ here reveals himself; while it is these errors of an adulterated faith that militate most with a just exhibition of sovereign grace.
$552. In reading any book of importance, our first inquiry is to know what the author purposes to show. When we have finished the perusal of the work, we very properly look back to ascertain whether the end proposed has been accomplished. We think the portion of the inspired writings recently the subject of our inquiries, under a spiritual construction, fully equal to abide the test of such an examination.
The work is entitled, by its divine Author, the unveiling (apocalypsis) of Jesus Christ: that is, as we have considered it, the revelation of his character, offices, and doctrine-the unveiling of the anointed Saviour, (2.) This is the purport or design of the whole book.
The source whence this revelation is derived having been stated by the apostle in the commencement of the first chapter, it is said, in allusion to