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V. 4. And when the seven thunders
had uttered their voiceg, I was about to
write and I heard a voice from heaven
saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and
write them not.
$229. 'I was about to write, and I heard,' &c.-Whatever may have been the import of the language of these thunders, it is very evident that it is not permitted to form a part of this unveiling of Jesus Christ. The voice of wrath is now silenced, the law has been fulfilled by the obedience of one," (Rom. v. 19,) and a declaration now of its claims, like irrelevant matter, is not permitted to go upon the record.
'Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.' So far as the message of this angel is concerned, the denunciatory or accusatory matter contained in the voice of these thunders is done with; like documents offered upon a trial, not admitted as evidence, they are to be laid aside. They are not permitted to interfere with the delivery of the little book, or to pervert the interpretation of its contents. Accordingly we find no further mention made, either of the seven thunders or of their voices. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth?
Καὶ ὅτε ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτα βρονταί, ἔμελλον γράφειν· καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λέγουσαν· σφράγισον ἃ ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταί, καὶ μὴ αὐτὰ γράψῃς.
Vs. 5, 6, 7. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware
by him that liveth for ever and ever, who
created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be [shall be] time no longer. But in the days
of the voice of the seventh angel, when he
shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath"declared to his servants the prophets.
Καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος, ὃν εἶδον ἑστῶτα ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἦρε τὴν χεῖρα αὑτοῦ τὴν δεξιὰν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, καὶ ὤμο
σεν ἐν τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰών νων, ὃς ἔκτισε τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ, καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ, καὶ τὴν θά λασσαν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται· ἀλλὰ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ ἑβδόμου ἀγγέλου, ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν, καὶ ἐτελέσθη τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ, ὡς εὐηγγέλισε τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ δούλους τοὺς προφήτας.
$230. Lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth,' &c. Here we have a confirmation of the supposition, that the mighty angel controlling the sea and the earth, or the mysteries represented by them, is the Deity himself, either in the character of the Son, or that of the Holy Spirit, or Comforter. "Swear (vow) not at all," is an injunction applicable to every created being. He only can swear to what shall be, or what shall not be, who is himself the efficient cause of all things; and this oath of the angel is not merely an attestation as to a fact; it is the expression of a determination that such shall be the fact. The angel does not swear by the earth, or by the sea, but by the living God, who made these creatures of his power, both in a natural and in a spiritual sense. So,
when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Heb. vi. 13.
That there should be [shall be] time no longer.'-This declaration appears the more extraordinary, since immediately after it, in the three succeeding chapters, specific periods of duration are seven times mentioned, under the different forms of days, months, and years or times. Our first thought is, that the Greek compound particle ovxézi should be rendered as two separate particles, ovx and et, not yet, instead of no more, signifying that the time of development should not be till after the expiration of the several periods about to be mentioned; but in this supposition we are not borne out either by the use assigned by grammarians to this compound particle alone or to the two particles; or by the construction necessarily given them in other portions of Scripture; or by the rendering of this passage in other versions, which all, as far as we have examined, agree in assigning the meaning no longer to the term employed.
""Ett alone" (says Buttman) "signifies yet, further; and with the negatives oixéri, μŋzézi, no more.” (Everett's trans. Boston, 1822, p. 265.) So Rev. xxi. 4, daváros ovx esta cannot be otherwise rendered than there shall be no more death; and nóvos oux čora er, there shall be no more pain. So Luke xv. 19, ovxéti ɛiμì äğios, I am no more worthy; and Philemon 16, ovxéri és dohor, not now, or no longer as a servant. The six versions of Bagster's Hexapla accord with this rendering, there shall be time no longer, or there should be no longer time. To which we may add the Latin of Leusden, tempus non amplius esset, and of Beza, tempus non fore amplius: the Spanish, que no habrá ya mas tiempo; and the Italian, che il tempo non sarebbe più, both from the Vulgate: the German, (Luther,) das hinfort keine zeit mehr seyn soll: and the French, qu'il n'y aurait plus de tems. This uniformity of rendering leaves us no room to suppose any other meaning to the particles in question, whether written in connection or separately, than that of no more, no longer. (See also Rob. Lex. 525, Suiceri Lex. et al.)
What then is the apocalyptic sense of the declaration, that time shall no more be, or no more shall be? the verb being in the future tense, and precisely of the same form as that rendered, Rev. xxi. 4, by the sign shall.
We presume the expression is no more to be taken in a literal sense. than others of this mystic relation. The word zgóvos strictly denotes, it is said, the idea of time, in its simple abstract form, which we perceive and measure by the succession of objects and events. (Tittmann v. Rob. Lex. 835.) It would be difficult to imagine a state of things, even in eternity, in which there is literally no succession of objects and events-in which there are no revolutions of the heavenly bodies, or in which these revolutions are not successive, or if successive, incapable of marking duration or
portions of time. But if this were the fact, there is nothing in this portion of the vision calling for the introduction of the subject. Whether we take the book spiritually, or literally, there is nothing in this part of the revelation, apparently, having any connection with the question, whether the idea of eternity admits of that of time or not. There is, however, an important point coming under consideration, connected with the subject of chronology, and that is, what we are to understand of the periods of time, forty-two months, one thousand two hundred and threescore days, &c., mentioned in the next and succeeding chapters. To meet this case the preparatory explanation is now given, in the form of a solemn declaration; as if to set any question on the matter entirely at rest. There shall be no more time. Time in a literal sense, as far as the objects of this vision are concerned, is no longer to be contemplated. The several periods alluded to as measures of time, are spiritually measures of vision-indices of parallelisms, showing, perhaps, the correspondence of one series of figures with another. When we meet with these, therefore, we are to set the idea of duration, in its literal sense, entirely aside; as in the measurement of the space covered by the blood of the wine-press, (Rev. xiv. 20,) we set aside the idea of length or breadth, in a literal sense, of the sixteen hundred furlongs; and as we also set aside the association of any literal ideas with the number (two hundred millions) of the horsemen mentioned in the last chapter.
§ 231. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,' &c.—If this term days be taken in a literal sense, there is apparently a great inconsistency in the oath: first, that time shall be no more, and then that certain things are to take place in a time to come, or in a subsequent period specified. The reasonable conclusion seems to be, that the expression, “in the days," &c., is put for the whole of the development of truth or revelation made through the instrumentality of this angel; the days of the voice of the seventh angel being a figure of speech for the portion of revelation allotted to that angel. Time, as regards the matter of this vision, is not to be taken into consideration; but the revelation of the seventh trumpet will be the conclusion of the mystery of God. The expression in the original ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν would be more properly rendered, when he is to sound, equivalent to when he is sounding, or when his trumpet is being sounded; corresponding with the previous expression, in the days of the voice, &c., which comprehends the whole compass of the voice. We are to look, therefore, to the whole matter announced under this seventh trumpet, as the finishing of the mystery of God.
The conjunction xaì immediately before the word ¿rɛλéσ07, if rendered by and, throws a difficulty in the way of the interpretation. Our common version does not notice it at all, neither does that of Wiclif, 1380, or of Rheims, 1582; but the Tyndale, Cranmer, and Geneva versions, render it by the
word even "but in the dayes of the voyce of the seventh angell, when he shall begyn to blowe, even the mistery of God shall be fynysshed." The Latin of Leusden renders it by et, which, like the Greek xai, may signify etiam, also ; the version of Luther by the German particle so, equivalent to even, which may be considered in the light of an intensive; and as the declaration corresponds very much in character with that of Jesus, John iv. 23, the xai may have the same sense as it is supposed to have there, viz., that of yea, verily, &c., Rob. Lex. 333, and 334. "But the hour cometh, and now is: yea, verily, now is." So, in this passage of the Apocalypse, the angel solemnly avers that time is not to be considered in the vision; nevertheless the revelation under the seventh trumpet's sound shall verily complete, or finish, the unfolding of the mystery of God. If, besides, we give to but at the commencement of the seventh verse the force of a sign of contradistinction, the declaration will then be equivalent to this,—that time shall be no longer; but, that is, so far from there being a continuance of time, (in this vision,) as soon as the seventh angel begins to sound, even then the mystery of God is to be considered as finished. Time is not to be supposed to elapse afterwards; consequently the periods of days, times, and months, mentioned under the sounding of that seventh trumpet, are not to be considered literally terms of duration. Here we have a sufficient reason for the solemnity of the oath, as nothing but this construction of the declaration can put an end to calculations respecting the periods afterwards mentioned; while this construction itself is all-important to a proper understanding of the whole book.
We find the term mystery of GOD employed nowhere else in the Scriptures except Col. ii. 2; and there, according to the common version, it is also put for the mystery of Christ—the apostle praying for them of Laodicea," that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;" or, as the original might be rendered, the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, (zov Oɛnũ, xai nargòs xai zov Xotorov,) in which, that is, in which mystery-iv Greek pronoun being in this case masculine or neuter in which mystery are all the hidden treasures (oi noavgoì åñóxqvqoi) of wisdom and knowledge. Such we suppose to be the mystery of God, the finishing of which is the subject of the seventh trumpet's voice. No doubt the same as the mystery of faith, 1 Tim. iii. 9; the mystery of godliness, 1 Tim. iii. 16; the wisdom of God in a mystery, 1 Cor. ii. 7; the mystery of Christ, Eph. iii. 4 ; the mystery of the Gospel, Eph. vi. 19, and elsewhere: the same mystery, perhaps, viewed under so many different aspects. In conformity with this construction, we presume the subject of the seventh trumpet's voice to be a final development of the doctrinal elements of the divine plan of redemption-the
hidden or mystic treasures of wisdom and knowledge; as in contradistinction to all other wisdom and knowledge not immediately pertaining to this mysterious subject.
§ 232. ‹ As he hath declared to his servants the prophets ;'—or, verbatim, as he evangelized his servants the prophets. The prophets were made the repositories of this mystery. It is not expressly stated that they declared it to others, but it may be fairly inferred that this mystery constituted the subject or burden of their predictions. This fact is important in guiding us to a right understanding of the vision; for if the mystery of God, unfolded by the voice of the seventh trumpet, be the same as that committed to the prophets, and contained in their symbolical writings, then this vision must correspond with the prophecies; and a true construction of the one must admit and conform to a like construction of the other. Unless our interpretation, of this portion of the New Testament especially, be sustained by something of a similar import in the books of the Old Testament, we can have no confidence in it. And this is to be predicated not merely of the writings of one prophet, but of those of all who in Scripture language are denominated prophets;-as Jesus, in his walk with the two disciples after his resurrection, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. The mystery of this vision is not a new one it is the old mystery committed to the prophets-given them in charge; perhaps in figures, of which some of them had more understanding than others;—all (angels or messengers) desiring to look into these things, (1 Pet. i. 12,) as Jesus himself says many prophets and kings desired to see and hear things which the Jews were permitted to see and hear while he was upon earth. Still more, no doubt, did they desire to know things with the knowledge of which the disciples were favoured after the descent of the Holy Spirit. In the same figures in which this mystery was received by the prophets, it was probably handed down by them. With these prophetic figures, therefore, we must compare those of the Apocalypse, that our interpretation may be in conformity with both. We do not mean by this a mere correspondence of dates and events, in the ordinary sense of those terms; but a correspondence of truths or doctrinal principles, showing that the gospel mystery preached by the apostles, and exhibited in this vision, is the same as that predicted by the prophets, and illustrated by the symbols of the Old Testament dispensation.
which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book, And he said unto me, Take (it,)
Vs. 8, 9, 10. And the voice which I Καὶ ἡ φωνή, ἣν ἤκουσα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· heard from heaven spake unto me again, πάλιν λαλοῦσα μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ καὶ λέγουσα· ὑπand said, Go, (and) take the little book αγε, λάβε τὸ βιβλαρίδιον τὸ ἠνεργμένον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ τοῦ ἀγγέλου τοῦ ἑστῶτος ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Καὶ ἀπῆλθον πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον, λέγων αὐτῷ δοῦναί μοι τὸ βιβλαρίδιον. καὶ λέγει μοι· λάβε καὶ