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'I will show unto thee the judgment,' &c.—The whole process of apprehension, condemnation, and punishment, as appears from the context; the woman being first described in her power, as one exulting in the success of a life of crime; and the account ending with a description of her final destruction, as of the carrying into effect the sentence of execution.
With the Greek term nógvη* we are principally to associate the idea of adulteration or mixture; corresponding with which association, we consider this harlot (Babylon) as the figure of a mixed system of redemption—a supposed covenant of salvation, composed of a mixture of the principles of grace and those of works ;—something involving, on the part of the disciple, a dependence partly upon his own merits and partly upon those of his Redeemer; this Greek term carrying with it the same signification as that conveyed by the name Babel or Babylon, ($331.) A harlot is the opposite of a wife. The wife of the Lamb we suppose to be the covenant of grace, or that plan of salvation by which the whole community of believers become the adopted children of God-consequently, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; on which account this economy or covenant (Aavxn) is also styled by Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, the mother of us all.
380. The opposite of a plan of grace must be a plan of works; but as the Apocalypse is addressed to Christian churches, and as the errors to be eradicated by this development of the truth are errors in the church, and not out of it, we may reasonably conclude that the matter before us does not relate to the difference between Christians and Jews, or between the Christian economy and the Levitical economy. The plan represented by the harlot must be something introduced into the doctrinal views of Christians; and, as such, opposed to the economy of grace, it can be nothing else than a mixed system. We find the figure of a harlot to be almost uniformly employed in the Old Testament for the purpose of illustrating a like dereliction from the truth; a dereliction sometimes indeed compared to the conduct of a lawful wife in becoming an abandoned adulteress. The figure in either case is essentially different from that of the bondmaid or concubine, spoken of by Paul as the representation of the legal dispensation. The harlot of the Apocalypse represents, we think, a perverted view of the gospel plan of salvation; a view involving something like a mixture of Christianity and Judaism—a dependence partly upon the merits of Christ, and partly upon the merits or righteousness of man, (self.) The first part indeed being rather in profession than in reality, while the last part is less in profession and more in reality;—a dependence in any degree upon our own merits in the work of redemption, resulting, as we have repeatedly
* Пlogvía propriè notat commixtionem eorum qui extra conjugium vivunt.—(Suiceri Lex.) Vid. § 314, note.
remarked, in an assumption to ourselves of the glory of our own salvation ; thus constituting in effect a forsaking of Christ as the Lord our righteousness, and our only source of dependence.
This error is figuratively spoken of as the great harlot, because it is the great, the almost universal error of the Christian church; an error confined to no sect or denomination-an error to be found rather in the hearts or minds of disciples, than in their modes of worship or in their formularies of doctrine.
381. That sitteth upon many waters.'-This figure, a license of vision, would be hardly admissible, were it not that, in the language of this Apocalypse, the great city and the harlot, as well as their opposites, the holy city and the bride, are employed almost as convertible terms; perhaps for the reason that we should be continually reminded of the identity of the subject alluded to under these different appellations; although probably for the further reason, that these changes and interchanges of figures greatly facilitate the illustrations intended.
Waters, as we have frequently noticed, ($ 200,) are figures of means of propitiation. The waters of the earth are opposites of the water of life, (the atonement of Christ ;) the multitude of means of atonement of man's device being spoken of as many waters-many supposed means, or meritorious acts of propitiation, as they are erroneously estimated. On these many propitiatory devices, (waters,) the mixed system of salvation represented by the harlot rests, as upon its only foundation; the system deriving its influence upon the minds of men, from the efficacy of these supposed means of redemption ;-these pseudo-elements of atonement furnishing the harlot system with its cathedra, or seat of authority, whence its doctrinal propositions may be said to emanate.
Changing the figure, these waters are to Babylon a substitute for the rock or mountain, (Zion,) upon which the holy city may be considered as resting. This harlot city accordingly rests upon something even more. unstable, and less to be depended upon, than a foundation of sand. Corresponding with this precarious support, the prophet speaks of Babylon as approaching the time of her dissolution, (Jer. li. 13:) "O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come." The ancient Babylon-the city—was not built amongst many waters, as might be said to be the case with some of our modern cities; but no doubt it owed as much to the labour of man for its artificial waters, (the Euphrates, by means of irrigation perhaps, supplying the whole city,) as it was indebted to the same labour of man for its immense bulwarks and hanging gardens. In this respect, the figure of such a city is particularly pertinent to the apocalyptic subject of illustration here contemplated. The dominion of Babylon, however, as an empire, extended over many well-watered countries; and rivers
and streams are essential means of dependence to the subjects of an empire, both for purposes of life, and for the acquisition of wealth. Babylon in that respect, in the time of the prophet, may correctly be spoken of as dwelling upon many waters. At the same time, the similarity of these typical expressions suggests the probability that the apostle and the prophet had the same Babylon in view; both employ the same ancient city as a figure, and probably both, directed by the same spirit of revelation, intend to illustrate ultimately the same spiritual truths.
It may be objected, that the definition of these waters, given by the angel in the fifteenth verse of this chapter, is expressly that they are "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues;" but this we have already seen to be a figurative expression for what we term earthly powers of salvation, or supposed means of salvation, peculiar to the earthly system, (§ 80;) the very redundancy of the expression itself indicating to us that it is not to be taken in a literal sense. Besides, the interpretation here, as elsewhere, is what we term an interpretation in a vision; the language is part of the vision—the interpretation is as figurative as the thing interpreted. The apostle is told that these waters are peoples, multitudes, &c.; we must then go to other parts of the Apocalypse to learn how this expression (peoples, multitudes, &c.) is employed, and thence derive our understanding of the interpretation given.
382. With whom the kings of the earth,' &c.-These kings are no doubt those summoned by the three unclean spirits (Rev. xvi. 14) to the battle of the great day-the kings that hid themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains, Rev. vi. 15. We suppose them here, as we have supposed them before, to represent ruling principles of subordinate earthly systems; systems founded upon the position of man's dependence upon his own works for eternal life. The ruling principles of these systems may, perhaps, be susceptible of employment in the cause of truth or error; as Christ is said, Rev. i. 5, to be the Prince of the kings of the earth;-all principles and all systems, whether true or false, being subordinate in effect to the grand design of an eventual manifestation of the truth. But these kings of the earth, we presume, are to be considered as altogether engaged in the service of the false system of the harlot; they have become amalgamated and identified with that system, and are consequently, like that system, destined for destruction;-such destruction being implied, apparently, in the results of the great battle described at the conclusion of the nineteenth chapter. The kings of the earth indeed are mentioned, Rev. xxi. 24, as bringing their glory and honour into the holy city; but this is subsequent to the passing away of the first earth, as well as the first heaven; consequently, these latter kings are those of the new earth-ruling principles of systems, depending upon the new position of salvation by grace alone.
And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk,' &c.-The inhabitants, οἱ κατοικοῦντες τὴν γῆς—those against whom the three woes were denounced, (Rev. viii. 13;) the dwellers upon the earth, whose names are not written in the book of life, as explained in the eighth verse of this chapter; those that are to be tried in the hour of trial, mentioned Rev. iii. 10; those upon whom the blood of the souls under the altar was to be avenged, (Rev. vi. 10;) those that were tormented by the two witnesses or prophets, and rejoiced over their dead bodies, (Rev. xi. 10;) those against whom the accuser came down, (Rev. xii. 12 ;) those that worshipped the beast, and that were deluded by the false prophet into making an image to the beast, (Rev. xiii. 12 and 14 ;) those concerning whom the everlasting gospel was to be preached, (Rev. xiv. 6;) and finally, those constituting the host of the defeated armies whose flesh was given to the fowls, (Rev. xix. 21.) These apocalyptic inhabitants of the earth, we suppose, like the kings reigning over them, to be principles or elements of the earthly system; all destined to destruction either prior to, or simultaneously with, the passing away of the first earth. We suppose, also, these inhabitants of the earth to be identic with the men not having the seal of God in their foreheads, (Rev. ix. 4, 10;) the men sealed representing elements taken out of the mass of earthly principles. So when it is said, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them," we are to notice that this, as in the case of the kings, is subsequent to the passing away of the old earth. These men are the men of the new earth, or the sealed ones of the old earth transferred to a true position; corresponding with the change experienced by those who came out of great tribulation ;" and of whom it is said, he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them, (Rev. vii. 14, 15.)
The term inhabiters of the earth, or dwellers upon the earth, or they that dwell upon the earth, does not occur in the Apocalypse subsequent to the close of this chapter; which confirms us in the supposition that this class of elements is supposed to be involved in the destruction of Babylon, or in that of the great battle before alluded to. The sealed ones taken from among men, are not termed dwellers upon or inhabiters of the earth, because they are in the light of those who have here no continuing city: they are strangers and pilgrims; they may be men, but they do not depend upon the earth for a dwelling or a tabernacle, or a shelter from the wrath
These inhabitants of the earth are spoken of as having been made drunk with the wine of the harlot; or rather, as it should be expressed, having become drunken, (inebriati sunt, Leusden and Beza.) The term does not necessarily imply a state of insensibility; it signifies either extreme satiety, or that state of intoxication which may be said to be akin to insanity. The intoxicated individual, unable to distinguish between a friend or foe, attacks
with equal hostility every object coming in his way; so these principles of the earthly system, under the influence of the wine of the harlot, become elements of destruction or perversion to all connected with them.
The wine possessing this intoxicating quality, we have already supposed to be the opposite of the wine of the marriage feast, (§ 332)—the good wine reserved for the last manifestation-the new wine to be participated in by the followers of Jesus in his Father's kingdom; not new as compared with old, which is said to be better, (Luke v. 39,) but wine of a new kind— the water of purification (the atonement of Jesus) becoming the element of eternal enjoyment, making glad the heart of man throughout eternity, (Ps. civ. 15.) The wine of the harlot's fornication, on the contrary, we suppose to represent a false means of atonement; a mixture, a propitiation, partly of the atonement of Christ, and partly of some supposed propitiatory acts or qualities of the disciple. The elements of the earthly system, influenced by these mixed views in relation to the doctrine of atonement, are like men bereft of reason; or, if we confine our notion of this drunkenness to extreme satiety, we may say these elements are so overcharged with the false views of atonement in contemplation, that it is not possible for them to admit any portion of the peculiar truths pertaining to this subject.
Drunkenness deludes the unhappy victim into a persuasion that he is pursuing a course of enjoyment, when he is actually destroying himself; so the false economy of salvation proffers a pretended means of atonement, promising eternal happiness, by which those adopting them fall into the dangerous error thus depicted; as it is said, Is. xxviii. 7, "But they also have erred through wine and strong drink; they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment." A similar allusion may be contemplated in what is said of the drunkards of Ephraim, Is. xxviii. 1-4, and other like passages of the prophets.
V. 3. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast,
full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
Καὶ ἀπήνεγκέ με εἰς ἔρημον ἐν πνεύματι· καὶ εἶδον γυναῖκα καθημένην ἐπὶ θηρίον κόκκινον, γέμον ὀνομάτων βλαςφημίας, ἔχον κεφαλὰς ἑπτὰ καὶ κέρατα δέκα.
383. So he carried me away in the spirit;' or, according to the Greek, in spirit; enabling the apostle to see the thing represented in its proper spiritual sense, (§ 24.)
Into the wilderness.'-The apostle was not literally taken into a wilderness, but in a spiritual sense he occupied a position analogous to that of being in a wilderness. It is only in such a spiritual wilderness that the system represented by the harlot can be seen or can appear in its full power. A wilderness is the opposite of a city; it is a place without enclosures,