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To assert the supremacy of the Lamb (God manifest in the flesh) over the kings of the earth, in the ordinary sense, would appear the proposition of a mere truism. We cannot suppose this to be the design of a mystic revelation like that under consideration; but when we apply this supremacy of Christ to legal and even to moral principles, as we have done, then indeed we perceive something like the development of a mystery-a hidden mystery.
A case in point may illustrate the nature of the supremacy we have in view. The law required the strict observance of the Sabbath; so strict as not even to allow the gathering of manna on that day; so strict as to call for the death of him who was found gathering sticks on that day yet Jesus allowed his disciples to pluck the ears of wheat on the Sabbath, and to prepare the grain for eating, by rubbing it in their hands. The disciples were accused of doing that which was not lawful. This point was not controverted by Jesus. He took higher ground: "The Son of man," said he, "is Lord (master) of the Sabbath," Luke vi. 1-5. God instituted the Sabbath, and God alone can be said to be Lord or master of it. Jesus, therefore, as God manifest in the flesh, here asserted his prerogative. As he made the law originally, so he was master of it, to modify or even to dispense with it. In like manner, he is Chief of chiefs and Master of masters of the elements of law, as well as of all the elements of nature; and it is for this reason that his propitiatory satisfaction of the law is adequate to the requisition.
And they that are with him (are) called, and chosen, and faithful.'-The verb are is supplied in our common version, and the Latin version of G. and L. supplies the pronoun qui, (who.) We might perhaps with equal propriety supply both, and read the clause, For he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and those with him, who are called both chosen and faithful-alluding to the true sayings of God, Rev. xix. 9, and xxii. 6; and to the true and faithful words (oi 2óyou mustoi xai ahnviroi) spoken of Rev. xxi. 5. The terms translated called and chosen, occur nowhere else in the Apocalypse. We suppose all these epithets to apply to elements of the plan of salvation by grace-elements of Gospel truth-probably the same as the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed ones seen with the Lamb on the Mount Zion, and supposed to accompany him throughout the circumstances here narrated; the element of propitiation (the Lamb,) together with all the other elements of the divine plan of salvation, maintaining a predominance over the legal principles represented by these ten kings. Christ has laboured, and his ransomed followers enter into his labours. His disciples are the beneficiaries for whom the battle has been fought; they have not been sharers in the contest, nor can they claim any part of the glory or sovereignty resulting from the victory, except it be by imputation. All the elements of divine goodness, led on by
the chief element, (a divine atonement,) have been engaged in manifesting the work of man's redemption-man himself is but the sinner sayed.
V. 15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Καὶ λέγει μοι· τὰ ὕδατα ἃ εἶδες, οὗ ἡ πόρνη κάθηται, λαοὶ καὶ ὄχλοι εἰσὶ καὶ ἔθνη καὶ γλῶσσαι.
§ 396. And he saith unto me,' &c.-In making the explanatory relation occupying the last five verses, the angel appears as if led away from his original design of showing the mystery of the woman, and he now goes back to resume the thread of his narration where he left it, in the ninth verse. The harlot was then spoken of as sitting upon seven mountains, and now the reader or the apostle is reminded that this site is identic with that of the many waters upon which she was said to sit at the commencement of the chapter.
We have already spoken of these waters as symbolic of professed means of atonement peculiar to the earthly system; these professed means, when classed under seven heads, appearing as seven foundations, (mountains,) upon which a mixed system of salvation may be supposed to rest, and the same means figuratively spoken of as waters of the earth, in allusion to the rivers of the ancient empire of Babylon, being equally symbolized by peoples, multitudes, &c., as pseudo powers of salvation belonging to the earthly system; these last appellations (peoples, nations, &c.) being as much terms of vision and as figurative as the waters, horns, mountains, or kings. The sitting of the harlot upon these peoples, nations, &c., may represent the support furnished to the mixed system by these false foundations, and the reciprocal influence of this mixed system upon the earthly principles sustaining itan influence already alluded to as producing the insanity by which all participants of the cup of Babylon are characterized. These nations, however, as well as the kings just noticed, are to be overcome by him who is Lord of lords, who is to rule them as with a rod of iron. So, likewise, the time also is to come when the mountain of the Lord's house is to be established on the tops of the mountains, when these seven foundations upon which the woman sitteth will appear in their proper subordinate light, or, like the old earth, will have passed away.
This variety of illustration we do not suppose to be unnecessary or merely ornamental: no doubt each of the figures afford illustrations peculiar to themselves, none of them being so redundant as to be spared without prejudice to the completeness of the revelation.
Vs. 16, 17. And the ten horns which
Καὶ τὰ δέκα κέρατα, ἃ εἶδες, καὶ τὸ θηthou sawest upon the beast, these shall ρίον, οὗτοι μισήσουσι τὴν πόρνην, καὶ ἠρε
hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh,
and burn her with fire. For God hath
put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
μωμένην ποιήσουσιν αὐτὴν καὶ γυμνήν, καὶ τὰς σάρκας αὐτῆς φάγονται, καὶ αὐτὴν καὶ τακαύσουσιν ἐν πυρί. ̔Ο γὰρ Θεὸς ἔδωκεν εἰς τὰς καρδίας αὐτῶν, ποιῆσαι τὴν γνώμην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ποιῆσαι γνώμην μίαν, καὶ δοῦναι τὴν βασιλείαν αὑτῶν τῷ θηρίῳ, ἄχρι τελεστ θήσονται οἱ λόγοι τοῦ θεοῦ.
397. And the ten horns,' &c.-These horns or powers are those just now declared to be ten kings, but the figure is again changed or brought back to its original character, to adapt it to the particular illustration about to be made. Not only so, with the license of vision these horns are represented as themselves carnivorous animals, and also as animals or persons capable of the passion of hatred, as well as of exercising a certain degree of reason and intelligence.
These shall hate,' &c.-The verb is the same as that employed in speaking of the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, (Rev. ii. 6.) We suppose the hatred to be of a like character in both cases: the first indeed is spoken of as the hatred of God, and the last as that of the ten horns; but then the reason assigned for this hatred of the horns is, that God has put it into their hearts to do his will. The horns hate because God hath caused them to hate. We have supposed the Nicolaitan system to be a mixture of pretended faith in Christ, and of real dependence upon one's own righteousness; and the system of the harlot to be the same species of mixture. The ten horns represent the law: the law is as much opposed to a mixed system as the clement of sovereign grace is opposed to it. The tendency of the law (unlawfully used) is to establish the dominion of self; the law recognizes no middle course whoever fulfils the law, must do it altogether for himself. If a man fulfil the law entirely for himself, the glory is entirely his, and he is independent of God. Thus, the requisitions of the law, if limited in their action to man's fulfilment, act on the side of self. Self, in pursuit of vainglory, in its efforts to maintain the independence of man, may give birth to a mixed system, originate and sustain such a system, but the law in the nature of the case is opposed to every modified plan of this kind;-every one of its requisitions must be obeyed, and this exactly. The law hates the harlot system, because, on the principle of law, there can be no division of glory. God hates the harlot system, or the Nicolaitan system, because, on the principle of grace, He will not divide his glory with another. Thus the principles of the law and the gospel are equally opposed to a plan of salvation of the character of an amalgamation.
And shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.'-Here are four several illustrations of the action of these horns, all of them resulting as we apprehend in the one action of the law
upon the mixed system, showing its entire worthlessness and inefficacy in furnishing a means of salvation.
The scriptural figure of a desolate woman, is that of something entirely barren and unfruitful; not merely an unmarried woman, but one without children;-children, as already noticed, being figures of merits or means of justification; as, in patriarchal times, the whole family of the head of a tribe constituted his political power, his means of defence, upon which he relied in any contest with a neighbouring chieftain. Children, too, as handing down the name of their progenitors to posterity, were depended upon for maintaining the glory of the house. The action of the law upon the harlot or mixed system, proves it to be incapable of furnishing any merit or righteousness, or means of salvation or of glory: thus brought to the test of the law, it is proved to be desolate.
Corresponding with this action, the same test shows this system to be incapable of furnishing a garment of salvation or a robe of righteousThe harlot never did appear arrayed in the fine linen which is the righteousness of the saints; she pretended to consider, we may suppose, her trappings of purple and scarlet to be far better than a clothing of linen, pure and white. The mixed system professes to furnish a vesture of propitiation. of man's own working out; as if the sinner had trodden the wine-press for himself; but being tried by the requisitions of the law, it is manifested to be incapable of furnishing any garment of salvation equal to affording a shelter from the wrath to come: the harlot is made naked, or manifested to be so.
In the same manner we have supposed flesh to represent the moral perfection or righteousness constituting the means of eternal life. The flesh of the harlot must represent the pretended moral perfection proposed to be acquired by that mixed system. The exactions of the law applied to this perfection eats it up, as a voracious animal devours flesh without being satisfied by it, and as all the offerings for sin under the law were eaten up or otherwise entirely consumed; while the one offering of the body of Jesus, after having satisfied all the requirements of infinite justice, remained itself entire not a bone of it was broken; nor did his flesh see corruption;-his offering alone being more than sufficient to meet the requisition.
§ 398. And burn her with fire.'-This last figure comprehends apparently the action of the other three. The revealed word, as we have repeatedly assumed, is the fire by which every doctrine or doctrinal element is to be tried. The law, brought to bear upon the system of the harlot, destroys all its pretensions; but this process of bringing the law to act upon the doctrinal system in question, is effected through the operation of the revealed word—the last bearing testimony to the first. The requisi
tions of the law (the ten horns) thus act through the instrumentality of the word of revelation-the word of God, understood in its proper spiritual sense; and which the Lord himself compares to a fire, (Jer. xxiii. 29.)
This description of the fate of the harlot corresponds very nearly with that given by the apostle James of the fate of the rich-those esteeming themselves rich, in a spiritual sense:-"Go to, (ye) rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon (you) your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and your silver are cankered; and the rust of them shall be witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire." There is something also in the character and tendency of the mixed system very closely resembling the characteristics of the angel of the Laodicean church; as it is said of that angel, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth, because thou sayest, I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."
There is a difference in the reading of the Greek editions in the first part of this verse. According to some, as in our common English version, the ten horns only of the beast hate and make war upon the harlot; according to others, as in the Greek from which we copy, the ten horns and the beast unite in this hatred and hostile action. We are inclined to think our common version most correct in this particular, although were it otherwise the difference would not affect our construction. In the nature of the case, self (the beast) as well as the law must be hostile to the mixed system, because self claims the whole glory of the work of salvation; representing man to be equal with God, in being the efficient cause of his own eternal life and happiness. It might be still a question whether God could be said to put it into the heart of self, as well as into that of the ten horns or elements of the law, "to do his will." We think it might be so spoken, as in the case of Pharoah, whose heart God is said to have hardened; that is, God put it into the heart of Pharoah to refuse to let the children of Israel go, in order that by so doing the miraculous power exercised in their behalf might be exhibited, and the whole typical action of their history carried out for the subsequent illustration of gospel truth. So far we esteem the difference of editions immaterial. In either case, the powers to which the harlot trusted, by which the scheme of adulteration is sustained, (whether powers of the ten horns alone, or their powers with that of the beast,) become eventually the instruments of her destruction. The confused system of amalgamation is first destroyed; after which, the question of compromise being at an end, the beast (self) throws off all disguise-that wicked is revealed