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Vs. 5-8. Of the tribe of Juda (were) εκ φυλής Ιούδα ιβ' χιλιάδες εσφραγισsealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben (were) sealed twelve hogana. μένοι, εκ φυλής “Ρουβήν ιβ' χιλιάδες εσφραOf the tribe of Gad (were) sealed twelve γισμένοι, εκ φυλής Γαδ ιβ' χιλιάδες εσφρα. thousand. Of the tribe of Aser (were) youévoi, ix qulis 'Aoi8' zudes tosealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of φραγισμένοι, εκ φυλής Νεφθαλείμ ιβ' χιλιNephthalim (were) sealed twelve thou- údes coqgayiouévoi, £x quañs Murason is sand. of the tribe of Manasses (were), χιλιάδες εσφραγισμένοι, εκ φυλής Συμεών sealed twelve thousand. Simeon (were) sealed twelve thousand. 18 xhuedes eoygayouévoi, éx quiis tevi Of the tribe of Levi (were) sealed twelve 18 y hundes coqgayouévoi, ex quis 'Ioathousand. Of the tribe of legachar (were) χάρ ιβ' χιλιάδες εσφραγισμένοι, εκ φυλής sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Ζαβουλών ιβ' χιλιάδες εσφραγισμένοι, εκ Zabulon (were) sealed twelve thousand. of the tribe of Joseph (were) sealed puhis logio 15' xiducides togpuruauiroi
, twelve thousand. of the tribe of Benja- éx quáīs Berlauì iß' xıdıádes doggugio. min (were) sealed twelve thousand. μένοι.
$ 176. Of the tribe of,' &c.-We cannot suppose this very minute enumeration to have been introduced without some particular design ; some important meaning being conveyed in this allotment of equal numbers to each of the twelve tribes ; such as to represent the classification of a certain number of truths, under so many different heads. Perhaps a proper interpretation of the names of the patriarchs, with a consideration of their several characters, the locations allotted to them, and the predictions concerning each of them, in the blessing of Jacob, (Gen. xlix. 3–27,) together with the history of the tribes, as far as it is handed down to us, might throw light upon the meaning here contemplated.
It is worthy of notice that, in the order here observed, the tribe of Judah ranks first, although Judah was not the first-born of the sons of Jacob. Otherwise than this order, there is no distinction, or appearance of preference. The tribe of Judah has no more sealed than either of the others, notwithstanding our Lord sprang out of Judah, (Heb. vii. 14.) Nor has Issachar any less than Judah, although the last was compared by his dying father to a lion, and the former to an ass crouching down between two burthens. Levi has no more sealed than Benjamin, although Levi represented the priesthood, the immediate attendants of the altar, the recipient of the tithes, and as a body the type of Him who is a priest forever ; while Benjamin is the last and the least, both in the order of the Apocalypse and in that of the patriarchal benediction.
Only a select number of each tribe were sealed; thus the difference between the sealed and the remainder of a tribe may as a figure correspond with the difference between the chosen people of God and the nations, or between Jew and Gentile, the tribes of Israel and the tribes of the earth ; parallel with the difference between select adopted principles, or elements of the economy of grace, and those which are not of this character.
It is to be noticed, too, that Dan is excluded from this enumeration ; the half tribe of Manasses being substituted for the tribe of Dan. Consequently
Dan has no part in this sealing operation. None of the principles sealed, are classed under the head, or as belonging to the tribe of Dan.
The Hebrew word Dan, signifies judgment; and it was said of this patriarch by his father, “Dan shall judge his people.” The name Manasses, signifies forgetfulness, or something forgotten. Thus we have forgetfulness substituted for judgment. A change apparently alluded to, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34, and quoted Heb. viii. 12, and x. 17: “For I will be merciful to their uprighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” So it is said, Is. xliii. 18 and 25, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.” “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” We have in this change an intimation that no offspring of the judicial element is exempt, or to be exempted from the effect of withholding the four winds. The element of judgment belongs to the old economy, that of the lettersomething intended to be deprived of life, upon reaching a certain stage of maturity ; and as, without the principle of life itself, incapable of giving life to others, (Gal. iii. 21.)
Dan however is not described in the paternal benediction merely as a judge. He is said to be also “a serpent by the way ;'
an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels so that the rider shall fall backwards ;" and such in fact would be the action of the judicial element, if admitted into the economy of salvation, the horse of Scripture being, as we have before remarked, ($ 146,) the war horse—that upon which the rider depends for strength and safety. This animal thus represents the means of salvation, or that merit by which alone justification can be obtained. The serpent we suppose to represent the accusing principle, and the adder a deadly serpent, acting with the sting of death ; which sting is declared to be sin. Dan thus represents the judicial accusing principle—the prosecutor as well as the judge—the power charged with urging the condemnation of the transgressor. Of course none of this kindred could be admitted amongst the elements of the plan of redemption, represented as we suppose by the sealed one hundred and forty-four thousand.
Manasses was one of the sons of Joseph; yet Joseph and Manasseh have each twelve thousand sealed. We cannot but suppose some meaning in this peculiarity ; but for the present we must content ourselves with the suggestion that this something, when revealed, will probably throw additional light upon the doctrine of the substitution of the elements of mercy for those of justice.
Vs. 9, 10. Aster this I beheld, and lo, Μετά ταύτα είδον, και ιδού όχλος πολύς, a great multitude, which no man could ον αριθμήσαι αυτόν ουδείς ήδύνατο, εκ πανnumber, of all nations, and kindreds, and tos e grous xai quhūv xai haww xaÌ y.wo. people, and tongues, stood before the ihrone, and before the Lamb, clothed with owy, ło tūTES ÉVÓRIOV toŬ Ipórov xai iva. white robes, and palms in their hands ; πιον του αρνίου, περιβεβλημένους στολές and cried with a loud voice, saying, Sal- λευκάς, και φοίνικες εν ταις χερσίν αυτών: vation to our God which sitteth upon the και κράζουσι φωνή μεγαλη λέγοντες· η σωthrone, and unto the Lamb.
τηρία τω θεώ ημών τώ καθημένη επί του
θρόνου και το αρνίω. $ 177. “After this I beheld,' &c.—Here, again, a scenic change is to be supposed.
* And lo, a great multitude,' &c.—It does not appear that the one hundred and forty-four thousand were part of this multitude; but the ascription of praise, &c., appears to be a consequence of the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand. This offspring of the twelve tribes becoming, by their being sealed, the instruments of manifesting the benefit, and the innumerable multitude representing apparently the beneficiaries. The word translated nations, is the same as that frequently rendered Gentiles, in contradistinction to the one nation, or Jews; and the word rendered in the ninth verse kindred, is the same as that translated in the preceding verses tribes. After having witnessed the sealing of this select portion of the tribes of the children of Israel, the apostle saw an immense multitude out of all Gentiles, all tribes, all people, of all tongues ; all of this variety virtually ascribing salvation to God and to the Lamb. The multitude was not an aggregate of all nations, tribes, &c., but it was composed of those taken out of these different bodies, as twelve thousand were taken out of each of the twelve tribes. This multitude stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They represent something ever in the sight of, and regarded with complacency by, the Sovereign and the Redeemer—something acceptable to the judicial and propitiatory attributes of the Supreme Being.
• Clothed in white robes.'—They belonged to the system of salvation by imputed righteousness. They wore the livery, the uniform of the Redeemer's host. As the one hundred and forty-four thousand were sealed or marked, as we suppose, by some characteristic of the economy of grace, such perhaps as the principle of salvation by virtue of the atonement of Christ, so the members of this immense concourse wear the array of divine righteousness, as belonging to the system of justification through the imputed perfection of Jehovah. If not themselves disciples, their position being regarded as analogous to that of disciples rejoicing in the atonement and righteousness of Christ, as the means of their salvation.
So we may say, the manifestation of the doctrine of justification by imputed righteousness depends upon the exhibition of the truth of the
propitiatory provision. The first cannot be shown to be valid, unless the latter be so likewise. The sinner could not be counted to possess the merit of Christ's righteousness, if the penalty of his transgressions were not borne by his divine substitute ; as, on the other hand, the operation of this atonement is that which exhibits the purity and perfection of the righteousness wrought out by the substitute, and transferred to the justified believer. For which reason, these justified ones are said to have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. As soon as the sealing of the evidences of atonement was accomplished, then this multitude appeared in white; the manifestation of one truth thus depending upon that of the other ; corresponding with what we have before suggested, that the design of this revelation is not to show who are saved, but upon what principles all or any are saved, and upon what principles all or any are condemned.
· And palms in their hands.'-Branches of palm trees were anciently emblems of victory. The victory gained here is supposed to have been manifested by the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand ; and in testimony of this triumph, the multitude clothed in white carry their palms. It is not a victory gained by themselves that they celebrate, but one achieved by their leader—a victory just made known, or certified, by the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand.
As the twenty-four elders, chap. iv. 10, fall down and cast their crowns before him that sitteth on the throne, when the four living creatures give glory, honour, and thanks; so this multitude appear in their white robes, and with their emblems of victory, and utter their ascription of praise immediately after the completion of the operation of sealing. In like manner, the ascription of salvation to the twofold object—Him that sitteth on the throne and the Lamb—corresponds with the ascription of blessing, honour, glory, and power, spoken of Rev. v. 13, as rendered to the same twofold object by every created thing in earth, on the earth, and under the earth ; God and the Lamb appeariny as joint operators in the work of redemption, although one Being alone (God) is spoken of in the subsequent verse as him that liveth for ever and ever.
Vs. 11, 12. And all the angels stood Και πάντες οι άγγελοι ειστήκεισαν κύκλο round about the throne, and about the του θρόνου και των πρεσβυτέρων και των elders and the four beasts, and fell before τεσσάρων ζώων, και έπεσον ενώπιον του God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glo- đạoot &ì mà mọócome air, xaì Tạo? ry, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and rivijay to Fry, heyovreç• duiv. “ sidohonour, and power, and might, be unto yiu xui ń dóšu xai i oogia xai i siyaon our God for ever and ever. Amen.
στία και η τιμή και η δύναμις και η ισχύς τω θεώ ημών εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων: αμήν. .
$ 178.' And all the angels stood,' &c.—This ascription of homage is represented as offered, not by the four living creatures, and twenty-four elders, but by the angels surrounding the throne, and surrounding these twentyeight elements also. In this respect, it corresponds with the action of the angels, described Rev. v. 11 and 12, the number of whom was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. On the previous occasion,
6 God so
however, the ascription of these myriads of angels was to the Lamb, declarative of his worthiness to receive the seven elements of homage enumerated; this was before the opening of any of the seals. On the second, or present occasion, the same seven elements of homage, with one exception, are ascribed to the sovereign God; the exception consisting in the substitution of thanksgiving for riches.
Riches were ascribed to the Lamb on account of his being slain, because by his work of propitiation he paid the ransom of the souls of his redeemed. This ransom constituting these riches, or we may say, perhaps, the power of effecting this ransom, vested in the Lamb, is represented as so much riches given to him by the sovereign God for this express purpose. Now, after the opening of the sixth seal, and the sealing of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, these riches are supposed to be no longer called for. The kingdom is given up to the Father, and to him is ascribed thanksgiving for the benefit obtained through these riches of Christ : the Lamb has the praise of the work, but to the sovereign God the tribute of gratitude for the whole work is finally manifested to be due. Both receive the ascription of blessing, of glory, of wisdom, of honour, of power, and of might, but it is especially God, as the source of sovereign grace, who claims our gratitude: loved the world that he sent his only Son to save the world.” It is the riches of Christ's merits, instrumentally, which effect this salvation : but God is the source whence these riches come, and thence to him the offering of thanksgiving is made: the Lamb being temporarily represented as the medium through which the favour is conferred, in order the better to adapt the mysterious process to human comprehension.
The angels do not speak of this redemption as being themselves the subjects of it, but no one can say that they are not under obligations of gratitude to the Supreme Being, equal to those of men ; if they excel other creatures in any thing, it is God only who has made them to differ. Their language on the present occasion may be considered declarative of a general position, viz., that these several elements of homage are due to the Deity from all his creatures; their action, like that of the myriads described in the fifth chapter, being in the character of a grand chorus—a response to the invocation of the Psalmist, “ Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion : bless the Lord, O my soul.”
The repetition of the same elements of praise, with the exception above noted, may be designed to remind us that God and the Lamb, although severally spoken of, are equally entitled to the same homage; and this so