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“Standing on the four corners of the earth” is an evident accommodation to the state of knowledge, and belief, of the period.
2. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising sun, having the seal of the living God, and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea.
3. Saying, Hurt not the earth nor the sea nor the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.
4. And I heard the number of them that were sealed, an hundred and forty-four thousand sealed of every tribe of the children of Israel.
5. Of the tribe of Juda, twelve thousand sealed ; of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand sealed.
6. Of the tribe of Aser, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Nephthali, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Manasses, twelve thousand sealed.
7. Of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand sealed.
8. Of the tribe of Zabulon, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand sealed.
These 144,000 Hebrew Christians appear again with the Lamb on Mount Sion at xiv. 1, and we are told that they “ are redeemed from among men the first fruits to God and the Lamb” (xiv. 4). They are, compared with the martyrs, a small body.
9. After these things I saw and behold a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palm branches in their hands.
Metà Taüta is translated " After these things” at iv. I, where, after “ the letters," a change of subject occurs. Here we see as the result of the ten persecutions, a countless multitude of martyrs of all nations, including those of the 144,000, who died a martyr's death.
Polvikes means "palm branches." And behold, in the Greek, is not in D.R.
10. And they cried out with a loud voice saying, Salvation to our God Who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb.
II. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and the Ancients and the four living creatures, and they fell down before the throne upon their faces and worshipped God, 12. Saying: Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom and
thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God, for ever and ever, Amen.
13. And one of the ancients answered and said to me, Who are these that are clothed in white robes, and whence are they come ?
14. And I said to him, My Lord, Thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they who have come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For “washed their robes,” see xxii. 14, note.
15. Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His Tabernacle, and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell over them.
Aatpeúovow here and at xxii. 3 are examples of the technical word " latria," used by the Church for the worship of God alone. The Seer's imagery is derived from the Temple of Jerusalem.
16. They shall not hunger or thirst any more, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat.
17. For the Lamb, Who is in the midst of the throne shall tend them and shall lead them to the fountains of waters of life, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
The verb trolpaívw means "to feed," "to tend” as a shepherd. It is harshly translated by the verb to rule (D.R.), which connects with the rod of iron at ii. 27, xii. 5, and xix. 15. Here the idea is to show forth the happiness of heaven.
We have the "river of water of life proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb" at xxii. I. There is a clear connection between this glimpse of the martyrs in heaven, and the picture of heaven at the end of the Book. It is manifested by the use of similar words and imagery, as “latria," “ day and night” (xxi. 2 f.), “the waters of life" and "thirst (xxi. 6), “no sun” (xxi. 23), “the Tabernacle" (xxi. 3), and "tears" (xxi. 4).
We are led to infer from this picture of the martyrs that they attain heaven at once. We see them again before the coming of the new Jerusalem, reigning with Christ at xx. 4.
CHAPTER VIII 1. And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven as it were for half an hour.
2. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
So far we have had évórioV fifteen times, each time translated “ before.”
3. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer up the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne.
The golden altar of incense stood in the Holy Place, before the ark, which was looked upon as the throne of God. The final " of God” (D.R.) is not in the Greek.
4. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.
5. And the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire from the altar and cast it on the earth, and there were thunders and voices and lightnings and an earthquake.
The fire for the golden altar of incense was taken as required from the altar of holocausts, which stood outside in the Priest's Court, where it would be quite safe to cast fire upon the ground. The Seer addressed Hebrews who would understand these things.
There is no great, before earthquake, in the Greek text, as in D.R.
6. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound the trumpet.
7. And the first sounded the trumpet, and there was hail and fire mingled with blood, and it was cast on the earth, and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The first "angel" of D.R. is not in the Greek; and there was *mnade" hail (D.R.) is not in accordance with the usual D.R. translation of γίγνομαι, see particularly viii. 5, εγένοντο βρονται.
The Jewish theme ends with "great hail” (xi. 19). In the Roman theme we have "great hail like a talent came down from heaven upon men” (xvi. 21). Plate VI. shows what a talent was like. The Roman ballistas, which were used in the sieges of the cities of Judea, and finally at Jerusalem, hurled projectiles of this kind with great force to a distance of about four hundred yards. These limestone balls were white in colour and roughly rounded like hailstones. Josephus says these stones were seen by the besieged a long way off owing to their brightness. The Romans therefore blackened them, after which many were destroyed at one blow (Wars V. 6, 3). Some of these stones have been found in building excavations in Jerusalem. See Plate IV.
8. And the second angel sounded the trumpet, and as it were a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea, and the third part of the sea became blood.
9. And the third part of the creatures died which had life in the sea, and the third part of the ships was destroyed.
10. And the third angel sounded the trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, burning as it were a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of the waters.
11. And the name of the star is called Wormwood, and the third part of the waters became as wormwood, and many men died of the waters, because they were bitter,
12. And the fourth angel sounded the trumpet, and the third part of the sun was smitten and the third part of the moon and the third part of the stars, so that the third part of them was darkened, and a third part of the day shined not, and the night in like manner.
13. And I saw and heard one eagle flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, Woe, Woe to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the rest of the trumpet voices of the three angels who are yet to sound the trumpet.
This proclamation warns the reader that “the inhabitants of the earth,” or Roman Empire, are involved in the woes of the last three trumpets.
The voice of “ one eagle” (D.R.) is not in the Greek.
CHAPTER IX I. And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet and I saw a star fallen from heaven upon the earth, and to him was given the Key of the pit of the abyss.
2. And he opened the pit of the abyss, and the smoke of the pit ascended as the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.
At vi. 12 the darkening of the sun represents the occultation of the Church, here it refers to Judaism in its religious aspect. “The air," the atmosphere of pride and luxury, was changed into one of misery.
3. And from the smoke there came out locusts upon the earth, and power was given to them as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Of the pit (D.R.) is not in the Greek.
The locusts did not come out of the pit directly; they came out of the smoke.
4. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree, but only the men who have not the seal of God on their foreheads.
At vii. 2, 4, Christians, chiefly Hebrew Christians, were sealed to protect them from the vengeance of God on their nation. They are represented here by “grass” and “green things” and trees; denoting all ranks. Eppayis is the baptismal
seal on the forehead (see vii. 3). The same word is used here, and should be translated seal, as before.
5. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should torment them five months, and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion which striketh a man.
6. And in those days men shall seek death and shall not find it, and they shall desire to die and death shall flee from them.
7. And the shape of the locusts was like unto horses prepared for battle, and on their heads as it were crowns like gold, and their faces as the faces of men.
On their heads were (D.R.) is not in the Greek.
8. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
9. And they had breastplates as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
10. And they had tails like to scorpions and stings were in their tails and their power was to hurt men five months.
II. And they had over them a King, the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon.
The exegesis adopted on p. 233, regarding Lucifer as the angel of the bottomless pit, needs revision. The fallen star of xi. I, to whom was given the Key of the pit of the Abyss, may be Lucifer. But Abaddon, who came out of the smoke of the pit with the locusts, seems to be a different being. His name Apollyon, the Destroyer, is a new name, unknown to Holy Writ. The name brings to mind the prophecy of Daniel. "And a people with their leader that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (ix. 26). Daniel's prophecy relates to the matter in hand, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Seer, we have reason to believe, has an eye on the Book of Daniel. He describes the locusts in such a way as to make it plain that they are an army of Roman soldiers. Locusts symbolise numbers and destruction. “And they had over them a King.” As a matter of fact Nero was King of the invaders who destroyed the city and the Temple. In the Roman theme, where the Seer is dealing with Nero as the Beast, he makes this verbal connection. “The Beast which thou sawest shall come up out of the Abyss and go to destruction” (xvii. 8), where “atrólelav,” from atolloni,“ to destroy," is the word used for “destruction.” Again at xvii. II, he refers to a Nero as the King who goeth to destruction-ánó elav, Daniel used a Chaldee word for “destroy.” The Septuagint uses the Greek verb diapoeipw, “ to destroy.” The Seer uses his own word for his own purpose, which seems to be to