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throne a book written within 2 And I saw a strong angel and on the back side, sealed proclaiming with a loud voice, with seven seals.
who is worthy to open the
hand ;” xxii. 10. | Seven seals. as if the heathen notions on these The book (or rather roll) was sealed subjects were correct ; but we have with seven seals. It was divided into no belief that Jesus or his apostles seven different parts, and each part intended to recognize the heathen was sealed by itself. This is easily fables concerning spirits to be true, understood, if we keep in mind the any more than they intended to acidea of the roll. One part was writ- | knowledge the doctrine of actual posten, and rolled up and sealed. An- sessions. That there are good angels, other was then written, rolled upon the who execute the will of God, we al. former, and also sealed; and so on to low. It is consistent both with Scripthe end. Thus, although there was ture and reason to think so. But but one roll, or book, there were that there is a chief prince of darkseven parts to it, each part beinz ness, the leader in all that is evil, the sealed by itself. It might have been tempter of mankind, having a legion divided into more parts, but seven is of ministers or imps at his command, the perfect number of the Apocalypse, is unreasonable, and exists only in and hence that division. These parts the language of allegory. God is could be taken off and read one atter omnipotent. He shares dominion the other; and thus one seal would with none. We do not hold the be opened at a time. The account of opinion of the Manicheans, viz., the the opening of these seals we shall existence of two eternally opposite find in the 6th, 7th and 8th chapters principles. Man is tempted when he of the Apocalypse. They are the is drawn away of his own lust and seven seals into which John was per- enticed. This will account for all mitted to look, one after another. sin, without the agency of any other When John wrote the Book of Rev. tempter. But in the parables, metelation, the end was near. He fore- aphors, and allegories of the Bible, told things that were “ shortly to come evil spirits are introduced, not to acto pass.”
The time for unsealing knowledge their real existence, but Daniel's book had come. It was the for scenical purposes. Did Jesus in. book of God's dealings with the Jews, tend to acknowledge the Jewish ideas or his will concerning the punishment of heaven, when he spoke of Abraof that people. Jesus had foretold ham's bosom? or the heathen notions their destruction; he had unfolded of hades, when he spoke of the great the purpose of God respecting them, gulf? Dr. Macknight says, “In
parand thus had opened the sealed book. abolical discourses, provided the doc
2. A strong angel. — We take ad. trines inculcated are strictly true, the vantage of this place to offer certain terms in which they are inculcated remarks on the angelology of the may be such as are most familiar to Apocalypse. It has already been in the ears of the vulgar, and the imtimated by us, that John makes much ages made use of such as they are use of angels in his descriptions. best acquainted with.” — (Par. and The heathen had long believed in the Com. on Luke xvi.)
We reject, existence of spiritual intelligences, therefore the notion of evil angels. such as we call angels, both good God is good; and the messengers, and bad. The Jews unquestionably who fulfil his pleasure, who inhabit became infected with their notions. his presence, must be good also. So The metaphorical language of the much we should infer from the Scrip. Bible, therefore, is sometimes framed | tures. The angel who came down
book, and to loose the seals 3 And no man in heaven, nor thereof?
in earth, neither under the from heaven to announce to the shep- 10. Angel of the bottomless pit ; herds the birth of the Redeemer is a ix. 11. proof of the existence of good angels. 11. Angels (four) in the river Eu. But here let us remark, that we phrates; ix. 14, 15. do not suppose all the good angels 12. Angel who declared the end of John mentions in the Apocalypse time ; x. 1, 5, 8, 9, 10; xi. 1 were actual existences, any more 13. Angels of Michael ; xii. 7. than the throne was an actual throne, 14. Angels of the Dragon; xii. or the four living creatures, or the 7, 9. four and twenty elders, were actual 15. Angel of the altar; xvi. 7. beings. They are introduced to fill 16. Angel of the sun ; xix. 17. up the imagery, and are to be re- 17. Angel with the key of the bot. garded as merely scenical, like the tomless pit ; xx. 1–3. cherubimn and flaming sword which 18. Angels of the gates of the New guarded Eden, after the expulsion of Jerusalem ; xxi. 12. our first parents; Gen. iii. 24. The We repeat that these angels are angels introduced by John may be not to be regarded, in all cases, as classed as follows :
actual beings. Some of them were 1. The apocalyptical angel, who so, as the angels of the seven revealed the whole Apocalypse to churches; but in general they are John, and who is mentioned only at merely scenical, and are introduced the beginning and the close; Rev. i. to preserve the forms of the allegory, 1; xxii. 6, 8.
or drama. The angel mentioned in 2. The angels of the churches, rep- the verse now under examination, resenting the leaders or ministers was one of the angels of proclamaof those churches; i. 20; ii. 1, 8, 12, tion, who inquired, with a loud voice, 18; iii. 1, 7, 14.
“Who is worthy to open the book, 3. Angels of proclamation ; v. 2 ; and to loose the seals thereof ?” viii. 13; xiv. 6, 8, 9, 15; xviii. 1, 2, 21. T Open the book. — The book was
4. Angels round about the throne, certainly the one mentioned in the to adore and honor the Father, who preceding verse; and, as we have were innumerable ; v. 11; vii. 11. said, it was the one which Daniel was
5. Angels of the elements, viz., ordered to seal up. The opening of Of the wind; vii. 1. Of fire; xiv. the book shows that the events fore. 18. Of the waters; xvi. 5.
told by Daniel, and which he was 6. Angel of the seal of God; vii. 2. ordered to seal up because they were 7. Angels of destruction ; vii. 2. not to be fulfilled in his day, were Here may also be put the angel with about to take place at the time the a sickle; xiv. 17, 19. The seven revelator wrote. Daniel's description angels of the plagues; xv. 1, 6, 7, 8; is in the following words : “And at xvi. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 17; xvii. 1, that time shall Michael stand up, the 3, 7, 15; xxi. 9, 17.
great prince which standeth for the 8. Angels of presence. Of these children of thy people; and there there were seven, who are sometimes shall be a time of trouble, such as represented by seven lamps, and never was since there was a nation again by seven eyes; i. 4; iii. 5. even to that same time ; and at that They did the duty of trumpet angels; time thy people shall be delivered, viii. 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13; ix. 1, 13, every one that shall be found written 14; x. 7 ; xi. 15; xiv. 10.
in the book, And many of them that 9. Angel of the golden censer ; viii. sleep in the dust of the earth shall 3, 4, 5.
awake, some to everlasting life, and
earth, was able to open the book, | open, and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because 5 And one of the elders saith no man was found worthy to unto me, Weep not : behold, the some to shame and everlasting con- been a matter of very great sorrow to tempt. And they that be wise shall all good Christians if the sealed vision shine as the brightness of the firma- of Daniel had not been opened to their ment; and they that turn many to understandings, so the revelator reprighteousness, as the stars_forever resents himself as weeping when no and ever ;' Dan. xii. 1–3. This cer- man dare come forward at the chaltainly had respect to the destruction lenge of the angel. We think this is of Jerusalem; for so our Lord him. all that the imagery of these three self applied the prophecy, Matt. xxiv. verses is designed to convey. 21. The judgment mentioned by 5. One of the elders. — That is, one Daniel was the judgment which took of the four-and-twenty elders menplace at that time; John v. 22—29. tioned in the preceding chapter. This Compare carefully all the texts here is introduced merely to fill up the imnamed. The book which Daniel agery, and to prepare the reader for sealed being about to be opened, what is to come. T The lion. - The shows that the events foretold by that lion is the king of beasts. It is a re. prophet are those which are described markable fact that both Jesus and the by the revelator in the second section adversary are compared to the lion. of the Apocalypse, and that they re- Compare 1 Peter v. 8 with the pas. ferred to the destruction of Jerusalem. sage before us. The reason is, that For the opening of the seven seals, the lion is the king of beasts, see chapters vi. vii. and viii.
animal of great power.
The lion, 3. Heaven, earth, neither under the when he stands for the adversary, is earth. - The meaning here is simply enraged, a roaring, furious lion. this: no man was there in the uni- [ Of the tribe of Juda. — Judah was verse who could break the seven one of the sons of Jacob; Gen. xxix. seals of the book. Heaven, earth 35. He it was who saved the life of and under the earth, is a periphrasis Joseph; who suggested to his breth. for the universe. See remarks on ren intent on his death, the selling of Rev. v. 13. No man could disclose him to the Ishmaelites; Gen. xxxvii. the meaning of the sealed roll of 20—22 and 26–27. He was always Daniel ; it was not in the power regarded as the most powerful of all of human reason or philosophy to Jacob's sons. When the dying patri foretell events yet future. Daniel's arch called his children around him prophecy had respect to events that to tell them what should befall them were far future when he wrote ; they in the latter days, he said, “ Judah, were also future, but were near at hand, thou art he whom thy brethren shall when the revelator wrote Who should praise; thy hand shall be in the neck foretell them? Who should be able of thine enemies; thy father's chil. to show with certainty the matters to dren shall bow down before theewhich Daniel referred, and trace them Judah is a lion's whelp; from the out in their several particulars ? No prey, my son, thou art gone up: he mere man could do it. The angel chal. stooped down, he couched as a lion, lenged ; and no man could answer. and as an old lion; who shall rouse
4. I wept much. That is, the rev- him up ?! Gen. xlix. 8, 9. The elator wept much. This is in keep twelve tribes into which the Jews ing with the general character of this were divided were named after Ja. part of the vision. As it would have cob's twelve sons. These twelve
Lion of the tribe of Juda, the to open the book, and to loose
6 And I beheld, and lo, in midst of the elders, stood a the midst of the throne, and Lamb as it had been slain, havof the four beasts, and in the ing seven horns, and seven eyes,
The meaning here seems to be as says, this Lamb had the appearance follows: I saw, between the throne of having been slain. This is an and the four beasts, and in the midst evident reserence to the crucifixion of the elders who were seated round of Jesus, and it serves to fix the appliabout the throne. This would bring cation more directly upon him. "A the Lamb the nearest to the throne Lamb as it had been slain' was an of any, except him who sat upon it. expressive emblem of “Jesus and Jesus shares the honor of heaven him crucified." What marks there with the Father. He is exalted far were about the Lamb to denote that above principalities and powers, at he had been offered in sacrifice, we the right hand of the majesty on high. shall not undertake to conjecture. The throne is therefore called “the There could arise no possible benefit throne of God and the Lamb;" Rev. from it. Without it we get the great xxii. 1. TA Lamb. - This is the fact intended to be conveyed, viz., emblem which the revelator delighted that the Lamb which appeared before to apply to the Lord Jesus. It is a the throne was one which had been figure borrowed from the sacrifices manifestly offered in sacrifice; and of the Jews. The lamb was used in was, therefore, a very fit emblem of sacrifice; and being the most harm the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on less and innocent of animals, and the altar of sacrifice for the sins of all Jesus being a sin-offering for the men. | Having seven horns. — The whole world, he is called “the Lamb horn is a sign of power. All animals of God, who taketh away the sin of which have horns find their power the world ;”. John i. 29, 36. Such | in them. They are their means of was the origin of the figure. Isaiah defence. The horn was a very comrepresents Jesus under that emblem ; mon metaphor among the ancients. liii. 7; and this matter came up for The Lord exalted the horn of David, consideration between Philip and the and the horn of his people; he breakEthiopian; Acts viii. 32. With the eth the horn of the ungodly; he cutexception of the instances referred to, teth off the horn of Moab; he cutand an additional one in Peter, no teth off in his fierce anger all the other New Testament writer mentions horn of Israel. Being about to repChrist under the figure of a Lamb, resent Jesus under the figure of a except John. And it is difficult for Lamb, and wishing also to ascribe us to resist the conviction that Peter great power to him, no metaphor that quoted his language from the Apoca- could be conceived of would have lypse; compare 1 Pet. i. 19, 20, with been more agreeable to the prevalent Rev. xiii. 8. If this supposition be manner of writing at the time, than correct, the date of the Apocalypse to invest the Lamb with horns; and was much earlier than critics gen- as seven was a number denoting erally have placed it, For instances completeness and perfection, seven in which John in his Gospel speaks horns conveyed the idea of perfect of Christ as a Lamb, see ch. i. 29, 36. power. | Seven eyes. — Here is the For the occurrence of the metaphor in same number of eyes as of horns; the Apocalypse, see v. 6, 8, 12, 13; and the seven eyes, we are told, are vi. 1, 16; vii. 9, 10, 14, 17; xii. 11; the seven spirits of God sent forth xii. 8; xiv. 1, 4, 10; xv. 3; xvii. into all the earth. It is remarkable 14; xix. 7, 9; xxi. 9, 14, 22, 23, 27; how a slight circumstance will some. xxii. 1. Slain. — The revelator | times make an apparently difficult