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which are the seven Spirits of book out of the right hand of God sent forth into all the earth. him that sat upon the throne.
7 And he came and took the 8 And when he had taken
matter very plain. How did the was not intended. But worship was prophet Zechariah represent the all intended in this place ; for there are pervading vision of God? Ans. By all the accompaniments of worship. * seven eyes;" ch. iii. 9. And in the The worshippers all have harps in next chapter_ he said, "they are the their hands, and golden vials full of eyes of the Lord, which run to and odors. Some think it wrong to wor. fro through the whole earth;" iv. 10. ship Christ. They believe that God Here, evidently, the revelator found alone ought to be worshipped. Christ his metaphor; and there is another they declare is a creature, and divine metaphor in this section of Zecha- honors ought not to be paid to him. riah's prophecy, of which we shall To this we do not agree. We allow see, in another place, that the reve- that God alone ought to be worshipped lator made great use. By the seven as God; and the living creatures and eyes of the Lamb, sent forth, as the the elders, as we shall see, did not angels of God, unto all the earth, was worship the Lamb as God the Father. signified his all-pervading vision. It is true that Christ is a creature;
7. And he (the Lamb] came and took but he is also something else. He is the book. — Did the Lamb take the “the Lamb of God that taketh away book ? inquires Prof. Stuart; or was the sin of the world ;" and this can the head only a lamb, and the rest a be said of no other being in heaven human figure? Thus he goes on or on earth. If by divine honors be with his questions. It seems to us meant the honors due to God alone, that the true explanation is, that the we allow that such honors ought not revelator passes easily from the met. to be paid to Christ; but if by divine aphor to the being signified by it. honors be merely meant honors paid The Lamb, i. e., he who was signified to a divine person, then Jesus is entiby the Lamb, took the book. TOut tled to divine honors. We cannut of the right hand of him that sat upon possibly, in any way, understand the the throne. – That is, he derived all chapter which we are now examin. his knowledge from the Father. The ing, if Jesus may not rightfully be latter is represented as having the worshipped. But more on this sub. roll in possession, and as giving it ject as we proceed. Having every into the hands of Jesus Christ, who is one of them harps. — This certainly is mentioned under the figure of the figurative, for it cannot be supposed Lamb. The events that were re- there could be harps in the celestial, vealed by the opening of the seals, spiritual, immortal state. The harp one after another, must be looked for was an instrument that had been in the succeeding chapters. The long known to the Jews, and was remainder of this chapter is occupied much used in their temple service; with a description of the worship ren- see 1 Chron. xiii. 8; xv. 16; 2 Chron. dered to the Lamb, in consequence v. 12; Neh. xii. 27; Psa. xxxiii. 2. of his proceeding to open the book, John's vision of heaven seems to and also to the Father.
be drawn almost wholly from the 8. Fell donon before the Lamb. — The arrangements for the religious serliving creatures, and the four-and- vices of the Jews; and the worship twenty elders, fell down before the in heaven is made to bear a strong Lamb. This was the common form resemblance to that of the temple. of respect. It was often done when For further remarks on the mention worship, especially divine worship, made of the harp in the Scriptures,
the book, the four beasts, and vials full of odors, which are the four and twenty elders fell down prayers of saints. before the Lamb, having every 9 And they sung a new song, one of them harps, and golden saying, Thou art worthy to take
see notes on Rev. xiv. 2. T Vials other Christians over the world) are full of odors. — In the temple ser- represented here, as those that had now vices, incense was wafted unto the their prayers heard, and those by the throne of God. The incense was destruction of their persecutors turned mingled with rich odors. It was a into praises.” — See Com. on ver. 8. representation of the prayers of the 9. And they sung.– Who sung?
While the priest offered in. Ans. The four living creatures, and cense within, the people prayed with the four and twenty elders, mentioned
and the priest, by the incense, in the preceding verse as falling down sent up the prayers of the people. before the Lamb. | Nero song: See Luke i. 10 : “And the whole And this new song is in the following multitude of the people were pray- words: “Thou art worthy to take the ing without, at the time of incense.” book, and to open the seals thereof: This agrees with Psa. cxli. 2: “Let for thou wast slain,” &c. This was my prayer be set forth before thee as called a new song, as if it never had incense, and the lifting up of my hands, been song before; for who could sing as the evening sacrifice.” Did not the song of redeeming love, until the the revelator get his figure from this Lamb was slain ?
No such song verse? | Which are the prayers of was ever sung in the religious sersaints. - He evidently set forth the vices of the Jews; they sung the prayers of the saints as incense. That praises of God; but never sung of these saints were on earth, not in the the redemption of the world through immortal state, is evident from verse Christ. The song of redeeming love, 10, below. Dr. Hammond says, “It the song of redeinption from sin and is evident that the saints here are the error, and the moral exaltation of Christian people upon earth, and not men through Jesus Christ, that is the saints which reign in heaven. the new song. None can sing this And this also is agreeable to the song except such as have been re. notion of odors, by which their prayers deemed by Christ; and it shall be
. i incense which the priests were wont shall bow, and every tongue shall to offer in the sanctuary whilst the confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to people prayed without, (Luke i. 10,) the glory of God the Father; Phil. ii. and their prayers were supposed to 9-11. Rev. xiv. 3: “And they sung go up with that incense to heaven. as it were a new song before the By this it also appears that the four throne, and before the four beasts and living creatures, and four and twenty the elders : and no man could learn elders which have here the vials in that song but the hundred and forty their hands, as also the harps, the one and four thousand, which were redeemed to denote the prayers, the other the from the earth.” The new song, therepraises of the Christians, are the fore, must be the song of redeeming apostles and bishops of Judea, (as in love; which all will sing, when the the laying of the scene appeared, ch. work of redemption is complete. Is iv.,) whose office it was to present the it not certain, then, that the four livprayers and praises of the Christians ing creatures and the four and twenty to God; and so by all these together, elders stand, in this case, as representhe Christian persecuted church of tatives of the redeemed — T Thou art Judea (and by consent with them all I worthy. — It is a song of praise to the
the book, and to open the seals 10 And hast made us unto thereof: for thou wast slain, our God kings and priests: and and hast redeemed us to God we shall reign on the earth. by thy blood out of every kin- 11 And I beheld, and I heard dred, and tongue, and people, the voice of many angels round and nation;
about the throne, and the beasts, Lamb. The phraseology is some- and kindred, and people and tongue. what similar to what we found in They were not Jewish Christians Rev. iv. 11: “Thou art worthy, only; they were gathered from every Lord, to receive glory, honor, and nation ; from the Gentiles as well power,” &c. And why was the Lamb as the Jews. The Gentiles were to worthy ? and what was he worthy praise, and honor, and glorify, Christ of? We shall find answers to these as the Lamb of God, who taketh away questions in the following words. the sin of the world. And what was
To take the book. — He was worthy to become of every nation, and kinto take the book, and to loose the dred, and people, and tongue, out of seals thereof. There was an honor whom these early converts, these first in being permitted to do this; and fruits, were gathered? Were they the Lamb was worthy of that honor. always to remain strangers to Christ?
Thou wast slain. — This was the We shall see as we proceed. reason why he was worthy. He had 10. Kings and priests. — This is given himself up to the cruel death still a part of the new song. The of the cross, and suffered and died. redeemed acknowledged that the He had not done this merely for the Lamb had made them kings and obtaining of glory. His own advan- priests unto God. They reigned with tage was not what he was seeking. Christ in his moral kingdom. They T And hast redeemed us. - It was for had power over the nations to rule the good of others that he suffered them; Rev. ii. 26, 27 ; also, i. 6. and died. What more could he do? They joined with Christ in his kingly It is the highest gift a man can and priestly office; and so all true bestow, to surrender his own life. Christians will do, until he shall Such was the sacrifice Jesus made; deliver up the kingdom to God, the and on that account he was worthy to Father. On the earth. — This part take the book and open the seals of the song is surely not to be forthereof. T By thy blood. — That is, gotten. This living and reigning by thy death. In consequence of with Christ is on the earth. Faithful Christ's death and resurrection, [and Christians are kings and priests unto the latter could not have taken place God, on the earth. How does Jesus without the former,] they had been reign on the earth? In what sense redeemed. They had believed on is he a king? He reigns over the him; they had obtained a knowledge hearts and consciences of men; he is of his word; and by faith in his a spiritual king: Every pure-hearted death, and resurrection, and teach- Christian is joined with him in this ings, they had been delivered from reign, and exercises a like influence, their errors and their sins. This is though vastly below him, of course, what is meant by being redeemed by in point of power. the blood of Christ. The blood is the 11. Of many angels. — In his furmetaphor for his death and for his ther description of the celestial abode, doctrine. Out of every kindred, &c. John saw vast numbers of angels
These were the first fruits; they round about the throne, and round were not the general harvest. They about the beasts and the elders. The were redeemed out of every nation, I number of them was illimitable. We
and the elders : and the number i Worthy is the Lamb that was of them was ten thousand times slain to receive power, and riches, ten thousand, and thousands of and wisdom, and strength, and thousands ;
honor, and glory, and blessing. 12 Saying with a loud voice, 13 And every creature which perceive here, that the beasts and They worshipped the Lamb that was elders are not to be regarded as rep- slain; but they worshipped him not resentatives of angels, but of the as God, for the worship of the Lamb church on earth. [Number of them. is in all cases kept distinct from the – That is, the number of the angels worship of him who sitteth on the was ten thousand times ten thousand throne.” The Lamb is not in a sin. and thousands of thousands. And gle instance represented as the being what does this mean, only that they that sitteth on the throne. But even were innumerable? This phraseol. though the Lamb is not worshipped ogy is borrowed from the Old Testa- as God, but as the Redeemer, yet in
“ The chariots of God are the latter character he is “ Worthy to twenty thousand, even thousands of receive [ascriptions of] power, and angels; the Lord is among them, as riches, and wisdom, and strength, in Sinai, in the holy place;" Psa. and honor, and glory, and blessing.” lxviii. 11. Possibly the revelator had This is a magnificent eulogium. And his mind on this passage, and possi- here we see again the tendency of the bly it was on the words of Daniel. revelator's mind to the perfect num. “A fiery stream issued and came ber seven. The points of ascription forth from before him; thousand were seven, and the evident intent thousands ministered unto him, and was to frame as grand an eulogium ten thousand times ten thousand stood as the mind could conceive. before him ;" vii. 10. The author 13. And every creature, &c. Here of the Epistle to the Hebrews copies was something additional to all that this phraseology in his description of had been said.
The first worship the heavenly Jerusalem. “Ye are which John saw rendered was offered come unto mount Sion, and unto the by the four living creatures, and the city of the living God, the heavenly four and twenty elders, viz., the repJerusalem, and to an innumerable resentatives of the church on earth; company of angels;" xii. 22. Rev. iv. 9–11. They fell down
12. Loud voice. — The mingling of before Him that sat on the throne. so many voices would be well de- They worshipped, at first, the Father scribed by a loud voice. The inten- only, for the Lamb had not then been tion of the revelator was not to give seen.
When the Lamb took the the idea that every one spoke as book, to open the knowledge of it to loudly as he could; but that such an men, then the four living creatures innumerable host making an ascrip- and the elders fell down before him, tion together, it would of course be and rendered the prayers and praises loud. This, therefore, furnishes no of all the redeemed, who had been justification for the vociferous exhor- taken from “every kindred and tations and prayers of some Chris- tongue and people and nation." But tians. | Worthy the Lamb. - How a sublimer scene was yet to appear. can we refrain from quoting one All the hosts of heaven joined in the verse of that beautiful hymn of worship: angels, the number of Watts ?
whom was "ten thousand times ten
thousand, and thousands of thou. “Worthy the Lamb, that died," they cry, “ To be exalted thus;"
sands,” said with a loud voice, “Wor “ Worthy the Lamb," our hearts reply,
thy is the Lamb that was slain,” &c. “For he was slain for us."
Here all heaven is included, as well
! is in heaven, and on the earth, as are in the sea, and all that
and under the earth, and such are in them, heard I saying, s as all who had been redeemed on cal, — the creation of the revelator's
earth, “out of every kindred, and glowing fancy, — to set forth, in the tongue, and people, and nation ;í ver. highest manner of which he was
9. To understand the true intent of capable, the honor and glory which i the revelator in these matters, we were due to the Lamb of God. Such · must look carefully at his object and being the principle on which we
his plan. The great subject of all receive the language, we now proceed the praise was, that the Lamb had to make such inferences as seem to prevailed to open the seals of the us to be justifiable. book; ver. 9. All that follows in That the four living creatures, and this chapter is designed to reflect the four and twenty elders, existed honor upon him, in connection with only in the imagination of John, has
the Father. That is the great point already been stated by us. But they į at which the revelator aims. His formed the court of heaven, in John's object was not to teach how many description, and he calls all heaven Christ died to save,
- or how many to his aid in rendering honor to the had at that time been redeemed, Lamb. The second class that were - or how many angels there were, named had an actual existence, viz., or whether all mankind shall at last the redeemed. There were many be saved. We say, these were not who had been brought to know Christ, bis objects. We may, indeed, very and had been redeemed out of every safely make inferences from what he nation, and kindred, and people, and said, in regard to these subjects. His tongue.
These also John calls to his remarks are extraordinary, and very aid in magnifying the Lamb. In the valuable, as affecting important ques. third place, he summons all man. tions in theology; but those points kind, — every intelligent creature in were not the subjects to which he the universe, to aid him in praising directed his descriptions. His whole the Lamb; and the language which object was to glorify the Lamb. He he puts into their mouths is this, carries him up to the highest point of “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and honor ; and puts all beings but God power, be unto him that sitteth upon himself beneath him. And what is the throne ; and unto the Lamb, forthe plan followed by the revelator? ever and ever.” Some writers, and We regard the passage, from the 8th among them Prof. Stuart in his late to the 14th verse of this chapter, as work on the Apocalypse, would try to one of the most eloquent which the make out that the revelator did not Apocalypse contains. There are three intend to embrace all mankind in his classes who are summoned to aid in description; that the word all here, ascribing glory to the Lamb. 1st. is not intended to signify every one, Those who had been redeemed out but is used merely in a general sense. of every nation, and kindred, and For ourself, we shall despair of ever people, and tongue. 2d. All the being able to frame language which angelic world, the number of whom will include all mankind, if this does was ten thousand times ten thousand, not. It seems to us that the phraseand thousands of thousands. And ology of the revelator is peculiar. as though this were not sufficiently He must have intended all intelligent brilliant, he summoned, 3d. “Every beings. This is the grandest periphcreature in heaven, and on earth, and rasis in the whole Bible, the fullest under the earth, and in the sea, and circumlocution. It is no wonder that
in them." We are Prof. Stuart said, several years ago, inclined to regard the whole as sceni. “Things in heaven, earth, and under
all that are