« PreviousContinue »
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding to show more definitely what power 666. The Christian fathers began he meant, by a process which would right early to find out the secret of the furnish positive information to those revelator (for they sought to be very who could understand. But peculiar precise) by "counting the number of wisdom was required; none but him the beast.” They forgot the premowho had understanding could "count nition “ Here is wisdom;" and "let the number.” Count the number. - him [only) that hath understanding What number? Ans. “The number count the number of the beast. of his name;" ver. 17. See also They brought it out in the following chap. xv. 2, where we find proof that manner. We give the Roman instead the beast referred to was not the two of the Greek letters, and use the let. horned beast, but the principal, the ters according to the system which one with ten horns, whose image the then prevailed. people worshipped. And what was meant by “the number of his name?” E (the Greek article) 8 Everybody knows, that previously to
30 the invention of figures, in the tenth century, the letters of the alphabet
300 had been used as numerals. It was
10 so among the Hebrews, the Greeks,
50 the Romans, and we suppose many
( Proofs of this are
8 other nations. abundant. Let the common reader
2 look at the 119th Psalm, and he will find the sections of it numbered 1, 2,
200 3, 4, &c., by the use of the Hebrew
10 letters Aleph, (A, or 1,) Beth, (B, or 2,)
30 Gimel, (3,) Daleth, (4,) &c. À similar
5 system of numeration has just been
10 introduced into the army of the
1 United States; and instead of marking the companies of a regiment 1, 2,
666 3, 4, &c., they are called company A, company B, &c. We will suppose that the letters in the words E Latiné
When the discovery was made, then, for the sake of an illustration, Basileia, made up the number six that all the letters of our alphabet hundred and sixty-six, there remained have a numerical value, thus,
for some timne no doubt that The A 1 G7 M 40 S 100 Y 700 Latin Kingdom [in Greek E Latine B 2 H 8 N 50 T 200 Z 800 Basileia] was the beast. If the reader C 3 I 9 0 60 U 300
will look into Adam Clarke's ComD4 J 10 P 70 V 400
mentary, he will find that writer was E 5 K 20 Q 80 W 500
carried utterly away with this idea. F 6 L 30 R 90 X 600
But the whole is a fallacy, for this
one plain reason, that the same let Now, spell a man's name as you ters, in a different arrangement, would might, there would be a certain num- spell different words, and yet would ber attached to it. The common have just the same numeral result. name Smith, would be S (100) M (40) It makes no difference into how many I (9) T (200) H (8,) which figures different arrangements you put the being added together would make 357 letters; they always amount to 666. as “the number of his name.” Six This mode of calculation, therefore hundred threescore and siz. – That is, I has fallen into discredit, from the fact.
count the number of the beast : |for it is the number of a man; resulting from experience, that there where he does : “The number of the is no end to the multitude of names beast, or the number of the name which may be composed by such fab- of the beast, stands for the numerical rications, and that not only the anti- value of the letters that compose his christian chiefs, but the most eminent name.” of our reformers may be, and have Having offered our own opinion, been ihus designated by their adver- we add to the above, the conjecture saries. The Hebrew words for Lu- of Prof. Stuart, since, if he be correct, ther amount to 666, a circumstance it agrees with what we have stated. which has caused the Catholics to He says: “Quite recently, however, offset against the Protestants the Prof. Benary, of Berlin, has proposed attempts to show that the apocalyp- a more ingenious, and to my mind tical beast had some connection with more satisfactory, explanation of the the papal church. It is also a re- nodus in question, than any with which markable fact, that the Hebrew words I have before met. He regards it as for “ The Most High, the Lord, the nearly certain, that the letters indi. Holy God," amount to precisely 666. cative of the number in question,
See Calmet's Dictionary, under the must be Hebrew letters, although he word Anti-Christ, where he gives a does not seem to have given a satis. tabular view of words, or names, the factory reason. The very design numeral force of which is that number. however, of partial concealment, We are then thrown back upon our
to be, as I have already inquiry, what is meant by “ the num- hinted, a good reason for the adoption ber of his name?” Shall me attempt of this method by John. A heathen to answer? The very language for- Greek or Roman would not be likely bids; “Here is wisdom;" here lies to divine the writer's meaning, in the secret, which none but those who case the latter designed to make the had an understanding of the reve- appeal to Hebrew letters or words; lator's enigma can explain. It is while there were everywhere Jewish “the number of a man," although it Christians in the churches, who could is called “the number of the beast." | easily unravel it. Benary remarks, The number is 666. Whether the that in the Talmud and other Rabbin. revelator used the Hebrew or Greek ical writings, the name of Nero [in letters for numerals, those who were the Hebrew form) often occurs. This instructed in the matter knew. They amounts numerically to the number explained it to others. The number of the beast; for ihe force of the was the key to denote the power Hebrew letters added together is 666. referred to. We content ourself with Nor is this all. There was another knowing that the Roman Empire in method of writing and pronouncing general was intended by the beast the name of Nero, approaching nearer with seven heads and ten horns. to the Roman method. This was the The naine of some eminent opposer Hebrew letters for Nero Cæsar, which of the church, perhaps one of the amount numerically to just 616, and emperors, was 'intended by “the thus gives a good ground for the number of the beast.” But this is diverse reading which Irenæus found conjecture. The Christians at the in some codices. This is surely a time knen. We are checked by the remarkable coincidence. The same admonition, “Let him that hath under name, pronounced after the Greek and standing count the number of the Hebrew analogy, equals numerically beast.'
We have not that under the sum of 666, but spoken in the standing. Cruden explains the mat- Latin way it amounts to 616, which is ter very wisely, and we shall leave it the rival reading. Nothing can be more and his number is Six hundred | threescore and six.
natural and easy then, than to account and sixty-six. What stress is to be in this way for both of the readings laid on this I cannot say. in the codices. The discrepant modes of sounding Nero's name, whether
“ VICARIVS FILII DEI. fully in Hebrew, or in an abridged V 5
D500 way, gave rise to the different desig- I 1
L 50 I 1 nations of the corresponding num- C 100
I 1 bers. A solution of the various read- I 1
501 ings, which is so natural and obvious, V 5
112 one is strongly tempted to believe,
53 must have its foundation in truth and
112 reality.” So far, in substance, Prof.
666." Stuart. See his Commentary, vol. ii. 457, 458, Excursus iv. The rea
Thus it will be seen, that by taking son why the revelator did not give from the title “Vicarivs Filii Dei,"? fully, and without enigma, the name (Vicar of the Son of God,] the letters he intended, is easily seen ; he did which are commonly used as numernot desire to bring down upon the als, they make up the number of the unoffending church, the pointed indig.
beast. We attach no importance, nation of the power intended. If the however, to the fact, and present it seven-headed beast intended the Ro- merely for the purpose named, and to man secular power, as we think we
show the very singular coincidence have clearly shown, then the name of numerals in that title. of the beast may well be considered the name of the reigning emperor at
CHAPTER XIV. the time the Apocalypse was written. Preliminary Considerations. — The
Since the above was written, Ichapter before us is by no means an have received from a friend the fol- unimportant one. In chapters xii. lowing singular paragraph, which he and xiii. the pagan and secular states was copied from an old book, power of Rome are set forth, the called the “Gospel Treasury,” p. 125. former under the figure of “a great The date and authorship of the book red dragon,” xii. 3, the latter under were gone. We present the extract that of the beast that rose up out of as a very striking illustration of the the sea, xiii. 1. These two powers, ingenuity which has been displayed which were the two active powers of in obtaining the beast's number, 666, the Roman Empire in the persecution from the names of eminent digni- of the Christians, being thus introtaries, or of the places of their power. duced to the reader, with that of the
false prophet, xiii. 11-17, the reve. “ VICARIVS FILII DEI.
lator proceeds (viz., in chap. xiv., “Sometime ago, an English which we are now to examine) to officer happening to be at Rome, give a general synopsis of the matters observed on the front of the mitre that remain to be treated of in the which the pope wore at one of the Apocalypse. In chapters xii. and solemnities, this inscription : VICA- xiii. are described the rise and reign RIVS Filii Dei.' It instantly struck of the persecuting powers of the him perhaps this is the number empire. Chapter xiv. is in favor of of the beast. He set to work: and the church. Ii describes the prosperiiy when he had selecied all the numer- of the church, notwithstanding the als, and added them up, he found, to persecutions; and the punishment of his great astonishment, that the whole the persecutors, and of those_by amounted to precisely six hundred I whom they were sustained. The
CHAPTER XIV. and with him a hundred forty
and four thousand, having his ND I looked, and lo, a Lamb Father's name written in their stood on the mount Sion, | foreheads.
effect of what is stated in chap. xiv. 1. A Lamb stood on the mount Sion. was to encourage the Christians. As, - The first five verses of this chapter in chapters xii. and xiii., the prophecy clearly describe the faith and conis of things that were against the stancy of the Jewish converts church, from henceforth the prophecy Christianity. They were persecuted is more especially of things that make somewhat by the Roman power, and for the church and against her enemies. hence were introduced in this place
The subjects treated in the 14th by the revelator. The subject matter chapter are as follows:
of these five verses has already been 1st. A view of the continued faith- treated of, in the fifth chapter. The fulness of the Jewish converts, the “ Lamb" was the “Lamb of God, hundred and forty-four thousand. See who taketh away the sin of the verses 1-5.
world :" John i. 29; the Lamb that 2d. The preaching of the gospel to stood in the midst of the elders ; Rev. the Gentiles, and the judgment of the v. 6; the Lamb that was an object nations by the power thereof; verses of universal worship; v. 8–14; the 6, 7.
Lamb that was “slain from the foun3d. The fall of Rome, the great dation of the world ;" Rev. xiii. 8; seat of persecution in the empire, as xvii. 8. This Lamb stood on mount Jerusalem had been the seat of perse-Sion. We are not to understand this cution in the country of the Jews; of the mount in the literal sense; but ver. 8.
of the gospel, which the figure mount 4th. The punishment of the Roman Sion is used to designate. Hence persecutors, and of those who sus- | Paul said to the Hebrew Christians : tained them, as the Jews had been “Ye ARE COME unto mount Sion, and punished; verses 9—11.
unto the city of the living God, the 5th. The blessedness of the Chris- heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innutians, like the blessedness of the Jew-merable company of angels, to the ish converts to Christianity; verses general assembly and church of the 12, 13.
first-born, which written in 6th. Coming of the Son of man in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, judgment on the Romans, as he came and to the spirits of just men made in judgment on the Jews; ver. 14. perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator
7th. He reaps the harvest of the of the new covenant ;" Heb. xii. 22 earth, and his enemies are crushed —24. T With him a hundred forty like grapes trodden in the wine-press; and four thwusand. - With the Lamb verses 15–20.
was the hundred and forty-four thouThe figures here applied to the sand, the same body of Christians Romans are the same with those mentioned in chap. vii. 4: “And I which had been applied to the Jews; heard the number of them which Joel iii. 13; Jer. li. 33; Matt. xiii. were sealed; and there were sealed 39. Such are the subjects treated of a hundred and forty and four thouin the 14th chapter; and they are, as sand of all the tribes of the children it were, a table of contents of what of Israel.” These had the Father's remains to be treated of in the Apoc. name written in their foreheads; and alypse. With these preliminary re- so they are said to be sealed, as the marks, we proceed to consider the servants of God, in their foreheads. chapter more particularly.
The hundred and forty-four thou
2 And I heard a voice from voice of harpers harping with heaven, as the voice of many their harps : waters, and as the voice of a 3 And they sung as it were great thunder: and I heard the a new song before the throne, sand mentioned in vii. 3, were sealed praise offered to God by the Chris. in their foreheads. No one can doubt tians throughout the Roman Empire that it is the same hundred and is described in the same manner : forty-four thousand referred to in both “And I heard as it were the voice of
Father's name written in a great multitude, and as the voice their foreheads. The Father's name of many waters, and as the voice of is written in their foreheads as the mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia : most conspicuous part of the body - for the Lord God omnipotent reignthey were not ashamed of their pro-eth ;" xix. 6. The description is fession. The worshippers of the beast designed to connect the idea of also had the beast's name on their majesty and authority with the voice foreheads; xiii. 16 ; xiv. 9; and the of Christ. The voice of a hundred great harlot likewise had an inscrip- and forty-four thousand people singtion on her forehead, xvii. 5, the mark ing would necessarily be loud. | The of her disgrace. It was a reward * voice of harpers harping with their promised to the faithful Christians, harps. – Harps had been used in the ihat “him that overcometh, will I religious worship of the Jews, probamake a pillar in the temple of my bly from the time of the earliest God, and he shall go no more out; existence of that people, for the harp and I will write upon him the name was constructed very early in the of my God, and the name of the city history of the world; Gen. iv. 21. of my God, which is new Jerusalem, David and all Israel played on harps ; which cometh down out of heaven 2 Sam. vi. 4. It was
an instru. from my God: and I will write upon ment in universal use among the him my new name;"' iii. 12. The Jews; especially in times of triumph, faithful Christians acknowledged, in joy, and religious exultation; Job the most conspicuous manner, their xxi. 12; Psa. xxxiii. 2; xliii. 4 ; lvii. allegiance to God.
8; lxxi. 22; Isa. v. 12. In times of 2. Voice from heaven. — This “voice sorrow the voice of the harper was from heaven,” was the voice of wor- not heard; Psa. cxxxvii. 2; Isa. xxiv. ship from mount Sion, as of the min-8; Ezk. xxvi. 13; Rev. xviii. 22. gled voices of a hundred and forty: The music of the harp formed a very four thousand persons singing aloud important part of the temple-service. the praise of their God. Mount Sion Hence the praise of the Christian was heaven. Heaven is the spiritual church to God, as it was an outbreakstate produced in the soul by the ing of triumph and joy, is metaphori. belief of the gospel. Hence Paul cally described as "the voice of calls the gospel kingdom, the heav- harpers harping with their harps.” enly Jerusalem ; and Christians are Thus the elders are represented as the general assembly and church of having harps, Rev. v. 8, and those the first-born, whose names are writ- also who stood on the sea of glass, ten in heaven, that is, on the roll of xv. 2. the church; Heb. xii. 22-24. As 3. And they sung a new song:the voice of many waters, &c.— It was That is, the hundred and forty-four like the noise of a cataract, or of thousand did this. great thunder; that is, it was exceed- aration for singing is described in ingly loud. So the voice of the Son the preceding verse. They had made of man was described ; i. 15. The ready their harps, and had already
All the prep