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angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: God only in “the future world.” See, melting fire burneth, the fire causeth also, 2 Kings xii. 23; xxiv. 20. To the waters to boil, to make thy name worship God was to come into his pres- known to thine adversaries, that the ence; his presence was in the temple; nations may tremble at thy presence! Psa. xcv. 2; c. 2. So when the judg. When thou didst terrible things which ments of God came triumphantly, his we looked not for, thou camest down, presence is said to be with them ; Isa. the mountains flowed down at thy xix. 1. When men seek to flee away presence;" Isa. Ixiv. 1-3. Here, from responsibility, and from the dis- again, God's presence accompanies charge of their duty, they are said to his judgments; these judgments were flee away from the presence of the evidently in the present world, on the Lord. « Jonah rose up to flee unto earth. God is said to come, that is, to Tarshish from the presence of the be present, when his enemies are pun. Lord." * The men knew that he ished. This is also true of the Lord (Jonah] Aed from the presence of the Jesus Christ. How frequently do we Lord because he had told them ;" read in the New Testament of his Jonah i. 3, 10. These are but a few coming to judge and punish his eneout of the multitude of texts that mies. He comes too, with his angels; might be quoted to illustrate the Matt. xiii. 39, 41, 49; xvi. 27 ; xxv. phraseology of the sacred writers in 31; Mark viii. 38; Luke ix. 36; 2 regard to the divine presence. And Thess. i. 7. Jesus and his angels are there is one fact to which we desire present in the judgment - i. e., such to call special attention, viz., the di- is the figurative language of the Scripvine judgments, above all things else, tures. Although Jesus is represented are said to take place in the divine under the metaphor of the Lamb to presence, even in cases where it is show his meekness; Acts viii. 32; and known and acknowledged of all men to shadow forth the sacrificial characthat the judgments are in the present ter of his death; John i. 29; 1 Peter i. lite. How strictly in agreement is it, 19; still he is present also in his judg. then, with the style of the sacred wri- ments in that character. Hence we ters, to represent the punishment of read of “the wrath of the Lamb;" the Roman persecutors in fire and Rev. vi. 16. Why should we be surbrimstone, as being in the presence prised, then, to be told, that the temof the holy angels and in the presence poral judgments of his enemies are of the Lamb." We are confident that inflicted “in the presence of the holy Professor Stuart, if he had looked into angels, and in the presence of the this subject as impartially and as fully Lamb?” Things manifestly belong. as he has into many others, could not ing to this world are said to be done have regarded this phraseology as in the presence of Jesus and the proof that the punishment must be in angels. *“ We are made a spectacle the future world. “Behold, the Lord unto the world, and to angels, and to rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall men ;" 1 Cor. iv. 9. Paul to Timocome into Egypt : and the idols of thy said: "I charge thee before God, Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the and the heart of Egypt shall melt in elect angels, that thou observe these the midst of it;" Isa. xix. 1. Here things without preferring one before the presence of the Lord is said another, doing nothing by partiality;" to accompany his fiery judgments. 1 Epis. v. 21. “For what is our Again : Oh that thou wouldst rend hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? the heavens, that thou wouldst come Are not even ye in the presence of down, that the mountains might flow our Lord Jesus Christ at his com. down at thy presence, as when the ling ?" 1 Thess. ii. 19. Thus we see 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever that as the angels and the Lamb are endured on the earth. For further said metaphorically to be present to remarks I direct the reader to the observe the doings of men on earth, comments on xix. 20, where similar and especially in the infliction of judg- phraseology from the pen of the revements, nothing could be more nat. Tator is found. We submit it, then, to ural than to speak of those judgments the candid reader, whether it afford as being inflicted in their presence. any proof that punishment must be in If there are any, after all, who suppose the future state, merely because it is that the wine of the wrath of God said to take place “in the presence of is to be administered to the Roman the holy angels, and the presence of persecutors in the immortal or post- the Lamb. Observe, the question mortem state, let them observe, that here is not whether the doctrine of the voice from heaven said to the future punishment be true; that quesseven angels who had the seven last tion we have discussed nowhere in plagues, in which was filled up the this Commentary, neither shall we wrath of God, (xv. 1,)“Go your ways, discuss it. The question simply has and pour out the vials of the wrath been, whether the verse before us of God upon the earth.” (xvi. 1.) This (Rev. xiv. 10) refers to a future state is the fulfilment of what is predicted of punishment. For further remarks, xiv. 10. The wrath of God is de- see our note on verse 20 of this chapscribed as an infuriating liquid, in xiv. ter. 10, and there said to be contained in 11. The smoke of their torment ascenda cup; but in xv. 7, and xvi. 1, it is eth up. - This is but a continuation represented as being in vials. In xvi. of the imagery ; it adds nothing to the 19, the revelator goes back to the fact. As the punishment had been figure of the cup again : “ And great represented as being in fire and brimBabylon (Rome) came in remem- stone, it was natural for the revelator brance before God, to give unto her to heighten his imagery by speaking the cup of the wine of the fierceness of the smoke ascending. Forever of his wrath.” The metaphor of the and ever. — The term forever and succeeding verse (xvi. 20) is precisely ever” is very frequently applied in such as was applied to temporal pun- the Scriptures to the continuance of ishments, vi. 14. To sum up in a temporal things, without any referfew words: the wine of the wrath of ence to the future state. It is the God, mentioned xiv. 10, has seven translation of one of the combinations vials prepared to receive it; see xv. of the Greek word aion, which does 1; these vials “full of the wrath of not necessarily signify endless duraGod” are put into the hands of the tion. In fact, there seems no room to seven angels; see xv. 7; and these doubt, that this expression of the revangels were directed to pour them out elator was borrowed from Isaiah's upon the earth ; xvi. 1. That this is description of the punishment of Iduthe same thing as the cup of the wine mea, in which it is said, "the smoke of God's wrath is fully proved by xvi. thereof shall go up. forever ;" chap. 19. And what the plagues of the xxxiv. 10; or, as the revelator has it, seven vials were is distinctly shown “ The smoke of their torment ascendin xviii. 8: “Therefore shall her eth up forever and ever.” It is cerplagues come in one day, death, and tain that the punishment of Idumea mourning, and famine; and she shall was on the earth; and by what sound be utterly burned with fire : for strong rule of interpretation can we apply is the Lord God who judgeth her.' the language of the revelator to the These judgments are of such a nature immortal state, if we apply that of that they must certainly have been | Isaiah to the destruction of Idumea ? and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who wore The above argument seems to us con- not be that of endless duration, that clusive ; and therefore we add nothing we shall hardly do justice to the whole further in this place; but as to the by the few references we shall make. fact that aion in all its forms is used It is applied to the Jewish possession to describe the continuance of tempo. of the land of Canaan; Gen. xiii. 15; ral judgments, we might, if necessary, Exod. xxxii. 13; Josh. xiv. 9 — to the extend the proofs and illustrations io Mosaic ordinances; Exod. xii. 14, 24; great length. So far was the argu- Numbers x. 8— to the bondage of ment extended, in the form in which the Hebrew slaves; Exod. xxi. 6; our Commentary on the Apocalypse Lev. xxv. 46; Deut. xv. 17 — to the was first published. But we esteem ownership of a house ; Lev. xxv. 30 it proper here, where we have more to a structure of stones, a monuroom, to extend it. Any person who mental memorial ; Josh. iv. 7 — to the looks at the common version alone, continuance of the disease of leprosy must be satisfied that no dependence in a family; 2 Kings v. 27, &c. &c. can be placed on the phrase “forever &c. What can be more plain, than and ever” to prove the endless dura- that the Jews were accustomed to tion of punishment. We do not deny use the phrase forever in application that it is sometimes used to signify to things of known and undeniable endless duration ; it is equally appar- earthly character that long ago had an ent that it is also used in cases where end? If, then, both the phrases, ever it cannot have that sense. The force and forever, are unquestionably used to be given to the phrase must there separately in numerous instances, fore depend, in all cases, on the sub- in cases where only earthly or limitject to which it is applied. That it is ed duration could have been intended, frequently used in the limited sense can it be possible that when they will be made certain to the mind of are combined, they invariably signi. every person who will carefully con- fy endless duration ? On the consider the following facts. We will ana- trary, it is certain that forever and ever lyze the expression, and consider the is used where nothing but earthly or Scriptural use, 1st of Ever, 2d of For- limited duration is intended. See the ever, and 3d of Forever and ever. And, following: 3d, FOREVER AND EVER: 1st, EVER: The fire was ever burning This phrase is applied by the sacred on the altar ; Lev. vi. 13; David ever writers to earthly life, or “ length of had a sense of his sins; Psa. li. 3; the days;" Psa. xxi. 4— to the duration word is applied to the threshing of of a book; Isa. XXX. 8- to the resicorn; Isa. xxviii. 28; to the continu- dence of the Jews in Canaan ; Jer. vii. ance of the bounds of Zion, xxxiii. 20; 7; xxv. 5; qut of which they were the brother of the prodigal was ever long ago expelled ; and also to the with his father; Luke xv. 31; Jesus temporal punishment of Idumea, the ever taught in the synagogue; John streams of which were turned into xviii. 20—which could not have been pitch, the dust thereof into brimstone, longer than his life at the most; and and the land thereof was made “burn: some were ever learning and never ing pitch.". This judgment is decoming to the knowledge of the truth; scribed as having been by fire and 2 Tim. iii. 7. From these quotations it brimstone; and yet the merest tyro must be evident to every person, that in Scripture criticism would know, the word ever is frequently used in the that it was simply a highly wrought common version in cases where end metaphor to describe the desolation less duration was not intended. 2d, produced in the land by the judgments FOREVER: This word is used in so of God. “It shall not be quenched many instances where the sense can- | night nor day; the smoke thereof
ship the beast and his image, mark of his name. and whosoever receiveth the 12 Here is the patience of shall go up forever; from generation of eternal fire, i. e., of a temporal to generation it shall lie waste: none calamity, a fire which completely shall pass through it forever and destroyed them.” Note on Rev. xiv.
But the cormorant and the 11. As the case of Sodom and bittern shall possess it; the owl also Gomorrah is here referred to, and as and the raven shall dwell in it: and it is a similar case to that of the he shall stretch out upon it the line Roman persecutors spoken of in the of confusion, and the stones of empti- Apocalypse, we give the opinion of
They shall call the nobles the learned Dr. Whitby, himself a thereof to the kingdom, but none shall strong believer in endless misery, as be there, and all her princes shall be to the extent of the torment intended nothing. And thorns shall come up by the phrase "eternal fire.” “That in her palaces, nettles and brambles this is spoken not of the cities them. in the fortresses thereof: and it shall selves, but of the inhabitants which be a habitation of dragons, and a dwelt in them, - that is, •of them court for owls;" Isa. xxxiv. 10–13. who had given themselves over to forniThis punishment, although it was cation, and gone after strange flesh,said to endure forever and ever, we is evident; but yet I conceive they know cannot be in the future and are said to suffer the vengeance of immortal world; but was a temporal eternal fire, not because their souls are judgment on a section of the sinful at present punished in hell fire, but earth. " It would be very unreasona- because they, and their cities, perble (say the editors of the Improved ished from that fire from heaven, Version) to infer the gloomy doctrine which brought a perpetual and irrepof eternal misery from the loose and arable destruction on them and their figurative language of a prophetic cities." “ To deigma, an example, vision, in opposition to the plainest is to be taken from something visible dictates of reason and justice, and to to, or knowable by, all who were to the whole tenor of divine revelation. be terrified by it, especially when it is But if any one is disposed to lay an example manifested and proposed. undue stress upon this text, it may Now such was not the punishment be sufficient to remark, that it is not of their souls in hell fire; but nothhere asserted that the torment con- ing was more known and celebrated tinues, but that the smoke of it among authors, sacred and profane, ascends forever and ever. The smoke Jewish, Christian, and heathen wriof a pile in which a criminal has ters, than the fire that fell down upon been condemned may continue to Pentapolis, or the five cities of Sodom, ascend long after the wretched vic- they being mentioned still in Scriptim has ceased to suffer. And a ture as the cities which God over. memorial of the punishment which threw with a perpetual desolation." has been inflicted on vice may remain See Whitby's Com. on Jude, ver. 7. long after vice itself has been utter- 12. Here is the patience of the saints. ly exterminated. After all, as the That is, the worshippers of the prophecy relates wholly to the states beast are put down; they are deof things in the present world, the stroyed; they can aid in the persecu. punishments threatened ought, in all tion of the Christians no more; this reason, to be understood of temporal is the cause of the patience of the punishments, and not of the suffer- saints, and of those who keep the ings of a future life. So in Jude, commandments of God and the faith ver. 7, Sodom and Gomorrah are rep- of Jesus. În xiii. 10, we found sim. resented as suffering the vengeance lilar words : " Here is the patience
the saints : here are they that and the faith of Jesus. keep the commandments of God, 13 And I heard a voice from
and the faith of the saints;" referring throw. Lightfoot says:
" And now, back to the preceding words, viz., the as in the Sth, 9th, 10th and 11th punishment of the Roman persecu- chapters, the relation is concerning tors. So in the words before us, those things that should be against the allusion is to the preceding words, the church, — from henceforth the and to the punishment of the Roman prophecy is more especially of things persecutors, as described in verses thai make for the church and against 9--11.
her enemies' works;" j. 351. Ex13. Voice from heaven. — Any com- amine the context, and the truth of munication from heaven to men was this will be seen. ** Babylon is fallsaid to come by the voice of the en, is fallen;"
The worLord from heaven, even when no shippers of the beast are made to words were actually spoken. Voice drink of the wine of the wrath of God, is often used metaphorically, as of and are tormented with fire and Abel's blood ; Gen. iv. 10; voice of a brimstone; ver. 10; evidently design ; Exod. iv. 8; the thunder is scribing the fall of the persecutors. God's voice; Job xxxvii. 4, 5; xl. 9, “ Here is the patience of the saints ;" &c., &c. [ Blessed are the dead who ver. 12; i. e., this has caused the die in the Lord. - This passage is patience of the saints, and of those difficult of construction, as is agreed that keep the commandments of God by persons of all sects. There are and the faith of Jesus. And then fol. several questions of great importance low the words : « Blessed are the involved : 1st. In what sense are the dead which die in the Lord from hencedead here mentioned? Are they the forth ;" i. e., it seems to us, things dead to sin, such as have been cruci- are to be different henceforth from fied with Christ? or are they the what they have been heretofore. The actually and literally dead? 2d. past has been a time of persecution; Why is it said, blessed are they from but soon the power of the persecutor henceforth? The other questions, 3d. will be broken; and from that time, In what sense do they rest from their from henceforth, the Christians will be labors ? and 4th. In what sense do blessed; they will have rest, when their works follow them ? depend their persecuiors are overthrown, and much on the answer given to the first their works of triumph shall attend question. The usual interpretation them wherever they go. Blessed are of the passage is : “Blessed are the the dead in Christ, those who are dead who die (i. e., pass away from crucified with him from henceforth," the world) from henceforth, as it will — from the time the revelator was be a time of great persecution, and describing, — because the power of the dead in Christ are to be regarded the oppressor was broken. Blessed, as happy, rather than the living. in a peculiar manner, are those who Yea, saith the Spirit, for they are become united to Christ from that relieved from their sufferings, and time ; for they rest from their labors, their works follow them to the im- viz., their toils and sufferings, whereas mortal state, where they will be suita- previous to this time the Christians bly rewarded. But it is fatal to this had been compelled to suffer great interpretation, that it was not a time afflictions and some of them horrid of persecution of the church that the deaths. But from the time that the revelator was describing, but the time revela or was describing, they were of the punishment of the enemies of to have a season of comparative Christianity, and their final over- peace, and their works, their glorious