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The language of preceding prophecies affords an easy solution to all this. Jesus is “ the faithful witness," because he is the revealer of the mind of God, and is the great organ of revelation to his church. How he is the
first-begotten of the dead,” has been explained on 1 Cor. xv.; to which we may add St. Paul's declaration, Rom. viii. 39; “ Those whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.” This conformity is not manifested nor completed, till the morning of the resurrection. Believers, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, still " wait for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of their body.” It is not till then that they “ bear the image of the heavenly:" but at that happy epocha they see him as he is, and are like him.” This is “ the manifestation of the Sons of God,” for which “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth.” We perceive, then, why the Redeemer is called “ the first-be
gotten” – the elder Brother “ of the dead.”
“ The Prince of the kings of the earth.” This might possibly apply to Christ, as the Lord of Providence; but we have learned the fact, that he comes at the resurrection of the just, to take in his own person the kingdom under the whole heavens.
The business of his first and second advent is next contrasted, after the manners of the ancient prophecies. At the first he comes to purchase his universal church; at the last he comes to give them the promised kingdom, and to recover a lost world.
“ Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” —" and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father." He appeared once to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself and to them that
look for him, he will appear a second time, without sin unto salvation.” The manifestation of the ransomed people of God, in the character of his kings and priests, certainly takes not place till they appear as “the children of the resurrection.” Then it is, that they come to reign with Christ. And we remark, that the effect of his atonement, in its present application, at least, and the gift of the kingdom, are co-extensive. All, therefore, of the remnant according to the election of grace, washed from their sins in his blood, will come to reign with him in his glorious kingdom. Such honour have all his saints.” “ Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye
shall see him.”* “ All flesh," said an ancient prophet, “shall see the glory of Jehovah.” Our Lord's own words also illustrate : “ For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth also to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Two parties are described as chiefly affected by his appearing; “ those that pierced him," and "all the
” kindreds of the nations." The former are clearly the Israelitish nation. The ancient prophet describes them
looking on him whom they pierced ;” and at the same time as mourning for him in true penitence of heart. His coming is, to them that pierced him then, a blessing.' And to this agree the words of our Lord to this same people, speaking of his second coming :
# Verse 7.
By such a miraculous apparitiou of Christ from heaven was St. Paul converted. And I hope it is no heresie to 'think that the whole nation of the Jews, (those
zealots against Christ,) may be converted by as strange a means as was that one zealot of their nation.” — MEDE.
See also Mr. Piere.
"Verily I say to you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." But, "the kindreds of the nations wail because of him." And so in our Lord's prophecy, "and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with power and great glory." How clearly does this point out to us the apostate nations of the professed Christian world; and prophecy has fully informed us, that these nations have indeed, generally, cause to wail at the Redeemer's coming.
Some Remarks on the Epistles to the Seven Churches, particularly Chapter ii. 25, &c.; and iii. 20.
In the first vision of the revelation, contained in the second and third chapters, we have several things to note, as intimating the second advent of our Lord, and the events which are then to take place :
10. "I was in the Spirit," says the apostle, " on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. 11. What thou seest, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches that are in Asia." 12. "And I turned to see the voice of him that spake with me: and being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks," [or, "stands for lamps."] 13. And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were
as a flame of fire. 15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16. And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shining in his strength."
This is clearly a symbolical representation of the GREAT REDEEMER, as the Head of his church, in the station that he holds as our great High Priest, in the tabernacle above. His robes, as well as his situation amid the candlesticks, bespeak the priestly character; for there is an evident allusion to the Jewish tabernacle : that was a pattern of things in heaven. His robes, however, seem to differ from those of the Levitical priesthood: he is a priest of a different order. The hoary head in the symbol denotes, we may suppose, the maturity of wisdom;-the eye, "like flame," the penetrating view of Him, who discerneth the secrets of all hearts; "the feet like burning brass," I conceive,* are a symbol of the vengeance he is one day to execute, when in his fury he shall trample the enemies of God beneath his feet.
"After the order of Melchisedeck
Is my Lord at thy right hand;
Kings hath He smitten in the day of his wrath," &c.
The comparison of the sound of his voice to many waters will also remind us of the language of ancient prophecy, and is generally a symbol of judgment. The sharp two-edged sword, represented as proceeding from his mouth, also denotes the sentence of the judge and avenger. The stars he holds in his hands, and the candlesticks, are explained below:
Compare Chap. ii. 18, &c.
20. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks are the seven churches."
The impression which the appearance of this vision had upon St. John, will not fail to remind us of the effects produced upon the animal frame of the prophet Daniel, in the same circumstances :
17. "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last. 18. I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death."
"I am the first and the last," surely asserts his absolute Deity: compare but the eighth verse, "I am Alpha and Omega-the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord; which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." "Lord" is unquestionably a title of Christ, which, in the general language of the New Testament, distinguishes him from God the Father. "To us there is one God, even the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ." And I conceive it is His throne-the seat of the divine Majesty, as occupied by THE SON OF MAN, which is spoken of in the fourth verse-“ even of Jesus Christ, to whom the Spirit is given without measure:" who hath overcome, and is set down with his FATHER upon his throne; "the Head of all things to his church."
He plainly tells the beloved disciple he is the same whom he once knew upon earth, and whom he knew to have died and risen again. He tells him that it is himself who reigns in the invisible world, and administers the destinies of mankind. St. Paul's language will illustrate this gracious address of our glorified