Page images


4 And they worshipped the the beast, saying, Who is like dragon which gave power unto unto the beast? who is able to the beast: and they worshipped make war with him ? when they behold the beast that was, which was famous for letters and the and is not, and yet is;" Rev. xvii. 8. arts; and may, therefore, be said to Whether the wonder was excited at have swayed the world. She was the greatness of the empire, its mar- preëminent in the art of war. The vellous progress, or whether it arose ablest generals were in her service; from the condition of the beast that and if she had not the largest armies was, and is not, and yet is, is some at her command, she had those that what doubtful. The empire itself were sufficiently numerous, and that was doubtless the wonder of all the for a long time contended success. world.

fully with the armies of all other 4. Worshipped the dragon. — The parts of the world. Can we be surdragon was worshipped; that is to prised, then, that “all the world wonsay, the people reverenced the power dered after the beast"? and said, represented by him. ( Worshipped " Who is like unto the beast? Who is the beast. — They reverenced also the able to make war with him”? A power represented by the beast. Both clear distinction, it seems to us, is powers were the objects of adoration; observable between the beast and the but the beast was the warlike power; dragon, although they are alike in not like the dragon, in a spiritual certain very essential particulars. contest; but Rome secular had im- The world does not say, Who is like

armies at her command. unto the dragon ? who is able to make Who is like unto the beast? Well war with the dragon ? The dragon might the wondering multitude say, represented the spiritual, not the “ Who is like unto the beast? who is sword-bearing, power. The dragon able to make war with him?" But did not make war as the beast did. after all, the confidence in the power The contest which the dragon and of the empire was too great, for great his angels carried on was not on as the empire was, it did finally fall. earth, but was seen in the air, among And we read in the chapter we are the stars. It was metaphorical, or considering, that one of the heads of spiritual. It was with Michael and ihe beast was "wounded to death,” his angels, the imaginary_guardians ver. 3, “by a sword,” ver. 14; and of the faithful Christians. The dragon we are told (ver. 10) that “he that was worsted, and was thrown down leadeth into captivity shall go into from the height of his power. Chriscaptivity : he that killeth with the tianity gained the ascendency in the sword must be killed with the sword.” empire. We see, then, a plain disRome, with its terrible arm, was not tinction between ihe dragon and the unconquerable. There was a time, beast; the former, it would seem, however, when she appeared to be so. referred to the spiritual power, or Within the space of a little more than heathenism; the latter represented a hundred years, she made herself the secular power of the state. the mistress of the world. Her do. 5. A mouth speaking great things minion extended from the islands and blasphemies. — The phraseology of of the Atlantic on the west, to the Daniel is preserved all along in this river Euphrates on the east, and chapter. This “mouth speaking great from the Mediterranean on the south, things and blasphemies is a method almost indefinitely towards the north of speech borrowed from that prophet. pole ; at least, so as to include all See Dan. vii. 8: “I considered the civilized countries. She embraced horns, and behold, there came up all that part of Europe and Asia'among them another little horn, before

5 And there was given unto power was given unto him to him a mouth speaking great continue forty and two months. things and blasphemies; and 6 And he opened his mouth whom there were three of the first power of their enemies, whether it horns plucked up by the roots : and may have been longer or shorter. behold, in this horn were eyes like The revelator, who will be found a the eyes of a man, and a mouth speak- most obsequious imitator of Daniel ing great things." — Also verse 11, “I in his metaphors, quotes the method beheld then because of the voice of of speech from himn. But the revelathe great words which the horn spake: tor, preserving the general idea, still I beheld even till the beast was slain, varies his phraseology, and uses “ forand his body destroyed, and given ty and two months” and “twelve hunto the burning flame.” And again, dred and sixty days,” which evidently verse 25: “And he shall speak great enough are of similar force and interwords against the Most High, and pretation with the time, times, and shall wear out the saints of the Most half a time, or year, years, and half a High, and think to change times and year. One year, two years, and a laws." Daniel, like the revelator, was half of a year, are exactly forty-two speaking of the Roman empire un- |months, and forty-two months of thirty der the figure of a beast; and the rev- days each, (as the Jews reckoned,) are elator evidently quotes the prophet's just twelve hundred and sixty days. language. Did not the Roman rulers And when Daniel says, at the close of utter great things against the Most his prophecy, "Blessed is he that waitHigh? Did not the beast have upon eth and cometh to the thousand, three his_heads the name of blasphemy? | hundred and five and thirty days,” | Forty and tno months. - This beast the meaning is, Blessed is he that was to continue forty and two months. liveth to the days beyond the season Many speculations, very wise, we of the prostration of the saints. In have no doubt, in the opinions of their respect to the destruction of the Jews, authors, have been offered in regard the Christians were assured “the day to the time intended by this phrase. of the Lord should come as a thief in We have already stated, that, in our the night;" 1 Thess. v. 1,2. The earjudgment, it was a mere metaphor of ly Christians were prohibited from time, to signify the season of the inquiring too particularly into those church's depression, and of the exulta- matters. “ It is not for you to know tion of her enemies. It is far from the times or the seasons which the being certain that the various phrases, Father hath put in his own power;" “ a time, and times, and dividing of Acts i. 7. The precise day and hour time,” Dan. vii. 25; "a time, times, of Christ's coming they were not to and a half,” xii. 7; Rev. xii. 14; know, but they were to keep always

forty and two months,” Rev. xi. 2; ready for it, for it should surely come xiii. 5; and “twelve hundred and in that generation, and to many it sixty days,” Rev. xi. 3; xii. 6; all would come unexpectedly, like “a signify the same time, or even the thief in the night.” This was all the same length of time. The expression Christians were to know in regard to originated with Daniel, and was used the time. It is manifestly certain, by him (vii. 25) to signify the sea- then, that none of the sacred writers son of the predominance of the oppos- meant to foretell the exact number ing power against the saints of the of days. Most High. Now, let the reader take 6. Blasphemy against God. Rome a hint from this fact. The time, blasphemed God. Hence we read times, and half a time, is the season that upon the seven heads of the beast of the depression of the saints and the was “the name of blasphemy," verse

in blasphemy against God, to to make war with the saints, and blaspheme his name, and his to overcome them: and power tabernacle, and them that dwell was given him over all kindreds, in heaven.

and tongues, and nations. 7 And it was given unto him 8 And all that dwell upon

1, and that he had “a mouth speak- make war against him that sat on the ing great things and blasphemies," horse, and against his army. And verse 5. Rome blasphemed the name the beast was taken, and with him the of God, and his tabernacle, and those false prophet that wrought miracles that dwelt therein, or in heaven, which before him, with which he deceived means the same thing. The taber- them that had received the mark of nacle of God was with men; and they the beast, and them that worshipped who were brought to know, and love, his image. These both were cast and serve him, dwelt in his taber- alive into a lake of fire burning with nacle, or in heaven. Hence Paul brimstone. And the remnant were said to the Hebrew Christians, “Ye slain with the sword of him that sat are come unto Mount Sion, and unto upon the horse, which sword proceeded the city of the living God, the heaven- out of his mouth: and all the fowls ly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable were filled with their flesh;" xix. company of angels,”' &c.; xii. 22. By 19–21. This was the final overthrow those who “ dwelt in heaven," is of the beast. It was not permitted meant those who have entered the that he should always make war upon spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ. the church. We have no doubt that the early 8. All that dwell upon the earth shall Christians were obliged to endure all worship him. - This is but a reiteramanner of reproaches and blasphe- tion of the fact stated in verses 3 and mies. Some of the Roman emperors 4. But during this very general dearrogated to themselves honors, and votion to the power of Rome, both in were called by names, which belonged religion and government, there were to God alone. In this way they blas- some who did not join in it, viz., phemed God.

those whose names are " written in 7. Make war with the saints, and the book of life of the Lamb." We overcome them. – He was permitted to have already expressed our opinion make war with the saints; he was of the phrase “ book of life,” in the permitted to overcome them. It was notes on Rev. iii. 5, to which we reallowed for wise and holy purposes. fer. A few additional particulars are The language above quoted is the here added. It was an ancient cuslanguage of Daniel, which he used in tom to speak of the names of the regard to the Roman beast. “I be- faithful as being written in a book; held, and the same horn made war and when one was ejected, or cut off, with the saints, and prevailed against his name was said to be blotted out. them ;' vii. 21. But he prevailed See Exod. xxxii. 31–33: “And Mo. against them only for a time; and ses returned unto the Lord, and said, during that time his power was very Oh, this people have sinned a great wide ; it extended over “all kindreds, sin, and have made them gods of gold. and tongues, and nations." See Rev. Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their xi. 7 ; xii. 17. In the sequel he was sin : and if not, blot me, I pray thee, to fall. His triumph could not be out of thy book which thou hast writlong. The revelator says, in a sub-ten. And the Lord said unto Moses, sequent passage, “And I saw the Whosoever hath sinned against me, beast, and the kings of the earth, and him will I blot out of my book.” their armies, gathered together to Book is used metaphorically for re

the earth shall worship him, the book of life of the Lamb slain whose names are not written in from the foundation of the world.

membrance. See Psa. Ivi. 8: “ Thou A comparison of all the passages in tellest my wanderings : put thou my which this phrase occurs would seem tears into thy bottle : are they not in to show, that it signifies past time inthy book ?" or remembrance. See definitely, as if we should say, “ bealso Mal. iii. 16: “ Then they that fore all time,” or, “from all past feared the Lord spake often one to time,” or from the ages of old, as in another : and the Lord hearkened, Rom. xvi. 25, referred to above. The and heard it: and a book of remem- truths of the gospel had remained a brance was written before him for mystery, or been kept secret from the them that feared the Lord, and that foundation of the world, or all past thought upon his name.” The figure time; Matt. xiii. 35: the kingdom had occurs also in Daniel, from which been prepared for the believers from the revelator borrows so frequently : the foundation of the world, or all past “ There shall be a time of trouble, time; Matt. xxv. 34: the blood of all such as never was since there was a the prophets shed from the foundation nation even to that same time: and of the world was to be required of at that time thy people shall be de- that generation of the Jews which livered, every one that shall be found slew Christ; Luke xi. 50; i. e., the written in the book ;" xii. 1. From blood of all that had been slain; for Phil. iv. 3, (and this is the only place Matthew has it, "all the righteous in which the phrase “ book of life" blood shed upon the earth, from the occurs, except in the Apocalypse,) blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood we should conclude it meant the roll of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom of Christian believers. To blot one's ye slew between the temple and the name out of the book of life, was to altar;" Matt. xxiii. 35: Jesus was consider him no longer as a faithful loved' of the Father before the foundisciple, but to set him apart from the dation of the world ; John xvii. 24: true and the good. The names of the and believers were chosen in him befaithful are written in the book of life, fore the foundation of the world; Eph. the roll of those who enjoy eternal i. 4; that is, before time begun, in life; the names of the unfaithful are the eternal councils of the Father. In not there. If a Christian fall away, Heb. iv. 3, the works of God, at the bis name having been there, is said creation, are said to have been from to be blotted out. Such is the general the foundation of the world; and if it tenor of the language used about the had been necessary for Christ, like book of life; the whole is metaphori- the high priest, to have been sacri. cal. | Lamb, slain from the foundation ficed every year, then must he often of the world. By the Lamb is un- have suffered since the foundation of questionably meant Jesus, who is so the world, Heb. ix. 26, or from the often mentioned in the Apocalypse un beginning. Christ was a Lamb, withder that figure; and he is said to have out spot or blemish, preördained bebeen slain “from the foundation of fore the foundation of the world, i. e., the world,” either because his death before all time, in the eternal councils took place at the very beginning of of the Father; 1 Pet. i. 20; and this is the gospel dispensation, - or, what is the precise phraseology employed in more probable, because that sacrifice the Apocalypse, and which Peter was determined in the mind of God seems almost to have quoted from it; from the beginning of the world, (kos- Rev. xiii. 8. See, also, xvii. 8. These mos,) Rev. xiii. 8, or, in the ages of are all the passages in the New Tesold, (chronois aioniois,) Rom. xvi. 25. tament in which the phrase apo or


9 If any man have an ear, Here is the patience and the let him hear.

faith of the saints. 10 He that leadeth into cap

And I beheld another tivity shall go into captivity : beast coming up out of the earth, he that killeth with the sword, and he had two horns like a must be killed with the sword. lamb, and he spake as a dragon. pro kataboles kosmou occurs. The word “ There is, in this whole passage, a katabole (foundation) occurs in one most palpable allusion to Nero ;' and other connection only, Heb. xi. 11. it has more life and energy when we

9. If any man have an ear. - - This suppose him to have been still living. denotes the importance of the com- The writer foretells what must inevimunication to all. It is of similar tably be the doom of such a tyrant. import with the words of the poet:

In faet, Nero eriled himself from

Rome, and intended to make his es. Let every mortal ear attend."

cape into distant countries, but he As the art of printing was not then was arrested in his retreat, and fell known, and few persons could obtain by his own sword, or by that of his the manuscript books in existence, assailants. Here is the patience and the greater part were obliged to listen faith of the saints — i. e., the ground to the reading of others. The words or cause of their patience and faith. will bear the construction, “If any Had it not been for this assurance, man have an inclination to listen, let they would have sunk under their him hear." A “heart to perceive” sufferings perhaps; but knowing that is a heart able and willing to per- their tribulations were not always to ceive; “eyes to see” are eyes ready continue, their patience and their faith and willing to see; and “ears to were preserved. See Heb. vi. 12. hear” are ears open and inclined to 11. Another beast. This is theria hear; Deut. xxix. 4. In some the on, a spiteful, cruel animal, like the. heart is fat and the ears heavy; Isa. first beast, and not like the zoa, the vi. 10; and they “turn away their four beasts, or living creatures, round ears from the truth;" 2 Tim. ix. 4; about the throne. And here follow's Acts vii. 57. See the notes on Rev. another distinction. This is not a ii. 7, 11. The words in the case be beast with seven heads and ten horns; fore us may refer to what precedes, but he has “two horns like a lamb." or what follows, or both.

He has a very mild and amiable as10. Must be killed with the sword. - pect; but there is murder in his heart. Suffering as the Christians did under He has some affinity to the firethe cruelty of the Romans, it be- colored dragon. He spake as a dragor. came necessary to give them the as. | And he had also some affinity to the surance, that however powerful their beast, and is truly called another enemies then were, a change was beast. But we shall learn more of near. The conquerors of all the world him as we proceed. It is particularly should themselves at last be conquered to be observed, notwithstanding his The successful warriors should be outward lamb-like appearance, that

Jesus had said, “ All they his communications were manifestly that take the sword shall perish with dragon-like. He spoke for the dragon, the sword;” Matt. xxvi. 52; they to aid his cause, as well as that of the incur the great risk of perishing in seven-headed beast. He came up out that manner. But some writers think of the earth. The dragon was first that something more definite than this seen in heaven; xii. 3; i. e., in the is intended in the passage before us. firmament; but he was out of his Professor Stuart, for instance, says: I place; he had no business there;



« PreviousContinue »