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casting into the lake of fire; but who every commentator has had a system ever supposed, even for one moment, of his own; and the plan of one is as that it was in the immortal state? good as the plan of any other. They See the notes on xix. 20, and xx. 10. are all confusion worse confounded. Pagan Rome met with a similar fate Such commentators bring in the to that of the Jews; not indeed as Goths, the Lombards, the French, the early, but as fatally and irrecover- Popes, the Catholic Church, [which ably. Both are "twice dead, plucked they have represented as the woman up by the roots ;' Jude 12 ; totally riding on the beast,] the Saracens, the destroyed. They were not found Mahometans; and having applied, or written in the book of life, and were rather misapplied, much of the Apocacast into the lake of fire. The de- lypse to past history, they have gone struction of Idumea was compared to on to prophesy of what is to happen being laid waste by fire and brimstone. in the future. Some have introduced “The streams thereof shall be turned the French Revolution; the rise and into pitch, and the dust thereof into fall of Bonaparte; the events in brimstone, and the land thereof shall Egypt, Turkey, and India, and all become burning pitch. It shall not this for what? Because they have be quenched night nor day; the felt themselves obliged to make out smoke thereof shall go up forever; a series of events reaching to the imfrom generation to generation it shall mortal resurrection of the dead. It is lie waste ; none shall pass through it in this vast chasm, reaching from the forever and ever;"' Isa. xxxiv. 9, 10. fall of the Roman Empire forward How conformable, then, to prophetic to the immortal resurrection, that the style, to represent a people who were principal errors of commentators, in to be totally destroyed as being about regard to the Apocalypse, are found. to be cast into the lake of fire. Pa If they would but allow that the judg. ganism was to be utterly destroyed ment of the dead, small and great, throughout the empire : it was done. xx. 12—15, should be explained as We have thus gone through with the we have explained it, they might twentieth chapter of the book. As make of the Apocalypse a beautiful we find, at the close of this chapter, and consistent book; but as long as that the earth and heaven were said they seek to make out that the pasto flee away, so we shall see that the sage referred to should be applied to twenty-first chapter opens with the the post-mortem state, and is not to coming of the “new heaven and the be fulfilled until after the immortal new earth." We have interpreted resurrection, they must seek to fill the twentieth chapter in harmony up the chasm we have mentioned with the whole Apocalypse, and pre- from their own wits; and they thus served a beautiful analogy through- bring endless contradictions and conout. There is one very serious objec- troversies into the church. They tion to applying Rev. xx. 12–15 to make themselves the sport of unthe immortal state; it breaks up the believers. If the evil stopped here plan of the Apocalypse. The com- we should not so earnestly complain. mentators who have done this have But they abuse the Apocalypse itself; been obliged, in making up their they bring that into disrepute : for plan of the book, to trace out a careless men will not examine wheth. series of events reaching to the im- er their interpretations properly bemortal resurrection. They have long to the book ; but, disgusted with tasked their imaginations, therefore, phantasms, visions and contradicto make out such a series, to which tions, they will abandon commentathey can apply certain parts of the tors, Apocalypse and all, as utterly Apocalypse ; and in doing this, almost unworthy of notice.
first heaven and the first earth
A sand a snow earth korea vine wesen basere saway; and there
The new heaven and new earth here Preliminary Remarks. — We found, refer to what had been said in the in the last chapter, the closing up of 11th verse of the preceding chapter ; the account of the destruction of 6 And I saw a great white throne, and heathenism. The final act in that him that sat on it, from whose face drama was the destruction of "the the earth and the heaven fled away ; dragon, that old serpent, which is the and there was found no place for Devil and Satan," which is described them.” Now the revelator says, in in the 10th verse.
the verse before us : “I saw a new At the 11th verse we showed that heaven and a new earth; for the first the account of the reign of the gos. heaven and the first earth were passed pel commenced. The “great white away,” &c. The new here are the Throne” was the mediatorial throne; opposite or counterpart of the old, and not a real throne, any more than the come in to take the place of the old. holy city, new Jerusalem, was a real It is expressly said they were introcity. It was a metaphor to represent duced because “ the first heaven and the reign of Christ in the gospel ; be the first earth were passed away.” fore whom the nations, represented Now, if the new heaven and the new by the “dead, small and great,” stood earth refer to the introduction of the to be judged. This judgment we gospel, what can the passing away of found to refer not to the future state, the former heaven and earth refer because it commenced to take place to, but the passing away of the at the time Christ's kingdom began, law? If so, (and who can doubt it?) and will be finished at the resurrection then the judgment of the nations, of the dead, when all souls shall be small and great, was connected with subject to Christ, in the same sense in the passing away of the law, and not which Christ is subject to the Father, with the passing away of the material and God shall be all in all; 1 Cor. xv. heaven and earth. We have already 24-28. None can enter into this shown that it had been the custom of kingdom except those who are fully the Jewish writers, almost from the prepared. The stones must be hewn earliest antiquity, to represent changes and squared before they can be incor- among the affairs of men by changes porated into the edifice; and this shall | among the heavenly bodies be done for every soul, before the moon, the stars; and the ardent imcompletion of the grand design men- aginations of the prophets conceived tioned in the passage last indicated. sublimer metaphors to represent the
The 21st chapter is but a continua greater changes, even the passing tion of the subject commenced at the away of the whole heaven, and the 11th verse of the preceding chapter. earth, and the sea. There is no prinHaving foretold the establishment of ciple of the interpretation of Scripthe mediatorial throne, and the judg- ture metaphors more clearly settled ment of the nations by the gospel, the than this. To describe the passing revelator proceeds, in the next place, away of the religions that prevailed to describe the descent of the new before the introduction of the gospel, covenant, under the metaphor of the but more especially that of Moses, holy city, new Jerusalem, coming the sacred writers use the metaphor down from God out of heaven, as of the dissolution of all things; and will be seen below.
hence Peter said in his day, in con1. New heaven and a new earth. - nection with the “judging of the quick
- the sun,
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming and the dead,” “The end of all things the work of their hands. They shall is at hand; be ye therefore sober, not labor in vain, nor bring forth for and watch unto prayer;" 1 Peter iv. trouble ; for they are the seed of the 6, 7. From the literal application blessed of the Lord, and their offof these passages, so incontestably spring with them. And it shall come proved to be metaphorical, has arisen to pass, that before they call, I will that huge fabric of error, viz., that the answer; and while they are yet judging of the quick and the dead is speaking, I will hear. The wolf and not to take place while the material the lamb shall feed together, and the earth remaineth; hence it is thought lion shall eat straw like the bullock; that it is still future, and shall not and dust shall be the serpent's meat. transpire until the resurrection of the They shall not hurt nor destroy in all dead into the immortal state. Such a my holy mountain, saith the Lord;"> sentiment rests on a total perversion 21—25. The improved condition of of the true sense of the Bible ; and Jerusalem was intended by the metawhen that good book shall come to phor of the new heavens and new be more fully understood, the whole earth as used by Isaiah ; and it was fabric must fall. In the forms of the improved condition of mankind, speech adopted by the Jewish proph- under the gospel, that was denoted by ets, any great and favorable change the new heavens and new earth of the might be represented by the creatio revelator. Peter, in his second Episof a new heaven and a new earth. In tle, exhorted his brethren to be “mindproof of this, see Isaiah lxv. 17: "For fu} of the words which were spoken behold, I create new heavens and a new before by the holy prophets ;" ii. 2. earth; and the former shall not be He then said, “There shall come scoffremembered, nor come into mind.” ers in the last days," i. e., the last days Now what does this mean? The of the former covenant; ver. 3. By next verse will show very clearly : “ last days,” in this place, is meant the " But be ye glad and rejoice forever same as "the end of all things;" 1 in that which I create ; for behold, Peter iv. 7. St. Peter then proceeds I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and to make a distinction between the her people a joy.” From this it is material heavens and earth and the evident that by the creation of a new heavens and earth in the metaphoriheaven and new earth was meant a cal
was the earth great and favorable change in the that was overflowed with water in the condition of Jerusalem. Observe the time of the flood, 2 Peter ii. 5, 6, three points: 1st. “I create new and which has not been destroyed, heavens and a new earth.” 2d. “Be but still remains to this day; the othye glad and rejoice forever in that er were the heavens and the earth which I create." 3d. “For behold, I which were [in Peter's day) reserved create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her unto fire against the day of judgment people a joy.” The prophet then goes and perdition of ungodly men; ver.
to describe the prosperous and 7. This “day of judgment,” or “day glorious condition of the Jews that of the Lord,” is mentioned again in was to ensue, as follows: “And they vers. 10–12, as follows: “But the day shall build houses, and inhabit them; of the Lord will come as a thief in and they shall plant vineyards, and the night; in the which the heavens eat the fruit of them. They shall shall pass away with a great noise, not build, and another inhabit; they and the elements shall melt with fershall not plant and another eat; for as vent heat, and the earth also and the the days of a tree are the days of my works that are therein shall be burned people, and mine elect shall long enjoy | up. Seeing then that all these things
down from God out of heaven, 3 And I heard a great voice prepared as a bride adorned for out of heaven, saying, Behold, her husband.
the tabernacle of God is with
shall be dissolved, what manner of place, and xxii. 8. And there was a persons ought ye to be in all holy peculiar propriety in his naming conversation and godliness, looking himself here, as he was the only one for and hasting unto the coming of of the apostles who lived until the the day of God, wherein the heavens descent of the new Jerusalem, or the being on fire shall be dissolved, coming of Christ in power and glory, and the elements melt with fervent took place. See John xxi. 23. How heat ?” This was “the end of all forcible, therefore, are these words: “I things,” already referred to — the John saw." | Holy city, new Jerusalem. passing away of the old heavens and
- The city of Jerusalem being the earth mentioned Rev. xx. 11, as fol- place where the worship of God was lows: “From whose face the earth established, and where all the pomp and the heaven fled away; and there and splendor of the temple-service was found no place for them.” Peter was seen, was called the "holy city.” proceeds to say : “Nevertheless we, See Isaiah's description : “Awake, according to his promise, look for new awake; put on thy strength, 0 Zion; heavens and a new earth, wherein put on thy beautiful garments, dwelleth righteousness;" ver. 13. Jerusalem, the holy city ; for hence. Here he evidently refers to God's forth there shall promise to create a new heaven and into thee the uncircumcised and the a new earth, which promise we have unclean ;" lii. 1. This was Jerualready quoted from the 65th chapter salem proper, the old Jerusalem. It of Isaiah. So the revelator, after was associated with all that was sahe had described the passing away of cred in the eyes of the Jews. Like the former heavens and earth, at the the word Zion, the very name beday of the Lord,” or day of judg- came almost a part and parcel of the ment of the dead, small and great, Jewish religion. It sometimes stood proceeds to speak of the coming metaphorically for the religion itself. of the new heavens and new earth How appropriate, how beautiful, how - that is, of a very improved condi- striking a metaphor to the Jewish tion in the state of mankind. But Christians was the representation of he does it in his own style. Isaiah's the coming of the gospel covenant metaphor no longer remains a mere under the figure of the holy city,metaphor, but swells, in the revela- not the old Jerusalem, but the new tor's hands, into a splendid allegory. city of that name, coming down from He not only has a new heaven and God out of heaven. We cannot cona new earth, but a new city of Jeru- ceive of an image more fitting to the salem also, coming down from God revelator's times, or more attracting out of heaven, beautifully adorned, to the Jewish Christians who were having a wall great and high, with everywhere scattered abroad. This twelve gates, &c. &c. The new was the city referred to by the author heavens and the new earth denote of the epistle to the Hebrews, when the improved condition about to take he congratulates them as follows: place in the affairs of the world ; and “ But ye are come unto mount Sion,
new Jerusalem denotes the and unto the city of the living God, gospel, by the means of which that the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an improvement is to be produced. innumerable company of angels, to
2. I John. — The revelator gives the general assembly and church of his name only in i. 1, 4, 9, and in this the first-born, which are written in
men, and he will dwell with ple, and God himself shall be them, and they shall be his peo- with them, and be their God. heaven, and to God the judge of all, desired it;" Psa.cxxxii. 13, 14. | He and to the spirits of just men made will dwell with them. — During the perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of journey of the Israelites to Canaan, The new covenant, and to the blood of the divine presence was supposed to sprinkling, that speaketh better things dwell in the tabernacle, – a tent, or than that of Abel ;" xii. 22–24. covering, the holiest of all places in Here it is called the heavenly or spirit- the sight of the Jews After the temual Jerusalem, which agrees with the ple was built, the tabernacle was set description of the revelator, who up therein. From these facts, any says it came down from God out of place where God's spiritual presence, heaven. We shall henceforward find or image, was manifested, was called nothing further said in the Apoca- the tabernacle of the Lord, because lypse of the local heaven, or dwelling- he was supposed to dwell there. place of God, introduced into the dra. When the Jewish religion passed ma, at chap. iv. It will be the spir- away, the Christian took its place; itual heaven, the new Jerusalem, when the Jewish tabernacle was abol. from this place. See our note on xix. ished, the Christian was set up in its 5. Prepared as a bride adorned for stead. “ But Christ being come a her husband. — The only meaning high priest of good things to come, here is, that it was beautifully and by a greater and more perfect taberappropriately adorned. The bride nacle, not made with hands, that is prepares herself in beautiful and to say, not of this building; neither fitting attire to receive the bride by the blood of goats and calves, but groom. See xix. 7, 8: “His wife by his own blood, he entered in once hath made herself ready,” &c. The into the holy place, having obtained heavenly Jerusalem, i. e., the Lamb's eternal redemption for as;" Heb. ix. wife, (ver. 9,) is gloriously attired for 11, 12. Christians, in whom the his advent. Rome had been repre- spirit of the Lord is seen, whose sented by a woman, and now a simi- image dwells in their hearts, are said lar metaphor is used to represent the to be the tabernacle, or temple of new Jerusalem. They are both rep- God, and in the precise sense too in resented first as women, then as cities. which the metaphor is used by the See xvii. 1; xix. 7, 8. But the first revelator. " And what agreement woman is an impure harlot; the hath the temple of God with idols ? second is a virgin bride. The first for ye are the temple of the living city is idolatrous and wicked; the God; as God hath said, I will dwell second is the holy city," the new in them, and walk in them; and I Jerusalem. See our note on iii. 12. will be their God, and they shall be The glory of this city we shall find my people ;” 2 Cor. vi. 16. God described in subsequent verses of this came down to dwell with men spiritchapter.
ually in the gospel ; to establish new 3. The tabernacle of God is with relations with them; to make him.
- As the holy city, the heav- self known more fully to them; enly Jerusalem, is described as hav- dwell in more intimate connection ; ing come down from heaven, it is to make them feel that he was their said God will henceforth dwell with God and they were his people. The
Zion of old was said to be veil of the old covenant was to be his habitation. “For the Lord hath taken away. In the temple he was chosen Zion; he hath desired it for supposed to dwell beneath the taberhis habitation. This is my rest for- nacle; under the gospel he would ever : here will I dwell : for I have dwell in men's hearts. Isaiah, the