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was AT HAND.
which are in Asia : Grace be unto
from him was at hand. Is not the time here in-|(says Woodhouse) with the mention tended the time of Christ's coming to of the number seven, which is aftertake vengeance on the Jews ? See wards so frequently and symbolically the remarks on i. 1. In the 22d used, in this sacred book; wherein chapter of this book, the revelator we read of seven spirits of God, seven says, “ Seal not the sayings of the angels, seven seals, seven trumpets, prophecy of this book, [why ?] for the seven vials, seven heads of the dragon time is at hand;" ver. 10. Again, and of the beast. In which passages, ver. 12, “Behold I come QUICKLY.” for the most part, as in others of holy And again, ver. 20, “Surely, I come Scripture, this number appears to repQUICKLY.” In 1 Peter iv. 7, “The resent a large, complete, yet undeend of all things is at hand.” So in fined quantity. Hannah, in her 2 Thess. ii. 2, « The day of Christ is song, (1 Sam. ï. 5,) says, "The at hand." In Phil. iv. 5, “The Lord barren hath borne seven (that is, a for the day, coming of the Lord,] is large, but indefinite, number of) åt hand ;" and in Rom. xiii. 12, children.' So God threatens that he “ The night is far spent, the day is at will punish the Israelites seven times; hand." Such is the uniform lan- | that is, very completely and severely: guage of the epistles. The coming In the Hebrew etymology of this word of Christ, the great day of the Lord, seven, it signifies fulness and perfec
tion. --(Daubuz.) Philo styles it the Ver. 4. Having thus concluded the completing number; and it is menbrief preface, or introduction, we tioned as such by Cyprian. With the come now to the book itself. It is in Israelites, this number became thus the form of an epistle. John to the important, because God having comseven churches. Here the revelator pleted his work of creation in six once more gives his name. If he had days, and added thereto the seventh, been any other than the apostle John, a day of rest, commanded them, in there would have been some need of memorial thereof, to reckon time by his explaining himself further, and sevens. Through the nations of the showing who he was. He says, East, this manner of computation John, by way of preëminence, mean- passed on to the Greeks and Romans, ing the John of the church. And what as hath been shown in a variety of seven churches are here referred to instances. By the seven churches of The names of the churches are given Asia are implied all the churches of in ver. 11 of this chapter, viz., the Asia, and, it may be, all the Christian churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Perga-churches, in whatever situation or mos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, period of the world. Such was the and' Laodicea. But what need was opinion of the most ancient commenthere that these seven churches should tators on the Apocalypse, who lived be counselled and warned, and none near to the time of its publication." others? It seems very probable that - (Annotations on the Apocalypse, John uses these churches as represen-8vo., London, 1828, p. 58.) | Gruce tative of the Christian churches in gen- be unto you. — This is the apostoleral. He selects seven as samples of ical benediction.
« Grace to you, the rest, and gives to them the advice and peace from God our Father, and which all needed. The careful read- the Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom. i. 7; er of the Apocalypse needs not to be and the same may be found in subtold, that the number seven is very stance in various other places. 1 Cor. frequently employed therein. It is a i. 3; 2 Cor. i. 2; Gal. i. 3; Eph. i. 2; series that is continually occurring. Phil. i. 2; Col. i. 2; 1 Thess. i. 1; 2 “Here we meet for the first time Thess. i. 2; Phil. 3. In all these
which is, and which was, and 5 And from Jesus Christ, which is to come ; and from the who is the faithful Witness, and seven spirits which are before the First-begotten of the dead, his throne ;
and the Prince of the kings of
cases, and many others which might Tobit xii. 15. Such being the custom be named, mention is made first of of ancient monarchs, and John drawGod the Father, and second, of his ing the court of heaven in his imagSon Jesus Christ. The revelator gives ination after the form of an ancient it more the Hebrew form. Instead earthly court, he supposed seven spirof speaking of God as the Father, he its to dwell near the presence of calls him the present, the past, and the God. This, however, is merely sceto come, which seems to have been de- nical; as the robe, the ring, and the signed to express his endless exis- shoes that were put upon the prodigal tence. It is a circumlocution for the on his return to his father's house. name Jehovah, which, after the cap- They were merely the imagery used tivity in Babylon, the Jews, from by our Lord to describe the joy of the superstitious veneration for the word, parent at the event. The view which refused to pronounce. Jehovah sig- we have adopted is further confirmed nifies the self-existent, in which the by the position of the seven spirits; idea of the endlessly-existent is in- they were before the throne, not on the volved : he who gives being and ex- throne, with the Eternal; but waitistence to others. - (Calmet.). The ing at the foot thereof, to execute his Jewish writers often use the phrase, commands. These seven spirits of of which the apostle's Greek terms God belong both to the Father and are a literal translation.-(A.Clarke.) the Son, as we shall see when we | And from the seven spirits. — This is come to other parts of the Apocalypse. the first mention of the seven spir- See iii. 1 ; v. 6. The reason of this its, and it deserves serious consider is obvious. Jesus is the vicegerent ation. There are two views taken of the Father; not ruling under him, of the subject by different commenta- but, in the spiritual kingdom, ruling tors. 1st. It is supposed that the Holy in his room and stead. The seven Spirit is intended. Bede remarks, spirits, therefore, which attended at The one spirit is said to be septi- God's throne, may with great proform to describe its perfection and priety be said to execute the will of plenitude;" in the same sense in both the Father and the Son. See which seven thunders are used to de- especially v. 6. scribe loud thunder. The other in- Ver. 5. And from Jesus Christ. – terpretation is, that the figure of the The benediction is from the Son as seven spirits is taken from the attend-well as from the Father, and such, ants upon earthly monarchs, the we have shown, was the apostolical seven most faithful and confidential form. | Faithful witness. — Jesus was being kept near to the royal person, a faithful witness, faithful and true; and being his medium of communi- iii. 14. The word translated witcation with his subjects. The latterness, signifies not merely what we interpretation seems to us the most call a witness, but a martyr also, probable, although there is nothing one who is ready to seal his testi. strained or unnatural in either; and, mony with his blood. This was true in fact, they may both be combined of our Lord; he died, in attestation of without violence. That ancient mon- the truth hé had taught. That the archs were attended in the manner idea of martyrdom entered into the described, see Ezra vii. 14; Esther i. conception of the revelator, seems 10, 14; Jer. iii. 25; 1 Esdras viii. 11; I evident from the next words.' | The the earth. Unto him that loved 6 And hath made us kings us, and washed us from our sins and priests unto God and his in his own blood,
Father; to him be glory and
first-begotten of the dead. That is, but by his own blood, he entered in the first-born from the dead, or the once into the holy place, having obfirst raised. Paul called Christ the tained eternal redemption for “ first fruits of them that slept ;" 1 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, Cor. xv. 20, 23. The word translated and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling first-begotten in the passage before the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifyus, is elsewhere in the New Testa- ing of the flesh, how much more ment translated first-born. It occurs shall the blood of Christ, who through but once in the Apocalypse. _| Prince the eternal Spirit offered himself withof the kings of the earth. - The word out spot to God, purge your contranslated "prince,” here signifies science from dead works to serve the leader, or first in order. Jesus is living God;" 11-14. Such is the called “the Prince of life;" Acts iii. manner in which the mere blood of 15; and it is also said, “God hath Christ came to be spoken of as possesexalted him to be a prince and a sing a purifying power. It is only in saviour;" Acts v. 31. He is said to a metaphorical sense that it can have be prince of kings of the earth, such a power. In this sense the blood because he is the greatest of all of of Christ is frequently spoken of by the them, if the King of kings and Lord New Testament writers. 1 Peter i. 2, of lords;" xix. 16. fùnto him that | 19; 1 John i. 7; Rev. v. 9; vii. 14; loved us and washed us, &c. - Here xii. 11. It is well known to every commences an ascription of praise student of the New Testament, that and glory to Christ, which continues the truth is the purifying agent under to the end of the following verse. the gospel. What else can purify the And in what sense did Jesus wash soul? Jesus prayed the Father to men from their sins in his own blood ? " sanctify men through the truth;" The figure of blood, as it is here used, and then he added, “Thy word is is derived from the ceremonies of the truth ;" John xvii. 17. “By mercy Mosaic ritual. God said to the children and truth iniquity is purged ; and by of Israel, " For the life of the flesh is in the fear of the Lord men depart from the blood : and I have given it to you evil;” Prov. xvi. 6. As the truth, upon the altar, to make an atonement then, is the purifier of the soul, in for your souls: for it is the blood that what sense is it said that the blood maketh an atonement for the soul ;" of Christ cleanseth men from sin ? Lev. xvii. 11. Now, if we turn to Evidently when it stands as a metathe Epistle to the Hebrews, we shall phor of the truth. Now, that John find that Paul draws his figure of the knew that the Lord Jesus spoke of sanctifying and atoning power of the his blood metaphorically for the truth, mere blood of Christ, from this por- will be evident, if we look at his gostion of the Jewish service. “ Almost pel. “Then Jesus said unto them, all things are by the law purged Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except with blood ; and without shedding of ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, blood is no remission;" Heb. ix. 22. and drink his blood, ye, have no life Again, Paul says, “But Christ being in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and come a high priest of good things to drinketh my blood, hath eternal life ; come, by a greater and more perfect and I will raise him up at the last tabernacle, not made with hands, that day. For my flesh is meat indeed, is to say, not of this building ; nei- and my blood is drink-indeed. He ther by the blood of goats and calves, I that eateth my flesh, and drinketh
dominion for ever and ever. ; 7 Behold, he cometh with Amen.
clouds; and every eye shall see my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in the kingdom;" Luke xii. 32. him ;" John vi. 53–56.
we suffer with him, we shall also suppose that blood and flesh are to be reign with him ;" 2 Tim. ii. 12. See understood here in the literal sense ? | also 1 Cor. iv. 8, and vi. 2, 3. So Our Lord himself applied the meta- God promised the Jews of old, “ Now, phor before he closed the discourse therefore, if ye will obey my voice in which we find it. He showed indeed, and keep my covenant, then his disciples he did not mean that ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto blood, in the literal sense, would me above all people : for all the earth give them life; for he added, “ It is is mine : and ye shall be unto me a the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh i kingdom of priests, and a holy naprofiteth nothing; the words that I tion;" Exod. xix. 5, 6. See, also, 1 speak unto you, they are spirit, and Peter ii. 5—9, where Peter says to they are life;" ver. 63. This shows the believers, “ Ye are a chosen genus unequivocally that_blood stands eration, a royal priesthood, a holy frequently in the New Testament for nation, a peculiar people ; that ye the truth which Jesus preached. It should show forth the praises of him is by this that men are sanctified. who hath called you out of darkness Paul states, that “Christ lov the into his marvellous light.”
TTo church, and gave himself for it; that him be glory –i. e., to Christ, the he might sanctify and cleanse it with Son of God, be glory and dominion. the washing of water by the word, Jesus receives praise and homage as that he might present it to himself a the mediator between God and men. glorious church, not having spot or 1 For ever and ever. The duration wrinkle, or any such thing; but that expressed by these terms must be deit should be holy and without blem- termined by the nature of the subject ish ;" Eph. v. 25–27. When it is to which they are applied. The litsaid, therefore, by the revelator, that eral translation is, “ to the ages of the Christ loved the church, and washed ages.” The expression is indefinite. it from its sins in his own blood, he It is sometimes applied to temporal expresses precisely the truth stated by things, which long since came to an the apostle Paul, as just quoted. end. When applied to the existence
Ver. 6. Made us kings and priests. of God and Christ, and the praise and - How were the apostles and Chris- honor which are due them, we know, tians made “kings and priests” unto from the nature of the subject, that God? These were the highest terms endless duration is intended. | Amen. of distinction, and entitled the posses- - This word signifies truth,
firmness, sor to high honors. The believers stability. It is used for affirmation, are said to reign with Christ on the and for consent or desire. In the earth. See v. 10, “ And hast made former sense Jesus employs it, in the us unto our God kings and priests; well-known prefix to some of his and we shall reign on the earth." solemn declarations, as “Verily, verJesus said his disciples should reign ily, I say unto you ;' but it bears with him; the twelve apostles were the latter sense in the verse before promised to sit on twelve thrones, us. After having given the ascrip: judging for reigning over] the twelvé tion of praise and glory to Christ, tribes of Ispiritual] Israel ; Matt. xix. throughout all ages, the revelator 28. True believers were said to “in- | adds, Amen, or so let it be. herit the kingdom ;” Matt. xxv. 34. Ver. 7. Behold he cometh. Who is “ Fear not, little flock; for it is your here intended ? Evidently, Jesus Father's good pleasure to give you Christ, who had been spoken of in
him, and they also which pierced earth shall wail because of him him; and all kindreds of the Even so, Amen. the two preceding verses. This com- revelator. He evidently copies ing of Christ was that virtual dis- from Daniel : 1st. “It is the Son of play of divine power which was seen man,” or Jesus Christ, that comes ; at the overthrow of Jerusalem and see ver. 4; 2d. “He cometh in the the abolition of the Mosaic religion. clouds;" 3d. He cometh with power The subject is clothed in oriental and glory, for all his enemies are imagery. It was a figure of the an- cast down before him. Third, The cient prophets, to represent God as Lord himself, as reported by Matthew. coming in the clouds. “ He maketh 1st. It is the Son of man that comes ; the clouds his chariot." See Psa. | 2d. He comes in the clouds of heavciv. 3; Jer. iv. 13; Nahum i. 3; en;" 3d. In power and great glory, Matt. xxiv. 30. Daniel refers to the and all the tribes mourn. There is coming of the Son of man to establish so remarkable an agreement between his kingdom, in similar phraseology : the passages quoted from Daniel, “I saw in the night visions, and be- from the Apocalypse, and from Mathold, one like the Son of man came thew, that we cannot entertain a with the clouds of heaven, and came doubt they all refer to the same subto the Ancient of days, and they ject, viz., Christ's coming at the overbrought him near before him. And throw of Jerusalem, and the abolition there was given him dominion, and of the Mosaic religion. The testi. glory, and a kingdom, that all people, mony of the following authors will nations, and languages, should serve confirm the opinion we have given. him : his dominion is an everlasting Archbishop Newcome says, “ The dominion, which shall not pass away, coming of Christ to destroy the Jews and his kingdom that which shall not was a virtual, and not a real one, and be destroyed ;” vii. 13, 14. This was to be understood figuratively, coming of Christ was one of the and not literally.” Again he says, events which were shortly to come to « The destruction of Jerusalem by pass. That it was after his cruci- Titus is emphatically called the comfixion is evident, because it is said, ing of Christ. The spirit of prophecy They that pierced him shall wail be- speaks particularly of this, because cause of him; evidently referring to the city and temple were then dehis crucifixion ; and all the kindreds stroyed, and the civil and ecclesiastiand the tribes of the land should cal state of the Jews subverted. The mourn. See Matt. xxiv. 30, where it Jews also suffered very great calamiwill be seen the Saviour applied the ties under Adrian ; but not so great same language in reference to his as those under Vespasian ; and the coming at the destruction of Jerusa- desolation under Adrian is not so lem. “And then shall appear the particularly foretold. But I think sign of the Son of man in heaven : that any signal interposition in behalf and then shall all the tribes of the of his church, or in the destruction of earth mourn, and they shall see the his enemies, may be metaphorically called Son of man coming in the clouds of a coming of Christ." - (Observations, heaven with power and great glory.” pp. 280, 281.) Dr. Campbell remarks, Let us now consider these three pas on the expression, “ Then shall appear sages in connection. First, Daniel. the sign of the Son of man in heaven," He states, 1st. It is one like the Son “We have no reason to think that a of man that comes ; 2d. The Son of particular phenomenon in the sky man comes in the clouds of heav- is here suggested. The striking evien;" 3d. He comes in his kingdom, dences which would be given of the or in power and glory. Second, The I divine presence, and avenging justice,