« PreviousContinue »
havoc and destruction.
It was like unto "a sea of glass," because as glass is a substance which receives and reflects, with accurate truth, the light of the sun, the great luminary of the terrestrial world, so this place shall receive and reflect, with unvaried purity, the light and truth of the ever living God revealed through Jesus Christ, the "Sun of righteousness," and of the spiritual world. This place is moreover said to be "mingled with fire;" that is, mingled with the wrath of God, which shall be there, ready to destroy the wicked who dared to approach near it, and to save from all harm " them that have gotten "the victory over the beast, and over his image, " and over his mark, and over the number of his "name*." And upon this sea of glass, that nation and the individual of every nation whereever to be found, thus described; or to speak the literal sense of the text, all those who shall have resisted to the end, the blasphemous and atheistical principles of French philosophy, shall stand in perfect safety, prepared to receive their blessed Redeemer, now ready to come to the marriage supper. Yet more; they shall be so perfectly convinced of the divine goodness and mercy in their miraculous preservation, that "having the harps of God," they shall sing "the
song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the "Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy "works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not
* Ver. 2.
Alluding to the song.
"fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For "thou only art holy; for all nations shall come "and worship before thee; for thy judgments "are made manifest*."
The righteous, and particularly those whose love and fear of God have enabled them to triumph over the blasphemy of atheism, thus assured of the protection of God during the fierceness of his wrath, the seven angels are made ready to pour it out. "The temple of the tabernacle of "the testimony in heaven is opened." The angels "come out of it," clothed in pure and white linen," and having their breasts girdled with golden girdles" (to intimate the justice and righte-ousness of their awful commission;) and seven golden vials, full of the wrath of God, are given to themf.
The prophet next informs us, that this " temple was filled with smoke from the glory of "God, and from his power; and no man was "able to enter the temple, till the seven plagues "of the seven angels were fulfilled." To understand the meaning of this comprehensive verse, it seems necessary to inquire, in the first place, to what temple does the prophet here allude, for there are several mentioned in holy writ. He could not mean the tabernacle built by Moses, nor the temple by Solomon, in which God condescended to manifest his will to his chosen people the Jews. He is here speaking of a fu
* Ver 2, 3, 4.
† Ver. 5, 6, 7.
ture temple, and the former ones have long since been destroyed. Besides, they were made with hands, and locally situated upon the earth; but this temple is now in heaven; that is, in the true church of Christ, now with God, consisting of the saints and martyrs. They were indeed types of this temple, a more glorious temple; even the same which Christ said he would "build in three dayst," meaning in the hearts of men. The same temple of the living God," which Christ," he in whom dwelleth all the fulness of "the godhead bodily," did build up‡, by the divinity of the truths of the holy word of God, operating effectually on the souls of the members of his church. Of this temple St. Paul speaks on several occasions. When writing to the Corinthian church, he says, " Know ye not, that ye "are the temple of God, and that the spirit of "God dwelleth in youş?" If any man defileth "the temple of God, him shall God destroy; "for the temple of God is holy, which temple
' ye are." Again, in another place he tells them, "for ye are the temple of the living God; as "God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk "in them, and I will be their God, and they shall "be my people." The same temple the prophet also mentions as possessed by the saints and martyrs, the first fruits unto God and his Christ, already with God. "They are before the throne
The word heaven is a common figure for the Church of Christ.
Col. ii. 9.
§ 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17.
John, ii. 19. 12 Cor. vi. 16, 17, 18.
"of God, and serve him day and night; and "he that sitteth upon the throne shall dwell "with them*." And again, he more particularly describes it as "coming down from God out of heaven with the new Jerusalemt."
Taking this to be the blessed temple, which is to be opened to let out the seven angels of the wrath of God, let us next inquire when it was built, how it came to be shut up on earth, and when it is to be finally opened for the reception of all the children of God, never more to be shut? It was built by Christ himself, in the first century, when, at that time, he established the word of God in his church. It remained open, and continually received, all who, by a holy life and conversation, became worthy to enter into it, until it was spread in a manner, over the whole earth. And it was shut upon earth, or "caught up unto God and to his throne," as the prophet elsewhere expresses it, in the seventh century, when the church, ungratefully and foolishly, deserting the word of the true God, fell into Mohamedan fatalism, filth, and sensuality, and Papal corruption and idolatry; and thereby discarded its holy High Priest. And it will continue thus shut up, until the seven angels shall be ready to come out of it, when it shall be opened.
But although opened, it is to be so "filled
*Rev. vii. from ver. 9 to the end; but particularly for the words cited, see ver. 15.
Rev. xxi. xxii.
"with smoke, from the glory and from the power of God, that no man shall be able to "enter into it, till the seven plagues of the se"ven angels shall be fulfilled:" meaning, as I humbly apprehend, from considering the dif ferent texts upon the subject, that as neither the reformation of the church, nor the atonement of Christ, to divine justice, will fully be completed, nor the wrath of God upon the ungodly, fully appeased; so no man*, the saints and martyrs excepted, shall be able to enter into it, until those purposes shall be entirely accomplished, "or the seven plagues of the seven angels" be fulfilled. These purposes will not be accomplished, according to St. Paul, until Christ" shall put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For he must reign. "until he hath put all his enemies under his "feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed "is death. And when all things shall be sub"dued unto him, then shall the Son also him"self be subject unto Him that put all things "under him, that God may be all in allt." In the same path with this great apostle, the prophet travels without the least deviation, and places the final opening of this temple, that the redeemed, through Christ, may enter, after the seven vials and the utter destruction of all his enemies, even of Satan and death itself; even after the destruction of the world, the last resurrection and judgment, and the creation of
Rev. vii. 15,
† 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25, 26, 28.