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7 And the first beast was like 8 And the four beasts had a lion, and the second beast like each of them six wings about a calf, and the third beast had a him; and they were full of eyes face as a man, and the fourth within : and they rest not day beast was like a flying eagle. and night, saying, Holy, holy, hands of man; and hence all the what he called “the appearance of skill denoted by the human hand the likeness of the glory of the was attributed to God. This is the Lord ;” i. 28. | Full of eyes. See highest degree of skill possessed by Ezek. i. 18; x. 12. It is evident the any creature; had there been great revelator had Ezekiel's description er, the prophet would have chosen it. in his mind. The revelator's words Their wings were joined ; and thus, are, “full of eyes before and behind,” although they had the powers of dif- i. e., on every side. They had faces ferent beings, yet there was a sense every way, and, of course, they had in which they were one. All the eyes every way:
The eye is the powers of the four were designed to metaphor for sight and intelligence; represent the powers of the Being and the idea is, that God can see and who called himself One Lord. They understand all things at a glance. turned not when they went ; for as 7. Like a lion. This is evidently each had four faces, there was no a copy from Ezekiel's hieroglyphics; need that they should do so. Man, i. 10. Like a calf.- Ezekiel said, the most perfect being on earth, ox; they are of the same species. sees but one way at the same time. 9 Face as a man. - This also comes He must therefore turn his body from Ezekiel. | Flying eagle. — No when he wishes to change his direc-one, we should think, could doubt tion. To take away what would be that the revelator followed the prophan imperfection in the Deity, the et. He was not writing the effusions prophet gives his images each four of a sickly brain, but copying from faces; and hence they turned not the standard sacred books of the when they went, but went every one Jews; and when the intent of these straight forward. And now as to the metaphors is seen, and their force likeness of their faces. Each one and power understood, they are had the face of a man, INTELLI- known to convey ideas of the greatGENCE ; the face of a lion, the king est grandeur concerning the Deity. of beasts, — MAJESTY, STRENGTH; the 8. Six wings. — Ezekiel's images face of an ox, — [a sacred animal had wings. | Full of eyes. — We which the Egyptians worshipped; have already noticed this under ver. hence the golden calf of the children 6. | Rest not day or night, i. e., cease of Israel,] denoting STRENGTH, PA- not from their glorious employment; TIENCE, FAITHFUL LABOR; the face abate not from the expression of their of an eagle, SOARING,
This distinction is very The eagle soars to the highest height, necessary to be observed, because it and he has the most piercing sight. is said of the worshippers of the horNow let any man, even of the most rible Roman beast, that they “have brilliant fancy, put himself into the no rest day nor night;" xiv. 11. But age in which Ezekiel lived, and see the words in the case before us have no if he can devise an image which will such sense as the words bear in the describe more fully and correctly the latter quotation. | Holy, holy, holy. attributes of the Deity. The whole - Thrice holy art thou, O Lord God of the tenth chapter of Ezekiel is on Almighty. This is the most solemn the same subject. Both chapters form of ascription in all the Bible. contain the prophet's description of | Isaiah has a figure very like Eze
- The song
holy, Lord God Almighty, which ders fall down before him that sat was, and is, and is to come. on the throne, and worship him
9 And when those beasts give that liveth for ever and ever, glory, and honor, and thanks to and cast their crowns before the him that sat on the throne, who throne, saying, liveth for ever and ever,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, 10 The four and twenty el. to receive glory, and honor, and kiel's, and the two appear to have to say, "* In thy sight we are, O Lord, been mingled in the revelator's mind. as nothing. Thou art our Creator. “ Above it stood the seraphims : each All we are thou hast caused us to be. one had six wings : with twain he And although thou hast honored us covered his face, and with twain he by making us kings and priests in covered his feet, and with twain he thy church, still we know, that of did fly. And one cried unto another, ourselves alone, we are not worthy and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the of distinction. We render all the gloLord of hosts : the whole earth is ry to thee." full of his glory ;' Isaiah vi. 2, 3. 11. Thou art worthy.
Was, and is, and is to come. — - An which they sung is one of great sig. assertion of the eternal being of God, nificance. It consists of three parts, covering wholly the past, the present, and is in fact the substance of all the and the future.
anthems of praise contained in the 9. Those beasts give glory. - They Apocalypse. 1st. “Thou art worare, in the description of the revela- thy, O Lord, to receive glory, and tor, not only images to represent honor, and power.”' 2d. “For thou God's attributes, but they are also hast created all things." 3d. “And agents to execute his will; and for thy pleasure they are and were thence they worship him. They created.' God's worthiness to rewere next to the throne of God; and ceive homage from his creatures not only represent his attributes to arises from the fact that he is their us, but also, as the agents of his Creator, and that he has made them will, are invested with those attri- for a great and glorious purpose. He butes, that they may be his ministers made them for his pleasure. He has the more effectually. Standing next no pleasure in the death of the wickthe throne, they set the example of ed, Ezk. xxxiii. 11, and therefore he adoration, an example which at did not create them for endless death ; once infuses itself throughout the and although the wicked die, tempo. heavenly hosts.
rarily, this is not the end in which 10. Four and twenty elders fall down. God rests as his design, for he has no - They imitated the four living crea- pleasure in their death as such, and tures in their adoration before the permits its reign only for a time, and throne. All heaven worships God; for a good purpose. Adam Clarke all earth should worship Him. | That has a fine remark on this passage : liveth for ever and ever. - God is end- “God made all things for his pleaslessly existent; the Being who is, ure; and through the same motive and was, and is to come. Cast he preserves. Hence, it is most evi. their crowns. - Why they wore those dent, that he hateth nothing that he crowns we have shown under ver. 4. hath made ; and could have made no But when engaged in acts of worship, intelligent creature with the design to they are represented as taking them make it eternally miserable. It is from their heads, and laying them strange that a contrary supposition down before the throne. The pur- has ever entered into the heart of port of this is, that they were moved I man; and it is high time that the
power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
of him that sat on the
benevolent nature of the Supreme book is said to have been written God should be fully vindicated from within and on the back side." How aspersions of this kind.” Thus we could a mere English reader underhave seen that the fourth chapter of stand this? To such a reader the the Revelation contains a hieroglyph- last term thus applied would be unical representation of the supposed derstood to mean the cover, which is dwelling-place of God, of the attri- not very fit for being written on; and butes of the Deity, and the court would, besides, contain no more than of heaven. God is described as wor- might have been contained in one thy of the highest worship from all additional leaf, though the book had beings in heaven and on earth. In consisted of a thousand leaves. Now, closing our notes on this chapter it is the long scrolls or books of the anproper to remark, that the imagery cients were seldom written but on one is kept up in the revelator's mind side, here said to be within, because through the whole Apocalypse. See that side was turned inward in rolliv. 6, 8, 9; v. 6, 14; vi. 1, 6; vii. 11; ing. When any one of these scrolls xiv. 3; xv. 7 ; xix. 4.
was written on both sides, it contained
twice as much as if written in the CHAPTER V.
usual way. See Ezek. ii. 9, 10. The 1. And I saw. - - John here con-chief intention of the revelator, in tinues the vision which he commenced mentioning this circumstance, must to describe in the preceding chapter. have been to signify that this volume He had painted the supposed celestial was replete with information, and residence, with the throne of God, that its contents were not to be measand the retinue that surrounded him, ured by its size. - (Campbell, Diss. ii. and rendered him divine honors; and part i. sec. 3.) Sealed. - Is not he now proceeds, in the same style, this the same book referred to by to the rest of his vision. | In the Daniel ? “ But thou, O Daniel, shut right hand. God held the book ; it
the words and seal the book, even was the record of his will ; it was to the time of the end ;" xii. 4. “ And in his care; and could not be re- he said, Go thy way, Daniel ; for the vealed until the proper time, and the words are closed up and sealed till proper revelator came. T A book the time of the end;" ver. 9. Daniel written within and on the back side. had foretold the destruction coming Book is not so good a translation as upon Jerusalem ; but he was directed the word roll. The books of the an- to seal the roll until the time of the cients, in outward form and con- end. When the prophet foretold an struction, were very different from event that was not to be of speedy
When we read, as in Rev. vi. occurrence, he was directed to seal 14, that heaven departed as a book up the sayings as if no use was to be when it is rolled together, we see made of the writings at that time, but the absurdity of translating the Greek the fulfilment was to be waited for. word in every case by book; and If, however, the event was near at hence the translators render it in that hand, then the roll was for immediate verse by scroll. The books of the an- use; it was not to be laid away; it cients consisted of long scrolls, gener- was to be kept open. Hence we read, ally parchments, sewed or pasted at the conclusion of the Apocalypse, together, and fastened at the ends to “Seal not the sayings of the prophtwo rollers. In the case before us the ecy of this book, for the time is at
throne a book written within 2 And I saw a strong angel and on the back side, sealed proclaiming with a loud voice, with seven seals.
who is worthy to open the
hand ;" xxii. 10. Seven seals. as if the heathen notions on these The book (or rather "roll) was sealed subjects were correct; but we have with seven seals. It was divided into no belief that Jesus or his apostles seven different parts, and each part intended to recognize the heathen was sealed by itself. This is easily fables concerning spirits to be true, understood, if we keep in mind the any more than they intended to acidea of the roll. One part was writ-, knowledge the doctrine of actual posten, and rolled up and sealed. An- sessions. That there are good angels, other was then written, rolled upon the who execute the will of God, we alformer, and also sealed; and so on to low. It is consistent both with Scripthe end. Thus, although there was ture and reason to think so. But but one roll, or book, there were that there is a chief prince of darkseven parts to it, each part being ness, the leader in all that is evil, the sealed by itself. It might have been tempter of mankind, having a legion divided into more parts, but seven is of ministers or imps at his command, the perfect number of the Apocalypse, is unreasonable, and exists only in and hence that division. These parts the language of allegory. God is could be taken off and read one atter omnipotent. He shares dominion the other; and thus one seal would with none. We do not hold the be opened at a time. The account of opinion of the Manicheans, viz., the the opening of these seals we shall existence of two eternally opposite find in the 6th, 7th and 8th chapters principles. Man is tempted when he of the Apocalypse. They are the is drawn away of his own lust and seven seals into which John was per- enticed. This will account for all mitted to look, one after another. sin, without the agency of any other When John wrote the Book of Rev- tempter. But in the parables, metelation, the end was near. He fore- aphors, and allegories of the Bible, told things that were “ shortly to come evil spirits are introduced, not to acto pass.” The time for unsealing knowledge their real existence, but Daniel's book had come. It was the for scenical purposes. Did Jesus in. book of God's dealings with the Jews, tend to acknowledge the Jewish ideas or his will concerning the punishment of heaven, when he spoke of Abraof that people. Jesus had foretold ham's bosom? or the heathen notions their destruction; he had unfolded of hades, when he spoke of the great the purpose of God respecting them, gulf? Dr. Macknight says, and thus had opened the sealed book. abolical discourses, provided the doc
2. A strong angel. — We take ad-trines inculcated are strictly true, the vantage of this place to offer certain terms in which they are inculcated remarks on the angelology of the may be such as are most familiar to Apocalypse. It has already been in the ears of the vulgar, and the imtimated by us, that John makes much ages made use of such as they are use of angels in his descriptions. best acquainted with.” — (Par. and The heathen had long believed in the Com. on Luke xvi.)
We reject, existence of spiritual intelligences, therefore the notion of evil angels. such as we call angels, both good God is good; and the messengers, and bad. The Jews unquestionably who fulfil his pleasure, who inhabit became infected with their notions. his presence, must be good also. So The metaphorical language of the much we should infer from the ScripBible, therefore, is sometimes framed | tures. The angel who came down
6 In par
book, and to loose the seals 3 And no man in heaven, nor thereof?
neither under the from heaven to announce to the shep- 10. Angel of the bottomless pit; herds the birth of the Redeemer is aix. 11. proof of the existence of good angels. 11. Angels (four) in the river Eu. But here let us remark, that we phrates; ix. 14, 15. do not suppose all the good angels 12. Angel who declared the end of John mentions in the Apocalypse time; x. 1, 5, 8, 9, 10; xi. 1. were actual existences, any more 13. Angels of Michael ; xii. 7. than the throne was an actual throne, 14. Angels of the Dragon; xii. or the four living creatures, or the 7, 9. four and twenty elders, were actual 15. Angel of the altar; xvi. 7. beings. They are introduced to fill 16. Angel of the sun ; xix. 17. up the imagery, and are to be re- 17. Angel with the key of the botgarded as merely scenical, like the tomless pit; xx. 1–3. cherubim and flaming sword which 18. Angels of the gates of the New guarded Eden, after the expulsion of Jerusalem ; xxi. 12. our first parents; Gen. iii. 24. The We repeat that these angels are angels introduced by John may be not to be regarded, in all cases, as classed as follows :
actual beings. Some of them were 1. The apocalyptical angel, who so, as the angels of the revealed the whole Apocalypse to churches; but in general they are John, and who is mentioned only at merely scenical, and are introduced the beginning and the close ; Rev. i. to preserve the forms of the allegory, 1; xxii. 6, 8.
or drama. The angel mentioned in 2. The angels of the churches, rep- the verse now under examination, resenting the leaders or ministers was one of the angels of proclamaof those churches; i. 20; ii. 1, 8, 12, tion, who inquired, with a loud voice, 18; iii. 1, 7, 14.
“Who is worthy to open the book, 3. Angels of proclamation ; v. 2; and to loose the seals thereof ?" viii. 13 ; xiv. 6, 8, 9, 15; xviii. 1, 2, 21. Open the book. — The book was
4. Angels round about the throne, certainly the one mentioned in the to adore and honor the Father, who preceding verse ; and, as
we have were innumerable; v. 11; vii. 11. said, it was the one which Daniel was
5. Angels of the elements, viz., ordered to seal up. The opening of Of the wind; vii. 1. Of fire; xiv. the book shows that the events fore18. Of the waters; xvi. 5.
told by Daniel, and which he was 6. Angel of the seal of God; vii. 2. ordered to seal up because they were 7. Angels of destruction ; vii. 2. not to be fulfilled in his day, were Here may also be put the angel with about to take place at the time the a sickle, xiv. 17, 19. The seven revelator wrote. Daniel's description angels of the plagues; xv. 1, 6, 7, 8; is in the following words: “And at xvi. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 17; xvii. 1, that time shall Michael stand up, the 3, 7, 15; xxi. 9, 17.
great prince which standeth for the 8. Angels of presence. Of these children of thy people; and there there were seven, who are sometimes shall be a time of trouble, such as represented by seven lamps, and never was since there was a nation again by seven eyes; i. 4; iii. 5. even to that same time ; and at that They did the duty of trumpet angels; time thy people shall be delivered, viii. 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13; ix. 1, 13, every one thai shall be found written 14; x. 7 ; xi. 15; xiv. 10.
in the book. And many of them that 9. Angel of the golden censer; viii. sleep in the dust of the earth shall 3, 4, 5.
awake, some to everlasting life, and