Page images
PDF
EPUB

the tree were for the healing of sand his servants shall serve him : the nations.

4 And they shall see his face ; 3 And there shall be no more and his name shall be in their curse: but the throne of God foreheads. and of the Lamb shall be in it; 5 And there shall be no night

mark, that it yielded its fruit every any curse remain ? Everything should month. The leaves of the tree were live whither the river should come. for the healing of the nations. — It Death, therefore, shall be entirely remight truly then be called the tree of moved; and as the leaves of the tree life. Its very leaves were of a heal. are for the healing of the nations, ing quality. This language in respect there cannot remain any curse in the to the nations shows, that by the new new Jerusalem. T The throne of Jerusalem the revelator was not de- God shall be there. - This seems borscribing the immortal state of man, rowed from Ezekiel's description of but a happy state on the earth, where the renovated Jerusalem.

it It was nations exist. Although Professor round about eighteen thousand measStuart maintains that by the new ures; and the name of the city from Jerusalem the revelator intended“the that day shall be, The LORD IS THERE ;'' final abode of the faithful servants of Ezk. xlviii. 35. The description rethe Redeemer,” (ii. 389,) yet on this sembles very strikingly a passage in verse he is constrained to acknowl- the previous part of the Apocalypse, edge, that “the distant nations may where the revelator was treating more derive healing and life-preserving vir- particularly of the Jews. “Therefore tue from the leaves of the trees, car- are they before the throne of God, and ried abroad and distributed among serve him day and night in his temthem.” This would seem to show ple: and he that sitteth on the throne that the tree of life was a blessing en- shall dwell among them. They shall joyed on the earth. In the preceding hunger no more, neither thirst any chapter it had been said, concerning more; neither shall the sun light on the new Jerusalem,“ And the nations them, nor any heat. For the Lamb of them which are saved shall walk in which is in the midst of the throne shall the light of it; and the kings of the feed them, and shall lead them unto earth do bring their glory and honor living fountains of water; and God unto it;" xxi. 24. Is it possible this shall wipe away all tears from their can be a description of the immortal eyes ;" Rev. vii. 15—17. How truly state? Every one must see it is not. was it said, “There shall be no more How, then, can the events of the twen- curse.” “ His servants shall serve tieth chapter be referred to the future him." world? The events of that chapter 4. They shall see his face. — To see certainly transpired before those de God's face means to live in near comscribed in xxi. and xxii.

munion with him. Thus we read : 3. There shall be no more curse. “ Blessed are the pure in heart; for Everything evil shall be excluded they shall see God;" Matt. v. 8.' To from the new Jerusalem, for the see the Lord is, by some, supposed to throne of God and the Lamb is there. signify being in his immediate presIn Zechariah's description of the re- ence in the immortal world ; and it newed state of Jerusalem, he says: is thought the passage intimates that « And men shall dwell in it, and there some will never thus see him. But, shall be no more utter destruction; but however true it is that all men must Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited;" be perfectly holy before they can be xiv. 11. Blessed with the river of perfectly happy in the future life, still life, and the tree of life, how could I the phrase to see God is used, by the there; and they need no candle, and they shall reign forever and neither light of the sun; for the ever. Lord God giveth them light: 6 And he said unto me, These Hebrew writers, to denote a state of was said xxi. 23, 25, and we refer the spiritual honor and enjoyment in the reader to the remarks on those verses, present life. The expression arose These metaphors of the fulness and from the customs of the eastern kings. beauty of God's house, of the river of “ To behold the king's face, was con- water, the fountain of life, and the sidered an honor and happiness; special light of God's countenance, are much more to see it habitually, that very ancient. “They shall be ahunis, to be employed in his immediate dantly satisfied with the fatness of thy service, and to enjoy his favor. Thus, house; and thou shalt make them also, the expression to see God signi- drink of the river of thy pleasures. fies to experience his friendship, and For with thee is the fountain of life; to be admitted to the greatest happi- in thy light shall we see light;" Psa. ness in his presence; whereas, not to xxxvi. 8, 9. The metaphor of the see him is to be shut out from his favor, reign, we have shown, is of frequent and to be under his awful displeasure. occurrence in the Apocalypse, and in Christ says of his humblest followers, other parts of the Bible. See ii. 26, that in heaven their angels do always | 27 ; iii. 21 ; iv. 4; v. 10; xi. 17; xx. behold the face of his heavenly Father; / 4, 6. Thus the revelator brings to a referring to the usage of earthly close the description of the new Jecourts, where such as always behold rusalem, commenced at the tenth the monarch's face were highest in verse of the preceding chapter. Why office and regard. By this he signi- the division of the chapters should fied, that these little ones had a pow- have been made as it was, we cannot erful interest in heaven, and were imagine. Why were the first five peculiarly dear to God himself; so verses of this chapter separated from That it became men to take heed how that which preceded them? We adopt they despised them; Matt. xviii. 10. the language of Professor Stuart :To sit next the king, especially on his “What could have induced the author right hand, was a mark of the highest of the division of the New Testament honor and dignity; 1 Kings ii. 10; into chapters to disjoin the first five Matt. xx. 20—23; Heb. i. 3.” – (Nev- verses, it is difficult to see. They bein's Biblical Antiquities, i. 247.) His long inseparably to the preceding dename shall be in their foreheads ; i. e., scription. A new chapter should have shall be written in the most conspic-begun with xxii. 6, which commences uous place. Their profession shall be the epilogue to the book. But it is very open; they shall be known un- useless to complain of these unskilful doubtedly as the servants of God. separations now. The Scriptures The same figure has occurred before have so long been printed and quoted in the Apocalypse : “Him that over- in their present form, that the mistake cometh, will make a pillar in the cannot be well retrieved.” —(Com., temple of my God, and he shall go no ii. 387, note.) more out, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New We have now come to the epilogue, Jerusalem, which cometh down out or conclusion, of the work. This is diof heaven from my God: and I will vided into three parts. 1st. The conwrite upon him my new name ;” iii. cluding remarks of the angel, who 12. See, also, vii. 3 ; xiv. 1.

had been sent by God, “to show unto 5. Need no candle, neither light of his servants things which must shortly the sun. - This is a repetition of what I come to pass ;' i. 1. The whole book

CONCLUSION OF THE APOCALYPSE.

sayings are faithful and true. ng Behold, I come quickly : And the Lord God of the holy blessed is he that keepeth the prophets sent his angel to show sayings of the prophecy of this unto his servants the things book. which must shortly be done. 8 And I John saw these

of Revelation, from the very com- sent and signified it by his angel unto mencement of it to the fifth verse of his servant John;" i. 1. Thus we chapter xxii., is the communication see, that he reässerts, at the close of made by that angel to the revelator. the book, what he had declared at its Then follow the angel's conclud- beginning, | Shortly be done. - And ing remarks. 2d. The remarks of observe, the angel, who opened the the Lord Jesus, confirming what the whole matter to him, showed him revelator had said, extending from nothing except what was shortly to verse 12 to verse 20. 3d. The bene- come to pass." Mark this well. How, diction of the revelator. And, 1st, then, can it be supposed that the printhe concluding words of the angel; cipal judgments mentioned in this vers. 6—11.

book have not yet taken place? The 6. He said unto me. - Since the angel showed unto the revelator only work, in the main, is here completed, “the things which must shortly be the angel reässures the revelator of done." the truth of his words. This is the 7. I come quickly. Behold, that is, same angel mentioned i. 1, who had take special notice of this fact; let it revealed the whole matter of the book; not be passed by through inattention, - he said, at the conclusion, to the “I come quickly.” The language revelator, “The sayings are faithful is here put in the first person, because and true,

- a solemn declaration of it is precisely the same language their truth and importance. This was which Jesus used in reference to the not an uncommon form of speech. same event. See verses 10, 12, 20. See xix. 9; xxi. 5. 1 The Lord God The coming of Christ was then speedof the holy prophets. — Well might the ily to take place. | Blessed is he that angel speak of the Deity in these keepeth the sayings, &c. -- Blessed, hap

The revelator had himself py is he that keepeth the sayings of been a diligent student of the proph- the prophecy of this book; not hear

The great truths that had been eth merely, but keepeth. The book of urged by him had been previously fore- Revelation is a prophecy; but the told by them. He was himself a proph-events were not far distant. The peoet, for he foretold future events — ple of the generation in which the revthings which were shortly to come to elator lived were personally interested pass. He claimed to be instructed to in them; they were called upon to make those communications by the remember them and keep them; and Lord God of the holy prophets; so that happy would they be if they did so, the same divine character was to be for the time was at hand. "I come ascribed to his book which the Jews quickly.had been accustomed to ascribe to the 8. I John saw, &c. — The revelaprophecies of old. | Sent his angel. tor here gives his name, John. That

This Lord God of the holy prophets John, the apostle, was the author of had sent his angel to testify these this book, we have clearly shown in things to John, his servant. See the the introduction, and also in various following: “The Revelation of Jesus parts of the commentary. He saw Christ, which God gave unto him, to the things which he had described, he shew unto his servants things which saw the visions, the scenery, &c., &c. must shortly come to pass ; and he He heard the words which had been

terms.

ets.

seen.

things, and heard them. And See thou do it not: for I am when I had heard and seen, I thy fellow-servant, and of thy fell down to worship before the brethren the prophets, and of feet of the angel which shewed them which keep the sayings of me these things.

this book: worship God. 9 Then saith he unto

me,

10 And he saith unto me, uttered to hir It a reaffirmation 10. Seal not the sayings. — The anthat the facts of the book of Revela- gel still continues, but he was near tion were divinely communicated to the close of his communications; he him. He described them, it is true, is about to give his last advice, his in his own style and manner; the im- closing admonition : “Seal not the ages were the most of them borrowed sayings of the prophecy of this book, from the prophetical writings. But for the time is at hand.” To use the the message itself, the great iruths he words of Dr. A. Clarke: “Do not lay communicated, he had heard and up these sayings for future genera

At the very beginning of the tions; they concern the present times; book, John was commanded to write they must shortly come to pass, for the the things which he had seen ; i. 19. time is at hand.See verse 6. It is a Some of the things which John saw well-known fact, that, when important were past, some were then present, events revealed through the prophets and some were future, but were short- or inspired men of old were not to be ly to come to pass. I fell down to fulfilled or accomplished till some very worship. — The revelator adds: “ And remote period, or for a long time when I had heard and seen,” to wit, after the prediction was made, the when he had heard and seen all that prophets were commanded to seal up had been revealed to him, he was the roll, or the sayings thereof, beoverwhelmed with wonder. He fell cause the time of fulfilment was disdown to do homage to the angel-reve- tant. Thus, in Dan. viii. 26, Gabriel lator. He seems to have worshipped says to the prophet, “ The vision of him as a divine person; he seems to the evening and the morning, which have rendered to him the worship was told, is true; wherefore, shut thou that belonged to God. His falling up the vision, for it shall be for many down was the effect of what he had days;" that is, its fulfilment is to be heard and seen. He had been im- at a remote period. Again; xii. 4, pressed similarly on a former occa- 9, 12, 13: "Thou, O Daniel, shut up sion; xix. 10.

the words, and seal the book, even to the 9. See thou do it not. — Thus, it time of the end. Blessed is he that will be seen, the angel forbid the rev. waiteth, and cometh to the thousand elator worshipping him. The reason three hundred and five and thirty why worship should not have been days. But go thou thy way till the rendered to the angel was, he was end be ; for thou shalt rest, and stand fellow-servant to the revelator, and of in thy lot at the end of the days.” On his brethren the prophets, and of them the other hand, where the events were which keep the sayings of the book. to take place immediately, or very That there was a class of men in the soon, the prophet was forbidden to Christian church called prophets, see seal the sayings of the book; as in 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29. Perhaps his mean the events spoken of in the text and ing was,

“I am like the prophets, context, on which we are now remarkmerely a servant of God, - I am not ing. See Lightfoot, iii. 368. It entitled to divine honors more than should not be forgotten, that both at they. Worship not worship the beginning of the Apocalypse and God.”

at its close, it is insisted that the time

me

AT HAND.

Seal not the sayings of the 11 He that is unjust, let hiin prophecy of this book : for the be unjust still: and he which is time is at hand.

filthy, let him be filthy still: of the fulfilment is at hand. See book, and apply them to the distant chap. i. 1–3: “ The revelation of Je- future? If the revelator had intended sus Christ, which God gave unto him, to apply them to the distant future, to show unto his servants things which would he not have said, These things must SHORTLY come to pass ; and he are not speedily to come to pass ? sent and signified it by his angel unto these things are to be excepted from his servant John: who bare record of the great declaration? But he did no the word of God, and of the testimony such thing. He gave not the slightof Jesus Christ, and of all things that est hint, in regard to the 20th and 21st he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, chapters, that the events therein spoand they that hear the words of this ken of were not speedily to come to prophecy, and keep those things which pass, or to commence to come to pass, are written therein: FOR THE TIME IS like all the events mentioned in the

This was the language book. There is but one thing more of the apostles in regard to the advent the angel-revelator has to communiof Christ to judgment. Paul to the cate, and that is stated in the next Romans: “The night is far spent, the verse. day is at hand;" xiii. 12. "To the 11. Let him be unjust still. - This Philippians: “The Lord is at hand;" | passage is supposed, by many, to iv. 5. Peter also testifies to the same prove, that there can be no change in fact: “But the end of all things is the moral condition of man after death, at hand: be ye therefore sober, and and that those who die in a state of watch unto prayer;" iv. 7. With rebellion and irreconciliation to God, this weight of testimony before us, must eternally remain so. But does how can we doubt that the advent of the text declare any such thing? or, Christ to judgment transpired very can such a sentiment be deduced, shortly after the revelator wrote ? or even inferred, from the passage, Professor Stuart admits that the whole taking the whole context into the Apocalypse, excepting chapters xx. account? We think not. There is and xxi., refers to things that were nothing said in the text or context speedily to take place when the reve- about the death of the body; nothing lator wrote. He says, “We are at said about the resurrection to immorliberty, or rather, we are obliged, if tal life; nothing said about another possible, to seek for a fulfilment of the state of existence ; nor anything that predictions in the main body of the would naturally lead the reader to Apocalypse within a time which is suppose any other state but the presnot far distant from the period when ent was at all referred to. The the book was written. If such a ful- whole scope of the context would lead filment can be found as coincides with to the supposition that the events the periods named in the Apocalypse, spoken of were then about to transthen what good reason can be offered pire. John was forbidden to seal the why we should reject it? Or, rather, book, for the very reason that the time Why are we not exegetically obliged to was at hand. Running through all admit it?—(Hints on Prophecy : An- the instructions of Christ and his dover, 1842: p. 113.) The main body apostles, is this distinct fact, to wit, of the Apocalypse! Why does not that if persons would not be warned the professor say the whole book ? of the approaching advent of Christ, Why should he separate one or two and prepare for it, they must expect chapters from the main drift of the to perish. If the Christians would not

« PreviousContinue »