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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 



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Accession No. b\/ & Class No. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE, 



THOUGHTS 



THE APOCALYPSE 



BENJAMIN WILLS NEWTON. 



<f Mta, 




LONDON: 

HOULSTON AND SONS, 

PATERNOSTER SQUARE. 
1853. 



'**" Of TOT 



[uzuv: w] 



in Setonir dMiott. 



THE time that has elapsed since the publication of the first 
edition of this work in 1843, has afforded the author oppor- 
tunity carefully to reconsider its statements, and the principles 
of interpretation that were then adopted. He may be per- 
mitted to say that such re-examination has strongly confirmed 
his conviction of the correctness of the radical principles of 
his former work, and (although very sensible of many imper- 
fections) he feels increased confidence in commending the 
same general conclusions to the solemn attention of all, who, 
through faith in the blood of the Lamb, are entitled to regard 
the Book of the Revelation as emphatically theirs. <( I Jesus 
have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the 
churches" 

In the present edition the author has endeavoured, in some 
slight degree, to obviate one objection made to his former 
work, viz. that it stated conclusions without sufficiently 
communicating the reasons on which those conclusions were 
founded. He has not, however, added much in the way of 
explanation, because he found that it would be impossible to 
do this, without altering the general character of the work 
and increasing very materially its size. He would, there- 



Vi ADVERTISEMENT TO SECOND EDITION. 

fore, request those who desire to consider these subjects in a 
more elementary form, to refer to three other works which 
he has published within the last five years, and which will 
be found to detail the reasons of many statements which are 
assumed as true in the present volume.* 

The Greek text followed in this work is that of Dr. Tre- 
gelles ; the value of whose labours in having edited a cor- 
rected text of the Apocalypse, and in preparing a critical 
edition of the whole Greek New Testament, it would be 
difficult to appreciate too highly. If Dr. Trcgelles' Greek 
text has anywhere been departed from in the present work, 
it has been done inadvertently. 

The author may be permitted to add, that as years roll on 
and events unfold themselves, he feels more and more deeply 
the necessity of closely cleaving to those great foundation 
truths of our holy faith, which (however practically departed 
from) are still preserved in the creeds and confessions of 
Protestant Christendom. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity, 
the Eternal Sonship of the Lord, His essential Deity, His 
true though sinless humanity, the perfect and present justi- 
fication of all believers through His blood, the authority of 
Holy Writ, its being written in " words taught of the Holy 
Ghost" these and other connected doctrines are to the 

* The works referred to are these : 

" Aids to Prophetic Enquiry. First Series." 

" Ditto ditto Second Series." 

" Prospects of the Ten Kingdoms of the Roman Empire." 

To be obtained at the Publishers. See advertisement at the end of this 

volume. 

The author would also recommend the perusal of " Remarks on the 

Prophetic Visions of the Book of Daniel," by S. P. Tregelles, LL.D. 

(Bagster and Sons), and " Development of Antichrist," by Andrew Bonar, 

Esq. (published by Partridge and Oakey). 



ADVERTISEMENT TO SECOND EDITION. Vll 

author dearer, he trusts, than life. It is in the conviction 
that attention to "the sure word of prophecy" will not lessen 
but deepen our value for these foundation truths of our com- 
mon faith, that he again ventures to solicit the attention of 
his brethren to these pages, which he now commends to the 
blessing of Him whose grace is able to pardon their imper- 
fections, and to prosper whatever is of His truth in them, 

London, October 18, 1853. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS 



I. ON REVELATION I. . . . . . . .10 

II. "SEVEN CANDLESTICKS OF GOLD." , . . .23 

III. NOTES ON REVELATION I. ...'... 33 

IV. ON REVELATION IV. AND V. . . . . . .47 

V. ON REVELATION V. ....... 66 

VI. NOTES ON REVELATION IV. AND V. , ... 72 

VII. ON REVELATION VI ........ 81 

VIII. NOTES ON REVELATION VI. . . . . . .96 

IX. ON REVELATION VII ....... .. HO 

X. ON REVELATION VIII., IX., AND X ...... 119 

XI. NOTES ON REVELATION VII., VIII., AND IX. . . 127 

XII. ON REVELATION X. ....... 136 

XIII. ON REVELATION XI ........ 140 

XIV. NOTES ON REVELATION X. AND XT. < 146 
XV. ON REVELATION XII ........ 157 

XVI. NOTES ON REVELATION XII. . . . . . .169 

XVII. ON REVELATION XIII ........ 184 

XVIII. NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. ..... 199 

XIX. ON REVELATION XIV. / 215 



CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER I-AOK 

XX. NOTES ON EEVELATION XIV. ...... 232 

XXL ON REVELATION XIV. AND XV 242 

XXII. NOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI 253 

XXIII. ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. . . . .263 

XXIV. ON REVELATION XVIII 288 

XXV. NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. ... . 304 

XXVI. ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI 330 

XXVII. NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. . . . 344 

XXVIII. ON REVELATION XXI 354 

XXIX. NOTES ON REVELATION XXI 366 

APPENDIX A . . . . . . . . . . 374 

APPENDIX B . 376 



ERRATA. 



Page 28, line 30, for "hich " read " which." 

Page 151, line 16, eorwree should have a mark of reference to the foot-note. 

Page 169, line 2, for " their outward " read " in their outward." 

Page 179, line 32, for " ripTraaOri " read " r/pTraorffy." 

Page 198, line 34, for " if you will " read " if thou wilt." 

Page 201, line 18, for " appeared has " read " appeared had." 

Page 206, line 22, for " On his heads" read On his horns." 

Page 209, line 2, for " definite of " read " definite or." 

Page 209, line 4, for "that or" read that of." 

Page 210, line 13, for " (eTTTjyev) " read " eV^er." 

Page 219, line 33, for " irapfj.o\r]v " read " 

Page 225, line 22, for " (KaQrivevoig) " read 

Page 227, line 32, /or " follow with them " read " follow them." 

Page 236, line 23, for " r/yopaa-^ueVoi " read " r/ 

Page 240, line 27, /or " actions " read " action. 

Page 279, line 29, omi " (o av0pwn-oc 

Page 301, line 34, /or " the dominion " read " the abomination. 

Page 322, line 15, for " 6 cupwv " read " 6 

Page 374, line 21, /or " VTTOTTO^IOV " read 




IT seems wonderful, that any, who reverence the Scripture 
and know what true Christianity really is, should be able to 
persuade themselves, that the history of the world has been 
one of progress in righteousness and in the knowledge of 
God. What period in the earth's history has not been 
marked with the plainest evidences of disastrous failure? 
Paradise was created, and man was placed in it innocent 
and happy. But man sinned, and ruin entered. After the 
fall, God introduced new light, unfolded his promises of 
grace, and granted also many natural mercies. But evil 
instantly put forth its energies ; the arts of civilization apart 
from God were spread by Cain and his descendants through- 
out the earth; wickedness reigned; and the flood came. 

When the flood departed, eight persons descended from 
the ark, all of them acquainted, at least outwardly, with 
the true God. They had seen His judgments ; and, being 
themselves delivered, were ushered into a new world, sup- 
plied with new knowledge and fresh covenanted mercies. 
It was promised that while the earth remained, " seed-time 
and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and 
night should not cease; and God blessed Noah and his 
sons." Thus, not in darkness and misery, but with light 
and blessings consciously received from God, mankind com- 
menced their new existence in a recovered earth. Yet only 

B 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

a few years passed, before their confederation at Babel 
evinced their determination to attain greatness apart from 
God. Scattered under His hand, yet not repenting, they 
gave themselves over to idolatry, which so rapidly and so 
universally prevailed, that even Abraham's kindred, when 
God called Abraham, had begun to serve other gods. So 
early commenced that night of heathenism under which 
more than two-thirds of the world is at this moment buried. 
The separation of Abraham and of Israel was a bright 
spot in the midst of the darkness. To Israel were (( com- 
mitted the oracles of God." But Israel failed (as they will 
one day themselves confess) to work any deliverance in the 
earth. Their light became dim at its centre, and was at 
last turned into darkness, so that the name of God was 
blasphemed among the Gentiles because of them / and now 
special wrath, or, to use the words of our Lord Himself, 
" days of vengeance " have come upon them, and will rest 
on them " until the end." The Church dispensation fol- 
lowed. The Church, when it first appeared in the earth, 
maintained its testimonies not unworthily of Him whose 
name it bore. It was the pillar and ground of Truth ; salt 
that had not lost its savour ; a light set on a hill. For a 
season, the Pentecostal Church in Jerusalem shone brightly. 
The Gentile Churches succeeded ; and, for a while, shone 
also as true lamps of the sanctuary. But even before the 
Apostles died, decay was, in them too, visible. The Epistles, 
especially the later ones, were full of warning and reproof. 
If, said the Apostle, ye Gentiles, who have been graffed 
into Israel's olive tree, become disobedient and (f continue 
not in God's goodness, ye also," like Israel before, " shall 
be cut off." They did not continue in God's goodness 
worldliness and corruption reigned; until at last Chris- 
tianity, perverted Christianity, casting off the likeness of 
Nazareth, deliberately assumed the garments of earth, and 
sought to reign as if enthroned, apart from Christ and His 
Truth; even whilst that Truth and its servants were yet 



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. O 

suffering. Constantino and the Roman. Empire were not 
unwilling to accept the alliance of a body that was ready 
to consecrate the world's energies, and to bless evil in the 
name of Christ. The results speedily followed. Moham- 
medanism, superstition, infidelity, soon spread their wings 
of darkness over the very regions in which the Apostles 
laboured ; and up to this present hour, those nations pecu- 
liarly sleep the sleep of a double death. 

There have, indeed, been periods, when God has interfered 
to rekindle some light, that His Truth might be preserved 
from utter extinction. But these periods of revival have not, 
in result, proved exceptions to the general rule. The light 
given (though individuals have received it and been blessed) 
has, as to its general reception, been perverted or quenched. 
The stream, of evil, checked, perhaps, for a moment, has only 
gathered strength by the delay ; and has either overflowed 
the barrier, or, else, forced for itself some new channel, in 
which it rolls on more proudly and destructively than before. 

The Protestant era affords a marked example of the 
merciful interference of God. Protestantism found existing 
in the earth, a body that professed to be the unfallen Church 
of God. The Church of Rome claimed to be what the 
Apostolic Church once was "the pillar and ground of the 
Truth." It claimed also to have (what no Church in this 
dispensation ever can have) that place of supremacy and 
rule over the nations, which is reserved exclusively for 
Israel and for Jerusalem, when the day of their repentance 
and forgiveness shall at length have come. This claim, 
Protestantism rejected. The pretended Church and its 
Traditions were disowned, and the Bible only recognised as 
speaking with the infallible authority of God. 

If Protestantism had adhered to the Scriptures only ; if 
it had diligently sought out Teachers really qualified for 
their service by the Holy Spirit; if it had abandoned 
ritualism, and faithfully maintained that all who are " of 
faith" are " sanctified" and, as regards acceptance, "perfected 

B 2' 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

by the offering of the body of Jesus once ;" if it had distin- 
guished between those who made credible confession of the 
Gospel., and those who manifestly were servants of the world ; 
we should have seen in its history, a spectacle far different 
from that which it now presents. There are, indeed, among 
Protestants, many whom God has reserved unto Himself men 
who have not bowed the knee to Baal ; but what are the 
Protestant nations as a whole? Popery rages on the one 
hand, and Infidelity on the other ; whilst the voice of the 
true Church of God has waxed so feeble, as to be heard 
little more than the wail of a child in the midst of the fury 
of the midnight storm. 

When Protestantism, in striking off the shackles of super- 
stition, leads those whom it has freed, immediately and only 
to the word of God, its work is blessed. But if, careless of 
Truth, or shunning conflict, it disown or hide the distinctive 
doctrines of the faith ; if, for the sake of conciliating others, 
and effecting the union of men as men, it consent to unholy 
compromise; if natural conscience dark, deadened con- 
science, be pronounced man's sufficient rule ; if they who 
receive the Scripture, and they who mutilate or add to it, 
be deemed equally worthy of positions of moral influence in 
society and in. government ; if the mind of man, apart from 
the guidance of revelation, be judged competent to give 
right moral order to the earth ; if, as has been of late af- 
firmed, the regulations of government are to be independent 
of Scripture and all regard to revealed truth if such be the 
principles by which the chief of Protestant nations (aided 
too in these efforts, not unfrequently by real Christians) is 
striving to stamp a new character on the earth, it is evident, 
that success in these efforts will effect a more radical subver- 
sion of Truth, and a more effectual rejection of Scripture, 
than has ever been known since the light of Christianity was 
first kindled in the earth. The formalism of the Pharisee 
may be easily exchanged for the liberalism of the Sadducee ; 
but the yoke of superstition is in vain broken, if the only 



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. O 

liberty gained be the liberty of the unregenerate mind of 
man. The liberty of self-will is not the liberty wherewith 
Christ maketh free.* 

Few, I suppose, can seriously meditate on that which is 
now passing around them, without some misgivings as to the 
future. Yet if the mind be possessed with the thought of 
the dignity and perfectibility of the nature of man ; if it be 
ignorant alike of the corruption of the human heart, and of 
the presence and power of Satan ; it can easily deceive itself 
into the belief, that society has within itself the elements of 
its own rectification; and with that thought, it will satisfy 
itself and silence every apprehension. Others again, who 
have some reverence for the Scripture, knowing that it 
speaks of a season when the knowledge of the Lord shall 
pervade all nations, hastily assume that all things are happily 
tending towards that end ; and refuse to examine what the 
Prophets have written respecting the conclusion of this pre- 
sent age of evil. Indeed, until of late, the almost universal 
belief of Protestant Christians has been, that they had well- 
nigh passed through the great and terrible hour of Anti- 
christianism that the final judgments appointed to Jerusa- 
lem and the nations were almost exhausted, and that the 
course of events was rapidly tending towards the peaceful 

* It may perhaps seem strange, that in speaking of Protestantism, we 
should have to refer so exclusively to its national and governmental as- 
pect. If Protestantism had discerned the sin of the day of Constantine, 
and had steadily drawn the line of separation hetween the Nations and 
the Church, we should have been able to trace its history in the separate 
path which the family of faith would have trodden, and should have 
sought within that family, and not in the world, for the results of its 
labours. But even spiritual Protestantism early sold its energies to the 
nations and their governments. In fleeing from Popeiy, it rushed into 
the courts and camps of those, who (however they may for their own 
purposes resist certain ecclesiastical forms of evil) have ever hindered the 
developments of truth, and will finally seek to crush them altogether. 
Yet even now, Protestant ChristiaDs seem little aware of the path which 
the nations secularly are about to tread, and the end to which that path 
is tending. 







": 



D THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

rest of the millennial day. Recently, however, many have 
been awakened from this fatal dream. Turning more simply 
to the Scripture, they have found, that although the promised 
kingdom of peace shall at last surely come; yet we have^rs 
to consider the testimony of that roll long since given to 
Ezekiel, but not yet exhausted, whereon is written both for 
Israel and the nations, " lamentation, and mourning, and 
.woe." The book of the Revelation enlarges on and confirms 
the testimony of that roll. 

One of the chief hindrances, perhaps, to understanding 
the book of Revelation, has been a neglect of Old Testament 
prophecy. The prophecies of the New Testament, are, of 
course, supplemental to those of the Old ; and should be con- 
sidered first. The wickedness and blasphemies of Antichrist 
and the nations that follow him, at the period so often termed 
in Scripture " the time of the end," the unequalled season 
of tribulation that is to fall on Israel in Jerusalem, immedi- 
ately before their final deliverance by the appearing of the 
Lord in glory these and kindred subjects were familiar to 
the early disciples, (for they were Jews who had received 
the testimonies of the prophets,) and they were therefore 
prepared to receive the additional instructions of the Lord 
and His Apostles instructions expressly intended to com- 
plete the outlines that had been before given. 

One part of the Old Testament Scripture which has been 
especially neglected, is that which speaks of the now ap- 
proaching hour, when, hardened and impenitent, Israel shall 
be regathered to Jerusalem, there to receive the last terrible 
inflictions from the hand of their God. " Son of man, the 
house of Israel is to Me become dross : all they are brass, 
and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace ; 
they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith 
the Lord God : Because ye are all become dross, behold, 
therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 
As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and 
tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to 



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. 7 

melt it ; so will I gather you in Mine anger and in My fury, 
and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will 
gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of My wrath, and 
ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is 
melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in 
the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have 
poured My fury upon you." How little has this solemn 
passage been considered ! Yet this is the period so often 
mentioned in Daniel, as f< the last end of the indignation" 
against Jerusalem. It is the period also, of which the book 
of Revelation, in all its visions of judgment, mainly treats. 

If we consider the present condition of the Jews, we can- 
not marvel at the sore judgments which are yet to be sent 
upon them. Nationally, they still remain under the weight 
of those awful words, " His blood be upon us and on our 
children :" and although many are breaking the bonds with 
which Rabbmism has bound them, yet it is only to gain the 
liberty of Sadducean liberalism. Thus we find a recent and 
influential writer among them, exultingly anticipating the 
time, when Mohammedans, Jews, and Christians^ assembling 
around Mount Zion, shall with like acceptance, " all waft 
their orisons to that Heaven, where sits in Divine majesty, 
the Lord of Hosts and the God of Israel." Yet what is this 
but Deism ? Men admire it and call it charity. Multitudes 
even of those who profess the name of Christ, in their anxiety 
to escape the responsibilities of definite truth, welcome and 
applaud the thought. A point of union for men as men is 
desired ; and this, negation of Truth and the pursuit of some 
common earthly good, most readily supply. Around such a 
centre, the indifferentism of Pagan, Mohammedan, Jewish, 
and Christian scepticism can gather. Such will be the road 
by which men will enter on their last great confederation 
against Jehovah and His Christ, until they shall openly say, 
" Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their 
cords from us." 

The rising importance of the Eastern or Greek division of 



8 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the Roman Empire, can hardly have escaped the observation 
of those who have noted what is passing among the nations. 
Greece, Egypt, Syria, the coasts of Asia Minor, and, in part, 
Jerusalem, are becoming more and more connected with the 
arts, civilization, and commerce of Western Europe. The 
provinces which these and other such names represent, 
formed the Eastern or Greek part of the Roman Empire 
an empire which we know from the Scripture will again 
re-appear in a corporate, though divided, form, before the 
closing events of "the end of the age" are ushered in. 
Throughout all the changes of the middle ages, the distinct- 
ness of the Latin and Greek divisions of the Roman Empire 
have been discernible God having preserved them, because 
they are appointed, together with Israel in Jerusalem, to form 
the mainspring of the world's energies during the last hours 
of its evil history. Greek, Latin, Hebrew, were the lan- 
guages written over the Cross ; and the nations which those 
languages represent, will yet again be found in terrible con- 
federacy against Jehovah and against Christ. At the Cross, 
men were allowed to accomplish their purpose no judg- 
ment was sent forth against them it was the time of long- 
suffering mercy there was then One who said " Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do :" but the 
coming day of apostasy will have to be met, not by mercy, 
but by vengeance. God has not in reserve any other sacri- 
fice for sins ; and if that which He has provided and pro- 
claimed be rejected if despite be done to that Spirit of 
Grace which now bears witness to that sacrifice, nothing can 
remain but <( judgment and fiery indignation which shall 
devour the adversaries." 

The Revelation, in its prophetic parts, belongs to the closing 
hour of human history. It does not profess to record the 
progressive steps by which, during the last 1800 years, men 
have advanced toward their final greatness for in that case 
it must have been a history of the world ; it seeks not, there- 
fore, to detail the means by which the final point of human 



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. 9 

greatness is reached; but it teaches us the character of that 
greatness, and reveals its doom. The manner and the place 
in which the combined apostasy of man, of Israel, and of a 
large section of professing Christendom, will be finally de- 
veloped; the mode of the interference of God in chastise- 
ment, and then the mission of His Son in judgment, are 
declared in the Revelation. It presents to us the world 
already standing in full possession of its last prosperity ; and 
then reveals the manner in which the Almighty hand of out- 
raged goodness interferes to crush the proud power of evil, 
and to bring in everlasting righteousness. It reveals also, in 
various visions, the different aspects of the glory of those 
who, after having known the tribulation and endurance of 
the kingdom of Jesus during the period of the Truth's suffer- 
ing, will share their Master's risen glory and reign with 
Him in life, when the time comes for Truth to be exalted. 

The Revelation assumes the path of human progress to be, 
at present, evil ; it assumes the failure of the Church's testi- 
mony ; it assumes that Christ's servants will never behold 
the establishment of Truth in the earth, until judgment shall 
first have wrought its work, and they have themselves been 
taken to their heavenly mansions of glory. This the prophets 
had declared ; this the teaching of the Lord Jesus had con- 
firmed; and to this the captivity of John in Patmos bore 
testimony. They, consequently, who are unprepared to 
admit these things, are unprepared to understand the Revela- 
tion. A film is on their inward eye which needs to be re- 
moved before they can receive the instructions of this Book. 



10 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE, 



CHAPTER I. 



ALTHOUGH the great object of the Revelation is to commu- 
nicate instruction respecting the future, especially concerning 
the Nations and their evil, yet before it enters on these things, 
it first directs our attention to the condition of those to whom 
this instruction was addressed. It was addressed to the 
Churches " I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto 
you these things in the Churches." The Churches were 
numbered among " the things which are," respecting which 
John was commanded to write. "Write therefore the 
things which thou hast seen and the things which are, and 
the things which shall be hereafter." Accordingly, the 
Churches and their condition, especially in relation to Him 
who was seen walking in the midst of the candlesticks of 
gold, is the subject of the chapter before us, and of the two 
that follow. 

The Church in Jerusalem the first that had been con- 
stituted on earth, had disappeared before the Revelation was 
given. Its light had early waned ; and the destruction that 
fell on Jerusalem finally scattered it. But the Gentile 
Churches, among which St. Paul had chiefly laboured, yet 
remained; still holding, although in diminished power, a 
place of united and separate testimony. Left in a world 
teeming with evil, and which Satan was leading into in- 
creased distance from God, they were experiencing the 
dangers and trials of that which is emphatically termed in 



ON REVELATION I. 11 

Scripture " the evil day." Called into a path of Nazarite 
separateness in the Truth, they had peculiar laws, peculiar 
principles. Subjects of a heavenly Head, taught and sus- 
tained by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, they had 
heavenly laws, heavenly prospects, heavenly testimonies. 
Whilst Israel was blinded, and whilst the nations were, 
(what they will be to the end,) fierce and devouring monsters 
destroying the earth, they the church were set as a pecu- 
liar people in the midst of peoples, a peculiar kingdom in 
the midst of kingdoms, having Christ risen and glorified 
as their Priest and King ; set to confess Him thus, whilst 
He is yet rejected in the earth; to own their union with Him 
in glory, and to seek likeness to Him in suffering obedience 
here. The place which grace had given them above, was 
one of union with Christ in unearthly glory. They were 
seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, their risen Repre- 
sentative and their Head ; and therefore a place of corres- 
ponding excellency was assigned to them in the earth, 
corresponding, I mean, as to its separateness, heavenliness 
of principle, and power of testimony. 

Up to the time when the Revelation was given, the Gentile 
Churches had continued to hold their separate place of united 
testimony. They were still separate from the world ; were 
still united one with the other ; were still shining as lights 
in the darkness. Each Church that had been anywhere 
gathered throughout the earth was deemed worthy of being 
represented before God by "a candlestick of gold;" and 
seeing that they had a collective brightness too (for the 
catholic unity of the one body was as yet unbroken) that 
collective brightness was fitly represented by seven* candle- 

* " Seven " is here used as the number that symbolizes completeness. 
These churches therefore, selected by the Lord in order to afford a com- 
plete representation of the practical condition of Gentile Cliristianity at 
that time, are to be regarded as representing all Gentile Christianity 
Gentile Christianity, as it then was, in the aggregate ; when it possessed 
local unity and catholic unity too. The first was symbolized by each of 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

sticks shining together. In their several localities each 
Church separately shone ; but they had also unity one with 
the other : they spake the same things, they walked in the 
same paths ; and therefore their light, as it shone on the 
world around them, shone in the power of collective bright- 
ness. That brightness indeed was beginning to wane ; in 
some of the Churches the light was becoming very dim; 
nevertheless as yet their honoured place of united testimony 
was not forfeited : they could still be represented by candle- 
sticks of gold before God a symbol which He had Himself 
appointed to express His sense of their high calling in the 
earth. 

To one, like John, instructed in the Scriptures, a candle- 
stick of gold was a well known symbol. A candlestick of 
gold had stood in the inner court of the Temple (that court 
which represented "heavenly places not made with hands," 
Heb. ix.) and had there typified that which the redeemed 
shall finally be, when, in union with their risen Lord, they 
shall for ever shine in the sanctuary of God. The prophet 
Zechariah too, when taught in vision respecting the millen- 
nial glory of Israel in the earth, was shown ' f a candlestick all 
of gold" a symbol of that which Israel will be, when they 
shall manifestly become the light of all nations. But what 
Israel will be, that, as to light, Churches gathered from 
among the despised Gentiles already were. They were 

the candlesticks regarded individually ; the second by all the seven col- 
lectively. At Ephesus for example, all the saints who dwelt in that city 
were gathered into visible communion with each other. All light was 
with them; everything else in Ephesus was darkness; and therefore one 
candlestick fitly represented their condition. There was one point of 
concentrated light. But what each Church was in its own locality, that 
all the Churches unitedly were to the world around them. They were 
together separated ; had a common calling and service ; were alike one to 
the other; were ordered and nourished by the same hand. This was 
catholic unity, symbolized by the seven candlesticks standing together 
with the Lord in their midst. The proper unity of the Church is gone, 
if either of these be wanting. 



ON REVELATION I. 13 

already candlesticks of gold. Forestalling, as to this, the 
blessing of millennial Israel, they were already shining in 
the power of that heavenly light, which, if it had been sus- 
tained, would have met and mingled with the brightness of 
the millennial day. That future hour, indeed, when it shall 
at last be said to Israel, " Arise, shine, for thy light is come," 
circumstantially differs widely from this present hour of 
darkness, for the Truth will no longer then be found in suf- 
fering and reproach the time of its triumph will have 
come. Its light shall then no longer struggle with darkness 
that comprehends it not; but set in a sphere of kindred 
purity, it shall go forth in its brightness and prevail " For 
Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's 
sake, I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth 
as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that 
burneth." Yet, although the light with which Israel will 
lighten the earth in that future day, may be in brightness 
more excellent, and be more abiding (for it will never wane 
nor be scattered, as it has waned and been scattered in this, 
our dispensation of failure) yet, these are but circumstantial 
differences ; they affect not the essential excellency of that 
light, which is the same light, whether it shine in the midst 
of the brightness of the millennial day, or in the darkness of 
this present hour of evil; whether it shine to be maintained 
in its purity and lustre, or to be marred by unfaithfulness 
and failure. The same kind of symbol, therefore, which de- 
notes the place of millennial Israel, is here applied to the 
Churches gathered from the Gentiles. Not, indeed, that they 
were so estimated in the judgment of man : they were not 
regarded in the earth as candlesticks of gold; it was only 
the expression of their value as estimated before God. 

John had been conversant with the Churches as to their 
practical circumstances in the earth. He had been with 
them as their " brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation 
and kingdom and patience in Jesus." He had laboured 
among them and watched over them, as one who had learned 



14 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

from the great Shepherd to love and care for the sheep. 
But now, removed for a season from the practical sphere of 
thought and action, he was taken as into a heavenly sanctuary, 
where the Churches which he had known on earth were 
symbolically represented by seven candlesticks of gold. He 
was not taken in vision to the seven cities in which the 
Churches locally were, there to see a separate candlestick 
in each city : but the golden candlesticks were seen to- 
gether; not in the several cities, but in a hidden and heavenly 
sanctuary a symbolic Holy Place. There they stood, as 
representatives of that which was external and distant, the 
value and excellency of which, they were intended to express 
as that value was estimated before God. The Lord, the 
candlesticks, and the stars, were seen out of earthly con- 
nexion; but that which the candlesticks and the stars de- 
noted, namely, the Churches and their ministry, was found 
amidst the scenes of earth external to that symbolic sanc- 
tuary. 

It was the part of the Churches to discern and to value 
their high calling, and to seek to maintain themselves in 
practical correspondency with their heavenly pattern. They 
were set to shine with the light of God in a dark world 
which Satan ruled ; and though the place of their service and 
testimony might locally vary, yet their light was one ; it was 
kindled from the same source ; it belonged to the same sanc- 
tuary. They were together the pillar and ground of God's hea- 
venly Truth ; and the maintenance of that Truth among men, 
was made mainly dependent on the faithfulness of their testi- 
mony. Unity hadbeen given them. Although locally separate, 
they were practically one. He who walked in their midst, 
holding, as He himself said, the stars in His right hand, was 
the unseen centre of their union; and another bond was 
supplied by the presence of those, who, like Timothy and 
Titus and St. -Paul whilst they yet lived, remained unlo- 
calized, " having no certain dwelling place," and exercised a 
general authoritative superintendence over all the Churches ; 



ON REVELATION I. 15 

whereby a practical bond of union (invisible perhaps to the 
world, but cognizable by those who had the eye of faith) 
was drawn around all who were gathered in the name of 
Christ.* The calling of the Churches was, no doubt, high 
and difficult ; but it was not too difficult for Christ to have 
sustained them in, for Almighty power was in His hand 
power ready to become the servant of their need. He was 
able to minister all needful strength ; and He would have 
ministered it, if only there had been found in them the ear to 
hear. 

In this vision, He is seen walking in His sanctuary, in 
the midst of the golden candlesticks, as one acquainted with 
the state in which the Churches, thus symbolized, practi- 
cally were, and prepared to pronounce on their condition. It 
was His place to determine (and He had determined) 
whether they were proving themselves worthy of their high 
calling. He was there to declare His sentence ; willing, 
indeed, to admonish, and to correct, and to supply the 
needful grace, wherever His correction was heeded ; but 
prepared also, if faithfulness to God and to the Truth should 
require it, to remove them from their place of honour, if they 

* The ministerial relation which Timothy, Titus, and others who 
laboured with and under St. Paul, held to the Churches, was different 
from that of those, who, as elders or bishops (for elder and bishop were 
different names of the same office) exercised a stationary oversight over 
the various Churches in their several localities. The elders or bishops 
were always localized; the specific sphere of their pastoral rule being 
the Church with which they themselves were locally connected. Thus, 
the Churches at Philippi and at Ephesus, had each their own localized 
elders. But the ministry of Timothy, Titus, &c., was not localized. 
Their's was a circulating ministry extending over all the Churches; and by 
them elders were appointed. (See Titus i. 5.) If false doctrines threatened 
to come in at Ephesus, Timothy was to stay there to check it. (See 
1 Tim. i. 3.) If evil appeared in Crete, Titus was desired by the Apostle 
to remain there and restrain it. (See Titus i. 11.) The ministry, there- 
fore, that they exercised, was of a special kind. It had an authority that 
was peculiar to itself and drew around all the Churches a practical bond 
of union which prevented their being independent one of the other. 



16 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

proved unfit to be represented in His sanctuary by candle- 
sticks of gold. 

Few things are more important than to remember this 
relation of our Lord to His Churches here. We speak of 
Him as planting the Churches, and as cherishing and pre- 
serving them by His shepherd care; but \ve often forget 
that He must also, in faithfulness to God, examine that 
which has been set in the earth to bear the name and main- 
tain the principles of God. He can be patient and pitiful, 
but He cannot own any thing as being what really it is not, 
for then He would Himself cease to be " The faithful and true 
witness." 

It was one of the functions of the Priests of Israel, to put 
a difference between clean and unclean, and to judge between 
holy and unholy. Discriminative judgment was., therefore, 
a part of the priestly office ; and it is in the exercise of such 
discrimination, that the Lord Jesus is, in this vision, seen. 
There was no diadem upon His head, (for He was not now 
come to rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords) 
but " His head and His hair were white, as white wool, as 
snow," like the head of " the Antient of Days," as one who 
had seen the course of everlasting ages, well suited, there- 
fore, calmly and wisely to discriminate and to judge " with 
the ancient is wisdom, and in length of days is understand- 
ing ; with him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and 
understanding," (Job xii. 1.) suited qualifications for 
One, who had come to pronounce on the condition of His 
Churches. " His eyes were as a flame of fire" able, there- 
fore, according to the searching power of Divine holiness, to 
prove and examine all things. (( His feet were like unto 
fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace" unsusceptible, 
therefore, of corruption or taint, even though obliged to 
tread amidst that which is defiled or defiling. te His voice 
was as the voice of many waters " one of the characteristics 
of the Almighty God of Israel, which will be manifested, when 
He shall return to take possession of Jerusalem His city and 



ON REVELATION I. IT 

of Israel His people. (See Ezekiel xliii. I, 2.) " Out of His 
mouth went a sharp two-edged sword;" for the word of de- 
stroying judgment, as well as of grace, can issue from His lips. 
Thus, He was about to fight against those who were defiling 
His Churches. (See Eev. ii. 16.) Thus, too, He will finally 
smite the earth, and destroy the Wicked one. (See Isaiah 
xi., and Rev. xix.) " His countenance was as the sun shin- 
ing in his strength," the source of light and warmth and 
vivifying power to those on whom it rests for blessing ; but 
leaving in darkness, and misery, and death, all those from 
whom it is turned away. The ministry also of the Churches 
(whether to give, or to withhold), was entirely subject to 
His control; for He held the stars in His right hand. Such 
were the attributes of His divine person. He, whom Israel 
had rejected, was thus known by the churches as living and 
acting towards them, in the power of these attributes of the 
God of Israel. His vestment also was equally expressive of 
Divine and heavenly character ; it was a robe reaching to 
the feet (TroSr/prjc, probably the priestly robe of the ephod), 
" girded with a girdle of gold."* 

It was with these characteristics, all of them distinctively 
heavenly and divine, that He came to pronounce on the con- 
dition of His Churches. He could use, as regarded the facts 
of their condition, no untrue standard : those facts must be 
pronounced on, as being what they really were ; although, 
after they were determined, He could exercise all fulness of 
grace towards the persons. The great question was, whether 

* Gold was the metal used in the Holy and Most Holy courts of the 
Tabernacle, to typify the nature and offices of Christ, as known and 
estimated in Heaven. " Girded with a girdle of gold " is, therefore, an 
expressive indication of one, who comes forth in the full power of heavenly 
excellency, to act according to that excellency. If, as is commonly sup- 
posed, the garment reaching to the feet (?roBr;p^c) is the same as the blue 
rohe of the ephod (see the Ixx. of Exodus xxviii. 4, and Exodus xxix. 5), 
that also would be equally expressive of heavenly excellency, as well as 
of priestly office, blue being tho heavenly colour. 

C 



18 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the Churches were, or were not, preserving the place in 
which He had set them whether they were still worthy of 
being represented by candlesticks of gold. There was no 
necessary discrepancy between them and His holy standard ; 
He would not require impossibilities " His yoke is easy ;" 
if anything needed to be remedied, He could remedy ; if 
anything needed to be given, He could give. His visitation, 
although judicial, was priestly. It was the judgment of 
enquiry for rectification ; not the judgment of condemnation 
for destruction. Grace follows, or, as it were, walks by the 
side of, judgment such as this : only, there must be confes- 
sion and submission. He could give space to repent. He 
could supply " gold tried in the fire," or give fe eye-salve 
that they might see :" but He required obedient attention to 
His word. " He that hath an ear let him hear." 

We are now so accustomed to think of the Church (I 
mean the true Church of God), in its present condition of 
disruption, and to see it in its amalgamation with the world, 
that we find it difficult even to conceive in thought what 
once it was, when it was really one, and stood forth before 
men in living practical testimony to the same Truth. Whilst 
the Apostles yet lived, their authority so effectually main- 
tained the executive agency of the Churches in a condition 
to repress and control evil, that the corporate testimony of 
the whole Christian body was sustained in its integrity. 
There was real catholic unity, and that in the Truth. The 
condition of the early churches was not one in which no 
evil was present (on the contrary, evil was sometimes strong 
and threatening, as the epistles to the Churches in Corinth 
and Galatia testify), but the evil was met so promptly and 
efficiently met, by godly discipline enforced by the Apostles, 
or by those who, like Timothy and Titus, laboured with them, 
that the Churches still remained " epistles of Christ," prac- 
tically reflecting His mind, and preserving an unity that the 
world recognised as real. The doctrine and the practice of 
the Church was then, not in name but in truth, apostolic. 



ON REVELATION I. 19 

As a body it was avowedly separate, not merely from the 
grosser forms of the world's evil,, but from the systems of 
the world as such. The authority of Caesar's courts it 
sought not ; and false ecclesiastical authority in a corporate 
form, pretending to the sanction of the name of Christ, was 
as yet unknown. Their ministry was supplied, not by 
human contrivances, but by Christ. Truth was not esteemed 
a vague uncertain thing, unknown and undiscoverable : 
it was seen in its comprehensiveness, seen as something 
definite and fixed ; and they who saw it, loved it loved it 
because it was of God and led to God, and, therefore, as 
knowing its preciousness, they longed and they laboured 
to impart it to others. Such was the early love of the 
Churches of Christ. While it continued, they shone as 
lights of the world, and were worthy of being represented 
by te candlesticks of gold." 

But it was only for a moment that the light of Gentile 
Christianity thus shone. It was fast waning when the Lord 
thus appeared to John in Patmos. Even the Church at Ephe- 
sus, that Church over which St. Paul had so anxiously 
watched that Church whose " works and labour and pa- 
tience " the Lord Himself praised, had lost its first love. 
Wearied, probably, by struggling against the tide that 
ran so strongly against the Truth of Christ ; finding failure 
where they had expected strength, and barrenness where they 
had hoped for fruitfulness ; seeing weakness in others, and 
discovering it in themselves, they had flagged, and lost 
their first energy and zeal. When iniquity abounds, love 
towards the service and truth of Christ soon waxes cold, 
even in Christ's own people. They forget the value that 
Truth in itself has, apart from the condition of its servants, 
and apart from its successes. Their apprehensions, too, 
of grace, under such circumstances, are apt to become 
weakened. Insensibly making their own practical con- 
dition the ground of their hope towards God, they forget 
that they are loved, and washed from their sins, and made 



20 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

priests and kings unto God, apart from their own service, 
its successes, or its failures. Energy, under such circum- 
stances, soon decays, and, as a consequence, testimony fails ; 
and when the light of testimony dwindles, one essential 
characteristic of the " candlestick " condition ceases. In 
some of the Churches, such as those at Sardis and Laodicea, 
evil had assumed a more positive form of development ; and 
now John was commissioned to address them all, for the last 
time in their corporate and collective standing. The warn- 
ings were sent, but they were unheeded ; even the Churches 
that were most vigorous, declined. The threatened infliction 
came ; and the " candlestick " condition of the Gentile 
Churches for ever ceased. 

In saying this, it is not meant that Christianity no longer 
existed in those places, or that Christians ceased to be 
gathered there, and that, in a corporate form.* The hour when 
the Lord finally pronounced the Churches unworthy of being 
represented before God by candlesticks of gold, was one 
known only to himself. In the earth, it would be dis- 
covered gradually, by its consequences. The Churches 
would for a time meet, and apparently act and worship 

* When the Lord said to the Church at Ephesus, " I will remove thy 
candlestick out of its place, except thou repent," these words have been 
thought by some, to refer to the removal of Christianity out of Ephesus. 
But the Lord is not threatening the City of Ephesus. He does not say 
to Pagan Ephesus, " I will remove thy candlestick ;" as if the Church was 
its candlestick; nor does he say to the Church in Ephesus, " I will re- 
move thee out of Ephesus ;" but He says to the Church in Ephesus, " I 
will remove thy candlestick from its place among the seven, where it is now 
standing in my secret sanctuary." Consequently as to numbers, and 
individual names, the Church at Ephesus might have continued just 
what it was, and yet its candlestick have been removed. After this 
threatening, true Christianity did continue in Ephesus for a long period ; 
but in a state of such declension, that unless we say that Christ was un- 
true to the word of His message, and that He did not remove the candle- 
stick, we must admit that the extinction of Christianity in a city, and 
the loss of Church-standing by Christians in that city, are very different 
and distinguishable things. 



ON 11EVELAT1ON I. 

as before ; but the strengthening and preserving care 
of Christ being withdrawn, and the power of the enemy 
allowed to come in, effects would soon be manifest, which all 
who had the eye of faith (except indeed that eye had become 
dim through unfaithfulness) would readily recognise. " The 
poor of the flock" (said the prophet, speaking of a remnant in 
Israel similarly circumstanced) " the poor of the flock 
who waited upon me, knew that it was the word of the Lord." 
There were, however, but few such. The majority, boasting 
themselves in evil, and speaking great swelling words re- 
specting Church authority and the like, and finding in the 
withdrawal of Christ's present power, freer scope for their 
own evil energies, went on to pervert and prostitute His 
principles, and to construct the fabric of their greatness out 
of the ruins of His Truth. Unless the corporate forms 
of Christianity, such as they have been seen in the East and 
in the West, during the last 1800 years, are to be defended, 
we must admit these things. 

What wonder, therefore, when the corporate testimony of 
the true Church ceased, and when the corporate testimony of 
false Christianity became the ally of the world's worst 
energies, that Satan should have prospered in advancing his 
evil plans among the nations ? Nothing has been a more po- 
tent instrument than false Christianity, in helping on the na- 
tions to the present point of their progress; and what is yet be- 
fore them, the Revelation declares. It speaks of deep and wide 
apostasy, the like to which has never yet been ; yet vast 
and extensive as that apostasy may be, there shall be even 
then a remnant who shall overcome " because of the blood 
of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, 
and who shall not love their lives unto death." (See Rev. xii.) 
We may be very sure that the testimony of this Book, which, 
in more quiet seasons of the Church's history, has been 
sometimes hidden, sometimes perverted, will be valued and 
maintained in its integrity, by those who shall testify in that 
closing day of evil. We may hope too, that the attention 



22 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

that is now being redirected towards the prophecies of this 
Book, may tend to the sowing of some seed that shall pro- 
duce its harvest in that day of the Church's last conflict 
with the power of evil. 



THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. 23 



CHAPTER II. 

Cmitb of f ok"* 



I AM unwilling to quit these words, without considering 
somewhat further, the instruction they convey respecting 
the primitive order of the Gentile Churches. If we have in- 
considerately assumed that the Scriptures are on this subject 
silent if we have imagined that the question of Church order 
is one undetermined by God, and left to be decided, according 
to our own judgment, on mere principles of expediency ; 
these words, so few and simple, may be sufficient to convince 
us of our mistake. It is true, indeed, that the position once 
occupied by the Gentile Churches is irrevocably lost. Local 
unity is gone ; Catholic unity is gone. Nevertheless, this 
will not render a regard to the past useless. There is always 
a value in honest retrospect: and at the present moment 
there are perhaps few things more practically important to 
individual Christians, than that they should remember whence 
Gentile Christianity has fallen. They may thus learn to 
avoid things that are inconsistent with their primitive posi- 
tion, even though they know that they will never recover it 
again ; and they will be able to detect the false claims to that 
position, and to the authority connected therewith, which 
have ever fearfully abounded in the Professing Church. 

* Those who may not feel interested in this subject, and who desire to 
consider the Revelation in its prophetic parts only, may pass on to the 
next chapter. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

When the Lord Jesus was personally on earth, the Church 
was not yet ordered, according to the form which he intended 
it to assume among men. He was engaged in collecting, 
rather than in arranging, the materials for His spiritual 
house ; in preparing the living stones, not in building them 
together. Accordingly, all who were thus gathered, were 
quickened with new and heavenly life, and were brought into 
living and everlasting union with Him who was " the Life" 
Life that was with the Father, heavenly and divine : never- 
theless, although thus made " living stones," they were not 
until after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, or- 
dered, or, to use the words of the Apostle, " builded to- 
gether for an habitation of God through the Spirit." 

But on the day of Pentecost, the Church, brought into the 
intelligent apprehension of the blessings with which it was en- 
dowed in Christ risen ; and enabled, through the Spirit, to act 
in the power thereof, was constituted as a visible body on the 
earth. It was thus constituted at Jerusalem, and was, like 
the Gentile Churches afterward, heavenly in its standing, its 
hopes, its laws.* Its hopes were heavenly, for the Lord had 
said unto them, " in my Father's house are many mansions ; 
I go to prepare a place for you." Its standing was heavenly ; 
for they had been quickened together with Christ and raised 
up together, and made "to sit together in heavenly places 
in Christ Jesus." Its laws were heavenly, for they were 
those of the sermon on the mount. Their practice was hea- 
venly; indeed far more heavenly than that of the Gentile 
Churches afterward, for even the privileged Levite sold his 
land ; neither said any that ought he possessed, was his own. 
They had received also the Spirit sent down from heaven ; 
the earnest of their future glory, and the witness of their 
adoption as children of the Father. In these things, there- 
fore, there is an essential resemblance among all the Churches 
of God. But since the Church at Jerusalem was intended 

* It may seem strange that it should be needful to dwell on a truth so 
self-evident, as that the Pentecostal Church, and the Apostles. " full of the 



THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. 2 

for a season, to be the centre of light and control to other 
Churches, its order was peculiar, being one of singular dig- 
nity, pertaining to the Church at Jerusalem alone. 

This order was what has since been called metropolitan. 
The Church at Jerusalem, like a sun in the centre of its sys- 
tem, had other Churches, like so many planets, revolving 
around it. It was strictly a mother and a ruling Church ; 
and, therefore, when the Church at Antioch was in dimculty, 
it sends to Jerusalem for direction, and receives an authorita- 
tive reply ; " It seemeth good to the Holy Ghost and to us." 
This then was a relation that could not be fitly symbolized 
by two separate candlesticks, equal and alike : one candle- 
stick with many branches and many lamps would have been 
a more appropriate emblem ; and such is the character of 
the symbol employed to represent Jerusalem, when she shall 
nationally assume her metropolitan position in the mil- 
lennial earth. To her alone that position belongs, and for 
her it is reserved by God.* 

But when Jerusalem had rejected the testimony of the 
Church, St. Paul was raised up to carry the truth among 
the Gentiles. He preached the same Gospel; but a new 
order was established among the Churches which he gathered. 
This order was not metropolitan Seven Gentile Churches 
are represented by seven candlesticks of gold, all equal, all 
alike ; belonging indeed to one and the same sanctuary, but 
connected by no such visible bond as revolution around a 
common metropolitan centre would have supplied. They 

Holy Ghost and of power," were heavenly in their hopes, &c. in a word, 
that they had all the full distinctive blessings of Christianity. Yet of late 
an ingenious, but most false and dangerous system, has been invented by 
some, by which all these things and others, no less important, are 
denied, and the Pentecostal Church been supposed to be earthly and 
Jewish in its standing and its hopes. 

* See Zecharias iv. 2. " And he said unto me, what seest thou? and I 
said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon 
the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, &c., &c." Such is the symbol 
of the millennial position of Jerusalem. 



26 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

were in that sense independent one of the other ; but not 
independent of Him who invisibly walked among them, and 
who was able to preserve that likeness to Himself and to one 
another which His grace had given them ; to keep them 
what He had made them, alike in faith, manners, and testimony. 
To this end, He had given them the same truth and the 
same Spirit, and had also provided them with a superintending 
unlocalized ministry (such as I have above described) where- 
by a practical bond of union was drawn around all the 
Churches. It was indeed, in one sense, an invisible bond; 
for men would not recognise in the ministry of a few 
strangers who had " no certain dwelling place," the au- 
thority connected with a constituted body set avowedly in 
metropolitan position ;* nevertheless the unity that hence 
resulted was not invisible. Christians, as they journeyed 
from Ephesus to Thyatira, found at Thyatira what they had 
left at Ephesus ; and moreover the world was conscious that 
it was so. They knew that in the several Gentile Cities, 
there were those gathered, who, in faith and doctrine and 
manners, were emphatically one. The whole of the Gentile 
Churches, although locally separate, together constituted one 
body, alike in every essential characteristic, and as such were 
known and recognised among men. 

The thought of one candlestick only being found in each 
of the cities in which Christians were gathered together, 
will probably be regarded by some, as a strange, and per- 
haps questionable, notion. The views entertained by many 
require, that there should have been several candlesticks for 
each city. They think that Christians may be rightly 
gathered around their respective points of difference ; that 
they may worship separately, teach separately, act separately, 

* Such was the light in which Timothy, Titus, and St. Paul himself 
must have been regarded in the Gentile Cities. They were regarded as 
wandering strangers seeking to introduce for their own purposes, new 
things. " Some said, what doth this babbler say ? other some, He 
seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods." Such was the estimate 
formed of St. Paul at Athens. 



THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. 7 

and yet claim the unity once possessed by the Churches of 
God. Not a few vindicate the present divisions of Chris- 
tianity as not inconsistent with the mind of God, and say 
that they are appointed by Him to afford an opportunity for 
the exercise of forbearance and charity. But is this what 
we learn from the Revelation ? We there find one candle- 
stick representing the gathered saints of one city ; and seven 
candlesticks standing side by side,, in one sanctuary, repre- 
senting the catholic unity of all the Churches. This is the 
only standard by which Gentile Christianity is at liberty to 
test its condition. That Christianity among the Gentiles has 
long since ceased to answer to this pattern is plain ; but it 
makes no little difference in the sight of God, whether we assign 
as the reason for the want of correspondency, that no fixed 
pattern has been given, and that there has been no failure ; 
or, whether we are willing to confess, that there is variation 
from the standard once appointed, and that the cause of that 
variation is our own evil. To neglect the pattern that God 
has given is in itself a sin ; but it is a sin that may be aggra- 
vated by a vain attempt at extenuation. It is very plain 
that our not being "perfectly joined together in unity of 
mind and of judgment " incapacitates us for concurrent ac- 
tion ; for we cannot act together, if our doctrines be different 
and our principles various. We must needs remain, in that 
case, more or less in separation from (it may be in opposition 
to) each other. Such separation may be necessary,, for we 
must not compromise the Truth for the sake of apparent 
union; but is it a necessity to be gloried in, or to be 
deplored ? Shall we quietly acquiesce in it ? or, shall we 
do all that in us lies towards the rectification of such a con- 
dition, by seeking after Truth and union in it 9 

The false pretensions of the Church of Rome, have, no 
doubt, rendered the thought of visible unity distasteful to 
many minds and caused them to suspect it, as if it were 
a notion necessarily connected with evil. But it is not 
necessary to reject the visible unity of which the Scriptures 

0* THl ^ 







8 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCA'LYPSE. 

speak, because the wickedness of Rome has falsely ascribed 
that unity to herself. We may separate the precious from 
the vile, and reject the evil, without at the same time casting 
away the good. Indeed it is so plain that the early Churches, 
as described in Scripture, were visibly one, that we are 
bound by every principle of reason and truth, either to show 
that we have such unity, or else to account for its absence. 
That we have it not, is too plain to need a proof ; the account- 
ing for its absence may involve an humbling confession of 
past sin and present weakness, which we would gladly be 
spared the necessity of making ; but such confession is the 
place of truth, and truthful confession is a means to the 
blessing of God. The present reaction against the truths of 
Protestantism in this country, is doubtless a judgment from 
the hand of God ; but it may partly be accounted for, by our 
having so neglected what the Scripture has said respecting 
the proper unity of the Church of God ; whereby a weapon 
from His armoury has been abandoned to the almost exclu- 
sive use of the enemies of His Truth. 

The Church of Rome and every other body which has 
sought to occupy a place of centralized authority, have, as 
might be expected, all scorned to imitate the lowly order of 
the Gentile Churches, and have all assumed the dignity of 
metropolitan position. Whether it be a pontiff or a patriarch 
surrounded by his priestly counsellors, or a king surrounded 
by his convocation, or an assembly of ruling delegates in 
either case, a place of centralized authority is assumed. An 
effort is thus made to govern other (so called) Churches, just 
as the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem governed the Church 
at Antioch ; and the order hich God assigned to the Gen- 
tile Churches is despised. Now if this had been done by 
those who were really Christ's, He would never have sanc- 
tioned the presumptuous sin : but when we remember what 
the Church of Rome and other ruling Churches have, for the 
most part, been, we may well tremble ; for they have walked, 
as it were, hand in hand with the world, sanctioning its 



THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. 9 

plans and stimulating its energies, during the darkest and 
most ungodly periods of its course, as the history of all 
Christendom too plainly testifies. 

We indeed, at the present hour, have not to do with the 
primary occupancy of this position ; we find it already oc- 
cupied. Others have placed themselves there ; we may, or 
we may not, recognise their claim. By tacit acquiescence 
however, we may easily connect ourselves with the evil and 
become partakers of other mens' sins. The true Church- 
position is a high and holy place ; and if it behoves us to 
beware of false Christs and false prophets, it no less con- 
cerns us to repudiate the pretensions of any body which 
falsely claims the reverence and regard due to a Church 
of God. 

A test by which all pretensions to Church position may 
be tried, is found in the message of the Lord to the Church 
at Ephesus. That Church was faultless in all its developed 
ways. It was chargeable with no worldliness nor with any 
corruption. Its labours were abundant and they were 
praised, " For my name's sake thou hast laboured and 
hast not fainted ;" yet-it had declined as to the energy of 
its first love, and for this only, it was to lose the standing of 
a Church of God, unless it should quickly repent. Such 
is the strict and holy test which Christ must apply. We 
may, if we please, refuse to acquiesce in His sentence. He 
may remove the candlestick ; and men may presumptuously 
pretend to raise up another, and may speak loftily about ordina- 
tion, successional order, and the like : but the Lord will 
laugh at it, for He seeth that its day is coming. 

I scarcely need say that it is idle, and indeed sinful, to 
pretend to a Church-standing when unity has ceased to 
exist ; for it is neither found locally nor generally. Indi- 
vidual saints and companies of saints do indeed remain, and 
will remain until the Lord Jesus shall return : but as to 
unity the proper and once realized unity of the Gentile 
Churches, it is gone, and gone for ever. The Reformation, 



30 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

blessed as it was in restoring (at least nominally) the recog- 
nition of the paramount authority of the Holy Scripture, 
and in reviving the doctrine of salvation " by grace through 
faith," yet neither did, nor could, restore " the candlesticks 
of gold." It did not even restore local, much less catholic, 
unity. Indeed, it rather commenced a period, when division 
has multiplied on division. In many cases the false ecclesi- 
astical headship of Rome was exchanged for the equally 
false headship of the secular power ; nor has there appeared 
any body that could bear the holy scrutiny of Him, who 
once " walked among the golden candlesticks," or answer 
to the test which He applied to the Church in Ephesus. 
Indeed, truth constrains us to confess, that the history of 
Protestantism has manifested features of deadly evil, as dark 
and as determined as that of Popery itself.* Gentile Chris- 
tianity no longer answers to its pattern, and consequently 
the messages of the Lord to the Churches can be, by us, 
only indirectly used. He that hath an ear may still hear 
what the Spirit once said unto the Churches : but we cannot 
hear it as holding the place which the Churches in the Re- 
velation held. The unity, the power, the order are gone. 
The Church is no longer seen collectively as the pillar and 
ground of the Truth. The saints of God are a scattered and 
divided remnant ; whilst their adversaries are lively and 
strong. 

Yet, however much there may be in the aspect of the pre- 
sent hour, many things that might discourage, we have never- 
theless, the consolation of knowing, that there shall be, even 
at the very moment when Antichristian blasphemy shall be 
at its height, some, who shall be rejoiced over, even in Hea- 
ven, as honoured testifiers to Jesus in the midst of that dark- 
est hour of evil. We are taught also to expect, that there 
shall be some, who, as wise servants over households, shall 
be found distributing to each their portion of meat in due 

* The neology of Germany ; the Socinianism and Infidelity of Swit- 
zerland ; the condition of the United States also, are proofs. 



THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS. 31 

season preaching to the world the Gospel of Grace, and 
nourishing the saints by food convenient for them, even up 
to the very moment of the Lord's return. " Who then is 
that faithful and wise servant whom His Lord shall make 
ruler over His household, to give them their portion of 
meat in due season ? Blessed is that servant whom His 
Lord when He cometh shall find so doing." (Matt, xxiv.) 
By these means, some union and that in the truth (which 
indeed is the only union that can answer the purposes of 
God) shall be secured. If we have grace and wisdom so to 
unite, as to maintain the testimonies of the Scripture, and to 
declare what is there written, our union will not be without 
some results of blessing. Sanctifying effects ever follow the 
reception of truth. But if we meet to speak our own thoughts 
and if pastors and teachers competent to edify according 
to the Scripture, be withheld; or if, when given, they be 
despised, nothing can be expected then but confusion and 
sorrow.* 

We must however carefully remember that the most 
perfect union now possible, would, if we could attain it, be 
something very different from that union which once flowed 
from the unity of the unfallen Churches. The remnant who 
followed Moses when the rest of Israel were gathered around 

* There are few texts, which it is more needful to consider at the pre- 
sent moment, than Eph. iv. 11; "And he gave, some, apostles; some, 
prophets; some, evangelists'; some, pastors and teachers, for (TTJOOC with 
reference to) the perfecting of the saints unto (els) the work of minis- 
tration, unto (els) the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come, &c." 
From this passage we learn, first, that the body of Christ will not be edi- 
fied, unless the saints, individually, in their own private spheres, are ener- 
getic and bear healthfully on each other ; secondly, that in order to this, 
pastors and teachers, and the due ministry of the Word through such, is 
needful : otherwise the saints individually will not be prepared to aid 
each other, and will not while they love one another, remember also the 
interests of the Truth aXrjdevovres kv ay airy. Few in the Church of 
God are called to the " ministry of the Word ;" but all believers are called 
to some act of " ministration" one to the other it may be merely in giving 
the cup of cold water, or speaking the word of kindness or consolation. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the calf; or the remnant who with Elijah had not bowed the 
knee to the image of Baal ; or even the more happy remnant 
around Haggai or Nehemiah, who were privileged, in some 
feeble measure, to recover and manifest the lost principles of 
Israel's worship and of Israel's order, would have sinned, if 
they had thought or spoken of themselves as Israel once did, 
when triumphing at the Red Sea, or rejoicing under Solomon. 
A time of apostasy is generally a time of pride, and it is 
no little blessing to be preserved from the high words 
and exaggerated pretensions of the present hour to 
be preserved from those who speak of being what the 
unfallen Church once was; and from those also, who mis- 
take civilization for Christianity, and bless in the name of 
Christ the very things that are leading to Antichrist. And 
although, as I have already said, the indirect application, of 
the addresses to the Churches is all that now remains to us, 
yet that application will be found to involve most precious 
instruction to all who remember that no change of circum- 
stances can ever deprive us of our right to obey God; and 
His commandmeat still is, that we should never cease from 
separating the precious from the vile, and from seeking " to 
gather together in one the children of God that are scattered 
abroad ;" but this is something very different from pre- 
tending to the place of " the seven candlesticks of gold," or 
to the Pentecostal standing of the Church in Jerusalem. A 
knowledge of this difference is essential to a right under- 
standing of the Revelation ; for its testimony is, in great part, 
the consequence of the lapse of Christianity; and we can 
have little perception of what that fall really is, if we ima- 
gine that anything yet remains in earth that answers to the 
symbol of <f the candlesticks of gold." 



NOTES ON REVELATION I. 



CHAPTER III. 

$4rtts 011 



"THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, which 
God gave unto him, to show unto his servants the things 
which must come to pass speedily ; and which, having sent by 
Ms angel, he signified unto his servant John; who hath testi- 
fied the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ 
what things soever he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and 
they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things 
which are written therein ; for the time is at hand" 

The Revelation of Jesus Christ} These words mean, 
either the Revelation possessed by the Lord Jesus ; or, the 
Revelation communicated by Him. It was He who received 
this book from the Throne ; He also opened its seals. In 
either of these senses, therefore, the Revelation is His. 

That these words cannot refer (as some have supposed), 
to the personal revelation of the Lord in glory, is evident 
from the words which follow, viz. : " which God gave unto 
Him, to shew unto his servants the things that must come to 
pass, &c." Such words would be totally inapplicable to the 
revelation of the Lord in glory. 

Nor is the personal revelation of the Lord the distinctive 
subject of this Book. His personal manifestation is not 
described until the end of the nineteenth chapter. The 
nations will be visited by terrible chastisements first, from 
the hand of God, before His Son is sent to inflict the final 

D 



34 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

blow; just as the plagues on Egypt, which admitted of re- 
pentance, preceded the finally destroying judgment at the 
Red Sea, which admitted of no repentance. It is to these 
preceding chastisements that the visions of wrath in the 
Revelation refer, until the nineteenth chapter; so that its 
special subject is not the personal manifestation of the Lord 
Jesus, but events which precede and usher in that mani- 
festation. 

Indeed, in reading the Revelation, few things are more 
important than to remember, that all its descriptions of in- 
flicted judgment until the nineteenth chapter, belong, not to 
the next, but to the present dispensation. When the Lord 
Jesus returned to the Father, after having been rejected on 
the earth, Jehovah said unto Him, " Sit thou at my right 
hand, until / shall have set thy foes, a footstool for thy 
feet."* This remarkable verse, quoted more frequently 
than any other in the New Testament (because so peculiarly 
characteristic of the dispensation to which the New Testa- 
ment belongs), describes the Lord Jesus as seated for a 
season on the Throne of Jehovah, waiting : and speaks of 
the power of that Throne as acting on His behalf Jehovah's 
Throne acting for Christ. As regards the earth and its con- 
dition, there is no characteristic of the present period more 
essentially distinctive than this ; none which stands more 
decidedly in contrast with the period when Christ will 
assume the authority of His own peculiar kingdom. As 
soon as this verse ceases to apply, that is, whenever the 
Lord Jesus quits His present place on the Throne of the 
Father, the present dispensation ends and the new age begins. 

It is true indeed that Christ (for He is God and one with 
the Father) is able to exercise, and does exercise, all the 
power of the Throne on which He is now called to sit. It 
was His before He was incarnate, for " all things were 
created by Him," and "all things upheld by the word of 



f.K tiov fjiov, f 
wv ffov. See Appendix. 



NOTES ON REVELATION I. 35 

His power;" and now He is "the Lamb having seven horns 
and seven eyes," i.e., He has all plenitude of power and 
almighty control; even as He Himself said, "A.H power is 
given unto me in Heaven and in earth." But the power of 
the Throne of God which He thus exercises, is carefully to 
be distinguished from the authority which, as soon as the 
appointed hour comes, He will receive from that Throne, as 
the minister thereof ; and which He will exercise, sitting 011 
His own Throne and on the Throne of His Father David. 
Authority now delegated by the Throne of God itself, will 
then be resumed : and with it Christ will be invested. 

The nature of the power which Christ will formally as- 
sume when brought before the Antient of Days (see Dan. vii.), 
is that kingly government of nations which, when taken 
from Israel and the throne of David, because of their sin, 
God delegated to the king of Babylon and to the Empires 
that were appointed to succeed him, till the time for the 
forgiveness of Israel should come. This power, as described 
in Psalm Ixxii., Christ inherits as the true Solomon, Heir to 
the throne of David. At the same time also, He will be 
manifested in that glory which pertains to Him as " Son of 
Man," all creation being put in subjection under Him in the 
title of that name. (See Ps. viii.) 

As yet Christ is still seated on the Throne of the Father, 
" waiting" It has not yet been said unto Him, " Rule thou in 
the midst of thy enemies." The footstool has not yet been 
formed, that He might go forth and plant His foot in wrath 
upon it. But everything is tending thereunto. As regards 
the Roman nations and the unrepentant in Israel, the pre- 
paration of the footstool is the end to which all the superin- 
tending power of the Throne is directed. " This is the pur- 
pose that is purposed on the whole earth, and this is the 
hand that is stretched out over all the nations." (Isa. xiv.) 
As soon as it is prepared, and the great gathering at Arma- 
geddon shall have taken place, Christ will quit the Throne 
of the majesty in the heavens, and will return in glory. 



36 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

The book of Revelation therefore,, until the 19th chapter, 
does not belong to that future period when Christ comes 
forth in the power of His own peculiar kingdom : on the 
contrary, it belongs to the present dispensation of suffering, 
during which Christ is seated at the right hand of God, 
exercising the power of the Father's Throne, but not seated 
as yet on His own Throne. It treats of events which pre- 
cede the mission of Christ and " the setting of the footstool." 
It leads on indeed to the period when Christ is revealed in 
His glory, but this, as I have already said, is not described, 
until the 19th chapter. It forms the conclusion, not the 
subject of the book. Christ hidden with God Israel blinded 
the nations of the Roman world supreme and glorious 
the Church scattered and suffering these are the charac- 
teristics of this present dispensation, and they are the charac- 
teristics of the period of which the Revelation treats. The 
neglect of this distinction would introduce hopeless perplexity 
into the interpretation of this Book. 

Which God gave unto Him.] These words show how 
peculiarly this book is to be regarded as coming from God 
as God. It is not the instruction of the Father to His chil- 
dren, viewed as children in the bosom of the family ; but it 
is God on the Throne of His government, instructing the 
servants of Jesus. Although John had been so peculiarly 
conversant with those truths, respecting the Father and the 
Son, which his gospel and epistles unfold, yet in this vision, 
he is evidently himself brought into strange and hitherto 
unknown circumstances. He felt as a creature before God. 

It is important to observe how continually the name 
" Jesus" is used throughout this book. No Jewish con- 
fession of Messiah as about to come ; nothing, in short, but 
the Spirit, as the promised Comforter, giving communion 
with the Father and the Son, would entitle any to be re- 
garded as " servants of Jesus." " I, Jesus, have sent mine 
angel to declare these things in the Churches" They con- 
sequently, not Jews, are the persons commanded to keep the 



NOTES ON REVELATION I. 37 

sayings of the prophecy of this Book. John represents those 
who are regarded as the servants of Jesus throughout this 
Book ; and was not John one of the Church of God ? How 
strange that this should be doubted by any ! 

To show unto His servants.] Some have ventured to 
affirm that the Revelation is not addressed to us, because 
it is addressed to the " servants of Jesus ;" and we (say 
they) are not servants but sons. But is sonship inconsistent 
with servantship ? If it were, the Eternal and only begotten 
Son of God could never have become a servant. Yet does 
not God call Him " my righteous servant " (Is. liii.), and 
again, "Behold my servant whom I uphold." (Is. xlii.) 
Does not the Apostle Paul also, again and again call himself 
" the servant of Jesus Christ ?" Does not this very chapter 
speak of John as the servant of Jesus ? He " signified it by 
His angel unto His servant John." And are not all who 
now believe in Jesus, called " servants " both here and even 
hereafter in the glory. See parable of Talents and Rev. 
xxii., 3. 

If, in reading the Scripture, we contract the habit of 
neutralizing one relation by another, we shall soon make 
the word of God of none effect. The method of Scripture 
so invariably is to present the subjects of which it treats in 
a variety of aspects, that if we nullify one of these aspects 
by another, we shall find, not only that we learn nothing 
aright, but that we become destroyers of Truth. And why 
should we be so anxious to prove that this precious Book is 
not addressed to us ? Is it that we wish to avoid the prac- 
tical power of its instructions ? Do we wish not to see the 
things around us in the light in which this Book sets them ? 

We can well understand why the children of God should 
be here addressed in their character of servants. It is only 
when they seek to be " soldiers of Christ " and to uphold 
the banner of His Truth, that they either value or are pre- 
pared to receive the instructions of this Book. Whenever 
they have made themselves merely the centre of their in- 



38 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

terests, and fixed their thoughts exclusively on their own 
acceptance or comfort as saints, this Book has been neglected; 
but whenever they have had more vigour of faith or have 
been forced by circumstances into a place of active testimony 
or service, they have used the Revelation. When the Church 
forgets what the world is, and what Satan in it is, it will not 
value the Revelation. 

Things that must come to pass speedily .] The events here 
referred to begin to be described in the sixth chapter ; for 
there the prophetic part of the Revelation (to speak strictly) 
commences. These words teach us, that the time for the 
fulfilment of this prophecy is always to be regarded by the 
Church as near at hand ; in the same sense as we say, " The 
Lord is at hand." 

And he signified it, having sent by His angel, unto his ser- 
vant John.] It may seem strange that one to whom the 
Holy Spirit had been given as the Comforter and who was 
moreover an Apostle, should be instructed through an angel. 
We find it otherwise, when the knowledge communicated, 
pertained to the family of God in respect of their own 
present blessings. St. Paul and St. John were not instructed 
through angels in feeding and ordering the Churches. But 
since the subject of the Revelation is God on the Throne 
of His government in His relation to the nations, John, and 
the Church as represented by him, are placed in comparative 
distance. He stands as a man and a creature before God ; 
as one redeemed indeed, but yet in felt distance from the 
glory of the Throne. At present, the Holy Spirit does not 
give the power of fellowship with God in the glory of His 
government. The saints have not yet been admitted into 
any participation of that power which is represented by 
" the seven spirits of God." That secret power of divine 
control, by which all things beneath are watched and 
ordered, is held and exercised by the Lord Jesus alone. 
(See Rev. v.) As to this, we have still to say, " His way 
is in the sea and His path is in the deep waters and His 



NOTES ON REVELATION I. 39 

footsteps are not known." It will be otherwise when we 
shall " see Him as He is/' and " know even as we are 
known." 

Who hath testified (that is, in this Book) the Word of God 
and the testimony of Jesus Christ what things soever he saw.] 
This may be considered the Apostolic superscription of this 
Book. The Apostle states that all that he has written in this 
Book; viz., " what things soever he saw,," is to be regarded 
as " the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ ;" 
in other words, that it has the character and authority of 
other prophetic and apostolic writings. Such is the authority 
which the Book of Revelation claims for itself. 

Blessed is he that readeth.] The word " readeth," is here 
to be understood as denoting instruction or reading to others. 
Thus it is said to Timothy, " Till I come give attendance to 
reading, exhortation, &c." By this we learn that this Book 
should be made the subject of constant ministerial instruction 
in the Churches. 

And they that hear the words of the prophecy and keep the 
things written therein] These words strongly mark the prac- 
tical use of the prophetic parts of this Book. The practical use of 
those parts which are not directly prophetic, would, of course, 
never be doubted. The word translated " keep," or " ob- 
serve," is frequently used in this meaning, e.g., " Teaching 
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded 
you." tf If a man love me he will keep my words." The 
charge given to the Churches to observe the things written 
in this Book, shows that we are interested in the events pre- 
dicted, in a sense, different from that in which we are inter- 
ested in some other prophecies, such, for example, as the 
millennial descriptions of Isaiah, which do not pertain to 
the present dispensation ; but are to be fulfilled, after we, 
"the Church of the first-born," have passed into another 
condition of being above the heavens. 



40 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



4, 5. 



John to the seven Churches which are in Asia : Grace be un- 
to you, and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who 
is to come ; and from the seven Spirits that are before His 
Throne ; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the 
first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the 
earth. 

These words of benediction appear peculiarly adapted to 
the circumstances of those to whom they were addressed. 
The Church was about to enter on a period that is to end 
in atheistic blasphemy, when the whole Roman world under 
Antichrist, shall avowedly reject God and Christ, and say, 
" There is no God." As we are advancing towards this con- 
summation, and whilst men apparently are allowed to follow 
out their own thoughts and to prosper, it is no little comfort 
to remember the unchangeableness of the everlasting God 
whose benediction is here pronounced upon His people. 

" The seven Spirits that are before His Throne" represent 
a peculiar agency of the Spirit of God, which He exercises 
in subordination to the Throne ; and therefore, they are said 
to be " before" or "in the presence of" (i>w7rtoi>) that Throne. 
Thus the altar in the Tabernacle is said to have been " be- 
fore" God; and Aaron to minister "before" God; and Ga- 
briel to stand " before" God ; and the false prophet by and 
by to minister " before" Antichrist. 

The seven spirits as thus seen "before" the eternal Throne 
do not represent what the Holy Spirit is, as one with the 
Father and the Son ; nor what He is, as the Comforter, 
abiding with and in the saints. As God, one with the 
Father and the Son, He quickens; as the Comforter, He 
instructs and leads into all Truth ; as symbolized by the 
seven Spirits, He watches over and controls all things, 
subserving the government of the almighty Throne. In 
this character He presides over the course of all things 



NOTES ON REVELATION I. 41 

angels, devils, men, both wicked and good, and all the 
various agencies through which they operate, being under 
His controlling power. If, whilst beholding the mighty 
fabric of man's evil greatness arising around us, we should 
be tempted to feel as if all things were being allowed to take 
their own course ; or if we should shrink from the thought of 
impending conflict, we are here taught to remember the 
seven spirits that are " before the Throne." Their power 
has not ceased to be supreme; they have not ceased to 
watch, and that for us, the course of events ', and benedic- 
tion from them has been pronounced over us. 

He who is on the Throne and the seven Spirits which are 
before His Throne stand, as it were, apart from humanity, 
in a sphere of being which is simply Divine. But Jesus who 
is next mentioned holds a human place as well as a Divine, 
and is fitly mentioned last, as being in proximate relation to us ; 
He forming that link in the chain of divine love which 
reaches us. His co-equality however with God is shown 
from His being mentioned as the source of benediction 
" AND from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness &c." 

" The faithful witness" was a name well earned by Him 
on earth, affording thus an example to the Churches, 
although an example which they have refused to follow. If 
they, in their lesser sphere, had been faithful witnesses, their 
candlesticks would not have been removed. Nevertheless as 
" the first-begotten of the dead," He is the pledge of the 
Church's final glory ; for the blessings secured in Him risen 
are inalienable and sure. The visions of the saints' heavenly 
glory in the revelation, are founded on the fact of His being 
this ; their title to glory depending entirely on what He has 
undertaken and accomplished for them. " Prince of the kings of 
the earth " is that which Jesus now is in right, and that which 
He will soon be manifested to be, when He shall come forth 
wearing the many diadems, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 
By remembering Christ as the " Prince of the kings of the 
earth," the Church has a test of the present condition of 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

kings and nations. His return also in the right of this title, 
is the object of their own hopes and one great subject of their 
testimony to others. " I, said the Apostle, testify (before 
God and Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the 
dead) His appearing and His kingdom*." 

The progress of human infidelity appears to be in the re- 
verse order to that in which the Divine Persons are here 
presented. It begins by determinately rejecting that which 
is proximate to itself, that is, Jesus in the condition and 
character here revealed. The effort, for example, now being 
made in this country, is to dissociate its governmental in- 
stitutions, as much as possible, from the name of Jesus. Next 
will follow the rejection of the superintending government of 
God, and lastly, God will be asserted not to be. When God 
has been thus fully rejected, the end will come. 



5 6. 



" Unto Him that loveth us, and hath freed (Xvo-an-t) us from 
our sins by His own Hood ; and He hath made for us ( fyulv) 
a sovereignty -priests unto His God and Father, to Him be 
glory and dominion for ever and ever." Amen. 

Nothing perhaps is more necessary in reading the Reve- 
lation, than that the soul should be established in grace. 
It reveals so much of the holiness and glory of God and 
of the terrors of His power so much of the ruined condi- 
tion of the Church and of the prosperity of the world's 
evil, that our souls require to be settled in the peace which 
the blood of the Lamb gives, and assured as to the unchange- 
ableness of His love, before we can read calmly and with 
profit, either the visions of glory or the visions of judgment 



* Aia^djorvpoyucu (tvwiriov TOV Qeov, Kat'lrivov XpttrTov, TOV 
Kpiveiv uivrae KCII veKpovg) KCII rrfv eTri^arftav CIVTOV KCII TYJV fia<ri\eiav 
CIVTOV. Such is the right reading. See Tregelles. 



NOTES ON REVELATION 1. 43 

which this Book contains. Hence, the value of these words 
of thanksgiving and of the benediction that precedes. The 
very persons whose failure was about to be disclosed, and 
who were about to be chastened and put down from that 
high position of honoured service which they had been cor- 
porately holding, are yet instructed to say, " Unto Him that 
loveth us," &c. Individually they were thus loved, though 
as servants of Christ, especially in their corporate character, 
they were to be stricken. So necessary is it to distinguish 
between blessings which are preserved for us by and in 
Christ, and blessings which are made dependent on our 
abiding in His testimonies here. 

He hath made for us a sovereignty.] Such is the right 
reading ; although " He hath made us a kingdom" would not 
be untrue. The thought conveyed however is different ; in 
the latter case we should be spoken of as governed ; whereas, 
in the former we are spoken of as ourselves holding sovereign 
power. It should be observed that the sovereignty thus 
prepared for us is spoken of as a collective or united inheri- 
tance. The words are not " He hath made us kings" but 
" He hath made for us a sovereignty," whereas when our 
calling as priests is referred to the thought is individualized. 
For the use of |3acrtXaa in the sense of <f sovereignty," (see 
Rev. xi. 15.) " The sovereignty of the world has become 
the sovereignty of our Lord and of His Christ." 

The thought however of our being also a kingdom legis- 
lated for and governed by Christ our Lord is not, in itself, 
untrue. Many Scriptures speak of our being this now. 
Thus in Matt, xiii., we are spoken of under the emblem of 
wheat as forming together with intermingled tares the king- 
dom of the Son of man, who, it is said, when He cometh 
shall gather " out of His kingdom all things that offend, &c."* 

* It will not be true that He will gather out of the world, when He 
returns, all things that offend, &c. : on the contrary, He will spare and 
convert multitudes both of the Jews and also of the Heathen. Neither 
Jews nor Heathen form part of His kingdom now ; for they own Him 
not even professedly. 



44 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

All therefore who profess the name of Jesus, whether feign- 
edly or truly, form at present His kingdom, which He will 
purify when He comes. Thus we are called " a kingdom " 
(Matt, xiii.), a people (Xao e , 1 Peter ii.), and a nation (1 Peter ii.) 
The Church would have proved itself this, if it had car- 
ried out the laws and principles of its heavenly Master and 
Lord. It would then have been seen to be a peculiar king- 
dom in the midst of kingdoms. But in this it has entirely 
and thoroughly failed. Dragged down by the false pro- 
fessors within it, and by the earthly tendencies of real saints, 
it has willingly adopted the principles of the nations of earth 
and amalgamated itself with them, stimulating often their 
worst passions. 



r. 

Behold, He cometh with clouds ; and every eye shall see 
Him, and they who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the 
land shall mourn at Him. Even so, Amen. 

The three preceding verses have declared the Church's 
own blessing. In this verse, we find one material part of 
their testimony to others. Having ourselves been loved and 
washed from our sins in His blood, we ought, throughout 
the whole course of this Dispensation, to have looked at 
the world and all that is passing in it, through the medium 
of this solemn verse. We should not then have spoken of 
the gradual spread of light and truth we should have spoken 
of the Lord's coming to an unprepared earth, which will wail, 
not rejoice, at His appearing. If we had remembered this 
verse, we never could have said that the progress of this 
Dispensation would be progress in blessing. 

When it is said, " Every eye shall see Him," mankind 
generally, including the heathen, are to be understood ; but 
the next clause, "they which pierced Him," is more 



NOTES ON REVELATION I. 45 

limited, and refers to those particular Gentile nations and 
wicked Jews who once combined against Jesus personally, 
and w r ho will again combine in the last apostasy " against 
Jehovah and against His Christ." The languages written over 
the cross, which were, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, sufficiently indi- 
cate the nations intended. The Roman world, in its Greek 
and Latin divisions, and the Jews in association therewith, 
during the period of their coming apostasy, form the special 
subject of this Book. 

It is the manner of Scripture to speak of those who 
pierced Jesus, as if alive at the hour of His return. The 
generation that rejected Him is considered as not having 
passed away. " This generation shall not pass away till all 
these things be done," for the present generation being made 
up of the same kind of persons, is in God's estimate the 
same as that which stood around the Cross of Jesus. The 
millennial age is that which is first to present us with the 
new generation, called therefore " the generation that is to 
come" (Ps. cii. 18.), " the people which shall be created" 
(Ps. cii. 18.), "a people that shall be born" (Ps. xxii. 31.), 
and similar appellations. The Church is in like manner 
spoken of as living on to the end. " We which are alive 
and remain unto the coming of the Lord, &c." " I am with 
you alway, even unto the end of the age." The identity 
of persons is, in the estimate of God, determined by their 
likeness in spiritual and moral characteristics. 

And all the Tribes of the Land shall ivail at or against 
Him."] Here, as well as in Matthew xxiv. 30, and where- 
soever else "Tribes" and "Land" are connected, I consider 
the reference to be to Israel. One object of the Revelation 
is to show, that during the whole period previous to the 
appearing of the Lord, Israel remains unconverted ; and 
therefore the Tribes, being unprepared to receive Him, 
wail. The wailing here mentioned must not be confounded 
with the penitential sorrow of the spared remnant spoken of 
in Zech. xii. 



46 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

/ ivas in the Spirit on the Lord's dayJ] That is, not in 
any ordinary state even of Apostolic inspiration ; but in a 
trance, or, like St. Paul when taken up into the third heavens 
his visual and hearing powers being supernatural whilst 
in this condition. The first day of the week, the day of the 
Lord's resurrection was fitly chosen as the period of com- 
munication, because the Church, being one with Christ, is 
regarded as belonging to the resurrection day the day on 
which it is by and by to know God fully, and to enter into 
all the secrets of His government and glory. 

I may add (though it is a subject not immediately con- 
nected with that before us) that the Lord's Day is one not 
of rest merely (for that the seventh day or sabbath was), 
but of life, together with rest from such toil as has been 
entailed on man by the fall. During the other six days we 
are subjected to labour and to the sweat of the brow ; on the 
Lord's day we are free, and may live only to God. 

It has been a strange mistake of some to suppose that " the 
Lord's day" (/cupiaicjj V>a) here means the millennium, 
and that John was carried in vision into the millennium ; for 
in the first place the millennium is not described in the Re- 
velation until the nineteenth chapter the Revelation in all 
its descriptions of earthly scenes up to that chapter, being 
concerned with events that precede the millennium, for surely 
the Beast and the Harlot, and the great merchant City of 
the 18th chapter will not be found in the millennium ; nor 
will the witnesses of God prophesy in sackcloth during the 
millennium. Secondly, the expression Kvpiaicri iijuspa 
" Lord's day," is a different expression from, and is never to 
be confounded with, ^ -h/Litpa TOV Kvpiov, " The Day of the 
Lord." 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 47 



CHAPTER IV. 

ion IV. anfr V. 



IN these two chapters, which should be read as one, we find 
John, for a season, altogether withdrawn from the earth and 
from the contemplation of everything therein. "A door 
was opened in Heaven," and a voice said to him, ff Come up 
hither." Every thing in the earth had become marked with 
ruin. Mankind at large had given themselves over to idola- 
try : Israel was judicially blinded : the Church in Jerusalem 
was scattered : the Gentile Churches were about to be chas- 
tened : and the united corporate testimony of Christianity 
was to cease. It was under the consciousness of these things 
that John was called, in vision, to enter through (f the door 
opened in Heaven ;" not indeed to abide there : the time of 
the Church's militancy was not yet past, and John was soon 
commissioned to testify in the earth again " Thou must testify 
again against many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and 
kings." (Chap. x. 11.) He was taken into Heaven, not 
that he might abide there, but that he might be instructed 
there, and learn for us the resources that are in God re- 
sources adequate to cope with all the plenitude of human 
evil for the vindication of His own truth, and the establish- 
ment of the kingdom of His Son. 

John had the feelings and sympathies of one who had 
learned to contemplate what was passing among men, in the 



48 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALPYSE. 

light of God, and of His truth. There is a philanthropy 
a false philanthropy, which is the mere result of the mis- 
guided feelings of nature undisciplined by truth ; but there 
is also a philanthropy which is according to God and guided 
by His Word ; and this, John possessed. He had not ceased 
to feel as a man, and as an Israelite, because he had become 
a Christian. He was not insensible, either to the travail of 
creation (( groaning in the bondage of corruption," or to the 
fallen condition of Israel, over which Daniel, and a greater 
than Daniel had wept. He knew that darkness had been 
judicially sent upon their hearts, and that until that was re- 
moved, the long-promised morning of joy "the morning 
without clouds," could not arise either on them or on the 
nations. He understood how the destinies of the earth were 
bound up with those of Israel, and that evil would continue 
to mark the course of human things, until Israel should 
" convert and be healed." His human, his Jewish, and his 
Christian sympathies had long been exercised on the earth ; 
and they had cost him many a sorrow. He carried those 
sympathies with him into Heaven ; but there they were met 
with the suited comfort ; there, he afresh learned that God 
had not forgotten the earth, nor abandoned His purpose of 
triumphing over evil and of glorifying His people and His 
Truth. 

John saw ff and behold there was a throne set in Heaven." 
Being " set," or firmly established, it stood in contrast with 
the mutability and failure of every thing he had known be- 
low. There "the foundations of all things were out of 
course ;" all was becoming more and more like the troubled 
sea whose waters cannot rest : but in the throne, " set" in 
the Heavens, was seen stability stability of present super- 
intending power stability also of purpose, securing the ac- 
complishment of all that is promised in ages yet to come. 
"And on the Throne there was One who sat, like in appear- 
ance to a jasper and a sardius stone." The jasper and the 
sardius were stones familiar to the eye of an Israelite ; for 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 49 

they were the first and last* of the twelve that once shone 011 
the breast-plate of the high priest of Israel, when~ministering 
in his garments of glory and beauty ; and on them were en- 
graved the twelve names of the tribes of Israel names, 
therefore, which, so engraven, could not but shine with the 
self-same lustre as the stones that bore them. 

The lustre of a precious stone is stedfast and abiding. 
Other lights may nicker or be extinguished ; or their bright- 
ness may be lost in a splendour more excellent than their 
own. But the light of a precious stone flickers not; its 
power of radiancy cannot be taken away; and increase or 
concentration of light around it, or on it, only adds to its 
effulgency. It constitutes therefore a fitting emblem of that 
grace and glory, inward and outward, which will finally 
characterize all the redeemed family of God ; when, per- 
fected in the likeness of their risen Lord, they shall receive, 
as their united inheritance, ts new heavens and a new earth" 
wherein righteousness shall dwell. This full consummation, 
indeed, will not be until after the millennial age shall have 
passed away, and " the dispensation of the fulness of times" 
shall have come : nevertheless, the hope suggested and 
pledged in this typical emblem, will be accomplished, in no 
little measure, when " the church of the first-born," as the 
heavenly part of the Israel of God, shall, at the commence- 
ment of the millennial reign, inherit that heavenly city which 
hath for its light the glory of God and of the Lamb ; and 
when, of the earthly Jerusalem also, it shall be said, that 
" her righteousness shall go forth as brightness, and the sal- 
vation thereof as a lamp that burneth." As regards the 
sphere and the degree of their shining, the two Jerusalems 
will, indeed, greatly differ. The sphere of the one will be 
earth a fallen earth ; the sphere of the other will be above 
the heavens perfect and incorruptible. The light of the 
one will be obstructed by the presence of the flesh, and the 

* And therefore may be considered as inclusively representing the 
whole series. 

E 



50 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

feebleness of the creature; the other will shine in all the 
unhindered perfectness of God. These differences, however 
great, are nevertheless circumstantial and not essential ; 
for the light in which both the heavenly and earthly city 
will shine, is from, and because of, one Christ, and in the 
power of one Spirit. Nor will the difference continue. As 
soon as the millennium shall have passed, and " the dispen- 
sation of the fulness of times" have come, all the distinctions 
necessary to be maintained whilst this first- Adam earth exists, 
will be abolished, and all the redeemed shine together in the 
light of the perfect day. Such are the blessings which the 
stones of the breast-plate, as they once shone in the light of 
the presence of the glory of God in Israel's sanctuary, had 
of old betokened : and although the covenant seemed not to 
grow, though no brightness answering to the jasper and the 
sardine stone was found in Israel and little in the Churches, 
yet the moral excellency and the outward glory, as of the 
Church, so also of Israel, were, in this vision, seen alike 
secured in the person of Him who sat upon the throne Him 
in whom the life and the glory and every blessing of all the 
redeemed are treasured, for we are " IN HIM that is true, 
even the true God." Well, therefore, might the colours of 
the jasper and the sardine stone (lost, as they had been, on 
the earth) be presented to the eye of John, as the likeness of 
Him who sat upon the throne. There they are preserved 
for us ; there maintained in their excellency. Union with 
the person of the Son of God is the great characteristic 
blessing of the whole family of the redeemed ; and therefore, 
whatsoever moral lustre or light of outward glory may, in 
the ages to come, be possessed by men, it will flow to them, 
only because it is first found in Him in whom all fulness 
dwells, and out of whose fulness they receive " grace corres- 
ponding to (avri) the grace that is in Him." That bright 
excellency of character and of glory which is now found in 
Him who sitteth on the throne, is in Him, preserved for us, 
in whom it is soon to be manifested in like radiancy of 



. 

ON REVELATION IV. A] 






beauty. And therefore we read of the heavenly city, the 
bride of the Lamb, that "her light is like unto a stone 
most precious, even like a jasper stone clear as crystal :" and 
of Jerusalem, the earthly city, it is said, " O thou afflicted, 
tost with tempest and not comforted, behold I will lay thy 
stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; 
and I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of car- 
buncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones : all thy chil- 
dren shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the 
peace of thy children : in righteousness shalt thou be estab- 
lished. Thou shalt also be a crown .of glory in the hand of 
the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God." 
Such are the results of His being as the jasper and the sar- 
dine stone who sitteth upon the throne : for He is the pre- 
server now, even as He will be the communicator then, of 
all this exceeding grace and glory.* 

The earth is next remembered. The rainbow, the ancient 
pledge of the earth's covenanted blessings, was seen in all 
its freshness green as the emerald round about the Throne. 
Evil men were then, as they still are, "destroying the earth;" 
and John was about to see how God would destroy them. 
(Rev. xi., 18.) He was to be taught, in vision, respecting 

* It must not be supposed that what has been here said respecting 
" union" at all interferes with the value of the eternal priesthood of Christ. 
The priestly presentation of the whole family of God by the ministry of 
the anti-typical Aaron, is an essential and everlasting part of their bless- 
ing. But this is not the subject of the passage we are now considering. 
The jasper and sardine stone are not here connected with the priest 
ministering before the throne, but with the Person who sitteth on the 
Throne. It reveals the cause or source of that perfectness of beauty of 
which presentation before God is a result. When the breast-plate was 
presented before God, Israel, in the person of their Priest, advanced, as it 
were, a claim to being bright and excellent as the stones on which their 
names were engraven. If the breast-plate when thus presented and in- 
spected, was allowed to continue in the Divine presence, the claim was 
sanctioned. Hence, I suppose, it was called the breast-plate of judgment. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the consummation of evil in those latter days on which we 
are now about to enter. He was to see the nations of the 
earth made drunken by the Harlot and reigned over by the 
Beast. He was to behold the wickedness and the glory of 
the earth's " merchant-princes ;" and he was to witness their 
doom. He was to see in vision the heavens and the earth 
shaken ; stars falling ; mountains and islands moved out of 
their places : but before all these things, before he was 
called to consider that fearful period of sin and judgment 
which is now drawing so nigh, he was permitted to behold 
the rainbow the covenant-sign of the earth's blessing en- 
circling the eternal Throne. It taught him and it teaches 
us that the faithful power of the God of Israel, true to 
the covenant made with His servant Noah, will watch 
over and preserve the earth and that for blessing, till " the 
wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the 
desert rejoice and blossom as the rose." The sun and 
the moon, though for a short season to be darkened, shall 
resume their light, and the light of the sun shall be seven- 
fold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord 
bindeth up the breach of His people [Israel] and healeth the 
stroke of their wound. " Then shall the earth yield her 
increase, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him." This 
may teach us in part to understand the connexion of the 
rainbow with the Throne of the Lord God of Israel.* 

* The earth has never yet duly prospered under the Noachie covenant. 
God has faithfully given, according to His promise, " day and night, 
seed-time and harvest :" but the earth still remains, for the most part, 
sterile and waste ; and even where it is not neglected through idleness, 
or devastated by war and oppression, or smitten by Divine judgment, the 
free circulation of the gifts, of God is so interfered with by misrule or 
covetousness, that the nations that are most civilized often afford the 
direst examples of penury and need. Hence the necessity for the estab- 
lishment of a righteous system of government among all nations, through 
Israel and Israel's King, in order to give effect to God's earliest promises 
of blessing. 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 53 

Around the Throne, extending apparently in a semi-cir- 
cular form on either side, were other thrones, in all twenty 
and four, twelve on this side and twelve on that side of the 
supreme Throne in the centre. " And on the thrones I saw 
four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and 
on their heads I saw crowns of gold." Here we find the 
first mention of the official glories of " the Church of the 
first-born;" although still, as we shall see, in connexion with 
Israel. By " the Church of the first-born "* I mean all those 
who shall rise "in the first resurrection," and share in 
heaven, as well as on earth, the millennial glories of the 
Lord Jesus. We know from the rest of Scripture what the 
distinctive characteristics of this body are. In the first 
place, they are redeemed redeemed not from Israel merely, 
but " out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and 
nation." We know also that as " saints of the high places," 
their prospective name in Daniel (fljrtjf ^ >r |p)^ they are to 
reign with Christ above the heavens. Know ye not, said 
the apostle to the Corinthians, that the saints shall judge the 
world? Know ye not that the saints shall judge angels? 
Moreover, their calling is priestly as well as kingly they 
are " a royal priesthood." They are also said " to have the 

* "Church of the first-born" is an expression that includes all the 
saints of every dispensation, who shall be brought into the family of faith 
previously to the coming of the Lord. Christ is now called " the first- 
born from the dead." (Rev. i.) In the millennium, all those who rise in 
the first resurrection will be known as the glorified " Church or assembly 
of the first-born ones" (eK/cX^erta T&V TrpwroroKwy], for they will rise or 
be born out of death, at the commencement of the millennium ; whereas 
millennial Israel, and the millennial nations who are saved, will not enter 
into the resurrection-state until after the millennium has passed, when 
the new heavens and the new earth are to be created. 

Whenever, in these pages, I use the word "Church," in contrast with 
millennial Israel, I wish it to be remembered that I mean " the Church 
of the first-bom." 

As regards the form of expression, compare Col. iv. 16, EKK\r)ffia ruiv 
Aaoc>iKwj' church or assembly composed of Laodiceans See also 
1 Thess. i. 1. 



54 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

mind of Christ" (1 Cor. ii. 16.), and although now knowing- 
only in part, yet finally they are " to know even AS also they 
are known " whence their capacity to share the counsels of 
God. Such are the characteristics of the Church's calling, 
as revealed in other parts of the Scripture ; and such are 
the glories symbolically presented to us here. Royal power 
is indicated by " the thrones" the elders were seen seated 
" on thrones." Their redemption is taught us by the words 
of their own thanksgiving thus recorded in the fifth chapter 
" Thou hast redeemed US to God by thy blood, out of every 
kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Their priest- 
hood is taught by their employment for they offer golden 
vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints 
(ch. v. 8). Their eldership and near proximity to the Throne 
of the Most High are sufficiently plain indications of their 
being called into the participation of His counsels. Their 
white robes and crowns of gold identify them with the 
" overcomers," that is, those who "hear what the Spirit 
saith unto the Churches," and keep Christ's works unto the 
end (ch. iii., 6), for to such the white raiment and the 
crown are promised (see ch. iii. 5, and ch. ii. 10). " Be 
thou faithful unto death and I will give thee the crown of 
life." Their number twenty-four connects them with the 
number of Israel's priests : for Israel is not forgotten of the 
Lord even during the time of their blindness and desertion. 
Their priesthood is being from day to day prepared, and 
when the vail shall at length be taken from their eyes, they 
will find that in " the Church of the first-born," they have 
a risen and glorified priesthood, belonging to the heavenly 
places not made with hands, who, as the antitypical children 
of Aaron will minister with Christ, the great High Priest, 
in garments of glory and beauty on the eighth or resurrection 
day. No question, therefore, need remain in any heart as 
to who they are whom the throned elders symbolize. They 
represent the Church of the first-born in one aspect of that 
heavenly glory which they shall share with their Lord, when 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 55 

at length, the sovereignty of the world shall become His, 
and all things be put in visible subjection to His power.* 

The vision of the throned elders may be regarded as re- 
vealing the highest manifested glory of the risen saints ; for 
we cannot conceive of the creature being brought into nearer 
approximation to supreme wisdom and power. But never- 
theless, this vision, complete as it is in the revelation of 
glory, does not declare our highest blessing. It makes 
known the glory of God in government, but it does not reveal 
those secret unmanifested blessings which will also pertain 
to us as children, of the Father. The Sovereign, whilst 
displaying " the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the 
honour of his excellent majesty," may call around his Throne 
his ministers and the high estates of his kingdom persons 
who may be the very pillars of his power ; but he may not 
love them nor count them worthy of his intimacy and 
friendship. In the bosom of his family, and the retirement of 
his palace, he may have other associates and other friends. 
David had many Joabs but few Jonathans. Jonathan he 
loved : Joab, though honoured because of his courage and 

* If Leviticus ix. be referred to, it will be seen that the sons of Aaron, 
the priests, after having been fully consecrated during seven days, entered 
on their ministration on behalf of Israel on the eighth day, and then the 
glory of the Lord appeared. The eighth day, answering to the first day 
of a new week, always in typical Scripture, has reference to resurrection. 
When the Church of the first-born really enter on their resurrection- 
services, the glory of the Lord will of a truth appear to all the congrega- 
tion of Israel, who will then stand in the earth as God's reconciled and 
forgiven people. 

As regards the number twenty-four, the sons of Aaron were divided 
into four and twenty orders, " to come into their service into the house 
of the Lord according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the 
Lord God of Israel had commanded him." (1 Ghron. xxiv. 19.) They 
also who were for song in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, psalteries, 
and harps for the service of the house of God were twenty-four courses. 
(1 Chron. xxv.) It will be observed how both these services are held by 
the elders they present the vials and incense: they also praise and sing. 



56 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

his power, David could neither confide in nor love. In- 
consistencies or deficiencies have, in human life below, sadly 
marred the characters of those in whom some qualities of 
excellence have shone with distinguished brightness. Even 
Jonathan lacked the decision that caused Joab to follow David 
to the cave and to the wilderness. But with the Church in 
glory it will be otherwise. To them perfectness according to 
God will in all things pertain. They will not only share in 
the majesty of the kingdom and be glorious in power, they 
will, as children, be brought into the family of the one Father 
as those perfected in love. Thus knowing the Father, they 
will be able to go forth into the Courts of His government 
and to serve Him worthily as their God. They will realize 
the full value of the words of their master then : " I ascend 
unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your 
God." 

All the symbols that we have as yet considered in this 
chapter have been indicative only of blessing. But this 
peaceful order is for a moment interrupted by a sight of 
terror. " Out of the Throne proceeded lightnings and 
thunderings and voices." If Israel and the earth had been 
reconciled to God ; if they had been brought under the blood 
of sprinkling in other words, if this chapter had been 
describing the millennial relation of the Throne to things 
below, and not its present relation, we should not have seen 
it marked by this Sinai- character of terror. When the hour 
really comes for the innumerable company of the glorified, 
to which we by faith already belong, to be manifested on 
Mount Zion, thunderings and lightnings and sights of terror 
will no longer characterize the Throne in its relation to the 
things below. On the contrary, we read of a river of life 
then, pure as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and 
of the Lamb. He will open His hand and satisfy the desire 
of every living thing. At present however, though our faith 
may be cheered and strengthened throughout this present 
dispensation of sorrow by seeing the Eternal Throne sur- 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 57 

rounded by symbols of our future glory, yet the " thunder- 
ings and lightnings and voices" stand to us as an abiding 
memorial that the glory indicated is future, and that all below 
(the suffering Church alone excepted) remains as yet unre- 
conciled to God. 

But the " thunderings, lightnings, and voices" are the only 
symbols of terror, and we quickly return to those of blessing. 
The likeness of the jasper and the sardine stone attaching to 
Him who sat upon the Throne, has taught us the source of all 
our excellency and glory. The elders represent one form 
under which that glory will be exhibited : the living crea- 
tures or cherubim, which remain to be considered, symbolize 
another. But before they are mentioned, we find two other 
symbols one indicating not the form of exhibition, but the 
nature of a power with which we are to be invested the 
other indicating the perfectness of purity that will attach to 
our new condition of being. The first of these is represented 
by " the seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne which 
are the seven spirits of God :" the latter by the sea of glass 
like unto crystal. These two symbols stand to the Throne, 
just in the same relation as the Golden candlestick and the 
Laver did to the Mercy-seat in the Temple. 

Of the seven spirits I have already spoken in the notes on 
the first chapter. They do not represent the Spirit of God 
in any character in which he has been possessed by, or mani- 
fested in, the Church. They do not represent Him as the 
Spirit who quickeneth, nor as the Comforter abiding in those 
whom He has quickened : they represent Him in another 
office, that, namely, in which he subserves the providential 
government of the Throne of God. They are described 
therefore as " the spirits of God sent out into all the earth," 
(see chap. v. 6.) and again, as " the eyes of the Lord, which 
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself 
strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward 
Him." 

Nothing, perhaps, amongst all the attributes of God, is 



58 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

more wonderful than this universality of omnipresent control; 
all the merely executive agents of His government being 
subordinate thereunto. And when we remember how the uni- 
verse teems with living agency; good men and bad men, 
angels and devils- all acting with unceasing energy, and 
some in professed independence of God and opposition to 
God's holy will ; and that there is not an action, nor even 
a word, that proceeds from this infinity of agency that is 
without result ; but that each produces its effect and needs 
therefore to be watched, lest it should not fall into its fitting 
place in the vast machinery which is working steadily on to 
an appointed end when we consider, I say, that the uni- 
verse, morally as well as physically, is under a superinten- 
dence that controls the consequences of action both human 
and angelic, as certainly and effectually as the revolutions of 
the planets in their spheres, it gives a view of almighty and 
omnipresent power, more wonderful, perhaps, than the ori- 
ginal power of creation, or that whereby the things that have 
been created are, from age to age, upheld. 

This power is at present possessed and exercised by the 
Lord Jesus. We are distinctly told in the fifth chapter that 
He hath "the seven spirits of God sent out into all the 
earth;" but to His saints no such power of control is at 
present communicated. At present " His Divine power has 
been given to us" only so far as is necessary for present 
purposes of life and godliness. (2 Peter i.)* We reign not 
as yet. But since it is said in the Scripture that we are 
" the fulness of Him who filleth all in all," and also that we 
are to be made "like Him," and "joint-heirs with Him," 
and since the Lord Jesus has Himself said, " the glory which 
thou hast given me I have given them that they may be 
one even as we are one," how can it be doubted that the 



* " According as His Divine power hath heen given us 
fyulj') in all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the 
knowledge of Him who hath called us by His own (tta) glory and 
virtue." (2 Peter i. 3.) 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 59 

Church will participate in this branch also of His glorious 
power ?* 

Next in order., and also standing in front of the throne, 
was seen a sea of glass like unto crystal. This was in the 
fore-ground, in front of all that has yet been mentioned ; so 
that the Throne, the elders, the seven lamps, and even the 
cherubim, were within it, and could only be reached from 
without by passing the sea of crystal which was placed before 
them. It stood therefore to all that was within it, just in 
the same relation as the laver of the Tabernacle, or the molten 
sea of Solomon's Temple, did to the Holy Place. No priest 
could enter the sanctuary without first passing and washing 
at the laver : but when he had received the cleansing of that 
holy vessel, he was a person typically separated from all the 
impurities of earth, and fit for the heavenly courts. He 
was typically, what we are actually, as regenerated by the 
resurrection of Jesus Christf born again out of the old 
into the new creation of God. Such is the blessed truth 
taught by "the sea of glass like unto crystal." Like the 
brazen sea of the Temple, it shows, though in brighter ex- 

* The possession of this power as regards external action in the earth, 
or rather in the universe, appears to he indicated by the eyes which cover 
the living creatures within and without. The eyes as connected with the 
cherubim must be interpreted in harmony with " the seven eyes" as seen 
in the Lamb. In Him this power essentially and inherently is ; to us it 
will only come by communication. It is seen in Him personally, in the 
same sevenfold completeness as when represented by the seven lamps 
burning before the throne ; and therefore the number seven is applied to 
Him only, not to the cherubim. The multitude of eyes, is, I apprehend, 
the emblem of diffusive agency : the seven, of that which is possessed in 
all completeness and in perfectness of concentration. 

f The Laver, of old, imparted to the priests a typical cleanness that 
entitled them to enter into the sanctuary of God. It typically cleansed 
them from everything that was unfit for His holy presence. Such is 
Christ to the believer. God through Him cleanses us from all that per- 
tains to us and to our nature, as children of the first Adam that sinned ; 
and gives us a new condition of being, similar in purity to that possessed 
by Him through whom we are cleansed. In Him we are cleansed not 



60 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

cellency, the nature of that purity which has been given in 
Christ, for He is the true laver and the true sea of crystal, 
and unless we had that purity, God's free gift to us in Him, 
unless we had a title to go within that sea, as possessors of a 
purity worthy of being represented by the pure and trans- 
parent crystal, we never could even approach that Throne, 
much less be made partakers of its glorious power. 

But there is yet another character of power, which the 
Church is to exercise in the hour of its glory. Admission 
into the counsels of God is represented by the throned elders, 
omniscient power of superintendence by the seven spirits ; 
but the execution of the will of God, and the power necessary 
to its execution, is also committed to the redeeemed. This is 
a third aspect of their glory. They are in this represented 
by " the living creatures" or cherubim. 

That the cherubim symbolized the redeemed is manifest 
from their own ascription of praise to the Lamb. They, as 
well as the elders say, " Thou hast redeemed US unto God 
by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue and people 
and nation." (chap, v.) Nor is it conceivable that the saints 
should be joint-heirs with Christ, without being invested 
with this character of power. 

only of our sins but of ourselves ; and, accordingly, they who were washed 
at the Laver stood typically regenerated, and fit to receive that holy 
anointing oil of which it was said that, " on man's flesh it should not be 
poured" (Exodus xxx. 32.) as if to indicate, that they who had been 
washed were typically divested of the flesh. Thus in the Ephesians and 
Colossians all believers from the simple fact of their union with Christ in 
death and resurrection, are said " to have put off the old man." (cnrodeffdat.} 
It is remarkable that the Laver was made from the mirrors of the 
women of the congregation. Moses was commanded to melt the mirrors 
and from them to form the Laver. The mirror is that which reflects 
ourselves, We see our own natural features there. If we are satisfied 
with our own likeness, by all means let us keep the mirror and gaze on it 
for ever: but if not if we find reason to abhor ourselves and to shrink 
_from the sight of our own deformity, how shall we thank God for taking 
away the mirror, and substituting in its stead a Laver tliat cleanses us from 
all that is unfit for His presence, and separates us from our natural selves. 



ON UEVELATION IV. AND V. 61 

The vision of Ezekiel affords the fullest description of that 
power which the cherubim denote. They are there described 
not as in the Revelation, in rest above the heavens ; but in earth, 
surrounded with all the attributes of their agency, in strict 
adaptation to the circumstances of their earthly service. 
" The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of 
a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, 
behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, 
with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their 
work was like unto the colour of a beryl : and they four had 
one likeness : and their appearance and their work was as it 
were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, 
they went upon their four sides, and they turned not when 
they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they 
were dreadful ; and their rings were full of eyes round about 
them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels 
went by them : and when the living creatures were lifted up 
from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever 
the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go ; 
and the wheels were lifted up over against them : for the 
spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When 
those went, these went ; and when those stood, these stood ; 
and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels 
were lifted up over against them ; for the spirit of the living 
creature was in the wheels." What can be more significant 
of the resistless course of Almighty power ? These terrible 
wheels, combining the movements of four, without losing the 
unity of one each one advancing swift as the lightning, in 
its straight-forward course, not to be resisted by any strength 
or checked by any impediment each going upon its sides 
and yet none revolving moving at once northward and 
southward and eastward and westward, and yet being but 
as one wheel nowhere absent but everywhere present in 
the perfectness of undivided action, afford the mysterious, but 
fitting, symbol of the Omnipotent agency of the power of 
Him, " before whom all the inhabitants of the earth are re- 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

puted as nothing : and He doeth according to His will in the 
army of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and 
none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" 

In the Revelation, however, the cherubim are not, as in 
Ezekiel, acting in the earth. In Ezekiel, they were seen be- 
low the firmament of crystal ; but in the Revelation, they are 
withdrawn from the earth into the presence of the Throne, 
within the sea of crystal ; and this, because of Israel's sin. 
" I will go and retire into my place, till they acknowledge 
their offence." But the deliverance of Israel at the Red 
Sea, the fall of Jericho, the deliverance of Elisha when mul- 
titudes of unseen hosts surrounded him, the destruction of 
Sennacherib, and many other like interventions of the om- 
nipotence of God, are proofs of what this power was able to 
effect, and what it once did effect, on behalf of Israel and 
Jerusalem. But the vision of this power was shown to Eze- 
kiel, only that he might bear witness to its withdrawal. He 
saw it gradually depart, until at last it was hidden in heaven; 
and accordingly, in the Revelation, we find it there ; but no 
wheels were seen, only cherubim, and they in rest, save 
only toward God ; for their agency in the earth has for the 
present ceased ; nor will it be restored until the order of the 
millennium begins. The restoration of this power is the 
subject of the conclusion of Ezekiel's vision.* 

And when we consider what the state of the earth will 
be when that period arrives Antichrist having just filled 
the world with wickedness, and Israel with desolation 
darkness covering the earth and gross darkness the peoples 
when to Israel it is said " according to the days of thy 
coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him mar- 

* In the Revelation no wheels were seen, only cherubim, because 
" wheels" denote the course of this Divine agency as acting in the earth. 
Accordingly, in the seventh of Daniel, where the Session of the Antient of 
Days is described and Christ is invested with the power of earth, " wheels" 
are mentioned; because this agency will at that time be introduced into 
the earth again. 



ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 63 

vellous things ; the nations shall see and be confounded at 
all their might ; they shall lay their hand upon their mouth ; 
their ears shall be deaf; they shall lick the dust like a ser- 
pent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the 
earth ; they shall be afraid of the Lord our God and shall 
fear because of thee," when this hour at length arrives, 
we may well see the necessity for cherubim-strength, and 
the high calling of the Church in being entrusted with its 
application to the circumstances of a terrified but rescued 
earth an earth stricken, that it might be healed. 

The various characteristics of this power are denoted by 
the forms of the four living creatures. But the human figure 
does not predominate as in Ezekiel, for here they are 
abstracted from human things into the immediate sphere of 
divine existence. The first living creature was like a lion 
the symbol of power in its majesty, terribleness and strength. 
" A lion which is strongest among beasts and turneth not 
away from any." (Prov. xxx. 30.) " The king's wrath is as 
the roaring of a lion." (Prov. xix. 18.) Two lions stood by 
the side and twelve lions on the steps of Israel's Throne 
( Chron. ix. 18) ; and Israel's king is (( the Lion of the 
Tribe of Judah." 

But the second living creature was like a calf, for power 
should have other characteristics besides majesty and terror. 
Strength that surrenders its neck to the yoke and its shoulder 
to the burthen, in patient ministry to the need of others, is a 
characteristic of power less dazzling indeed, but perhaps 
more blessed than any display of the majesty of its glory. 
Hence, He who is to be known as the Lion of Judah, is again 
and again typified in Scripture by the ox. In Leviticus, the 
bullock stands as the highest type of Jesus, in patient, self- 
denying labour. We need not wonder, then, that this 
patient character of strength, and ready subjection to the 
burthen, (in Him the result of willing love) will still attach 
to the power with which his saints will, through and under 
Him, be invested in the glory. 



64 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

" The face of a mail," which characterized the third of the 
living creatures, represents not, I think, intelligence, (that 
appears to be symbolized by the eyes found in all the che- 
rubim alike) but it indicates that sympathy with humanity and 
acquaintance with its condition, which will adapt the exercise 
of this power to the circumstances of men.* Quickness of 
sight and rapidity of execution are the characteristics of the 
eagle ; and this closes the description of the attributes that 
will attach to the ministers of the executive power of God. 
They will have the strength and majesty of the lion ; the 
patient endurance of the ox ; the sympathies and reflective 
character of man ; the keen perception and rapid execution 
of the eagle ; and as such will apply to the earth and to the 
universe the wisdom of the elders and the Throne. 

And although the symbols of this chapter might almost 
seem to exalt the creature into co-equality with God, yet we 
find His due supremacy most carefully maintained. The 
glorious power of the cherubim does not prevent their 
giving all glory, and honour, and thanks, to Him that sat 
on the Throne ; nor does the higher exaltation of the elders 
prevent them from falling down before Him that sat on the 
Throne, and, as creatures, worshipping Him that liveth for 
ever and ever, and casting their crowns before the Throne, 
saying, " Thou art worthy, O our Lord and God, to receive 
glory and honour and power : for thou hast created all 

* Power therefore and strength as represented by the lion and the ox, 
will in the redeemed be associated with human sympathies and feelings. 
Symbols significant of strength might be applied to that which is simply 
Divine ; but Christ has also been made " like unto His brethren in all 
tilings," sin excepted ; so that human sympathies are connected with the 
Lord in His glory, as they will be with the saints in theirs. 

We must remember too, that when the millennium begins, there will 
remain in the earth, much to be borne with and to be dealt with patient- 
ly. The subduing of all things to Christ, will not be the work of a 
moment, but of the whole millennium. " He must reign till he hath 
put all things under his feet." In the exercise therefore of Divine power 
to this end, patience and sympathy will find their place. 



ON REV. IV. AND V. 65 

things, and for thy pleasure they were and have been 
created." 

Thus, then, there will be a time when the possession of 
wisdom and power, even by man, will no longer lead away 
from God ; but, whilst making him blessed in himself and 
the channel of divine blessings to others, will yet leave him 
humble and obedient still conscious that he has nothing 
but what he has undeservedly received ready, therefore, 
to take the place of lowliest worship, and to render homage 
to Him from whom all things proceed. The moral perfect- 
ness, therefore, which naturally falls into this position and 
enables us to say, in truth and in understanding, " Holy, 
holy, holy," will be an exhibition of the result of redemp- 
tion, no less wonderful than the gift of this exceeding glory. 



()G THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER V. 



WE have seen how fully the high and distinctive glo- 
ries of " the Church of the first-born " are revealed in 
the preceding chapter. The Throne surrounded by the 
symbolic glories we have been considering, is intended, 
throughout all this present period of the Church's suffering, 
to stand before us as a sure and sustaining object of faith. 
We are not yet reigning in life, and therefore the sight 
of our future exaltation is presented to us only in symbols ; 
but the glories indicated are not strange to the expectation 
of those who walk in the Truth. The excellency of the 
symbols teaches us the exalted character of the promised 
glory; their being seen in association with the Throne, 
is the pledge that they are unchangeable and sure. 

But the object of the Revelation is not merely to present 
to our faith these pledges of future glory. There is another 
object yet more immediate, and more directly concerned 
with our present testimony. That object is, the communica- 
tion of prophetic instruction respecting things shortly to 
come to pass in the earth instruction as essential to our 
testimony and service, among men, as the vision of the glory 
to our comfort and the confirmation of our hope. The im- 
mediate object of Him who sat upon the Throne, was, to con- 
vey a book (the symbol of precise and definite instruction) to 
John, and, through John, to the Churches on the earth. " I 



ON REVELATION V. 67 

saw in the right hand of Him who sat upon the Throne a 
roll written within and on the back side, firmly sealed with 
seven seals." 

John was standing before the Throne in the weakness of 
the creature. He saw the book ; he believed its instruction 
to be precious ; yet neither he, nor any other creature in 
earth or heaven, dared to draw nigh and take it. " I wept 
much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, 
neither to look thereon." 

But hidden in the Throne, had been One, who now 
appeared and assumed a new relation to Him who sat upon 
it. The words of the angel announced Him as the Lion of 
the Tribe of Judah the Root of David a title familiar (at 
least in part) to the ear and to the thoughts of an Israelite : 
for Israel was expecting One who should arise in the majesty 
and terror of power, who should " cry, yea, roar and prevail 
against His enemies." They also believed what the Prophets 
had written respecting the glory of the House of David, 
through which judgment and righteousness should be ex- 
ercised in the earth, and f( Judah be saved and Israel dwell 
safely ;" they believed that this glory had not departed for 
ever, though not one branch appeared to flourish on the 
withered stock of Jesse. They knew that Jehovah had 
made with David an everlasting covenant, ordered in all 
things and sure, and so far would readily recognise that 
there was yet a root to the stem of Jesse : but further than 
this, mere Israelitish knowledge could not go. They had 
not yet learned (what John and the Church had learned) 
to explain the mystery of the oneness of David's Lord and 
David's Son.* 

* Yet, though John had learned to recognise many things that Israel 
knew not, he had not, on that account, forgotten nor rejected the " old 
things " that, as an Israelite, he knew, because new things had since been 
added to the store. " A scribe well-instructed unto the kingdom of 
heaven bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." John 
remembered the old things which the prophets had spoken ; he knew 

F 2 



68 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE 

" The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David," 
advanced and took the book ; but He did not appear as the 
Lion, neither as Jehovah in His glory, but fe as a Lamb that 
had been slain." It was thus John had known Him. He 
had seen Him led to the slaughter ; had seen Him pray 
for His murderers and die ; had heard Him say in like 
gentleness and meekness, " All power is given unto Me 
in heaven and in earth ;" and now John beheld the 
symbolic representation of that power, for the Lamb had 
e f seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of 
God sent out into all the earth." He had all plenitude of 
glorious power ; He was standing in the midst of the elders 
and cherubim and all the glory of the Throne ; He exercised 
all the power of that Throne yet He was still the Lamb. 
Neither did any of these things whether His investiture 
with the power of the Almighty Throne, or His title, yet 
unasserted, of Lion of the Tribe of Judah, or His own 
essential and now acknowledged Deity, as the Root of 
David and all David's blessings, withdraw Him from the 
place which He loves to take, of being " one that serveth." 
He had served His disciples in humiliation; He now showed 
that He could serve them in glory. He saw the tears of 
John ; He knew their cause ; He went therefore and took 
the book, and supplied the needed link of communication 
between the creature and God, and opened the designed 
instruction, not in the terror of the Lion, but in the meek- 
ness and gentleness of the slain Lamb. 

Yet it is not difficult to see the reason why He should be 
here introduced as the Lion of Judah. In the first place, 

that they were not nullified, but only enlarged and confirmed by the 
things that had since been spoken by the Lord. In the vision, therefore, 
that he was now beholding, though he saw and heard as a Christian, 
yet he had not divested himself of the knowledge which he had received 
as one of that people " to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory and 
the covenants and the giving of the law and the promises, whose are the 
fathers and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over 
all, God blessed for ever. Amen." 



ON REVELATION V. 69 

the majesty and terror connected with that name enhances 
the preciousness of His gracious love. But not only so 
whilst Israel (blinded as to the Person) has yet held fast 
the hope of Judah's Lion and David's Son, the Church 
has well nigh forgotten both. The very fact that the Lamb 
has been clothed with power, and the consequent long-suffer- 
ing that has been exercised towards all nations whilst the 
Gospel is being preached the patient grace so abundantly 
traceable in the history both of the Church and of the world 
during the past eighteen hundred years all this has blinded 
our Gentile minds to the ancient hope of the fathers, and we 
have lost the knowledge of the Lion, in an imperfect know- 
ledge of the Lamb. It was needful, therefore, that in such 
a book as this, the Church should be aroused to the meaning 
of this blessed yet awful name ; for it is the contrariety of 
all things in the earth to His title as the Lion of Judah, and 
the consequent necessity of enforcing this title by Almighty 
power, that will bring on the coming judgments of the 
Throne, and the day of the wrath of the Lamb. The book 
taken from the Throne reveals the manner in which God is 
about to enforce the title of His Son as the Lion of Judah, 
and to manifest that He is indeed the root of David ; and 
therefore He may well be thus announced, even when taking 
the book as the Lamb ; not that He might fulfil the judgments 
therein written, but that He might communicate instruction 
respecting them to the Churches, The Lamb <( came and took 
the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the 
Throne." 

For a moment, the Lamb (whose proper place during the 
present dispensation is the Throne) quitted the Throne and 
assumed an intermediate place between it and the creature ; 
for John occupied the place of the creature. It was indeed 
only for a moment that this mediate place was taken ; but 
Heaven, or they who had the intelligence of Heaven, observed 
it and understood its meaning. They saw in it the earnest 
of that coming hour, when the Lamb shall be seen to come 



TO THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

from the Throne (in the glories of which He is now hidden) 
and, taking abidingly His place betwixt the Throne of the 
Almighty and a needy earth, become the effectual communi- 
cator of the blessings which will then flow from the Throne of 
" the Most High God, possessor of Heaven and earth" to His 
redeemed and rescued creatures. As soon as the Son abidingly 
assumes the mediate place between the Throne and the crea- 
ture, the millennial age begins. In anticipative faith there- 
fore (for faith always regards the earnest as the substance) 
Heaven sings the millennial song. The elders and the 
cherubim as representing the redeemed those, that is, 
who rise in the first resurrection, sing it first; next the 
angels sing ; and lastly every living creature gives thanks 
and praise ; for the Lamb had taken a mediate place between 
the Throne and the creature, as the connecting link of blessing, 
and the sight was hailed as if the hour of final triumph had 
fully come.* 

* That this song is anticipative is manifest for various reasons first, 
creation is not yet brought under the applied power of redemption, but 
is still " groaning in the bondage of corruption." (Rom. viii.) Therefore 
neither at the time when the Revelation was written, nor now, could 
every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth 
and in the sea," " sing, rejoice, and give thanks," except anticipatively . 

Secondly, the redeemed themselves will not sing the song of redemp- 
tion and say, unitedly, Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, &c. 
until they are themselves perfected in resurrection. But none of them 
are as yet raised ; their spirits are with Jesus ; their bodies in the grave. 

Thirdly, the risen saints are here represented as giving thanks for 
others, and those others are described as " made a kingdom and priests unto 
God and reigning on the earth." This is precisely the relation in which 
the risen saints will stand to Israel on the earth, as soon as the millennium 
begins. 

We cannot be too careful in remembering the corrected reading of this 

passage. " Thou hast redeemed US unto God by thy blood, &c 

thou hast made THEM unto our God a kingdom and priests, and they 
reign on the earth." See Appendix. 

Until the saints who sleep are raised, and Israel is forgiven and reigning, 
and all creation released from its present groan, this song can only be 
sung anticipatively. 



ON REVELATION V. 



71 



Nevertheless that burst of joy was only for a moment. 
The notes of triumph soon died away, and visions of woe fol- 
lowed. But the remembrance of that song thus anticipa- 
tively sung, is intended to abide with us always >to accom- 
pany us through the dark scenes of present or future sorrow 
such as this book reveals, and to comfort the Church during 
the whole period of its militancy. We are as those who 
have already heard and already sung, representatively, the 
millennial song. And let it be remembered, that the same 
love from the same throne, that will by and by pour forth 
blessing upon the millennial earth, is the cause of our present 
possession of this Book. Instruction will by and by flow to 
the millennial saints, and no sorrow withal our portion on the 
contrary is instruction with sorrow ; but if it will be a bless- 
ing then to receive rest, protection, and peace, it is no less a 
blessing now, to be counted worthy of suffering with Him, and 
to share His reproach. Divine wisdom about human things 
is communicated through this Book, given from the Throne, 
and it leads into present sorrow ; but it supplies us with sub- 
jects of present testimony, in the midst of the glory and de- 
ceivableness of Satan, more precious than fine gold to him 
who remembers that even in the midst of all our present 
weakness, we have a title to rejoice and leap for joy, if, by 
walking in the truth, our names are cast out as evil for the 
Son of Man's sake. Jeremiah was ordained a prophet against 
the nations, and his place was a dungeon ; John was appointed 
to prophecy against (firi) peoples and nations and tongues 
and kings (See Rev. x.), and his place was Patmos. 
Yet it is from the dungeon and from Patmos, that that voice 
has gone forth which shall yet (in some cases at least) break 
the spell which has so long paralysed even God's own people, 
and shall arouse them from that evil slumber, by which Satan 
has succeeded in nullifying the instructions of this book ; and 
shall cause them again to give a living testimony to the things 
which Prophets and Apostles have, in sorrow and in rejec- 
tion, spoken. 



78 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER VI. 

ts on Jtiiektiun IV. aitb V. 



Behold, a door opened in Heaven.] " A door opened in 
Heaven" is to be distinguished from Heaven being opened, 
as in Rev. xix. and elsewhere. The first is a sign of entrance 
being granted into Heaven ; the second of something revealed 
in or from Heaven. After John beheld the " opened door," 
he heard a voice saying " Come up hither." 

And the first voice ivhich I heard was, as it were, of a 
trumpet speaking with me.] This is in accordance with the 
character of this Book, which carefully maintains the sense 
of distance between the creature and the glory of God. The 
trumpet is the symbol of distant communication. It was a 
very different character of communication from that which 
John, in other circumstances, had known, when learning 
from the lips of the Lord Jesus, or subsequently from the 
Holy Ghost, the comforting truths of redemption. We cannot 
but be sensible of this distant voice in reading the Revelation. 

Come up hither, fyc.] These words do not refer to the be- 
ing (( seated in heavenly places in Christ," as taught in the 
Epistle to the Ephesians. In that sense, John had been in 
Heaven ever since the ascension of Him who had risen as 
the Head and Representative of His people. Nor is this 
temporary withdrawal of John from the earth, in vision, a 
symbol of the future translation of the Church ; for, in that 
case, we should neither have seen John retaining, as he did, 
the weakness of the creature ; nor would he have been re- 
quired to eat a " bitter" book (see chap, x.) ; nor would he have 
been sent back again to earth to testify " against peoples and 



NOTES ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 73 

nations and tongues and kings" (Chap. x.). Such will not be 
the portion of the Church in resurrection. Moreover, it will 
be above angels and will not be tempted, as John, to fall 
down and worship them. 

John was taken through " the door opened in Heaven" 
only to be instructed. " Come up hither, and I will show 
thee things that must be hereafter." He was introduced 
into a measure of the thoughts and knowledge of Heaven, 
but not into its glorious power of life and action. The Church 
as represented by John, may be said to have entered also ; 
at least, it is our title and privilege, to enter ; though prac- 
tically, we may despise our blessing, and linger outside 
this open door, listless or slumbering, on to the very end of 
our days of service. 

/ will show thee things that must be hereafter.] The future 
things here spoken of as about to be shown to John, are 
found in the sixth and following chapters ; their revelation 
being consequent on the reception of the book from the 
Throne and its being opened by Jesus. The fourth and 
fifth chapters must therefore be regarded as introductory to 
that which is distinctively " the Revelation ;" and which 
commences with the sixth chapter. The vision of the 
Throne (although the symbols of the Church's future glory 
by which it was surrounded gave it indirectly a prophetic 
character) was in itself a present thing. The Lamb was 
then (as He still is) in the midst of the glory of that Throne ; 
and from that Throne He rules. From that Throne also, 
He took the Book which He has opened. Eighteen hundred 
years ago He took the book ; eighteen hundred years ago 
He opened the seals ; the Throne being a then present thing. 
One reason, indeed, why the Throne was shown to John was, 
that he might see whence this most precious Book came, 
and be able to say, " the Revelation of Jesus Christ which 
God gave unto Him." 

[Great care must be taken not to confuse the scene de- 
scribed in this chapter, with that described in Dan. vii., 



74 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

where the " Ancient of Days " is prophetically seen sitting 
to judge and sentence the Antichristian nations ; or with 
that described in Rev. xx. when the final judgment of 
the dead takes place at the close of the millennium. The 
Throne described in the chapter before us is the eternal 
governmental Throne of the Lord God Almighty ; shown to 
John that he and the suffering Church might be instructed 
and comforted; but both the Throne on which the An- 
cient of Days will sit, and the great white Throne on which 
the Lord Jesus will sit at the final judgment, are judicial, 
not governmental, Thrones ; and are set for a special and 
temporary purpose only. The period to which this chap- 
ter belongs, is that at which the " Revelation was given, 
eighteen hundred years ago : the period to which the 
Session of the Ancient of Days belongs, is the end of 
the Times of the Gentiles when Antichrist and the ten 
kingdoms that follow him are to be destroyed : the period 
of the great white Throne of Rev. xx. is the end of the 
millennium.] 

I saw a Throne.] The Throne should be regarded, first 
as it is in itself, apart from the symbols which surround it : 
secondly, as it is in connection with those symbols. Con- 
sidered by itself, it was the Throne of Him " who liveth for 
ever and ever" the eternal Throne of Jehovah-Elohim- 
Shadai, the Lord God Almighty the covenant God of 
Israel. As such, it was the same as was seen by Isaiah 
and Ezekiel unchanged and unchangeable throughout all 
dispensations. 

But in this chapter, it is not revealed by itself, but in 
connexion with certain circumstances and symbols which 
will not, in the same manner., attach to it when the present 
dispensation terminates. For example, as soon as " the 
sovereignty of the world shall become the sovereignty of 
our God and of His Christ," the Lamb will cease to be 
hidden in the Throne ; He will be known in the majesty 
of His own distinctive kingdom. The cherubim will be 



NOTES ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 75 

no longer seen at rest within the sea of crystal, without 
wheels wheels being the sign of agency in the earth ; on 
the contrary, they will again act in the plenitude of their 
power, as once seen by Ezekiel, below the firmament of 
crystal. The Sinai-character of the Throne, marked by 
the thunderings and lightnings and voices (a character 
which it may well retain whilst Israel and the earth remain 
unreconciled by the blood of sprinkling), will no longer be 
found, when the time comes for the accomplishment of all 
those blessed promises to Israel and to the nations, " which 
God hath spoken of by the mouth of all His holy prophets 
that have been since the world began." 

The fact too, that the book received by Jesus from the 
Throne was both given and opened eighteen hundred years 
ago, chronologically marks these two chapters as pertaining 
to those past, and yet passing, years of the Church's militancy 
and sorrow. No such book ever will or can be given or opened 
again. Indeed, the Church in glory will not need it. We 
shall no longer need then to keep the sayings of the prophecy 
of this Book. 

The vision of the Throne therefore, must be regarded, as 
peculiarly belonging to our present dispensation, and is only 
indirectly prophetic, when the symbols are abstractedly con- 
sidered, as indicating glories by and by to be possessed by 
those who shall reign, with Christ. 

It should be observed, that many of the symbols of these 
two chapters, as indeed of the Revelation throughout, are 
derived from the Temple and its service. The jasper and 
sardine stone; the seven lamps of fire, analogous both in 
number and position to the lamps of the candlestick ; the 
sea of crystal, answering to the brazen sea or laver ; the pre- 
sentation of" the golden vials full of odours, indicating the 
priestly presentation of the prayers of Israel ; and the num- 
ber of the elders, are examples. 

But it is the adaptation of these things to the Court of 
Government and not to the service of the Temple, that is 



76 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the predominant thought in these chapters. It is true, that 
the cleansing of the same Laver is alike required in those 
who stand in the Holy place of the Temple, and those who 
are associated with the Throne of the Almighty King. 
They to whom is communicated a measure of that power 
of superintending wisdom indicated by " the seven lamps 
of fire burning before the Throne," must, according to the 
Divine appointment, be also capable of being represented by 
the lamps of that candlestick which burns in His presence 
in the Holy Place. According to the order of the Melchis- 
edek kingdom, he who sits upon a Throne of government 
as an elder, must also be a Priest. The rule of the 
saints is priestly ; but the Court of government and the 
Temple of priestly service suggest different thoughts, and 
are carefully to be distinguished. In these two chapters, 
the Throne, the thrones of the elders (the name elder being 
derived from those appointed to assist Moses in his govern- 
ment), the cherubim, and the seven spirits sent forth into the 
earth, are evidently intended to direct our thoughts to the 
royal court of government. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Revelation are re- 
markably analogous in their testimony. Whilst Israel is 
without a Priest, Temple, and Sacrifice, the Epistle to the 
Hebrews reveals that there is a Priest, a Temple, and a 
finished Sacrifice above the heavens for all the family of 
faith. The Revelation shows, that although the Throne of 
Judah is overthrown, and Jerusalem desolate or trodden 
down, yet, that the government of the God of Israel is not 
suspended ; but that He is still silently ordering all nations, 
and that, with the view of establishing His King upon His 
holy hill of Zion. Government is the predominant thought 
in the Revelation. 

And round about the Throne were thrones twenty and four 
and on the thrones twenty-four elders seated.] " Thrones" 
and not " seats," should be given as the translation. When 
elders were appointed to assist Moses in the government of 



NOTES ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 77 

Israel, they were in number seventy. We might have ex- 
pected, perhaps, to find the same number here, instead of 
"twenty-four" which is the number of priests. But the 
change is, I think, intentional, and designed to teach us, 
that all government is, by and by, to be cast in the mould of 
priesthood. Formerly, the elder was not a priest; by and 
by, every elder will be a priest. David was not a priest; 
only a king : the Lord Jesus will be a Priest upon His 
Throne. He is Melchisedek. Finally, all government will be 
seen in the priestly form ; and the court of Divine govern- 
ment become virtually identical with the Temple. " The 
Lord is in His holy Temple, let all the earth keep silence 
before Him." 

With respect to the number " twenty-four," it should be 
further observed, that it denotes orders or classes of priests, 
and not individuals. This makes the twenty-four elders a 
more fitting symbol for the whole priestly body. 

Four living creatures] Zwa. I scarcely need observe 
that " living creatures" and not "beasts" is the right transla- 
tion. Qripiov the word rightly translated ff Beast" in the 
thirteenth and other chapters, is a word perfectly different 
from this. In the first of Ezekiel we find the corresponding 
Hebrew word, and it is there rightly rendered by our 
translators " living creatures." That the " cherubim" 
and <f living creatures" are identical, may be seen from a 
comparison of Ezekiel x. 

There are few more unfortunate translations than that of 
" beasts" for Zwa " living creatures." No thoughts can be 
more contrasted than those which are suggested by " beasts," 
and " living creatures" or " cherubim." " Beast" is a word 
of well known evil meaning, both in Daniel and the Reve- 
lation. When the beasts of Daniel were permitted to 
establish themselves in the earth, and to tread down 
Jerusalem, that holy and blessed agency represented by the 
living creatures of Ezekiel and the Revelation was with- 
drawn from the earth; and as soon as those beasts have 



78 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fulfilled their course, the " living creatures" will return. One 
of the great objects of the Revelation is to contrast the con- 
dition of the earth whilst under the last great " Beast," with 
its condition when it shall be again brought under the 
heavenly agency of the Cherubim. 

It is important to observe, not only that the cherubim 
sing the song of redemption, saying together with the 
elders, " Thou hast redeemed US by thy blood &c ;" but 
that they, as well as the elders, act as priests in presenting 
the prayers of others ; so that the Church, even in ita 
executive character of power, is regarded as priestly. 

We may find some difficulty, perhaps, in attaching sym- 
bols so different as those of the elders and of the cherubim, 
to the same body the Church : but it is a difficulty 
necessarily consequent on the blessed truth, that the Church 
is " the fulness of him who filleth all in all." No symbols 
and no language that did not suggest thoughts infinitely 
various, and sometimes apparently contradictory, could 
possibly describe the condition of those who are called into 
fellowship with divine glory. So is it also with the Lord Jesus 
Himself. What symbols not seemingly contradictory could 
describe His attributes and being, as one with Him who 
sitteth on the Throne ; and also those offices which He holds 
as Man, or as the King of Israel ? A symbol which may 
describe Him as on Mount Zion surrounded by angels and 
risen saints ; or as in Jerusalem on the Throne of His father 
David, must not destroy another symbol which may declare 
His glory as God. He is at once the altar, the sacrifice, the 
laver, the mercy-seat the candlestick the Priest. Infinity 
of relations concentrated in one Person, is His characteristic ; 
and to a certain extent, it will characterize the Church too. 
Even here they are the brethren, the servants, the friends, 
the attendants, and the spouse of Christ. We are not to 
negative one relation by another, but to unite all. 

It is interesting to observe the difference between the 
cherubim as mentioned in Genesis and in the Revelation. 



NOTES ON REVELATION IV. AND V. 79 

In Genesis, they are described as entrusted with the exe- 
cutive, power of God, wielding the flaming sword against 
man and shutting him out from Paradise into a ruined earth. 
Such was man's first acquaintance with this executive power 
of God. In the Revelation, we again see the cherubim ; but 
to teach us what ? To teach us, that, through redemption, 
man is to be made the possessor of the very same glorious 
power, which, after his sin, presented to him the first sight 
of terror. 

They sung a new song, fyc.] New because in character 
millennial. The words cannot be used, except anticipatively , 
until the new age begins in the earth ; for if the Church 
were at this present moment to be taken into glory, it could 
not say of Israel, " Thou hast made THEM kings and 
priests; nor could every creature give thanks and sing 
now ; for at present, " all creation groans." 

It is plain that Israel are meant by the saints whose 
prayers are presented by the elders and cherubim, because 
of none other than Israel could it be said, that they are 
distinctively kings and priests reigning on the earth. We 
indeed, are ff kings and priests," but at present we suffer 
instead of reigning on the earth ; and in that day we shall 
be above the heavens, acting as the risen priesthood of 
Israel. 

Some have conjectured that the Church may be raised 
and sing this song above, during the period of Antichrist's 
reign and the divine judgments on Israel and the earth; 
but how then could creation sing when the earth and all 
things in it will be in their furthest distance from God ? 
How could Israel be spoken of as made priests and kings, 
and reigning, at a moment when they will be in the very 
extreme hour of their direst tribulation and judgment ? 

Besides, what was the occasion of this song being sung ? 
It was because the Lamb had taken the book from the 
Throne, and was about to open its seals. This can never 
be done again. The book has been received and the seals 






M 






80 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

opened for eighteen hundred years ; and, as a consequence, 
we have the Revelation as our guide. 

The taking the book was a sign that there was One who 
was worthy to receive from the Throne : the acknowledged 
right of the Lamb to open the book was a sign that there 
was some one worthy to communicate blessing also. Thus, 
in vision, the Lord Jesus ostensibly assumed for a moment 
a mediate place mediate between the creature and the 
Throne ; and hence this anticipative song. When such a 
place is abidingly assumed, Israel and the earth will be 
reconciled, and the song be applicable to circumstances 
actually existent; and we shall no longer be obliged to 
contrast the words we sing in faith with the sad realities 
around. 

The vials (^)iaXai) answer to the " bowls " or " basons " 
of gold which were placed in the holy place, near the golden 
altar. (See 2 Chron. iv. 22.) 

There is a remarkable chapter in Leviticus, which should 
be read in connexion with the present passage. After the 
priestly family had been consecrated during seven days, on 
the eighth day, they entered with Aaron on their priestly 
service in the sanctuary on behalf of Israel ; and as a con- 
sequence, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 
Moses also, and Aaron unitedly blessed the people. See 
Lev. ix. This is a typical scene. Aaron was a type of 
Christ in His Priesthood, and Aaron's sons were typical 
of that priestly family of faith, who, through and with 
Christ, as soon as the eighth day (i. e. the day of re- 
surrection) comes, will enter into " heavenly places not 
made with hands," there to pray and to minister on behalf 
of others, around and with their risen Lord. Thus the 
prayers of redeemed and forgiven Israel will be presented 
through Christ; and as a consequence, Israel's blessings 
will come. The passage before us may therefore be con- 
sidered as an antitypical accomplishment of the scene in 
Leviticus. 



ON REVELATION VI. 81 

CHAPTER VII. 

VI. 



WE now enter on that part of the Revelation which may be 
strictly called prophetic. The sealed roll is here opened. 
But before we consider the specific statements of this chapter, 
it may be desirable to state some of the principles that are to 
guide us in our general interpretation. 

The Revelation, from the sixth chapter onward, is, as I 
have already said, to be distributed into two great divisions. 
The first of these, extending from the sixth to the eighteenth 
chapter inclusively, treats of the period during which the 
Lord Jesus is seated, not on His own, but on His Father's 
Throne ; whereas, the second division, extending from the 
nineteenth chapter onwards, treats of events that occur after 
Christ is sent forth in the exercise of His own millennial 
power, as " King of Kings and Lord of Lords." The first of 
these periods precedes the hour, when (as revealed in Daniel 
vii.) the Son of Man shall be brought before the Ancient of 
Days and definitely invested with the sovereignty of earth : 
the second is subsequent to that investiture, and is the period 
when he applies the power with which He has been so in- 
vested. The former of these divisions is that which we have 
first to consider. It treats of the time during which the 
Throne of Jehovah acts for Christ, while Christ waits, be- 
cause rejected by Israel and the earth, "until His enemies be 
set as a footstool for His feet."* 

* At Armageddon they are gathered in order that they may be set 
(see Rev. xvi) ; at the end of the nineteenth chapter we see them set as 
a footstool and His foot planted on them in wrath; even as Joshua 
planted his foot on the necks of the conquered kings of Canaan. 

G 



8 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

The subject of this part of the Revelation is threefold. It 
describes, with much precision, the forms under which human 
evil will for the last time raise itself up against God : first, in 
the Harlot whilst Antichrist is her servant (Chap, xvii); then, 
in Antichrist and the false Prophet who ministers in his pre- 
sence, after Antichrist and the ten kings with him shall have 
destroyed the Harlot.* (Chap, xiii.) Secondly, it describes 
the manner in which God (as when of old He sent plagues 
on Pharoah and Egypt) will again direct His judgments 
against these confederacies of evil, in preparation for the 
final mission of His Son. Thirdly, it reveals various aspects 
of the glory, which, as soon as the hour of Satan's triumph is 
over, will attach both in earth and in Heaven, to those who 
share, in resurrection, the power of the Lord Jesus. Such, 
to speak generally, are the subjects of the Revelation, from 
the sixth to the eighteenth chapter inclusive. 

As regards the order of arrangement, two things should 
principally be noticed. This part of the Revelation consists 
of several separate visions, each complete in itself; none 
commencing previously to the time when God begins to visit 
the nations in anger, but each terminating as soon as it arrives 
at the period appointed for the manifestation of the Lord 
Jesus in glory. Many times in this part of the Revelation, 
are we led on to the moment when Christ's glory is to be 
made manifest ; but as soon as that point is reached, the 
vision closes. His mission in glory, although referred to, is 
not described ; nor the events which follow thereon declared : 
the narration ceases, and a new vision begins ; in which new 
vision, we find the same period retraced and presented in 
fresh aspects. In this respect, the Revelation, in its struc- 
ture, closely resembles the prophecy of Daniel; that also 
consisting of many separate visions, each complete in itself. 

* " And the ten horns which them sawest AND THE BEAST these 
shall hate the Harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall 
eat her flesh and burn her with fire." Such is the right reading. See 
Tregelles. 



ON REVELATION VI. 88 

The early visions are wide and comprehensive ; the later 
more specific ; all belonging (to speak generally) to the same 
period, but presenting different features of that period : the 
wide and general statements of the earlier visions, leading to 
enquiries which the more specific descriptions of those that 
follow, answer. It is thus that these two books of prophecy 
may be made in great measure exponents of themselves. 

Nothing can be more important in interpreting the Scrip- 
tures than carefully to observe this habit of recurrence. It 
is found throughout the whole of the Sacred Writings. In- 
deed in all narration, whenever the subject treated of has 
various branches, it is necessary, after we have brought one 
part of our narrative to its conclusion, to return again and 
pursue the subject through another of its divisions; for, in 
no other way, can all the various features of a complex sub- 
ject be fully and distinctly given. The same period there- 
fore may thus be many times retraced ; and the successive 
divisions of our narrative become, as to time, concurrent, 
and not chronologically subsequent to each other. The very 
earliest part of Scripture affords an example of this. The 
first chapter of Genesis brings us to the seventh day of rest, 
when all creation had been finished and God rested from 
all His work which He had created and made. The creation 
of man, both male and female, had been on the sixth day. 
This is mentioned in the first chapter ; yet nothing there is 
said respecting the peculiar manner in which Eve was 
created. The description of her creation is not found until 
the second chapter, which consequently returns, and retraces 
the same period that had previously been considered. No 
one would think of reading the second chapter of Genesis 
throughout, as chronologically subsequent to the first ; for, 
in that case, it would be necessary to say that Eve was 
created after creation had been finished. Yet mistakes no 
less strange have been made in reading prophetic Scripture, 
from neglect of this obvious principle. Again, the first 
chapter of Isaiah leads us through the whole scene of Israel's 

G 2 



84 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

evil, on to the hour of God's millennial interference, when 
He " will turn His hand upon them and purely purge away 
their dross and take away all their tin ; when He will restore 
their judges as at the first, and their counsellors as at the 
beginning." Thus, the end is reached even in the first 
chapter ; consequently, the subsequent chapters do but 
retrace, and variously illustrate different parts of the same 
period. The Book of Zechariah, in like manner, consists of 
many separate visions not chronologically successive. So 
likewise the Book of Daniel. The first vision, which is that 
of the Image, leads us on to the time when the Image is 
smitten, ground to powder, and the stone which smites it 
becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth. No 
subsequent vision in Daniel describes anything beyond this 
limit. They all retrace, and develope other features belong- 
ing to the same period. The Revelation is written on the 
same principle. The chapter before us, which is the first in 
the series of prophetic visions, brings us to that final hour, 
when men shall call " upon the rocks to hide them and on 
the mountains to cover them," because the great day of the 
Lamb's wrath will have come. The subsequent visions, on 
to the nineteenth chapter, do but retrace ; until, in the end 
of that chapter, we find the manifestation of the Lord in 
glory and the actual inflictions of His wrath described. Yet 
the Revelation has been constantly expounded, as if each 
vision followed, in order of time, that which had preceded ; 
and hence hopeless perplexity has been the result.* 

* That the Eevelation, in neither of its two divisions, is a consecutive 
history of events in the order of fulfilment, may be proved again and 
again, by a reference to the Book itself. The seventeenth chapter, for 
example, which describes the condition of Antichrist and his power be- 
fore the Ten Kingdoms agree to destroy the Harlot, and to give their 
authority to him, is, in point of time, earlier than the thirteenth chapter, 
which describes the condition of Antichrist after he has received that 
power. 

Again, the wickedness described in chapters xii., xiii., and xiv. can- 
not be subsequent to the period referred to in the sixth chapter, when 



ON REVELATION VI. 85 

Another rule carefully to be remembered is, that in every 
vision,, the consummation, which is one of blessing, is re- 
corded first, prior to the events of evil and of judgment by 
which it is preceded and introduced. This arrangement 
could not have been adopted, if the Revelation were a his- 
tory of events in the order of fulfilment ; but it is an order 
which the considerateness of love would suggest to any one 
who desired to relieve the anxiety of another to whom he 
was about to tell a tale of sorrow. He would speak of the 
end first, silencing the awakened apprehension by the assu- 
rance that however great the preceding sorrow, the conclu- 
sion would be one of certain joy. He would do this, even if his 
tale respected things that were past; but how much more 
if he were prophetically narrating things to come. This, 

Heaven and earth are shaken, and all the mighty men and the chief cap- 
tains, and every bondman and every freeman call upon the rocks to hide 
them, because the great day of the Lamb's wrath has come. Babylon 
and Antichrist do not flourish after this ; on the contrary, their abomina- 
tions are the cause of that day of wrath. These are instances taken 
from the first division of the prophetic part of the Revelation. An ex- 
ample no less plain occurs in the second division also. The first eight 
verses of the twenty-first chapter describe the condition of the new hea- 
vens and the new earth, after the millennium, when the Heavenly City, 
New Jerusalem, descends into the new earth, where there is no longer 
any pain or sickness or death all former things having passed away. 
But when the first eight verses of the twenty-first chapter have thus de- 
scribed the ^osMnillennial dispensation, the subsequent verses of the 
same chapter, and the connected verses of the twenty-second, return to 
the millennium, and describe the relation of the Heavenly City to the 
earth during the millennial age ; for when the leaves of the Tree of life 
are spoken of as being " for the healing of the nations," the millennial 
nations must be referred to, seeing that in the new earth there will be no 
nations that need, either physically or spiritually, any cure. These in- 
stances are sufficient to show that the Revelation, like other books of 
prophecy, is written, not in the order of fulfilment, but of narration. If, 
then, these examples prove that the Revelation is not a consecutive his- 
tory, it follows that any system of interpretation that treats it as a 
consecutive history (whether of events future or past) must be essentially 
erroneous. 



86 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

consequently, is the order which. God has chosen in the 
visions of the Revelation an order worthy of His goodness, 
and in strict consistency with the character He bears towards 
His children. Thus also fitting prominence is given to the 
great final object of faith ; for to faith the end, however 
remote, is intended always to be the proximate object of 
apprehension. 

The practice of noticing the closing event of blessing 
Jirst, is common throughout the whole of Scripture. In the 
second chapter of Isaiah, for example, the glory of Zion in 
the latter day, when all nations shall flow unto it, and learn 
of God, and walk with Israel in the light of the Lord, is 
mentioned first; and then follows the description of that 
awful hour of visitation which is to precede and introduce 
the day of glory. In the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus 
a chapter which recites the feasts of Israel, we find the 
Sabbath, the type of that final rest which remains for the 
people of God, mentioned first, before the Passover and the 
other feasts are spoken of; although the full sabbatic rest is 
evidently the ultimate point of blessing, to which the 
Passover, and other such provisions of grace, lead. In the 
Revelation, if the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters be ex- 
amined, it will be found, that they form one connected 
vision. But the former of these chapters reveals a scene of 
triumph which cannot be reached, until all the dark circum- 
stances of the succeeding chapter have first been fulfilled. 

The fifteenth chapter (drawing its symbols from the cir- 
cumstances of Israel's triumph on the safe and happy side of 
the Red Sea, where they sang with Moses their song of 
victory) describes the final condition of God's delivered 
people when the hour of Antichrist shall have passed : 
whereas the chapter that follows describes the hour of his 
blasphemies, and the plagues sent by God on him and on his 
kingdom. The fifteenth chapter speaks to us of God's holy 
habitation and the triumph of His people there ; the six- 
teenth recites the tale of the house of bondage. Another 



ON REVELATION VI. 87 

example may be found in the relation which the fourth and 
fifth chapters bear to the rest of the Book that follows. Those 
chapters preface and introduce the Revelation. Yet the 
glories symbolized in them and the anticipative millennial 
song of the fifth chapter will not be realized, until all the 
woes of which the succeeding chapters treat, shall have 
passed for ever. 

And now let us apply these principles to the chapter 
before us. Its chief subject is the infliction of Divine chas- 
tisements* on the earth, until they are consummated by the 
Day of the wrath of the Lamb. But neither the manifesta- 
tion of the Lord in glory nor the judgments which suc- 
ceed that manifestation are here described. The description 
of the manifestation of the Lord, and of the judgments that 
follow that manifestation, is reserved for another portion 
of this book. The consternation indeed produced by the 
sense of the arrival of the day of the Lamb's wrath is 
described ; Heaven and earth are, in the vision, shaken, and 
men's hearts fail them for fear and looking after the things 
that are coming on the earth; but the subject is not pursued 
to its conclusion. Suddenly the vision closes, and a new 
vision begins. Such is the character of this first prophetic 
chapter of the Revelation. Like initiatory visions in other 
books, this chapter is brief and general, and suggests many 
enquiries which find their answer in a subsequent chapter : 
but, if it were the only portion of the Revelation that had 
been given, it would teach us, with sufficient distinctness, 
what the conclusion of this present age is to be. We 
should never have deluded ourselves and others by the 

* It will be remembered that I distinguish ''chastisements" from" judg- 
ments." This, as to words, may be said to be an arbitrary distinction ; 
but it is a distinction very important as to the things denoted. The 
plagues on Egypt, seeing that they allowed of repentance, were very 
different from the totally destroying judgment which fell upon Pharoah 
in the Red Sea ; for tJuit admitted of no repentance and was inflicted by 
the hand of the Lord himself, present in visible glory. 



88 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

expectation of days of increasing light and blessing, if we 
had remembered that the scenes of judgment described in 
this chapter, followed by the Day of the Lamb's wrath, are 
to precede the final victory of righteousness and Truth, 

That final triumph, although last to be accomplished, is 
nevertheless the first subject of announcement in this chapter. 
I say of announcement, because the Lord Jesus opened the 
seals, not that He might accomplish the events indicated 
under them, but that He might, as directed of God, pro- 
phetically instruct us concerning them : else, the seals could 
not have been opened, as they then were before the eyes 
of John, and the events remain (even as they still do) un- 
accomplished. The great end, therefore, is first announced, 
before those events are spoken of, which, by God's appoint- 
ment, are necessary to the attainment of that end that end 
being the mission of the Lord Jesus in majesty and glory, 
that He may go forth " conquering and to conquer." " I 
saw and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him had 
a bow, and a crown was given unto him, and he went forth 
conquering and to conquer." " Conquering and to con- 
quer " are words capable of being applied to One only ; for 
they imply eternal, never ending victory. Men of the earth 
wicked men, and especially the last great Antichrist, may 
be allowed to triumph gloriously for a season ; but it cannot 
be said of them, that they go forth conquering and to con" 
quer. Such words belong only to One. They describe the 
Lord Jesus in the exercise of His millennial power, includ- 
ing its earliest display in those judgments wherewith Chris- 
tendom, and Jerusalem, and the ten apostate kingdoms of 
the Roman world, will be severally visited ; but referring 
mainly to that continued extension of His sovereign rule 
which shall end finally in the subjugation of all enemies. 
" He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river 
unto the ends of the earth. They that dwelt in the wilder- 
ness, shall bow before Him, and His enemies shall lick the 
dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring 



ON REVELATION VI. 89 

presents, the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts : yea, 
all kings shall fall down before Him ; all nations shall serve 
Him." (Ps. Ixxii.) 

The forty-fifth Psalm is perhaps the best commentary on 
that which the opening of the first seal discloses. That 
Psalm is clearly millennial. It is to be read as the medi- 
tation of some father or elder in Israel, who sees before him 
the King in His beauty. " Thine eyes shall see the King 
in His beauty." When Israel last beheld Him, though He 
was even then ee the Son of God and the King of Israel," 
He was without form or comeliness in their eyes ; they saw 
no beauty in Him that they should admire Him; they 
thought that He was " stricken, smitten of God and afflicted." 
The tongue of Israel, therefore, was dumb ; their mouth 
was closed at Him, or, if opened, opened only in reviling. 
But in this Psalm, the tongue of the Elder and instructer of 
Israel has become like the tongue of a ready writer ; and he 
speaks his meditations touching the King. We hear no 
longer of the <f visage marred more than any man, and His 
form more than the sons of men ;" but of His being fairer 
than the children of men of grace being poured into His 
lips of His being blessed of God for ever. " Gird thy 
sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and 
thy majesty ; and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because 
of truth and meekness and righteousness and thy right hand 
shall teach thee terrible things." Such is the address to 
Israel's King, when, like the symbolic rider on the white 
horse, He shall go forth " conquering and to conquer." But 
these are not words whereby we can address Him now. It 
is now the time of " the foolishness of preaching," (f the weak- 
ness of God," a time when truth and righteousness are 
allowed to suffer, and God interferes not for their vindication; 
but pursues, in patient grace, the ministry of reconciliation, 
" preaching peace by Jesus Christ." The sword of righteous 
vengeance is not yet girded on; neither does He as yet 
" ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and 



90 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

righteousness." The goodly things of nature " the myrrh, 
the cassia and the ivory," are not yet consecrated unto the 
Lord ; neither is He as yet surrounded by the risen Church 
of the first-born as His " fellows/' the partakers of His glory. 
The daughter of Jerusalem does not as yet stand as fe the 
Queen at His right hand arrayed in gold of Ophir," i.e., in 
the full excellency of a heavenly calling manifested and 
maintained on the earth ; neither as yet are the daughter of 
Tyre and " the daughters of the famous nations " ready to 
follow in the train of the daughter of Zion, as they shall by 
and by follow her, when the hour comes for her to be led 
with rejoicing into the palace of the Great King. 

All these things are future. They are the results of the 
rider on the white horse going forth " conquering and to 
conquer." Very different is the condition which the Reve- 
lation discloses as now about to be among the nations. 
Jerusalem is soon about to become the seat of such aban- 
doned wickedness as " spiritually to be called Sodom and 
Egypt." The moral character of the Gentile nations, at the 
same period, may be learned from the character of the sym- 
bol employed to indicate the system which will then sway 
them and direct all their energies. That system is sym- 
bolized by a woman <{ arrayed in purple, and scarlet colour, 
and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having 
a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness 
of her fornication." (Rev. xvii. 4.) The nations thus cha- 
racterized and Jerusalem will together fall into the toils of 
Antichrist, and (rejecting God) will worship him ; until at 
last, when the whole world teems with the prosperity of 
evil, and Satan seems to have effectually triumphed, God 
will interfere, as against Pharoah of old, to vindicate His 
own outraged holiness. Hence the mission of the red, the 
black, and the pale horses.* War as an immediate infliction 

* A horse is a symbol frequently used in Scripture (see Zechariah) as 
the emblem of divine power employed or to be employed in the earth. 
Power intended for Heaven, would not be represented by this symbol. 



ON KEVELATION VI. 91 

from God, famine, and then, multiplied destruction by 
sword, by hunger, by death, and by the beasts of the earth, 
are successively predicted forming a series of divine visi- 
tations reaching on to the period, when He shall come, who, 
by one final blow, shall terminate the empire of evil and 
establish the everlasting reign of righteousness. 

Yet in the midst of all this abounding iniquity and the 
inflictions consequent thereon, there will be found some 
faithfulness to God and to His Truth. There will be some 
who will lay down their lives, "because of the Word of God 
and because of the testimony which they held." Their souls 
were, in the vision, seen under the altar. That altar the 
golden altar of incense, symbolizes the place of the priestly 
intercession of Christ. It represents the place where the 
risen priesthood the Church of the first-born glorified, will 
by and by be gathered, clothed in their garments of glory and 
beauty, returning thanksgiving for men below, and seeking 
new blessings for them from the covenant God of Israel. 
But here they are seen, not standing in glorified bodies 
around the altar, but their souls under it, as in the place of 
the ashes, crying for vengeance ' ' How long, O Master, holy 
and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on 
those who dwell on the earth :" so entirely, during the mys- 
terious period of Israel's blindness is the holy place turned 
into a place of judgment to them and not of blessing. The 

It is manifest that these horses of woe indicate Divine power directed 
against human things, for none else but God could " take peace from the 
earth," or " destroy with famine, pestilence and the beasts of the earth." 
As regards the extent of this destructive agency, it is universal through- 
out the whole sphere contemplated, which cannot be more narrow than 
the Roman world. Moreover, there is evidently no restoration or revival 
from the blows given. They follow one on the other, and continue in 
operation until the great consummation in the day of the Lamb's wrath. 
The very fact that the kingdoms of the Roman world are not at the pre- 
sent moment under such inflictions, is a proof that the whole chapter is 
future; for, I repeat, when once these inflictions commence they will 
never terminate until the great final end. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

cry was not unheeded, although, the answer to the petition 
was for a while delayed. A white robe, the sign of their be- 
ing numbered among "the overcomers " (see Rev. iii. 5) was 
given unto them ; and they were told that " they should rest 
yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and 
their brethren that should be killed as they were should be 
completed " another evidence that some faithfulness to God 
and to his testimonies was yet remaining in the earth. 

The sixth seal is next opened, and the concluding scene of 
this first vision is given. We behold the signs which imme- 
diately precede the manifestation of the Lord in glory. The 
Lord Jesus had before said, " There shall be signs in the sun, 
and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress 
of nations with perplexity, the sea and waves roaring ; men's 
hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things 
which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven 
shall be shaken." Such are the signs which are seen in the 
vision here. Men recognise them and tremble. They say 
to the mountains and rocks, " Fall on us and hide us from 
the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne and from the 
wrath of the Lamb ; for the great day of His wrath is come 
and who shall be able to stand?" Thus far this vision leads 
us : but no more is revealed. It is not the intention of this 
part of the Revelation to describe the manifestation of the 
Lord in glory, or to speak of the events which follow that 
manifestation. Accordingly the vision closes, and in the 
next chapter a new vision begins. 

In reading therefore this chapter, we must endeavour to 
realize the condition of the Roman nations at the time of the 
end, when the habits and civilization of Western Europe 
will be planted in Jerusalem and the connected Asiatic 
regions. That those regions will form the great theatre on 
which the closing events of this dispensation are displayed, 
the whole of Scripture declares ; and existing circumstances 
have at last awakened in the world at large the expectation 
of these countries becoming again the centres of commerce, 



ON REVELATION VI. 93 

civilization, and refinement. Egypt is arising before their 
eyes. The cities of Asia Minor and various parts of the 
Turkish Empire are becoming seats of commercial energy and 
wealth. Palestine awaits the return of Israel. Missionaries 
of the religious principles of Europe and political emissaries 
are spread over the districts of Nineveh and Babylon ; 
and plans are being formed for re-opening the navigation 
of the Tigris and the Euphrates. The concentration of 
European resources and wealth in India on the one side, 
and the vigorous energy of Western Europe on the other, 
have already caused Syria and the Euphratean districts to be 
placed, as it were, between two mighty levers, which must, 
if permitted to continue their action, infallibly raise these 
central regions into a prosperity as great (indeed, as we learn 
from Scripture, greater) than that of the countries employed 
to elevate them. The rise of spurious and adulterated 
Christianity and of worldly civilization in those Eastern 
regions, will doubtless dispel the cloud of barbarism that has 
so long covered them with desolation, and will spread a fair 
and delusive brightness over the renovated scene. Men, 
and even Christians, are already snared by the expectation, 
and are anticipating the happy consequences of the spread 
of European light and knowledge in the favoured countries 
of the East. The establishment of modern European prin- 
ciples in those countries will unquestionably be an era in 
the history of the world an era no less important than the 
sudden profession of Christianity by Constantine and the 
Roman world, although perhaps more silently and gradu- 
ally effected. But what darkness and error has flowed from 
regarding that change under Constantine as the real work of 
the Spirit of God ! Just so, I believe, will even deeper 
darkness settle in upon those, who shall be content to 
welcome the coming prospects of the East, as being the 
work of God in blessing. Those Eastern nations and their 
cities are declared in the Word of God to be under His 
most special curse. They cannot be raised except in open 



94 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

contravention of His declared resolve. The attempt to 
raise them may for a moment succeed : but it will be the 
commencement of a manifested collision between man and 
God ; and which is the stronger of the two ? 

The attempt to elevate these nations will infallibly bring 
the ways of man into direct collision with the counsels of 
God ; but it is an attempt that will be persevered in ; for 
those countries are the field in which,, according to the 
express declarations of Scripture, the harvest of human evil 
will be allowed to ripen. The long continued progress of 
human greatness (which, though occasionally checked, has 
nevertheless steadily advanced from the Flood on to the pre- 
sent hour) is to attain in those regions of the East, the final 
point of its development. Itwas around the Tower of Babel 
in the land of Shinar, that those principles commenced which, 
after a growth of four thousand years, will be developed in 
their maturity in the land of Shinar again. (See Zech. v.) 
What delusion, then, can be more deep than that which 
assigns to the Spirit of Christ those agencies, which now, 
under the name of civilization, are bringing in the consum- 
mation of the mystery of iniquity in the completed apostasy 
of the latter day ? 

Whether the visitations of Divine wrath, which the horses 
in the sixth chapter of the Revelation symbolize, extend 
beyond the ten kingdoms of the Roman world, I do not 
undertake to say. Perhaps they may reach those countries, 
which, attracted by the blaze of these nations' greatness, 
may covet their honours or their gain. Speaking generally, 
however, I consider the sphere of the Revelation to be the 
Roman world, with Jerusalem and Babylon for its centres. 
The same principles of evil, indeed, may work and are 
working elsewhere ; but it is in the Roman earth only that 
their full maturity will be seen. The mercy of God has set 
bounds to the last great development of human evil. Of 
this, also, He has said, " Hitherto shalt thou go and no 
further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." 



ON REVELATION VI. 95 

It is not the object either of the Revelation or of any other 
part of Scripture, to write the history of the world ; nor even 
to trace, step by step, the gradual development of evil in 
those countries which are assigned as the special sphere for 
the manifestation of the great apostasy. It gives us the 
history neither of Popery nor Mahomedanism nor of any 
other similar systems, however wide or numerous the chan- 
nels they may have opened to help forward the streams of 
iniquity into their final gathering place ; but it confines 
itself to a description of the end. It places us between 
two contrasted periods, commencing with the time when the 
Gentile Churches were yet worthy of being represented by 
candlesticks of gold ; and then passing on to the close of the 
dispensation, it describes the moral and the outward cha- 
racteristics of Babylon and of Antichrist, and so teaches us 
to judge of the character of the end. In describing the 
former period it shows what we have lost ; in speaking of 
the latter, it shows us the tendency of the principles that are 
now working around us, and warns us as to the dangers we 
have to shun. This manner of instruction is brief and 
simple ; and when undertaken by God is perfect and sure. 
The danger of floating down the tributary streams will soon 
be understood, when once we have apprehended the cha- 
racter of the vortex at the close. 

It is to these things that God in His mercy is now 
awakening the attention of many. The scattered and for- 
saken principles of truth, which once formed the strength of 
the Church's separation in its unearthly calling, are being 
recognised ; and some of them are being recovered. And 
thus while the dispensation, as a whole, is advancing with 
increased rapidity in its downward course, a place is found 
by some of security and peace and of waiting for the Lord 
from heaven. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

011 |ltfeelathii VI. 



THE following may be given as a division of the Revelation 
from the sixth to the eighteenth chapters inclusive. 

The sixth chapter is a vision complete in itself. Its 
preface of blessing is in the second verse. 

The seventh, eighth, and ninth chapters form one series, 
and should be read together. The tenth contains the pre- 
face of blessing, the three chapters which follow it referring, 
in separate narratives, to the same evil period, viz., the 1260 
days, during which the two Witnesses of God bear their 
sackcloth testimony in Jerusalem (see chap, xi.), and during 
which the woman clothed with the sun sojourns in the wil- 
derness (see chap, xii.), and during which Antichrist reigns 
supremely (see chap. xiii). 

The fourteenth chapter should be read by itself. Its 
preface of blessing is found in the five commencing verses. 

The fifteenth and sixteenth chapters form one vision. The 
preface of blessing is in the fifteenth chapter. 

The seventeenth chapter must be read by itself. It 
describes Babylon morally, and shows that Antichrist first 
sustains, but afterwards destroys, the peculiar governmental 
system which will give to Babylon its distinctiveness 
morally. The first verse contains the announcement of 
destruction, previous to the description of that which is to 
be destroyed. 

The eighteenth chapter describes Babylon physically, as 
regards its outward wealth and greatness. As in the former 
chapter, the announcement of the destruction is given before 
the description of that which is destroyed. 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 97 



" And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, 
and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with 
a voice of thunder, Come. And behold a white horse" Sfc. 

Nothing can be more important in interpreting the Reve- 
lation, than to remember that the seals have been opened, 
and are never to be opened again ; the result of their having 
been opened, being, not the fulfilment of the event predicted, 
but the communication of prophetic instruction concerning it. 

The sealed Roll which the Lord Jesus took from the 
Throne God's gift to Him, was opened and read by Him- 
self alone. No one else opened its seals or looked into it ; 
and no one ever will. That Roll pertains to Jesus alone. It 
appointed the subjects respecting which He was to instruct 
His servants ; and by the directions therein contained, He 
guided Himself as to the instruction communicated. He 
chose, however, His own means of making the communi- 
cation ; using chiefly the instrumentality of an angel, by 
whom, visions, in accordance with the directions of the sealed 
book, were shown to John. This shows us the relation of the 
sealed book to the Revelation as a whole; for thus the whole, 
not part merely, of the Revelation, will be included under 
one or other of the seals. Under the seventh seal, the com- 
mission to reveal embraced an infinitude of subjects all in 
fact that is contained from the eighth chapter to the end of 
the Revelation. 

One of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of 
thunder " Come"~\ The word " Come" was addressed, not 
to John, but to the horse and its rider, who instantly came 
forth that John might see and be instructed. " Come," 
and not " Come and see," is the right reading through 
out this chapter. 

As the symbolic " living creature" is here seen engaged 

H 



98 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

in communicating instruction to John ; so, during the mil- 
lennial reign of Christ, when the risen saints shall occupy 
that place in glory which is here symbolically held by the 
"living creatures," they (the saints) will no doubt be em- 
ployed in teaching others who will still be in the flesh, as 
John then was, the things appointed for them to know 
respecting the ways of God in government. There is a 
propriety, therefore, in one of the living creatures being so 
employed in this vision ; for in virtue of the saints holding, 
by and by, that place in glory which the living creatures in 
this vision hold, they will be empowered to instruct respecting 
such things. The "voice of thunder," just as " the trumpet" 
in the preceding chapter, maintains the sense of distance 
between John as a creature and the glory of God. 

Behold a white horse, $*<?.] This symbol has been com- 
monly understood to signify the triumphant progress of the 
Gospel, as now preached. The error of such interpretation 
must be manifest to any careful reader of the Scriptures, for 

I. The Gospel, as now preached, is not and will not be 
triumphant: it is rejected. It is preached " for a witness." 

II. This verse refers not merely to the progress, but to 
the primary sending forth of that which it describes ; and 
since the Gospel was sent forth many years before this vision 
(for the apostolic preaching of the Gospel, which of all 
preaching had been the most triumphant, had not only 
commenced but had ended), that " sending forth" cannot be 
referred to here ; for the symbol is professedly prophetic, 
informing John of something that was to come to pass 
hereafter. 

III. The symbol of "a rider on a white horse," &c., would 
not be used to designate a ministration like that " of the 
foolishness of preaching," a ministration too that is despised 
and set at nought. "A sower going forth to sow," is a more 
appropriate emblem ; and is accordingly used in the chapter 
which describes the history of Christianity in this present 
dispensation. (See Matt, xiii.) 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 99 

IV. The Revelation must be interpreted in consistency 
with itself. As a whole, it is not intended to describe the 
patient ministration of God in grace ; but, on the contrary, 
the enforcement of His will by power. It describes the 
enforcement of the title of Christ, " as the Lion of the Tribe 
of Judah." 

And here I must again repeat, that the E-evelation is not 
a history of the world. It does not profess to record the 
events that have occurred either in the earth at large, or in 
the Roman world, during the last 1800 years. We need 
not therefore ransack secular history, in order to find fulfil- 
ments for the predictions either of Daniel or the Revelation. 
No such continuity of historic instruction is attempted in 
either of these prophecies. That of Daniel is divided, as 
to time, into two great divisions the first extending from 
Nebuchadnezzar to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, 
a period of about 600 years : the second commences at a 
period yet future, when Jerusalem, in unbelief, will again 
assume a national existence, and have a history of woe and 
iudgment until its final forgiveness at the Advent of the 
Lord in glory. The interval between these two divisions 
is, as regards detailed history, silently passed over in all the 
visions of Daniel. 

Nor does the Revelation supply the history of the pro- 
phetic nations during these 1800 years. It describes their 
condition at the close of the dispensation, when Jerusalem 
shall have again assumed a national position ; but it does 
not describe the steps whereby that position is attained. If 
it had done this, not only must it have been enlarged into 
a history of the world, but it must have done the very thing 
which it purposely avoids, viz., have detailed the progress 
of plans of men, instead of confining itself to the declaration 
of what God does against those plans when consummated. 
Nothing can be more distinct than the history of a process 
of construction, and a description of Divine judgments 
poured out upon that which has been constructed. The 

H 2 



100 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

nominal conversion of the Roman Empire under Constan- 
tine, and the invasion of the Roman world by the Gothic 
nations and others, have been supposed by many to be the 
subjects of the sixth and following chapters of the Revela- 
tion. But these two events (both permitted by the Pro- 
vidence of God) have been made, under the hand of Satan, 
the means of advancing, not destroying, that system of human 
greatness which he is constructing for the latter day. New 
vigour has been infused by these events into the Roman 
earth. They are steps in the onward progress of evil ; not 
destructive agencies from the hand of God finally and for 
ever prostrating its power. The subject of the Revelation 
is these final agencies of God in judgment. 

It has been supposed by some, who have not fallen into 
the error of regarding the Revelation as being a history of 
the Roman nations, but who have rightly judged that the 
sending forth of the rider on the white horse indicates the 
future going forth of the Lord Jesus as the Joshua of His 
people, it has been strangely supposed that all that follows 
in the Revelation, both in this chapter and in the rest of the 
Book, is subsequent to this going forth of the Lord in majesty 
and glory. 

Such have not observed that the Revelation is written in 
the order of narration, not of fulfilment. How could it be 
possible that the cry of the saints under the altar saying 
" Lord, how long dost thou not judge, &c." should be 
uttered after the Lord has begun to judge and to help all 
the meek upon earth ? No saint will be slain for the testi- 
monies of Truth after the Lord Jesus has gone forth 
te conquering and to conquer ;" and all who have been so 
slain, previously, will be raised to meet Him and to be with 
Him, when He goes forth in glory. How then could such 
cry, saying, Lord, how long ? Moreover will the wickedness 
of the Harlot, and of Antichrist, and of Jerusalem flourish 
after the Lord has been sent forth conquering and to con- 
quer ? Will the Ten kingdoms of the Roman world unite 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 101 

to give their power and glory for three years and a half to 
Antichrist, after that event ? Will the witnesses prophesy 
in sackcloth after it ? When the Lord Jesus thus goes forth 
in the majesty of His glory, neither the saints nor the Jews 
will be allowed any longer to be afflicted or trampled down. 
The saints will be taken to Him ; the Jews (i. e. those who 
are spared among them) will be converted and forgiven. 
Moreover, the Lord Jesus will not come forth in the exercise 
of His own power, until after He has been formerly invested 
therewith. But He will not be so invested until the Ancient 
of Days sits, as in Dan. vii.; and the Ancient of Days does 
not so sit, until the whole course of the Gentile Empires has 
been run ; for it is their final blasphemy that causes His 
session. " I beheld then because of the great words which 
the Horn spake, &c." 

A chcenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenixes of 
barley for a denarius s fyc.~\ This indicates severe famine. 
It is said by ancient authors, that ee four chcenixes of barley 
meal were sold at Athens for one obolus " 'Aftnrgai S*<rt 
'Y^oii'iACEc TGGap Q Twv a\(j)iT(jt)v ooAou djvioi and since there 
are six oboli in one denarius, it follows that a denarius ought 
to have procured twenty-four chcenixes, whereas it would only 
purchase three. This, being more than twenty times the 
ordinary price, indicates of course extreme scarcity ; yet not 
such as to put it beyond the reach of the more wealthy ; for 
whose sake apparently " the oil and the wine " were spared 
when " the staff of life " generally was broken. There can 
be few conditions of human life more terrible, than when 
refinements and luxuries are found in the possession of the 
few, whilst famine is preying upon the mass around them. 
Human selfishness is not accustomed to resign its " wine and 
its oil" in order to minister bread to the perishing. 

And Hades followed with him.] Since the souls of 
departed saints do not now go to Hades, but are with 
Christ, it follows that all who are now sent to Hades die in 
their sins. The mention, therefore, of Hades in this place, 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

appears intended to teach, us, that those on whom these 
desolating judgments come, are swept off, unrepentant, and 
unconverted, and that no saints are destroyed by them, 
though they may sink under the persecuting power of man, 
which is mentioned in the next verse. 

And I saw under the altar the souls, fyc.] It has been 
supposed by some, that the gift of " a white robe " (for such 
is the right reading) to these martyrs, indicated their resur- 
rection. If resurrection had been signified, the saints spoken 
of would have been seen arrayed in white garments, as in 
Rev. vii., whereas the symbol is the gift of one white robe 
to the whole company, and they are commanded to wait, i. e. 
to remain, as disembodied souls, under the altar. The con- 
trary to resurrection is here implied. How very different 
is the language employed in Rev. xx., where resurrection is 
indicated. After the disembodied souls were seen, it is 
added, " They LIVED and reigned, &c., but the rest of the 
dead LIVED not (ou/c afoo-ai/), &c. This is the first resur- 
rection." The omission of any such language in this place, 
would be sufficient of itself to show that resurrection is not 
intended here. 

Moreover, if resurrection were here supposed, it would be 
needful to say, that they who share in the first resurrection 
rise at various periods ; but such a statement would be 
directly opposed to the instruction respecting "the order" 
of resurrection given in 1 Cor. xv. We are not at liberty 
to speculate concerning many different periods of resurrec- 
tion, because the crder of resurrection has been definitely 
revealed in the Scripture. The passage in 1 Cor. xv. is as 
follows : "So in Christ shall all be made alive" (i.e. in re- 
surrection). But every one in his own ORDER : Christ, 
the first-fruits ; afterward (fVara) they that are Christ's at 
His coining ; next (air a) cometh the end "- when, as we 
learn from Rev. xx., the final resurrection occurs of those 
who are written in the book of life. Consequently, all who 
are Christ's (i. e. manifestly His) at the time of His appearing 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 103 

will rise then ; whereas, they who are not Christ's at His 
coming, but who enter His fold at or after His appearing, 
will not rise until the last resurrection at the end of the 
thousand years. If the words, " first, second, third " had 
been used, they could not have fixed the order of the resur- 
rection more definitely than it is fixed by the words airapyji 
first-fruits; iirtiTa aftertvard ; and ara then or next. 
Some, who have not attempted to deny that these words 
are equivalent to " first, second, third," yet seek to avoid 
the necessary conclusion (a conclusion, indeed, that would 
overthrow all their system), by reference to another passage 
in the same chapter, where we find the same words used to 
indicate successive periods. The passage is as follows : it 
speaks of the order in which some saw Christ after His 
resurrection : " He was seen of Cephas, then (etra) of the 
twelve, afterward (cTrara) he was seen by above five hundred 
brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this 
present, but some have fallen asleep. Afterward (tVctra) 
he was seen of James, then (TO) of all the Apostles, and 
last of all He was seen of me also," &c. In this passage 
(say they) we find the same words (ara and iirsira) used, 
and we admit that they mark order of time, but even as all 
who saw the Lord after His resurrection are not included in 
this passage, for many others saw Him at periods not here 
referred to ; so, the passage respecting the order of the re- 
surrection in verse 22, describes the order in which some 
will rise, but is not to be regarded as including every period 
of resurrection. Such is their argument, and it seems plau- 
sible ; but it will not bear a moment's examination. The 
answer is this the two cases are not parallel. In treating 
of the order of the resurrection, the Apostle is avowedly 
speaking of the resurrection of all who shall ever arise in 
the resurrection of life, for he distinctly prefaces his state- 
ment by these words, " So in Christ shall ALL be made 
alive ; EVERY ONE in his own order," &c. None there- 



104 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fore can ever rise in the resurrection of life who are not 
included in the order herein mentioned. The other passage 
has no such preface. The Apostle does not profess to speak 
of ALL who saw the Lord ; but only to tell us the order in 
which some saw Him. If he had first said that he was about 
to instruct us as to the order in which EVERY ONE of 
those who saw the Lord, were permitted to behold Him, and 
we then found that some had seen Him at other periods 
and in a different order, we might well marvel. But it is 
not so. 

There is another very important passage in which the 
order of the resurrection of the saints is no less clearly re- 
ferred to, viz., John v. 24 to 29. The subject of this 
passage, as a whole, is the authority committed unto the Son 
by the Father, whose will is that il all men should honour 
the Son, even as they honour the Father." Accordingly, 
the twenty-fourth verse speaks of the quickening power con- 
nected with the word preached by the Son, personally, 
during His season of humiliation. " Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him 
that sent me, hath life everlasting ; and cometh not into 
judgment,* but hath passed from death unto life." 

But not only had the Lord Jesus the power of thus 
secretly and inwardly quickening the souls of those who re- 
ceived His word, He had power also to quicken as to the 
body. This is declared in the next verse : " Verily, verily, 
I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the 
dead (ot vzicpol, those dead as to the body) shall hear the 
voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." 
The great period when the truth of this verse will be mani- 
fested will be that " coming hour " when He shall descend 
with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the 
trump of God, and call all His saints from their graves by 

* "E^et wriv cuwviov /ecu etc Kpiviv OVK tp-^ercn etXXa yucra^t^/j/cfv, &C. 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 105 

His authoritative word. But at the moment He spake this 
verse, He could truly add, " the hour now is ; " for the 
power to quicken the bodies of His saints was even then 
His, and He proved this when He stood at the grave of 
Lazarus, and "cried with a loud voice, saying, Lazarus, 
come forth." It was the display of the same character of 
power that will be manifested more widely and fully, but 
not more truly, at the time of "the first resurrection." 

The next two verses direct our thoughts to the time of the 
first resurrection and to the millennial reign. "For even as 
the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son 
to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to 
exercise judgment also, because He is the Son of Man." It 
is at the commencement of the millennium that the Son, by 
raising His saints, will give the great manifested proof of 
His having life in Himself; and during the millennium He 
will exercise the judgment or kingly rule here spoken of, as 
the Son of Man glorified. 

But this is not all. Not only does He quicken the souls 
of His saints (verse 24), not only will He quicken their 
bodies at the time of the first resurrection (verse 25), not 
only will He exercise the authority of the millennial king- 
dom (verse 27), He will do more, He will also call 
ALL the dead out of their graves at the close of the 
millennial reign ; that is, all the wicked dead of all 
ages and the righteous who have died in the millennium. 
This is taught us in the next verse, " Marvel not at this, for 
the hour cometh in which ALL that are in the graves shall 
hear His voice (in the former case some only hear) and shall 
come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of 
life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of judg- 
ment." Two periods of resurrection for saints (and only 
two) are as plainly taught in this passage as in that we have 
before considered in the Corinthians. 

It has been asked by some, whether the word " coming " 
might not have an extended meaning, so as to be 



106 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

prolonged over a lengthened period ? But how would such 
prolongation suit such passages as these ? 

f( As the lightning cometh out of the east, &c., so shall the 
COMING of the Son of Man be." 

" In the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at His 
COMING." 

" I was glad of the COMING of Stephanas." 

" Comforted by the COMING of Titus." 

" By my COMING to you again." 

These passages afford examples of the sense in which the 
word COMING (iropoverto) is always used when applied to 
the return of the Lord. It emphatically denotes a definite 
and limited period, which terminates at the moment when 
the person spoken of ceases to be absent and has come. In- 
deed, nothing can be more clearly revealed than the incon- 
ceivable rapidity of the resurrection. So far from being pro- 
longed, it is so momentary as to be incapable of being mea- 
sured by time f( In an instant (aro^w) at the twinkling of an 
eye, at the last trump." Such are the words which describe 
the resurrection of those fe who are Christ's at His coining." 

An attempt has been made by some to establish a differ- 
ence between COMING (irapovaia) as applied to the return 
of our Lord, and other expressions, such as " Epiphany " 
(tTn^ctya'a), or "revelation" (cnroKaXvifji^, which the Scrip- 
tures apply to the same event. It has been said by such 
that the " Coming " of the Lord will be secret, having for its 
object the secret removal of His saints ; but that His 
Epiphany or revelation will be considerably subsequent, 
and that His saints will, at that time, be no longer on 
earth. This assertion however is altogether unfounded, and 
will not bear a moment's examination by the Scripture. 

For, if the "Coming" (wapowia) of the Lord be secret, 
how is it that we find His " Coining " said to be like light- 
ning, " As the lightning cometh out of the east and shmeth 
even unto the west, so shall also the COMING (wapowrta) 
of the Son of Man be." 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 107 

Again, if we are to be removed from earth before the 
Epiphany and revelation of the Lord, how is it that the 
Scriptures continually speak of us as being on the earth till 
then. See the following passages : 

" Waiting for the REVELATION (airoKaXvi^iv) of our 
Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. i. 7.) 

" Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, 
until the APPEARING (tTntyavdao) of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, &c." (1 Tim. vi. 14.) 

" And to you who are troubled, rest (aveviv) with us 
when the Lord Jesus shall be REVEALED from Heaven." 
(2 Thes. i. 7.) 

Such is the consistent testimony of the Scriptures. 

It is also important to remember, that there is no re- 
demption apart from union with the person of the Son 
of God. All the redeemed, in whatsoever dispensation 
they may have lived, will rise, in virtue of their union 
with Christ as the Second Man the last Adam. Christ 
has risen, as f ' the first-fruits of those who have fallen 
asleep " (rtav K^KOI^^V^V^ 1 Cor. xv.) Are not Abel, 
and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Old 
Testament saints included under the description " those 
who have fallen asleep ?" Is it not as true of them as of 
Paul, that they shall be made alive IN Christ, and bear the 
image of the Heavenly Man, as surely as they have borne 
the image of the earthly ? They of whom it cannot be said, 
"ye are IN Him that is true, even IN His Son Jesus 
Christ " (the word IN implying union), have no part or lot 
in the new creation of God. But, however much this all- 
important truth may be gainsayed by many, it remains writ- 
ten for ever, that all the redeemed, however they may dispen- 
sationally vary on earth, as to light, knowledge, and the like, 
are united with Christ risen, and shall finally be changed 
into His likeness, so as to have thereby an essential and 
everlasting identity of condition paramount to all circum- 
stantial varieties of official employment or position. 



108 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



Jtora 12. 

"And I saiv when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a 
great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of 
hair, and the whole of the moon became as blood," fyc. 

Such were the sights presented to the eyes of John, as 
soon as the sixth seal was opened. The events indicated 
were unquestionably future to him. Are they or are they 
not future to us ? Is it true (as has been so often said) that 
these things were all fulfilled in the days of Constantine ? 
Was the sun then darkened and the earth shaken ? If, in 
such passages, the sun be understood to indicate (what indeed 
it does not) imperial power or those who hold it, was not 
Constantine the sun of that period ? And was he darkened ? 
Was the brilliancy of his glory obscured when he chose to 
make himself the patron of Christianity? Did not it 
(his imperial power) shine forth in greater lustre than 
before ? 

But it is not true that the darkening of the sun, moon, 
and stars, and the shaking of heaven and earth, as described 
in such passages as these, mean anything else than the true 
literal convulsion of heaven and earth when the Day of the 
Lord shall come. Nor is the permissive action of Christ in 
allowing false Christianity, under Satan, to glorify itself, as 
in the days of Constantine, to be looked on as analogous to 
that direct agency of His hand which will be made manifest 
when He shall put forth His own glorious power in order 
to subvert all evil, and to establish His own kingdom of 
righteousness and peace. The character of these two periods, 
instead of being alike, are contrasted ; the agencies are dif- 
ferent ; they cannot be classed together, and are therefore 
incapable of being comprehended under the same descrip- 
tions in Scripture. The obstinate perversion of the testimony 
of the word of God on this and kindred subjects is fast 



NOTES ON REVELATION VI. 109 

leading on to that condition which the Prophet describes, 
" when the vision of all becomes as the words of a book that 
is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying : 
Read this I pray thee ; and he saith I cannot, for it is sealed. 
And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, 
Read this I pray thee ; and he saith, I am not learned." If 
the plainest facts and the plainest Scriptures have long ap- 
pealed to our consciences in vain, what wonder if j udicial 
blindness should at last be sent ? 



110 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER IX. 

n ItMdioit VII. 



" EVERY scribe instructed unto the kingdom of Heaven is 
like unto a man that is an householder, that bringeth forth 
out of his treasure things new and old." Such were the 
words with which the Lord Jesus finished His prophetic 
history of professing Christianity in the parables of the thir- 
teenth of Matthew. The Prophets had ministered "the 
old things ;" the Lord Jesus, whilst confirming their testi- 
mony, added also things that were " new." How greatly 
the admonition to neglect neither the new nor the old has 
been needed, is proved by the manner in which Gentile 
Christianity has despised the warning. The nature of the 
blessings promised in the latter days to Jerusalem and the 
earth ; the doom of those proud Gentile nations which now 
rule the world ; the necessary connexion between the Earth's 
blessing and Jerusalem's supremacy under the Messiah of 
Israel in His manifested glory these and other of the an- 
cient promises to Israel would not have been annihilated (as 
amongst us they virtually have been) by the new things 
ministered by the Lord and His Apostles, if this admo- 
nition had been heeded. The exaltation of the Church of 
the first-born into heavenly places, their union with Christ 
risen, the future manifestation of their heavenly glory both 
in Heaven above and in the earth below all these and other 
such things, so far from being inconsistent with, are, by the 



ON REVELATION VII. Ill 

appointment of God, necessary to, the destined blessing of 
Israel and the earth. The Temple would have been imper- 
fect if either of its Courts had been taken away. The outer 
and the inner were alike needful to the worship of Israel : 
nor will it be otherwise, when, in the coming day of millen- 
nial glory, Jerusalem occupied by Israel on the Earth, and 
" the heavenly places not made with hands " occupied by 
risen and glorified saints, shall respectively form the earthly 
and the heavenly courts in the anti-typical Temple of the 
great King. We may therefore safely say, that no right 
order of Truth can be found in any mind that persists (as 
the Jews have persisted) in regarding only the earthly part 
of the promises made to Israel, or that ventures (as many 
Christians have ventured) to despise prospects in which 
Abraham and David and Paul rejoiced as part of their own 
and of their Lord's glory. Yet this last is the sin into which 
Gentile Christians have fallen. Before the Apostles died, they 
were becoming " wise in their own conceits," and had begun to 
boast themselves against the natural branches of the very tree 
to which they owed all their own fatness. Instead of blending 
the promises to Israel into harmony with the new and fuller 
hopes unfolded by the Lord and His Apostles, they either cast 
those ancient promises aside, or else, rending them from 
Israel, appropriated them to themselves. Impatient of suf- 
fering and reproach, they wished to reign as kings, and 
therefore coveted the place which the Scripture has reserved 
for Zion and for Jerusalem when the time for the triumph 
and supremacy of Truth shall have come. The consequence 
was, that Gentile Christianity soon became useless for God's 
purposes of practical testimony in the earth. The mani- 
festation of the glory of the Messiah of Israel was denied ; 
the subjugation of the earth to truth and righteousness 
through converted Jerusalem was forgotten ; that blessed 
task was transferred from Israel and Israel's Messiah to 
ungodly nations whose symbol, as given in the Scripture, is 
" a beast dreadful and terrible," whose body is to be "given 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

to the burning flame " ignorance as to all these revealed 
purposes of God reigned and the light of Christendom 
became turned into darkness. Popery, and every other form 
of Ritualism, are but the excrescences which have naturally 
sprung from the vitiated doctrines and vitiated practices of 
the period that immediately folio wed the death of the Apostles. 
It was the union of the things " new and old " that gave 
such power and energy to the testimony and service of the 
Apostle Paul. Indeed, whilst Christianity lingered in and 
around Jerusalem, and whilst the sight of " the twelve tribes 
instantly serving God day and night " maintained the re- 
membrance of Jewish hopes before the very eyes of the 
disciples of Jesus, there was a kind of security against the 
ancient hopes of Israel being forgotten. Moreover, the 
Gentile Rulers were yet standing out in marked contrariety 
to God, and had not yet seduced the Church into a willing- 
ness to invest them with the garments of the spouse of 
Christ; consequently, the promises of Israel's millennial 
glory were little likely to be transferred to those, who were 
so clearly manifesting their hatred to God and to Christ. 
Gentile Christianity, however, has since made this transfer 
and is now exulting in the deed. But God has not altered 
the testimony of His Scripture. He has not cancelled the 
words of His servant Daniel, nor substituted another symbol 
for " the beast dreadful and terrible." He has not repre- 
sented the Pagan Roman Empire by this beast and the 
Christianised Roman Empire by a lamb ; but the symbol He 
chose for the beginning, that symbol He continues to the 
end. It is Gentile Christianity that has sought, from the 
days of Constantine to the present hour, to falsify the word 
of God, and to put the blessings of the " new things " and 
the glories of the old on the head of that monster which God 
has avowedly doomed to curse and destruction. 

Whether the late revival of prophetic light amongst us 
Western Christians, will effect the severance ot any from the 
general condition of Christianity, as exhibited in Christen- 



ON REVELATION VII. 113 



dom, remains perhaps undetermined. But this we may 
confidently affirm, that when Christianity is again found 
amidst Israel in Jerusalem, and when Antichristianism has 
begun to draw back the kingdoms of the Prophetic Earth 
into their former place of avowed opposition to God, and 
when Jerusalem shall have joined the confederacy, then, if 
not before, the declaration of the coming of the Lord Jesus 
as the Messiah of Israel, and warning as to the judgments 
that will accompany His return, shall again form part of the 
testimony of Christianity in Jerusalem. 

That Christianity will again exist in Jerusalem before the 
Advent of the Lord in glory, is manifest from several parts 
of Scripture. Thus in our Lord's own prophecy in the 
twenty-fourth of Matthew, He speaks of His disciples as 
destined to witness in that City the great hour of Anti- 
christian triumph. "When YE " (the words were addressed 
to His disciples who had followed Him without the gate 
bearing His reproach *) ' ' when YE shall see the abomination 
of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet," &c., &c. 
He speaks of His disciples as holding fast at that period the 
expectation of His coming ; warns them against being be- 
guiled by deceiving rumours ; speaks of that hour as one of 

* I mention this, because some have confused the " YE " of the 23rd 
of Matthew (last verse) with the "YE "of the 24th chapter; whereas 
the two bodies respectively denoted by these words stand in the most 
complete contrast to each other. The " YE " of the 23rd chapter is ad- 
dressed to the national representatives of Jerusalem " Ye shall not see 
me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh," &c. They 
who shall by and by say, "Blessed," &c. are the spared remnant of Israel 
in Jerusalem. As soon as Jesus had pronounced these words He quitted 
Jerusalem, left those to whom He had spoken within its gates and retired 
with His disciples to the Mount of Olives. To them He spoke, in the 
24th chapter, not as representatives of Jerusalem, but of His Church. 
The representatives of the remnant of Israel stood within the gate ; the 
representatives of the Church without. For further observations on 
Matthew xxiv. See "Aids to Prophetic Enquiry first Series." See 
advertisement at the end of this volume. 



114 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

unequalled tribulation, the like to which never has been nor 
will be, and declares that unequalled tribulation to be the 
immediate precursor of His own return in glory. " Imme- 
diately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be 
darkened, &c." The Revelation also again and again refers 
to some who hold fast " the faith of Jesus and overcome " 
" because of the blood of the Lamb/' in the midst of cir- 
cumstances, similar to those which the twenty-fourth of 
Matthew describes. Indeed, Christianity, so far as it is 
made the subject of prophetic record in this Book, may be 
almost said to be identified with these few persecuted ser- 
vants of the Truth. They stand as the last representatives 
of the Church of the first-born on earth, just as Stephen 
and those who suffered with him represented it at the Pente- 
costal period. The character and ways of these last sufferers 
for Christ are, indeed, alluded to rather than described ; but 
enough is said to show that they are THE faithful ones of 
the earth at that evil hour, and in the visions of glory they 
are so prominently referred to, that (if it were not for other 
definite Scriptures) we might almost have thought that to 
them alone those glories would belong. The Church, how- 
ever, is one, and its glory catholic. We must not, therefore, 
consider ourselves as dissociated from their final triumph, but 
see in the visions of their glory our own joy. " If one 
member be honoured all the members rejoice with it." 
" Faint not," said St. Paul, " at my tribulations for you 
which is your glory" 

It is true, indeed, that neither the twenty-fourth of Mat- 
thew, nor the Revelation, expressly teach that they who 
witness the final scenes therein described and hold fast " the 
faith of Jesus " in them, are converts from Israel. The 
general tenor of the description, however, would lead us to 
infer that they are not Gentile Christians. Indeed, we can 
hardly suppose that the Jews should nationally congregate 
in Jerusalem again, without their being a remnant gathered 
out from among them into the fold of Jesus ; for what hour 



ON REVELATION VII. 115 

has passed in which there has not been some remnant saved 
according to the election of grace ? Besides, when we con- 
sider the past and present condition of Gentile Christianity, 
it is hardly credible that the closing testimony to Christ, in 
and around Jerusalem, should be entrusted to them. But 
however this may be, whether they be converts from Israel, 
or from the Gentiles, or from both, one thing is certain, that 
they will be freed from the darkness which now broods over 
Gentile Christianity: otherwise, they never could be rejoiced 
over in Heaven as " overcoming because of the blood of the 
Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony." That 
testimony will doubtless again combine the new things of 
the kingdom with the earthly promises to David's throne. 

But however important the reference thus made in the 
Revelation to Christianity (and it is most important, for the 
knowledge of the relation of Christianity to the kingdoms of 
the prophetic earth is thus supplied, whereby we learn the 
great practical principles which should determine our con- 
duct now) yet the Revelation has to do not merely with the 
fruits of the present dispensation, whether for good or evil. 
In treating of the closing hours of this dispensation, it neces- 
sarily treats of the period in which are found the seeds of 
the dispensation that is to follow. Those who were gathered 
around Jesus, as the first fruits of this present dispensation, 
were brought first under the ministry of John : in like 
manner, another voice, calling to repentance in Israel, 
shall be made the means of awakening some, who shall form 
the nucleus of the Lord's millennial people. 

The Revelation could not complete the sad history of Je- 
rusalem in this dispensation, unless it spake of some who 
shall testify therein, and of others whom God shall choose 
for preservation therein, after the testimony of the Gospel, 
as given by the disciples of Jesus, has been withdrawn. 
" When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, &c. . . . 
then let them that be in Judea flee." * This is a command- 

* For evidence as to the future establishment of idolatrous worship by 

I 2 



116 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

merit too definite and too express to be disobeyed by any 
who value the authority of Him who gave it. The planting 
of that abomination will be to the disciples of Jesus the con- 
stituted sign that the day of their testimony in Jerusalem is 
over ; and they flee that they may escape that season of dire 
visitation from the hand of God, which shall instantly come 
upon the land of Israel/as soon as the Idol of the great 
Destroyer has been established in their midst. They will 
see, like their Master before them, the sphere of their earthly 
service hopelessly closed; and will wait, in suffering and 
trial, for the hour, then fast approaching, of final deliverance 
into their heavenly rest. 

If Jerusalem had not been Jerusalem, the chosen City, the 
mercies of God toward it would have ended here. But Israel 
is beloved for the Fathers' sakes ; and, therefore, God Him- 
self begins to deal with them by judgments and by a 
testimony the sackcloth testimony of His two witnesses, no 
less terrible than the judgments : and thus in the very hour 
of Jerusalem's deepest tribulation, the heart of the fathers 
shall be turned towards the children, and the heart of the 
children towards their fathers in other words, repentance 
shall be wrought in some and moral order restored, though 
it be but in a little remnant ; and thus the foundation is laid 
for that new dispensation, in which the preserved of Israel 
shall enter on their sphere of earthly service in the kingdom 
below, when the Church of the first-born shall be called into 
their mansions of glory in the kingdom above. 

The vision, therefore, of those here mentioned as sealed 
from among the Tribes of Israel, I regard as having reference 
to the preserved remnant of Israel that remnant which after 
having been made to pass through the fires, and refined as 
silver is refined, shall be made, in the millennial earth, " a 
strong nation." In their being sealed during the season of 

Antichrist in Jerusalem, see " Aids to Prophetic Enquiry," and " Pros- 
pects of the Ten Kingdoms of the Eoman Empire." 



ON REVELATION VII. 117 

Israel's last woes, we find, in part, the fulfilment of that pro- 
mise, ft when thou passest through the waters I will be with 
thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; 
when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, 
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." But this vision 
of some preserved in the midst of the judgments which fall 
upon their people and their land, is succeeded by another, 
which leads us from earth to heaven, and reveals the final 
triumph of the Church of the firstborn in heavenly glory 
before the Throne. " A great multitude which no man 
could number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, 
and tongues, stood before the Throne and before the Lamb, 
clothed with white robes and palms in their hands, 
and cried with a loud voice, saying, " Salvation unto our 
God which sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb." 
Such is the song of the Church of the first-born of all those 
who having " washed their garments and made them white 
in the blood of the Lamb," are found " Christ's at His 
coming." They are all described as having come out of 
" great tribulation. All from Abel down to the very last of 
those who shall te keep the commandments of God, and the 
faith of Jesus " (Rev. xiv.) during the final struggle between 
light and darkness under Antichrist all will have known 
tribulation. The path of the Patriarchs and Prophets is 
marked in the eleventh of the Hebrews. They were those 
of whom the world was not worthy " afflicted, destitute, tor- 
mented." The Apostles were set forth as persons "appointed 
to death, made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of 
all things." John in Patmos, knowing " the tribulation, and 
kingdom, and endurance in Jesus," indicates the place of 
faithful Christianity, when the Scripture closed. They who are 
spoken of as " overcoming because of the blood of the Lamb 
and because of the word of their testimony, and not loving 
their life unto the death," during the coming hour of And 
christ, indicate the character of this dispensation at its close. 
The whole period of the testimony and service of the re^ 



118 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

deemed, hitherto, has been an (t evil day ;" and the intensity 
of sorrow at the end is but the amplification of what, 
in principle, it has ever been. The Church of the firstborn 
therefore, looked at in its unity as one body, may well 
be spoken of in the world to come, as that which has 
passed through and out of great tribulation. It will be 
known as born out of night and sorrow and darkness 
the child of tribulation, contrasted therefore with the 
saints of the millennium, who will pass unto the new 
Heaven and new earth after an earthly season of light and 
joy and triumph. Accordingly, the main feature marked in 
this vision of glory is the fact of transition from sorrow to 
joy. The cause of the joy is not so much triumph over 
enemies or escape from conflict with the foe, as release from 
tribulation and the sorrows of a weary wilderness. It is 
transition from hunger, and thirst, and the scorching of the 
sun, and tears, into other regions where they shall hunger 
no more nor thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on 
them nor any heat. It is the heavenly Israel with the wil- 
derness behind them, entering on the rest of the heavenly 
Canaan and keeping their feast of tabernacles above. 

Such I conceive to be the instruction afforded in this 
chapter. It reveals the two great acts of God in mercy, 
which come in close connection with His work of judgment 
011 the earth. The one is the preservation of a remnant in 
the midst of the fires ; the other the admission into heavenly 
mansions of those, who, because they have washed their 
garments and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, 
go out of all tribulation into the inheritance of the saints 
in light. 



ON REVELATION VIII. AND IX 119 



CHAPTER X. 

it JRtWdhm VIII. anir IX. 



THE seventh, chapter having thus supplied us with the as- 
surance that the coming plagues should not hurt those who 
had the seal of God in their foreheads, and having also 
shown us how all the present flock of Jesus shall, as soon 
as the last tribulation has past, together rest from sorrow 
and crying in their heavenly fold for ever, we enter, thus 
instructed, upon one of the darkest scenes of judgment that 
the Scripture anywhere records. 

The seventh seal was opened, and there was silence in 
heaven for the space of half an hour a silence which, to 
the ear of John, must have stood in strange contrast to the 
loud cry of the countless multitude which had just before 
been ascribing salvation to God and to the Lamb ; in con- 
trast also with the "voices, and lightnings, and thunderings," 
and sounding of the trumpets of woe which were about to 
follow. The half-hour, however, was not unemployed. 
The trumpets were silently given to the angels who were 
to sound. Another angel having a golden censer came, and 
silently took his stand at the golden altar, and receiving 
much incense, silently sprinkled it upon the prayers of the 
saints upon the golden altar before the throne. It was a 
season of still preparation for that which was about to follow. 
Just as when some mighty army is about to enter on the 
conflict the debating of councils is over the resolve of the 



120 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

commander is taken the plans are fixed soldiers stand in 
their respective positions the word of command alone is 
waited for. The pause allows us time to contemplate the 
preparations and the order. So likewise in this vision the 
hour was come ; the resolve had been taken ; there is a sus- 
pension of action only till the last connecting link is fitted to 
its place in the train of ruin. 

But this period of silence in heaven had not been a period 
of silence on the earth. The cry of its iniquity had come 
up before God grievously ; and the cry of His saints also 
had been heard imploring His righteous interference. That 
cry was not unheeded, yet it was not answered until the 
place of intercession at the altar was assumed by the angel, 
and sanction of the name of Christ was added to the inter- 
cession that was heard from below. Much incense was 
given* by the angel who held the priestly censer to the 
prayers of the saints, and then the answer was granted. 

The character of the answer determines the nature of the 
petition that had been offered. The answer was this " the 
angel took the censer, and filled it from the fire of the altar, 
and cast it into the earth : and there were thunderings, and 
lightnings, and voices, and earthquake." This is what we 
have to look for as regards the earth. Nothing was more 
holy than the fire upon the altar : it is the great expression 
of that holiness before which nature cannot stand, and which 
the perfectness of Christ, and that as a sacrifice, alone could 
satisfy. It is this searching holiness which is to be brought 
into contrast with the unreconciled earth and things in it. 
The casting into the earth fire from the altar, was, as it 
were, the introduction of a new element amongst human 
things. It brought the character and ways of God into 
direct collision with the character and ways of man. What 
the character of those ways is, must be learned from sub- 
sequent visions in this Book, for there we shall find delinea- 

* Such is the right translation. 



ON REVELATION VIII. AND IX. 

tions of the Harlot and the Beast, and Satan's glory by 
means of them. It is into the earth as ordered by them that 
the claim of God will come in the unsparing inquisition of 
His own pure holiness ; and therefore we need not marvel 
that voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earth- 
quake, were the symbols that indicated to John and to us, 
the nature of the result that was about to follow. The 
silence in Heaven was terminated thus, and the seven angels 
who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 

And here we should again remark how closely the imagery 
is drawn from the holy instruments of Israel's service. We 
have already seen the altar, the censer, the priestly interces- 
sion, and the incense, but all directed against Israel and the 
earth all their blessings being turned into a curse. The 
voice of the trumpet also was once to them the happy token 
of security and joy. Silver trumpets were sounded by the 
the priests, either to gather Israel in solemn assembly before 
the Lord ; or to arouse them to the journeyings of the camp, 
as they moved onward towards their rest ; or to be for re- 
membrance before the Lord, that they needed when entering 
into the conflict, His help against the enemy ; or as a memo- 
rial before Him, to remind Him of the excellency of the 
offerings presented upon his altar " in the day of their glad- 
ness, -and in their solemn days." (See Numbers x.) 

But now Israel's ear is no longer open to the appeals of 
God, and His ear also is closed towards them. We therefore 
read not of two silver trumpets blown in happy concord by 
the priests of Israel, but of a seven-fold series of successive 
trumpets of woe, blown by angels of God, in order to awaken 
against Israel and the earth, the messengers of his wrath. 
The earth, the sea, the fountains, with the rivers, and the 
heavens, are (as to the third part of each) successively 
smitten ; and when we consider how dependent human life 
is in all its arrangements and for all its joys, upon these 
various parts of the creation of God ; when we remember too 
that it will be the hour of nature's jubilee in the earth's 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fairest regions ; when Carmel and Bashan and Lebanon will 
stand in full luxuriance of strength and beauty ; and when 
Tyre and Jerusalem and Babylon shall be the gathering 
places of the wealth and glory of all nations, we may well 
conceive how men's hearts will fail them for fear, when they 
shall behold the beauty of the earth in its fairest portion 
wither ; when the sea shall cease to supply its riches, and the 
hand of destruction be stretched out upon its surface ; when 
the waters shall change their refreshment into bitterness, and 
the heavens in their revolution begin to minister darkness 
instead of light. It needs only that God should stop the 
course of nature and wither its powers, in older to throw all 
human life into confusion and bitter woe ; and this, under 
the first four trumpets, is revealed as about to be. The two 
which follow lead us to other agencies more positive in their 
character, and more terrible in their development agencies 
which operate, not so much by the withdrawal of blessings 
that have been given, as by the positive infliction of new 
and strange curses, adding an unknown bitterness to the 
already stripped and desolate condition of human life. 

The powers of darkness and the pit are under the hand of 
God as much as any other of His creatures, and He can use 
them just as He uses wicked men to work the counsels of 
His own will. I understand the locusts which issue from 
the abyss, to be, like the heavenly cherubim, symbolic 
representations of a character of power with which certain 
living agents will be clothed. They seem to bear to the pit 
a relation analogous to that which the cherubim bear to 
heaven. The cherubim represent the power over which 
Christ is supreme; the power wherewith the servants of 
God and of Christ will be clothed for purposes of life, and 
glory, and blessing. The scorpion-like locusts, more complex 
in their shape even than the cherubim themselves, are under 
Apollyon as their Prince, and represent, I think, the power 
wherewith his servants are invested, for their permitted and 
appointed work of hellish torment. The shapes of the 



ON REVELATION VIII. AND IX. 

locusts were like horses prepared for trie battle. " Hast 
thou given the horse strength ? hast thou clothed his neck 
with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grass- 
hopper ? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in 
the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : he goeth on to 
meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not 
affrighted ; neither turneth he back from the sword. The 
quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the 
shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and 
rage ; neither believeth he that it is the sound of the 
trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he 
smelleth the battle v afar off, the thunder of the captains, 
and the shouting." On the heads of these scorpion-horses 
were crowns of gold emblems of their victory and triumph, 
for God permits them to prevail. Their having the faces of 
men indicates not sympathy (that is never found apart from 
God: Satan knows it not), but it marks such acquaintance 
with the feelings and circumstances of humanity as would 
qualify them the better for their work of torment as would 
teach them where and how to inflict the wound. The long 
flowing hair, like the hair of women, indicates, I think, that 
it will be to them no task of sorrow (for the close shaven 
head is the token of the mourner *) but rather one of revelry 
and joy. Their power for destruction is marked by the 
teeth of lions ; their immunity from harm by their breast- 
plates of iron ; their rapidity of execution by the sound of 
their wings, for " the sound of their wings was as the sound 
of chariots of many horses running to battle." Yet over all 
these characteristics there is one predominant feature thrown 
by the closing words of the description. The scorpion- 
character predominates. They were not sent forth to over- 

* See Isaiah iii. 24. "Instead of well-set hair, haldness." And 
Jeremiah vii. 29. " Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, 
and take up a lamentation on high places ; for the Lord hath rejected 
and forsaken the generation of his wrath." " The Lord did call to 
weeping and to haldness." " Poll thee, enlarge thy baldness." 



124 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

run or trample down as the war-horse, nor to devour as the 
lion, nor to consume as the locust. Their commission was 
not destruction, but torment. They were to leave in their 
victims their scorpion sting. " They have tails like unto 
scorpions, and stings ; and their power in their tails was to 
hurt men five months." We have read of instances, from 
time to time, in which hellish torments of body, as well as of 
conscience, have seized upon dying infidels. The torments 
of another world have been allowed, in measure, to fall upon 
them here. Tormenting spirits have been permitted to put 
forth their power against them. Such appears to me the 
character of this infliction upon a nation or nations, of blas- 
pheming infidels. It is like a foretaste of the torments of 
the pit, administered, I suppose, by invisible but real agents, 
even wicked spirits from beneath. " In those days shall 
men seek death, and not find it ; and shall desire to die, and 
death fleeth from them." The Church is thus taught to 
know the meaning and cause of these agonies, when they 
come, and can anticipate and warn of them before they are 
brought to pass. 

Yet terrible as this plague is, it is not destructive. But 
when the sixth angel sounded, and the angels bound at 
(fTrt) the Euphrates are commanded to be loosed, we find 
an army, as it were, of fiends, quickly prepared under their 
hand for the work of destruction. We read in other parts of 
Scripture, of legions of holy angels being employed to watch 
over and protect the servants of God. ' ' When the servant of 
Elisha, the man of God, was risen early, and gone forth, 
behold an host compassed the city both with horses and 
with chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my 
master ! how shall we do ? And he answered, Fear not ; for 
they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his 
eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of 
the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain 
was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." 



ON REVELATION VIII. AND IX. 

Such, is the secret ministry of holy power, that silently effects 
the purposes of God for blessing. But here we read, not of 
the chariots of a heavenly host, but of horsemen with 
" breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and like brimstone ; and 
the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions ; and out 
of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. By 
these three plagues was the third part of men killed, by 
reason of the fire, and the smoke, and the brimstone, which 
proceed out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is 
in their mouth, and in their tails : for their tails were like 
unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt." 
Such were their characteristics, as seen by the servant of God 
in heaven. The symbols are too plainly expressive, to need 
explanation. The exact character of the power denoted by 
the horses and chariots of fire which compassed Elisha, by 
whom it was exercised, and how applied, it may be difficult 
to describe ; but its effects were manifest. Blindness fell 
upon all the enemies of Elisha. So is it, I believe, in the 
case before us. The mode in which the power of this army 
of demons may be applied, and how far it may be indepen- 
dent of, or connected with secondary agency through men, 
I suppose no one could venture to affirm. But I see no 
reason to think that the power wielded by these four angels 
of destruction, will be more manifest to the eyes of men, than 
the horses and chariots that surrounded Elisha. But the 
operation of their hand will be evident from the ruin that it 
spreads ; and faith that has received this testimony of God, 
will be able to recognise whence it comes. The consciences 
of men also will bear witness to its being the work of God in 
vengeance ; yet they repent not. " The rest of the men who 
were not killed by these plagues, repented not of the works 
of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols 
of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood ; which 
neither can see, nor hear, nor walk : neither repented they 
of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornica- 
tion, nor of their thefts." Such is the manner in which the 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

flesh ever hardens itself against the inflictions of God. We 
might have expected the final scene instantly to follow. But 
the Church is to be yet further instructed. Here, therefore., 
as in the sixth chapter, this vision closes, and in the next 
chapter a new vision begins. 



NOTES ON REVELATION VIT. VIII. AND IX. 



CHAPTER XL 

fote 0tt peMon VTL, VIII, anJr IX. 



Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we 
have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.] 
These words, which occur in the seventh chapter, prove its 
connection with the two chapters that follow; for in them 
the smiting of the earth, sea, and trees is described, as well 
as the exemption of those who were sealed for preservation. 
(See chapter ix. 4.) If we turn to the Old Testament pro- 
phets, we find repeated descriptions of the tribulation and 
destructive judgments that are to fall just before the coming 
of the Lord upon Jerusalem and Israel, especially that part 
of Israel which is in the Land ; and these judgments are dis- 
tinguished from those that are sent upon the Gentiles, even 
though they are inflicted at or about the same time. 

A similar distinction appears to be preserved in the Reve- 
lation. The family of Israel and their land is referred to 
first, and the Gentiles last. The vision of the trumpets and 
the chapters immediately connected therewith, seem as cha- 
racteristically Jewish in place and circumstances of develop- 
ment, as the sixteenth and two following chapters are charac- 
teristically Gentile. In these last named chapters, the cha- 
racter of the vision is taken from the Red Sea, Pharaoh, and 
Egypt. Armageddon, also, where the Gentiles are gathered, 
and Babylon, are the subjects ; whereas, in the vision of the 
trumpets, the circumstance of none being sealed except some 



128 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

from the tribes of Israel, the reference in chap. ix. 6., to the 
words of the eighth of Jeremiah, viz., that " death shall be 
chosen rather than life, by all the residue of this evil family," 
&c., and the knitting in of the eleventh chapter (where the 
scene is expressly said to be Jerusalem) under the series of 
the trumpets (for the seventh trumpet does not sound till the 
end of the eleventh chapter), all these things appear to mark 
these chapters as distinctively concerned with Israel. Of 
cour?e I do not mean that Israel can suffer without the 
nations being more or less affected, or that the Gentiles can 
be plagued, without Israel also being reached: I speak 
merely of the general scope of the chapters. 

I regard the trumpets, therefore, as being against Israel 
and the land ; the vials as being against Antichrist and the 
Gentiles : both comprised within that period marked by 
Daniel and by our Lord, as a time of tribulation, " such as 
never was since there was a nation even to that same time." 

The words of the witnesses will probably be the cause of 
many of the plagues indicated under the trumpets and the 
vials, for it is said that they have " power to smite the earth 
with every plague as often as they will." 



" Till we have sealed the servants of our God."} The 
history of the Jewish remnant is a wide, but interesting and 
important subject. A sense of the wickedness of Antichrist 
and the Antichristian Jews, and of the darkness and deser- 
tion of Israel, are among the first symptoms of their souls 
being dealt with by God. At this time, however, their 
words, as gathered from the Psalms, imply much ignorance 
of their sin, and much self-confidence and self-righteousness. 
After the abomination of desolation has been set, and the 
unequalled season of tribulation commenced, they appear 
to become gradually humbled and at last (under the 
testimony probably of the witnesses) thoroughly broken 
conscious of the truth respecting the past, and correctly 



NOTES ON REVELATION VII. VIII. AND IX. 

anticipating the future, expecting the return of the Lord 
Jesus, assured of preservation through the fires that will 
burn against Israel, and of subsequent blessing but not as 
yet sprinkled with the blood of reconciliation, nor possessed 
of the spirit of peace. Yet they will cry and sigh for all 
the abominations ; their name will be hated and cast out as 
evil; and the goodness of God, both in Isaiah and here, owns 
them as His servants. The condition of the disciples of 
John the Baptist before they were brought to Jesus, may be 
referred to as more nearly illustrative of the condition of 
this remnant before the manifestation of the Lord, than any 
other. Repentance, moral order, (see Luke iii. 10,) and 
knowledge of coming events, was all that John could lead 
them to, till they were brought to Jesus. 



"Hurt not the earth) nor the sea, nor the trees till"] This, 
as I have already said, connects the seventh chapter with 
that which follows it, for there we find the earth, sea, and 
trees smitten. I doubt not that these several parts of nature 
will be literally smitten, in indication that the hand of God 
is stretched out against all the natural blessings which He 
has hitherto so bountifully given, even to the unthankful 
and to the evil. Israel has worshipped natural things and 
forgotten God, and on the subjects of their idolatry His 
hand will fall. The rivers and fountains of waters are men- 
tioned afterwards as parts of the earth that are smitten. I 
do not regard these as emblems of spiritual blessings. The 
streams of truth have never flowed yet so as to be received 
either by Israel or the world. As to this, the Church has 
been as a " spring shut up, a fountain sealed." A flowing 
river which men have used and valued (and this is the 
emblem here, for men are sensible of its being a plague 
when the rivers, &c. are smitten) such an emblem can never 
be used to represent the relation of Truth to the world at 
present, for Truth is not to them as a flowing stream. Such 

K 



130 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

emblems may suit the Millennium, but not the present age. 
The two great subjects of the Revelation as to judgments 
sent upon things are, the gifts of God in creation, and the 
artificial constructions of man. The trumpets of the eighth 
chapter lead us to the first subsequent chapters to the last. 
Nature and art are the two great pillars the Jachin and 
Boaz of the human system. 



"An hundred and forty-four thousand"] I regard this 
as a number indicative of completeness. Many of the num- 
bers appear to have a kind of symbolic meaning attached 
to them in many parts of Scripture. Two represents con- 
cord and companionship. " Two are better than one : if 
they fall, the one will help up his fellow." " If one prevail 
against him, two shall withstand." The disciples were sent out 
" two and two." Animals are placed by twos under the yoke. 

Three indicates completeness in the way of repetition, and 
is applied to any action or course of conduct that has been 
sufficiently repeated. " Three times in the year Israel ap- 
peared before the Lord." " Thou hast smitten me these 
three times." " Thou hast mocked me these three 
times." " David arose, and bowed three times." " So- 
lomon offered three times a year." " Elijah stretched 
himself on the child three times." " David kneeled on his 
knees three times a day." " This was done three times, and 
the sheet was drawn up again into heaven." 

Four, being two multiplied into itself, represents perfect- 
ness of combination. Thus when perfectness of concurrent 
operation is mentioned, we find four angels on the four 
corners of the earth, holding the four winds. The square or 
the cube represents the greatest perfectness of combination 
that can be found in form. The altar was four square ; the 
breast-plate four square ; the court of the Temple four 
square ; the holy oblation four square ; the heavenly city 
four square every way, or a perfect cube. Ttrpuywi/oc 



NOTES ON REVELATION VII. VIII. AND IX. 131 

u (a faultless cube) was an expression used among the 
Greeks, to represent a person whose character was supposed 
to combine the various qualities of moral excellence. 

Seven is the number of rest, especially after labour. It 
indicates completeness that can be rested in ; the mind in 
this case being directed, not to any consequences that may 
follow, but simply to the completeness and perfectness of 
that which is presented before us. The seventh day, the 
seventh year, and the seventh seventh year, were periods of 
rest and satisfied joy. The candlestick had seven lamps. 
" Prepare me seven bullocks, and seven rams." Indeed 
seven may properly be called the number of completeness. 
When man by his sin ruins that which God had made per- 
fect, and it becomes necessary for Him to make all things 
new, then we read of an eighth day. 

Twelve is the number employed when agency is spoken of, 
intended to act instrumentally on others. The mind is 
directed, not as by seven, to the finished completeness of the 
object presented, but rather to the results that are to be pro- 
duced by or through it. Agency towards others in blessing 
is specially the character of the heavenly city, and conse- 
quently the number twelve is again and again connected with 
it. Its provisions of blessedness are not intended to end 
within itself. The patriarchs, from whom the tribes were to 
spring, are twelve ; the Apostles, who were to gather and 
form the Church, are twelve ; the tribes, through whom 
will be brought to bear upon mankind the earthly agency 
whereby the nations will be blessed, are twelve. 

Such agency, if prospered, necessarily acts in the way of 
accumulation, and is capable of producing other agency 
similar to itself. Hence, I think, the number 144,000 
twelve multiplied into itself would be applied where the 
persons spoken of are at once the result of instrumental 
agency, and are suited for similar agency themselves. Com- 
bination and multiplication of blessing is a happy principle 
in the hand of God. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

The application of numbers thus used to denote complete- 
ness, does not imply the identity of the persons or things to 
which they may be applied. The 144,000 of this chapter, 
are clearly to be distinguished from the 144,000 seen upon 
the Mount Zion around the Lamb. The omission of the 
article in the fourteenth chapter, would be in itself sufficient 
to show that they were not the same company. We do not 
find ' AI 6/caroy TtaGapaKovra rkciGaptQ ^iXmocc ', yet there is 
a resemblance between the two, for the first are an earthly 
the second a heavenly company ; both prepared for the pur- 
poses of God touching the earth the one, His earthly; the 
other, His heavenly agents. 



" After these things I saw, and a great multitude" fyc.] 
We might expect to find, as we here do, a record of God's 
two acts of mercy at the period of His final judgments : one 
in preserving a remnant in the earth, the other in taking all 
who have " washed their robes, and made them white in the 
blood of the Lamb " into their heavenly rest. 

I have before alluded to the variety of symbols that are 
needed, to give us any notion of the varied glories and office 
of the Church. In the fifth chapter we find the elders and 
the cherubim saying, " Thou hast redeemed us out of every 
tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation." In this chapter 
we find it said, that the countless multitude are gathered 
"out of every nation, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues." 
Here then we find the same body symbolized in two very 
different positions. We find the same thing in the four- 
teenth chapter, only there they are represented on Zion 
in their earthly service here in their heavenly. None but 
apparently contradictory symbols can explain the fulness of 
the Church's blessings. Even Christ who is One with Him 
that sitteth on the Throne will serve and praise before it. 

" And the first angel sounded" fyc.] The instruments of 



NOTES ON REVELATION VII. VIII. AND IX. 133 

the divine action, as detailed in the two following chapters, 
appear to be as follows : 

I. The application of the destructive powers of nature in 
their ordinary way. The vision of fire, hail, &c., is symbolic 
of the application of God's destructive power against the 
pleasantness and beauty of the earth in a manner to which 
men have been frequently accustomed. I speak of the 
manner, not of the degree. Blood mingled with the hail 
shows its destructiveness unto death. 

II. The alteration of the ordinary course of nature by 
bringing the elements into collision in a manner as yet 
unknown ; symbolized in the vision, by a burning mass like 
a mountain of fire cast into the sea. 

III. -The bringing superhuman agency, now operating 
in another sphere and subserving the arrangements of the 
Divine order in the created heavens, into destructive appli- 
cation to the earth. 

IV. The withdrawal of blessings heretofore ministered 
through the heavens. 

V. and VI. Hellish and superhuman agents, capable of 
employing an infinite number of subordinate agencies under 
them. These are directed, not against the earth, but upon 
men themselves. 

The third of these divisions is symbolized by a star falling 
from heaven to the earth. Stars appear to be used in Scrip- 
ture, to symbolize beings who exercise a superintending 
control over the things of earth, from an unearthly and 
superhuman sphere above. Thus they are continually em- 
ployed to represent the saints in their resurrection glory, 
when, as during the Millennium, they will rule over the 
world. At present, however, evil spirits, as well as holy 
angels, are allowed to act in this high sphere, controlled, of 
course, by Him who has the seven spirits of God, and ulti- 
mately subserving the purposes of His will. Thus we read 
of the prince of the power, or authority, of the air ; of " the 
host of the high ones that are on high," (Isaiah xxiv. 1 ;) of 



134 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the angel connected with Persia, resisting the angel of God. 
We cannot doubt that such evil angels are often employed 
by God to guide the hurricane, or the earthquake, in their 
appointed course of destruction ; as when the lightnings 
and the winds brought destruction on Job's household. 
What occupancy such evil ones may have in the created 
heavens above, it is not for us to inquire, because God has 
not revealed it. We know that all that is described in 
Genesis, as created for and with this earth is brought, more 
or less, in subjection to the power of evil. In the case 
before us, an evil power from above, symbolized by a star 
falling to the earth, becomes connected solely with this earth 
in order to bring bitterness and death into its waters. 

It will be observed how frequently " the third part " is 
mentioned in these chapters. The precise extent of this 
expression will of course be determined by the sphere 
spoken of whether that sphere be considered to be the land 
of Israel, or be extended to the prophetic earth generally. 
The " host of the high ones that are on high," is a name that 
continues to belong to evil spirits, until the time that they, 
and the great ones of the earth, are together punished. The 
exclusion of Satan from access to the presence of God in 
heaven as the accuser of the brethren (see chap, xii.) must be 
carefully distinguished from his ceasing to be " the Prince 
of the power of the air." He will not lose this latter branch 
of his power until he is bound. 

"And I saw, and heard an eagle flying" $<?.] This is the 
correct reading. An eagle is frequently connected with the 
exercise of divine judgments. Thus in Hosea viii: " Set 
the trumpet to thy mouth : he shall come as an eagle against 
the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my 
covenant, and trespassed against my law." 

" Loose the four angels that have been bound at the great 



NOTES ON REVELATION VII. VIII. AND IX. 135 

river Euphrates."] I understand that the angels here spoken 
of are literally angels ; that they are really imprisoned ; and 
that the Euphrates means the Euphrates. We read in Jude 
of there being other " angels reserved in everlasting chains, 
under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day." Why 
these are bound at the Euphrates, or how, it is not for us to 
say. But when Babylon and the Euphrates, shall have again 
become the highway and centre of the world's greatness, 
faith will have to remember, that in the midst of all the 
splendour of the pageant scene, there are unseen angels 
bound, and only waiting for the hour of being unloosed in 
vengeance. 



" Having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and like unto 
brimstone."] The jacinth was of a deep blue colour, similar 
to the blue which we see in flame or burning brimstone. 
The blue flame of the pit is indeed a widely different thought 
from the blue of heaven : but it is the result of the holiness 
of the same God the one seen in brightness and serenity ; 
the other in darkness and destruction. As connected with 
these horsemen it is of course the blue of the pit. Their 
" breastplates were of fire, jacinth, and brimstone." Heavenly 
blue was seen in the breastplate and robes of the Priest of 
Israel their names shining there on the stones of memorial. 
But now all this was gone, and these breastplates from the 
pit flamed against them. 



136 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTEE XII. 

X, 



WE are now arrived at a part of the Revelation in which 
the scene becomes more narrow, and the descriptions more 
definite, than in any of the chapters that we have hitherto 
considered. The sixth chapter was, as we have seen, wide 
and comprehensive ; the eighth and ninth chapters, though 
in some degree more definite, yet do not distinctly specify- 
either place or time. But in the eleventh and two following 
chapters (to all of which the tenth may be considered as a 
preface) we find the descriptions more minute, and the limi- 
tations more marked, both as to the places, time, and persons 
spoken of. 

The special subject of these three chapters, x., xi., and xii., 
is the period which immediately precedes that hour in which 
the Lord " takes to Himself His great power and reigneth," 
the sovereignty of the world having become His : a pe- 
riod during which the power of the devil, through man, 
is allowed to be paramount in the earth ; " the sea, and the 
dry land, and the strength of the hills," appearing to be fast 
and finally held in the grasp of the great enemy : Jerusalem 
and the nations of the prophetic earth being alike mad in 
blasphemy ; drunk with the wine first mingled by the Har- 
lot, and finally ministered through the Beast. 

But before we have the description of the earth thus ruled 
over by evil, we find in the tenth chapter, a vision telling us 



ON REVELATION X. 



137 



of that hour when One mightier than Satan will come in the 
glory of Almighty power, and plant His foot upon this 
ruined earth, and claim it for His own. " I saw another 
mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud : 
and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it 
were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire ; and having in 
his hand a little roll opened ; and he set his right foot upon 
the sea, and the left on the earth, and cried with a loud 
voice, even as when a lion roareth." Here, as in the seventh 
chapter, we find an angel used in the vision to symbolize the 
Lord of glory. A cloud (the angel was clothed with a 
cloud) is the emblem of Divine majesty. In a cloud God 
led Israel out of Egypt. In a cloud He had dwelt in their 
Tabernacle above the Cherubim of glory. In clouds He will 
again come at that future hour of which it is said, " He 
made darkness His secret place, His pavilion round about 
Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies." 
(Psalm xviii.) The rainbow which had before been seen 
encircling the Throne of the divine majesty in the heavens 
was here seen around His head ; for He will come to bring 
the earth under the effectual power of that covenant, whose 
results are now hindered because of the wicked who "destroy 
the earth." " His face also was, as it were, the sun, and His 
feet as pillars of fire." Here are similar attributes to those 
which mark His relation to the Churches in the first chapter ; 
but now the earth is the object, not the Churches. A time 
is coming when He will be as the sun even towards this 
earth. The Earth needs the light of His countenance. It 
needs the rise of the Sun of righteousness ; and when the 
time comes for this vision to be fulfilled, as the Sun of 
righteousness He will arise with healing on His wings. 
Bright and blessed will be the rise of that morning without 
clouds the result shall be joy and gladness. Truth shall 
spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down 
from Heaven. Nevertheless, He cannot tread this earth 
save in the pure power of holiness. His feet are ever as 



138 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fire, and here they were seen as pillars of fire ; for His stand 
when once it shall have been assumed, shall be one of ever- 
lasting firmness never to be shaken. His visitation must be 
the visitation of holiness ; the unprepared earth must hear 
His voice in judgment; it will tremble and be still. " He 
set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 
and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth." 

The Church knows by faith the power of this coming 
hour : and in the strength of this knowledge has to watch, 
testify, and endure many days. The light of this vision, to 
the eye of faith, shines over and through the darkness which 
the following chapters reveal. We know the proud display 
of Satan's coming greatness in the earth, and see its strength 
already gathering : but we also know the manner of the 
interference of our God. We know that Jesus has a title to 
all things in earth, as well as heaven, and we own Him as 
the earth's rightful Lord the Lion of Judah " who shall 
cry, yea roar and prevail against His enemies." If the time 
had come for this vision to be actually fulfilled if He who 
shall come, had come, and really taken possession of the 
things below, we should not have found the voices of the 
seven thunders concealed : for His cry was followed by the 
voices of seven thunders : (c When he had cried, the seven 
thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thun- 
ders had spoken, I was about to write : and I heard a voice 
from heaven saying, " Seal up those things which the seven 
thunders had spoken, and write them not." When the time 
comes for the saints to know even as they are known, they 
will themselves be in the secret place of thunder and will 
have communion with the ways of the Most High, even in 
His judgments, and the terrors of His Almighty power. 
But, at present, we are not to know the voice of the thunders, 
but only the instruction of the little book which was open in 
the hand of the angel. Just as in the fourth chapter, the 
vision of the throne, although the pledge and evidence of 
our coming glory, yet for the present communicates no gift, 



ON REVELATION X. 139 

save only the roll of sorrowful instruction ; so is it also here. 
The bright vision of the angel is the witness of our future 
glory together with the Lord, but its present result is only 
the communication of a book in which sorrow is. " The 
voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking 
with me, and saying, " Go, take the little roll which is 
opened in the hand of the angel." It was a little roll, and 
accordingly we shall find that the instruction which follows 
is greatly limited, both as to time and circumstances. It 
becomes, consequently, easy to be grasped, or incorporated, 
as it were, into the soul's knowledge, and so may well be 
symbolized by a book eaten. The angel said unto me, 
" Take and eat it up, and it shall make thy belly bitter." 
It was " as sweet honey " to the taste, for all knowledge 
which God communicates to His saints is in itself pleasant ; 
but in its results it is bitter ; for all knowledge that so acts 
upon the soul, as necessarily to place it in sorrowful testi- 
mony " against peoples, and nations, and tongues, and 
kings " cannot be otherwise than bitter to the heart of man. 
So was it with Him who had " His ear opened morning by 
morning to hear as the learned;" and so will it be with all 
those who, after being instructed in Heaven, are sent to 
digest and use that knowledge in the midst of a ruined and 
transgressing world. Jesus was One who had been in the 
bosom of the Father before the world was He had clothed 
the heavens with blackness, and made sackcloth their cover- 
ing ; yet we find Him in the place of suffering testimony, 
feeding on the truths of God; and prophesying only to be re- 
jected. So also is it with the Church. In Christ we see it 
exalted and seated in heavenly places ; but as known here, 
as represented by John in Patmos, it is still in the place of 
sorrowing service, learning bitter things, and prophesying 
to be rejected. The instruction is heavenly, but the effect 
is earthly : " He said unto me, Thou must prophesy again, 
against many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." 



140 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



THEKE are two cities (and in cities we find the expression of 
the moral character of man) there are two cities around 
which the activities and interests of the world .will be con- 
centrated just at its closing hour ; and those cities are 
Babylon and Jerusalem. The secular greatness of men, the 
refinements of luxury, and the splendour of sovereign rule 
will be found in chief abundance in the first ; but religious 
associations, and the design of Satan to glorify himself in the 
very place that God has chosen to set His name there, will 
give to the latter attractions no less seductive, and preten- 
sions perhaps more arrogantly wicked. 

The interests of men are being already awakened towards 
Jerusalem. Civilization is already commencing in that city, 
and in the Land of Israel, a work which the self-interest of 
politicians and the energy of her own returning people will 
finally mature. The restoration of Jerusalem and the East 
will soon attract the interests of the world. It is a sorrowful 
and bitter thing to stand alone, as it were, in the midst of 
the busy throng, joined as it is by many of the true children 
of the kingdom, and proclaim that that which they are so 
eager to restore is, by God, " spiritually called Sodom and 
Egypt ;" that the re-gathering of Israel in Jerusalem is but 
the result of the restless energy of that unclean spirit, which 
after having long wandered, seeking rest and finding none, 



ON REVELATION XI. 141 

is about to return with seven other spirits more wicked than 
himself, and dwell in that miserable race who are about to 
re-people Jerusalem. 

The chapter before us supplies us with the history of 
Jerusalem, during the period which immediately precedes 
its final visitation by the Lord in glory. When the 1260 
days of sackcloth testimony terminate, the seventh angel 
sounds ; and when he sounds, the strange mysterious dealing 
of the hand of God, which has so long delayed the blessings 
promised to and by His prophets, and allowed clouds of 
darkness from the pit to settle in upon that city where light, 
and joy, and peace, should be visible before the eyes of all 
nations this mystery of God will terminate, and other 
scenes open, that shall be enveloped in mystery no longer. 
In reading this chapter therefore, we must imagine Jerusalem 
again restored to seeming dignity and greatness : its temple 
rebuilt; its worship re-established; itself become a centre 
for the busy concourse of many nations ; her own people 
resting under the shadow of the great chief of the Gentiles, 
who for a little season practises on them by his flatteries, and 
then suddenly grasps them for destruction. During the 
whole period of the smoothness and deceit of Antichrist, 
Christians and Christian testimony remain in Jerusalem. 
The message of the gospel, "Believe, and thou shalt be 
saved," will still be sounded in the ears of that disobeying 
and gainsaying people. But when the last period arrives, 
and the 1260 days of Antichrist's supremacy commence by 
the planting of the idol of the desolator, we find Christianity, 
not indeed extinguished in the earth, but withdrawn from 
Judah and Jerusalem, and Israel left to fall alike beneath 
the power of the great destroyer and the superadded inflic- 
tions of the wrath of God : " for then shall be great tribu- 
lation, such as hath not been since the beginning of the world 
to this time, no, nor ever shall be." 

This, however, is the hour which God has selected for the 
mission of a new character of testimony into that most evil, 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

yet beloved city. " I will endow my two witnesses, and 
they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score 
days, clothed in sackcloth." It will be like the cry of Jonah 
in Nineveh, a cry of woe and of judgment. The Witnesses 
will be able to turn back the thoughts over the whole course 
of Israel's evil history; they will be able to speak of the 
law broken of restoration granted, only to be forfeited 
again by aggravated transgression of prophets sent to be 
rejected of the Son of God slain and hanged on a tree of 
the message of forgiveness through His blood despised, and 
now withdrawn of the day of His glory with all its judg- 
ments being nigh, even at the doors of the summer being 
past, the harvest ended, and they not gathered. 

Such will be the primary character of the testimony of 
the Witnesses. They will speak of judgment, not of grace 
of destruction, not of salvation.* The rage of blaspheming 
infidels, more hardened than Pharaoh, and more wicked 
than Ahab and Jezebel, will be around them. But they 
cannot be overthrown, neither can their testimony be stayed, 
until their course is fully run; for power from God for 
protection will visibly be granted to them. Fire will wait 
upon the word of their lips, and will consume their enemies. 
They will have power also to turn the waters into blood, 
and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they 
will. 

We can easily conceive how strangely such a testimony 
will sound in the ears of the great Pharaoh of the earth, just 
at the very moment when he is exalted into the plenitude 
of his glorious power, and how he will meet it in hatred 
and scorn. The apostates of Israel, like so many Ahabs, 
will scorn it likewise, though perhaps they may in secret 
tremble ; but Satan's seven- fold power will be upon them, 
and they will hate it the more, because they believe it to be 
of God : and thus when these servants of God shall have 

* I am speaking now of the character of their public testimony. See 
Notes at the end of this chapter. 



ON REVELATION XI. 143 

finished their testimony, the wickedness of earth will again, 
though for the last time, be allowed to lift itself up and 
prosper. " When they shall have finished their testimony, 
the heast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make 
war with them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." 

That the Witnesses are two individuals, is as certain as 
that Antichrist is an individual. Their miracles are those 
of Moses and Elijah, and this, together with the promise in 
Malachi, " Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, 
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the 
Lord ;" the declaration of John the Baptist, that he was 
not Elijah; his mission being described as being 
<f in the spirit and power of Elijah ;" the appearance of 
Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration ; the 
translation of Elijah in an unchanged body, and the remark- 
able peculiarities connected with the body of Moses, these, 
and other such circumstances, have led many to believe that 
they are the two servants selected for this last place of 
sorrowful and dishonoured testimony as also destined to 
stand hereafter as " the two anointed ones " by the side of 
(f the Lord of the whole earth." But, however this may be, 
whether they be Moses or Elijah, or no, it is certain that 
their testimony and service will be, in its character, that of 
Moses and Elijah. The matured vigour of man's natural 
energies, his intellect and his skill, assisted by all that he 
has been able to borrow from the various revelations of God's 
truth, and even from Christianity itself, will soon present 
the nations of the Roman World, with Jerusalem in their 
midst, as one vast Egypt ; and it was in Egypt, when the 
maturity of its iniquity had been reached, that Moses stood. 
The Egyptians were learned and wise, unrivalled amidst the 
nations of the earth. But their wisdom and their learning 
were apart from God. Their country was unequalled in its 
resources. What river was like unto their river ? But they 
said, (f their river was their own." They held this likewise 
apart from God. Joseph also and Israel had been there, 



144 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

and what would Pharaoh and Egypt have been without 
Joseph and Israel. Through them they had builded up 
their greatness, but still apart from God, and, therefore, all 
ended in a proud and impious defiance of His will. But yet 
Pharaoh and Egypt were never chargeable with the direct 
guilt of apostasy ; such apostasy, I mean, as was found in 
Israel, when Elijah stood forth among them, because they 
had forsaken God, and consented to bow down and worship 
Baal. It was before the king of Egypt that Moses stood : 
but Elijah was in the midst of corrupted Israel. Their sin 
was deeper and more debased, though it lacked the energy 
of the sin of Egypt. But combine the two, and nothing 
will be wanting ; and it is these two characters of evil that 
will be combined in Jerusalem. The great Head of the 
Gentiles who will glorify himself in Jerusalem, will be alike 
the centre of the godless energy of nature, and of the corrup- 
tions of apostasy. He will be Pharaoh and Ahab in one 
person ; and those who are around him, whether Jews or 
Gentiles, will be like their king. The Witnesses of God 
will testify in the midst of them, but their testimony will be 
in vain. They will complete their testimony and fall. For 
three days and a half, their bodies shall lie unburied in the 
street of that same city in which " their (avrwv) Lord was 
crucified," and they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice 
over them, and shall send gifts one to another. But it will 
be the world's last jubilee, for the hour will have come for 
the Lord to arise to judgment, and to help all the meek of 
the earth. He will put on the garments of vengeance for 
clothing, and clothe Himself with zeal as with a cloak. 

The three days and a half during which the Witnesses lie 
silent in death, is a period of death-like stillness touching all 
agency from God. His hand appears to be driven from the 
earth, and the cry of exulting blasphemy is all that is heard 
amongst the men who have so lately witnessed the greatness 
of its power. Testimony ceases on the earth, but power 
does not cease to dwell in heaven. It is in heaven that 



ON REVELATION XI. 145 

thrones of judgment will be set, and the Ancient of days will 
sit, His " garment white as snow, and the hair of His head 
like the pure wool ; His throne like the fiery flame, and His 
wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came 
forth from before Him : thousand thousands ministered unto 
Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before 
Him." 

The time has come for the Son to quit the throne of the 
Father, and to be brought before the earth's Almighty Judge, 
and to be invested with the power the long delegated power 
which now is finally taken from the hands of man. The 
times of the Gentiles finish, and with them the mystery of 
God. 

Whether this scene this secret scene in heaven, takes 
place during, or at the close of, the three days and a half of 
man's triumphant revelry, I do not say. One thing is cer- 
tain, that when the seventh trumpet sounds, this scene has 
past in heaven ; for " there were heard great voices in heaven 
saying, " The sovereignty of the world hath become the 
sovereignty of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall 
reign for ever and ever." In Heaven the day of Christ 
thus begins. 

The seventh trumpet awakened this song of praise in 
Heaven, but on earth it was a trumpet of woe, the last and 
greatest of the three trumpets of woe. f( Woe, woe, woe, to 
those who dwell upon the earth, by reason of the rest of the 
voices of the trumpet of the three angels, who are about to 
sound !" The seventh is the last of these three trumpets, 
and will bring alike upon Israel and on the Gentiles,, the 
final blow ; administered by the Son of Man Himself, re- 
turning in the glory of His power. But the time for 
revealing the manner of this was not yet come. Here there- 
fore, as in previous chapters, the vision closes, and a new 
vision begins. 



I 

146 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

on $efalsii0n X. sjifc XL 



to t. 

"There should be no longer delay ; but in the days of the 
voice of the seventh angel, when he should be about to sound, 
the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath evangelized 
(given glad tidings to) His servants, the Prophets."] God's 
servants, the prophets, had to behold (and it was to them a 
sight of sorrow and anguish see Jeremiah and Daniel) the 
light of joy and blessing that had once rested on Israel, 
withdrawn, and succeeded by a darkness which has gone on 
steadily increasing, until it shall at last end in the black 
night of Antichristian apostasy. The stream of blessing 
has disappeared, like a lost river that suddenly entering 
some deep chasm hides itself beneath the earth's surface and 
there pursues its secret way, until in some far distant region 
separated by vast and burning deserts, it suddenly re-appears. 
The mystery here spoken of commenced when the stream 
of Israel's blessing vanished ; it will terminate when it re- 
appears. 

During the progression of this " mystery of God," the 
children of faith are made acquainted with many "mysteries " 
which are, by God's appointment, necessary to the develop- 
ment of the great end. Thus, the blindness which has fallen 
on Israel in part, until all the appointed number that are to 



NOTES ON REVELATION X. AND XI. 147 

be gathered from the Gentiles by the gospel as now preached, 
have been gathered, is a mystery which we understand. 
Another mystery (of which the great Apostle to the Gentiles 
was the especial minister) is the calling of the Gentiles who 
are now converted, into strict fellowship with believing 
Israelites " as fellow-heirs and of the same body" with them 
in Christ risen. Another mystery now revealed is the union 
of all believers with Christ in heavenly places and again 
that Christ is IN His people here, even though they be 
Gentiles " Christ IN you (Colossian Gentiles) the hope 
of glory." 

It should carefully be remembered (though strong asser- 
tions have been made to the contrary) that neither the 
" Church of the first-born," nor the Church in its totality, 
is called by St. Paul " the mystery," nor " a mystery," nor 
any thing equivalent thereunto ; although many things con- 
nected with the Church's calling and position are called 
mysteries see the examples just given. 

The Church as known in eternity will be composed, not 
of part of the redeemed, but of all the redeemed of every dis- 
pensation. Abel, Abraham, David, Paul, and the millennial 
saints will finally form part of the one redeemed body in the 
new creation. Dispensational differences of light and know- 
ledge, however important here, must not be transferred into 
Heaven, so as there to separate those whom God has indis- 
solubly united in the unity of Christ risen. Every saint 
who has borne the image of the first man who was earthly, 
shall equally bear the image of the Second Man who is 
heavenly, and therefore being all equally like Christ, shall 
have like powers, like understanding, like knowledge, like 
affections ; and shall be equally near in love to the Father 
and to the Son. These things depend, not on what we are 
in the Spirit here (that would indeed alter the very ground 
of salvation) they depend simply and only on what Christ 
is. They are the gift of God in His Son. 

L g 



148 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

[That which had been stated in the Old Testament Scriptures, but 
which had been allowed to remain t'.iere, as it were, silent, without being 
unfolded and explained, is called by St. Paul, " a mystery." Thus we 
find him saying, in the Romans " Now to Him that is able to stablish 
you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according 
to the Revelation of the mystery kept silent since the world began, but 
now made manifest, and by means of the prophetic Scriptures made 
known, &c." (dta re yjoa^wi' irpo(f)r)TiKit)v yvwjOt<70TO.) That which 
was not TN the prophetic Scriptures, could not have been made known 
by means of them. "A mystery," therefore, is not necessarily afresh 
truth, i. e., a truth never before stated. To state a mystery is something 
different from unfolding it. The first was done by the Prophets, the latter 
by the Apostles. 

The Apostle Paul continually referred to the Old Testament Scriptures 
in confirmation of that which he ministered. See for example Romans 
i. 1. " Separated unto the gospel of God which He had promised afore 
by His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures ;" and again, " but now the 
righteousness of God apart from the Law is manifested, being witnessed by 
the Law and the Prophets." Nothing can be more strict than the unity 
of testimony that is found in the writings of the Prophets and the Apos- 
tles. Peter distinctly says that the Prophets " prophesied of the grace 
that should come unto us;" though they were not allowed to fathom, and 
become the ministers of that which they prophetically declared. 

Nothing can be more untrue than to say, that New Testament prophets 
were empowered to write Scripture. Prophets, in the New Testament 
sense of that word, had a subordinate ministry; being such as spoke 
" to edification, exhortation, and comfort," but not infallibly, seeing that 
their fellow-prophets were directed " to judge" their ministry. (1 Cor. 
xiv. 29.) But they were not inspired to write Scripture, and therefore 
the words, " Prophetic Scriptures," cannot apply (as some have said) to 
their writings, which indeed do not exist.] 

"Arise, and measure the sanctuary of God, and the altar, 
and them that worship therein : but the court that is without 
the sanctuary leave out and measure it not," cjfc.] It should 
be observed that the word which I have here translated 
sanctuary, is vaos, not itpnv. The latter denotes the whole 
sacred inclosure, and is commonly translated " temple ;" 
whereas the former, vao<;, which is here used, signifies the 
inner courts only, i. e. the Holy place and the Holy of 



NOTES ON REVELATION X. AND XT. 149 

Holies. The altar here mentioned is the altar of incense in 
the Holy place. The two inner courts, into which priests 
alone could enter, are typical of those heavenly places not 
made with hands into which Jesus has already gone. The 
two inner courts and they that worship therein, are therefore 
used to symbolize those who worship in the name of Jesus ; 
whereas the outer court and those that worship there, repre- 
sent those who seek to maintain their standing as Israelites, 
and reject Jesus. The inner courts represent the place and 
service of the Church; the outer courts symbolize Jerusalem 
and her rejected people. Accordingly, the inner courts and 
those who worship there were alone " measured." (f Mea- 
suring" is the sign of appropriation. We measure that 
which we claim or recognise as our own. The Temple, as 
seen in the vision, was of course symbolic ; quite as much 
so as the seven candlesticks which represented the seven 
Churches. 

The period at which Christian worship is to be thus owned, 
and Jewish worship to be thus disowned, in Jerusalem, is 
that which immediately ushers in the last 1260 days of 
Jewish tribulation. Many, when they see Jewish worship 
restored in Jerusalem by the Jews returning in unbelief, 
will be disposed to say (indeed they have already said it), 
that God will favour the attempt, and accept the worship. 
This verse alone might have taught them that He will give 
it up to the fury of the enemy, who shall take away the daily 
sacrifice and plant the abomination that maketh desolate and 
shall tread down Jerusalem and her people. As to Christian 
worship it will be owned and continued. It may indeed be 
driven from Jerusalem and Judea, but it is not dependent on 
an outward Temple, nor any outward circumstances. It can 
live in deserts, or mountains, or dens, or caves of the earth. 

" The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two 
months, and I ivill endow my two witnesses, and they shall 
prophesy 1260 days" fyc.] I suppose no one will deny the 



150 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

identity of the forty- two months and the 1260 days in this 
passage. Its being said that the Gentiles tread Jerusalem 
down for the definite period of forty-two months, proves 
that they do not tread it down after this definite period is 
over. Consequently the sackcloth testimony of the Witnesses, 
and the reign of Antichrist in Jerusalem, must end simul- 
taneously. 

The three days and a half, during which the Witnesses lie 
dead, must be included in the general period of their testi- 
mony ; just as if speaking in general terms of our Lord's 
sojourn on earth, we should include the whole period from 
His birth to His ascension, and not except the three days 
during which He was in death. Indeed this is proved to be 
so, by the identity of the forty-two months of Jerusalem's 
subjection to the Gentiles and the 1260 days of the Wit- 
nesses' testimony, as already shown ; for no one will say that 
the period of exultation over the bodies of the two Witnesses 
can be after Jerusalem has ceased to be trodden down. 

That the Witnesses are to be two individuals who shall 
testify in Jerusalem during the reign of Antichrist, was 
taught by a succession of writers from the first to the twelfth 
century. See quotations in " Prospects of the Ten King- 
doms of the Roman Empire," pp. 237, 263. 

" These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks that 
stand before the Lord of the earth."] This is an evident 
reference to Zechariah iv. It is a remarkable instance of 
the manner in which titles or offices of glory which at pre- 
sent can attach to the saints only ^respectively ', are ascribed 
to them now. Thus in Daniel vii. and viii., the suffering 
saints are prospectively called <f saints of the high places" 
" stars, " and " host of the heavens," even during the time 
of their deepest sorrow and degradation. Nothing can be 
more contrasted than the place of the persecuted and dis- 
honoured Witnesses, and that of the olive trees as described 
in Zechariah, standing by the side of the Lord of the whole 



NOTES OF REVELATION X. AND XI. 151 

earth. Yet such, is to be the place of the Witnesses in the 
glory ; and faith knows this and will recognise it during the 
time of their sackcloth testimony. 

The petition of the mother of James and John was doubt- 
less founded on this passage in Zechariah. She with the 
rest of the disciples expected that the kingdom of God would 
immediately appear. She had seen her two sons stand by 
the side of the Lord during the time of His humiliation, 
and she hoped that they might be the persons who should 
stand the one on His right hand, the other on His left when 
He should be manifested in His glory. Hence her petition. 
It was no ordinary faith to own Jesus of Nazareth as one 
who could grant such a request. She was not rebuked ; but 
told merely that this place of honour could not be given ex- 
cept to those for whom it was prepared of the Father. 

" Which stand (eorwrf c) beforethe Lord of the earth"] It 
is important to notice both in Greek and in Hebrew the use 
of the present participle in denoting abstract relation. The 
Witnesses whilst prophesying in sackcloth, will not be ac- 
tually standing as olive trees, according to the vision of 
Zechariah, before the Lord of the whole earth. Neverthe- 
less their designation for that place in glory being fixed by 
the unalterable appointment of God, they are spoken of, ab- 
stractedly from time, as being in possession thereof. For 
further remarks on the use of the present participle in this 
abstract sense, see the notes at the end of the seventeenth 
chapter. 

" And if any man desireth to hurt them, Jlre proceedeth out 
of their mouth and devour eth their enemies"] This would 

In Greek the perfect middle is sometimes used in the same way as in 
the present instance. Eorwrfe has been by some mistaken for the per- 
fect active, but this is a grammatical error. The perfect active is earrjKa, 
and means "/ have set;" the perfect middle is eoraa, and means "I 
stand," perf. m. tarcta, perf. part. m. corawe, cont. eorwc, pi. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

be a character of power ill-suited to those " who were sent 
to preach the gospel of peace/' but well adapted to that 
awful character of testimony which the Witnesses will be sent 
to bear after the gospel has been withdrawn from Jerusalem. 
They will be able to lay bare all truth before the consciences 
of men, without being commissioned to preach forgiveness 
of sins. Peter might have said all that he did say when 
they that heard him were pricked at the heart, and yet 
might not have been permitted to add the message of pardon 
through the blood of the Lamb. We have heard of infidels 
who have on their death-beds been convinced of the truth 
about Jesus, without being allowed to believe. 

The testimony of the Witnesses therefore may be re- 
garded in two aspects ; first, in its wide and general charac- 
ter as addressed to the infidel multitudes around them ; and 
secondly, as to the more secret instruction given to the few 
who may tremble and bow before their word. In neither 
case, however, will they preach the present remission of sins. 
As regards the first, it will be exclusively a testimony to the 
coming of the Lord in judgment, and an exhibition of the 
past and present sin that causes that judgment to fall. But 
if any be humbled, and say, " Men and brethren, what shall 
we do ? " the Witnesses will no longer be able to say what 
Peter said, " Repent, and be baptized for the remission of 
sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost ;" nei- 
ther will they be able to promise deliverance from the 
coming fires, though they may promise protection through 
them, and acceptance in Jesus after He shall have returned 
and removed ungodliness from Jacob. Such anticipation 
of the future, founded on the word of others, is something 
very different from present faith and joy in the Spirit. The 
Spirit is not poured out from on high, until after the Lord 
Jesus has returned. Accordingly, I do not find the strongest 
expressions that are used in the Psalms, as belonging to this 
remnant, going beyond the expression of hope for the future. 
There is no expression of present rest in God, during their 



NOTES ON REVELATION X. AND XI. 153 

season of oppression and distress no ability to say, what 
they who have the Spirit of Jesus can say, " The Lord is my 
shepherd, I shall not want ; He maketh me to lie down in 
green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters." This 
draws a strong line of distinction between the Psalms which 
pertain to the Christian remnant, and the remnant preserved 
in Israel, who go, in the power of expected blessing, through 
the fires. 

After the Lord has come and finally delivered them, and 
they have been enabled to believe, some time elapses before 
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them, and the nation. 
During all this period the Psalms ascribed to them express 
great imperfectness of knowledge, especially as regards 
redemption. Like Paul after he had believed they will 
remain in much darkness until the unction from on high 
is given. During this time the Lord appears to have retired 
to heaven with His risen saints, and to leave them for a 
season as a mourning but forgiven remnant, in the midst 
of the desolations that His hand will have wrought. 

It should be observed also, that the history of the remnant 
spared amidst that part of Israel which is scattered up and 
down throughout the earth, is, in many respects, circumstan- 
tially different from that of the remnant spared in the Land. 

The ministry of the Witnesses, therefore, is of a character 
entirely peculiar. No previous ministry that has been sent 
to Jerusalem, not even that of John the Baptist, which is 
most nearly analogous, is like it. The instructions of John 
were able to bring into distinct deliverance from the judg- 
ments of which he warned ; but it will be otherwise with 
the remnant of Israel. They will have to pass through the 
fires to be refined as silver is refined, and to be tried as gold 
is tried. 

" The great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and 
Egypt"] These words should be well considered by every 
saint who is being involved in any of the present schemes for 



154 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

reviving Jerusalem. I do not say that individual Christians 
may not be sent thither by the Lord to save individual souls 
by the foolishness of preaching ; but this is a widely different 
thing from seeking to establish there the power of Gentile 
nations, or of national churches who give their energies to 
that monster, " dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, 
whose body is to be destroyed and given to the burning 
flame." Jerusalem has already been called by the name of 
Sodom " Hear ye this, ye rulers of Sodom !" It has been 
in time past a sink of moral iniquity. But the intellectual 
greatness and refinements of Egypt have not yet been found 
united to its moral abominations. Now, however, the un- 
changed Jewish heart is beginning to be moulded by Euro- 
pean wisdom, and what else than Sodom and Egypt can be 
found in result ? 

It is a fearful thing to see Christians rejoicing in what has 
been lately done in Jerusalem. Have they never read or 
heard of the wickedness, superstition, and idolatry of the 
so-called Christian Churches of the East ? Can it give them 
any joy to think that a Bishop should be sent to Jerusalem, 
charged by his ecclesiastical superior in this country not to 
interfere with those Churches, nor with their prelates, nor 
with any others bearing rule in them, but on the contrary, 
to show them all due regard in their office, and to request 
" their holinesses to accept this testimony of our respect and 
affection?" &c. (See Charge of the late Archbishop of Can- 
terbury to the Bishop of Jerusalem.) Is this testimony for 
Christ? Or is it the woman silently leavening the mass, 
until the whole be leavened ? 

" Where also their Lord was crucified"] These words 
should be noted, because they so distinctly mark the scene 
of this awful chapter as being Jerusalem. The next verse 
shows how much Jerusalem will, at that time, have become 
one of the world's centres the gathering place of ' { peoples 
and kindreds and tongues and nations." What is there done 
touches the whole earth. 



NOTES ON REVELATION X. AND XI. 155 

" The breath of life from God entered into them. 9 '] This 
appears to be merely a revival of their natural bodies. It 
does not say that they were changed and glorified. Elias 
also, and Moses , on the mount of transfiguration must have 
been in their natural bodies, for Jesus only is risen the 
first-fruits in resurrection. Glory attached to the natural 
face of Moses at Sinai so also to Stephen at his death. 

" Gave glory to the God of heaven"] This does not neces- 
sarily imply repentance unto life. It was said to Achan, 
when about to be stoned, " My son, give glory unto God." 

" There were great voices in Heaven saying, e The so- 
vereignty of the world hath become the sovereignty of our 
Lord and of His Christ. 7 "] The rendering of this passage 
should be carefully noted. These words may be regarded 
as spoken immediately after the Ancient of Days has sat and 
the Son of Man has been brought before Him to be in- 
vested with the power of earth. The Day of Christ will 
then commence in Heaven. The first notification to the 
earth of its having commenced, will be signs in the' Heaven, 
and the descent of the Lord into the air where His saints 
will meet Him. He comes from Heaven into the air with 
angels only. 

1 ' We give thee thanks .... because thou hast taken 
thy great power"} This is the time for the resumption 
of the power which God had delegated to the Gentile 
monarchs the time of the destruction of the image seen 
by Nebuchadnezzar. 

" And the time of the dead to be judged."] The first re- 
surrection is the first act of manifested discriminative judg- 
ment on the Avorld of the dead. The righteous and the 
wicked alike drop into the grave, and apparently no dif- 



U>6 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fercnce is made between them. But when the righteous are 
raised in the first resurrection, and the others left in the 
grave, it will be a distinct and intelligible act of discrimi- 
native judgment. 

"And there was seen the ark of His covenant" 8fc.] There 
was seen, not a sprinkled mercy-seat, but the ark surrounded 
by Sinai terrors ; an evidence that Israel and the earth are 
yet unreconciled at the period of which this chapter treats. 



ON REVELATION XII. 157 



CHAPTER XV. 

<Dn t&tlaii0n XII. 



THERE have, from time to time, appeared in what is called 
the civilized world, certain ruling systems of evil whereby 
Satan and the wicked Spirits against whom we wrestle, have 
commanded the energies of unregeiierate men, and fashioned 
their characters. These systems have in different ages 
varied. Sometimes they have been secular, at others 
religious ; sometimes fierce and destructive, at others more 
peaceful and refined. Indeed it is necessary that they 
should be variously shaped and moulded, in order to meet 
the varying degrees of light vouchsafed by God, as well as 
the varying degrees of power allowed at different periods 
to the Prince of this world. But each system in its turn 
develops a wise and skilful adaptation of moral and intellec- 
tual principles to the circumstances of the hour. It adapts 
itself to the tastes and habits of the day, and thereby secures 
an influence that effectually subjects society to its directive 
power. 

From the time of Constantine, when the Roman Empire 
first assumed the profession of Christianity, on to the 
present hour, the system which has most successfully 
struggled for supremacy has been in form ecclesiastical. 
The fullest development of this system has been seen in 
Romanism. There, we who live in the West, are wont to 
turn for the proof of what debased and adulterated Chris- 
tianity is able to effect, when its principles are systematized 



158 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALPYSE. 

and its influence concentrated. The emblem under which 
professing Christianity is presented to us in the Scripture 
after it had attained its evil pre-eminence in the earth, is that 
of a woman, who, having taken meal, leavened it, and so 
stood prepared to feed those who came to her for food.* 
It is an emblem not to be confined to Romanism alone : it 
belongs to every system, which, professing to act in the 
name of Christ, mingles with Truth, corruption. 

But men have widely discovered that corruption has been 
mingled with that on which they were wont to feed as 
Truth, and have long begun to make that corruption the 
excuse for rejecting the Truth itself. Another system is 
rapidly arising which professes its willingness to recognise 
and to cherish all forms of religious faith or observance, 
without definitely accepting any as true. No system, of 
course, can be more comprehensive, none more conciliatory, 
than one which is willing to sanction and to shelter all 
totality of error. This system, it is true, is not yet fully 
formed. Yet it would not be difficult to enumerate its 
leading principles, and to point out the sphere in which 
those principles are at present chiefly found. On this sub- 
ject, however, we will not now dwell. We must return to 
it, when we come to that chapter, which speaks of " Babylon 
the Great, the Mother of the Harlots and the Abominations 
of the Earth." 

But besides the systems by which Satan sways the nations, 
there is another system of which the servants of God are 
cognizant. God also has His system His own divinely 
ordered system of grace and truth. He has already fully 
revealed its principles in His holy word : He has promised 
also finally to give effect to those principles, and to make 
them paramount in the earth. If the Scripture teaches us 
respecting the Woman who feeds the nations with her 
leavened meal ; if it warns us also against her, not yet 

* See Parables of Matt, xiii., considered in "Prospects of the Ten 
Kingdoms of the Eoman World." 



ON REVELATION XII. 159 

apparent, who bedecked with gold and precious stones and 
pearls, shall hold a golden cup wherewith she will make the 
nations drunk with the wine of fornication ; we read like- 
wise of another woman " clothed with the sun, and the moon 
under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" 
emblems sufficiently indicative of the intrinsic excellency 
of that system before which at last all other systems shall 
bow, however little it may be at present manifested in the 
likeness of such glory. 

The children of the Truth will have little difficulty in 
recognising this as the proper glory of the system to which 
they belong. Truth is their parent ; to her they owe the 
homage of their hearts, however much she may be at present 
like the widowed Naomi, wandering in the land of the 
stranger. To the eye of man she has at present no form, 
no comeliness. She is either unknown, or, if known, 
hated : but faith knows her, not as seen in the light of the 
day of man, but as she is recognised above, when viewed in 
the light of the Day of God. This vision of her glory was 
seen by John in Heaven. It is Heaven's estimate of that 
which the kingdoms of the prophetic earth, under Satan, 
will finally cast out from among them in infamy and scorn. 
But as soon as the night is spent, and the shadows flee away, 
and the morning without clouds has come, Truth in all its 
fulness will stand forth before the nations in the power of 
the presence of the glory of Christ, and of His risen saints. 
They whom she has nurtured during the hours of her mourn- 
ing shall then be her " crown of rejoicing." If we consider 
what is written in the Scripture respecting that future period 
" when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in 
Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously" when Zion, 
the Mountain of God's government, shall become the centre 
of His Truth, we shall not wonder at the symbols here used 
to describe that Truth's future glory. All its principles 
will be developed then, and not only developed, but applied 
according to the power and perfectness of Him from whom 



160 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

it emanates. Men will then at last learn what Christianity 
(for Christianity is but another name for Truth) really is. 
They will recognise it then as indeed the system of God, 
embodying every principle of wisdom and knowledge, every 
rule that is helpful to lead to the attainment of blessing, or 
to guide in the use of good. 

Zion, as I have already said, is the place in which 
this system of God shall be displayed in its manifested ex- 
cellency. " Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the 
word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Zion will be the moun- 
tain of God's manifested glory; but it will only be this, 
because it is the mountain of Christ's Truth ; it is that 
which will give to Zion its highest dignity; and all the 
brightness of Zion's outward glory will be but as a halo en- 
compassing that which gives to it its moral excellency. Zion 
outwardly may be glorious, but it is in Zion morally that the 
true power of blessing will be found. At present, however, 
we see not these things. Now is the hour of sorrowful 
separation between her who shall be enshrined in Zion, and 
Zion. Truth, which will, in that day, give to Zion its highest 
dignity, has been scorned and rejected there. Therefore 
" doth Zion sit desolate;" "the Lord hath poured out His 
fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath 
devoured the foundations thereof." Zion has seen and 
rejected Him in whose lips Truth dwelt; nevertheless, al- 
though rejected, He has introduced into the world the ever- 
lasting system of God -that system to which every other 
system shall finally bow, as surely, as every knee shall bow 
to Him. We do not, therefore, wait for the introduction of 
Truth ; though we wait for its establishment in its appointed 
glory. We wait not for the introduction of the system of 
God, though we wait for the manifestation of its excellency. 
We are no strangers to Zion morally, though we wait for her 
association with that place, which, by God's appointment, 
is indissolubly connected with her rest, her strength, and 
her glory. 



ON REVELATION XII. 161 

In the sixty-sixth of Isaiah (a chapter to which it is neces- 
sary to turn, because some of the expressions found in the 
twelfth of Revelation are thence derived) in the sixty-sixth 
of Isaiah we find the description of that future hour when 
Zioiiwill at last become identified with the Truth her own 
proper, though long-rejected system, and when they that are 
born to the Truth shall be born to Zion. Then fruitfulness 
will return unto Zion. Then she shall bring forth her 
children, and that for blessing, without travail, and without 
sorrow. " Before she travailed, she brought forth ; before 
her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath 
heard such a thing ? who hath seen such things ? Shall the 
earth be made to bring forth in one day ? or shall a nation 
be born at once ? for as soon as Zion travailed she brought 
forth her children." A male child (Zachar, a male) is the 
emblem of strength. It denotes a position of vigour, and 
energy, and power, as pertaining to those to whom this sym- 
bol is applied. Accordingly, we read of those thus symbolized 
being nurtured, cherished, comforted in Jerusalem of their 
heart being caused to rejoice, and their bones made to flourish 
like an herb of peace being extended to them as a river, 
and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Such 
shall be the condition of those who shall be born to Zion in 
the day when Truth and her interests shall at last prevail, 
and a standing of strength, and vigour, and power, be granted 
to her children and maintained. 

How contrasted with this picture is the scene described 
in the twelfth of the Revelation ! We see, indeed, her who 
will by and by be manifested on Zion, described, according 
to Heaven's estimate of her intrinsic excellency by symbols 
which well beseem her final exaltation : but what are her 
actual circumstances ? Can it be said of her as seen in the 
vision before us, that as soon as she travaileth she bringeth 
forth, and that, for peace and joy and present blessing ? No! 
" She being with child crieth out, travailing, and pained to 
be delivered." And what awaits her child ? The strength of 

M 



162 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

Zioii and the peace of Jerusalem ? No ! A great red dragon 
having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon 
his heads (that is, Satan wielding the power of all the ten 
kingdoms of the Roman world, which will then be fully 
formed), stands ready to devour the child as soon as it 
it is born. And the child, instead of being strengthened like 
the man child in Isaiah, and having the glory of Jerusalem 
and the nations gathered around it as a flowing stream, is 
placed beneath the shelter of God's Throne in Heaven, and 
Satan is allowed to triumph for a season, and to persecute 
the woman and the remnant of her seed. 

In a wide and general sense, every child of faith in every 
dispensation, whether Abel, or Abraham, or Stephen, or the 
millennial saints, are the children of this glorious parent. 
All such belong to that system which finally shall be mani- 
fested in this majesty of glorious power ; and, with the ex- 
ception of the millennial saints, all are partakers of her 
present sorrows in the earth. But in this chapter, we ' are 
constrained to a more definite interpretation; for the time 
and the circumstances are specific, and fix the chronology of 
this vision as belonging to a period yet to come. The ten 
horns of the dragon, which indicate the existence of the ten 
kingdoms of the Roman world kingdoms as yet undeve- 
loped ; the expulsion of the Dragon from Heaven which 
immediately follows the birth of the man child, and the flight 
of the woman into the wilderness during the 1260 days of 
Antichrist's power, are chronological marks, which give a 
definite future interpretation to the events predicted in this 
passage. 

In order to understand this chapter, we must go on into 
the future, and imagine Christianity again found in the 
midst of unbelieving Israel in Jerusalem, at the time when 
the ten kingdoms of the Roman world will just be attaining 
the plenitude of their greatness. That Christianity will, at 
that period, be found in Jerusalem, is evident from the 
twenty-fourth of Matthew and various other passages. Many 



ON KEVELATION XII. 163 

(I doubt not they will be principally, if not exclusively, from 
Israel) will there be found obedient to the faith of Jesus. 
They will be born unto God in Jerusalem, just at the very 
moment when Christianity (especially such Christianity as 
testifies to the near coming of the Kingdom of God), will be 
the great object of the Devil's hatred and dread. He will 
be holding the full control of the authority of the Roman 
Earth; for he is seen in the vision having ten horns and seven 
heads, and on his heads seven crowns (seven being the num- 
ber of completeness), and clothed with this power, he will 
anxiously watch the travailing of Christianity in Jerusalem, 
found, as it thus will be, in the midst of the very centre of his 
dominion. He had seen it there before, when he persecuted 
Stephen and the Pentecostal saints and scattered them; and 
when he finds it there again, combining the testimony of 
the Prophets with that of the Apostles of Jesus, and by its 
mighty voice penetrating his kingdoms to their very centres, 
and that just at the very moment when he is about to make 
his last effort to blot out all Truth, he will hate it with aggra- 
vated hatred, and will persecute it again. The thought of 
Christianity attaining anything like a position of strength 
and consolidated influence in Jerusalem would be, almost of 
all thoughts, the one most hateful to him. He prevented 
this of old, and he will once more prevent it again. God 
did not interfere to protect His servant Stephen in the earth, 
so as to sustain him and those who were with him in their 
place of testimony here ; neither will He so interfere in this 
future struggle. There is an appointed hour of Satan's 
rule ; and until that hour is passed, that destined place of 
strength and power, in which they will finally encounter 
and overcome all opposing influences, shall not be granted 
to the children of the Truth here. God owns them, indeed, 
as worthy of that place of dignity and strength which shall, 
by and by, be given to the children of Zion in the day of 
their glory ; for he calls them Zachar, a male a name that 
marks them out as worthy of a standing of strength 



164 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

triumphant and glorious, and such a standing he will 
preserve for them in the heavens ; but they will not, like 
the child of Zion in Isaiah, be comforted in Jerusalem, 
neither will peace be extended to them like a river, nor the 
glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream ; on the 
contrary, they will be like Stephen and the Pentecostal 
saints, rejected, persecuted, and destroyed. Yet though no 
standing of strength will be attained by them in the earth, 
another standing of strength, of greater excellency and 
of higher glory, shall be preserved for them above. They 
shall finally share His glory, who shall rule all nations with 
a rod of iron, and shall reign from Heaven. They will be 
numbered among the overcomers, to whom it is said, " He 
that overcometh and keepeth my words unto the end, to him 
will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them 
with a rod of iron .... even as I have received of my 
Father." Nothing can more distinctly show, how all the 
features which marked the morning of our dispensation in 
Jerusalem continue unchanged on to its dark closing hour. 
" This generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled." 
We find Christianity still bringing forth with sorrow in 
Jerusalem, still watched against by the same great enemy, 
and her children not allowed to grow up and prosper in the 
earth ; yet having their inheritance preserved for them above, 
even where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.* 

And how needful, as we look on through the vista of the 
future, to mark well the instructions of this Book ! To make 
us noiv partakers of the thoughts of God, is the object of the 
Revelation. Who would have thought, if judging according 

* Great care must be taken in interpreting Scripture, to distinguish be- 
tween expressions or symbols that apply to any person or persons simply 
as such, or that apply to them in virtue of any office or position that 
they may be holding, Thus the symbol of a golden candlestick did not 
apply to the saints in Ephesus simply as such (which is proved by the 
fa 't that they continued in Ephesus after the candlestick which repre- 
sented them was removed) ; it was a symbol that applied to them solely in 



ON REVELATION XII. 165 

to the sight of the eye and the hearing of the ear, that a few 
poor Christians, by and by to be the object of Satan's rage in 
Jerusalem and having no strength save the word of their tes- 
timony, could be the children of a parent so glorious ? Who 
would see in the movement of the ten governments of the 
Roman world to persecute these Christians, Satan directing 
and controlling the power of those haughty kingdoms ? Or 
who would recognise, in the immediately subsequent persecu- 
tion, notmerely of Christians, but of Christianity, the result of 
Satan's exclusion from Heaven and the sign of his last hour 
being come ? Yet these things are made known to us, that 
we might read the circumstances of earth in the light of 
Heaven. And what comfort for those who shall live and 

virtue of a certain position in the earth which they were holding before 
God, and which ceased to apply to them as soon as they lost that position. 

If therefore we had seen in the vision the golden candlestick which 
denoted the standing of the saints in Ephesus caught up into Heaven, 
we should not have understood that the saints in Ephesus were personally 
translated, but simply that that condition or standing which the candle- 
stick denoted was to be preserved for them above. In like manner the 
symbol of the man child does not apply to the saints in Jerusalem simply 
as such, but it belongs to them in virtue of a certain standing which, 
though rightfully theirs, is denied to them on earth, but is preserved for 
them in Heaven. 

We have in this chapter to distinguish between the woman which 
denotes Christianity; the woman travailing, &c., which represents Chris- 
tianity in certain special circumstances yet to be in Jerusalem; the 
male child representing those born to Christianity in Jerusalem in respect 
of that standing of strength of which they are the rightful heirs; and the 
remnant of the woman's seed who may be Christians anywhere and in 
any circumstances. 

We must remember too, that although symbols denoting earthly posi- 
tions of privilege may be limited, yet it is otherwise with those that refer 
to heavenly blessings. The Zachar of Isaiah is limited to those who 
shall be comforted in Jerusalem ; the Zachar of the Revelation as soon 
as seen in its heavenly exaltation, is a symbol that embraces all who have 
been, or shall be, born to the Truth during the period of her sorrows. 
It comprehends Abel, Abraham, David, Paul, ourselves, and all who 
shall be gathered to Christ before the hour of His glory comes. 



166 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

act for Christ in these coming scenes, to see, in this chapter, 
the record of their condition, and to learn how they are 
rejoiced over with songs of thanksgiving above ! 

It is this deed of Satan in bringing the power of the ten 
kingdoms of the Roman world against the saints in Jerusalem, 
that causes the first act of Divine vengeance grounded on the 
title of Christ's redemption to be executed on Satan. Human 
sin has given to Satan a title drawn from the righteousness 
and holiness of God against man whereby, standing as it 
were on the side of Justice and assuming the garb of an 
Angel of Light, he enters into the presence of God and there 
accuses even the brethren. Thus we read in Job, that " there 
was a day when, the sons of God came to present themselves 
before the Lord, and Satan came also among them." He 
came and accused Job. In this chapter we read, " And I 
heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now hath come the 
salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and 
the authority of His Christ, because the accuser of our bre- 
thren hath been cast out, who accused them in the presence 
of (i>w7rioi>) our God day and night." It is the sufficiency 
of Christ's redemption alone, that enables God, in consistency 
with His holiness, to screen the guilty, and to assert His title 
in gnace to treat them as " brands plucked from the burning." 
The power thus held in virtue of the sacrifice of Christ, He 
has not yet put forth in acts of vengeance, not even against 
Satan himself. Towards sinners He has acted in long-suffer- 
ing mercy and in the ministry of reconciliation ; and, as to 
Satan, He has borne his presence and accusations against 
the brethren of Christ, even in Heaven. All this God has 
done, and kept, as it were, silent. But now the time will 
have come for Him to put forth His power destructively ; 
and he against whom it will be first directed will be Satan, 
and the first results of its exercise against Satan will be his 
everlasting exclusion from Heaven, and from all power of accu- 
sation there. Angelic power, directed against the Accuser 
in virtue of Christ's redemption, will dispossess him of the 



ON REVELATION XII. 167 

station which righteousness had, till then, permitted, and will 
cast him out of Heaven with his angels. This will be the 
first step towards the manifested salvation of Christ's people 
the first step in freeing Heaven itself from something that 
has entered there inconsistent with the perfectness of its 
joy. Heaven will be relieved from his presence ; for we 
can easily conceive how the souls of the righteous (and such 
are, in chapter vi. as well as here, represented as being 
cognisant of circumstances in Heaven), how they and holy 
angels must be sensible of the sorrowful fact that the voice 
of the Accuser is not silenced in Heaven, but that the tale of 
sin is ever heard before God, proceeding from the lips 
of the enemy of His people. Even the knowledge that 
there is also an Advocate there who ever liveth to make 
intercession, cannot banish the thought that one of the 
bitter results of human sin yet remains manifested even in 
Heaven. But though the Heavens be relieved, when the 
Accuser is cast out, yet earth has a season of aggravated 
woe thereby. ff Woe to the earth and to the sea, because 
the devil hath come down unto you, having great wrath, 
knowing that he hath but a short time." He goes down to 
exalt his servant Antichrist, and to persecute the Woman. 
He persecutes not merely Christians, but Christianity, and 
seeks to drive the remembrance of it from the earth. Truth, 
and not merely the servants of the Truth, will be the first 
object of his rage. " When the Dragon saw that he was 
cast out unto the earth, he persecuted the Woman who 
brought forth the man child." But Christianity shall never 
be driven from the earth. It may be driven from what men 
will look upon as the world's Eden into the distant desert 
like Elijah when he fled from the fury of Ahab, or Paul 
when he escaped from Damascus and for three years was 
sheltered in the Arabian wilderness. The refined and 
polished regions of the Roman world will allow Christianity 
no home with them : it will have to seek its refuge amongst 
other nations it may be in the bosom of uncivilized dark- 



168 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

ness : but a refuge it will somewhere find, for God will have 
prepared it. Nations for their own sake, probably, in order 
that they may preserve their institutions and their laws, will 
arise and shield it from destruction ; and the ten-horned 
Dragon will in this be baffled. But in his own Ten king- 
doms he reigns supreme ; and therefore, having failed in 
destroying the outcast Woman, he turns his fury on the 
remnant of her seed, even all <e who keep the commandments 
of God and have the testimony of Jesus." His instrument, 
in this, is a man whose history the thirteenth of Revelation 
supplies. 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 169 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Bit $*hlati0n XII. 



" A Woman"] The works of men may be viewed, either 
their outward or physical, or in their moral aspect. The 
outward condition of a city or country, as exhibited in its 
armaments and wealth and physical greatness, is to be 
distinguished from the system of laws, government, religion, 
and the like, which give to such places their moral aspect. 
In the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation, Babylon is 
spoken of physically, and there it is represented by a city : 
in the seventeenth chapter, it is described morally, and there 
it is represented by a Woman. 

It is obvious that any given system, whether of evil or 
good, may not only be contemplated apart from the place of 
its location, but may become absolutely separated therefrom. 
Thus the system of Rome was once driven from Rome, and 
found a refuge in France. We read in Revelation xvii., 
that the Harlot, that is to say, the system of Babylon 
Babylon morally, will be at last hated and destroyed by those 
who, instead of destroying, will cherish the City in which 
that system was collocated. Babylon physical, will outlive 
Babylon moral. Thus, too, the system of Zion Zion morally 
is at present separated from Zion. 

One great object of the Revelation, in its visions of glory, 
is to speak of glories to be manifested in the earth, or to be 
held in connexion therewith. The Woman, so gloriously 



170 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

symbolized in this chapter, expresses the glory of that 
system which is, by and by, to be the earth's system, 
through, and in Jerusalem. It has ever stood thus before 
the Divine mind ; and faith can so recognise it now. 

It is important to observe that this glorious symbol 
cannot be referred to the Church, though it belongs to that 
with which the Church is inseparably connected. The 
Church had its own proper symbol, viz. " candlesticks of 
gold ; " but, because of its failure, that symbol has been 
withdrawn ; nevertheless, Truth never fails nor alters, how- 
ever its servants may change. It retains its excellency, 
whether the candlesticks be, or be not, removed ; and thus, 
at the end of this dispensation of failure, it is represented by 
a symbol of as bright excellency as originally pertained to 
it, when its children stood in strength as its pillar and 
support. 

When we shall at last see the doctrines, precepts, govern- 
ment, and order of God in a word, Truth, in all its appli- 
cations, brought to bear upcn human life and when the 
glory of Christ, and of the Church of the firstborn, and of 
Israel, will be alike connected with this heavenly system, 
we shall find little difficulty in appreciating the symbols 
which are in this chapter used to indicate its glory. 

The presence of the personal glory of the Lord will be 
the great characteristic of this system, in the coming hour of 
its exaltation. " The woman was clothed with the sun." 

The sun when used to symbolize the millennial glory of 
Christ, uniformly, I believe, denotes that kind of glory 
which is prepared for, and adapted to, the circumstances of 
the earth ; and therefore stands in contrast with the distant 
and comparatively unearthly glory of " the star." The glory 
of the star belongs to distant and unknown worlds ; but the 
sun is a part of our own system, and is specially set to 
nourish and enlighten it. Consequently when Christ first 
appears in the fulness of Divine glory, in " His own glory 
and in His Father's, and of the holy angels," He is symbol- 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 171 

ized by the star, tf I am the bright and morning star." " To 
him that overcometh I will give the morning star," i. e. 9 
association with Himself in that high character of glory. It 
is to flesh and blood terrible glory, and in it He will exer- 
cise the destructive judgments whereby the Day of the Lord 
will be ushered in. But when He introduces that gracious 
and benign display of glory, whereby Israel and the earth 
are to be peacefully and abidingly blessed, we find Him 
symbolized by the sun, " Unto you that fear my name shall 
the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing on His wings." 
te He shall be as the light of the morning when the Sun 
ariseth, even a morning without clouds ; as the tender grass 
springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain." On 
the Mount of Transfiguration also, where we see the special 
type of that glory in which He will appear amongst men 
and have intercourse with them, " we find that His face did 
shine as the Sun." 

The glory of the Woman, however, is not confined to her 
being clothed with the sun. " She had on her head a crown 
of twelve stars." We have seen how frequently stars are 
used to signify the resurrection glory of the saints. " The 
wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they 
that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and 
ever." The distant and unearthly glory of the heavenly 
city, and those who are therein, will be one great part of the 
glory of that system whereof we speak, and will be its 
" crown of rejoicing." Truth will be able to point to the 
exaltation of her glorified children reigning in life, and 
appeal to it in attestation of her excellency. The employ- 
ment of the inhabitants of the heavenly city, with its twelve 
gates, will be to give effect to that holy system of Truth and 
power, which will then be paramount in the earth. Hence, 
perhaps, the crown of twelve stars twelve being the number 
of instrumental agency. 

That authority which hitherto has been so eagerly coveted 
by men, and made almost the supreme object of their ambi- 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

tion Church authority falls into the shade in comparison 
with the greater glories to which we have referred. But it 
will not be wanting. There is a mild, peaceful character of 
light connected with the shining of the Church in its moon- 
like, reflected, brightness, that makes it very precious to the 
need of men who are yet in the flesh, and have, therefore, sin 
dwelling in them. All, therefore, that men have sought 
after in Catholicity, Church-unity, and the instruction and 
guidance thence resulting, will be fully afforded, as soon as 
Israel in Jerusalem shall take the earthly standing of the 
Church of God, and become the metropolitan centre of the 
earth. Israel may well be symbolized by the moon then, for 
no symbol could more appropriately indicate the character 
of light in which they will then shine. But Israel will be 
under the control of Truth, and will be fully subject to the 
system of God. The moon was under the Woman's feet. 
Hitherto, in her brightest days, she has shone only in the 
reflected light which the moon symbolizes. That, indeed, 
will not be wanting ; but there will be a greater light, a 
greater glory there will be the light of the presence of the 
glory of Christ, and the glory of the risen saints. 

It must be remembered, however, that this glory of the 
"Woman and the hideousness of the Dragon, her enemy, was a 
vision seen in Heaven. In the judgment of earth the Woman 
will be without form and comeliness ; and the ten horns of 
the great red Dragon will be delighted in, for they will be 
concealed under the splendour, refinement, and glory of the 
sovereigns of the Roman world. 

Stars* 3. 

" And there was seen another wonder in Heaven ; and 
behold a great red Dragon, having seven heads and ten horns 
and seven diadems upon its heads"] 

The ten horns indicate, what they always indicate both in 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 173 

Daniel and the Revelation, the ten sovereigns of the ten 
final divisions of the Roman world, both in its Eastern or 
Greek, and in its Western or Latin parts ; the Euphrates 
being the Eastern, and England the Western limit. These 
ten divisions will be fully developed when the time for the 
accomplishment of this vision arrives. But when first deve- 
loped, we do not find the diadems resting on those who 
severally hold the regal power. The seven heads were 
crowned, not the horns. 

It can scarcely have escaped the observation of those who 
have considered such subjects, that in modern representative 
systems, the monarch is but the functionary of the will of 
others. In the days of Nebuchadnezzar or Alexander, it 
was the individual who ruled. The diadem was upon his 
head. He was not the mere representative of systems, 
which, though professedly subordinate to, were, in reality, 
more powerful than himself. But as soon as the principle 
was introduced, not only of the sovereign deriving his 
authority from the people as its source, but also of his being 
directed and controlled in the exercise of that authority by 
a legislative power emanating from the governed, sovereignty 
ceases, properly speaking, to vest in him, and he becomes, to 
use the symbol of Scripture, a horn without a crown. Such 
will be the condition of all the sovereigns of the Roman 
world, when it shall first reach its tenfold division. 

Yet we must not expect the rise of pure democracy 
throughout these kingdoms. That will never be. Asso- 
ciations are arising, especially in England, which, though 
they spring from among the people, are not ruled by the 
people at large, but by classes, and those classes increasingly 
composed of men to whom commerce has given wealth. 
" Capital," or influence derived from services rendered to 
those who have capital, is fast becoming the centre power of 
the great " interests" of the day; and into the hands of these 
" interests," as they are called, governmental power is 
rapidly passing. Ecclesiastical systems, educational systems, 



174 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

military systems, social systems all bow to wealth ; and they 
will yet bow more. The sovereignty of these " interests" 
is especially characteristic of the whole Babylonish period, 
which precedes the Antichristian. All the plenitude of the 
power of these ruling f( interests" will be found in the hand 
of the Dragon, for he had seven heads, and on them the dia- 
dems rested. That "heads" represent centres or concentra- 
tions of authority, is proved from the seventeenth chapter. 

As soon as Antichrist arises into his final greatness, he 
will sweep away these ruling systems and establish indivi- 
duality again. Consequently, in the thirteenth chapter, the 
heads are no longer crowned, but the horns. The ten kings 
receive authority as kings ; in other words, they become 
really sovereign, when Antichrist is elected by them as their 
Head. 

Let it not be supposed, however, that the Scriptures teach 
that despotic power in the hands of man, is better than other 
forms of power. How can they teach this ? when they teach 
that Antichrist, in the fullest form of his evil, is a despot. 
The Scripture tells us that power, in none of its forms, when 
left in the hands of man, can end in any thing else than 
misery and ruin ; and hence, the necessity of One being pro- 
vided, perfect in love, and perfect in holiness, on whom alone 
the government shall rest. (f His name shall be called Won- 
derful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, 
the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and 
peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and 
upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judg- 
ment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The 
zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this." 



"His taildraweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and 
did cast them to the earth."] I have already remarked on the 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 175 

use of prospective names in application to the saints. " Stars" 
is a symbol, which, in this passage, can only be applied to the 
saints prospectively, inasmuch as Satan will have no power 
wherewith to reach those who have already entered their 
heavenly rest and glory. They who may be called to suffer 
under this fell sweep of the Dragon's power, will feel the 
value of the encouragement thus afforded by the goodness 
of God, in calling them by these prospective names. It is 
only for a season, however, and within a limited sphere, that 
Satan is invested with this destructive power. " Third" 
gives the same kind of limitation as is given in the eighth 
and ninth chapters, to the plagues there described. The 
language in Daniel viii., "And it (the horn) waxed great, 
even to the host of Heaven (the prospective name of the 
saints), and it cast down some of the host and of the stars 
to the ground, and stamped upon them," affords another ex- 
ample of titles prospectively applied. See also Daniel viii. 
" Saints of the high places." 

"A. man child."] Zachar, literally, <( a male" as opposed 
to a female, and therefore indicative of energy and strength. 
Like "the golden candlesticks," it is a symbol, not of indivi- 
duals, per se, but it symbolises them in respect of the position 
they hold. As used in Isaiah, this symbol is confined to 
converted Israel in Jerusalem ; nor would it, as a symbol 
of earthly position, be used of Christians out of Jerusalem ; 
nor of Christians in Jerusalem except in peculiar circum- 
tances, both as to unity, power of testimony, and bearing 011 
Israel. It is only in Jerusalem that the child of Zion can 
attain its proper standing of strength. 

Although prophecies, from the very circumstance of their 
being prophecies, cannot be accomplished in events anterior 
to themselves, yet seeing that most of the occurrences of the 
latter day have been foreshadowed in events that have al- 
ready been, it is useful to refer to such past events in the 
way of illustration. Thus, although the events of the chap- 
ter before us are distinctly future, yet they are clearly 



176 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

illustrated by events that have already been. We have 
already seen Christianity travailing in Jerusalem, and at 
Pentecost bringing forth. Those whom she brought forth 
were worthy of being named by this name of strength 
Zachar ; and if the early testimony given to Israel in Jeru- 
salem had been received, and they had nationally been con- 
verted, the man child born to Christianity in Jerusalem 
would have grown up and attained the maturity of its 
strength. But this was not so to be. Satan was permitted to 
bring the ruling power of Israel and of Rome against it ; no 
standing for the child of Truth was attained in Jerusalem ; 
it was denied to it on earth, but it is reserved for it in 
Heaven. 

Events similar in character I expect again to occur in 
Jerusalem. I do not indeed look for Pentecostal power, or 
unity, or miracles, (that we are forbidden by Scripture to 
anticipate ;) but I do expect that a testimony to Christ will 
again be given to Israel in Jerusalem, which (though un- 
accompanied by miracle) will, in virtue of the personal 
grace of those who give it and their knowledge and use of 
Truth, go forth with a power of moral influence that shall 
shake Israel, and disturb the slumber of the civilized earth. 
Against this the Dragon will move the Ten accordant king- 
doms of the Roman world ; it will be crushed, dissipated, 
and will be, as regards the earth, as though it had not been. 
But its record will be in Heaven. 

Out of Jerusalem no Zachar-place on earth is possible. 
It is reserved for that City. Yet those who were born to 
Christianity after the Pentecostal Church were scattered, 
whether they were Jews or Gentiles, were children of the 
same glorious parent that gave birth to the Zachar. They 
may be called, what the scattered children of faith prophe- 
sied of in this chapter are called, after the testimony in 
Jerusalem is extinguished "the remnant of the woman's 
seed." It is a name that belongs to us now. 

I have already observed how much it is the object of the 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 177 

New Testament to connect us with the names and associa- 
tions of Israel ; to show that although the outward Israel is 
rejected its temple and worship and services gone, yet 
that an unseen Israel exists who have an unseen temple 
and altars and sacrifices and services. The very moment 
when God was ahout to cast off for ever the mere outward 
Israel, was the time He chose for saying, " When Israel 
was a child, then I loved him, and called my Son out of 
Egypt ;" and again, " Thou art my servant, O Israel, in 
whom I will be glorified." Jesus was that Israel. With 
Him commenced the history of the new but real Israel of 
God. None but those who either have been or shall be 
gathered unto Him belong to the true Israel of God ; and 
now, seeing that He hath made propitiation and is gone into 
the heavenly places not made with hands, we have a priest 
and a sacrifice, a temple and an altar we ourselves being 
priests of the sanctuary who are to be manifested by and by 
in the heavenly courts of Israel's temple as the sons of 
the true Aaron ; and thus whilst outwardly Abraham 
appears to have no children before God, we are Abra- 
ham's children the true circumcision and part of the 
Israel of God. It is true, indeed, that the outward Israel 
will by and by be received back into the favour of God ; 
but not as the mere outward Israel. They will not stand 
under God in blessing, save as identified with those prin- 
ciples which will make them what we now are the spiritual 
circumcision. Now inasmuch as these principles are, in the 
estimate of God, of far higher moment, far more essentially 
characteristic of the calling than the mode of their outward 
development, He is pleased, as far as may be, to attach to 
those who now have the principles, the same names of dig- 
nity which pertain to those who, in the millennial age, will 
have the outward circumstances of glory as well as the 
principles. Thus we are at present called, " A chosen 
generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar 
people," forestalling thus the titles of Israel's future glory. 



178 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

It is, therefore, in strict consistency with the universal 
habit of Scripture, that Christianity (which, not indeed in 
the forms in which it has practically been exhibited among 
men but as it is revealed in the Scripture, is God's ever- 
lasting system of Truth) should be here presented to us 
under emblems that will not manifestly attach to it until 
it becomes identified with Zion. Christianity cannot have 
her rightful pre-eminence, until " the mountain of the Lord's 
house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and 
be exalted above the hills" (mountains and hills symbolise 
concentrations of governmental power), when many people 
shall go and say, " Come ye, and let us go up to the moun- 
tain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He 
will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths, for 
out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord 
from Jerusalem." That holy and blessed system of truth 
and power, for which we and all saints have from the 
beginning suffered, and which now we name Christianity, 
will then assume its destined supremacy in the earth, and 
become identified with Zion, when Zion shall arise in the 
moral grace and in the glory of its high calling in the earth. 
Even now, therefore, we may be called the children of Zion, 
i. e. of Zion morally, while Zion outwardly is desolate. The 
woman is Zion morally. In this sense we may say 

" O Zion, afflicted with wave upon wave, 
Whom no man can comfort, whom no man can save." 

(( A man-child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron "~\ 
These words are to be read in contrast with the words in 
Isaiah. The man-child there mentioned is not, during the 
millennium, admitted into association with the heavenly glory 
of Christ, but is nurtured, " borne on the sides and dandled 
on the knees " of Jerusalem in the earth. Thus, when the 
millennial glory commences, there will be two positions of 
strength and power held by the two divisions of the Israel 
of God one in heaven, the other in earth; the first sym- 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 179 

bolized by the man-child of the Revelation ; the second by 
the man-child of Isaiah. Thus we read of two Jerusalems, 
the heavenly and the earthly. We read also of Mahanaim 
two hosts, as characterizing the condition of Israel as the 
Shulamite, *. e. the bride of Solomon in that day ; Solomon 
being here the millennial name of Christ, as the Head of Israel. 
" What will ye see in the Shulamite ?" (i. e. as distinguish- 
ing her condition.) (< Mahanaim, two hosts." The name was 
first used by Jacob, when, surrounded by his own earthly 
band, he was met also by the angels of God a heavenly 
host; and he called the place Mahanaim, i.e. two hosts. 
So will it again be with the daughter of Zion, when she is 
known as the Shulamite. Compare Genesis xxxii. and 
Canticles vi. 

The ' t ruling all nations with a rod of iron " is a promise 
made by Christ to those who overcome, in His message to 
the churches. "And he that overcometh, and he that 
keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power 
over the nations ; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, 
as the vessels of a potter are broken to shivers, even as I 
have received of my Father." 

What servant of God would not rejoice (if it were God's 
will) to see the nations, as nations, that is, as to all the insti- 
tutions that give them consolidation as national bodies, at 
this moment dashed in pieces, that the new order of God 
might succeed ? 



"And her child was caught away unto God and to His 
throne"} The scene of this part of the vision was in hea- 
ven, not on earth; consequently, translation is not indicated 
in this passage. Preservation is taught by these words, and 
designation for glory. There is no idea of " up " in the 
word iipTraaOrj was caught away. 



A thousand two hundred and sixty days."} This period 

N 2 



180 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

is sometimes expressed in Scripture by " a time, times, and 
half a time (see Daniel vii.) ; sometimes by " forty-two 
months " (see Rev. xi. 2 and xiii. 5) ; and sometimes by " 1260 
days," as in this passage. In either case the s-ame period is 
denoted, viz. three years and a half. During this period 
the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth in Jerusalem ; Chris- 
tianity is banished from the Roman world ; and Antichrist 
reigns despotically over the Ten kingdoms. 

The notion that " day " in Scripture means, not a day 
but a year, is a fabrication of comparatively modern days. 
The word " day " is never put for " year " in the Scripture. 
The passages that have been commonly quoted to prove this 
extraordinary notion, prove very distinctly the contrary ; 
for when God appointed to Israel forty years of wandering 
in the wilderness, as a punishment for forty days of sin, 
" years " emphatically mean years and " days " days. So, 
also, when Ezekiel was commanded to lie on his side forty 
days, in order typically to bear the sins which Israel had 
committed for forty years " days " mean days, and " years " 
years, in this passage also. Moreover, if the word " time " 
means not a year but a year of years, then seeing that Nebu- 
chadnezzar was to eat grass as oxen for t( seven times," he 
must still be in that condition for seven years of years 
would be 2520 years. I do not enter further on this subject, 
because it has been sufficiently considered elsewhere. See 
" First Series of Aids to Prophetic Enquiry," and " Dr. 
Tregelles on Daniel " (Bagster's) ; also " Prospects of the 
Ten Kingdoms of the Roman Empire." 



" And there was war in heaven."] This verse commences 
a fresh paragraph in the chapter ; and, as is common in such 
cases, the narrative recurs to a period prior in time to the 
event which is last mentioned in the preceding verse, viz. 
the flight of the woman into the wilderness. 

The conflict above, and the final exclusion of Satan and 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 181 

his angels from heaven, is evidently consequent on his inter- 
ference with the progress of Christianity in Jerusalem. His 
successful effort to extinguish, by means of the Ten king- 
doms, that rising light, brings on him the first blow of the 
Divine hand -I mean, the first inflicted 011 him in the title 
of Christ's redemption. 

In thus casting Satan out of Heaven the Throne of God 
is still acting for Christ Christ not having assumed as yet 
His millennial power. It is the first exercise of destructive 
power from God against Satan founded on the title of Christ's 
redemption. Hence it is regarded in Heaven as the assertion 
of the authority that pertains to Christ in virtue of that 
redemption an authority which when enforced is able to 
deliver His people from the pressure of Satan's accusations 
(even though those accusations may in themselves be just) ; 
and yet more, to eject the Accuser from the courts of God, 
and to take from him all power of entering again. Hence 
the song, " Now hath come the salvation and the power, and 
the sovereignty of our God, and the authority of His Christ, 
for the Accuser of our brethren hath been cast out he that 
accuseth in the presence of our God day and night." But 
this freedom from the presence of Satan was as yet for 
Heaven only. Heaven was delivered from the presence of 
the Accuser, and was commanded to rejoice; but it was 
otherwise with the earth : " Woe to the earth and to the 
sea ! for the devil hath come down to you, having great wrath, 
because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." The 
accused brethren being still on earth (otherwise Satan's ac- 
cusations against them could have had no place) had still, as 
to the earth, sorrow, though in Heaven increase of joy. 

Angelic power will be used thus to eject Satan. "Michael 
and his angels fought against the Dragon." Michael the 
Archangel is unquestionably an angel and not the Lord. It 
would not be said of the Lord Christ, as it is of Michael, 
that he " durst not" bring a railing accusation against Satan, 
but said " the Lord rebuke thee." Besides which, a com- 



18% THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

parison of Peter and Jude clearly shows that they are both 
speaking of the same circumstances ; and Peter expressly 
ascribes to angels what Jude ascribes to Michael. Compare 
2 Pet. ii. 10, 11, 12, with Jude 8, 9, 10, observing the identity 
of the expressions in the Greek. 

The words of our Lord, " I saw Satan as lightning fall 
from Heaven," must not be supposed to apply to the same 
event that is spoken of in this passage. Our Lord referred 
to an event already past, viz. the original casting down of 
Satan from Heaven at the period of his first sin. The occa- 
sion on which our Lord used these words was when the 
disciples returned to Him amazed at finding even the devils 
subject to them through their Master's name. They ex- 
pressed their surprise in a manner which they would not 
have done, if they had duly considered who their Master 
was as the Eternal God. Accordingly He reminded them of 
this, saying, "/saw Satan as lightning fall from Heaven." It 
was an event that had occurred before the world was ; and 
therefore His words involve a claim to eternal and divine 
existence, just as when he said, " Before Abraham was I am." 

The original casting down of Satan was not merely his 
exclusion from the courts of God ; when cast down, he was 
deprived and deprived for ever of that glorious condition of 
heavenly being which, as an unfallen angel, he had possessed 
above. After man had sinned, and when it pleased God to 
permit evil in man and evil in Satan to do its worst, Satan 
was permitted, not indeed to resume his glorious place above, 
but to enter as the Accuser the courts of God's government ; 
professedly upholding the claims of righteousness, and urging 
the action of justice. But there is an Advocate who is able 
to say, " The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; Is not this a brand 
plucked from the burning ? " 

It should be carefully remembered that the Priesthood of 
Christ will not cease to be exercised, and that in intercession, 
when the Accuser is cast down. If there were no Accuser, 
our flesh and its sins, whether knowingly or ignorantly com- 



NOTES ON REVELATION XII. 183 

mitted, would require intercession. Even the millennial 
saints, seeing that they will be yet in the flesh, will need in- 
tercession, although Satan will then he bound : how much 
more they who will live during the short period that inter- 
venes between his exclusion from heaven and his being cast 
into the pit ! That wrestling against evil spirits of which the 
Scripture speaks, will not cease when Satan is no longer 
permitted "to accuse. Although he and his angels will not 
have access to the heavenly places, yet this will not lessen 
the necessity of their being wrestled against by the saints of 
God who are on earth ; for earth is always the sphere of such 
wrestling not Heaven. The Scripture does not say that 
we wrestle in heavenly places against evil spirits, but that 
we wrestle against evil spirits who are (at present) in 
heavenly places. There will be urgent need to wrestle 
against them when they are cast down, for they will have 
great rage and great power for a little season. Satan will 
still continue then to be the Prince of the power of the 
air, and in the Ten kingdoms he will be supreme, with Anti- 
christ as his instrument. 



" He persecuted the Woman"'] The persecution of the 
Woman is the persecution, not of Christians merely, but of 
Christianity. The history of the Roman world has several 
times afforded instances of the persecution of Christians ; but 
seldom of the persecution of Christianity as such. During the 
period, however, when Infidelity was established in France 
at the Revolution of 1792, we see an instance of Christianity's 
being cast out. It found an asylum in other countries such 
as this. The institutions of England were averse to the re- 
pudiation of Christianity, and it defended it. This is but an 
imperfect illustration ; for the liberality of the day tempered 
even the attack upon Christianity then ; but when this last 
assault of Satan comes, it will be in all the fury of his power. 



184 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

XIII. 



THERE is a wonderful energy in unregenerate man, stimu- 
lated, doubtless, and aided, I might perhaps say given, by 
Satan, which pursues its own plans with a constancy and 
vigour that nothing but the power of God can effectually 
hinder. We might have thought that the complicated 
miseries that had fallen upon Cain his separation from his 
parents his rejection by God his solitary wandering in 
the land of his exile, would have quenched the vigour of his 
and of his children's spirit, and subdued them into inactivity. 
But instead of this, we find them immediately beginning to 
open the fair paths of civilization and refinement to the steps 
of men. They build cities, and handle the harp and the 
organ, and instruct every artificer in brass and iron, (see 
Gen. iv.) All this was man's desperate effort to make a 
ruined world happy apart from God. The end was judg- 
ment at the Flood. 

Again, the waters of the Flood had scarcely retired from off 
the earth, when we find the energies of men, and that in 
direct contravention of the command of God, again develop- 
ing themselves in the plains of Shinar. God then interfered; 
confounded their speech, and scattered them ; but from that 
moment forward, there has been, in one part of the earth at 
least, a steady onward progress of human greatness, which 
God, though He may have sometimes checked it, has never 
yet interfered effectually to hinder. 



ON REVELATION XIII. 185 

I have said, " in one part of the earth." I mean that 
which is commonly called the Prophetic or Roman world. 
Situate, geographically, around " the Great Sea,"* which 
washes the fairest coasts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, it seems 
made to he, what practically it has been, the centre of the 
world's energies. Connected by the Atlantic with the far 
distant West by the Indian Ocean with the East by the 
Black Sea and the Danube with the North, it seems natu- 
rally suited to be the highway of nations, and the depository 
of the earth's riches. And this, under Satan, it is, and will 
yet be more abundantly for a little period ; and then, when 
that season has passed, Emanuel's land, which is the centre 
of this centre of the earth, will be, under God, the place 
where the riches and glory of the whole earth shall be conse- 
crated unto the Lord. " The multitude of camels shall cover 
it, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah : all they from 
Sheba shall come : they shall bring gold and incense, and 
they shall show forth the praises of the Lord." 

But it is not in geographical position that the kingdoms of 
the Roman world have their chief distinction. The provi- 
dence of God has caused, that everything that has abidingly 
acted upon man so as to give a character to human life and 
a direction to its energies, should arise and be matured in 
these regions. The native energy of Nimrod, the beginning 
of whose kingdom was Babel ; the early greatness of Egypt, 
Jerusalem, Tyre, Nineveh, and Babylon; the more sys- 
tematic greatness of the empires successively constituted in 
Chaldea, Persia, Greece, and Rome ; the instructions of 
Moses and the Prophets ; and, afterward, of the Lord Jesus 
and His Apostles, all these influences, all tending in the 
use that man has made of them, to consolidate the fabric of 

* " The Great Sea" is the name given in the Old Testament to the 
Mediterranean. If we take a map of the whole world, and mark by a line 
the boundaries of the Prophetic or Roman earth, in which the Ten king- 
doms are to be, they will appear little more than the coasts of the Medi- 
terranean. 



186 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

human greatness, have been found within the limits of the 
Roman world. It has been their birthplace and their centre. 

From the days of Nimrod to the present hour, God (as I 
have already said) has never interfered to hinder the on- 
ward progress of human counsels. One generation has added 
to the wisdom of another. The fresh skill which has devised 
for itself new inventions has not scorned to profit by the ex- 
perience of former ages. Pride even has been subjected in 
the eagerness of pursuit ; and thus the swollen tide of human 
greatness is flowing onward with a rapidity and strength that 
baffles all human calculation as to the result. But the word 
of God has marked its history, and faith is able to read it and 
understand. It is no marvel, then, if the Ten kingdoms of 
the Roman earth, which form the gathering-place of this tide 
of greatness, should become, as it were, the Eden of the 
world : it is no marvel if lie should be esteemed great, to 
whom individually and exclusively the glory of these evil 
kingdoms shall finally be given. 

Four mighty empires have, as I have said, successively 
borne sway in the prophetic earth. But although these 
empires have been each in their turn glorious, yet there has 
been no completeness, no perfect concentration of glory in 
any. That which had been present to one has been found 
lacking to another; and the diversity thus created has afforded 
perpetual occasion for depreciatory contrast. The second 
had not the majesty of the first, nor the first the fierce and 
warlike prowess of the second. The Roman had not the 
elegance of the Grecian, nor the Grecian the stern consoli- 
dated strength of the Roman. The lion was different from the 
bear ; each different from the leopard ; and all different from 
the iron leviathan that succeeded. Yet there were qualities 
in all these which men have wondered at and loved. The 
majesty and splendour of sovereign rule was found chiefly in 
the empire of Babylon ; and this men have always honoured. 
The fierce prowess of the Medo-Persian empire, the elegance 
of the refined yet warlike Greece, and the stern strength of 



ON REVELATION XIII. 187 

the Roman monster, have all exercised a fascinating power 
over the human heart. "We may well conceive, therefore, the 
resistlessness of their influence when seen in combination to- 
gether ; especially when attended by the results which the 
exercise of such powers must necessarily produce. They 
will be idolized in themselves ; idolized also because of the 
effects which flow from their development. 

But marvellous as such concentration of greatness must 
ever be, yet the power of its attractiveness will be tenfold 
increased by its being found, not in an empire, not in a sys- 
tem, but in an individual man. It is the intention of God 
soon to manifest a man, even THE man who is His fellow, as 
the centre and channel of all majesty, knowledge, might, 
glory, and power. Satan also will glorify with his glory an 
individual man, and men will rejoice in it; not only because 
it is the will of that mighty spirit that worketh in them, but 
because they delight in seeing one of themselves exalted. 
If then we can conceive, not merely the majesty and outward 
glory of ancient empires, but also all that has characterized 
those empires in intellect, knowledge, arts and arms if we 
can imagine the splendour of Oriental monarchs, such as 
those of Nineveh and Babylon ; the valour of conquerors 
such as Cyrus, Alexander, and Csesar ; the intellect of states- 
men, poets, and orators, such poets, for example, as have, 
in this our own age, spread (inspired doubtless by Satan) the 
power of their fascinating but pestilential influence over un- 
numbered souls if we can thus conceive all varieties of 
intellectual power, and all diversities of outward greatness, 
combined in a man, we may form some conception of the 
glory of this great one of the earth. The combination of 
the symbols of empires can alone symbolize him. The lion 
of Babylon, the bear of Persia, the leopard of Greece, and 
the fourth or Roman beast are united to represent him. 
The hitherto divided power and scattered intellect of all 
former ages will be in him so centred, that he may be almost 
said to personify the past, and that in him the mighty dead 
will live again. 



188 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

His character, therefore, will present no new or strange 
features of terror to the eyes of men. It will only be the 
fuller and more matured development of what they have 
long learned to honour and admire. If the genius of such 
men as Voltaire, and Byron, and Buonaparte, have hitherto 
been their delight ; if these, and other such men less openly 
godless, have been able (guided, doubtless, and sustained by 
unclean spirits dwelling in them, for fallen man is but a poor 
weak thing apart from Satan), if, I say, such men have long 
been accustomed to soothe the hearts and fascinate the minds 
of the children of disobedience, how should it be otherwise, 
when the glories of intellect and taste, of war and conquest, 
of the genius as well as the majesty of sovereign rule, are 
found for the first time in perfect and harmonious combi- 
nation ? The very cities and regions over which he rules, 
will add to the delusion of that fearful hour ; for where have 
the thoughts of men so fondly lingered, as in Rome, in 
Greece, in Egypt, in Babylon, and in Jerusalem ? The as- 
sociations of enterprize, taste, learning, and religion, are all 
bound up with these places ; and these are the very places 
that are to rise, as it were, from the tombs, in the semblance 
of the glories of the true hour of restitution from the hand 
of God. 

But in addition to all this natural attractiveness, it will be 
the hour of Satan's peculiar power. He has the command of 
all the glory of the earth, wherever he is allowed to work 
unhindered ; and he will be allowed to act without restraint 
in the Ten kingdoms then. His object will be to exalt this 
mighty monarch. " The Dragon gives him his power, and 
his throne, and great authority." The hearts, the tongues, 
and all the energies of men (and on this human glory hangs), 
will soon be directed by Satan, around this object of his 
choice. God also will " send strong delusion, that they 
should believe a lie." (2 Thess. ii.) Deceiving miracles 
likewise will be given : so that all the tendencies of nature, 
all the energies of Satan, in addition to the direct mission of 
the spirit of delusion from God, will concur in riveting the 



ON REVELATION XIII. 189 

hearts of men upon him who will thus mock the glory of the 
Christ of God. Such is the ruler of the Roman earth, during 
the time that the two Witnesses of God are prophesying in 
sackcloth, and whilst the Woman is seeking an asylum in dis- 
tant lands. This is he, through whom the Dragon makes ' ' war 
with the remnant of her seed, even those who keep the 
commandments of God, and have the testimony to Jesus 
Christ." 

I have already observed that it is in the seventeenth, not in 
the thirteenth chapter of the Revelation, that we find the 
most early history of Antichrist. He is there seen as a beast, 
fe with seven heads and ten horns;" i. e. he is the virtual pos- 
sessor of all the power of the Roman earth ; but neither his 
heads nor his horns are crowned for the crowns are on the 
Dragon then (chap, xii.), and Antichrist is seen in the some- 
what humble place of the sustainer of the harlot ; in other 
words, when he first appears he is virtually her servant, and, 
subordinately to her, holds the authority of those systems by 
which the kingdoms are regulated during the time that the 
political and moral system of Babylon prevails. He sustains 
this system for a season, and therefore the woman is seen 
riding upon his strength. How long he remains as the pillar 
of this system which he afterwards destroys, I do not know 
to be anywhere revealed. But it is doubtless during this 
period that he first becomes known among men. The ten 
kings would not concur to give their glory to a stranger. His 
intellect, his taste, his leopard grace, and his fitness for the 
majesty of power, will have been sufficiently proved before 
they give him their crowns, and before the Dragon resigns to 
him his throne and great authority. Satan does not act care- 
lessly. He exercises due caution in meeting the wants and 
tastes of men, and therefore when we read that the Dragon 
went and stood upon the sand of the sea, it was not to call up 
thence an unknown stranger, but one already fitted for the 
place in which he and Satan were together to act, in parity 
of glory, for a little season. 



190 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

When it is said that he (the Dragon) stood * upon the sand 
of the sea, I see no reason to doubt that it is that same sea 
from which Daniel before beheld the Gentile empires arise, 
and which is there expressly said to be " the Great," or Me- 
diterranean Sea. The Dragon had just been acting in Jeru- 
salem and the land of Israel : it was there that he had perse- 
cuted, and thence that he had driven, the "Woman. He now 
goes down to the Great Sea, the sphere and the represent- 
ative of Gentile power, and standing on the shore with the 
countries of the East behind him, he calls up from the 
Western Sea into the great countries of the East, one whom 
he is about to make lord of the East and of the West toge- 
ther. (f I saw a beast arising out of the sea, having ten horns 
and seven heads, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon 
his heads names of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw 
was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as those of a bear, 
and his mouth as the mouth of a lion ; and the Dragon gave 
him his power and his throne, and great authority." Such is 
his description in the word of God. The ten horns show him 
to be the possessor of the same strength and extent of domi- 
nion that pertained to Rome. But it is not the number of his 
kingdoms, nor the firmness of his power, that will give to 
this great monarch his prominent or most attractive feature. 
" The beast that I saw was like unto a leopard." The leopard 
was the Grecian beast ; and it was in Greece, and in Greece 
alone, that the refinements and elegancies of civilization have 
found their birthplace and their home. Grandeur of power, 
greatness of resources, and costly luxuriousness, have been 
found chiefly in the East. In the feast of Ahasuerus we 
read of ' f white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords 
of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble; 
the couches were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, 
and blue, and white, and black marble. And they gave them 
drink in vessels of gold (the vessels being diverse one from 
another), and royal wine in abundance, according to the state 

, is the right reading. 



ON REVELATION XIII. 191 

of the king." Such is Oriental splendour ; but intellectual 
greatness and triumphs of mind have been principally found 
in the Western nations. Intellectual greatness, and not only 
that but intellect, associated with the beauties and refine- 
ments of cultivated taste, is necessary in order to secure the 
full homage of the human heart. Let us imagine any one 
surrounded by all the magnificence of Oriental greatness, and 
all the reality of power ; he would fail to secure the worship 
of the hearts of men, unless he connected therewith the graces 
and fascinations which intellect and taste alone can give.* 
Hence the predominant form in this complex beast is, not 
the lion or the bear, or the Roman monster, but the leopard of 
Greece. As such he arises into the regions of the East. But 
the spirit of all former empires is in him. As the lion of 
Babylon (for " his mouth was as the mouth of a lion"), he 
has the majesty and dignity of Oriental power : like the bear 
of Persia (for " his feet were as the feet of a bear"), he will 
be marked by the fierce savageness of conquest; taste, intel- 
lect, refinement have no power to hide footsteps tracked in 
blood : his sway, as regards both its iron strength and its geo- 

* This association of intellect and taste has been found almost exclu- 
sively in Greece. In modern Europe it is increasingly otherwise. It has 
been frequently remarked (and it is the subject of lamentation to many) 
that utility is the alone idol of the present day. Taste is obliged to suc- 
cumb to usefulness, and even intellect is chiefly valued so far as it sub- 
serves " useful purposes." Mechanical science supersedes literature, and 
the creations of fancy give place to the realities of practical invention. 
Such, probably, will continue to be the case during the whole Babylonish 
period. 

We see Western Europe at this moment acting most influentially on 
the East: but it is not with the view of restoring the beauty and refine- 
ment of those cities, wherewith Greece once covered the shores of the 
Archipelago ; but they are seeking for ports and havens quays and store- 
houses rivers, canals, and roads, for their traffic. These are the objects 
of modern pursuit. But when Babylon's system ceases, and Antichrist 
rises as the leopard, he at once gilds the scene, and without destroying 
the utilities, restores the fascinations of human life. He is not seen as 
the leopard in the seventeenth chapter. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

graphical extent will resemble Rome, for the ten horns of the 
fourth monster were seen upon his head. 

We may conceive of his adaptation to his appointed work, 
by the readiness with which the Devil assigns to him his 
throne. " The Dragon gave him his power, and his throne 
and great authority." Other monarchs have been the Devil's 
servants, but Antichrist will be, in aR especial sense, his 
delegate. He will occupy the Devil's throne ; the diadems 
before seen on the Dragon's heads, are now seen on the 
Beast's horns ; and men, it is said, will worship him and will 
worship the Devil too. The Dragon, the Beast, and the 
False Prophet seem to mock the Trinity of Heaven. The 
two first, at any rate, appear to be presented, as claiming 
co-equal honour ; the third is the power through whom that 
honour is given. And when we consider how long men 
have been accustomed to ascribe to God what the spiritual 
eye sees clearly to be the work of Satan ; when we see wicked 
and worldly ecclesiastical systems, and wicked conquests, and 
wicked writings assigned to the Spirit of God or to God's 
providence, and thanksgiving professedly returned to His 
name for them; when we see a Christian, and, as we trust, a 
real Christian, consenting to become the high priest of hea- 
then ceremonies in the name of Christ and of God;* when 
we see Christian ministers f( consecrating" (as men say) in the 
name of Jesus, the bloody standards of destroying armies, and 
speaking of the progress of mere human civilization, as if it 
were the progress of Christ's Truth, do we not see Satan 
mistaken for God? I will not say that he is worshipped 

* I allude to the present prelate of the Order of the Garter, who offi- 
ciates at the installation of the knights of that order. The ceremonies 
fully merit the name I have given them. They seek to sanctify in the 
name of Jesus, not only the sceptre and crown of the monarch, but the 
spur and sword of the knight. We all know what chivalry has been ; 
and it is this that men thus dare to consecrate. The guilt of such iniquity 
rests not merely on the individuals who are more immediately engaged in 
it, but on the system that thus consents to serve the world in its vices. 



ON REVELATION XIII. 193 

but can we wonder if conscience should become so hardened 
by deeds like these, as gradually to reach such a distance 
from God, as that God should at last give men up to believe 
a lie, and send delusion upon them, and allow them to sub- 
stitute Satan for Himself?* Miracles also will be wrought, 
" his coming shall be after the working of Satan, 
with all power, and signs, and prodigies of falsehood " 



One marvellous feature in the vision of the Beast as seen 
arising from the sea, is that he arises with one of his heads 
wounded,! apparently unto death. But the wound was sud- 
denly healed, and men marvelled the more. The Scripture, 
it is true, does not in express words reveal what the wound 
is, or what its healing ; yet it may, I think, with much cer- 
tainty be inferred : for when we remember that Antichrist 
had previously to this, during all the period of which the 
seventeenth chapter treats, been possessed of all the influ- 
ence of the systems by which the ten kingdoms had been 
ruled his heads representing those systems as centres of 
concentrated power ; and when we consider further, how 
decidedly the element of ecclesiastical influence is blended 
into the arrangements of all the kingdoms of the prophetic 
earth, forming one of their chief instruments of rule ; and 

* I do not mean to include real children of God in this. I speak gene- 
rally. When speaking of Satan as being thus worshipped, we must not 
think of him in the hideousness of his character as known to faith. He is 
able to transform himself into an angel of light, and will probably be 
spoken of by Antichrist, not under the name of Satan, but as the being 
from whom, conjointly with himself, all the power, and glory, and pro- 
sperity in which men will be rejoicing, emanate; even as the Lord Jesus, 
when seated on the Throne of His father David, will acknowledge the 
Father, and direct the hearts of men to Him. 



f Eo^ayjuEvrjv, in the past tense, implying that he first met the eye 
of John in this woxinded condition. This symbol does not imply that 
Antichrist personally will be wounded. It is a symbol that applies to 
him only governmentally. It indicates that he is smitten as to a certain 
branch of his power. 

O 



194 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

consequently how great the shock will be to the whole social 
and political fabric when all religious influences are suddenly 
swept away, we can easily understand how Antichrist, when 
he destroys the Woman, purchases his place of solitary great- 
ness by forfeiting one of the chief centres of his former in- 
fluence ; and therefore he may well be described as rising 
into his power with one of his governmental heads wounded 
as unto death. When, at the close of the last century, 
ecclesiastical influence fell in Paris, government fell with it; 
the bonds of society were dissolved,, and men were nigh be- 
coming " like the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things 
that have no ruler over them." So would it be again if man 
had nothing to worship; and therefore Satan will have 
in readiness another system, to be substituted for that which 
perishes, when the former falls. It will indeed be a system 
of blasphemy against God, and against all heavenly beings. 
It is the entire rejection of them, for " he opens his mouth in 
blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and taber- 
nacle, even those who dwell in heaven," but it is not the 
rejection of all worship and of all religion ; Antichrist and 
his image are to be the new visible centre of religion, and a 
high priest suited to the system is prepared by the same 
energy of evil that produced its head. Its head is secular ; 
he is the great monarch of the Roman world. Its priest is 
described in the verses that immmediately succeed. 

"/ beheld another beast arising from the earth"*'] The 
former beast had arisen from the sea. He through whose 
energy the Monarch of monarchs had been called up from 
the Great Sea of the Gentiles, now raises another instrument 

* Or land, as opposed to sea. " God called the dry land, earth; and 
the gathering together of the waters, called he, seas." Here, it appears 
to be a particular part of the dry land; as connected with a particular 
sea. If in the vision, the Dragon takes his stand on the sea-coast of the 
land of Israel, and one heast is seen arising from the sea, and another 
from the land, we cannot he in much doubt as to the interpretation. 



ON REVELATION XIII. 195 

of his power who arises from the earth. And if the sea be 
the Great Sea, i. e. the Mediterranean, and the scene in all 
these three chapters (xi., xii., xiii.), the land of Israel, there 
can be little reason to doubt that the part of the earth here 
spoken of and contrasted with the Great Sea of the Gentiles, 
is the land of Israel. At any rate, it is in Jerusalem 
and the East that the last idolatrous system of this evil age 
will find its home, and there are many reasons that would 
lead us to say that the land of Israel will be its birth- 
place too. 

The Greek or Eastern part of the Roman empire, where 
Israel has been and will be, is a sphere in which those 
modern principles of progress which have long been nurtured 
in our island are finding one of the chief spheres of their 
development. Multifarious systems are found in operation 
there all antagonistic to each other, but none sufficiently 
strong to have exclusive potency. The ecclesiastical system 
of the Greeks has waned and is divided; Mahomedanism 
has become enfeebled j Romanism has only a measure of in- 
fluence ; Protestantism, at present, has even less. Israel 
will soon appear on the scene, and then another neutralizing 
element will be added. But all this facilitates the progress 
of a system that is willing to ignore Truth, and seeks to con- 
ciliate and patronize any thing, and every thing, for the 
sake of influence and gain. England favoured Protestant 
England, at present, best understands and most efficiently 
uses this system. England probably will have the privilege 
of teaching it to Israel, who will be acute to see, and wise to 
avail themselves of, its advantages. In their hands and in 
the hands of the subtle Greeks it will prosper still more, and 
develop itself in those long-desolated regions of the East 
which are waiting for the impress of some new vivifying 
power. We may well expect, therefore, that the last and 
crowning system of apostasy should appear in the regions 
where these wickednesses will have been chiefly perpetrated. 

The energy of this last religious system will, as I have 

o g 



196 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

said, be centred in an individual, who will instantly supply 
to the king his master, all, and more than all, that had been 
lost through the head wounded seemingly unto death. " He 
exerciseth all the authority of the first beast in his presence, 
(WUTTIOV avrou), and he causeth the earth and those who 
dwell therein to worshipr the first beast, whose deadly wound 
was healed." It will be the first time in the world's history, 
when the ecclesiastical Head of the religion of the earth 
will act in strict concurrence with, and in subordination to, 
the secular Throne. We have hitherto seen Emperors and 
Kings contending with Patriarchs and Popes. We have 
seen each in their turn aiming to possess themselves of the 
other's seat: but we have never yet seen throughout the 
Roman earth, the thoroughly harmonized combination of 
civil and religious power. It will be seen, however, then ; 
and thus the headstone is placed upon the mighty fabric of 
Anti- Christian strength. Man is not happy without a religion ; 
and he will have a religion then, adapted, doubtless, to his 
taste and suited to his propensities. It will be idolatrous, 
sustained by miracles, and dignified by power. Its minister, 
though he will speak as a dragon, yet in appearance will be 
as a lamb " he had two horns as a lamb " and will " say to 
those that dwell on the earth, that they should make an 
image to the beast, who hath the wound by a sword, and did 
live." Miracles also will wait upon his word. He will 
have power to " make fire to come down from Heaven in 
the sight of men." * 
This is not the first time in which the image of Antichrist 

* The efficacy of such a miracle in deceiving the Jews is very obvious. 
There is at this moment a controversy being carried on among them, 
whether, in case they should return to Jerusalem, it would be possible 
for them to offer sacrifice without fire sent down from Heaven some 
holding the necessity of this, others pleading that God would permit the 
use of ordinary fire. On the day when the Priests of Israel were first 
consecrated, fire came down from Heaven, and consumed the sacrifice ; 
and so when Elijah pleaded the cause of Jehovah against the priests 
of Baal. 



ON REVELATION XIII. 197 

is spoken of in the Scripture. Both Daniel and our Lord 
speak of the abomination (i. e. idol, for in Hebrew the word 
is the same) of desolation, and say that its place will be the 
temple of Jerusalem. It is to stand in the holy place. The 
prophet of Antichrist will have power to give life, or breath 
(irv^vfjia) to this, his image, " that the image should both 
speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the 
image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both 
small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a 
mark on their right hand, or on their forehead ; and that no 
man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the 
name of the beast, or the number of his name." The self- 
will of man will be effectually, though, I suppose, willingly, 
controlled then. 

It is surely an awful scene ; but it will be limited both as 
to time, and as to place. The time is 1260 days ; its place 
the Roman world, and more especially the land of Israel. 
God might have allowed, if it had so pleased Him, the whole 
earth to be full of this maturity of evil. The seeds of it, 
doubtless, are sown everywhere, wheresoever the mind of 
man under Satan has put forth its powers ; but the merciful 
providence of God has checked, and will check, their growth 
in other regions; so that it is in the Ten Kingdoms only that 
the full harvest will be found. There the vine of the earth 
will bring forth its ripened clusters ; there Satan's deceiving 
fires of heaven-like brightness will be kindled. Yet others 
who dwell without the enchanted circle may be dazzled by 
the blaze of glory, and rush into the toils of the great fowler; 
others will be providentially restrained ; others will be wise 
and understand the signs of the times. " The wicked shall 
do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; 
but the understanding ones shall understand." 

We who are dwelling in these western limits of the Roman 
world, should of all men most peculiary beware ; for we live 
in the very countries from which the principles which are 
especially forwarding this mystery of iniquity are deriving 



198 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

their impulse and their power. Many of these principles are 
fascinating in their aspect, and fruitful of prosperity in result; 
they breathe of amity, and good-will, and brotherhood ; their 
fruits are seen in the taste, the literature, the commerce, and 
the decorated religion of the day. Education too, for the 
most part, is made to foster the tendencies of the hour, for 
what is there that we are ordinarily taught to admire and to 
cultivate that does not fall under the symbol of the lion, the 
leopard, or the bear ; so that, thus far, there will be no strange 
features of hideousness in Antichrist to terrify into separation 
from evil, those who refuse to be separated from it by the 
Truth now. 

Blessed are they who learn by the Spirit of Christ to walk 
with Him, among the proud and stately scenes of Gentile 
power. " Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me 
from Lebanon ; look from the top of Amana, from the lions' 
dens, from the mountains of the leopards." Such is the 
place of the Church's present sojourn. The land of Im- 
manuel, which shall by and by be the joy of all lands, is 
deserted the proud mountains of Gentile glory are around 
us we are in the midst of lions' and leopards' dens ; we 
may see their form and hear their roar, but we shall not fear 
them if in companionship with Him. They will not remain 
for ever ; other scenes will quickly open, when the moun- 
tains of the Gentiles shall be brought low, and " Lebanon 
shall fall by a Mighty one ;" and instead thereof the Lamb 
shall stand upon Zion, the mountain of God, and the new 
centre of the earth's government arise that mountain of 
which it shall be said, the " Lord bless thee, O habitation of 
justice and mountain of holiness." This is referred to in the 
succeeding chapter ; but the thirteenth chapter speaks not of 
these things ; its subject is the day of the glory of man un- 
der him who hears and welcomes that word, spoken though 
it be by the Devil, " ALL THIS will I give thee if you 
will fall down and worship ME." 



KOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 199 



CHAPTER XYIII. 

XIII, 



o 



ATTENTION to the detail of prophetic description is needful, 
not only for enabling us to form a correct estimate of the 
future, but also for guarding against that error which has for 
ages been the bane of truth, viz. the application of prophecy 
to wrong objects, and thereby the assertion of its accomplish- 
ment long before the real subjects of description have arisen. 
This error will always be fallen into, when the specific facts 
of Scripture are neglected, and we satisfy ourselves with 
general resemblances merely and remote analogies. 

The modern habit of referring this chapter to the Head of 
the Papal system, is a memorable example of this culpable 
carelessness of interpretation. I say, modern habit, because 
during all the darkness of the first thirteen centuries, and even 
later, we find a series of writers concurrently asserting that 
this dispensation at its close is to bemaiked by the develop- 
ment of a secular, despotic, and (as regards the Roman world) 
universal, system of blasphemous infidelity, and that its Head 
is described in the chapter before us.* But in the Protestant 
conflicts with Popery all this has been forgotten, and prophetic 
Scripture has been throughout interpreted as if Popery were 
the one sole subject of its denunciations. That an influen- 



* For quotations from writers of the first thirteen centuries, see 
" Prospects of the Ten Kingdoms of the Roman Empire." 



200 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

tial worldly system, like Popery, will have many principles 
of evil in common with another influential system like Anti- 
christianism, is certain ; especially when the first has been 
for ages acting on, and morally forming, some of the leading 
countries out of which Antichristianism is to arise. Popery 
is no doubt a chief channel towards Antichrist. But this is 
no more than can be said of many other worldly systems that 
are cast in a different mould from Popery, and are in many 
things antagonistic to it, such as Mahomedanism ; the Greek 
Churches of the East ; Socinian, Neologian, and other forms 
of Nominal Protestantism ; and Judaism. 

Attention to one simple fact is sufficient to prove the 
futurity of this chapter. It describes the whole Roman 
world, throughout all its extent, as brought completely under 
one resistless despotism. Now inasmuch as neither the 
whole, nor a half, nor a third, nor a tenth, of the Roman 
world is at present under the sole control of any one individual, 
or any one system, (for it is emphatically an hour of the 
division of power,) it follows that this tyrannic system of 
successful despotism must yet be future. That it cannot 
have appeared and waned, or passed away, is manifest from 
this that the power of the Beast and of the ten kingdoms 
who are to be with him, never wane ; but, when once they 
have appeared, will continue in the full vigour and pleni- 
tude of power, until they shall suddenly be swept into de- 
struction by the glory of the coming of the King of kings, 
and Lord of lords. See Rev. xvii. 12, &c. 

Again, one of the most remarkable and characteristic 
features of this chapter is, that it marks the SECULAR as 
taking precedence of the ECCLESIASTICAL power. The 
second Beast, who is to direct the worship of all over whom 
Antichrist will rule, takes the secondary place in the presence 
of (SVWTTMW) the mighty secular monarch on whom the ten 
diadems rest. Subordination to the crown, which Popery 
hates, will be the very principle in which the False Prophet 
who ministers in the presence of Antichrist will glory. 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 201 

Indeed if we examine the specific descriptions of this 
chapter we shall find that Popery answers to none. 

I. The Beast with ten horns is distinctively a secular power : 
Popery is distinctively ecclesiastical. 

II. The Beast from the moment of his appearance in this 
chapter on to the end of his course has his ten horns crowned 
with diadems ; but Popery has never worn the diadems of 
the Roman world. Even ecclesiastically it has never reigned 
continuously over the Western division of the Eoman em- 
pire ; much less over the East and West together. 

III. The Beast had seven heads. When did all the ruling 
systems, commercial, educational, religious, military, political, 
&c., throughout the whole prophetic earth, fall under the 
exclusive control of Popery, or of any other system or indi- 
vidual, that yet has been ? 

IV. The Beast when it first is seen in this chapter, has 
all its horns crowned. How could this be said of Popery ? 

Y. The Beast when it first appeared has one of its heads 
already wounded. How could this be interpreted of 
Popery ? 

VI. The Beast was like a leopard. The leopard was the 
Grecian Beast. Has not Popery been distinctively Latin, 
and not Greek, both in origin, territory, character, and every- 
thing else that can, under this head, be mentioned as a point 
of contrast? The influence of Popery has been remarkably 
obstructed in the Eastern part of the Eoman empire, where 
Antichrist will be chiefly dominant. 

VII. The whole prophetic earth is not only subject to, but 
wonders after and worships the beast. When has the Pope 
been thus worshipped ? 

VIII. The Beast continues forty and two months. Is 
this the limit of the duration of Popery ? 

IX. Another, and he distinctly a minister of religious 
power, exercises the power of the ten horned Beast in his 
presence. When has the Pope ever had such a minister ? 

X. All, except those whose names are written in the 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

Lamb's book of life, consent to worship the Beast. In other 
words, every servant of Satan throughout the whole Roman 
world will unite himself to Antichrist. Have there never 
been any wicked men who have stood aloof from Popery ? 

XI. An image of the Beast is made, endued with life, 
caused to speak, and to command that whosoever would not 
worship it, should neither buy, nor sell, but be put to death, 
and this throughout the whole extent of the Roman world. 
Where do we find anything in the history of Popery answering 
even remotely to this ? 

It would have been well if Protestants, instead of 
branding the Pope only with the name of Antichrist, had 
sought out the tokens of Antichristianism that are to be 
found among themselves. Infidelity, (such, for example, as 
that which now abounds in Germany and Switzerland,) the 
willing enslavement of Protestantism in many places to the 
secular power, and the necessary consequences thence result- 
ing, will be found to stamp on Protestantism, in many of its 
forms, marks as characteristically antichristian as any that 
can be found in Popery. Besides which, Protestantism has 
done what Popery has not done, denied the rise of a future 
Antichrist and the consequent apostasy of the secular power 
from God. Yet I doubt not this has been done by many a 
Protestant in ignorance, not in wilfulness, and that it is 
among the Protestants and those converted to Protes- 
tantism that God is granting repentance and the acknow- 
ledgment of the truth. His blessing will never be entirely 
withdrawn, wherever the authority of His written word is 
honestly maintained. 



" And he stood on the sand of the sea."] " He stood," 
not " I stood," is the right reading "he " referring to the 
Dragon. These words should properly commence the thir- 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 03 

teenth chapter, which, is in fact the sequel of the twelfth, and 
should be read with it. 

All the four universal empires the Chaldaean, Persian, 
Grecian, and Roman are said in Daniel to arise from te the 
Great Sea," which is the name of the Mediterranean in the 
Old Testament. Neither of these empires are recognised in 
Scripture as established in their proper supremacy, until 
they had reached the Mediterranean, and incorporated that 
sea within their rule. Antichrist also will have that sea as 
the basis of his dominion. The scene of the preceding 
chapter is clearly the land of Israel ; and this would of itself 
lead us to say that the sea spoken of is the Mediterranean. 
The countries of the Roman empire over which Antichrist 
will reign, if marked by any distinctive colour in a map of 
the world, appear to be nothing more than the coasts of the 
Mediterranean. 

<f A Beast."'] This name in its Imperial meaning is de- 
rived from Daniel vii., where the four successive universal 
empires are denominated "Beasts"* Such is Heaven's 
estimate of Kingdoms that have been by men wondered 
after and adored. Hitherto (except indeed when some great 
type or forerunner of Antichrist has for a moment crossed 
the scene) men have been accustomed to associate thoughts 
of imperial greatness with empires rather than with indivi- 
duals. We hear of the Chaldaean empire, the Roman 
empire, and the like. But when Antichrist arises, all 
thoughts connected with imperial power and glory will be 
concentrated on him. Accordingly the symbol which Scrip- 
ture had before employed to denote " empires," is now 
appropriated to him. He is emphatically THE Beast. 

* I have already remarked on the error which, in our version of 
the Revelation, has confused between wa and Srjpia, and instead of 
giving to the heavenly cherubim their proper name of " living creatures," 
has ascribed to them the name of those evil empires whose characters 
are at last concentrated in Antichrist. 



204 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALPYSE. 

Thus Napoleon, when some one spoke to him of the power 
of France, said, " France ? what is France ? /am France." 



"Having ten horns."] This is the Roman characteristic, and 
is the more important, because it marks the territorial extent 
of the rule of Antichrist. We have only to mark out the 
territorial extent of the dominions of Rome, and we have 
then before us that part of the earth out of which the ten 
prophetic kingdoms are to arise, and over which Antichrist 
is to rule. 

The Roman empire in its widest extent, during the reign 
of Trajan, included the following countries : 

In Western and North-western Europe. 

England, and Scotland. 

Spain and Portugal. 

France and Savoy. 

Belgium and parts of Holland west of 

the Rhine. 
Luxembourg. 

Rhenish Prussia, west of the Rhine. 
Baden, Wirtemburgh, and most of 

Bavaria. 
Switzerland. 

In Southern and South-eastern Europe. 

Italy. 

Greece. 

All the islands of the Mediterranean. 

Turkey in Europe south of the 

Danube. 
Austrian Provinces north of the Alps 

and south of the Danube. 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 05 

North of the Danube ( That P art of Hungary which lies east 
and answering to the] of the Roman Vallum.* 

ancient Dacia. Transylvania, Wallachia, Moldavia, 
Bessarabia. 



In Asia. 

The Turkish dominions, taking the Euphrates as the 
south-eastern limit and the north of Arabia as the 
southern ; this division including Palestine and 
Asia Minor. 

In Africa. 

Egypt and the whole northern coast, viz Libya, Tripolis, 
Tunis, Algeria, and Fez. Salle, a little outside the 
Straits of Gibraltar, was their most westerly city. 

Such are the countries indicated, when we speak of the 
Roman world, or prophetic earth the "Orbis Terrarum," or 
riaaa 17 oiKov/uwri, of the Romans. We shall gradually see 
these countries brought into closer and closer union. Simi- 
lar governmental principles (viz. those of limited monarchy 
indicated by the clay -iron of the image seen by Daniel) will 
finally prevail throughout them all, and the rising latitudi- 
narian system represented in the Revelation by the harlot of 
the seventeenth chapter, will form the centre of their union. 
At the time when this system shall have become fully de- 
veloped, the territories above enumerated will have been 
divided into ten kingdoms, answering to the ten toes of the 
image of Daniel and to the ten horns of the fourth beast. 

* The remains of the Roman Vallum are still visible. It left the 
Danube a few miles east of Belgrade, and running by Temesvar, con- 
tinued its northern course until it met the Upper Theiss, which there 
runs from east to west. Dacia was retained as a Roman province for 
upwards of 160 years. For further remarks on the subject, see " Pro- 
spects of Ten Kingdoms of the Roman Empire, chapter ii." 



206 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

These after being first reigned over by the harlot, will, after 
her destruction, concur to give their glory and power unto 
Antichrist, <f until the words of God shall be fulfilled." 

Half of the territory above described was conquered by 
the Romans from the Greeks, and from the earliest period 
was strongly contrasted in manners, language, and civiliza- 
tion with that which they conquered in the West, where, for 
the most part, barbarism reigned. The distinction, there- 
fore, between the Greek and Latin divisions of the Roman 
empire is not to be founded on the mere arbitrary arrange- 
ments of the later emperors ; it was a distinction that 
subsisted from the beginning. The distinction is still 
visible ; and will become more so, as the influence of the 
Greek name is revived in the East. The Greek or Eastern 
division of the Roman empire answers, very nearly, to the 
countries that are, or have been, under the rule of the 
Turks. 



"Seven heads."] This is a characteristic that attaches to no 
imperial power except Antichrist. He is the first person 
who will have complete control of all the influential systems 
that sway society. 



' ' On his heads ten diadems "~\ I have already remarked on 
the difference between the monarch who holds the executive 
power being subject to the legislative direction of his sub- 
jects, and his being independent of such control. In the 
latter case, the horn (for that symbolizes the holder of the 
executive power) is crowned : in the former case the horn 
is not crowned. We are now entering on a period in 
which " the great interests," as they are called, will 
virtually rule the monarch. Hence, in the twelfth 
chapter, the diadems are on the heads, not on the horns. 
In the thirteenth chapter, on the contrary, "the interests" 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 07 

being then thoroughly subjected to the monarchs, the diadems 
are transferred to the horns. 



"And on his heads names of blasphemy"] This is impor- 
tant, because, it shows how thoroughly society will have 
become leavened by the principles of Antichrist. There 
have been periods when society has resisted the impulses of 
the governing power, and refused to follow it in its course of 
evil; but here the very associations by which the mind of 
society will be chiefly expressed will be given over to 
blasphemy. 

"And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard."] 
The leopard is used in Daniel vii. to symbolize Greece. 
Subtility as well as elegance marks the leopard. Antichrist 
will not only have the moral and intellectual characteristics 
of Greece, he will also arise from the Greek, not the Latin, 
part of the Roman empire. This we learn from Daniel viii. 
See that chapter considered in " Prospects of the Ten King- 
doms of the Roman Empire." 

" His feet were as the feet of a bear"] " Feet" is an em- 
blem continually used in Scripture as a moral symbol. Thus 
of the Lord, it is said, " His feet were as fine brass, as 
though they burned in a furnace;" and the saints are ex- 
horted to have their " feet shod with the preparation of the 
gospel of peace." 

The savage character of Antichrist is frequently referred 
to in the Scripture. " Is this the man that made the earth 
to tremble, that did shake kingdoms ; that made the world as 
a wilderness and destroyed the cities thereof, that opened not 
the houses of his prisoners ? " (Isaiah xiv.) 

In Daniel, we find him called " a king of fierce counte- 
nance who shall destroy wonderfully ;" (Dan. viii. 3), and 



208 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

in Daniel xi. 41, we have an account of his triumphant 
warfare. 

In Zechariah too, where he is described, not as a warrior, 
but as the pretended shepherd of Israel, we find still the 
characteristics of the bear. ft Lo ! I will raise up a shepherd 
in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, 
neither shall seek the young one,nor heal that that is broken, 
nor feed that that standeth still ; but he shall eat the flesh of 
the fat and tear their claws in pieces." (Zech. xi. IT.) 



5. 

(( And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great 
and blasphemous things ; and authority was given unto him 
to act forty -and-two months"'] I have already spoken of the 
forty-and-two months as identical with the 1260 days else- 
where mentioned and " the time, times, and half-a-time" of 
Daniel; "time" being the expression used in Hebrew to 
indicate the period between one set annual feast of the Jews 
and another, as from Passover to Passover, or Pentecost to 
Pentecost. 

The subject of this chapter is not the history of Anti- 
christian principles (they were working before the Reve- 
lation was written) ; it is the history of THE Antichrist. 
It could be said of none other than an individual person, that 
he shall be ff cast alive into a lake of fire burning with 
brimstone." (See Rev. xix. 20.) 

Moreover, though the principles of Antichrist have existed 
in their scattered form from the Apostle's days to our own, 
yet they are not brought into that systematized form in which 
they will be presented to the world when he himself arises 
into his proper power. His system is coeval with himself 
indeed he is even obliged to destroy another system which he 
had previously sustained, in order to make way for his own. 
Consequently, if this chapter were the history of Antichris- 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 09 

tianism as a system, instead of that of Antichrist as an 
individual, the interpretation would not be less definite of 
less restricted. The history of his system could not be 
extended over a lengthened period, any more than that or 
his own personal existence. 

There are three references to Daniel vii. in this chapter 
which should be noticed, as showing that the little horn of 
Daniel, and the Beast of this chapter, symbolize the same 
person. 

Dan. vii. 8. A mouth speaking great things. 
Rev. xiii. 5. A mouth speaking great and blasphemous 
things. 

Dan. vii. 21. The same horn made war with the saints 
and prevailed against them. 

Rev. xiii. 7. And it was given unto him to make war 
with the saints and to overcome them. 

Dan. vii. 25. They shall be given into his hand until a 
time, times, and the dividing of time. 

Rev. xiii. 5. Authority was given unto him to act forty 
and two months. 

" To blaspheme His name and His tabernacle" &c.] 
Heaven is the tabernacle or dwelling-place of God. Heaven 
even the heaven of heavens is the Lord's ; and seeing that 
Antichrist, though he may rule the earth, cannot attain unto 
the dwelling-place of God; the only thing that he can do is 
to revile it, and those that dwell therein. 

We must remember that although aKr\vri (tabernacle) is 
often applied to a moveable habitation, yet that it does not 
necessarily imply transitoriness. We find it sometimes ap- 
plied to things which are expressly said to be everlasting. 

Thus in Luke xvi. 9, " That they may receive you into 
everlasting habitations." It was the desire of David that the 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

ark of God should no longer dwell in curtains (2 Sam. vii.), 
but have a stationary habitation. In. Acts vii. 46 this is 
referred to, and it is said that he desired to find a tabernacle 
(OK^V^JJLCL) for the God of Jacob. The corresponding He - 
brew word is used in Psalm cxxxii. 5, and is there translated 
habitation: "Until I find an habitation for the mighty God 
of Jacob." See also Isaiah xxii. 16, " That graveth an habit' 
ation for himself in a rock." T^ese instances are sufficient 
to show that both in the Old and New Testaments this word 
is often used in a sense quite opposed to transitoriness. 

If we turn to the Hebrews, we there find that Jesus is said 
to be the minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord hath 
framed (sTr^yey), and not man; and again, it is said to be a 
' e greater and more perfect tabernacle (i. e. than the first), not 
made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;" and 
immediately after, this tabernacle is said to be the heavens. 
In this case, therefore, an eternal sense strongly attaches to 
" tabernacle," for His place of ministration is as enduring as 
Himself. 

We cannot, therefore, after reading the ninth of Hebrews, 
feel any difficulty in saying that heaven is, in a very peculiar 
sense, the tabernacle of God. Whilst the outward Israel 
have no tabernacle, we have ; and it is heaven the place 
where our Priest ministers, even as in the holiest of all. At 
present, the inner court of this heavenly tabernacle alone 
exists, but the second, i. e. the heavenly city, will be added 
in due time, and that too is called the tabernacle of God. 
(See Rev. xxi.) Transitoriness does not attach here. 

Whether, therefore, we understand tabernacle in this more 
specific sense, or whether we take it in the general sense of 
"habitation," it equally designates heaven: and the sense of 
transitoriness is in either case to be excluded. 

(( To make war with the saints" $*<?.] These are they who 
are mentioned in the concluding verse of the preceding 
chapter, as " the rest of the woman's seed." In Daniel they 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 



are called "saints of the high, places" (]^V^) their pro- 
spective name of glory. In the Revelation, they are described 
as those "who keep the commandments of God and have the 
testimony of Jesus;" and again, as those "that keep the 
commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. xiv.) 
Some have strangely endeavoured to explain the words, 
"having the testimony of Jesus," as meaning something short 
of proper Christian testimony. Will they similarly explain 
the words of 1 Cor i. 6, " Even as the testimony of Christ 
hath been stedfastly maintained amongst you?" ( 



The saints here mentioned are afterwards described as 
standing on the sea of glass, singing the song of Moses and 
the song of the Lamb ; and again, as reigning with Christ a 
thousand years (ch. xx.). Yet some, who maintain the false 
doctrine of a plurality of resurrections at the commencement 
of the millennium, exclude these saints from the Church of 
the first-born ; and take from the Church her highest earthly 
honour of bearing testimony for her Lord during the hour of 
Satan's chiefest triumph. Hence their effort to depreciate 
these saints whom it is one especial object of this book to 
honour. 

"And authority was given him over every kindred, and 
people, and tongue, and nation"] This language of univer- 
sality is, in the Scripture, always used of, or by, the four 
empires and their monarchs. Indeed we are always accus- 
tomed to speak of the Chaldsean, Persian, Greek, and Eoman 
empires as " Universal " empires, not as meaning that they 
absolutely ruled every nation on the earth, (for of the greater 
part of the earth they knew nothing,) but as meaning that 
they possessed a power with which no other nations on the 
earth could successfully compete. Their power was para- 
mount till their appointed course was run. 

Examples of universal expressions thus used may be seen 
in the following passages : 

p 2 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

I. Of Nebuchadnezzar it is said, " Thou, O king, art a 
king of kings, for the God of heaven hath given thee a king- 
dom, power, and strength, and glory ; and wheresoever the 
children of men dwell, the beasts of the field, and the fowls 
of the heaven, hath he given into thine hand, and hath made 
thee ruler over them ALL." (Daniel ii. 37.) 

And again, "Nebuchadnezzar the king unto all peoples, 
nations, and languages, that dwell in ALL the earth." 
(Daniel iv. 1.) 

II. Cyrus of Persia says, " The Lord God of heaven 
hath given me ALL the kingdoms of the earth." (Ezra i. .) 

III. Of the Grecian empire it is said, "A third king- 
dom of brass which shall bear rule over ALL the earth. 
(Daniel ii. 39.) 

IV. Of the fourth or Roman empire, it is said, " that it 
should devour the WHOLE earth." (Dan. vii. 23.) And 
again, " there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that 
the WHOLE WORLD should be taxed." 

We cannot wonder, therefore, that similar expressions of 
universality should be applied to Antichrist as the last in- 
heritor of the power of these mighty empires. That his 
power will not be absolutely universal, is shown by the ex- 
press statements of Scripture itself; for Moab, Edom, and 
the chief of the children of Ammon (see Dan. xi.), and the 
vast Gog and Magog nations mentioned in Ezekiel xxxviii., 
although so closely bordering on his dominions, are not to be 
brought under his control : besides which, he would not be 
symbolized by a ten-horned beast, if his authority were more 
extensively established. The Ten Kingdoms, however, will 
be the world in miniature, and hence another reason for the 
universality of the expressions. 

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him he 
whose name hath not been written, from the foundation of the 
world, in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain."] 
In what sense could these words be applied to Popery, or 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. 

any other system, or individual, that yet has been ? It should 
be observed that the words, " from the foundation of the 
world," are connected with " written," and not with " the 
Lamb that hath been slain." Compare Rev. xvii. 8: "Whose 
names were not written in the book of life from the foundation 
of the world." Christ is called " the Lamb fore-ordained ;" 
but it is not scriptural to say, that he hath been slain from the 
foundation of the world. 

" If any one be for captivity, he goeth away (i. e. into 
captivity); if any one will kill with the sword, with the 
sword must he be killed. Here is the endurance and the faith 
of the saints."] The saints will be greatly tempted, no doubt, 
to resist Antichrist by violent means. But they must remem- 
ber these words. If any one be appointed for captivity, into 
captivity he must surely go ; and it is well for him to submit 
his neck meekly to the yoke. But if any shall say, Nay ! 
but I will resist with the sword, such an one by the sword 
shall fall. God will not sanction such resistance. Christ 
was the impersonation of good, and He was not to be 
defended by the sword : Antichrist will be the impersonation 
of evil ; nevertheless, he is not to be resisted by the sword. 
The feet of the saint must be shod only with the preparation 
of the gospel of peace. Well may it be said of such circum- 
stances, "here is the endurance and the faith of the saints." 

" He had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a 
dragon."'} This is said of the second beast who ministers 
in the presence of (^WTTIO^) the great secular monarch. 
"Coming events," it has been said, "cast their shadows 
before ;" and this is peculiarly true in the progress of evil. 
The Papacy has often assumed the form of lamb-like gentle- 
ness, and pretended to be the messenger of peace and love ; 
yet who that has had the ear of faith, has not been able to 
detect under its smoothest pretensions, the voice of the 
Dragon ? And as the system of latitudinarian liberalism forms 



14 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

itself, we shall see this still further exemplified. It will 
speak abundantly of philanthropy, brotherhood, peace, ces- 
sation from ungainly strife, and the like ; it will assiduously 
imitate the lamb, but the voice of the Dragon will be there, 
full of all enmity to the distinguishing truths of Christ and 
to those who uphold them. 

" And cause that whosoever would not ivorship the image 
of the Beast should be killed"] Although this will be the 
behest of the miraculous image, endowed with breath that it 
might speak and issue this command, yet it by no means 
follows that its decree will be successfully carried into effect. 
Daniel was not harmed by the decree of Nebuchadnezzar ; 
nor could Jezebel destroy all the prophets of the Lord. 
Obadiah hid a hundred; and when Elijah thought he was 
alone, there were yet seven thousand others who had not 
bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 

As regards the number of the Beast, which his servants 
will bear as his device, I see no reason to doubt that it is 
literally 666 six units, six tens, six hundreds, or six thrice 
repeated. Seven is the number of God's perfectness ; six 
the number of human effort. For six days, men labour. 
When the end of their thrice repeated efforts shall be seen, 
and they shall have done all they can do, a world groaning 
under the power of Antichrist and the devil, and madly 
worshipping an idol, shall be the result. 



ON REVELATION XLV. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

XIV. 



IN the preceding chapter we have seen the mighty nations 
of the prophetic earth (those nations which from the day that 
the throne of David was overthrown in Jerusalem (Dan. i. 1) 
to the present hour have, by the appointment of God, been 
pre-eminent in the earth, supreme in power, and supreme in 
glory, even as they will be till the Son of David shall re- 
turn j we have seen them in the preceding chapter subject, 
gladly and willingly subject, to the power of evil, worship- 
ping the dragon and worshipping the beast, saying, " who is 
like unto the beast, who is able to make war with him?" 
In the thirteenth chapter no interference on the part of God 
is mentioned. Evil appears to reign, as if God had forsaken 
the earth, and allowed the throne of wickedness to be estab- 
lished in undisturbed supremacy. 

But it is far otherwise. God will plead with men both in 
testimony and judgment, and this the fourteenth chapter 
reveals. It tells us how the clusters of the vine of the earth 
will be cast into the wine-press of the wrath of God the 
doom of apostasy. It speaks also of the harvest to be reaped 
from those countries where professing Christianity will yet 
be found. But before it makes mention of these things, true 
to the manner in which Scripture is ever wont to speak of 
the concluding blessing before it declares the sorrow that 
precedes, it reveals the earthly seat of that new and heavenly 



16 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

power whereby the earth and all things therein will be 
ordered, when the reign of wickedness and the hour of 
judgment shall have passed away, and the mountain of God 
be established in holy supremacy over all nations. 

" I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion." No words 
can contrast more strongly with all that the preceding 
chapter had revealed. It is no longer the ten-horned beast 
with the form of a leopard, and the feet of a bear, and the 
mouth of a lion, holding by the dragon's gift the dragon's 
throne; but it is the Lamb upon Zion, the mountain of God's 
power, the mountain of God's holiness ; the same Lamb that 
had before been seen in the midst of the throne, the Lord 
of all its glory the same who is to feed the flock of God 
in their heavenly fold, and to lead them unto living fountains 
of waters ; even at that same moment when " they who 
worship the beast and his image shall drink of the wine of 
the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into 
the cup of His indignation. And the smoke of their tor- 
ment ascendeth up for ever and ever ; and they have no 
rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, 
and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." 

It requires but little knowledge, either of the world or 
of Jesus, to be able to contrast Him and His character 
with the ways and character of that Wicked one who precedes 
Him in the throne of the earth's glory. The Roman world 
with all its greatness will willingly wait upon the great 
destroyer ; but when Jesus came into the midst of it, meek, 
lowly, and having salvation, it gave Him nothing at first, 
not even a place where to lay His head ; and when at length 
it did open its hand to give, it gave the scourge, the thorns, 
the vinegar, the gall, and the cross. But He came to be 
the heir of suffering. The leopard's graceful' form could 
not symbolize Him, whose visage was more marred than any 
man, and His form more than the sons of men ; the mouth of 
the lion of Babylon could not be an emblem for Him, who 
was " meek and lowly of heart," who did not " strive nor 



ON REVELATION XIV. 17 

cry, neither did any hear His voice in the streets ; " the feet 
of a bear could not symbolize the good Shepherd, who said, 
" Feed my lambs, feed my sheep ; " " who came not to 
destroy men's lives, but to save." To make self his idol 
to depreciate God and man, that he may exalt himself 
to be deaf to the general groan of creation, and heedless of 
the cry of the widow and the fatherless, the sigh of the 
oppressed and of the prisoner to lay the foundation 
of his greatness in the miseries and sins of men, and to 
draw the halo of glory around his single brow, is the object 
of Antichrist. He comes from beneath ; his origin is from 
the pit (chap. xi. 7) : and yet he says, " I will ascend into 
heaven ; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God ; I 
will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides 
of the north ; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds ; 
I will be like the Most High." But Jesus whose home 
was in the Father's bosom, seeking Another's glory and 
others' blessing, came into this living mass of corruption 
and suffering to find in it for Himself sorrow and death, 
that He might be to others life. The acuteness of His 
sensibilities, and the liveliness of His sympathy, which 
were necessary to His perfectness as man (for it pertains to 
man to feel), added poignancy to His sufferings. They made 
Him like a tender plant, beneath a rude and inclement sky. 
But He lived not lor Himself. He came " not to be minis- 
tered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom 
for many." His life has been taken from the earth ; but His 
memorial is blessed for ever. And when the time shall 
come for Him to return from the pavilion of God, in which 
He is now hidden, and to stand upon Zion in possession of 
the government of earth, it will be as no unknown stranger, 
but as One who has been known, and proved, and found 
worthy, known in His eternal glory before the world was 
known in suffering and in death known in the present 
exercise of the power of the Almighty throne. He has been 
known by God, known by the Spirit of God also in His 
saints, and we are able to say that " He is worthy." 



18 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

The purpose of the Lamb in again visiting the earth is to 
bring into it, and finally to establish in it, the glory and the 
holiness, and the happiness of heaven. He has finished the 
work of atonement, and has sat down on the throne of the 
majesty in the heavens ; but we wait for His return, in order 
that we may behold what the full manifested results of re- 
demption are to be. The love which God hath to us is at 
present little evidenced by the things around us ; little, 
I mean, in comparison with that hour when all things shall 
be heard giving thanks because He shall have opened His 
hand to satisfy the desire of every living thing. We know 
His love inwardly ; it is " shed abroad in our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit," and inwardly we are comforted and 
strengthened. To our hearts secretly it is like dew upon 
the thirsty ground, or like ointment poured upon the burn- 
ing wound. But these effects are hidden. They are secret 
in the heart, whilst everything around us groans ; and we 
ourselves, in unredeemed bodies, eat our bread with the 
sweat of our brow, from a ground that the Lord hath cursed. 
Thus, to the Spirit, it still is what it was to Jesus, the valley 
of the shadow of death, and all the fires that men kindle, 
that they may warm themselves in the sparks of their kind- 
ling, and say, "Aha, I am warm, 1 have seen the fire," only 
add, to the eye of faith, new terrors to the scene. Never- 
theless it is in this world that the glory and holiness, and 
happiness of heaven is to be manifested and established. 
Finally, its establishment will be universal, for He will 
make ALL things new. But even in the millennium, whilst 
the present framework of this fallen creation remains, there 
is one spot in the earth, where the righteousness, and joy, 
and blessedness of heaven will be perfectly found, and that 
spot is the height of Zion. 

That Mount Zion, in connection with the earthly Jeru- 
salem, which will be builded around it, will become the 
centre of the earth's legislation and government, and will be 
so acknowledged by all nations, is again and again declared 
in the Scripture. " And it shall come to pass in the last 



ON REVELATION XIV. 19 

days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be es- 
tablished in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted 
above the hills ; and all nations shall now unto it. And 
many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to 
the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, 
and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His 
paths ; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word 
of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among 
the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall 
beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into 
pruning hooks ; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, 
come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." (Isa. ii.) 

But it is not its connection with God's earthly city, nor 
even its connection with the earthly throne of the Son of 
David, nor its recognised supremacy among the nations, that 
will give to Zion its great and distinguishing attribute of 
glory. It will be the place where heavenly glory will be 
made visible before the eyes of men. It will be the strong- 
hold of Jerusalem's strength, because it will be the citadel* 
of the risen saints the place of the presence of divine glory 
and omnipotent power. 

When Israel came out of Egypt they were gathered 
around Mount Sinai. They were not indeed allowed to 
touch the mountain, but they were gathered at its foot. Their 
tents, clustering around it, sought, as it were, the shelter of 
its protection ; and God, as their Lawgiver and King, ap- 
peared in glory on it. " And it came to pass on the third 
day, in the morning, that there were thunders and light- 

* I use the word " citadel" designedly, because it is the expression 
used in Revelation xx. in order to denote the place occupied by the risen 
saints, in its relation to the earthly Jerusalem. " They compassed the 
citadel (7rajO/uoXr/>) of the saints about, and the beloved city." It is 
the same word used in Acts xxii., where it is said, that the chief captain 
commanded Paul to be brought into "the castle" (Traps ^oXrjr). This 
castle was built upon Zion, and was in fact " the citadel of David " 



220 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

nings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of 
the trumpet exceeding loud ; so that all the people that were 
in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people 
out of the camp, to meet with God, and they stood at the 
nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether 
of a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire : and 
the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and 
the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the 
trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses 
spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the Lord came 
down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount : and the 
Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount, and Moses 
went up." Here indeed was the manifestation of Divine 
glory upon the earth, quite as truly as when it shall again 
be manifested on the height of Zion. But there was no 
mediator of the new covenant there, no blood of sprinkling 
speaking peace, and therefore Israel found it to be the place 
of sorrow and of death. The ministration of death was 
there, though they knew it not. But though Israel has 
been disappointed in that shelter, and are now driven in 
confusion from it, it nevertheless reminds us of that happy 
and abiding refuge which Israel, and the nations too, will 
finally find under the true mountain of God that mountain 
to which by faith we are already come, on which, as on Sinai 
of old, heavenly glory, but benign and blessed, because in 
the power of the accomplished redemption of Jesus, will again 
be made manifest. " The hill of God (Zion) is as the hill 
of Bashan ; an high hill, as the hill of Bashan. Why leap 
ye, ye high hills ? This is the hill which God desireth to 
dwell in, yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. The 
chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of 
angels : the Lord is among them, as in Sinai in the holy 
place." Here is sufficiently plain evidence that Zion, like 
Sinai, will have the presence of something more than mere 
earthly glory ; and in the twelfth of Hebrews also, after Sinai 
had first been mentioned as the place where God once rnani- 



ON REVELATION XIV. 

fested Himself in glory, Zion is next spoken of as the place 
of manifestation of the better and abiding glory. tf We are 
not come unto Sinai, but we are come unto Mount Zion, and 
unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, 
and to an innumerable company of angels, a general as- 
sembly and to the Church of the first-born enrolled in 
heaven," &c. 

It will doubtless be the place over which heaven will be 
opened. The Lord has said, that we shall see heaven 
opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending, as 
if the ladder of Jacob were abidingly and visibly resting upon 
this earth. We read of the heavenly city at the commence- 
ment of the millennium,* so descending as not to be in 
heaven (for it descendeth from God out of heaven) ; neither 
on the earth, for it does not descend to earth until the new 
heavens and the new earth are formed ; yet we read of its 
glory being so manifested, that " the nations shall walk by 
means of the light thereof, and the kings of the earth do 
bring their glory and honour unto it." In other words, it 
will be intermediate, as the holy place (to which it anti- 
typically answers) should be, between the holiest of all, i.e. 
Heaven, and the earthly court, which is the earthly Jeru- 
salem. But Zion, miraculously exalted above the hills, as if 
to meet the heavenly city, which will rest over it in the 
heavens above, will be the place where heavenly glory will 
first be brought into real connection with this earth. It 
will be the citadel of the holy ones the place where the 
foot of the ladder of Jacob may be said visibly to rest. 

It is this earthly and yet heavenly condition of Zion, that 

* The first eight verses of the twenty-first chapter describe the heavenly- 
city in its relation to the earth after the millennium, when the new 
heavens and new earth are created. The rest of the twenty-first chapter 
describes the relation of the heavenly city to the earth during the mil- 
lennium, whilst nations who yet need healing will be found upon it. A 
new chapter, therefore, should be commenced at the ninth verse of 
chap. xxi. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fulfils the promises of the Scripture, and harmonizes truths 
belonging to the earth with other truths referring to heavenly 
and unearthly glories. We cannot read the promises to Zion 
and to Jerusalem respecting their earthly supremacy in the 
latter days, without seeing that an earthly people shall dwell 
there, and earthly blessings be given there. " The sons of 
strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall 
minister unto thee : for in my wrath I smote thee ; but in my 
favour have I had mercy on thee. . . . The glory of Lebanon 
shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box 
together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary ; and I will 
make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them 
that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee ; and all they 
that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of 
thy feet ; and they shall call thee The city of the Lord, The 
Zion of the Holy One of Israel Beautiful for situa- 
tion, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides 
of the north, the city of the great king. Walk about Zion, 
and go round about her ; tell the towers thereof. Mark ye 
well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, that ye may tell it 
to the generation following." These are descriptions of the 
earthly condition of this mountain of God : whereas when 
we read of the Lord being there, as in Sinai in the holy 
place, with thousands of angels of the Lord dwelling in 
Zion blessing out of Zion strengthening out of Zion 
of Saviours coming up out of Zion to judge of those who, 
going from one grade of glory to another, appear in Zion 
before God and finally, when we here read of some stand- 
ing with the Lamb upon Mount Zion, able to learn the song 
of those who sing before the throne in heaven (unspeakable 
words, doubtless, which it would not be possible for a man 
to utter), we have sufficient proof, that he who can in this 
sense say that he has come unto Zion, must mean that he 
belongs to those whose glory is not of earth merely, but who 
can follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, whether in the 
heavens above, or in the earth beneath. So was it with 



ON REVELATION XIV. 

Moses and Elias. On the Mount of Transfiguration they 
stood by the side of the Lord Jesus. They stood upon an 
earthly mountain, they were seen by earthly eyes, they 
spoke of earthly things. But they were not limited to earth, 
they entered into the bright cloud of glory, and departed 
into the heavens, and Jesus and His disciples were left upon 
the earth alone. Here is a clear intimation therefore that 
heavenly feet will tread this lower earth, yet able to follow 
the Lamb whithersoever He goeth ; and this is the scene 
here revealed upon Mount Zion. 

But in this passage our thoughts are directed to the per- 
sons manifested, and to their holy and blessed character, 
more than to the place or circumstances of manifestation. 
However excellent the offices and places of glory which God 
has appointed for the development of the coining blessings, 
yet such offices and places have in themselves no living 
power. Their efficacy for blessing depends upon the cha- 
racter and condition of the living persons to whom they are 
committed. What value would there be in kingship, unless 
held by Him who is " worthy of all power, and riches, and 
wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and bless- 
ing ; " or what would priesthood be, apart from Him who 
brings into it the excellency of His own eternal person 
the Son consecrated for evermore. Zion may be the appointed 
centre of government and power of all nations : but living 
men are needed to guide that power, and use it for its 
appointed end. And therefore the Lamb surrounded by 
a hundred and forty and four thousand (the complete num- 
ber of instrumental agency), and they through Him made 
pure and holy as Himself able to worship and able to 
serve according to the perfectness of heaven, fulfilling in 
earth the will of their Father, as it is done in heaven, were 
seen standing upon Zion, occupying the height of the earth's 
new centre of authority and power. We read no longer as 
in the former chapter, of those dwelling upon the earth 
worshipping the beast; but of those redeemed from the 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

earth, able, though standing on the earth, to repeat the song 
of heaven ; bearing not the name of the beast, nor the num- 
ber of his name ; but having the name of the Lamb,and the 
name of His Father, written in their foreheads ; " and in 
their mouth was found no falsehood, for they are without 
blemish." Such are the new persons into whose hands the 
authority of the earth is transferred such are they, whose 
character and whose power will thenceforth fashion the ways 
of the inhabitants of earth. Yet though holy, they will not 
be devoid of the knowledge, and sympathies, and experience, 
which they have had as men they will remember that 
they have suffered being tempted ; they will be mindful of 
it in their dealings with those who will still be dwelling in 
sinful bodies of fallen flesh. They have gentleness, and 
holiness, and the knowledge of redemption in the blood of 
Jesus, they stand around the Lamb. In such we find the 
new and living centre of the earth's power. Thus it is that 
righteousness and praise shall spring forth before all the 
nations, and " the work of righteousness shall be peace, 
and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for 
ever." 

But this is an anticipated scene, true indeed and faithfully 
to be accomplished in its season. But the night is not yet 
spent : the morning is not yet come : we must turn back 
again for a season to "the lions' dens and the mountain 
of the leopards," the proud seats of ungodly Gentile power, 
and see the earth in its darkness and distance from God. 
We must revert to the dark scenes which this book also 
unveils, in order to see the condition of those, in the midst 
of whom God begins to make manifest His power. 

This is the principal subject of the fourteenth chapter, from 
the sixth verse inclusive to the close. Its object is not to 
detail the condition of the nations, but to describe the man- 
ner in which God begins to act in the midst of them, first in 
testimony, and then in judgment, when the cup of their 
iniquity has been filled to the full. Its statements, or rather 



ON REVELATION XIV. 

intimations (for they are little more), from the sixth verse to 
the end, are consecutive, but brief; and, as to time, inde- 
terminate, the period being not fixed either as to its com- 
mencement or duration. But the character of the events 
is clear, and their order. It is an outline merely ; but it 
is drawn by the hand of God, and is only the more clear 
because unencumbered by detail. A preaching of the 
everlasting gospel among the apostate nations* a testi- 
mony against Babylon and a declaration of its doom,f 
a testimony against 'the beast and his worshippers J 
an intimation that the time is come for the saints to 
enter into their rest and to receive their reward the 
reaping of the harvest || and then the gathering of the 
vintage^! these are the subjects of the chapter from the 
sixth verse to the end : and in all the instances which imply 
active interference on the part of God, these events may be 
regarded as following each other, just in the order in which 
they are mentioned. 

The first is evidently an act of peculiar long-suffering 
mercy. " I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven having 
the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who were settled 
(icaOiit-itvois) upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, 
and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God 
and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is 
come ; and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and 
the sea, and the fountains of waters." 

Such is the merciful intervention of God, when men 
(throughout the prophetic earth at least) are either denying 
or are about to deny even the creative power of God : when 
the heaven, and the earth, and the things that are therein, 
will cease to be regarded as the works of His hands. But 
being gracious, and merciful, and slow to anger, and not 

* From verse 6 to 7 inclusive. f Verse 8. 

I From verse 9 to 12 inclusive. Verse 13. 

|| From verse 14 to 16 inclusive. U From verse 17 to end. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

desiring that any should perish, but rather that they should 
come to repentance, He sends this warning and not only 
this warning, but the message of the everlasting Gospel too, 
even into the midst of His enemies. It is called " everlasting," 
because throughout every age, and in the midst of this age's 
darkest evil, it continues unshaken and unchanged ; still 
opening, in all the freedom of exhaustless grace, the door of 
mercy to him who shall repent and believe. (e Men and 
brethren, through this man is preached unto you the forgive- 
ness of sins, and through Him all who believe are justified 
from all things." The sphere into which this message will 
be peculiarly sent will be the prophetic earth.* The time, 
the period which immediately precedes the full development 
of Antichristian blasphemy; and the means, though sym- 
bolized in the vision by an angel, will be living men, whose 
mouths will be open to make known throughout the ap- 
pointed sphere this final declaration of mercy. 

Another warning still more specific follows. It is a de- 
claration of the doom of Babylon. Babylon has not yet 
been mentioned in the Revelation. This, her first mention, 
is the declaration of her fall. " Babylon hath fallen, hath 
fallen, (7ro-i>), that great city, because she made all nations 
drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Her skill 
will minister joy to the nations. It will make them glad as 
with sweet wine ; but it will turn out in the end to be the 
wine of wrath, and she who has given it shall fall, never to 
rise again. This is the testimony which the servants of 
Jesus will have to bear, whilst the cup of her pleasures 
is yet being ministered by her hand, even while she is 

* The words are nearly the same as those which describe the extent 
of Antichrist's power in the preceding chapter. " Every tribe, and 
people, and tongue." (chap.xiii.) " Every nation, and tribe, and tongue 
and people." (chap, xiv.) There must be certainly some limitation to 
this testimony ; because it is distinctly said, that when the Lord cometh 
there are " some in the isles afar off who have not heard His fame nor 
seen His glory." (Isaiah Ixvi. 6.) 



ON REVELATION XIV. 

saying, " I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no 
sorrow." The word of faith will be, " Babylon hath fallen." 
It speaks of the future as if it were the past, and calls the 
things that be not as though they were. Such will be the 
testimony of the children of the kingdom then ; such ought 
it to be anticipatively now, if perad venture some ears may 
be opened to hear and understand. 

But the fascinations of Babylon are but the means of 
alluring onward into those deeper chambers of enchantment, 
wherein Satan will exult over his victims as enclosed within 
a fortress whose bars can never be broken. A third angel 
followed, saying with a loud voice, " If any man worship the 
beast and his image, and receive his mark on his forehead, or 
in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath 
of God, poured out without mixture into the cup of His in- 
dignation," &c. It will be the place of highest honour to 
worship the earth's great king, and to bear the insignia of his 
name: it will be the place of reputation and glory to refuse 
it will be dishonour and ruin. It will be a hard thing for 
one who has already drunk deeply of the cup of Babylon's 
joy, to withstand the fascination of the yet more glorious 
scene that follows. It will be hard even for saints ; never- 
theless they shall be strengthened to resist the seductions of 
that fearful hour, and to meet the penalties of their resist- 
ance ; for it is written, " Here is the patience of the saints ; 
here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the 
faith of Jesus." It will be a season of bitter trial ; but it 
will be for the last time, for immediately a voice is heard 
from heaven, saying, " Blessed are the dead, that die in the 
Lord, FROM HENCEFORTH ; yea, saith the Spirit, that 
they may rest from their labours ; for their works do follow 
with them : " in other words, the time had now come for 
Jesus " to take unto Him His great power, and to reign ; 
and the time of the dead, that they should be judged; and 
that He should give reward to His servants the prophets, 

Q 2 



2 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

and to them that fear His name, small and great, and that 
He should "destroy them who destroy the earth." 

Accordingly, as soon as the voice saying, " Blessed are the 
dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth," as soon as 
this voice had passed, a white cloud is seen ; and " upon the 
cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a 
crown of gold, and in His hand a sharp sickle." He comes 
in glory and in divine majesty, seated on the clouds, and 
with the crown of victory 011 His brow ; but He comes still 
as the servant of the Most High God ; and therefore an 
angel comes forth from the temple that was seen in heaven, 
the symbol of the place of God's government towards the 
earth, and cried with a loud voice to Him that sat on the 
cloud, " Thrust in thy sickle and reap, for the time is come 
for thee to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And 
He that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth, 
and the earth was reaped." We are not here taught as to 
the means employed by the Son of man to give effect to that 
power here symbolized by the sickle. But from another 
part of Scripture, we learn that the reapers are the angels. 
" In the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather ye 
together, first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn 
them, but gather the wheat into my barn." (See Matt, xiii.) 

The wheat field, mingled though it be with tares, does 
not include either idolatrous heathen or blaspheming Jews. 
They are not wheat ; neither have they, as tares, ever been 
sown among the wheat. Neither will the wheat field repre- 
sent those who will, when the Lord returns, be found in the 
open rejection of the name of God and of Christ, and wor- 
shippers of a man. Mahommedans, at this present hour, 
though not arrived at the height of Antichrist's blasphemy, 
are neither tares nor wheat. The symbol for such infidels is, 
" thorns which cannot be taken with hands ; but the man 
that shall touch them must be fenced with iron, and the 
staff of a spear ; and they shall be utterly burned with fire 
in the same place " such is the symbol of apostate infidels ; 



ON REVELATION XIV. 

but they are not represented by wheat or tares of the harvest 
field. The harvest field is an emblem that belongs to Chris- 
tians alone. Blades of wheat, it is true, may be seen here and 
there springing up among the thorns and briars that are now 
covering Egypt and the East, and tares may be found there 
also ; but this does not give to Egypt and to Turkey, even in 
the estimate of man, the character of Christendom. They 
are known as apostate nations, having a responsibility and 
judgment peculiar to themselves. 

So will it be when the Lord returns. The nations of the 
prophetic earth, the great and civilized and prospering nations 
of the earth, will be no longer bearing the name of Christian. 
They will have willingly rejected it, and taken upon them- 
selves the name of another. Infidelity, like a flood (for the 
sluices of iniquity will suddenly be opened, even as in a 
moment), will spread over the whole face of the Roman 
world. Thorns, more stout and more terrible than ever 
have been seen in those parts of the prophetic earth which 
have already apostatised from Jesus, will be found spread 
over these nations from end to end. And even though 
blades of wheat and scattered tares may here and there be 
seen amidst the mass, yet, even in the estimate of men, these 
nations will have changed their character, and have ceased 
to bear the name of Christendom among men. They will 
have a responsibility and a judgment of their own. 

Profession of the name of Jesus is that which, to the eye 
of man,* marks the extent of the harvest field of wheat and 

* I say to the eye of man ; because J doubt not that there are many 
within the limits of baptized Christendom who are as ignorant of what 
the truth of God really is, as if they had been born in heathenism. 
They who have never had the opportunity of gaining, either from the 
Scripture, or from faithful preaching, any knowledge of truth, so as for 
their consciences to apprehend it, will not, I think, be judged as tares, 
even though found within the limits of professing Christendom. Multi- 
tudes for example in Russia and various parts of Europe are in as deep 
ignorance as if the Bible had never been given, and a preacher never 
sent. 



30 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

tares. The vast districts which are now bearing the name 
of Christ in India, America, Australia, Africa, and in the 
north and east of Europe, will still be retaining, when the 
Lord returns, the profession of His name ; and doubtless 
each day will add something to the progress of supposed, it 
may be of real, Christianity. God will sow good seed, and 
Satan will continue to intermingle tares. But the founda- 
tion of God standeth sure, having this seal " The Lord 
knoweth them that are His." His eye will be able to dis- 
tinguish between the unenlightened heathen, the wheat, the 
tare, and the thorn ; and even as it is ever His principle, that 
judgment should begin with that which bears the responsi- 
bility of the name of God, so, as soon as He descends into 
the air, and the earth is spread before Him to receive the 
hour of its visitation, His first act will be to judge that 
which is bearing His name. " Judgment begins at the 
house of God." Christendom will be the first subject of 
His visitation. He will send forth His angels, and they 
will separate the tares from the wheat. The wheat shall 
be gathered into His garner, but the tares will be cast into 
the burning. 

But after the harvest is over, the vintage yet remains. And 
where are we to look for the vine of the earth where but 
in those countries in which, from the days of Nimrod to the 
present hour, the energies of man have been put forth to 
train something, which the fostering hand of Antichrist will 
at last mature : but when it is matured, its ripened clusters, 
which will be many, will be found suited only to the wine- 
press of the wrath of God. I have said enough of what the 
great king of the earth will be, in the preceding chapter. 
The vine of the earth may be judged of from what he is, for 
it is h : s plant, the object of his care, and the minister of his 
joy; nor can it surprise us (if we remember what man is) 
that they, who in the estimate of God are thorns, fit for the 
burning, should by the eye of man be wondered at, as the 
beautiful clusters of the earth's fairest plant. 



ON REVELATION XIV. 31 

The place of the wine-press was without the city. It is 
to " the Valley of Jehoshaphat " "the Valley of Decision " 
that the kings of the earth and their armies, who will first 
have been gathered to Armageddon, will finally be led. 
(f Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of judgment, for the 
day of the Lord is near in the valley of judgment." It will 
doubtless be the fairest scene of collected glory that the 
earth has ever witnessed : for what kings so mighty as the 
last ten sovereigns of the prophetic earth, and what monarch 
so glorious as that monarch of monarchs under whom and 
around whom they serve ? But they, and all who follow in 
their train, will be but as clusters that have ripened for the 
vintage. " Their vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields 
of Gomorrah ; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters 
are bitter : their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel 
venom of asps."* There is One who will gather them and 
tread them in the wine-press of the wrath of God. But 
neither the manner of their being trodden, nor the person 
who treads them is here described. The time for the de- 
scription of this has not yet come ; and therefore here again, 
as in former chapters, the vision closes, and in the next 
chapter a new vision begins. 

* These words are from Moses' prophetic song in Deuteronomy, when 
describing the condition of Israel in the latter day. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XX. 

lutes 0n UMitiicu XIV, 



"And I saw, and befiold, the Lamb standing on the Mount 
Zion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand 
having His name and His Father's name written on their 
foreheads."] I have already remarked on the diversity of 
symbols by which the various glories of the Church of the 
first-born have been expressed in preceding visions. In the 
fourth chapter, for example, one part of their glory is 
represented by the throned elders ; whilst another is sym- 
bolised by the living creatures or cherubim. Again, in the 
seventh chapter, one of their places in glory is represented 
by the elders and cherubim around the Throne ; another 
by the countless multitude praising before the Throne. 
Again, in this chapter, the elders and cherubim around the 
Throne ; the harpers harping with their harps before the 
Throne ; and the hundred forty and four thousand on Mount 
Zion below, able to learn the song sung in Heaven above, 
are three varied expressions of the Church's manifold glory. 
Indeed, when cur present condition in earth is described, 
language is almost exhausted to express the various relations 
in which we stand to the Lord, even here, before the scene 
of our suffering militancy is closed. We are called brethren, 
children, servants, wife, sister, guests at the marriage supper, 
virgins, a kingdom, kings, priests, an offering, a temple, 
temples, &c. &c. So also with the Lord Himself He is 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIV. 33 

Priest, King, Temple, Altar, Victim, Mercy-seat, everything. 
It is no wonder, therefore, that various and apparently con- 
tradictory symbols should be used to express the various 
positions of the Church, when manifested in glory as " the 
fulness of Him that filleth all in all." The Lord may and 
will occupy the throne of His father David in Jerusalem ; 
but He will not therefore cease to be one with Him who 
sitteth on the Throne of the Majesty of the heavens. On 
that Throne He has taken his seat for ever (Heb. x.), and 
He will ever be regarded as the possessor of its glory, even 
though He may be pleased to occupy other positions of 
inferior excellency in the heavenly city, and on the height 
of Zion, and in Jerusalem. Unless, therefore, we should 
deny that the Church would hold power on the earth at all, 
the very place which we should expect them to occupy would 
be the height of Zion, for Zion is confessedly to be made the 
centre of the earth's government. Angels accompanied God 
to Sinai angels and saints will surround Christ on Zion. 
See Psalm Ixxviii. 15, &c. 

It is true that the condition of Israel in Jerusalem will, 
as to every thing that is essential, closely resemble that of 
the saints in glory. Peter, and John, and James on the 
Mount of Transfiguration were heirs of the very same glory 
as Moses and Elias, although the latter were standing in 
circumstances into which the disciples had not yet entered : 
and the dissimilarity would have been still less if the 
disciples had received the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. 
Converted Israel in the millennium will no doubt be en- 
titled to bear many of the names which are in this passage 
applied to the Church of the first-born in their heavenly 
glory. For example, they may be called " virgins ; " as 
washed in the blood of the Lamb they will be regarded as 
"without blemish;" and of them it is peculiarly said, that 
" they shall come and sing in the height of Zion." These 
resemblances have led some to ask, whether Israel may not 
be represented by the 144,000 here seen around the Lamb. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

But it must be remembered, that although some of the ex- 
pressions of this passage may apply to saints whilst yet in 
the flesh, yet this is not true of every part rf the description ; 
and that even those expressions which admit of such appli- 
cation must, if so used, be used in a moderated sense, and 
not in that fulness of meaning, which attaches to them in this 
passage. When we speak of any here being pure and 
without blemish, we speak of them as they are regarded in 
the judicial estimate of God, because of the blood which has 
sanctified them ; but there are further thoughts connected 
with these words, when we speak of the full results of redemp- 
tion to be attained in glory and such are the thoughts to be 
connected with them, when used, as they are in this passage, 
of those who are not merely redeemed out of (tic) but away 
from (OTTO) the earth, and who are able to follow the Lamb 
WHITHERSOEVER He goeth; words which could not 
be applied to millennial Israel. Besides, those who are here 
described are termed "firstfruits" the very thing which 
Israel are not. The church of the first-born who rise in the 
first resurrection are, during the millennium, the firstfruits 
unto God and to the Lamb ; and Israel follow, as later fruits 
from the same harvest field. Moreover, if the manifestation 
of heavenly glory on the Mount of Transfiguration is to be 
regarded as indicating the manner in which intercourse is 
hereafter to be established between God and the earth on 
Zion, we find, it is true, persons who were yet unglorified 
admitted to that holy mountain, but it was to behold others 
admitted into a glory into which at that time they could not 
enter. Just so will it be with Israel. They will come to the 
height of Zion and will worship there ; but they will not be 
able, as the 144,000 who are redeemed from the earth, to 
learn the unspeakable words of the song that is sung in the 
presence of the Throne above ; neither will they be able to 
follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. 

The application of the number 144,000 to Israel in the 
earth, and to the Church above, is just what we might 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIV. 35 

have expected to indicate the completeness of agency that 
will then be found, not merely in an earthly, but in a 
heavenly body likewise. Thus also the number tivelve is 
applied to the earthly and to the heavenly city ; but this 
does not prove identity between the two, though it may 
prove resemblance. The usage of the article also is very 
strict in the Revelation. When a new person or object, not 
mentioned before, is spoken of, it is omitted ; but if identity 
is to be marked with that which has been mentioned before, 
it is inserted. Thus when the Lamb is mentioned for the 
first time in chapter v. it is omitted ; but in every other 
place where He is afterward spoken of (in all twenty-six) it 
is inserted; but where the word is otherwise used, as in 
chapter xiii., it is omitted. So also when the twenty-four 
elders are first mentioned in the fourth chapter, the article is 
omitted; whenever they are subsequently mentioned it is 
inserted. The same may be said of the living creatures. 
Another remarkable instance is, that when the throne is 
first mentioned in the fourth chapter, the article is omitted, 
but whenever afterwards that throne is referred to, the 
article is inserted; but when another throne is mentioned, 
viz. the great white throne in chapter xx., the article is 
omitted. The same is the case as to the lesser thrones on 
which the elders sit. When first mentioned the article is 
not found ; when referred to, it is inserted ; but when after- 
wards other thrones are mentioned, as in chapter xx., it is 
omitted. It is not likely therefore that a rule so carefully 
observed, should be departed from in this instance. If 
identity with the previously mentioned 144,000 were in- 
tended, the article would have been inserted. 

A heavenly as well as an earthly character is thus given 
to Zion, and this enables us to explain many parts of Scrip- 
ture which otherwise would be inexplicable, as well as to 
meet that universal feeling of Christians, which has ascribed 
heavenly rest and glory to Zion. I scarcely need refer to 
the multitude of hymns which crowd our hymn books in 



236 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

evidence of this, " O Zion, when we think of thee," &c. It 
is quite true that it is one of the spheres of the Church's 
glory, though by no means the highest. The system of 
Zion also, represented by the woman in the twelfth chapter, 
is now on the earth suffering, and therefore we are also able 
to sing, " O Zion, afflicted with wave upon wave," &c. It 
is important to add to our previous store of truth, but in 
doing this we should be careful not to detract from, or deny, 
that which we already have. 

"And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many 
waters, and as a voice of great thunder."'] The mention of 
this in connection with the voice of the harpers harping with 
their harps, invests their song with a character altogether 
superhuman and heavenly, and would not allow us to think 
that they who could learn this song, could be any longer in 
the body. The glorified saints on Zion will first evidence 
what it is for God's will to be done on earth as it is done in 
Heaven. 

" For they are virgins.^] The Church is continually 
represented by feminine symbols: as, for example, "the bride 
of the Lamb." The 144,000 are represented as a female 
company, but the use of masculine adjectives, etc., such as 
01 r/yojoao/iEPoc, gives them a mystic character. 

They must not be confounded with "the virgins" men- 
tioned in Psalm xlv. In that psalm, some seer of Israel in 
the millennium is describing the earthly state and glory of 
the Messiah the King ; and also the beauty and excellency 
of the daughter of His people the daughter of Jerusalem 
who stands by the side of the great King, as His Queen, in 
gold of Ophir. He exhorts " the daughter of His people" to 
forget her father's house and everything that is past, and to 
remember only her new dignity. He describes the state and . 
dignity of her nuptial train ; attended by virgins, such as the 
daughter of Tyre and the " daughters of the famous nations," 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIV. 37 

(Ezekiel,) who as so many princesses (" kings' daughters") 
shall enter into the palace, and become " honourable women" 
to the King and to herself. In other words, the great nations 
of the earth will wait upon Jerusalem and her King. The 
Church is only once mentioned in this psalm, and that in the 
seventh verse, as being " His fellows" " Thou hast anointed 
Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows." 

"Before the throne"} These words should be omitted. 
They are clearly an interpolation. (See Tregelles.) 

" Worship Him that made the Heaven" fyc.] This warn- 
ing is given when even the creative power of God is being, 
or about to be, denied. After the Lord has come and forgiven 
Israel, we find them in one of their earliest songs of praise, 
singing to God as the Creator. " The Lord is a great God 
and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep 
places of the earth : the strength of the hills is His also. The 
sea is His, and He made it, and His hands prepared the dry 
land. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel 
before the Lord our Maker." This is a song well suited 
to the lips of those who are just emerging from the hour of 
Antichristian blasphemy. 

"Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from hence- 
forth" fyc.] I have elsewhere noticed the abstract force of the 
present participle. Oi airoOvricrKovTfs does not mean those 
who are dying, or those who have died, but is used in an 
abstract and collective sense as denoting the whole class of 
those to whom " falling asleep in Christ" attaches as their 
characteristic. The Church as a whole is here spoken of. 
Individually each saint may be said to be blessed in a mea- 
sure, and to rest from his labours when his spirit departs 
hence to be with Christ; but the whole Church does not 
receive its blessedness, nor rest from its labours, until the 



238 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

time comes for these words to be uttered, " Blessed are 
they from henceforth.' 9 

" Like unto the Son of man."] The Lord had before been 
termed the Son of man in connection with the churches, 
when walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. 
It is a name, in the title of which He executes judgment in 
the earth. In the former case, when judging the churches 
as to their condition on the earth, His garment was priestly, 
and no crown was on His brow. But now that He comes in 
power to enforce His title over the earth, he is seen with 
the cloud as the emblem of divine majesty and power, and 
with the crown of victory on His head. 

This verse, which describes the reaping of the harvest 
field, may be said to be the only place in which Christendom 
is distinctively referred to in the prophetic part of the 
Revelation ; for it is Christendom, and Christendom alone, 
that constitutes " the harvest field" in this present dispen- 
sation. See parable of the wheat and tares, in Matthew xiii. 

The earth at the period of our Lord's return into it may 
be thus divided : 

I. Christendom; that is, those countries which retain the 
profession of the name of Christ. 

II. The Apostate or Antichristian nations ; i. e. the nations 
of the Roman world, which, after being acquainted with 
the names of God and of Christ, will deliberately reject 
both, and worship Antichrist. 

III. Heathen nations. 

IV. Israel, who will be partly in their own land, partly 
scattered.* 

* To these divisions might be added probably a fifth, viz. the Mahom- 
medan nations. I say probably, because we do not know from the Scrip- 
ture that the Mahommedan nations will continue to the end; but we do 
know this respecting the four divisions just given. Arabia, however, is 
to continue separate from the Roman nations under the descendants of 
Ishmael, and will probably continue Mahommedan. 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIV. 239 

To give a general view of the difference between the three 
first of these divisions, it would be sufficient to take a map 
of the world, and if the nations of the Roman earth be 
coloured red, the rest of the nations now professing the 
name of Jesus Hue, the heathen Hack, and the Mahom- 
medan yellow, it would indicate the difference that will exist 
between these several portions of the earth. It would not, 
however, do more than give us a general view ; because the 
real extent of Christendom is determined, not by fixed 
geographical limits, as in the case of the Ten kingdoms of 
the Roman earth, but by moral limits, which necessarily 
fluctuate. Nevertheless, as regards the condition of nations, 
this general view is sufficiently precise. It is not likely that 
many more nations will profess Christianity before the Lord 
comes ; so that where the black shade of heathenism now 
rests, there we may suppose it to remain; and therefore, if we 
mark the nations of the Roman earth with the mark of 
apostasy, and regard the rest of the professing nations as 
remaining in the condition in which they at present are, we 
shall have before us very nearly the condition of the nations 
when the Lord returns. Individual Christians, wheresoever 
placed locally, may be said to belong to the division of 
Christendom : the followers of Antichrist, wherever settled, 
to the Antichristian division : and heathens, to the heathen. 
The measure of the responsibility of individuals among 
these, God only can and will judge. 

The object of the Revelation is not to treat of Christendom, 
but of that part of the earth which will have become apos- 
tate, both from God and from Christ, including Jerusalem. 
The Gospels, especially the Gospel of Matthew, is the part 
of Scripture in which we learn the state of Christendom 
when the Lord returns. The thirteenth and twenty-fifth 
chapters of Matthew are especially devoted to the history of 
Christendom; the latter especially describes its close. 
When it is said in Matthew xiii. that the Son of man shall 



OF 



40 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

gather out of " His kingdom all things that offend," &c., 
this must be referred to Christendom only, which alone 
at that time professes to be His kingdom. He will not 
gather out of the world generally all things that offend, 
inasmuch as He will spare multitudes of the heathen, and 
many of the Jews, and bring them to a knowledge of His 
grace. 

The vine remains after the harvest (i. e. both wheat and 
tares) is gathered from the earth. The vine of the earth is 
the name of the earth's fairest and choicest plant. Its roots 
will be in Jerusalem and the East, its branches will spread 
over all the nations of the prophetic earth. Its clusters will 
be fair and many ; but they will afford no drink-offering 
fit for the sanctuary of the God of Israel. An angel was 
seen in the vision, coming from the altar, who had autho- 
rity over fire fire, especially that of the altar from which 
the angel came, being the great expression of the Divine 
holiness. As being conversant therewith he views the clus- 
ters of the vine of the earth, and commands that they should 
be gathered for the wine-press of wrath. Another angel 
(not the Lord) gathers them and casts them into the 
wine-press. 

The gathering the nations to the Valley of Decision, the 
place of the wine-press, is clearly mentioned in Joel as being 
the result of the providential agency of God, an agency 
which in the Revelation is indicated by angels; Christ's 
actions against these apostate nations commences when He 
cometh forth ff to tread the wine-press." God, by agency 
similar to that which He now employs, gathers them to 
Armageddon, and afterwards to the Valley of Jehoshaphat ; 
and then Christ is sent forth to trample them in wrath. The 
result of that trampling is referred to in this chapter ; but 
no description either of Him who treads the wine-press, nor 
of the manner of treading it, is here given. That is reserved 
until the nineteenth chapter. 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIV. 241 

" The wine-press was trodden without the city"~\ That is, 
Jerusalem ; for the Valley of Jehoshaphat is immediately 
under the walls of that city. There the river of blood will 
go forth; there "the fats will overflow, because the wicked- 
ness is great." Read the last of Joel as the description of 
this awful hour. So the times of the Gentiles will end. 



242 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

B $t&eldiott XV. an* XVI. 



THESE chapters should be read as one. They form one 
vision, and reveal those last inflictions of the wrath of God, 
which are immediately to precede the still more terrible 
hour of the wrath of the Lamb. The dealings of God (for 
the Throne of God is, as I have before said, at present 
acting for Christ rejected, and seated at God's right hand) 
these specific dealings of God with a hardened and unre- 
pentant earth will cease when the plagues of this chapter 
have been fulfillc d. The seven vials are expressly said to 
be full of " the seven last plagues ;" because in them is 
completed the wrath of God ; not however the wrath of the 
Lamb. Commission to act is given to Christ as soon as the 
ministration of the vials ends. He will then quit the throne 
of the Father ; the rod of His power shall be sent out of 
Zion, and He will rule in the midst of His enemies. Ac- 
cordingly in this chapter, as soon as the secret power of the 
Almighty throne had completed the gathering of Christ's 
enemies to Armageddon those enemies who are to be 
made His footstool, we find Him saying, <f Behold, I come 
as a thief ; blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his gar- 
ments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." The 
day of Christ begins when the vials terminate. Here how- 
ever, as in all former visions, we find the revelation of the 
final blessing previous to the description of the judgments 



ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 243 

that precede. We hear the song of praise sung by the 
Israel of God on the safe and happy side of the sea that 
separates them from Egypt, before we read of the great 
Pharaoh of the earth, or of the vials of wrath poured out 
upon his kingdom. 

The symbols of the sixteenth chapter are evidently drawn 
from Egypt. The plague of the great and noisome sore, 
and the turning the waters into blood, are clear memorials of 
the inflictions on Egypt; and the mad daring of those 
mighty hosts, who, after being gathered at Armageddon, im- 
piously rush into conflict with the manifested glory of Christ 
(see chap, xix.), has once only, throughout the whole history 
of man, found its counterpart, when Pharaoh and the pride 
of Egypt's strength rushed deliberately into the waters in 
pursuit of those who were protected by the visible presence 
of the glory of God. These are the two occasions, and these 
alone, on which man has dared knowingly and deliberately 
to rush " upon the thick bosses of the buckler of the Al- 
mighty." 

The earliest type also that we have of the redemption of 
the people of God of their redemption by price and their 
effected redemption by the outstretched arm of power, is 
placed in Egypt. They were found there when the visita- 
tion on Egypt came. It came when the strength and glory 
of Egypt were at their height, and the people of God were 
in dishonour and suffering when " the iron had entered into 
their soul." We might expect therefore that in such" a 
vision as that which we are now considering, which describes 
the condition of the great nations of the earth, the places 
where intellect, and science, and refinement, and wealth, at 
the closing hour of the times of the Gentiles, will be bearing 
their fairest fruits we might expect to see the impress of 
Egypt marked upon it all. Egypt has indeed enlarged her 
limits. She has ee lengthened her cords, and strengthened 
her stakes." The name of Egypt, as well as the name of 
Sodom, is expressly given by God Himself to Jerusalem at 



44 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

that hour, and it may well be extended to all those countries 
over which will reign that second Pharaoh, whom God will 
raise up, that in him He may show His power, and that His 
name may be declared throughout all the earth. 

But before the inflictions on Egypt are described, we have 
a vision of the glory of the heavenly part of the Israel of 
God, persons who have been indeed as in the midst of the 
furnace, but who have overcome. " I saw, as it were, a sea 
of glass mingled with fire, and them that had gotten the vic- 
tory over the beast, and over his image, and over the number 
of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of 
God." They sang again the song of Moses ; they sang also 
a new song the song of the Lamb. 

When Israel of old was called out of Egypt, part of their 
high calling in the earth was to be for and with the Lord 
against His enemies. The earth was teeming with cor- 
ruption. The iniquity of the Amorites was full. There was 
not only the Egypt which they had left behind them, but 
there was before them also Edom, and Moab, and Amalek, 
and Philistia nations who denied the earth by their ini- 
quities, and Israel was to be with the Lord, on the Lord's 
side, His host, against all His enemies. This was their 
calling this, their proposed blessing. And accordingly, in 
the fervour of their early love the love of their espousals, 
they sang with unhesitating readiness, " The peoples shall 
hear and be afraid, sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants 
of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed ; the 
mighty men of Moab trembling shall take hold upon them ; 
all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away." Blessed 
words indeed, yet to be accomplished in their season ; but 
under other circumstances than Israel had then learned for 
they had not yet learned themselves, they had not yet 
learned what man and the flesh is. They had not yet known 
that they who bear the vessels of the Lord, or fight His 
battles, must be themselves clean ; and how can that be clean 
which is born of woman. 



ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 45 

Accordingly they sang the song, and failed. The bright 
prospect has not been realized. The inhabitants of Pales- 
tina, and the mighty men of Moab, and the dukes of Edom 
have been many times strong against Israel, and will be 
stronger than ever yet. Like Adam in Paradise, or Aaron's 
family in the beautiful robes of their early priesthood, or 
Solomon in his glory, they tasted of the joy of their high 
calling just for a passing moment, and then it vanished, and, 
as far as man's eye can see, has vanished for ever. 

But "the gifts and calling of God are unrepented of." An 
hour is coming when God will again assert His title, as King 
of nations. " Just and true are thy ways thou King of the 
nations (ra>v tOvwv) ; who shall not 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 have been 
made manifest." Such is the song sung by them who stand 
upon the sea of glass. It is not in dissociation from them 
that God makes Himself known as u the King of the nations." 
They are the people whom He has redeemed whom He 
hath guided by His strength into His holy habitation ; and 
they shall live to show forth His praises. He will have 
gathered them into a separation from the earth, of which 
Israel's separation from Egypt was but an imperfect shadow. 
It will be a separation dependent on nothing earthly, on no 
mere outward barrier of laws or ceremonies, or distinct posi- 
tion in the earth; but an eternal separation, wrought in 
virtue of that mighty power which raised Jesus from the 
dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly 
places.* 

* I am here confining myself to the heavenly part of the Israel of God; 
for they alone will be actually separated into heaven. But in principle 
these things will be quite as true of the earthly part of the family of 
God; just as we at this moment have secured to us the same blessings, 
and the same heavenly position, which belong to Him who has risen for 
us, and ascended into the heavens. The place of the risen saints in the 
millennium, will be the sample of the kind of glory in which finally all 



246 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

I have already remarked on the symbolic meaning of 
being within the sea of crystal. It indicates the possession of 
that heavenly purity, which we receive through Him who 
hath died and risen for us a possession already ours in 
Him, though we are not yet personally entered into the 
heavenly places, and have not in this sense the harps of God 
yet committed to our hand. A similar meaning attaches to 
the " standing thereupon." Whether the figure be taken 
from the place of Israel, standing on the brink of the sea 
which they had passed, or whether it refer to a superhuman 
standing on it (just as Ezekiel saw the throne of glory set 
upon the firmament of crystal), in either case it supplies the 
type of separation ; for the sea, on the shores of which Israel 
sung, had severed them from Egypt ; and the crystal firma- 
ment separated from everything beneath, the throne that 
rested on it. In either case, the purity of that sea of glass 
mingled with fire marks the character that will attach to all 
the circumstances and condition of our being then ; for we 
shall stand in the full personal possession of all that purity 
and holiness, in the power of which, as found in Christ our 
Saviour, we are separated unto God : for it is He who, being 
pure as the sea of glass, and holy as the fire of the altar, will 
have communicated to us of His own perfections, and made 
us partakers of His holiness. 

It is thus that we, the risen Church of the first-born the 
heavenly part of the Israel of God, separated into the pos- 
session of the same purity as that by means of which, as 
found in Christ, we are separated unto God, shall, emerging 
from that last abyss of Egyptian darkness, again awaken, after 
the dark night of thousands of intervening ages, the song of 
Moses, and again say, " The Lord hath triumphed glori- 
ously ;" and again hail Him as the King of nations. " Who 

the redeemed will be made to share ; and therefore what is here spoken 
of the heavenly part of the family of God, will virtually describe the cha- 
racter and power of the separation which will attach to Israel on the 
earth, and they will be brought into it at the same time. 



ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 247 

shall not 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 have been made manifest." 

The earth in which these His judgments will have been 
made manifest will be before us stricken and terrified, and 
in many parts, I suppose, desolated by destruction. The 
Wicked one, that mighty monarch of the earth, will just have 
been consumed with all the proud array of his strength 
around him. It will again be sung, " Thy right hand, O 
Lord, is become glorious in power ; thy right hand, O Lord, 
hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of 
thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up 
against thee : thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed 
them as stubble. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the 
gods ? Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in 
praises, doing wonders ?" But the earth will still teem, with 
nations ; for though the Church be gone, and false professors 
be gone, and Antichristianism be gone, yet many peoples, 
and kindreds, and tongues, and nations will yet remain : 
Ethiopia, and Tarshish, and Pul, and Lud, and Javan, and 
isles afar off all of them as to their national arrangements, 
and systems, and laws, to be smitten by the rod of power ; and 
many an individual among them to be cast down or even 
destroyed. But though this will be an hour of vengeance 
an hour when it will be truly said, " Great and marvellous 
are thy works, Lord God Almighty!" yet it will be an 
hour that will end in the manifestation and triumph of grace. 
As redeemed, and having the mind of Christ, we are ac- 
quainted not only with the works, but also with the ways of 
the Most High God ; and therefore, though we shall say that 
justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne (and a 
desolated earth will abundantly witness thereunto), yet we 
shall add also, that "mercy as well as truth shall go before His 
face." It would indeed be a bitter and sorrowful thing if 
judgment and truth were to go forth unto victory, and mercy 
were not to follow as handmaid in the train ; for what heart 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

will not be stricken in that day ? What heart, that is spared 
from destruction, will be proof against the manifested terrors 
of the Almighty ? But there will be balm in Gilead then, 
and a physician there ; and He shall speak peace to the 
afflicted people, though "He will bring down the high 
looks;" and thus, because of mercy rejoicing against judg- 
ment, princes shall come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia stretch 
out her hands unto God, and " Israel shall be the third with 
Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the 
earth ; whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed 
be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, 
and Israel, mine inheritance." It is with these prospects that 
we shall look down from the sea of glass, the place of our 
sanctuary, and contemplate the results of the power of Him 
whom we shall then salute as ec the King of the nations." It 
will be an hour when Israel's history in earth shall commence 
anew, when separated unto God, not by fleshly ordinances, 
but by the life-giving power of Him who is the Son of the 
living God, they will never again find words of triumph die 
upon their lips, nor disappointment blight their expectations. 
It will be the hour when the heart of widest philanthropy 
will see its desires answered. It is a right and happy thing 
to have the true philanthropy of God. It gives Him no joy 
to see the dark places of the earth full of the habitations of 
cruelty, nor to see the wickedness of man multiply and aug- 
ment the ceaseless groan of creation. He loveth rather " to 
open His hand," as yet He will, and " satisfy the desire of 
every living thing." But He has reason for all His ways, 
and wisdom will finally be justified of all her children. The 
rejection of Christ and of His truth will, as well as its coming 
exaltation, be for His glory ; and the time of the rejection of 
Christ in His people is not yet passed. He can still say, 
" Why persecutest thou me ? " The feet shod with the pre- 
paration of the gospel of peace are ever beautiful in His 
sight, but they are not beautiful in the sight of men. They 
are cast out of the synagogue, and in the street despised. But 



ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 49 

a time is coming when even men will say, " How beautiful 
upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good 
tidings, that publisheth peace" when they shall be honoured 
in the city, and honoured in the field, blessed both in their 
going out and in their coming in. They will still be the feet 
of the meek and poor in spirit, for blessing cannot be where 
meekness is not; but they shall be connected with, and 
watched over by power, visibly glorious both in the heaven 
above, and in the earth beneath. They shall themselves 
belong to Zion the earthly inhabitants of an earthly city ; 
but they shall be watched over and be in spirit one with 
those who stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 
It will be an hour when heavenly and glorified saints will 
watch over and protect the ministration of truth in the earth, 
and then nations shall bow. But to forestall that hour 
to anticipate the counsels of God to seek to will into ex- 
istence what God hath not willed to ascribe to kingdoms 
whose diadems are resting, or will rest, upon the dragon's 
head, that power of diffusing blessing which God has reserved 
exclusively for those who here stand upon the sea of glass, 
having the harps of God what is this but wilfulness, dis- 
obedience, and sin ? The generation of wickedness has not 
yet passed away. Herod has not yet ceased to speak in the 
council hall, nor Caiaphas in the Sanhedrim ; and these 
are not the voices that are likely to call the powers of 
earth into obedience to the King of nations. The 
most sincere philanthropy will work no work of blessing if 
it leads us to mistake between man and God ; between the 
armies of the pit and the armies of the God of Heaven. We 
ought indeed to love man we ought to do good to all men 
to be kind to the unthankful and the evil to preach the 
word to be instant in season and out of season to carry 
the gospel, if we can, into all nations : but this is quite 
consistent with remembering what the end shall be, and with 
waiting for that promised agency from above, without which 
God's name will not be exalted above the nations, nor praised 
in the firmament of His power. 



250 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

Accordingly this vision, as it proceeds, calls us from the 
heavenly scene with which it commences, to consider also 
the hour of the world's strength, and of the world's judg- 
ment, out of which they come who stand upon the sea of 
glass mingled with fire. The symbolic temple is again seen 
in the vision. It is the place of God's worship, and of God's 
government, unto which Israel and the earth would long ago 
have been brought, if Jerusalem and its rulers had heard the 
voice of Peter when he said, " Repent, and be converted, 
that (OTTWC ) the times of refreshing may come from the 
presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus." If 
Jerusalem had listened to these words, the Lord Jesus would 
have come, and God would have been known (as He yet 
will be) in visible glory in His own holy temple not made 
with hands, the Governor and Lord of the whole earth. But 
though Israel has not obeyed, and therefore God has not 
manifested His glory, He nevertheless retains His title to 
act (and it is this that the presence of His glory in the temple 
symbolizes), to act when He pleases, and as He pleases, 
towards Israel and the earth, on the title of the accomplished 
redemption of Jesus. But since He is not now owned, nor 
His lordship acknowledged, the temple, instead of being the 
place where happy and accepted worship ascends before the 
great King, and whence He dispenses His blessings, and 
sends forth the messengers of His mercy, becomes, instead 
thereof, the place in which He will prepare to resume the 
immediate governance of the earth, by sending forth the holy 
ministers of His righteous vengeance. Angels clothed in 
linen vestments, clear and bright with whiteness (/caflapoy 
/cat Aa^iiTrpo)/), in token of their holy purity, and girded with 
golden girdles because strengthened for their work by divine 
excellency of power, are seen to issue from the temple with 
golden bowls in their hand. These bowls had surrounded 
the golden altar, they were destined for the services of the 
sanctuary for offerings and libations to the God of Israel; 
but being useless as to this (for neither Israel nor the nations 
have been sanctified through faith in Jesus into the place of 



ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 251 

worship), the things which should have been for blessing are 
turned into a curse, and the bowls which might have been 
filled with the offerings of thanksgiving unto God are, in 
default thereof, filled by Him with wrath, and the angels 
bear them forth from the sanctuary, and pour them out upon 
the people of His judgment. 

Of the nature of these judgments little need be said. I 
doubt not that the declarations of this chapter will be mi- 
nutely fulfilled. I doubt not that " a noisome and grievous 
sore shall fall upon the men who have the mark of the beast, 
and upon them who have worshipped his image," that the 
sea throughout the appointed sphere will become " as the 
blood of a dead man" that the sun will "scorch men as 
with fire" that the kingdom of Antichrist will be full of 
darkness and anguish, so that men will gnaw their tongues 
for pain, and ( ' blaspheme the God of heaven because of their 
pains and their sores," though they will not repent of their 
deeds. I expect also that the Euphrates the river which 
is the strength and the boast of that great city which will 
then be the centre of the earth's resources I expect that 
that river will be visited, its strength smitten, and its streams 
dried up, in order that the way of those fierce Eastern 
nations might be prepared who are to give the first blow to 
the greatness of Babylon (see Jeremiah), and to commence 
that work which is never staid again until she is fully swept 
with the besom of destruction. I expect also that unclean 
spirits even the " spirits of devils, working miracles," by 
the immediate bidding of Satan, and Antichrist, and the False 
Prophe acting by and in those systems which they three 
will then be sustaining in the earth, will go forth (commis- 
sioned by God also), throughout the length and breadth of the 
prophetic earth, that is, from the Euphrates to England, and 
will thence gather the kings of the earth and their armies, 
first to Armageddon, and then " to the battle of that great 
day of God Almighty." 

We can picture to ourselves the barbarous myriads of 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

Central Asia clustering around Babylon, and marking it for 
their prey. We can see the hosts of the West and of all the 
prophetic earth, summoned around their mighty and indig- 
nant leader, and resting for a short moment, in all the proud 
consciousness of hitherto undisputed greatness, at Arma- 
geddon. Like two dark thunder-clouds, they are gathered 
against each other. The one rolls on and covers Babylon ; 
the other Jerusalem. Both cities quail before them; but 
here the terribleness of the terrible ends. They move no 
farther, for the day of man is past. The last angel pours 
forth his vial, and then came a great voice, saying, " It is 
done." The earth is shaken; great Babylon comes in remem- 
brance before God ; the cities of the nations fall ; and the 
day of the Lord comes. But its manifestation is not described. 
Here, as in former chapters, the vision ends ; and in the 
next chapter a new vision begins. 



KOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 253 



CHAPTER XXII. 

ftotts on gUhlatiffn XV. miV XVI, 



" Seven angels, having the seven last plagues ," fyc.] When- 
ever angels are mentioned as being the agents, it is a sign 
that the present dispensational period in which God is acting 
for Christ, has not yet terminated, and that the saints are 
not yet exalted into the place of power. The outpouring of 
the vials will accomplish the wrath of God: then will follow, 
though it will be but for a brief season, the wrath of the 
Lamb ; after which Jesus will reign in peace. He will sit 
down "upon His own throne /" and then, instead of angels 
being sent forth from the temple to minister plagues, saints 
attended by angels will issue thence the ministers of joy 
and gladness to the whole creation of God. 

The plagues of this chapter pertain to the 160 days of 
Antichrist's power, and will commence probably near the 
conclusion of that period. They doubtless follow one 
another in quick succession, just as the plagues of Egypt, 
which they resemble. The plagues of Egypt commenced a 
very little while previous to the final visitation of Egypt 
and the final deliverance of the people of God. 

That none of the vials are poured out before Antichrist 
has established himself in his glory, is manifest from this, 
viz. that the first vial is directed towards those w'ho had the 
mark of the beast and those who worship his image. The 
image therefore must be seen before the Jtrst vial can be 
poured out. 



54 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

fe A sea of glass, mingled ivith fire" fyc.] In the fourth 
chapter, where the purity of heaven and of those in heaven 
is intended to be symbolized, and where our thoughts 
are directed not so much to what we shall be in action 
towards the earth, as to what we shall personally be, when 
brought into the rest and purity of heaven, we find the sym- 
bol to be a sea of glass like unto crystal. But here, where 
the divine holiness is mentioned as brought into direct con- 
trast with the iniquity of earth, and where we are symbol- 
ized as about to act in the power of that holiness towards 
the nations, we find not only the emblem of purity, but of 
consuming holiness too. The sea of glass is " mingled with 
fire." 

The waters of the sea are used in Scripture as the emblem 
of destructive power from God, blotting out from the land 
of the living ; and also as the emblem of purification unto 
life. In the Red Sea, the former thought predominates ; in 
the molten sea, or laver of the temple, the latter. 

When we, the heavenly part of the Israel of God, shall 
actually be separated by resurrection in glory (according to 
the life-giving power of Him who is the quickening Spirit, 
the Lord from heaven), into our heavenly habitations, we 
shall realize not only all that of which Israel sung when 
they found themselves separated by the waters of destruc- 
tion from Egypt, its terrors and its defilements, but also all 
that the priest was conversant with, when sanctified by the 
waters of the holy laver, for the ministrations of the sanc- 
tuary. Priesthood and kingship are united in the saints. 

" Thou King of the nations" fyc.] This is the right read- 
ing. It is the very title we should expect to find in the song 
of Moses, for its subject is the manner in which the Lord 
had triumphed, and would triumph, over the nations. It is 
important to observe how in this chapter, as indeed through- 
out the whole of Scripture, there are symbols or expressions 
employed to designate the Church of the first-born, which 



NOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 255 

prove it to be a constituent part of the Israel of God. In 
the millennium, the Church of the first-born will be known 
as having been (what they are now recognized by faith to 
be) children of Abraham children of the free-woman, i.e. 
Sarah partakers of the paschal feast branches in the 
Abrahamic olive tree sons of Aaron, ministering in gar- 
ments of glory and beauty children of the Jerusalem which 
is above. All these types or titles are Israelitish ; and it is 
obvious that some of them, such for example as the minis- 
tration of the sons of Aaron on the eighth day (see Lev. ix.), 
imply a certain relation to Israel yet dwelling in the earth. 

Yet although Israel will then be dwelling in the earth, 
they will not be of the earth, any more than the Church of 
the first-born. The moment when the Church of the first- 
born receives, at the coming of the Lord, its actual deliver- 
ance from all that is of the old creation, will be also the 
period when the redeemed of Israel will receive their virtual 
deliverance from all that is of the old creation ; for Israel 
in the earth will as certainly and really be brought into the 
power of the new creation through and in Christ risen, as 
their brethren who have gone before them into glory. The 
difference between Moses and Elijah, and Peter and John, 
when they stood together upon the holy mount, was appa- 
rently very great ; but it was temporary only. They were 
heirs together of the same glory. So also in the millennium. 
The heavenly Jerusalem, and they who dwell therein, will, 
as to actually-attained condition, as far excel the earthly city 
and those who dwell therein, as heaven excels earth. Yet 
they will have one centre, even Christ (for all things have 
been headed up in Him), and also one Spirit. They will 
stand in diverse courts of the same glorious temple. Each 
would be imperfect without the other ; and when the dis- 
pensation of the fulness of times has come, and the millen- 
nial arrangements ceased, Israel and all others of the re- 
deemed people of God will join their brethren in the new 
heavens and new earth, all alike bearing the image of the 
heavenly man, the Lord from heaven. 



56 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

We find therefore (as might be expected) a strong corre- 
spondency between the language of the heavenly and earthly 
part of Israel in the songs they sing touching the earth (in 
whose government they are together engaged) and touching 
their knowledge of the ways of God therein. When they 
who stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God, 
sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, Israel too 
on the earth is able in words not very dissimilar, to make 
mention both of the works and ways of the Almighty King 
of nations : " O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord 
like unto thee ? or to thy faithfulness round about thee ? 
Thou rulest the raging of the sea ; when the waves thereof 
arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Eahab in pieces 
as one that is slain ; thou hast scattered thine enemies with 
thy strong arm. Thou hast a mighty arm ; strong is thy 
hand, and high is thy right hand." This is just what the 
saints have said above "Great and marvellous are thy 
works." But the psalm proceeds, " Justice and judgment 
are the habitation of thy throne ; mercy and truth shall go 
before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful 
sound, they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy counte- 
nance; in thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy 
righteousness shall they be exalted." Here is the appre- 
hension of the ways of the Almighty. They will be able to 
understand His ways then, for they will have been brought 
unto the sprinkled blood of Jesus, and will have the Holy 
Spirit and the mind of Christ. 

In all essential blessings, the calling of Israel then so 
nearly resembles that of the Church of the first-born now, 
that they may be truly said to be its successors. We are 
the first-fruits they the lump ; and " if the first-fruits be 
holy, the lump is also holy." If the root on which we are 
now growing, gives holiness to us, they will be graifed in again 
on the same root, and made partakers of the like fatness. 

Accordingly we find the resemblance between ourselves 
and them, carefully traced in the Scripture. We are chil- 
dren so are they " In the place where it was said unto 



NOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 257 

them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called 
children of the living God." (Hosea i.) We call Him Father 
so will they; " Thou shalt call me, my Father : and shalt 
not turn away thy face from me." We are IN Christ so 
are they ; for in the fifteenth of Corinthians, all who ever 
come into resurrection unto life, are said to be IN Christ. 
" As in Adam all die, even so IN Christ shall all be made 
alive." They are baptized by the same Spirit; for we fore- 
stall them in receiving that promise in Joel, which is really 
made to them. The same olive tree communicates sap and 
richness to both. We are married to the Lord so will 
they : " I am married unto you, saith the Lord." " Thy 
Maker is thy husband." We look for the new heavens and 
new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness so will they. 

The use of the symbol of the man-child is, as I have else- 
where observed, another remarkable instance of resemblance. 
It is clearly an Israelitish symbol, for he is born from Zion. 
(See Isaiah.) It is used to symbolize the people of God in a 
certain position of strength and power, and is used twice 
once to represent the place which the risen part of the Israel 
of God will occupy in heaven (Rev. xii.), and once to repre- 
sent the place which Israel on the earth will occupy in 
Jerusalem. Nothing can more strongly mark the corre- 
spondency of the two positions. I do not say, there will be 
no difference; there will be great differences, but they will 
be circumstantial and official, not essential. 

The language., types, and symbols of Scripture are so 
constantly founded upon this similarity, that it becomes 
impossible to understand the Scripture, if it be neglected. 
This dispensation is secretly preparing Israel's heavenly and 
glorified priesthood part of which (and this is the great 
mystery) is gathered from the Gentiles. 



" They sing the song of Moses . . . and the song of the 
Lamb.' 9 ] " The Law was given by Moses, but GllACE 



258 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

and Truth came by Jesus Christ." In the song of Moses, 
we read of the nations hearing and being afraid ; of sorrow 
and trembling taking hold of them; of the leaders of Edom 
being amazed ; of the inhabitants of Canaan melting away ; 
of fear and dread falling upon them ; of their being still as 
a stone ; we read of all this, but nothing is said of all na- 
tions being brought nigh " to worship " before the God of 
Israel. That, it is reserved for those who sing the song of 
the Lamb to mention. The nations will draw nigh in that 
day, not to be mute with terror, but to rejoice and to give 
thanks. See for example the 177th psalm. ff O praise the 
Lord, all ye nations : praise Him all ye peoples : for His 
merciful kindness is great towards us, and the truth of the 
Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord." 

" Thou only art 'O2IO2."] Such is the right reading 
o<7ioe not aytoc. It is not easy to find a suitable word by 
which to translate otrtoc when applied to the Lord. It is 
answered by the word Tpn in Hebrew : ^V"T|3 answer- 
ing to ay toe, holy. When Tpn (oatoe) is used of the 
Lord (as it frequently is in the Old Testament), it implies 
mercifulness, loving-kindness, sanctity. (See Jer. iii. 12.) 
" Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will 
not cause mine anger to fall upon you ; for I am merciful, 
(Tpn), saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever." 
Also Isaiah Iv. 3, quoted Acts xiii. 34, " I will give you the 
sure mercies (Hpn oo-ta) of David. As used in the passage 
before us, we may understand this word to imply the ascrip- 
tion to the Lord of those attributes and characteristics of 
which the " sure mercies of David " will be the manifested 
result to Israel and to the earth. Israel will then at last 
recognise that all those qualities and characteristics which 
are necessary to human happiness and blessing are to be 
found in Jehovah alone. As learning this the nations will 
come and worship before Him, when His righteousnesses 
S/K-atwuara) shall hare been made manifest. Hence the 
psabn. " Jehovah is righteous in all His ways, and "1DJ1 in 



NOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 259 

all His works ; Jehovah is nigh to all them that call upon 
Him, to all that call upon Him in truth." 

" Clothed in pure bright linen."] That is, linen of resplen- 
dent purity. Whenever the possession of purity is intended 
to be that to which attention is peculiarly to be directed, 
" linen" (in Greek \ivov, in Hebrew "Q) is the type em- 
ployed. But when the possession of a beauty and excel- 
lency of character recognised and declared, is intended to 
be the prominent thought, then we find not Xti>oi> but fivvvivov. 
The last word which is commmonly in our version rendered 
" fine linen," answers to the Hebrew y^, and, according to 
the Septuagint, to ttfttf. When the armies of heaven in the 
nineteenth chapter are seen following Christ in the hour of 
His glory, they are clothed, not in Ati>oi> but (3v<T<rivov. The 
former, when spoken of as the clothing of the ministers of 
Divine power, marks their agency as peculiarly pertaining 
to the present dispensation ; whereas the pvaaivov is com- 
monly connected with that which is to come. 

The manner in which fivavivov, y-12, is connected with 
scenes of triumph and glory in the Old Testament, may be 
seen from the following passages. When David brought 
home the ark of God in triumph, he was clothed with " a 
robe of fine linen; and all the Levites that bare the ark, 
and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song, with 
the singers." (1 Chron. xv ) Also, at the dedication of the 
Temple, " the Levites which were the singers, all of them 
of Asaph, of Heman or Jeduthun, being arrayed in white 
linen,* (fine linen y^), having cymbals and psalteries and 
harps," &c. It was fivaaivov also, (if we follow the Septu- 
agint, which gives it as the translation of $$,) which was used 

* y-"Q is used eight times in the Old Testament and is always by our 
translators rendered "fine linen" except in this passage where it should be 
so rendered, no word signifying " white " being appended in the Hebrew. 
Not that it was not white, but that was not the especial point to be made 
prominent. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

in the highpriest's garments of glory and beauty ; AII>OI>, 
on the contrary, was used in the garments of the Day of 
Atonement. When \ivov was used with PVGGII>OI> it partook 
of the character of the latter. 



"And I heard the angel of the waters," <^*c.] This either 
means the angel who was appointed to pour out his vial 
on the waters, or else some particular angel to whom the 
superintendence of this part of creation is specially com- 
mitted. Holy angels are more frequently employed than we 
think, not only in watching over and ministering to the 
heirs of salvation individually, but also in the providential 
control of kingdoms, and in superintending the course of 
nature, both in the heavens and on the earth. " Are they not 
all ministering spirits sent forth for ministration, because 
of those who shall inherit salvation ? " (Heb. i.) All their 
ministration, therefore, is for the elect's sake. "All things 
are yours." 

" / heard the altar say"] Such is the right reading. 
The cry from the altar proceeded, no doubt, from those 
mentioned as being under it in the sixth chapter. It shows 
that the saints are still in their disembodied state, and that 
the hour of resurrection had not yet come. 

<f That the way of the kings FROM the East might be 
prepared."] Such is the right translation. Some have sup- 
posed that the title, (l Kings from the East," refers to Israel 
and their triumphant return ; but Israel are no where called 
" kings from the East ;" nor is the hour here spoken of, an 
hour of blessing to them, but rather of judgment and sore 
rebuke from the hand of the Lord their God. Moreover, 
when they are regathered by the Lord, it will be not from 
the East merely, but from every land. 

The gathering of Eastern nations against Babylon (and 
it is to the drying up of the Euphrates, the river which 



NOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI. 261 

represents the strength of Babylon, that the passage hefore 
us refers), the gathering of nations from the East against 
Babylon is thus described in Jeremiah : " Set ye up a 
standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, 
prepare the nations against her, the kingdoms of Ararat, 
Minni, and Ashchenaz ; appoint a captain against her ; 
cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars." 
(Jer. li. 27.) 

It is plain both from Isaiah and Jeremiah, that the nations 
gathered by the secret providence of God against Babylon are 
allowed to capture it ; but before they have settled themselves 
into the enjoyment of their conquest, the day of the Lord 
supervenes, and destruction falls upon the conquerors and 
the conquered alike. In the thirteenth of Isaiah, these two 
distinct but consecutive acts of visitation are clearly distin- 
guished. " The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like 
as of a great people ; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms 
of nations gathered together : the Lord of hosts mustereth 
the host of the battle." Here is the providential gathering of 
the nations, as the first instruments of the Lord's vengeance ; 
but this is followed by a visitation far more terrible 
a visitation of distinctly supernatural power. ef The stars 
of Heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give 
their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, 
and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will 
punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their 
iniquity, and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, 
and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make 
a man more precious than fine gold, even a man than the 
golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the hea- 
vens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath 
of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger." 
This two-fold visitation exactly accords with the testimony of 
the Revelation. 

"Armageddon"] The gathering of the Eastern or 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

barbarous Asiatic nations against Babylon (which probably 
is the tidings out of the East and North which troubles the 
great sovereign of the Roman world, when warring in Egypt, 
see Daniel xi.), is nearly cotemporaneous with the gathering 
of the nations of the Roman world to Armageddon. Indeed, 
I regard the gathering at Armageddon as the result of the 
threatened confederacy against Babylon. 

There is no " battle of Armageddon," as is sometimes 
erroneously said; neither is there any destruction there. It 
is the place of gathering, not of conflict. The wine-press is 
trodden without the city, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat ; for 
there the day of the Lord comes upon them, as they are 
surrounding Jerusalem. (See Joel ii. and iii.) 

" The kings of the whole oiKou/ii>r?."] That is, of the 
whole Roman world. The words, "of the earth," should be 
omitted. 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 263 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

n ^(relation XVII. anfc XVIII. 



IT has been already remarked, that it is the habit of pro- 
phecy first of all to develop the end. It describes the con- 
summation first ; and if in subsequent visions the same sub- 
ject be retraced, we find ourselves led further back as to 
time, and earlier circumstances are pourtrayed. He who has 
valued and given heed to the earlier lesson, will desire fur- 
ther knowledge and he is worthy to receive it. We find 
a remarkable instance of this enlarged instruction in the 
chapter before us. The thirteenth chapter had, as we have 
seen, revealed the great Monarch of the prophetic earth in 
all the plenitude of his glorious power. We see him there 
in his last estate, with all glory centred in himself all re- 
cognised as proceeding from him, and all returning to him : 
for he glorifies himself as God. 

But this chapter treats of a preceding period. It ends 
where the thirteenth begins. We find here the initiatory 
steps of his glory. And although that glory is even here 
exceeding great, for " the beast had seven heads and ten 
horns" the emblems of concentrated authority over the 
whole "Roman earth, yet he holds this glory from and with 
another, fairer and more attractive than himself; for he sus- 
tained a ee woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked 
with gold, and precious stones, and pearls." 

The path, therefore, of Antichrist into power will not be 
dissimilar to that which has hitherto uniformly been trodden 



264 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYFSE. 

by those who have exalted themselves into greatness. They 
who have hitherto risen from obscurity into glory who 
have founded new sovereignties, and given their name to 
empires, have first been the servants of some existing system 
which they have served, and under whose favours they have 
grown, until they have become strong enough to despise and 
spurn its patronage. And hence it is that none, no, not even 
saints (except indeed they watch and keep the testimonies of 
the prophecy of this book) will feel surprised or scandalized 
at the course upon which Antichrist enters. He will merely 
be the friend and the supporter of a system already known 
and already honoured a system that will have been long 
existent and long valued. And they who have seen no de- 
formity therein whose eyes and whose thoughts have been 
habituated to rest in it with complacency, if not with joy 
who have seen in it no "mystery" of iniquity will find 
little to offend them in the ways of that mighty One who will 
arise to be its champion and its shield. Indeed it cannot be 
doubted, that many an individual, admired and idolized by 
men, is even at this present hour occupying a place that 
resembles, in the estimate of God, this early place of Anti- 
christ. Few resemble him in his final place of individualized 
power : but all who have thrown their energies into the sup- 
port of any systems whereby the truth of God has been dis- 
credited, or wickedness sanctified by the name of Christ, do 
virtually stand in a place that answers, in measure, to the 
symbol here given, and have, like the beast, names, though 
not all names, of blasphemy written on them. 

We cannot, therefore, be surprised that this chapter has 
frequently been applied by the servants of God, in different 
ages, to those ruling systems which they have severally 
recognised in their own day as hostile to the people and to 
the truth of Christ, whilst perhaps blasphemously assuming 
His authority and name. Nor were they altogether wrong 
in this ; for what ecclesiastical body, I might add, what secu- 
lar body, has yet arisen in the earth, that has set itself to 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 265 

order the ways of men either in their relations toward 
Christ or in their natural relations toward God, that has not 
run counter to His will, dishonoured His Scripture, opposed 
His saints, and arrogated to itself a place which God never 
gave it ? And how can any be the sustainers of such things, 
without names of blasphemy being written on them, the 
more in proportion to the energy and devotedness of their 
labour ? Many a defender of Romanism and such like sys- 
tems, must be regarded as marked with names of blasphemy 
for falsehood cannot be thrust into the place of Truth, 
without Truth being rejected and reviled; and false assump- 
tion, and the consequent reviling of God's Truth and people, 
is blasphemy in His sight. " I know the blasphemy of those 
who say they are Jews, and are not ; but are the synagogue 
of Satan." 

But the exactness of prophetic statement must not be 
destroyed by applications, which, however valuable as appli- 
cations, must never be substituted for direct and exact inter- 
pretation. Our first duty always is to inquire what the 
event which God is pleased to reveal, definitely and specifi- 
cally is. It may be with godly and upright intention that 
many have sought to turn the edge of the testimony of the 
seventeenth of Revelation sometimes on Rome, sometimes 
on national assumptions of Christianity ; but the cause of 
Truth will not ultimately be served hereby, if in doing this 
they have unconsciously narrowed the testimony of God, 
and refused to see in this chapter the definite picture of that 
closing system to Avhich Romanism and every thing else that 
successfully sways the unregenerate heart will finally lead 
a system the more important to be watched, because it is 
future, and may be (I fear not to say, is) at present rising ; 
and because, by the terms of this prophecy, it will extend 
its influence over regions which the ecclesiastical systems of 
Rome, or Greece, or England, have never swayed ; and be- 
cause its adaptation to such a mass of nations, for they are 
described as " peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and 



66 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

tongues," shows that it must be constructed on principles 
wide as the heart of man ; and therefore that all, whatever 
their creed or whatever their nation, are in danger of its 
seductions, whose path is not simply ordered by the Spirit 
of God. 

It cannot be doubted by any who seriously examine this 
chapter, that its fulfilment is altogether future. The beast 
by whom the woman is sustained has ten horns, which 
indicate a sphere not less extensive than the whole Roman 
earth : and when, since the power of secular Rome crumbled, 
have we seen any system that has thus borne sway over the 
West and East together, or when have we seen any indi- 
vidual like him that is described, sustaining such a system ? 
Moreover, the seven mountains occupied by the woman is 
the symbol that all and every form of concentrated govern- 
mental influence in a word, all authority belongs to her; 
and, as we might expect, her sustainer and instrument is 
invested with the same in him, symbolized by seven heads 
in her, by seven mountains on which she sitteth. This 
complete possession of all authority has never yet been found 
in any system that has heretofore acted in the earth. Many 
have coveted it, but none have attained it : power has 
conflicted with power, system with system, and the jar of 
opposing interests has hindered the progress of any into 
undisputed supremacy. And when we consider what it 
means to have the control of all the influence of the reno- 
vated Roman earth, its political, military, civil, religious, 
commercial, educational, systems to have the control of 
these things in and throughout the many and now differing 
nations within its scope ; to have the jarring elements of the 
human mind touching these things brought under effectual 
control a control wonderful, if exercised only in one nation, 
but how much more wonderful in all ; when we consider 
this, we cannot but confess that such a spectacle has never 
yet been presented in the history of human things. It is 
the marvellous exhibition of a power yet to be ; the more 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 67 

marvellous, because it will be the power not of an individual, 
but of a system, which, though long prepared in secret (see 
Zechariah v. 5), will suddenly burst in development upon the 
eyes of men. " When I saw the woman," says the apostle, 
" I wondered with a great wonder." 

The very fact that the long-lost unity of the Roman world 
should in any sense be restored, is in itself wonderful. When 
we consider how entirely it has been broken, first by the 
inroads of the barbarous Northern nations then by the 
successive triumphs of the Saracens and the Turks, and how 
the last bonds of union which still kept the Western states 
of Europe in some degree together under the emperor and 
the pope, were finally broken by the revolutionary war, it is 
wonderful that fragments so shattered nations so dissimilar 
as those of Asia Minor, and Palestine, and Greece, and 
Barbary, and England, should again be united so as to be 
symbolized by the ten horns of the same beast, or the ten 
toes of one image. 

Yet so is it determined by the word of God; and if we 
watch the signs of the times we may see the symptoms of 
returning union. We see nothing like the restoration of 
one undivided empire, neither the appearance of any one 
universal monarch ; for the time of the last monarch of the 
Gentiles is not yet come. We see, on the contrary, kingdoms 
broken into distinctness we see Greece and Egypt separated 
from Turkey and from one another ; and other divisions of 
this kind there must be, for the last unity of the Roman 
earth is a unity of distinctness ; yet whilst these things are 
silently progressing, we may equally observe the rapid rise 
of a peculiar system which is beginning to give to these 
kingdoms a likeness one to another, and to unite them, not 
by arms or by religious uniformity, but by the influence of a 
moral and political system as extensive and as certain as the 
covetousness and pride of the heart of man. 

Limited or, as it is called, constitutional monarchy ; com- 
mercial enterprise; the consequent subjection of everything 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

art, science, taste, to utility (the standard of utility being 
productiveness of wealth); the control of ecclesiastical by 
civil power, and, what is still more remarkable, the increas- 
ing control of governments by capitalists, manufacturers, 
and merchants ; the gradual yielding of the aristocracy of 
birth and station to the aristocracy of wealth these and 
other connected principles have marked a character so dis- 
tinctive upon the present period, as to be recognised even 
by those who have never thought of reading these things in 
the light of the testimony of God. And if facts prove to us 
that these are the principles that are beginning to spread a 
moral unity throughout the Roman earth, we could scarcely 
avoid concluding upon this ground alone, that this is the 
system represented in this chapter as dominant over the 
prophetic earth at the time of the end. But when we also 
find that these are the very features which the Scripture 
notes as characterizing the Babylon of the latter day, it 
remains no longer an undetermined question; and what 
features can be more clearly marked as attaching to the 
Babylonish period than commercial greatness, the supre- 
macy of wealth, and the mixing of iron and miry clay in the 
government of the kingdoms ? 

The supremacy of commercial wealth is an unusual feature 
in the history of men. I do not mean that there have never 
been cities like Tyre, or Corinth, or Carthage, or Venice, 
that have flourished commercially ; but their influence has 
been little felt beyond their own immediate sphere, nor have 
they by their institutions ever imparted a character to the 
general system of the nations. Commerce was not supreme 
either in the early native monarchy of Nimrod, nor in the 
Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, or Roman empires. None of 
these empires were distinctively commercial. They all would 
have emblazoned the sword rather than the ephah on their 
banners. The ruling power in each depended for its sup- 
port, sometimes on the nobles or the aristocracy of birth ; 
sometimes on the aristocracy of merit such as successful 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 

generals; sometimes on the people; but never on an aris- 
tocracy of merchants. But when, in the history of the 
declension of monarchic power, the sovereign began first 
to lean upon his nobles, then upon his generals, then 
upon the people ; and when at last, in modern Europe, the 
ecclesiastical system, which for a long time had checked the 
progress of democracy, was itself enfeebled, and the cry of 
democracy was on every lip, we have seen suddenly arise 
another barrier more potent and more firm than any that has 
yet existed in the history of man the aristocracy of wealth. 
It is in England that this has chiefly been exhibited. It is 
no longer the nobles, nor the Church, nor the people ; but 
the exchanges of our great commercial cities that secretly 
guide the wheels of government here. " Capital " is power ; 
and men of wealth are becoming the chief guardians of 
society and the firmest pillars of the throne. 

The place occupied by England has been for ages one of 
singular responsibility. When the last remnants of Eastern 
civilization were finally swept away by the fierce inroad of 
the Turks, and when the Western provinces of the Roman 
world groaned under the heavy yokes of despotism and 
superstition, it pleased God to allow this country, placed as 
it is on the remotest limit of the Roman world, to become 
the repository of those mighty' but godless principles that 
are to re-animate the Roman kingdoms, and strengthen them 
for their last hour of proud defiance of God. The great 
events of modern days have been the invention of printing; 
the Reformation ; the maritime discoveries of Vasco di Gam a 
in the East, and of Columbus in the West ; and scientific 
and mechanical inventions. A new era in the history of 
mankind has been marked by these things, and where have 
their effects been felt as in England ? They have concen- 
trated their power on England, I might almost say on 
England alone. As to the results, I must ask the con- 
sciences of those who know Christ and who fear God, to 
judge. Influence enough has gone forth from England, and 



270 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the whole world is feeling its effects; but what evil under the 
sun does it not foster for the sake of gain ? Hindooism, which 
is natural idolatry; Mahommedanism, which is apostasy; 
and Popery, which, professedly in the name of Christ, leads 
back the Gentile world into the same idolatry and corrup- 
tion whence the gospel was sent to take them, and which 
by idolatry violates not merely the revealed, but even the 
natural relations of man to God all these and such like 
things are protected, and honoured, and paid by England for 
the sake of commercial rule. She has found in her Indian 
and in her colonial possessions, a school in which she has 
well learned to adapt herself to the varying condition of the 
human family, whatever their blasphemies, and whatever 
their sins, and has thus become the mainspring of the new 
system that is arising in the earth. 

It has been said, however, by one well qualified to pro- 
nounce a judgment on such subjects,* that France is the 
great artery of the social system ; and that nothing whereso- 
ever it may be originated, no principle of government, no 
invention of science, ever becomes European without first 
passing through France. Accordingly, we are now seeing 
these principles of which we have been 'speaking infused 
into the system of France : and by France and England they 
are being disseminated ; but specially in those countries 
(Greece, Turkey, and Algeria, are examples) which fall with- 
in the limits of the Roman earth. They are obviously 
principles well calculated to cement into closest union. 
Similarity of political institutions, especially when those 
institutions stand in contrast with, and in danger from, the 
institutions of a near and powerful rival, such as Russia, are 
in themselves no slender bond.f Of old, democrats were 

* M. Guizot. 

f These remarks were written upwards of ten years ago. It may be 
thought that the recent changes in France have in some degree falsified 
the expectation here expressed. But the change in France is more 
apparent than real. After the violent democratic outbreak in 1848 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 71 

wont to assist democrats, and despots to aid despots ; but 
when in addition to this men have found a new and more 
efficacious centre of union in their commercial interests, and 
when they feel themselves mutually dependent upon each 
other for the preservation as well as the increase of their 
riches when the ruin of one involves the danger of all 
men in such circumstances become wonderfully careful of 
each other's interests. This is the kind of dependence into 
which nations are being brought one on the other. Not 
only are the inhabitants of the commercial nations interested 
in the maintenance of order and tranquillity in their own 
countries (for commerce diffuses wealth, and gives to mil- 
lions an interest in the prosperity of the common weal, 
which they never had before) ; but when the wealth of one 
nation becomes embarked in the undertakings of another, 
or when one nation lives by selling to another, they become 
dependent on each other, and soon becoming aware of their 
mutual dependency, they understand that common interests 
involve common prosperity or common ruin. 

That peace may be promoted hereby that the quiet 
pursuits of industry may be substituted for the bloody 
triumphs of destroying armies and the crowded manu- 
factory with all its secret history of sin and misery, be in 
the social system what the baronial castle or the camp once 
was, no one can doubt. The sword is not mentioned in all 

which threatened to annihilate the "iron" of government, and to leave 
only " clay," it was likely that there would be some violent reaction in 
order to preserve the " iron." The results of that reaction we have yet 
to see. The principle of representative government is still found in 
France, and its necessary interests preserve it in political connexion 
with England. But what is of far more importance, there is silently 
growing up in France a strong " commercial interest," and this hody is 
soon likely to be to the throne in France what it is to the throne here 
its main support. The interests of England and France will then be 
conclusively one. We know from the Scripture that the clay-iron prin- 
ciples of government must finally prevail in all the Ten kingdoms of the 
Roman earth. (See Prospects of the Ten Kingdoms.) 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the detail of the greatness of Babylon ; but te merchandise of 
gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pearls, and fine 
linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyme wood, 
and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels 
of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 
and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, 
and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and 
sheep, and horses, and chariots, and bodies and souls of men." 
Such are the fruits that the soul of Babylon loveth, and they 
flourish beneath a sky that is to the eye fair and serene. 
The rude jarring of former ages has passed away. It seems 
as though men had at last learned that it is best for their 
own interests to cease from biting and devouring one another. 
The disturbance and dissension that was once caused by God's 
own Truth is gone. Men respect the opinions of their neigh- 
bours, and charity hopeth well of all. Every one shall be 
fostered, and loved, and valued, who subserves the interests 
of the common weal, and does not interfere with the ways 
or doctrines of others. Such are the rules of Babylon, such 
the principles on which human society is beginning to be 
organized throughout the Roman earth. Such rules indeed 
will not bring the sword into the household, yet Christ in 
His faithfulness may, (for Truth is a sword and He will not 
permit it to be banished from the earth,) and then there will 
be the opportunity for Babylon " to drink of the blood of 
saints, and of the blood of the martyrs of Jesus ;" but, with 
this exception, the moral atmosphere will be untroubled and 
serene, and little indicate the coming storm. 

For man to be proud of any thing is a sin, or to lean upon 
any thing, or worship any thing, save God ; but how pecu- 
liarly hateful must that sin become when the idol is that which 
God has so expressly named " filthy lucre." Yet money is 
everything in the system of which we speak : its foundation 
and its pillar the mainspring of all its energies. For men 
to spread over the earth and subdue it to produce wealth 
by supplying food and necessary clothing by the sweat of 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 73 

their brow to exchange one with another on principles 
fairly remunerative of the time and labour spent in the pro- 
duction, all this is according to the natural arrangements of 
God. But this is not the commerce of Babylon. It deals 
in luxuries rather than in necessaries ; in other words, it 
ministers to the lusts, rather than to the need of man " the 
lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, pride of life, and vanity- 
of spirit." But not only so ; heedless of every thing, except- 
ting gain, its avowed principle is " to buy at the cheapest, 
and to sell at the dearest." The misfortune of another may 
constrain him to sell his all that misfortune is welcomed, 
if it cheapens the object of my search. Poor distant bar- 
barous nations may be ignorant of the real value of what 
I bring, and I scruple not to take a price a hundred times 
greater than the value of that which I sell. But did God 
prescribe these principles to regulate the mutual supply of 
the need of those who found themselves together the inha- 
bitants of a ruined earth themselves born to sorrow, as the 
sparks fly upward ? Were these the principles on which 
Abraham dealt with Lot, or with the sons of Heth ? or are 
they the principles of him who loves in this and every other 
way to add to the miseries and sins of men, and deepen the 
groan of creation ? 

We cannot, therefore, wonder at the result. Unscru- 
pulous avidity, endowed with every superiority that skill, 
and art, and science, and courage, and commanding influ- 
ence can give, going forth to ransack the whole earth for 
treasure, is sure to prosper, now that God hath ff withdrawn 
Himself into His place," and is fc still, and refrains Himself." 
But what is wealth what is prosperity without Him and 
His blessing? It ministers joy. But what joy? I saw in 
her hand " a golden cup full of abominations and filthiness 
of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name 
written, Mystery Babylon the great, the mother of the 
harlots, and abominations of the earth." Such is the sym- 
bol. Who would desire such joy ? Yet men do desire it, 

T 



74 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

and will desire, and will drink of it till they are drunken ; 
for conscience has become dead. The Reformation itself 
(sent as it was in mercy) has been one innocent cause of this. 
Before that, men were sinning, comparatively in th'e dark ; 
but since, they have been sinning in the light. Worldly 
and designing men have availed themselves of the truths of 
the Reformation ; they have struck off thereby the fetter of 
superstition from many a hand ; but their wish has been to 
set it free for worldliness, not for God ; and they have 
succeeded. 

But this system, it must be remembered, is in the fullest 
sense to be a ruling system ; that is, it will not be merely a 
morally influential system which kings and governors may 
be glad to use ; but it will be a system that will use them, 
and make them subservient to its will. The beast having 
ten horns carries the woman. This willing subjection of 
the executive organs of government is a peculiarly dis- 
tinguishing feature in the Babylonish period. The Papal 
system struggled for ages to reduce the crowns of Western 
Europe into this kind of subserviency to itself; but the at- 
tempt signally failed, even in the limited sphere in which 
it was made. But here we find the ten horns of the Roman 
earth in willing and complete subjection. And this subjec- 
tion has begun, at least in the country in which we dwell ; 
for what minister would in England hold the reins of govern- 
ment for an hour, who should refuse to be the servant of 
that half- popular half-monarchic commercial system with 
all its latitudinarianism and infidelity, which is already para- 
mount here, as it soon will be throughout the prophetic 
earth ? 

And this very fact of governors acting, not as individuals, 
not on the unbiassed judgments of their own minds, but as 
the organs of a system, invests their actions with the greater 
importance as signs of the moral character of the times ; be- 
cause the actions of the representative of a system indicate 
not the condition of a mere individual mind, but the habi- 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 75 

tual moral condition of millions before God. I say habitual 
because caprice may determine an individual, but it can- 
not influence the actings of a deliberately planned and settled 
system. And although that system is as yet but partially 
formed, and is only partially influential, yet the character of 
policy and legislation at home and abroad is strongly enough 
marked with new peculiarities ; and those peculiarities we 
shall, I doubt not, find to be retained when it is developed 
in its perfectness. If, for example, we could now transport 
ourselves to the council-chambers at Constantinople (I name 
that place, because there the affairs of the Eastern and 
Western branches of the Roman, world are necessarily in 
question), and were permitted to hear the plans of England 
and France developed, we should soon be able to form an 
estimate of the political and religious character of Babylonish 
government. Mahomedanism, Arminianism and all the 
other corrupted forms of Eastern Christianity, Judaism, and 
the heathenism of the Druses, all fall within the East ; whilst 
Judaism, Mahomedanism, the Greek, Roman, and Anglican 
churches, together with various forms of Protestantism and 
Infidelity divide the West; and all have to be considered. The 
plan adopted must be such as to suit them all none are to be 
pre-eminent no, not even if the fulness of God's own Truth 
should be in them ; but all are to be not merely protected 
but fostered in their own proper sphere, and no question of 
" what is truth " must be allowed for a moment to interrupt 
the harmony of this Satanic concord. 

I have said that this system is not as yet developed, so 
that we must not expect at present to be able fully and accu- 
rately to trace its details. Its manifestation before the eyes 
of men (when it will assume a form as definite and palpable 
as Popery, Mahomedanism, or any other system that has 
heretofore appeared) its manifestation will not be until it 
shall be set up in the land of Shinar on its own base ; for this 
woman represents not a system merely, but a system con- 
nected with one especial city, and that place is Babylon, the 



76 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

Euphratean city in the land of Shinar. " The woman which 
thou sawest, is that great city which reigneth over the kings 
of the earth." Such are the concluding words of the 
seventeenth chapter ; and in that which immediately succeeds, 
the outward circumstances of that great city are described. 
The land of Shinar, whence civilization first proceeded, is the 
place to which it will again return, and in which it will be 
concentrated. There also it shall find its grave. The pit 
shall suddenly open its mouth upon it. The silent progress 
of the mystery of iniquity is advancing secretly now so 
secretly, that even they who are expecting something to 
arise, are expecting anything except the right. The lid of 
the ephah, however, is lifted for the servant of God, and he 
is allowed to glance at that which is contained within it. 
To him it is given to understand the truth, whilst others are 
lost in conjecture. Some, for example, fear lest the hordes of 
the North from Russia should again pour down upon the 
plains of Europe, and again establish an universal monarchy 
upon the ruins of Western civilization. Others hope for the 
rise of some great conqueror, who, like Napoleon, may again 
individualize power, and give the sword pre-eminence over 
the sceptre. Others expect, some with fear, some withhope, 
that a dominant religious system will be revived, and Ro- 
manism, or modified Romanism, be again supreme. Others 
desire that the government of the whole Roman world should 
depend upon religious systems, but that those systems should 
be all the Churches of Christendom that can pretend to (so 
called) apostolic lineage, linked together in a catholic union ; 
" the German sects of the Reformation " (I use their own 
words) being alone excluded. I merely mention these things 
to show how utterly unconscious men are of the real nature 
of the system which is being silently prepared ; and whilst 
some are exclaiming against one form of evil, and others 
against another, the literature, the philanthropy, the govern- 
ment, and often the real Christianity of the day, is in the 
meanwhile advancing, and that with most successful efforts, 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 277 

that system which. God has named f< Babylon the Great, the 
Mother of the harlots and abominations of the earth." 

It is well that we should consider carefully that remark- 
able passage in Zechariah to which I have alluded, respecting 
the ephah and its " going forth." When the prophet was 
taught where the influence would dwell which, in the latter 
day, should " go forth" with pervading sovereign power over 
Israel and the nations of the prophetic earth, there was 
shown to him not a sword, nor a mitre, nor a diadem, but an 
ephah the emblem of commerce. ( ' Then the angel that 
talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now 
thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. And I said, 
"What is it ? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. 
He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the 
earth." Such was the vision ; and how truly is it beginning to 
be verified ? Is not commerce the sovereign influence of the 
day ? If we wished to inscribe on the banners of the leading 
nations of the earth, an emblem characteristically expressive 
of their condition, could we fix on any device more appro- 
priate than an ephah ? Will not Israel, when they shall con- 
centrate their unsanctified energies, and gather together their 
wealth, and resettle themselves in the land from which they 
have been driven, glory in assuming some such symbol as 
this ? " This," said the angel, " is their resemblance through- 
out all the earth."* The commencement of the reign of 

* The word translated resemblance, ]^, means literally eye. Thus 
the Vulgate, " Heec est oculus eorum in universa terra." "Eye" may 
either mean aspect, appearance, as in Numbers xi. 6, where it is said of 
the manna that the colour or appearance thereof was as the colour of 
bdellium ; or " eye" may mean that to which we look for guidance, favour, 
or any supply of blessing. If the eye of a father or a friend rest benignly 
on us, we look to its kindness as a source of supply to all our require- 
ments. Hence eye is continually used of fountains in the wilderness, 
and wells of water. See Genesis xvi. 7 ; also Deut. xxxiii. 28 : "Israel 
then shall dwell in safety alone : the fountain (literally eye) of Jacob shall 
be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew." 
Thus we have to contrast " the eye" of unbelieving Israel and the 



878 THOUGHTS ON THE AFOCALYPSE. 

commerce is already recognised, and men welcome it. We 
have suffered enough (say they) from the sword of the con- 
queror, and from the mitre, and from the crown. We wish 
not that society should fall beneath the sway of either. Let 
commerce be supreme. Its influences are benign and gentle. 
It gives scope to the energies of man. It ennobles and en- 
riches. It cherishes science; it encourages art; it stimu- 
lates research. It diffuses wealth and banishes penury. It 
breathes of peace and concord. It is the panacea for our 
ills. Who, then, will condemn commerce ? Who will say 
that the ephah can be the harbinger of anything but good ? 

The material interests of commerce for the most part 
absorb the attention of those who are occupied therein, and 
they care little respecting the moral principles which the god 
of this world may be silently connecting with the exaltation 
of their idol. Yet it is very manifest, that the inauguration 
of this rising age of commercial greatness is accompanied by 
the introduction of new principles new governmental 
principles which, although not yet fully systematised, are 
silently operating on society and gradually casting it in a 
new mould. For governments openly to ignore Truth, and 
avowedly to cherish all the varieties of falsehood, is, in the 
history of Christendom at least, something new. Society 
apart from God, and from His Truth, is but a many-tongued 
monster that gives utterance to voices that all emanate from 
the pit. Yet we are taught that it is the duty of government 
to be the exponent of the mind of society, and to give effect 
to the expressions of its will ; that it should honour falsehood, 
sustain its emissaries, conciliate all by pleasing all, and op- 
pose none except those who maintain that the Truth of God 
is unchangeable and eternal that it is clear, precise, and 
definite that it cannot bend to the wilfulness and per- 
versity of man, nor confound darkness with light, nor call 

nations, viz. the ephah in the land of Shinar, with " the eye" of forgiven 
Israel in the land of Immanuel, when Jehovah shall be their strength and 
their song. 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 279 

evil good. But the steadfast inflexibility of Truth ill suits 
the designs of those who need pliant principles principles 
that can accommodate themselves to all circumstances, and 
adapt themselves complacently to all forms of superstition, to 
all varieties of evil. If the {f solidarite" of nations is to be 
sought on such principles as these, and if the "material" 
interests of the human family are to be made the supreme 
object of pursuit, it is no wonder that God and revealed 
Truth should be excluded from such consolidation. Such 
will be the result of the now germinant principles of this 
rising age of commercial greatness. Few y however, care to 
analyse them. They are hidden in the ephah. 

Zechariah was not restricted to the sight of the outward 
form of the ephah only. He was also commanded to look 
within, and there he saw a woman seated in the midst of 
the ephah. " A woman," as we have already seen, is a 
symbol continually used to designate a moral system. Thus 
then we are taught in this vision just what we learn from 
present facts, that an attractive moral system is associated 
with that which, if viewed in its physical aspect merely, 
would be but as the bare form of an ephah. The prophet 
looked again, and he saw the angel cast something into the 
ephah with the woman, saying, " This is wickedness." 
And he cast it into the midst of the ephah, and he cast 
the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. " Wickedness," 
or, as it is interpreted by St. Paul, " lawlessness" (a^o^ia), 
is a word that specifically designates that peculiar form of 
evil which makes Antichrist what he will be as the man 
of lawlessness, (o avQpwTroq rr/ avofjua^,^ or the wicked 
one()ttn, Isaiah xi., o ai>ojuoc, 2 Thess. ii.). The principles 
therefore of "lawlessness" in their earliest form of concen- 
tration will be found connected with the ephah. But they 
remain hidden, and continue to be the " mystery of lawless 
ness," until the ephah is translated to the land of Shinar, 
and there established. With its establishment in the land 
of Shinar (and can any words more plainly mark locality) 



80 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the vision of Zechariah, touching the ephah, closes. Can 
there be any difficulty in understanding these things ? In 
the land of Shinar the woman hidden in the ephah will be 
manifested, and known as Babylon the Great, fe wondered 
after " by men, but in the estimate of God, " the Mother 
of the harlots, and the abominations of the earth." 

It is this system, then, that Antichrist will, in the early 
period of his history, espouse. All plenitude of authority 
and influence, indicated in the vision by seven mountains, 
will, at the period of which this chapter treats, be possessed 
by the woman. But power, if it is to be used, requires of 
course some form of executive agency, and this is supplied 
in him. He for the time being becomes the executive 
agent of all her power ; making this his last step onward 
into the eighth final form of executive government, or 
" kingship," which concludes the evil history of authority 
delegated to man. " There are seven kings five are fallen, 
and one is, and the other is not yet come ; and when he 
cometh he must continue a short space. And the beast that 
was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of [f K] the 
seven." 

This passage (which is parenthetic*) is evidently intended to 
direct our thoughts to the various forms of executive govern- 
ment or kingship that have existed, or shall exist in the pro- 
phetic earth, until the hour when the sovereignty of the world 
shall become the sovereignty of the Lord and of His Christ. 
We might expect to find such a reference in a chapter which 
professedly treats of him who is to close the history of 
human government by the introduction of a new and mar- 
vellous form of power a form new as to its mode of ad- 
ministration and development, yet not unconnected with the 
past, for it will be constructed upon principles drawn from 
the experience of preceding ages, and will have the founda- 
tions of its greatness laid by the primeval efforts of mankind. 
He will be the eighth ; but he is of [**:] the seven. 

* See Notes. 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 81 

The native energy and intrepidity of him who is said to 
have been a mighty hunter before the Lord an energy 
essential to men who were settling in a forlorn and unsub- 
dued earth, surrounded by beasts of the forest and countless 
other difficulties and dangers, very naturally gave the first 
form to kingship, and hence its parentage may be said to 
spring. " The beginning of his kingdom was Babel." The 
supremacy of Nimrod was not derived from any previously 
existing system. He neither inherited his power from 
others, nor did he, like Nebuchadnezzar afterwards, receive 
it as a gift from God. He earned it for himself by the force 
of his own individual character but it was without God. 
Great progress was made in the kingdom which he founded 
in the land of Shinar, in civilization and refinement; for we 
early read of the goodly Babylonish garment, and of the 
skill and learning of the Chaldees ; but their dominion was 
repressed and kept, as it were, in abeyance by the hand of 
God, until the trial of Israel, His people, had been fully 
made, that it might be seen whether they would prove them- 
selves worthy of supremacy in the earth. 

The form of government in Israel was a theocracy ; as was 
seen in the reigns of David and of Solomon, who were types 
(imperfect types indeed) of Him that is to come. The mon- 
arch was independent of and uncontrolled by those whom 
he governed, but he was dependent upon God, who dwelt 
in the temple, ever near to be consulted, and whose law was 
given as the final standard of appeal. He stood between 
God and the people, not to be their functionary and slave 
not to be the expression of their judgments and the reflection 
of their will ; but as set over them by God, his office was to 
mould them and to fashion them by principles which he him- 
self had received from above. But the possession of power 
like this, held in companionship with God, required a holi- 
ness that was not found in man in the flesh, and therefore it 
was soon forfeited. Divine sanction, however, has many 



82 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

times since been coveted, and the name of "the Lord's 
anointed" assumed. The last great king of the Gentiles, 
indeed, will do mpre than this, for he will take the place of 
Divinity itself, and sit upon the mount of the congregation 
on the sides of the north, saying that he is like the Most 
High. But all this is unauthorized assumption. God has 
never connected His name with Gentile power, save as 
declaring that He is the source from which it flows ; nor has 
He ever granted the title of "the Lord's anointed "to any 
Gentile king, in the sense in which it once attached to the 
occupant of Israel's throne. It is a title reserved for Him 
who shall soon come to fill that throne, and to bear the 
glory ; and then we shall again behold the theocracy, sus- 
tained for ever in holiness and in blessing. 

The third form was developed when the Gentile dynasty 
was formally constituted by God in the person of Nebuchad- 
nezzar. He, like the monarchs of Israel, had absolute sove- 
reignty granted to him but God was not with him in it. He 
and his successors received it as delegated power, to be exer- 
cised according to their own pleasure, though in final respon- 
sibility to God. It is not necessary here to pursue the painful 
history of the Gentiles. It is sufficient to say, as regards the 
history of power, that the Gentile monarchs from the begin- 
ning, not knowing God so as to lean upon Him, and too weak 
to stand alone ; exposed to the jealousy and hatred of those 
whom they governed a jealousy not unfrequently earned by 
their own evil, found it necessary to lean upon something 
inferior to themselves : and thus the character of power has 
been deteriorated from age to age, until at last the monarchy 
of these latter days has consented not only to own the people 
as the basis and source of its power, but has also submitted 
to be directed in the exercise of that power by given rules 
prescribed by its subjects. The authority held by Nebu- 
chadnezzar is represented by fine gold ; that of the constitu- 
tional monarchies of this present hour by iron mixed with 



ON KEVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 283 



miry clay. There never was a declaration of Scripture more 
distinctly verified by facts than this.* 

The native monarchy of Nimrod, the theocracy of Israel, 
the despotic authority of Nebuchadnezzar, the aristocratic 
monarchy of Persia, and the military monarchy of Alexander 
and his successors, had all passed away when John beheld 
this vision. All these methods had been tried none had 
been found to answer even the purposes of man ; and now 
another had arisen, the half military, half popular monarchy 
of the Csesars the iron empire of Rome. " Five have 
fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come ; and when 
lie cometh he must continue a little space." 

That other (though it cannot yet be said to have come so 
as to fulfil this verse )f has nevertheless appeared and is found 
in the constitutional monarchy of this present hour. This 
is the seventh, and, with one brief exception, the last form 
that is to be exhibited before the end shall come, and it is 
under this form that the system of Babylon is matured. It 
is obvious that a monarchy, guided not by the people 
numerically, but by certain classes of the people, and 
those classes determined by the possession of property, must 
be the form best adapted for the accumulation of wealth, 
and the growth of commercial power ; for it gives (which 
pure democracy has ever failed to do), the best security 
for property without unduly fettering the liberty of indivi- 
dual enterprise. 

* The great difference between the iron power of Rome and the clay- 
iron power of present constitutional monarchies is this. The emperor at 
Rome, although professedly elected by the people or senate, was, after he 
once possessed the power, absolute : whereas the monarch now not only 
owns the people as the source of power, but is directed and fettered in 
every action he performs. He is, in fact, merely the executive agent of 
his subjects' will. For further remarks on the deterioration of power, see 
" Prospects of the Ten Kingdoms." 

f It will not have come in the sense of this verse, until it pervades the 
Roman world. When all the ten kingdoms have been constitutionalized, 
it may be said to have come. 



84 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

A system, however, like that of Babylon, will ill suit the 
individual ambition of Antichrist. He will not submit to 
be legislated for by the classes of the wealthy, nor any other 
classes. He will spurn even the laws of God, and will do 
according to his own will. The ten kings of the ten kingdoms 
will gladly own him as their lord. The yoke of the Baby- 
lonish system is a hard yoke upon them ; besides which the 
democratic pressure, which is perpetually increasing in 
strength, could scarcely be finally resisted even by the 
system of Babylon itself. They will gladly, therefore, take 
refuge under the arm of one whom Satan strengthens for 
dominion, and join in destroying a system which has really 
made them its slaves, and, in many things, left them less 
liberty than the meanest of their subjects. " They shall 
hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and 
shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire : for God hath put 
in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree and give their 
kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be ful- 
filled." The system of Babylon will be destroyed; but the 
city with all its wealth and greatness will for a time continue, 
and Antichrist will reign over it for a season, until the hour 
of his doom and its doom together comes. He will hate its 
system, but he will not hate it; for its resources, its palaces, 
its ships, and its merchandise, will be among the chiefest 
objects of his desire the sinews of his strength, and the 
adornment of his glory.* 

* In the seventeenth chapter, the symbol is a woman in the eigh- 
teenth, a city. The former represents the city Babylon, as to its own 
peculiar system of law, government, &c.; the latter represents the same 
city, as to its physical resources, wealth, merchandize, &c. 

If a stranger were to visit this country, he would first be shown, pro- 
bably, its arsenals, its storehouses, manufactories, and the like; the symbol 
of all this would be " a city :" and when he inquired respecting the sys- 
tem, moral, educational, political, and so forth, under which all this 
greatness had been matured, he would be furnished with a sketch of 
England's peculiar system of law, religion, government, &c. This would 
be England as the woman. 

Babylon's peculiar system ceases as soon as Antichrist becomes 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVtII. 85 

We have not, therefore, to watch so much against Antichrist 
himself, as against that system which precedes Antichrist, 
which he adopts, and by which he rises into his glory 
a system whose principles are already operating, and every- 
where spreading their destructive influence, and yet dis- 
cerned by few, neither judged according to the light so fully 
given in this chapter. The system of Babylon will not be 
an ecclesiastical system on the contrary, it will be distinc- 
tively secular ; but ecclesiastical systems may be dragged in 
its train, as every system will be that is not simply ruled by 
the Spirit of Jesus : neither will any but they who are con- 
tent " to go without the gate bearing His reproach," be free 
from its evil influence. 

It has been the practice of some, and especially of those 
who have been lately labouring to revive the darkness and 
abominations of Popery in this country, to speak much of 
Antichrist. If, say they, such an one is to arise (as he surely 
will) full of all wickedness and blasphemy, and if he will set 
himself to destroy all institutions, human and divine, that are 
contrary to him, let us only consider what he will destroy, 
and then we shall learn what we should cherish. Ac- 
cording to this we may, nay, we ought to, nourish the Harlot 
and all her abominations, because Antichrist will be her 
destruction. 

This is strange counsel ; and yet it is virtually accepted 

supreme. He, from that time forward, is to the city what the system 
of that city had been. It must he remembered, however, that the woman, 
which represents Babylon as to its system, and the city, which represents 
Babylon as to its physical greatness, are both feminine symbols. This is 
evident from the language of the eighteenth chapter throughout. And 
although Babylon loses, as soon as Antichrist becomes supreme, its pecu. 
liar system, by which every thing in the Roman earth had till then been 
regulated; yet it does not lose, and cannot lose, until it ceases to exist, a 
peculiar moral character. It must have a moral character of its own. 
The destruction of its own specific system does not alter that, and it con- 
tinues to be one of unchanged badness. Fornication, deliciousness, &c. 
as much attach to it under the lordship of Antichrist, as when its own 
system ruled. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

by all who justify their position, not because it will answer 
to the requirements of truth, but because it is obnoxious to 
some more palpable form of wickedness that may be at hand. 
It is an easy thing to speak against Antichrist, and yet to 
sustain those very things that cause God to send him in 
judicial infliction upon a transgressing world. 

The alarm which has lately been excited as to the revival 
of Popery, has concentrated the attention of God's children 
upon one corner of the camp, and diverted their attention 
from that point where Satan is making his real and 
triumphant assault. I do not say that the deadly doctrines 
which are being spread around us ought not to be resisted, 
even unto death. I do not say that they may not yet more 
widely spread ; but another system is being prepared, which 
is not religious, and it is the system to be really feared, for 
it will reign supremely in the nations among whom we 
dwell. 

It is being secretly prepared, and therefore men do not see 
it : but its establishment will be sudden. (e I saw," says the 
prophet, " and behold there came forth two women, and the 
wind was in their wings ; for they had wings like the wings 
of a stork ; and they lifted up the ephah between the earth 
and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with 
me, Whither do these bear the ephah ? > And he said unto 
me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar : and it shall 
be established, and set there upon her own base." The stork 
is a bird of strong and rapid flight their wings were 
spread, and no adverse influences resisted, but all influences 
were in their favour, even all influences from God ; for " the 
wind was in their wings."* Such will be the rapidity and 
the success with which these principles, which are now being 

* We cannot certainly say what the two women represent. Perhaps 
they represent the secular and ecclesiastical systems of the Roman world, 
uniting their energies to establish the ephah. When once the secular 
and ecclesiastical systems unite in subserving the latitudinarian com- 
mercial system of which I speak, the end will not be far distant. 



ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. 287 

prepared in these "Western regions, will be suddenly esta- 
blished in the East. The nations will be suddenly knit into 
this harmony of evil they will have one mistress, and one 
cup, from which they will all drink, until they are together 
drunken. Antichrist, in all the attractiveness of his glory, 
will then arise in their midst ; the power of delusion will be 
on them; they will worship the dragon, and worship him; 
and then the end will come. 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

XVIII. 



I HAVE already referred to the early mention which is made 
of the city Babylon in the first book of the Scripture. Its 
foundation by Nimrod, and its being made, immediately after, 
the scene of the first proud attempt at human confederation 
by those who said they would make themselves a name in 
the earth, is there recorded ; and then it is left. More than 
a thousand ages rolled away before it is again referred to in 
the Scripture, during all which period it was little known. 
Assyria and Nineveh flourished ; but, until the days of Ne- 
buchadnezzar, Babylon was comparatively insignificant. It 
was Nebuchadnezzar who said, " Is not this great Babylon, 
that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might 
of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" 

But this was not its earliest mention. Its earliest mention, 
after Genesis, is in a prophecy which describes at once its 
greatness and its doom.* Nearly two hundred years before 
Nebuchadnezzar raised it from obscurity, whilst it was as yet 
the object neither of admiration nor of dread, Isaiah prophe- 
sied both of its glory and its fall ; and after this Jeremiah,, 
when its glory was at its height, detailed, with still greater 
minuteness, the circumstances of its final destruction. These 

* The reference to the " goodly mantle of Shinar," in the Book of 
Joshua, I do not esteem an exception, nor any casual reference similar 
to this. 



ON REVELATION XVI II. 289 

prophecies have been read carelessly. A destruction has 
fallen upon Babylon, as on other cities of the East ; and we 
have hastily concluded that this is the destruction of which 
the prophets speak ; and have never, until lately, thought of 
inquiring whether it may not yet again rise from its de- 
pression, and again be known as the golden city the enemy 
of God's truth, and the subject of His vengeance in the great 
day of His wrath. 

It would be strange if Babylon were to be excepted from 
the general rule as to the renovation of the East. We know 
from the Scripture that Jerusalem, which has similarly been 
brought low under the incipient judgments of God, will be 
revived by human agency re-established by her people 
whilst yet remaining in unbelief, and therefore be " visited 
by the Lord of hosts, with thunder, and with earthquake, and 
great noise, with storm, and tempest, and the flame of de- 
vouring fire." We know also that Egypt, which has been 
desolated by divine judgments, is at this present moment 
arising from her depression by the aid of Western Europe 
still however evil and unreconciled to God, and therefore 
amenable to His wrath. " Behold the Lord rideth upon a 
swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt 
shall be moved at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall 

melt in the midst of it In that day shall Egypt 

be like unto women ; and it shall be afraid and fear because 
of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He 
shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror 
unto Egypt;* every one that maketh mention thereof shall 
be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of 
hosts which He hath determined against it." The like may 
be said of Edom, Tyre, Antioch, and other cities of Syria. 
They are more and more becoming the objects of European 
interest, and plans have been proposed for reviving some 
of them from their desolation. We should, therefore, re- 

* These words clearly prove the futurity of this prophecy; for when 
has the land of Judah been a terror to the land of Egypt? 

U 



90 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

quire some express authority from the Scripture, if Babylon 
is to be excepted from the general system of Eastern re- 
novation. 

The situation, also, of Mesopotamia (for that is the name 
of the district in which Babylon is), and its wonderful fer- 
tility, seem to mark it as the place on which men, if they go 
on pursuing their present course, must necessarily fix as one 
chief sphere of their operations. " Owing," says a recent 
writer, who is describing the Euphratean regions, " owing 
to the prodigious fertility of their great alluvial plains, and 
the unbounded riches of nature which there spring up, 
almost unbidden, to the hand of the husbandman, the pro- 
gress of opulence has always been much more rapid in the 
Eastern than in the Western world. In the great plain of 
Mesopotamia, one-half of which is composed of a natural 
terrace, sloping down with a gradual declivity from the 
Euphrates to the Tigris ; and the other of a similar slope, in- 
clining the other way from the Tigris to the Euphrates, the 
means of irrigation are provided, as it were, ready-made by 
nature to the hand of man ; and nothing is required on his 
part but to convey away into little channels the beneficent 
stream, which thus descending in perennial flow from the 
Armenian snows, affords the means of spreading continual 
verdure and fertility over a soil where vegetation ripens 
under the rays of a tropical sun."* Such, even now, is the 
fertility of the Mesopotamia!! district; and when, in addition 
to this, we remember that this fair and fertile region is situate 
in the very centre of Eastern and Western civilization (for 
India is becoming another Europe in the East), and that its 
river, stretching very nearly from the Indian Ocean to the 

* Alison on French Revolution. Colonel Chesney says, " Diwaniyeh, 
the next station to Hillah, is a date-encircled, walled village, with ex- 
tensive gardens. It is approached through a continued country of date 
trees, forming groves of exceeding heauty, and a fiinge of verdant co- 
lumns, whose uniformity seldom palls upon the eye." (Journal of Royal 
Geographical Society, vol. vii. p. 428.) 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 291 

Mediterranean,* seems to offer a natural canal for the com- 
merce of the whole Eastern and Western worlds ; we should 
marvel if advantages like these should be overlooked or re- 
jected. It would contradict all that experience has taught us 
of the sharp-sighted covetousness of the heart of man. And 
lastly, when Israel with all their wealth and commercial 
energy shall return to Palestine and there form the great 
connecting link between the Mediterranean and the East, 
they will need the Euphrates as much as Germany needs the 
Danube, or Egypt the Nile, or London the Thames. 

But we have not to reason merely on antecedent proba- 
bilities. The question is to be determined from Scripture, 
and the question is, Whether the circumstances which the 
Scripture connects with the destruction of Babylon have or 
have not come to pass ? The answer must be, that they have 
not. 

For, in the first place, I suppose that nothing is more cer- 
tain than that the song recorded in the fourteenth of Isaiah 
as about to be sung by Israel over the fallen king of Babylon, 
has never yet been sung by them. What king of Babylon 
has yet appeared, of whom it can be said, that he hath "sat 
upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north, 
saying, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will 
be like the Most High;" and after " making the world as a 
wilderness, and destroying the cities thereof, is himself cast 
out of his grave, like an abominable branch, like a carcase 
trodden under foot?" All this has never yet come to pass; 
and it is expressly said, that the time when the Lord rises up 
against him and his children, is the time when he will sweep 
Babylon with the besom of destruction. " I will rise up 
against THEM (i. e. the children of this wicked one), saith 
the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and 

* The distance from the navigable point of the Orontes to the navigable 
point of the Euphrates is not 150 miles ; and it has been proposed to con- 
nect these points by a railroad or canal; in which case the Indian Ocean 
and Mediterranean would be united. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the Lord. I will also 
make it a possession for the bittern, and I will sweep it with 
the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts." Unless, 
therefore, we can prove that this king of Babylon has run his 
course, we must admit that the destruction of Babylon, as 
here described, is yet future. 

Moreover, Israel is not to sing this song over the king of 
Babylon until they themselves are not merely delivered, but 
rule over their oppressors. " The Lord will have mercy 
upon Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in 
their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, 
and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the 
peoples shall take them and bring them to their place ; and 
the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the 
Lord, for servants and handmaids ; and they shall take them 
captives whose captives they were ; and they shall rule over 
their oppressors. And it shall come to pass, in the day that 
the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow and thy fear, 
and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, 
that thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Ba- 
bylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased the golden 
city ceased ! " When, since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, 
to the present hour, has Israel been thus carried back to 
their land by the nations ? When have they taken them cap- 
tives whose captives they were ; or when have they ruled 
over their oppressors ? A remnant of Israel were restored 
by Cyrus, but they were strictly ruled over by him, instead 
of being rulers over him ; and the rest of Israel continued 
dispersed among the nations. It is evident, therefore, that 
the whole scene of this chapter is future, and that Babylon 
is yet again to be the golden city, has yet to practise oppres- 
sions, and is yet to be made to cease from them. 

Indeed the period of the final destruction of Babylon is 
universally identified in the Scripture with that of the final 
forgiveness and restoration of Israel. Thus the 50th chapter 
of Jeremiah, after describing the blow that is to fall upon. 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 93 

Babylon adds "In those days and in that time, saith the 
Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children 
of Judah together, going and weeping ; they shall go and 
seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion 
with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join 
ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not 
be forgotten." Again, in the 18th verse of the same chapter: 
f( Therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 
Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as 
I have punished the king of Assyria.* And I will bring 
Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and 
Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon Mount Ephraim 
and Gilead. In those days and in that time, saith the Lord, 
the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be 
none ; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found ; 
for I will pardon them whom I reserve." If, therefore, the 
final blow had been inflicted on Babylon and its land, Israel 
would have been forgiven. 

Moreover, in the immediately connected passage in the 
thirteenth chapter (for the thirteenth and fourteenth of Isaiah 
should be read as one,) we find that Babylon receives its 
final visitation at the coining of " The day of the Lord." 
No one can seriously read the second chapter of this prophet, 
and doubt what " The day of the Lord " means. It is the 
day " when the lofty looks of men shall be humbled, and the 
haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone 
shall be exalted in that day .... and the idols He 
shall utterly abolish .... and men shall go into the 
clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for 
fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He 
ariseth to shake terribly the earth." None of these things 
have yet been. The haughtiness of men is not bowed down 

* This refers to the period when Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. 
It was taken by Nebuchadnezzar's father. After this Babylon became 
the head of Assyria, and, therefore, the last king of Babylon Anti- 
christ, is called the Assyrian. 



94 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the idols are not abolished the earth has not been 
shaken the Lord is not alone exalted ; and, therefore, The 
day of the Lord, and consequently the visitation of Ba- 
bylon, has not yet been. 

But the thirteenth chapter does not merely mention the 
day of the Lord as being the period of Babylon's final visit- 
ation, but it also describes some of the accompanying signs. 
" The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not 
give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going 
forth ; and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And 
I will punish THE WORLD for their evil, and the wicked for 
their iniquity ; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud 
to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I 
will make a man more precious than fine gold, even a man 
than a golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the 
heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in 
the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce 
anger." Unless, therefore, it can be shown that the stars 
have thus been darkened and that the world has thus been 
punished and that the heavens and earth have thus been 
shaken ; it follows that the visitation of Babylon here spoken 
of is yet to come. And if any should doubt whether it be 
the literal Babylon or no, it is defined in a subsequent verse 
as being, " Babylon the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the 
Chaldees* excellency." 

Again, we find it prophesied by Jeremiah, that at " the 
noise of the taking of Babylon, the earth is moved, and the 
cry is heard among the nations" and also that "Babylon 
is suddenly fallen and destroyed." There never, perhaps, 
was an event that affected the world less than the taking of 
Babylon by Cyrus. All that is said of it in the Scripture is, 
" In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldseans 
slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom." (Daniel 
v. 31.) It was no destruction upon the city. It was the 
quiet occupation of the throne of Babylon by one person 
instead of another. And Babylon for ages prospered under 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 95 

the change. It was anything rather than suddenly de- 
stroyed. Ages after, in the days of Alexander the Great, 
who died at Babylon, we find it one of the chief cities of the 
East. St. Peter writes his epistle thence ; and long after the 
establishment of Christianity, the patriarch of Babylon was 
one of the great ecclesiastical rulers of the East. Recently, 
a bishop of Babylon was consecrated by the Pope ; a city 
named Hillah, containing upwards of 10,000 inhabitants, at 
present stands on the very site of the ancient city, and the 
Arabian is still accustomed to pitch his tent in the midst of the 
scattered ruins.* How then is it possible that the prophecy 
of the thirteenth of Isaiah should be fulfilled ? 

Seeing, therefore, that the world has not been visited by 

* For further observations on the past history and present condition 
of Babylon, see " Aids to Prophetic Enquiry, Second Series," as adver- 
tised at the end of this volume. I have there given a sketch of the plain 
of Babylon, which shows not only that Hillah, but that many flourishing 
villages also, stand on the site of Babylon. This plan I submitted to the 
approval of Colonel Chesney, previous to its publication. Colonel Chesney 
states, that an Arabian tribe were encamped in the very midst of the 
ruins of Babylon, during the whole time of his being there. 

It is stated by Mr. Bich, who also personally examined the plain of 
Babylon with great care, that the ruins of the eastern quarter of Babylon 
commence about two miles above (i. e. north of) Hillah (page 17), and 
that the most stupendous ruins of all are about six miles to the south- 
west, i. e. below Hillah (page 34). This, of course, places Hillah in the 
midst. Speaking of Hillah itself, he says, " In the foregoing remarks I 
have taken for granted what indeed appears to be now the general belief, 
that the ruins AT Hillah are those of Babylon. I have myself no doubt 
of the fact." (page 21, second part.) 

Mr. Rich further says, " The gardens of Hillah on each side the river 
are very extensive ; so that the town itself, from a little distance, appears 
embosomed in a wood of date trees." (page9.) " The air is salubrious, and 
the soil extremely fertile, producing great quantities of rice, dates, and 
grain of different kinds, though it is not cultivated to above half the 
degree of which it is susceptible. The grand cause of this fertility is the 
Euphrates, the banks of which are lower, and the stream more equal than 
the Tigris." (page 13.) He then goes on to describe how the toils of 
agriculture are almost superseded by the annual overflowing of the 
Euphrates. 



296 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the predicted judgment that Israel has not been restored, 
so as to reign over their enemies that the pride of man 
has not been finally humbled that no sudden destruction 
has fallen upon Babylon that the nations have never 
trembled at its fall that its name is still held as a name 
of honour that men have not ceased to dwell there that 
the Arabian has not ceased to pitch his tent there, we con- 
clude that, like all other similar prophecies, whether respect- 
ing Egypt, Tyre, Edom, or Jerusalem, the desolation that 
has taken place is only a warning and forerunner of that 
which is yet to be, and that the real fulfilment of the pro- 
phecy will be when the day of the Lord shall come. 

And when we turn from the Old Testament to the New, 
we find the evidence yet more strengthened ; for it cannot 
be denied that the Revelation describes the fall of a city, 
and that the time of its fall is at the end of this dispensation. 
" And the seventh angel poured forth his vial into the air, 
and there came a great voice out of the temple in heaven, 
from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, 
and thunders, and lightnings ; and there was a great earth- 
quake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so 
mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city 
was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations 
fell ; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, 
to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His 
wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were 
not found." This is in close accordance with the testimony 
of Isaiah and Jeremiah. The mention of the Euphrates 
in the sixteenth chapter of the Revelation, as well as the 
name Babylon, sufficiently marks the locality of the city 
that is thus to be destroyed. And when we add to this the 
predicted establishment of the ephah in the land of Shinar 
a prophecy long after the taking of Babylon by Cyrus it 
appears strange scepticism to doubt that the Babylon of the 
Revelation is the same as that of the Old Testament pro- 
phets. 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 97 

Moreover, Babylon was not characterised by commerce 
and traffic by sea, as the Babylon of the latter day will be. 
The description of the eighteenth of Revelation would ill 
suit the city of Nebuchadnezzar ; for neither he nor his 
nobles were merchants. But what city would flourish now 
that was not a city of merchants ? Accordingly we find it 
written of the future Babylon, c< Thy merchants were the 
great men of the earth." "The merchants of the earth shall 
weep and mourn over her ; for no man buyeth their mer- 
chandise any more." " The merchants of these things, 
which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the 
fear of her torment, weeping and wailing." ff And every 
shipmaster, and every passenger (o ETTI TOTTOV TrXsow), and 
sailors, and all who trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried 
when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city 
is like unto this great city. And they cast dust on their 
heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas ! alas ! 
that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in 
the sea by reason of her costliness ; for in one hour is she 
made desolate." Costliness will be the great characteristic 
of Babylon. It is not so much the refinements of taste and 
learning, it is not painting, nor poetry, nor architecture, nor 
sculpture, neither the sound of the trumpet, nor the voice of 
the warrior, that we find within her walls.* It is the place 
of utility, rather than of taste of luxurious enjoyment, not 
of hardship and war. Other nations and other ages have 
indulged their tastes, and been content, like Athens, with 
refinement and poverty ; or have lived, like Rome, in the 
camp, and been satisfied to buy glory by the sacrifice of 
rest. But this city will grow up under a system which 
teaches to value the utilities of wealth. Things dainty, and 
things goodly, which cause to live deliciously, are the fruits 



* I do not mean that she will have none of these things for she 
will, and that in abundance ; but the omission of them from the list of her 
greatness, shows that they are not the characteristics of her condition. 



298 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

after which Babylon lusteth. She is "tender and delicate" 
"the lady of kingdoms." (Is. xlvii. 1, 5.) 

The list of Babylon's merchandise contains little that is in 
itself evil with two exceptions, nothing. The merchan- 
dise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, 
and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all 
thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner 
vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and 
marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frank- 
incense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and 
beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, these and such 
like things are not in themselves evil. They are most of 
them a part of the creation of God, which Jesus will in due 
time gather around Himself, to the glory of God and the 
joy and blessing of His saints. We read of myrrh, and 
aloes, and cassia, and ivory palaces, as constituting, in the 
age to come, part of the glory of the great King ; and the 
gates of that city, on the bells of whose horses holiness will 
be written, will by and bye be crowded with the merchan- 
dise of the whole earth. " The multitudes of camels shall 
cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, all they 
from Sheba shall come ; they shall bring gold and incense, 
and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord. The glory 
of Lebanon shall come unto thee ; the fir tree, the pine tree, 
and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; 
and I will make the place of my feet glorious." But it is 
otherwise now, even as it was when the Lord Jesus was here ; 
for now the world is without God, and these things are in 
the hand of him who worketh in all the children of disobe- 
dience. He who habitually felt, when in this world, that He 
was walking as if through the valley of the shadow of death, 
could have little desired to clothe Himself with its ornaments : 
and even if it had been otherwise, if He had felt this earth 
less fearful and less strange, His very pity and tenderness 
would have made Him poor ; for how could He be rich 
who spent His days in ministering to others, and said, " It 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 299 

is more blessed to give than to receive." But it is the habit 
of Babylon to receive and not to give. The riches of the 
world flow into her treasuries, and she accumulates, not 
sparing the bodies of men, and trafficking even in their 
souls.* 

And now, if the storehouses of this country and of India 
could be suddenly transferred to the fertile banks of the 
Euphrates, if ships and passengers in ships from every 
country were congregated at Babylon as the mart of nations, 
if the merchants who crowd the exchanges of our great 
cities, where Jews, Mahomedans, Socinians, and nominal 
Christians forget their differences in the eager pursuit of a 
common interest, if such as they were established in the 
East, as the centre of the religious, intellectual, and moral 
habits, that should characterize the last great merchant city, 
would not the picture of this chapter be accomplished? It 
would be, doubtless, in one sense, a quiet scene. There 
would be, for a little while, the appearance of fraternity, 
union, and peace, instead of war and bloodshed ; there would 
be the quiet tolerance of every lie against God's truth together 
with schools, and hospitals,f and pleasant pictures, and parks, 
and gardens, and everything that can solace nature apart 
from God. Let all this be exhibited in Babylon, as it is now 
being exhibited elsewhere, and the description of God in this 
chapter would be fully answered. 

There was a late occasion! in which a great mercantile 
army supplied with all the resources that Western skill and 

* The state of our manufactories bears witness to the first. As to the 
second, perhaps England is at present the only country in which the cure 
of souls is sold at the auction mart, on the same principle as shares in 
banks or railways. The same office that will give you information as to 
the one affords information for the most eligible investment of money as 
to the other. 

f I do not mean that these things are in themselves evil but when 
philanthropy confines itself to meeting the natural wants of men merely 
it is most evil. 

I In Afghanistan. 



300 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

civilization could give, was resting in fancied security amidst 
wild hordes of barbarians in the East. They were suddenly 
assailed by this despised and unsuspected foe a panic, I 
suppose, from God, fell upon them. "Theyforebore to fight" 
and were destroyed ; and one only escaped to tell the 
tale. Events of this kind do not happen without God : 
they afford to us a warning ; they teach us of that coming 
hour, when God will again give it in charge to nations of 
barbarians, to make the city of Eastern and Western civil- 
ization their prey. " Set ye up a standard in the land, 
blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations 
against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, 
Minni, and Aschenaz ; appoint a captain against her ; cause 
the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars. Prepare 
against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the cap- 
tains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his 
dominion. And the land shall tremble and sorrow; for 
every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Ba- 
bylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an 
inhabitant. The mighty men of Babylon have foreboriie to 
fight they have remained in their holds : their might hath 
failed they became as women : they have burned her 
dwelling-places ; her bars are broken. One post shall run 
to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to show 
the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end ; and 
that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have 
burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted. For 
thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, the daughter 
of Babylon is like a threshing-floor ; it is time to thresh 
her : yet a little while and the time of her harvest shall 
come." But although its destruction commences thus by the 
assembling of these nations by the secret providence of God, 
yet a more terrible visitation follows from the Lord Himself, 
for the capture of Babylon by these barbarous nations 
merges into the day of visitation from the Lord. And 
therefore the same words which commissions some upon the 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 301 

earth to assemble their earthly armies saying, e< Lift ye up 
a banner upon the high mountains, exalt ye the voice unto 
them, shake ye the hand that they may go into the gates of 
the nobles," speak also of another unearthly host whom the 
Lord Himself assembles, "I have commanded my sanctified 
ones, / have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, 
even them that rejoice in my highness." These are they 
who give the final blow to Babylon, when " the Lord shall 
punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their 
iniquity; when He shall cause the arrogancy of the proud 
to cease, and lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." They 
will be the hosts of heaven, not of earth. 

We cannot wonder at the severity of the Lord's judgments 
upon Babylon, when we remember that she commenced in 
the beginning that course of wickedness, the maturity of 
which she concentrates at the close. The building of the 
tower of Babel was the first act of proud defiance of God, 
that the earth witnessed after the flood. It was the work of 
men who determined to make themselves great in the earth 
apart from God; and when she recovered from the blow 
then inflicted, and was allowed under Nebuchadnezzar to 
arise into supremacy, the course of that monarch, who glori- 
fied himself and destroyed the people of God, became the 
great ensample of the character of Babylon to the end. 
(f Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, 
he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he 
hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly 
with my delicates, he hath cast me out. The violence done 
to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant 
of Zion say ; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, 
shall Jerusalem say." This relation to Israel, Babylon will 
retain when held under the dominion of the last great 
monarch e< who shall take away the daily sacrifice, and plant 
the dominion that maketh desolate ;" and therefore when 
Israel begin to sing their song of deliverance, they say, 
" How hath the oppressor ceased, the golden city ceased." 



302 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

This, it is said, is their song over the king of Babylon. And 
we kr,ow from many parts of Scripture that it is not Israel 
merely that Antichrist will persecute, but also they " who 
have the faith of Jesus." (Rev. xiv.) 

Before also her subjugation to Antichrist, and whilst her 
own characteristic system yet prevails, whilst " the woman 
rides upon the beast," we find her te drunk with the blood of 
the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." And 
we cannot wonder at this ; for when we remember the dark 
death-like night of silence, as to God's truth, that will pre- 
vail under the system of Babylon, a silence valued because it 
does not disturb, we may easily suppose that the aggressive- 
ness which love to souls, as well as a regard to the command- 
ment of God, must give to faithful Christianity, would neces- 
sarily bring upon itself the full hatred of a system that is 
resolved, at whatsoever cost, to obtain for itself repose. Some 
faithful Christianity will be found, especially in a few who 
will be called out for the Lord in Jerusalem, in the very 
heart of the prophetic earth. They will testify of the coming 
of the Lord of the grace that is in the blood of Jesus 
of the condition of the nations of the character of the 
Church, as " the pearl," pure and separate from the defile- 
ments of the earth ; and their testimony will be with power, 
and Satan will come to crush it and he will crush it, by 
means of the kingdoms over which the woman rules, and 
will then exalt Antichrist unto the throne. (See chap, xii.) 
We need not wonder, therefore, that it should be said of Ba- 
bylon, that in her was tf found the blood of prophets, and of 
saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth." 

Such are the present prospects of the earth. The saints 
have to wait patiently, and keep the word of the endurance 
of Christ. Endurance is just the opposite habit to hers 
who saith, " I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see 
no sorrow." Gold, and silver, and scarlet, and purple, and 
fine linen, are spread for the saints, not in Babylon, but in 
the sanctuary of God. There they know these things, as 



ON REVELATION XVIII. 303 

types of heavenly excellencies, which already surround their 
risen High Priest for them. Yet a little while, and they will 
go to dwell in that city whose gates are of pearl and its streets 
of gold, as it were transparent glass, themselves pure as the 
gates through which they pass glorious also and excellent 
as the streets on which they tread : there to become the centre 
of the new and everlasting system of God, when Babylon 
shall be cast as a millstone into the waters, to fall and to rise 
no more. 



304 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE, 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Boies on gefrtlatian XVII. 



<f And there came one of the seven angels who had the 
seven vials, and talked with me, saying, f Come hither; I will 
shew unto thee the judgment of the great harlot,' " fyc.] 
This is another instance of recurrence to that which had 
been spoken of before. In preceding chapters, the destruc- 
tion of Babylon had been mentioned, whereas in this 
and in the following chapter, we find her described during 
the time of her exaltation and glory. The same angel that 
had before been seen as the administrator of the vial of 
wrath, now comes to teach John respecting the nature of the 
wickedness that merited so great destruction ; for God is 
pleased to justify His ways to us. He seeks that we should 
understand and appreciate the reasons of His judgments. 
Yet our negligence may in this also frustrate the desires of 
His goodness. 

" The great Harlot that sitteth upon many waters"] The 
" many waters " are said to symbolise " peoples, and mul- 
titudes, and nations, and tongues." See verse 15. This 
shows the wide extent over which the influence of this evil 
system will spread. Its influence will not be less extensive 
than that of Antichrist when he shall have arisen into the 
height of his individual power. 

The mere circumstance that there is at present no one 
system, or one individual dominant over the countries indi- 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 305 

cated by the ten horns of the Beast, is a fact alone sufficient 
to prove the futurity of this vision. We must remember, 
too, that there is no gradual waning of the power either of 
the Harlot or of Antichrist. Both are SUDDENLY destroyed 
the Harlot, by Antichrist Antichrist, by the coming of 
the Lord. If the Harlot were reigning now, all the Roman 
world, eastern and western, would be at this present moment 
entirely subject to her dominion. If she had perished, the 
whole Roman world would be now under the fell power of 
Antichrist, as described in Revelation xiii. If Antichrist 
had perished, we should be now in the millennium. For 
further evidence of the futurity of this chapter, see " Aids 
to Prophetic Enquiry, second series." 

" The inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with 
the wine of her fornication ."] This would not have been 
said of a warlike system, nor of any system that worried and 
oppressed the nations, or galled them with a religious or any 
other yoke. But it is a description that well suits a system 
that enriches the nations by commerce, causes them to live 
deliciously, studies the comforts and interests of men as men, 
and takes care that even the claims of truth should not 
disturb the general tranquillity. 

John was taken into the wilderness in order to see this 
vision. If we forsake the city of man's greatness, and go 
without the camp bearing the reproach of Jesus, and 
morally dwell in the wilderness, we shall find little difficulty 
in understanding this vision and appreciating the truthful- 
ness of its description. 

" And I saw a woman"} This woman, who sat "upon a 
scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy," herself arrayed 
" in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious 
stones and pearls, having a cup of gold in her hand full of 
abominations, and the filthiness of her fornication," will be 

x 



306 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

to Babylon the city of man, what the woman "clothed 
with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her 
head a crown of twelve stars," will be to Jerusalem "the 
City of the great King." 

I have already remarked that {f a woman" is a moral 
symbol. See notes on chapter xii. It is the symbol of the 
characteristic moral system of the place or people spoken of. 
A city may exist without its own characteristic system, and 
may derive its regulations elsewhere, as Babylon will during 
the time of the individual supremacy of Antichrist ; and as 
Jerusalem will at that same period : or they may co-exist, as 
Jerusalem and its own glorious system will, when the millen- 
nium comes ; and as the Harlot and the city Babylon do in 
this seventeenth chapter. Consequently, during the time of 
which the seventeenth chapter treats, it can be truly said, 
that the Harlot represents " that great city which reigneth 
over the kings of the earth" for the Harlot and the city are 
united then she is the city morally : but after the Harlot 
has been destroyed, and the city of Babylon has lost its own 
distinguishing system, and gains its formative principles else- 
where, i.e. from Antichrist, these words could no longer be 
used. A city will then cease to rule over the kings of the 
earth ; Antichrist being raised into supremacy. The moral 
condition of the city of Babylon, and of the nations whose 
head Babylon will be, will not be improved, but rather made 
worse by losing its own system, and receiving the fulness of 
Antichristianism instead. 

The history, however, of the system of God's city Jeru- 
salem, is blessedly contrasted with that of Babylon's system, 
in this when Babylon's system is separated from its city, 
it perishes, and perishes for ever. But when Jerusalem's 
system is separated from its city, as it even now is, it does 
not perish. It is indeed outcast in the earth no eye but 
the eye of faith recognises its beauty; but it exists, and 
there are some eyes that see it, and some hearts that love and 
cleave to it ; and they shall continue to cleave to it until the 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 307 

hour comes for it to be united to its own city, and to be 
exalted in the earth. Then, "all nations shall flow unto it." 



f( Having seven heads and ten horns."] The horns, which 
represent the kings, are not crowned whilst the Beast carries 
the Harlot. The crowns will be at this period on the heads 
of the Dragon, i.e. on those systems by which Satan will 
order (just as he is now beginning to do) the affairs of the 
Roman earth. The diadems may well be said to be on the 
systems, while the monarchs are merely the servants and 
functionaries of those systems. But when the monarchs 
" receive authority as kings at one hour with the Beast," 
the diadems are on the horns. See Rev. xiii. After this it 
would be impossible for any one who wears one of the ten 
diadems to be saved. 



"And upon her forehead a name written) MYSTERY, BABYLON 

THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND THE ABOMI- 
NATIONS OF THE EARTH."] This passage might be translated, 
<f a name written, a mystery ;" but a subsequent verse, viz. 
" I will show thee the mystery of the woman," &c., seems to 
show that the term " mystery " pertains to the woman, and 
not merely to her name. 

The various " mysteries" mentioned in the New Testa- 
ment are not allowed to remain unexplained to the children 
of faith. To them they are unfolded and made known. " To 
you," said our Lord, C( it is given to know the mysteries of 
the kingdom of heaven." So also here, (( Iwill tell thee the 
mystery of the woman," &c. 

When the world shall behold tha.t skilful and attractive 
system which the Harlot symbolises, extending its wondrous 
influence over the civilised world when they shall see it 
also sustained and administered by an individual like Anti- 
christ, who will then first appear, distinguished, intellectually 
and otherwise, by powers such as men have never before 

x 2 



308 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

beheld, they will little think such a system and such an 
individual to be what this chapter declares. They will 
understand this ec mystery" as little as they understand "the 
mystery of godliness." 

But there is yet another reason why the word " mystery" 
should be applied to this system. The Apostle Paul in 
2 Thess. ii. had spoken " of the mystery of lawlessness " 
as even then secretly working. He had spoken of a period 
when this mystery, then hidden, should appear " out of the 
midst," (/c ^i<rou 5 ) and become developed, and that, at the 
time when Antichrist likewise should appear. The Prophet 
Zechariah also prophesying of a time subsequent to the Apostle, 
had described the woman as " shut up" in the ephah to- 
gether with " wickedness." Thus we have three stages marked 
in the history of the mystery of iniquity first, when it was 
secretly working in the midst of society in the Apostle's 
days; secondly, when it becomes secretly connected with 
the ephah ; thirdly, when it ceases to be hidden and be- 
comes developed, as described in this chapter. Seeing then 
that that which in its two previous stages had been a mis- 
tery hidden, had now become a mystery developed, the word 
mystery might well be written on the woman's brow. It 
identified her as that of which prophets and apostles had 
spoken once having her principles hidden, but now mani- 
fested and applied. 

The passage to which I have referred in 2 Thess. ii. is, 
strictly translated, as follows : " And ye know that at present 
there is that which restraineth, in order that he, i. e. Anti- 
christ, might be revealed in his appointed season (and not 
before). For the mystery of lawlessness is already working 
(only there is at present one that restraineth) until it become 
developed out of the midst, and then shall the Lawless one 
be revealed," &c. It is important to observe the translation 
which I have given of the words fwc tK /Lieaov yci^rat, donee 
E mediojiat, not DE medio ; until it (that is, the mystery 
of iniquity, which is now secretly working in the midst of 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 309 

society) become developed. When we speak of a person 
who had been hidden in a crowd appearing " out of the 
midst" of that crowd or when we speak of a horn springing 
(f out of" the head of an animal, there is in neither of these 
cases any thought of removal or taking away, but simply of 
manifestation. So is it in the. present instance. That which 
is now working secretly in the midst of men, is soon to come 
forth in palpable development, and then it will cease to be a 
hidden mystery any longer. 

There is nothing in the words EK JLIZGOV to signify removal 
or taking away. They mean simply e medio out of the 
midst. In other passages they are connected with the words 
apirafroj to snatch away (Acts xxiii. 10) ; or with at/>w, 
to take away (1 Cor. vi. 17) ; and in these cases there is, 
of course, the sense of separation or removal a sense de- 
rived entirely from the word which is appended to K ^i<rou, 
and not from /c yu<rou itself. The word with which it is 
connected in the Thessalonians, viz. y^r/rat, has not at 
all the sense of removal, but rather of origin or existence. 
See also fc&Xflcre EK /UEVOV in 2 Cor. vi. 18. 

If the translation be thus corrected, " the mystery of 
iniquity" becomes the nominative to ytvi)Tai. The words, 
11 only there is at present one that restraineth," are in a 
parenthesis TO yap /nvGTrjpiov rjcrj EvtpytiTai Trig avo/uLiag 
(JJLOVOV o Kar^(tu> apTi) G>f; /c /i<rou ytvijTai /cat ror, &c. 
for the mystery of lawlessness is already working (only 
there is at present one that restraineth), an d will so continue 
to work until it be developed out of the midst, and then 
shall that Lawless one be revealed, &c. For further re- 
marks on the whole of 2 Thess. ii. see ff Prospects of the 
Ten Kingdoms of the Roman Empire," page 176. 



' " Drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the 
Hood of the martyrs of Jesus," fyc.] These words clearly 
show that this rising system will become a fierce perse- 



310 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

cutor before its course is run. Protestantism, even in its 
best days, sought refuge in the secular arm rather than in 
God. It has wished that " congresses should supersede 
councils," and it will have its desire : but congresses are 
not God. "A bishop (says Cranmer) may make a priest 
by the Scripture, and so may princes and governors also, 
and that by the authority of God committed to them." 
Can we wonder at the failure of Protestantism after this? 
Nevertheless God's truth is among the Protestants and 
through that truth there will arise some who will refuse 
to have the voice of their testimony silenced, and whose 
aggressiveness will disturb the quiet of the Babylonish 
system, and so furnish an excuse for its persecutions; and 
thus many a Protestant will be made to prove that they who 
lean upon any thing instead of God, lean upon a broken 
reed, which is sure to run into the hand and pierce it. The 
proud secular power, after having long struggled with and 
at last effectually subdued into obedience the great eccle- 
siastical systems of the whole earth, will ill brook the 
interference of a few despised saints. The irreligion too 
of liberalism has never disliked that real Christianity should 
be restrained and punished. 



(i The beast which thou sawest, was and is not" *c.] Se- 
veral explanations have been given of this passage. 

Some have supposed that it implies that Antichrist is a 
person who has already lived, and will be raised again from 
the dead; but this notion, although very prevalent in the 
early centuries, as indeed it still is, appears to have no suffi- 
cient warrant from Scripture. 

Others consider that it refers to Antichrist, not as an 
individual, but in his official capacity as Imperial Head of 
the Roman world. In this sense he may be said to have 
existed, to cease to exist, and to exist again. He is Caesar 
revived. If this interpretation be adopted, it is necessary to 



iSTOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 311 

regard the words, e( was, is not, &c." as having no specific 
chronological reference, but as a general expression denoting 
possession of existence, cessation of existence, and existence 
recovered. 

The difficulty in the way of giving a definite chronological 
interpretation to the words '" IS NOT " is this if the time 
were supposed to be that at which John beheld the vision, 
the Imperial Head of the Roman Empire had not then ceased 
to exist. If, on the other hand, as is common in prophecy, 
we are supposed to be in the midst of the scene prophesied 
of, the words IS NOT would be scarcely applicable in a 
chronological sense to Antichrist, when possessed of that 
measure of power which is ascribed to him in this chapter ; 
although it is undoubtedly true that he will not have reached 
the full development of his imperial character, nor attain, if 
I may use the expression, his Csesar-standing, until he has 
passed through the condition described in this chapter. 
In that sense his rise into his distinguishing greatness is 
certainly described in this chapter as future. 

Another interpretation is, that the words " was and is not," 
are not to be taken in any chronological sense, but as a 
formulary expressive of transitoriness of existence ; opposed, 
therefore, to the words who " was, and is, and is to come," 
as applied to the Eternal One. In this sense, faith, placing 
itself forward at the hour of the great consummation, would 
say of Antichrist, even at the time of his most established 
glory, " he was, and is not." " Behold, at evening-time 
trouble ; and before the morning, he is not. This is the 
portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that 
rob us." 

If we adopt this last interpretation, the passage would be 
translated and punctuated as follows : " The Beast that thou 
sawest was, and is not. And he is about to ascend out of 
the bottomless pit and to go into perdition. And they that 
dwell upon the earth shall wonder, whose names were not 
written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

when they behold the Beast which was, and is not. And he 
shall be present." 

Another explanation, unattended by any of the diffi- 
culties which attacn. more or less to all the interpretations 
already given, is this that Antichrist is here regarded as 
about to be a second Nebuchadnezzar, or a revived head of 
Babylon, which he becomes as soon as he has destroyed the 
woman. Accordingly, Antichrist in the Old Testament 
prophets is continually called the king of Babylon, and the 
Assyrian. See, for example, Isaiah xiv. 3 : " It shall come 
to pass when the Lord shall give thee (Israel) rest from thy 
sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage 
wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up 
this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How 
hath the oppressor ceased? " &c. 

In the same chapter he is called the Assyrian, as being 
the last head of Assyria : " The Lord of hosts hath sworn, 
saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass : 
as I have purposed so shall it stand; that I will break the 
Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him 
under foot : then shall his yoke depart from off them, and 
his burthen depart from off their shoulders. This is the 
purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth, and this is 
the hand that is stretched out over all the nations." See 
also Isaiah x. 5, 4 ; Isaiah xxx. 31 and 33. See also 
Jeremiah 1. throughout. 

We can easily suppose how all the earth will wonder when 
they see not only Babylon and Assyria but a king of Baby- 
lon restored and reigning over the whole Roman world. If 
this interpretation, which I doubt not is the correct one, be 
received, the passage will read thus : " The beast that thou 
sawest, was and is not, and is about to ascend out of the 
abyss and to go into perdition ; and those who dwell on the 
earth shall wonder whose names were not written in the book 
of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold 
the beast, because he was, and is not, and will be present." 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. SIS 

The history of Nebuchadnezzar is necessarily related to 
that of Antichrist. Nebuchadnezzar was the first king of 
that Gentile dynasty which Antichrist concludes. Antichrist 
inherits that power which was first committed to Nebuchad- 
nezzar as the golden head of the image shown to Daniel. 
Nebuchadnezzar was the first "treader down" of Israel 
Antichrist the last. Nebuchadnezzar raised an image, and 
caused it to be worshipped, destroying those who refused 
so will Antichrist. Nebuchadnezzar was the spring of 
Babylon's energies so will Antichrist. The offences which 
Nebuchadnezzar commenced against Israel and Israel's God, 
are said in Jeremiah to be finally punished when the last 
king of Babylon Antichrist, is smitten. 

It is worthy of note too, that the power of Nebuchad- 
nezzar, after he had conquered Tyre, touched almost all the 
countries of the Roman world over which Antichrist will reign. 
The commercial energy of the Phenicians had reached and 
planted colonies in almost every country of the Roman 
world. Nebuchadnezzar succeeding to their power, thus 
foreshadowed the dominion which, in its Roman shape, will 
finally accrue to his last great heir.* Well, therefore, may 
Antichrist be considered as the monarch of Babylon revived. 
He was he is not but he will again be present. 



" Seven mountains"^ " Seven mountains " are to the 
woman, i. e. Babylon morally, what seven heads are to the 
Beast. In either case, completeness of governmental influ- 
ence is symbolised possessed by her as the mistress by 
him as the executive servant. 

" Mountain" is continually used in Scripture in connec- 
tion with the thought of legislative or governmental autho- 
rity. Mount Sinai was the place on which God descended 

* See " Note on early Diffusion of Commerce and the Hebrew Language, 
in Aids to Prophetic Enquiry. Second Series," p. 135. 



314 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

when He first legislated for Israel. When the Lord Jesus 
legislated for His disciples He went up into a mountain. 
Mount Zion is mentioned throughout the Psalms and the 
Prophets as the seat of divine authority and rule in the mil- 
lennial day. ef It shall come to pass in the last days, that 
the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the 
top of the mountains [i. e. in supremacy over all other seats 
of authority] and shall be exalted above the hills. . . . For 
out of Zion shall go forth the law/' &c. (Isa. ii.) Again, in 
Psalm ii. : " Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of 
Zion." In Psalm Ixxii. it is said, " The mountains shall 
bring peace to the peoples, and the little hills } by means of 
righteousness," i. e. in the reign of the Lord Jesus, the 
greater and the lesser seats of authority shall minister peace 
to all peoples, because righteousness shall be there. Again, 
in Psalm Ixxv. : " Lift not up your horn on high : speak not 
with a stiff neck, for promotion [literally mountains, D^f?] 
cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from 
the south ; but God is the judge ; he putteth down one, and 
setteth up another." 

The woman being said to sit on seven mountains, indicates 
that Babylon moral (in other words, the system which makes 
Babylon what she will be, governmeiitally) will be sovereign 
mistress of everything that could be deemed a seat or centre 
of governmental influence in the earth. 

In this chapter Babylon moral (or Babylonianism, in the 
same sense as we say Romanism) is said to be seated 

I. On many waters. 
II. On the Beast. 
III. On seven mountains. 

Now inasmuch as we are not accustomed to say because of 
this, that Babylon physically is builded on many waters, or 
on the Beast, (which would be impossible and absurd,) so no 
proof could be drawn from this, that Babylon physical would 
be builded on seven hills. 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 315 

Whenever Babylonianism is the mistress of all the seats of 
governmental influence, ecclesiastical, military, monetary, 
legislative, educational, and the like, she will sit (to use the 
symbolic language of this chapter) on " seven mountains." 

It is true, indeed, that there were in Babylon of old, 
artificial piles made to resemble mountains of greater height 
than any of the hills of Rome. It is possible that such may 
again exist in Babylon, and be made the seats of those struc- 
tures that will form the centres of Babylon's governmental 
influence. This may be, but it is not necessary to fulfil the 
words of this chapter. 

Rome has chosen to style herself the e< seven-hilled city :" 
but it is mere assumption. No seven hills are there. Peaks 
of the same hill are made hills ; in other words, the same 
hill is reckoned twice over in order to make out the number. 
Babylon had far more reason to boast of her mountains than 
Rome. For further observations on this subject, see " Aids 
to Prophetic Enquiry, second series, p. 85." 

All completeness of authority, at the period of which this 
chapter treats, is possessed by the mighty system that will at 
that time be established in Babylon. Babylonianism will 
rule. But this system will have for its executive agent the 
individual here described. Of course all the authority that 
is possessed by a system subordinately, attaches to the person 
who gives effect to that system. Hence -the Beast who 
carries the woman, has in his " seven heads" the symbol of 
the same completeness of authority as is represented, in 
relation to the woman, by the "seven mountains." This 
concentration of all authority is found in no present system 
in no present individual. 



"A.nd tliere are seven kings ; the Jive are fatten, the one is, 
the other is not yet come ; and when he shall have come, he 
must continue a short space."'] This is a parenthetic, or, to 
speak perhaps more correctly, an epenthetic or additional 



0* TH1 

'WVERSITY; 



316 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

verse, treating of a subject entirely distinct from that of the 
previous verse, where the " seven mountains " are men- 
tioned. 

Authority is one thing ; the mode of its exercise is another. 
The latter has been a subject of as much contention among 
men as the former; for when power exists, the next question 
always is how, and by whom it is to be exercised. The men- 
tion of the Beast through whom the authority is exercised 
during the reign of the Harlot, and by whom it is exercised 
afterward during the period of his sole dominion,, had neces- 
sarily introduced the subject of executive power. The history 
of executive power must in part be retrospective. Accord- 
ingly, this verse referring to the first and last forms in which 
executive authority is exercised in the prophetic earth, treats 
of successive forms of kingship exercised through a series of 
ages, and closed by Antichrist ; whereas the former verse, 
(under the symbol of " the seven mountains," and " the seven 
heads of the Beast") treats of that which forms the basis of 
the Harlot's and the Beast's power, and which, so far from 
extending through successive ages, exists only during the 
comparatively brief period of her and his dominion. 

As regards executive power, God has allowed it to be 
exhibited in seven different forms in the prophetic earth, and 
there will yet be another before the end comes. The history 
of executive power or kingship in the prophetic earth, com- 
mences with Nimrod, and ends with Antichrist ; the first and 
the last whose names stand connected with Babel. 

The native monarchy of Nimrod the theocracy of Israel 
the systematic despotic monarchy of Nebuchadnezzar, 
which was, in a peculiar sense, established by God the 
aristocratic monarchy of Persia the military monarchy of 
Alexander the empire of the Caesars, which arose out of 
democracy and the clay-iron or constitutional monarchies 
of modern Europe, are the seven forms which have already 
appeared. The sixth, viz. that of the Caesars, was existent 
when the Revelation was given ; the seventh, though it has 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 317 

appeared, has -not yet been perfected; the eighth, which is 
reserved for Antichrist, closes the scene. 

It should be observed that the periods at which the Scrip- 
ture recognises these monarchies as formed, are the periods 
in which they assume their full and proper characters. For 
example, Greece is not known in Scripture until Alexan- 
der; nor Rome until Augustus Caesar; consequently, the oli 
garchic, aristocratic, and democratic contests in Greece, out 
of which Alexander's military monarchy sprung, are not 
mentioned, neither the similar contests at Rome, which ended 
in the supremacy of the Cassars and their successors ; neither 
the feudal and democratic struggles of Europe which are 
still being continued, and will finally end in establishing (as 
has long been the case in England) popular monarchic or 
constitutional governments throughout the ten kingdoms 
of the Roman world. This we know from the express 
statement of Daniel ; for all the toes of the image were ( ' iron 
mixed with miry clay." The countries where at present the 
principle of representative government is more or less re- 
cognised, are England, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, 
Piedmont, and Greece. 

Some have endeavoured to alter the translation of this 
passage, and, instead of reading this verse as epenthetic, have 
attached it to the foregoing thus : " the seven heads are 
seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, and are seven 
kings." But it should have been remembered that " the 
mountains "or " heads" are cotemporaneous , not successive; 
whereas the seven or rather eight kings are emphatically 
successive. " Five have fallen, the one is, the other is not 
yet come" the Beast is the eighth. Besides which the 
Beast, who is the eighth of these successive kings, cannot 
symbolise the same thing as one of his heads, which would 
be the case if the proposed translation were adopted. Some 
also have spoken of an (( eighth head :" but that is altogether 
a mistake. There is no such thing as an eight-headed 
beast ; in that case there would have been eight mountains 



318 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

too. The Beast has seven heads, and the woman sits on 
seven mountains heads and mountains symbolising the 
same thing, viz. seats of governmental power, of which he, 
as representing the eighth and last form of executive power 
(in other words, being the eighth king) becomes finally the 
sole possessor. 



" And the'Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth 
and is of (*K) the seven, and goeth into perdition"} All 
who remember the use of this word (eighth) in Leviticus and 
elsewhere will know, that whilst it implies the commencement 
of something new, yet that it represents that new thing as 
connected with and springing out of that which has pre- 
ceded. There could be no resurrection without previous 
existence no eighth day unless seven had preceded. The 
era of Antichrist will pretend to bring to the world just 
what the day of resurrection will really bring to the saints 
satisfying and enduring blessing. Antichrist will be "the 
day-star " of their hopes. He will profess to be the " son of 
the morning." But their new day will soon set in the black- 
ness of darkness for ever. 



" And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings which 
have not yet received a kingdom"] These must not be con- 
fused with the seven or rather eight kings of the preceding 
verse. Those seven kings were not co-existent, but the ten 
will be ; neither were they seen as part of the vision, for 
they are represented by no symbol. They represent classes 
of governors in the history (for the most part the past his- 
tory) of executive power, and nothing is said of their own 
individual history : whereas this verse contains the future 
history (future even at the period when the woman shall 
have been manifested) of the ten cotemporary kings who, 
during the period of which the seventeenth chapter treats, 
are uncrowned in other words, have no proper ro'yal 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 319 

authority ; but receive it as soon as Antichrist receives his 
supreme authority, viz. at the moment when he and they 
together concur in destroying the woman. These are they 
who, gathered around their lord of lords and king of kings, 
(the eighth king of the preceding series,) will actually defy 
the true "Lord of lords and King of kings," when His 
saints and Himself shall be manifested in their glory. (See 
chap, xix.) 

It should be observed that the right reading of the six- 
teenth verse is as follows : " And the ten horns which thou 
sawest AND THE BEAST these shall hate the harlot," 
&c. (See Tregelles.) 

Some have objected to the translation, " they receive 
power as kings at one hour (fjiiav wjoay) with the Beast," on 
the ground that the accusative is used to signify duration of 
time, and not point of time. This, however, is not true as 
regards the New Testament. It is used to signify both. See 
Acts x. 3: OKT upav zvvarriv "about the ninth hour" 
Also Acts x. 30 : " At the ninth hour I prayed" 



" The woman which thou saivest is that great city which 
is sovereign over the kings of the earth"] This verse iden- 
tifies the reigning city here spoken of with the woman and 
her greatness. The city is spoken of not merely as reign- 
ing, but as reigning after the manner symbolised by the 
woman. Will any say that this was the condition of Rome 
when the Apostle wrote ? If this had been the condition of 
Rome then, it would be her condition now ; or else Anti- 
christ would have destroyed her, and be himself supreme 
over the whole Roman earth. 

Moreover, Imperial Rome never held the kind of power 
here described. The special characteristic of the woman's 
power is, that it is supreme over all the executive instruments 
of her government, even over the beast on whom she rides. 
Was this the relation of the Csesars to Rome ? Did Rome, 



320 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

or Rome's system, rule over them ? Just the reverse. 
Ecclesiastical Romanism has sought to reign thus, but it has 
never succeeded, even in its own limited sphere, much less 
throughout the whole Roman world. Latitudinarian Baby- 
lonianism will attain a greatness that Romanism has sought 
in vain. 

This verse, therefore, was not true at the time when John 
saw the vision. It is a prophetic verse, true when the 
woman shall have been manifested, and not before. 



The following note on the words " which reigneth " is 
transcribed from (( A.ids to Prophetic Enquiry " second series, 
page 141. 

In commenting on this passage, some have insisted that 
the words " which reigneth " should be taken in a strictly 
present sense ; and thence have argued that the city must be 
Rome Imperial Rome which was supreme when the 
Apostle wrote. 

But they seem to have forgotten that in a prophetic vision, 
which avowedly directs the mind to something that is future, 
every word that speaks of that future thing as present 
must, by the necessity of the case, begin to apply only when 
that future thing is developed. Thus, in the twenty-first 
chapter, it is said " the first heaven and first earth have 
passed away (cnrrjXOov^, and the sea no longer is." (tori) 
The last word is strictly in the present tense ; yet no one 
would think of applying it to any but a future period. See 
also the second verse of chapter xii., where " crieth" (fcpacf) 
and the rest of the verbs are in the present tense, although 
belonging to a future period. 

In the seventeenth chapter the vision is not concerning 
the woman alone. It also has reference to the beast that 
carries her. This fixes the chronology of the vision as 
future ; for tl^e Beast is said to be the eighth of that line of 
kings of ^ which John was living under the sixth. Besides 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 

which, I have already shown that it is impossible that either 
the woman or the Beast should symbolize Imperial Rome. 
(See page 82 of " Aids to Prophetic Enquiry.") 

Even then, if the present indicative (^ric; jSacriAeua) were 
here used in its strictly present sense, the chronology of the 
vision would still render the reference future. But the 
present indicative is not used. It is the present participle ; 
a tense, appropriated, I may almost say, in the Greek Testa- 
ment, to the expression of ideas that are abstract and 
independent of any particular time. In Hebrew also it is 
continually used for the same purpose. 

In every language it is necessary that there should be 
some means of expressing abstract notions. In English 
they are commonly signified by one form of our present 
indicative ; the forms of that tense being three, e. g. I walk 
am walking do walk. The first of these is used to 
convey the abstract thought. If it were said to me, " Do 
you walk or ride ?" and my reply were, " I walk," no one 
would understand me to mean that I was at that moment 
engaged in the act of walking. I might perhaps be sitting 
still when I said it. I should have used the present tense in 
an abstract sense, without reference to time my meaning 
being that it was my habit to walk and not to ride. 

The tense that peculiarly implies this in Hebrew is the 
present participle (Pohail) in Greek, the present participle, 
or perfect middle participle. The present indicative is also 
frequently used, as in English, in the abstract sense ; but in 
such cases the sense is marked as being abstract, either by 
the use of the present participle in connection therewith, or 
by the nature of the subject. The Epistles of John and his 
Gospel afford abundant instances of this. 

The following are examples of the use of the present 
participle in this abstract sense, and will show how in- 
dependent it is of fixed time. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

" They are dead the seekers of the young child's life" 
Ot farowTtG. We cannot translate this present participle 
as if it were the past nor could we say of dead persons 
that they are seeking the life of another. The abstract form, 
therefore is used, independent of time, denoting that the 
persons referred to were so inherently characterised by 
hatred of that holy child, that even when dead they are 
marked as (e seekers of his life." 

"The Son of man, o wi>, not OCSOTI, in heaven." 
As regarded His personal presence, the Son of man was 
on earth, not in heaven, when these words were spoken. 
But in consequence of that which He essentially was as 
Divine ; He was the I AM, the Being-one in heaven. 

"Behold the Lamb of God, o aipwv, the sin of the world" 

O aiQuv neither means who is taking away (o at>i), nor 
ivho hath taken away (oe #/>?KCI/). In that case all the world 
must be saved. It denotes that He, of whom these words 
are spoken, is One to whom the title or office of being the 
taker-away of sin is appropriated. Even when there is not 
the same strict sense of appropriated office, as in the instance 
now given, the abstract form of expression is used. Thus 
we say: " the King, the conquering One;" or "the King, 
the conqueror " expressions which convey a thought 
different from that which is implied by saying, the King 
who is conquering, or the King who has conquered. 

" This is my body, TO K\M^vo}>,for you" 
The Papists, or Puseyites, argue on this word as if it were 
o K\arai } which is being at this moment broken. If it were 
so, it would prove nothing on their behalf; but even the 
semblance of an argument is taken away when the proper 
abstract force of the participle is apprehended. His body 
was one to which, by necessity of Divine appointment, 
" breaking " attached. It had become a characteristic attri- 
bute of that holy body. 

Instances are equally abundant in the Hebrew. 



NOTES ON -REVELATION XV1T. 

"Thou that art the dweller between the cherubim" 

not the relative and indicative. The words occur 
in one of the repentant Psalms of Israel, after the temple 
had been forsaken. Yet Jehovah is still addressed, not as 
one who is dwelling there at that moment, hut as one who 
has, through His faithful grace, that inalienable relation to 
His land and people. (Ps. Ixxx.) 



"Behold, I creating or the Creator of (N*VO) new heavens and 
a new earth" (Isa. Ixv. 18.) 

He thus addresses Israel at the commencement of the 
millennium, a thousand years before the new heavens and 
earth are made. Indeed, even in cases where the action is 
present, the abstract form is used in Hebrew in addressing 
Jehovah, or in addressing kings, because it is more reverential 
seeing that it assigns lasting and not transitory attributes. 

In the passage before us it is not difficult to apprehend the 
meaning of r/ /Sao-iAeuouo-a ee who hath sovereignty over 
the kings of the earth." The force of the expression is 
titular and ascriptive, implying far more than "who is reign- 
ing" The very distinctive characteristic of the city spoken 
of will be, that through its system it will be, avowedly and 
by acknowledgment, sovereign over crowns. She will hold 
and exercise sovereignty as if by inherent right over the 
kings of the Roman earth. 



Revelation xviii. 1. " Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great"] 
These words refer, not to the destruction of the woman, but 
of the city itself. I have already said that the woman repre- 
sents the city morally, i. e. as to its characteristic system, 
which is destroyed, not by the nations that capture Babylon, 
but by Antichrist, three years and a half before the city 
falls. 

That the symbol is changed in the eighteenth chapter 
from a woman to a city, (though a city is still a feminine 

Y 2 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

symbol,) is evident from the language employed ; for if the 
symbol had been still a woman, it would not have been said, 
" Come out of her, my people," &c.; nor that she had become 
the "habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean 
spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Com- 
pare with this the conclusion of Isaiah xiii. It would seem 
that Babylon is to remain, whilst Immanuel's land teems 
with blessing, a memorial, throughout the whole millennium, 
of the judgment which God's hand has executed on the 
works of man's evil in former generations. 

The preface of this chapter, as in other visions, is in time 
later than the verses that succeed. In the second verse it is 
said, "Babylon hath fallen," "hath become," c.; whereas 
in the third and seventh verses we go back to present 
time "She saith in her heart," &c. The preface continues 
to the end of the third verse. Faith has always to view the 
city of man's greatness according to this testimony of her 
final judgment. 

" Come out of her, my people" 8fc.~\ In a former edition, I 
regarded these words as addressed to a remnant of Israel 
who are to be delivered when Babylon falls : but, on further 
consideration, they appear to me to have a wider and more 
important application, as being addressed to those who have 
wisdom and grace to discern the signs of the times and to 
quit the sphere of moral danger and temptation, before (like 
Lot in Sodom) they are driven out by the actual intervention 
of judgment. The delivered remnant of Israel are plainly 
referred to in such a passage as this : " The voice of them 
that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon to declare in 
Zion, the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of 
His temple." Such "flight and escaping" will not pertain 
to those who give heed to the previous warning. 

There seems to be a remarkable analogy in the circum- 
stances connected with the final visitation on Babylon, and 
that on Jerusalem. It appears from Zechariah xii. and 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 

Joel ii., that when the hostile armies of Gentiles are on 
the point of seizing on Jerusalem for the last time, not only 
does the Lord Himself visibly interfere, but He also causes 
a remnant of Israel to become strong, like Gideon of old, 
with the strength of God, and employs them against His 
and their enemies. Part of the tribe of Judah, which is 
without the walls of Jerusalem, leagued with the invading 
Gentiles in fighting against Jerusalem,* will be first saved 
and strengthened and made like "a torch of fire in a 
sheaf;" and next the house of David and the inhabitants 
of the city in Jerusalem, will be made strong in the strength 
of God, and they shall destroy their enemies. 

At Babylon also we find that, after the city has been cap- 
tured, and the visitation of the Lord supervenes on the 
capture, Israel is strengthened by the Lord, and becomes 
one of the weapons of His indignation against His enemies. 
Hence the words of Jeremiah, " Thou (Jacob) art my battle 
axe and weapons of war : for with thee will I break in pieces 
the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms. And 
with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider, 
and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his 
rider : with thee also will I break in pieces man and woman, 
and with thee will I break in pieces old and young, and 
with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the 
maid. I will also break in pieces with thee, the shepherd 
and his flock, and with thee will I break in pieces the hus- 
bandman and his yoke of oxen, and with thee will I break in 
pieces captains and rulers ; and I will render unto Babylon 
and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they 
have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord." 

The progressiveness of the judgment will account for the 
merchants, &c. standing afar off and witnessing her destruc- 

* See Zechariah xii., which literally translated is as follows : " Be- 
hold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the peoples round 
about ; and also against Judah shall it (the cup of trembling) be in the 
siege against Jerusalem." 



326 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

tion: but another visitation soon follows which includes 
them also, and a man is made more precious than fine gold, 
even a man than a golden wedge of Ophir so great and 
universal is the destruction from the hand of the Lord 
Himself. 



11 And the kings of the earth," $'<?.] The influence of 
Babylon will doubtless be felt widely throughout the 
world: but it will be the metropolis of the Roman earth. 
The countries included within the Roman earth have been 
already enumerated, see Notes on Rev. xiii. 

It is not at this moment possible to say -exactly how these 
countries will finally be distributed so as to form Ten king- 
doms : nor can we tell the means whereby it may please 
God to effect it, whether by war, or by more peaceful and 
silent methods, 

That part of the Roman empire which the Romans con- 
quered from the Greeks will form the Eastern branch, and 
that which the Romans subdued in the west will form the 
Western or Latin branch. Each of these parts may be ex- 
pected to be divided into five parts, according to the 2nd of 
Daniel, where the two legs of the image ending in the 
ten toes represent the Roman empire five toes being on 
either foot. 

The separation of Greece, and the virtual separation of 
Egypt, have been two of the most remarkable events of our 
own days : for these countries have now, for the first time since 
Augustus Caesar, been separated into the distinctness which 
the Scripture speaks of their possessing at the time of the 
end. (Dan. viii. and xi.) The unexpected and almost se- 
cret manner in which the change has been effected, especially 
in Greece, is very remarkable, and strikingly indicates the 
overruling hand of God. A constitutional government, 
necessary to give the clay-iron form to that kingdom, has 
now been formed there the king has submitted; and, what 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 

is still more remarkable, the Greek Church, has submitted, 
and consented to fall into a kind of subordinate alliance to 
the crown just as Popery is being obliged to do in France,* 
and the Establishments in Scotland and England. For it 
must be remembered that popular monarchy is not more 
characteristic of this Babylonish system, than is the alliance 
of ecclesiastical with the secular power the latter being 
supreme. In Spain and in Portugal, efforts have been made 
to discard the state religion, but in vain : and in both those 
countries, the attempt now being made is, as in France, to 
rule ly, and not without, the religious system of the people. 
I doubt not it will succeed. 

Italy, Austria, and the Turkish empire are evidently 
the districts in which the greatest changes have to be 
effected ; but Italy is at this present moment convulsed from 
end to end, and Austria has just begun to enter the great 
commercial system of Europe. The appearance of its first 
trading vessel in India has lately been hailed with great 
delight. 

But whilst we learn from all this the characteristic prin- 
ciples of the day, we must take heed not to suppose that 
events will always proceed slowly and gradually as they are 
now doing. The preparation and secret spread of prin- 
ciples is one thing their establishment in power is another. 
The channels are, I believe, ready in every kingdom of the 
prophetic earth ; and as soon as the system of which we 
speak is established in the land of Shinar on its own base, 
we shall find the reservoir opened of these mighty waters, 
whereby those channels will be filled, even as in an instant; 
and waters, very different from those healing streams which 
shall by and by flow from the holy city, shall be effectually 
diffused throughout all the appointed sphere. 

# Recent events may seem to require a modification of this state- 
ment; but we have only to wait, and we shall finally see Babylonian- 
ism conquer Romanism in France and every other country of the 
Roman earth. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

" And the merchandise of bodies and the souls of men."] 
A memorable example of the manner in which the lust of 
commercial gain leads men to sacrifice principles which they 
themselves have vaunted and extolled, is now seen in Amer- 
ica. Some years ago there was no country in which slavery 
was more abhorred than in America. What then has caused 
the wondrous change? It was this the wants of England 
demanded cotton. England was able and willing to pay for 
it liberally. It was soon found that cotton could not be 
raised remuneratively without the labour of slaves. The 
temptation was too strong for covetousness to resist. The 
darling principle of America was abandoned, and slavery 
was established in a form which outrages the coarsest feel- 
ings of humanity. Commerce requires commerce encour- 
ages, the perpetuation of the iniquity. As to " the souls of 
men" they are sure to be sacrificed where their bodies are 
uncared for. The sympathies of humanity may be enlisted 
on behalf of the latter, when the former are uii thought of; 
but when the body of a fellow-man is made the victim of 
remorseless cruelty, what regard would be shown to the 
soul ? Yet America is supposed to be a great, a happy, a 
prosperous nation. It so thinks of itself. What will it 
become when it drinks more deeply of the harlot's golden 
cup? 



" And in Tier was found the blood of prophets and of 
saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth"] La- 
titudinarianism, which will have made Babylon the place in 
which its plans will be perfected and developed, will neces- 
sarily bring on that city this totality of guilt. Do not they 
who sustain and encourage malefactors make themselves 
partakers in their guilt ? And what ancient or modern sys- 
tem of evil is there that will not be cherished by Babylon ? 
Judaism, Paganism, Romanism, Mahomedanism, will all be 
sheltered and patronised by Babylon, and therefore the 



NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. 329 

blood-guiltiness of these systems must necessarily attach to 
that city, which only ceases to be their protector when she 
gives herself over to the lawless one the consummate!* of 
all iniquity the fiercest of all persecutors. 

*"" Lawlessness" is the term by which Scripture designates 
this last and chief development of evil. And with reason. 
They who, through temptation or otherwise, violate laws 
which their consciences approve and which their lips out- 
wardly honour, are not indeed to have their guilt palliated ; 
yet their hearts are not so hardened as theirs who refuse to 
recognise any law of God as binding, who spurn every pre- 
cept, and break every yoke. Such is " lawlessness." 

When men have learned to say, like Pilate, <f What is 
truth ? " and justify their carelessness by saying that it is 
impossible to determine what God approves and what He 
condemns, they are only one step removed from the state 
described in Scripture as " lawlessness :" for why should 
the limits which God has drawn between truth and false- 
hood be respected, if it be impossible to determine what 
these limits are ? The question of Pilate was widely in the 
lips of educated Pagans when the Lord was on earth. Edu- 
cated Judaism was beginning to re-echo the cry. " The 
mystery of lawlessness" had thus far worked when the 
apostles lived. But its development has been hindered until 
the same infidel cry should be heard from the midst of pro- 
fessing Christianity too. It is being heard. The triple 
cord of Satanic union will soon be formed betwixt Heathen, 
and Jewish, and Christian apostasy. Such union is neces- 
sary to the schemes of a commercial age. As soon as these 
schemes have been systematised and avowed, we shall learn 
what the establishment of the ephah with the woman and 
"lawlessness" in her, means. 

When these things are confessed, there is hope ; but what 
hope can there be when they are gloried in and defended as 
right ? 



330 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

it $Ui)ddi0tt XIX., XX., JIH& XXL 

TO EIGHTH VERSE INCLUSIVE. 



THE conclusion of each of the visions which we have been 
considering, from the sixth chapter onwards, has led us to 
the period, called in Scripture, " the end of the age " (Matt, 
xiii. 39, and xxviii. 20), when the Lord Jesus will come 
from heaven with His angels, and take His saints to meet 
Him in the air. Each of the several visions has reached 
thus far, but has there ended; and it is not until the chapter 
now before us, that we find the results of the Lord's coming, 
and of the resurrection of the saints, unfolded. 

I say the results of His coming, and of the resurrection, 
because neither of these events are themselves described : 
for the sphere of this chapter is the prophetic, or Roman 
earth. If it had been otherwise ; if its object had been to 
describe the condition of Christendom at this period, that is, 
of those nations which will, during the time that Antichrist 
is reigning in the Ten kingdoms, be retaining the profession 
of the name of Christ, we should have found His coming with 
His angels, and the gathering together of His saints care- 
fully described ; and accordingly these events are not passed 
over in those parts of Scripture which do give the history 
and the end of Christendom. (See Matt, xiii.) But this is 
not the object of the Revelation. It teaches the condition of 
a certain part of the earth, which after having passed through 
all the advantages of light and knowledge which attend on 



ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 331 

the profession of the name of Christ, will have gone on into 
direct and positive apostasy both from Christ and from God, 
an end indeed to which all Christendom would come, if 
the principles there working were allowed time and oppor- 
tunity to ripen into their full maturity ; but one to which 
part only of Christendom is allowed to come, because God 
is merciful, and sets bounds to this great overflowing of 
iniquity which it shall not pass. A limited sphere is suffi- 
cient to test the character of men, and to make manifest the 
result of their counsels. 

The history, therefore, of that part of the earth which is 
allowed fully to apostatise from God, and to bear the name 
of Antichrist, is very different from that of those nations 
which will retain the acknowledgment of God and of Christ 
until the end. The tares, for example, which represent 
neither Jews nor heathens, nor apostate infidels, are never 
guilty of any act of blasphemous rejection of God. They 
remain until the end quietly growing by the side of the 
wheat, seeking, as part of the harvest-field, admission into 
the garners of heaven ; and when the hour of the reaping 
comes, they are not like the apostates, left for a season to be 
visited by an act of special judgment in the earth, but are 
taken away by angels out qftlie earth, to an unseen place of 
torment; whereas the apostates, after the earth is reaped 
both of tares and wheat, are found ee gathered together " 
against Him that sitteth on the horse, and against His army; 
and in addition to the punishment which elsewhere awaits 
them, are visited also by direct visible judgment in the 
earth being trampled down in the place where they are 
assembled, by Him who " treadeth the wine-press of the 
fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God." The nineteenth 
chapter of the Revelation, therefore, commences after the 
history of Christendom, as elsewhere given, has ended. 

Accordingly this chapter opens with one of the great re- 
sults of the resurrection of the saints. They are evidently 
recognised in the commencement of this chapter as being 



SS2 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

above with the Lord in glory. "I heard, as it were, the loud 
voice of a great multitude, saying, Alleluiah ! the salvation, 
and glory, and power of our God; for true and righteous 
are His judgments," &c. This cry of triumph immediately 
follows the destruction of the great city; and this is in close 
accordance with the vision in the sixteenth chapter ; for 
there we find the words, "Behold I come as a thief; blessed 
is he that watcheth" quickly followed by the pouring out 
of the seventh vial, under which Babylon is destroyed. The 
moment when the Lord terminates the history of Christen- 
dom, and takes His saints to meet Him in the air, is the 
moment when He likewise gives His final blow to Babylon. 
It would seem as though the very first subject of their 
thanksgiving above, is the judgment of her whom they have 
so long known as corrupting the earth by her fornication, 
and shedding the blood of His servants. They had seen 
and experienced what the earth had been whilst occupied 
by Babylon and Babylon's mighty king ; they are now to 
behold it under the Lamb and under the heavenly city, the 
Bride of the Lamb : for " the time for His marriage had 
come, and His wife had made herself ready." 

But before any thing more is revealed, either respecting 
her, or the sphere of her future glory, we have another 
dark scene to contemplate : for the great transgressor still 
remained unpunished. The great monarch of the prophetic 
earth, surrounded by his kings and his armies, those armies 
which have already been mentioned as gathered at Arma- 
geddon, was still existent; and like another Pharaoh, un- 
dismayed by all that he had witnessed, was ready still to 
dispute the title and dare the vengeance of the Xing of 
kings and Lord of lords. " I saw the beast, and the kings 
of the earth, and his armies, gathered together to make war 
with Him that sat on the horse, and with His army." 

But the hour of the accomplished glory of Jesus had 
come. " I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse ; 
and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and 



ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 333 

in righteousness He doth judge, and make war: His eyes 
were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many diadems ; 
and He had a name written that no man knoweth, but He 
Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in 
blood : and His name hath been called the Word of God. 
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon 
white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And 
out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He 
should smite the nations : and He shall rule them with a rod 
of iron : and He treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness of 
the wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture 
and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord 
of lords." 

Such is the description of the glorious power with which 
the heavenly Bridegroom will be invested, in order that He 
may prepare this earth, filled though it be with enemies, for 
the habitation of His Bride. He will ' ' go forth conquer- 
ing, and to conquer." The saints have joined Him, and fall 
into the train of His glory. He is described in the verses I 
have quoted, not as in the actual exercise of this power (for 
the vision is seen in heaven), but as invested with it in order 
that it might be exercised : and presently afterwards it is 
exercised, first upon Antichrist, then upon Satan, and then 
upon those nations which, as given to be His inheritance 
and possession, are to be broken with the rod of iron, though 
not destroyed by the sword of His mouth. It is not a 
description either of the place or circumstances in which the 
power is exercised ; but it is a vision showing the character 
of power with which He is invested for the government of the 
earth, and which, in one or other of its forms, He continues 
to exercise from the beginning to the end of the millennium : 
I say in one or other of its forms, for though He will not 
always be treading the wine-press of wrath, yet He will not 
cease throughout the millennium to employ towards the earth 
the agency of these heavenly hosts, nor to hold the rod of 
iron : nor is it until the millennium has finished, that the 



334 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

earth, is prepared for the formal introduction of His Bride 
into it : for as we shall presently see, she is not introduced 
into the millennial earth, but into the new earth, after the 
first heavens and the first earth have passed away. 

There is something very awful in the cry that summons 
to the supper of the great God. " I saw an angel standing 
in the sun" (for it is, as it were, the eye of heaven), " and he 
cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in 
the mid-heaven, Come, be gathered together unto the great 
supper of God : that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the 
flesh of chief-captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the 
flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of 
all men both free and bond, both small and great." It is 
this scene that gives us the true measure of human glory. 
Every day that passes brings us nearer to the hour in which 
all who thus serve the world and its glory will find them- 
selves (and we know not how soon) taken in the snare, and 
supplied as food for this last great supper. It is the evening 
of the day of man. How will its sun set in the blackness of 
darkness for ever ! The energy of man is great, especially 
when sustained by the immediate indwelling power of Satan, 
as in that day it will be; but it cannot stand before Him who 
comes as "King of kings and Lord of lords, and who treadeth 
the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of God the Al- 
mighty." " The beast was taken, and with him the false 
prophet he that wrought the miracles in his presence, 
wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of 
the beast, and them that worship his image. These both 
were cast alive into a lake of fire which burneth with brim- 
stone. And the rest were slain with the sword of Him 
that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His 
mouth; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." 

But the greatest of all enemies remains even after Babylon 
and Antichrist have fallen ; for Satan as yet continues un- 
bound. From the day when he first deceived Eve by his 
subtilty, and induced her to mistrust the kindness of God. 



ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 



335 



and to trust in him, the history of mankind has been mainly 
the history of the triumph of his deceptions. The words 
which describe the result of his imprisonment in the pit, 
sufficiently indicate what the previous condition of the 
nations is, whilst under the influence of his power. ee He 
shall deceive (it is said) the nations no more, till the thou- 
sand years have been fulfilled." And if we could only see 
the hearts that he has tempted and beguiled into destruction, 
and trace the workings of his hand in making man and all 
God's creatures miserable, we should be able to form some 
estimate of the relief which will be felt to extend from one 
end of creation to the other, when his prey is at last taken 
from his grasp, and he bound in his prison. Even we who 
believe have never yet experienced what freedom from his 
terrible power around us and in us is ; and therefore feebly 
appreciate the blessedness of that hour when there shall be 
no longer any " lion in the path of the redeemed of the 
Lord." And since the period which immediately precedes 
the intervention of the Lord Jesus is peculiarly an hour of 
strong delusion and of the full energy of Satan's power, the 
change will be the more marvellous when all the systems by 
which he has wrought so efficaciously, together with all the 
unclean, spirits which have animated them, will suddenly be 
swept away, and truth, and grace, and peace, be established 
instead, in the full unquestioned power of God and the Lord 
Jesus. 

During the whole time that the system of Babylon was in 
operation, Satan had worn the crowns of the Ten kingdoms ; 
and after he had himself been ejected from heaven, and es- 
tablished Antichrist on his throne, as the centre of his con- 
centrated power, his sway throughout the prophetic earth 
had been undisputed. His ejection from heaven might have 
lessened his power as the Accuser (Ata/3oXoc) ; but it had 
not lessened his power as the Adversary, (Sarat'ac). He 
had arisen as the Adversary, in more mighty power than 
ever, and caused the kings of the earth and the rulers to 



336 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALPYSE. 

rise up with, him " against the Lord, and against His Christ, 
saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away 
their cords from us." He, and the man, his instrument, 
had practised and prospered. But the hour of his visitation 
was now come the hour for the Lord to arise unto judg- 
ment, and to help all the meek of the earth. Whatever he 
had done as the Serpent by his subtilty, or as the Devil 
(the Accuser), by his malice, or as Satan (the Adversary), 
whether by secret or developed power, was ended now ; and 
the earth freed from his presence (with the exception of a 
little season,) for ever, was now to experience the conse- 
quences of another's rule, even His, in whose presence is 
life, who will " open His hand and satisfy the desire of every 
living thing." fe Say among the heathen that the Lord 
reigneth: the world also shall be established, that it shall 
not be moved; He shall judge the people righteously. Let 
the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad ; let the sea 
roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and 
all that is therein : then shall all the trees of the wood re- 
joice before the Lord ; for He cometh, for He cometh to judge 
the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and 
the peoples with His truth." Such will be the song and the 
exhortation of that day. 

It is to the Old Testament, rather than to the Revelation, 
that we must look for a description of the millennial period. 
It is not the object of the Revelation to detail the nature of 
the earthly blessings in result, so much as to declare the 
heavenly instrumentality by which that result is produced, 
for this the Old Testament had but dimly and imperfectly 
revealed. Nor is the millennium itself, in the Revelation, 
regarded as anything more than a step onward into that more 
blessed period, called in Scripture " the dispensation of the 
fulness of times," when sin, and the flesh, and death, shall 
be finally abolished, and the heavenly city be established in 
a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. The heavenly 
instrumentality which is to give effect in the millennial earth to 



ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 337 

those things " which God hath promised by the mouth of all 
His holy prophets," is found in the heavenly exaltation of 
Christ in association with His risen saints. The Revelation 
is the book which describes the nature of the power by 
means of which they are to act upon the earth in blessing : 
and accordingly each vision that we have been considering 
has shown us some one of their manifold glories. But al- 
though associated with the Lord in power that is strictly 
heavenly and divine (for else they could not be symbolised 
by crowned elders sitting on heavenly thrones, nor be as the 
cherubim) yet they also share with Him His lower glories, 
as when seen standing around Him on Mount Zion ; or in 
a yet lower sphere, as in this chapter, sharing the authority 
which He will exercise in the earth, as Heir of the throne 
of David in Jerusalem. To His apostles who followed Him, 
His promise was, that <e in the regeneration," i. e. the times 
of restitution, "when the Son of man should sit-on the throne 
of His glory, they also should sit on twelve thrones, judging 
the twelve tribes of Israel ;" and in accordance with this 
promise, we find in this chapter the vision of some, who, 
after having died under persecution, were raised to share 
the millennial power which Christ will exercise below the 
heavens, in the regulation and government of earth ; and 
thus we are taught another feature of glorious power which 
attaches to the first resurrection, and consequently to all 
who share in it. " Blessed and holy is he who hath part in 
the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no 
power, but they are priests of God and of Christ, and shall 
reign with Him a thousand years." They who are counted 
" worthy to attain that age and the resurrection from the 
dead," are freed from all earthly characteristics and are 
made like the angels in heaven. They will be strictly un- 
earthly persons \ but unearthly persons may act upon the 
earth ; and this will be the secret of the earth's blessing in 
that day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and of Immanuel's 
land will be strictly in an earthly condition they all will 

z 



338 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

have bodies of flesh and blood, and so had Peter and John 
when they saw Moses and Elias on the mount of transfigura- 
tion : but the Spirit will be poured out from on high ; and 
therefore the terror which mere human nature would feel in 
communication with such will be taken away, and the rulers 
of God's earthly city, and the princes of Israel will be able 
to govern the earth in righteousness and in wisdom, because 
heavenly persons will direct, and counsel, and aid them. 
Angels also will be there. " Hereafter shall ye see heaven 
opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending 
upon the Son of man." 

The prophets of the Old Testament are full of vivid and 
glorious descriptions of the blessings of Israel, and of the 
land of Israel in that day. " For Zion's sake will I not hold 
my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the 
righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salva- 
tion thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall 
see thy righteousness and all kings thy glory, and thou shalt 
be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall 
name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of 
the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. 
Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken : neither shall thy 
land any more be termed Desolate ; but thou shalt be called 
Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah, for the Lord delighteth 
in thee, and thy land shall be married." But however fair 
this scene however blessed the moral peace and outward 
rest of Immanuel's land, where the lion shall feed with the 
kid, and none hurt nor destroy, where the nations also shall 
learn to beat their swords into ploughshares, and be taught 
the knowledge of God howsoever great these and similar 
blessings may be, or howsoever widely diffused, yet the mil- 
lennium will not satisfy the desires which the Spirit of God 
will give, even to those who being as yet in earthly bodies, 
may be supposed to find in such a scene a sphere of gladness 
peculiarly adapted to their condition : yet even they will 
look for " new heavens and a new earth," when the former 



ON REVELATION XIX. , XX., AND XXI. 339 

shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Their being 
glad and rejoicing in that which is then before them, (for 
Jerusalem will be even then a rejoicing and her people a 
joy,) will not take from them the more blessed anticipation of 
another and yet future hour, when they who will be as yet 
bearing the image of the earthly will be changed, and bear 
the image of the heavenly. 

They will need the joy of anticipation for though the 
earth will then be freed from the curse which now immedi- 
ately rests upon it from God though the sun will no longer 
scorch, nor the dry wind from the wilderness blight, nor the 
tempest destroy though man will no longer faint, toiling 
with the sweat of his brow though creation will no longer 
groan, as it now does, in the bondage of corruption, yet 
neither the earth, nor they who dwell in it, will as yet be 
brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 
And although Satan will be bound, and will no longer stim- 
ulate the evil of the flesh, yet the flesh will still exist even in 
the regenerate, whilst yet in bodies of sin and death, and 
will still, as ever, lust against the Spirit. And although the 
mighty power of God will be put forth in order to check 
the progress and manifestations of corruption and death, 
both in men, and trees, and plants, and animals ; yet death 
and corruption, how much soever repressed and concealed, 
will still be there. They will be hidden under every form 
of beauty, and will manifest themselves at last, and be known 
as the consequences of sin, even till the hour comes when 
He who hath said that " new wine cannot be put into old 
bottles," will act upon this truth, and say, " Behold I make 
all things new." 

The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his 
spots, neither can the intrinsic evil of the flesh, nor the cha- 
racter of the unredeemed body, be removed, even if placed 
in the very midst of God's own blessings. Sin and corrup- 
tion must be sin and corruption everywhere; nor can re- 
pression satisfy the desires of the new man, which is l ' created 

z 2 



340 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

according to God;" for not only does the necessity of re- 
pression imply imperfectness and evil; but it is in itself 
painful, because necessarily connected with resistance, 
watchfulness, and trial. We need not wonder, therefore, 
that so little is said in the Revelation respecting the mil- 
lennial period. It is rapidly passed over in one or two 
verses ; the period of sorrow that follows it is almost made 
more prominent than the millennium itself ; and the Bride 
of the Lamb, instead of being ushered into the scene, is kept 
apart from the millennial earth, and is not brought from her 
heavenly elevation into the sphere below, until the millen- 
nial earth and heavens have finally passed away. 

It would seem, indeed, as though the millennium were the 
dispensation which is intended more than any other to teach 
us the hopelessness of the evil of the heart of man. For 
although Paradise has taught us one lesson of the evil of 
the human heart, and the antediluvian age another, and the 
Noahic another, and Jerusalem another, and the Christian 
dispensation another, yet which of these exhibitions of evil 
can be compared with that which is to be developed at the 
close of the millennial age ? The earth will then be peopled 
from pole to pole they who inhabit it will be the children 
of persons who perhaps all of them will have known and 
feared the Lord; for, I suppose, there will be some one 
period in the millennium in which "the knowledge of the 
Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas;"* 
they will still have before their eyes the bright glory and 
excellency of Immanuel's land ; for its excellency will never 
fail, neither will its people ever fall from their integrity 
the glory of the risen saints upon Zion, and the brightness 
and holiness of the heavenly city above, will be before them 
also all the experience of past ages, all the displayed 
excellency of God's power and goodness, as made known in 
the millennium, will have been opened to their souls ; and 

* I regard this and similar promises, as having their full completion 
in the new earth. 



ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 341 

yet what is the result ? Not being really quickened by the 
Spirit of God, nor sprinkled with the blood of the new 
covenant, as soon as ever Satan is again loosed and tempts 
them, they fall away and dare to compass the beloved city, 
and " the citadel of the saints " on Zion. " They went up 
on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the citadel of the 
saints about, and the beloved city ; and fire came down from 
God out of heaven, and devoured them." Satan himself is 
the immediate head and director of this last and greatest of 
all apostasies. 

With this event the history of this fallen earth ends. The 
millennial saints, so far as this earth is concerned, will have 
no other prospect than this. Living waters may go forth 
from Jerusalem, and the waters of the earth may be healed, 
and the mountains rejoice, and the valleys be glad, and the 
pastures be clothed with flocks and sing, and many hearts 
be made happy ; yet still over all this fair and blessed scene 
a thought of sadness will hang ; for these very hills and 
valleys are again to be trodden by the foot of evil ; and men, 
as many as the sand of the sea in multitude, are again to 
gather there in confederacy against God. Flesh will again 
corrupt its way, even on the millennial earth, and then at 
last God will cease to deal with the flesh any longer, and 
all things will be made new. " I saw a great white throne, 
and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the 
Leaven fled away ; and there was found no place for them. 
And I saw the dead, the small and great, stand before the 
throne (Spoyov, not BEOV) ; and the books were opened." 
After the dead have been judged, and death and hades cast 
into the lake of fire, " He that sitteth upon the throne saith, 
Behold, I make all things new;" and the new heavens and 
earth are created, and the heavenly city, which had been 
apart from the earth during the millennium, descends into it, 
still retaining the title of the Bride of the Lamb, and as such 
introduced into this new portion of His and her inheritance. 
" I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coining down 



34:2 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her 
husband." 

" Bride " is a temporary " Wife," an enduring name. 
At the commencement of the millennium she had been spoken 
of as a wife. " The marriage of the Lamb (it is said) had 
come, and His wife had made herself ready." During the 
whole of the millennium she retains her bridal estate ; and at 
the close of it (for "a thousand years is with the Lord as one 
day ") she is introduced into the new earth, still bearing the 
name of fe Bride." Her relation to the earth during the mil- 
lennium is described in the subsequent part of the twenty- 
first chapter, and in the commencement of the twenty-second. 
It is in this description the description of her condition 
during the millennium, that we alone learn the nature and 
excellency of her glory. Of the condition of the new earth, 
and her relation to it, little is said. A veil is drawn over this 
in the Scriptures. They lead us on to the period when the 
Son of God shall have subdued all enemies and all things 
be made new and God be all in all ; but we know little 
of those eternal ages in which God, it is said, " will show 
the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness towards 
us through Christ Jesus." We know not what new worlds 
may be created what new spheres may be opened for the 
exercise of the power of those who shall reign in life. But 
the new earth made meet for the glory of Him who is " the 
Second Man, the Lord from Heaven," will be the centre of 
the economy and order of creation ; and it is as directing 
this economy, and as mistress of this order, that the Church is 
symbolised by this city, and named " Wife of the Lamb." 
It will not lose the glories of heaven the glory which 
Jesus had with the Father before the world was because 
occupation in the power of blessing is found for it in another 
and a lower sphere ; and, therefore, this symbol of the holy 
city, great and blessed as it is, and even the name of the 
Bride, is but one presentation, in one especial sphere (and 
that not the highest) of the manifold glories of them who 



ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 343 

are also children in the Father's house with Him who is the 
first-born amongst many brethren. He who " ascended up 
far above all heavens that He might fill all things," will not 
be restricted to a glory that is below the heavens ; and He 
has associated His Church in His own glory, having made 
it " the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." He who is 
" God over all, blessed for ever," will not be confined to 
this earth, however glorious, as His dwelling-place, neither 
will the redeemed family of God. The new heavens and 
earth may be the special sphere of glorified humanity, for 
the earth, it is said, hath been ff given to the children of 
men," the centre, perhaps, of all the manifested government 
of God the place, perhaps, where angels will peculiarly 
learn what the wisdom of God in the redemption of man is ; 
but the inheritance of earth will not exclude from the heaven 
of heavens those who are also made sons of the Father 
ee children of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." 

The first eight verses of the twenty-first chapter carry us 
further into the future than any other part of the Revelation, 
or indeed any other part of the Scripture. They alone treat 
of the new heavens and new earth. In the subsequent part 
of the chapter we again recur to a preceding period, and 
are taught the relation of the heavenly city to the earth 
during the millennial reign 



344 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTEK XXVII. 

0n Qtfahtm XIX., XL, mfo XXI. 



THE nineteenth chapter commences the last division of the 
Revelation. In the preceding chapters, from the sixth to 
the eighteenth inclusive, the subject has been, the chastise- 
ments from the throne of God, which immediately precede 
the mission of the Lord Jesus in glory. But now the time 
has come for Christ to occupy His own throne, and to be 
manifested in the exercise of His own glorious power. 

There is, perhaps, no part of the Scripture which needs 
more a new division of chapters. The first ten verses of the 
nineteenth should form a chapter by itself. It is a kind of 
introduction to the chapters which succeed, and stands to 
them just in the same relation in which the fourteenth stands 
to those which immediately follow it, viz. xv. xvi. xvii. and 
xviii. Both the fourteenth and these ten verses of the nine- 
teenth consist of references, rather than descriptions ; but 
these references are elucidated in the chapters which respec- 
tively succeed. Babylon is first alluded to in the fourteenth; 
but it is an allusion merely the description is given after. 
The wife of the Lamb is similarly alluded to in the seventh 
verse of the nineteenth ; but the description of her glory is 
postponed to a subsequent vision. 

The twentieth chapter should commence at the eleventh 
verse of the nineteenth chapter, beginning, ff I saw heaven 
opened," and be continued to the end of the eighth verse of 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 345 

the twenty -first chapter : for the subject of all this passage is 
strictly consecutive. It begins by a vision of the state and 
glory of the heavenly Bridegroom, prepared to go forth 
against His enemies, and to subdue the earth next the 
destruction of Antichrist and his armies then the binding 
of Satan the millennial reign the concluding apostasy 
the passing away of the first heavens and earth the judg- 
ment of the dead the creation of the new heavens and 
earth, and the descent of the heavenly city into the new 
earth. These events are spoken of consecutively, as they 
will really happen ; and therefore the passage which treats 
of them in unbroken continuity should be read as one 
chapter. 

The twenty-first chapter should begin at that which is 
now the ninth verse of the twenty-first chapter, and may be 
continued to the end of the book, although the special 
subject of this passage, viz. the condition of the heavenly 
city during the millennium, properly closes at the end of the 
fifth verse of the last chapter. The succeeding verses form 
the conclusion of the whole book. 

I have already referred to the manner in which the Scrip- 
ture teaches by recurrence, i.e. by carrying on a subject to 
its very end, and then returning to the same subject, and 
adding new particulars, or filling up the outline that had 
been given. A remarkable example is afforded in the pre- 
sent instance ; for here we find the introduction of the 
heavenly city into the new earth described previous to the 
description of its millennial relation to the old. 

The following is the summary of the division proposed : 

The first ten verses of chap. xix. form chap. xix. 

Thence to end of 8th verse of chap. xxi. form chap. xx. 

Thence to end of 5th verse of chap. xxii. form chap. xxi. 

The rest forms the conclusion of the Book of Revelation. 

" The marriage of the Lamb is come" <'c.] The marriage 
itself is not described: for it is not the object of the Kevela- 



346 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

tion to describe that which, is secret from the earth, hut 
that which is developed before men. 

In the descriptions given in the Old Testament prophets, 
of the glory of the earthly Jerusalem in the latter day, we 
find her sometimes spoken of as a city, sometimes as a 
woman. Isaiah Ix. affords an instance of the first : " The 
sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings 
shall minister unto thee j for in my wrath I smote thee, but 
in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy 
gates shall be open continually ; they shall not be shut day 
nor night, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the 
Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought." Isaiah lii. 
is an instance of the latter. ' e Shake thyself from the dust ; 
arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem : loose thyself from the 
bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." In either 
case it is a corporate or collective symbol or title, and admits 
of being indefinitely extended in comprehensiveness. So 
also the risen saints, as inhabiters of the heavenly city, are 
represented in a two-fold manner first, by a woman 
arrayed in fine linen, clean and white ; and, secondly, by 
" a city descending from God out of heaven, having the 
glory of God." Both are corporate symbols. 

The linen (fivavivov not \ivo\>} was the same as was found 
in the priest's garments of glory and beauty; and was used 
when the claim to righteousness was supposed to be estab- 
lished, and when the possibility of contamination was not 
in question. 



ft Blessed are they who have been called to the marriage 
supper" fyc.] It is important to observe that the past tense 
is here used 01 KKAr^uyot, not those who are being called, 
but those who have been called, and whose calling continues 
such being the proper force of the perfect tense. " Guests 
at the marriage supper " is one of the dispensational names 
which now attaches to the saints. They, as well as those 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 347 

who merely profess the name of Jesus, are " guests at the 
marriage supper." (see Matthew xxii.). The guests are 
being now collected : " Behold I have prepared my 
supper, my oxen and my fatlings are killed, come unto 
the marriage." Such are the words of present invitation, 
and those who accept them become ff guests." 

The blessedness of these " guests " those of them at 
least who are duly arrayed (for there was one who had not 
on a wedding garment) is to be manifested when the time 
comes for these words to be spoken, " Blessed are they who 
have been called." I have before observed how continually 
the Scripture is wont to use opposed or contradictory sym- 
bols in application to the same person or persons. This 
chapter supplies some remarkable examples. The saints are 
here represented, first as those who have been guests at the 
marriage supper ; secondly, by one clothed in white raiment 
the Lamb's wife ; thirdly, by riders on white horses, fol- 
lowing the King of kings ; fourthly, by persons raised from 
the dead, reigning on thrones ; fifthly, by the heavenly city, 
the Bride. 



" And I fell before his feet to worship him" $*c.] This, 
with the exception of the one similar, but worse, because 
repeated instance, in the last chapter, are the only recorded 
examples of this apostle's failure after he had received the 
Holy Spirit. It was, of course, a sin to worship a creature. 
The strangeness and greatness of these things that he had 
seen and heard respecting God and His secret government, 
seemed to have overpowered even John, and to have taken 
from him the peaceful calmness of love with which he had 
rested on the bosom of Jesus, and heard and spoken of the 
Father. Perhaps we, with our more feeble apprehensions 
both of the Father and of God, may sometimes have ex- 
perienced an effect not dissimilar. 

The reason assigned by the angel for forbidding the wor- 



348 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

ship of John was this that he (the angel) was only a 
fellow-servant of John, and a fellow-servant of John's 
brethren, who had committed to them the testimony to Jesus 
that all that he (the angel) had done, was to bear testi- 
mony to Jesus by means of the Spirit of prophecy ; and see- 
ing that that Spirit came only from God, that God, and not 
he, was to be worshipped. 



" And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse," 
8fc.] I have already observed that it is the great object of 
the Revelation not to treat of the <( harvest-field" (Christen- 
dom) whence Christ's saints are to be gathered ; but it treats 
of the nations the apostate nations and of the manner in 
which Christ as King of Kings will confront them by His 
own glorious power. Accordingly, these verses from the 
eleventh to the sixteenth inclusive, are not a description of 
the Lord coming from heaven, but a vision seen in heaven, 
teaching us abstractedly the character of power with which 
the heavenly Bridegroom will be invested in order to subdue 
His enemies, and to control the earth. Nothing can prove 
more clearly the abstract nature of this passage than the 
mention of the Lord's vesture as " dipped in blood." This 
will not be so when He first descends from heaven into the 
air it will be the result of the infliction of the very ven- 
geance which this chapter subsequently describes ; yet it is 
an emblem well suited to teach us the character in which 
He will meet and act towards the nations when they first 
behold Him as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Again, 
if it had been the object of this passage to describe the man- 
ner in which the Lord will descend from heaven into the 
air, we should not have seen the saints following Him, for 
they will not join Him until He reaches the air; but they 
will form a part of His glorious train when He confronts the 
nations, and are therefore necessarily mentioned in a passage 
which specifically describes the glory with which He is 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. 349 

invested for that purpose. " Horses " are symbolical of 
power intended for the earth ; they would not be used to 
represent power to be exercised only in heaven. He that 
sat upon the horse " was called Faithful and True ; and in 
righteousness He doth judge and make war." This is 
the personal character of Him who was thus prepared to 
cast down the throne of wickedness, and to wear the diadems 
that had been resting on the head of the great destroyer. 
His eyes, which were as a flame of fire (the great emblem of 
the searching power of the divine holiness) and with which 
He had before tried the Churches, were now fixed upon the 
world and its wickedness. Many diadems not ten merely, 
but many were upon His head ; for He comes to rule all 
nations. " The armies which are (ra ovra abstract, not a 
tort) in heaven followed Him upon white horses." Angels, 
I suppose, as well as saints are included in this description. 
In Luke we find this title applied to angels. " Immediately 
there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts." 
It is perhaps as leading alike saints and angels that Jesus 
will be known as Jehovah of hosts. The sword proceeding 
out of His mouth, symbolical of the destructive power of 
the word of His lips (for He speaks and it is done), is 
used only destructively all against whom it is directed 
being destroyed whereas the rod of iron breaks, but it 
does not necessarily destroy. It may become the shepherd 
rod of governance. It will break up the systems of the 
nations throughout the earth; for what tribe or nation is 
there from one end of the earth to the other, whose laws and 
order are not contrary to God and to Christ ? But " tfce 
nations are given to Him for His inheritance, and the utter- 
most parts of the earth for His possession," and therefore 
howsoever widely the destructive power of the sword may be 
exercised howsoever the rod of iron may dash the nations 
in pieces, as to all their systems and confederations, yet it 
will be found a shepherd rod at last ; and nations in bowing 
to it shall find their blessing. 



350 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them," fyc.] The 
first object here presented to the apostle in vision was 
thrones occupied by certain persons to whom authority to 
rule was given. But this alone did not teach him either 
who the persons thus seated on thrones were, nor the 
nature of their power. Accordingly he beheld something 
more he saw first the souls of the martyrs and sufferers 
for the truth's sake, specially those who had resisted Anti- 
christ he saw first their souls in a disembodied state, and 
then saw these souls " live," i. e. become reunited to their 
bodies ; and then it is said, " This is the first resurrection;" 
and the nature of the power with which they were invested 
is described, viz. to be " priests of God and of Christ, and to 
reign with Him a thousand years." 

I think there can be no doubt that martyrs alone are 
spoken of in this passage just as in the fifteenth chapter - 
they only are spoken of as singing the song of Moses and the 
Lamb, who have testified against Antichrist. In all these 
cases, I regard those spoken of as representative bodies, in- 
dicating by their position some one of the many spheres of 
glory to be occupied by the one body of Christ. Thus also 
the seven Churches represent all Churches. 

The Scripture is continually accustomed to connect the 
mention of certain peculiar promises with certain practical 
conditions of suffering ; not thereby necessarily indicating 
that none except those in that condition have the final bless- 
ing spoken of, but because they who are so circumstanced 
best appreciate such promises, and most need the comfort 
they impart. "We know certainly from other passages that 
all the saints who have fallen asleep will rise in 
resurrection. 



" Gog and Magog" fyc.] This must not be supposed to 
be the same as the gathering against Israel mentioned in 
Ezekiel xxxviii. ; for that is clearly at the commencement of 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX. , AND XXI. 351 

the millennium after the appearance of the Lord and the 
conversion of the remnant in the land of Israel as described 
in Zechariah xii. ; but previous to the establishment of the 
full millennial glory in Zion and in Jerusalem. The period 
between the day of visitation from the Lord on Jerusalem, 
and the establishment of His throne there in peaceful bless- 
edness in other words, the period between His manifest- 
tion as the morning star, and as the sun arising with healing 
on His wings, is of considerable duration. Many nations 
are rebuked and judged during this interval ; Moab, for 
example, and Edom, and the nations mentioned in Ezekiel as 
in confederacy with Gog : I believe these to be the nations 
which are now occupying the districts in the centre of Asia 
north-east of Persia Bokhara for instance. I do not re- 
gard Eussia as coming within the description. I believe the 
right translation of Ezekiel xxxviii. 3, to be " chief prince," 
as given in our version ; nor do I recognise any affinity 
between Meshech, and Tubal, and Muscovy and Tobolsk. 
Here, however, Gog and Magog are expressions evidently 
denoting generally all nations, and are not used so speci- 
fically as in Ezekiel, where the enumeration of the nations 
confederate with. Gog is minute. 



"I saw the dead, small and great, stand before the throne" 
fyc.] " Before the throne," is the right reading ; not " be- 
fore God." The throne is the same as is mentioned in the 
preceding verse. " I saw a great white throne, and Him 
that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled 
away ; and there was found no place for them." It is a 
judicial, not a regal throne ; and one set not abidingly, but 
for a special object, viz. the judgment of the dead. It is not 
the eternal throne of God, as seen in tne fifth chapter, nor 
the millennial throne of Christ. Nevertheless, it was a throne 
occupied by Christ ; for it is written that " the Father hath 
committed all judgment unto the Son." The judgment of 



352 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the dead is one of the branches of power attached to the 
kingdom of Christ. 

There are evidently some who stand before the throne 
whose names are written in the book of life : and they will 
doubtless be very many ; for we may regard the millennium 
as the great harvest-time of the earth, when millions will 
be converted to God. An appeal to the book of life would, 
of course, prevent all whose names are written therein from 
being judged as criminals, or being in any sense put on their 
trial ; and thus it would still remain true that f< he that 
believeth shall not come into judgment." (fcpio-tc.) There 
may, however, be a reference to their works in the way of 
praise, or the contrary just as is the case with respect to 
the saints of the present dispensation. 



" There was no more sea," 8fc.] This marks a very decided 
difference between the millennial and the new earth for in 
the millennial earth the sea is frequently mentioned. The 
thoughts connected with it are barrenness separation 
and the power of death. 

It is not until the new heavens and the new earth that 
creation, as a whole, will be brought into the glorious liberty 
of the children of God. We know not what that creation 
may then contain neither the nature of the beings, ani- 
mate or inanimate, that may be comprehended in it ; but 
whatever shall then be known as " creation" will be enjoy- 
ing " glorious liberty," founded on redemption, similar to 
that which the heavenly city will be enjoying as soon as the 
millennium commences. 

There are two reasons why "creation," which is now 
groaning, is said to be waiting with, earnest expectation for 
the con mencement cf the millennium first, because, though 
not at that time brought into glorious liberty, it will never- 
theless be freed from its present " bondage to corruption ;" 
and secondly, because it will behold in the heavenly city, 



NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX , AND XXI. 353 

and in the redeemed bodies of the glorified saints therein, a 
specimen and earnest of its own future glory. Throughout 
Scripture the millennium is to be regarded, not as a final 
state, even to those who are enjoying its full blessedness ; 
but merely as an instrumental link, a step onwards into that 
blessed period when the flesh shall cease to be, and all be 
brought into suitability of condition to Him who is the 
Second Adam the Lord from heaven. 



354 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XXVIIL 



grinning at Jta 9. 



IT has been already observed, that it is not the object of the 
Revelation to describe in detail the condition of the earth 
during the millennium. That, the Old Testament had 
already done ; and accordingly the twentieth chapter, in 
which (if any where) a description of the millennial earth 
would have been found, rapidly passes over that period, and 
hastens on to the consummation, when all things are made 
new. 

But although the Revelation cannot be said to describe 
the millennial condition of the earth, yet there is no part of 
the Scripture that opens to us so full a view of what the 
millennium is ; because there is none that similarly reveals 
the heavenly glories of the saints, and shows the instrument- 
ality which is prepared above, in order to effect God's pur- 
poses of blessing in the earth. 

When we read of the risen " Church of the first-born," oc- 
cupying that sphere of glory represented by the elders seated 
by the side of the Almighty throne or as invested with the 
power of the cherubim or as standing around the Lamb 
upon Zion or as singing the song of Moses upon the sea of 
crystal, we see, in all these diversified presentations of their 
manifold glory, the symbols of a power whereon the earth 
will be made dependent for its blessing. 



ON REVELATION XXI. 355 

But however necessary these high glories of the saints 
may be to the government and blessing of the millennial 
earth (and they are all necessary all links in the chain of 
the appointed order), yet in none of the previous visions do 
we find Heaven brought into such close, and, if I may use the 
word, systematic relationship to the earth, as in that which 
we are now about to consider. It is the vision of the hea- 
venly city that shows us the glory of the saints brought into 
its closest adaptation to the need of a fallen earth. It is 
under this aspect that they are first called the Bride of the 
Lamb ; and although the heavenly city does not descend into 
the millennial earth, yet it is the Bride of the Lamb through- 
out the millennium, and as such partakes in the interests and 
employments of her Lord ministers to those to whom He 
ministers, succours those whom He succours, is arrayed in 
the excellency of His glory, and shares in the homage ren- 
dered to Him. 

A city is the emblem of associated and ordered life. It is 
the place where character is developed, and where habits of 
thought and action are displayed. If a metropolis, (as in 
this case it is,) it becomes, throughout its appointed sphere, 
the centre from which and through which all vivifying in- 
fluence is diffused. The habits of the saints, their relations 
one to another and to God ; the results of their being what 
they will be in understanding, affection, and feelings all 
this must be developed somewhere, and it will be developed 
there ; and it will be developed in such excellency, that this 
city will be the home of the affections of Christ. It will be 
His spouse He will trust in her, joy in her, and find her 
one who responds to His affections, enters into His thoughts, 
and adorns Him by her excellencies even in the courts of 
His highest glory. 

She is, however, described in this chapter chiefly, I might 
perhaps say entirely, in relation to the earth ; and therefore 
the description must be regarded as only partial. She is 
looked upon as seen from below, rather than as known 



356 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

within herself; and although the excellency of the symbols 
which denote the character of her glory in her displayed 
relation to the earth, teach us much of her dignity and 
beauty, yet we learn it as in the distance ; we are instructed, 
as it were, without the walls. The vision supplies us with 
the aspect which she will bear to those without, rather than 
with the knowledge that will pertain to those who dwell 
within. John saw externally and afar ofT. We must there- 
fore regard this vision as teaching us what she will be in the 
apprehensions of the millennial saints who dwell upon the 
earth, rather than as a full revelation of all the secrets of her 
excellent glory. 

Her chief characteristic is her heavenly origin. She is 
not of the earth. She is that city " whose maker and 
builder is God." ee He carried me away in the spirit to a 
great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, 
Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the 
glory of God her light like unto a stone most precious, 
even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal." She descended 
out of heaven from God, not indeed as yet to be on the 
earth, but to become over the earth, from the heavens above, 
the earth's new centre of light and influence in the stead of 
that city which had made all nations drunk with the wine of 
the wrath of her fornication. That city had been emphati- 
cally from beneath. She had been the great result of the 
wisdom of ages, stimulated and assisted by the skill and 
energy of Satan ; and together with the beast had ruled the 
earth for a season. But now she who had been prepared by 
God His gift to the earth His gift also to His own be- 
loved Son the Bride of the Lamb, was come to minister 
to the earth heavenly blessings, and to shine toward all 
nations in the true light of the holiness and glory of God. 
"Her light was like unto a stone most precious." I have before 
spoken of the symbolic meaning of precious stones. We 
have seen them once 011 the breast-plate of the high priest 
of Israel, the type and the pledge of the moral grace and 



ON REVELATION XXI. 357 

outward glory which finally will attach to all the Israel of 
God. It is no unintelligible emblem to have one's name 
written on that whose lustre is as enduring as itself, and 
which shines most when brought into nearest connection 
with the light of God. But, howsoever blessed this type 
howsoever clearly it indicates the final condition of the whole 
family of God, yet it fails in teaching us the full secret of our 
blessing. The high priest, as ministering before God, stood 
separate from, and contrasted with, the glory of Him before 
whom he served. There was nothing that spoke of union 
with God. But when we read in this book of the bright- 
ness of the jasper stone, first seen in the person of Him who 
sat upon the throne, and then read of the same bright lustre 
attaching to the heavenly city, it teaches us, not merely the 
nature of that brightness, but also the source from which it 
flows, and where it is preserved for us, and why it will be in 
us, even because we are t( IN Him that is true, that is, the 
true God." " The Church of the first-born," when the 
time comes for the heavenly city to descend, will have been 
brought into full realized union with Him, and been made 
recipients of His fulness; and will, therefore, shine according 
to His excellency. He who is Light will be there; and 
there will be nothing in her to hinder, nothing to dim, the 
pure effulgence of His glory. Nothing can be more trans- 
parent than crystal nothing more bright than the jasper 
nothing more resplendent when fully illumined by the light 
of God. Such will be the light of her glory then. "The 
nations," it is said, " shall walk by means of the light there- 
of." She will be the temple (Vaoc) of the whole earth. 

But it was not glory merely that made Christ the light of 
this world when He was in it, in the midst of its darkness. 
We read indeed of light connected with glory, but we also 
read of " the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day- 
spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them 
that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death to guide 
our feet into the way of peace." Light would be a sorrow^ 



358 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

ful tiling to such a world as this, unless it could come as a 
light of gentleness, and love, and peace, as well as of holi- 
ness and glory. And it will. " God is love." Love has 
been manifested in Jesus, as it yet again will be, and in others 
also made like unto Jesus in His glory. And, therefore, the 
hour of the manifestation of this glory will be no hour of 
destructive and consuming brightness; but it shall be as 
"the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a 
morning without clouds ; as the tender grass springing out 
of the earth by clear shining after rain." Such will be the 
effect of the dawning of the light of the holy city, the Bride 
of the Lamb, upon a stricken and terrified earth, to which, 
as brought at last under the applied power of redemption, 
she will minister together with Him the pure blessings of 
goodness. 

Nor will her ministry be that of love only it will also 
be the ministry of grace. Her very name teaches this ; 
for she is not called the Bride of Christ merely, but the 
Bride of the Lamb. Love was known in paradise, but re- 
demption has brought in grace ; it has caused grace to 
abound where sin abounded. Accordingly we read of the 
heavenly city having, not the throne of God merely, but 
" the throne of God and of the Lamb" And it is from 
this throne, thus established in the supremacy, not of 
power only, but of grace, that the river of life issues on 
either side of which grew the tree of life, whose leaves, it is 
said, "were for the healing of the nations." Nothing can 
more plainly mark the relation of the heavenly city to 
another sphere external to itself, in which sorrow and sick- 
ness, as the consequences of sin, still linger. Being itself 
under the shelter of the power of God in redemption, and 
having itself tasted of the blessedness of grace (for they who 
inhabit that city will have been sinners, once dead in tres- 
passes and sins), it will not be slow to apply the ready 
instrumentality so graciously provided to meet the need of 
those still dwelling in the unredeemed and sinful body below. 



ON REVELATION XXI. 359 

The ready hand of love will be put forth from the heavenly 
city to stop the avenues of sorrow in the earth beneath ; and 
the workings of death, when it yet lingers, will be checked 
by the ministration of a more abundant power of life. And 
although she from whom and through whom these blessings 
will be ministered, will never enter upon a fallen earth so as 
to dwell therein, but keeps herself apart in pure and hea- 
venly separation until her heavenly Bridegroom has subdued 
every enemy and made all things new, yet the ministration 
of blessings from her is unceasing from the moment that 
she becomes the Bride of Him who will then be known as 
the Lord of the whole earth ; for how could it be otherwise 
where there is love that yearneth to give, and need crying 
to receive and stores inexhaustible to be given and grace 
that has removed every hindrance ? And accordingly we read 
that her twelve gates (which were all of pearl, for it is the 
holy city) were ever open towards all the four winds of 
heaven : " on the east three gates ; on the north three gates ; 
on the south three gates, and on the west three gates." And 
even as blessing emanated thence throughout all the earth, 
so also was the grateful homage of the nations returned, as 
if in recognition of its goodness. tf The nations shall walk 
by means of the light thereof, and the kings of the earth do 
bring their glory and honour unto it. And the gates shall 
not be shut at all by day : for there shall be no night there. 
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations 
unto it." 

They will bring it, no doubt, mediately. For, as of old, no 
offering could be brought by the worshipper further than 
the outer court of the temple, and the priests alone could 
minister at the altar, or enter into the sanctuary ; so here, 
likewise, none but the priests of Israel, i. e. the risen Church 
of the first-born, will be able to enter into this city whose 
gates are of pearl, and her streets like unto fine gold. But 
there will be another city on the earth the earthly Jerusa- 
lem the " beloved city," whose " gates also shall be open 



360 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

continually ; they shall not be shut day nor night, that men 
may bring there the forces of the Gentiles, and that their 
kings may be brought." It is the earthly city that will form, 
as it were, the exterior court of the temple of God ; and 
whilst itself owning the better glory of the heavenly city, will 
yet be the place where the nations can resort to own the supre- 
macy of the city of God, and to render homage to Him who 
dwelleth therein. Accordingly, the names of the twelve 
tribes of the children of Israel were severally written on 
the twelve pearl gates of the heavenly city, as if to indicate 
that it stood in a special relation to them that it was their 
sanctuary and that their priesthood alone, that is to say the 
risen saints, could enter within its walls ; so that, although 
the twelve gates did look east, and west, and north, and south, 
and did embrace the scope of the whole earth for blessing, yet 
it was not apart from Israel. The gates, guarded by angels, 
were specially their gates and they were made the mediate 
link between the nations and the city of God. The remark- 
able words of Moses, that ' ' when the Most High divided to 
the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of 
Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the 
number of the children of Israel," are thus perhaps ex- 
plained. God, when He undertakes the government of this 
earth, will return to His own original principles when He 
first divided the sons of Adam. He had His own intentions 
respecting Israel even then and they will be fulfilled in their 
season so that the arrangements of the nations shall be 
adapted to the arrangements of that princely people from 
whom, and through whom, their order, and dignities, and 
regulations shall flow. 

But whilst the faithfulness of God to His earthly people, 
and the honour reserved for them, is indicated by the inscrip- 
tion of the names of their patriarchs on the gates of the 
heavenly city, yet a different and far higher honour is as- 
signed to those who have followed Jesus ; for the foundations 
of the wall of the city bore " the twelve names of the twelve 



ON REVELATION XXI. 361 

apostles of the Lamb." Their labour has not been in vain 
in the Lord. It was by means of the truths which the 
apostles ministered, that the people of God were first sepa- 
rated into their heavenly separation on the earth; and whilst 
girt about thereby, as by a wall, the Church was strong 
against its enemies without, and separated to God and bless- 
ing within. Those truths, indeed, were not recognised in the 
world as beautiful, or glorious; they little shone in the 
eyes of men like clear jasper ; nor did the Church itself 
long value its separation, or keep with holy foot within the 
sacred inclosure. The walls have been cast down, and there 
is " burning instead of beauty." Nevertheless the truths 
so ministered are eternal for they are the word of God : 
" Sanctify them by thy truth : thy word is truth ; " and they 
will one day be recognised in their preciousness and beauty, 
when the city of God shall appear. The same blessed truths 
by which we now seek to fortify the weak and fainting heart 
the same truths that we press as involving separation from all 
that is simply of the earth, are the truths which will be then 
fully recognised by those within, and those without, that city, 
as having given it its everlasting strength its everlasting 
separation also unto God, His holiness, and His glory. The 
symbol sufficiently expresses His estimate of their precious- 
ness a resplendent wall of pure jasper. 

I have said separation unto the glory and holiness of God ; 
for the city and the street of the city were alike of pure gold, 
like transparent glass. We read of gold in the inner courts 
of the tabernacle. It was the emblem of divine excellency 

the type of the divine nature of Christ, in its full excel- 
lency, as appreciated in heaven ; and, therefore, found only 
in the inner courts. The priests ministered in a golden 
sanctuary; the altar the table the vessels the boards 

and the mercy-seat were all golden. But they did not 
stand on gold neither did they dwell in mansions of gold. 
They stood with unshod foot upon the earth, surrounded in- 
deed by what was heavenly and divine ; but not themselves 



362 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

standing in the power thereof, nor in competency of action 
according thereunto. But they who belong to this heavenly 
city, seeing that they are to dwell with Him who hath said, 
' ' Bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh " with Him who 
is to inherit all things His spouse and His companion, ar- 
ranging with Him and for Him the things of His household 
exhibiting the character, and habits, and order, which 
beseem the palace of the great King must be able to live 
where He liveth, and to walk where He walketh, even with 
a foot that fears no contrast with the transparent purity on 
which it treads. It is a condition too great to be compre- 
hended by any save those who have powers of apprehension 
and appreciation derived immediately from God. The city 
could only be measured by a golden rod. But when this 
was applied, it was found to be perfect ; it was a cube the 
emblem of entire perfection. 

Such is the place designed for the development of that 
economy which distinctively belongs to the redeemed. We 
know not what new worlds what new things may be 
dependent thereon, or how angels may learn therein the 
manifold wisdom of God. It will be the place in which they 
who have known sin and the curse, who have seen failure in 
others, and failure in themselves, and learned the value of 
grace and the need of Almighty power to strengthen and to 
uphold, will find themselves consciously set as a seal upon 
the heart and a seal upon the arm of Him who loved them 
with a love stronger than death, and commissioned them to 
act in the power of the same love towards others. 

Such are some of our prospects. " He said unto me, 
These words are faithful and true : and the Lord God of 
the spirits of the prophets hath sent His angel to show unto 
His servants things which must come to pass speedily. And 
behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the 
words of the prophecy of this book." The prospects of the 
world, as given in this book, are, Babylon, Antichrist, judg- 
ment: of the Church, the Throne, the Heavenly City, and. 



ON REVELATION XXI. 363 

sovereignty together with Christ. Faith recognises both ; 
the latter as its own portion the former as that which 
affords to it the occasion of watchfulness, service, and testi- 
mony. He to whom it was given to see these visions of 
glory, ate also the book that became in his belly bitter. 
The former was for his comfort in hope ; the latter supplied 
him with the subject of his testimony " against (ETTI) many 
peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." 

There is an awful fixedness given to the condition of the 
world by the words, " He that is unjust, let him be unjust 
still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still." Strictly 
taken, they would unchangeably determine the condition of 
men, from the moment that the Lord uttered them ; in which 
case, for the last eighteen hundred years, conversion would 
not have been, and the Bride would have ceased to say, 
" Come." But it has not been so. The Spirit and the 
Bride have said, even as they still say, " Come;" and they 
who have heard, have said, " Come;" and many have come, 
and taken of the water of life freely. But the fact of these 
words having prophetically passed the lips of Jesus, not 
only marks the time when they will be fully ratified, as 
being very nigh, when the sentence shall finally go forth, 
and the doom of each be irrevocably fixed, according as his 
work shall be ; but they may be understood also as intimating 
that from that hour forward, even till the day of His ap- 
pearing, there should be no change in the general aspect of 
mankind ; but that they should remain in all essential fea- 
tures what at that hour they were. " The generation was 
not to pass away." Its moral characteristics were to con- 
tinue and become deepened. Already the mystery of ini- 
quity had begun to work already there were many Anti- 
christs. The Churches also had begun to fail in their 
testimony ; He knew the consequence, and that nothing now 
remained but the interference of His own Almighty hand. 

Yet in testifying to the Churches, He cannot but speak 
words of comfort ; for He hath loved them, and freed them 



364 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

from their sins by His own blood, and He hath made them 
a kingdom priests unto His God and Father ; and there- 
fore we find Him speaking of Himself, and saying, " I am 
the Eoot and Offspring of David, and the Bright and 
Morning Star." Sweet words of comfort, which the 
Churches, whether fallen or unfallen, have to treasure 
during the period of their sojourn here, as the pledge of 
the earthly and heavenly blessings, which, in the title of 
His redemption, He will yet cause to arise like the 
morning light, upon a disordered and ruined world. 

He has been planted in the earth as the root to David 
and to David's house of all those blessings promised in the 
covenant " ordered in all things and sure," although as yet 
it hath seemed not to grow. Dishonoured and despised as 
<e a root out of a dry ground," and even uprooted from the 
earth, He nevertheless liveth hidden with God, being the 
Root of David still. And in due time He shall be mani- 
fested again, and then "the branch of the Lord shall be 
beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be 
excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel." 
But He is " the Offspring " as well as " the Root of David." 
Experience has taught us that, however sure the source, 
however excellent the blessings given, yet that they are 
originated in vain for such as we, unless there be also pro- 
vided as a depository, one fitted to preserve that which is 
given a nail driven in a sure place. And such is Jesus. 
Being the offspring, and therefore the heir, of David's house, 
on Him, as such, all the glories of that house by inheritance 
devolve ; in Him they find their safe resting-place, and are 
secured for ever. 

But He is not merely a root planted in the earth, nor the 
heir merely of an earthly house. He has other essential 
glories of His own. " Before Abraham was, I AM." He 
is " the Root and Offspring of David, AND the Bright and 
Morning Star." I have already spoken of the star as the 
symbol of distant and unearthly glories derived from high. 



ON REVELATION XXI. 365 

and unknown spheres, into which the eye of man, as man, 
can never penetrate. It is in such glory, strictly unearthly 
and divine, that Jesus will come. It will be the true light 
of God's own glory and holiness arising suddenly on the 
deep darkness of the world's night. It will not be at first 
"the sun arising with healing on his wings" (for the day- 
star precedes the sun) ; but it will be the sudden visitation of 
strange and distant glory, suddenly breaking in upon the 
abyss of darkness beneath. He will come as the Son of God 
" in His own glory and in His Father's glory, and in the 
glory of the holy angels," and it is into such glory that 
" they who are His at His coming " are to be taken ; for 
His promise is, " To him that overcometh will I give the 
morning star." 

Such are our expectations ; all resting upon the suffici- 
ency of the redemption that is in His blood ; for His own 
words are, "Blessed are they that wash their robes,* that 
they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in 
through the gates into the city." It is not difficult to con- 
ceive the joy with which they who have been made person- 
ally like their Lord, and shared in the brightness of His 
glory as the morning star, and seen the earth quail before 
His judgments, will enter on the arrangements of that hea- 
venly city, which shall spread over the ruined scene, peace, 
and joy, and blessing. May our souls then be settled in the 
grace of this redemption ! May we see the darkness around 
us in the light of the testimony of this book, and in the 
light of the glory also, which is ready to be revealed ; and 
then we shall be able, with chastened and understanding 
hearts, to rejoice in His appearing, and to say, " Come 
quickly, Lord Jesus." 

* Such is the true reading. 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

llotts an gtfrtlathnt XXI, 



AT this verse (verse 9) a new chapter should commence. 
The preceding eight verses had described the introduction of 
the Heavenly City as the Bride of the Lamb into the new 
earth which the heavenly Bridegroom had created for her. 
During His millennial reign over the old earth, He subdues 
every enemy, and afterwards, causing all former things to 
pass away, by His almighty power as God, He makes all 
things new. The first eight verses of the twenty-first chap- 
ter describe the Heavenly City ushered into the new earth 
thus created as an inheritance. 

But in the ninth verse the subject changes. We go back 
to a previous period, and learn the relation of the Heavenly 
City to the old earth during the millennium. The 
Heavenly City commences to exist at the beginning not 
at the close of the millennium. We might therefore be 
expected to inquire what its relation to the earth during 
the millennium will be ; and this inquiry is answered in the 
passage before us. 

It must carefully be observed that the descent of the 
Heavenly City mentioned in the tenth verse is different from, 
and in time prior to, the descent which is mentioned in the 
second verse. In the latter case it descends into the new 
earth ; in the former case it descends towards, but does not 



NOTES ON REVELATION XXI. 367 

enter the millennial earth. During the millennium its posi- 
tion is intermediate between Heaven and earth ; just as the 
Holy Place in the Tabernacle where the priests ministered 
(to which it is the antitype) was intermediate between the 
Holy of Holies which represented Heaven itself, and the 
outer court where Israel worshipped on the earth. There 
was contiguity and connection between the various courts of 
the Tabernacle ; but they were different, and had different 
services. Accordingly, throughout all the millennium there 
will be a careful distinction maintained between the heavenly 
places with all pertaining thereunto, and the earth and the 
things therein. The inhabitants of the Heavenly City will 
minister to the sickness and need of the millennial nations; 
(see Rev. xxii. 2), but the Heavenly City itself will never 
enter this fallen earth. It will wait until all things have 
been made new and suited to Him who is the Second Adam 
the Lord from Heaven. Then, and not before, it will be 
said fi the Tabernacle of God is with men." 

The contrasts are very marked between the millennial and 
the new earth. In the millennial earth there will be the 
possibility of disobedience (Zech. xiv. 17), and consequent 
plague (Zech. xiv. 18) j there will also be death (Isaiah Ixv. 
20), that last enemy not being destroyed till the close of 
Christ's millennial reign and not death only, but destruc- 
tive judgment, as is seen when fire comes down from Heaven 
to devour those who apostatise at the close of the millennium. 
None of these things can occur in that new creation of which 
it is said, " there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor 
crying, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the former 
things have passed away." Rev. xxi. 4. 

Our knowledge of the millennium, as to the earthly blessings 
then to be granted to Israel and the nations, is gained almost 
exclusively from the Old Testament. We there learn how 
glorious the name of the Lord God of Israel will be made 
throughout all the earth ; but we should know little of that 
glory which is to be set above the heavens, if we had not 



368 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

the visions of the Revelation. If holiness, peace, and joy 
are to be maintained in Israel and Jerusalem ; if they are to 
be made " a praise in the earth," it is because they will be 
subjected to the supervision and control of those whose un- 
earthly glories the visions we have been considering in the 
Revelation are intended to unfold. The glories of the risen 
61 Church of the first-born " are given there. 

We must carefully remember, however, that the highest, 
because everlasting, blessings of the millennial saints are not 
found in those parts of Scripture which describe their 
earthly prosperity and glory ; nor even in those which declare 
the majesty and excellency of the glorified beings who will 
watch over and minister to them from above. The parts of 
Scripture from which we derive our fullest knowledge of the 
essential and eternal blessings which will pertain to millennial 
Israel, and to all who, like them, shall be " sanctified by 
faith," are the Epistles those same parts of Scripture 
which now teach us our essential blessings. This has been 
strangely overlooked by some who, because Israel do not 
belong to " the Church of the first-born " have therefore ex- 
cluded them from the Church, and have written as if there 
were two gospels two ways of salvation two kinds of 
Christianity; one for us now, another for Israel in the 
millennium. 

But all this is delusion. When the Apostle says that " in 
the flesh no good thing dwelleth" that " they that are in 
the flesh cannot please God " that " flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God," he states eternal principles of 
truth, which will be as true in the millennium as now. So 
likewise, when he says, that all in whom the Spirit of God 
dwells are (as estimated by God) " in the spirit and not in 
the flesh that all such are " children," " heirs of God and 
joint heirs with Christ" and that all who receive the gift 
of righteousness through faith shall finally " reign in life ; " 
he states great and eternal principles of blessing, which will 
be as true of the millennial saints as of ourselves. Any truth 



NOTES ON REVELATION XXI. 369 

that is founded on what man is in the first Adam as fallen, or 
on what redeemed man is in the second Adam, must be ail 
eternal truth. There is no saintship, either in the millen- 
nium or now, apart from regeneration; and all who are 
regenerate are united with Christ risen ; and all who are 
united with Him will be like Him, and will see Him .as 
He is, and will bear His heavenly likeness in the new 
creation. It is not merely " the church of the first-born" 
that Christ has loved, He has loved " the Church;" and 
the Church is a name that comprehends all the redeemed. 
" The Church of the first-born " will be complete when 
the Lord returns ; they will have a peculiar compen- 
sation for their peculiar sorrows, for they will share the 
glories of their Lord's millennial reign; but the Church 
will not be Complete until the millennium ends, and 
they shall share the glories of their Lord's eternal reign, 
when the new heavens and new earth shall be made, 
and when all the redeemed " shall reign in life through One 
Jesus Christ." It is observable too, that, up to the hour 
when the new earth is created, the Heavenly City to which 
the Church belongs retains the title of Bride of the Lamb, 
and, as such, is introduced into the new heavens and new 
earth. The fact of the Heavenly City being formed at the 
commencement of the millennium, no more prevents indi- 
viduals from being afterwards added thereunto, than the 
fact of the earthly Jerusalem being spoken of as (( married 
to the Lord " at the beginning of the millennium, prevents 
individual Israelites from being afterwards born into its 
blessings. The symbols which denote the Church are cor- 
porate symbols ; and corporate symbols always admit of 
being indefinitely enlarged in comprehensiveness. 

Circumcision, the early " sign and seal " of the covenant 
of grace, when it was first formally made with Abraham, is a 
type pre-eminently Israelitish. And what does circumcision 
indicate ? Not the improvement of the flesh, as some have 
said; but abscision of the flesh, and consequent separation 



370 THOUGHTS OX THE APOCALYPSE. 

from it. And how is this antitypical circumcision effected ? 
It is effected by God through the death and resurrection of 
Christ, with whom God has united all the redeemed. In 
Christ they are brought into that new condition of being 
into which nothing that is of the flesh enters. In Him risen, 
they are " circumcised with the circumcision made without 
hands." Such is the explanation of the type of circumcision 
as given by the Apostle in the Colossians. So early was it 
indicated that the great distinctive blessing that attaches to 
all, who are, by faith, children of Abraham (whether they 
may live in the millennium or before) is separation into that 
new condition of heavenly being, into which union with 
Christ in resurrection brings all the redeemed. 

It would indeed be a bitter and sorrowful thing (how 
would the Apostle Paul have felt it so) if Israel, because of 
their present blindness, had for ever lost the great distinctive 
blessings of redemption. But God "hates putting away." 
(Malachi ii. 16.) " His gifts and calling are unrepented 
of." (Rom. xi.) He loves to enlarge, not to narrow, the flow 
of the streams of His blessing. He purposes not that the 
blessings which He has now given through His Son (such 
for example as the eighth chapter of the Romans reveals) 
He purposes not that such blessings should be confined to a 
small remnant from among the Gentiles, who have not only 
feebly appreciated them, but have failed and dishonoured 
God whilst using them. God's purpose is that these self- 
same blessings should, in " the age to come," flow down on 
the head of Israel, who when the veil is rent from their eyes 
will see in " the Church of the first-born " those who have 
preceded them indeed, but not supplanted them, in the 
possession of blessings which are Israel's proper inheritance. 
To them " pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the 
covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, 
and the promises ; whose are the father's, and of whom as 
concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed 
for ever. Amen." (Romans ix. 4, 5.) Our blessings flow 



NOTES ON REVELATION XXI. 371 

from a root which properly belongs to them, we being en- 
grafted branches. If we are f( the first-fruits " they are 
" the lump ;" and " if the first-fruits be holy the lump is 
also holy." Our acceptance as first-fruits implies the suc- 
cession of Israel into similar blessings. 

Blessings such as those that are indicated by " sonship " 
and " citizenship " in the heavenly city, which is "the Bride 
of the Lamb," are not, be it remembered, mere official dis- 
tinctions. Children of a monarch may hold different posi- 
tions under the government of their parent. One may 
command an army, another a province, and the like ; and 
such distinctions would be esteemed official. But if some 
of the children were admitted into their father's house as 
children, and others excluded if some were permitted to 
love him as their parent whilst the others were only allowed 
to serve him as their sovereign, would such distinctions be 
deemed official ? To be admitted into the same nearness of 
love, and to be endowed with the same powers of loving, is 
necessary to the perfectness of the redeemed, and cannot be 
wanting to those who rise inwardly and outwardly changed 
into the likeness of Christ. " I shall be satisfied when I 
awake up in thy likeness." 

Nothing can be more important than to guard carefully 
the unity of the redeemed. Dispensationally, the redeemed 
from Abel to the last millennial saint will be found to have 
differred widely here. But dispensational differences, how- 
ever important here, are not transferred into heaven. 
Heaven is not to be a transcript of earth. There is a power 
of unity in Christ paramount to all distinctions here, where- 
by all the redeemed will finally be brought into a unity of 
which we shall never understand the real power, till we 
know even as we are known. 

It is in the new earth that I look for the full accomplish- 
ment of the promise that " the knowledge of the Lord shall 
cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas;" nor till then 
do I expect the complete fulfilment of the promise to Abraham, 

O T> O 

A D A 



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE. 

that he should be " the heir of the world " or of that to 
the meek, that " they shall inherit the earth." Angels have 
no special place assigned to them as distinctively theirs. 
They dwell in the heaven of heavens which is God's ; but 
men have a peculiar inheritance "the earth hath He given 
to the children of men." Indeed, so peculiarly is it esteemed 
theirs, that when the heavenly city enters it, it is said, te the 
Tabernacle of God is with men" as if He had become a 
visitor to their abode. Yet it will be a new and, if I may 
so say, a heavenly earth; nor will its possessors, because they 
receive it as an inheritance, be excluded from heaven as 
their home. All the redeemed will bear the heavenly like- 
ness of Christ (1 Cor. xv.), and will inherit heavenly glory. 
The new earth may be the assigned place for the redeemed 
to manifest what they are, as men in glorified humanity ; 
whilst in another sphere, even in the heaven of heavens, it 
will be shown what they are, as united to Him who is (f God 
over all blessed for ever." 



" The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished 
ivith every precious stone ."] The twelve precious stones are 
the emblem of all completeness and all variety of lustre. 
What a wonderful character is marked hereby as attaching 
to the truths ministered by the Apostles of the Lamb : how 
precious and excellent in beauty. Such are the truths with 
which we are now conversant, and have to bear them 
through a rude and sin-defiled world, which knows not, 
and cares not for, their loveliness. It gives us a striking 
view of what the new earth will be, to think that the foun- 
dations thus garnished will rest in it, appreciated and uii- 
defiled. 



" I saw no temple therein"] In the temple God was ap- 
proached mediately through priests, altars, &c., which 



NOTES ON REVELATION XXI. 373 

implied a distance from the perfect knowledge of Himself. 
But the inhabitants of the heavenly city know immediately 
Himself. Nevertheless, the heavenly city is itself as a temple 
towards the earth, and therefore we read that we shall serve 
Him day and night in His temple. 



" They sliall bring the glory and honour of the nations unto 
it. 99 ] Eig is either " unto" or " into" according to the na- 
ture of the object spoken of. It implies access into the 
nearest proximity possible or permitted. 



"And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come."} Here is 
another remarkable instance of a name applied to us pro- 
spectwely ; for we are not as yet f< the Bride," save in the 
knowledge of faith. But even as we shall doubtless say, 
" Come," when standing in our glory, and when the pure 
river of water of life, in appreciated excellency, shall flow 
from the throne of God and of the Lamb ; so now also, 
knowing through faith, that the stream of life is silently and 
secretly flowing through the wilderness, we, as new crea- 
tures, and the Spirit also who dwelleth in us say, ee Come," 
and they that hear are to catch the sound, and spread it far 
and near throughout the wide earth. 



APPENDIX A. 

pie on fsalm ex. i. 



THE Psalms, in referring to the Lord Jesus, for the most part confine 
their descriptions to that which He once was when manifested in humilia- 
tion, or to that which He will be, when again manifested in His millen- 
nial glory. They seldom refer to His present condition whilst seated, as 
He now is, on the Throne of the Father withdrawn (because rejected) 
from the earth and hidden with God. The first verse of this Psalm, 
however, is an exception. " JEHOVAH HATH SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU 

AT MY EIGHT HAND, UNTIL I SHALL HAVE SET THY FOES A FOOTSTOOL FOR 

THY FEET."* This verse refers specifically to the present relation of 
Christ to Israel and to the earth below ; and therefore, as bearing so pecu- 
liarly on this present dispensation, is quoted more frequently than any 
other by the Lord and His Apostles. It teaches us that howsoever long 
God may bear with evil, yet that the power of His Throne will finally be 
put forth to gather Christ's enemies that they might be set as a footstool 
for His feet.f " This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth, 
and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations." The 
gathering of Antichrist's hosts, first to Armageddon and then to the 
valley of Jehosaphat (Joel iii.) " unto the battle of that great day of the 
Almighty God," will fulfil this Psalm. Then the footstool will have been 
set then the rod of Christ's power will be sent out of Zion then it 



ffov 

+ Aben Ezra, commenting on the latter part of this verse, explains it thus, " But the 
right hand of the Lord shall fight on thy behalf ; and He shall set thy enemies the stool 
for thy feet, who shall be brought before thee that thou mightest trample on them." 



APPENDIX A. 375 

will be said unto Him, " Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies" then 
His earthly people Israel, who have so long refused Him during the day 
of His weakness and of " the foolishness of preaching," shall at last be 
willing in the day of His POWER the first-born of the millennial day 
fresh in the youth-time of that morning of joy. 

The words, " until I shall have set Thy foes a footstool for Thy feet," 
have an apparent verbal similarity to the words of another Psalm, " Thou 
hast put all things under His feet." Accordingly they have not unfre- 
quently been confused, although they should very carefully be distin- 
guished one from the other. 

The words of the 8th Psalm, " Thou hast put all things under His 
feet," could be used of Christ, as soon as He ascended into glory, and are 
so used in the Ephesians, "which He wrought in Christ when He 
raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the 
heavenly places .... and hath set all things under His feet" These 
words are now true of Christ, in virtue of His personal exaltation high 
above all heavens, and of the title of supremacy already granted to Him 
by God. He is exalted, and God hath put all things under His feet in 
title, though we do not as yet, as the Apostle says elsewhere (Heb. ii.) see 
all things actually subjected to Him. The long-suffering which post- 
pones " the setting of the footstool," is one reason why we do not as yet 
see this. 

The words therefore of the 8th Psalm are true of Christ now, and have 
been true ever since His ascension. They became true at the moment 
when Jehovah said unto Him, " Sit thou at my right hand." The session 
at God's right hand, arid God's " having put all things under His feet," are 
coincident past truths: but the setting the footstool is future the 
result of the former two. It is in consequence of God's having in title 
put all things under Christ's feet, that God will, when the appointed hour 
comes, set the footstool. 



APPENDIX B. 

w Ilcklaiioit v. 9. 



c TU 9ew ////etc. 

" Thou hast redeemed US to God." 

THE word r//tag (us) which has been rejected by some critics, is very 
properly retained by Dr. Tregelles on grounds which he thus states: 

" This word (fyuae) is omitted by the Codex Alexandrinus ; and also in 
the loose paraphrase given by the ^Ethiopic version it does not appear." 

" On the other hand it is read in all other MSS* and versions : so that 
as to MSS ft is the Codex Alexandrinus against all others, and that too 
when the MSS are supported by versions of great value and variety. 
These are the Latin, Coptic (or Memphitic), and Armenian; to say 
nothing of the Syriac, which is in the Eevelation comparatively modern, 
or of the Arabic and Slavonic, which accord with the rest in inserting 
rtyict, but which are in themselves of no importance in criticism." 

Yet important as this verse is, we are not exclusively dependent on it 
for determining that the elders and the cherubim symbolise the redeemed 
in certain aspects of their future glory. In cases where the context does 
not immediately explain the symbols employed, a safe method of inter- 



* Of these one only B (i. e. Codex Basilianus in the Vatican not the Vatican MS. 
which does not contain the Eevelation) is in uncial letters ; for C (the Codex Ephraemi 
at Paris) is here defective. 



APPENDIX B. 377 

preting them is this. Ascertain what other parts of Scripture which 
are not symbolic reveal respecting the subjects in question. Then 
seek to express in Scripture-symbols the truths thus ascertained. If 
we find the symbols we so select, to be similar to those which the 
passage we are considering employs, we need feel no hesitancy as to 
the interpretation. 




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