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saw these visions, so must we ask to be, claiming the promise, ask and ye shall have;" for spiritual truths are revealed only to the enlightened understanding, renewed affections, and rectified will of the new creature in Christ Jesus.
The time is at hand!" even of the fulfilment of the latter part of the succession of events herein declared: therefore "keep," meditate upon, and watch for the coming to pass of the words of this prophecy. Verses 4, 5. The attribute of eternal, underived existence may be here selected to characterize the person of the Father; because, after the Spirit is spoken of (not as to his personal subsistence, but in his sevenfold energy, or in the plenitude of his diffusive influences, proceeding from the throne of Him which is and was and is to come,) unto the seven churches distinctly,-after distinctly,—after this, Jesus Christ is named in his mediatorial character only, as the Witness who was with God "in the beginning of his way," as the first fruits of the resurrection, as "the Prince on whose shoulder was to be the government, of whose increase there will be no end upon the throne of David and upon his 'kingdom, to order it and to es⚫tablish it with judgement and with 'justice even for ever."d He is described as perfecting love by washing us his servants" from our sins in his blood. Take all this consolation! Be sure there needs no more washing. Sin forgiven is forgiven, sin washed away is washed away, "his work is perfect: it is finished!"
Verse 6. Nay more, he has not only ransomed us from the pit, but has exalted us to be "joint heirs" with him of the heavenly inheritance of which he cometh to take possession on our behalf as our federal Head and our King, that the members of his body, the Church, may be " kings and priests unto God" when awaked up in his likeness. False humility but gives the lie to the word and testimony and merits of Christ Jesus. To Him ascribe the glory of his power and grace while rejoicing in it. As yet he is "the Prince" by right, but not manifested on his throne. So we are "heirs of promise :" the title and claim are purchased for us by Jesus the Christ; but we shall not enter into possession till he cometh.
Observe however, that though the Holy Spirit and Christ are here spoken of in their characteristic work; yet in unity with the Father both are co-equally the fountain of grace and peace.
Verse 7. John's salutation to the Churches concludes with stating the prime object of the Revelation; viz. Christ's second coming for the destruction of his and his people's enemies, who dwell in the seat of the fourth and last empire prophesied of by Daniel, Zechariah, and John; which is therefore the platform whereon all the transactions to be described will take place.* This verse is an epitome of the contents of the Book of Revelation:
Behold! HE COMETH with clouds." Just as Daniel foretold in respect to this second advent :e "Behold! one like the Son of Man came
* We should understand the Book of Revelation more clearly, were it studied with Daniel's concise predictions of the same empire and double apostacy, concluding with the deliverance of the elect of his people with Ezekiel's details relative to the personal return of the Son of God to dwell in the midst of his chosen people and spread his glory over the earth: with Zechariah's general sketch of empire and Church, concerning literal Israel with Joel's, &c., as to the particular judgements described.
Iwith the clouds of heaven, to the Ancient of days, and there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him : 'his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall 'not be destroyed," like the four preceding monarchies. The same chapter shews, that this dominion commences upon the destruction of the fourth beast, or kingdom, and of the papal horn or power: upon whose destruction "the kingdom and dominion and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven ' is given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve serve and obey ' him." This predictive vision of Daniel, of which John's vision particularizes the fulfilment, best interprets what we are to understand concerning this fulfilment : even that it occurs at the end of the present dispensation, by the personal exaltation of the Son of Man to his mediatorial throne as Son of David, whose throne assuredly was upon earth, or as Daniel says, UNDER the whole heaven."
By Matt. xxiv, 36, Jesus himself predicted his return in the same language, as the Son of Man, and causing the tribes of the earth to wail; i.e. the persecuting tribes of the Roman empire, styled in Luke ii, 1, "all the world," and whose eagles hover over their Hebrew prey till his return, when "the shout of a king shall be heard among all the tribes of Israel." Jesus also foretold, that he should be seen by them as the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and 'great glory." And again, when adjured by the typical high priest
to say, whether he was The Christ the Son of God, Jesus replied,
Thou hast said; nevertheless I I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." The high priest said, he had spoken blasphemy; which it would have been if untrue. In the great consummation therefore God will manifest" the Truth" of this and every part of his Son's honor and glory. This is the object to which all that is described in the Book of Revelation is preparatory. And every eye shall see him.' Yes, the cry" of his servants is already gone forth, Behold! the bridegroom cometh !" and through the thickening darkness. of the midnight the eye of faith discerns the kindling ray of this "bright and morning Star," and every faculty is exercised in earnest anticipation of the predicted results, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe.f
Every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him." This was the deed of Romans literally; but, alas! it was likewise the deed of all “who put him to open shame, by trampling under foot the blood ' of the covenant." Therefore "all kindreds of the earth, (Christendom, the seat of the ten kingdoms and of the papal horn,) shall wail because of him." Paul, rejoicing over those who patiently endured the persecution of pagan Rome, spoke of it as a token of their being reckoned worthy of the kingdom of God, "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them which know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ;
f 2 Thess. i, 10.
who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power when he shall come, &c."g
If "" every eye shall see him," he must come visibly, and therefore substantially; for the unregenerate, who wail because of him, cannot discern him spiritually like Thomas, they must see the holes in his hands and feet and side, or they will not acknowledge him. Again; are clouds visible? so will be his coming, visible in its glory as the lightning that shineth from the east even to the west;" and so will be his person, visible as when Moses saw God face to face, and Abraham conversed with Jehovah, and Manoah beheld him ascend in the sacrificial flame, and Daniel fell at his feet as dead, and Ezekiel saw him remove from the river to the plain and thence to the city, ascend from Olivet and again descending make that very mountain the place of the soles of his feet;h-visible as when he went up and a cloud received him out of his disciples'
sight, and angels assured them,
this same Jesus shall so come in · like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven;" i.e. with the glorified body, rendered visible to Peter, James and John on Tabor, when they saw him transfigured before them.
His advent will be pre-millennial. He comes to avenge his own elect, and to cause all kindreds of the Roman earth to wail, because he will require of them the blood of his saints which they have shed. By Matt. xiii, 39-43 Jesus declared the procession of the events which
Verse 8. The Lord Jesus Christ asserts his own godhead by appropriating to himself that incommunicable attribute by which God is designated in the fourth verse,eternal, underived existence. In proof of this we find him, as the Messiah, declaring by Isaiah,j “I have not spoken in secret; from the beginning, from the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent • me."
The person sent by the Father and the Spirit declares here. his co-existence, whether verse 12, "I am the First, I also am the Last," be spoken by him or by the Father. Thus Paul describes Jesus Christ, who is before all things, and by whom all consist, since by him were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, &c. who is THE BEGINNING."k Here in Rev. i, 8, he calls himself The Almighty." So in Isaiah ix he is called “The mighty God:" the original Al is always appropriated to the second person, as Aleh is to the first, and Ruach to the third person.
At the commencement of his prophecy of his approaching judgement and reign in the omniscience and omnipotence of the Godhead, his annunciation of his divine majesty occurs with peculiar propriety.
* Thus Isa. ix, "The Son given" us by God, is "the Father of this everlasting age," the dispensation of his mediatorial reign on David's throne.
8 2 Thess. i, 4-10. Compare Dan. vii, 7, 11, 26; Isa. xxiv, 16-23; xxvi, 21, &c. h So also Zech. xiv, 4. i Isa. lxiii. j Isa. xlviii, 12—16. k Col. i.
Verses 9-11. John states where and when this Revelation was received, with the command of Him whom he worshiped as God, recognized in the glorified person of the well known Son of Man in whose bosom he had lain. John was in the Spirit when he heard a great voice as of a trumpet,* peating his claim to the attributes of Godhead with power irresistible. Observe, he is visible to John in the same manner as to Daniel and Ezekiel. He commands him to write what he saw and send the book to his Churches. This perhaps refers to that which concerned the then existing Churches, (v. 19) or to that great truth on which the whole Church is founded and which John continually affirmed.
Verse 12. This vision commences with a particular answerable to that in Zechariah's vision,-a candlestick with seven lamps and seven pipes, the symbol, as I apprehend, of the Hebrew Church there, and here of the Gentile Church. The typical candlestick in the sanctuary had seven lamps; and in Rev. iv, 5, seven lamps burn before the throne, which are explained to be symbolical of the seven Spirits of God, denoting the plenitude of the Spirit of illumination, of glory and of God vouchsafed to maintain their holy fire. That verse of the fourth chapter explains this, and shows that John saw the seven lamps supplied with oil from the golden candlestick. A more explicit statement of the meaning of the symbol is reserved for its recurrence in the eleventh chapter, when John sees two candlesticks, (which no other prophet did,) and which are believed
to be symbols of the Jewish and Gentile Churches.
This candlestick, being the first object which met John's eye, indicates that the scene of this vision is the Holy of holies beside which it stood; and from above the cherubim within which, upon the mercy seat above the ark, the Glory of Jehovah was wont to appear.
The Son of man as Head of his Church now enters into the concerns of the Gentile witness to his truth, warning it against the two apostacies which would corrupt it in particular, until he comes to destroy them.The concerns of Israel are less brought forward in this Revelation than in Old Testament prophecies: though not wholly omitted, any more than were those of the Gentiles under the former dispensation : but each predominates under its own dispensation, mutually benefiting each other as proselytes only.
We must consider the following verses in two different views first as regards the Church; next in relation to the apostacies.
Verses 13, 14, present a gracious indication of the nearness of the Redeemer, in his assumed nature, with all its holy sympathies, to his suffering Church. The Son of Man, in the power of the eternal Spirit, dwells in the midst of his Gentile Churches as their universal Head, Bishop, or Shepherd; for he said, “ Other sheep I have which are not ' of this (the Jewish) fold; them also 'I must bring" but when he shall return to reign amidst his ancients gloriously, it will not be merely in the power of the Spirit, but personally as their King: or there would be no meaning in the word
* Sir I. Newton says-In allusion to the trumpets which sounded at the morning and evening sacrifices, upon hearing which the people in the outer courts fell down and worshiped.
1 Exodus XXV,
turn;" since on departing he said, Lo! I am with you always unto the end of the age," or dispensation; that is, in the power of the Spirit, whom on departing he sent.m Still as the Holy One of Israel who took on him the Seed of Abraham, his garment is that of the Jewish High Priest, his girdle that of royalty, his manifestation that of the Son of Man as to Daniel and Ezekiel, and agreeably to his own prophecy relative to his return. It is remarkable that he appears as the Ancient of days himself appeared to Daniel, with a garment white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; for he comes in the glory of the Father-glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders; nay, he comes as "the Brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his person;" he comes as the Eternal "I AM," asserting the original authority of his claim to the priestly throne. His eyes as a flame of fire discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart, is another characteristic of Deity, indicating that his award is that of absolute justice, perfect knowledge and unerring wisdom. In chapter ii, 18, when the Son of God judges the Church of Thyatira; and chapter xix, 12, when he comes as King and Judge to unite opposing nations; he is thus characterized.
Verse 15, the metaphor of "his feet being like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace," is taken from the ancient manner of treading corn by oxen shod with iron or brass, not to destroy the wheat, but to He separate the chaff from it.
comes with unrelenting justice to tread the winepress of the fierceness
My fury it upheld me and I will 'tread down the (Goyim, Gentile nations, or) people, in mine anger, and bring down their strength to 'the earth." n The same glorious Being appeared to Daniel as
man clothed in linen, girded with 'fine gold, his body like the beryl, (flame,) his face as the appearance of lightning, (visible in his manifestation, if words can prove it,) his eyes as lamps of fire, his arms and feet like polished brass, and the voice of his words like the ' voice of a multitude."o Thus Ezekiel says concerning the return (by the way of the east, by which Ezekiel had seen him depart,) of the personal glory of Jehovah to dwell in the sanctuary of literal Israel, His voice is as the sound of many waters;"p that thus his identity in executing every prophecy of both dispensations, to Jew and Gentile, might be indisputable. That voicehow infinite in power! the same that said, Let there be light! and light was;" and the same that shall awake the dead of all ages and nations;-now spake to John, no longer the gracious words of the meek and lowly Redeemer, but as a trumpet, promulgating judgements.
Ezekiel adds ; and the earth shined with his glory." Thus Jehovah shined from Paran and came with ten thousands of his saints." Thus Judah and even Rechab's sons expect him still, as "the King of glory."* The prayer
m John xiv, 3, 16-19, 26, 28, and xxvi, 5, 7, 8, 10, 14, 17, 22. n Is, lxiii, 5, 6, and see Micah iv, 13. o Dan. x, 6. P Ezek. xliii, 2. q Deut. xxxiii, 2.
* When the missionary Wolff urged a Rechabite to receive Jesus as the promised Messiah, he quoted Deut. xxxiii, 2 in scornful rejection of a suffering Saviour. Thus