« AnteriorContinuar »
days and old age, and entitled such to honor, as saith the law, “ Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God; I am the Lord." The white hairs of the Ancient of days indicate that the days of eternity are his, as it is written in the ninetieth Psalm saying, “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” And when the Father gives to the Son the Spirit without measure, insomuch that all of his attributes and titles that he himself has are attributed to Jesus Christ, then his great age and his white hairs also are accorded to him, insomuch that he is said to be without beginning of days, or end of life, even as the Father says of the Son (Ps. 102: 24), “Thy years are throughout all generations; of old thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands."
‘His eyes were as a flame of fire.” The eye is the organ through which is manifested compassion or fury, vengeance, gentleness, kindness or severity, and is so employed when speaking of the eyes of the Lord, as it is written, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cries ” (Ps. 34:15); and again, “ I will set mine eyes upon them for good” (Jer. 24:6). On the contrary it is said (Amos 9:8), “Behold the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom (of Israel), and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth.” And when the Lord goeth forth in this work of vengeance, his eyes are said to be as a flame of fire, as in Revelation (19:11), saying, “In righteousness he doth judge and make war; his eyes are as a flame of fire.”
"His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace." This signifies that all his ways (the way that he goeth, the way of his feet) are judgment. “A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he (Deut. 32: 4); as also spake the proud king of Babylon, after he had been humbled and restored again to his reason and his kingdom, saying, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the king of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways (the ways of his feet), judgment; and those that walk in pride, he is able to abase.”
HIS voice AS THE SOUND OF MANY WATERS" The voice of a great multitude of people sounds like the rumble and roaring of waters, and like the waves of the sea when they break upon the shore. Therefore waters are employed to represent large bodies of people. Now as the Son of God is the first-born among many brethren and the head of the body, and as he is a representative of his brethren, and as they are all one in him, and in the resurrection where he is, there will his people be, that they may behold his glory as Paul says, when the dead in Christ rise and the living are changed, they will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall be ever with the Lord, - consequently the voice of the Son of man being like the sound of many waters represents himself and his brethren who will be engaged with him in going forth against the transgressors in the work of judgment. Waters when at rest are noiseless; they sound when in motion, which indicates that when the voice of the Son of man is heard as the sound of many waters, he and the armies of heaven, the saints, are in motion against the enemy in war, against his own rebellious people, to avenge the quarrel of his covenant which they will have broken in that day, when the Lord will lift up an ensign to the nations, and hiss unto them from the end of the earth, and behold they shall come with speed swiftly. In that day the Lord says, “ They shall roar against them (his sinful nation), like the roaring of the sea, and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof."
Again, when a large multitude of the fowls of the air are gathered together and are at rest, all is silent, but when they rise upon the air and move away, the sound of their wings is like the sound of waters, and so it is said of the cherubims by Ezekiel (1:24), “And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host; when they stood, they let down their wings." Therefore the sound of their wings indicate that they are in motion in the execution of the judgments written.
Daniel also, in the vision of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth chapters of his book, was shown what should befall his people in the latter days, and the person that was employed to show him these things was a representative person; accordingly Daniel says, "Then I lifted up mine eyes and looked, and behold a certain man, clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphas; his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude."
The appearance of this person was in many respects like unto the appearance of the Son of man whom John saw, in respect of his face, his eyes, his arms and feet, and the voice of his words being like the voice of a multitude. This man, therefore, as well as the man Christ Jesus, represents his brethren in the resurrection when they are raised in glory, who with Jesus, their head and chief, will be employed in the work of judgment to wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and to purge the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of burning. This will be the first and chief work of Christ and his brethren in the day of the Lord, which will be executed under the opening of the seals of the Lamb, and under the sounding of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the seven vials of the wrath of God upon the earth, for the seals, the trumpets, and the seven vials of God's wrath relate and apply only to judgments upon the whole house of Israel in their own land, and have no reference whatever to judgments on Gentiles and Gentile countries, neither past, present nor future as we shall soon prove. And when this is known and understood, one may see what havoc has been wrought with the Book of the Revelation as well as the Prophets, by writers and teachers who know not these things as they should know them.
The Lord said by the hand of Amos (3), “Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I have brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Now let a man read the Book of Amos and see how little attention is given to the nations compared with that which is bestowed upon the house and people of Israel and their doings. The Gentile nations of the earth are too proud and too full of self-conceit and self-importance. God knew them, only incidentally as they have in times past, and as they will in the future, come in contact with his people Israel.
After God has judged his people in the latter days and consumed their dross out of the midst of them, when he blows upon them in the fire of his wrath, and when the wicked are plucked away, and the scorner is consumed out of the land, and none left but a remnant, then they will be erected into a new and righteous nation in the land, of whom the Lord says by the hand of the Prophet Isaiah, “ Thy people shall all be righteous, they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation; I the Lord will hasten it in his time” (Isa. 60: 21-22). It is this small but strong nation to whom all the mighty nations of the earth will be compelled to bow down and submit themselves for a thousand years, or be exterminated, for it is written in this same chapter (5-12), "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee, shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted."
The comparative insignificance of the nations should be realized by what their own Creator says of them, as follows, “ Behold the nations are as nothing, as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance. Behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing” (Isa. 40: 15); and again (verse 17), “All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing and vanity.” This valuable lesson all proud peoples and nations should learn.
A SHARP SWORD
The appearance of the Son of man who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is continued in verse 16, saying, “And in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp sword and his countenance was as the sun shining in his strength.” The word of God is compared to a sharp sword with two edges that cuts both ways; it is quick and powerful, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is with this sword that the stem of Jesse will slay the wicked, as it is written of him (Isa. 11:4), saying, “ He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." This sword will first be used upon the sinful nation of Israel, and afterwards upon the nations that are assembled in Israel's land like clouds; and when they fall by this sword upon the mountains of Israel, it will be further stretched out upon the nations.
HIS COUNTENANCE The countenance of the Son of man in that day is described as being like the sun in his strength. Therefore as the sun by his powerful heat at noonday, when shining in his strength, withers and burns up the green grass, so
will the sun of righteousness consume the wicked. John was overpowered when he saw the Son of man who appeared in such glory and majesty, and fell at his feet as dead, but he adds, “And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not, I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more, Amen, and have the keys of hell (the grave) and death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter."
The things which John had seen up to this point of time consist (Rev. 1: 17-19) of the first part of this vision which he has described. “The things which are," consist of the things which obtained among the churches in his day, as they are portrayed in the seven letters to the seven churches, which have their first application to the churches that then were, and their second and principal application to the churches in Israel in the latter days, as they will actually exist when Christ comes like a thief, suddenly at midnight, when the foolish virgins which have not given heed to the warnings contained in these letters will hear the cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him," when they that are ready will go in with him to the marriage and the door will be shut. The things which shall be hereafter,” we have already briefly referred to, and will more fully treat of them in the interpretation of the fourth chapter and what comes after, to the end of the prophecy.
THE MYSTERY OF THE SEVEN STARS AND THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLE
STICKS (REV. 1:20) “ The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks, which thou sawest, are the seven churches." Seven is a complete Scripture number and is intended to comprehend the whole of that to which it is applied, though it may be many more than seven.
The seven churches of Asia comprehend, first, all the churches in Christ Jesus in the days of John, and second, all the churches in the house of Israel in the latter days. This is evident from the words of the preface to this book,
The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass." The Lord's servants were by no means confined to the churches located exclusively in the seven cities named in these letters, but as Peter says in the preface to his first letter, " Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." There were many large churches established in the cities of the Gentiles besides those located in the cities of Asia, as named in those letters. Corinth was a large city concerning which the Lord said to Paul, “I have much people in this city." At Rome, Philippi, Colosse, Antioch, Thessalonica, and in a multitude of other places were churches of Christ established, so that the seven churches of Asia represent the whole, insomuch that the things contained in these letters will find in the whole body something that will answer to the warnings and exhortations contained therein, and we can see the wisdom of God in grouping them under seven heads as seven churches, instead of writing to them as one church, as it affords more scope for warnings against the many evils that were rising in the church than if there were but one letter addressed to all.
The Oaths of the Tribes So also in regard to the hope set before us, the many different features of the saints' inheritance are amplified and wisely delineated in the oaths of the tribes of Israel, as Habakkuk calls the blessings of Moses and the blessings of Jacob upon the twelve tribes from the fact that they contained in these twelve divisions the things that were contained in the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and as that covenant was guaranteed by the oath of God, so when the things contained in that covenant were divided into twelve parts and distributed among the twelve tribes, they are spoken of as "the oaths of the tribes" in the plural number, since each of the twelve parts would have the assurance of the oath to Abraham which covered the whole. These twelve blessings, therefore, afford more scope to speak of the many things which grow out of the covenant made with Abraham than if there were but one blessing bestowed upon the whole house of Israel.
THE SEVEN STARS
The stars in the creation were set in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, as it is said, “ Gód made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also, and set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth. And he said let them be for signs and for seasons, for days and for years." As signs, the sun is a symbol of Christ and the moon a symbol of the apostles, and the stars a symbol of the lesser lights set up in the churches to guide and instruct them under the direction of the apostles. And the members of the body of Christ constitute the earth, upon which these lights set in the firmament of heaven were intended to shine and divide the light from the darkness, that is, to discriminate between truth, which is light, and error which is darkness.
That these symbols were to be so understood is clear from Paul's application of the nineteenth Psalm, where it is said, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handywork; day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge; there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard, their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” These are the apostolic heavens which declared the glory of God when they made known the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There was no speech or language where the apostles, by the gifts of the Spirit did not declare the glory of God, for they preached the immortality of Christ by resurrection from the dead, as the hope of man in all countries and in all the languages of the earth. Christ is the sun of those heavens. Paul in his letter to the Romans (10:18) shows concerning the preaching of the Gospel by the hand of those whom the Lord sent, that is, by the hand of the apostles,— that through these means men had heard the Gospel throughout all countries, which he proves by quoting the words of the Psalmist (19:4) saying, “Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the world." Therefore the guiding stars in the churches were the lesser lights held in Christ's right hand, and were placed over the churches by the laying on of the apostles' hands, to give light upon the earth; that is, they were intended to shine like the stars into the minds of the