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“nointed; because the “ accuser of our bre“thren, who accused “them before our God “day and night, is cast 11“down. And they “overcame him by the “blood of the Lamb, “ and by the word of “their testimony; and “they loved uot their “life even unto death. 12" Therefore rejoice, O “ye heavens, and ye “ that dwell therein. “Woe to the earth, “ and to the sea; be“cause the Devil is “come down to you, “having great wrath,
“knowing that he hath
13“a short season." And
when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he pursued the woman who brought forth the male14 child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she inight flee into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished there, a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the ser15 pent. YAnd the serpent cast out of his mouth, after the woman, water like a river, that he
overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea; for the devil is coine down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a 13 short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted which brought forth the man14 child. And to the woman were given two
wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place : where she is uourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of 15 the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood, after the woman; that he might cause her to be carried away of the 16 flood. And the earth helped the wounan, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed
Ver. 1. A great sign—in heaven.] The word owlso is used liere to signify a type, a symbol, or figurative representation ; and occurs in the same sense in other parts of Scripture *. The verb awuziva, as used in ch. i. 1. includes the same meaning. The scene of this representation continues yet in heaven. We are prepared to expect under this Trumpet the description of that conflict and victory, by which the Chris. tian Church will be placed in security from her enenies. And in order to exhibit this in all its parts, the Holy Spirit begins the representation from the ear. liest times. To enable us to understand things future,
* Matt. xii. 38. xvi. 1–4, Rom. iv. 11, past
past events are first represented under the same kind of allegory. Ibid. A Woman.] A woman, in figurative language, is used to signify a city, a state, a body politic. Such is the daughter of Tyre, of Babylon, of Jerusalem *; the latter of whom, when virtuous, is honoured with the high appellation of the espoused of God f; when wicked and idolatrous, she is styled the harlot, the adulteress t This method, of representing nations and cities under the symbol of women, was copied from the eastern by the western world. Rome is represented upon the ancient medals under the form of a woman. Britannia appears under the same emblem, There is, among the Roman coins, one of Vespasian, upon the reverse of which is a captive woman, hanging her mournful head, and the inscription is Judaea. She is there depictured, as by the master-hand, in Lament. i. 1–4, and in the 137th Psalm, where the daughter of Babylon and the captive daughter of Jerusalem, are contrasted. But the woman, the city now represented, is of heavenly origin, “whose builder “and maker is God,” of which “Christ is the corner “stone; the New, the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother “of us all $.” She is, in short, the Church of Christs,
* Psalms xlv. 12; czXxvii. 8. 2 Kings xix. 21.
t Isaiah liv. 1. 5. lxvi. 6–14. Jer. xxxi. 4. 2 Cor. xi. 2.
I See notes, ch. ii. 20. xvii. 1.
§ Matt. xvi. 18. Gal. iv. 26, 27. 1 Cor. iii. 9, &c. 2 Cor. v. 1–3; wi. 16. Eph. ii. 21; iii. 9; iv. 12. 16. Col. ii. 7. 1 Tim. iii. 15. 1 Pet. ii. 3—7–10. Heb. iii. 6. xi. 10; xii. 22; xiii. 14. Rev. iii. 12; xxi. 2.
|| Methodius, one of the most ancient commentators on the Apocalypse, who wrote about the year 290, applies this symbol to the Christian Church. (See the commentary of And. Caes. in loc.) In the Shepherd of Hermas, and in the apocryphal Esdras, a woman represents the Church.
and is to be known as such, not only by these Scriptural marks, but by the seed, or offspring, attributed to her. For, after she has produced the great Shepherd of the Christian flock, “Christ the first “fruits," the rest of her offspring are said to be, “ those who keep the commandments of God, and “hold the testimony of Jesus.” (ver. 17.) But who can be entitled to this character, unless the true sons of the Christian Church 2 The mother therefore is the Christian Church. She is represented as arrayed in the most pure and splendid light; the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, those acknowledged symbols of pure knowledge, and of dignity, are employed to adorn her. The lustre of her attire; the elevation of her throne, expressed by the second luminary being her footstool; her crown, not of diamonds or rubies, but of the stars of heaven ; all imply the greatness of the personage, and her high acceptation with the King of Heaven. In the vision of Joseph *, which displays the future glories of the patriarchal family; of that family which was then the Church of God; in which all the nations of the earth were to be blessed; the same symbols are employed. The Sun, the Moon, the twelve Stars, represent the then infant Church. In her original purity, she was thus splendid; and when purified from her corruptions, she will again appear in splendourt. Ver, 2.] But pure and splendid as she appears,
* Gen. xxxvii. 9.
t Ch. xxi. &c. The reader is referred to the following passages of Scripture, in which the Sun is used as an emblem of the Church Judg. v. 31; Psalm lxxxix. 36; Isa. xxx. 26; Mal. iv. 2; Matt. xiii. 43. The twelve stars seem to allude to the division of the Church under twelve Patriarchs, and afterwards under twelve Apostles.
(and (and such she was in the patriarchal and prophetic times, compared with the idolatrous nations surrounding her,) she is not complete, until she can produce that seed, promised to the woman from the earliest times, which was ordained “to bruise the serpent's “head.” She is now represented as labouring with this momentous birth. And such was the situation of the Church from the time of Adam, the first man, (to whom the seed was promised,) to that of Christ, the second man, “the promised seed,” “the Lord from “heaven.” The Scriptural writers express, under the same images, the earnest and unsatisfied desire of the ancient Church to possess the promised seed". Ver. 3. Another sign in Heaven.] As the Church of God had been represented by symbols in the two last verses; so are now her enemies. And first that ancient enemy who assailed her, in the days of our first parents, under the form of a serpent f. For this dragon is expressly asserted to be the same, “the “ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satant.” He appears in great worldly power, such as is attributed to him in other parts of Scripture, where he is
* Mich. v. 2, 3. Rom. viii. 22. + Gen. iii.
1 The devil, Alačoxos being his name in Greek, Satan in Hebrew. See below, ver. 9. and ch. xxii. 2. This was seen clearly by the most ancient commentators, $ 362xw, satyas, x. r. A. § 32%aos iri. The same infernal agent seems also to have been specified by Melito Bishop of Sardis one of the seven churches; who, in his work upon the Apocalypse, treated in particular concerning this opposer of the Church. For the title of the book (which is the only part of it now extant) was, assi ră Alagoag was ros &moxaawútws Islams. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. iv. c. 26. Moreover, in a passage of Theophilus, bishop of Antioch in 168, which is quoted by Lardner as alluding to this passage of the Apocalypse, the Devil is called “Satan, and the Serpent, and the “Dragon." (Cred. Gosp. art. Theophilus.)