« AnteriorContinuar »
more ancient commentators considered the sealed book as ending with chapter ix. Bishop Newton observing that under this division, that which is called the little book, is made the larger of the two, proposes to divide the two books at the conclusion of the seventh trumpet, which he considers to end with v. 18 of the eleventh chapter; the nineteenth verse of that chapter being, as he thinks, improperly allowed to remain there; it being connected with, and introducing, what now forms chapter xii. But this division will not obviate the difficulty; for the little book is still found to contain as much matter as the other, and perhaps rather more. Mr. Faber uses arguments to shew that the little book forms chapters xi. xii. xiii. and xiv. of Revelations, and no more; and Mr. Frere considers the sealed book to contain the History of the Roman Empire, and the little open book the History of the Church. This contrariety of opinions might be sufficient to create a doubt, as to all that has been advanced on the subject; more especially as the text itself does not by any means demonstrate the division thus contended for. Some other
interpretation of the type may therefore naturally be sought after; and the writer of these remarks is persuaded, that so far from signifying two different portions of the Apocalypse, the sealed book is the Old, Testament, and the open book the New Testament
Scriptures the one received, fulfilled, opened, and explained on earth by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, in the days when he came in the flesh; and the other delivered by him, as the text represents, Rev. x. 9, into the hand of the apostle, with a command to prophecy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. The opinion here advanced, may be supported by the following considerations :
The Scriptures of the Old Testament were the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, in the fulness of time, was to be made manifest in the flesh. He is the sum and substance of all that is there written; in and by him the whole was ordained to be fulfilled; he, therefore, is accurately represented as taking the book from out of the hand of the Father; and as being the only one who could loose the seals, and unfold the mysterious leaves. He, the Lamb, fulfilled the law and the prophets, and finished the work which his Father had given him to do: and by the eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot unto God and when he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. It was not till he had triumphed over death, and that the legal dispensation had passed away, giving place to the glories of the gospel; that the contents of this sealed book could plainly or distinctly be seen. When
he had risen from the dead, he expounded unto his disciples in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself, beginning at Moses and the prophets, and shewing them that Christ ought to have suffered, even as he did suffer, and to enter into his glory:-and he opened their understandings that they might understand the Scriptures; and might know the fulfilment of all the things which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning him and he commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name. In fulfilment of the promise given, the Spirit of Christ brought all things afterwards to their remembrance; and continually from time to time the Spirit has since revealed to the Church, the hidden mysteries of this book; shewing the application of it, not only to the person, the work, and the sufferings of the Lord Jesus in the flesh; but its further application to him and his Church as the anointed ones of the Father, or to use what some may think a quaint expression, the one Christ mystical.—He, the head; the Church, the body, and each individual believer, a member of that mystical body, united in one-as it is written, He is the head over all to the Church, which is his body," Eph. i. 22 and "we are members of his body, of his flesb, and of his bones," Eph. v. 30: and again," as the body is one, and hath many members,
and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ," I Cor. xii. 12. Under this divine teacher, the gospel Church has been led to see, that the sealed book of the Old Testament, though written for the direction of the people under the dispensation of the law of Moses, does in fact contain not only a complete body of gospel truth, but ́also a perfect chain of prophecy concerning the Church of the latter day, representing the whole history of that Church under symbols, figures, and historical types, more or less distinct; all of which may be traced, and applied to the circumstances of the gospel times, continuing the prophetical revelation of them, down to that great day, when the Lord Jesus, even Messsiah, King of kings, and Lord of lords, shall take to him his great power, and shall reign, and shall establish his throne in righteousness over all the earth, and all kings and all nations shall serve him. In the volume of the book, it was written, concerning the Lion of the tribe of Judah, "Lo! I come to do thy will, O God!" The unfolding of the hidden things contained in the sealed book of the Apocalypse, as well as the actual fulfilment of them, belonged wholly to him; by his Spirit they are now made manifest to us; and when the words of that book are explained, according to the Revelation of the little open book, which was ordained to be its companion,
the light from the two conjoined, shineth as from the sun of righteousness unto the perfect day, and as a clear light to direct the path, and to enlighten the understandings of God's people.
Previous to entering upon the particular examination of each seal, it seems desirable to state what appears to be the outline of these symbols. They will be found to present a general view of the progress of the gospel Church, from the first preaching of the gospel, till it enters into rest. The first seal represents the gospel going forth in its original purity: the second, third, and fourth, its subsequent corruption, and degeneracy: the fifth shews the preservation of the Church from the adversary: the sixth, its gathering from out of the nations which are destroyed and the seventh, its millennial rest. The symbols are now to be examined with reference to this outline :—
Rev. vi. 1, 2." And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts (living creatures) saying, Come and see. And 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."
Under this symbol is represented the gospel of Jesus Christ, going forth in its purity, and in the power of its Lord, conquering from the first, and ordained to