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be the wicked dead exclusively, which violates the consistency of the passage.
We conclude with the following interesting extract upon
"I do not pretend that my view of the prophecies is unconnected with difficulties; but they are very few, and these, for the most part, pertain to the resurrection and the New Jerusalem. One passage appeared to me, for a long time, strongly opposed to the resurrection of the saints at the commencement of the Millennium ; that is, Job xiv, 12, "So man lieth down, and riseth not till the heavens be no more; they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." I turned to the original, and hoped to find the word translated man to be WUN, -a poor, weak, sickly mortal,—often used with reference to the wicked; and if it had been so, I should have concluded that the whole passage might relate to the wicked, exclusive of the just. But, to my surprise, I found the word translated man was VN, which is more frequently applied to good man, and sometimes to the Lord himself. My next inquiry was, What is to be understood by the heavens? and in looking into Robertson's Thesaurus, under the word, bal, I met with a reference to Job xiv, 6, which answers to the 12th in our translation, non sit cœlum; quum Deus cælum novum faciet, et cælum quod nunc est abolebit;' "Until the heavens shall not be; when God shall make new heaven, and the heaven which now is shall be abolished." Now this is perfectly consistent with the view I have taken of the subject; namely, that the righteous will not rise until the creation of the new heaven and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, "For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away," Rev. xxi, 1. At the coming of Christ the pious dead will be raised, and the first heaven and the first earth will pass away, and thus the words of Job will be verified, chap. xiv, 12; xix, 25-27.
dum עד בלתי שמיס
I could mention a number of texts which at first appeared opposed to these sentiments, but which, after mature deliberation, I found strongly to support them. I will cite only one instance. John, describing the new Jerusalem, says
"I saw no temple therein ;" while Ezekiel treats largely of the temple. But when I drew the plan of the city according to Ezekiel, I found them both agree. There was no temple therein," for it was about twenty-five miles north of the city.
Still there is one difficulty about the measurement of the city, as described by John, which is not so easily solved. After I had written all but the concluding chapter, I obtained a book on this subject, written by Mr J. A. Begg, who gives the following solution of the difficulty at page 203: "In all the works which we have seen on this point, a great discrepancy is supposed to exist between the Prophet and the Apostle. But this mistake has arisen from an oversight of the fact, that while the one states the circumference, the other informs us of the square measure. Ezekiel says, 'It was round about eighteen thousand measures,' of the angel's reed, which was six great cubits' long of twenty two inches each. Being a square, each side' was four thousand and five hundred measures' of the reed, Ezek. xlviii, 32. But John does not specify its length or breadth; but having mentioned that it was square he gives the measurement accordingly: 'And the city lieth four square, and the length is as large as the breadth. And he (the angel) measured the city with the reed twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and height of it are equal,' Rev. xxi, 16, 17. It was not the length, or breadth, or height which the angel measured. These he declares to be
equal;' but the 'twelve thousand furlongs' are not the dimensions of each or any of its sides, as is commonly supposed, but of 'the city' four square. Considering this, therefore, as neither the length nor the breadth, but as the measurement of the area of the city; and reckoning by the Jewish furlong of 260 cubits as stated by Maimonides, on extracting the square of the measurement of the circumference of THE CITY, given by Ezekiel, we obtain a view by which the statements of the Prophet and Apostle are found to correspond very nearly;—and which would probably correspond exactly, if Maimonides' standard were perfectly accurate, thus confirming the view of identity.
Most of the difficulties will vanish before men, who study the prophecies with the disposition of little children." Pp. 214-217.
*New Publications, &c. in our next.
ORIGINAL NOTES ON THE APOCALYPSE.-BY H.
Although these Essays originated in dissatisfaction at the statements of the more eminent Commentators, whose respective views appear to be warped more or less into accordance with their chronological systems; yet is not the Writer without serious apprehension, that formidable objections will be brought against the exposition now offered.
Messrs. Frere and Cuninghame insist, that the seals and trumpets are synchronous; and relate to events in the eastern and western divisions of the Roman empire, occurring not together, but within limits arbitrarily assigned as the dates of each seal and trumpet. The Writer has not had leisure to examine Mr. Faber's last work; but believes the outline of his system continues to be, that the series of seals was previous to the seven trumpets, which he includes in the seventh seal. But he also explains the seals as relating to specific periods of the western empire; and thus, equally with others, renders the interpretation of the sixth and seventh chapters confused,—contradictory to the obvious meaning of many words and of the general imagery, and inconsistent with parallel prophecies: at least as it appears to the Writer of these essays; who views "the Jew as the master-key to the Apocalypse."
Interpreters, who agree in viewing the seals and trumpets as synchronous, differ materially from each other in the selection of their events and dates; and those who accord in the arrangement of the series, vary nevertheless in the intermediate particulars and periods. Messrs. Scott and Frere likewise pass by many verses of the text; as being inexplicable according to the spiritualizing plan of the former, and not comporting with the limited explication of the latter: a mode of seeking the truth of holy Writ, which is by no means satisfactory.*
Before we enter on the subject of what is often termed "the sealed book," I will endeavour to describe those Hebrew customs which seem to have furnished the imagery, by means of which the outline of prophetic history was by anticipation exhibited to the Hebrew Apostle, so far as it concerned the Church of God. Deut. xxxi, 26, informs us, "the book, or roll of the law, was put in the side of the ark of the covenant." The Jews now keep it within the chest which takes the place of that ark in their synagogues; where it is a subject of deliberation, contest and barter, who shall open it and bring forth the sacred roll. Whoever pays the highest price (not blood, but corruptible silver or gold,) proceeds in state with the key. The congregation, with eager looks, watch till
* There is much unquestionably of great importance and worthy of consideration in all these Writers; and among other things it is curious to notice 2 Esdras xii, (instanced by Mr. Frere,) which describes the Millennium as the period in which the earth is made joyful until the coming of the day of judgement. The view taken by him indicates his having been gifted with spiritual insight into the whole scheme of prophecy beyond any of the uninspired ancients; and while one deprecates his words being viewed beside those of inspiration, as of equal authority, it would be well to study this only remaining transcript of the opinions of wise Israelites, drawn from their own prophets alone, previous to any part of the historical fulfilment.
INVESTIGATOR, No. XII.
he opens the chest; when at the sight of the roll of the law, they shout aloud, chant a verse of thanksgiving, and follow him in procession three times round the Reader's table, each in turn advancing to touch the covering with his little finger, which he afterwards kisses. The roll is removed from his shoulder and one end of the pole is rested on the minister's knee, as he sits in the place of honor; and he holds it by the other end, while the purchaser of the privilege unties the string and removes the veil, (alas! the material covering only,) replaces the roll on his shoulder, and conveys it to the desk. The Reader with a silver pointer unrols it till he reaches the portion appointed for the day, which he calls most of those present successively to mutter with himself.
The sealed volume of prophecy consisted of seven distinct rolls on a similar ferule or rod; the inner one sealed, and so on in succession, each enveloping the other; hence the outermost one was opened first. The Jews' phylactery box conveys an idea of these rolls, but not of each roll enclosing each other.* They were opened in succession ; and thus so much of the representation of the preceding roll was received by John, as he was to record. The chief design of the first eight the projecting cliff, the loftier trees,
Subsequent delineations in the remaining chapters describe the several particulars of this prophetic outline; as is usual in Old Testament prophecies: the whole period or scene being first glanced at in its boldest points, and then each part being repeated with the needful minutiæ. Thus, when the sun arises, his first rays illumine only
verses of chap. vi, seems to be to lay the territorial platform of the prophetic history about to be delivered. For this purpose three of the chief empires, with which the Church has been connected, are on that account briefly exhibited by their ancient and most marked characteristics: and no further referred to, previous to the representation of the all-engrossing Roman empire, east and west; which formed that platform from before John's day to this; and will form it, till it passes under the dominion of the Lord of the whole earth.
As man can apprehend objects only in succession, the next seal discloses the state of separate spirits, "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body;" which will take place in coincidence with the vengeance decreed against their persecutors. The last seal exhibits the events which will gradually accomplish their desire.
* It is square; one is fastened to the forehead, another to the thumb of the right hand by a fillet of leather, which hangs down to the waist, after encircling the head or arm while prayer is repeated. These little boxes, about an inch square, are stitched up and never opened by the possessor; but annually by the appointed investigator. They contain four rolls, tightly wound up, on each of which is written in the sacred characters a Hebrew text. The Writer has seen silk bags of the eastern Jews, tied tight, and sealed with a broad signet; the bag containing a manuscript, plain or illuminated, rolled round a pin of metal or wood from two to six inches broad, and of various lengths, with occasional breaks in the writing, to show the beginning and end of each subject. Each of these rolls was alone in its bag; and the roll itself was not sealed, but seemed to have been slightly cemented at the edge. The rolls of the Pentateuch, preserved by the ancient tribe of Black Jews of Cochin, were of goat skins dyed red and sewed together: one roll was about 48 feet long.-See Dr. Buchanan's Researches.
a Isa. lxiii, 4.
and general outlines; but as he travels onward, the rest of the scene is gradually enlightened, its colouring made apparent, and the landscape presented to the eye in its completeness. Thus too the artist first sketches his design, and lays the ground on which his figures are to be grouped; and at every sitting fills up each several part till the picture is finished. Thus also (though from habit we are scarcely conscious of the act,) each part of his picture must be separately and successively examined, before we can take in the whole of the design and its accompaniments. Probably all the prophecies would be more easily apprehended, were this process remembered, and followed up in its peculiar circumstantials; keeping always in view Israel's concern in it.
Two objections, which have been raised against the scheme of interpretation of others, will affect that which the Writer adopts. First, that as the word " apocalypse" signifies revelation, or discovery, it must refer exlusively to things subsequent to the period of the vision.-But must not all spiritual objects be the subject of revelation before they can be comprehended? John's natural eye had seen his Master in humiliation and suffering; but it was only by revelation of the Spirit that the mystery and value of these things were afterwards discovered to him. Revelation was also necessary to discover to him the Judge's view of the then existing state of the seven churches, as also of their destiny. The objection may also be answered by a reference to the parallel prophecy of Daniel, chap. vii, 17. The angel declares, that these great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth" and yet the Babylonian empire was then existing. In this Revelation also (chap. xvii, 9, 10,)
the angel declares that "there are seven kings; five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come:" although from chap. iv, the revelation was to concern "things which must be hereafter."
2dly. It is objected, that as three empires had passed away, they were the subject of history and not of revelation. This is granted, as to their several revolutions and outward circumstances; but not as to the fact of their dominions forming part of the scene of future prophetic action. In this respect was it likely, that the scene of the call of Abraham, and the captivity of his posterity should be omitted? especially since by their means the head of the first great empire was brought from heathenism to the acknowledgement of the one true God of heaven and earth. Or could that empire be forgotten, whose ruler (himself the subject of prophecy) made the same recognition on restoring Judah to Immanuel's land? Would the theatre of one of the two apostacies, which occupy so important a part of the visions of Daniel and John, be passed by, because previous to its appearance that empire had been vanquished, and made only a division of the fourth empire, the seat of its cotenporary apostacy, whose final catastrophe it is to share?—It is in respects which no secular history notices, and which no uninspired historian could apprehend, that the first three empires are briefly brought before the eye.
No attempt will be made in these essays to ascertain chronological accuracies; but it ought to be borne in mind, that this grand period, which includes the whole prophetic scenery, must equally correspond with the word of God, as delivered by each prophet who treats of it. Thus Mr. Faber justly
The internal structure of the first eight verses, exhibits what is called homogeneity, or consistency, in the character of the first four seals. For the four living creatures, already considered, successively call John's attention to that which each of the first four rolls exhibited, when unsealed and unfurled. By striking characteristic emblems, (which Mr. Faber properly calls "hieroglyphic paintings,") they describe, I repeat, the territorial platform of the prophetic scenery about to be presented to him; in order to show the locality of the action of the whole drama, (if I may so express my idea of it,)-the stage on which the contest between the Sovereign and the usurpers of his dignities and offices occurs, and on which he achieves the victory.
How sublime is the thought! that all which forms the history of this world's empires, the news of each passing hour, the anxious objects of earthly politics, the designs and interests of rulers and people, the revolutions of states, are but the history and details of the judgements of that BEING, who (while the rulers take counsel together against Jehovah and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder! and cast away their cords from us!") sitteth in the heavens and hath them all in derision ;—who
is " speaking to them in his wrath, and vexing them in his sore displeasure;"-until, when they shall have filled up the measure of their iniquities, he executes the unalterable decree, "Yet will I set* My KING upon my holy hill of Zion,
and make his enemies his footstool, that he may break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in 'pieces like a potter's vessel."
In Daniel the four living creatures are of a complex appearance, symbolizing the four empires in their persecuting character: but in John they represent the Church called out of those empires, and therefore the characteristic of each is the simple mystic symbol assigned to them in the heavenly courts. (See the diagram page 360.) And so of the four horses and chariots in Zech. vi, also symbols of the same empires; the angel told him (v.5) that they represent "the four spirits of the heavens which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth." Ezekiel indeed sees the four emblematic creatures combined in one symbol, and that apparently in relation to Israel exclusively : but though the general body of the faithful was composed chiefly of Israelites, yet were there Gentile proselytes, 1st out of the Babylonian empire, in the time of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar : 2dly, out of the Persian empire, when Cyrus honoured the Lord of heaven; 3dly, out of the Grecian empire, when Alexander and his army venerated the God of the Jews; and 4thly, as all know, out of the Roman empire. Israel is therefore still chiefly represented; but with the mixed multitude, their adherents, also encamped with them. All form
* A Christian Jew remarked, that this verb restricted the sense to Messiah; for the original is; yet have I anointed, &c." But David was not anointed on Mount Zion; and to the peaceful character of Solomon's reign the latter verses of the second Psalm cannot apply.