Page images

Verse 10. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. The cup of God's wrath and indignation, is a figure of speech borrowed from the prophets, Isa. LI, 17. 22. 23. and Jer. xxv, 15. where it expresses the judgments of God upon nations, for crimes of a deep die. Here it refers to the philters of fornication verse 8. and indicates that this judgment would be a righteous re tribution, inflicted on the lovers of the great whore, for having drank of her cup. When that potion was to be given to an enemy it was prepared of its pure ingredients without mixture; and then it produced intellectual derangement, a morbid state of the sexual appetite, derangement of the moral faculties, and death. So those who shall drink the cup of God's wrath, will be punished with feebleness of mind, an imoderate desire for false worship and idolatry, loss of the true knowledge and worship of God, and with spiritual death. This is a dreadful sentence, terrible to its devoted victims already in this world. Death will not arrest it; the immortal spirit will carry its indelible effects into eternity, without abatement or mitigation.

And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, &c. Sin will occasion two kinds of punishment, called negative and positive. Negative punishments are the natural consequences of sin, such as obscurity of understanding, obduracy of heart, and an accusing conscience. Positive punishments are those inflicted by divine justice, such as were imposed on the antediluvian world, on Sodom &c. &c. and the wrath of God in the world to come. Of this last kind are those here alluded to. Infidels have often made the punishment by fire and brimstone, a subject of derision; but every discerning mind must immediately perceive the folly and wickedness of such conduct. All languages have tropes of this kind, to represent future punishments, more especially the ancient Asi

atick. In the book Bundehesh, annexed to the ZendAvesta of Zoroaster, they are represented in these words : "Heaven beneath the moon will fall to the earth. The earth will shake as a sick woman, as a sheep in the presence of a wolf. The mountains dissolve with their treasures; the burning stream of liquid metal flows; all men must pass through it. To the pure it is like a temperate stream of milk; the wicked must pass through it, until they are purified." In this place the figure is an allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, turned into a sulphurous lake, as an example of eternal vengeance upon the worshippers of the beast and his image. What the pain of a human being would be, if he was naturally thus scorched with fire and brimstone, without death or loss of sensibility ensuing; will be the horrible torment of these transgressors in hell. This punishment, however, is yet of an inferior degree, to that of being imbrued in a lake of burning brimstone, as threatened in other places, chap. XIX, 20. xx, 10. 14. 15. XXI, 8. Their torment will be greatly aggravated by the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb, and encreased by a sight of their happiness and glory. Ages after ages will pass away, their smoke will continue to ascend, and their rest never return. Oh God, how dreadful are thy judgments, how terrible is thy indignation! May all beware of the beast; the most ingenious excuse will avail nought in the sight of Heaven. Those rigid bigots, who contend in the name of their own particular parties, ut extra ecclesiam non datur salus, that there is no salvation beyond the pale of the Church, and that all not belonging to their own communities, must trust to the uncovenanted mercies of God, will have to combat an enemy in their own breast, who pleads the cause of the beast.

Verse 12. Here is the patience of the saints, &c. Hither. to it would appear selfdefence was yet in some measure allowable, though always attended with evil consequenc

es, as with the Hussites in Bohemia, and the Hugonots in France; but now a new season of trial and persecution commences, in which opposition would be highly imprudent, and the Lord recommends patience to his saints. In these days of apostacy, when wickedness and the power of the beast seem again to sweep all before them, and the Lord appears to delay his promised Advent, the patience of the saints will be severely exercised. But those who keep the commandments of God, I John 111, 23. and reject the inventions and traditions of the beast; and those who keeps Insou, the grace and doctrine of faith which was in Jesus, which he taught, and by which they abide in him; these only shall be able to persevere to the end. Thus far runs the message of the third angel, who probably will die a martyr, as I conclude from the following verse.

Verse 13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

This is a consolatory declaration to the aforementioned saints, (many of whom are now to increase that ancient army of martyrs, by the instigation of the two beasts,) in reference to the future prospects of the Church. The Lord here makes a general pause in the series of this prophecy, by a sudden voice from heaven, and opens a new prophetic vista, in which we behold the terrible judgments of God upon the beast, the scarlet-whore, the long expected Advent of the great conqueror with many crowns, and in the final doom of the enemies the approach of the glorious Millennium. St. John hitherto, had written all what he saw and heard ; but this voice should serve as a note of distinction, that both John and the reader might attend to its importance. The meaning of this verse seems to be this: Thenceforth the Church of Christ shall enter the fiery ordeal of persecution, misery and great distress.

The judgments of God will burst in upon a devoted world, without any further pauses of rest or refreshment. Therefore blessed are those, who die in the faith of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I Peter IV, 16. interested and in union with him; because they have walked in uprightness, and are taken away from the evil to come, Isa. LVII, 1. 2. And equally blessed are those who die in the confession of the Lord and of his pure doctrine, the death of martyrs, particularly ministers of his Gospel, who have laboured faithfully in his service for the salvation of souls in this ungrateful world. Yea, saith the spirit of prophecy they rest from their toil and solicitude for the prosperity of Zion, and their works follow μer avrwy with them : their glorious reward in heavenly triumph is not deferred, like that of the souls under the altar, to a future period, chap. vi, 10. 11.

The two following momentous events, the harvest and the vintage, like the preceding three angels, and the company of the Lamb in this line of prophecy, are not connected by prophetic numbers; and therefore cannot be determined as to the dates of their accomplishments. They seem to consist of detached, extraordinary measures, decreed in the counsels of heaven to stay the ordinary course of events, and to direct it to accomplish the eternal purposes of Providence. Thus they are connected by being measures of the same kind, and therefore arranged into their consecutive order of completion, in this distinct line of prophecies; the last event of which terminates with the destruction of the beast from the bottomless pit, and at the cemmencement of the Millennium.

Verse 14. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

15. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy

sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap: for

the harvest of the earth is ripe.

16. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sicle on the earth and the earth was reaped.

He that sat on this white cloud, cannot be the Lord Je sus Christ himself, as some authors think; for he is com manded by another angel in the following verse, and St. John does not say, that he was like unto the son of man, but opoios via avę wwɣ, like unto a son of man, which in my opinion indicates him to be no angel, like the one following ver. 17, but supposes him to be a prince of the spirits of just men made perfect. His white cloud is not pregnant with lightning and thunder, because it is his. triumphal chariot, in which he brings home the blessed spirits of the holy martyrs to the arms of Jesus. Here under the canopy of heaven, he reclines in solemn silence on his cloud, above the harvest fields in Christendom, and surveys with eagle's eyes the crop ripening in the scourching heat of persecution, eager to whirl his sickle as he beholds the harvest maturing in bonds, imprisonments, deserts, mountains, dens and caves, and under the hands of cruel executioners. He wore a golden crown of triumph, which with his office seems to be given him, for having been the most eminent of all the martyrs of Christ under the New Testament dispensation; and because he was to convey only conquerors, who had manfully stood the great conflict, to receive their eternal reward of their captain of salvation. The sharp sickle, deɛavoy, or vine hook in his hand, implies his full power and authority to accomplish the object of his mission; and its keen edge may indicate, that the harvest, although great, would soon be finished. In this employment he is no doubt, sup ported by thusands of his brethren.

Verse 15. And another angel came out of the temple &c. The angel upon the cloud, waited for a special command from the throne of the Almighty, as to the time of com

A a

« EelmineJätka »