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are capable which it can be imagined to symbolize. They cannot be supposed to produce effects on earth while in a distant sphere, nor without a descent, to witness the agencies of other beings in our world.

As indeed there is no act ascribed to them in the vision except their following the Word of God, to assume that neither that act nor their presence has any significance, is to assume that there is no reason for their representation in the vision ; and if that may be assumed in respect to them, it obviously may equally in respect to every other agent and agency, and the whole prophecy at once be totally divested of its meaning. There is no medium then between regarding the vision as symbolizing a personal advent of the Word of God and his army, and the rejection of the whole series of symbolic agents and agencies as without any significance.

And finally, that it is to be a personal and visible advent, is shown by the express representation in the introduction of the Apocalypse that he is to come with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth shall wail because of him.

The sun undoubtedly, in this vision, as under the fourth trumpet and fourth vial, is a symbol of the rulers exercising chief authority in the ten kingdoms. The one angel accordingly stationed in it, and summoning the birds to assemble and eat the flesh of the antichristian host, is a symbol of at least some one conspicuous person, perhaps a class, that is to be in intimate communication with those rulers, but not of their number, and that is to warn them of their impending destruction. As the armies are to be literal armies, and the slaughter a literal slaughter, so the birds that fly in mid-heaven are to be literal birds, and carnivorous, of which it is characteristic that they soar at great heights, and discern their prey at a distance. To suppose the birds, the slaughter, and the carcasses, are not to be literal, is 10 suppose that the death which is symbolized is not to be the death of the body but of the spirit, which is to contradict the whole representation.

As the wild beast is the representative of all the civil rulers of every grade of the ten kingdoms, except those of the papal state denoted by the false prophet, the kings and their armies who are assembled with the wild beast, are to be regarded as the kings and armies of other antichristian kingdoms, as of the north and east of Europe without the limits of the western empire, and of Asia, Africa, and, perhaps, America. All the usurping


and persecuting enemies of Christ are to share in that catastrophe.

The dejection alive of the wild beast and false prophet into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone, implies that the bodies of those whom they symbolize are to be made immortal, like those who are to be consigned to that abyss after a resurrection from death to shame and everlasting contempt. The rest of the armies are to be slain by the sword—the symbol that a sentence of avenging justice is to be pronounced on them-which proceeds from the mouth of the Word of God, and the birds are to be filled with their flesh.

This great batile, in which all the civil, ecclesiastical, and military enemies of Christ, arrayed in organized and open hostility to him, are to be destroyed, is doubtless the same as that of Armageddon, to which the kings are to be gathered by the unclean spirits; and is a wholly different gathering from that denoted by the vintage and the parable of the goats, which is to take place subsequently, and embrace classes who sustain the relations of supporters and approvers to the wild beast and false prophet, like those of the merchants, the artisans, the sailors, and traffickers of the sea, to the great Babylon, and those syma bolized by the goats who refuse all succor to the brethren of Christ when persecuted by the wild beast.

As the glorified saints are to attend the Redeemer at this advent, their resurrection, acceptance, and exaltation to stations as kings and priests in his kingdom, are to precede that great battle, and it is on that occasion, doubtless, that Christ's promise, chap. iii. 26, 27, is to be fulfilled, that he will give them power over the nations, and they shall rule them with an iron sceptre, as earthen vessels are broken.




AND I saw an angel descending from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him a


thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut and set a seal on it, that he might not seduce the nations any more until the thousand years should be finished; and after them he must be loosed a short time.

The dragon is expressly defined to be the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, the great adversary of God and man, who has seduced the nations. He is the great fallen angel therefore, not the fictitious monster the seven-headed dragon, by which the rulers of the Roman empire anterior to its subversion are symbolized; and he is the representative of himself merely and his subordinate angels, not of pagan priests and rulers, as in the vision of the war in heaven with Michael and his angels. The characteristics ascribed to him, such as antiquity and the seduction of the nations of earlier ages, are not predicable of any who exist on the earth only during a short period. The only men who are represented in the prophecy as seducing the nations are those symbolized by the false prophet, who has already been exhibited as cast alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. No men of that class, therefore, can be supposed to be any longer on the earth. To regard him as the symbol of men on earth, is either to suppose

the same individual men to continue to live shut up in an abyss through three hundred and sixty thousand years, to be released after that period, restored to the surface of the earth, and to resume their former agency, or else to suppose them to continue as a race by propagation in such an abyss through that period ; each of which is wholly incompatible with our nature, Neither a race nor individuals dependent for life on air, light, warmth, and perpetual sustenance by vegetables and animals that exist only in an atmosphere illuminated by a sun, can subsist in a bottomless deep from which those requisites to life are wholly excluded. He is the representative, therefore, not of men, but of himself only and his associate fallen angels. He is exhibited in his own person because no other being, real or imaginary, could serve as his representative.

It may be thought inadmissible thus to assume that the pit and the imprisonment, are symbols of a real abyss or deep, and a real imprisonment in it of the symbolized agents. But the design of the spectacle, it should be considered, is not to foreshow a punishment of those agents for a previous agency, but merely their interception from influence on the nations during the thousand years. The abyss must be taken, therefore, as denoting a real place, such as a deep cavern of the earth may properly symbolize; and the dejection of Satan bound into it and confine

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ment there, his banishment from the presence of the nations to whom his removal is a relief and deliverance, and restraint from access to them during the period represented by the thousand years. Otherwise there is no analogy between the symbols and that which they are employed to denote.

The angel with the key and chain, is as obviously a symbol of unfallen angels, not of men. The agency ascribed to him is such as none but angelic beings are competent to exert. The angel who bound and imprisoned the devil, is distinguished both from the nations who are freed from his presence and influence during his imprisonment, and from those who are seduced by him after his release. He cannot be a symbol of those nations therefore, nor a part of them. He is a representative of angels then, not of men; and they are symbolized by one of their own species, because no being of another order is adequate to represent them.

The period of the imprisonment is symbolic, as well as the agents, ihe key and the chain, the abyss and the seal ; and representing, like other symbolic periods, a year for each day, denotes three hundred and sixty thousand years. It can no more be assumed that this part of the representation is not symbolic, than that any other part is not. The period of a symbolic act must necessarily be symbolic, as well as the agent, the object, the instrument, the scene, and the action itself. Whatever reason can justify the assumption that any one of them is not a symbol, will equally justify the denial of that character to every other.

This great spectacle then foreshows, that the devil and his legions are to be seized by the holy angels, and imprisoned in the abyss three hundred and sixty thousand years; and are afterwards to be released for a short time. That imprisonment is to take place after the advent of the Redeemer, the resurrection of the holy dead, and the destruction of the wild beast and false prophet; as is shown by the representation that the risen saints are to reign with Christ on the earth during the thousand symbolic years, that the release of Satan from the abyss is to take place after that period has expired, and that he is then to be precipitated into the lake of fire and brimstone, into which the wild beast and false prophet were cast. Vitringa supposes the angel with the key and chain, a symbol either of divine providence or of Christ; Mr. Bush, of the power of the gospel." But neither is consistent with analogy, a living symbol never representing a mere power, agency, or event, nor a creature the creator.


Some interpreters, as Mr. Vint, exhibit this dragon as the same as the brute serpent of chapter xii. 3. But that was merely a fictitious dragon, employed to symbolize by its seven heads, the seven orders of the supreme rulers of the ancient Roman empire. This is expressly declared to be the devil, not a fictitious, but a real being. The persons symbolized by that dragon were not bound, but the last of the train dethroned and superseded in the western empire by other orders, represented by the ten-horned wild beast from the sea. Others who regard Satan as the agent that is bound, interpret the binding as denoting only a diminution of his influence, not its absolute interception by his imprisonment. But that is not in accordance with the symbol. There is no analogy between his being bound with a chain, hurled down into a bottomless abyss, and shut in, so that he can no longer exert a tempting influence on the nations ; and his being left unfettered, unimprisoned, and only very partially withheld from exerting such an agency. Those authors refer his binding to past ages,-Archbishop Usher dating it from the birth or ascension of Christ; Grotius, Dr. Hammond, and Cocceius, from the reign of Constantine. But there are no.indications that Satan was wholly intercepted from exerting a tempting influence on the nations during either of those periods. So far from it, they are the periods exhibited in the prophecy as marked by the greatest depression of the true worshippers, the usurpation of the throne and prerogatives of God, by ecclesiastical and civil rulers, the flight of the woman into the desert, the apostasy of the nationalized church to idolatry, and the persecution of the saints.

Mr. Vint and Mr. Bush, regarding the devil as the symbol of paganism, exhibit the abyss into which he was banished, as denoting the regions of idolatry exterior to Christendom. But as the first is against analogy, a living being having no adaptation 10 represent a mere system of opinions or agency, so the latter is inconsistent with the mode in which paganism was suppressed in the Roman empire. It was not by a migration of pagan priests and worshippers from the empire into southern Africa, eastern and northern Asia, or the north of Europe, that paganism disappeared from the Roman world; but first by the conversion of vast multitudes to faith in Christianity, and at length by the legal prohibition of idolatrous rites. Mr. Bush refers his binding to the age of Theodosius ; Mr. Vint, to that of Charlemagne ;—but as the event of which they interpret it, is not that which it denotes, no reason is left for assigning it to those periods.

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