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Scripture, but his own precious blood, which alone cleanseth from sin ? Its purity and cleansing efficacy, are here expressed by the term vadovy, glassy; which is in like manner applied to the heavenly Jerusalem in ch. xxi. 18, 21. And the martyrs, who are introduced as triumphant on this glassy Seat, obtain their conquest
“ by the blood of the Lamb;" in which they are represented to have “ washed and made white their “robes $.” To those who attend to this connection of imagery, there can be little doubt, but that this purifying laver, clear as crystal, represents the blood of the Redeemer, which alone cleanses man from sin. Water, in baptism, represents this sacred blood; and therefore all the ancient commentators, down to Pris masiųs, understood the glassy Sea to represent the laver of regeneration in Christian baptism g. But it seems to represent not only the water used in baptism, but that also which the water represents,-the blood of the Redeemer.
Ib. Four.] This number is used frequently in $cripture to denote universality or completion ||
. It has this force naturally, from the figure and formation of the human body; which is so fashioned, as to oc, casion a four-fold division of the objects which surround it: so that under the number four they are all comprehended. For instance, a man faces one quarter of the horizon, the south; he has the north behind him; his hands extended, point to the east and to the west. Hence is derived in Scripture the determinațion of these four cardinal points, and their corre
* 1 Pet. i. 19. 1 John i.7.
+ Ch. xv. 2. Ch. xii, 11. vii. 14. See also ch. i. 5.
See Andreas Cæsariensis, Arethas, Victorinus, and Primasius, in loc. || Prov. xxx, 18, &c.
I Job xxiii, 8, 9,
sponding sponding winds, " the four winds of heaven *.” And thus “the four corners of the land,” are used to signify all the land t; whence Philo says, wavle ev tņ Telpadi I. So Pythagoras : Tetras omnium perfectissimus, radix omnium S. When, therefore, in the prophetic language, the number four is used, it implies universality or completion. In the present instance it seems to import that the whole throne, every side or corner of it, is surrounded by the living creatures; which are hera described to be the body-guards and nearest attendants upon Him that sitteth thereon.
Ib. Living creatures.] The Greek is Zva, very improperly translated beasts. A beast is inferior, these living creatures are far superior in intelligence, to man il. I have adopted the term used by the Right Reverend Translator of Ezekiel : and I mean to prove by a comparison of particulars, that the livingcreatures, of Saint John, are the same celestial intelligences with those described by Ezekiel, and by Isaiah. The comparison will cast useful light on each of these prophetic descriptions. As the medium, or common measure, by which they may be brought together, we will use the Greek of the Septuagint, which will admit of the nearest comparison, and
# Dan, vii. 2. xi. 4. Rev. vii. 1. + Isaiah xi. 12. Ezek. vii. 2.
All things are comprehended in the number four, which completes the
square. Περι Μωσεως, lib. iii.
|| Plato has been observed to apply the term Zwoy to God. (Dialog. Timæus.)—To which we may add, that Aristotle has done the same: paper de toy @tov Hvai ZOON cüdcov, agısor. (Metaphysic, lib. xiv. cap. viii.) -Zwoy is any thing which has life, and in its highest signification may be applied to Him who alone " has life in Himself;" John v. 26.
is probably the text which was used by the writer of the Apocalypse*.
Rev. iv. 6, 7, 8.
Ezek. Ch. i. 10. ISAIAX vi.
1. Τεσσαρα Zώα.
1. Ως ομοίωμα τεσσαρων Ζωών. 2. Εν μεσώ τα Θρονα και κυκλω τ8 Θρονο. 2. Εν τω μεσα-συρρεφομενών. 3. Γεμονία οφθαλμών εμπροσθεν και οπισ- 3. Οι κωλοι αυτών και οι XEGES
αυτών Θε»- κυκλοθεν και εσωθεν.
και οι τροχοι τσληρεις οφθαλμών. 4. Το πρωτον ομοιον λεοντι.
4. Προσωπον το λεοντος. 5. Το δευτερον ομοιον μοσχα.
5. Προσωπον μοσχα. . 6. Το τρείον εχον το προσωπον ώς αν- 6. Προσωπον ανθρωπε. θρωπος.
7. Προσωπον αετε. 1. Το τεταρτον ομοιον αετω αετωμενά. 8. Εξ στερυγες το ένι, και εξ ολερυγες 8. Τεσσαρα Zώα εν καθ' εν αυτών εχος τω έ». Isaiah vi. 2. ανα στερυγας εξ.
9. Και εκεκραγεν έτερος προς τον έτερον, 9 Και αναπαυσιν εκ εχεσιν ημερας και και ελεγον 'Αγιος, άγιος, άγιος
νυκτος, λεγοντες, Αγιος, άγιος, Κυριος Σαβαώθ, πληρης σασα και
From this comparison, (in which all the expressions of the writer of the Apocalypse, describing the “
«living creatures,” are contrasted with like expressions taken from the visions of Ezekiel and of Isaiah,) it inust appear, that all these descriptions are derived from the same original, and that, whatsoever may seem to be the difference between the Seraphim of Isaiah, and the Cherubim of Ezekiel, it is here reconciled by their being brought into comparison with a third common measure, namely, the “ living creatures” of Saint John's vision. I shall present to the reader some additional observations on the several passages, referring to them as numbered in the foregoing scheme.
See Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. on Matt. i.
1. The pearance
1. The number of " living creatures” is the same as described by both Prophets; but Ezekiel already intimates the indistinctness of the vision, and the difficulty of expressing it by similitudes taken from earthly things; for he says, ws Olowa, as it were the likeness of four living creatures.
2. Here both writers concur in expressing this indistinctness; but in such a manner as to be useful to the explanation of each other. John says, “in the "midst of the throne, and around the throne;" as if he could not fix the exact station of these heavenly attendants. Ezekiel says, “in the midst;” and at the same time expresses the uncertainty of their position, by these words, they “ran and returned, as the ap
pearance of a flash of lightning ;" like the aurora borealis, or northern lights, whose position seems ever moving, and whose exact station cannot be ascertained.
3. The abundance of eyes is the same in both writers, though not described exactly in the same manner. From both, it appears that no part of these heavenly ministers was without eyes. In Ezekiel's vision, they extended to the wheels, which appear to have been added in that vision for the purpose of making the throne moveable. In Saint John's vision, , the scene is stationary; the wheels therefore are not necessary The eyes, that wonderful part of animal creation, the inlets of knowledge and intelligence, are innumerable, and thus express an infinite superiority of understanding to any thing which is earthly.
4, 5, 6, 7. In both writers we see the resemblance of the same animals; but in Ezekiel, each cherub seems to have had the four likenesses in itself, and, together therewith, a general resemblance of the human form; ομοιωμα ανθρωπε επ' αυτοις: they had that dignified ap
pearance which distinguishes man from other animals, resulting from his superior intelligence. The Cherubim, says Josephus, were extraordinary living creature , of a figure unknown to man*. The resemblance to the animals was not exact, but somewhat like to them appeared, as the living creatures flashed upon the scene, “ in the midst and around the throne t.'
8. In the vision of Ezekiel, the Cherubim had each four wings; in that of Isaiah, and of Saint John, they have six. The propriety of this distinction is remarked by Grotius. The Seraphim of Isaiah, says he, have two more wings than the Cherubim of Ezekiel, because they are described to be more immediately before the presence of God; and therefore each of them has “twain to cover his face," before such transcendant brightness.
9. Here also wliat was wanting in Ezekiel's description, is supplied by that of Isaiah The Seraphim sing the praises of God without intermission.
After this comparison with concordant passages of Scripture, we shall have little hesitation in determining the nature and species of these “living creatures" of the Apocalypse. They are the same with those in Ezekiel and Isaiah ; and Ezekiel has settled this point by declaring expressly that they are Cherubim, and that he knew them to be Cherubim I. They are of the highest order of angelic beings, attending most
Antiq. lib. iii. c. 6. lib. viii, c. iii. 3.
The word Mooyos signifies in the Greek the progeny of a bull and cow; not only in its tenderest years, while we call it a calf, but long afterwards; and as it agrees best with the appearance of the vision, to suppose the majesty of the young bull or steer, and not the helpless awkwardness of the calf, the translation is altered accordingly. See Schleusneri Lexicon in voc. Morgos. * Ezek. X. 2, 8, 15, 20,