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Saint Paul affirms that he could not tell whether it was “ in the body or out of the body,” that he was present in the heavens. Saint John perceived this movement of the Spirit upon him, when the heavenly voice called to him. He represents it, as it struck his senses, coming from behind him, and thus affecting him with more sudden surprise; it was loud, and as of a trumpet, the signal of war; it was fearful and alarming* The trumpet was the voice of God, at the awful delivery of the Law from Mount Sinai, and so shall be again at the consummation of the world f.
Ver. 11. See notes on verses 4 and 8.
Ver. 12. Seven golden lamp-bearers.] These are explained afterwards (v. 20.) to signify the seven Churches, or the universal Church of Christ I. They are not the lamps or lights, but the bearers of them; they are the instruments, on which the lights being suspended, illuminate the Christian world. Spiritual knowledge is frequently represented in Scripture, under the emblem of a light or lamp. Numerous are the instances; but see in particular Mat. v. 14, 15, and the parallel passages, and Ezek. iv. 4. Agreeably to which, in Rev. įv. 5. seven lamps of fire are used to express the gifts of the Divine Spirit; but the receptacle of religious knowledge, the station from which it is communicated, is the lamp-bearer or candlestick; and by this is denoted the Church of Christ. So Irenæus, who, alluding to this passage, şays, Ubique enim ecclesia prædicat veritatem, et hæc est ÉTTEMUXos (aliter ÉTTAUUŽos)
Lucerna, Christi bajulans lumen. From some pas. sages in Josephus t, it will appear, that the candlesticks of the Temple were seven, each distinct from the other: but that the Romans, when they took possession of them, new-modelled them, to grace the triumphant entry of Vespasian; forming them into one of seven branches; which they certainly appear to have been originally. (Exod. xxv. 31.) But this alteration may have probably taken place. And it agrees with the representation in this vision, wherein our Lord is represented as walking in the midst of the seven lamp. bearers; which could not be so easily conceived, if they had been so many branches.
Among the antiquities exhibited in modern Rome, is a representation of the seven lamp-bearers, or rather of the lamp-bearer with seven branches, which is to be seen on the Arch of Titus ..
• " For in all parts the Church preacheth the truth; and this is the • seven-branched lamp, bearing the light of Christ,” Irenæus, lib. v, c. 20, As the Church is the awgriex, or lamp-bearer, so the illustrious characters who have adorned the Church, and given light to the world, are sometimes called the auxros, the lamps, or lights ; such, in the language of Saint John, was John Baptist : Extiyos mo auxeros ó XALOLLENOS *90 Cairw. Joh. v, 35. And in the martyrdom of Ignatius, that venerable apostolical Bishop is said to be λυχνά δικην Θεϊκε την εκανε φωλιζων diavosav. Martyrium Ignat. sect. 1.
+ Antiq. Jud, lib. iii. c. vi. 7. lib. viii. c. iv, 1. Bell. Jud. lib. vii, c. v. 5. lib. v. C. v, 5.
Count Stolberg's Travels; Lumsden's Antiquities of Rome; Montfaucon's Antiquities. The subsequent history of the original lamp-bearers is as follows: They continued in Rome till that city was plundered by Genseric în 455. They were then removed to Africa, where they remained till the Emperor Justinian, having subdued the Vandals in 534, presented these spoils to the Great Church at Jerusalem. Adr, Reland. de Spoliis Hierosol,
.. . Ver. Ver. 13. Like the Son of Man.] The same expression occurs in Dan. x. 16, and it is the appellation which our Lord himself generally adopted; but John (if the Apostle John) had known the appearance of this Son of Man in the flesh; had seen not only his ordinary bodily form, but also bis more glorified appearances, on the heavenly mount, and at his ascension. And we may collect an argument from this his manner of noting the likeness, that the person who saw the vision, was one of the avloTTU, eye-witnesses , of these heavenly ex. hibitions; and therefore probably the Evangelist Saint John, who alone of the Apostles was living at this latest period of the Apostolic Church.
It is agreeable to the tenor of Scripture, that our Lord is represented as walking amidst bis Churches. Walking amidst is the action of one that busies himself to watch and protect those for whom he is concerned. Thus God says to the Israelites, “I will walk among you, and be “ your God t." And, as Daubuz observes, the de reguony aq Q.6ebynæs of Homer, spoken of Apollo, has the same force I. This is the office of our Lord, according to his gracious promise ș, “Lo! I am with you, even "unto the end of the world Il.” He is, as styled by Saint Peter, “the Bishop of our souls.” Other Bishops execute an office subordinate to him, and therefore, in those early times, Ignatius, speaking to the Ephesians of their good Bishop, calls him dije ev bagus EK1CMOFOV, your Bishop in the flesh q.
Clothed with a long garment down to the feet.]
* Luke i. 2.
+ Levit. xxvi. 12. 1 Sym. Dict. word posture. Matt. xxviii. 29. Il See also Matt, xviij. 20. Col. i. 18.
Ignat. Epist. ad Epbes.
This is the dress of a priest *. Such is our Lord,
a priest for ever,"ever living “to make intercession" for his Church t. · Ver. 14, 15. His head and his hair, &c.] The appearance of this heavenly personage is of a similar description with other glorified bodies described in Sacred Writ. Our Lord, at his transfiguration, as seen by Saint John, had “his face shining like the sun,
and his raiment shining exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth could white them t.” In the sisions of Daniel ş, “ The Ancient of Days did sit, 5 whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of “ his head like the pure.wool.” And again ll, "Ą man & clothed in liner, whose loins were girded with fine "gold of Uphaz, his body also like the beryl, and his “eyes as lamps of fire ; and his arms and feet like in si colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words " like the voice of a multitude.” In which passages we have all the original ideas which are represented in this vision of Saint John, but with that varied expres. sion which implies that Saint John's copy was not taken from these passages, but from the same kind of original, which they had copied. This may be exemplified in the last expression. " The voice of a multi"tude,” says Daniel, “ The voice of many waters,” says Saint John. They describe the same thing, by the intervention of ideas, which at first sight appear to have no mutual relation, but on comparison will be found truly and symbolically representative of the same original. Observe how beautifully they approach each
* Exod. xxviii. xxix.
+ Heb. vi. passim.
$ Ch. vii. 9.
other in another passage of Scripture:-“Wo to the “ multitude of many people, which make a noise like “ the noise of the seas, and to the rushing of nations, “ like the rushing of mighty waters * !” This figurative
noticed also in classical antiquity. Demosthenes, de sirous of acquiring that forcible oratory which should rise superior to the tumult of popular assemblies, was in the practice of declaiming before the waves of a stormy sea.
15. Smelting brass, as if burned brightly in a furnace.] See Schleusner on the word Xenoni bavov, where it will appear that the most learned interpreters assign this meaning to it, which corresponds exactly with the resplendent brightness of the thing seen in this vision.
%0248 OTIMBOVTOS. And WETUPW LEVOI, though in the perfect tense, does not seem to express burned, that is, the fire being extinct, but having been in the act of burning so long as to have obtained a great degree of brightness.
ferred to in the foregoing note, seem to point out; also, ch. x. 1, where the angel's feet are s studo. augos.
Ver. 16. Seven stars.] The seven stars in the hand of the great High Priest, are explained below, ver. 20, to signify the angels of the seven Churches. To understand which expression, we may observe, that Asycảcs, angel, in the Old and New Testament, as well as in profane authors, is generally used to signify a messenger, ambassador, or representative; one who bears a deputed office or commission; and that it rarely occurs in the sense in which we understand the English word, angel,
* Is. xvii. 12. See also Psalm xciii. 4. Ezek. I. 24. xliii. 2. Rev. xiv. 2. xix. 6. Wisd, xvii, 4.