« הקודםהמשך »
“who obey his voice*.” From the whole tenour of Scripture, and from internal evidence taken from the prophecy t, this character and description is that of our Lord, and can belong to none but him. He is now represented to be in imminent danger from the jaws of the dragon ; who, having to contend only with a helpless woman, and her new-born infant, seems assured of success. And thus did it appear to “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” when they seized and crucified the Lord of Life. But then, as here represented, he “ was caught up to God and “ to his throne.” He was raised from the grave, and ascended into heaven, for this very purpose, “to sit upon his throne, at the right hand of God I.”
Ver. 6. And the woman fled into the wilderness; &c.] By referring to Isa. xli. 19, 20; Ezek. xix. 30. xx. 35-39 ; Hos. ii. 14; it will appear, that the word wilderness denotes a place, bare of sustenance, where food, miraculously given, is necessary for the support of life; but where such miraculous support, united with the correction which is the effect of a desolate and perilous situation, produces admirable fruits of religious improvement. Religion abode with the Israelites, in their tents in the wilderness, during forty years of miraculous preservation. She fled again to the wilderness with the prophet Elijal, was there miraculously supported, and thence was restored to the land from which she had been driven §. Thus the Church of Christ, (for after the birth of the promised seed, the woman is become such,) persecuted by the devil and his agents, flees for refuge to obscure retreats ; and is there miraculously preserved
* Jobin x, 3. 14. 16.
Acts ii. 30. Heb, viii. I.
# Ch. ii. 27 ; vii, 17 ; xix. 15.
* during during the time appointed,—1260 years; which accords exactly with the period of the witnesses, who, in mournful garbs, execute their prophetic office: but of this accordance more will be said elsewhere *. It is sufficient in this place to observe, that by different shocks under the preceding Trumpets, in which Satan is the prime agent, pure Religion had been almost driven out of the world. And during the same centuries, in which she has been seen desolate with the Witnesses t, she had existence only in some retired situations, where with difficulty she kept herself from annihilation, or, to speak more appositely, was miraculously preserved.
Ver. 7. And there was war in heaven.] This passage, beginning with verse 7, and ending with verse 14, should be read (as it appears to me) in parenthesis. Reasons will be produced in commenting on the 14th
A transaction, which had happened long before the history related in the present scene, but strongly connected with it, seems to be introduced. And therefore the word eyevelo might be translated “there had been,” being used in the same sense as in Matt. xxviii. 2, where Archbishop Newcome has pointed out the propriety of this translation I. This parenthesis contains explanatory matter of great importance; and seems to have been exhibited in a separate scene. For, the conflict between the dragon and the woman in the wilderness is suspended, while the battle in heaven is described; and is afterwards resumed, exactly where the narration had been broken off. We learn from it, that previously to the conflict with the Church of God upon earth, the same arch
+ Ch. xi, 1-15.
* Note, ch. xiii. 5.
fiend and his angels, had carried on a conflict in heaven. It is the same conflict which is alluded to in Jude 6. & 2 Pet. ii. 4.
In this warfare against heaven, he is defeated, and, with his followers, utterly expelled from the mạnsions of the blest*. But he is still permitted, for a season, to exhibit his rage on earth. This war in heaven is to be understood in a spiritual sense, as well as the war upon earth. The tempter seduced the spirits above from their happy state of obedience to the divine laws. The leading angel who, in the prophetic language of Scripture, is said to fight against Satan in behalf of the Church, is called Michael; the import of whose name is Who-like-God ? He is by some commentators represented to be the Messiah himselff. This can scarcely be allowed; but he certainly fights under the banner of Christ; for who can be said to have overcome Satan in heaven, but the Messiah, who, before the foundation of the world, accepted the office by which he was to be overcome $? And as Christ is the head of the Church, not only on earth, but in heaven, whither the power of his creation and of his redemption is said to extend, and where angels and principalities are subjected to him ģ: so there appear to be two rebellions against his power and name; the one in heaven, the other on earth. Both are comprehended in Milton's sublime poem.
Ver. 14. To the woman were given two wings of the great eagle ; &c.] To be borne on eagle's wings, signifies, as will appear by consulting Exod. xix. 4.
TOTOS OY sugaon, Dan. ii. 35. Rev. xx. ii. + Mede's Discourses.
Compare Dan. xii. 1. Luke x. 18. Eph. i. 10; iii. 15. Phil. ii, 10. Col. j. 16. 20.
Isa. xl. 31. Psalm xci. 4.) 'divine, miraculous deliver
Who can pursue the eagle through the air and take from him what is committed to his charge? This verse, compared with the sixth, at the end of which the parenthesis is supposed to begin, will be found to contain nearly the self-same information, varied only in expression.
VER. 14. 1. " The woman fled into 1. “ That she might flee the wilderness :
ness.' 9. « Where she has there, 2. "To her place,” to cona place prepared of
vey her to which she * God:
given to her “two wings of the
great eagle.” 3. “ That they should 3. “Where she is nourish
" there nourish her a " ed there a time and " thousand two hun- “ times, and half a and sixty
time, from the predays."
" sence of the ser
1. The expression in the first clause is the same, varied only by the use of another mood and tense, rendered necessary by the new context.
2. The second clauses have only this difference, that the miraculous deliverance is pointed out in one, as consisting in the divine security of the place; in the other, from the divine conveyance to it; both are effected by the same miraculous succour, and in the same place.
3. It has been already shewn*, that the 1260 days, and the time, times, and half, are exactly the same period. · Thus, comparing these two passages, we must acknowledge the parenthesis which disjoined them: the history contained in which, being now delivered, we are again bronght to the same place, whence the narration had digressed, to the conflict on earth between the dragon and the woman.
Ver. 15. H’ater like a river.] Overwhelming calamity is often represented as a torrent, or flood of water, bearing down all before it t, from which, however, the favour of God delivers his servants. Such a flood the adversary now raises against the Church; the foods and waves of worldly power, stirring up the madness of the rulers and of the people, (which is expressed by the same imagery, in Psalms lxxxix. 9; lxv. 7. $) against the cause of true Religion. Such were the persecutions under the heathen emperors; but the whelming torrent did not prevail against the Church of Christ. Remarkable instances occur in history, wherein Christianity, on the point of being utterly annihilated, was delivered by the unexpected interposition of earthly power, and the political movements of earthly potentates. There is a memorable instance of this in the time of the Diocletian persecution, when the Christian Religion, apparently overwhelmed by its enemies, obtained a wonderful deliverance froin the extraordinary proceedings of Constantine . Modern history presents many
• Note, cb. xi. e. + Psalm cxxiv. Is. xvii, 12. Jer. xii. 5.
See also Rev. xvii. 15. where the waters are explained by the angel to signify “people, and inultitudes, and nations, and lan
Euseb. Ilist. Eccl. lib.x. C. v.