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Ib. Hell.] By this word, in popular language, is commonly expressed the Gehenna, or place of punishment, only: but this is not the true and proper sense of the word, the sense in which it is to be taken in this passage; for the word Hell will be found in our old writers to answer exactly to the Scheol of the Hebrews, and to the Hades of the Greeks. It is the general receptacle of the dead, the place of departed souls, whatever it may be, whether happy or miserable *. And therefore, though I had at first used the word Hades in my translation, after the examples of Bishop Lowth and of Daubuz, 1 afterwards restored this word from the old translation ; hecause, rightly understood, it is fully adequate to represent the idea of the original: and why should we adopt foreign phrases, when our own language is competent to express what we intend? Besides, we seem obliged to preserve, in our versions of the Scriptures, this English expression, in conformity with our principal creed, and with the third article of our national religion ; in both of which the word Hell is used; and so used, is continually explained by our catechists to mean the invisible mansion of departed souls. In the earlier forms of our language it was written Hele, being derived from the Saxon Helan, to cover.
Death is a formidable foe, who kills the body; but there is yet a more dreadful enemy, which attacks the soul, in those regions beyond the grave, where “ the
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Both are mentioned by our Lord, in Matt. X. 28, and he points out which is the most formidable. Both are
* See the learned notes of Grotius on Matt. xvi. 18. Luke xvi. 23. xxiii. 43, and Schleusner or Parkhurst on the word 'Adns.
frequently frequently personified in Scripture*; and both are addressed in that animated apostrophe, “() Death, “ where is thy sting! ( Grave (aon), where is thy victory t!” The gates of death, which are opened by these keys, are frequently mentioned in Scripture I; and the gates of Hell (wur.co ads) by our Saviour $. And the same metaphorical expression is used by heathen authors ||. The keys of these gates are in the possession of the Captain of our Salvation, who, by suffering death, triumphed over Death ; under bis banner, “ Death is swallowed up in victory." This conquest is represented as complete in 1 Cor. xv. and in the sequel of this book **. By this, Christ has obtained for his faithful followers a safe passage through the gates of Death, and through the terrors of Hell, to that kingdom of glory which he has prepared for them. Under no consideration can our Redeemer be felt of greater importance to us, than as possessing the keys of Death, and of our future state of everlasting existence.
Ver. 19. Write, &c.] The Apostle is commanded to write for the information of the Church; and the subject matter which he is to write is here divided (as indeed it naturally divides) into two parts; ist, the scene then before him, with the address to the seven Churches, revealing to them their then internal and real state ; 2dly, the events which were to happen to the Church in future. This same division occurs again in ch. iv. I, where, the first part being dispatched, the Prophet is invited to behold “the things which are " about to happen after these.” Both are revealed by the spirit of prophecy, which was equally necessary to discover the real internal state of the Church then existing, as the events which were to happen to it in future. We may instance in the Church of Sara dis , which enjoyed the reputation of a living Church, a Church flourishing in faith, doctrine, and practice; but she is discovered, by the spirit of prophecy, to be " dead t."
* Is. v, 14. Hab. ii. 5.
Job xxxviii. 17. Ps. ix. 13. || Hom. Iliad. ix. 31.
ti Cor. xv. 55.
& Matt. xvi. 13. Heb. ii. 14.
* Ch. xxi. 4,
Ver. 20. The mystery.] Musupsov, in the scriptural language, generally signifies hidden and recondite knowledge; such as is accessible only by the peculiar favour and revelation of God I. In prophetic language, as in this passage, and in ch. xvii. 7, it is used to signify the meaning concealed under figurative reseinblances. So the stars are angels, and the lamp-bearers churches : for the explanation of which, as relating to the lamp-bearers, see the note, ver. 12, and as relating to the stars, ver. 16; in which latter note will be seen some of the reasons why the bishops or presidents of
• Ch. iii. 1.
+ Some commentators have supposed three divisions, as arising from these words of Jesus Christ; namely, a sides, to express the things which John had already seen; é con, the things which he was seeing, the present state of the Churches; á usahat yerelai, the things to come. But it will appear that John had already seen nothing but the beginning of a vision, which was then disclosing the á 106, the present state of the Churches. The vision is one and the same; the Son of Man, clothed with the same symbols, delivers the whole of it. And the word sides, being used in an indefinite tense, may be understood as having relation to the whole scenery of vision which was then passing, and about to pass, before the Apostle; and thus it may be fitly translated, “ that " which thou seest," and, with the • Carteis of the eleventh verse (which has also an indefinite signification), understood to comprehend the two subsequent divisions. It is to be observed also, that the word rides is applied in the next verse to the appearance of the Son of Man, with the symbols of the stars, &c. which John was at that present instant beholding; and that in the verse next following (ch. ii. 1.) Jesus is described continuing to hold the stars, by the present participle, xqatwy. 1 1 Cor, ii. 7. xiii. 2. xv. 51. Eph. iii. 3. v. 32.
the primitive Church were called angels or messengers; and why, consistently with the usage of the symbolic language in Scripture, they are represented under the emblem of stars. In Malachi ii. 7, the Priest of the Lord is styled Angel or Messenger of the Lord. And it appears from the accounts of the ancient Jewish synagogue (the forms of which were followed in the first Christian Churches), that the ruler of the synagogue, or at least the chief minister, was styled Sheliach Zibbor, The Angel of the Congregation *; and what the Sheliach Zibbor did in the synagogue, that the Bishop appears to have done in the primitive Christian Church f. The term angel, or messenger, instead of bishop, seems to have been in use principally, if not exclusively, in the eastern Churches.
* Buxtorf, Synag, Jud. Vitringa de Syn, Vet, Prideaux, Con, part, i. book vi.
+ Introd, to N. T. by Beausobre and L’Enfant.
CHAP. ii. Ver. 1-7.
1 Τώ αγέλω της εν
'Εφέσο εκκλησίας γράψον Τάδε λέγει ο κρατών της inte ásépas i Ty δεξια αυτέ, ο σεριπαιών εν μέσω των
έπλα λυχνιών των 2 χρυσών: Οίδα τα
έρα σε, και τον κόπον σε, και την υπομονήν σε, και ότι και δύνη βασάσαι κα
1 Unto the Angel of the 1 Unto the Angel of the Church in Ephesus,
Church of Ephesus, write ; Thus saith he write, These things who holdeth the seven
saith he that holdeth stars in his right hand, ibe seven stars in his who walketh in the right hand, who walka midst of the seven
eth in the midst of the golden lamp-bearers ; seven golden candle? I know thy works, and 2 sticks; I know thy
thy labour, and thy works, and thy labour, patience, and that thou and thy patience, and canst not endure evil how thou canst not men, And thou hast bear them which are
κές και επειράσας tried them who say
evil: and thou hast τες λέγοντας έαυλές they are Apostles, and tried them which say απόλας, και εκ are not; and thou hast they are Apostles, and
εισί και ευρες αυτές 3 found them false. And are not; and hast found 3 sudais. Kai ir
thou hast patience, 3 them liars : And hast poris ixes i itár- and hast endured on borne, and hast paτασας διά το όνομά account of my name,
tience, and for my is nai x ixori
and hast not been name's sake hast la4 mons.
4 wearied out, But I boured, and hast not κατά σε, ότι την άhave against thee that
4 fainted. Nevertheless, γάπης σε την ωρώthou hast left thy for
I have somewhat aκαι την αφήκας. Μνη5 mer love. Be mindful,
gainst thee, because μόνευε έν, πόθεν then, whence thou art
thou hast left thy σίπίωκας, και μελα- fallen, and repent, and
5 first love. Remember, νόησον, και τα σώ- do the former works ; therefore, from whence τα έρία ποίησον: ει or else I am coming
thou - art fallen, and δε μή, έρχομαί σοι to thee (soon), and I
repent, and do the first [ταχύ], και κινήσω will remove thy lamp
works; or else I will την λυχνίαν σε εκ bearer out of its place, come unto thee quickτο τόπο αυτής, εάν unless thou repent.
ly, and will remove thy 6 μή μέλανοήσης. Αλ6 But this thou hast,
candlestick out of his λα τέτο έχεις, ότι that thou hatest the place, except thou reμισείς τα έρία των
works of the Nico- | 6 pent. But this thou Νικολαϊτών, ά κα
laitans, which I also hast, that thou hatest 7 y now. 'o ima 7 bate. He that hath
the deeds of the Nicoές, ακεσάτω τί το
an ear, let him hear laitanes, which I also ανεύμα λέγει ταις what the Spirit saith
7 hate. He that hath εκκλησίαις" Το n
unto the Churches, To an ear, let him hear κωντι δώσω αυτω him that overcometh,
what the Spirit saith φαγείν έκ το ξύλο to him will I grant to
unto the Churches, Tas Twins, ő isu & eat of the tree of life,
To him that overτο παραδείσω τ8
which is in the Para- cometh, will I give to Q8ws. dise of my God.
eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
Ver. 1. Unto the angel of the Church.] The address of our Lord is not unto the angels, or presidents of the churches, on their own behalf, but on account