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sense, of which the literal Egypt was a type ; Assyria, Egypt, and Judea, being perhaps three successive types of the same exhibition of truth : Is. xix. 24.
e suppose the prediction to allude to the manifestation of darkness, rather than to the fact of darkness; because the fact has always been the same since the creation of the world. Men have loved darkness rather than light; they have called darkness light; their minds have been blinded, yet while blind they supposed themselves to see. The great change to be brought about, is to show them that the light they imagine to be in them is darkness. So, preceding the perfect development of divine truth, the preparatory step is probably to manifest the existing degree of darkness—as, according to Paul, the manifestation of the man of sin is to be the immediate prelude to the coming of Christ.
The action of this fourth trumpet thus corresponds with that called for Joel ï. 1, 2, " Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain : let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness ;” and iïi. 15, “ The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.” So Zeph. i. 14–16, “ The great day of the Lord is near—it is near, and hasteth greatly—even the voice of the day of the Lord : the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers."
$ 204. "The day shone not, and the night likewise,' or in like manner. -While Jesus Christ was in the world, his followers metaphorically had the light with them, John xii. 35–46. So, in an exhibition of the economy of salvation, where Christ is seen as Jehovah our righteousness, there is light in a spiritual sense; without this there must be a stumbling upon the dark mountains—upon stumbling-blocks of error-false foundations of hope.
The day shone not, because, in the exhibition of this system, a sun of righteousness was no longer seen. The night shone not, because the moon, representing the church, or the economy of salvation, exhibited no clothing of imputed righteousness; and being without any righteousness in herself, was manifested to be, in a spiritual sense, as in a physical, merely an opaque body. The stars may be figures of elements of other systems, or they may be put for planets, corresponding in character with the moon. We do not suppose it necessary here to analyze the figures minutely; the predominant idea calling for attention being that of a total darkness. Day and night signifying not a period of time, but a position, intellectually, of light or knowledge ; spiritually, of righteousness or moral perfection. So the land
of darkness, and of the shadow of death, Job x. 22, we suppose to represent the position of the sinner under the law, and obnoxious to its penalties, as he is in fact, or as he supposes himself to be. The region of the shadow of death, and the valley of the shadow of death, expressing the same position of destitution ; to provide against which the sinner can only trust in Christ as the Lord his righteousness, enabling him to say with the Psalmist,
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me," Ps. xxiii. 4.
It is not necessary for us to ascribe the state of darkness we have been contemplating to any particular period in the history of the church. It is something experienced by every convert ere the day dawn, and the day-star arise in his heart. Perhaps in a spiritual sense there is as much of this darkness amongst us of the present day, who say we see, as there was amongst those of the middle ages, whose blindness we are apt to look upon much proud commiseration.
The sounding of the fourth angel's trumpet is not said to be followed with an appearance of clouds, but, from a comparison of the passage with that quoted from Ezekiel, the instrument of obscuration may be presumed to be the same.
Clouds emanate from the earth through the action of the sun, whose rays they at the same time intercept. So the misconceptions of revealed truth, arising from a literal construction, prevent the discernment of that truth. The revelation emanates from on high, but the misconceptions originate, like vapours, from an earthly source. Were there no sun, there would be no exhalation; and if there were no revelation, there would be no misconstruction ; but the same sun which causes the vapour to arise, dissipates the cloud : the Sun of righteousness is to rise, with healing in his wings. The truth will then be manifested, and God's exhibition of his plan of mercy, may then be apostrophized in the language of the prophet: “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people ; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee,” Is. lx. 1, 3.
V. 13. And I beheld, and heard an Και είδον, και ήκουσα ενός αετού πετοangel Aying through the midst of heaven, μένου εν μεσουρανήματι, λέγοντος φωνή μεthe inhabiters of the earth, by reason of yody, oval, oval, oval toīs xatoixovdiv iri the other voices of the trumpet of the της γης, εκ των λοιπών φωνών της σάλπιγγος three angels, which are yet to sound. των τριών αγγέλων των μελλόντων σαλπί- .
ζειν. . $ 205. An angel, or eagle, according to some editions. If an angel, a messenger, or ministering spirit ; if an eagle, the figure of a communication of the Holy Spirit, or Comforter, ($ 128.) The distinction is not material. The warning voice is that of some instrument of interpretation, directing attention to the three subsequent developments as causes of apprehension ; not to all beings, but to those denominated “inhabiters of the earth.” That is, as we suppose, elements of the earthly system—doctrinal principles, dependent upon the earthly scheme of redemption, or upon the earthly view or construction of the divine scheme.
Flying through the midst of heaven, or through the middle heaven, or perhaps we may say the second heaven ; that is, the exhibition of divine truth afforded by the revelation of the Old and New Testaments, taken in their ordinary sense: the spiritual construction of the same revelation being equivalent, as we have suggested, ($ 192, 193,) to that which Paul describes as the third heaven.
An angel Aying through the mid-heaven, is thus the figure of a spirit of interpretation running through the whole Scriptures, and virtually pronouncing the woes alluded to, as something particularly destructive to these earthly elements, or principles ; every preparation for this destruction having been previously made, as indicated in the exhibitions attending the sounding of the four previous trumpets. The destruction spiritually of the earth, of the trees, and the green herbage; the bloody appearance of the sea, with its fatal action upon every thing in it; the destruction of the ships, the bitterness of the rivers and fountains of the earth, and the deleterious qualities of their waters, together with the state of universal darkness, or manifest absence of every element of divine righteousness, all show a state of things incapable of affording a refuge or shelter. The wrath itself has not yet been exhibited against these inhabiters, but the impossibility of escaping has been shown—all retreat has been cut off; and in this desperate position, the objects “fitted to destruction” await the impending visitation.
These inhabiters of the earth we suppose to be the principles of the earthly system—the peculiar objects of wrath-principles dependent upon this fallacious system, as the inhabitants of the earth are literally dependent upon the globe which they inhabit ; and principles dependent upon subordinate elements, as the inhabitants of this globe are literally dependent upon its productions for life and protection. These subordinate principles, or subordinate earthly elements, are now taken away. It is therefore against the distinguishing and most important of these doctrinal elements, with their systems, that the action of coming wrath remains to be exhibited; this last class of elements bearing the same comparative relations to the first, that the human race bears to the rest of created things belonging to the earth, animate and inanimate. We must ascertain, however, from the action of these coming woes, who or what are the subjects of this fearful denunci ation.
The heavenly messenger uttering this premonition of the scenes to be exhibited, apparently occupies the place of an interlocutory personage in a dramatic representation, indicating a pause, or separation ; equivalent to the introduction of a new act, not however as of something succeeding the previous scenes, but as of something which may have been in operation at the same time, although separately contemplated. The parties engaged in the new exhibition being different in some measure from those before represented, but the action in both cases being contemporaneous. We must suspend our judgment on this point, however, for the present.
Vs. 1, 2. And the fifth angel sounded, Και ο πέμπτος άγγελος εσάλπισε, και είand I saw a star fall from heaven unto δον αστέρα εκ του ουρανού πεπτωκότα εις of the bottomless pit. And he opened the inv yīv, xuì idóon avrõ ý xdsię toũ qet bottomless pit ; and there arose a smoke ατος της αβύσσου· και ήνοιξε το φρέαρ της out of the pit, as the smoke of a great fur- αβύσσου, και ανέβη καπνός εκ του φρέατος nace ; and the sun and the air were dark- ως καπνός καμίνου μεγάλης, και εσκοτίσθη ened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
ο ήλιος και ο αήρ εκ του καπνού του φρέ
ατος. . $ 206. “And the fifth angel sounded.' -Here there appears to be a partial change of scenery in the foreground of the exhibition ; the succession of trumpet representations being resumed.
'I saw a star fall,' &c.—As we noticed, in remarking upon the star Wormwood, the word translated fall does not necessarily involve the idea of degradation, ($ 199.) The expression occurs in the Scriptures only in these two passages. A star, an instrument of light, comes from heaven to earth. A revelation from the heavenly system is brought into contact, or into juxta position, with the earthly system. Some important principle of interpretation, perhaps, is evolved from the heavenly exhibition and applied to the earthly, so as to become the means of exposing certain errors or fallacies of this latter scheme.
• To him was given the key.'—That is, to the star, the heavenly messenger, not to the fifth angel. As already suggested, ($$ 37, 89,) we suppose a key to be the figure of a power to open or reveal a mystery. To this star or instrument of revelation is given, allotted, or committed the function of developing the mystery, figuratively termed the bottomless pit; showing the destructive character, or baleful tendency of its principles.
Of the bottomless pit,' or verbatim, of the pit of the bottomless ; the shast of the profound deep, or infinite deep, or deep without a bottom.The Greek word ggéag, signifies a pit of any kind; the word úßúooos, connected with it in the genitive, is expressive of something without a bottom; of which there is of course no end to the depth, (Rob. Lex. 2, 114,) infinitæ profunditatis vorago, ex a priv. and Ion. Búooos pro Búdos fundum, (bottom,) Suiceri. Lex. We have adopted the term abyss in English, applying it to any supposed bottomless gulf. The same Greek term, Luke viii. 31, expresses a lake or sea; and Rom. x. 7, the place of the dead, or