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' And lo, a pale horse.'— The word translated pale, złopós, is elsewhere rendered green ; as Matt. vi. 39, Rev. viii. 7, green grass : and Rev. ix. 4,
every green thing.” This Greek term occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and in the Septuagint it is cited only to express the colour, green. The reason for rendering the word pale in our translation, may be, that the term is supposed to be applicable to pale green ; but grass green is not pale green, and we find it as much used in the description of dark green colours as of light. Our translators would probably say, that no one had ever seen a green horse, and, therefore, this could not be green; but they might as well say, that no one had seen an animal with seven heads and ten horns, and therefore the description in the Greek of the great red dragon should be rendered by some other terms.*
Green, however, is the colour here, and there must be as much reason for the green colour of this horse, as there is for the black, red, and white of the other horses. Metaphorically, green may be put for fresh, and signify strength ; or, if it be a yellowish green, it may be put for fear, or something of a pallid colour; but according to the Septuagint, this word xawpós, so far from signifying a pallid colour, is applied to a green flourishing tint, in opposition to a fading, or pale hue. It is not only applied to herbs, grass, and trees,
it is used for them; as Gen. ii. 5, and Deut. xxix. 23, (see Trommii Concord. 687.)
The colour of a thing, in Scripture, is frequently put for the thing itself; as Gen. xxv. 30, give me some of that red, (that is, red pottage.) So, red is
put for blood, white for light, and black for sackcloth. Grass, or herbage, generally is the covering of the earth, it is also the food furnished by the earth and it is strictly and immediately a product of the earth. Its beauty, and its goodness, are but transient; in the morning it springeth up, in the evening it is cut down and withereth : as it is said, “ The grass withereth, and the flower thereof fadeth.” So, a drought destroys its nutritious qualities—it is incapable of withstanding the scorching heat of the sun. In all these particulars, there is an analogy between this green clothing of the earth and the pretended clothing of self-righteousness. Man weaves a garment of salvation, as he supposes, of his own merits, which endures but for a little time, and then vanishes away. The manifestation of the sun of righteousness is as the scorching heat to it—it is incapable of standing in the day of trial, when the fire of revealed truth burns as an oven.f It is
*“And I looked, and beholde a grene horsse, and his name that sat on him was Deeth."-(The Tyndale version of 1534, according to Bagster's Hexapla.)
† The fruits of the ground appear to have been set apart, under the law, as thank-offerings, representing the sacrifices of gratitude offered in return for favours already received; but as sacrifices of propitiation, they were of no avail; for without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. So the good works of the believer, as
incapable, too, of furnishing the means of eternal life. Instead of sustaining the sinner, it sustains and gives power to the principles of his everlasting destruction. Thus the power, or horse, represented in this exhibition, is a figure of the power or tendency of self-righteous systems. This horse is distinguished by the clothing, the covering, the uniform, or livery, of these systems. The rider of this borse is sustained by this tendency of man's self-justification; as the rider of the white horse was sustained by the opposite principle of justification by the righteousness of Christ.
156. And his name that sat on him was Death.'—This is not a personification of natural death. The mere separation of the spirit from the body is not the subject of contemplation. In an ordinary sense, death has power over the whole earth. Here we find, in the last clause of the verse, power is said to be given to death and hell, or to death alone, over only the fourth part of the earth ; and Rev. xx. 14, death and hell are spoken of as being cast into the lake of fireman end in no sense applicable to that death which is the common lot of mortals.
When our Lord says, (John viii. 51,)“ If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death,” we know that it is not of the separation of the spirit from the body, in a literal sense, that he is speaking. So, when Paul says, Rom. vii. 9, “For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died,” we know that he does not speak of natural death ; as, also, when he says afterwards, “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me."
There is a death, then, in a spiritual sense, somewhat analogous to natural death, and like this it may be spoken of both as cause and effect. We say of a poison, that it produces death, and we say of a person deceased, that he is taken away by death. We personify natural death as an actor, and term him the grim monster, and the king of terrors; while at the same time we understand this same death to be the effect of a prior cause.
The apostle Paul speaks of death, in a spiritual sense, as a consequence of sin, while the apostle John speaks here apparently of the same death as a power, or cause. The death spoken of by Paul, is a result of the introduction of the law, and such a result we know to be liability to condemnation. Where there is no law, there can be no such liability. When the law
sacrifices of gratitude, are good and acceptable unto God; but if offered as means of propitiation, they are of no avail, for they can have no merit in themselves. The righteousness and atonement of Christ, (as the fat and blood of the firstling of the flock,), are the only sacrifices of faith acceptable to God, as means of reconciliation with him. But the believer's works of love, or rather of gratitude, are living sacrifices to be offered in return for all His mercies, (see Ps. cxvi. 12; Rom. xii. 1.) Such we may suppose to be the difference between the offerings of Cain and Abel ; or such the difference typically illustrated in the account given of these sacrifices.1
has been transgressed, a position under it is not only one of liability, but it is equal to certain condemnation—the sentence only not being passed. Death, therefore, may be sometimes used as a figure of the state of actual condemnation, as well as of liability to condemnation. So, Rom. viii. 1, it is said, There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the Aesh, but after the Spirit—that is, there is therefore no liability to condemnation ; the apostle referring to what he had spoken of as the body of this death, in the preceding chapter-a declaration throwing light upon the words of Jesus Christ just now quoted : “ If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” So long as the disciple places his trust in the salvation wrought out for him by Jesus Christ, he will not see himself in the position of liability to condemnation. Christ having fulfilled the law for his followers in their behalf-no sooner is the law thus fulfilled for them, than their liability under it to condemnation is removed. They are thus through him delivered from the body of this death.
This liability to condemnation, spoken of by Paul as an effect of the coming in of the law, is personified in the Apocalypse as a cause, or power ; and its sustaining principle is that of man's dependence upon his own merits ; for if a man be not dependent upon his own merits, or works, he cannot be in this position of liability to condemnation. Death, therefore, is represented as a power, seated on a war-horse, clothed in the colour or uniform of selfrighteousness; a clothing representing a system of human merits—a clothing as vain and transient as the grass of the earth. Such is death upon the green horse: the power of this death, or liability to condemnation, resting upon the position of man's dependence upon his own merits. This power goes forth to contend with the word of God—the rider upon the white horse :—the word of God which we are assured is to endure for ever, (1 Pet. i. 25.) There is, therefore, no condemnation, or liability to condemnation, to them that are in Christ Jesus, although out of him there is every thing to fear. The contest in contemplation, as we have before intimated, being not one between the Saviour and the sinner; nor between the Creator and his human creatures; but a contest between the elements of justice or condemnation on one side, and the elements of mercy or redemption on the other side.
$ 157. “And hell followed with him,'-or more correctly, and Hades followed with him. There are two Greek words translated Hell, in our common version of the New Testament, aons, Hades, and yeérra, Gheenna. The first only occurs in the Apocalypse, and this but four times, and in all coupled with death. In the epistles it occurs but once, 1 Cor. xv. 55, where we have rendered it the grave. Like death, it is said, Rev. xx. 14, to be itself cast into the lake of fire. We cannot, therefore, take it to be an appellation of that place of punishment to which the term is generally applied; neither can we suppose it to express the same thing as death,
although it probably does express something very intimately connected with death.
As there is a natural and a spiritual sense in which the term Death is used in Scripture, so we may suppose the term Hades to be used in the same two senses; the natural sense being that applied to the state of an individual after death, whatever that state may be,-equivalent to what we mean by the grave, when we speak of it as the house appointed for all living. The spiritual sense is the state of being, or position, subsequent and consequent to that of liability to condemnation; that is, it is the position of actual condemnation-judgment having been passed. Accordingly, viewing man as a transgressor of the law—and there is none that is not so—the position of death and that of hell, in respect to man, are inseparable. We could hardly say that the last follows after the first; but we should rather say, as it is expressed here, the last follows with the first,
as the Greek preposition, meta, with a genitive, is said sometimes to express with, in the sense of aiding, assisting, or being on the same side: (Rob. Lex. 443)—the power of liability to condemnation, and the power of actual condemnation, both operating and co-operating in opposition to the Saviour's work of redemption. If it could be supposed that man's position under the law were a case of doubtful issue, the accused liable indeed to condemnation, but perhaps able to justify himself, then we should perceive the difference between the position of death and that of hell. In the perpetual sight of his omniscient Judge, we cannot suppose a moment's interval between the sinner's liability to condemnation, and the actual passing of judgment upon him. But we may suppose man under the law liable to condemnation, and thus in the position of death—under the power of death :-a Mediator appears, interposes his own merits as a plea in behalf of the sinner ; he that was liable to condemnation is thus justified and protected against this consequence of his former desperate condition. He is saved from hell or Hades; that is, he is saved from the position of condemnation, which, but for this Mediator, must inevitably have attended the position of liability to which he had been subjected.
It will be perceived that the power of Hades thus grows out of that of death; the last involves the first, and the first, where man is concerned, inevitably generates the last ; hence they may be well used as convertible terms, and hence the power of both depends upon the same principle of man's dependence upon his own merits, or works. It is not said that they were both riders upon the green horse, but they both depend for their success, or their prospect of victory, upon the same system of self-righteousness; as, in ancient military tactics, a foot-soldier and a horseman were associated together, that they might assist and protect each other; the horse of the equestrian, although mounted only by one of the combatants, was the common support of both.
So far, then, we perceive the Comforter (the fourth living creature) exhibiting or calling attention to the sinner's liability to condemnation under the law, and to the actual condemnation attending this liability, whenever they are supported by the system of man's dependence upon his own merits, or wherever they are sustained by the principle of self-righteousness.
N. B. The construction here given to the term Hades, does not shut out the idea of a state of future punishment; it supposes only that state to be subsequent to the position of condemnation. The sinner may be said to be in Hades even in this life, being in the sight of God actually condemned, (John iï. 18;) but the punishment consequent to this condemnation, unless mercy be extended, must take place in another state of existence.
The term Hades occurs but in six other places of the New Testament, besides those already noticed. In Acts ii. 27 and 31, it is a quotation of the words of the Psalmist—“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” and may be taken in either or both senses. In Matt. xi. 23, xvi, 18, and Luke X. 15, and xvi. 23, it is apparently to be taken in what we call the spiritual sense.
Throughout the Old Testament death and hell are used nearly as convertible terms ; in some places both are personified, not as places or accidents, but as powers. The gates of death and the gates of hell are both met with ; the term gates being put for tribunals of judgment, from the ancient custom of administering judgment at the gate of a city : as, to meet an adversary in the gate, (Ps. cxxvii. 5,) was to meet him in a court of justice ; to sit in the gate, (Ps. Ixix. 12,) was to be a judge.
The position of Hades might be further spoken of as one of perfect helplessness, and conviction of helplessness; as a criminal under sentence of death, awaiting only his execution, without a ray of hope from any process of law, has given up all thought of defence the law and the judge have done their part—the sovereign only can exercise the prerogative of mercy, unless some voice be heard equal to that of an Almighty Redeemer : “ Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom,” (Job xxxiii. 24 ;) or the position of Hades may itself be equivalent to that of the pit—the miry pit—the pit without a bottom, or the bottomless pit.
V. 8, continued.And power was given και εδόθη αυτοίς εξουσία επί το τέταρunto them over the fourth part of the
τον της γης, αποκτείναι εν ρομφαία και εν earth to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the hypo xal tv Savúra xui eno tūrs Gepier beasts of the earth.
της γης. . $ 158. Some editions read, power was given to him, that is, to Death; but the connection between the two is so intimate, and one is so involved