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So we may say, every principle of doctrine tending to bring man into this position, as opposed to the position of grace, is the principle or doctrine of a murderer, and may be spiritually so denominated.
The term translated sorcerer, is that from which we derive the appellation given to the science of compounding drugs and medicines—pharmacy. The sorcerers of ancient times probably acquired their reputation in the first instance by professing to cure diseases, relieve complaints, and gratify the wishes of those coming to them for aid. A sorcerer is therefore, in Scripture, an opposite of the true physician; and is thus appropriately a figure of elements of doctrine professing to furnish other remedies for the diseases of the soul than those to be found in the merits of Christ. Perhaps, too, as sorcerers of old practised their arts for the purpose of obtaining money from the ignorant, and as Simon the sorcerer (Acts viii. 9) esteemed it a fair matter of trade to purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost, that he might sell it again ; so the apocalyptic sorcerer may be put for principles of a mercenary character, representing the work of salvation in the light of an affair of trade or barter, in which the sinner is supposed to have given an equivalent for the grace or benefit bestowed
him. The nature of spiritual fornication we have already considered ($ 62) as an opposite of the dependence of the believer upon his union and accounted identity with Christ. The principles figuratively spoken of as those not repenting of this crime, we suppose to be elements of doctrine leading to other views than those of reliance upon the merits of that Redeemer, who declares himself to be also the husband of his church, Is. liv. 5.
Of thefts, or in allusion to such thefts as are here contemplated, it is said, Mal. iii. 8, “ Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.” We rob God, we commit a sacrilegious theft, when we set up any principle of doctrine tending to deprive Him of the glory due for our redemption. So every principle of self-righteousness, or doctrine of that character, is justly represented under the figure of a thief.
We thus suppose the rest of the men (oi 2017oi) to be deductions from literal or figurative views of Scripture, as distinguished from spiritual views; or they may be more loosely considered legal elements generally, treating the term the rest, or the remaining ones, as a license of vision of a character similar to that by which the four angels became suddenly metamorphosed into 'two hundred millions of horsemen, (vide $ 255, note.)
This development of the great river system we may consider the principal feature of the second wo, although that wo is not announced as passed
till after the account given of the two witnesses, and of the destruction of the tenth of the city by earthquakes, Rev. xi. 14; the tenth chapter being taken up with something like an intermediate scene or interlude, showing, as it were, what is taking place in the councils of heaven while this second wo is being in operation upon earth. As the prophesying, death, and resurrection of the two witnesses is part of the second wo, we conclude that the incursion of the horsemen covers the same space as that represented by the history of the witnesses and the earthquake ; consequently, that the period of action of the two hundred millions of horse comprehends the twelve hundred and sixty days, and other periods of time mentioned in the vision of the witnesses. That is, if time be literally intended by these terms, the events of chapter xi. 1-14, synchronize with those of chapter ix. 14-21. We have, however, some doubts whether time, in a literal sense, is to be taken at all into contemplation.
Meanwhile, we rest on the supposition that the first wo (the locust vision) developes the baseless and self-destructive character of the system, or of any system of man's dependence upon his own righteousness, or of justification by his own works. The second wo, as far as represented by the four angels and their forces, equally developes the folly of the sinner's dependence upon any propitiation or system of atonement of his own working out; the subsequent part of the second wo probably containing matter in confirmation of this development.
THE MIGHTY ANGEL.-TIME NO LONGER THE
V. 1. And I saw another mighty angel Και είδον άλλον άγγελον ισχυρών καταcome down from heaven, clothed with a βαίνοντα εκ του ουρανού, περιβεβλημένον cloud : and a rainbow (was) upon his head, and his face (was) as it were the vepéamp, xoà ń lois éni tñs xepadñs avrom, sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.
και το πρόσωπον αυτού ως ο ήλιος, και οι πόδες αυτού ως στύλοι πυρός:
$ 227. “And I saw another mighty angel ;'—or, in the Greek order, another angel mighty,' or strong. The word another, may refer to any or all of the preceding angels; amongst which we suppose the star, Rev. ix. 1, to have been one. The scene is not changed; there is only an additional personage introduced-pending, we may suppose, the action of the horsemen just described. But this is not merely another angel, he is an angel mighty or strong ; so was that proclaiming the challenge for opening the sealed book, Rev. v. 2. The design of the first mighty angel seems to have been to show, in the most pointed manner, that the interpretation of the sealed book was to be made virtually by the Lamb, and by him only. The design of the second mighty angel is himself to present a revelation, under the figure of the little book or scroll, held in his hand ;a message, of the character of which we may form some idea by the description given of the messenger.
«Come down from heaven.'--As the new Jerusalem was seen coming down from God out of heaven, Rev. xxi. 2. It is a heavenly spiritual revelation, in contradistinction to any thing earthly, or emanating from the earth, or partaking of the earthly system.
• Clothed with a cloud'-Having wrapped himself in a cloud. So the second coming of Christ is said to be with clouds, Rev. i. 7, and elsewhere. These clouds being, as we suppose, the typical and figurative representation of him and of his second coming contained in the Scripture descriptions, through the medium of which he is intellectually to manifest himself, (John xiv. 21-26.)
· And a rainbow upon (or over) his head ;'-—or the rainbow, as it is in some editions ; referring to the rainbow before seen encircling the throne, Rev. iv. 3 ; supposed ($ 120) to represent the assurance of divine mercy, the token of the new covenant.
• And his face as it were the sun ;'—as it is said, Rev. i. 16, of the one like unto the Son of man, “ His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength ;” spiritually, the Sun of righteousness, (Mal. iv. 2.)
* And his feet as pillars of fire ; —corresponding also with the form described, Rev. i. 16, “ His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace."
From all these particulars, we seem to be warranted in supposing this mighty or strong angel to be “the messenger of the covenant,” (Mal. jï. 1,) or, according to the Septuagint, the angel of the covenant, whom ye desire or wish for. If not Christ himself, a manisestation of the Holy Spirit, exhibiting the attributes of Christ—the promised Comforter-mighty, because his message was mighty ; fully equal to that comprehended in the almost inscrutable mystery of the sealed book.
Vs. 2, 3. And he had in his hand a little και έχων εν τη χειρί αυτού βιβλαρίδιον book open: and he set his right foot upon ανεωγμένον. και έθηκε τον πόδα αυτού τον the sea, and (bis) lefi (foot) on the earth, δεξιόν επί της θαλάσσης, τον δε ευώνυμος and cried with a loud voice, as (when) a lion roareth: and when he had cried, επί της γης, και έκραξε φωνή μεγάλη ώςπερ seven thunders uttered their voices. λέων μυκάται. και ότε έκραξεν, ελάλησαν
αι επτά βρονται τας εαυτών φωνάς.
$ 228. He had in his hand a little book open.'-The original is a dimin· utive of the word signifying a scroll. The term Biphapídiov occurs nowhere
else than in this chapter, either in the New Testament or in the Septuagint. He had in his hand a small scroll. We are not to associate, however, with this term small the idea of insignificance ; such a diminutive being applied in some languages to any thing valued or cherished—not the less valued or less important because it is small. As in the divine manifestation to the prophet, 1 Kings xix. 11, 12, “The Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still small voice.”
From the array of the messenger, and from the presumption that the small scroll in his hand contained his message, it appears probable that this book or scroll is a representation of the subject matter of what we call the New Testament; that is, the gospel, the still small voice, as revealed to us through the instrumentality of the evangelists and apostles. This book was open, and so is the gospel open to investigation : it requires no subsequent dispensation for the interpretation of its contents ; although it may require a certain enlightening of the mind to be rightly understood.
And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left* upon the earth.'— The sea is said to be God's, for he made it, as he formed also the dry land, (Ps. xcv. 5;) and the earth is also said to be his footstool, (Is. lxvi. 1.) Both of these elements are literally subservient to the power of the Creator. But we suppose, besides this, the sea to be put for a system of wrath—the legal dispensation, or something equivalent to it; and the earth to be put for the system of man's position under the law, dependent upon his workseating bis bread by the sweat of his brow. In the attitude of this angel, we have a symbolic picture of the complete subjection of these two systems to the gospel message :—the messenger taking his position, as it were, upon these two systems, and delivering his glad tidings as something called forth by them, or rendered necessary by them.
And he cried with a loud voice, as a lion roareth.'-The Lamb slain is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Paschal Lamb, the peace-offering for sinful man, is the lion towards every element opposed to his work of redemption. The roaring of the lion is the voice of intimidation : the time is now come for those opposed to the messenger and to his message to tremble. The purport of the yoice appears to be to call attention to the subject of the message, or to the delivery of the little book, about to take place; or we may connect this loud cry with the solemn declaration afterwards uttered, considering the intermediate action of the seven thunders as simultaneous.
And when he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.'—Whatever may have been the purport of this terı ific cry, it was such apparently as to call forth the opposition of these thunders. They are spoken of as the seven thunders specifically, according to the Greek; although we do not find any mention elsewhere in the Scriptures of them by that number. We suppose, however, the number seven to comprehend the whole of a class, as the seven spirits before the throne, ($ 7.) Thunders and thunderings are characteristics of the legal dispensation ; we may suppose, therefore, the loud voice of the gospel messenger to call forth something in the nature of a protest on the part of the attribute of divine justice. Sinai puts in, as it were, her last claim, uttering her seven denunciations : all indeed that the law can urge for the condemnation of the sinner. But the voice of the Lion of the tribe of Judah is heard simultaneously with that of these judicial elements, and the Lion's voice prevails over all others.
* The term rendered left, in this passage, is said to be a word of good omen substituted by the Greeks for ågrotegós, which was one of sinister, or bad import. So the action of this angel, whether as to the sea, or as to the earth, is one of good omen to men; the messenger is one of glad tidings-Rob. Lex. 277, art. Evdwuos.