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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Volume 1 Chapter 1
Section 1 Subsection 1
THE SOURCE FROM WHICH THE APOCALYPSE EMANATED; ITS PURPOSE; THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS; THE MANNER OF THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT-MAN PROCLAIMED; SYMBOLIC VISION OF THE MAN, AND THE MYSTERY OF THE SEVEN STARS AND LIGHTSTANDS REVEALED.
1. The Title.
"A revelation of Jesus Anointed which the Deity committed to him to exhibit to his servants things which must be speedily accomplished" (Apoc. 1:1).
[greek] apokalupsis, is the first word of the last book of the New Testament in Greek. The book is, therefore, in that language styled, Apokalupsis. But this name is not restricted to the original. It is very often employed in speaking and writing as the title, or name, of the book in the English; although it is not so designated in the common Version. It is styled in this "The Revelation;" which, indeed, expresses the truth; for the book is a revelation, and one specially imparted: but still, the name is objectionable, inasmuch as it is only a very small part of revelation; nevertheless small as it is, a most important, and highly interesting, portion thereof. To distinguish it, therefore, from revelation in general, many are accustomed to anglicize the Greek name, and to style it THE APOCALYPSE. For this reason, which appears sufficient, I have concluded to adopt it also; so that the reader of this volume will understand, that when "the Apocalypse" is named, that book of scripture is meant, which in the English Version is called "The Revelation of St. John the Divine."
Though published by "special command of the Most High and Mighty Prince, James, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland; and Defender of the Faith;" and "appointed to be read in Churches" -- the reader must not suppose, that the words "The Revelation of St. John the Divine," are the divinely authorized inscription. The Holy Spirit does not speak in this style, even of an apostle. It is only "The Apostasy," so conspicuously exhibited in The
Apocalypse, that confers titles upon the Fishermen of Galilee, and their brethren, to give them sanctity and respectability in the estimation of the kings and princes of the world. The Apostasy uses the words "saint" and "divine" as applicable only to "Christians," who have attained sanctimonious preeminence among their fellows; and who are skilled in "divinity," and have received ordination, and a license to preach. But these words are not so used in scripture. Saint is there applied to all that are separated, or made holy, by the blood of the covenant; as it is written, "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice" (Psal. 50:5) "having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (by the blood of sprinkling, Heb. 12:24) and their bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22). The sprinkling of heart, and the washing of body, are common to all in Christ, whether apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, or private persons. In apostolic times, these were all saints, or "the faithful in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:2). There was then no canonization of obedient believing men and women into saints: all who believed and obeyed "the truth as it is in Jesus," in that obedience became saints and children of the Most High.
The apostle John had no titles. He was neither "Saint John" nor "John the Divine." He was one of the saints in Christ Jesus; but not "Saint," as an ecclesiastical title of honor and distinction. He might as well have been styled King John or Priest John; for he was not only a saint, but a king and priest for God. Ecclesiastical titles are of the pride of life, and not of God. They are assumptions of lordship over the saints; and strictly forbidden by their Prince. "Ye are all brethren; and the greater of you shall be servant" (Matt. 23:8,11). This is the spirit of Christ, who, although the Teacher, and Lord, was as one who served. The reverse of this is the spirit of Antichrist. Wherever, therefore, men professing to be Christians, exalt themselves, or allow themselves to be exalted, to high ecclesiastical estate, there is "the mark of the beast," and there "the number of his name." All this sort of thing was repudiated with contempt by the apostles, after they were converted and became as little children (Matt. 18:3). "Be of the same mind towards one another; not minding high things, but being conducted with the despised" (Rom. 12:16). This was the doctrine they inculcated, and practised; and in so doing, though dead, still speak reprehending the unhallowed ambition of those who pretend to have succeeded them in all but their penury and woe (1 Cor. 15:19; 2 Cor. 11:21-28).
The apostle John is the only one upon whom The Apostasy has conferred the title of "the Divine". Paul, James, Peter, and Jude are
termed simply apostles, or messengers; while the messenger John is, as an especial honor, erected into !greek!, the Theologian, or "Divine"! Was it imagined that he was Professor of Divinity in a Theological Seminary at Jerusalem; or, was it because he has narrated the discourses of Jesus on the relations of the Father and the Son, which are not found in the other testimonies? Whatever may have been the reason, it must of necessity be infinitely puerile. None of the apostles had anything to do with what King James's flatterers and courtiers call "divinity," or "theology," but to condemn it as a corruption of "the faith once delivered to the saints." They denounced it as "profane, and old wives' fables;" and its professors as "seducing spirits" and "demons," "unruly and vain talkers, and deceivers." Paul the Divine, Peter the Divine, or John the Divine, are epithets that desecrate the renown of the noble men whose names are thus entitled. John had no divine pretensions over Peter and Paul. James, Peter, and John were "pillars," and Paul was not a whit behind them; for He that wrought effectually in Peter, was also mighty in him. They made no ostentatious display of their names; and in themselves claimed to be no more than weak earthen vessels, in whose feebleness and frailty the glory and power of God became more strikingly manifest. The Holy Spirit was the holy oil of their earthen lamps. By it they were guided into all the truth; and the light which shone around them was of that anointing, not of them.
"The Revelation of Saint John the Divine" is a spurious title. The real inscription is contained in the first words of the book -- , Apokalupsis Jesou Christou, REVELATION OF JESUS ANOINTED. The contents of the book did not come to John direct from God. They emanated from Him "who dwells in light," who had hitherto reserved them in his own power (Acts 1:7). Till this emanation they were sealed up, and "known to no man, no not the angels in heaven, NOR THE SON, but the Father" (Mark 13:32). Jesus affirmed this want of knowledge with reference to his apocalypse. "Watch ye therefore," he continued; "for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midniglit, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping."
This universal ignorance of "the Times and Seasons" is the subject of one of the scenes of this book. In chap. 5:1. The Apocalypse is represented as a book in the right hand of God completely sealed up. When John saw the book, he heard a loud voice inquiring, "Who is worthy to unroll the scroll, and to loose its seals?" But no man or angel came forward. "And no man," says John, "in the heaven, nor upon the earth, nor under the earth, was able to unroll the scroll, nor to
see it." John was exceedingly distressed at this. The words and the book that Daniel had been commanded to shut up and seal (ch. 12:4,9) no man in the heaven, earth, or grave, was found worthy or able to open. Therefore John wept exceedingly. "I wept much," says he, "because no man was found worthy to unroll and read the scroll, nor to see it."
The book remained thus concealed with God until the time of John's residence in the Isle of Patmos. He was there, he tells us, "on account of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ." He was in tribulation, and doubtless "wept much," both on account of his sufferings, and his inability to say "how long to the end of the times" (Dan. 12:6,8); when the Lord Jesus should appear in his kingdom (1:9). But, at this crisis, a Messenger reached his place of exile, whom he styles "one of the elders," a constituent of the symbolic twenty-four (ch. 4:4; v. 8,9), and said to him, "Weep not: Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to unroll the scroll, and to loose its seals" (v. 5).
Thus "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," is brought before the reader as the only personage from among the dead, or among the living, who could open the words and unseal the mystery of God, as he hath declared the glad tidings to his servants the prophets (10:7). That mystery required the cutting asunder a covenant for the covering of iniquity; and for causing to come in a righteousness of Aions (Dan. 9:24.) In other words, "Messiah the Prince" had to be cut off; and so to be made a covenant of, according to the saying, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people" (Isai. 42:6; 49:8). Until this were accomplished no practical solution could be given of the end. Had the Second Adam failed to establish his worthiness, like the first, John's weeping would never have been assuaged. But Jesus did "prevail": for, though in all points tempted as we are, according to the likeness of his nature to ours, yet he did not sin. Though a Son, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. He was made perfect through sufferings, having been obedient unto death. He kept his body under, triumphing over its lusts; and, though sorely tried, he yielded not, but evolved a character that was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners (Heb. 2:10, 14, 16; 4:15; v. 2,7-9; 7:26). When he died, he was delivered from death, and now lives for evermore. Death hath no more dominion over him. For he had power to lay down his life, and to take it up again; a commandment which he had received of the Father. This he did; and in so doing, abolished the power of death, having led captivity captive, and brought to light the life and incorruptibility of the gospel of the kingdom (Psal. 68:18; Eph. 4:8; 2 Tim. 1:10).
Having established his worthiness in this moral conflict with the world and the flesh, God accepted him as the most excellent of all the intelligences of his universe; and in consequence gave to him what no one else possessed, namely, power to unroll the scroll and to loose its seals. The Apocalypse is therefore styled, "A Revelation of Jesus Anointed which the Deity committed to him." Now, Jesus Anointed is Power, or Spirit, manifested in flesh, and justified in Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16): or, "Made of the seed of David according to flesh; and constituted Son of God in power, according to spirit of holiness, out of a resurrection of dead ones" (Rom. 1:3, 4): and therefore styled "the Lord the Spirit," or "a life-imparting Spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18). Here are Spirit and Flesh. The Spirit is Theos, or Deity; the Flesh was the Son of Mary, and named Jesus; and when anointed with Spirit again at his resurrection, became Jesus Christ, or the Anointed Jesus. This anointing was his begettal of spirit by which he became Spirit; as he said to Nicodemus, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). The Eternal Spirit, then, imparted to Jesus, after his glorification, the times, and seasons, and mode, and circumstances of his reappearance upon earth; all of which constituted a revelation such as he had yet not been the subject of. It is a revelation of Jesus Christ very unlike the revelation of the mall of sorrows acquainted with grief. This was a revelation of the Son promised to Israel and David's house, as a helpless babe, born in a stable and cradled in a manger; as a fugitive in the earth, escaping from the sword of power; as a mechanic, laboring at the bench for his daily bread; as a preacher of righteousness, denouncing the hypocrisy and blasphemy of the clergy; and calling upon the people to renounce the traditions of their blind guides; and to become enlightened in the wisdom from above; as a man persecuted for righteousness' sake by the pious and the powerful of the Church and State; as a man accused of blasphemy, sorcery, and perversion of the people; as an alleged enemy to God, and a traitor to kings reigning by his grace; as a man, in fine, adjudged "guilty of death," and worthy only of being "numbered with transgressors," and ignominiously executed with thieves. Such was the revelation of "Messiah the Prince" in Heaven's gift of him "for a Covenant of the People," which has now for many centuries been presented to the nations in New Testament history, and memorialized in the ecclesiasticism of the Beast.
"Messiah the Prince," or High Priest, was "cut off," or covenanted, as the Spirit had revealed to Daniel. But before he died, he cried with a loud voice, in the words of Psal. 22:1, saying, Aili, Aili, "My strength, my strength, why hast thou forsaken me!" Before he
had uttered this exclamation, the Holy Spirit, which had descended upon him from the Habitation of Light and Power, in the form of a dove, and rested upon him, from the time of his immersion in the Jordan, had been withdrawn. The Father-Spirit had evacuated the son of David's daughter, who is styled in the Songs of Zion, "the Handmaid of Jehovah [Yahweh]" (Psal. 116:16). The Son was, therefore, left without strength or power, and consequently without God. Still he was suspended to the tree a living man; a man crucified through weakness (2 Cor. 13:4), and dying of his own volition in obedience to God. But after the God-Power had forsaken him, and before he committed his life to the Father in breathing his last, there was an interval in which, after the example of Abraham at the typical confirmation of the covenant, "a horror of great darkness fell upon him" (Gen. 15:12); "for there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour." In this darkness he cried aloud; and drank the bitterness of gall and vinegar; and again cried with a loud voice; and the deep sleep fell upon him from which he did not awake until the early dawn of the third day.
In this death-state the Son of David was prevailed against by the Little Horn of Daniel's Fourth Beast; and a prisoner of captivity. In this crisis he was neither God nor Spirit but as testified concerning him in Psa. 22:6, "A worm and no man;" poured out like water; bones all out of joint; heart like wax, melted in the midst of the bowels; strength dried up like a potsherd; tongue cleaving to the jaws; lying in the dust of death (verse 14, 15). But things were only to remain thus for a short space. The man Jesus, who had left behind him a character which the Father-Spirit acknowledged as His own, had been too excellent and admirable a person to be abandoned to the power of the enemy. The corpse rested, waiting to become the basis, or !greek!, hypostasis, of a new revelation-a new, or further, revelation of Spirit. The Father-Spirit had been manifesting himself for three years and a half, terminating at the cricifixion, in word and deed; teaching great truths, and working mighty wonders and signs which Omnipotence alone could operate; this was Spirit-revelation through Mary's Son --- "Power manifested in flesh." But a Spirit-revelation was to be given to the BODY REPARED* (Heb. 10:5). A breach had been made in it. Its "loins were filled with a loathsome disease; and there was no soundness in its flesh" (Psal. 38:7). This was its condition while prostrate and hidden in the noisome pit (Psal. 40:2) beneath the turf. But though sealed up in Joseph's cave, it was not concealed from the Father-Spirit, who had so recently forsaken it. Walls, and seals, and soldiers, could not bar out the Spirit from the Body he was about to repair for future manifestations.
Hence the Spirit in David represents the Son as saying, "My body was not concealed from thee when I was made in the secret place; I was embroidered in the under parts of the earth. Thine eyes saw my imperfect substance; and in thy book all of them were written as to the days they were fashioned, when there was not one among them (Psal. 139:15).
The Body was repaired, and in its being freed from the loathsomeness of death, it was created a Spiritual Body with all the embroidery of spirit. "It was sown in corruption," though "not permitted to see corruption"; it was raised in incorruptibility: it was sown in dishonour, it was raised in glory; it was sown in weakness, it was raised in power; it was sown a soul-body, it was raised a spirit-body, incorruptible, glorious, and powerful: !greek!, the last Adam was made into spirit; he was freed from all those qualities of body which make our human nature inferior to the nature of angels; and acquired new ones, by which the nature he now rejoices in is so intimately combined with the Father-Spirit, that what is affirmed of the one is true also of the other, according to what is written in John 10:30, 38, "I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE; the Father is in me, and I in him," This is the true Theos, and the Aion-Life," (1 John 5:20), and therefore he is styled by Paul, "the Lord, the Spirit," imparting life (1 Cor. 15:42-45).
Now, though the world has witnessed the revelation which Light and Power gave to David's Son in the days of his psychical, or soul-body, commonly styled "his flesh", it has never seen the apocalypse predetermined and recorded for manifestation through the pneumatical or spirit-body, begotten from among the dead. This revelation has been imparted to the glorified Jesus, to the once-dead body now anointed with spirit with which the Deity has sealed him (John 6:27). "A revelation of Jesus anointed which God gave to him;" not to be held as a secret with himself, which no other intelligences should know, until the things revealed should burst upon the world, and take even the saints at unawares. This was not the purpose for which it was given to him; simply, as it were, to make the Son equal in knowledge with the Father; and more intelligent than the angels in heaven. It was given to him as"The Head of the Body the Ecclesia; the Beginning, the first begotten from among the dead, that he might be among all preeminent; for it pleased that in him all the fulness should dwell" (Col. 1:18). He was to be the depository of wisdom, knowledge, and power for the heirs of the world. The apocalypse of his future was given to him for their benefit, that they might know the things which must be accomplished speedily. The inscription therefore reads, "A Revelation of Jesus
Anointed which God gave to him to show to his servants things which must come to pass speedily." The revelation was only intended for these. It was not communicated for the information of the wicked; for it had long before been noted in the scriptures of truth that "None of the wicked should understand" (Dan. 12:10). "To the wicked, God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee" (Psal. 50:16).
* [Not "Repaired," as in the original text here. See the Psalm in A.V. and R.V. and also all the occurrences of the Gk. verb in the N.T.] appears in text unknow editor