Page images

and universal kingdom of grace in this our world, in all its purity, peace, and splendour; to the confusion of his enemies, and the joy of his saints. From the frequent use of the Hebrew word Alleluia, many expositors have supposed that the Jews will join in these songs of praise; and consequently, that their general and national conversion will take place about the time of the destruction of the Roman Antichrist.—But the song is not yet finished: it is added, “ Let us be glad and rejoice, and give “ honour to him ; for the marriage of the Lamb is « come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” The Lamb and his bride are fitly introduced in opposition to the harlot and her paramours. The fall of the figurative Babylon, with whom the kings of the earth had committed fornication, makes way for the celebration of the mystical union of Christ with his church. The harlot, who had pretended to be that spouse, having been now convicted of fornication with the worldly powers, and having been judged and eternally discarded, the attention of heaven and earth is turned to that chaste and pure virgin, who is now to be presented to her Lord. The choral song brings her to view, arrayed, not in “ purple “ and scarlet, and gold and precious stones ;” nat in worldly splendour, like the harlot; but in the pure, simple, and resplendent garments, the fine linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. This sacred union will be finally and perfectly completed in heaven; but the celebration of the espousals may be considered as taking place on earth, at the commencement of the millennium. This union of the Lamb with his bride seems to refer to that glorious period which is here introduced by anticipation. The accession of believers to the Saviour, at any period, is represented by the espousal of a chaste virgin to her husband ; and the whole Gospel dispensation is described under the imagery of a marriage supper. But what an expousal will take place, what a supper will be prepared, at the commencement of the glorious millennium! When this blessed 'era shall arrive, Jews and Gentiles, from every nation under heaven, shall be brought to believe in Christ, to trust in his atonement and righteousness, and to obey his will. The appearance of the Church during the twelve hundred and sixty years has not been such as might have been expected from a society that has had Christ for its head. She has been scattered by the persecutions and hostility of enemies from within and without; and her beauty has been tarnished by errors, corruptions, schisms, and heresies. In many respects the gold has become dim, and the fine gold changed. But when, at this blessed period, multitudes shall be added to the Church who shall be everlastingly saved; when Jews and Gentiles shall be universally converted to the faith of Christ; when believers all over the world shall in general have purified their souls from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; when, as in the primitive ages, Christians shall be all of one heart and one mind; then, it may be eminently said, that the marriage of the Lamb is come, and that the bride has made herself ready. The Church will then have arisen to that state of purity and splendour which will fully and clearly demonstrate her connexion with Christ as her head, and verify the predictions both of the Old and New Testament respecting her future holiness and glory. It may here be remarked, that the Church is described as being active in putting on her robes of glory; but it is nevertheless stated, that these robes are prepared for her. "To her it was granted that "" she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and 6 white.” Perhaps there may be here an allusion to the wedding garment, according to the representations in one of our Lord's parables, prepared at the expense of the bridegroom. The robes, in which the Church is here represented as arrayed, are said to be .6 the righteousness of the saints;" not, indeed, indi

here be rema, her future holinecold and New

dually, but collectively. The language seems to denote the justification of the Church collectively from all things which stood against her, similar to that of an individual believer on his first union with the Saviour. As the perdition of the antichristian com · munity is described in language alluding to that of individual unbelievers *; so the glory bestowed on the Church at this period alludes to that which is conferred on individual believers, when they are first “ washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of “ the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Thus, the Church, in the days of Zerubbabel, when she had been polluted among the heathen, is represented by Joshua's being clothed with change of raiment of. Thus, also, in another place, her glory is expressed in language applicable to an individual believer. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul 6 shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me « with the garments of salvation, he hath covered « me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom « decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride « adorneth herself with her jewels.".

9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

The speaker here seems to be the same angel who was appointed to shew to the Apostle the judgment of the great harlot, being one of the seven who had the seven vials of the wrath of God. This angel orders the Apostle to write what he had seen, that it might be recorded for the comfort and edification of the Church to the end of time. A blessing was pronounced by our Lord upon those who saw and heard the things which occurred in the days of his incarnation. But a still greater blessing is left in reserve for those who shall see and partake of the good here predicted. The most glorious things spoken of the Church in the word of God will then begin to be accomplished. The success of the Gospel in the various parts of the world, during the effusion of the two last vials, will meet and unite like a confluence of many rivers near the ocean. The alternate tides of mercy and of judgment towards both Jews and Gentiles, will now find their level in the salvation of both *. In former ages Jehovah especially blessed the Jews; and then, through their fall, salvation came unto the Gentiles.“ But “ if the casting away of the Jews be the reconciling “ of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, “ but life from the dead?” The recovery of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulness of the Gentiles, will act and react upon each other, under the direction and influence of the providence and grace of God, till all are made partakers of the Christian salvation ; “ for the gifts and calling of God are “ without repentance.” Thus, likewise, in the former ages of the Christian Church, God more especially blessed the eastern parts of the world ; and, in the latter, the western. But now the kingdom of Christ, like a returning tide, shall spread over both the east and the west. “I will bring thy seed “ from the east, and gather thee from the west; “ I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, “ Keep not back of.Thy sons shall come from far, “ and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine “ heart shall fear and be enlarged; because the “ abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, “ the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee." The angel concludes with this solemn assurance to the Apostle: “ These are the true sayings of God.” All that thou hast seen and heard shall most assuredly be accomplished.


• See ver. 3, 20.

t Zech. iii. 3-5.

Isa. Ixi. 10.

10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »