« PreviousContinue »
ligious adoration, in distinction from angels and all mere creatures. Let us, then, beware of a voluntary humility, and not degrade ourselves, or dishonour our Head, by worshipping saints or angels; but let it be our great concern to become the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and then we shall be equal to the angels in felicity, purity, glory, honour, and immortality.
Section XIX The august Title and Character of Jesus Christ, who
is followed by his Army, on white Horses, to Battle and to Victory.
Chap. xix. 11—21. AND I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood : and his name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron : and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
It has sometimes been customary for a battle to be preceded by a song of triumph, when one of the parties about to engage has been previously assured of the victory. Such was the case when Jehoshaphat
went forth against his enemies. Singers were first appointed to praise the Lord, and then the army was led on to the engagement. Thus the prophecy here, having anticipated the victory over Babylon in a song of triumph, proceeds now to describe the battle; which many commentators suppose to be that before spoken of, namely, the battle of Armageddon, “ the great day of God Almighty.” In the preceding verses, the preparations for this great battle are introduced. Heaven is opened, and a white horse is seen; and “ he that sat upon him is called “ Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth “ judge and make war.” This is doubtless an emblematical representation of the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the same glorious personage who is thus addressed in the forty-fifth Psalm : “ Gird thy “ sword upon thy thigh, 0 most mighty, with thy “ glory and with thy majesty. And in thy majesty “ ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, « and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach “ thee terrible things." Christ is here represented as riding upon a white horse, an emblem of his justice and holiness: he is faithful and true; fulfilling all his promises to his people, and executing his threatened judgments upon his adversaries. He was indeed about to judge and to wage war against those who refused submission to him ; but in a manner unlike those warriors, whose ambition, rapacity, or malignant passions, have in every age made the earth a field of blood. This holy and righteous warrior conducted both his judicial proceedings, and his military expeditions, by the most perfect rules of righteousness. “ His eyes were as a flame of fire :" this imports his perfect knowledge of all things, and of all persons. His penetrating sight pierces through every veil and every cloud, to discover the real character of all men; and his omniscience, in connexion with his justice, will lead him to judge and make war in righteousness. “And on his head were many
“ crowns." This denotes the extent of his authority, and the multitude of his victories. “And he had a " name written, that no man knew but he himself.” A symbolical name implies essential character: the name, therefore, was expressive of his divine nature and perfections; which, as he is the eternal Son of God, and the second Person in the blessed and glorious Trinity, are incomprehensible to all but the Deity. , “ And he was clothed in a vesture dipped “ in blood.” This may have reference either to his own blood, shed upon the cross, as the ground of his mediatorial authority; or rather, perhaps, to the blood of his enemies, with which he had stained his garments. The same imagery occurs in one of the prophecies of Isaiah, which probably refers to the same events *. “ And his name is called The “ Word of God.” Though the name of this glorious Personage, as implying his character and perfections, was such as none but himself could fully comprehend; yet it is known in the church as “ The Word “ of God;" and, in fact, is the same title attributed to him by the Apostle of the Revelation in the opening of his Gospel, where he is described as the eternal Son of God, declaring his truth and will to fallen men. He was followed by the armies of heaven, which emblematically represent his chosen and faithful people, whose names are written in heaven; who also rode on white horses, denoting their concurrence with him, and typifying their joys and victories. It is not, however, necessary to suppose that the armies, which are represented as following Christ, will have literally to fight with the armies of the beast and the kings. But while they are following their victorious Lord, in the work that will be congenial to their dispositions, namely, in disseminating his truth and diffusing his Gospel, he, as the great Captain of their salvation, may effect
the utter overthrow of their adversaries, by setting them at variance with one another. The prophecy itself seems to imply that the followers of Jesus will not literally be engaged in battle: for, though the armies of the beast are represented (as will be seen presently) as gathered together “ to make war against “ him that sat on the horse, and against his army;" yet there is no mention made of any being engaged in their overthrow, except Christ himself. It is HB who “ smites the nations, treads the winepress, and “ has his vesture dipped in blood.” It is also observable, that, in the correspondent prophecy referred to before, he is said to have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with him. To illustrate the nature of his conquests more fully, “ out of his mouth went a sharp sword, that “ with it he should smite the nations." This may denote his truth, or his word, which is not only the means of saving his people, but of punishing his enemies. By his word, they will be judged at the last day; or, perhaps the sword may be considered as an einblem, that he would execute the denunciations of his word, by taking righteous vengeance on the idolatrous, persecuting, and sinful nations, who oppose him and his Gospel. “And he shall rule « over them with a rod of iron.” He governs his people with the sceptre of righteousness; but the opposing nations he rules with that just severity, which is typified by the symbol of the text, “ a rod “ of iron."-" And he treadeth the winepress of “ the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God." As the iniquity of his enemies will have filled its measure, they will be thoroughly fitted for destruction, like clusters of grapes fully ripe, to be trodden and squeezed in a winepress. Thus will he tread down his adversaries in his anger, and trample them in his fury, so as to complete their utter destruction. “ And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a “ name written, · KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF
which : nations weptre of
of iron Pined by the us with that cos; but the