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-He was slain in sacrifice ; for through the eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot unto God,'Heb. ix. 14.-And it is in consequence of his having presented himself for 118 an offering, and a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, that a rich entertainment has been provided for the souls of men.
This part of the representation affords a very strong presumption, that our Lord still retains upon his blessed body, the scars of the wounds which he received in the house of his friends. We know that they were visible immediately after his resurrection ; for he shewed to the disciples his hands and his feet, Luke xxiv. 40; and in order to subdue the obstinate unbelief of Thomas, he directed him to thrust his hand into his side, which had been pierced by the spear, that he might be no longer faithless, but believe. John xx. 27. I do not see that it is any way inconsistent with the state of glory into which he is now entered, that these memorials of his abase ment should still be retained. They are like the scars of the wounds which the soldier received in an honourable warfare with the enemies of his country; and let his country reward him as she will, even with the highest honours which she can confer, there is nothing that he considers to be so ornamenting and honourable as the scars of his wounds. Though Jesus, in working out salvation, had to appear in very humiliating circumstances, yet the work itself was great and glorious. The finishing of this work laid the foundation for all that he does in the state of glory; any memorial, therefore, of his former condition can have no tendency to obscure, but, on the contrary, it must be fitted to manifest, his glory.
This mystical Lamb had many striking peculiarities. First, it had no fewer than seven horns. Other lambs have this instrument of power only in single pairs; but the Lamb which John saw had no fewer than seven horns.--Regal power and authority are very often symbolized by a horn. Thus, the kings which scattered Judah are called horns. Zech. i. 19; and the ten horns of the beast afterwards mentioned are said to be ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, chap.
xvii. 12. It is also the symbol of strength and ability for energetic operations. Hence David calls Jehovah his strength, and the horn of his salvation. Psal. xviii. 2. Here the figure may be understood in both acceptations; for all power in heaven and in earth is given unto Christ : and as his name is the Mighty God, he must be possessed of all that ability which is necessary for the exercise of this unlimited authority.--The number seven, being the hieroglyphic of perfection, necessarily leads us to conceive of the plenitude and perfection, both of strength and authority, which belong to Christ. Seven different seals were to be opened; but he appeared to John to be fully qualified for the undertaking, as he had a horn of power for every part of the work which he had undertaken to accomplish.
Secondly, This symbolical Lamb had seven eyes. This part of the description is accompanied with an explanatory notice, which intimates, that the seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God. Though the holy Spirit, in respect of personality, is numerically one, yet, on account of the perfection and variety of his influences and operations, he is often called the seven Spirits. In this manner he was represented, chap. iv. 5; and as God giveth not the Spirit unto Christ by measure, he is therefore said to have seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God.
It is added in the close of the verse, That they are sent forth into all the earth. This declaration may be understood as bearing upon both parts of the description. The horns of Messiah's might and authority extend over all the world. Wherever he reigns, and works as God, there also his mediatorial power and energy are put forth : ' for his kingdom ruleth over all.' Nor is there any region so dark or so distant which his penetrating eye doth not explore, or where his power and authority are not felt. Those seven are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth, Zech. iv, 10.
When John's attention was first directed to this wonderful
Lamb, he saw him in the midst of the throne,-not seated upon it, but standing before it. Not to mention the incongruity of the figure, a Lamb upon a throne, the posture in which he is represented excludes the idea of his being an assessor with the monarch: for he was standing in the midst of the throne.—The throne we have seen is the royal seat of the Father, as sustaining the majesty of Godhead. The Son as Mediator occupies an inferior station ; he does not therefore sit upon the throne, but stands before it, ready to execute all the designs of the Father.- What is here called the midst of the throne is meant of the space immediately in front of the throne. Different circles of worshippers surrounded the throne; between the innermost of these circles and the throne itself stood this Lamb as it had been slain.—The place which he occupied reminds us of the dignity of his station. He holds the highest official station, and is therefore represented as nearest to the throne. The posture in which he appeared reminds us of the truth of his resurrection : for had he been still in the grave, he could not with any propriety have been represented as standing. The appearance of this Lamb shewed that it had once been slain; but this appearance was sufficient also to indicate, that it was now alive.-Standing is a posture of firmness and of action; and may be intended to intimate his readiness to be employed in any service for the honour of the Father, and the comfort and interest of the church Finally, as the scene of the vision is laid in heaven, this representation of the Saviour is fitted to impress our minds with the glory into which he is now entered. His abasement is over, and the glory which was promised hath followed.
Before quitting this interesting passage we cannot but advert to the rapturous manner in which John makes mention of his privilege: I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne. The language describes not merely what he saw, but the high satisfaction which he felt in the contemplation of the object. His joy was so abundant, that he could not contain himself; and therefore he gave vent to his feelings in language of holy
satisfaction and fervent praise. From the example of the prophet we are here instructed in our duty with respect to the same adorable person. We have no reason to expect any prophetic afflatus, such as John was favoured with ; all visions and revelations of this kind have ceased; but there is a possibility of seeing Christ, through the glass of this prophecy, by the eye of faith, and of an enlightened mind. In this manner, we are now called to contemplate the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, and to consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.
This verse presents us with a view of the character of the Saviour, and of his qualifications for the work which he has been called to perform. The one that immediately follows bears upon his actings, and shews his fidelity to the trust with which he is invested: ver. 7. And he came, and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. We are here reminded of what took place before the foundation of the world, when the blessed Surety approached unto God for men, and engaged to do cvery thing that was necessary to complete the purchase, and to make application of the blessings, of redemption. God never forms any new purpose, and therefore never communicates any new designs to the Son, All that he had to reveal and to execute was perfectly understood by Christ, when he undertook to act the part of a mediatory servant.
It must have been in eternity then that he received this book out of the hand of the Father. But to mark the truth of his official character to more advantage to the prophet, it was symbolically done in time, and under the eye of the prophet.—It reminds us also of what took place upon the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. Having overcome, by the blood of his cross, he was declared, by his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, and session at his Father's right hand, to have been worthy to be intrusted with the revelation and execution of the designs of God. Though the first of these views is not to be excluded, the last we apprehend is immediately intended. The chief design of the representation is, to impress the mind with the important and consolatory truth, that the revelation and execution of the designs of God are committed unto Christ. Such a representation could not fail to minister to the prophet's relief, and to prove the best antidote against future despondency. Scenes peculiarly affecting were to be disclosed ; in the contemplation of which his heart would have utterly failed him, if he had not been previously assured, that the administration both of grace and providence was in the hand of the Redeemer.
This book of the Revelation is composed in the form of an ancient dramatic work. It therefore contains numerous interludes, which are generally introduced by way of song. An example of this occurred in the preceding chapter, where, after the throne of the Father was described, all the attendants were represented as worshipping him in the way of praise. An example of the same kind occurs in the chapter before us, in which, after describing the mediatorial character, or the throne of the Son, all the different orders of creatures that surround it are represented as joining in one loud harmonious song of praise.
Here three different classes of worshippers are introduced. First, the living creatures and the elders are again presented to our notice, and described as worshipping the Lamb: ver. 8. When he had taken the book, the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb.
Here the whole church of genuine believers, whether as consisting of persons in public office or in a private station, are represented as celebrating the praises of their common Lord and Saviour; the more they contemplate the matchless excellencies of his person, and the vast importance and extent of his undertaking, the more they are inclined to give him the glory that is due to his name.
The posture in which they worship is exceedingly humble; they fall down before the Lamb. Precisely in the same way that they honour the Father, they honour the Son. The Father hath commanded, that all men honour the Son even as