Page images

Has there not of late been some advance to a fulfilment of the vision ?

3. Next came the vision of another Angel, and of the destruction of Babylon following on his appearance; which began as follows: “And after these things' I saw another Angel coming

1 The whole chapter xviii. is as follows. 1. And after these things I saw another angel coming down * from heaven, having great power ;t and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2. And he cried with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the prison-house of every foul spirit, and the prison g of every unclean and hateful bird : 3. for all nations have drunk of the wine of the poison || of her fornication; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her luxury.

4. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues ! 5. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6. Reward her even as she rewarded you ; and double unto her double, according to her works : in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double ! 7. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived luxuriously,** so much torment and sorrow give her! As to that tt she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow; 8. therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, 11 and mourning, and famine ; and she shall be utterly burnt with fire: for strong is the Lord who judgeth her.

9. And the kings of the earth who have committed fornication, and lived luxuriously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning; 10. standing afar off for the fear of her torment: saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city ; for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandize any more :-12. The merchandize of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble ; 13. and cinnamon, and |||| odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, $$ and souls of men. 14. And the fruits, ff that the soul lusted after,

Καταβαινοντα. .

* or authority ; εξουσιαν. Scholz and Tregelles read, ev coxugą owvn, simply. punakn is the Greek word used in either clause; though our translation gives two renderings, "the hold of every foul spirit, and cage of every unclean bird."

Il Quuou See Note 'p. 67 suprà. sporovs' in our translation delicacies.

5ρηνιασε. + ŠTi Aeyei K.7.1. I prefer to construe the & Ti disjointly, As to that, with reference to the therefore in the clause following, as its consequent; and not to make it the consequent of what precedes.

11 Oavatos perhaps pestilence, as Apoc. vi. 8. || || Scholz and Tregelles here insert kai auwuov, and the amomum : a tree from which one of the most esteemed ointments of the ancients was made. See Schleusner on the word.

$$ owuatwy. 6 onwga. Compare the emblems of the harvest and rintage, Apoc. xiv. discussed pp. 75, 80, &c.

down from heaven having great power,” (probably as the appointed executor of the coming judgment that he announced,') "and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the Great hath fallen, hath fallen; for all the nations have drunk of the wine of the poison of her forare departed from thee; and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee : and thou shalt find them no more at all.

15. The merchants of these things which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off, for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing : 15. and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.

17. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, * and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off ; 18. and cried, when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city ? 19. And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing; saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea, by reason of her costliness ; for in one hour is she made desolate.

20. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

21. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great mill-stone, and cast it into the sea ; saying, Thus, with violence, shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22. And the voice of harpers and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee: and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee: and the sound of a mill-stone shall be heard no more at all in thee : 23. and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee : and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee. For thy merchants were the great men of the earth: for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

24. And in her was found the bloodt of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”

xix. 1. “And after these things I heard I a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia ! Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God! || 2. For true and righteous are his judgments : for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hands. 3. And again they said Alleluia ! And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4. And the four-and-twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down, and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia !”

* So the Lord, who announced to Abraham that he was come down to inquire into the wickedness of Sodom, preparatorily to judgment on it, was himself that judgments executor. Compare Gen. xviii. 20, xix. 22.

On the propriety and force of epithets attached to Apocalyptic agents, as having reference to what they had to perform, compare what is said of the swv of Apoc. vii. 2, and the coxupos of Apoc. x. 1, in my Vol. i. p. 247, and Vol. ii. pp. 40, 41. So again Apoc. xviii. 21.

* Scholz and Tregelles read, tas 8 ETL TOTOV a lewv. + Scholz reads aimata' in the plural :- -a form of the word of which no other example occurs, I believe in the New Testament, except in John i. 13. In the Septuagint it is not very infrequent.

Griesbach, Scholz, and Tregelles prefix às. || Or, “is our God's ;” according to the reading of Scholz, Griesbach, and Tregelles ; ή σωτηρια, και η δοξα, και η δυναμις του Θεου ημων.

nication,” &c. It was a cry almost precisely the same in terms with that of the second flying angel of Apoc. xiv, though with the notable added circumstance that “she was become the habitation of demons, and prison-house of every unclean spirit ; "'? and like that former voice, moreover, (notwithstanding the use of the past tense in the sentence,) still anticipative :3 but anticipative at the very smallest interval before the catastrophe : and not without an effulgence of light, as well as strength of cry, correspondent with the urgency of the time; even as its last, as well as loudest echo, upon the ear of nations.

— And then followed a warning voice from heaven, heard loud and distinct by St. John, in his symbolic character, as I presume; that is, as the representative of Christ's true saints and servants then living : “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues : for her sins have reached unto heaven." 4

A warning like that of the Covenant-Angel to Lot, on the eve of the destruction of Sodom ;5 or that from God, through Moses, to the surrounding Israelites, the moment before the earthquake that swallowed up the tents of Dathan and Abiram : 6 and which indicated two things respecting them : 1st, that there would be even then some of the holy seed in the mystic Babylon : 2ndly, that their danger of participation in its coming destruction, whether through mistakes of judgment, or sluggish lingering, would be extreme and imminent.7--After which that same voice apparently, addressed still and all through to the saints,8


See p. 67, suprà, on xiv. 8.

Compare Apoc. xx. 10. 3 For the cry, "Come out of her my people,” follows. 4 So, Gen. xviii. 21, when Sodom's cry was said to have come up to heaven, its judgment was close at hand.-In proof that the voice from heaven to St. John indicates a conviction strongly to be made on the minds of God's saints at the time prefigured, I refer the reader to the notable precedents of Apoc. vii. x. &c. See my Vol. i. pp. 267, &c; and in my Vol. ii, the whole historical comment on Apoc. x. 1--xi. 3.

5 Gen. xix. 16–22. 6 Numb. xvi. 23–33.—1 might add that of Christ to the disciples, with reference to the time of the siege of Jerusalem, commencing, “Then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains," &c; Matt. xxiv. 16:—a warning doubtless impressed on their minds by the Holy Spirit at the intended crisis, though uttered long before.-Compare too Jer. li. 6.

7 See Vol. iii. p. 249. Vitringa supposes the verses 4 and 5, only, to be the voice to St. John from heaven, and that the St.woate avın, “Double to her,” &c, is addressed to the kings. A strange hypothesis surely !- For the saints, not the kings, are the injured ones; and the saints the avengers of those wrongs, in God's retributive justice.

describes in vivid detail the catastrophe, even as if enacted before the evangelist's eyes on the scene of vision ; though with that mixture of the future and past with the present, that is so common in the descriptions of prophecy : ' in the first place depicting the nature of the catastrophe,-it suddenness when least expected, 2 —its instantaneousness, as all completed in an hour, 3its totality, such that all life was quenched in it, its manner, with violence like as of the shock of a millstone hurled into the waters, 5 —and the instrumentality employed, viz. that of fire, eternal fire, of which the smoke goeth up for ever :6—then detailing the lamentations over its fall, first of the kings of earth that ere while committed fornication with it,” next successively of the merchants and shipmasters and sailors that were enriched by, or took part in, its various branches of traffic, all standing afar off (the expression is most graphic) for fear of the smoke of her burning :-and, finally, stating two reasons for the judgment; one, that all nations had been deceived by her sorceries, the other and chief reason, because of her having been the persecutor of the saints, and the blood of their successive generations being found in her.— After which, and the completion of her destruction,3 a burst of songs of praise was heard to resound from a great multitude in heaven, saying, “ Alleluia! The salvation, and the glory, and the power is our God's : for true and just are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore ;' &c. Twice was that song of praise uttered : and then the twentyfour elders and four living creatures took it up, and repeated it: (it is the last act related of them :) worshipping in prostrate adoration the Divine One that sat upon the throne ; and saying, Amen, Alleluia !

1 The future is in fact the characteristic tense of the description, until verse 17, when it is changed for the past; the past tenses previously used being those of speakers that are themselves introduced in the future. For example it is said in verses 10, 11, “The kings of the earth shall bewail her, standing afar off, Alas, that great city; in one hour has thy judgment come.But in the 17th it is said, “And every shipmaster stood afar off.” Yet even after this, the Angel that took up the mill-stone uses the future, “Thus shall great Babylon be cast down;" SUTWs Banonoetai. In verse 24 the past is used again.-In prophecies where the future may be used with reference to the actual time of the prophet's seeing the vision, as well as with reference to the thing represented in the prophetic vision, the tenses used must be reasoned from with great caution. I have spoken of this before. Compare the interchange of tenses in the Angel's narrative of the two witnesses, Apoc. xi : also in xvii; and again in xx. 4, 6 : where “reigned" (ebaolevo av) and "shall reign" (Bao LA EVO 801) are used interchangeably. For a notable example elsewhere, see the prophecy of Isa. liii.

2 So verse 7; "She saith, I sit as a queen, and shall see no sorrow."

3 So verses 10, 17, 19; urą wpq nonuwon.-In verse 8 it is said, “In one day shall thy plagues come,-pestilence, and mourning, and famine :" as if, possibly, for a year before the final catastrophe by fire, there were to be some terrible visitation of Rome with pestilence and famine.

4 So verses 22, 23, “ And the voice of harpers, &c, &c, shall be heard no more in thee: "&c.

5 Verse 21. 6 So verses 8, 9, 18, of chap. xviii. and xix. 3 : in which last the strongest expression is used to depict the eternity of the fire ; " Her smoke riseth up els τους αιωνας των αιώνων, for ages of ages.

7 Verse 9. 8 Verses 11, 17.-The wares traded in may be thus classified :1. Gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, ivory, brass, iron, marble, wood ;-2. Linen, purple, silk, scarlet :-3. Cinnamon, odours, ointments, frankincense ;-4. Wine and 3 For this is made the subject of their adoration : and it is added as a notice connected with it, in verse 3, “And her smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever."

From which passage I draw the following conclusions, as to the probable progress of events in the fast coming future. Ist, (and this with strong conviction in my own mind of its truth,) that the fate of Rome, the mystic Babylon,-comprehending not the mere city of Rome, but at least the Papal Ecclesiastical State in Italy, and Papal Metropolitan Bishopric, together probably with that third, or more, out of the political tri-partition of

oil, wheat and fine flour, sheep and cattle ;-5. Horses and chariots ;6. Bodies and souls of men.—The last yuxas av pwrw appears at first sight, as applied to the mystic Babylon or Rome, very remarkably applicable in a spiritual sense. But it is an expression used elsewhere simply to mean persons, especially slaves ; e. g. in Numb. xxxi. 35, yuxai av pwTW ATO TWD YUvalkwy, for women slaves : and so Ηesychius explains ψυχαγωγοι as ανδραποδισαι. Consequently it must not be insisted on as implying Rome's traffic in souls; though very possibly not unintended.

? Verse 23. Compare Apoc. ix. 21. : Verses 6, 20, 24.—Compare Apoc. ix. 21:-also what our Lord says of the blood of all the prophets slain in Jerusalem coming on that generation, in Matt. xxiii. 35, 36.

4 So that of Sodom involved that of “the cities and all the plain" adjacent and connected, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” Gen. xix. 25.-On this understanding of the extent of the country desolated, the amaze and consternation of the kings, merchants, and shipmasters, that are represented as lamenting over the catastrophe of the great city, will be well accounted for.-The Pope's most ancient Metropolitan jurisdiction extended over the ten provinces of the Vicarius Urbicus ; viz. Campania, Tuscia, Umbria, Picenum, Valeria, Samnium, Apulia and Calabria, Lucania and the Bruttii, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica. Bingham, ix. 1. 9.

« PreviousContinue »