« VorigeDoorgaan »
and her name.
The mystery interpreted. LON THE GREAT, THE MO- the bottomless pit, and go into perdi- ponnoni THER OF || HARLOTS AND tion: and they that dwell on the
ABOMINATIONS OF THE earth shall wonder, whose names
were not written in the book of life
hath wisdom. The seven heads are
8 The beast that thou sawest was, cometh, he must continue a short
tical or figurative personage, meaning, under the name so as to become another and the same. “He was, and is and character of Babylon, a power like that of ancient not, and shall ascend,” &c. A beast in the prophetick Babylon, a chief promoter of idolatry, by whose authority style is a tyrannical idolatrous empire, and the Roman it was propagated among many nations of the earth. empire was idolatrous under the heathen emperours, Lowman.
and then ceased to be so for some time under the ChrisMYSTERY,). This mystery is what St. Paul tian emperours, and then became idolatrous again calls the mystery of iniquity, the setting up of a religion under the Roman pontiffs, and so has continued ever pretending to be a mighty mystery, as if it were the only since. It is the same idolatrous power revived again, mystery of godliness, the true mystery of God. As if but only in another form; and all the corrupt part of it were thus, She pretends to have a mystery, but she is mankind, whose names are not enrolled as good citizens indeed the mother of whoredoms and abominations of in the registers of heaven, are pleased at the revival of the earth. Daubuz.
it; but, in this last form, it “shall go into perdition, Her name “mystery" can imply no less than that she it shall not, as it did before, cease for a time and revive dealeth in mysteries, her religion is a mystery of iniquity, again, but shall be destroyed for ever. Bp. Newton. and she herself is mystically and spiritually " Babylon 9. — here is the mind which hath wisdom.] This is a the Great ;” and it is indeed a mystery that a Christian proclamation to require attention to a thing which must city, professing and boasting herself to be the city of not barely be heard and heeded, but also seriously conGod, should prove another Babylon in idolatry and sidered and studied. Here is a secret to be revealed cruelty to the people of God. Bp. Newton.
and explained; so that he that hears it, must have wisTHE MOTHER OF HARLOTS] That is, pol- dom, and employ it, to consider attentively what is proluting herself with the grossest idolatry, and corrupting posed. Daubuz. the nations with the same profane worship. Bp. Hurd. seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.]
This part of the description can with no propriety be This interpretation of the angel leaves no doubt that accommodated to Rome before it had embraced the faith the persecuting power, of which this is the prophecy, of Christ; because, however addicted to the worship of was to be some empire of which the city of Rome was idols that city may have been during its unconverted to be the capital or seat. Rome was as well known by its state, it cannot justly be charged with labouring to situation on seven hills, as by its name of Rome itself. spread the same infection to others. But it cannot be “The city on seven hills' was never mistaken for any denied, that Papal or Christian Rome has been sedu- other city; Roman authors have so fully determined the lously bent on nothing more, than on extending its reli- sense of it
. Lowman. gion with the same zeal the ancient Romans did their • The city on seven hills' is so characteristick of Rome, arms, and by the same methods too, even those of vio- that the name itself could not have pointed it out more lence and persecution towards all opposers. Bp. Hallifax. plainly. Bp. Hurd.
6. — drunken with the blood &c.] This might indeed 10, 11. — there are seven kings : &c.] In the style of be applied both to Pagan and Christian Rome, for both prophecy, kings mean kingdoms, or forms and states of have in their turns cruelly persecuted the saints and government. Daniel interprets the beasts in his promartyrs of Jesus : but the latter is more deserving of the phecy to mean kings, that is, kingdoms, empires, or character, as she has far exceeded the former both in the distinct governments, Dan. vii. 17, 23. Louman. degree and duration of her persecutions. Bp. Newton. Of these forms of government, “ five are fallen,” are
I wondered &c.] It is a very just observation of already past, “and one is," the sixth is now subsisting. the learned Vitringa, that St. John by this woman could The five fallen are kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, not possibly mean the heathen Rome, because he was and military tribunes ; as they are enumerated and disno stranger to the heathen persecution of Christians; tinguished by the two greatest Roman historians, Livy he himself had lived to see them, and he could not be and Tacitus. The sixth is the power of the Cesars or surprised at them. But, to find a power professedly emperours, which was subsisting at the time of this Christian drunk with the blood of the saints, might well vision. Although an end was put to the imperial name astonish him. Pyle.
by the Ostrogoths, yet a new form of government was 8. The beast that thou sau'est &c.] The mystery of not erected till Rome fell under the power of the the beast is first explained; and the beast is considered Eastern emperour, and the emperour's lieutenant, the first in general, under a threefold state or succession, as exarch of Ravenna, dissolved all the former magistracies, existing, and then ceasing to be, and then reviving again, and constituted a duke of Rome, to govern the people,
The interpretation of the beast, REVELATION.
and of the woman. 11 And the beast that was, and is 15 And he saith unto me, The not, even he is the eighth, and is of waters which thou sawest, where the the seven, and goeth into perdition. whore sitteth, are peoples, and mul
12 And the ten horns which thou titudes, and nations, and tongues.
desolate and naked, and shall eat her
hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree,
Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome beast, until the words of God shall a 1 Tim.6. 15. them: a for he is Lord of lords, and be fulfilled.
King of kings: and they that are 18 And the woman which thou
eth over the kings of the earth.
ch. 19. 16.
and to pay tribute to the exarchate of Ravenna. Rome those enumerated by the illustrious Sir I. Newton. had never experienced this form of government before, 1st, the kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in Spain and this seems to be “the other,” which in the Apostle's and Africa. 2nd, Of the Suevians in Spain. 3rd, Of days was yet to come, and when he cometh, he shall the Visigoths. 4th, Of the Alans in Gaul. 5th, Of the continue a short space.' For Rome was reduced to Burgundians. 6th, Of the Franks. 7th, The kingdom this tributary dukedom about A. D. 566, and the city of Britain. 8th, of the Huns. 9th, of the Lombards. revolted to the pope from the Eastern emperour in 10th, The kingdom of Ravenna. Lowman. A. D. 727 : which is “a short space” in comparison 13, 14. These have one mind, &c.] These kings of the with the imperial power which had preceded for five European nations will be seduced and persuaded into so hundred years, and with the papal power which has fol- high an opinion, and thence into such dread of this lowed for above one thousand years. Still it may be apostolical church government, that they will lend all matter of doubt whether this was a new form of govern- their arms and join their civil powers in support of it, ment, Rome having been still subject to the Greek and force the consciences of Christians to comply with emperour's deputy, the exarch of Ravenna; and, ac- it, and implicitly submit to it. But Christ, by the micording as this is determined, "the beast that was and nistry and steady obedience of His faithful servants, will is not,” that “was” while idolatrous, and “was not at length totally subdue this persecuting power. For while not idolatrous, will appear to be the seventh or the He is that King of saints, to whom shall be given the eighth. If we reckon this a new form, “the beast that “ dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under now is,” is “the seventh ;” if we do not reckon this a the whole heavens," as Daniel hath foretold, Dan, Ü. H+; new form, the beast is “ of the seven;" but whether he vii. 13, 24—27. Pyle. be the seventh or the eighth, he is the last form, and 15. — are peoples, and multitudes, &c.] See note at “goeth into perdition.” It is clear that the sixth form ver. 1. So many words in the plural number fitly denote of government, subsisting in St. John's time, is the im- the great extent of the power and jurisdiction of Rome; perial, and the form which succeeded to that in Rome, and it is a remarkable peculiarity of this government, and continued for a long time, can be no other than the different from all others, that its authority is not limited papal. Bp. Newton.
to its own immediate subjects, and confined within the 12. And the ten horns which thou sawest &c.] The ten bounds of its own dominions, but extends over all horns signify the ten kingdoms of Europe, into which countries and kingdoms professing the same religion. this western empire shall be broken, by the wars and Bp. Newton. devastations brought on it by the barbarous nations. 16. And the ten horns &c.] For the comfort of the This, the angel says to St. John, shall happen long after faithful it is revealed that these very nations, who will
about the very same period in which thus support the idolatry and persecution of the beast these European princes shall be rending each his king- for a time, will at length grow sensible of her extravadom from the empire, and setting up an independent gant claims and grievous oppressions, and will not only power of his own, this idolatrous church power, this withdraw their protection from her, but use their power eighth beast, will be, by subtile degrees, raising itself to against her, will strip her of her ornaments and riches, a height that will domineer over them all
, and bring expose her to shame, and bring her to destruction by them into the old heathen idolatries under a Christian fire and sword, and all the calamities of war. Louman. dress. Pyle.
17. For God hath put in their hearts &c.] For God one hour] What we translate “one hour,” should hath permitted the kings of the earth to support the rather have been rendered at the same hour or point idolatry and persecution of the beast for a limited time: of time,' as several learned interpreters have observed. but, when the word of prophecy shall be finished, then Lowman.
He will put it in their hearts to fulfil His farther will, Ten, in prophetick language, does not always mean a in the destruction of that power which they before supprecise number, but is used as a certain number for an ported. Lowman. uncertain, to express in general several or many; so - until the words &c.] Alluding perhaps particuthat there seems no necessity of finding a precise num- larly to the words of Daniel, at chap. vii. 25, 26. Bp. ber of ten different kingdoins erected on the ruins of Newton. the Roman empire. Still several interpreters have reck- 13. And the woman which thou sawest &c.] Although oned up precisely the number ten. The following are / little doubt can remain what idolatrous church is meant
The fall of Babylon. God's people CHAP. XVIII. commanded to depart out of her. CHAP. XVIII.
4. And I heard another voice from
kings of the earth, 11 with the merchants people, that ye be not partakers of
her sins, and that ye receive not of
5 For her sins have reached unto
2 And he cried mightily with a according to her works : in the cup a Chap. 14. 8. strong voice, saying, a Babylon the which she hath filled fill to her dou
great is fallen, is fallen, and is be-ble.
saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and b Isai. 47. 8.
8 Therefore shall her plagues cation, and the kings of the earth come in one day, death, and mournhave committed fornication with her, ing, and famine; and she shall be
and the merchants of the earth are utterly burned with fire: for strong Or, power. waxed rich through the || abundance is the Lord God who judgeth her. of her delicacies.
9 And the kings of the earth, who
by “the whore of Babylon;" yet for the greater assured the seducer and corrupter of the nations and their ness, the angel explains that “ the woman is that great kings, and had set the example of that insolent luxury, city," &c. And what city at the time of this vision, disposing them to irreligion, which it was her duty to reigned over the kingdoms of the earth, but Rome? oppose. Dean Woodhouse. She has ever since reigned over the kings of the earth, if - and the merchants of the earth &c.] As the pot with temporal, yet at least with spiritual authority, destruction of Rome is here compared to the destruchaving far exceeded in the arts of government all the tion of Tyre, we easily see how proper it is to describe cities both of ancient and modern times. Bp. Newton. the sins lof Rome by figures taken from the sins of
Tyre. The profit of trade created a commerce between Chap. XVIII. This Chapter represents another angel that city, then the chief mart of the world, and all sent from heaven, to reveal the sure judgments of God nations; so that Tyre spread her luxury and superon these enemies of the pure Christian religion, and to stition far and wide through all parts of the world, with foretell their sure destruction, which was to be effected her trade. Rome in like manner corrupted distant in as eminent a manner, as God ever punished Babylon nations, by rewarding her votaries with considerable or Tyre, the ancient enemies of true religion. This wealth, encouraging their ambition and luxury; and part of the prophecy is very fit and proper for the thus, like Tyre of old, made her corruptions general, general design of it, to warn and caution good Chris- and almost universal. Lowman. tians against the corruption of the time and age in 4.- Come out of her, my people,] In similar terms which they live, to give them consolation in their suf- the Prophets called upon God's people to flee from ferings through hope, under the protection of God, of Babylon, Isai. xlviii. 20; lii. 11; Jer. 1. and li. Pyle. deliverance in a proper time, and of a glorious reward in 6. Reward her even as she &c.] By the laws of the the end. Lowman.
Jews, some offences were punished by retaliation. In Ver. 1—3. And after these things I saw &c.] After the case of theft, the law required the thief to restore this account of the state and condition of spiritual double. It is in allusion to this, that the punishment Babylon, there follows a description of her fall and of Rome for her idolatry and persecution is here repredestruction, in the same sublime and figurative style sented. Lowman. This command is rather to be consiwhich Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, have employed to dered as a prediction, that the evil she had done to foretell the fall of ancient Babylon and Tyre, the types others will be returned upon her. Daubuz. and emblems of this spiritual Babylon. A mighty and The language of prophecy often seems to authorize glorious angel descends from heaven, and proclaims as what it only foretells, and to command that which it before, chap. xiv. 8. the fall of Babylon, and, together barely permits : thus in many passages, and in this with her punishment, the crimes which deserved it, her amongst others, nothing more is intended to be exidolatry and wickedness. Bp. Newton.
pressed than the certainty of the event. Bp. Hurd. 2.- the habitation of devils,] This expression seems 7. I sit a queen,] The same imagery is used in Isai. taken from Isai. xiü. 21. Satyrs shall dance there;" xlvii. 7; which prophecy contains the Divine judgment the word "satyrs” there being, in the Greek, demons on the literal Babylon. Dean Woodhouse. or devils. Bp. Newton.
8. - she shall be utterly burned] Fire, in prophetick 3. For all nations have drunk &c.] The cause of her language, implies utter destruction. It is the corrupjudgment or fall is here assigned. She who, as a tion, the superstition, and usurped dominion of Rome church of Christ, should have been the teacher and which is to be utterly destroyed. Dean Woodhouse. preserver of pure religion and morality, had become 9. And the kings shall bewail &c.] After the solemn
The kings of the earth, 8c.
lament over Babylon.
10 Standing afar off for the fear of 17 For in one hour so great riches
11 And the merchants of the earth sea, stood afar off,
city is like unto this great city!
pearls, and fine linen, and purple, ing, saying, Alas, alas that great | Or, sweet. and silk, and scarlet, and all || thyine city, wherein were made rich all that
wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, had ships in the sea by reason of her
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven,
wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and stone like a great milstone, and cast | Or, bodies. horses, and chariots, and || slaves, and it into the sea, saying, Thus with souls of men.
violence shall that great city Baby-
15 The merchants of these things, in thee; and no craftsman, of what-
milstone shall be heard no more at 16 And saying, Alas, alas that all in thee;
declaration of the fall of Rome, and her destruction by 12, 13. The merchandise, &c.] The enumeration of the fire, are set forth the consequences of her fall, the articles of trade, by which this Babylon is described as lamentations of some, and the rejoicings of others, making an iniquitous traffick, has something in it very ver. 20. “The merchants of the earth shall weep and peculiar and striking. It proceeds by a gradation from mourn over her,” ver. 11-17, for there is an end of all one article to another, till it rises to the bodies and traffick and commerce with her, whether spiritual or then to the souls of men. Can we avoid recalling to temporal; for it is intimated, ver. 13, that they make memory the purgatory, the penances, the commutamerchandise of the “souls," as well as bodies of men. tions, the indulgences, made saleable in the corrupt The shipmasters and sailors, and as many as trade by Papal Church? Dean Woodhouse. sea, “weep and wail,” ver. 17—19, for they can now 20. Rejoice over her, &c.] The same rejoicing is anno longer import or export commodities for her, or nounced upon the prophesied fall of ancient Babylon, convey strangers to and fro; for there is an end of all Jer, li. 48, and her eternal desolation is represented her costliness. These lamentations are copied from the under the same imagery. Dean Woodhouse. like lamentations over Tyre, in the 26th and 27th chap- 21. – took up a stone like a-milstone, &c.]
Yet ters of Ezekiel, and are equal to the most mournful further to confirm the sudden fall and irrecoverable strains of any of the Greek tragedians. In all, they destruction of Rome, an emblem is copied and improved stand afar off, ver. 10, 15, 17, as if they were unable or from Jeremiah, Jer. li. 63, 64, of a mighty angel casting afraid to help and assist her. In all, they lament the “a milstone into the sea,” thus declaring that with the suddenness of her fall, ver. 10, 17, 19, for “in one same violence “this great city shall be thrown down," hour" is her destruction come. At the same time, her and shall never rise again. Bp. Newton. destruction is matter of joy and triumph, ver. 20, to 22, 23, &c. And the voice of harpers, &c.] Musick " the holy Apostles and Prophets,” for God hath avenged was the entertainment of the rich and great ; trade, the them on her. Bp. Newton.
business of men of middle rank; preparing the necesIt is remarkable that the kings are described, in chap. saries of life, the employment of the lowest people; xvii., as the instruments of destruction to the spiritual marriages, in which lamps and songs were employed, Babylon, yet they are here represented as mourning her were required for peopling cities. Thus the desolation fall. Dean Woodhouse.
of Rome is described in such a manner, that neither
God is praised
CHAP. XVIII, XIX. for judging the great whore.
24 And in her was found the blood shipped God that sat on the throne,
5 And a voice came out of the
throne, saying, Praise our God, all CHAP. XIX.
his servants, and ye that fear him,
great whore, and avenging the blood of his 6 And I heard as it were the voice
The angel will not be worshipped. 17 The of many waters, and as the voice of
mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia:
great voice of much people in 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and
hath made herself ready.
rich nor poor, neither persons of the middle nor the church on earth, what grateful sense they ought to lowest ranks, should be able to live there any more, have of God's faithfulness in their protection, and of nor should it be repeopled by new marriages, but re- His righteous judgments in punishing the persecutors main desolate and uninhabited. Lowman.
of truth and religion. Lowman. The denunciation of the judgment of Babylon, con- Ver. 1. — much people — saying, &c.] In the 20th tained in his speech of the angel, seems principally verse of the last chapter, the saints who are stationed intended for the support and comfort of the poor in grand chorus before the throne, are exhorted to repersecuted Christian church, during the high zenith joice over the fall of Babylon. The representation of of the antichristian usurpation. To answer this pur- this fall being completed, we hear the choral song. Dean pose the more effectually, almost every part of the Woodhouse. prophecy is taken from the prophetical denunciations Alleluia ;] This is a Hebrew word, which sigof the Old Testament against Babylon, Tyre, &c., which nifies, “ Praise ye the Lord.” It occurs at the beginwere known to have been literally fulfilled. No other | ning and at the end of many Psalms. See Ps. cv. 45 ; method could afford such perfect confidence to those Ps. cvi. 1; also Tobit xiii. 18. who, in the new Babylon, clearly discovered the ty- 2. For true and righteous are his judgments :] They ranny and wickedness of the old. And, from the time join praises and thanksgiving to Almighty God, for His that Papal Rome was acknowledged to be this new truth and righteousness in judging this idolatrous city; Babylon, (and this discovery was made early in the His truth in fulfilling His promises and threatenings; twelfth century,) great must have been the encourage- and His righteousness in proportioning her punishment ment derived to the Reformers from this chapter of the to her crimes. Bp. Newton. Revelation. Dean Woodhouse.
3. — And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.] Which 24. And in her was found the blood &c.] She is found intimates, that she should be made as signal a monufull of blood and cruelty, as being guilty of the effusion ment of Divine vengeance, as Sodom and Gomorrah. of the blood of God's faithful Prophets and Apostles, Bp. Newton. and of all His saints and holy martyrs upon earth. 4.- - elders — beasts] See notes at chap. iv. Bp. Hall.
for the marriage of the Lamb is come, &c.] The
ancient Prophets describe the favour of God to His Chap. XIX. The prophecies which have preceded people, by the affection of a bridegroom, Isai. lxii. 5. have concluded with a severe punishment of Rome for The church is represented in the New Testament, in the her pride, luxury, superstition, and idolatry, and espe- same similitude of a bride, 2 Cor. xi. 2. As marriages cially for her cruel persecution of all who were found were used to be celebrated with great joy, the marriage faithful to their duty, in preserving the purity of the of the Lamb with His church is a fit emblem to shew Christian doctrines and worship. When Rome thus the state of prosperity and happiness to which God will fell, as ancient Babylon, to rise no more, the heavenly raise it, after all its sufferings for the sake of truth and church is introduced as a chorus or choir to praise God righteousness. Lowman. for His righteous judgments and faithfulness. This 8. — that she should be arrayed in fine linen,] Not in excellent hymn of praise, sung by the united voices of worldly spendour, like the harlot; but in the pure, angels and saints, the whole assembly of heaven, simple, though resplendent, garments, which are the strongly represents to all Christians, and to every clothing of the heavenly inhabitants. She “had washed