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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA



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Accession No. b\/ & Class No.



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE,



THOUGHTS



THE APOCALYPSE



BENJAMIN WILLS NEWTON.



<f Mta,




LONDON:

HOULSTON AND SONS,

PATERNOSTER SQUARE.
1853.



'**" Of TOT



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in Setonir dMiott.



THE time that has elapsed since the publication of the first
edition of this work in 1843, has afforded the author oppor-
tunity carefully to reconsider its statements, and the principles
of interpretation that were then adopted. He may be per-
mitted to say that such re-examination has strongly confirmed
his conviction of the correctness of the radical principles of
his former work, and (although very sensible of many imper-
fections) he feels increased confidence in commending the
same general conclusions to the solemn attention of all, who,
through faith in the blood of the Lamb, are entitled to regard
the Book of the Revelation as emphatically theirs. <( I Jesus
have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the
churches"

In the present edition the author has endeavoured, in some
slight degree, to obviate one objection made to his former
work, viz. that it stated conclusions without sufficiently
communicating the reasons on which those conclusions were
founded. He has not, however, added much in the way of
explanation, because he found that it would be impossible to
do this, without altering the general character of the work
and increasing very materially its size. He would, there-



Vi ADVERTISEMENT TO SECOND EDITION.

fore, request those who desire to consider these subjects in a
more elementary form, to refer to three other works which
he has published within the last five years, and which will
be found to detail the reasons of many statements which are
assumed as true in the present volume.*

The Greek text followed in this work is that of Dr. Tre-
gelles ; the value of whose labours in having edited a cor-
rected text of the Apocalypse, and in preparing a critical
edition of the whole Greek New Testament, it would be
difficult to appreciate too highly. If Dr. Trcgelles' Greek
text has anywhere been departed from in the present work,
it has been done inadvertently.

The author may be permitted to add, that as years roll on
and events unfold themselves, he feels more and more deeply
the necessity of closely cleaving to those great foundation
truths of our holy faith, which (however practically departed
from) are still preserved in the creeds and confessions of
Protestant Christendom. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity,
the Eternal Sonship of the Lord, His essential Deity, His
true though sinless humanity, the perfect and present justi-
fication of all believers through His blood, the authority of
Holy Writ, its being written in " words taught of the Holy
Ghost" these and other connected doctrines are to the

* The works referred to are these :

" Aids to Prophetic Enquiry. First Series."

" Ditto ditto Second Series."

" Prospects of the Ten Kingdoms of the Roman Empire."

To be obtained at the Publishers. See advertisement at the end of this

volume.

The author would also recommend the perusal of " Remarks on the

Prophetic Visions of the Book of Daniel," by S. P. Tregelles, LL.D.

(Bagster and Sons), and " Development of Antichrist," by Andrew Bonar,

Esq. (published by Partridge and Oakey).



ADVERTISEMENT TO SECOND EDITION. Vll

author dearer, he trusts, than life. It is in the conviction
that attention to "the sure word of prophecy" will not lessen
but deepen our value for these foundation truths of our com-
mon faith, that he again ventures to solicit the attention of
his brethren to these pages, which he now commends to the
blessing of Him whose grace is able to pardon their imper-
fections, and to prosper whatever is of His truth in them,

London, October 18, 1853.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS



I. ON REVELATION I. . . . . . . .10

II. "SEVEN CANDLESTICKS OF GOLD." , . . .23

III. NOTES ON REVELATION I. ...'... 33

IV. ON REVELATION IV. AND V. . . . . . .47

V. ON REVELATION V. ....... 66

VI. NOTES ON REVELATION IV. AND V. , ... 72

VII. ON REVELATION VI ........ 81

VIII. NOTES ON REVELATION VI. . . . . . .96

IX. ON REVELATION VII ....... .. HO

X. ON REVELATION VIII., IX., AND X ...... 119

XI. NOTES ON REVELATION VII., VIII., AND IX. . . 127

XII. ON REVELATION X. ....... 136

XIII. ON REVELATION XI ........ 140

XIV. NOTES ON REVELATION X. AND XT. < 146
XV. ON REVELATION XII ........ 157

XVI. NOTES ON REVELATION XII. . . . . . .169

XVII. ON REVELATION XIII ........ 184

XVIII. NOTES ON REVELATION XIII. ..... 199

XIX. ON REVELATION XIV. / 215



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I-AOK

XX. NOTES ON EEVELATION XIV. ...... 232

XXL ON REVELATION XIV. AND XV 242

XXII. NOTES ON REVELATION XV. AND XVI 253

XXIII. ON REVELATION XVII. AND XVIII. . . . .263

XXIV. ON REVELATION XVIII 288

XXV. NOTES ON REVELATION XVII. ... . 304

XXVI. ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI 330

XXVII. NOTES ON REVELATION XIX., XX., AND XXI. . . . 344

XXVIII. ON REVELATION XXI 354

XXIX. NOTES ON REVELATION XXI 366

APPENDIX A . . . . . . . . . . 374

APPENDIX B . 376



ERRATA.



Page 28, line 30, for "hich " read " which."

Page 151, line 16, eorwree should have a mark of reference to the foot-note.

Page 169, line 2, for " their outward " read " in their outward."

Page 179, line 32, for " ripTraaOri " read " r/pTraorffy."

Page 198, line 34, for " if you will " read " if thou wilt."

Page 201, line 18, for " appeared has " read " appeared had."

Page 206, line 22, for " On his heads" read On his horns."

Page 209, line 2, for " definite of " read " definite or."

Page 209, line 4, for "that or" read that of."

Page 210, line 13, for " (eTTTjyev) " read " eV^er."

Page 219, line 33, for " irapfj.o\r]v " read "

Page 225, line 22, for " (KaQrivevoig) " read

Page 227, line 32, /or " follow with them " read " follow them."

Page 236, line 23, for " r/yopaa-^ueVoi " read " r/

Page 240, line 27, /or " actions " read " action.

Page 279, line 29, omi " (o av0pwn-oc

Page 301, line 34, /or " the dominion " read " the abomination.

Page 322, line 15, for " 6 cupwv " read " 6

Page 374, line 21, /or " VTTOTTO^IOV " read




IT seems wonderful, that any, who reverence the Scripture
and know what true Christianity really is, should be able to
persuade themselves, that the history of the world has been
one of progress in righteousness and in the knowledge of
God. What period in the earth's history has not been
marked with the plainest evidences of disastrous failure?
Paradise was created, and man was placed in it innocent
and happy. But man sinned, and ruin entered. After the
fall, God introduced new light, unfolded his promises of
grace, and granted also many natural mercies. But evil
instantly put forth its energies ; the arts of civilization apart
from God were spread by Cain and his descendants through-
out the earth; wickedness reigned; and the flood came.

When the flood departed, eight persons descended from
the ark, all of them acquainted, at least outwardly, with
the true God. They had seen His judgments ; and, being
themselves delivered, were ushered into a new world, sup-
plied with new knowledge and fresh covenanted mercies.
It was promised that while the earth remained, " seed-time
and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and
night should not cease; and God blessed Noah and his
sons." Thus, not in darkness and misery, but with light
and blessings consciously received from God, mankind com-
menced their new existence in a recovered earth. Yet only

B



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE.

a few years passed, before their confederation at Babel
evinced their determination to attain greatness apart from
God. Scattered under His hand, yet not repenting, they
gave themselves over to idolatry, which so rapidly and so
universally prevailed, that even Abraham's kindred, when
God called Abraham, had begun to serve other gods. So
early commenced that night of heathenism under which
more than two-thirds of the world is at this moment buried.
The separation of Abraham and of Israel was a bright
spot in the midst of the darkness. To Israel were (( com-
mitted the oracles of God." But Israel failed (as they will
one day themselves confess) to work any deliverance in the
earth. Their light became dim at its centre, and was at
last turned into darkness, so that the name of God was
blasphemed among the Gentiles because of them / and now
special wrath, or, to use the words of our Lord Himself,
" days of vengeance " have come upon them, and will rest
on them " until the end." The Church dispensation fol-
lowed. The Church, when it first appeared in the earth,
maintained its testimonies not unworthily of Him whose
name it bore. It was the pillar and ground of Truth ; salt
that had not lost its savour ; a light set on a hill. For a
season, the Pentecostal Church in Jerusalem shone brightly.
The Gentile Churches succeeded ; and, for a while, shone
also as true lamps of the sanctuary. But even before the
Apostles died, decay was, in them too, visible. The Epistles,
especially the later ones, were full of warning and reproof.
If, said the Apostle, ye Gentiles, who have been graffed
into Israel's olive tree, become disobedient and (f continue
not in God's goodness, ye also," like Israel before, " shall
be cut off." They did not continue in God's goodness
worldliness and corruption reigned; until at last Chris-
tianity, perverted Christianity, casting off the likeness of
Nazareth, deliberately assumed the garments of earth, and
sought to reign as if enthroned, apart from Christ and His
Truth; even whilst that Truth and its servants were yet



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. O

suffering. Constantino and the Roman. Empire were not
unwilling to accept the alliance of a body that was ready
to consecrate the world's energies, and to bless evil in the
name of Christ. The results speedily followed. Moham-
medanism, superstition, infidelity, soon spread their wings
of darkness over the very regions in which the Apostles
laboured ; and up to this present hour, those nations pecu-
liarly sleep the sleep of a double death.

There have, indeed, been periods, when God has interfered
to rekindle some light, that His Truth might be preserved
from utter extinction. But these periods of revival have not,
in result, proved exceptions to the general rule. The light
given (though individuals have received it and been blessed)
has, as to its general reception, been perverted or quenched.
The stream, of evil, checked, perhaps, for a moment, has only
gathered strength by the delay ; and has either overflowed
the barrier, or, else, forced for itself some new channel, in
which it rolls on more proudly and destructively than before.

The Protestant era affords a marked example of the
merciful interference of God. Protestantism found existing
in the earth, a body that professed to be the unfallen Church
of God. The Church of Rome claimed to be what the
Apostolic Church once was "the pillar and ground of the
Truth." It claimed also to have (what no Church in this
dispensation ever can have) that place of supremacy and
rule over the nations, which is reserved exclusively for
Israel and for Jerusalem, when the day of their repentance
and forgiveness shall at length have come. This claim,
Protestantism rejected. The pretended Church and its
Traditions were disowned, and the Bible only recognised as
speaking with the infallible authority of God.

If Protestantism had adhered to the Scriptures only ; if
it had diligently sought out Teachers really qualified for
their service by the Holy Spirit; if it had abandoned
ritualism, and faithfully maintained that all who are " of
faith" are " sanctified" and, as regards acceptance, "perfected

B 2'



THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE.

by the offering of the body of Jesus once ;" if it had distin-
guished between those who made credible confession of the
Gospel., and those who manifestly were servants of the world ;
we should have seen in its history, a spectacle far different
from that which it now presents. There are, indeed, among
Protestants, many whom God has reserved unto Himself men
who have not bowed the knee to Baal ; but what are the
Protestant nations as a whole? Popery rages on the one
hand, and Infidelity on the other ; whilst the voice of the
true Church of God has waxed so feeble, as to be heard
little more than the wail of a child in the midst of the fury
of the midnight storm.

When Protestantism, in striking off the shackles of super-
stition, leads those whom it has freed, immediately and only
to the word of God, its work is blessed. But if, careless of
Truth, or shunning conflict, it disown or hide the distinctive
doctrines of the faith ; if, for the sake of conciliating others,
and effecting the union of men as men, it consent to unholy
compromise; if natural conscience dark, deadened con-
science, be pronounced man's sufficient rule ; if they who
receive the Scripture, and they who mutilate or add to it,
be deemed equally worthy of positions of moral influence in
society and in. government ; if the mind of man, apart from
the guidance of revelation, be judged competent to give
right moral order to the earth ; if, as has been of late af-
firmed, the regulations of government are to be independent
of Scripture and all regard to revealed truth if such be the
principles by which the chief of Protestant nations (aided
too in these efforts, not unfrequently by real Christians) is
striving to stamp a new character on the earth, it is evident,
that success in these efforts will effect a more radical subver-
sion of Truth, and a more effectual rejection of Scripture,
than has ever been known since the light of Christianity was
first kindled in the earth. The formalism of the Pharisee
may be easily exchanged for the liberalism of the Sadducee ;
but the yoke of superstition is in vain broken, if the only



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. O

liberty gained be the liberty of the unregenerate mind of
man. The liberty of self-will is not the liberty wherewith
Christ maketh free.*

Few, I suppose, can seriously meditate on that which is
now passing around them, without some misgivings as to the
future. Yet if the mind be possessed with the thought of
the dignity and perfectibility of the nature of man ; if it be
ignorant alike of the corruption of the human heart, and of
the presence and power of Satan ; it can easily deceive itself
into the belief, that society has within itself the elements of
its own rectification; and with that thought, it will satisfy
itself and silence every apprehension. Others again, who
have some reverence for the Scripture, knowing that it
speaks of a season when the knowledge of the Lord shall
pervade all nations, hastily assume that all things are happily
tending towards that end ; and refuse to examine what the
Prophets have written respecting the conclusion of this pre-
sent age of evil. Indeed, until of late, the almost universal
belief of Protestant Christians has been, that they had well-
nigh passed through the great and terrible hour of Anti-
christianism that the final judgments appointed to Jerusa-
lem and the nations were almost exhausted, and that the
course of events was rapidly tending towards the peaceful

* It may perhaps seem strange, that in speaking of Protestantism, we
should have to refer so exclusively to its national and governmental as-
pect. If Protestantism had discerned the sin of the day of Constantine,
and had steadily drawn the line of separation hetween the Nations and
the Church, we should have been able to trace its history in the separate
path which the family of faith would have trodden, and should have
sought within that family, and not in the world, for the results of its
labours. But even spiritual Protestantism early sold its energies to the
nations and their governments. In fleeing from Popeiy, it rushed into
the courts and camps of those, who (however they may for their own
purposes resist certain ecclesiastical forms of evil) have ever hindered the
developments of truth, and will finally seek to crush them altogether.
Yet even now, Protestant ChristiaDs seem little aware of the path which
the nations secularly are about to tread, and the end to which that path
is tending.







":



D THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE.

rest of the millennial day. Recently, however, many have
been awakened from this fatal dream. Turning more simply
to the Scripture, they have found, that although the promised
kingdom of peace shall at last surely come; yet we have^rs
to consider the testimony of that roll long since given to
Ezekiel, but not yet exhausted, whereon is written both for
Israel and the nations, " lamentation, and mourning, and
.woe." The book of the Revelation enlarges on and confirms
the testimony of that roll.

One of the chief hindrances, perhaps, to understanding
the book of Revelation, has been a neglect of Old Testament
prophecy. The prophecies of the New Testament, are, of
course, supplemental to those of the Old ; and should be con-
sidered first. The wickedness and blasphemies of Antichrist
and the nations that follow him, at the period so often termed
in Scripture " the time of the end," the unequalled season
of tribulation that is to fall on Israel in Jerusalem, immedi-
ately before their final deliverance by the appearing of the
Lord in glory these and kindred subjects were familiar to
the early disciples, (for they were Jews who had received
the testimonies of the prophets,) and they were therefore
prepared to receive the additional instructions of the Lord
and His Apostles instructions expressly intended to com-
plete the outlines that had been before given.

One part of the Old Testament Scripture which has been
especially neglected, is that which speaks of the now ap-
proaching hour, when, hardened and impenitent, Israel shall
be regathered to Jerusalem, there to receive the last terrible
inflictions from the hand of their God. " Son of man, the
house of Israel is to Me become dross : all they are brass,
and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace ;
they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith
the Lord God : Because ye are all become dross, behold,
therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and
tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. 7

melt it ; so will I gather you in Mine anger and in My fury,
and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will
gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of My wrath, and
ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is
melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in
the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have
poured My fury upon you." How little has this solemn
passage been considered ! Yet this is the period so often
mentioned in Daniel, as f< the last end of the indignation"
against Jerusalem. It is the period also, of which the book
of Revelation, in all its visions of judgment, mainly treats.

If we consider the present condition of the Jews, we can-
not marvel at the sore judgments which are yet to be sent
upon them. Nationally, they still remain under the weight
of those awful words, " His blood be upon us and on our
children :" and although many are breaking the bonds with
which Rabbmism has bound them, yet it is only to gain the
liberty of Sadducean liberalism. Thus we find a recent and
influential writer among them, exultingly anticipating the
time, when Mohammedans, Jews, and Christians^ assembling
around Mount Zion, shall with like acceptance, " all waft
their orisons to that Heaven, where sits in Divine majesty,
the Lord of Hosts and the God of Israel." Yet what is this
but Deism ? Men admire it and call it charity. Multitudes
even of those who profess the name of Christ, in their anxiety
to escape the responsibilities of definite truth, welcome and
applaud the thought. A point of union for men as men is
desired ; and this, negation of Truth and the pursuit of some
common earthly good, most readily supply. Around such a
centre, the indifferentism of Pagan, Mohammedan, Jewish,
and Christian scepticism can gather. Such will be the road
by which men will enter on their last great confederation
against Jehovah and His Christ, until they shall openly say,
" Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their
cords from us."

The rising importance of the Eastern or Greek division of



8 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE.

the Roman Empire, can hardly have escaped the observation
of those who have noted what is passing among the nations.
Greece, Egypt, Syria, the coasts of Asia Minor, and, in part,
Jerusalem, are becoming more and more connected with the
arts, civilization, and commerce of Western Europe. The
provinces which these and other such names represent,
formed the Eastern or Greek part of the Roman Empire
an empire which we know from the Scripture will again
re-appear in a corporate, though divided, form, before the
closing events of "the end of the age" are ushered in.
Throughout all the changes of the middle ages, the distinct-
ness of the Latin and Greek divisions of the Roman Empire
have been discernible God having preserved them, because
they are appointed, together with Israel in Jerusalem, to form
the mainspring of the world's energies during the last hours
of its evil history. Greek, Latin, Hebrew, were the lan-
guages written over the Cross ; and the nations which those
languages represent, will yet again be found in terrible con-
federacy against Jehovah and against Christ. At the Cross,
men were allowed to accomplish their purpose no judg-
ment was sent forth against them it was the time of long-
suffering mercy there was then One who said " Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do :" but the
coming day of apostasy will have to be met, not by mercy,
but by vengeance. God has not in reserve any other sacri-
fice for sins ; and if that which He has provided and pro-
claimed be rejected if despite be done to that Spirit of
Grace which now bears witness to that sacrifice, nothing can
remain but <( judgment and fiery indignation which shall
devour the adversaries."

The Revelation, in its prophetic parts, belongs to the closing
hour of human history. It does not profess to record the
progressive steps by which, during the last 1800 years, men
have advanced toward their final greatness for in that case
it must have been a history of the world ; it seeks not, there-
fore, to detail the means by which the final point of human



INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. 9

greatness is reached; but it teaches us the character of that
greatness, and reveals its doom. The manner and the place
in which the combined apostasy of man, of Israel, and of a
large section of professing Christendom, will be finally de-
veloped; the mode of the interference of God in chastise-
ment, and then the mission of His Son in judgment, are
declared in the Revelation. It presents to us the world
already standing in full possession of its last prosperity ; and
then reveals the manner in which the Almighty hand of out-
raged goodness interferes to crush the proud power of evil,
and to bring in everlasting righteousness. It reveals also, in
various visions, the different aspects of the glory of those
who, after having known the tribulation and endurance of
the kingdom of Jesus during the period of the Truth's suffer-
ing, will share their Master's risen glory and reign with
Him in life, when the time comes for Truth to be exalted.

The Revelation assumes the path of human progress to be,
at present, evil ; it assumes the failure of the Church's testi-
mony ; it assumes that Christ's servants will never behold
the establishment of Truth in the earth, until judgment shall
first have wrought its work, and they have themselves been
taken to their heavenly mansions of glory. This the prophets
had declared ; this the teaching of the Lord Jesus had con-
firmed; and to this the captivity of John in Patmos bore
testimony. They, consequently, who are unprepared to
admit these things, are unprepared to understand the Revela-
tion. A film is on their inward eye which needs to be re-
moved before they can receive the instructions of this Book.



10 THOUGHTS ON THE APOCALYPSE,



CHAPTER I.



ALTHOUGH the great object of the Revelation is to commu-
nicate instruction respecting the future, especially concerning



Online LibraryBenjamin Wills NewtonThoughts on the apocalypse → online text (page 1 of 31)