earth, and of the sea ! for the devil is come down
unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth
that he hath but a short time ' (Rev. xii. 10—12).
Satan is here spoken of as the accuser of God's
people — accusing them of falls, weaknesses, incon-
sistencies, imperfections. And how" have they an-
swered these charges, and refuted their merciless
adversary ? Not by denying them, or excusing
them, or by off-setting against them their own
good deeds ; no, but ' by the blood of the Lamb.'
There is no other way in which Satan's accusation
can ever be met and vanquished.
The next Song of which we hear in heaven is
that of the 144,000, who have their Father's name
written on their foreheads. It is sung by them,
and by them only. * I heard a voice from heaven,
as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a
great thunder : and I heard the voice of harpers
harping with their harps : and they sung as it
were a new song before the throne, and before the
four living creatures, and the elders ; and no man
could learn that song but the hundred and forty
218 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAIJSED:
and four thousand, which were redeemed from the
earth ' (Rev. xiv. 2, 3).
The purport of this song is not given. It
is called a new song, and was probably similar to
the new song of redeeming mercy, of which we
hear in chapter v.
After this we have the Song of those who
had gotten the victory over the beast, and over
his image. * They sing the song of Moses the
servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, say-
ing, Great and marvellous are Thy works. Lord
God Almighty ; just and true are Thy ways, thou
King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, Lord,
and glorify Thy name ? for Thou only art holy : for
all nations shall come and worship before Thee ;
for Thy judgments are made manifest ' (Rev. xv.
This seems to have been sung by the ransomed
ones exclusively. They are said to have sung the
song of Moses and the Lamb, — a song of deliver-
ance, like that of Moses on the shore of the Red
Sea, — of deliverance, too, by the blood of the
Lamb. This song refers to the righteous judg-
ments of God upon His enemies, and to the result
of His judgments in promoting His fear. ' Who
shall not fear Thee, Lord, now that Thy righteous
judgments are made manifest?'
We have but another of the Songs of Heaven
SONGS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 219
given us in the Revelation, and that is one of great
interest, — on the fall and ruin of the mystical
Babylon. * After these things, I heard a great
voice of much people in heaven, saying. Alleluia ;
Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto
the Lord our God : 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
hand. And again they said. Alleluia. And her
smoke rose up for ever and ever ' (Rev. xix. 1—3).
In this song, as in others, the retributive justice
of God is celebrated. Heavenly beings praise God
in view of the smoke of the lost, not from motives
of malice and revenge, but from a solemn regard
for the honour of God, the claims of His justice,
and the highest good of the universe ; just as we
rejoice when the murderer is caught, confined, and
brought to suffer the reward of his deeds. We
have no malice against the poor convict. We pity
him, and pray for him. But we rejoice that the
law he has broken is honoured, that justice is vindi-
cated, and that the coQimunity is safe.
Judging from the Songs we have examined, hea-
venly beings think more of the justice of God, than
do even good people in the present world. They
praise it more earnestly, and in tender strains.
They speak one to another of the bottomless pit,
220 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED:
and the lake of fire, without any fear of disturLing
weak sensibilities, or giving offence.
There is another Song in immediate connection
with this — if it be another — in a different strain :
* A voice came out of the throne,' — undoubtedly,
from the Messiah — ' saying. Praise our God, all ye
His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and
great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great
multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as
the voice of mighty thundeiings, saying, Alleluia:
for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be
glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him : for the
marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath
made herself ready. And to her was granted that
she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white :
for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints'
(Rev. xix. 5—8).
The last conflict is now nearly over; the mil-
lennial marriage of the Lamb is approacing ; the
bride, the Church, hath received her robe of right-
eousness, clean and white; she hath made herself
ready ; and this is sufficient to call forth exultant
praises from the hosts of heaven.
From the notices we have taken of the Songs of
Heaven, we learn that praise is perhaps the noblest
of all employments. It is emphatically the employ-
ment of heaven. "We hear little or nothing of
prayers in heaven, but the whole atmosphere is full
SONGS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 221
of praise. There are in that world not only stated
ascriptions, like those of the cherubim in Rev. iv. 8,
but frequent outbursts of occasional worship, in view
of great deliverances and triumphs. Such are most
of the songs which we find recorded, and on which
we have had occasion to remark.
And in these there is an important lesson for us.
We, too, have our deliverances, as well as trials ;
and they should all of them be swift occasions of
thanksgiving and praise. Especially should we be
exultant in the prosperity of Zion. This is that
which calls forth the loudest praises of heaven ;
and in these praises all those on the earth who
have the spirit of heaven will most cordially unite.
They will join in these blessed employments here,
as they hope to partake of them, with joy unspeak-
able and full of glory, in that blessed world for ever.
222 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED:
THE LESSONS OF THE APOCALYPSE.
IT would be unpardonable to close this review
of the Apocalypse without adverting to some
of the important lessons which the book suggests.
1. A thought which strikes us upon the first
opening of the book, and which follows us through
all its contents, is, the deep concern ichich heavenhj
beings feel in all that pertains to the present world.
They know what is doing here, and what is about
to be done, and their active concern in it is unceas-
ing. Angels pour out the vials of God's wrath upon
the wicked, and are the unwearied ministers of
mercy to His people. While they adore the justice
of God in His terrible inflictions, not a victory is
gained over the dragon or the beast, but it is cele-
brated in their triumphal songs. In the study of
this wonderful book, we seem to be almost in
heaven, — to be mingling in the society of heavenly
beings, catching their voices, and partaking of their
LESSONS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 22S
The secret of that interest which heavenly beings
feel for us on the earth lies, obviously, in redemption.
It was here that the great Son of God came down,
and made an atonement for sin. It is here that the
work of redemption is going forward, and will go
forward, till the last stone of the heavenly temple
is in its plaee. The Lamb is the great object of
attraction in heaven. Kedemption is God's greatest
work — that which best reveals His character, and
shows forth His praise. His brightest glory shines
in the face of Jesus Christ. And since earth is the
theatre of redemption — the place of Christ's greatest,
mightiest achievements, no wonder that heavenly
beings are interested in what is transpiring here.
No wonder the seraphim sing above : ' Holy, holy,
holy is the Lord God of hosts ! The whole earth is
full of His glory.'
2. In the Apocalypse we behold, perhaps more
clearly than anywhere else, ^ both the goodness- and
the severity of GodJ This goodness, not only to
the ransomed ones who surround His throne and
share His glory, but even to those who are ulti-
mately cast away from His presence.
Take, for example, Imperial Rome — that
beast which Daniel saw, — how long did God's
patience endure with this monster, while he was
devouring and breaking in pieces, and stamping the
residue with his feet ? It was this Roman beast
224 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED:
which crucified the Lord, and which tortured and
destroyed His people with every form of misery and
death, for the next three hundred years. Yet the
goodness of God was not to be insulted for ever.
Rome's retribution came at length ; and it was a
frightful one. Read the opening seals, and the first
six trumpets, and behold in them the severity of
God towards this old and hardened ofi*ender. There
is * hail and fixe, mingled \vith blood,' cast upon the
Roman earth ; there is ' a great mountain burnmg
with fire ' dashed into the Roman sea ; there is the
plague of the locusts let loose from the bottomless
pit, to torment the wicked of the earth, till ' men
shall seek death and not find it, and desire to die,
but death shall flee from them.' There are the
*two hundred thousand thousand' Turkish horse-
men, with their breast-plates of iron, with the heads
of lions, and fire and brimstone issuing from their
mouths, before whom the last remains of tlie old
Roman empire fall to rise no more.
And the same example of goodness and severity
is exhibited in God's treatment of Papal Rome.
She is permitted to persecute the mystical woman
and her seed, and slaughter the faithful witnesses,
and blaspheme the name of God and His tabernacle,
and make herself drunk with the blood of saints and
martyrs, for the long period of twelve hundred and
sixty years, until the very souls under the heavenly
LESSONS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 225
altar begin to cry out, ' How long, Lord, holy and
true, dost tliou not judge and avenge our blood on
tliem that dwell on the earth?' and yet God's
patience waits, and His wrath delays. But it does
not wait always. A final conflict is provoked, the
sword of vengeance falls, and then the severity of
God is manifest. Great Babylon falls with a crash
that astonishes the nations ; a lake of blood issues
from the wine-press of God's wrath, by the space of
one thousand six hundred furlongs. All the fowls
of heaven are summoned together unto the supper
of the great God, that they ' may eat the flesh of
kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of
mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them
that sit on them, and the flesh of all that follow
them, both free and bond, both small and great.'
Such is the exhibition here made of God's righteous
severity; and all this in the present life. What
then must the impression be, as we follow the beast,
and the false prophet, and all those who bear their
mark, or worship their image, into the lake of fire,
and see the smoke of their torment ascending up for
ever and ever?
3. While we hesg: the denunciations of the Apo-
calypse upon Papal Rome as an organization, and
unite with the hosts of heaven in their approval,
we should feel none hid the tenderest comjmssion to-
wards the deluded devotees of this corrupt Church, and
226 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED:
should seek, by every proper metliod, their deliverance
Thus God feels towards tliem. This is evident
from His long suffering, His patient forbearance
with them. It is further evident in His faithful
warnings and admonitions : ' If any man worship
the beast and his image, and receive his mark
in his forehead, and in his hand, the same shall
drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is
poured out without mixture into the cup of His
indignation.' * Come out of her, my people, that
ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not
of her plagues.' The distinction here indicated
between a system, an organization, and its indivi-
dual abettors, is a very important one. We may
abhor a system, while we pity and pray for those
who are involved in it and seduced by it. We
may denounce the Romish Church as a ruinous and
blasphemous usurpation, and yet do all in our power
to enlighten its blinded votaries, and rescue them
from its corruptions and its doom.
4. We learn from the Apocalypse, that tchatso-
ever sliall oppose itself to God and His Church must
idtimately fall. So says the puophet Isaiah : ' The
nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall
perish ; yea, those naticns shall be utterly wasted '
(Isa. Ix. 11).
We learn the same lesson from what God has
LESSONS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 227
done in other ages. Where now are the kingdoms
of Assyria and Egypt, — the oldest of which we
have any knowledge? Where is great Nineveh,
and the still greater Babylon, which once frowned
defiance on all who approached them, and seemed
as though they must stand for ever. Where is the
Medo-Persian ram which David saw, pushing west-
ward and northward and southward, so that no beast
could stand before him, neither could any deliver out
of his hand ? And where is that Grecian he-goat,
which came so rapidly from the west, that he seemed
scarcely to touch the ground, — which smote the
ram, and brake his two horns, and trampled his
empire in the dust? And where is that fourth
beast which Daniel saw, dreadful, and terrible, and
strong exceedingly, which devoured and brake in
pieces with its iron teeth, and stamped the residue
with its feet ? These mighty empires have long
since departed ; their cities are in ruins ; their names
and their history are all that remain to us.
And why have they passed away ? Why have
they been so utterly and miserably destroyed?
With the Bible in our hands, we cannot hesitate
for an answer. They set themselves in opposition
to the kingdom of Christ, and they could not pros-
per. They set themselves in the way of the stone
cut out of the mountain without hands, and it rolled
over them, and ground them to powder.
228 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED:
And so shall it be with every other kingdom
which presumes to follow then* example. We have
in the Apocalypse visions of the future, which are
as instructive on this point as events already past.
We have here brought before us the last fearful ene-
mies of God and His Church, — the beast, and the
false prophet, and the mystical Babylon, drunk with
the blood of martyrs and saints. And what is to
become of them ? What is their end ? The beast
and the false prophet are taken, and * cast alive into
the lake of fire.' A mighty angel takes up a stone,
like a gi-eat millstone, and casts it into the sea, say-
ing, * Thus with violence shall that great city Baby-
lon be thrown down, and shall be found no more
Let the nations of the earth learn a lesson from
these predictions and examples. As true as that
there is a God in heaven. He will take care of His
people ; He will watch over His Church ; and what-
ever opposes itself to the onward progress of this
Church and kingdom must inevitably fall.
5. A correct intei'pretation of the Apocalypse
is of great importance, since it awakens hope^ and
excites to effort for the advancement of Chrises kingdom.
Interpretations have, in some instances, been
given, which are of an opposite tendency. Some
Adventists tell us that the world is growing worse
and worse ; that nothing can be done to re-
LESSONS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 229
form it till Christ makes His appearance per-
sonally ; and that we may as well desist from all
further efforts to advance His kingdom. But such
is not the tendency of the views which we have
presented. We have seen that there is to be a
millennium, — a long period of rest and peace to the
Church, and that this happy day is near at hand.
The symbolic seals have all been opened ; the first
six trumpets have been sounded ; the first five vials
have been poured out; the twelve hundred and
sixty years are drawing to a close ; and every thing
on the prophetic page is indicating that the latter
day glory of the Church is near.
Meanwhile, the providence of God is teaching
the same lesson. The Bible is translated into all
languages, and circulated in all lands ; the Gospel
is preached in thousands of places where, until
recently, it has not been named ; doors long shut
against the truth are now opened, and obstructions
hitherto insurmountable are taken out of the way.
The Pope is shorn of his temporal dominions, and
is becoming weak as any other man. In short,
the signs of the times, like the prophetic symbols,
are unitedly indicating that millennial scenes are
near at hand.
Now all these things should operate — we trust
they are operating — as incitements to increased
exertion in this holy cause.
230 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED:
In the great work of preparation for the coming
glory, our Divine Master has assigned to each Chris-
tian his place, and He expects that every one will
do his dutv. There must be no indolence or deser-
tion in so good a cause ; no sleeping on the watch ;
no faintness of heart or feebleness of hands ; no
parleying, dallying, or compromising with the
enemy. Every friend of Christ must now be a fast
friend, a liberal friend, a devoted and unfailing
friend. Every friend of Christ must possess, in
large measure, the Spirit of Christ, and suffer no
contradiction of sinners to deprive him of this.
With meekness and kindness, with humility and
gentleness, weak in ourselves, but strong in the
Lord, we must go forth together to the work
assigned us, prepared to meet dangers, to make
sacrifices, and (if it must be so) to sufi*er death,
in the service of Him who laid down His life
The scriptural views of the millennium incul-
cated by such men as Bellamy, Hopkins, Fuller, and
many others, near the beginning of the present
century, contributed not a little to arouse the Chris-
tian world to effort for the universal spread of the
Gospel, and led on to that new state of things, and
to those bright and animating prospects which we
now behold. And the same views, we trust, will
continue to operate, and with increased force, until
LESSONS OF THE APOCALYPSE. 331
the whole world is given to Christ ; and His spiritual
reign shall be universal.
6. I remark, finally, that the Apocalypse, rightly
interpreted, is calculated to afford encouragement
and comfort to the people of God, even in the darkest
This was the original design of the book ;
and this design it has answered all along through
the ages, and will continue to answer, till the end
comes. In the early days of Pagan persecution, and
in the later Papal persecutions, we can hardly con-
ceive how much consolation the poor distressed
Christians have taken in reading and pondering this
blessed book. In their lonely prisons, in their
secluded haunts, in the dungeons of the Inquisition
and the Bastile, in dens and caves of the earth, with
this book in their hands or in their memories, they
could see light ahead. They could see their cove-
nant God and Redeemer ' riding on the whirlwind
and directing the storm,' causing the wrath of man
to praise Him ; over-ruling all things for the good of
His people, and sure to end the fearful conflict in
glorious victory and abiding peace.
And Christians, under all circumstances, are en-
titled to partake of the same consolations. This
fountain of love is ever open, and its resources
are exhaustless. Draw near, then, afiiicted believer
— whether in sickness or bereavements, in worldly
332 THE APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED.
disappointments or spiritual wants — come and draw
living water from these wells of salvation. Come
and see the glorious termination of all your con-
flicts, and the conflicts of God's people upon earth,
and unite your voices with those in heaven, say-
ing, A lleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
THE description of Ezekiel's City and Temple is
contained in the last eight chapters of his
prophecy. This portion of the inspired word, it is
presumed, is very little read, and that because it
cannot be understood. Christians are in doubt re-
specting it ; they know not what to make of it, and
so pass it by.
The description before us is prefaced by the
resurrection in the valley of dry bones, denoting
the conversion of Israel in the latter days, and
their seeming restoration to their own land (Ezek.
xxxvii.). This is followed by a tremendous assault
upon them by Gog and Magog, and other enemies,
in which converted Israel, or, in other words, the
Church of God, is delivered.
This is very like the great conflict immediately
preceding the millennium, of which we hear so
much in the Kevelation. Indeed, some of the
phraseology is strikingly similar to that in the
Revelation, and may have suggested to John a
portion of his imagery. For example, in the nine-
teentli chapter of the Revelation, all the fowls of
heaven are summoned together unto the supper
of the great God, that they 'may eat the flesh
of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh
of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of
them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men,
both free and bond, both small and great' (Rev.
xix. 18). So also in Ezekiel: 'Thus saitli the
Lord God ; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and
to every beast of the field. Assemble yourselves,
and come ; gather yourselves on every side to my
sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great
sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may
eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh
of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes
of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of
bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye
shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be
drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for
you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses
and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of
war, saith the Lord God' (Ezek. xxxix. 17—20).
Immediately following this is Ezekiel's vision
of the temple to be built, running out into a minute
> particularity, and extending through the three fol-
The temple being prepared, the God of Israel
returns to take up His abode in it. ' The glory of
the Lord came into the house by the way of the
gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the
spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner
court ; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the
house ' (Ezek. xliii. 4, 5).
Next the altar is measured, and its ordinances
of worship are described. The services of the
priests and Levites also are appointed (Ezek. xliv.).
The Land of Promise, as described by Ezekiel,
is very different from that in which Israel had before
dwelt. It is in shape a quadrangle or parallelo-
gram, about a hundred miles in length from north
to south, and fifty in breadth from east to west.
Nearly half of the central portion of it, where
stand the city and the temple, is reserved for the
priests and Levites, and for other public uses.
The remaining portions of it, on the northern and
southern extremities, are set apart, severally, for
the twelve tribes of Israel, each tribe having a
narrow strip running entirely across the territory
from east to west.
From the foundation of the temple, on the east
side, Ezekiel saw water issuing forth in small
quantity. But as he traced it, the stream con-
stantly increased, until it became a river which he
could not cross. It ran along in a south-easterly
direction — its banks being crowned with fruitful
trees — until it emptied its waters into the Dead
Sea, which (strange to tell) was at once cleansed
from its nauseous, deadly qualities, and became
fruitful in all kinds of fish. The imagery here, as
in the city which John describes in the last two
chapters of the Revelation, is borrowed from the
terrestrial paradise — the garden of Eden. In each
of the three there is a river, the banks of which are
crowned ^vith life-giving, health-restoring, trees.
The city of Ezekiel is also, in some respects, like
that of John. It lay four square, having three
gates on each side — twelve in all — which bore the
names of the twelve tribes of Israel; it was a splen-
did city, and it had a glorious name — Jehovah
Shammah — the Lord is there.
Without going further into a description of tho
renovated Palestine, the city and temple of Ezekiel,
let us pause and inquire, What do these things
mean ? What is their import and interpretation ?