« PoprzedniaDalej »
"ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel." And it typified the final joy, when "the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isai. xxxv. 10). "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat: for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. vii. 16, 17). "The tabernacle of God shall be with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away" (Rev. xxi. 3, 4). "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning" (Isai. iv. 4, xxxi. 9; Zech. xiii. 9; Mal. iii. 3). Then shall the Lord set his glory in the land of the living (Ezek. xxvi. 20); for thus saith the Lord God, "I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.... Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God" (Ezek. xxxix. 21, 22, 29).
We might here enlarge upon the particulars referred to in the fifteen songs of degrees, but leave this to the meditation of our readers, merely observing that they are all commemorative of the deliverance from Antichrist and Gog, the joy of which is heightened by comparison with the gladness of the whole creation, then renewed and never to experience a second fall. Therefore they are called upon to be glad and rejoice for ever (Isai. lxv. 18); and therefore allusions are continually made to God, as the Creator, and unchangeable in mercy (Psal. cxxi. 2, 8; cxxiv. 8; cxxv. 2; cxxxi. 3; cxxxiv. 3; cxxxv. 6, 13, 21). The Lord's throne, as Melchizedek, is also there (Psal. cxxii. 5,9; cxxv. 5; cxxviii. 5, 6; cxxxii. 8, 12, 17; cxxxv. 14, 21); and mercy
is, finally, manifested to have been the one purpose of God in creation, in redemption, and even in judgment; and the whole creation is called upon "to give thanks unto the God of heaven, for his mercy endureth for ever" (Psal. cxxxvi. 26).
The arrival at the final and unchangeable condition of things is also indicated, in the corresponding passage in the Apocalypse, by the solemn concluding asseveration of the angel (xix. 9), "These are the true sayings of God:" an asseveration again introduced at the end of the description of the new Jerusalem (xxii. 6), where, beyond all question, it marks the completion of all the purposes of God. Both passages, too, record the offer of worship to the angel, and its prohibition by him; for then shall God be all in all (1 Cor. xv. 28). "In that day there shall be one Lord, and his name One" (Zech. xiv. 9).
The time which shall be occupied in the descent of the heavenly Jerusalem, is no less worthy of remark than the other circumstances indicated by these fifteen songs of degrees. The Day of Atonement, and the Jubilee of release which followed it, are wholly ecclesiastical types, and have no reference to the heathen, but only to the church and Jewish people. The judgment must begin at the house of God; and this is indicated in the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement: and the entrance into the most holy place on that day denotes the resurrection and translation of the saints at the period corresponding with the day of atonement; as the Jubilee, which began on the evening of the Day of Atonement, denotes the return of the Jews, which shall then begin. The Feast of Tabernacles was four days after the day of atonement; and the bullocks slain during the seven days of the feast, denote the apostates and rebels which shall perish in that great tribulation which shall intervene between the translation of the saints to heaven and their coming down from heaven in the new Jerusalem. The descent of the new Jerusalem from heaven is indicated by the descent of the priests and Levites from the temple, on the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It shall begin at the time shewn to the Apostle in vision (Rev. xix. 11), when he saw heaven opened, and Christ and his saints coming forth to destroy all his enemies, and to plant his throne upon the earth. The judgment with which he visits the wicked, and the glory which he manifests to and in his saints, require time for their apprehension by the creatures; they shall not be instantaneous, but successive; and as the creation occupied seven days, so the new creation shall probably occupy fifteen days.
All well-informed students of prophecy are now agreed that the sixth seal (Rev. vi. 12, 17) includes the whole day of wrath, during which the vials are poured out, and concluding with the winepress of the wrath of God (xiv. 20), with the blood of which
Christ hath already dyed his garments (Isai. Ixiii.; Rev. xix. 13, 15) when he cometh forth with his saints in glory (xix. 11). The seventh seal, therefore, is the time of his coming forth; the time when heaven is opened, and Christ transfers his throne of glory from heaven to earth; the time when there is silence in heaven for half an hour. The silence is the necessary consequence of the transference of the throne of Christ and the heavenly hosts to this earth, in the new Jerusalem which cometh down from heaven; and the time which this transference occupies is fifteen days, or half an hour;-an hour, in symbolic language, denoting a month, or thirty days.
During these fifteen days of the manifestation of Christ and his saints, all the remaining enemies of truth shall be destroyed: whether at once or in succession does not appear; but it is not unlikely that the fifteen adversaries of Micah v. 5, whose conflicts divert the Assyrian from the land of Israel, may themselves be successively brought into judgment during these fifteen days. The Jewish authorities for the view we have taken above are abundant, almost to unanimity. The Mishna Codex Succa v. 4, declares that the psalms of degrees were sung on the fifteen steps. The Chaldee Paraphrase translates the title of each, "A song sung on the steps of descent." Kimchi, on Psal. cxx., says they were called songs of degrees because sung on the steps of the temple, one on each of the fifteen steps. Rashi says the same; so do nearly all the Rabbis, and Cocceius, Lampe, and most Hebraists.
We close with an extract from Jeremy Taylor's Golden Grove (p. 9).
"St. Jerome relates, out of the Jews' books, that their doctors use to account fifteen days of prodigy immediately before Christ's coming, and to every day assign a wonder, any one of which if we should chance to see in the days of our flesh it would affright us into the like thoughts which the old world had when they saw the countries around them covered with water and the Divine vengeance; or as those poor people near Adria and the Mediterranean Sea, when their houses and cities are entering into graves, and the bowels of the earth rent with convulsions and horrid tremblings....The birds shall mourn, and change their songs into threnes and sad accents. Rivers of fire shall rise from the east to the west; and the stars shall be rent into threads of light, and scatter like the beards of comets. Then shall be fearful earthquakes, and the rocks shall rend in pieces; the trees shall distil blood; and the mountains and fairest structures shall return unto their primitive dust. The wild beasts shall leave their dens and come into the companies of men, so that you shall hardly tell how to call them, herds of men, or congregations of beasts. Then shall the graves open and give up
their dead, and those which are alive in nature, and dead in fear, shall be forced from the rocks, whither they went to hide them; and from the caverns of the earth, where they would fain have been concealed; because their retirements are dismantled, and their rocks are broken into wider ruptures, and admit a strange light into their secret bowels; and the men, being forced abroad into the theatre of mighty horrors, shall run up and down distracted, and at their wits' end. And then some shall die and some shall be changed; and by this time the elect shall be gathered together from the four quarters of the world, and Christ shall come along with them to judgment.
"These signs, although the Jewish doctors reckon them by order and a method, concerning which they had no other revelation (that appears) nor sufficiently credible tradition, yet, for the main parts of the things themselves, the Holy Scripture records Christ's own words, and concerning the most terrible of them; the sum of which, as Christ related them, and his Apostles have recorded and explicated, is this: The earth shall tremble, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood-that is, there shall be strange eclipses of the sun, and fearful aspects in the moon, who, when she is troubled, looks red like bloodthe rocks shall rend, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The heavens shall be rolled up like a parchment, the earth shall be burned with fire, the hills shall melt like wax; for there shall go a fire before him, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred round about him.'
Dies iræ, Dies illa
Solvet sec'lum in favilla
The trumpet of God shall sound, and the voice of the archangel that is, of Him who is the Prince of all that great army of spirits which shall then attend their Lord, and wait upon and illustrate his glory. And this, also, is part of that which is called the sign of the Son of Man: for the fulfilling of all these predictions, and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, and the conversion of the Jews, and these prodigies, and the address of Majesty, make up that sign. The notice of which things, some way or other, came to the very heathen themselves, who were alarmed into caution and sobriety by these dead remembrances,
'There are two great days in which the fate of all the world is transacted. This life is Man's Day, in which man does what he please, and God holds his peace. Man destroys his brother, and destroys himself, and tempts to sin, and delights in it, and
forgets his sorrow; and all this while God is silent, save that he is loud and clamorous with his holy precepts, and overrules the event; but he leaves the desires of men to their own choice, and their course of life is such as they generally choose. But then God shall have his day too; the Day of the Lord shall come, in which He shall speak, and no man shall answer; he shall speak in the voice of thunder and fearful noises, and man shall do no more as he please, but must suffer as he hath deserved: God's voice will then be the accent of a fearful anger, that shall break him all in pieces. It will be all our cases, unless we hear God speak now, and do his work, and serve his interest, and bear ourselves in our just proportions, that is, as such the very end of whose being and all our faculties is to serve God, and do justice and charities to our brother: for if we do the work of God in our own day, we shall receive an infinite mercy in the day of the Lord.
"What that is, is now to be inquired, What have we done in the body? But certainly this is the greatest terror of all. The thunders and the fires, the earthquakes and the trumpets, the brightness of holy angels, and the horror of accursed spirits, the voice of the Archangel (who is the prince of the heavenly host), and the majesty of the Judge, in whose service all that army stands girt with holiness and obedience, all those strange circumstances which have been reckoned already, and all those others which we cannot understand, are but little preparatories and umbrages of this fearful circumstance: all this amazing majesty and formidable preparatories are for the passing of an eternal sentence upon us, according to what we have done in the body....Woe and alas! and God help us all! All mankind is an enemy to God; his nature is accursed, and his manners are depraved by nature he is the child of wrath, and by his manners he is the child of the devil: we call Christian, and we dishonour our Lord it is a great degree of sanctity now-a-days not to be so wicked as the worst of men; and we live at the rate as if the best of men did design to themselves an easier condemnation, and as if the generality of men considered not concerning the degrees of death, but did believe that in hell no man shall perceive any ease or refreshment in being tormented with a slower fire.
"For consider what we do in the body: twelve or fourteen years pass before we choose good or bad; and of that which remains, more than half is spent in sleep and the needs of nature; for the other half, it is divided as the stag was when the beasts went a hunting, the lion hath five parts of six. The business of the world takes so much of the remaining portion, that religion and the service of God have not much time left that can be spared. Gather it together, and set it before thine eyes. Were