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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Revelation 21

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-8

2. The New Heaven and the New Earth. The Clarified World and the Kingdom of Glory

Revelation 21:1-8

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away [departed];[FN1] and there was no more sea [the sea is no more]. 2And I John [om. John][FN2] saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God [om. from God] out of [ins. the] heaven [ins. from God], prepared as a bride adorned for her husband 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven [om. heaven—ins. the throne][FN3] saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell [tabernacle] with them, and they shall be his people [peoples],[FN4] and God 4 himself shall be with them, and be their God [or om. and be their God].[FN5] And God [God or om. God][FN6] shall wipe away all tears [every tear] from their eyes; and there shall be no more death [death shall be no more], neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain [nor shall sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, be any more]: for the former [first] things are passed away [departed]. 5And he that sat [the one sitting] upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said [saith] unto me [or om. unto me],[FN7] Write: for these words are true and faithful6 [faithful and true].[FN8] And he said unto me, It is [They are] clone [or fulfilled].[FN9] I am [or am][FN10], [ins. the] Alpha and [ins. the] Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst [thirsteth] of the fountain of the water of life freely 7 He that overcometh [or conquereth] shall inherit all [om. all—ins. these][FN11] things; and I will be his [om. his—ins. to him a] God, and he shall be my [om. my—8 ins. to me a] son. But [ins. to] the fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and[FN12] the [om. the] abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [fornicators], and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all [ins. the] liars, shall have [om. shall have] their part [ins. shall be] in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: [,] which is the second death.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Synoptical View

Two points must here be established at the outset. First, the detachment of the section Revelation 20:11-14 from the foregoing last special judgment, the judgment upon Satan. Secondly, the distinction, which is carried out here also, of a predominantly heavenly-ideal and a predominantly terrestri-real vision-picture, or the distinction of the sections Revelation 21:1-8 and Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5. In respect to the first point, with the judgment upon Satan the last part of the world-judgment internal to this present world and life, or the outpouring of the Vials of Anger, is accomplished. Though the universal end-judgment Isaiah, by the Scriptures and the Church, preeminently denominated the Dies Iræ, it lies beyond the proper department of the Vials of Anger, since it introduces the eternal dooms, and is a judgment unto life for the blessed, as well as a death-judgment upon the damned; irrespective of the fact that the term of the end-judgment Isaiah, in Eschatology, summed up together with the foregoing special judgments in one great Day of Wrath, whose prelude is to be beheld in the day of wrath upon Jerusalem. In respect to the second point, we must not overlook the fact that the two finales contained in Revelation 21:6-7 and Revelation 22:4-5 would, as tautologies, obscure the text, if they were not to be regarded as parallels, in perfect analogy with the parallels Revelation 12:6; Revelation 12:14. The antithesis does here, indeed, issue in a point in which the two lines are not so strongly distinguished—Heaven descends to earth: earth becomes Heaven—; still, the pause between the visional Heaven-picture and the appearance of the City of God upon earth is distinctly perceptible ( Revelation 21:10).

The present Section A branches into the great antithesis of the end of the old world and the appearance or, primarily, the heavenly development, of the new world.

The centre and causality of the end of the world is the great white throne and the Judge enthroned thereon. The adjectives great and white manifestly denote the majesty and holiness of the Judge and His judgment.

In harmony with the universalism of the judgment and in accordance with Revelation 21:4-5, God Himself is to be understood by the Judge; not, however, to the exclusion of the fact that Christ is the appearance of the great judging God ( Titus 2:13), and thus His Parousia has here mediated the Last Judgment. With the great appearance of God the Judges, a complete subversion of the old form of the world takes place:—the corporeal world becomes nothing; the spiritual world becomes all. From His face the earth and the Heaven fled: and fled without a goal—they vanished. This cannot be apprehended as a real annihilation of the world, as the ancient orthodoxy maintained. And though the idea does essentially coincide with the fiery metamorphosis of 2 Peter 3:10-13, it was not the intention of the Seer hyperbolically to express that fact [of the fiery metamorphosis]. Rather, in the antithesis, The corporeal world vanishes, the spiritual world appears, is contained the strongest expression of the thought that at last, under the almighty operation of the absolute personality of God, personal relations, as the true life-principles of the world, must become perfectly manifest. Above all, the old antithesis between Heaven and earth is hereby removed. But as decidedly as worldly relations withdraw, spiritual relations come into prominence. The Seer beholds the dead standing before the throne;—the great, because even the greatest is subject to this judgment, and the small, because even the smallest shall have perfect justice done him here. And with this the general resurrection is expressed; emphasis is not laid upon it, however, in the same manner as upon the first resurrection, because it is not specifically a resurrection to life. Clearly and positively as personalities themselves appear before the throne, just so distinctly are all the works of all individuals—works which bear the impress of their characters and which have fixed their destinies—in everlasting remembrance. There are the books, which are opened for the revelation of these works, in the unitous character of which latter the judicial sentence Isaiah, de facto, already extant ( Matthew 12:37). From the books the Seer distinguishes the book, the book of life, as the book κατ̓ ἐξοχήν, the Bible of eternity set forth in living Divine images. In this book, that sum total is already made up, for which the books in the plural contain, amongst other things, the material. Those who are written in this book have already, in spirit, passed the judgment ( John 5:24; Romans 6.; Galatians 2:19). The result of the life of other men is contained in the books, but is also summed up in the brief epitome presented in the statement that they have fallen under judgment if their names are not found in the book of life. The following antitheses should be noted: 1. The books and the book; 2. The works and the names; 3. The lostness of the names of the lost in the confusion of their works; and the concentration of the works of faith in the names of the faithful, the perfected characters. Formally, therefore, the judgment is general; all stand before the throne. And it must all the more be general, since the very separation of the righteous from the mass of the unrighteous is itself the expression and illustration of the judgment. In a material aspect, however, the general judgment, with this very separation of the righteous, brings in view the special judgment of damnation; the more, since the truly perfected Christians, the eschatological Christians, we might say the approved ones of the end-time, with all the martyrs, who represent a spiritual end-time through the entire course of the world’s history (scarcely those also who have become believers during the thousand years), are already, through the first resurrection, not only exempted from the judgment, but also called to share in its administration.

This general description of the judgment is followed by a specialization which goes back to the beginning. And first in regard to the dead. They come back from every direction out of the condition in which they have been hitherto; through the medium of the general resurrection they are placed before the throne of God. Not even into the abyss could they have sunk so deep as not to appear again. We, therefore, apprehend the detailed description as a gradation. That they are given back by the earth is assumed by the Seer as a matter of course. But also by the sea, in whose depths they seemed to have vanished forever; by death, by the power of death itself; and by the realm of the dead [Hades][FN13]—are they given up. So far as the immortality of the soul is concerned, these categories are all alike; in whatever way they [as to body] perished, they all [as to soul] live on. Again, so far as death is concerned, they are all dead and in the realm of the dead [Hades]. But in respect of the relation of these categories to a bodily appearance before the throne of God, gradual distinctions are formed. They vanished in the depth of the ocean;—they are here again. They seemed long since a prey to the power of death;—they are living again. They seemed to be floating away as shades in the gloomy land beyond the portals of death;—here they come as entire men in the reality of earthly life, summoned before the judgment throne of God. So they are judged, each one according to his work. The judgment is thus thoroughly general and thoroughly individual, and likewise, as the final judgment, characterized as in accordance with the works of those judged ( Matthew 25). The judgment makes a thorough end of the old form of the world. Death itself is cast into the pool of fire. As the natural life of the blessed is swallowed up in the spiritual life, so the natural death is merged into the spiritual death. The natural death appertains to the region of becoming; with the abolition of this region, it is itself abolished. What remains of it is the sense of continual self-annihilation in the region of an absolutely indifferentized [neutralized] self-tormenting existence. The whole institution of the realm of the dead [Hades], so far as its dark side is concerned, passes into the pool of fire, into the condition of a death multiplied into itself, and yet a conscious, living death. Again, together with death and Hades, the spiritually dead incur the judgment of the pool of fire. Life, life, life, to infinitude, is denoted when it is said: the name is found in the book of life. The contrast is death, death, death, to infinitude. Middle positions, uncertain, wavering forms, have ceased to be, for it is the harvest of the world.

The pool of fire, or the pond-like, stagnating lake of fire, denotes the entire precipitate of the world and worldly history; hence the new world can unfold itself, over against it, in all its glory. The Seer first beholds the new world in the antithesis of the new Heaven and the new earth, for the old Heaven and the old earth have departed, and the sea is not any more. The sea is the womb of shapeless life, as the nutriment of life that is in process of shaping, and in this respect it is an attribute of the region of becoming, but not of the region of being. It will be understood that Heaven and earth are intended not in the cosmical sense merely, but also in the spiritual sense, and this may be true of the sea also. For the sea of nations Isaiah, in common with the mundane sea, a womb—a womb of characters, as the latter is of creatures. That which is to unite Heaven and earth is the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, prepared in Heaven by God as a bride adorned for her husband.

Our first business here is to reconcile this Parousia of the perfected Church of God with the Parousia of Christ and His escort ( Revelation 19:14). It is impossible to accept the confused notion that another Parousia of Christ from Heaven must ensue here. Consequently, we must distinguish the train of His elect, which has accompanied Him to earth, and has here compacted itself into a whole, from the general constituents of the Church Triumphant; a distinction which was suggested in chs 7,16. The Church Triumphant in the other world does not consist purely of warriors of God [Gotteskämpfer] in the narrower sense of that term, and it has found a new home in that other world. Therefore the barrier between Heaven and earth must be in the act of vanishing, if the new earth is to be raised to the dignity of becoming the mother-country of the new Church of God. This, however, seems to be a polar vital law: Principial consummation bears upward from earth to Heaven; the consummate appearance of life brings back again from Heaven to earth. This may be otherwise expressed as follows: Redemption, as principial, first conducts the redeemed from without inwards; next, as eschatological, from within outwards.

Thus ensues the heavenly consummation of God’s Kingdom upon earth. It is proclaimed by a great voice from the Throne—hence by a solemn declaration in the name of the Divine government—in a progressive series of theocratic items.

First, the theocratic cultus shall find its fulfillment in the consummation of the Kingdom of glory. Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men. That which was typically heralded by the Jewish tabernacle, and, later, by the Temple; that which the Church principially realized,—attains now its consummate and visible appearance: a Congregation of God, in which man’s communion with God is completely realized.

Secondly, the visible appearance of the full harvest of all pious tear-seed sown throughout the history of the world. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. An image which might have been drawn from the nursery is employed to express the sublimest thought—the transmutation of all the earthly sufferings of the pious into heavenly bliss, through the sensible presence of Divine love and faithfulness. We may also say—the perfect transfiguration of the cross. For the first things have departed. A second, imperishable Kingdom of Life has arisen, in contrast to the second death.

Thirdly, the visible appearance of the renewal of the earth, or rather of the whole earthly Cosmos,—relatively, of the whole universe itself. Behold, I make all things new. This promise, too, must be written; it becomes, in pursuance of the Divine order, a written bond for the hope of mankind, like the promises in Revelation 14:13 and Revelation 19:9.

Fourthly, the full realization of all the promissory words of God. And He said unto me: They are fulfilled. Namely, the words of which it is declared: They are trustworthy and true [veritable]. They have become realized in the new earth, as words creative of God’s second, new and eternal world. The surety for them is given by the same God Who must be the Omega of all life, because He is its beginning (see Romans 11:36).

Fifthly, together with the universal destiny of the world, all individual destinies are fulfilled. For the men of longing, all longing for the eternal will be satisfied. The fountain of the water of life—highest life and sense of life, springing forth to infinitude from the depths of the Godhead—is offered for the free enjoyment of all who have thirsted for it.

But as the highest need of the soul, the longing for its true element, has made the thirsters warriors, combatants against all illusions of false satisfaction, and since victory has crowned the constant conflict, the second individualization of the promise runs thus: He that conquereth [or the conqueror] shall inherit these things—namely, the fulfillment of all these promises. And that which constitutes the centre, the sum and substance of this inheritance, is expressed in the words: I will be his God, and he shall be My son ( 1 John 3:2).

Because the reference is to a conquest and a fulfillment conditioned entirely upon ethical grounds, an antithesis is once more employed.

It is highly significant that the lost are designated, above all, as cowards. In respect of the measure and vocation of Prayer of Manasseh, in face of eternity and its Revelation, faith Isaiah, in the first place, heroic bravery and gallantry; on the other hand, unbelief, in its fundamental form, is faint-heartedness, cowardice, despair as to the high calling of God and the high vocation of human nature. Under this characterism, therefore, the unbeliever comes, with his timorousness in view of Divine truth; the sinner, in the narrower sense of the term, as one who is timorous in regard to the worth of righteousness;[FN14] the murderer, who was timorous at the calling of love; the fornicator, who was timorous at the law of spiritual liberty and purity of life; the sorcerer, who was timorous at the sanctity of Nature’s laws; the idolater, who, in his timorousness, surrendered the glory of the knowledge of God; also the liar, who despaired as to the good in truth;—they all cowardly despaired of the Life in life, the Divine word, law and Spirit—hence their portion shall be in the pool of fire. Their tendency led, in a straight line, to the perturbation of their being in absolute irritation.

EXPLANATIONS IN DETAIL

Revelation 20:11. The pause between the foregoing section and the present one is marked by the announcement of a new vision: καὶ εἶδον.

Revelation 20:11. A great white throne.—The greatness and whiteness are indicative of the glory and holiness of the throne (Düsterd.).

And the One sitting upon it.—Who is this? Answers: 1. The Messiah (Bengel et al.; Matthew 26:31, 64?]); 2. God (De Wette, Hengstenb, Düsterd.; see Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:3; Revelation 21:5-6; Daniel 7:9); 3. God and Christ, “the Two forming One, in perfect undividedness” (Ewald). With this modification, the visible appearance of God in Christ, No 3 is entirely correct ( Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20).—The earth and the heaven fled (see Revelation 16:20; Revelation 21:1).—The antithesis between the appearance of God and. the disappearance of the world as world, is represented under the figure of an antagonism and conflict. Before the God Who maketh all things new the old form of the world takes to flight.—And place was not found for them.—The renewal pervades everything.

Revelation 20:12. And I saw.—The dead have once more taken visible shape.—The great and the small (see Revelation 11:18; Revelation 13:16).—The perfect equality of men before the judgment seat of God is repeatedly declared. The 12 th verse, as Düsterdieck judiciously remarks, closes with a general description; Revelation 20:13 th then reverts to special items, as in Revelation 15:1; Revelation 15:6. Bengel and Hengst. apprehend the relation as a continuous unitous description: in that case, the νεκροί of Revelation 20:12 would necessarily be those who are transformed, who have lived to see the day of the Parousia, in contrast to those who are really raised from the dead. Such a view does violence to the text.—Books were opened.—( Daniel 7:10). As there is repeated mention of books in the Apocalypse, so likewise is there in the Gospel of John (the Scriptures); see especially Revelation 21:25. The book of life is but one; it is the book of the life of mankind in a concentrated form. Whilst the books seem to be journals concerning the works of all, the book contains the heavenly result of the history of the world, a register of the treasure, the κλῆρος, the harvest of God, in the names of the blessed. Since the entire decision is briefly contained in the question: Is the name of such and such a man in the book of life, or not? the books occupy the place of vouchers. Thus in Matthew 25. the one book is illustrated in the statement that Christ places the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left hand; the ensuing discussion of the works of the righteous and the wicked, however, is suggestive of the books.

Revelation 20:13. And the sea.—The sea cannot here be understood directly as the sea of nations, although it is thus that Hengstenberg defines even this declaration, maintaining that the reference is to those who have perished in the battles of the nations. According to this, the literal form of the passage would be: the battlefields gave back their dead. In this case, in the subsequent sentence where it speaks of death as giving up its dead, we should have to understand those who had fallen on those fields of battle, rather than, with Hengstenberg, unblest dead ones. However, the reference is rather to different conditions of the dead. Personalities of all sorts ( Revelation 20:12) must Revelation -appear out of mortal conditions of all sorts (see Syn. View). In regard to the sea, De Wette, after Wetstein, groundlessly cites a pagan idea here, according to which those who had been swallowed up in the sea did not enter Hades. According to Düsterdieck, this second presentation [ Revelation 20:13] embraces only such as incur the punishment of the second death or the lake of fire. This assumption is based upon the false hypothesis that, according to Revelation 20:5, all believers rose from the dead at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. In that case the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom would really have constituted the judgment itself. Any blessed effects of the Parousia upon the world of nations would then have been out of the question.

Revelation 20:14. And Death and Hades, etc.—“Death and Hades,[FN15] presented in Revelation 20:13 (comp. Revelation 1:18) as localities, here appear (comp. Revelation 6:8) personified, as demonic powers” (Düsterdieck). The Apocalyptist, however, would probably not father this conception. The inference Isaiah, rather, that the pool of fire must not be understood in a purely ethical sense, but that it has also its physical side. And this declaration doubtless imports that the two ground-forms of the old mortality—first, dying itself, and secondly, the mode of existence of the dead—are merged in their consummation-form, in which nothing remains of them but the second death, the æonic suffering of the lost (see Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:26).

Revelation 20:15. And if any one was not, etc.—Literally apprehended, this seems very hard; ideally apprehended it means, where the second, higher life is utterly wanting, there is the second death; the essential and proper fulfillment of death; the natural, and therefore the positive consequence.

Revelation 21:1. And I saw.—Picture of the consummation—first, as a Heaven-picture. The final goal of the history of the old world; therefore, the final goal of all the longing of all the pious ( Romans 8.), of all revelations of salvation and prophecies, of all the forms and operations of the redemption and of the Kingdom of God, and hence even of all judgments, which at last, in the concentration of the final judgment, were obliged to make room for the eternal City of God. “Augustine (De Civ. Dei xx17) apprehends what follows de seculo futuro et immortalitate et æternitate sanctorum, and this opinion of his has, with more justice than others pronounced by him upon the Apocalypse, become authoritative.” De Wette. Even Hengstenberg, with a salto mortale, touching lightly the last period of the rebellion of Gog and Magog, has leaped from the mediæval Kingdom into the consummation-time of the new Jerusalem. Grotius, on the contrary, keeps to the period subsequent to Constantine, and Vitringa conceives of the time as still prior to the universal judgment (comp. Düsterd, p562, but particularly De Wette, p194). From the stand-point of a conception of heavenly felicity as abstractly spiritual, many have been unable to reconcile themselves to this descent of Heaven to earth, in antithesis to a rising of earth to Heaven. “The idea of the Church Triumphant is not that which precisely corresponds with the idea presented here: the conception here presented is that of the Kingdom of God in its consummation—a Kingdom for which Christ has, in His Church, broken the way—a Kingdom which has been gradually actualized—the Kingdom of the whole of redeemed and blessed humanity; the dominion of Christ is merged in that of God, Who is present ( Revelation 21:11), and shares His Throne with the Lamb ( Revelation 22:1).” De Wette.

A new Heaven and a new earth ( Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66; Psalm 104:30). “The theological question as to whether the old world is to pass away in such a manner that the new world will arise from it as from a seed, or whether an absolute new creation, following upon the complete destruction of the old world, is to be assumed, can be decided least of all by the Apocalyptic description; this description, however (comp. also 2 Peter 3:10 sqq.), is not opposed to the former view, which has greater Scriptural probabilities in its favor than the latter ( 1 Corinthians 15:42 sqq.; Romans 8:21; Matthew 19:28).” Duesterdieck. On the contrary, the Apocalypse alone sets forth the true mediation of the last metamorphosis of the old world, in the Millennial Kingdom. The idea of the antithesis of an absolute destruction and new creation belongs only to the half-spiritualistic, half-materialistic letter-theology of orthodoxism.

And the sea.—Why is it no more? The following answers to this inquiry are presented by Düsterdieck: 1. Navigation is no longer necessary (Andr.); 2. It is dried up by the universal conflagration (Bede); 3. As the old world arose out of the water, so the new has arisen out of the fire (De Wette); 4. A horror of the deep sea (Ewald); 5. There was no sea in Paradise either (Züllig); 6. Connection of the sea with the infernal abyss (Ewald II.); 7. The sea as a constituent part of the old world. “The text does not forbid the idea of a new sea accompanying the new earth” (Düsterd.). For our explanation see the Synopt. View.

Revelation 21:2. The holy City.—New Jerusalem.—It is related to the ἄνω ̔Ιερουσαλήμ ( Galatians 4:26) as the resurrection is related to the principle of the new life; or the Palingenesia to the ἀναγέννησις; as the end to the harvest ( 1 Corinthians 15). The heavenly essence of the Church of God, possessed by it even upon earth, here arrives at a heavenly manifestation.—Coming down from God.—For a kindred rabbinical conception, cited by Wetstein on the passage in Galatians, see Düsterdieck, p563.—Prepared.—See Revelation 19:7-8; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:27; 1 Peter 3:3. The new Jerusalem, as the sum of perfected individuals, is the City of God; in its unity, it is the Bride of Christ. The consummate manhood of all the citizens of the City of God is conditioned by their consummate receptivity, which extends even to perfect unanimity.

Revelation 21:3. Behold, the tabernacle of God.—See Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 4:5; Ezekiel 37:27; Ezekiel 43:7; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22.

[Bleek, Ewald; comp. Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9; Esther 4:3.]” Duesterd.). The πόνος, pain, or painful labor, is the chronic form of the same.—For the first things.—To be taken in an emphatic sense, like the first man ( 1 Corinthians 15:4-5 sqq.)—the present æon. In accordance with the entire mass of Holy Scripture, the world is designed to be a succession of two worlds.

Revelation 21:5. And the One sitting upon the throne, etc.—“That which the heavenly voice [ Revelation 21:3], interpreting the vision of John, had proclaimed, is now confirmed by the One sitting upon the throne (comp. Revelation 20:11), in two speeches.” Duesterd. The words, And He saith unto me: Write; for these words, etc., are, according to Bengel, Züllig, Hengst, and Düsterdieck, an interlogue [Zwischenrede=between-speech] on the part of the Angel; these commentators refer to Revelation 19:9; Revelation 22:6. Observe, however, the change between Revelation 14:9 sqq. and Revelation 21:13 [to which also reference is made by Düsterdieck]. There the discourse of the Angel is followed by a speech from Heaven which commands the Seer to write the comforting declaration [ Revelation 21:13]. We therefore cannot infer from Revelation 19:9 that an angelic speech here interrupts the voice from the throne. And this inference is the less proper from the fact that it would seem very strange for the speech of an Angel to be made to corroborate the language of God Himself. Moreover, the Divine speech in Revelation 21:6 is too closely connected with Revelation 21:5 for the above-cited view to be tenable.

Revelation 21:6. They are fulfilled.—Comp. Revelation 16:17. According to Düsterdieck, γέγοναν refers to what John has previously seen. But his visions were sure in themselves. We refer the expression to the λόγοι in the sense of highest realization; they have become facts. The words, I am the Alpha and the Omega, etc., contain the proof of the foregoing assertion that the words of God are, on the one hand, words of absolute faithfulness (πιστοί), and, on the other hand, of absolute reality (ἀληθινοί).—I will give unto him that thirsteth, etc.—In the satisfaction of all true human longing, the height of human blessedness is expressed (blessedness=possession of fullness; comp. the Lexicons).

Revelation 21:7. He that conquereth.—(See the Seven Epistles.) Here, towards the end, we are once more carried back to the beginning. For the nucleus of the Seven Churches, considered in their symbolic totality, is the foundation for the glorious City of God which is now about to appear.—God as the inheritance of man; consummate blessedness: man as the son of God; consummate dignity ( Matthew 5:9; Romans 8:17).

Revelation 21:8. But the cowardly.—Δειλοῖς. “In contrast to νικῶν, those Christians are meant who elude the painful combat with the world by denying the faithfulness of the faith (Bengel, De Wette, Hengst.).” Duesterdieck. This is certainly a much too special and superficial explanation. The category of these cowards, who were cowardly in the highest relation, embraces all the lost: that Isaiah, in other words—in view of the high epic goal of humanity, all lagging behind and being lost is traced back to a lack of specific æonic manly courage, to a shameful straggling from the ranks and a desertion of one’s colors. If we apprehend the δειλοῖς as composing a genus, a significant senary of species is formed: 1. Unbelievers and the abominable (in practice), transgressors against nature (see Romans 1); 2. Murderers and fornicators (cruelty and sensuality—a well-known pair); 3. Sorcerers and idolaters. Even here the affinity is manifest. Now, however, a seventh sort supervenes, apparently,—liars. But it is not without import that an addition is here made—καὶ πᾶσιν—in accordance with which these latter are classed with idolaters. Idolatry is in several instances in the Apocalypse designated as falsity (see Revelation 14:5; also Grot, Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:15; comp. Romans 1:25).—Unbelieving.—According to Bengel and Ewald: Apostates from the faith. According to Düsterdieck: Inhabitants of the earth hostile to the Christian faith. In the universal judgment, this distinction is no longer of any importance; the heathen is an unbeliever—the unbeliever is a heathen.—Abominable.—Those who through the working of abomination have made themselves abominable, ἐβδελυγμένοι, flagitiis fœdi.Their part.—Change of construction. We are not to overlook the fact that they have deserved their lot, i.e., have drawn it upon themselves as the penalty of their sin.

[EXCURSUS ON HADES]

By the American Editor

[Concerning the souls of the departed, between the periods of their decease and the resurrection of their bodies, there are two questions of acknowledged interest. The one relates to their moral condition; the other, to their local habitation. The former of these questions it is not intended to discuss at all in this Excursus. The doctrine generally held in Protestant Churches is herein assumed to be true—viz.: that at death the period of gracious opportunity and discipline is brought to a close; that the souls of believers in Christ are at once made perfect in holiness and do immediately pass into glory; and that the souls of unbelievers, having sinned away their day of grace, are left hopeless in their sins, and are reserved in misery for public condemnation and everlasting destruction.

The second of these questions—viz.: that which relates to the local habitation of departed spirits—is one, not only of great interest, but also, in the judgment of all who have given special attention to it, of great difficulty. This difficulty arises, in the judgment of the writer, from three sources. The first and most important of these is the reticence of Scripture on the subject—but little is revealed thereon in the Word of God. More, however, is revealed than is generally supposed.

The second source of difficulty is properly introduced by the preceding remark. Notwithstanding the amount of distinct Revelation, the whole matter is obscured to the reader of the English Version of the Bible by the erroneous rendering of the Hebrew term שְׁאוֹל (Sheol) and its Greek equivalent ̔́Αιδης (Hades). These words which in the original Scriptures have a fixed and definite meaning, indicating a place in the Unseen World distinct from both Heaven and Hell (regarded as the place of final punishment), are constantly rendered by either grave or Hell. By this mistranslation an idea proper to the Word of God is completely blotted out from the English Version; and, not only Song of Solomon, but the texts which present that idea are distributed amongst those which set forth two entirely distinct ideas—thus obscuring the teachings of Scripture concerning both the grave and Hell. But the obscuring and confusing influence of this erroneous translation does not terminate upon those who study only the English Version. The first and most enduring conceptions of the doctrines of Scripture are derived from the Version we read in childhood—conceptions which, even when false, subsequent study often fails to eradicate. And beyond this,—every Version, especially the one in common use, Isaiah, to a certain extent, a Commentary, and as such exerts a powerful influence over the minds of students of the original Scriptures. Had the word Hades been reproduced in our Version, much of the confusion that now embarrasses this subject could never have found existence. And here it is in place to remark that even though the Greek and Hebrew words were indefinite, synonymous sometimes with grave and sometimes with Hell, it would have been well, since the Holy Ghost inspired synonyms, to have preserved their use in our Version.

The third source of difficulty is the general and almost unquestioned assumption that the dwelling-place of the souls of the righteous dead has been the same since the Resurrection of Christ that it was before that event—an assumption opposed, as the effort will be made to show, to distinct intimations in the Word of God. In consequence of this assumption, there have been two schools in the Evangelical Church, each basing its doctrine on the clear and irrefragable teaching of the Scriptures—the one, in view of the ante-resurrection testimony, affirming the existence of an intermediate place, located in Hades, into which the souls of those who now die in the Lord are carried; the other, in view of the post-resurrection testimony, denying that there is now, or ever has been, such a place.

It is the desire of the writer to contribute something toward the settlement of this interesting question; and to this end he will endeavor to set forth what seems to him, after careful investigation, to be the Scriptural teaching concerning Sheol or Hades. To avoid confusion, the Greek term Hades, which is the Septuagint and New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol, will be used throughout this article. It may also be remarked that the term Hell will always be employed as indicating the place of final punishment.

It will be proper to say something as to the principles and mode of the investigation as conducted in the study. It was assumed, in the first place, that it should be made entirely within the field of the original Scriptures—the Septuagint being used as a door of communication between the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New. It was also assumed that each expression employed in Scripture to indicate a topic of Revelation, should be regarded as maintaining one uniform sense throughout the Word of God,—unless, indeed, the contexts of different instances of its use should require us to put different senses upon it. It is desirable that the limitation of this principle should be distinctly recognized. It was not dogmatically assumed that each expression must, at all hazards, be regarded as having only one sense; but that, until the contrary should appear, each passage should be so regarded. Now, the term Hades (Sheol) occurs sixty-five times in the Old Testament; in thirty-one instances it is rendered in the English Version by grave, in thirty-one by Hell,[FN16] and in three by pit. In the New Testament it occurs eleven times; in one of these instances it is rendered by grave, and in ten by Hells. It was not assumed that these renderings, or at least one class of them, must be wrong; on the contrary, it was admitted that the very fact that they had been made by the learned Translators carried with it strong probability of their essential correctness—not so strong, indeed, as to make unnecessary an investigation or to show the impropriety of this assumption in order thereto, yet sufficiently strong to make manifest the importance of the limitation.

As to the mode of the investigation—all the passages in which Hades occurs were tabulated and compared together, with the view of determining whether, consistently with the contextual requirements of each, some uniform meaning might not be given to the term. The experiment was successful beyond most sanguine expectation. It resulted in the conviction that by Hades is designated—I. Not the grave; II. Not Hell; III. Not the Unseen World, including Heaven and Hell; IV. Not the state of death; V. But—(1) a Place in the Unseen World distinct from both Heaven and Hell; (2) having, before the resurrection of Christ, two compartments—one of comfort, the other of misery; (3) to which, antecedent to the resurrection of Christ, the souls of all who died were carried; (4) into which Christ, at His death, descended, delivering the souls of the righteous; (5) to which, since the ascension of Christ, the souls of the wicked, and of the wicked only, have been consigned; (6) in which they are reserved in misery against the day of general judgment; (7) from which they are then to be brought for public judgment previously to their being cast into Hell.

The following argument is designed to commend the foregoing results of private study to others. It will be found to be strictly Scriptural. The truth of the facts on which it is based can be readily tested by any one who has access to the Englishman’s Hebrew, the Englishman’s Greek, and Cruden’s English Concordance.

As a further preliminary it is proper, though scarcely necessary, to state that in conducting the special arguments to prove that Hades is not the grave, is not Hell, etc., it is not designed to assert that in many particular passages the original term cannot bear the meanings denied to them. It is freely admitted that in some instances it may be translated grave, and in others Hell, without destroying the sense. And so in some instances it might be translated house, and in others ship. This is but saying that in every passage the context does not determine the meaning of all the terms employed therein. It is contended, first, that in no passage are these meanings required by the context; and, secondly, that in many they are excluded thereby. It is also claimed that it will become apparent upon a careful examination that, while the one meaning attributed to the term in this Excursus is required by many passages, it is excluded by none—that consistently with the context, it may be put upon it in every instance of its occurrence in the Word of God.

It is also proper to mention that independent arguments will not be presented in proof of each one of the points included in the last general topic. It is believed that the truth of each will appear in the course of the general discussion.

I. Hades not the Grave

This will be argued, in the first place, from data afforded by the Old Testament; and, secondly, from that afforded by the New.

A. That Hades must be regarded as having been used in the Old Testament to designate something different from the literal grave, seems to be evident from the following considerations:

1. It is never construed in the mode, nor with the terms, continually employed in the case of קֶבֶר (or קְבוּרָה), and which unmistakably mark that term as designating the place of the sepulture of the body. Thus קֶבֶר is used in both singular and plural;—it has a territorial location, Exodus 14:11; its site is purchased and sold, Genesis 23:4-20; it is possessed by the owner of the soil or by the person buried therein, Genesis 1:5; Genesis 35:20; it is dug by human hands, Genesis 1:5; it is connected with the verb signifying to bury, Genesis 47:30;—dead bodies are buried in it by living men, Genesis 1:13;—it is marked by a monument, Genesis 35:20; it may be touched by living men, Numbers 19:16; literal dead bones are in it, 2 Kings 13:21;—it may be opened by men and the bones exhumed, 2 Kings 23:16. Hades is always singular; it is never thus construed; it is not in a single instance thus spoken of.

2. It is spoken of with expressions of comparison utterly inconsistent with the idea of the literal grave. Thus we read of—“The lowest Hades,” Deuteronomy 32:22, Psalm 86:13; “The depths of Hades,” Proverbs 9:18; “the midst of Hades,” Ezekiel 32:21.

3. It is in two instances clearly distinguished from the grave. In Genesis 37:35, where it first appears in the Bible, Jacob declares—“I will go down into Hades unto my son;” but from Genesis 37:33 we learn that the Patriarch was under the impression that Joseph had not, and could not have, a grave; he is there represented as exclaiming, “An evil beast hath devoured him.” And in Isaiah 14:15 it is declared that Lucifer shall be “brought down to Hades,” who, Isaiah 14:19, is represented as being “cast out of his (קֶבֶר) grave.

4. It is used in antithesis with Heaven under circumstances which show that the literal grave cannot be intended. “It is as high as Heaven, what canst thou do ? deeper than Hades, what canst thou know?” Job 11:8. “If I ascend up into Heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in Hades, behold, thou art there,” Psalm 139:8. “Though they dig into Hades, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to Heaven, thence will I bring them down,” Amos 9:2.

5. In the poetical Books it never occurs in one of two parallel clauses, answering to קֶבֶר in the other; nor under any other circumstances which grammatically require us to regard it as a synonym thereof.

6. It is manifestly used as synonymous with two other terms which cannot be regarded as indicating the literal grave—viz: בוֹר[FN17] [pit) and תַחְתִיּוֹת אֶרֶץ nether parts of the earth.

The former of these, בוֹר, occurs fifteen times, and is distinguished from קֶבֶר by all the general characteristics by which Hades is distinguished from it. That it is synonymous with Hades, or that it indicates a compartment thereof, is abundantly evident. In Psalm 30:3 the words appear in corresponding hemistiches—“O Lord, thou hast brought my soul from Hades; thou hast kept me alive that I should not go down to the (בוֹר) pit.” The same occurs in Proverbs 1:12, “Let us swallow them up alive as Hades; and whole as those who go down to the pit.” It is evident upon bare inspection that in Isaiah 14:15—“Thou shalt be brought down to Hades, to the sides of the pit”—the בוֹר of the second clause is synonymous with the Hades of the first; it is also evident that it is synonymous with the Hades of Revelation 21:9; Revelation 21:11, rendered in the former Hell and in the latter grave. That these words are synonymous will be further evident from an examination of Ezekiel 31:14-18. In that passage Hades occurs three times,—in Ezekiel 31:15 it is translated grave; and in Ezekiel 31:16-17, Hell: בוֹר occurs twice, in Ezekiel 31:14-16, and in both instances is rendered pit. The words translated “nether parts of the earth,” in Ezekiel 31:14; Ezekiel 31:16; Ezekiel 31:18, are אֶדֶץתַּחְתית)—a compound term manifestly synonymous with the other two.

The phrase תַחְתִית אֶרֶץ or תַחְתּיוֹת אֶרֶץ occurs nine times. In Ezekiel 31:14; Ezekiel 31:16; Ezekiel 31:18; Ezekiel 32:18; Ezekiel 32:24; Ezekiel 26:20, it is manifestly synonymous with Hades. In Psalm 139:15 it is used as a figurative expression for the womb. It also appears in Isaiah 44:23 and Psalm 63:9 (10). What does it mean in these passages? Dr. Hodge, in his Commentary on Ephesians ( Revelation 4:9), remarks concerning this phrase that it “is used for the Earth in opposition to Heaven, Isaiah 44:23; probably for the grave in Psalm 63:9; as a poetical designation for the womb in Psalm 139:15; and for Hades or the invisible world, Ezekiel 30:24.” He gives no reason for any of these interpretations, evidently presuming that their correctness would be manifest upon inspection. No exception can be taken as to the propriety of his opinion in the last two instances, (save as to the judgment concerning the nature of Hades conveyed by the use of the alternative phrase—“or the invisible world”). It should be carefully noted, however, that the phrase appears in Ezekiel, not only in the one passage referred to by him, but in five others,—in all of which it is manifest that it must be synonymous with Hades. This then is not only an established, but it is the leading, sense of the expression; and we must conclude that it has this sense in the other three passages unless the contrary be required by the contexts. Now in Psalm 139:15 the context requires that we should attach to it a figurative meaning. But what is there in the other passages to make it necessary to depart from the leading sense? Most certainly when the Psalmist exclaimed, Psalm 63:9, “Those that seek my soul to destroy it shall go into the lower parts of the earth,” there is nothing to forbid the idea that he meant they should go into Hades. Nor, on the supposition that Hades was a place of conscious existence to which the souls of the departed good as well as of the evil were carried, is there anything unnatural or improbable in supposing that when Isaiah ( Isaiah 44:23) wrote, “Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth,” he intended to call on Hades to rejoice.

7. Those in Hades are spoken of as being in a state of conscious existence, which never occurs in the case of the occupants of קֶבֶר. In Isaiah 14:4-17, the chief ones of the earth who are already imprisoned in Hades, are represented as greeting the King of Babylon at his entrance with the words, “Art thou also become weak as we?” Similar teaching is found in Ezekiel 30:16; Ezekiel 32:21. With this agrees the idea suggested by the phrases, “sorrows of Hades,” 2 Samuel 22:6, Psalm 18:5 (6); “pains of Hades,” Psalm 116:3; and with this agree also the facts that the womb (תַחְתִיוּת אֶרֶץ), Psalm 139:15, and the belly of the whale in which Jonah ( Revelation 2:2) was imprisoned—both places of conscious existence, though of darkness and confinement—were figured by Hades. All this, it is true, may be attributed to poetic license—and so any teaching of the poetic Scriptures may thus be attributed. Nevertheless the fact remains that these declarations are found in the inspired Word of God in connection with Hades, and the further fact that similar expressions are never found in connection with קֶחֶר.

In view of all the foregoing considerations it seems rational to conclude that in the Old Testament Scriptures the term Hades was not used to designate the literal grave. Certain exegetical objections to this conclusion, may, however, present themselves to the minds of some. These, so far as they are known, or can be imagined, will now be considered.

(1) It may be urged that the declarations of Jacob and his sons concerning the bringing down of gray hairs to Hades, Genesis 42:38; Genesis 44:29; Genesis 44:31; and the direction of David to Solomon to bring to Hades the hoar heads of Joab and Shimei, 1 Kings 2:6; 1 Kings 2:9; seem to imply that Hades was regarded as the resting-place of the body. This might be admitted, and at the same time a valid argument be drawn from other Scriptures requiring us to put another than the apparently normal construction upon the words of the Patriarch and David. We are not, however, driven to such a strait as this. Let it be observed that there is nothing in the form of the expressions to forbid our regarding the phrases gray hairs and hoar heads as indicating men in a state of old age. From this point of view there is nothing unnatural in regarding the Hades to which these old men were to be brought as a place of departed spirits. In the case of Jacob, for a reason already given, we cannot regard him as contemplating under this term the literal grave.

(2) In several passages, it may also be objected, Hades is spoken of under terms proper only to the grave. Psalm 6:5 (6), “In Hades who shall give thee thanks?” Isaiah 38:18, “Hades cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down to the pit cannot hope for thy truth;”— Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor Wisdom of Solomon, in Hades, whither thou goest.”[FN18] It must be acknowledged that these passages, in themselves, irrespective of the condition of the writers, are consistent with the idea that by the term Hades as employed in them was meant the literal grave. This, however, is not a necessary interpretation—and if it be, let it be observed, these texts must be regarded as affirming that the grave is the end of Prayer of Manasseh, as denying the immortality of the soul. But the passages are also consistent with the idea that by Hades is meant the state of death, or Hell, or a place of gloom in the Unseen World distinct from Hell. In the progress of the discussion each of these hypotheses will be considered.

(3) Again, it may be contended that the ideas of burial and physical consumption, which are ideas proper only to the grave, are presented in the following passages: Psalm 49:14 (15), “Like sheep they are laid in Hades, death shall feed on them,” etc.; Job 24:19, “Drought and heat consume the snow waters; so doth Hades those which have sinned.”

The difficulty in these passages is altogether in the English translation. Dr. J. Addison Alexander translates the former, “Like a flock to the grave (Hades) they drive; death is their shepherd.” In Job 24:19, the verb translated consume is properly rendered violently take, as in the margin; the reference is to the rapacity of Hades—not to the consumption of the body. The declaration in the following verse—“the worm shall feed sweetly on him,” may refer to the condition of the body when the spirit has been seized by Hades.

(4) It may also be asserted that in the Book of Job, especially in the17 chapter, the oneness of Hades with the grave seems to be naturally implied.

In the17 of Job, most of the words that have been brought into this discussion are employed: קֶבֶר, Job 17:1; Hades, Job 17:13; שָחַת, Job 17:14; and בור, Job 17:16. At first glance it would seem as though these terms had been used indiscriminately as synonyms for each other. Careful inspection, however, shows that they may be regarded as indicating the future of the entire man—the body to the grave, the spirit to the place of departed spirits. We, of the present day, sometimes speak of the grave as our place after death, and sometimes of the world of spirits as our place, without intending thereby to imply our belief that they are one and the same. So is language employed in the book of Job; and in Job 17 both forms of expression are introduced. Thus, naturally—and only thus—can the phraseology employed in Job be reconciled with itself and with other Scriptures.

B. The New Testament teaching as to the distinction between Hades and μνῆμα or μνημεῖον (the grave or sepulchre) is remarkably clear.

The term, as remarked in the Introduction of this Excursus, occurs but eleven times in the New Testament, and in every instance save one it Isaiah, in the English Version, translated Hell. The excepted case is in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O grave, where is thy victory.” That in the other instances it will not bear the translation grave is evident upon bare inspection. These are as follows: “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto Heaven, shalt be brought down to Hades,” Matthew 11:23; “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (the Church), Matthew 16:18; “And thou, Capernaum … shalt be thrust down to Hades,” Luke 10:15; “And in Hades he (Dives) lifted up his eyes, being in torments,” Luke 16:23; “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades,” Acts 2:27; “His soul was not left in Hades,” Acts 2:31; “I … have the keys of Hades and of death,” Revelation 1:18; “His name was Death and Hades followed with him,” Revelation 6:8; “Death and Hades delivered up the dead that were in them,” Revelation 20:13; “Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:14.

The New Testament idea of Hades as distinct from the grave may be most clearly perceived in the declaration concerning Dives in Luke 16:23; and in the didactic teaching of the Apostle Peter, Acts 2:27-31, concerning the soul of Jesus between His death and His resurrection. The Apostle, manifestly, spoke of both the body and the soul of our Lord (comp. Acts 2:27 and Acts 2:31), asserting that the former did not see corruption (although it was placed in a sepulchre), and that the latter was not left in Hades—implying, of course, that it went to Hades. Unless we adopt the conclusion that the soul sleeps with the dead body in the tomb—in the face of the manifest implications of the Apostle and the whole tenor of the Word of God—Hades must be distinct from the tomb. That the soul of Jesus did descend into Hades will, it is believed, more abundantly appear in the course of this Excursus.

Reference has been made to one instance in the New Testament in which the E. V. renders Hades by grave, viz., 1 Corinthians 15:55. In his comment on this passage, Dr. Hodge writes, in immediate continuance of what has already been quoted—“Here where the special reference is to the bodies of men and to the delivery of them from the power of death, it is properly rendered the grave. The Apostle is not speaking of the delivery of souls of men from any intermediate state, but of the redemption of the body.” It is indeed true that the special reference is to the glorification of the body. But does this forbid the idea that there should be any reference to the soul, that, in the moment of the body’s glorification and in essential order thereto, Revelation -animates that body? If indeed there be, or has been, no place of the soul’s imprisonment, then, of course, there can be no reference to such a place; but if, on the other hand, there Isaiah, or has been, such a place, what more natural than that, in view of the redemption of the body, which involves the complete deliverance of the soul, reference should be made to that deliverance?[FN19]

From all that has been said, it seems evident that the New Testament confirms the teaching of the Old as to the distinction between Hades and the literal grave.

II. Hades not Hell regarded as the Place of Final Punishment

There are three opinions concerning Hades which it is important should be clearly distinguished from each other: the first, that it is Hell; the second, that it is the Unseen World including both Heaven and Hell; the third, that it is a term having no reference to place, but indicating merely the state of death. The first and second of these are often confounded together, and the second and third. That, however, they constitute three essentially distinct doctrines is evident upon reflection. It is designed in this section to show the fallacy of the first.

1. That Hades cannot be regarded as indicating merely Hell, is manifest from the fact that it is represented as the dwelling-place (antecedent to the resurrection of Jesus) of all the righteous dead.

The Patriarch Jacob declared his expectation of going into Hades, Genesis 37:35; Job made a like declaration, Job 17:13; the inspired David, Psalm 16:10, and the righteous Hezekiah, Isaiah 38:18, used language which implied that they entertained a similar expectation.

But the location of the spirits of these worthies in Hades locates all the rest of the righteous. Concerning Jacob it is declared, that upon his death he was “gathered unto his people,” Genesis 49:33. This expression,—and the remark is also true of the similar phrase, “gathered unto his fathers,”—is one having reference to the spirit, and not to the body. That it is not an euphuism, as some contend, for being buried, is evident from three considerations: (1) Concerning Jacob it is declared, that “he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people,” Genesis 49:33. He was “gathered unto his people” immediately upon his death; but he was not buried until long after, Genesis 1:13; (2) Concerning both Abraham, Genesis 25:8-9, and Isaac, Genesis 35:29, it is declared that they died, and were gathered unto their people, and were buried; and (3) To Josiah God declared: “I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered unto thy grave (קֶבֶר) in peace,” 2 Kings 22:20. Manifestly, being gathered to one’s people (or fathers) was something distinct from both death and burial; and, further, God gathered to the fathers, man buried. The expression could have reference only to the spirit, and indicates the fact that all departed souls were carried to one place.

It may appear to some that Acts 13:36 militates against the preceding explanation. It is therein declared, that David “fell on sleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption.” The Greek words translated “laid to his fathers” (προσετέθη πρὸς τοὺς πατὲρας αὑτοῦ) are those used in the Septuagint to translate that oft-recurring Hebrew phrase which is rendered in the English Version: “gathered to his fathers.” It must be acknowledged that in this passage, at first glance, the phrase seems to be an euphuism for buried; and this impression is deepened in the mind of the reader of the English Version by the improper rendering of προσετέθη as laid to, instead of gathered to. The idea of burial is not merely suggested, but is directly presented by the term employed in translation. This is indeed a possible, though a most unusual, rendering of the verb. In this Septuagintal phrase, however, it is manifestly excluded by the fact that in the Septuagint it is the translation of the Hebrew אָסַףּ, and consequently can have no meaning that the Hebrew verb has not. Now, whilst προσετέθη may mean laid to, אָסַףּ never has that meaning. The verse properly translated reads: “David fell asleep, and was gathered to his fathers, and saw corruption.” This declaration, from bare inspection of it as it occurs in the New Testament, may mean either, (1) David died, and his body was buried, and saw corruption—the reference being only to the lower nature; or (2) David died, and his spirit went to the place of departed spirits, and his body saw corruption—the reference being to the whole man. Nor is there anything in the context that will enable us to decide which of these is the correct interpretation. We must be guided in our determination by the usus loquendi of the Hebrews. As we have seen that amongst them that phrase had reference to the spirit, we must place that meaning upon it when employed by the Apostle.

The foregoing argument in proof that the righteous dead were collected in Hades is fully borne out by the parable of Dives and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31. Our Lord does not indeed directly declare that Lazarus was in Hades—concerning Dives only was this declaration made, Luke 16:23 : “And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments.” The whole parable, however, seems to be constructed on the idea that both were there—though in different compartments thereof. The underlying thought seems to be that Hades is a world to which the spirits of all the dead are consigned, having two compartments—one of comfort, and the other of misery—separated by an impassable gulf or chasm, but within speaking distance of each other. That our Lord did not intend to represent Lazarus as in Heaven seems to be evident. The place of his abode is not styled Heaven, but Abraham’s bosom; he is not represented as being carried up to it (the general form of expression when Heaven is the terminus), he is simply carried; it is within speaking distance of Dives, being separated from him only by a chasm—but Heaven and Hades are represented as being poles apart: “It is as high as Heaven—deeper than Hades,” Job 11:8; its central figure is not God, but Abraham; God is not there in His glory, nor angels save as ministers of transportation; it is not represented as a place of perfect bliss—Lazarus is merely comforted (παρακαλεῖται), a term never used in descriptions of the blessedness of Heaven. The hypothesis that Jesus contemplated Lazarus as in Hades not only gives force and consistency to the whole parable, but is directly in accordance with the natural interpretation of the brief and scattered teachings of the Old Testament concerning the abode of the righteous dead. It presumes that He spoke just as we would suppose that a Jew, acquainted with the sacred Books of his people, would speak. So natural is this hypothesis that there have been interpreters who adopted it, and then attempted to explain our Lord’s implied representation of the position of Lazarus as a mere condescension to Jewish prejudices!

In view of all the facts, is it possible to resist the conclusion that in uttering this parable, our Lord recognized the existence of a Jewish belief as to the abode of the righteous in accordance with the natural interpretation of the Old Testament teachings, and that He also recognized the correctness of that belief?[FN20]

The fact that the pious dead, as well as the wicked, were in Hades, excludes the idea of its being, in its entirety, Hell regarded as the place of final punishment.

III. Hades not the Unseen World including Heaven and Hell

The dogma now about to be controverted is to be carefully distinguished from another with which it is too frequently confounded, and which will hereafter be considered, viz. that Hades indicates the state of death. In the view now before us, it is a place; in the other, a condition.

If Hades be the Unseen World—a Place including the places Heaven and Hell, as Europe includes France and Germany—and if there be no other place included therein, then the Hades of the wicked must be Hell, and the Hades of the righteous must be Heaven. The effort will now be made to show that neither of these subordinate hypotheses is scriptural.

1. Hades, as the present abode of the disembodied spirits of the wicked, is not Hell. Throughout the Scriptures it is distinguished from the place of final punishment of devils and men.

In the beginning of this particular investigation, special attention is called to the fact that nowhere in the Bible is it said that fallen angels are in Hades, or that they are to be consigned thereto. The Lucifer, Isaiah 14:15, spoken of as “brought down to Hades,” was not the fallen Archangel; but, as we learn from Isaiah 14:4 of the same chapter, the King of Babylon. The word translated Hell in 2 Peter 2:4 : “God spared not angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell,” is not Hades. The whole phrase cast them down to Hell is the translation of the participle ταρταρώσας—i. e. cast them into Tartarus. Devils have another place of punishment than Hades, viz, Tartarus, as in the passage just cited; or the abyss, as in Luke 8:31, where the legion of unclean spirits cast out from the possessed man in the country of the Gadarenes are represented as beseeching our Lord “that he would not command them to go out into the (ἄβνσσον) deep.” This matter, however, will hereafter be more fully considered.

In the Old Testament there is occasionally and dimly set forth the existence of a place of darkness and woe other than Hades, viz., Abaddon (אֲבַדּוּן), translated in our Version destruction. Thus Job 26:6, “Hades is naked before Him, and Abaddon hath no covering;” Job 28:22, “Abaddon and death (מׇוֶת) say, We have heard the fame thereof;” Job 31:12, “It is a fire that consumeth to Abaddon;” Psalm 88:12, “Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave (קֶבֶר), or thy faithfulness in Abaddon?” Proverbs 15:11, “Hades and Abaddon are ever before the Lord;” Proverbs 27:20, “Hades and Abaddon are never full.”

As we enter the New Testament, we perceive that what is but dimly adumbrated in the Old, is therein distinctly declared—though concealed from the readers of the English Version by infelicities of translation.

In Revelation 9:1-3 an angel to whom was given the key of the pit of the Abyss (τὸ φρέαρ τῆς ἀβύσσου—incorrectly translated bottomless pit) opens the pit whence come out locusts. These locusts are described, Revelation 21:11, as having “a King over them, who is the Angel of the pit of the Abyss, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Now, be it remembered that Abaddon is the name of that place of woe mentioned in the Old Testament other than Hades—of which term ἀπώλεια (Apoleia) is the Septuagint translation. Does not the name given to this leader beget, to say the least, the suspicion that either the pit whence he comes, or the place of woe to which he is to be consigned, should it prove other than the pit, may be the Abaddon shadowed forth in the Old Testament?

In Revelation 17:8 reference is made to a Beast that ascends out of the pit of the abyss and who is to go into perdition (ἀπώλεια); in Revelation 19:20 he is represented as being cast “into the (not a) lake of fire burning with brimstone”—manifestly he meets his foretold doom, this lake of fire is the Apoleia, the Abaddon, into which he was to go. In Revelation 20:3 Satan is represented as being shut up in the Abyss for a thousand years; after his imprisonment he is loosed again for a little season, and then, Revelation 20:10, is cast into “the lake of fire and brimstone where the Beast and the False Prophet are”—he also is cast into Apoleia. Then follows the account of the general judgment ( Revelation 20:11-13), after which ( Revelation 20:14-15) “death and Hades” (or those detained by them) were to be cast into the same lake. This is declared to be the second death. It seems unquestionable that this “lake of fire” (Apoleia=Abaddon), from which both Hades, and the pit of the Abyss seem to be distinguished, as jails from the penitentiary, is Hell regarded as the place of the final and everlasting punishment of devils and ungodly men.

With the instruction thus gathered from the Apocalypse, agree the teachings elsewhere scattered through the New Testament. It is a well known fact that there are two words in the Greek Testament which in the English Version are rendered Hell—Hades and Gehenna. Our Lord is represented as employing the former of these only three times—in reference to the humiliation of Capernaum, Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:15; to the deliverance of the Church from its power, Matthew 16:18; and to the imprisonment of the disembodied spirit of Dives, Luke 16:23. When he uttered His fearful threatenings concerning the casting of both body and soul into Hell, into unquenchable fire, the term employed by him was Gehenna; see Matthew 5:22; Matthew 5:29-30; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 18:9; Matthew 23:15; Matthew 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5. These passages, especially Mark 9:43, where Gehenna is described as the place of “the fire that never shall be quenched,” immediately connect themselves with Matthew 13:42; Matthew 25:41, and show that this place of torment is “the furnace of fire”—the “everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels,” into which at “the end of the world”—after the judgment—the wicked are to be cast. And these passages are manifestly parallel with Revelation 20:10-15—“the furnace of fire” and the “everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels” are “the lake of fire” into which the Devil and those delivered up by Hades for judgment shall be cast.

Directly in line with the teachings thus developed are those of the Apostles. Peter and Jude ( 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 6) agree in declaring that the angels who kept not their first estate are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Are they not in the pit of the abyss (with the exception of those permitted for a season to come forth with their leader), reserved for that awful day when, with Satan, they shall be cast into that “everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels?” The “everlasting destruction” threatened in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, is to be inflicted after Jesus has come in flaming fire taking vengeance—after His advent for judgment. Until that time also, when “the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all,” “is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” which the Apostle Jude teaches us is reserved for the ungodly, Judges 11-15. That the ungodly are in Hades all admit, but they are not yet in their place of final and everlasting punishment—they are not yet in Hell.

Another line of thought bearing on this special subject will now be presented, rather by way of question than of argument. In view of the use of apoleia (abaddon) in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation, may there not be some reference to the place of final punishment when it is employed by Jesus and His Apostles—especially when the article is expressed, as is frequently the case? Our Lord declares, Matthew 7:13, “Broad is the road that leadeth to τὴν ἀπώλειαν. He describes Judas, John 17:12, as “the son of τής ἀπωλείας. The Apostle Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, speaks of the revelation of “the son of τὴς ἀπωλείας. See also Romans 9:22; Philippians 3:19; Hebrews 10:39; 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Peter 2:3; 2 Peter 3:7.

But whatever may be the force of this last consideration, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion from those previously presented that Hades, so far as it is the prison of the ungodly dead, is not the same as Hell regarded as the everlasting prison of devils and men; as before remarked, it bears to that place of woe a relation similar to that of the jail to the penitentiary.

2. The Hades of the good is not Heaven. This is evident from the following considerations:

(1) God, angels, Jesus Christ (save during the time between His death and resurrection), are never represented as abiding therein. This is scarce explicable on the hypothesis that Hades is a general term for the Unseen World. It may be said, however, that the term is employed only in reference to the spirits of deceased men. This answer, it will be observed, exceedingly limits the hypothesis we are considering.

(2) Hades, as an entirety, is distinguished from Heaven. This is done in two distinct modes, (a) By being placed in antithesis therewith, as in Job 11:8, “It is as high as Heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than Hades; what canst thou know?” See also Psalm 130:8, Amos 9:2. (b) By being localized as beneath the surface of the earth. Thus it is described by the synonym “nether parts of the earth;” and approach to it is universally described as a descent—thus, Numbers 16:33, Koran and his company are described as going “down alive into Hades” through the opening earth.

(3) Not only is the idea of situation beneath the earth presented when the wicked are spoken of, but also when the entrance thereinto of the righteous is described. Not only is it declared that Korah and his company “went down alive into (the pit) Hades;” but, also, Jacob exclaimed, Genesis 37:35, “I will go down into Hades unto my son.” Not only did Saul ask the witch of Endor “to bring up Samuel,” ( 1 Samuel 28:8), thus testifying to the popular belief as to the descent of the spirits of the good; and not only did the terrified woman exclaim, ( 1 Samuel 28:13) “I saw gods ascending out of the earth,” but the spirit of Samuel (unquestionably his spirit, raised, not by the incantations of the woman, but by the power of God) is represented as saying to the King, ( 1 Samuel 28:15) “Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up?” Of Elijah alone of all the Old Testament saints is it said that he ascended, and of him alone it is said that he went into Heaven (שָׁמַיִם). Unquestionably the idea of the Hades of the good presented in the Old Testament, is that of a subterranean place, distinct from Heaven. In strict accordance with the usus loquendi of the Old Testament, our Lord when he referred to His own abiding in Hades spoke of it as remaining “three days and nights in the heart of the earth,” Matthew 12:40; and the Apostle Paul in referring to the same event, Ephesians 4:9, wrote of Jesus as “descending into the lower parts of the earth”—but of this here after.

(4) That the Hades of the good is not Heaven, is evident from the fact that it is always spoken of as a place, at the best, of imperfect happiness—a place to be delivered from. The pious writer of the49 Psalm exclaimed ( Psalm 49:15, 16]) “God will redeem my soul from the power of Hades”—as of deliverance from a prison. David, who had bright visions of a future glory after he had seen the face of the Deliverer ( Psalm 17:15), wrote, not only prophetically concerning the Messiah, but also concerning himself, Psalm 16:10, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades.” In strict accordance with the idea set forth in these passages that Hades was a prison, are the words in Hosea 13:14, referred to by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55, “I will redeem them from the hand of Hades, I will ransom them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O Hades, I will be thy destruction.” Here the separation of soul and body seems to be set forth by the appropriate term מָוֶת; the imprisoned condition of the separated soul, by the phrase hand of Hades. The promise is of a deliverance of the soul, from its prison, and of a Revelation -union of soul and body; or, in other words, of a resurrection of the body.

David also wrote concerning the Hades to which he was about to depart, but from which he was assured that he was in due time to be delivered, Psalm 6:5 (6), “In Hades who shall give Thee thanks?” Dr. J. A. Alexander in his comment on these words writes: “In Sheol, the grave, as a general receptacle, here parallel to death, and like it meaning the unseen world or state of the dead, who will acknowledge or give thanks to Thee? The Hebrew verb denotes that kind of praise called forth by the experience of goodness.—This verse does not prove that David had no belief or expectation of a future state, nor that the intermediate state is an unconscious one, but only that in this emergency he looks no further than the close of life as the appointed term of thanksgiving and praise. Whatever might eventually follow, it was certain that his death would put an end to the praise of God, in that form and those circumstances to which he had been accustomed.” The last remark is certainly true; and yet, is it conceivable that David could have written thus, on the supposition that the departing spirits of the righteous went immediately to Heaven? Could one about to depart immediately to the glorious praises of the land of glory, have penned, under the inspiration of the Spirit, the words “In Hades who shall give Thee thanks,” on the supposition either that the Hades of the good was Heaven, or that the term indicated merely the state of death? Let one imagine, if possible, the Apostle Paul thus writing! The very explanation given by Dr. Alexander, requires that the Hades to which the Psalmist felt that he was to depart should have been a place either of unconsciousness, or of darkness and gloom. The only escape from this conclusion is in the hypothesis, not only that be was not inspired in this utterance, but also that he was in positive error as to the condition of departed saints. It is not enough to suppose that he was in ignorance or doubt as to his own spiritual condition—as to whether he was a saint. The implied assertion of the exclamation is universal—“In Hades who shall give Thee thanks?”

In manifest accordance with the teaching of the Old Testament on this subject, is that of the New. When our Lord referred to the condition of Lazarus, Luke 16:25, he did not speak of him as enjoying the fullness of his Father’s house, but as being “comforted;” a term, as before remarked, never used in reference to the joys of Heaven. And when the Apostle Paul spoke of the condition of the Old Testament worthies, he makes manifest reference to the incompleteness of their blessedness antecedent to the Christian dispensation. He wrote, Hebrews 11:39-40, “And these all, having received a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Dr. Owen rejects this view, affirming, “the Apostle treats not here at all about the difference between one sort of men and another after death, as is evident from the very reading of the Epistle.” With the highest reverence for the memory of that great Prayer of Manasseh, the writer would remark that the very reading of the Epistle has led him to the opposite conclusion. The special section which includes the words quoted above, begins immediately upon the close of Hebrews 10:34. In the latter clause of that verso the Apostle had referred to the heavenly inheritance of those to whom he was then writing. The mention of this calls for a special section in which he may incite them to faithfulness in order to the obtaining of that inheritance. He therefore writes, Hebrews 10:35-36, “Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward; for ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” What promise? Manifestly that of the heavenly inheritance. He then proceeds to set forth the life of faith, which is in order to this inheritance, by the example of the Old Testament saints who had lived it in the midst of trials and afflictions. The natural apodosis of the recitals of Hebrews 11would seem to be, ‘These all, having received a good report through faith, having finished the race set before them, received the promise;’ but not so—“They received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Is it not manifest that the Apostle asserts that the old Testament worthies did not receive their heavenly inheritance until the Christian dispensation, and that the implied instruction to Christians Isaiah, ‘You, who are called to earthly patience like theirs, run under better auspices than was vouchsafed to them, even the sure hope of immediate blessing?’

(5) The great argument, however, in proof that the Hades of the righteous was not Heaven, is to be found in the fact of their deliverance therefrom at the Resurrection of our Lord. The consideration of this topic, however, more appropriately belongs to the concluding section, in which the effort will be made to establish the affirmative proposition that Hades is a place in the Unseen World distinct from Heaven and Hell.

IV. Hades not the State of Death

The opinion that Hades indicates (at least frequently) a state and not a place, is one to a great extent entertained in Protestant Churches.

This opinion appears to the writer to be unsupported by a single Scriptural passage, the context of which requires us to put such an interpretation upon it. The only texts that with apparent plausibility can be cited as teaching this doctrine are Psalm 6:5 (6), “In Hades who shall give Thee thanks?” Isaiah 38:18, “Hades cannot praise Thee;” Ecclesiastes 9:10, “There is no work, nor device, nor wisdom in Hades.” These passages, so far as the immediate contexts are concerned, are certainly consistent with the idea now under consideration, even as they are consistent with the opinion that by Hades the literal grave is intended. But they are also consistent with the idea that by the term is represented a place of gloom; and this idea, as we saw in the preceding section, the spiritual condition of the Psalmist requires us to put upon it.

The opinion, thus unsupported by a single unambiguous Scripture, stands opposed to that vast multitude of passages in which Hades is manifestly referred to as a place. Many of these texts have already been quoted, and it is unnecessary to Revelation -cite them.

The real grounds of the opinion that Hades is a state, and not a place, are, as it seems to the writer, philosophical and theological, and not exegetical.

There are those whose psychological views cause them to shrink from any localization of a pure spirit, and who therefore affirm that Hades must indicate a state. The same views, it may be remarked, should lead, and in many cases do lead, to the affirmation that the terms Heaven and Hell are indicative, not of places, but of mere conditions of the soul.

Another ground is what may be styled the pseudo-scientific. It seems plain that if the language of Scripture is to be interpreted normally, the location of Hades is in the heart of the earth. There are many who shrink from this opinion as though it must be false. Why false? If Hades be a place, it must be somewhere; and if somewhere, why not in the centre of the Earth as well as elsewhere? True science, which confesses its ignorance concerning the internal condition of our globe, can, on this question, neither affirm nor deny.

Others, still, deny because of their pre-formed opinion that the righteous Patriarchs did depart to perfect blessedness. But manifestly if the Hades of the Old Testament was a place, it was a place of gloom even in the case of the pious. The only refuge from this conclusion is in the opinion that the term has reference merely to the state of the soul separated from the body.

The main ground of the opinion, however, Isaiah, in the judgment of the writer, the manifest difficulty of harmonizing those texts in the Old Testament which speak of righteous Abraham and Jacob and David, as being in Hades, with those in the New Testament, which on the one hand declare that the righteous are taken to Heaven, and those which on the other hand declare that Hades shall be cast into the lake of fire. The very difficulty naturally suggests the hypothesis that Hades may be an indefinite term, meaning sometimes the state of death and sometimes the place of the lost—an hypothesis, however, utterly inconsistent with that mass of Scriptures which require us to define it as signifying a place. It may further be remarked that if there are intimations in Scripture that, at the Resurrection or Ascension of our Lord, a change was made in the place of abode of the souls of the righteous dead—that a new place in Heaven was prepared, to which those who had previously been consigned to Hades were removed, and to which the souls of those who now die in the Lord are carried—this ground of the hypothesis now contended against, is removed. The attempt will be made in the following section to show that there are such intimations.

V. Hades a Place in the Unseen World distinct from Heaven and Hell

That Hades is such a place logically follows if there has been no fatal mistake in any of the preceding arguments. If it be not the literal Grave, nor Hell, nor the Unseen World including Heaven and Hell, nor the State of Death, then it must be a third place in the Unseen World. The truth of this conclusion would at once be invalidated if a single text of Scripture could be cited which clearly teaches that there are but two places in the Unseen World. No such text, however, has been, or; it is believed, can be, adduced. The position of Protestant Theologians who have denied the existence of a third place, so far as is known to the writer, never has been that the Scriptures directly assert that there are but two places, but that they recognize the existence of only two. In this view of the state of the question, the conclusion that the Word of God does teach the existence of a third place might be left to the judgment of the reader without further remark.

There Isaiah, however, another argument bearing on the point that should not be omitted, viz. that arising from the fact that Christ, between the periods of His death and resurrection, delivered from Hades a captivity detained therein. If it be true that our Lord did perform such a work, then is it evident that Hades is a place distinct from both Heaven and Hell. The fact that He did Song of Solomon, the writer believes to be referred to in several passages of Scripture, and directly taught in Ephesians 4:8-9 : “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the Earth.”

That the place to which our Lord ascended, leading “captivity captive” (whatever this phrase may mean), was Heaven, none deny. That the place to which He descended was Hades, and that the “captivity” consisted of the pious dead, seem to the writer to be the natural and legitimate meanings of the terms employed.

That our Lord did at His death go into Hades (whatever Hades may be) is admitted by all. But the phrase, in the passage now under consideration, translated “lower parts of the earth” (τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς) Isaiah, as we saw in Section I. of this Excursus, the Greek equivalent for one of the Hebrew synonyms for Hades. Is it not natural to conclude that the Apostle Paul, in using this well-established Old Testament synonym for Hades, had in his mind the same fact to which the Apostle Peter referred when in his Pentecostal sermon he declared ( Acts 2:31): “His soul was not left in Hades?”

It also seems clear to the writer that, in accordance with Scripture usage, the phrase “led captivity captive” must have reference to the deliverance of captured friends. This phrase, unqualified, occurs but twice in the Old Testament—once in the Psalm from which the Apostle quotes it, Psalm 68:18; and again in the Song of Deborah and Barak, Judges 5:12 : “Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Ahinoam.” Regarded merely as a phrase, it may mean either of two things: (1) to lead as prisoners a number of enemies, or (2) to lead as Revelation -captured a number of friends previously captured by an enemy. The latter seems to be its most natural interpretation;[FN21] and this manifestly is its meaning in Judges 5:12, the only passage in which the context determines the meaning. It is clearly implied, Judges 4:16, that Barak took no prisoners, in the words: “All the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword, and there was not a man left.” The captivity that Barak led captive must have been captured Israel. As this interpretation is manifestly the meaning of the phrase in one of the two instances of its occurrence in the Old Testament, it is but logical to conclude that it is its meaning in the other also. This conclusion is strengthened by the considerations, first, that there is nothing in Psalm 68 to forbid our putting this interpretation upon it; and, secondly, that the Song of Deborah and Barak was manifestly in the mind of the inspired writer when he penned the Psalm. This is evident from a comparison of the two passages of Scripture.

This, then, is not only the natural, but the scripturally suggested interpretation of Ephesians 4:8-9,—that Christ descended into Hades, and then ascended into Heaven (above all Heavens), leading a multitude whom He had delivered (captured) from captivity.

As against the interpretation that by “the lower parts of the earth” the Apostle meant Hades, Dr. Eadie, in his Commentary on this Epistle, queries: “Why not use ᾄδης, when it had been so markedly employed before, had he wished to give it prominence?” It might be retorted: Why use “the lower parts of the earth”—an Old Testament synonym for Hades—if he meant simply the earth? His own explanation that by the descent of Christ into “the lower parts of the earth” is meant that He was born in a low condition—“born not under fretted roofs and amidst marble halls,” etc., is manifestly untenable. The Greek phrase will not bear that interpretation. Two reasons for the Apostle’s selection of the phrase, however, may be given—(1) Had he used Hades, the idea of His life on earth would have been obscured; by the phrase, “lower parts of the earth,” not only is its O. T. synonym Hades suggested, but also the idea of a descent to earth and through earth is preserved. (2) A second reason may be that on this subject, as on the whole subject of eschatology seems to be the case, it was the design of the Spirit to give an indefinite revelation. A preceding question of Dr. Eadie appears to the writer to be without force. This question is—“Why, if Hades was intended, should the comparative κατώτερος and not the superlative have been used?” In answer it may be said that the idea of the Hebrew is as well expressed by the comparative as by the superlative; and further, to have written that Christ went into the lowest part would have implied that He went into the prison of the wicked—the lowest Hades, which it was foreign from the intention of the Apostle, most certainly in this connection, to teach. Another objection of Dr. Eadie to the view presented in this Excursus is—“Those who suppose the captives to be human spirits emancipated from thraldom by Jesus, may hold the view that Christ went to hell (?) to free them, but we have seen that the captives are enemies made prisoners on the field of battle.” On turning to the comment on the passage referred to, we find that the reason for this opinion is nothing but an unsupported assertion; he writes: “ ‘Thou hast led captivity captive.’ The meaning of this idiom seems simply to be—thou hast mustered or reviewed thy captives, Judges 5:12.” The reference, as is manifest on examination, refutes the assertion,—for Barak captured no enemies.

The other objections of Dr. Eadie are involved in the following three presented by Dr. Hodge in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians.

(1) “In the first place, this idea (the descensus ad inferos) is entirely foreign to the meaning of the passage in the Psalm on which the Apostle is commenting.” With the greatest veneration for the distinguished and beloved Commentator, it may be asked: In what respect is it more foreign than the idea adopted by himself? It is to be observed that there is no expressed reference in the Psalm to Christ. Dr. Hodge remarks on Ephesians 4:8 : “… Psalm 68 is not Messianic. It does not refer to the Messiah, but to the triumph of God over His enemies.” From this point of view, manifestly, any idea as to the terminus ad quem of the Messiah’s descent may be said to be foreign to the meaning of the Psalm; and from this point of view alone could the criticism now under consideration have proceeded. The learned Commentator, however, justifies the application of the Psalm to Christ on three principles which he rightly declares “are applicable not only to this, but also to many similar passages.” He writes: “The first is the typical character of the old dispensation. … Thus the Psalm quoted by the Apostle is a history of the conquests of God over the enemies of His ancient people, and a prophecy of the conquests of the Messiah. The second principle applicable to this and similar cases is the identity of the Logos or Son manifested in the flesh under the new dispensation with the manifested Jehovah of the old æconomy. … There is still a third principle to be taken into consideration. Many of the historical and prophetic descriptions of the Old Testament are not exhausted by any one application or fulfillment. .… The predictions of Isaiah of the redemption of Israel were not exhausted by the deliverance of the people of God from the Babylonish captivity, but had a direct reference to the higher redemption to be effected by Christ…It Isaiah, therefore, in perfect accordance with the whole analogy of Scripture that the Apostle applies what is said of Jehovah in Psalm 68 as a conqueror, to the work of the Lord Jesus, who, as God manifested in the flesh, ascended on high, leading captivity captive and giving gifts unto men.” It is on the platform of these manifestly correct principles that Dr. Hodge declares in his comment on Psalm 68:9-10 : “… the Psalmist must be understood as having included in the scope of his language the most conspicuous and illustrious of God’s condescensions and exaltations. All other comings were but typical of His coming in the flesh, and all ascensions were typical of His ascension from the grave.” But is it not evident that, on this platform, what must be understood as having been “included in the scope” of the Psalmist’s language, in reference to any Divine descent subsequent to the writing of the Psalm, must be determined, not from the language of the Psalm alone, but from that language in connection with those Scriptures which describe the descent? If those subsequent Scriptures teach that the descent was merely to the literal grave, then a descent to the literal grave and an ascent therefrom are all that can be regarded as included within that scope; but if they teach that the descent was to Hades, then a descent thereto must be understood as included. Dr. Hodge has concluded from an examination of the New Testament that Christ’s descent was only to the grave; others, from a similar examination, have concluded that it was ad inferos. Both these ideas are “foreign” to the language of the Psalm literally interpreted; that one, however, is to be regarded as within “the scope” of its language, which the event, as described by the New Testament writers, shows to have been within the view of the inspiring Spirit, who knows the end from the beginning.

(2) “In the second place,” continues Dr. Hodge, “there (in the Psalm) as here, the only descent of which the context speaks is opposed to the ascending to Heaven.” This may be freely admitted—although in point of fact the Psalm does not speak of a descent at all; it merely implies one. But what was the terminus ad quem of the descent? This the Psalm does not declare. It can be determined only from the Apostle’s comment, who declares it to have been the lower parts of the earth.

(3) “In the third place this is the opposition so often expressed in other places and in other forms of expression.” The writer cannot perceive that the position here assumed is supported by the passages cited. These passages, with the remarks of the Am. Ed.. upon them, are as follows: “ John 3:13” (‘No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man who is in Heaven.’) Manifestly there is no allusion here to the bodily ascension of our Lord. Jesus was not, in this passage, prophesying to Nicodemus that He was to ascend; He was giving a reason why He could instruct concerning heavenly things as no other man could. It was as though He had said, ‘No man hath ascended up to Heaven and thence descended to teach; only He can teach you who descended from Heaven, who is still in Heaven’ “ John 6:38” (‘I came down from Heaven’). Most true. But is this inconsistent with his going still further—into Hades? “ John 8:14” (‘I know whence I came and whither I go’). A remark similar to the preceding might here be made. “ John 16:28” (‘I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world and go to the Father’). Is there aught here inconsistent with the idea of His going, before His return, to the subterranean world? Because, when on the earth, our Lord spake of a descent from Heaven, are we debarred from supposing that He contemplated descending still further to a place whence also He must ascend?

As before remarked, if the interpretation which the writer contends is the natural one, viz., that Christ went into Hades and delivered captives therein held, be the true one; then, manifestly, Hades as the dwelling-place of the pious must have been a third place in the Unseen World, and not that World itself in its entirety, nor Heaven, nor Hell, nor the State of Death.

But whilst the interpretation given by the writer is the most natural, it is admitted that other interpretations may be put upon the passage that has been under discussion. It is not, therefore, contended that by itself, unsupported by other Scriptures, it will establish the doctrine it apparently presents. That the natural interpretation is the true one appears from the facts (1) That the doctrine thereby presented brings into perfect harmony two apparently discrepant classes of Scriptures; and (2) That it sheds light on several obscure passages of the word of God, bringing them, in their natural interpretation and with all their logical implications, into perfect harmony with each other and with the rest of revealed truth.

1. As to the former of these facts.

On the one hand, it cannot be denied that the apparent teaching of many passages of Scripture, written antecedent to the resurrection of Christ, is that Hades is a place distinct from Heaven, to which the souls of the righteous as well as of the wicked were consigned; and, on the other hand, it is clear that all the post-resurrection teachings of the word of God are, not merely that “the souls of believers at their death do immediately pass into glory,” but even more specific—that they do immediately pass into Heaven.

It is in place here to consider somewhat at length the latter class of Scriptures. That the post-resurrection teachings of the New Testament are that the souls of believers do immediately pass into Heaven, is evident from the following considerations:

(1) It is implied in all that is said as to the souls of believers going, at their death, to the place where the Lord Isaiah, John 14:2-3; “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I Amos, there ye may be also.” John 17:24, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I Amos, that they may behold my glory.” 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent, from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Philippians 1:23, “To depart and be with Christ.” Now, Christ is in Heaven—Him “the Heaven must receive (hold) until the times of the restitution of all things,” Acts 3:21. Believers therefore, who are with Christ, must be in Heaven. It is vain to object to this, that believers in Hades may be said to be with Christ, since He is everywhere and He may manifest Himself anywhere. True. As God, He is everywhere; on earth, in Hades, in Hell: and He may make a spiritual manifestation of Himself anywhere. He cannot, however, make a physical manifestation of Himself (and it is such a manifestation that the texts quoted call for) where He is not, and the Scriptures teach us that He is physically in Heaven. True, He has power to convey His human nature anywhere, but the declaration that “the Heaven must receive Him until the times of the restitution of all things,” conveys the assurance that He does not and will not convey Himself to Hades. He is in Heaven; the souls of believers are with Him; therefore they are in Heaven—i.e., in one of its “many mansions.”

(2) The same doctrine is directly taught, or implied, in such passages as the following: “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens,” 2 Corinthians 5:1. Whatever this heavenly house may be (and that question need not now be discussed) we know that it is in the Heavens. Those, therefore, who inhabit it, must be in Heaven, “with the Lord,” as we learn from 2 Corinthians 5:8; and thus this verse, which directly teaches that departed believers are in Heaven, by its contextual arrangement confirms the preceding argument that those who “are with the Lord” are in Heaven.

(3) This also is the natural explanation of the record concerning Stephen. Just before his execution he saw “the Heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God,” Acts 7:56. Shortly after, in the act of dying, he exclaimed: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” as though he still gazed on Him whom a short time before he had been privileged to see at the right hand of the throne of God, Acts 7:59. The implication of the whole passage is that Jesus, in accordance with His promise—“I will come again and receive you unto Myself,” John 14:2, revealed Himself unto this dying saint as about to take him into Heaven—to the place in His Father’s house He has prepared for His loved ones—that where Hebrews, the Saviour, was, there might Hebrews, the believer, be.

(4) Is not the same also implied in Hebrews 12:22-24, where, not to seek after the whole meaning, the teaching seems to be that not only are “the spirits of just men” now “made perfect” (comp. Hebrews 11:30); but that all such are with angels, and with God the Judge of all, and with Jesus, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

In view of all these Scriptures, the doctrine of the post-resurrection teachings of the New Testament seems to be that the spirits of the just do, on their death, immediately pass into Heaven.

This class of Scriptures seems to present a doctrine in irreconcilable contradiction with that set forth by the former class, on the assumption that each class presents an original and constantly enduring fact in God’s treatment of the spirits of the departed dead. In view of the former class there have been many Protestants, as is well known, who have set at naught the manifest teachings of the New Testament on this subject—contending that a soul may be in the place Hades, and yet with the Lord; and in view of the latter class, many have utterly ignored the force of Old Testament language, ascribing it (on a matter of pure revelation) to an accommodation to Jewish superstition. Neither of these positions is consistent with due regard to the inspiration of the Word of God. The very conditions of the problem suggest the hypothesis that, at sometime about the period of the Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, there was a change in the condition of the spirits of the righteous dead. This hypothesis receives confirmation from the fact that it is the natural interpretation of Peter’s declaration that Christ, between His Death and Resurrection, descended into the place where the Old Testament teaches us that the departed righteous were; and does it not spring to the dignity of an established doctrine upon the discovery of a text which, taken in its literal and most natural sense, teaches that Christ did descend to Hades and thence deliver those therein confined? The text in Ephesians taken in its natural sense brings into perfect and beautiful harmony two apparently conflicting doctrines of the word of God.

2. And more. It sheds light on many detached portions of the Scripture, and brings them, and all their implications, into full harmony with each other, and with the whole body of revealed truth.

(1) The first of these passages that will be noticed is John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” The implication here is that the future place of His disciples was not then prepared. This is inconsistent with the doctrine that the place of the pious dead has always been in Heaven, or that Hades continues to be their place. The implication calls for a change in the place of the pious dead synchronous with our Lord’s Ascension.

(2) A second Scripture is Hebrews 11:40, compared with Hebrews 12:23. These passages occur in the same section of the Epistle—that which exhorts believers to patience that they may obtain the promise, i. e., heavenly blessedness. In the former, the spirits of just men who were not made perfect (i. e., who did not receive the promise) until the present dispensation, are spoken of. In the latter, these same spirits are manifestly amongst the spirits of just men made perfect. The passage in Ephesians throws beautiful light on both these Scriptures, brings them into harmony with each other, and into perfect and enlightening harmony with the whole section that includes them.

(3) A third passage is the declaration of our Lord to the dying thief: “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” Luke 23:43; compared (a) with those texts that declare he went into Hades, and (b) with 2 Corinthians 12:4, and Revelation 2:7, which place Paradise in Heaven. The first comparison would seem to indicate that Paradise was a Jewish name for one of the compartments of the place Hades; the second, that it was a name for Heaven, or one of the many mansions thereof. If the natural interpretation of the passage in Ephesians be the true one, then the apparent discrepancy is at, once harmonized; at least a mode of reconciliation is at once suggested. If Paradise were the name for the abode of the righteous in Hades, then on their removal to Heaven, to the new place prepared for them, the name of their abode might naturally be transferred to their new home.

(4) The interpretation given to the passage in Ephesians throws light upon, and is supported by 1 Peter 3:18-22.

The writer is unable to adopt the common English Protestant view concerning this passage, viz., that the preaching mentioned was by the Holy Spirit through Noah to the Antediluvians in the flesh, for the following reasons:

a. On this ground the consistency of the whole passage is destroyed. The Apostle was exhorting believers to the patient endurance of wrong; and he enforces his exhortation by a reference to the case of the God- Prayer of Manasseh, Who by His endurance became a benefactor unto others, and won for Himself a reward of exaltation. Consistency requires that the preaching should follow the death.

b. The modern view requires us to regard the Holy Ghost as indicated by πενύμα, not withstanding the absence of the article, and the manifest antithesis between that term and σάρξ.

c. The use of πνεύματα in this connection requires that we should regard disembodied spirits as the objects of the preaching—the disembodied πνεύμα (the person dead ἐν σάρκι) preached to πνεύματα.

d. The collocation of the words role τοῖς ἐν φυλακῇ πνεύμασι requires us to regard the spirits as in prison when addressed.

e. The term πορευθεὶς of 1 Peter 3:19 is manifestly parallel with the same term in 1 Peter 3:22. The implication of the entire passage is that the same person first went to the prison, and then went to Heaven.

f. The position of ποτέ forbids this interpretation. Thus Bengel writes: “Si sermo esset de præconio per Noe τὸ aliquando aut plane omitteretur aut prædicavit conjungeretur.”

g. The natural interpretation of the passage, so far from teaching a doctrine at variance with other Scriptures, is manifestly in accord with what is elsewhere taught.

The writer would present the following translation: “For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, in order that He might lead us unto God, being put to death as to flesh, but quickened as to spirit, in which (spirit) also having journeyed, He preached (ἐκήρυξεν= made proclamation) to the spirits in prison, etc.

The passage in Ephesians calls for a φυλακή in which the spirits of the departed, as captives, were held, to which, after His death, Jesus descended, performing a mission of mercy. The passage under immediate consideration represents our Lord as, after His death, journeying to a φυλακή, and there making proclamation to the prisoners detained therein. The former passage states nothing as to the mode in which His mission was executed; the latter teaches us nothing as to the results of the proclamation. But in the confluent light of the two passages can we doubt, not only that they have reference to the same event, but that the mode in which the mission was executed (at least in part) was by proclamation, and that at least one result of that proclamation was the deliverance of those who had been ransomed by the Lord’s death?

This interpretation does not require, as some object, that an offer of salvation should have been made to the departed such as is now made to the living, that the gospel should have been preached to them as it is preached to men in the flesh. The term translated preach is κηρύσσω, which means simply to proclaim as herald. Dr. Mombert, in the Excursus on the Descensus ad Inferos, published in connection with his translation of Fronmüller’s Commentary (Lange Series) on 1 Peter, remarks, “it (κηρύσσω) is never used in the sense of judicial announcement, and N. T. usage clothes it with the meaning ‘to preach the gospel.’ ” It is true that it is never used to designate judicial announcement, and that for the sufficient reason that it has reference to heraldic announcement, which is an essentially different thing. It is also true that the New Testament (E. V.) usage of the word preach is almost invariably “to preach the gospel.” This however is not the case in reference to the use of the Greek word κηρύσσω, as is evident from an examination of Mark 1:45; Mark 5:20; Mark 7:36; Luke 8:39; Acts 15:21; Romans 2:21; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Galatians 5:11; Revelation 5:2. All that the use of κηρύσσω calls for is the proclamation of a fact or facts. These facts, in the case before us, may have been the completion of the work of atonement, and the consequent deliverance of those who had accepted of Christ under the types of the old œconomy. Such an announcement would have been a word of life to those who had accepted while in the flesh. In this connection it is proper to remark that if the preaching of the Gospel to the dead (εὐηγγελίσθη) of 1 Peter 4:6, has reference to the same event as that recorded in the passage under immediate consideration, it would not require us to regard the preaching of the Gospel (glad tidings) as the same as that to men in the flesh—as an offer of salvation. The nature of good tidings has respect to the condition of the hearers. To us, sinners in the flesh, the offer of salvation through a Redeemer is good news. To captives in Hades who had already performed the conditions of salvation, the announcement of the completion of the atonement and of deliverance consequent thereupon, would be glad tidings.

Nor are we forbidden to suppose that the preaching was to those who had already trusted, by the fact that all who were the objects of address are described as “once disobedient” (ἀπειθήσασι = unbelieving). It is to be carefully noted that in this portion of the passage the Apostle is laboring to set forth the gracious effects of the sufferings of Christ. He suffered, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us (the unjust) unto God. It was only consistent that the inspired penman should describe the Old Testament recipients of His grace as sinners.

It may also be remarked that an objection that may arise in some mind—viz., Why should the Apostle have made special reference to the Antediluvians? presses with equal force upon every conceivable hypothesis of interpretation. Probably the reason of the special reference was that it gave opportunity for the presentation of the Deluge as the type of Baptism. On this point, however, the writer will not enlarge. He does not claim that the hypothesis presented by him explains every difficulty of this most difficult passage of the Word of God. Probably there are allusions therein, as in other Scriptures, to mysteries which will never be understood save in the light of the world to come.

(5) The passage in Ephesians, in connection with the one just considered, throws light on certain expressions in the Old Testament prophecies, especially the following:

Isaiah 44:23 : “Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it; shout, ye lower parts of the earth, etc.” Not only does it enable us to take the phrase lower parts of the earth in its established sense, by showing us that Hades might have cause for rejoicing, but it preserves the antithesis manifestly presented in the passage.

It enables us to translate Hosea 13:14 (the first clause) literally, and manifests the beautiful propriety of the Hebrew term employed: “I will deliver (not ransom) them from the hand of Hades.” The verb translated, in the English Version, ransom, is כׇּדׇה which followed by מִן, as in this case, means (see Gesenius) to let go free—to set free.

In conclusion of this portion of the Excursus, it may be said, that the proposed interpretation of Ephesians 4:8-9, which, on the one hand, is manifestly natural; and which, on the other hand, brings into perfect harmony two apparently conflicting classes of Scriptures, and also sheds on many obscure passages a light that brings them into harmony with the whole body of revealed truth—such an interpretation, in the judgment of the writer, must be regarded as the true one.

And in conclusion of the whole subject, it may further be remarked, that the passage in Ephesians, interpreted as above, forms the cap-stone of the complex argument which demonstrates that the term Hades indicates a Place (and not a mere state) distinct from the grave, from Heaven, and from Hell; into which the souls of the righteous were conveyed antecedent to the death of Jesus; but from which they were delivered on His descent thereto, after the completion of His sacrifice on earth.—E. R. C.]

[Note On The General Resurrection And Judgment.]

By the American Editor

[The Resurrection described in this section is that which is to take place at the close of the Millennium—the Resurrection referred to by the Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:24, and implied by our Lord in Matthew 25:31. The subjects of this Resurrection are the unraised of all dispensations preceding the Millennium (the λοιποὶ τῶν νεκρῶν of Matthew 25:5); together with all who shall have lived in the flesh during, and subsequent to, the Millennial period—both the good and the bad.

This Resurrection is immediately to precede, and to be in order to, the General Judgment, when—(1) the present order of things shall pass away, 2 Peter 3:10-12; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; (2) the entire course of human history shall be made manifest to all, Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:2; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 4:5; (3) each (unjudged) individual of the human race, and each fallen spirit, shall be publicly acquitted or condemned, Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Judges 6, etc.

It is admitted that the majority of the texts bearing on the subject seem to contemplate but one future Resurrection and Judgment. Remarks similar to those on the Future Advent of Christ (see Note on The Future Advent of Christ, pp339 sqq.) may here be made. The earlier propheecies of the O. T. were cast on one plane, apparently contemplating but one Advent, the later prophecies, however, adumbrated two Advents; which adumbrations, all now admit, foreshadowed the reality. So with the prophecies concerning the Resurrection and Judgment. In the majority of instances, the prophecies seem to contemplate but one; there are other declarations, however, which demand the hypothesis that there are to be two. (See the Note on The First Resurrection, pp 352 sqq.)

It may present itself as a difficulty to some minds that the Judge described Revelation 21:11 seems to be God the Father, and not the Son. Alford, who adopts the view that the phrase τὸν καθήμενον ἐπ’ αὐτοῦ refers to the Father (see chs. Revelation 4:3; Revelation 21:5), thus comments: “Be it remembered, that it is the Father who giveth all judgment to the Son: and though He Himself judgeth no Prayer of Manasseh, yet He is ever described as present in the judgment, and mankind as judged before Him. We need not find in this view any difficulty or discrepancy with such passages as Matthew 25:31, seeing that our Lord Himself says in Revelation 3:21 : ‘I … am set down with my Father in His Throne.’ Nor need we be surprised at the sayings of our Lord, such as that in Revelation 21:6 (b), being uttered by Him that sitteth on the Throne. That throne is now the throne of God and of the Lamb, Revelation 22:1. Comp. also Revelation 21:22.”

It is sometimes objected to the doctrine of a General Judgment at the close of the present order of things that it is superfluous, since each individual is judged as he leaves this world. In a sense, it is true that each individual is judged immediately upon death; and yet, this should not militate against our reception of the doctrine of a final and general Judgment, so clearly revealed in the word of God. In the first place, our ideas of what may be right or necessary should never lead us to set aside a clear revelation. But secondly, even on the platform of human reason, such a general Judgment cannot be regarded as superfluous. The objects of public trials by human judges are two: first, to determine the guilt or innocence of the prisoner; and, second, to make manifest the justice of the Judge in acquittal or condemnation. The first of these objects can have no existence where God is the Judge; the second, calls for a public trial before the assembled universe when the present order of things has reached its conclusion. Then, shall all things be discovered, and the righteousness of the Judge be made manifest before all created intelligences.—E. R. C.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Revelation 21:1. א. A. B*. give ἀπῆλθαν instead of παρῆλοε.

FN#2 - Revelation 21:2. “The words ἐγὼ ̔ ̓Ιωάνν. were interpolated from the Vulgate by Erasmus.” (Delitzsch.)

FN#3 - Tisch, Treg, Alf. give θρόνου with א. A, Vulg, et al.; B.* P. give οὐρανοῦ.—E. R. C.]

FN#4 - Revelation 21:3. Cod. A. and Lachmann [Tisch, Treg, Alf.] give λαοί; Cod. B*., Vulg, et al. give the singular, whic his more in accordance with the symbolical expression.

FN#5 - Tisch. (8th Ed.), Treg. omit with א. B,* et al.; Lach, Tisch. (1859), Alf. give it with A. P, Vulg, et al.—E. R. C.]

FN#6 - Tisch, omitting the last clause of Revelation 21:3 inserts merely a comma between αὐτῶν and καί. The rendering of his reading is—God Himself shall be with them, and shall wipe, etc.—E. R. C.]

FN#7 - Crit. Eds. generally omit μοι with A. B*.; it is given by א. P.—E. R. C.]

FN#8 - Revelation 21:5. A. B*., et al., give πιστοὶ καὶ ἀληθινοί; the Rec. reads inversely.

FN#9 - Lach, Tisch. (8th Ed.), Treg. give γέγοναν; Alf. brackets the ν.—E. R. C.]

FN#10 - Tisch. (8th Ed.) omits εἱμι with א. B.* P.; Lach, Treg, Tisch. (1859) insert it with A, Vulg, et al.; Alf. brackets. The reading of the entire passage from γέγοςα (ν) is exceedingly uncertain. The possible renderings as given by Alford are: “They (viz.: these words or all things) are fulfilled. I am the Alpha and the Omega,” or “I am become the Alpha and the Omega.”—E. R. C.]

FN#11 - Revelation 21:7. The reading ταῦτα. in acc. with Codd. A. B*., et al., is given instead of the Rec.

FN#12 - Revelation 21:8. Cod. B, et al., insert καὶ ἁμαρτώλοις. Since ἀπίστοις is given in a more special sense, ἀμαρτ. might be given in a more special sense also. On account, however, of the significant totality of terms, it seems to be an addition.

FN#13 - See Excursus at the end of this Section.—E. R. C.]

FN#14 - See Text, and Gram. Notes.

FN#15 - See Excursus at the end of the section.—E. R. C.]

FN#16 - In two of these, the Margin reads grave.—E. R. C.]

FN#17 - This word Should not be confounded with שָׁחַת, also occasionally translated pit, as in Psalm 30:9, and which is sometimes synonymous with קֶכֶר regarded as the place of physical corruption. The word translated pit in Psalm 30. is כוֹר as above.—E. R. C.]

FN#18 - It is by no means certain that this passage, Ecclesiastes 9:10, is to be regarded as an inspired utterance.—E. R. C.]

FN#19 - The preponderance of textual authority, as is well known, favors the reading θάνατε instead of ᾅδη. If this reading be correct, the passage Isaiah, of course, removed from the field of the present investigation. In such case, however, it is to be observed that there is not a single instance in the New Testament in which the context even apparently favors the rendering of Hades by the (literal) grave.—E. R. C.]

FN#20 - The very parable suggests the idea that the phrase Abraham’s bosom might have been a Jewish name for the place of departed Saints in Hades.—E. R. C.]

FN#21 - The words translated “lead captive a captivity” occur a third time in the Scriptures, Numbers 21 :l, under circumstances which show that the captivity consisted of the enemies made prisoners. At first glance this fact may seem to militate against the position taken as to the natural force of the phrase—a closer examination, however, tends rather to confirm the view of the writer. The phrase in Numbers 21:1 is not the same as that in the other passages: it is qualified by the introduction of the term מִמֶּנּוּ (a parte ejus) the whole clause reads יִשְׁכְ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁכִי. This term limits the captivity taken by the Caneanites to have been of (the number of) Israel. Its very introduction seems to indicate that without it the clause could not have been thus limited.—E. R. C.]


Verse 9

SPECIAL DOCTRINO-ETHICAL AND HOMILETICAL NOTES (ADDENDUM)

Section Twenty-First

Heavenly-Earthly Picture (Earth-Picture) of the New World. The Kingdom of Glory. ( Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5.)

General.—The Kingdom of glory is the Kingdom of consummation; of the consummate development of all the human capabilities of mankind, as born again through Christianity, together with the consummate development of the renewed cosmos of mankind; the Palingenesia of the human world, founded on the holy Birth and Resurrection of Christ—His Primogeniture from the dead—and mediated by the regeneration and resurrection of the faithful.—Relation of the human cosmos to the universe in general.—This relation is modified by the absolute priority of Christ, resting upon His Divine-human nature, the ideal perfection of His life, the holiness of His cross, the glory of His victory. The consummation itself, however, as eternal, is based upon the super-creaturely, God-related, æonic nature of humanity; upon the eternal foundation, the eternal aim, and the eternal value of the life and work of Christ; and upon the covenant-faithfulness of God and the sureness of His promises.

The promises of God, as real prophecies, in nature and in the development of life, as well as in those verbal prophecies of the Kingdom of God which hover above this life, have all aimed at that glorious consummation, at the eternalization of the Christian life and its sphere, the eternal City of God. Hence, the domain of the consummation is at the same time the domain of all fulfillments; it is both of these as the Kingdom of glory, the blessed realm of spirits, filled with the life of the Eternal Spirit.

The Kingdom of glory unfolds in three spheres, appearing (1) as the consummation and fulfillment of the Theocracy, or as the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God ( Revelation 21:9-21); (2) as the consummation and fulfillment of all the truth and all the longing contained in the religious history of mankind, or as the holy Home-City of all believing Gentiles [nations] ( Revelation 21:22-27); (3) as the consummation and fulfillment of all the prophecies of nature, or as the Home-Country of all souls, the universal, new Paradise ( Revelation 22:1-5).

Special.—The perfected Kingdom of God, in respect of its different designations and imports: Historic form of the Kingdom of God ( Revelation 21:9-21); the City of God; the heavenly Jerusalem; the Bride.—Blessed prospect of the City of God. Most glorious of all prospects. “Jerusalem, du hoch gebaute Stadt,” etc. [“Jerusalem, thou city fair and high”]. “Ich hab’ von ferne, etc.”—Procession of the City of God: 1. From Heaven to earth; 2. From earth to Heaven; 3. Back again, from Heaven to earth.—[ Revelation 21:10.] The descending City of God, or perfected communication between Heaven (the starry world) and earth.—Description of the City of God ( Revelation 21:11-21). Its source of light; its walls; its gates; its dimensions and fundamental forms; its fundamental materials.—Spiritual, universal form of the Kingdom of God ( Revelation 21:22-27). Its spiritual Temple. Its spiritual Sun. Its spiritual Church. Its spiritual liberty. Its spiritual fullness. Its spiritual purity and consecrateness.—The new Paradise ( Revelation 22:1-5). The river of life: 1. Where does it appear? 2. Whence does it come? 3. Whither does it flow?—The river of life: 1. In respect of its name; 2. In respect of its beauty (like crystal); 3. In respect of its products.—The trees of life—the manifestation of highest life: 1. From the Fountain of life to the River of life; 2. From the River of life to the Trees of life; 3. From the Trees of life to their fruits; 4. From the fruits to the health-producing leaves.—The perfected, pure, consecrated creature ( Revelation 22:3).—The laws of purity for creaturely life: a prophecy of the future glorification of the world.—Activity and rest in the Paradise of God ( Revelation 22:3-4).—Perfect union of culture and cultus in the Paradise of God.—The service ( Revelation 22:3).—The blessed rest (the beholding of God [ Revelation 22:4]).—The region of eternal sunshine [ Revelation 22:5].—The new world shining in the radiance of the glory of the Lord.—The glorious liberty of the children of God ( Romans 8), in its eternal duration and renewal.

Starke: [ Revelation 21:12.] God is a fiery wall and protection to His Church ( Zechariah 2:5).

Revelation 21:13. Entrance into the Church is free to all people, in all corners of the world, who will but come to the fellowship of the Church ( 1 Timothy 2:4).

Revelation 21:14. The one true Foundation of the Church and of eternal blessedness is Christ alone ( 1 Corinthians 3:11). This Foundation is laid solely through the Apostles ( Ephesians 2:20). (The reconcilement of the apparent contradiction is to be found in the fact that Christ has organically unfolded His fullness in the twelve Apostles.)—On Revelation 21:23, comp. Isaiah 60:19-20.—On Revelation 21:24, comp. Isaiah 60:3; see Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 2:2 sq.; Psalm 72:10-11; also Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 60:21; Ezekiel 44:9.— Revelation 22:2. A contrast to ancient Babylon is here presented. As the Euphrates flowed through the midst of Babylon, and as the river of Babylon dried up ( Revelation 16:12), Song of Solomon, on the other hand, the spiritual Jerusalem has the river of the Holy Spirit, which brings water through the midst of the City and which shall never dry up.—Christ is the Tree of life, which has life in itself.—On Revelation 21:3, comp. Zechariah 14:11.

W. Hoffmann, Maranatha (Ruf zum Herrn, Vol. VIII. Sermon on 2 Peter 3:13-14. P180). We shall speak of the new world of the redeemed, as described in our text in the following words: “But we wait for a new Heaven and a new earth.” For the first word of revelation from God’s mouth runs: “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth,” and the last word of prophecy is that which we have just read. Thus, between the first coming into existence of Heaven and earth and the last everlasting being of Heaven and earth, all the Divine economy moves.

[From M. Henry: Revelation 21:10. They who would have clear views of heaven must get as near heaven as they can, into the mount of vision, the mount of meditation and faith, from whence, as from the top of Pisgah, they may behold the goodly land of the heavenly Canaan.

Revelation 21:11. Having the glory of God; glorious in her relation to Christ, in His image now perfected in her, and in His favor shining upon her.

Revelation 21:12. Note, 1. The wall. Heaven is a safe state2. The gates. It is accessible to all those that are sanctified.

Revelation 21:22. There the saints are above the need of ordinances, which were the means of their preparation for heaven. Perfect and immediate communion with God will more than supply the place of gospel-institutions.

Revelation 21:23. God in Christ will be an everlasting Fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven.

Revelation 21:27. The saints shall have (1) no impure thing remain in them, (2) no impure persons admitted among them.

Revelation 22:1. All our springs of grace, comfort and glory are in God; and all our streams from Him, through the mediation of the Lamb.

Revelation 22:3. And there shall be no more curse. Here is the great excellency of this paradise—the Devil has nothing to do there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God to be subject to himself, as he did our first parents, nor can he so much as disturb them in the service of God.

Revelation 22:4-5. Note, 1. There the saints shall see the face of God; there enjoy the beatific vision2. God will own them, as having His seal and name on their foreheads3. They shall reign with Him forever; their service shall be not only freedom, but honor and dominion4. They shall be full of wisdom and comfort, continually walking in the light of the Lord.—From The Comprehensive Commentary. Revelation 21:9-27. “Glorious things are” indeed here “spoken of the City of God” ( Psalm 87:3); and the whole is well suited to raise our expectations and enlarge our conceptions of its security, peace, splendor, purity and felicity; but, in proportion to our spirituality, we shall be more and more led to contemplate heaven as filled with “the glory of God,” and enlightened by the presence of the Lord Jesus, “the Sun of righteousness,” and the Redeemer of lost sinners, knowing that “in His presence is fullness of joy, and pleasures at His right hand for evermore.” (Scott.)—As nothing unclean can enter thither, let us be stirred up, by these glimpses of heavenly things, in giving diligence to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God;” that we may be approved as “Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile,” and have a sure evidence that we are “written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Scott.)— Revelation 22:5. In that world of light and glory there will “be no night,” no affliction, or dejection, no intermission of service and enjoyments; they will “need no candle;” no diversions or pleasures of man’s devising will there be at all wanted; and even the outward comforts which God has provided, suited to our state in this world, will no longer be requisite. (Scott.)—From Vaughan: Revelation 21:22. The Lord God and the Lamb are the Temple of it. The worship of heaven is offered directly, not only to God, but in God. It is as if God Himself were the shrine in which man will then adore Him. The blessed will be so included in God that even when they worship, He will be their temple.—If we would hereafter worship in that temple which is God Himself, Christ Himself, we must know God now by faith; we must have life now in Christ.— Revelation 22:3. If in heaven we would serve God, we must begin to be His servants here.—From Bonar: Chs20, 21. What a termination to the long, long desert-journey of the Church of God, calling forth from us the exulting shout which broke from the lips of the Crusaders, when first from the neighboring height they caught sight of the holy city: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem!”]


Verse 9

B.—THE HEAVENLY-EARTHLY, IDEO-REAL PICTURE OF THE NEW WORLD. THE KINGDOM OF GLORY

Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5

1. The City of God as the Heavenly Jerusalem

9 And there came unto me [om. unto me][FN1] one of the seven angels which [that] had the seven vials [ins., that were][FN2] full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife [wife of the Lamb].[FN3] 10And he carried me away in the [om. the] spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great [om. that great—ins. the holy] city, the holy [om. the holy] Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God: and [om. and][FN4] her light [light-giver (φωστήρ)][FN5] was like unto a stone most precious,12even like [as to] a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And [om. And] had [having] a wall great and high, and had [having] twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon [inscribed], which are the names [or the names][FN6] of the twelve tribes of the children [sons] of Israel: 13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates 14 And the wall of the city had [having] twelve foundations, and in [upon] them the [om. the—ins. twelve][FN7] names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb 15 And he that talked [spake] with me had [ins. a measure,][FN8] a golden reed to [om. to—ins. that he might] measure the city, and the gates thereof [her gates], and the wall thereof [her wall]. 16And the city lieth foursquare [four-cornered], and the [her] length is [is][FN9] as large [much] as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, [ins. to] twelve thousand furlongs [stadia]. The length and the breadth and the height of it [her] are equal 17 And he measured the wall thereof [her wall], [ins. of] a hundred and forty and four cubits, according to [om. according to] the measure of a Prayer of Manasseh, that Isaiah, [om. that Isaiah,ins. which is that] of the [an] angel 18 And the building [structure] of the wall of it [her wall] was of jasper: and the city was pure19 gold, like unto clear [pure] glass. And [om. And][FN10] The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished [adorned] with all manner of [every] precious stones [stone]. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a [om. a] chalcedony; the fourth, an [om. an] emerald; 20the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a [om. a] topaz; the tenth, a [om. a] chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a [om. a] jacinth; the twelfth, an [om. an] amethyst 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate [each one severally of the gates] was [ins. out] of one pearl: and the street [broad-way (πλατεῖα)][FN11] of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent [translucent] glass.

2. The City of God as the Holy City of all Believing Gentiles

22 And I saw no [not a] temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty [, the All Ruler,[FN12]ins. is the temple of her,] and the Lamb are the temple of it [om. are the temple of it]. 23And the city had [hath] no need of the sun, neither [nor] of the moon, to shine in [that they should shine for (φαίνωσιν)[FN13]] it [her]: for the glory of God did lighten it [lightened her], and the Lamb is the light thereof [and herlamp was the Lamb]. 24And the nations of them which are saved [om. of them which are saved][FN14] shall walk in [by means of] the light of it [her light]: and the kings of the earth do [om. do] bring their glory and honor [om. and honor][FN15] intoit [her]. 25And the gates of it [her gates] shall not be shut at all by day: for thereshall be no night there [for night shall not be there]. 26And they shall bring theglory and [ins. the] honor of the nations into it [her]. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it [her] anything that defileth [om. that defileth—ins. common], neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie [and that worketh (or the one working) abomination and a lie]: but they which [who] are [have been] written in the Lamb’s [om. Lamb’s] book of life [ins. of the Lamb].

3. The City of God as the New Universal Paradise—Glorified Nature ( Revelation 22:1-5.)

1 And he showed me a pure [om. pure][FN16] river of water of life, clear [bright] ascrystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 In the midst of the street of it [her broad-way], and on either side [om. on either side] of the river [ins., on this side and on that side,[FN17]] was there the [om. there the—ins. a] tree of life, which bare [bearing] twelve manner of [om. manner of] fruits, and [om. and] yielded her fruit every month [according to each month yielding its fruit]: andthe leaves of the tree were [are] for the healing of the nations 3 And there shall be no more curse [And nothing cursed[FN18] shall be any more[FN19]]: but [and] the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it [her]; and his servants (δοῦλοι) shall serve(λατρεύσουσιν) him: 4and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in [upon] their foreheads 5 And there shall be no night there[FN20] [and night shall not be any more[FN21]]; and they [ins. have (or shall have) no][FN22] need no candle [om. no candle—ins. of light[FN23] of lamp], neither [om. neither—ins. and of] light of the [om. the] sun; for [because] the Lord God giveth them light [shall shine upon them]Rev [FN24]: and they shall reign for ever and ever [into the ages of the ages].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

SYNOPTICAL VIEW

As one of the Angels of Anger, or of the Vials of Anger, showed the Seer the wicked World-city under the figure of the Harlot, so it is now again one of the same Angels who shows the Seer the City of God under the name of the adorned Bride. And it seems as if the Spirit of prophecy would hereby illustrate the fact that the anger of God is a flame, divisible into the lightning of righteousness and the light of love.

The great vision-picture which the Angel exhibits to the contemplation of the Seer, after transporting him to a great and high mountain, the lofty stand-point of a perfected gaze into the region of perfection, Isaiah, primarily, the appearance of the new creation, the glorified world of eternal being, which has taken the place of the first creation, the world of temporal becoming. It Isaiah, in the next place, that perfected union between Heaven and earth with which the antithesis of life between Heaven and earth, as in accordance with Genesis 1, has become the antithesis of a perfected spiritual communion in love. Even this antithesis, the plastic image of religion, finds its fulfillment here. Heaven has assumed the full, fresh, warm and home-like aspect of a familiar and attractive earth; earth is radiant in the heavenly glory of that Throne of God which has now become visible. The new creation Isaiah, further, also the new universal Paradise, which has bloomed from the seed of the first Paradise, buried in the soil of the world’s history. On this very account this new world is no less the realization of the Great City of God, which, first in the camp of Israel and again in the city of Jerusalem, in typical fore-exhibition became a subject of human admiration, longing and hope, and which was subsequently heralded from afar in so many New Testament preludes. But its most glorious name is contained in the title of The Bride; for thereby not only the supremacy of personal life in this new world, not only the perfect unanimity of all blessed spirits, not only their perfect receptivity for the entire self-communication of God, are expressed, but also their Divine dignity, liberty and blessedness in love.

We find in the grand transfiguration-picture of the vision a trilogy, the elements of which are distinctly present even in the Gospel of John: a. Transfiguration of the Theocracy, represented by the heavenly Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:9-21); b. Transfiguration of the believing Gentile world or the universal new humanity ( Revelation 21:22-27); c. Transfiguration of all nature, or the appearance of the new Paradise ( Revelation 22:1-5). The first section justly forms the foundation of the whole, and is therefore the most detailed; it, again, divides into three parts.

The first part of the first section exhibits the holiness of the City of God. In the Doxa of God, or the Shekinah, which diffuses its radiance over the whole City, because it is omnipresent throughout it, the Holy of holies is reflected ( Revelation 21:11).[FN25] In the high wall of the City, the economical barrier of the Theocracy is reflected; and the true spirit of that barrier, designed, as it was, to mediate salvation to the whole world, finds its expression in the twelve gates, at which Angels are posted, symbolical here, doubtless, of true messengers of salvation; for the gates are open by threes toward all the four quarters of the world. Thus a two-fold effect of holiness is expressed—repulsion of everything unholy by the wall—free ingress for all that tends to holiness, by the gates ( Revelation 21:12-14).

The second part gives, in the magnitude of the City, an image of the magnitude of the Kingdom of God ( Revelation 21:15-17). This magnitude is exhibited throughout in forms of perfection. The City has the form of a perfect cube, like the Holy of holies, and appears in this equality of measurement as an expression of the perfect heavenly world.

The third part of the first section unfolds the riches of the City of God in splendor consisting of the most precious materials; these riches, as ideal and spirit-clarified, being exhibited through the medium of precious stones, pearls and shining gold ( Revelation 21:18-21).

The second section, likewise, is divisible into three parts. The first part is expressive of the absolute spirituality of the new cultus. Since the City has itself become a Holy of holies, a Temple within it would, in comparison with itself, seem like a thing of inferior sanctity—a remnant of the old world. Nevertheless, it has a spiritual Temple which surpasses even the City. God, as the All-Ruler, is the infinitude of this Temple; the Lamb is the present definitude of it ( Revelation 21:22-23). The second part of the second section characterizes the City as the great, universal, holy World-City, the City of all redeemed nations and kings, the City of sanctified humanity and of all its moral and eternal properties, yea, the City of the whole heavenly spirit-world and of the eternal radiance of day ( Revelation 21:24-26). The third part represents the separation between the sanctified heathen-world and true heathenism throughout the world, here portrayed by the three characteristics: commonness (bestiality), abominableness (transgression against nature), and falsehood (embracing both the former attributes). There is no longer any question of persons here; they have become neutra through the obliteration of their personality in their vileness ( Revelation 21:27). The Lamb’s Book of Life has, from the beginning, comprehended this universality of the sphere of salvation.

The third leading section is an unmistakable antitype of the first Paradise. Its general character consists in the fact that all its holiness [Heiligkeit] has become pure health [Heil] and health-productiveness [Heilswirkung]—an infinitely multiplied life-creating, life-renewing and life-preserving Divine life-power. The river of life forms the first fundamental feature. It does not issue merely from an Eden, or land of delight, such as encircled the first Paradise ( Genesis 2); nor does it flow merely from the new Temple of Jehovah, like Ezekiel’s river of salvation [or healing], ( Ezekiel 47); it pours forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb ( Revelation 22:1). The second fundamental feature is formed by the trees of life which are on both sides of the river, making an avenue with an interminable perspective; fruit-trees of life, so intensively salutiferous that they bear new fruits every month, and that even their leaves serve for the healing (θεραπεία) of the heathen [nations]. So absolute is the health-bringing operation of the trees of life in the City, that in this new Paradise nothing banned can arise—much less shall the new humanity here itself be banned, as were its first parents, through the deceit of the serpent and Satan, in the first Paradise ( Revelation 22:2-3). In the third fundamental feature, the eritis sicut deus is fulfilled in a Divine sense. That which Adam would fain have become, that which he lost in the path of impatience and sin, is now regained in the path of redemption and infinite patience. Now, it is the blessedness of all, that they serve [dienen] God as His servants [Knechte] whilst they see His face as His blessed children, and are able to look upon His face without being terrified like Adam. Again, this blessed relation has become an eternal condition; their holiness has the character indelebilis, the indestructible fixedness of true priests of God.[FN26] Whilst the abolition of night is again announced here, as Revelation 21:25, the announcement has here a new significance. In Revelation 21, the reference is to the day of the blessed in a predominantly spiritual aspect and considered in the abstract; here, however, the unfadingness of this day is intended, pre-eminently, in the sense of the eternal day of the glorified world. That, therefore, which is expressed by the name of God on the foreheads of the blessed—viz., imperishable knowledge of God and consecrateness to God—is supplemented by this declaration. Never again does night come to them, nor any deficiency of light, for God Himself shineth upon them for ever. This, again, is the eternal basis upon which they shall reign as kings, in and with the governance of God, in union with His will, and as organs of His will, eternally free in Him from all the world, for all the world, into the æons of the æons.

The magnificence of the entire picture of the new creation, a magnificence which strikes the taste of ordinary humanism as so peculiar, attains for us its entire significance when we look at it in connection with the whole of Sacred Writ—especially that of the Old Testament—as the lofty corona upon the stem of all Biblical typicism.

Our vision, then, is primarily the picture of the consummation and fulfillment of the whole Theocracy.

The revelation of salvation came down from Heaven in many individual items—in voices, in angels, in Theophanies, and lastly in Christ. The fulfillment finally consists in the descent of the entire City of God from Heaven.

The Congregation of God, called into life by the revelation of salvation, was from the beginning destined to be the Bride of God. Now, it is perfected in this destiny.

The high Mountain, upon which the City of God is situate, was prepared by Mount Zion, and imported the wide, overtowering and firm order and might of the Divine Kingdom. Now, this Mountain of the eternal order and fastness of God, in spirit beheld by the Prophets ( Isaiah 2:2; Ezekiel 40:2), towers over the whole world.

The city of Jerusalem, after its building and consecration as the royal residence and Temple city, inherited the ancient typical honors of the previous cities of God, from the camp-city in the wilderness to Shiloh. It was the residence of the Jehovah cultus and of the theocratic constitution. Now, its archetype exists in visible presence—the City in which cultus and culture, in their perfection, have attained their complete union.

The glory of God, the Shekinah, manifested itself of old only in transient appearances. The central place of its manifestations was the Holy of holies. Now it spreads, in eternal radiance, over the whole City of God.[FN27]

It was formerly exhibited through typical mediums, through visional angelic forms, through the pillars of cloud and of fire, through the cherubim. Now it beams forth from a permanent nucleus of light (φωστήρ). The Parousia of Christ is the Epiphany of God, in brilliancy like the most precious jewel.

Israel, in order to the securement of its holy destiny, was encircled by a hedge, which was designed to separate from it every common thing of heathenism [or the Gentile nations], and by this very process to mediate the future bringing again of the Gentiles through the blessing of Abraham. This barrier—first, theocratic law—then, churchly confession—here appears ideally realized in the high wall, which, by means of its insurmountableness, excludes everything common, and by means of its twelve gates, kept by Angels, invites and receives all that is akin to God, i. e., all that is akin to God in the twelve-fold character-form of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The Tribes of Israel were designed to represent in theocratic ground-forms, the fullness of the different human dispositions for the Kingdom of God. These ground-forms are now all fulfilled in the perfecting of the spiritual Israel. Therefore, the gates are adorned with the names of the Tribes of Israel; they are indicative of the ground-forms of the people of God in the interior of the City, as well as of the ground-forms of the people of God entering into the City of God from all the quarters of the world.

In so far as the restoration of the people of Israel itself is concerned, a restoration of its kernel, on the platform of perfect Christian equality and liberty, is simply expressed with the typical import of its Tribes; any renewal, however, of Old Testament legal prerogatives is precluded by this same typical import. The same remark applies to the description of the Sealed (chap7). The sealed ones would not be called after Israel, if Israel were not to form a dynamical power amongst them; the same sealed ones would preclude the idea of elect Gentiles, if they were not to be typically understood.

The gates of the cities of Israel, especially Zion, were, even under the Old Covenant, open to the stranger, if he left his heathen practices without. They became the symbols of ingress into the holy City, into the sanctuary, into the fellowship of the saints ( Psalm 100:4), as well as the symbols of egress, in order to the conversion of the world ( Isaiah 62:10), and in order to the bringing in of the King of Glory through its gates ( Psalm 24:7; comp. Genesis 22:17 [Comm., p468, Am. Ed.]).—The new City of God has twelve of these gates, in accordance with the sacred number of completeness. She is lacking in no gate of ingress or of egress.

The stone at Bethel on which Jacob slept when a wanderer, and where he beheld, in a dream, the heavenly ladder, was consecrated as a monument and altar; the prelude of the foundation stones of the House of God (Bethel, Genesis 22:22), and of Christ the Corner Stone ( Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20). This stone Isaiah, in the consummation, divided again into the twelve foundation stones of the wall of the holy City, marked with the names of the Twelve Apostles.

The ground-forms of Christ’s mission to the world, the Twelve Apostles, denote, as Apostles of the Lamb, also the ground-forms of the world-conquering cross, and, as such, the foundations of the City of God.

Sacred measure has, in the history of the Temple, an import similar to that possessed, in the Greek view of the world, by the Platonic Idea or the Aristotelian Form; except that the first unitously represents both the latter in the form of practical energy, as real power ( Wisdom of Solomon 11:20; comp. the Pythagorean system; Job 28:25-27; Isaiah 40:12).—This power of Ideal Form pervades, in perfect supremacy, all the parts of the City of God,—the City and its gates and its walls.

The form of the perfect geometric square or cube was the form of the Holy of holies. Now, this same form appears as the symmetry of the City of God. Of old, the Holy of holies was a well-nigh inaccessible sanctuary, guarded by terrors. Here, the great City of God has become a manifest and open Holy of holies.

The magnitude of the City exhibits it, in its length and breadth, as a World-City; in its height, as a Heaven-City.—As the corona of the Temple, the City is the phenomenal image of the Kingdom of God, and thus, at the same time, of the glorified universe.

The holy wall which, as a theocratic and a churchly barrier, is an odium of all philosophy of wildness, commonness and indiscipline—here appears in its consummation, built of the material of the most precious jewel, a fact recognized afar off by the Spirit of Prophecy ( Isaiah 54:11).

The covering of the Ark of the Covenant, which was, so to speak, the most Holy in the Holy of holies, was of pure gold ( Exodus 37:6). Now, the whole City is constructed of pure gold so pure that it glitters like crystal. The City is thus, in an unapproachable exaltedness of thought, signalized as God’s Sanctuary.

The Jewels worn by the High Priest in his breast-plate, were significant of the idiocrasies, the charismatic aptitudes of the Tribes of Israel; of their value, spiritual and affectional, for the heart of God, Whom the High Priest represented. Such a Divine heart-affection, in the perfection of the ground-forms of human charisms, is now reflected in all the jewels which form the foundation-stones of the City-wall. The whole City is founded, as it were, upon the breast-plate of the real High Priest.

As the precious stone was early constituted a symbol of a personal life, consecrate to God, so the pearl was made a symbol of Divine vital Wisdom of Solomon, of that piety which is concentrated in the knowledge or the righteousness of faith. Thus the value of wisdom exceeds that of pearls ( Job 28:18; Proverbs 3:15, [ Revelation 8:11]);[FN28] Wisdom of Solomon, however, is also symbolized by pearls and is divided, in its individual traits, into a plurality of pearls ( Matthew 7:6), whilst, in its consummate spiritual phase, it is concentrated in the One Pearl of great price, whose value surpasses that of all single pearls ( Matthew 13:46). But how does the pearl enter into a relation to the gate? In Isaiah 54:12, we read (in accordance with De Wette’s translation): “I make thy battlements of rubies and thy gates of carbuncles (?) and thy whole circuit of costly (precious) stones.” The Septuagint distinguishes jasper for the battlements or parapets, crystals for the gates, precious stones for the walls. As the stone for the gates, אֶקֶדָּה, is one that does not elsewhere appear, and takes its name from the radiance of fire, but is assuredly not a carbuncle, if it be true that the ruby is of like significance with the carbuncle, we might suppose that John apprehended it as a pearl. The generation of the pearl from a wound in the pearl-oyster, its lodgment in the deep, the rarity and difficulty of obtaining it, are obvious symbolical motives for the use of it. The subsistence of each gate in one pearl is a speaking image of that heavenly simplicity which alone finds entrance to the eternal City of God.

In the golden pavement of the streets of the City, the gold of the buildings is raised to an even higher power. Gold like translucent crystal. How far is it from the streets of Jerusalem—consecrated though they were—through Christian city streets and alleys—in which morals and cultivation often, even to this day, carry on a conflict with barbarism—to this goal! Here the lanes and streets are clean; the citizens walk on a pavement of gold, eternally clear and bright as a mirror.

The points which have reference to the perfection of the Theocracy, are followed by the fundamental features of the perfected, believing Gentile world.

As the most pious of the heathen discovered lively signs and traces of the Unknown God, not in their temples, but outside of these, and as the worship of God in spirit and in truth has in all time formed a contrast to the purely local worship on Gerizim and in Jerusalem, Song of Solomon, in accordance with these preludes, a perfect consciousness of the omnipresence of God in His Spirit has been formed. The obscure feeling of God’s omnipresence has continually developed more and more, both outside of the revelation of salvation and within it (comp. Genesis 28:16 and Psalm 139:7 sqq.). Here this feeling is exchanged for the constant contemplation of the presence of God, or, rather, for the perfect manifestation of God.

The universal natural revelation of God ( Romans 1:20) was always, for the heathen, in respect of its fundamental traits, a revelation through the medium, particularly, of the great celestial lights—the sun and the moon. This revelation is now restored and perfected—sun and moon are outshone by the glory of the Lord. In the spiritual radiance which proceeds from God, through Christ His Light-bearer, the lights of Heaven seem, as such, to vanish, because they are for the first time effectual in Him in their full import.

The heathen [or Gentiles] have, in the light of salvation, become nations in the purest sense,—types of peoples, which, in their sanctified idiocrasies, conjoin to form the Kingdom of God. In the blessing of Noah, the first sketch of the variant destinations of the tribes of man appeared; at the foot of the tower of Babel, mankind was divided into gentilisms. The higher charismatic destination of humanity was, however, not only typically symbolized by the Twelve Tribes of Israel and expressed by the idea of the seventy nations and the number of the seventy disciples, but, moreover, it was the constant task of the Christian Church to work out, from the heathen confusion of peoples, the one people of God; but also, however, to work out from the one Christendom the heavenly family of peoples. Here, this heavenly family has attained a visible existence. The nations walk through the light-stream of the Kingdom of God as though they were bathing themselves therein.

Again, that which has ever been represented by kings—that of which bad kings were significant as symbolical figures, and which good kings, heroes, approximately realized, in company with the kingly spirits who ruled right royally, though possessing neither crown nor sceptre ( Matthew 5:19), potentiated men, as central points of the social organization of humanity—is likewise now fulfilled. The kings of the earth bring all the glory of the earth, their possessions brought under the service of spirit, into the City of God ( Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:16).

Furthermore, the security which man has now and then enjoyed under the protection of the law, in circles of civilization and on the heights of peace, in the bright day-time in antithesis to the night-time, has always been promoted by the Kingdom of God. Here, at last, in the consummation, the “superb repose of Heaven” prevails, secured by the light of eternal day, in the region of eternal sunshine. The gates of the City of God are not shut, because the day-time is permanent.

As the entire net value of the good things of earth is appropriated to the City of God, so also is the entire net value of humanity, in the glory of the peoples, their manifold and various gifts, the whole treasure of human culture. Israel was chosen to be the people of God, in order that it might make the peoples appear again as peoples, in the blessing of Abraham. It is the task of Christianity to this day to take away the covering of sin, of national corruption, from the beauty of the peoples ( Isaiah 25:7). Here is the fulfillment. In contemplating the one glory of Christ, they all come forth in their glory—the treasure, the harvest of God, the triumphal spoils of Christ.

Real heathenism, however, such as disfigured even Judaism (see Romans 2), is then eliminated forever from the pure Church of God. Its characteristics are commonness [or profaneness, as opposed to consecrateness to God], rudeness, and uncultivation, on the one hand, and, on the other, abomination, transgression against nature, including the perverted forms of mis-culture and over-culture; and the common ground-tone is falsehood—the falsification of the high and holy reality of God, the production of mask-like shadows, which in part appear as rude caricatures of reality, in part as caricatures which ape beauty and holiness. At this process of elimination, humanity, in its higher tendency, has labored, by Jewish laws of purification, Græco-Roman justice and police, and by the Christian administration of the keys [Schlüsselamt], often amid great and gross distortions of the idea of the ban. Here, however, the City of God has attained to an eternal power of purity, in which, with twelve open gates, it still, in dynamical operation, for ever keeps everything common or ban-laden afar off.

As the circle of the Theocracy is surrounded by the circle of holy humanity, so the latter is surrounded by the circle of glorified nature.

Paradise was lost. Lost, however, only as to its visible appearance, and to the world. The grace of God secured the seed of Paradise, and Christ regained that seed for humanity. It lay under the snow, it burst forth again in foretokens and signs in the Promised Land and in Christian civilization.—Here, Paradise is extant again, and how it has grown under the snow! The mysterious garden in Eden has become a glorified universe.

Yonder river of Paradise went out from Eden, the land of delight, and divided into the main rivers of earth. How soon it gathered earthly hues and fell under the doom of transitoriness! And even in Paradise it was no river of life. Gradually, indeed, a fountain of salvation burst forth in humanity—burst forth out of the depths, out of the rock of salvation ( Psalm 46:5; Isaiah 12:3; Jeremiah 2:13, et al.), being prefigured by the wells of the Patriarchs and the wells of the desert ( Exodus 15:27, et al.). Gradually, also, sacred brooks and rivers, Shiloah and Jordan, became streams of blessing, and a great river of life was predicted by Ezekiel.—But here, the mighty, shining river of life bursts forth; it comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb, having, even in this present life, been heralded and opened as a fountain ( John 4:7); it abides pure as crystal, it pours forth into infinitude through its one deep channel, and is adorned on either side with trees of life.

The one tree of life in Paradise speedily vanished, like a figure in a dream, a celestial apparition. Here it is again. It has become an endless avenue, a glorious grove, and in the plenteousness of its fruits and the healing virtue of its leaves a power of life is expressed which far exceeds all the conceptions of mortal pilgrims. It is the view of a nature completely elevated to the service of spirit, love and life.

Whilst there is here another reference to the fact that nothing banned [cursed] has existence in the City, this is certainly not a repetition of the idea set forth in Revelation 21:27. We are rather reminded, within the domain of glorified nature, that, by virtue of patriarchal custom and Mosaic food-laws, a rigorous ban rested upon a large portion of nature. Christianity paved the way for the acknowledgment that every creature of God is clean that is (and can be) partaken of with thanksgiving. Here, there shall evermore be nothing banned (literally, set aside, κατάθεμα, a term which it has been deemed necessary to interpret into κατανάθεμα, leaving out of consideration the textual reference). Paradise itself, in whose first rudiment God did, of old, but walk in mysterious appearances, has become a throne of God and of the Lamb. The Word once became flesh, that all nature might be spiritualized.

And because there is question here of the holy tillage of the eternal garden, as Adam was called to till the garden of Paradise, and because the task of tilling the field was resumed by the Theocracy and by civilization, Christianity next mediating the holy cultivation of the earth, the sons of God can here once more appear in the most dignified form. But as they shall serve [dienen] their God as His active servants [Knechte], so they shall rest in the contemplation of His face and bear His name on their foreheads as a people of high-priests, being ever newly energized by Him through the contemplation of His glory ( 1 John 3:2).

And whilst, the cessation of the night-time is again mentioned here, as in Revelation 21:23; Revelation 21:25, let us recollect that even this semblance of tautology is done away with by a discrimination of the fact that in Revelation 21the reference was to glorified humanity, but here it is to glorified Nature. The night side of Nature, diminished by the most manifold torches, lights and inventions for the obtaining of light, is here abolished.

And because God will Himself be the eternal Day-Light of the blessed, they need no more be continually sinking back into the bosom of night. Even under the Old Covenant, the prelude of a holy spirit-life, often emblematized by festal illuminations, flashed through the night-times of nature. The holy birth-night [Weihnacht—Christmas] of Christ laid the foundation for the bringing in of eternal day. The Holy Supper became the pre-celebration of the morning of that day. As Christianity is in constant combat with ethical night, so Christendom is in constant combat with the uncomfortable features and distresses of physical night. Here, the eternal Day has dawned in the presence of God; therefore do the blessed reign,—royally free, without ever losing their consciousness in night,—into the æons of the æons.

EXPLANATIONS IN DETAIL

Revelation 21:9. Comp. Revelation 17:1. Ewald and Düsterdieck have also pointed out the contrast of our passage to that cited, which is couched in similar terms. The Bride.—On the change of designations, see Düsterd, p565.

Revelation 21:10. He carried me away.—See Revelation 17:3 ( Ezekiel 3:12; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:2; Acts 8:39; 2 Corinthians 12:2). In accordance with the passages mentioned, we have to distinguish between purely spiritual transports and such as are also followed by a corporeal removal, accomplished, as it were, in a dream. To a great and high mountain.—According to Düsterdieck, the Seer is taken to this mountain in order that he may obtain a free view of the City. The same exegete remarks that the mountain must be so great in order to be so high. The Seer, therefore [as Düsterd. maintains], stands on the mountain and looks down upon the City. A splendid view, it is true, but too modern. The symbolical expression points, according to Hengstenberg, et al., back to the fundamental passages in the Old Testament, especially Ezekiel 40:2; Ezekiel 17:22-23; Ezekiel 20:40; Psalm 48:1-2; also, particularly, Isaiah 2:2. Descending.—See Revelation 21:2. The difficulties which Hengstenb. and Düsterd. discover in the apparent repetition of Revelation 21:2 vanish when we consider the parallel relation between the Heaven-picture and the Earth-picture.

Revelation 21:11. Having, etc.—Or, possessing. The dim radiance in which a large city is always enwrapped at the beginning of night may, on the one hand, have mediated this view; but, on the other hand, it is based upon the idea that the Shekinah no longer hovers over the holy Temple-mount alone, according to the words of the Prophet ( Isaiah 4:5; Isaiah 40:5), but shines over the entire Holy City. Her light-giver (φωστήρ—light-bearer).—Düsterdieck opposes the assumption of Züllig, that the Messiah is intended by the φωστήρ, and cites Revelation 21:23 in support of such opposition; that verse, however, is favorable to Züllig’s view—as is also Hebrews 1:3. Like unto a stone most precious.—Comp. Revelation 4:3. A jasper stone, clear as crystal.—See pp20,151. “Comp. Psellus (in Wetstein): Ἴασπις φύσει κρυσταλλοεισής.” Duesterdieck.

[“Φωστήρ, from Revelation 21:23, is the effect of the Divine glory shining in her: see (also) Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:16, (LXX.), where it is used for the heavenly bodies.” Alford.—E. R. C.].

Revelation 21:12. Having a wall great and high.—The measure of the wall, the gates and the City is qualified throughout by the duodecenary; not, therefore, by the number of complete worldly development, ten, but by the number of perfection of the people of God. Twelve is the number of theocratic perfection; hence it is the number of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Twelve Apostles, the perfected Church or heavenly Spirit-World (see p15). Here, therefore, there is repeatedly reflected, in all the duodecenaries of the City of God, the quantitative number of completeness and the qualitative perfection of the glorified Church of God. It, however, crosses and blends with the number of the world, the quaternary, and indeed is itself composed of three times four, i. e., the God hallowed world-number. Moreover, the quaternary, as it here appears, continually branches into threes. Thus, we read of twelve gates, distributed by threes on the four sides of the City. And again, the City itself, in its quadrangular form, is thrice quadrangular—in length, breadth and height—and is thus a cube. The duodecenary is repeated a thousand times in the qualification of the stadia. The height of the wall is defined by the number twelve times twelve, or a hundred and forty-four. Even from these numeric proportions alone, the thoroughly symbolic nature of the whole picture of the City is manifest, and the same fact is further evident, in particular, from the height of the City.

And at the gates twelve angels—“Bengel judiciously remarks: ‘They keep watch and serve as ornaments.’ We are not authorized to seek for a knowledge of any more definite relations which they may sustain to the City. So soon as we reflect that the new Jerusalem is no longer menaced by enemies, and that it consequently stands in need of no watchmen at its gates, explanations like that of Hengstenberg arise—viz., that these Angels symbolize the Divine protection against all foes ‘of which the imagination, filled with the terrors resting upon the Church Militant, can conceive.’ ” [Duest.] A most marvellous imagination, truly! As if the blessed inhabitants of Heaven were timid children, or were threatened by empty terrors of the fancy! But even the idea of Angels standing always upon the gates for ornament has a singular aspect, and as watchmen—who, however, would be superfluous after the final judgment—they would be obliged to stand in the gates. We have characterized them above as symbols of the destination of Jerusalem to be the medium of salvation to all the world, to all the four quarters of the world (see Isaiah 43:5; Isaiah 49:6; Matthew 8:11). De Wette: “Guards, probably after Isaiah 62:6 and after the type of the Levitic temple-guards [or ‘porters’] ( 2 Chronicles 8:14).” From this point of view, these Angels would symbolically represent the eternal security and inamissibleness of heavenly prosperity or salvation.[FN29]

And names inscribed.—The twelve names upon the twelve gates, as the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, denote the whole manifoldness of the idiocrasies of the totality of God’s people. The typical fore-image is to be found Ezekiel 48:30 sqq. Jewish Theology has drawn from this rich symbolism the absurd idea that every Israelitish Tribe of the new Jerusalem shall be permitted to go in and out only of that particular gate which is appointed for it (see De Wette, p198). If we were to interpret the sealed out of the Twelve Tribes ( Revelation 7) literally, as Jewish Christians, we should here be obliged to go on to the tremendous deduction that the entire heavenly City is to be inhabited solely by Jewish Christians.

Revelation 21:13. On the east.—See the above-cited passage in Ezekiel, Rev 48.

Revelation 21:14. Twelve foundations [Lange: foundation-stones].—The twelve gates give rise to twelve sections of the wall, amongst which De Wette and Düsterdieck distribute the foundation-stones. In accordance with this disposition, four are “to be conceived of as mighty corner-stones.” Symbolical descriptions, however, should not be pushed beyond the idea which they are designed to convey. It may, at all events, be taken for granted that the twelve foundation-stones are open to view, like cornerstones in the ancient sense of the term. As the whole fullness of the theocratic natural disposition was set forth in the Twelve Patriarchs, so the whole fullness of Christ’s Spirit and salvation was manifested in the Apostles. The Apostle John could not, in modesty, have written this, is the cry of an idea-less, snarling criticism. The symbolic expression of the truth, that the celestial City of God is grounded upon the evangelic foundations of the twelve Apostles, can, however, no more lose its ideal value through the one consideration that the name of John is pre-supposed to accompany the names of the other Apostles, than through the other consideration that the name of Paul seems to be omitted from the group; nor is it a necessary inference from, the citation of the Twelve Tribes of Israel in our passage, that the modifications in their names ( Revelation 7) are to be abolished. Comp. Ephesians 2:20, where a freer apprehension of the symbolic idea already appears: “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the corner-stone.”

Revelation 21:15. He that spake with me (see Revelation 21:9) had a measure.—Comp. Ezekiel 40:3; Ezekiel 40:5. The fact that the discourse occurring in symbolical representations must be determined by the fundamental thought thereof, is evidenced by Zechariah 2:3 sqq. “The angel who shows John the City (comp. Revelation 21:9) gives him a perfectly distinct idea of its dimensions by actually measuring it before the eyes of the Seer (Bengel, Ewald, De Wette).” Duesterd.—The measure (see Revelation 11:1; Ezekiel 42:16) denotes the ideality of the eternal Church, the Divine knowledge and appointment of it—qualities which are expressed also in John 17; Romans 8; Ephesians 1. The measure is golden: through the Divine faithfulness, the ideal Church has become the actualized eternal Church. The Angel performs the measurement in the true sequence: first, the City is defined, with reference to the fullness of its inhabitants; next, the proportion of the gates and the wall.

Revelation 21:16. And the City lieth.—“The fact ( Revelation 21:16 a) that the City lies (κεῖται; comp. Revelation 4:2) four-cornered (like ancient Babylon and the new Jerusalem of Ezekiel), rectangular, and with equal length and breadth, and that therefore the ground-plan of it forms a perfect square (comp. Ezekiel 48:16), is recognized by John even before the Angel begins to measure.” Duesterd.—Twelve thousand stadia, i.e., 300 geographical [German (1384Eng. statute)] miles. It is a question whether the12,000 stadia qualify the whole area of the City, so that the dimensions of each side amount, to3,000 stadia (in accordance with Vitringa, et al.), or whether the12,000 stadia are to be taken as applying in their entirety to each of the four sides, and as referring also to the height (Bengel, Züllig, et al.). In regard to the former hypothesis, the further question arises, whether the height also is stated at3,000 stadia, like the length and the breadth. De Wette opposes the idea that the height of the City amounts to12,000 stadia. The conception would, in such case, he declares, be that of a lofty fortress, whilst it is manifestly a city that is represented, as mention is made of streets ( Revelation 22:2); he even maintains that the height is determined only by the wall.[FN30] Düsterdieck, on the other hand, finds in the12,000 stadia the measure alike for length, breadth and height (with Bengel, Hengstenberg, et al.). Whilst the idea is a prodigious one, we must recollect that we have to do with a thoroughly symbolical description. A height of even3,000 stadia far exceeds that of the loftiest steeples. If, however, we keep strictly to the text, we find that, the measure of the entire square in respect of length and breadth, as the measure of the City, Isaiah 12,000 stadia; and, accordingly, the height of the City is to be determined by the quarter of this, as3,000 stadia. The fact that the wall will then be considerably lower than the height, of the City itself, should not occasion any difficulty. The height of the Kingdom of God towers far above the theocratic barrier. Here, therefore, the typical cube-form of the Tabernacle is realized in the highest sense; and the breadth, length, depth and height of the Divine dispensation of salvation ( Ephesians 3:18) are embodied in symbolical significance, in analogy with the incarnation of the Word. (The Word became flesh [ John 1:14].)

Revelation 21:17. Her wall.—“The height of the City is not the height of the wall, as Bengel also assumes, and therefore maintains that the 144 cubits are equivalent to the12,000 stadia.” Duesterd.—The measure of a man.—The additional clause: which is that of an angel, occasions difficulty. De Wette: The Angel has made use of human measure. Ebrard: The measure of glorified men is like the measure of the Angel. Hengstenberg (and Düsterdieck): The measure of the Angel, who makes his measurement for men, is like the measure of men. A reminder of the symbolic import of the act of measuring is probably contained in our passage;—the human measure with which the Sanctuary was measured, is here an angelic measure, i. e., it has a symbolic, higher import. The Seer frequently inserts similar reminders of the symbolic nature of his forms of speech; see especially chs. Revelation 1:20; Revelation 13:18; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 17:9. Now if the wall denotes the security of the City of God, and the cubit the measure of the Sanctuary, the height of 144 cubits is expressive of the perfect measure of heavenly confirmation or verification: the theocratic twelve of the plan of the Kingdom multiplied by the apostolic twelve of the consummation of the Kingdom in the fullness of the Spirit of Christ. This symbolical nature of the cubit-measure is expressed in the prophecy of Ezekiel by the fact that every cubit there spoken of is a hand-breadth longer than a common cubit. The figure of the wall approaches the idea of Zechariah ( Revelation 1:5): “For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her;” [Lange (not, G. V.): “and will manifest my glory in her”]. The prodigious extent of the City is also expressive of an idea—or, rather, of the ideal fact that it extends, with unseen limits, through the universe, and towers up into the height of eternity; that it belongs to Heaven, whence it has descended to earth. A discussion of the relative lowness of the wall in proportion to the height of the City, see in Düsterdieck, p568.

Revelation 21:18. And the structure of her wall.—The materials. On the rare word ἐνδόμησις, comp. the Lexicons. Jasper.—See above, p20. The material of the wall is thus of like import with its height,—infinite value in infinite duration, qualities which both appertain to the most precious of precious stones. The city was pure gold.—The material of the houses is absolutely pure gold, similar, in consequence of this purity, to pure crystal or glass.

This may be understood as referring either to the transparency of glass, or to the mirror-like brightness of crystal. We adopt the latter signification, retaining it also when διαυγής is predicated of the golden street-pavement [πλατεῖα] ( Revelation 21:21). According to Ebrard, there is a prospect that, gold itself will really be translucent in the world to come. The genuine heavenly purity and faithfulness of the inhabitants of the City shall, therefore, be reflected in the golden brilliance of their dwellings.

Revelation 21:19. The foundations of the wall etc.—The meaning Isaiah, that the foundations or foundation-stones of the City consist of precious stones, as is clearly evident from the following verse (comp. Isaiah 54:11). “As the twelve θεμέλιοι have nothing to do with the number of the Israelitish Tribes (comp. Revelation 21:14), that artificial mode of interpretation by which the stones ( Revelation 21:19 sq.) are brought into an assumed relation to those worn by the High-priest in his breast-plate (comp. especially Züllig Excursus II, pp456 sqq.; also Ewald II, Luthardt, Volkmar), is to be discarded as decidedly as the vain attempt to assign individual jewels to individual Apostles (Andr, Bengel, et al.).” Duesterd. If it be proved that a relation exists between the Twelve Tribes of Israel, whose names the High-priest wore in his breast-plate, and the Twelve Apostles,—a relation as between the theocratic plan and the apostolic development,—a general relation will also be assumable between the jewels in the breast-plate and the jewels which constitute the foundations of the Holy City. But if an individual combination of the Twelve Tribes and the Twelve Apostles is impracticable, it will be still less possible to make out a concordance of the stones in the high-priestly breast plate and the foundation-stones of the New Jerusalem. The general symbolic significance lies in the nature of the precious stones, and also, particularly, in their colors, in the grouping of which they appear as a symbolism of eternal individualities, all, in equal purity, brilliant with the same light, which they refract in the most diverse rays (see Introduction, pp20 sq.; Lange’s Miscellaneous Writings, vol1. p15). The first …. jasper.—Comp. pp20 sq. and151, and Revelation 21:11. Sapphire.— Exodus 24:10; Exodus 28:18; Ezekiel 28:13; see Winer, Title, Precious Stones; [also Kitto’s Cyclopædia and Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible]. “Our sapphire is sky-blue (comp. Ezekiel 1:26), translucent, and harder than the ruby. That which the ancients so denominated, must, according to Pliny (37, 39) and Theophr. (ch. vi23, 37), have been the lapis lazuli,” etc. Winer remarks, in conclusion, however, that we must suppose the Hebrew word to denote the true sapphire, as is clearly evident from the passages cited from Exodus and Ezekiel. The opinion of Düsterdieck, therefore, who assumes the lapis lazuli to be intended, is incorrect. Chalcedony.—Not the agate, precisely. Winer: A chalcedony-agate. Emerald.—Grass-green, not very hard, translucent, with double refraction (see Winer, Precious Stones, No3).

Revelation 21:20. Sardonyx.—See Winer, No16; comp. No. Revelation 1 : “Consisting of a combination of onyx and carnelian.” Sardius.—Or carnelian: it is striped with brown and is not very sharply distinguished from the preceding stone. Chrysolite.—See Winer, No. Revelation 10 : “Pale-green, perfectly translucent, with double refraction. According to Pliny, it is of the color of gold, and hence the topaz has been understood by it.” Beryl.—Winer, No11. Topaz.—Winer, No2. This seems to have been frequently confounded with the chrysolite. Chrysoprasus.—Winer, No. Revelation 15 : “Pale green, shading into yellowish and brown—translucent.” Jacinth [Hyacinth].—Winer, No7. Amethyst.—Winer, No9.

In respect of color, we distinguish blue stones: Sapphire, chalcedony, amethyst (violet-blue); Green: Emerald, beryl, and, more or less, chrysoprasus; Golden or yellow: Chrysoprasus (see above), chrysolite, topaz; Red: Hyacinth [jacinth], sardonyx, sardius (carnelian). The jasper Isaiah, most probably, as a diamond, of the pure hue of light; as an ordinary jasper, it would be non-translucent and of various colors. It is evident from chs. Revelation 4:3, Revelation 21:12, as well as from the fact that in accordance with New Testament order it stands at the beginning, and in accordance with Old Testament order at the close, that it is to be regarded as the chief or most precious stone. Of the jewels in the breast-plate two names are absent from our catalogue, viz., the ruby and the agate, whilst, on the other hand, the names chalcedony and chrysoprasus are wanting in the breast-plate (comp. Introduction, p20). For a comparison of the lists, see Ebrard, pp 533 sqq.; Hengstenberg, vol. ii, pp417 sq. [Eng. Trans.]; De Wette, p200.

Revelation 21:21. Of one pearl.—Düsterdieck quotes the Jewish tradition from Bava Bathra:Deus adducet gemmas et margaritas, triginta cubitos longas, totidemque latas.” There Isaiah, however, a heaven-wide distinction between a great pearl as modified by Christian symbolism, and a great pearl as modified by Jewish Chiliasm. The broad-way of the city.—Πλατεῖα [i. e., the flat, as opposed to the elevated, the buildings]. Doubtless significant of the pavement or ground of all the streets and alleys; not merely the market-place (Bengel) or principal street (Züllig). [See foot-noteRevelation 11:8, p231.—E. R. C.]. As it were translucent glass.—We apprehend this not literally, but poetically, of the mirror-like brightness.

Revelation 21:22. “The peculiar glory of the City is further described.” Duesterdieck. That Isaiah, the pause is unobserved by him.

[In the old Jerusalem the Temple was at once the dwelling-place and the concealer of Jehovah. Though present, He was not visibly present—in a sense He was sheltered by the Temple. The new Jerusalem shall have no place for the shelter of the Lord, for she shall be sheltered by Him. He shall tabernacle over her, Revelation 7:15. Her inhabitants shall dwell under His manifest and sheltering light. He shall be her Temple.—E. R. C.]

Revelation 21:23. The glory of God lightened her.—See Isaiah 60:19. On the distinction between this passage and Revelation 21:11, see above.

Revelation 21:24. And the nations ( Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 60:11; Psalm 72:11) shall walk by means of [Lange: through] her light.—Significant future. “This description, drawn from the declarations of the old Prophets, does not justify the idea of those expositors who conceive of the heathen [nations] and the kings as dwelling outside of the City (Ewald, De Wette, Block et al.), or who would even attempt to determine what moral condition the heathen [nations] now admitted into the new Jerusalem, occupied during their earthly life (Storr, etc.).” Duesterdieck. Their glory.—That Isaiah, that which the kings possessed of glory. The Apocalyptist knows no political partyism. He recognizes a glory of the kings and also a glory of the peoples ( Revelation 21:26).

[Alford: “If then the kings of the earth, and the nations bring their glory and their treasures into her, and if none shall ever enter into her that is not written in the book of life, it follows that these kings, and these nations, are written in the book of life. And so perhaps some light may be thrown on one of the darkest mysteries of redemption. There may be,—I say it with all diffidence,—those who have been saved by Christ without ever forming a part of His visible organized Church.”

The conclusion may be granted without recognizing the force of the argument. The distinguished commentator takes for granted that the kings and nations are those that lived before the Millennial period, or at least before the great consummation. Is it not rather probable that the great truth is adumbrated in this revelation (see also Revelation 20:2, last clause), that, even after the new creation, the human race is to be continued (ever propagating a holy seed, such as would have been begotten had Adam never sinned) under the government of the glorified Church?—E. R. C.].

Revelation 21:25. Her gates shall not be [Lange: do not be] shut.—They stand open uninterruptedly, for the bringing in of all the glory of the kings and the peoples ( Isaiah 60:11).

Revelation 21:26. And they shall bring.—“An impersonal subject should be supplied to οἴσουσι (comp. Revelation 12:6; Revelation 10:11 [the reading λέγουσιν]; Luther, Bengel, De Wette, Hengstenb, Ew. II, et al.), not οἱ βασιλεῖς (Ew. I, Züll.).” Duesterd.

Revelation 21:27. Anything common.—See Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15; Acts 10:14. The elevation of the Apocalypse above Judaistic views is sufficiently evident from this passage alone, which, in connection with the preceding context, thoroughly distinguishes between believing ethnics and the essence of ethnicism, determining the πᾶν κοινόν purely in accordance with moral characteristics.

Revelation 22:1. A river.—The water of life is not to be taken here in a purely spiritual sense, at least not, primarily, as in John 4:14; John 7:38. It denotes the stream of spirituo-corporeal life-power which, as an eternal renewing power, ensures the imperishability and vital freshness of the new world (see Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8; comp. 1 Peter 1:4). The unitous spirituo-corporeal operation is especially expressed in the fact that the river proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb—from the living God, through the glorified Christ, in accordance with the heavenly species of His resurrection-life. The properties of the river of Paradise, which operated as a purely natural blessing ( Genesis 2), and those of the spiritual fountain of healing, first promised by the Prophets and subsequently opened in Christ, are united in this river. As a river, it is cosmically permanent, and as a river that proceeds from the throne of God, it is absolutely permanent. Its source is not situate under the Temple-mount or under the Temple itself, but in the depths of the Divine revelation of love and life, in the profundities of the Divine government consonant with that revelation. As the trees of life are ensured by this eternally clear river, so the river is ensured by the Divine throne itself.

Revelation 22:2. In the midst of her broad-way.—Düsterdieck, with Ewald, refers ἑν μέσῳ to καὶ τοῦ ποταμοῦ also; but how this view can be accompanied by the conception “that the trees stand on both sides of the river,” is not clear (see Ezekiel 47:7; Ezekiel 47:12).

A tree [Lange: Gehölz=wood] of life.—Ξύλον=a wood, a collection of trees, having the common character of trees of life (see Revelation 2:7), “generically denotes the entire mass of trees (Bengel, De Wette, Ewald, et al.).” Duest. De Wette gives: the tree [Baum] of life, and adds: “Which produces twelve fruits, bringing forth its fruit every month ( Ezekiel 47:12);” this, however, can only mean twelve fruit-harvests or fruit twelve times. “Twelve kinds of fruits” (Lutheran Version; [“twelve manner of fruits,” E. V.]) are, at all events, not intended. All the fruits are fruits of life.

And the leaves, etc.—These words contain, first, an expression of the highest vital efficacy. Even all the leaves of all these trees possess a vital energy which can be conducive, as a healing power, to the health of even the heathen or nations. As extreme views, are opposed the interpretation of Bengel, who holds that reference is had to the conversion of the heathen to whom in this life the Gospel has not been preached; and the interpretation of Hengstenberg, who thinks that the vital forces of the heavenly Jerusalem are intended, as serving in the present age (!) for the conversion of the heathen (Hengst, vol. II, p433 [Eng. Trans.). It is not necessary through fear of an apocatastasis, either to do violence to the text, or to place the hope of an infinite healing operation in the leaves of the tree of life—an operation which is expressed by the river, but does not coincide exactly with the restoration-theory. Another contrast is presented in the inclination of Bleek and De Wette, with Ewald and Züllig(also Ebrard), to find a reference to heathen [nations] dwelling outside of the City, and the view of Düsterdieck, who holds that simply the eternal refreshment and beatification of believing heathen [nations] is made prominent. According to Ebrard, the fruits manifestly serve as food for the inhabitants of the City, and the leaves for the healing of the ἔθνη without the City; the latter, he continues, do not need such a θεραπεία as to be healed of godlessness and converted therefrom, “but they must be brought from the condition of undeveloped and weak faith and dawning knowledge, to the ripeness of the full stature of men in Christ.” It might be queried how does this interpretation correspond with the distinction of milk and strong meat [food]? Taken literally, the leaves might be reckoned as strong meat. But let us recollect that we are at present in the third sphere of our description, in which the transfiguration or heavenly glorification of nature is spoken of. Here the expression denotes the highest sanative operation of nature—even the leaves of the trees whose fruits are the vital nourishment of God’s people, serve for the healing [Therapie] of the heathen [nations]. We apprehend the word [healing] in the wider sense, and observe, with Düsterdieck, that these heathen [nations] have been mentioned before in Revelation 21:24. The remark of Düsterdieck, that the heavenly enjoyment of life is contrasted with the lack of vital power under which those referred to labored in this present life, is not in itself incorrect, but it gives rise to the question: wherefore are the leaves mentioned? As the river of life cannot be restricted to the City, Song of Solomon, also, the trees of life, with their fruits and leaves, can be regarded only as a health-giving blessing, stretching out into infinitude; and thus the passage coincides in general with analogous utterances of Paul ( 1 Corinthians 15:26-28). [See additional comment on Revelation 21:24, p388.—E. R. C.]

Revelation 22:3. And nothing cursed shall be any more.—See Syn. View; comp. Zechariah 14:11.[FN31] Ebrard traces the κατάθεμα directly back to the cherem, distinguishing, however, as cherem, persons and things (in accordance with Leviticus 27:28 and other passages). There is yet another distinction to be made, however, between the cherem and the κοινόν.

And His servants shall serve Him.—The idea of religious service presented by λατρεύειν does not preclude the idea of a service rendered in the heavenly culture of the new Paradise, because, in the glorified world, cultus and culture shall have become one.

[There seems to be a great and blessed truth conveyed by the conjunction of δοῦλοι and λατρεύσουσιν. His slaves (δοῦλοι) shall be elevated to the dignity of temple-servitors. The idea is akin to that presented by our Lord, John 15:15 : “Henceforth I call you not servants (δοῦλοι=slaves), but I have called you friends.”—E. R. C.]

Revelation 22:4. His face.Matthew 5:8; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2.—His name.—See chs. Revelation 3:12; Revelation 14:1.

Revelation 22:5. And night shall not be any more.—This is simply a repetition, according to De Wette, Ebr, Düsterd (see Syn. View). Hengstenb. discovers here an antithesis harmonizing with the Gospel of John, to wit, the antithesis of day as the time of safety and good, and night as the time of peril and evil (?); he remarks, by way of illustration: “Any one who has lived with a wakeful eye through the year ’48 is acquainted with this distinction of day and night.” It might be replied: Any one who has become acquainted with it only under such a date, knows it but very imperfectly, to say the least.

And they shall reign.—“In a still higher sense than in Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6, says De Wette.” To which we query: in what respect? We would remind our readers that reference is here had to the relation of the blessed to the celestial spheres of nature; this fact endows the expression with the import that all dependence upon the power of nature shall be done away with.

Into the ages of the ages.—The antithesis see in Revelation 20:10.—In the region of the damned there continues, according to the same passage, the antithesis of day and night. The æons of the blessed are raised above the vicissitudes of temporality, because in God is eternity, the inexhaustible fountain of holy, festal seasons; and Christ has, in reality, freed even time from the curse of temporality, and made it the rhythmic succession of the fullness of eternity, the development-form of eternal life.

[NOTE ON THE NEW JERUSALEM.]

By the American Editor

It was the design of the American Editor to prepare an extended Excursus on this subject. Circumstances, however, over which he has no control, prevent his doing more than present a brief sketch of the views of representative commentators, afterwards indicating those points of his own hypothesis that he did intend thoroughly to discuss.

a. Sketch of Views

So many and variant have been the opinions on this subject that it seems impossible to classify them. The following extract from Elliott will be regarded as a fair exposition of the views of those mentioned by him.

“It has long been a disputed question amongst prophetic expositors, where precisely the New Jerusalem of the21,22chapters of the Apocalypse is to have position; whether during or only after the Millennium; and if synchronous with it, whether as identical or not with the glorified Jerusalem prophesied in the Old Testament. Of the older Fathers alike the pre-millenarian Tertullian, and the anti-pre-millenarian Augustine, explained the glorified Jerusalem of O. T. prophecy as identical with that of the Apocalypse; the one (Tertullian) however, as symbolic of the risen saints’ millennial glory, the other (Augustine) of their heavenly and everlasting blessedness. Again, of the moderns Whitby and Vitringa, whilst also identifying the two figurations, did yet explain them to signify the millennial earthly blessedness of the still living Christian Church. Faber would separate the two, and make Isaiah’s Jerusalem of the latter day, with its new heaven and earth, alone millennial, that of the Apocalypse post-millennial; to which I may add that some expositors, while explaining one or both to prefigure earthly glories destined for God’s people, make the restored and concerted Jews nationally, not the Church Catholic generally, the grand object and chief intended recipients of the coming glory.”

Elliott himself (5th edition) “supposes the New Jerusalem to have existence from the commencement, and throughout the progress, of the millennial period.” With this opinion the majority of pre-millenarians probably agree, though with vast differences as to particulars. Elliott argues his position from—(1) a comparison of Revelation 19:7-8, with Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9; (2) a comparison of Revelation 19:10, with Revelation 22:8-9, inferring from the coincidence that the same event must have been referred to; (3) what is said concerning the nations, chs. Revelation 21:24; Revelation 22:2, manifesting that there will be men in the flesh during the New Jerusalem, which, he assumes, could not be, after the General Resurrection; (4) a comparison of Daniel 7:18 (where the saints’ everlasting reign dates from the fall of Antichrist) with Revelation 22:5. He supposes (after Mede and several of the Ancient Fathers) that the entire millennial period constitutes the day (period) of Judgment; that at the beginning of this day, the great White Throne is set up, at which time occurs a partial conflagration; that at the close shall be the casting of death and Hades into the lake of fire, the great conflagration, the new heaven and earth, and the more complete and perfect establishment of the Kingdom.

Alford writes: “The whole of the things described in the remaining portion of the Book are subsequent to the General Judgment, and descriptive of the consummation of the triumph and bliss of Christ’s people with Him in the eternal kingdom of God. This eternal kingdom is situated on the purified and renewed earth—become the blessed habitation of God with His glorified people.”

Barnes (and with him probably the majority of post-millenarians) looks upon chaps. Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5, as descriptive of the heavenly state of the entire body of the redeemed. He writes: “The whole of Revelation 21, and the first five verses of Revelation 22, relate to scenes beyond the judgment, and are descriptive of the happy and triumphant state of the redeemed Church, when all its conflicts shall have ceased, and all its enemies shall have been destroyed. That happy state is depicted under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was the emblem, and it was disclosed to John by a vision of that city—the New Jerusalem—descending from heaven. Jerusalem was regarded as the peculiar dwelling-place of God, and to the Hebrews it became thus the natural emblem or symbol of the heavenly world. The conception having occurred of describing the future condition of the righteous under the image of a beautiful city, all that follows is in keeping with that, and is merely a carrying out of the image. It is a city with beautiful walls and gates; a city that has no temple—for it is all a temple; a city that needs no light—for God is its light; a city into which nothing impure ever enters; a city filled with trees, and streams, and fountains, and fruits—the Paradise Regained.”

b. Hypothesis of the American Editor

I. The period of the New Jerusalem will be subsequent to the General Resurrection and Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15, and the new Creation of Revelation 21:1. This Isaiah, manifestly, the normal sense of the connection between Revelation 22:1-2 of Revelation 21, and is not to be set aside but for most cogent reasons. This view involves no real difficulties; and, still further, the entire description forbids the thought that the even partial sinfulness that will exist in the subjects of the Millennial Kingdom should have existence under the light of the New Jerusalem, or that its glories should be dimmed by the assaults of Satan and the rebellion of Gog and Magog.

II. Its seat will be the New Earth (comp. Revelation 21:1-2; Revelation 21:24). It is vain for us to speculate as to whether that New Earth will be identical as to substance with the present, or whether it will be different. It is impossible for us to determine whether the present abode of the human race will be simply regenerated by fire, or whether from the universal chaos into which all things may be reduced ( 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 20:11) some entirely new Earth, or dwelling-place for Prayer of Manasseh, may not be brought forth.

III. It will exist—1. As a real City—the glorious home and capital of a glorified Community (the Bride). 2. As a Material Symbol of that Community, its order and glory.[FN32]

From the admitted fact that what the Apostle saw was a Symbol, many leap to the conclusion that a real city, or place of abode, could not have been symbolized. It is admitted by all that that which John beheld was a simulacrum. He did not directly look upon that which was not to exist for at least three thousand years—he beheld, merely, a Visional Symbol. But what was the nature of that Symbol? Was it immediate? i.e., did it symbolize a City that is yet to come into existence—or was it mediate? i. e., did it symbolize something else than a City, namely (in this instance), a glorified community? In the judgment of the writer it performed the double office set forth in the last paragraph on p146. Primarily it was an Immediate Symbol symbolizing a material City; but, secondarily, as the City was itself to be a Material Symbol, of the inhabiting Community, it was a Mediate (Aberrant) Symbol of that Community.

This double use of the Symbol should occasion no surprise. For, in the first place, it is most common in all languages to denote by the same term, as London, sometimes the City, sometimes the mass of its inhabitants, and sometimes the complex of the two. This was common amongst the writers of the Scriptures—.he Scriptural uses of Zion, Babylon, Tyre, will present themselves as illustrations to the minds of all. And, secondly, a material City is frequently a type of its inhabitants, or of the State of which it is the Capital. No one can visit Rome without being impressed with the fact that, in its combined ruin and grandeur, its death and life, the existing City is itself the type of the existing Roman Church. This in old times was true of Babylon, of Athens, of Tyre, of Rome, and especially of Jerusalem. And, doubtless, it is in great measure owing to this fact that a City and its inhabitants are so generally designated by one and the same name. In the judgment of the writer, as the old Jerusalem symbolized the Israel of which it was the Capital, so the New Jerusalem will symbolize the glorified Community[FN33] of whom it will be the abode and Capital.

Concerning the hypothesis that the New Jerusalem will exist as a great City, it may be said: 1. There are many things in the description that have their most natural (their normal) application to such an abode, as is evident upon the bare perusal2. This application is supported by the following considerations: (1) A material dwelling-place is as necessary for resurrected saints as was Eden for Adam, or Canaan for Israel. (2) It should occasion no surprise if the same loving care that will raise and glorify the body should prepare a fitting and glorious abode for it. (3) It should be regarded as no strange thing if He who prepares for the body should grant us an inspiring, though general, description of its future abode. (4) On the contrary, the giving of such a description would be but in accordance with Jehovah’s dealing with Israel before leading them into Canaan, and in continuance of the information given us by the Prophets concerning the Palingenesia, and especially by the Apostle Paul, Romans 8:20-21.

As to the hypothesis that a glorified Community was in some sense symbolized, it may also be said that while there are many things in the description that find their most natural objective in a material City, there are others that cannot be so regarded; as, for instance, that the New Jerusalem is the Bride of the Lamb. We are shut up to the conclusion that a glorified people were contemplated in the exhibition of the Symbol.

In conclusion of this whole matter it may be remarked that the double hypothesis announced by the writer best satisfies the conditions of the problem; is in accordance with the ordinary and Scriptural use of the names of Cities, especially of Capitals; and is precisely analogous to the Divine declarations concerning the old Jerusalem.

IV. We should distinguish between the Material City and the New Earth. The former has its situation in the latter, as London in England. We should also distinguish between the citizens of the City and the nations ( Revelation 21:24). The former are risen and glorified Saints, who constitute the Bride ( Revelation 21:9), the governors ( Revelation 22:5, last clause) of the New Creation (see below in V, VI.). The latter are (probably) men in the flesh, who walk in the light of the City, who bring their glory and honor into it, and who are healed (or kept in health) by the leaves of its tree of life (chs. Revelation 21:24-27; Revelation 22:2), i. e., who are under its instruction and government (see below in VII.).

V. The term The Bride probably identifies the citizens of the New Jerusalem with the subjects of the First Resurrection (see the Add. Note on the Marriage, pp336 sq.). This body, the Bride (identical probably with the144,000 of Revelation 14:1), will probably be completed at the time of the Marriage, Revelation 19:7-9. Into that glorious company it is probable that only those who have been partakers of Christ’s humiliation and suffering (either personally in company with Him, or throughout the present æon, the period of the humiliation of His body, the Church, Colossians 1:24) shall be received (comp. Luke 22:28-30; Philippians 3:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 19:4-6; see also the Add. Note on the Marriage, as above.[FN34] These are they who sit on Christ’s Throne, who are united with Him in authority,—who, as related to Him constitute the Bride; as together with Him constitute the Kingdom, i. e., the governing power (see Excursus on the Basileia, II:1 (4), p99).

VI. Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9-10, does not refer to the Marriage—that took place at the beginning of the Millennial period (see Note on the Marriage, pp336 sq.), but to a new manifestation of the prophetical Bride, the Wife. Doubtless before, or at the very moment when, “the earth and the heaven fled away” ( Revelation 20:11), she was rapt away to the secret place of Jehovah. These verses describe her as descending from the bosom of her God, out of the New Heaven, clothed in new beauty, upon the New Creation, over which she is to dominate.

VII. The nations (see above in IV.) will consist (probably) of men in the flesh, freed from sin and the curse, begetting a holy seed, and dwelling in blessedness under the government of the New Jerusalem. They will be, not the offspring of the glorified Saints, who “neither marry nor are given in marriage” ( Matthew 22:30), but the descendants of those who live in the flesh during the period of the Millennial Kingdom. Brown triumphantly asks, “How the inhabitants of the heavens and earth that now are,’ are tided over this (the) all enveloping, all reducing deluge of fire, into the new heavens and the new earth’?” In answer it may be said, The same Almighty power that conveyed Noah and his family across the waters of the first deluge, can bear other families across the fiery floods of the second, to be the progenitors of the continued race. It may be retorted that there is no promise of such a miracle. That there is no expressed promise is admitted—but the Divine prediction of an event ever implies the promise of a sufficient cause.

VIII. Although the New Jerusalem state is not to be confounded with the Millennial Kingdom, nor to be regarded as a simple continuance thereof, it is to be looked upon as the antitype of that Kingdom. In a sense, it is that Kingdom raised to a higher plane—completely freed, in its territory and its subjects, from all remains of the curse. The Millennial Kingdom is the reign of the Saints over a race and earth freed indeed from the assaults of Satan, but still, in measure, in sin and under the curse; the New Jerusalem period is that of the reign of the Saints over a race and earth perfectly purified.

IX. The City itself, as it will have placed in it the Throne of God and the Lamb ( Revelation 22:3), will become the noblest of the many mansions of Heaven. Neither it, however, nor the New Earth on which it is situate, including it, will be the totality of Heaven. John saw the Bride descending out of Heaven ( Revelation 21:2). The New Earth will be one of the loyal provinces of Heaven, under the light of Heaven, governed by the citizens of Heaven; but it will be the abode of men in the flesh. May it not bear to Heaven a relation similar to that borne by Eden before the fall? Although in it there will be no death, possibly from it will be transported to other scenes its blessed inhabitants, when they have passed through their painless, ennobling pupilage. Possibly, its inhabitants may pass away to other mansions in the Father’s House, where dwell, it may be, the Angels who kept their first estate, and the glorified subjects of the Millennial Kingdom, and others glorified who did not attain to the first Resurrection.

X. The prophecies of the Restoration and the Palingenesia (like those of the Advent) have probably a double application. Initially and typically they may refer to the Millennial Kingdom, which is a type of the New Jerusalem. Ultimately and completely, they have respect to the latter, the Kingdom of the Perfect Restoration.

XI. In conclusion, the writer would remark that he feels most keenly that speculation on this subject is dangerous. Speculation, however, to some degree there must be, if there be study,—and study there must be, if we be obedient to the command implied in the benediction, “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy” ( Revelation 1:3). It may also be remarked that those who hold the current opinion as to the New Jerusalem, speculate as really as does the writer. The study of the Divinely given Revelation has convinced him of certain facts concerning this great and glorious subject. These facts, together with certain probable implications, he has stated with trembling, and he trusts with becoming modesty. He now submits them to the considerate construction of his readers.—E. R. C.][FN35]

A SONG MADE BY F. B. P.

To the tune of “Diana.”

Jerusalem! my happy home!

When shall I come to thee,

When shall my sorrows have an end,

Thy joys when shall I see?

O happy harbor of the saints,

O sweet and pleasant soil,

In thee no sorrow may be found,

No grief, no care, no toil.

In thee no sickness may be seen,

No hurt, no ache, no sore;

There is no death, no ugly deil,

There’s life for evermore.

No dampish mist is seen in thee,

No cold nor darksome night;

There every soul shines as the sun,

There God Himself gives light.

There lust and lucre cannot dwell,

There envy bears no sway,

There is no hunger, heat, nor cold,

But pleasure every way.

Jerusalem! Jerusalem!

God grant I once may see

Thy endless jovs, and of the same,

Partaker aye to be.

Thy walls are made of precious stones,

Thy bulwarks diamonds square,

Thy gates are of right orient pearl,

Exceeding rich and rare.

Thy turrets and thy pinnacles

With carbuncles do shine,

Thy very streets are paved with gold,

Surpassing clear and fine.

Thy houses are of ivory,

Thy windows crystal clear,

Thy tiles are made of beaten gold;

O God, that I were there!

Within thy gates no thing doth come

That is not passing clean,

No spider’s web, no dirt, no dust,

No filth may there be seen.

Ah, my sweet home, Jerusalem!

Would God I were in thee,

Would God my woes were at an end,

Thy joys that I might see.

Thy saints are crowned with glory great,

They see God face to face,

They triumph still, they still rejoice,

Most happy is their case.

We that are here in banishment

Continually do moan;

We sigh and sob, we weep and wail,

Perpetually we groan.

Our sweet is mixed with bitter gall,

Our pleasure is but pain,

Our joys scarce last the looking on,

Our sorrows still remain.

But there they live in such delight,

Such pleasure, and such play,

As that to them a thousand years,

Doth seem as yesterday.

Thy vineyards and thy orchards are

Most beautiful and fair,

Full furnished with trees and fruits,

Most wonderful and rare.

Thy gardens and thy gallant walks

Continually are green;

There grow such sweet and pleasant flowers

As nowhere else are seen.

There’s nectar and ambrosia made,

There’s musk and civet sweet,

There many a fair and dainty drug

Are trodden under feet.

There cinnamon, there sugar grows,

There nard and balm abound.

What tongue can tell or heart conceive

The joys that there are found!

Quite through the streets, with silver sound,

The flood of life doth flow,

Upon whose banks, on every side,

The wood of life doth grow.

There trees for evermore bear fruit,

And evermore do spring;

There evermore the angels sit,

And evermore do sing.

There David stands with harp in hand

As master of the choir;

Ten thousand times that man were blest

That might this music hear.

Our lady sings Magnificat,

With tune surpassing sweet,

And all the virgins bear their parts,

Sitting above her feet.

Te Deum doth Saint Ambrose sing,

Saint Austine doth the like;

Old Simeon and Zachary

Have not their song to seek.

There Magdalene hath left her moan,

And cheerfully doth sing,

With blessed saints whose harmony

In every street doth ring.

Jerusalem, my happy home!

Would God I were in thee,

Would God my woes were at an end,

Thy joys that I might see!—E. R. C.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 21:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/revelation-21.html. 1857-84.

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