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ed a quadrangle of twelve miles cir- vided; but immediately passes on cuit, surrounding the priests and to the time when each, by conthe tabernacle of God: and thus quering the other, held successive
Jehovah dwelt in the midst of his dominion over Israel. Thus, though people, and the tents of the saints many Babylonian kings preceded were a wall round about his sanc- Nebuchadnezzar, and his predetuary.” So in Rev. iv, the throne cessors invaded the kingdom of is in the midst, and round about are Israel and carried the ten tribes the twenty-four thrones of the pro- captive, he it was who, by destroyphets and apostles, and the four ing Jerusalem and the cities of living creatures with eyes before Judah and carrying the royal and behind. There appears a pro- tribe captive to Babylon, compriety in the symbols pointing both pleted the conquest and took posto the Church of God, and to the session of their whole land. * Το four empires surbordinate thereto, him therefore Daniel said, in reinasmuch as the concerns of the spect to his vision of Gentile emChurch alone render empires worthy pires, “ Thou art that head of gold !” the attention of God's prophecy. Answerably to which, at verse 2 of
Verses 1, 2. To return however; Rev. vi, a crown is given to him ;” the hieroglyphics of the Israelite and he is said “ to go forth conChurch, connected with each em- quering and to conquer :" perhaps pire, successively (as I before ob- in reference to the dynasty of served) call John to look at its Babylonian kings, who for 200 symbolic representation. I suppose years had invaded, desolated and therefore, that the first four rolls carried captive the
carried captive the ten tribes ; disclose those characteristics of the and to his doing the same when four monarchies which respect their at his height of power and glory dominion over Israel. The scope (Jer. xxxiv, 1) to the united tribes of the vision of the great image of Judah and Benjamin. With this (Dan. ii,) was the dominance of event, which is the chief subject of apostacy, however varied, through- Jeremiah's prophecies and Lamenout the period of seven times, dur- tations, commenced the predicted ing which the Gentiles had do- 70 years' captivity of the only true minion over Israel, called elsewhere Church of God then in the world ;
the times of the Gentiles." for the ten tribes had long before Hence the rise of the several em- lapsed into idolatry.
It is obpires was not depicted, but their servable, that the chief circumsuccession, with their characteristics stance regarding this empire in when at the height of power, and Daniel's own vision, (chap. vii,) was their destruction. And though the "eagle wings of the lion being Daniel, in his own vision, beheld plucked :'+ i. e. another empire, the rise of the four empires, he (which existed long before,) taking does not refer to the early period its dominion, and with it the poseven of the two into which the session of God's captive people. ancient Assyrian empire was di- Consequently, it was the period of
* See Prideaux's Connexions, vol. I.--For this service the Lord distinguishes Nebuchadnezzar by the title, “my servant." Jer. XXV, 9; xxvii, 6; 1, 17.
+ Mr. Faber, though for a different object, observes, that “the winged lion, in the ' attitude ascribed by Daniel to the symbol, receiving, as he is sculptured on the walls of • the Persepolitan palace, the sword of the Persian king in his entrails, exbibits the
Babylonian empire mortally wounded by Cyrus."
its conclusion that was the chief ob- thundereth with the voice of his ject of the representation of it to excellency.b It seems also to indiDaniel: and I think to John also ; cate the opening of a new vision. for the scene quickly changes before Some suppose, that in this and in him to that of the second empire, Zechariah's vision the four horses and there is no indication of his relate to the four states of the seeing the rise of any empire in this Christian Church. But the horse vision. Each appears and instantly in the east is “ prepared against yields place to its successor.
the day of battle ;'C and The first living creature was
horse and his rider" is a Scripture winged lion, (chap. iv, 7, 8,) the phrase for a power engaged in warsymbol of one-fourth of Israel; being fare. . I
Thus in Miriam's song it that also in the banner of the royal denotes the Egyptian power in tribe of Judah, which was
arms, which was overthrown in carried captive. Mr. Faber adds, the sea during its hostile pursuit
it was the form of the Assyrian of Israel.d And when God sumsolar divinity, and of the Baby- mons the Medes against Babylon, lonian empire itself;" consequently he says,—“ With thee will I break it was the emblem of that idolatry in pieces the horse and his rider, out of which God's Church (“ the • and with thee will I break in pieces men of Judah who are his pleasant the chariot and his rider.” When plant”) was called, together with he declares that he will replace in some adherents from the aposta- their land the house of Judah and tizing tribes; the body of which had of Joseph, he couches his promise in sunk into idolatry, and probably to this remarkable phrase;" because this day remain within the limits Jehovah is with them, the riders on of what was then the Assyrian em- horses shall be confounded ; (i.e. as pire.* Observe, this empire was · I apprehend it, these Gentile emsymbolized to Daniel (chap. vii) by pires will be destroyed ;) and unto a lion with wings,t which corro- the daughter of Zion it shall come, borates the above interpretation. even the first dominion, the king
When John's attention was ar- • dom shall come to the daughter of rested to this new vision, he heard · Jerusalem.” Jehovah's message (but not on the opening of any suc- to Zerubbabel, respecting the last ceeding seal,) as it were the noise revolution, shall suffice in proof. of thunder ; a token probably of I will shake the heavens and the the divine presence in the person of (prophetic) earth, and overthrow the Lamb, because it is God who the throne of kingdoms, and de
* Esdras and Josephus mention them as “ in the cities of the Medes," who con. quered part of the Assyrian empire. They were lost in the darkness of succeeding centuries ; but Dr. Buchanan and others think the chief body of them remains in the high table land of Affghanstan, as in a prison, till God “hiss for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.” Isa, vii, 18.
+ Isa. V, 29 and Jer. iv, 7, 21 predict, and Jer. 1, 17, 44 refer to it, under the figure of the lion.
I Mr. Cuninghame allows, that a horse denotes a victorious power ;' and Mr. Faber, that “a horseman on a horse is the symbol of a military empire." Does not the hieroglyphic of horses and chariots, for empires and their rulers, in Zech. vi, illustrate Elisha's lament for Elijah in 2 Kings ii, 11, 12, “ The chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof !” The theocracy or government of God had been administered by Elijah.
b Ps. xxix, 3 ; lxxvii, 18. c Prov. xxi, 31. d Exod. xv, 20.
'stroy the strength of the kingdoms quiver bore (according to Jerome) ' of the heathen, and overthrow the the name of Jerusalem. Isa. vii, 24 ' chariots and those that ride in especially refers to the bow and
them; and the horses and their arrows of this empire. ' riders (the high powers of those Mr. Faber argues, with Dr. Bla empires) shall come down, every ney, that the colors merely show one by the sword of his brother."e the several war horses to repre
In Zechariah's vision the horses sent different empires, not the same are attached to chariots; and ac- empire in different aspects.t I am cording to the precision of pro- ignorant of their true signification; phetic language both symbols can- but I am persuaded that no word or not denote the same object in the description of Holy Writ can be withsame point of view. But the horse out an appropriate meaning. May saddled may denote the military not the colors be those which disempire in connexion with its rider, tinguished the standard of each naor chieftain ; while the horses with tion, and that of the tribe on which the chariot may denote the same the corresponding symbol was deempire in connexion with its whole picted ?-_This would be analogous civil establishment, the machinery to the signification of colors in of its government.
heraldry:t whose customs, no doubt, The rider had a bow, “a symbol originated in the ensigns of patriof eastern warfare,” often used in archal tribeship. Scripture to signify the whole equi- vv. 3, 4. Ephraim's ensign was the page of war.f Prideaux observes, bullock, which symbolized the second that when Nebuchadnezzar was living creature, who directed John's in doubt which nation to attack attention to the conqueror on the red first, his divines consulted their horse :// not Darius the Median who teraphim and arrows, writing the took the kingdom; but Cyrus, king name of the cities upon them; and of Persia, the predicted rebuilderg that the first arrow drawn from the of Jerusalem and the temple, after
e Jer. li, 21, also viii, 16; 1, 42; Zech. x, 5; xii, 4 ; Mic. iv, 8; Hag. ii, 22; Hab. i, 8. f Jer. li, 56 ; Isa. V, 28. g Dan. V, 31; Isa. xiii, 17 ; xliv, 27, 28 ; xlv, 1—13.
* Mr. Faber strikingly accounts for the chariot being drawn by several horses; each empire being, in that vision, described “as it was composed of several united and ' subjugated kingdoms, guided by one presiding charioteer ; who represents the political form of government under which the whole empire was placed. This quaternion, with the consent of Jerome, Houbigant, Lowth, Blayney, and Newcome ; represents the only four successive military empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and • Rome." “Immediately after John's time, we should seek in vain for four such : ' therefore we are compelled to retrospective inquiry.” As no word in Scripture was written without a design, it may not be frivolous to observe, that the living creatures had eyes behind as well as before ; intimating probably their retrospective as well as prospective view.
f Mr. Cuninghame accounts for them arbitrarily, according to his idea of the character of the Christian Church at the four supposed eras of these seals.
Schleusner informs us, that the Rabbins defined the color of the standards; but he neither explains them, nor gives any particular reference.
|| Jer. 1, 8, 9, repeats God's command to Judah, in reference to the dominion passing from Chaldea to the Medes ; and Jer. li, 28, 29, summons the nations, with the rulers of the Medes and all the land of their dominion, to destroy Chaldea, because, it was the destroyer of his heritage. See Jer. 1, 11, 18, 28, and li, 10, 14, 24; also Isaiah.
destroying Babylon " for the venge- Judah and the temple, they are ance of God's temple.”* Hence thus characteristically referred to; Cyrus is the appropriate rider of for it was under the last Darius that the second horse. As Isaiah and the Jewish state was thoroughly reJeremiah especially mentioned the stored, and tribute paid to furnish Medes, as God's avengers on Chal- the sacrifices, &c.t dea, they are referred to in both There was given him a great Daniel's visions : for chap. vii, 5, he sword. Thus God by Jeremiah saw the second beast like a bear, calls for “the sword upon Babywhich raised itself up on one side ; lon, on her princes and people, and chap. viii, 3 he saw a ram, on their horses and chariots ; as the whose second horn, which came up Lord's vengeance for the evil done last, was the highest : both which to Zion."i The
The second Darius denoted Cyrus succeeding to the wielded it against revolting BabyMedian sceptre on the death of his lon, as the first did for its conquest. uncle, as he had done to that of One remark here must be allowed Persia on the death of his father; respecting the trumpets, which some thus obtaining dominion over the commentators consider as synchronic whole (prophetic) earth, including with the seals. It is obvious that, Syria and Palestine, which were tri- according to the present view, the butary to him, though he restored two first trumpets can have no conthe Jews.
nexion with the first two seals : In John's vision he is characte- neither has the third trumpet with rized by having power “given him the third seal. . They announce to take peace from the earth,” and judgements on a professing chrisby the prediction that “ they shall tian, not on a heathen, empire. kill one another." There is no ante- vv. 5, 6. Daniel's first vision excedent to this pronoun.
hibited the Grecian leopard ; his seDaniel mentions 120 provinces,h cond vision Alexander, as the he which were mostly conquered, the goat of Greece, seizing the empire Persian dominions could know no of the prophetic earth.
The sumpeace; and the successors of Cyrus mons to John to view it was given not only waged war against other na- by the third cherubic emblem, which tions, but also killed one another : was the figure of a man, as repreand having still connexion with sented upon Reuben's banner, under
* Zechariah, who prophesied under Darius, saw a rider on a red horse : see chap. i, 8. Whatever was the reason for changing the color in chap. vi, color could not be specified in chap. i, merely to distinguish the empires from each other, (since he there speaks of one empire only) but it must be significant of something else.-H. “The father of · Zoroaster was a bull-man ; and the tauriform image of Mithras still appears in the mystic grottos of Persia. It was the object of Persian veneration. The pagan wor
ship of the lion, bull and eagle, variously compounded with each other and with the • figure of a man, must be traced to the recollection of the cherubim." Faber.
+ See Prideaux's Connexions, part i, book 3. I Mr. Faber remarks from Xenophon, that " until Cyrus the bow and javelin were . the arms of both Babylonians and Persians; (see also Jer.) but when Cyrus with * fewer troops had to cope with the Assyrians and their allies, he armed his Persians
with scimitars for close fighting, to render the enemy's murderous missile weapons • ineffective. Thus the sword of Persia prevailed over the bow of Babylon.-Apparently in reference to this, the sculptured prince on the walls of the palace at Persepolis, is represented as slaying the winged lion rampant, not with an arrow, but • with a weighty sword."
h Dan. vi, 1. i Jer. I, 35.
which abode one-fourth of Israel: (the second ;) which so enraged him and also upon that of the old Grecian that he marched against Jerusalem. empire, (says Mr. Faber,) which The high priest Jaddua and all Jewas noted for hero worship. The rusalem sought the Lord by sacrifice ruler of the black horse held figu- and supplication. In a vision the rative balances,"* to denote the Lord commanded him and the priests, scanty measurement of food during in their officiating garments, to go the scarcity which that incessant forth followed by all the people in war produced, which characterized white to meet Alexander on a high the Grecian dominion through all its hill, which commanded a view of duration, from Alexander's conquest the country, city and temple. The of Persia to the Roman conquest of spectacle overawed the conqueror, his own divided empire, as Daniel's who saluted the high priest with recoinciding prophecies show. The ligious veneration, saying, he paid sixth verse states, that necessary food it not to him, but to his God; becost what formed the whole day's cause when at Dio in Macedonia, pay of a laborer. This scarcity deliberating how to carry on the was announced by a « voice in the war against Persia, a person thus midst of the four living creatures.” habited appeared to him in a dream, Its authoritative command, “ hurt and directed him in the name of his not the oil and the wine,” indicates God. Having succeeded hitherto, the voice of the Lamb who was in he anticipated the empire promised; their midst. It does not appear and therefore seeing the real person to whom the command was given, who appeared in the dream, he offerunless it were to the rider himself. ed adoration. Whatever was his moIt seems strikingly consonant to the tive, Alexander did enter Jerusalem former part of the interpretation, with Jaddua as a friend, and offered that Alexander, amidst all his de- sacrifices in the temple. This doubtsolating warfare, and flushed as he less means that he provided them, was with victory, did stop short in as Cyrus and Darius had done, by Jerusalem, and spared that only commanding payment of tribute for city for the sake of its temple wor- the purpose : and perhaps that he ship; whose ritual was thus suf- slew his own offering at the time ficiently designated. The priests for the high priest to present. Jadand all things in the temple were dua is said to have shown him Dananointed, and the perpetual lights iel's prophecy of the destruction of supplied, with oil ; and the wine was the Persian empire by a Grecian king, mingled with it for the drink offer- not doubting but he was the person ings.k Thus, “the oil and wine" meant. Prideaux says the above ciris a frequent scripture phrase to de- cumstance rendered him so kindly note the sacrifices in general. affectioned towards the Jews, that
History relates, m that when Alex- having assembled them before he left ander required the Jews' submission, Jerusalem, he bade them ask what they pleaded their oath to Darius, they desired; whereon they begged
* Mr. Faber prefers the translation usual in the New Testament of “a yoke.". The Greek signifies such a yoke, as that when two bullocks are yoked together they may go equally ; hence the word was used for a balance.
k Exod. xxix, 40; Numb. xviii, 12; Deut. xviii, 4; Ezra vi, 9; Neh. x, 37; Heb. ix, 14. The curse in Hag. i, 11, called for precisely the reverse of this command of the Lamb. 1 Isa. lv, 1 ; Ps. xxiii, 5; Luke x, 34. m See Prideaux.