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KING OF KINGS AND

FAITHFUL

AND

seph, the reputed father of Christ, shoulder, the usual position in which as well as his virgin mother, were all burdens are borne ; and a someof the house and lineage of David; what similar figure of speech is emwhence it arose that his birth took ployed in Psalm lxxv. in reference place as predicted in “Bethlehem the to the divine government," The city of David.” Christ here mani. earth is weak, I bear up the pillars festing himself as having the key of of it.” David, or, agreeably to a subse- The further revelation which Christ quent revelation at the close of the gives of himself in our text, as “he Apocalypse, as both “ the root and that is holy," " he that is true," offspring of David,” is therefore re- does not exactly appear in the open

, vealed in his regal character, as born ing vision of Chap. 1; but in the heir to the throne of David; accor- xixth chapter, where Christ reveals ding to the saying of the angel who himself as he that is " called THE announced his future birth :- The WORD OF GOD,” and as having a Lord God shall give unto him the name written throne of his Father David,” which LORD OF LORDS, there is a third is yet to be established in all its name by which he is called," and splendour when Christ “shall reign it is the first in order of the three, in Jerusalem and before his ancients namely, that of " gloriously.”

TRUE,” (Rev. xix. 11) to which it is The key is naturally a symbol of also added, in righteousness doth power and authority : uncontroul- he judge and make war ;” and it able power and universal authority has been before observed, respecting are therefore implied when Christ the saints who follow him manifested here reveals himself as “ he that in power, and in their regal characopeneth and no man shutteth ; and ter; that their holiness is denoted by shutteth and no man openeth ;' cor. their being clothed in “ fine linen responding nearly to the terms em- white and clean,”- “ which is the ployed when he gave his Apostles a righteousness of saints ;" while their participation in it, saying, "What- truth and faithfulness are shown by soever thou shalt bind on earth, shall their being characterized as “chosen be bound in heaven; and whatso. and faithful.” ever thou shalt loose on earth, shall Though we find not however the be loosed in heaven.” With res- direct words of our text, (he that pect to the phrase which occurs in is holy, he that true,") amongst the prophecy of Isaiah, and which is the characteristics of the introduc. so nearly connected with our text : tory vision ; and have been con(viz. “ the government shall be upon strained to search for them elsehis shoulder," and again, “the key where ; we shall not I conceive err, of the house of David will I lay up- if we consider the description given on his shoulder,”) it is to be observ- in Chap. 1. 14, of Christ as having ed, that the key, being in ancient « his head and his hairs white like times of considerable size, and some- wool, as white as snow," as intended times formed of wood, was carried to be emblematical of the holiness on state occasions on the shoulder, in and truth, the purity and righteousreference to the trust and dignity it ness of his government. A similar implied ; as is the mace, the emblem description appears in Dan. vii. 9, of authority, in modern times. The where Christ, who is the revelation burden of government is also repre- of the Father, and unto whom all sented figuratively as laid upon the judgment has been committed, is re

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presented as "the Ancient of days," strikingly illustrate what is implied sitting in judgment upon the apos. when it is said of Christ in the opentate nations of the western Roman ing vision, “ his head and his hairs empire. The same holiness and were white like wool, as white as truth, righteousness and purity of snow." judgment, indicated by the whiteness Verse 8. To the Church of Philaof Christ's garment, and of the hair delphia our Lord speaks only words of his head, may be considered as

of

encouragement, assuring them, in denoted also by the “ great white reference to the characteristics unthrone” upon which he is in like der which he had revealed him. manner represented in this Apoca- self unto them, as “ he that openeth lypse as sitting at the great day of and no man shutteth; and shutteth, the general judgment; when the and no man openeth ;" that he had books are opened, and the dead are set before them an open door, and no judged out of the things written man could shut it ; for they had a therein, according to their works. little strength, and had kept his word, Isaiah xi. 1-5 likewise thus des- and had not denied his name :" words cribes the righteousness of the fu- which forcibly bring to mind those ture government of him that hath addressed to his sincere but timid the key of David : " And there shall and defective followers, Fear not

come forth a rod out of the stem of little flock, for it is your Father's Jesse, and a branch shall grow out good pleasure to give you the king• of his roots; And the Spirit of the dom.” Lord shall rest upon him ; the spi

Verse 9. Our Lord encourages rit of wisdom and understanding, them farther by undertaking to plead

the spirit of counsel and might, the their cause against their adversaries, * spirit of knowledge, and fear of according to the prophecy of Isaiah the Lord; and shall make him of already quoted, in which it is said

quick understanding in the fear of that he should judge the poor with the Lord; and he shall not judge righteousness, and reprove with equiafter the sight of his eyes, neither ty for the meek of the earth. reprove after the hearing of his hold,” he says, I will make them ears ; But with righteousness shall of the synagogue of Satan, which he judge the poor, and reprove with say they are Jews and are not, but equity for the meek of the earth.do lie; behold I will make them to

; And then it is said in reference to come and worship before thy feet, his character as the “word of God,and to know that I have loved thee." in its condemning power, (kindred Their adversaries being called of to his regal character,) “ and he the synagogue of Satan may have shall smite the earth with the rod of reference to the character of the his mouth; and with the breath of persecutions they were now suffering his lips shall he slay the wicked,” under, which were carried on with after which it continues as before; the view of maintaining inviolate the "and righteousness shall be the gir-empire of Satan, and the paganism dle of his loins, and faithfulness the of the old Roman empire ; and it girdle of his reins :" than which has been before observed how these passage no more full and satisfactory Jews, said in our text “ to lie,” in comment could be given upon the saying that they were the true seed words of our text, he that hath the of the faithful Abraham, were forkey of David," "he that is holy, ward aboveothers in promoting these he that is true;" nor any thing more persecutions against the Gentile

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converts. Christ declares that such languages of the nations, even shall be made to humble them. shall take hold of the skirt of him selves before those whom they had that is a Jew, saying, We will go oppressed, acknowledge the superior with you for we have heard that privileges they possessed in the fa

· God is with you." vour of their Creator, and worship Verses 10, 11. Because they had before their feet, confessing that God patiently endured in the cause of hath loved and highly exalted them. Christ, he promises to them an exThus did he declare during his per- emption from those farther trials sonal ministry that eventually," the which should come upon all the world meek should inherit the earth." to try them that dwell

upon

earth : Thus in the ancient Jewish his- which promise may have reference tory, when Haman the Agagite, to the Mahometan woes which de. “ the Jews enemy," sought the des- solated the eastern half of the world, truction not only of Mordecai but of the seat of these Churches; the ful. the whole nation of the Jews, he was filment of which is considered by by the providence of God reduced some to be visible even to this day, to humble himself in a signal man- in the existence of a church on the ner before him whom he hated, walk- site of Philadelphia, of at least noing on foot before him and proclaim- minal Christians. Our Lord then ing, “thus shall it be done unto the exhorts them, as before he did the man whom the king delighteth to Churches of Thyatira and Sardis, to honour;" and throughout the whole perseverance in their present course, hundred and twenty seven provinces in expectation of his speedy appearof the Persian empire the Jews, ing, that no man might take from whose extirpation was intended, had them that crown" which he, as the advantage over and destroyed the king of kings, “ the root and the their enemies, and “had light and offspring of David," "faithful and gladness, and joy and honour ;" so true" to his promises, and righteous that many of those whose captives in all his judgments, was ready to they were became Jews, for the bestow upon them. fear of the Jews fell upon them ;" Verse 12. The promise made by and this event, perhaps considered the Spirit to those who should overas a type of their enemies being fi. come is, that Christ would make them nally humbled before them, and made pillars in the temple of his God; or, to worship at their feet, was cele. in other words, they are promised brated by an annual festival con- that they should partake with him tinued unto this day. That they in his regal privileges; the pillar will indeed be thus exalted in the being the situation at which the king latter day in the sight of those na- usually stood; as we read--when tions amongst whom they have been Jehoiada brought forth the young dispersed, and by whom they have king Joash, and exhibited him to been held in bondage, is plainly de- the people in the temple with the clared. “ Thus saith the Lord of - royal crown upon his head,—that • hosts ; It shall yet come to pass “he stood by the pillar, as the mail

--that many people and strong ner was.”h And we also read of ' nations shall come to seek the king Josiah, that when he made a • Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to solemn covenant with God in be

pray before the Lord, and that half of himself and his people in the • ten men shall take hold, out of all temple, " the king stood by a pil,

g Zech. VIII. 20–23. h 2 Kings xi. 14.

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lar;"z which in the parallel passage, in the former character, are them. of 2 Chron. xxxiv. 31, is called " his selves indifferent to the promises of place.” And it is observed in a his future exaltation upon earth, and note upon this passage, that “Ori- his revelation in power, to take place

entals considered a place by a pil- within the limits of time. But did • lar or column as particularly ho they rightly consider, that though • nourable : whence Homer, (Od. Christ is the revelation of the whole

XXIII.) places Ulysses on a lofty three persons of the divine Trinity, * throne by a pillar." Our Lord the second person only, the Word assures them that as a pillar is fixed made flesh, was manifested in his for ever in the temple, so they should priestly office at the feast of the be established in the house of God, passover ; and that the Holy Spirit, and should go no more out ; nor as sent by Christ, was manifested should the fear of change or of fall- only on the feast of Pentecost; and ing away, arising from a conscious that the manifestation of God the ness of their little strength, longer Father, in Christ, as king and creatrouble them; for he whose gifts and tor, promised by the institution of calling are without repentance would the feast of tabernacles, remains yet write upon them, so as never to be unaccomplished; they would be preobliterated, the name of his God and pared to receive, in their plain and the name of the city of his God, the obvious meaning, the promises of new Jerusalem which cometh down these epistles, and all the other proout of heaven from his God.–Of phecies which so abundantly testify which blessed and eternal state thus to that great event. symbolized it is said, there shall • be no more curse, but the throne

The Church in Laodicea. • of God and of the Lamb shall be In the first two of the six preced• in it, and his servants shall serve ing epistles we have found that the • him, and they shall see his face, characteristics assumed by Christ • and his name shall be on their refer to the then existing circum• foreheads, and they shall reign for stances of his church ; but in the ever and for ever.'

four next following, respectively to Christ adds—" And I will write his divine and human nature, and upon him my new name;" of which, to his offices as priest and as king. as signifying Christ's regal name, In this, the last of the epistles, we we have treated largely in the ex- return again to a revelation having position of the epistle to the Church more immediate reference to the in Thyatira.

state of the church ; but not as beTo the importance of the future fore to their temporary situation and revelation of Christ in his regal cha- immediate exigencies; but to these racter, in which the saints are in as existing at all times, and under this epistle especially promised a all circumstances, summing up as it participation, the Church have been

were the various qualifications of his till lately entirely insensible, and are

character previously made known, as yet only partially awakened. For and shewing how the church is inas the Jews refused to recognise terested in them all, as constituting Christ in his priestly character, and him, what he here reveals himself in his humiliation, and looked only to be," the way, the truth, and the for a king and conqueror ; so the life;" the only medium by which any Gentile Church, having received him man can have access to the Father.

2 Kings XXIII. 3.

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Verse 14. Laodicea was an opu- of “the Amen," or this solemn lent city not far from Colosse, and sanction by which he confirms his is mentioned by St. Paul, when, in revealed word, will be found pecuhis epistle to the latter church, he liarly connected by him with the directs that those which he had ad- doctrine of his second advent in dressed to each should be mutually power ; (see Rev. 1. 7; XXII. 20 ;) interchanged.a There is a wonder. as if to give this awful event, which ful sublimity and comprehensiveness must yet come to pass, ere those in the titles which Christ here as- Scriptures will be fulfilled which sumes; and first that of "the A. relate to the purposed full revelamen,” signifying in the Hebrew, tion of the godhead in the person of true, faithful, certain. This affirma- Christ, a double sanction and surety, tion when used by our Saviour is answerably to its importance ; and a rendered in our version of the gos- fixed and unshaken hold in the expels by the word “ verily,as in pectations of the church. For the our Lord's address to Nicodemus, Holy Ghost foresaw the weakness

amen, amen, (or verily, verily,) of their faith, as well as the coldness I say

unto thee.”b All the promises of their affections; and that there of God are likewise said to be amen, would arise scoffers in the last days, that is certain, and firm in Christ. saying, " Where is the promise of And when Isaiah says that “ his coming ?”e shall bless himself in the God of Our Lord also adds to this title

truth," and shall swear by the the corresponding one of the faithGod of truth,” it is in the Hebrew ful and true witness :” for testifying " the God Amen."d Christ-from of those heavenly things which he whom all blessings are to be re- had seen with the Father, he brought ceived, upon whose faithfulness to the knowledge of God down to man, his promises all our hopes depend, as by his mediatorial work he reand in whom all the prophecies conciled man to God. Christ, as St. centre-by appropriating to himself Paul observes, witnessed before Ponthis title, pledges himself, as it were, tius Pilate a good confession; which to the stedfast fulfilment of them; itself was to this purpose, that he and it represents his unchangeable. had come into the world to bear ness and stability of purpose, in witness unto the truth. He reveals opposition to the variableness of himself also at the close of this book every other creature. This was im

the Amenand he which plied when he declared that the testifieth of these things,"s and prinScriptures could not be broken, and cipally, as has been observed, to that one jot or tittle of them should his purposed second Advent-It is in no wise pass away till all should a truth universally written upon the be fulfilled. As an evidence of this pages of Scripture, that in every reall things that were written con- spect as is Christ, so must also his cerning his death being accomplish- servants be ; and we find accordingly ed, saving one only, that this also that one of the glorified spirits of

"might be fulfilled,” he exclaimed, the saints was sent to testify unto “I thirst;" and then breathed out St. John of these things in the his soul in those last comprehensive Churches ;h which angel again says words, “ It is finished.” This title of himself, that he is of those that

both as

a Col. iv. 16. e 2 Pet. 111. 4. h Rev, xxii, 16.

b John 111. 3.

c 2 Cor. 1, 20. f 1 Tim. vi. 13; John XVIII. 37.

d Isa. Lxv. 16, g Rev. XXII. 20.

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