Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:7-13 and a great star called Wormwood


Welles Apocalypse - Royal 15 D II - First quarter of 14th century

Welles Apocalypse – Royal 15 D II – First quarter of 14th century


Revelation 8:7-13

NASB

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea [f]and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

13 Then I looked, and I heard [g]an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!

[f] Lit the ones having – [g] Lit one eagle


Thoughts

With this post I’m continuing to offer insights from classic commentaries and other sources. I have to limit what is presented here, so in this post I’m offering materials on the third trumpet and “wormwood”.

It is my hope that you’ll think about this with me, 

In every age Christians interpret events of the past, present, and future in light of God’s prophetic Word.


Wormwood

Wormwood is a plant from which bitter-tasting medicines and alcoholic drinks are made. “The English rendering ‘wormwood’ refers to the dark green oil produced by the plant.” (Wiki) Wormwood has been used to eliminate parasitic worms and to make absinthe, a drink with a high alcohol content that has been banned at times in various places.

Artemisia Absinthum - photo H. Zell

Artemisia Absinthum – photo H. Zell

Wormwood’s botanical name should jump off the page for students of God’s Word – artemisia absinthium.

Artemisia comes from Ancient Greek ἀρτεμισία, from Ἄρτεμις (Artemis). In Hellenistic culture, Artemis was a goddess. . . Absinthum comes from the Ancient Greek ἀψίνθιον, meaning the same.  ~ Wiki

The alcoholic “spirit” absinthe has been said to be extremely addictive; to be an hallucinogenic; to cause convulsions and madness – though all of this is disputed and said to be disproved. 

I’m not suggesting that the blazing star that poisons one-third of the rivers and springs of water, causing the death of many, is figurative language for drinking absinthe. However, I am highlighting a strange connection. Another connection, I feel, can be made to the catastrophic nuclear accident in the Ukraine at the plant at “Chernobyl” (“wormwood”). Because of this event “radioactive material precipitated onto parts of the western USSR and Europe” ~ Wiki.


Wormwood on WebMD 

“Wormwood | Absinth, Absinthe, Absinthe Suisse, Absinthii Herba, Absinthites, Absinthium, Afsantin, Ajenjo… is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, depression, muscle pain, memory loss and worm infections. . . for Crohn’s disease and a kidney disorder called IgA nephropathy. . . Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for osteoarthritis (OA), and healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counter-irritant to reduce pain. . .

“Thujone is a potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling wormwood in alcohol increases the thujone concentration.”

Absinthe is illegal in the U.S. but wormwood can get high billing as a “parasite-fighting, cancer-fighting super herb.” (Dr. Axe)


 Wormwood in the Bible

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Heb. la’anah, the Artemisia absinthium of botanists. It is noted for its intense bitterness (Deuteronomy 29:18Proverbs 5:4Jeremiah 9:15Amos 5:7). It is a type of [for] bitterness, affliction, remorse, punitive suffering. In Amos 6:12 this Hebrew word is rendered ‘hemlock’ (RSV, ‘wormwood’). In the symbolical language of the Apocalypse (Revelation 8:10Revelation 8:11) a star is represented as falling on the waters of the earth, causing the third part of the water to turn to wormwood.

“The name by which the Greeks designated it, absinthion, means ‘undrinkable.’ The absinthe of France is distilled from a species of this plant. The ‘southernwood’ or ‘old man,’ cultivated in cottage gardens on account of its fragrance, is another species of it.”


Related passages – Wormwood in the Old Testament

Jeremiah 23:15

15 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets,

‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood
And make them drink poisonous water,
For from the prophets of Jerusalem
Pollution has gone forth into all the land.’”

Deuteronomy 29:14-21

14 “Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, 15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; 17 moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); 18 so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 19 It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will [e]boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order [f]to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 20 The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will [g]burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will [h]rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 Then the Lord will single him out for [i]adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law.

“The word wormwood appears several times in the Old Testament, translated from the Hebrew term לענה (la’anah, which means ‘curse’ in Hebrew).” ~ Wiki


A 17th – 18th Century Expositor

Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on The Revelation

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714) was a nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but spending much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. ~ Wiki

The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit - Pete unseth, Wikimedia

Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit – Pete unseth.

“Most expositors agree that the seven seals represent the interval between the apostle’s time and the reign of Constantine, but that the seven trumpets are designed to represent the rise of antichrist, some time after the empire became Christian. . .

“III. The third angel sounded, and the alarm had the like effects as before: There fell a great star from heaven, etc., v. 10. Some take this to be a political star, some eminent governor, and they apply it to Augustulus, who was forced to resign the empire to Odoacer, in the year 480. Others take it to be an ecclesiastical star, some eminent person in the church, compared to a burning lamp, and they fix it upon Pelagius, who proved about this time a falling star, and greatly corrupted the churches of Christ. Observe,

“1. Where this star fell: Upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.

“2. What effect it had upon them; it turned those springs and streams into wormwood, made them very bitter, that men were poisoned by them; either the laws, which are springs of civil liberty, and property, and safety, were poisoned by arbitrary power, or the doctrines of the gospel, the springs of spiritual life, refreshment, and vigour to the souls of men, were so corrupted and embittered by a mixture of dangerous errors that the souls of men found their ruin where they sought for their refreshment.


A 19th Century Historicist Explains the Third Trumpet

Horae Apocalypticae

Horae Apocalypticae on WordPress.com ©

E. B. Elliott (1793 – 1875)

Recently I shared that I’d bought a copy of Edward Bishop Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae in a pdf file format for a reasonable price at Puritan Downloads. This week I found this work at WordPress as an ongoing project with Volume I completed (it’s under copyright). So take a look at an amazing 19th century interpretation of the third trumpet! Even if you cannot agree with Elliott, this is a really interesting. 

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Elliott believed that in the first four trumpets the Apostle John was given a vision of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, that the trumpets describe its extinction. Like others he believed that the fall of this “christianized” empire happened because of its sins, including the idolatrous practice of petitioning saints and martyrs for protection. The fall began in this way,

It was in 395, as I said, after the pious Theodosius, just like King Josiah, had been taken away from the coming evil, that the empire was shaken, as by an earthquake, with this Gothic revolt.

Vesuvius From Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby -

Vesuvius From Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby

“3rd Trumpet. . . The Historical Fulfillment. . .

“. . . yet another plague was commissioned against the devoted empire; I mean ‘the scourge of God,’ the king of the Huns, Attila. Alone of conquerors, ancient or modern, he united at this time under his sway the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia. For the Huns had advanced their course and their conquests, since the time when the Goths fled before them some 70 years earlier, in the days of Valens, to the furthest limits, West and North, of Germany. The kings of the Ostrogoth and Gepidae were among Attila’s subject princes; and a crowd of vulgar kings watched his nod. Superstitious awe concerning him added to his power. He was deemed something greater than human.

The barbaric princes could not presume to gaze with steady eye on [what they deemed] his divine majesty.’[44] How much less his enemies! He was in their eyes like the baleful meteor that even then blazed in the heavens, boding ruin and war.[45] For the first eight years from his accession (which was in AD. 433) he had been occupied with other wars in Germany, Persia, Scythia. Then, descending on the Danube, he fixed the royal village near where it takes its great bend to the southward, not far from the modern Buda:[46] crossed it to attack the Eastern empire; and, after ravaging the provinces of Thrace and Maesia, and tracing the river course downwards in blood as far as the Euxine, retired not until the Eastern emperor (AD. 446) had purchased peace by surrendering to him a slip of territory south of the Danube, from Belgrade to Novae. ‘The Huns’ says Gibbon,[47] ‘were acknowledged masters (of this part of the lower half) of the great river.’— But it is specially the river frontier of the same Western third of the empire to which the other Trumpets refer, that I suppose to be chiefly intended in the present. Accordingly, about AD. 450, in fulfillment of a treaty with Genseric, he moved against the Western provinces along the Danube: reached and crossed the Rhine at Basle; and thence, tracing the same great frontier stream of the West down to Belgium, made its valley one scene of desolation and woe; burning the cities, (of which Strasburg, Spires, Worms, Mentz, Andernach, Treves, Tongres, and Maestricht, are specially particularized), massacring the inhabitants, and laying the country waste:— until, at length, having left that valley, which had been marked out as one destined scene of his ravaging, and advanced farther into the interior, his course was arrested, and he was repulsed in the tremendous battle of Chalons.— And whither then, when thus forced to retrace his steps, did he direct them? Whither but to fall on another destined scene of ravage, ‘the European fountains of waters,’ in the Alpine heights and Alpine valleys of Italy. Then Aquileia, Padua, Verona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, and Turin, felt his vengeance.

“‘From the Alps to the Apennines,’ says Sigonius, ‘all was flight, depopulation, slaughter, slavery, burning, and despair.’ Many fled to the low and marshy islands at the mouth of the Adige, Po, and Brenta, as their only safe refuge. And he who has seen the fair Venice, may do well to remember that he has seen in it a memorial of the terrors and ravages of that scourge of God, the Hun Attila[48]— But what further of his course of devastation? Surely, with all Italy defenseless before him, one might have expected that, like his predecessor Alaric, he would have continued it on to Rome and the far coast of Bruttium. Instead of this, behold, an embassy from the Western emperor Valentinian, accompanied by the venerable Romish bishop Leo the First, was successful at this point in deprecating his wrath: and, having granted them peace, he passed the Alps, and retired; leaving bands only of Heruli and Ostrogoths in the Tyrolese country intermediate.— Wherefore a result, humanly speaking, so unlikely? The prediction had expressly marked the term of Attila’s desolating progress;—’the third of the rivers, and the fountains of waters.’ Already Attila had made bitter, besides the surplus age of more Eastern scenes,[49] the river line of the upper Danube and Rhine, and the Alpine fountains of waters. Many had died, and still continued to die, that drank of the waters, through famine, disease, and pestilence. This being done, his course was to end. ‘Thus far thou shalt go, and no further.’ Returned from Italy, he recrossed the Danube; reached the royal village between it and the Teiss; and there, the very next year, was suddenly cut off by apoplexy. This occurred AD. 453. So the meteor was extinct; the empire and power of the Huns broken. The woe of the third Trumpet had past away.”

View with Tisa River (Tisza) confluence with Danube - photo by Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

View with Tisa River (Tisza) confluence with Danube – photo by Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

 


A little Greek for some of you from a 19th/20th Century Teacher

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.orgVerse 10 

“Burning as a torch (kaiomeno w lampa). See Zephaniah 4:5; Matthew 2:2, perhaps a meteor, striking at the fresh-water supply (rivers potamwn, springs phga) as in the first Egyptian plague also..

Verse 11

“Wormwood (o Apsinqo). Absinthe. Usually feminine (h), but masculine here probably because asthr is masculine. Only here in N.T. and not in LXX (pikria, bitterness, colh, gall, etc.) except by Aquila in Proverbs 5:4Jeremiah 9:15Jeremiah 23:15. There are several varieties of the plant in Palestine. Became wormwood (egeneto ei apsinqon). This use of ei in the predicate with ginomai is common in the LXX and the N.T. ( Jeremiah 16:19John 16:20Acts 5:36). Of the waters (ek twn udatwn). As a result of (ek) the use of the poisoned waters. Were made bitter (epikranqhsan). First aorist passive indicative of pikrainw. Old verb (from pikro, bitter), as in Acts 10:9. In a metaphorical sense to embitter in Colossians 3:19.”


A 20th Century Handbook

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 716

“’Great Burning Star,’ Third Trumpet, fell upon the Rivers (8:10,11). Attila the Hun, from the depth of Central Asia, appeared (A.D. 440), on the banks of the Danube, at the head of 800,000 fighting men. Pushing westward, he met the Roman armies, and defeated them with awful slaughter, successively, on the River Marne, the River Rhone, and the River Po, so that these rivers actually ran with Blood. Loaded with spoil, he returned to the Danube. When he died, the River was turned aside, and his body buried beneath its bed. The waters still flow over his grave. He was indeed a scourge of the rivers.”

Attila “not only made the Huns the most effective fighting force of the time, but he also built a vast empire from virtually nothing in less than ten years. At its height, this empire stretched from central Asia across to modern-day France and down through the Danube Valley.” ~ Encyclopedia of Ancient History

 


 

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 4, From earth to Heaven!


Tyndale Bible

A Tyndale Bible, Bodleian Library, Steve Bennett (stevage)


Revelation 4 

GNV

4 1 Another vision containing the glory of God’s Majesty:  3 which is magnified of the four beasts, 10 and the four and twenty Elders.

After this I looked, and behold, a door was open in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be done hereafter.

And immediately I was ravished in the spirit, and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.

And he that sat, was to look upon, like unto a Jasper stone, and a sardine, and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like to an emerald.

And round about the throne were  four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and had on their heads crowns of gold.

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices, and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

And before the throne there was a Sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne were four beasts, full of eyes before and behind.

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying Eagle.

And the four beasts had each one of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they ceased not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and which is, and which is to come.

And when those beasts gave glory, and honor, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, which liveth forever and ever,

10 The four and twenty Elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for evermore, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy will’s sake they are, and have been created.


Thoughts

Worthy are You, O Lord!


Commentary

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

4:1-8 After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches the things that are, there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God’s awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honour, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.

4:9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.


Greek

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Verse 3 

To look upon (ορασειhorasei). Locative case of ορασιςhorasis old word (from οραωhoraō to see) for appearance (in appearance) as in Ezekiel 1:5, Ezekiel 1:26.

Like a jasper stone (ομοιος ιασπιδιhomoios iaspidi). Associative-instrumental case of ιασπιςiaspis old word (Persian), used for stones of different colors, one opaque like opal, one translucent (Revelation 21:11, Revelation 21:18, possibly here, only N.T. examples), one a red or yellow stone (Isaiah 54:12). Some even take it for the diamond. Certainly not our cheap modern jasper. A sardius (σαρδιωιsardiōi). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 21:20. The carnelian or other red stone, derived from Sardis (Pliny). Rainbow (ιριςiris). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 10:1. From Ezekiel 1:28. An emerald (σμαραγδινωιsmaragdinōi). Adjective (from σμαραγδοςsmaragdos Revelation 21:19), of emerald (supply λιτωιlithōi), in associative instrumental case after ομοιοςhomoios John sees no form for God (Exodus 24:10), but only the brilliant flashing gems. “In the vision the flashing lustre of the ιασπιςiaspis and the fiery red of the σαρδsard are relieved by the halo (ιριςiris) of emerald which encircled the Throne” (Swete). A complete circle.


Historic NWS Collection - Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Image ID wea00133 - Photo credit: Ralph F. Kresge

Historic NWS Collection – Fort Lauderdale – Image ID wea00133 – Ralph F. Kresge

File:Emerald.png

Uncut emerald showing hexagonal structu

Jasper pebble – notice the tiny  rainbow in the spot of reflected light!

File:Picture Jasper.jpg

Picture jasper from Bruneau, ID, held in the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, photo by Chris857

 

Sardine

“The Hebrew odem (also translated sardius), the first stone in the High Priest’s breastplate, was a red stone, probably sard but perhaps red jasper.” (Wikipedia, Carnelian)

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Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Heck cattle – photo: Eva Hejda

See the source image

Face of a man
Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador, 1927-1956

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Captive Golden Eagle in flight in the UK – Tony Hisgett


 

 

 

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Matthew Henry on the man of sin

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2 Thessalonians 2

NKJV

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

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The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit - Pete unseth, Wikimedia

The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit – Pete unseth, Wikimedia

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714)

“Verses 1-3 In these words the apostle confutes the error against which he had cautioned them, and gives the reasons why they should not expect the coming of Christ as just at hand. There were several events previous to the second coming of Christ; in particular, he tells them there would be, I. A general apostasy, there would come a falling away first, v. 3. By this apostasy we are not to understand a defection in the state, or from civil government, but in spiritual or religious matters, from sound doctrine, instituted worship and church government, and a holy life. The apostle speaks of some very great apostasy, not only of some converted Jews or Gentiles, but such as should be very general, though gradual, and should give occasion to the revelation of [the] rise of antichrist, that man of sin. This, he says (v. 5), he had told them of when he was with them, with design, no doubt, that they should not take offence nor be stumbled at it. And let us observe that no sooner was Christianity planted and rooted in the world than there began to be a defection in the Christian church. It was so in the Old-Testament church; presently after any considerable advance made in religion there followed a defection: soon after the promise there was revolting; for example, soon after men began to call upon the name of the Lord all flesh corrupted their way,—soon after the covenant with Noah the Babel-builders bade defiance to heaven,—soon after the covenant with Abraham his seed degenerated in Egypt,—soon after the Israelites were planted in Canaan, when the first generation was worn off, they forsook God and served Baal,—soon after God’s covenant with David his seed revolted, and served other gods,—soon after the return out of captivity there was a general decay of piety, as appears by the story of Ezra and Nehemiah; and therefore it was no strange thing that after the planting of Christianity there should come a falling away. II. A revelation of that man of sin, that is (v. 3), antichrist would take his rise from this general apostasy. The apostle afterwards speaks of the revelation of that wicked one (v. 8), intimating the discovery which should be made of his wickedness, in order to his ruin: here he seems to speak of his rise, which should be occasioned by the general apostasy he had mentioned, and to intimate that all sorts of false doctrines and corruptions should centre in him. Great disputes have been as to who or what is intended by this man of sin and son of perdition: and, if it be not certain that the papal power and tyranny are principally or only intended, yet this is plain, What is here said does very exactly agree thereto. For observe, 1…” 

To finish reading, go to Bible Study Tools

HT: Carlos Gonzalez, THE POPE = THE MAN OF SIN (PART 3),  COVENANTER REFORMATION

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Please note,

The other passage in which the term “the son of perdition” appears is in John’s Gospel, where the Lord is praying and refers to Judas Iscariot, though not by name:

John 17:12

NKJV

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

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Quote of the day – Matthew Henry

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Were a man to live as long as Methuselah, and to spend all his days in the highest delights sin can offer, one hour of the anguish and tribulation that must follow, would far outweigh them.

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Matthew Henry

A commentary upon the holy Bible: Job to Salomon’s song (1835), p. 418.

Wikiquote

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The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit - Pete unseth, Wikimedia

The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit – Pete unseth, Wikimedia

Insights Into Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks from Matthew Henry’s Commentary

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Daniel 9:20-27

20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

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Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible 

(Christian Classics Ethereal Library)

(Matthew Henry – 1662-1714)

III. The message itself. It was delivered with great solemnity, received no doubt with great attention, and recorded with great exactness; but in it, as is usual in prophecies, there are things dark and hard to be understood. Daniel, who understood by the book of the prophet Jeremiah the expiration of the seventy years of the captivity, is now honourably employed to make known to the church another more glorious release, which that was but a shadow of, at the end of another seventy, not years, but weeks of years. He prayed over that prophecy, and received this in answer to that prayer. He had prayed for his people and the holy city—that they might be released, that it might be rebuilt; but God answers him above what he was able to ask or think. God not only grants, but outdoes, the desires of those that fear him, Ps. xxi. 4.

  1. The times here determined are somewhat hard to be understood. In general, it is seventy weeks, that is, seventy times seven years, which makes just 490 years. The great affairs that are yet to come concerning the people of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem, will lie within the compass of these years.

(1.) These years are thus described by weeks, [1.] In conformity to the prophetic style, which is, for the most part, abstruse, and out of the common road of speaking, that the things foretold might not lie too obvious. [2.] To put an honour upon the division of time into weeks, which is made purely by the sabbath day, and to signify that that should be perpetual. [3.] With reference to the seventy years of the captivity; as they had been so long kept out of the possession of their own land, so, being now restored to it they should seven times as long be kept in the possession of it. So much more does God delight in showing mercy than in punishing. The land had enjoyed its sabbaths, in a melancholy sense, seventy years, Lev. xxvi. 34. But now the people of the Lord shall, in a comfortable sense, enjoy their sabbaths seven times seventy years, and in them seventy sabbatical years, which makes ten jubilees. Such proportions are there in the disposals of Providence, that we might see and admire the wisdom of him who has determined the times before appointed.

(2.) The difficulties that arise about these seventy weeks are, [1.] Concerning the time when they commence and whence they are to be reckoned. They are here dated from the going forth of the commandments to restore and to build Jerusalem, v. 25. I should most incline to understand this of the edict of Cyrus mentioned Ezra i. 1, for by it the people were restored; and, though express mention be not made there of the building of Jerusalem, yet that is supposed in the building of the temple, and was foretold to be done by Cyrus, Isa. xliv. 28. He shall say to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built. That was, both in prophecy and in history, the most famous decree for the building of Jerusalem; nay, it should seem, this going forth of the commandment (which may as well be meant of God’s command concerning it as of Cyrus’s) is the same with that going forth of the commandment mentioned v. 23, which was at the beginning of Daniel’s supplications. And it looks very graceful that the seventy weeks should begin immediately upon the expiration of the seventy years. And there is nothing to be objected against this but that by this reckoning the Persian monarchy, from the taking of Babylon by Cyrus to Alexander’s conquest of Darius, lasted but 130 years; whereas, by the particular account given of the reigns of the Persian emperors, it is computed that it continued 230 years. So Thucydides, Xenophon, and others reckon. Those who fix it to that first edict set aside these computations of the heathen historians as uncertain and not to be relied upon. But others, willing to reconcile them, begin the 490 years, not at the edict of Cyrus (Ezra i. 1), but at the second edict for the building of Jerusalem, issued out by Darius Nothus above 100 years after, mentioned Ezra vi. Others fix on the seventh year of Artaxerxes Mnemon, who sent Ezra with a commission, Ezra vii. 8-12. The learned Mr. Poole, in his Latin Synopsis, has a vast and most elaborate collection of what has been said, pro and con, concerning the different beginnings of these weeks, with which the learned may entertain themselves. [2.] Concerning the termination of them; and here likewise interpreters are not agreed. Some make them to end at the death of Christ, and think the express words of this famous prophecy will warrant us to conclude that from this very hour when Gabriel spoke to Daniel, at the time of the evening oblation, to the hour when Christ died, which was towards evening too, it was exactly 490 years; and I am willing enough to be of that opinion. But others think, because it is said that in the midst of the weeks (that is, the last of the seventy weeks) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, they end three years and a half after the death of Christ, when the Jews having rejected the gospel, the apostles turned to the Gentiles. But those who make them to end precisely at the death of Christ read it thus, “He shall make strong the testament to the many; the last seven, or the last week, yea, half that seven, or half that week (namely, the latter half, the three years and a half which Christ spent in his public ministry), shall bring to an end sacrifice and oblation.” Others make these 490 years to end with the destruction of Jerusalem, about thirty-seven years after the death of Christ, because these seventy weeks are said to be determined upon the people of the Jews and the holy city; and much is said here concerning the destruction of the city and the sanctuary. [3.] Concerning the division of them into seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks, and one week; and the reason of this is as hard to account for as any thing else. In the first seven weeks, or forty-nine years, the temple and city were built; and in the last single week Christ preached his gospel, by which the Jewish economy was taken down, and the foundations were laid of the gospel city and temple, which were to be built upon the ruins of the former.

(3.) But, whatever uncertainty we may labour under concerning the exact fixing of these times, there is enough clear and certain to answer the two great ends of determining them. [1.] It did serve them to raise and support the expectations of believers. There were general promises of the coming of the Messiah made to the patriarchs; the preceding prophets had often spoken of him as one that should come, but never was the time fixed for his coming until now. And, though there might be so much doubt concerning the date of this reckoning that they could not ascertain the time just to a year, yet by the light of this prophecy they were directed about what time to expect him. And we find, accordingly, that when Christ came he was generally looked for as the consolation of Israel, and redemption in Jerusalem by him, Luke ii. 25, 38. There were those that for this reason thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear (Luke xix. 11), and some think it was this that brought a more than ordinary concourse of people to Jerusalem, Acts ii. 5. [2.] It does serve still to refute and silence the expectations of unbelievers, who will not own that Jesus is he who should come, but still look for another. This prediction should silence them, and will condemn them; for, reckon these seventy weeks from which of the commandments to build Jerusalem we please, it is certain that they have expired above 1500 years ago; so that the Jews are for ever without excuse, who will not own that the Messiah has come when they have gone so far beyond their utmost reckoning for his coming. But by this we are confirmed in our belief of the Messiah’s being come, and that our Jesus is he, that he came just at the time prefixed, a time worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance.

  1. The events here foretold are more plain and easy to be understood, at least to us now. Observe what is here foretold,

(1.) Concerning the return of the Jews now speedily to their own land, and their settlement again there, which was the thing that Daniel now principally prayed for; and yet it is but briefly touched upon here in the answer to his prayer. Let this be a comfort to the pious Jews, that a commandment shall go forth to restore and to build Jerusalem, v. 25. And the commandment shall not be in vain; for though the times will be very troublous, and this good work will meet with great opposition, yet it shall be carried on, and brought to perfection at last. The street shall be built again, as spacious and splendid as ever it was, and the walls, even in troublous times. Note, as long as we are here in this world we must expect troublous times, upon some account or other. Even when we have joyous times we must rejoice with trembling; it is but a gleam, it is but a lucid interval of peace and prosperity; the clouds will return after the rain. When the Jews are restored in triumph to their own land, yet there they must expect troublous times, and prepare for them. But this is our comfort, that God will carry on his own work, will build up his Jerusalem, will beautify it, will fortify it, even in troublous times; nay, the troublousness of the times may by the grace of God contribute to the advancement of the church. The more it is afflicted the more it multiplies.

(2.) Concerning the Messiah and his undertaking. The carnal Jews looked for a Messiah that could deliver them from the Roman yoke and give them temporal power and wealth, whereas they were here told that the Messiah should come upon another errand, purely spiritual, and upon the account of which he should be the more welcome. [1.] Christ came to take away sin, and to abolish that. Sin had made a quarrel between God and man, had alienated men from God and provoked God against man; it was this that put dishonour upon God and brought misery upon mankind; this was the great mischief-maker. He that would do God a real service, and man a real kindness, must be the destruction of this. Christ undertakes to be so, and for this purpose he is manifested, to destroy the works of the devil. He does not say to finish your transgressions and your sins, but transgression and sin in general, for he is the propitiation not only for our sins, that are Jews, but for the sins of the whole world. He came, First, To finish transgression, to restrain it (so some), to break the power of it, to bruise the head of that serpent that had done so much mischief, to take away the usurped dominion of that tyrant, and to set up a kingdom of holiness and love in the hearts of men, upon the ruins of Satan’s kingdom there, that, where sin and death had reigned, righteousness and life through grace might reign. When he died he said, It is finished; sin has now had its death-wound given it, like Samson’s, Let me die with the Philistines. Animamque in vulnere ponit—He inflicts the wound and dies. Secondly, To make an end of sin, to abolish it, that it may not rise up in judgment against us, to obtain the pardon of it, that it may not be our ruin, to seal up sins (so the margin reads it), that they may not appear or break out against us, to accuse and condemn us, as, when Christ cast the devil into the bottomless pit, he set a seal upon him, Rev. xx. 3. When sin is pardoned it is sought for and not found, as that which is sealed up. Thirdly, To make reconciliation for iniquity, as by a sacrifice, to satisfy the justice of God and so to make peace and bring God and man together, not only as an arbitrator, or referee, who only brings the contending parties to a good understanding one of another, but as a surety, or undertaker, for us. He is not only the peace-maker, but the peace. He is the atonement. [2.] He came to bring in an everlasting righteousness. God might justly have made an end of the sin by making an end of the sinner; but Christ found out another way, and so made an end of sin as to save the sinner from it, by providing a righteousness for him. We are all guilty before God, and shall be condemned as guilty, if we have not a righteousness wherein to appear before him. Had we stood, our innocency would have been our righteousness, but, having fallen, we must have something else to plead; and Christ has provided us a plea. The merit of his sacrifice is our righteousness; with this we answer all the demands of the law; Christ has died, yea, rather, has risen again. Thus Christ is the Lord our righteousness, for he is made of God to us righteousness, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. By faith we apply this to ourselves and plead it with God, and our faith is imputed to us for righteousness, Rom. iv. 3, 5. This is an everlasting righteousness, for Christ, who is our righteousness, and the prince of our peace, is the everlasting Father. It was from everlasting in the counsels of it and will be to everlasting in the consequences of it. The application of it was from the beginning, for Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; and it will be to the end, for he is able to save to the uttermost. It is of everlasting virtue (Heb. x. 12); it is the rock that follows us to Canaan. [3.] He came to seal up the vision and prophecy, all the prophetical visions of the Old Testament, which had reference to the Messiah. He sealed them up, that is, he accomplished them, answered to them to a tittle; all things that were written in the law, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning the Messiah, were fulfilled in him. Thus he confirmed the truth of them as well as his own mission. He sealed them up, that is, he put an end to that method of God’s discovering his mind and will, and took another course by completing the scripture-canon in the New Testament, which is the more sure word of prophecy than that by vision, 2 Pet. i. 19; Heb. i. 1. [4.] He came to anoint the most holy, that is, himself, the Holy One, who was anointed (that is, appointed to his work and qualified for it) by the Holy Ghost, that oil of gladness which he received without measure, above his fellows; or to anoint the gospel-church, his spiritual temple, or holy place, to sanctify and cleanse it, and appropriate it to himself (Eph. v. 26), or to consecrate for us a new and living way into the holiest, by his own blood (Heb. x. 20), as the sanctuary was anointed, Exod. xxx. 25, &c. He is called Messiah (v. 25, 26), which signifies Christ-Anointed (John i. 41), because he received the unction both for himself and for all that are his. [5.] In order to all this the Messiah must be cut off, must die a violent death, and so be cut off from the land of the living, as was foretold, Isa. liii. 8. Hence, when Paul preaches the death of Christ, he says that he preached nothing but what the prophet said should come, Acts xxvi. 22, 23. And thus it behoved Christ to suffer. He must be cut off, but not for himself—not for any sin of his own, but, as Caiaphas prophesied, he must die for the people, in our stead and for our good,—not for any advantage of his own (the glory he purchased for himself was no more than the glory he had before, John xvii. 4, 5); no; it was to atone for our sins, and to purchase life for us, that he was cut off. [6.] He must confirm the covenant with many. He shall introduce a new covenant between God and man, a covenant of grace, since it had become impossible for us to be saved by a covenant of innocence. This covenant he shall confirm by his doctrine and miracles, by his death and resurrection, by the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, which are the seals of the New Testament, assuring us that God is willing to accept us upon gospel-terms. His death made his testament of force, and enabled us to claim what is bequeathed by it. He confirmed it to the many, to the common people; the poor were evangelized, when the rulers and Pharisees believed not on him. Or, he confirmed it with many, with the Gentile world. The New Testament was not (like the Old) confined to the Jewish church, but was committed to all nations. Christ gave his life a ransom for many. [7.] He must cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. By offering himself a sacrifice once for all he shall put an end to all the Levitical sacrifices, shall supersede them and set them aside; when the substance comes the shadows shall be done away. He causes all the peace-offerings to cease when he has made peace by the blood of his cross, and by it confirmed the covenant of peace and reconciliation. By the preaching of his gospel to the world, with which the apostles were entrusted, he took men off from expecting remission by the blood of bulls and goats, and so caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. The apostle in his epistle to the Hebrews shows what a better priesthood, altar, and sacrifice, we have now than they had under the law, as a reason why we should hold fast our profession.

(3.) Concerning the final destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish church and nation; and this follows immediately upon the cutting off of the Messiah, not only because it was the just punishment of those that put him to death, which was the sin that filled up the measure of their iniquity and brought ruin upon them, but because, as things were, it was necessary to the perfecting of one of the great intentions of his death. He died to take away the ceremonial law, quite to abolish that law of commandments, and to vacate the obligation of it. But the Jews would not be persuaded to quit it; still they kept it up with more zeal than ever; they would hear no talk of parting with it; they stoned Stephen (the first Christian martyr) for saying that Jesus should change the customs which Moses delivered them (Acts vi. 14); so that there was no way to abolish the Mosaic economy but by destroying the temple, and the holy city, and the Levitical priesthood, and that whole nation which so incurably doted on them. This was effectually done in less than forty years after the death of Christ, and it was a desolation that could never be repaired to this day. And this is it which is here largely foretold, that the Jews who returned out of captivity might not be overmuch lifted up with the rebuilding of their city and temple, because in process of time they would be finally destroyed, and not as now for seventy years only, but might rather rejoice in hope of the coming of the Messiah, and the setting up of his spiritual kingdom in the world, which should never be destroyed. Now, [1.] It is here foretold that the people of the prince that shall come shall be the instruments of this destruction, that is, the Roman armies, belonging to a monarchy yet to come (Christ is the prince that shall come, and they are employed by him in this service; they are his armies, Matt. xxii. 7), or the Gentiles (who, though now strangers, shall become the people of the Messiah) shall destroy the Jews. [2.] That the destruction shall be by war, and the end of that war shall be this desolation determined. The wars of the Jews with the Romans were by their own obstinacy made very long and very bloody, and they issued at length in the utter extirpation of that people. [3.] That the city and sanctuary shall in a particular manner be destroyed and laid quite waste. Titus the Roman general would fain have saved the temple, but his soldiers were so enraged against the Jews that he could not restrain them from burning it to the ground, that this prophecy might be fulfilled. [4.] That all the resistance that shall be made to this destruction shall be in vain: The end of it shall be with a flood. It shall be a deluge of destruction, like that which swept away the old world, and which there will be no making head against. [5.] That hereby the sacrifice and oblation shall be made to cease. And it must needs cease when the family of the priests was so extirpated, and the genealogies of it were so confounded, that (they say) there is no man in the world that can prove himself of the seed of Aaron. [6.] that there shall be an overspreading of abominations, a general corruption of the Jewish nation and an abounding of iniquity among them, for which it shall be made desolate, 1 Thess. ii. 16. Or it is rather to be understood of the armies of the Romans, which were abominable to the Jews (they could not endure them), which overspread the nation, and by which it was made desolate; for these are the words which Christ refers to, Matt. xxiv. 15, When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel, stand in the holy place, then let those who shall be in Judea flee, which is explained Luke xxi. 20, When you shall see Jerusalem encompassed with armies then flee. [7.] That the desolation shall be total and final: He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, that is, he shall make it completely desolate. It is a desolation determined, and it will be accomplished to the utmost. And when it is made desolate, it should seem, there is something more determined that is to be poured upon the desolate (v. 27), and what should that be but the spirit of slumber (Rom. xi. 8, 25), that blindness which has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in? And then all Israel shall be saved.

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From Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible is well-known and well-loved. His commentary is aimed primarily at explanation and edification, as opposed to textual research. Comprehensive, this commentary provides instruction and encouragement throughout. Each volume of the commentary comes with its own introduction, helpfully situating it for the reader. Although written in an older style, Matthew Henry’sCommentary on the Whole Bible is worth studying and is useful for pastors, theologians, and students of the Bible.

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