Matthew Poole on Revelation (cont.)

dildaysc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Poole on Revelation 5:7, 8.

Robert Nevin's Instrumental Music: 'Our second proof is derived from The Harps of the Apocalypse. The more discreet among the Instrumentalists say little or nothing about these. But there are others who will rush in where the former class fear to tread, and who think they have made a good argument out of these. Their argument is, in brief, this—that, since the use of instruments was commanded under the law, and since it "is freely employed as descriptive of the devotions of the saints in the dispensation of glory" (literally?), it were passing strange if it were excluded from the dispensation which intervenes and unites these two. Let us examine this.

1. It is assumed that the description is intended to apply to the employments of the redeemed in the glorified state exclusively. A moment's reflection might show that this, however common the notion may be, is simply a popular error. John seemed to himself in the prophetic trance to be taken up into heaven. Heaven, in this connection, means the locus of the visions, nothing more. In this view it has its own significance, which we need not take space here to explain. The visions seen there were symbolic representations, in the main, not of what takes place in the world of the glorified, but of what was to take place on earth and in time. John sees a throne, and round about it four living creatures and four and twenty elders. These, without entering into detail, are clearly the representatives of the Church on earth. They have "every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours" (censers with incense.)—Revelation 5:8. These latter are expressly interpreted to mean "the prayers of saints." What saints? Not a select canonized few, employed in the glorified state in interceding for men on earth. No true Protestant will admit the idea. Saints, in New Testament language, is a name for all true believers, and prayer is the expression of imperfection, infirmity, want. The reader may begin to think we are yielding the point, but one short step or two more. 2. As the golden censers full of incense are thus seen by inspired interpretation to be symbolic of the prayers of God's people, common consistency imperatively demands that we understand the harps to be symbolic of the praises of God's people; and it matters not in this case if you extend the symbolism to the state of the glorified, it is but symbolism still. 3. This actually excludes the idea of literal instruments; for a symbol cannot, without the plainest absurdity, be taken as symbolic of itself. 4. This, further, justifies the conclusion, that the instrumental part of the Temple service of old was symbolic. With amazing simplicity the question has been put—"Is it to be imagined, then, that the feelings and proceedings of the saints" (Query, what saints?) "should be shadowed forth under the symbolism of a form of worship that had been for ever abolished?" Yes, of a verity, not only is it to be imagined, but it is to be received as an indubitable canon of interpretation in reference to the Apocalypse, that its imagery has been largely drawn from the abolished economy. Temple, altar, "Lamb as it had been slain," incense, are all there. Would the symbolism be complete without the harps which had been so closely associated with these? Is there anything astonishing in this? Can a minister preach an evangelical sermon without using illustrations taken from that Dispensation which, being God-given, was made glorious, yet now has no glory, by reason of the glory that excelleth? If he can, he has accomplished what inspired apostles never attempted to do. Has the one who puts the question quoted above never himself read or repeated Paul's words, "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually?"

It has been alleged that musical instruments were not introduced for the first time into the worship of the Tabernacle by David—that they had a place there before his time. "The commandment of the Lord by his prophets," it has been said, "which is so much insisted on, was not a commandment instituting or appointing the use of instrumental music in the tabernacle, but a commandment arranging the order and courses of the Levitical singers and musicians." The distinction is somewhat ingenious, yet it seems to us altogether untenable. We find the expressions, "Instruments which I made, said David"—1 Chronicles 23:5: "instruments of David"—2 Chronicles 29:26; Nehemiah 12:36: and "instruments ordained by David"—2 Chronicles 29:27. It might be said, indeed, that these phrases refer to some new kinds of instruments 'invented' by him, and this idea might appear to be favoured by Amos 6:5; but it is by no means clear that David invented any new species of instruments, and there is certainly not a particle of evidence to show that any instruments, except the two silver trumpets, were used in the Tabernacle before his time, whatever may be inferred or conjectured of their use elsewhere. If David did not introduce them—as indeed it is generally conceded he did—then when, and by whom were they introduced?'
 

dildaysc

Puritan Board Sophomore
[In this post (Matthew Poole on Revelation 5:12.), see, in the "Comments", Dr. Dilday's "A Reformed (and Sober) Demonology".]

Consider out culture...

Thomas Manton's sermons on 2 Thessalonians 2: “Before Christ’s kingdom was set up, the devil did often visibly appear; but since, he playeth least in sight; when God openly manifested his presence by appearing to the fathers in sundry ways and manners, as he did before he spake to us by his Son…so did Satan; visions, apparitions, and oracles were more frequent; and where Christ’s spiritual kingdom prevaileth, the world heareth less of these things; but where it is obstructed, more.”
 
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