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relinquishing his name. For they whose hearts are right with God, and who, clothed in the righteousness of their risen Lord, are dead with him unto the world, and set with him in heavenly places by faith in the energy of God which raised him from the dead, will assuredly hold fast his name, being preserved by the Spirit of Christ from all delusion. Accordingly, while the Papacy is generally described as a betrayal of Christ's name, it is described, in reference to the individuals whom it deludes, as an apostasy in certain ones from the faith. (1 Tim. iv. l.). But it is to be carefully remarked, that the possession of the name and the acknowledgment of the faith of Christ are not spoken of as synchronous. The former is stated as merely then present; the latter, as then past, or rather as having then had a previous as well as a present existence. Whence we infer, that the previous and existing acknowledgment of Christ's faith was that which enabled the church of Pergamos to hold with dominion Christ's name, wherever a rival dominion came to be revealed. A solemn lesson this, that it is not the duty of the saint to delay the putting on of his armour till he see the occasion of conflict at hand; for so he will be found unused both to the armour and to the conflict; but that he behoves to be ever labouring after a thorough furniture in all the revealed mind of God, and so stand in his stedfastness by knowing what his Father doth and is about to do.
The time during which especially this church did not deny Christ's faith, is stated to have been “even in the days in which was Antipas, my faithful witness (or martyr), who was slain among you, where Satan inhabiteth.” – Now, in the first place, the scene of this slaughter was the Roman earth. Next, it was the slaughter of a faithful witness, or martyr (the Greek word for both being the same); whence it follows that he came by his death for the witness of Jesus; being faithful unto death (Rev. ji. 10). Thirdly, he was slain previous to the maintenance of Christ's name by Pergamos. Fourthly, he was slain in or during certain days, of which none are previously mentioned but the ten days of Smyrna's' tribulation. And lastly, he was Antipas, which, being interpreted from the Greek, means “ against all, ” with a personal nominative. All these features combine in identifying the martyrdom of Antipas with the sufferings of Smyrna. That a real individual named' Antipas did exist, and suffer, I firmly believe; but the question regards the typical import of his name and his sufferings, both of which have such an import, if the churches be types at all. Now, although the reason why Satan
opposes the truth is because it is the truth, yet it is an unquestionable historical fact that the very reason why the faith of Christ was persecuted by the Roman power, the unconscious servant of Satan, while all other creeds were tolerated, nay
gladlyadopted, was just this, that the faith of Christ was against all other faiths. Smyrna, then, was the Antipas of Pergamos, slain during the ten days of tribulation, slain where Satan dwelt. And hence we see, that, in reward for thus acting the character of Antipas, she not only attained to a secure and lofty habitation, but was enabled to withstand the widely-growing apostasy, and hold fast her Lord's great name; so as to demonstrate that he who addeth iniquity to iniquity, doth no less add righteousness unto righteousness.
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast them who there hold with dominion («parovvras) the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. Thus thou also hast them that hold with dominion the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” (Rev. ii. 14, 15.)– The cause of Christ's complaint, here given, is clearly not that the church of Pergamos had itself taken up the teaching or doctrine of Balaam, for had it done so it would have ceased to be one of the seven ; but the complaint lies against the permitted existence of individuals in the church who held that doctrine. The Greek admits of being translated either," thou there hast,” or “thou hast them who there hold.” The latter is to be preferred, however, for two reasons : First, that as the local situation and extent of Pergamos was previously fixed by verse 13, it could have these persons in no other place; Second, that as the doctrine of Balaam might be held in various places, and had actually been held in the type by the Jews of old, in a different situation from that of Pergamos, it seemed meet to the Spirit to specify where that doctrine was maintained-namely, on the Roman earth, over which Pergamos was spread. It is further to be observed, that this teaching is held with dominion; in other words, that in the church of Pergamos were to be found two religious names, and bodies of doctrine, totally opposed to one another; of which the erroneous one was to be held to the end with as much tenacity and system as the correct one. And as the individuals in Pergamos are said, not to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication, but only to hold the doctrine of him who taught these things, it is plain that the mere incipience or growth, and not the perfect revelation of the evil thing, is intended.
Whatever this doctrine of Balaam is, one thing is clear, that it is stated as identical with, or more properly as an instance or specimen of, the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Various circumstances, especially the two facts, that in Greek Nekolaitwy means the same as Balaam in Hebrew-viz. the conqueror of the peopleand that the practices of the Nicolaitans (whether so named from an individual Nicolaus, or no, matters not) were, as far as history informs us, exactly similar to those ascribed here to
the teaching of Balaam, with the addition of the community of wives, might have led interpreters to imagine that the two doctrines and classes of persons were identical. Yet they have been deterred from so believing, chiefly by observing, as they conceived, an exact line of separation drawn in the text between the two doctrines--the one appearing to be held in addition to the other. In point of fact, however, there is not only no such distinction made, but identity expressly recognised. The word outwe informs us, that to have persons who held the doctrine of Balaam was the same thing as to have those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans : Thus”-i.e. in this
it comes to pass---" that thou also hast those,” &c. The effect of the expression “ thou also” is equally obvious. We are immediately led to infer that some other and previous church had to do with the Nicolaitans; and we accordingly find them in the church of Ephesus: therefore we know that the followers of Balaam were also there to be found. But one important distinction subsists between the appearance of the Nicolaitans in Ephesus and their subsequent appearance in Pergamos--that under the former church we find only their works, under the latter their teaching, or doctrine: from which we infer, not that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans did not exist in Ephesus-else their fruits would have had no connection with their principles—but that in Ephesus there was not exhibited, as in Pergamos, a maturescent system, subsisting in symbols common to all its adherents. shall immediately see that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans represents that of Antichrist, who was in the world in the days of John (1 John iv. 3); and the doctrine of Balaam, that of the Papacy, one of the forms and specimens of Antichrist. It now merely remains to investigate this doctrine of Balaam.
In order to understand the doctrine of Balaam, we must refer to his history, as given chiefly in the Book of Numbers. The children of Israel, having received the law at Sinai from the Lord, whose grace had delivered them from the oppressor into the freedom of his truth and the hope of his promise; and having been numbered of the Lord, with exception of the Levites, whom he separated unto himself; proceeded towards the land of promise with the ark of the Lord. When it set forward, Moses said, Rise up, Lord ; and let thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the ten thousand thousands of Israel " (Numb. x. 35, 36.) For the government of the people, whose fainting faith and carnal appetites already rejected the bare promise and simple manna of their common Redeemer, Moses received seventy elders, who were filled with the Spirit which was upon him, and prophesied both before the tabernacle and in the camp. The twelve tribes-men sent to spy
the land, at the beginning of vintage, returned with a good report, but in a faithless and desponding frame, so congenial to the unbelief of the congregation, that Joshua and Caleb, who alone of the twelve were mighty in the Lord, who alone believed that no defence would avail against his word, and who alone attained the promise of which the rest fell short by so murmuring, not by any restriction of the Lord's grace, were about to be stoned for thus honouring his truth (Numb. xiv). For this, God denied to the people his promise, profitable to faith alone; and, while he reserved it for their children, condemned themselves to perish in the wilderness, wandering and discomfited for forty years, a year for every day of their search. After the judgment executed on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their company, in all two hundred and fifty men, for self-righteously withstanding and dishonouring the dignities of God; after the entrance of the congregation into the wilderness of Zin in the first month ; the condemnation of Moses, and the death of Aaron, for disobedience at Meribah; and the opposition of Edom, of the Canaanites, of the Amorites, and of Bashan, to the children of Israel; we next find the congregation, "as grapes in the wilderness, as the first ripe in the fig-tree at her first time” (Hos. ix. 10), pitched in the plains of Moab, on the east of Jordan, by Jericho, and close upon the Dead Sea (Numb. xxii). Balak (the waster) son of Zippor, and king of Moab, feared the people, being many; and sought, by Aatteries and rewards, a curse upon them from Balaam, the son of Beor, at Petbor. Fain would Balaam have granted the curse, but the Lord sealed up his mouth unto blessing. Fain would he have taken the rewards and gone with the princes of Moab, for he loved the wages and promotion of unrighteousness; but he "was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass, speaking with man's voice, forbade the madness of the prophet” (2 Pet. ii. 15). The Lord in mercy withstood bis perverse way (Numb. xxii. 32, 37). And although commanded to go with the princes of Balak, he had four several times put into his unwilling mouth a message from the true God, which he might neither modify nor withhold—a message proclaiming for Jacob the works and counsel of God, the glory of dominion, the blessing from on high, the tabernacle of rest, the shout of a King. The people, however, instead of passing over Jordan direct into the land of Canaan, dispossessing the inhabitants thereof, destroying the idolatries thereof, and so taking the kingdom by force, as good soldiers of the Lord (Numb. xxxiii. 49; Matt. xi. 12), abode in Shittim, in the plains of Moab. By this act of disobedience they provoked the Lord to compass them about no more for a time; and so, as must ever be, they fell. They “ began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto
the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-Peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead; and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel” (Numb. xxv. 1; Ps. cvi. 28).
Twenty and four thousand died in the plague” (Deut. iv. 3). It was stayed by the slaughter of Zimri the Jew, and Cosbi the Midianitess; and because of this act of judgment, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar and the grandson of Aaron, had the covenant of peace, “even of an everlasting priesthood and righteousness,” given unto him and his seed (Ps. cvi. 28). Then were the children of Israel numbered for their possession of the inheritance, even 601,730 souls, of whom Caleb and Joshua alone had been numbered in the wilderness of Sinai. Joshua, the man of war, who attained the promise, was anointed as the successor of Moses. Twelve thousand of the tribes, chosen by Moses, under the command of God, one thousand out of every tribe, smote all the males of the Midianites (or Moabites). Moses recapitulated the law of Horeb to the people in the immediate prospect of their passing Jordan; and of judgment to the fatherless and widow, and love to the stranger, from the God of gods and Lord of lords, who had brought up from Egypt as a great multitude the threescore and ten who went down (Deut. ix. x. 17; Rev. xix. 16; Ps. Ixviii. 5). A ban was pronounced against the Moabites, for having hired Balaam the son of Beor, of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse the people (Deut. xxiii. 3); though the Lord, not hearkening unto Balaam, had turned the curse into a blessing (Josh. xxiv. 9; Neh. xiii. 2), and had manifested his righteousness against the consultations of the king and the answers of the prophet (Mic. vi. 5); and Balaam was slain, in the slaughter of the kings of Midian, by the children of Israel (Numb. xxxi. 8; Josh. xiii. 22).
Such is a rapid sketch of the history of Balaam. That it has a typical application, or that its parallel is discoverable in aftertimes, we are warranted, nay, constrained to believe, both from the constitution of the history itself, and from the three passages of New Testament Scripture which refer to it. Of these, the first is the epistle to Pergamos, which certainly points to a restoration of Balaam's teaching subsequent to the Christian æra. The second is 2 Pet. ji., which treats of false teachers, then only about to arise, who should privily bring in heresies of perdition, denying even the Master who had bought them, bringing upon themselves speedy perdition (2 Pet. ii. 1); full of covetousness and of uncleanness; blasphemers of dignities; children of curse, who have deserted the straight road; who have wandered and followed in the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked in his mad transgression by the dumb ass; and whose last things are worse than