BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
Dr. John Leonard Hug
Introduction to the New Tesament, trans. David Fosdick, Jr. (Andover: Gould and Newman, 1836).
The Praeterist Scheme of Hernnschneider and Eichhorn, as sketched by Prof. Hug.
"There are three cities in this book, on account of which all the terrible preparations above, and here below, and all the commotions of the earthly and heavenly powers, take place. One of them is Sodom, called also Egypt; the other is Babylon; and the third is the New Jerusalem, descending from heaven.
"The whole affair of the seven Angels with the seven Trumpets, viii.—xii., refers to Sodom. But we soon see that this city, long since destroyed, only lends its name to denote another. For in this Sodom our Lord was crucified; xi. 8. In this Sodom is the Temple; the outer court of which is said to be abandoned to the Gentiles. Thus it is the Holy City itself, no\n &yta, of which foreign nations will take possession; xi. 1. As two martyrs have perished in it, its destruction is decided; xii. 1. (Josephus the Jew likewise compared Jerusalem to Sodom at the same epoch. Bell. Jud. v. 10.)
"After a long episode, in which a matron appears in the pains of child-birth, persecuted by a monster, and after the description of two more monsters, which torment the adherents of this distinguished woman, Apoc. xii., xiii., xiv., the destruction of Babylon also is decided in heaven, xiv. 8.
"The seven Angels with the seven Vials of wrath are appointed to
execute the decision, xvi. 17—19; although indeed Babylon had stood for centuries before desert, and amidst but half-distinguishable remains of its magnificence. But this Babylon is built upon seven hills; bxou opt) eiaiv ivra- xvii. 9—18. It is an urbs septicollis; a mark of distinction renowned throughout the world, which renders it easy for us to guess the city which is peculiarly intended. But the other criterion that it possesses, perfectly assures us, xvii. 18, that this Babylon on the Euphrates is Home on the Tiber.
"Consequently Jerusalem and Rome are the two cities whose destruction is here seen in the Spirit. These cities, however, do not exist in reality as cities, in the poetical composition; but they are images of other ideas. Borne, or Babylon in particular, is by the author conceived to be opposed to the everlasting gospel, xiv. 6—8. In this opposition to Christianity it could hardly signify anything but Heathenism; to represent which the capital of the heathen world is most eminently and peculiarly qualified. Hence John further also describes it with such phrases as were used by the Prophets to denote false gods and their worship. It is the habitation of dmmons; the seducer to infidelity from the true God, i. e. iropveia: from the cup of whose fornication all nations and kings of the earth drink; xviii. 2, 3; xvii. 1, 2, 5.
"If the capital of the heathen world symbolizes the religion of the heathens, we shall easily ascertain what the capital of the Jews represented. What else but the Jewish religion? Therefore Heathenism and Judaism, the two prevailing religions of the ancient world, were destined to perish.
"And what should now succeed to them? A New Jerusalem, the kingdom of the blessed, after this life (xxi. xxii. 6.) ?—The New Jerusalem is certainly so described: and such is usually considered to be its meaning. But if these cities be religions, and Borne and Jerusalem represent Heathenism and Judaism, the new Sion can only be Christianity; which has an endless dominion, and blesses mankind. This the unity of the whole demands; nor would it be consistent, if the idea of it was compounded of such an unequal representation of its parts, as Heathenism, Judaism, and Eternal Blessedness.
"For what purpose should this kingdom of the blessed afterwards forsake that long-beloved abode in the higher spheres, and in heaven; and descend among men, unless it were an earthly institution? (xxi. 23.) It could only descend upon earth as a religion; for the sake of supplying the place of the two former religions.
"The previous openings of the graves^ and the return of the dead, is here only one of those awfully terrible images, which the prophets sometimes used to represent a total change of things; the revival of the national state, and of the religious constitution of the Jews. (Ezek. xxxvii.; Isa. xxvi. 19.)
"And, if a last judgment also be connected with it, we well know that such also is figuratively convoked by the prophets, for the purpose of executing the punishment of those who have oppressed and ill-treated the people of Q-od; or for the purpose of expressing Jehovah's designs of introducing a new epoch of glory for his religion and his people. (Joel iii. 2; Zeph. iii. 8.) This being admitted, the whole passage of the seven Seals is only an introduction to the three principal descriptions:—to the dissolution of Judaism, to the abolition of Heathenism, and the occupation of the dominion of the world by the doctrines of Jesus, (v.—vii. 2.) For a prophecy, according to the ancient prophetical language, is a sealed book (Isa. xxix. 11): of which the mysteries can only be developed by the Lamb, who is on the throne of God; the co-Eegent with Jehovah, in whose hands the events are. Terrible plagues, famine, pestilence, war, and an entire revolution of states are impending; from which those however are exempted who belong to the chosen of the Lamb.
"But the Epistles, which are preludes to the whole as far as chap, iv., are Dedications or Addresses to those communities which were particularly connected with the author in the district of his ministry.
"Then the Episode (xii., xiii.), which follows the judicial punishment of Jerusalem, the Episode relating to that noble Woman who struggles in the agonies of labour, and who is persecuted by the Dragon, (Isaiah's ancient metaphor of idolatry,) exhibits to us Judaism, which is still in the act of bringing forth Christianity: so as all the circumstances, and the individual traits in the description, prove. But the other monsters which ascend from land and sea, and which are in the service of the Dragon, signify, according to very recognizable criteria, the Boman land and sea forces which protect the dominion of Paganism (xiii. 1—xiv. 6).
"Opposed to this, after the punishment is executed on Rome (xvii. 1—xviii.), another "Woman appears on a scarlet Beast. The former Woman, after her new-born child had been taken up to the throne of God, henceforth repaired to the deserts and pathless regions; which is an excellent metaphor of wandering Judaism. But the fate of the latter Woman is not so mild. Her destruction is soon after celebrated in jubilees and triumphant songs. That this typifies idolatry, as the former the Jewish religion, is evident from the representation."
J. Murray (1863)
What do YOU think ?