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natural to place all the seven vials, in a similar manner, under the seventh trumpet, than to assign six of them to the sixth trumpet, and the seventh to the seventh trumpet. In short, Bp. Newton's arrangement, which I have here followed, appears to me, in every point of view, far preferable to that of Mr. Mede. *
Under the six first seals, and the four first trumpets of the seventh seal, the history of the Roman empire, before and after the days of Constantine to the beginning of the seventh century, is chronologically and circumstantially related. But, at the beginning of this century, a new era commences : and the prophet henceforth describes a series of troubles and persecutions, which the true Church was to undergo during the space of 1260 prophetic days, or 1260 natural years. The events of that space of time are comprehended under the three last trumpets, which are usually denominated the three woetrumpets : and the third of these woe-trumpets contains, as I have just observed, within its own particular period the seven vials; which are declared to be the seven last plagues, as being a history of the third and last woe. This period of 1260 days, so frequently mentioned both by Daniel and St. John, is equivalent to the triumphant duration of the great Apostacy in its dominant state, or the reign of the two little horns in the East and in the West : for the superstitions symbolized by these two apostate horns, as we shall hereafter see, commenced their tyrannical career together in the very same year ; and will continue jointly to depress the Gospel of Christ, till (what Daniel styles) the time of the end. Towards the close of the 1260 days, and after the era of the Reformation, it is predicted, that the king who magnified himself above every god, or the long expected Antichrist, will be revealed in all his horrors : that great Antichrist, whose special badge, as we are informed by St. John, should be an open denial both of the Father and of the Son, an unreserved profession of Atheism and Infidelity.
Of the three woe-trumpets then which synchronize with the 1260 days (the third however extending beyond
See Bp. Newton's very lucid statement of this matter in his Dissert, on Rev. XV.
the termination of those days, *) the first comprehends the space from the commencement of the dominance of the Apostacy to its attaining the zenith of its power; the second extends from the era, when it attained the zenith of its power, to the complete developement of Antichrist or the Infidel king : and the third predicts the outrageous and bloody domination of that impious monster, his subsequent union with the
false prophet or the western apostate little horn, his complete destruction at the time of the end, and the final subversion of the whole Apostacy in both its branches.t. After all these matters are accomplished, then commences the joy ful part of the third woe-trumpet, when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
The Apostacy of the two little horns being of a two-fold nature, it was necessary that the prophet should give a double though synchronical account of it : hence, at the commencement of the first woe-trumpet, the Apocalypse
* The last of the seven vials will apparently begin to be poured out so soon as tbe 1260 years shall have expired. It seems to occupy the period, or perhaps the first division of the period, which intervenes between the end of the 1260 years and the commencement of the Millennium. This whole period is 75 years; which Daniel divides into 30 years and 45 years. When the seventh vial is completely exhausted, the joyful part of the seventh trumpet commences. See Rev. xi. 15–19 ; where, for the consolation of the Church, the order of events is inverted, and the joyful part of the seyentb trumpet spoken of before its woeful part. See Bp. Newton's Dissert. in loc.
+ Dr. Hammond and Mr. Burton strangely apply the three woes to the deatb of our Lord, the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus, and its final destruction by Adrian. This notion is so utterly irreconcileable with the whole chronology of the Apocalypse, particularly that part of it which relates to the 1260 days; and it is moreover so perfectly incongruous with the prophetic description of the three woes, that I cannot refrain from expressing my wonder that it should ever have been seriously adopted. What resemblance can be discovered between the prophecy contained in Rev. ix. 1-12, which treats of the first woc, and the death of Christ with its immediate consequences, I cannot imagine : and I am as little able to discover any similarity between the second woe, described in Rev. ix. 13-21, and the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus. As for the third woe, which brings us through its seven vials to the end of the present order of things, how can it have any connection with the destruction of Jerusalem by Adrian which happened many centuries ago? When Mr. Burton asserted, that two of the woes were past in St. John's time because we read “ The second woe is past, behold the third cometh quickly;" (Rev. xi. 14.) he surely must have overlooked the denunciation of the angel, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, which are yet to sound." (Rev. viii. 13.) In fact Mr. Burton ought to have known, that St. John describes an event as past, when he has advanced beyond it in the chronological order of his prophecy. He does not mean to intimate by the expression, that the event had literally taken place in his own days, but that he was about to announce another event which should succeed in point of time the event last predicted. Hammond's Paraphrase on the New Test. Fol. 906.--Burton's Essay on the numbers of Daniel and St. John, p. 104-107.
branches out into two distinct concurrent lines of prophecy. In the ninth chapter of the Revelation, the history of the two first periods of the eastern branch of the Aposa tacy is detailed, under the two first of the three woe-trumpets, separately from the corresponding periods of the western branch : and afterwards the whole contemporaneous history of the western branch, under all the three woe-trumpets, is likewise separately detailed, in order to prevent confusion, in what St. John terms a little book or codicil to the larger general book of the whole Apocalypse. This little book contains the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters of the Revelation : and, in point of chronology, all these chapters run parallel to each other, relating severally, though with some variety of circumstances, to the same period and the same events ; so as to form jointly a complete history of the western Apostacy, and of all the principal actors in it. That the chapters of the little book run parallel, and not successive, to each other, is manifest from the express declaration of the three first of them. All these represent themselves as describing one and the same period, namely that of the 1260 years : consequently, if they describe the same period, they must necessarily run parellel to each other. The last chapter of the little book does not indeed specifically make any such declaration respecting itself ; but its contents, as we shall hereafter see, afford a sufficient degree of internal evidence to prove that it likewise relates to the period of 1260 years, and therefore that it runs parallel to its three predecessors.
1. The first of the four chapters describes the desolate prophesying of the witnesses, and the treading under foot of the holy city by a new race of gentiles, differing from their heathen predecessors only in name, during the space of 1260 days : predicting, in its 13th verse, the primary
• It may not be improper to observe, that the third chapter of the little book, which answers to tbe thirteenth chapter of the Revelation, ought to have been divided into 199 chapters, the division taking place at the eleventh verse. The second apocalyptic beast is contemporary, during the whole period of his existence, with the first : consequently the latter part of the thirteentb chapter, commencing with the eleventb verse, runs parallel with the former part of the same chapter. Such being the case, the contents of the little book would be more clearly arranged, if this chapter were broken into two.
and only partial manifestation of Antichrist, when it is declared that the second woe is past ; and announcing, in its 15th verse, the sounding of the seventh trumpet or the third woe, at the first blast of which he is fully revealed.
2. The second shews us, who was the prime mover of the persecution carried on against the symbolical womun, or the true Church, during the appointed period of the 1260 days.
3. The third reveals to us the political character and history of the seven-headed and ten-horned beast, who was to wage war with the saints for the space of 42 months or 1260 days ; and describes likewise the form and actions of his instigator and associate the two-horned beast, who is elsewhere'styled the false prophet.* These two beasts acting in concert together, tread the holy city under foot 42 months; and persecute the mystic woman and her offspring, or the two witnesses of Christ who are his true prophets, during the same period of 1260 days.
4. The fourth describes the internal state of the true Church throughout the prevalence of the western Apostacy; predicts the Reformation ; and divides some of the most prominent events of the seventh trumpet, which are detailed hereafter in the larger book under the seven vials, into two grand classes, the harvest and the vintage of God's wrath, separated from each other by an indefinite period of time, teaching moreover that the wine-press shall be trodden in a certain country, the space of which extends 1600 furlongs.
It seems, as if St. John, when he received the little book from the hand of the angel, imagined that it would contain the full and exclusive history of the third and last woe-trumpet : and such a supposition was not unnatural, for he had already heard the two first woetrumpets sound, before the angel gave him the book. We must observe however, that, although the second woe-trumpet had begun to sound, the prophet had not as yet received any intimation that the second woe was past. The angel therefore, to prevent the possibility of any such mistake, solemnly swears by the Almighty, that
* Rev. xix, 20.
" the time (of the last woe) shall not be yet, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,” or the last of the three angels who bore the three woe-trumpets," when he shall begin to sound, and when the mystery of God shall be about finishing."* Hence, when St. John was eagerly proceeding to write the history of the seven thunders, which are apparently the same as the seven vials comprehended under the last woe-trumpet,t he heard a voice from heaven arresting his progress and commanding him to “seal up those things which the seven thun. ders uttered, and to write them not.”! The reason of this is evident : they were not yet to come to pass, for the prophet had still to detail the events contained under the two first woe-trumpets, so far as they respected the western branch of the Apostacy, the peculiar history of which the angel was now presenting him with in the little book. He had still to“ prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings ;"8 the beast, when he commenced his new term of existence during the 42 months, being no longer as throughout his
* Rev. 1. 6,7. Such I conceive to be the proper translation of the passage. The angel does not swear, that time shall be no longer, but that the time, namely of the third Woc, sball not be set. (See Bp. Newton's Dissert. on this chapter.) So again the aorist Tineoim ought not here to be translated sbould be finished, but should be about finisbing or should draw near to its completion. It is a mode of expression exactly analogous to that used by the prophet in Rev. xi. 7; where the active subjunctive aorist TEACH!! ought, in a similar manner, to be translated, as Mr. Mede justly observes, they shall be about finisbing, not they shall bave finished.
† Mr. Whitaker thinks, that the seven thunders are the seven crusades undertaken for the purpose of delivering Palestine from the hands of the Infidels ; and that St. John was forbidden to write them, because the restoration of the Jews was not to take place till the seventh angel had sounded. (Comment on Rev. p. 176 et infra.) Vitringa is of the same opinion. But, since it is expressly declared, that the time of the seven thunders should not be yet, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel ; and since the blast of the seventh trumpet produces the effusion of the seven dials : it appears to me much more probable, that the seven thunders are in effect the same as the seven vials. Both Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton censure those, who attempt to explain tbe seven thunders, on the ground that the angel charged St. John to seal them up and to write them not. This censure I cannot but think a little unreasonable : for tbe scaling up of the thunders, and the writing them not, does not mean, that they were never to be understood; but simply, that the events, predicted under them, were not tben to be written, but were to be reserved for a future part of the Apocalypse, namely that which treats of the seventb trumpet. Hence the angel asserts, that their time shall not be yet, but in the days of the voice of the seventh ange!, When he began to sound, then they should begin to be understood ; till then they should be sealed up. See Dan. xii. 9.
Rev. x. 4. $ _“the beast, that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Rev. xvii. 8.) More will be said upon this revival of the beast hereafter.