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The narrative of prophetic events was broken off at the end of the ninth chapter. The tenth chapter and the greater part of this, from the beginning to the thirteenth verse inclusive, present appearances and actions quite foreign to the events which follow the sounding of the trumpets. Why is this, the thoughtful student of the Apocalypse will naturally ask? Why is the regular series of the trumpets suspended? When the sixth trumpet, the "second woe,"-has effected its objects, we naturally expect the seventh trumpet to sound; yet we are held in suspense till we come to the fourteenth verse of this chapter. Hitherto we have met with no similar interruption. Let us take a retrospective view:-The seven epistles to the churches followed each other in regular succession. The seals, in like manner, followed successively; and this is true of the vials, (ch, xvi.) We have seen that the object of the trumpets was the Roman empire, the fourth beast of Daniel's prophecy. The same is the object of the judgments symbolized by the vials. The final subversion and utter destruction of that beastly power, was plainly revealed in the Babylonian monarch's dream. (Dan. ii. 44.) And the same event was afterwards exhibited in vision to Daniel, (ch. vii. 11, 26.) Now the first four trumpets had demolished imperial power in the western or Latin section; and the next two, by the Saracenic locusts and the Euphratean horsemen had subverted the eastern or Greek section. Rome and Constantinople were the capitals of the respective sections or members of the one empire.
THE APOCALYPSE. 129 Under the first four trumpets, by the Northern barbarians; and under the first two woes, by the Mahometans, both sections of the empire were overthrown. The question now presses upon our attention, Where shall we find an object for the tremendous judgment to be inflicted by the third and last woe? This question requires a solution. It demands it; and he who succeeds in the application of history to solve this apparent enigma in the Apocalypse, will be able to attain to a satisfactory, a certain, understanding of much that is yet to most readers as if the "sealed book" were to this day in the "right hand of Him that sitteth on the throne." Let us humbly attempt to solve this difficulty. Daniel's fourth beast, the Roman empire, is to be contemplated in diverse aspects, as the varied symbols obviously require. All know that Nebuchadnezzar's "image" is the same as Daniel's "four beasts;" therefore the same thing is presented in different forms or aspects. Of course we are to view that object as presented. We have seen that under the sixth seal, (ch. vi. 12-17,)the Roman empire underwent a revolution; that is, it was destroyed as to its Pagan form. The empire became Christian under Constantine. History proves that Christianity degenerated under the reign of that monarch and his successors. Heresy, idolatry and persecutions characterize the subsequent history of the empire. Then follow the judgments of the trumpets to vindicate the divine government, and alleviate from time to time the sufferings of true Christians. While the two woe-trumpets are demolishing the fabric of idolatry and despotism in the east, the "deadly wound is healed" in the west, which had been inflicted by the first four trumpets. Ten horns are developed upon the beast's head, and another "little
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horn," by all of which the saints suffer, as had been predicted by Daniel, (ch. vii. 24,) and of which we had intimation after the judgment of the second woe or sixth trumpet. (ch. ix. 20, 21.) All the "plagues," which had been inflicted upon the people of Christendom under this trumpet left them still impenitent,- "worshipping devils," etc. Surely we may now see where the object of the third woe is to be found,-namely in the same Roman empire, now become antichristian more than ever before. To describe this antichristian combination and present the unholy confederacy against the Lord and his Anointed, and so to justify the ways of God; it was necessary to digress from the narrative of the trumpets. We now proceed with our observations on the eleventh chapter.1. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
only king to the gospel ministry. Long before the time of the transactions here predicted, the apostle John had gone the way of all the earth. The work here enjoined was to be performed by his legitimate successors.
separated according to the rule of the. same word: for whereas the gentile worshippers are so numerous as to crowd both the outer court and the city, the measured worshippers are all included within the confines of the temple, (Song iv. 12.) Measuring is equivalent to the sealing of the servants of God in the seventh chapter; and imports that they are secured from the sins and plagues of their time. The period of the apostacy from God is fixed to "forty and two months." According to Jewish mode of reckoning, a day for a year, (Num. xiv. 34; Dan. ix. 24,) the whole period is 1260 years. Each month has thirty days. Multiply forty-two by thirty, and we have 1260. The same period of time,-not merely an equal period, is otherwise expressed by the prophet Daniel thus: "time, times, and a half." (ch. xii. 7.) That is, 860, the number of days in the Jewish year: times, or 720, the days in two years; and half a time, or 180, the days in half a year. Now, add these three numbers, 360, 720, 180; and the sum is 1260. Now see Daniel iv. 25, where the word "times" means years, and then a child may calculate these mystical numbers.
3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
multitude treacherously departed from him. The Lord Christ promises to sustain them in the midst of all their tribulations. The duration of their special work is the very same as that of the treading of the holy city, "a thousand two hundred and three score days,"-1260 years. In attempting to fix the beginning of this period, Daniel and John must be compared; both treat of the same events and dates, and this gives definiteness to the interpretation. Daniel fixes these events to the fourth monarchy after it had been broken in pieces, and the ten horns had arisen: (ch, vii. 23-25;) so that we have both the geography and chronology determined by the prophets themselves. Hence it follows that we must date the beginning of the 1260 years after the first four trumpets; for by these the western Roman empire was dismembered or broken, that the ten horns might appear. Then the "little horn" of Daniel arose after and among them, (ch. vii. 20, 24.) All reliable expositors agree that the "little horn" is the papacy or the Romish church. This little horn is the special enemy of the "saints of the Most High," and they are to be "given into his hand." (Dan. vii. 25.) The first four trumpets subverted the Roman empire in the west in the latter part of the sixth century. This event made way for the bishop of Rome, in process of time, to acquire a great accession of ecclesiastical power. The civil and ecclesiastical rulers, equally unscrupulous and aspiring, were at this period on terms of comparative intimacy, and occasionally disposed to reciprocate good offices. Phocas, having waded through the blood of the citizens to supreme civil power, in order to secure his position, declared Boniface III., bishop of Rome, head of the universal church. This impious public act took place in the year 606. The pope became also a temporal
prince in 756. Now we cannot know with certainty which of these events, nor indeed whether either of them, marks the period in time when the 1260 years began. Hence we must remain at uncertainty as to the exact time when this most interesting period will end. Of all transactions recorded in history, however, that between Phocas and Boniface appears most like "giving the saints into the hand of the little horn." At this juncture in particular, church and state conspire, as never before, to resist the authority of Jesus Christ the Mediator. Paul's "man of sin" has been "revealed in his time." (2 Thess. ii. 6.) Paganism has been abolished by formal edict throughout the Roman empire, and Christianity established as the recognised religion of the commonwealth. That which "letted,"-hindered, that is, the pagan idolatry of the civil state, is "taken out of the way;" and nominal Christianity takes its place. This combination or alliance between church and state will be more clearly made known in the succeeding chapters of this book. Mean while it is the immediate design of the "little open book," to give an epitome or outline of this unholy confederacy in the first thirteen verses of this chapter. The treading under foot of the holy city by the "Gentiles," furnishes occasion for the witnesses to appear publicly against them. These pretended Christians, but real hypocrites, as will appear with increasing evidence as we proceed, have usurped the rights of Messiah's crown, and grievously oppressed his real disciples. Against these outrages on the prerogatives of Christ and the rights of man, these witnesses lift their solemn protest. Their distinctive name, "witnesses," is familiar to every one who searches the Scriptures. (Isa. xliii. 10; Acts i. 8.) But witnesses who love not their lives unto the death are
distinguished by the name of martyrs. (Rev. ii. 13; Acts xxii. 20.)
front and confute their two opponents, (ch. xiii. 1, 11.) And, finally, they are two, that they may be assimilated to their predecessors.
4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
the illiterate. The like fanciful and diversified opinions have been, and still are, prevalent in relation to what constitutes "the Antichrist." (1 John ii. 22.) Now, it is evident, even on a cursory perusal of the Apocalypse; that the witnesses and their opponents are the principal parties symbolized in the whole series of the seals, trumpets and vials. How then can any one attain to a rational understanding of the manifold details, who remains "willingly ignorant" of the principal characters in this grandest of all tragico-dramas, presented to man's view on the stage of Jehovah's moral empire, to be contemplated for the whole period of 1260 years? The prevailing ignorance, bewilderment and error, in the minds of most spectators of these moving scenes, we are warranted to expect. (Dan. xii. 10.) For the present we define the witnesses and Antichrist concisely thus:-The Witnesses are a competent number of Christians, who for 1260 years, insist upon the application of God's word to church and state; and who testify against all communities who rebel against the Lord Christ. Such communities, in visible organization, constitute THE ANTICHRIST, as will more fully appear in the thirteenth and seventeenth chapters, where the two prominent parties are more formally presented.
ments of the witnesses may be found in the familiar histories of the Culdees and Lollards of Britain, the Waldenses of Piedmont, the Bohemian Brethren; together with the more recent and successful reformers on the continent of Europe and in the British Isles. Is it unnecessary to mention the names of those men of renown,-Zwingle, Luther; Calvin, Knox, Henderson, etc.,-men "mighty in words and in deeds," whose influence on the great "family of nations," their very enemies have reluctantly attested? The testimony of an enemy has ever been deemed weighty. The following is appropriate and decisive from the polished pen of the historian of the "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:" "The visible assemblies of the Paulicians, or Albigeois, were extirpated by fire and sword; and the bleeding remnant escaped by flight, concealment, or catholic conformity. But the invincible spirit which they had kindled still lived and breathed in the western world.-In the state, in the church, and even in the cloister, a latent succession was preserved of the disciples of St. Paul, who protested against the tyranny of Rome, embraced the Bible as the rule of faith, and purified their creed from all the visions of the Gnostic theology. The struggles of Wickliff in England, and of Huss in Bohemia, were premature and ineffectual: but the names of Zuinglius, Luther and Calvin, are pronounced with gratitude as the deliverers of nations."*
7. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9. And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
is usual to speak of silencing, as equivalent to slaying these witnesses. But this is not strictly correct. Why? Because they have been hitherto "killed all the day long." (Ps. xliv. 22; Rom. viii. 36.) Doubtless defection and apostacy do always accompany persecution; and thus the testimony of such is silenced. But the enemy in this case is '"drunken with the blood" of these witnesses; and this phrase must be understood literally. Moreover, the enemy gets "blood to drink," because of "shedding blood." (ch. xvi. 6; xvii. 6.) The death of the witnesses is therefore a literal death, of course it will be also moral, . they will cease to prophesy.
twentieth chapter, (vs. 1-4.) But inasmuch as many, if not most interpreters, have expressed the opinion that the witnesses are already slain, the following arguments in the negative are submitted to the reader.
pect of this dark time,-darker than the "dark ages," we may ask with Joshua,-" What wilt thou do unto thy great name?" But though the witnesses die, the Faithful Witness lives, (ch. i. 18.)
most numerous, active, and pointed, in testifying against encroachments on the crown-rights of Messiah. There also, lordly prelates, in close alliance with a blasphemous horn of the beast, have often vied with the sworn vassals of the "man of sin," in murdering the saints of God. "Therefore it is no great thing" if, throwing off the mask of Protestantism, English prelacy, combining with Romish Jesuit-ism, should make common cause with undisguised infidelity, in slaying the witnesses against their heaven-daring rebellion. The signs of the present time, (1870,) render our conjecture not improbable. We give it only as a conjecture; for in reference to events yet future,-as we believe that of the death of the witnesses to be, we may not presume to prophesy. -"Three days and a half" is the limited period of their degradation; and this is three natural years and a half: for the word "days" must be taken in the same sense as in v. 3; otherwise we fall into an inextricable labyrinth of endless confusion. From all which it appears that "the triumphing of tile wicked is short." If "while the wicked is in power, and we wait upon God," we are called to "join trembling with our mirth;" the pleasing prospect of the speedy and joyful resurrection of "these slain," may inspire us with "a lively hope," and warrant us to join mirth with our trembling.
11. And after three days and a half, the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
had been planted together in the likeness of his death, they shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Yes, they have communion with him in death and life,-in grace and glory. "Nothing can separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus their Lord."
ciples, it has been perverted and misapplied by the perverse ingenuity of wicked men. This "voice from heaven" is indeed the people's voice: and it is legitimate, as coming from the people, because it is first the voice of God. The "heaven" here mentioned is the seat of civil power, "the ordinance of man." (1 Pet. ii. 13.) In the times here contemplated,-millennial times,-the rights of men will be respected, predicated upon the rights of God, and flowing from them as inseparable. In settling the point of title to civil sovereignty, or the eligibility of any candidate for civil office, the principle enunciated by Hushai the Archite will be found to be alone reliable:-"Whom the Lord and this people choose." (2 Sam. xvi. 18.) Only let the Lord have the first choice of candidates for office in both church and state, and society will be prosperous and happy. Acts i. 23, 24; vi. 5.) The "great voice" of the 12th verse, comes from "heaven," as the "great voices" of the 15th verse, announcing the millennium.
13. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
of men" to be slain,-that is, abolished in reorganized society, we are to, understand those "names of blasphemy" mentioned, (ch. xiii. 1,) hereafter to be explained.
sure that the things concerning Christ and the interests of his kingdom in this world, are the theme of inspired prophets in the New Testament as well as in the old. Agreeably to these views, we find Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's visions relate to the same objects and events. What was more obscurely revealed in the monarch's dream, is rendered more intelligible by various symbols in Daniel's first vision. (Dan. ii. 36-45; vii. 17-27.) But in the next, the eighth chapter, Daniel is favored with still clearer information relative to what he had already seen in vision; and in the eleventh chapter, his attention is called to the most obscure, but most interesting parts of his former visions; and, after all, the "vision is sealed," so that he sees not "the end of these things," (ch, xii. 8, 9.) "I heard, but I understood not," (1 Pet. i. 10, 11.)
14. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
15. And the seventh angel sounded: and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
two woes;-The first wo is thought to have begun about the year 612, and continuing by the Saracenic conquests about 150 years, to have terminated in 762. The second woe-trumpet, it is alleged, sounded about 1281, and continuing for 391 years,-the period of the ravages by the Euphratean horsemen, ended about 1672. The destructive influence, however, of these two judgments, may be considered as reaching to the time of the third woe, the one which is to demolish the whole antichristian fabric.
no such promise is on record. The groundless conception confounds the revealed distinctions in the Godhead,-the Father with the Mediator; and it would subvert Jehovah's moral empire, annihilating the eternal principle of representative identification! But those good men "mean not so, neither do their hearts think so." They ought, however, to be more careful and diligent in "searching the Scriptures."-If the scriptural significance of this joyful announcement "in heaven" were better understood by gospel ministers generally, a chief barrier would be removed, which now obstructs the advent of the millennium, Would they but cease, their hearers might more readily cease, to "wonder after the beast." But we may not anticipate.
16. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God, on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17. Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth.
19. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple: the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
be seen in numerous instances elsewhere in our Bibles.