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........... branches out into two distinct concurrent lines of proph. ecy. In the ninth chapter of the Revelation, the history of the two first periods of the eastern branch of the Apostacy 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 the thirteenth chapter of tbe Revelation, ought to have been divided into two cbapters, the division taking place at the eleventh verse. The second apocaiyptis beast is contemporary, during the whole period of his existence, with the first : consequently the latter part of the thirteenth 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 suints 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 thunders 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 ;"'$ 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 Woe, sball not be get. (See Bp. Newton's Dissert, on this chapter.) So again the ao. rist Tinto On ought not here to be translated sbould be finished, but should be about firisbing or sbould 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 TEAECUCI ought, in a similar manner, to be translated, as Mr. Mede justly observes, tbey shall be about finisbing, not they sball bave finished.
† Mr. Whitaker thinks, that tbe seven tbunders 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 tbe restoration of the Jews was not to take place till tbe 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 vials : 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 the sealing 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 seventh trumpet. Hence the angel asserts, that their time shall not be yet, but in the days of the voice of tbe seventh angel. 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,
ancient term of existence* one great undivided power, but having now, under the prophecy of the little book, put forth ten different horns, each bearing a separate and independent crown.t He had still therefore to prophesy again ; or a second time to go over the same period in the West, that he had already gone over in the East. Hence, although the contents of the little book extend to the very termination of the 1260 days, as St. John repeatedly declares, yet they peculiarly detail the effects of the two first woe-trumpets. The sounding of the third woe-trumpet accordingly, which brings us down to the very end of those days, is simply mentioned in the little book ; and an intimation is briefly given, that toward the close of the 1260 days the harvest and the vintage of God's wrath should be gathered in: for the particular account of the calamities, which the concluding trumpet was about to produce, is reserved for the pouring out of the seven vials, and for the subsequent chapters more largely explanatory of the effects of the last vial.
Having finished the contents of the little book, which relates the history of the western branch of the Apostacy chiefly under the two first woe-trumpets, though without excluding the third woe-trumpet, the prophet returns to the larger book which contains the general history of the Church, in order that he may fully detail the consequences of the sounding of the last woe-trumpet. This concluding trumpet atfects both the East and the West : and it conducts us, through the two grand epochs of the harvest and the vintage, and through the different stages of its seven Vials, to the very time of the end, to the destruction of the two-fold Apostacy, to the complete overthrow of Antichrist, and to the commencement of that happy period, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. Hence we find, that, from the great variety of important matter which it contains, a very considerable portion of the Apocalypse is exclusively devoted to it. This portion includes the fifteenth, the sixteenth, the seventeenth, the eighteenth, and the nincteenth, chapters ;
all of which constitute jointly one continued prophecy of the events comprehended under the third woe-trum. pet-The fifteenth chapter is a kind of introductory preface to the pouring out of the Vials, in order that this final display of God's wrath against his impenitent and irreclaimable enemies may be described with the greater majesty-The sixteenth chapter contains a summary and distinct account of the miseries, brought upon mankind by the atheistical principles of Antichrist, during the period of the figurative harvest ; of the events which will intervene between the harvest and the vintage ; and of the earthquake, during the period of the vintage, by which the great city will be divided into three parts, when “ Babylon will come in remembrance before God to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” These various events are represented as taking place in consequence of the successive pouring out of seven Vials : the three former of which synchronize, I apprehend, with the harvest of God's wrath ; and the last, with the vintage ; while the remaining three are poured out between the two grand periods of the harvest and the vintage, and relate to certain intermediate events
-The three following chapters, namely the seventeenth, the eighteenth, and the nineteenth, give a full and explicit account of the vintage, which synchronizes, as I have just observed, with the last Vial. The events of the vintage are the division of the great city into three parts, mentioned in the sixteenth chapter immediately upon the pouring out of the last Vial; the subversion of the mystic Babylon; and the total overthrow of the confederacy of the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the Roman or Papal earth, in the battle of Armageddon. The confederacy itself will unconsciously be gathered, to the place of its destruction by the secret diabolical influence of three unclean spirits ; but this will physically be brought about by the military despotism exercised under the fourth Vial, by the subversion of the Ottoman empire under the sixth Vial, and by the political earthquake at the beginning of the effusion of the seventh Vial, which divides the great city, or the Latin empire, into three parts.