« PreviousContinue »
Before we enter upon the prophecies, it will be requisite as a ground work for the superstructure to fix as nearly as may be; 1. the limits of these three divisions, or where each begins and ends; and 2. the subject matter of each; which constitute the most difficult points of the whole enquiry, and the most disputed among critics and commentators.
1. The opening of the first seal attached to the first sheet of the roll begins with the sixth chapter. In this, all are agreed, as also in the opening of the succeeding seals to the seventh ; beginning with the eighth chapter.
2. The four war trumpets plainly began to sound, with Rev. viii. 7.
3. The three woes attached to the three last trumpets, (viii. 13,) plainly begin with the ninth chapter.
4. In the course of the second woe, during the sounding of the sixth trumpet, (ix. 13-21,) is introduced the remarkable digression of the codicil with the tenth chapter; and the codicil itself plainly begins with the eleventh chapter.
The end of the codicil is much disputed. Mede, Lowman, Faber, &c. and most commentators, extend it through four or five chapters, ending with the thirteenth or fourteenth. But this, says bishop Newton, is to make the little book as large or larger than the sealed book; of which it is only an appendix, Dissert. Vol. III. p. 201.
5. He proposes, therefore, to shorten the little book, as ending with the fourteenth verse of the eleventh chapter, Vol. III. p. 132. But it rather more correctly ends with the preceding verse; for this 14th verse, the second woe is past; lo, the third is coming quickly," evidently belongs to the sealed book; resuming the subject from the conclusion of the ninth chapter, after the codicil is ended.
6. The third woe commences with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, xi. 15, and ends in a general thanksgiving of the spiritual Church to GOD for avenging his saints, and rewarding them at the first resurrection, xi. 18.
The account of the second and third woes, indeed, are extremely concise; the second being dispatched in the eight last verses of the ninth chapter; and the third, in the four last verses of the eleventh chapter, which properly ends with the 18th verse, the 19th verse beginning a new subject, in the twelfth chapter, to which it ought to be prefixed, according to
the judicious distribution of Bishop Newton, Vol. III. p. 202 ; one of the best expositors of the Apocalypse; treading in the steps of Joseph Mede, but not implicitly or servilely. Of whose scheme the present is chiefly designed to be an improvement.
4. The codicil contains a brief explanation of the leading events of the three last woes, during the persecuting period of a time, times, and half a time, originally noticed by Daniel in his appendix; and here explained to denote forty-two months, or 1260 prophetic days, or years, xi. 2, 3, see Vol. II. p. 529. 5. The supplemental visions, explanatory or illustrative of the book, and of the codicil, begin from the origin of the persecution of the Church of God, in the enmity of the old serpent, or fiery dragon, in the twelfth chapter; after this, an account of his prime instruments, the western and eastern wild beasts, is given in the thirteenth chapter, &c.
We shall next endeavour to unfold this simple arrangement, by a methodical outline of the whole.
SCHEME OF THE PRIMARY SYMBOLICAL
I. PERIOD. SEVEN SEALS, 306 YEARS.
1. Seal. A white horse. The rider, CHRIST, as an archer con-
2. Seal. A red horse. The rider with a great sword, to inflict great
slaughter, ver. 3, 4
1. By the Sanhedrim, after Stephen's martyrdom, Acts viii. 1, ix. 31........ 2. By King Herod Agrippa. Martyrdom of James, Acts xii. 1—19..........
1. By Nero. Martyrdom of Paul and Peter, 2 Tim. iv. 6, 2 Pet. i. 14...... 2. By Domitian. Exile of John to Patmos, Rev. i. 9..
The following were the principal persecutions of the Church by the Jews and the Romans.
3. By Trajan. Martyrdom of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch.....
4. By Marcus Antoninus. Martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna.. Martyrdom at Lyons
5. By Severus. Violent and general
6. By Maximin. Of the Christian Clergy..
7. By Decius. Very severe and general. Torture of Origen. Many Christians recant through fear
8. By Gallus. At Rome chiefly
9. By Valerian. Martyrdom of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage.
10. By Diocletian and Maximian. The last, the severest and longest.
3. Seal. A black horse. The rider holding a balance, to weigh the wheat and barley, v. 5, 6... Scarcity and famine 4. Seal. A pale horse. The rider Death, attended by Hades, v. 7,8. 194 Disease and pestilence
5. Seal. Cry of the Martyrs to GOD, for vengeance against their persecutors, v. 9, 10.
1. DIOCLETIANUS JOVIUS ET MAXIMIAN HERCULIUS. CES. AUGG.
ET NOMINE CHRISTIANORUM DELETO,
QUI REMP. EVERTEBANT.
DIOCLETIAN. CES. AUG. GALERIO IN ORIENTE ADOPT.
ET CULTU DEOR. PROPAGATO. Lardner, Vol. VIII. p. 325.
Diocletian and his associates' persecution for ten years, was the most terrible of all. This was designed, if possible, to extirpate the Christian name, as well as religion, and restore Paganism, as boasted in columnal inscriptions, found at Clunia, a Roman colony in Spain.
The reasons here assigned for persecuting the Christians, were, that they were overturning the state,” and “subverting the established worship of the gods."
The following profound reflection we owe to Montesquieu. "We know that the Romans received into their city the gods of other nations. But they did so as conquerors; they carried them in procession in their triumphs. Whenever strangers attempted of themselves to establish their own gods, they were instantly repressed. We know further, that the Romans were accustomed to give to the strange gods whom they adopted, the names of their own gods most nearly resembling them: but when the priests of other countries wanted to introduce their gods, under their proper names, they were not permitted. And this was one of the greatest obstacles which the Christian religion found." Rise and Declension, &c. cap. 16.
The Emperor Tiberius, therefore, paid CHRIST a particular compliment, when he proposed to the senate to enrol him, by name, ainong the number of their gods. See p. 280, &c. of this Volume.
See the circumstantial and affecting narrative of the persecution at Vienne and Lyons, under this admired emperor and philosopher, given by Eusebius, and translated at length by Lardner, Vol. VII. p. 417-437.
Roman persecutions, the last ending
Great convulsions in the Roman Empire, downfal of Pa-
7. Seal. Half an hour's silence in Heaven, viii. 1..
Calm, and tranquillity of the Church and empire, during
During this calm, a great conversion of Jews, Pagans, and Heretics to the Church; and suspension of Divine judgments during the sealing, with the cross in their foreheads, or baptism, of 144,000 true Israelites, vii. 1-8.
Thanksgiving of the spiritual Church and angelic host to GoD and THE LAMB, V. 9—12.
2. Trumpet. A volcanic mountain cast into the sea, ver. 8, 9...... Invasion of the southern Vandals
3. Trumpet. A comet falls from Heaven, called Wormwood, v. 10, 11. Extinction of the western Roman empire by the Goths. Bitter contests between the invaders.
4. Trumpet. Dimness of the sun, moon, and stars of Heaven, v. 12. Great faintness and calamity of the whole Roman empire.
III. PERIOD. Three woe trumpets, 1260 years.
5. Trumpet. First woe. A fallen star opens the pit of the Abyss,
II. PERIOD. Four war trumpets, 225 years.
1. Trumpet. Mingled storm of hail, fire, and blood, viii. 7........ 395 Invasion of the northern Goths, &c.
Four Turkish sultanies let loose to slay the eastern
Extinction of the eastern empire by the Turks, and end
7. Trumpet. Third woe, including seven vials, or last plagues.
End of the first woe, ver. 12...
6. Trumpet. Second woe. Four angels loosed from the river Euphrates, for an hour, a day, a month, and a year, v. 13-19.
This trumpet probably began to sound with the
First Blast. First vial poured on the earth. A
Second blast. Second vial poured on the sea, which
Third vial on the rivers, which became
Fourth blast. Fourth vial, scorching heat. The suf-
Fifth vial, on the throne of the beast, his kingdom full
The sufferers blaspheme still more, for their pains and
Sixth vial, on the river Euphrates. Its waters dried
Seventh blast. Seventh vial, on the air.
Prodigious thunderings, lightnings, and shakings.
End of the last woe, xi. 15, xvi. 17.......
THE MOUNTAIN, or CHRIST'S KINGDOM established upon earth.
Thanksgiving of the spiritual Church.
THE REGENERATION, 1000 years, or generations.
V. PERIOD. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Eternity.
The righteous translated to Heaven with CHRIST....
XX. 1-3. 4-6.
SECONDARY SYMBOLICAL PROPHECIES.
I. The LITTLE BOOK, or CODICIL, exhibiting the persecutions of the two faithful witnesses of the LAW