« НазадПродовжити »
The third subject, the things which were to be in times then future, follows. This was the great and signal object of the vision. By far the greater part of the vision is occupied in exhibiting these then future
The whole exhibition in the Apocalypse is in the form of a drama, in a succession of various scenes. The first scene, contained in the three first chapters, has been concisely noted. A preparation then follows, in the fourth and fifth chapters, to exhibit the events of futurity. The scenery appears to be laid in heaven, which is presented in the second scene, and fourth chapter, through a large opening, which seemed to be made high in the aerial region, or through that vault of the visible heaven, which bounds our sight. In this scene, the Actors, and some of the apparatus for the ensuing scenes, are presented. God the Father is represented as on his throne of glory, surrounded with a rainbow, an emblem of his covenant faithfulness; and attended with other insignia of the divine Mijesty. Christ, under the emblein of a lamb, that had been slain, and under the name of "the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” is presented. The gospel Church is exhibited under the emblem of four and twenty Elders. Aid the ministers of the gospel are represented by four liv. ing creatures; (as all agree that the word zoa, from z:)o to live, ought to have been rendered.) By the differ. ent forms of these living creatures, different ministerial talents and gifts are symbolized.* The angels also as
* Pool's continuators, Guise, Scott, and others, hare given their decided opinion, that these living creatures symbolize the ministers of the gospel. The evidence in favor of this appears conclusive. In Riv. v, 8-11, when the Lamb takes the book, the living creatures and elders adoringly fall before hiin, and sing a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation; and hast made us upto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.” Here it is decided that the four living creatures belong to the human race. They cannot be Angels. For the Angels are presented in the next verse, in their own names and forms, as distinct from the living creatures. In chap. iv, 9, 10, these living creatures are the smaller number, who stand between God and the Elders, and lead in his worship. “And when these bcasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne.
Messengers of Providence, and ministering Spirits to the Church, are in this scene presented. The decrees of God, then about to be unfolded, are presented under the emblem of a book, of ancient fora, in the right hand of God the Father.' This book was a roll, con. sisting of seven pieces of parchment, each written on one side, and rolled up, the writing inward; and each sealed down, on the last edge, and the back side. The seven pieces were thus rolled, and sealed, one over the other. The breaking of the outside șeal, unrolling the parchment, and presenting its contents, was to commence the revealing of events then future. In the sixth chapter this solemn process begins. This is the first prophetic chapter. With this therefore, I shall begin my further explanations.
To prepare the way for this, let it be observed, that the prophetic part of this mystical book is found in two great general divisions. The first begins with the sixth chapter, and closes with the eleventh. It begins with events of the first century, and proceeds on, till at the close of the eleventh chapter, it reaches and describes the scene of judgments, which just precedes the Millennium, under the description of the seventh trumpet, and the third woe. This terrible event, and the introduction of the Millennium, are concisely announced, at the close of the first general division—the close of the eleventh chapter.
Here are Christ's ministers leading in the worship performed in the Church. In chap. vi, 1--7, these living creatures are the monitors of God's people, who when the first seals are opened, call on their people to “come and see.” Here is one important bra of the duties of the ministers of Christ, to exhibit the opening events of Providence, and call on their people to bebold them.
The second general division of the prophetic part of the Revelation, commences with the siith chapter, and continues to the end of the book. It begins where the first division began, cr with a reversion back to the first century, and proceeds to exhibit events from that time, to the end of the world. It closes with a description of heaven, and a solemn epilogue, or finishing address, from Christ, relative to his coming to judge the world. And it is remarkable that the scenes, in the sec. ond general division, proceed in pairs; or, two scenes are appropriated to each period of events, as will be shown. Two scenes begin with the apostolic age;two with the commencement of the reformation, in the sixteenth century; two with the rise of the Antichris. tian Beast of the last days; two with the introduction of the Millennium; and two with a description of the subsequent heavenly state. Each of these iwo general divisions has an internal arrangement, a process, and subdivisions, peculiar to itself. Each, while moving through the same periods, gives a different view of syn. chronical events. Each therefore has its peculiar excellency, while it has its peculiar mode of instruction. The subdivisions, in each of the two general divisions, will be exhibited, as we pass along through the chapters, where the way will be prepared for them to be understood. Seven periods in the one general division, seven periods in the other, and seven periods presented by the two general divisions conjointly, will be noted.
I shall make use of two charts, of simple constructions, to exhibit and to render familiar the plan and contents of this book. The first exhibits the two gen. eral divisions above noted; and the periods or chronology of the contents of each prophetic chapter in this book. Here the peculiar arrangement of each general division will be presented to the eye; together with the septenary, or number seven, in the one, and in the other, and that resulting from both. The second chart es: hibits the seals, trumpets, and vials; with a sketch of the events fulfilling each seal, trumpet and vial; and the analogy presented, between the descriptions of the six first trumpets, and their corresponding vials. This second chart gives a relative view of the seals, trumpets,
a and vials, and their fulfilments; and is a concise memorandum of the principal events of the Apocalypse. See Chart first. (The charts for convenience sake are placed at the close of the volume.)
The following numbers, in answer to references on chart first, explains the prophetic chapters of the Rev. elation,
First General Division. 1. The sixth chapter, or first prophetic scene, commences the opening of the seals, in the first century; and contains six of the seals. The sixth seal closes in the revolution in the Roman empire under Constantine, about the year 320.
First Seal. "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard as it were the noise of thun. der, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw and beheld a white horse; and be that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him; and he went forth conquering and to conquer.”
This hieroglyphic is differently explained by different great authors. One class of them suppose it to have re. lated to the war between the Romans and the Jews, about 40 years after Christ, in which Jerusalem was destroyed, and the few of the Jews, who escaped the slaughter, were dispersed in the Roman empire. It appears indeed very natural, and consentaneous with the events of the fol. lowing seals, to view this figure as fulfilled by that war, fatal to the Jews, under Vespasian. The Jews had cru. cified Christ. And here Christ came, and destroyed their temple, city and nation. Another class of authors suppose this figure to have been fulfilled in the blessed propagation of the gospel in heathen lands, under the ministry of the apostles, and of their early successors. Christ thus rode forth in the triumphs if his cause, in allusion to ancient victorious generals and conquerors, who rode on white horses, as emblems of victory. This figure under the first scal, (if these au. thors be correct) seems to be expressed in allusion to
such scriptures as the following: Psalm xlv, 3—6, “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty: with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies, whereby the people fall under thee.” The Captain of our salvation early began to fulfil this prediction of him, (according to this explanation of it) in the salvation of his chosen in heathen lands, as we find in the Acts of the Apostles.
Jesus Christ did indeed ride forth in glorious prosperity, at that very period, in both the foregoing senses. Whether both therefore may not unite in the fulfilment of the figure, the reader will judge. The two great ideas, of destruction to the inveterate enemies of God, and the enlargement and salvation of his friends, do abundantly in the sacred oracles, and in divine Provi. dence, go hand in hand, to accomplish the same general event,- the fulfilment of God's word in the salvation of Zion. In the last days, just preceding the Millennium, Christ is again presented upon his white horse of victory, for the salvation of his Church in the des• truction of her enemies. See Rev. xix, 11-21.
Second Seal. “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the secund beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red; and power was given unto him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given unto him a great sword.” This seal is thought to have been fulfilled in, and after the reign of Trajan and Adrian, in the bloody scenes occasioned by the insurrections of the Jews, in Egypt, Cyprus, and other parts of the Roman empire. Six hundred thousand, and some authors say, more than a million of Jews were cut off in those insurrections.
And proba. bly not a less number of Romans and Greeks were destroyed. The Jews and Romans had crucified Jesus Christ, and persecuted his followers. And now they were made to be each other's executioners. “The Lord is known by the judgments that he executeth.“'