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afterwards, in the due order of events as a packet or Will is sealed up, not to be opened till the appointed time. And accordingly we read that the prophet did so.
Ver. 5, 6, 7, That the “ seven thunders" refer to the dreadful judgments of the seven vials of the wrath of God, seems evident, from the tenor of these three verses : for we find that the angel, either to regain the attention of the prophet, or to give father light respecting the “ seven thunders, swears,” in the most awful manner, that “ the time (of the seven thunders) shall not be yet;” meaning, not until after the events of the present vision should have come to pass : but that, in the “ the voice of the seventh angel,” alluding to the angel of the “ last trump of God*,” when he shall begin to sound, then the mystery of God, as he “ hath declared by his servants the prophets, shall be finished;" that is, the “ mystery of God,” in the creation and redemption of man, shall no longer remain a mystery;
power, his wisdom, and his righteousness, shall be displayed, and made perfectly manifest, and glorious to all his intellectual creatures; to devils, as well as to men.
Ver. 8, 9, 10.--The angel, having thus finished his explanation of the seven thunders, “ the voice from heaven” (Jesus Christ) speaks to the prophet again ; recalls his attention to the subject of the present vision; and orders
* 1 Cor. xv. 52.
1 Thess. iv, 16.
Rev. xi. 15.
him to “ go and take the little book, which is
open, in the hand of the angel, which stand“eth upon the sea, and upon the earth.”“ And he went to the angel, and said unto “ him, Give me the little book."
"s And he " said, Take it, and eat it up: and it shall “ make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy “ mouth as sweet as honey.' “ And he took “ the little book, and did eat it up; and it was « in his mouth as sweet as honey; and as soon “ as he had eaten it, his belly was bitter.” As if the voice from heaven had said in all this, 'Go to the angel, and take the little book, and it shall reveal many important and terrible events, which must come to pass hereafter, both upon the sea and land, in certain conflicts and wars among many maritime and inland kings, princes, and states. Consider this a little book” well; for, upon a first and cursory perusal of it, it shall give you great joy; but upon a more mature consideration and digestion of all its contents, it • shall grievously afflict you.'
Accordingly in the very next chapter, we shall find causes both of joy and sorrow to the prophet, and the church of Christ : for
upon only a slight perusal of the first part of that chapter, the great prominent feature, which strikes the mind, is the solemn assurance afforded, that God “ will give power to his two witnesses” to repel the attacks of their enemies; and to “ smite them with all manner of
plagues as they will*.” But upon a closer examination, it will appear, that the true church of Christ shall be “ trodden under foot, forty and two monthst," by the two Gentile apostaciest, that the “two witnesses shall prophesy “in sackcloth one thousand two hundred and " threescore days,g” or the long period of 1260 years; and that, in the latter end of that period, a new and more dangerous enemy shall ascend from “ the bottomless pit," and shall “ kill the two witnesses of God, “ when they shall have nearly finished their testimonyll.
Ver. 10.–To take off all surprise from the mind of the prophet, at his not being permitted to treat of the “ seven thunders" in this vision, and to give him a general view of his future subject, he is informed, in this verse, that he“ must
prophesy again before (concerning) many
people, and nations,and tongues, and kings :" meaning that, after he has foretold the events of the little book,” he must again return to the general history of the church, which should be unfolded to him out of the “ great book, written within, and on the back side. I” This construction is clearly supported by the subsequent part of the Revelation. For we shall there find, that having, in the course of his digression, written the history of the Western part of the Church,* he describes it as again united; resumes his principal subject in chap. xiv. ; thence he continues it down to the end; and treats of the seven thunders, under the “seven vials of the wrath of God,"to be poured out upon all the ungodly opposers and enemies to the true church of Christ; their extreme discomfiture, and terrible destruction. Such is the awful preparation to the first resurrection of the just, at the coming of Christ to reign upon earth ; the binding of Satan during that reign; the second resurrection ; the final judgment, and THE CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS.
* Rev. xi. 4, 5, 6. Ibid. 3.
+ These forty and two months,” during which the church was to be trodden under foot, and the 1260 days of the prophecy in sackcloth of the two witnesses, are agreed, by all Protestant commentators, to allude to the period of 1260 years, in which the church should be depressed by Papal darkness and apostacy.
Rev, xi. 2. $ Ibid 3. l Rev. xi. 7.
Of the Revelations.
And there was given me a waters to turn them to blood reed like unto a rod : and the and to smite the earth with angel stood, saying, Rise, all plagues, as often as they and measure the temple of will. God, and the altar,and them 7 And when they shall that worship therein. have nearly finished their
2 But the court which is testimony, the beast that without the temple leave ascendeth out of the bottomout, and measure it not ; less pit shall make war afor it is given unto the Gen- gainst them, and shall overtiles : and the holy city come them, and kill them. shall they tread under foot 8 And their dead bodies forty and two months. shall lie in the street of the
3 And I will give power great city, which spiritually unto my two witnesses, and is called Sodom and Egypt, they shall prophesy a thou- where also our Lord was sand two hundred and three- crucified. score days, clothed in sack- y And they of the people cloth.
and kindreds and tongues 4 These are the two olive and nations shall see their trees, and the two candle- dead bodies three days and sticks, standing before the an half, and shall not suffer God of the earth.
their dead bodies to be put 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth 10 And they that dwell out of their mouth, and de- upon the earth shall rejoice voureth their enemies : and over them, and make merry if any man will hurt them, and shall send gifts one to he must in this manner be another; because these two killed.
prophets tormented them 6 These have power to
that dwelt on the earth. shut heaven, that it rain not 11 And after three days in the days of their prophe. and an half the Spirit of life cy : and have power over from God entered into them