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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 “ days of 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; his 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.” “ And he si said, Take it, and eat it up: and it shall “ make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy co 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 bad said in all this, · Go to the angel, and take the little book, ' and it shall reveal many important and terri
ble 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. Con
sider this a little book” well; for, upon sa 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,§" 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.q” This construction is clearly supported by the subsequent part of the Revelation. For we shall there find, that having, in the course of his di
* 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. || Rev. xi. 7.
gression, 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.
* In this chapter.
Of the Revelations.
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.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
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 prophe. cy : and have power over
waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
And when they shall have nearly 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 an 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.
11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them