« PreviousContinue »
and they stood upon their twenty elders, which sat be. feet ; and great fear fell fore God on their seats, fell upon them which saw them. upon their faces, and wor
12 And they heard a great shipped God, voice from heaven, saying 17 Saying, We give thee unto them, Come up hither. thanks, O Lord God AlAnd they ascended up to mighty, which art,and wast, heaven in a cloud ; and their and are to come ; because enemies beheld them. thou hast taken to thee thy
13 And the same hour great power,& hast reigned. was there a great earth- 18 And the nations were quake, and the tenth part angry, and thy wrath is of the city fell, and in the come, and the time of the earthquake were slain seven dead, that they should be thousand men of name : and judged, and that thou the remnant were affrighted shouldest give reward unto and gave glory to the God thy servants the prophets, of heaven.
and to the saints, and them 14. The second woe is that fear thy name, small past; and, behold, the third and great ; and shouldest woe cometh quickly. destroy them which destroy
15 And the seventh angel the earth. sounded ; and there were 19 And the temple of great voices in heaven, say- God was opened in heaven, ing, The kingdoms of this and there was seen in his world are become the king- temple the ark of his testa. doms of our Lord, and of ment: and there were lighthis Christ ; and he shall nings, and voices, and thunreign for ever and ever. ders, and an earthquake,
16 And the four and and great hail.
A brief prophetic History of the Western part
of the Church, and of the “ Beast of the bottomles Pit."
HE preceding chapter being no more than a summary introduction to the digressive part of the prophet's plan, or “ the little book," I have thought it necessary to give it only a general explanation. But as, in applying the various figurative marks of this chapter to their proper events, I shall have frequent occasion to differ in opinion from former commentators, I feel the propriety as well as the necessity of translating every type and figurative expression, into that which I conceive to be the natural, literal and true prophetic sense, before I apply them to their corresponding events. Upon a faithful performance of this duty, a right application of them to the events foretold must altogether depend, and the reader will thereby be the better enabled to discern, on which side the truth preponderates; for, as Lord Coke observes, “ nomina si nescis, perit cognitio rerum."
Ver. 1.-" 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 wor
A reed is a very proper type for a pen. The ancients used it in marking out their hieroglyphics; and it is still used in some parts of the East. A rod is an instrument by which stripes are made on the body of a man, corrected for his crimes; and therefore a “reed, like unto a rod,” is a just figure for a pen, with which the scourges and afflictions of the church are to be marked out on paper.
“ And the angel stood;" he paused to give the prophet time to recover from the confusion of ideas, which the awful events unfolded, to him by the “ seven thunders*" had occasioned; and then ordered him to“ rise ;” that is, to prepare to receive his instructions; and to perform the duty which should then be required of him. This was to “ measure the temple of God,” &c. The word measure here is certainly a figure to denote the writing of the history of “ the temple of God :" for to measure, in the sense it is commonly used, is to take the dimensions, qualities and circumstances of a thing ; and therefore is a natural and well-adapted metaphor, in the present case, as applied to prophetical events. By the “ temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein,” we are to understand the true church of Christ, or that part of mankind, who still adhere to the doctrine of the “ two witnesses of God,” hereafter mentioned and described. If I am right in this exposition of the text, the instructions
See the last chapter, ver: 4.
of the angel so far amount to this: "Take a ‘pen, and write a history of that part of the
church of Christ, as I shall direct at this time omitting such things as I shall order to be * omitted, until you shall more particularly be · informed in a future vision respecting them.'
Ver. 2.-" But the court, which is with“out the temple, measure it not, for it is gir
en to the Gentiles ; and the HOLY CITY “ they shall tread under foot forty and two " months.”
These figurative expressions are evidently taken from Jerusalem, and the temple. Jerusalem was called the Holy City; and “ the temple of God” in it, was built within several courts. In the principal or inner court, the temple and the altar were erected; and here the Priests, Levites, and other Jews who had purified themselves, and conformed to the rites of the church, alone sacrificed and worshipped. Here the unclean Jews were not admitted; but the outer court was a place common to both. And thus they who worshipped in the temple, and before the “
altar,” as well as the “ holy city,” are very apt and proper figures for the true church of Christ, founded on the word of God, revealed through his "two witnesses ;" while the court which is without the temple, given to the Gentiles," significantly designates a church which should apostatize from the truths of the Gospel of Christ, into Gentile sensuality and idolatry ; and is here intended to prefigure both the Mohamedan and Papal hierarchies; which were to separate themselves from, and to become as scourges upon the primitive church of christianity, in her degenerate state, for her lukewarmness, and want of perfect faith in the revealed word of God. These hierarchies, thus prefigured by “the court without the temple, the prophet is informed shall “ tread the holy city under foot, forty and two months ;" which, when translated from the figurative into the literal sense, means, that those two apostacies should so corrupt and pervert the pure truths, upon which the Gospel of Christ is founded, and prevail on mankind to embrace their errors so generally, as to render those truths as grass constantly trodden under foot, withered, defiled, and blasted ; and that this depression should continue “forty and two months,” that is, one thousand two hundred and sixty prophetic years.
But the prophet is commanded, by the angel, not to make a particular history of those apostacies, a part of his present subject or vision;
- but the court which is without the temple, measure it not;" and the reason assigned is, “ for that court, which was former-' ly an appendage to the temple and altar, was now to be given to the two Gentile apostacies, the Mohamedan and Papal; as if the angel had said, “You have already written a particular narrative of the first, under the metaphor of