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1 FIRST INTERVAL OF FIFTY YEARS.
of preparatory vision to the subsequent two trumpets.
Verse 13. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through
- the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice,
Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth, by . reason of the other voices of the trumpets of the
three angels, which are yet to sound. The three last trumpets are in a particular manner dis.. tinguished from the preceding: first, by being foretold as to their important contents ; secondly, by being termed wo-trumpets; and thirdly, by having extraordinary periods of time annexed to them, by which their calamities are limited. Though both the Church and the Roman empire had been sadly afflicted under the sound of the former, yet those distresses are not called woes; which may indicate, that the greatest, and by far the most poignant calamities were now to follow in consecution, before the mystery of God could be accomplished..
St. John beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven. The Vulgate, and most ancient versions read 'Astos here, an eagle, instead of "Agyedos, an angels and both Bengelius and Griesbach prefer this reading, as being found in the most ancient and best copics. It is a customary figure in the Sacred Scripture, to represent the children of God by the symbols of eagles, to denote their heavenly dispositions, and contempt of the world, Isaiah Xl. 31. Ps. ciii. 5. and their sagacity to espy danger, and penetrate into the deep councils of God. But this eagle seems to designate the zealous and affectionate testimony of faithful ministers, concerning the corrupt state of the Church, and the approaching judgments of these woes, prior to the commencement of tlie fifth trumpet; which they bore in all their ministerial labours with peculiar energy and effect, by means of a Divine animation. How
ever, the loud voice of this eagle seems to have a particular reference to those, who wrote on the Apocalypse at that time, and thus made their voice echo through the midst of the Church, and to distant countries.
This awful denunciation, wo, wo, wo, is made to the inhabiters of the earth, which expression comprises all the countries formerly in the power of the Romans, whether their inhabitants were Christians, Jews or Heathens; though with this distinction, that these calamities would chiefly affect the earthly-minded, who only live to enjoy this world. Such an earnest and Divine declaration would surely indicate that the happiness, the lives and salvation of millions are concerned in the accomplishment of these woes; the destructive consequences of which on the prosperity of Zion, have been experienced even to the present century,
These woes answer to the following trumpets, and predicting the peculiarly distressing nature of their contents, seem to have a more particular relation to the extraordinary numbers, annexed to the ordinary periods of the trumpets, by which their commencement and duration within the limits of the Church, are circumscribed. The trumpets themselves comprise a much larger scope than the woes, and have a more protracted time of continuance ; since they require the addition of both prophetic numbers, for their completion. Hence the woe under each trumpet may begin sooner, or later, with the time of that trumpet, but can never exceed that period. My computation always determines the commencement of each trumpet with accuracy, and the time when these woes cease in the Church, but not the duration of these judgments among the Pagan nations of the earth. They are termed woes, only in regard to their effects on Christendom, and not with respect to their consequences among the Heathen; where they may still continue, after they have ceased to afflict the Church. Those remarkable forms of expression, prefixed
to each woe: ch. viii. 13. Woe, woe, woe ; and chap. ix. 12. One woe is past ; and, behold there come two' woes more hereafter; and ch, xi. 14., The second woe is past; and, behold the third woe cometh quickly; require three intervals, one before each trumpet, of which the third is much shorter than the two first, whose length must be interealated before the periods of the trumpets, and can only be determined with certainty by completion. After a scrutinous and careful review of the whole system, I have adopted fifty years for the two first woes, and ten for the third.
And here the great imperfection of most former computations of prophetic time, appears self-evident. The learned Bengelius, not having discovered the ordinary numbers in this series of prophecies, could only commence his computation from the time of the woes; and left all the preceding predictions to be arranged by the ingenuity of man. The defenders of the yearly-day act more arbitrarily still. Some adopt seven periods, into which they press all, even the most heterogeneous matter.' Others rend the whole prophecy into two, three, or four prophetic series ; as a man in a large edifice, having lost the passage to the gate, would break through the wall, to save his honour. Thus they commence so many new courses of events from necessity, neglect to notice the above intervals which the text loudly calls for, and totally slight the beautiful internal order of this book, without the most strict observance of which, no expositor can expect to succeed.
This admirable intrinsic order of the Revelation, divides the prophetic numbers, at the commencement of the woes, into two distinct columns. The three woes join extraordinary numbers to the ordinary prophetic chronology, by which their periods are protracted above the time of ordinary periods, and run on in a separate column for themselves. And the ordinary prophetic chronology extends itself by a consecution of ordinary periods, which point. out the lineage of the Church in a parallel column. Both columns run on to the commencement of the third
288 PREPARATORY VISION woe; where they determine the exact dates of all the special lines, into which the whole progressive system of prophecies branches out from this point. These lines synchronize with, and run on during the sound of the seventh trumpet, to the completion of the seventh vial, and to the glorious appearance of the woman in the wilderness, the acknowledged bride of the Lamb.
V. TRUMPET, ACCOMPLISHED FROM A. D. 622-50 751,
Verse 1. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star
fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him
darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
the earth; and unto them was given power, as w the scorpions of the earth have power. By this prophecy under the fifth trumpet, we are informed of the contents of the first woe, as occasioned by the locusts, arising out of the smoke from the bottomless pit. The prelate Bengelius here beheld those dreadful calamities of the Jews in Persia, part of which have been related under the fourth trumpet; and professor Yung explains this prediction as accomplished by the Crusades to the Holy Land, Though I highly esteem the labours of these justly renowned men, and have pondered their arguments with caution and solicitude; yet my mind bas remained incontrovertibly attached to that more ancient opinion, of referring these locusts to the Saracens, for the following reasons.