« PreviousContinue »
year of the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. '72, the prophetic chronology of the Apocalypse affixes its commencement.
I have no reason to fear a clashing of history with the dates of my computation-I only apprehend, my first principle will be found too simple, and artless with those, who perhaps have all this time been expecting, to meet with a concealed and profound system. But this simplicity and plainness ought not to be considered a defect, it should induce us more readilyto receive it; for it is, no doubt, the will of God, that this important Revelation should be of benefit to all, as it imports all to know it; and that this calculation of prophetic time should be intelligible, even to the weakest capacity. .
The seventh number has been consecrated as sacred, from the beginning of the world. And although infidelity has levelled many a sneer at it, yet in that measure of time, God finished the creation of heaven and earth. Moses and the prophets make a frequent use of it; and here in the Apocalypse, the frequent occurrence of this number, is even remarkable and striking. There can be no doubt, but it is a very secret, profound and important measure of time, since the whole economy of the Old Testament dispensation, both in its civil and ecclesiastical departments, was thereby regulated. The great Creator measures it out by the motions of the heavenly bodies; since this is the general valid measure of time in our solar system, by which, according to Bengelius, all their revolutions are determined without a fraction ; from all of which we may safely conclude, that it has its sure foundation in the eternal councils of Heaven. The prophet Daniel has it in his seventy prophetic weeks, by which he determines the duration, and destinies of the Jewish church : and we have reason to believe, that it may also be the keynumber to the times of the New Testament church, and that it may run on even to the consummation of all things. An attentive reader of the Apocalypse, must at least, find it striking and remarkable, to meet so frequently with this number here. We read of seven spirits before the throne of God; of a Lamb, having seven horns and seven eyes; of seven Thunders; of a Dragon with seven heads; a beast, with seven heads, and one with the same number from the bottomless pit. But still more remarkable are the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials, by which this series of prophecios is evidently arranged into a methodical order of time and periods. All these terms are surely founded on a certain measure of time, by which the prosperous and calamitous events of the church are limited to numbers and periods; and whoever discovers that measure, has found the key to a full assurance and certainty, in the exposition of this prophecy.
With this key I will acquaint my indulgent reader; though with all due deference to the judgment of the wise, the abilities of the able, and the labours of the learned. It consists in a peculiar application of the (Hebdomadæ) prophetic weeks of Daniel, to the Apocalypse. There are seven seals, and the seventh contains the seven trumpets. Every seal and every trumpet, comprises a period of seven prophetic weeks, or forty-nine years; and the prophecy under these seals, discloses the most interesting and remarkable events, which are to happen to the church of Christ during that time. This is signified by the seventh number. But since the Revelation contains the history of the triumphs of the Son of God, over the powers of darkness, the fftieth year, or the year of Jubilec, should every time be counted in ; which caused such remarkable Epochas in the Jewish church and state, Leviticus xxv. 27. The seventh seal however cannot, consistently with the order of the prophecy, be taken into the computation, for itself, as it comprises the seven trumpets; which are a new continuation of periods and events, of the same length with
the seals. And before the woes, three pauses of cessations must be admitted of which the third is of much shorter duration than the first and second, as expressly demanded by the words of the prophecy. At the beginning of the woes this prophetic chronology, moreover divides itself, by the internal order of the book, into two remarkable columns ; one of which advances the lineage of the church of Christ, the other marks the progression of the woes, and their pauses of cessation. These two notable columns run on into the sound of the seventh trumpet, where again they furnish the exact dates, to a new succession of prophecies in four lines of periods and numbers, which are terminated by the seven vials, and the commencement of the happy Millennium. The reader perhaps may find this description dark and intricate, I will therefore give him a prospective view of this admirable fabric; the sight of which has brought full conviction to my mind, and comfort to my heart. Let serious and considerate lovers of the prophetic word, determine its real value.
But in order to complete the solution of this divine scheme, or internal prophetic chronology of this prophecy, we are yet to settle those terms of time, which we have denominated indeterminate. These are the times of the woman; the short time of the dragon; the little season of the souls under the altar; the time, to which the angel swore; and the little season, in which the Devil is loose again, after she thousand years. These are the terms of time, in the solution of which, I humbly presume to differ from the learned Bengelius, and many other authors on this important subject. The accomplishment alone, as recorded on the page of history, can determine between us, what degree of credibility may be due to each of our labours.
No doubt, all the periods of time, designated by these terms, have a reference to each other; and as they are all of the same indetermincd kind, stand in a comparative re
lation among themselves, as to the exact quantity of time belonging to each period. If therefore a key could be discovered to determine one period precisely; the whole number might be adjusted into a scale of time, at least highly probable, if not certain and conclusive. And as these times also stand connected with the whole body of prophecies, arranged by methodical periods, and extraordinary, determined numbers; their lengths are moreover regulated by circumstances, and the limits of others. I presume to have found this key in the periods of the methodical times, and after mature consideration formed the following scale, which is verified by history, and accords with the scheme and connection of the whole book. I take a hundred years to be a time, and fifty years to be half a time; as it is expressly laid in Genesis, chapter xv. 13, 16. That this is the time of man, and of a generation of men. See also, Job xlii. 16. Isa. xxxviii.12. Where THORI signifies both.
I must however previously inform the common reader, that some of these terms of time, are very imperfectly translated in our English version. My scale will therefore exhibit them in the original language, and after an improved translation.
SCALE OF TIME. 50 years, jussus xaogo's, half a timeof the woman. Chap.
xii. 14. 100 xango's a time. 200 Xaigong times. 350, saigov, xai xoopõs, xiad ñussu xanpow, A time;
times and half a time. 800 poniyor' vangor The original is not pixgov,
parvum a little time, which would make it shorter than a whole time; it is ʼonizov, a few, not many, and must be taken for a numerical word, to signify some times, but not many times, during which the dragon is to stay on earth. Chap.
xii. 12. 950 years, uirgan xgóvov, A little epocha, when Satan is
loose again, after the Millennium.
Chap. xx. 3. 1000
inoce ton, A thousand years common time,
of the kingdom of Christ on earth.
Chap. XX. 1078 Öto xeóvos oux ÉSTA, ŠTi, That it will not be
a chronos more, to the finishing of
the mystery of God. Chap. x.6. 1100 xgávov, Epocha, during which the souls of
the martyrs are to rest under the altar. Chap. vi. 2. Aliqui Codd. habent χρόνον μικρόν. Bengelius
prefert χρόνον. Lectio μικρών
· rejicitur. The following treatise will shew, how well this measure of time verifies itself on the page of history. Some of these dates have already been proven by a most clear accomplishment of those prophecies, to which they stand connected; and others are now in a state of an inceptive fulfilment before our eyes; which raises the whole scale to at least, a high degree of probability. There is however one item in this rising series of time, which I suppose will meet with many objections. Those of my readers, who have already laid it down, as a settled point, that the duration of the world, or at least of this our solar system, is limited to 7000 years, will find that little epocha, during which Satan is set at liberty again, after the Millennium, very improbable. But when the Word of God is under consideration, all prejudices should be laid aside. The order of the book has placed it there—the spirit of prophecy has assigned it that space; and he is a teacher, whose instructions are entitled to unreserved consent. It is evident from