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liberty which with out-stretched neck it so earnestly longs for; and the ground itself, cursed for Adam's sin, and condemned to bring forth thorns and thistles (Gen. iii. 17), shall partake in the general restitution : “ The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock ..... They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord” (Isa. lxv. 25; xi. 4, 6, 10); “ Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off” (Isa. lv. 13).—Most of these positions are stated explicitly in the different writings of the Fathers which still remain; as, the Commentary on Daniel by Hippolytus, and his Treatises on Antichrist, and the Consummation of the World. They are also to be found in the works of Irenæus, Tertullian, and Lactantius; and many of them are approved by Jerome, in his replies to Porphyry, and in his commentaries on the several texts quoted, especially on Dan. xi., where he that Antiochus is to be considered as a type of the last Antichrist, who shall be destroyed by our Lord descending on the Mount of Olives, in the same form and manner as he from thence ascended (Dan. xi. 45; Acts i. 11).
These are the principal events which are mentioned in Scripture as preceding and accompanying the Millennium : many more might be enumerated, and still more inferred, for at that time shall be realized every definite idea of happiness which the mind of a Christian can conceive or desire. It is the glorious “ dispensation of the fulness of times, when all things shall be gathered together (recapitulated) in one in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him," who is “the Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. i. 10,22). It is "the restitution of all things” (Acts iii. 21)-the glorification of the saints (Phil. iii. 21);—" the adoption," which those who have the first fruits of the Spirit still expect (Rom. viii. 23);the “ manifestation of the sons of God, for which the whole creation waiteth” (Rom. viii. 19);-the “new heavens and the new earth” (Isa. Ixv; Rev. xxi);—the “new covenant" (Jer. xxxi. 31);—the “new Jerusalem," and the “ marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. xix. 7);—the restoration of the Jews to their Jerusalem ; their Hephzi-bah, and the Beulah of the land (Isa. Ixii. 4);--the binding of Satan, and the reign of righteousness and peace (Rev. xx). “ And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me My Husband ;' and shalt call me no more My Lord'.....And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth ; and I will
make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth ; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (Hosea ii. 16-23). “ After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb...... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple : and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters : and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. vii. 9-17). “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Rev. v. 13).
Many other testimonials might have been adduced, but they are generally well known; such as
Irenæus says that 666 was all the ancient and approved copies, and that he had it also confirmed to him by those who had seen John face to face. Dr. Cressener, speaking of this testimony of Irenæus, says, “ There can hardly be given a more unquestionable or more particular testimony concerning the true author of any book, at any distance from the time it was wrote in, than this is. Here is a particular search after all the copies of it, soon after the writing of it, with the concurrent testimony of those who knew the author himself.” (Introd.)
Mede says, “ The Apocalypse hath more human (not to speak of Divine) authority, than any other book of the New Testament besides, even from the time it was delivered” (ii. 747).
Sir I. Newton says : “ I do not find any other book of the New Testament so strongly attested, or commented upon so early, as this ” (p. 247).
ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE APOCALYPSE. La plupart des plus grands certitudes que nous ayons, ne sont fondées que sur
un fort petit nombre de preuves qui separées ne sont pas infaillibles, et qui pourtant dans certaines circonstances se fortifient tellement par l'addition de l'une a l'autre, qu'il y en a plus qu'il n'en faut pour condamner d'extravagance quiconque y résisteroit; et qu'il n'y a point de démonstration dont il ne fût plus aisé de se faire naître le doute dans l'esprit .... Car quoiqu'on ne pût peut-être démontrer dans la rigueur de la géométrie, qu'aucune de ces preuves en particulier soit indubitable, elles ont néanmoins une telle force étant assemblées qu'elles convainquent tout autrement que ce que les géométres appellent demonstration. Ce qui vient de ce que les preuves de géométrie ne font le plus souvent qu'ôter la replique sans répandre aucune lumière dans l'esprit ni montrer la chose à découvert; au lieu que celles-ci la mettent, pour ainsi dire, devant les yeux : et la raison en est, qu'elles sont dans nos véritables voies, et que nous avons plus de facilité à nous en servir surement, que des principes de géométrie, dont peu de tétes sont capable, jusques la que tout infaillibles qu'ils sont, les geométres eux-mêmes se trompent et se brouillent souvent.-Pascal. Every thing that comes immediately from God, is orderly, harmonious, and perfect: his word, as much so as his work. If in either we do not perceive order and perfection, we may rest assured that it is only because we do not yet know the principle by which it is regulated, and that the imperfection is in ourselves, not in the work. Till our own times, the Apocalypse has lain under the imputation of irregularity, and arbitrary, or accidental, arrangement; as the events to which interpreters applied its predictions, did not easily and naturally fall into that order of sequence in which the symbols were placed, and the predictions given. In attempting to explain these supposed irregularities, different systems were invented ; and, as was to be expected in every system but the true one, they generally, in adjusting one seeming irregularity, occasioned disorder in some other portion of the book. Much the same did it fare with astronomy, while they attempted to reconcile the motions of the heavenly bodies with the systems of Ptolomy or Des Cartes; and even after the true system had been announced by Copernicus, many, unable to shake off old prejudices, adhered pertinaciously to those erroneous notions which had so long prevailed. But when Newton discovered the law by which the motions of the heavenly bodies were regulated, and demonstrated the universality of its application, the whole science of astronomy took a new direction; and his successors have been profitably employed in completing, by their combined exertions, that system which he had fixed on an immovable basis. In our science, of the interpretation of prophecy, we have passed our Copernican æra, which began with Mede, and has been further developed and perfected by his successors, especially during the last fifteen years (whose services to our science may
be paralleled with those of Kepler to astronomy); and we only waited for some general principle, as universai in its application to our science as gravitation was to astronomy; and which, I verily believe, we have now received, in the system of Times and Seasons, as explained in an article in Number I. of this work. I take to myself no other merit than that of endeavouring to apply this important discovery. I am delighted in finding it not only universally applicable, but explanatory and illustrative wherever it is introduced. I shall therefore now endeavour to fix the structure of the Apocalypse by this system, which I have hitherto found an infallible guide.
In studying the Apocalypse, a difficulty is usually felt at the outset, from an appearance of disorder in the arrangement, by the necessity of returning back, in some succeeding chapter, to periods of time already gone over in a preceding chapter: as in xi. xii. xiii., each of which is to some extent parallel with the other two chapters; or in xiv. 19, 20, xix. 15, where, the treading of the wine-press being in both the same event, the events preceding it must also be paralleled, and the narrative consequently must have returned to an earlier period of time, before xix. 15. A little further examination shews that a certain classification is observed :—that the seasons of the year, namely, firstfruits, harvest, and vintage are kept together in one series, as xiv. ; that the allusions to the tabernacle or temple are kept distinct from the seasons, as xi. xii. xiii.; and that it is in this tabernacle series only that dates are given-as, forty-two months (xi. 2), 1260 days (xi. 3), three days and a half (xi. 9, 11), 1260 days (xii. 6), time, times, and a half (xii. 14), forty-two months (xiii. 5), 666 (xüi. 18). And we further observe, that the seals, trumpets, and vials (which I shall shew to be political events bearing on the church), have all some allusions which serve to attach them to the two regulating series of seasons and times. And also that the times do not extend lower than the period of the beast's supremacy (xiii. 5): and at this period, when the 1260 days expire, the seasons begin, and run on to the end of this present dispensation, and to the beginning of the Millennium. To understand the beauty and propriety of this classification, we must bear in mind the typical history to which it alludes (namely, the tabernacle in the wilderness,) and the fixed times on which its service was performed; and the seasons, which commenced after crossing Jordan and coming out of the wilderness. During this time series of 1260 days, the church is represented as in the wilderness,“ in a place prepared of God, nourished from the face of the serpent” (xii. 6, 14; fed with manna ;) having no seasons to fix her feasts, but numbering them by the return of months. Now the Mosaic ordinances, though given in the wilderness, all looked forward to the time of their settlement in the land; and the great feasts of the Jewish year, though
fixed to certain days of the montb, were in fact regulated by the seasons, for it was necessary to present at each of them certain fruits of the ground. This shews us the propriety, and, if we may so speak, the necessity, of placing the series of seasons (xiv.) at the end of the 1260 days, or wilderness period; and at the head of that period of time in which the mystery of God is unveiled and finished, regulating the order of each event in that series.
Chap. xiv. ushers in that portion of the Revelation which the slightest inspection shews to be the most important of the whole book. It begins with the visitation on Babylon, and runs on to the overthrow of all the powers of evil, to make way for the kingdom of Christ. All the preceding revelations point onwards to this time ; and all the Old-Testament Prophets look forward to it, as “ the last days,
" " the time of the end,' the day of the Lord,” &c. Now the Prophets are commanded to seal up the vision till the “time of the end” (Dan. xii. 4). when the wise shall understand (Dan. xii. 10): “In the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly” (Jer. xxiii. 20, xxx. 24). I therefore conclude this to be the period when the prophecy is unsealed : which is also indicated by internal evidence in the Apocalypse itself; for angels of the vials are sent expressly to reveal to the Apostle (who represents the church) the events of this time (xvii. 1, xix. 9, xxi, 9, xxii. 8). At this time too, in xv. 4 it is said “thy judgments are made manifest;” and this time of unsealing the prophecy is also the announcement of the coming of Christ (xvi
. 15, xxii. 7), previous to his actual coming (xi. 18, xxii. 12)*.
The great festivals of the Jewish year were the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles; at each of which every male was obliged to appear before the Lord (Ex.xxiii. 14, 17; xxxiv. 23; Lev. xxiii. 5, 15, 34,39). The Passover was on the fourteenth of the first month-nearly answering to our Easter; but as it was necessary to wave a sheaf of corn as first-fruits of the harvest “on the morrow after the sabbath” (Lev. xxiii. 11, 15), and as th Feast of Weeks was numbered,
seven weeks from the time of putting the sickle to the corn” (Deut. xvi. 9), these feasts were, in fact, regulated by the harvest; the calendar being adjusted to the seasons by intercalating another month, called the second Adar, if the harvest was too backward to allow of offering a sheaf on the regular 14th of Abib; and Abib (which means green ears) received its name from being thus connected
* That such a time of unveiling the mystery would arrive, Newton had the sagacity to perceive; and he also assigned the true reason why these prophecies were not understood before: “The time is not yet come,” says he, "for understanding them perfectly, because the main revolution predicted in them is not yet come to pass .“ Till then, we must content ourselves with interpreting what hath been already fulfilled.”