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tion of what was the aspect of the times: and we
* Diss. ch. ix. p. 221. N
narrative, the persons, the incidents, and the duration of time, in all the cases are the same. Perhaps the arrangement that will set the closing scenes which are here described in the clearest and most convincing light, both as it regards the persecution described in the last chapter, and the glorious deliverance now about to be considered, is to connect them with the same closing scenes described in the 7th chapter of the Revelation, and with their explanation.* Thus connected they will stand as follows:— “And after overturnings and wars of the sixth seal, or of the French Revolution had ceased, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds, that the hurricane of war which will be let loose upon a guilty world, on the sounding of the trumpet of the seventh angel, or the coming of the THIRD woe, should not deluge the world with misery and slaughter, until the servants of God, the saints of the Most High, the Lord's witnesses, should be secured from its fury. And every individual member of the true church, in every part of the world, was, during a most severe persecution of three years and a half, purified, and made white, and tried, witnessing in the face of hunger, and thirst, and oppression, and sorrow, a good confession for Christ, thus bearing a seal in their foreheads that they belonged to the living God.”
* See ch. vi. of this Work.
“And after three days and an half, the Spirit of life from God entered into them; and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud ; and their enemies beheld them.” (vers. 11, 12.)
“It was after this translation to heaven, that the Apostle beheld that great multitude which no one could number, from all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, stand before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. He beheld this great multitude, this cloud of witnesses, who had come of the great tribulation; and he heard their song, ascribing THE SALVATION to God and to the Lamb On this event transpiring, on this great deliverance being effected, and not before, the second woe will be past! the Ottoman empire falls! and behold !—oh, behold ! THE THIRD woe com ETH Quickly
From this it will be perceived that I consider the words above quoted, viz. the 11th and 12th verses, as expressly asserting a translation to heaven / and as affording therefore the strongest and most direct confirmation of the explanation I have given to the seventh chapter; and that the two deliverances are one. Most of the arguments that have been brought forward to prove the one, will likewise prove the other ; and therefore to those arguments I would, in the first place, direct my readers’ attention;” and, in connection with them, request
* See ch. vii.
his further attention to the few additional remarks on what is before us. I would notice, as a preliminary observation, one remarkable peculiarity in the first twelve verses of this chapter—and that is, that although highly symbolical, like the other prophecies of this book, yet they are given in the way of narrative, not of vision : and that this narrative, in the various particulars we have considered, enters not only into the detail of the mournful outward circumstances of the Lord's people, but into the very essence of their life, strength, security, and privileges; closing with this their final triumph. In endeavouring to ascertain the precise meaning of the resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses, we ought not to keep out of our minds for a moment, that it is an event which is to happen immediately preceding the dreadful sounding of the seventh trumpet, and, as hath been already in several places explained, the consequent utter ruin of the ten kingdoms. They must therefore signify something that can comport with such a state of things. Whatever the deliverance is, and a very great and complete one it will be, it must be one that will rise above all the horrors of the seventh trumpet! And as if to mark its completeness the more, it is set in the highest contrast with that event. But we must proceed to particulars. It is first said, that at the end of the three years and an half of their sufferings, “the spirit of life from God entered into them ; and they stood upon
their feet.” To perceive the full force of these words we must look back to where it is said, that they have been made war against, and overcome, and KILLED : and their dead bodies have lain publicly exposed, and not suffered to be put into graves! I have explained on these words that the death here spoken of is not a literal death, but must be such a death as a church can suffer. In like manner must we consider the life to be such a resuscitation as a church can enjoy. As the former appears to signify the entire silencing or extinction of all profession whatever of the religion of the Gospel, attended with circumstances of extreme contempt and ignominy; so the mention of their standing upon their feet, not through any favour of man, but by “the Spirit of life from God” entering into them, carries with it the idea, that in the first instance, at the end of the three years and an half, they will, through some wonderful divine interposition, rise into favour and into power—that is, that they will not only recover their former position, “standing again upon their feet,” but in a manner and in an attitude which will cause great fear to fall upon those who see them 1 The expression, “the Spirit of life FROM God,” is very strong, and, I consider, has a remarkable fulness of meaning. It is the same as is used in Gen. vii. 22, according to the marginal reading, “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.” It ought to convey to us, whom it so personally and so nearly concerns, an inexpressibly delightful and