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This event answers to the characteristics of this roll, as connecting the Greek empire with the affairs of Israel, without pushing its representation into the period of a subsequent empire; which violates the rules of interpretation and analogy.
I have only to add, that Alexander is clearly the rider of this horse, for his four generals divided his empire; a circumstance pourtrayed in Daniel's vision of the empire, but not in John's. And here we have another proof, that a different period is viewed in their visions of the same empire; and probably in Zechariah's also. John saw the empire only in its integral state under Alexander; Daniel saw it also in its state of division into four kingdoms: for the more immediate object of his prophecy was the point of the successive domination of each empire, concluding in that of the King of kings with his saints " under the whole heaven.' The points of allusion with John were principally those which connected the empire with those who are to sit with the Victor on his throne, judging the twelve tribes of Israel;" to which to which object Daniel only briefly alludes in his last chapter. The distinction between their objects ought, I apprehend, to form the hinge of the interpretation of the visions con
cerning the same empires seen by Daniel, Zechariah, and John.
vv. 7, 8. The fourth roll being unsealed, the fourth living creature directed John's eye to its picture or representative scenery. The eagle on Dan's banner, over the remaining fourth of Israel's tribes, was one of the cherubic emblems of the Church triumphant; and also the ensign of Rome,* whose eagles being planted on the ploughed soil where had stood Jehovah's temple, completed the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel as standing in the holy place. The united object of this hieroglyphic is signally appropriate; the eagles being mentioned by our Lord himself as the symbolic birds of prey, which were to hover over Judah during the period of his absence. He selected this image of their house being left unto them desolate under the Roman reign of terror, till they should say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah."
Mr. Faber considers the rider on the pale horse to be the undefinable form of the king of terrors himself! -This surely would violate the analogy between the four riders as heads of the four secular empires, and be incompatible with the homogeneity for which he had contended. The metaphorical use of the word
death," in the last line of the verse, seems designedly opposed to the interpretation. And chap. xix, 20, the beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire before the millennium; and consequently are there when" death and hell are cast in when after the general judgement." Chap.
xx, 10, 14.
I suppose this rider to be the Proteus-persecuting power, seated in
* Tacitus calls the legionary eagles, "the proper deities of the soldiery" of Rome.
n Matt. xxiv, 28.
Rome pagan, Rome papal, and Rome infidel; who, in reference to the Church of God, both Jews and Christians, might justly be characterized by the name of DEATH. Neither the Assyrian, Persian, nor Greek rulers destroyed the people of God as such; but the heathen, and soon the heretical christian emperors, and their successor the pope, have done so; and hereafter the same power in its last head will do so likewise.
I am aware that some incongruity still remains according to this interpretation; for if the former three riders represented individuals and not dynasties, so ought this. I think they were individuals historically pourtrayed, in aspects which to be known must be revealed. But when John saw the vision, this Roman power had not, nor has it ever been, confined to one person singularly connected with the Church; but has been vested in the head of empire for the time being,-sometimes emperor, sometimes pope, and probably ere long king of the Romans; all in their succession materially concerned with the affairs of the Church.
I do not consider any part of the Indian or American possessions of the rider to be members of the figurative horse; because their inhabitants were persecuted as pagans, and not for any part of the true faith, as were Jews and Christians: pagans never form a part of God's witnesses in sackcloth; nor are
their territories any portion of the prophetic earth. We shall hereafter see reason to suppose that North Africa and Western Asia are part of the platform of the eastern and western empire.
This rider is distinguished from the three former by a peculiarly characteristic attendant-Hades.* Under his pagan reign the fabled gate of the infernal regions was within the proper Roman empire; and that desperate workshop of evil, where Vulcan and his fallen deities dwelt, was in the heart of Italy. During its papal domination, purgatory has been at its right hand. Truly this rider has been characteristically the power of death, and hell followed with it." Though infidelity has in some degree silenced his excommunicating bulls, and hindered inquisitorial deeds of darkness, yet the power given to the last of this world's potentates will people the regions of woe with all the enemies of God and his Christ, from "the fourth part of the earth," under that very infidel sway. Thus the territory of his divided empire will soon become the scene of the supper of the 'great God, where the fowls will eat
the flesh of kings, of captains, of mighty men, of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of small and great;"† even of all who in the enmity of their carnal hearts wage war against Him who is faithful and true, and against his army.''‡
*This circumstance militates against interpreting the seals to be the Christian Church in four estates: because if Hades personifies" a spiritual domination which claims unlimited power over the invisible world," it ought equally to have attended the former riders; since persecution to death, &c. was as frequent in the first centuries, especially under the Arian persecution; and the power of the other patriarchs was soon sunk in that of the Pope. The four modes of inflicting death were common in the first ages of the Church, and must have been mentioned especially under the first seal, had its concerns been the peculiar subject of the seals.
+ Rev. xix, 18, where the saine figure is used for empires and their rulers. See also Hag. ii, 22.
Is Christendom denominated "the fourth part of the (prophetic) earth" in rcference to Chaldea, Persia and Greece, whose proper original territories remain separate
Four modes by which the noble army of martyrs has been formed, are mentioned. The "sword" may designate the gladiatorial combats, to which the primitive Christians were doomed by pagan Rome. Papal Rome exterminated by hunger" those who retained the Bible and its simple faith and practice in the vallies. Its Inquisition* may by eminence be styled death," by whatever engine it is inflicted. As the Spirit of prophecy places "the beasts of the earth" last, some form of death under the infidel power may be meant. But history shows that in most persecutions three of these modes have been employed by the Roman power : those that do know their God and instruct many, yet fall by sword, flame, captivity and spoil, for days:" probably the three days and a half of the witnesses' death; for the text belongs to the prophecy of the infidel king, and can only relate to the time of
are heard crying, come and see,' which were the connecting characteristics of the four first seals: the prophetic platform having being erected, it was to stand till the empires of this world pass away. The next seal opens in evident connexion with the persecuting power; exhibiting a vision of the disembodied spirits of the saints that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.”
There is some contention respecting what particular body of martyrs John saw at the period of his vision, A. D. 96: whether only those slain up to the Dioclesian decree of A. D. 311; or those under the Arian persecution; or both these together, waiting for such as were slain at the Reformation, &c. The choice depends upon the system of dates to which the commentator makes the word of God conform. One consequence seems to be, that whatever particular body is supposed to be seen by John under the fifth seal, that body alone enters the blessedness described in the seventh chapter; by which means its striking language is deprived of its appropriate sense, and literal Israelites are excluded from its millennial scene. And was not Stephen, with all the martyrs also of pagan, mahometan and papal persecutions, with one accord desiring the day of righteous retribution, and the promised restitution of all things which God hath spoken by all his holy prophets? All these must "rest for a little season,† till
from the proper Roman territory of ten kingdoms, and of the eleventh, the states of the Church? For when the other beasts (enemies) were slain in respect to their dominance and conquest, their lives were prolonged. (Dan. vii, 12.) Chaldea, Persia, and Greece exist, and not under the government of Rome. Chaldea is desolate, but has a distinct church, which the missionary Wolff considered pure.
* Mr. Faber places "the sword and wild beasts" under Pagan Rome, "famine" and “fire” under papal Rome, but adds, that the word describes an engine of destruction; hence I prefer giving it the sense of the Inquisition.
This, like other Scripture representations, is conformed to human modes of conception; for in reality it is said to each at the moment of death, "time to thee shall be
their fellow servants be killed," on the coming persecutions of the infidel power, and join them. Then the trump that wakes the dead shall sound the knell of the world which lieth in wickedness, and summon the white robed hosts of God to follow the Conqueror on his premillennial advent.
The ninth verse glances at various texts in Leviticus, which prove that the blood of sacrifice alone sanctified the roll of the law, the altar, and whatsoever was found in the temple for their appropriate service. It was poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt sacrifice; which is therefore the one under which the souls of martyrs rest,-the one on whose horns all the guilty laid hold for salvation.* The other, the altar of incense, was always called the golden altar, (which this is not,) and stood close beside the sanctuary; whereas John was at the door of the inner court, just before the altar of burnt offering. There it was fitting they should be seen, whose only hope rested in the blood of the sacrifice, typified by those daily presented; it being for this hope these martyrs had been tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." John was made sensible to one subject of their supplication, viz. the Lord's avenging their blood on the persecutors who "dwell on the (Roman) earth; but this one evinces their recollection of all the accom
panying promises of Jehovah, for the manifestation of his own glory. Psalm lvii gives the substance of their cry: the cry of justified spirits cannot be for avenging judgements as such; but must arise from their desire that Christ should be no longer insulted, but glorified, and be supreme on earth as in heaven. Then indeed “that determined will be poured on the desolator :" (Dan. ix, 27 :) but then also the abomination will be removed from the land of Judah; and the song of praise for salvation shall arise to him who "cometh in the name of Jehovah." Then those who now rest absent from the body, will put on incorruption, and death will be swallowed up in victory as to them; for "in the day of vengeance the year of his redeemed is come," i.e. the time of the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body," for which Rom. viii represents " all creation as groaning together."
Meanwhile John "saw white robes given to every one of them;" for each was separately justified and clothed in the Redeemer's righteousness, which is the white robe of his saints. This line presents a secret link with chap. vii, 9, 14, where the whole multitude of the redeemed appears clothed in white robes, washed white in the blood of the Lamb;-a link which corroborates the view, that in verses 9-11 the kingdom of Christ is represented by the whole body of martyrs, increasing with the in
no longer." The voice which bids them rest for a little season, once said to Judah, after announcing the resurrection of their dead; "Come, my people! enter into thy 'chambers, shut thy doors about thee, hide thyself as it were for a little moment, till 'the indignation be over-past. For behold the Lord cometh out of his place to
punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the (prophetic) earth shall dis'close her blood and shall no more cover her slain." Isa. xxvi, 19-23. By this parallel prophecy the subject of Rev. vi, 9-11 is connected with God's word to literal Israel.
* The Talmud says, "Every one that is buried in the land of Israel is as if he were buried under the altar, for it expiates his sins: whoever is buried under the altar is as if he were buried under the throne of glory."-The Syriac, Arabic, and Complut. editions read, "for the testimony of the Lamb."
crease of God; while (as the following verses will show,) the wrath of the Lamb overcomes all opposition to its progress. Thus it is presented chap. vii in its fulness, in the mystic completeness of the 144,000 of Israel's tribes, the enumerated multitude of all nations and kindreds, who have been and are gathering till the manifestation of the sons of God.
Thus also, in the parallel visions of Daniel and Zechariah, the kingdom and personal glory of Christ are described as immediately succeeding to the four empires. The four metals of the image symbolize them, and the stone cut out without hands appears, increases, and at once breaks the ten toes of the image, then fills the earth. In Dan. vii, soon as the four empires are presented to view, the papal horn appears, grows, persecutes the saints till his power is taken away; then the saints possess the kingdom. Again, after the four horns or powers which scattered Judah are mentioned, with their destruction, by Zech
ON THE UNION OF JEWS AND GENTILES. (STRICTURES ON ABDIEL, page 92.)
To the Editor of the Investigator. Sir,
ariah, he celebrates the return of Jehovah to dwell in Zion; (chapters i and ii;) and repeats, after his vision of vision of the four chariots, &c. (chap. vi,) that the Man, the Branch, grows up out of his place, sits as a priest upon his throne, and his people come and build in his temple.
Before proceeding to the sixth seal we must remark, that it would be incongruous that trumpets should sound for judgement on the three former pagan empires; since, as I conceive, they they announce God's wrath for the persecution of his saints. I have endeavoured to show, that the characteristics of the three first empires mark their connexion with the Church of Israel. Two of them befriended it. The first indeed persecuted it; but not as God's people: in that view it was constrained to honour them; and its ruler carried them captive merely in revenge for their king's refusing him tribute. This is the precise hinge on which my interpretation turns, as will, Deo volente, further appear hereafter. H.
In reading the Investigator I find so much learning and sublime argument displayed, that I am fearful of exhibiting my opinion; being only a very illiterate countryman: and yet I have opinions at variance with most of your Correspondents, though I nevertheless read their learned expositions with delight.
In your No. IV, page 92, Abdiel says: "From Hosea therefore might every Jew have plainly inferred that the Gentiles would be called in for so Paul presses on them the words, "I will call them