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255 become the kingdoms of the Lord losophy of the Gentiles and Cabal
and of his Christ, and those are de- istical Jews, and were thence called stroyed that destroyed the earth. Gnosticks. John calls them Anti
The interpretation begins with the christs, saying that in his days there words, “And the temple of God was were many Antichrists. But these opened in heaven, and there was being condemned by the apostles seen in his temple the ark of his and their immediate disciples, put testament:” and it continues to the the churches in no danger during end of the prophecy. The temple the opening of the first four seals. is the scene of the visions, and the The visions at the opening of these visions in the temple relate to the seals relate only to the civil affairs feast of the seventh month: for the of the heathen Roman Empire. So feasts of the Jews were typical of long the apostolic traditions prethings to come.
The Passover re- vailed, and preserved the church in lated to the first coming of Christ, its purity : and therefore the affairs and the feasts of the seventh month of the church do not begin to be to his second coming : his first com- considered in this prophecy before ing being therefore over before this the opening of the fifth seal. She prophecy was given, the feasts of began then to decline, and to want the seventh month only are here al. admonitions; and therefore is adluded to.
monished by these epistles, till the On the first day of that month, apostacy prevailed and took place, in the morning, the High Priest which was at the opening of the dressed the lamps; in allusion to seventh seal. The admonitions which, this prophecy begins with a therefore in these seven epistles revision of one like the Son of Man late to the state of the church in the in the High Priest's habit, appear
times of the fifth and sixth seals. ing as it were in the midst of the At the opening of the fifth seal, the 257 seven golden candlesticks, or over church is purged from hypocrites by against the midst of them, dressing a great persecution. At the openthe lamps, which appeared like a ing of the sixth, that which letted rod of seven stars in his right hand: is taken out of the way; namely, and this dressing was performed by the heathen Roman empire. At the sending seven epistles to the the opening of the seventh, the man angels or bishops of the seven of sin is revealed. And to these churches of Asia, which in the pri- times the seven epistles relate. mitive times illuminated the temple The seven angels, to whom these
or catholic church. These epistles epistles were written, answer to the 256 contain admonitions against the ap- seven Amarc-holim, who were priests
proaching apostacy, and therefore and chief officers of the temple, and relate to the times when the apo- had jointly the keys of the gates of stacy began to work strongly, and the temple, with those of the treabefore it prevailed. It began to suries, and the direction, appointwork in the apostles' days, and was ment, and oversight of all things in to continue working
«« till the man
the temple. of sin should be revealed.” It be- CHAPTER IV. After the lamps were gan to work in the disciples of Si- dressed, John saw the door of the mon, Menander, Carpocrates, Ce- temple opened; and by the voice rinthus, and such sorts of men as as it were of a trumpet," was had imbibed the metaphysical phi- called up to the eastern gate of the
great court, to see the visions : behind;" that is, one beast before
and behold a throne was set," viz. the throne and one behind it, apthe mercy-seat upon the ark of the pearing to John as in the midst of Testament, which the Jews respect the throne, and one on either side ed as the throne of God between in the circle about it, to represent the cherubims, “ And he that sat by the multitude of their eyes the on it was to look upon like jasper people standing in the four sides of and sardine stone,”a that is, of an the peoples' court. And the first olive color, which is the complexion beast was like a lion, and the of the people of Judea; and, the second was like a calf, and the 259 sun being then in the east, " third had the face of a man, and rainbow was about the throne,” the · the fourth was like a flying eagle.” emblem of glory. “ And round The people of Israel in the wilderabout the throne were four and
ness encamped round about the twenty seats ;” answering to the tabernacle, and on the east side chambers of the four and twenty were three tribes under the stand
princes of the priests, twelve on the ard of Judah, on the west were 258 south side, and twelve on the north three tribes under the standard of
side of the priests' court. And Ephraim, on the south were three upon the seats were four and tribes under the standard of Reutwenty elders sitting, clothed in ben, and on the north were three ' white raiment, with crowns on
tribes under the standard of Dan; b · their heads;" representing the and the standard of Judah was a princes of the four and twenty lion, that of Ephraim an ox, that of courses of the priests clothed in Reuben a man, and that of Dan an linen. “ And out of the throne eagle, as the Jews affirm; whence
proceeded lightnings and thunder- were framed the hieroglyphics of •ings, and voices,” viz. the flashes cherubim and seraphim, to repreof fire upon the altar at the morning sent the people of Israel. The chesacrifice, and the thundering voices rubim had one body with four faces, of those that sounded the trumpets, (the faces of a lion, an ox, a man, and sung at the eastern gate of the and an eagle,) looking to the four priests' court; for these being be- winds of heaven, without turning tween John and the throne appeared about;c and four seraphs had the to him as proceeding from the same four faces with four bodies, throne. " And there were seven one face to every body. The four • lamps of fire burning, [in the tem- beasts are therefore four seraphs
ple,] before the throne, which are standing in the four sides of the • the seven spirits of God,” or an- people's court; the first in the eastgels of the seven churches, repre- ern side with the head of a lion, the sented in the beginning of this pro- second in the western side with the phecy by seven stars. “ And before head of an ox, the third in the ' the throne was a sea of glass clear southern side with the head of a
as chrystal ;" the brazen sea be- man, the fourth in the northern tween the porch of the temple and side with the head of an eagle : and the altar, filled with clear water. all four signify together the twelve " And in the midst of the throne, tribes of Israel, out of whom the • and round about the throne, were 144,000 were sealed. d " And the 260 * four beasts full of eyes before and · four beasts had each of them six
a Exod. xxv, 2; Ps. xcix, 1.
b Numbers ii,
c Ezek. i.
d Rev. vii, 4.
wings,” two to a tribe, in all in the right hand of him that sat twenty-four wings, answering to upon the throne, a book written the twenty-four stations of the within and on the backside, sealed people; “ and they were full of with seven seals,” viz. the book eyes within,"
their which Daniel was commanded to wings. And they rest not day seal up, and which is here repreand night," or at the morning or sented by the prophetic book of the evening sacrifices," saying, holy,
saying, holy, Law laid up, on the right side of the holy, holy Lord God Almighty, ark, as it were in the right hand of which was, and is, and is to him that sat on the throne : for the
These animals are there- festivals and ceremonies of the Law, fore the seraphim, which appeared prescribed to the people in this to Isaiah in a vision like this of the book, adumbrated those things which Apocalypse : for there also the were predicted in the book of Lord sat upon a throne in the tem- Daniel : and the writing within and ple; and the seraphim each with on the backside of this book relates six wings cried, “Holy, holy, holy to the synchronal prophecies. “ And Lord God of hosts,”e
none was found worthy to open the ' when those animals give glory book but the Lamb of God. ” And and honor and thanks to him «lo, in the midst of the throne and that sitteth upon the throne, of the four beasts, and in the midst who liveth for ever and ever, the of the elders, (that is, at the foot four and twenty elders (go into of the altar,) stood a Lamb as it ' the temple, and there] fall down had been slain, (the morning sabefore him that sitteth on the crifice;) having seven horns, which throne, saying, Thou art worthy, are the seven churches, and seven • O Lord, to receive glory and honor eyes, which are the seven spirits ' and power : for thou hast created of God sent forth into all the earth. 262
all things, and for thy pleasure And he came, and took the book 'they are and were created.” At out of the right hand of him that the morning and evening sacrifices, ' sat upon the throne: and when so soon as the sacrifices was laid he had taken the book, the four upon the altar, and the drink-offer- beasts and four and twenty elders ing began to be poured out, the ( fell down before the Lamb, having trumpets sounded, and the Levites
every one of them harps, and 261 sang by course three times; and golden vials full of odors, which
every time, when the trumpets are the prayers of saints. And
present the primitive christians of
" And John saw, all nations ; and the worship of
e Is. vi, 3.
these christians in their churches is put him in mind of reading and here represented under the form of studying it himself. This opening worshiping God and the Lamb in and reading the Law on those seven the temple : God for his benefaction days, is alluded to in the Lamb's in creating all things, and the Lamb opening the seals. We are to confor his benefaction in redeeming us ceive, that those seven days begin 264 with his blood : God as sitting upon in the evening before each day, (for the throne and living for ever, and the Jews began their day in the the Lamb as exalted above all by evening, and that the solemnity of the merits of his death. And I the fast begins at the morning of • heard (saith John) the voice of the seventh day. many angels round about the CHAPTER VIII. The seventh seal throne, and the beasts and the was therefore opened on the day of elders; and the number of them expiation, and then
there was was ten thousand times ten thou- silence in heaven for half an hour.” sand, and thousands of thousands; ** And an angel, (the High Priest,) saying with a loud voice, Worthy • stood at the altar, having a golden
• is the Lamb that was slain to re- censer; and there was given him 263 'ceive power, and riches, and wis- much incense, that he should offer
dom, and strength, and honor, ' it with the prayers of all saints, and glory, and blessing. And e- upon the golden altar which was very creature which is in heaven, before the throne.' The custom ' and on the earth, and under the was on other days, for one of the earth, and such as are in the sea, priests to take fire from the great and all that are in them, heard I, altar in a silver censer ; but on this saying, Blessing, honor, glory, and day, for the High Priest to take fire power, be unto him that sitteth from the great altar in a golden upon the throne, and unto the
and when he was come
four and twenty elders fell down brought it to him, and went with it
ever and ever.” This was the offered the incense, the people pray-
It was the custom for the High silence in heaven for half an hour. Priest, seven days before the fast of When the High Priest had laid the the seventh month, to continue con- incense on the altar, he carried a stantly in the temple, and study the censer of it, burning in his hand, book of the Law, that he might be into the most holy place before the perfect in it against the day of expi- ark. And the smoke of the ination; wherein the service, which cense, with the prayers of the was various and intricate, was wholly saints, ascended up before God out to be performed by himself; and part of the angel's hand.” On other of which service was, reading the Law days there was a certain measure of to the people: and to promote his incense for the golden altar : on this studying it, there were certain priests day there was a greater quantity for 265 appointed by the Sanhedrim to be both the altar and the most holy with him those seven days in one of place, and therefore it is called his chambers in the temple, and “ much incense.” After this the there to discourse with him about angel took the censer, and filled it the Law, and read it to him, and with fire from the [great] altar,
• and cast it into the earth ;” that the day of expiation all the people is, by the hands of the priests who of Israel are sealed up in the books belong to his mystical body, he cast of life and death. f For the Jews it to the earth without the temple, in their Talmud tell us, that in the for burning the goat which was the beginning of every new year, or first Lord's lot. And at this and other day of the month Tisri, the seventh concomitant sacrifices, until the month of the sacred year, three evening sacrifice was ended,
os there books are opened in judgement; were voices, and thunderings, and the book of life, in which the names lightnings, and an earthquake." of those are written who are perthat is, the voice of the High Priest fectly just; the book of death, in reading the Law to the people, and which the names of those are other voices and thunderings from written who are atheists or very the trumpets and temple music at wicked; and a third book of those the sacrifices, and lightnings from whose judgement is suspended till the fire of the altar.
the day of expiation, and whose The solemnity of the day of ex- names are not written in the book piation being finished, the seven of life or death before that day. angels sound their trumpets at the The first ten days of this month they great sacrifices of the seven days of call the penitential days; and all the feast of tabernacle ; and at the these days they fast and pray very same sacrifices, the seven thunders much, and are very devout, that on utter their voices, which are the the tenth day their sins may be remusic of the temple, and singing of mitted, and their names may be the Levites, intermixed with the written in the book of life; which 267 soundings of the trumpets: and the day is therefore called the day of seven angels pour out their vials of expiation. And upon this tenth wrath which are the drink offerings day, in returning home from the of those sacrifices.
synagogues, they say to one another, CHAPTER VII. When six of the seals «i God the Creator seal you to a were opened, John said :
And af- "good year.” For they conceive • ter these things,” that is, after the that the books are now sealed up, visions of the sixth seal, “ I saw and that the sentence of God re
four angels standing on the four mains unchanged henceforward to 266 corners of the earth, holding the the end of the year.
The same • four winds of the earth, that the thing is signified by the two goats, ' wind should not blow on the earth, upon whose foreheads the High nor on the sea, nor on any tree. Priest yearly, on the day of expiaAnd I saw another angel ascend- tion, lays the two lots inscribed, ing from the east, having the seal for God and for Azazel; God's lot • of the living God: and he cried signifying the people, who are sealed • with a loud voice to the four an- with the name of God in their foregels, to whom it was given to hurt heads; and the lot Azazel, which the earth and the sea, saying, was sent into the wilderness, repre· Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, senting those who receive the mark nor the trees, till we have sealed and the name of the beast, and
go · the servants of our God in their into the wilderness with the great · foreheads.” This sealing alludes whore. to a tradition of the Jews, that upon The servants of God, being there
f Buxtorf in Synagoga Judaica, c. xviii, 21.