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original) men seven thousand; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of Heaven.
14th. The second woe is past; and behold the third woe cometh quickly.
15th. And the 7th angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying; the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ: and he shall reign forever and ever.
The first vision of the divine apostle was finished at the seventh verse of the preceding chapter, after the seven thunders had uttered their voices; and the apostle was ordered to seal up those things which he had heard from these thunders, and not to write them, as being improper then to be revealed; but lest it should be concluded from this secrecy, that they contained the final issue of all temporal things; the angel to prevent this construction, swears by him that liveth forever, that the time (of the events contained in the seven thunders) was not yet, as it is in the original, but that the prophet should prophecy again, before, or concerning many people, &c. which was as much as to say, that this favorite of heaven was to proceed in his prophecies to a still remoter period, relative to the events and conduct of other governments and people, which should come to pass previous to those related in the seven thunders. After this, how long is not mentioned, the apostle is again favored by his master, with a new vision in confirmation of the former, and containing the same events in substance, but under
different figures—in the same manner, as under the old testament, had been communicated in different ways both to Nebuchadnezzar and to Daniel, in order to render the prophecy the more certain.
The voice that he had before heard from heaven, spoke to him again, and commanded him “ to go and take the little book from the hands of the angel, and eat it up,
and it should be sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his belly.”—That is, the knowledge he should receive of the intentions of Jesus Christ, with regard to his church, from time to time, till his second advent, with the certainty of that blessed event, would be matter of great support, joy and consolation to his faith and patience, yet the extreme distresses, miseries, and cruel persecutions, foretold in this little book, as those which would necessarily precede and attend his glorious appearance, would exceedingly pain and distress this beloved disciple's benevolent soul.
The angel then proceeds to order him to rise, and with the rod that was given to him, to measure the temple of God, and the altar; and them who worship therein; as in the 1st verse.
This figure is taken from the 40th chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, and was designed for the encouragement of the people of God, as predictive of their ultimate security, whatever their present sufferings might be, being his true and spiritual worshippers and who lived according to the divine rule-But as in the 2d verse—the court that was without the temple, was to be left out, and was not to be measured, or pro
tected; but was to be given up to the Gentiles; and the holy city (or church of Christ,) was to be trodden under foot, for forty-two months or twelve hundred and sixty days, which always in prophetical language signifies as many years—By this, was intended to be shown the visible church of Christ in the possession of idolators, like the church of the Gentiles, and unfit for divine measure; so that it would, under the apostacy of the man of sin, be in the power of its enemies during this period, in which, although his people should suffer greatly, yet really and in the end, the mere nominal professor should be given up to destruction, while they should be purified and made white in the blood of the Lamb.—The figure is taken from the outer court of the temple at Jerusalem, being appropriated to Gentile professors only, who were neither circumcised or otherwise initiated into the real congregation of the Jews; or received any visible mark of union with their church, but barely professed to keep the seven precepts of the sons of Noah.
The ideas of the famous and learned Joseph Mede, the great expositor of the book of Revelations, on this subject, are," that in this survey, St. John was first to examine the inner court, which, by its conformity to the divine measure to be applied thereto, he should find to be sacred. This being done he was in the next place, to survey the outer court; which, because he should find possessed by the Gentiles and therefore pot capable of the divine measure, he was to cast or leave out, (ejice foras) that is, excommunicate, or pronounce unsacred or polluted. *
The inner court, then measured by the divine reed, is the visible church in its primitive purity, (wbieh existed near 400 years after this revelation to John, which was about the year 98) when as yet christian worship was unprophaned and answerable to the divine rule, as revealed from God.
The second, or outward court, represents the state of apostacy under the man of sin, when the visible church, being possessed by spiritual idolators during 1260 years, became in their public worship, so unconformable to, and unapt for divine measure, that it was to be cast out as not sacred and christian, but profane and polluted.
After this introductory command to the apostle, by which the states of the church were foretold for this long period of more than seventeen hundred years, from the time of the revelation to St. John; the great subject of this part of the prophecy is ushered in and detailed more minutely, yet in few words, by discovering another particular that enters deeply into the peculiar circumstances of the church of Christ, during this same period, in the
3d verse—And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy (or as a late author translates the passage more literally," and I will ap
• Vide Ezek. xliv. 6,, and 8, also xliii. .
point my two witnesses to be teachers”) a thousand two hundred and three-score days, cloathed in sack. cloth.
These two witnesses who are spoken of in such a manner, as leads to the idea, that they were well known to the apostle, and had a connection with the church of Christ which had just been measured ; and in so particular a manner as to be denominated
my two witnesses,” that is, of Jesus Christ, were to teach and instruct in a public manner, for the space of 1260 years. This also designates the state of the church, as before mentioned, during which period, bad as the times were to become, and violent as the opposition to the spread of the gospel should be, (prefigured by the church being trodden down by the gentiles, that is, to remain in a very suffering state) yet under every difficulty and under all her persecutions, God would give or continue the power of his two witnesses to prophecy, teach or instruct his people during this long season, though they were to be cloathed in sackcloth. *
Prophesying or teaching in sackcloth, is a figure taken from the practice of mourners of that day, who dressed in the coarsest clothes such as haircloth, or any thing sacks were made of, used by the poor
* Sackeloth was any thing that sacks were made of, generally sheep or goats skins, with which prophets were clad -a roogh garment.
Daubuz, Vide 2d Kings, i. ch. 8th versei. ch. 12-13. Zach. iii. sh. 3d.