« السابقةمتابعة »
are always symbols will be egregiously mistaken. We must resort to symbols and metaphor only when literalism will not do. For sea, fountains of waters at xiv. 7; earth, at xiv. 6; x. 6; xvi. 1; mountains, at vi. 16 ; grass, tree, at ix. 4; horses, at xix. 18; beasts, at vi. 8. are plainly no symbols but literal words.
2ndly. Let us deduce a set of symbols from the prophetic key to STAR. The seven stars are the ANGELS of the seven churches. Rev. i. 20. And an angel, it is evident from Rev. ii., denotes a minister or the ministry of the church. A star, therefore, denoting a minister, the sun will denote the High Priest, Christ; the moon, as receiving her light from the sun, the church ; the heaven, in which those luminaries shed their light, the dominion or territory of the church. The casting down of the stars of heaven to the earth will denote the dethroning the ministry from their office. A woman, as denoting the great city ROME (Rev. xvii. 18), if clothed with the sun, will denote its admission into the covenant of our Lord; if crowned with twelve stars, will denote its receiving its title to God's promises from the twelve apostles ; if with the moon under her feet, will denote her being built on the foundation of the church of Christ, and she will thus be called the holy city. Rev. xi. 2. If the city denote all those who were made citizens of Rome, who, according to the edict of Caracalla, consisted of all of the Western Roman Empire, then the holy city will be the same as the heaven, or dominion of the church of Christ in the Western Empire, so long as the same sun shines in it; and the moon, or church of Christ itself, must be the same as the worshippers in the holy city. Rev. xi. 1. 4. If these worshippers compose the golden altar with the two candlesticks, which, according to Rev. i. 20, must be two churches, then the golden altar with the two candlesticks will be the same as the moon, or the church in the holy city, or heaven divided into two churches. If the temple of God be distinct from the altar or church on earth, according to xi. 1, and as God dwells in the literal heaven, then the temple of God will denote the church in heaven. If the holy city produce any seed which is caught up to God and his throne (xii.5), this holy seed must be they who having been sealed on earth as worshippers afterwards become worshippers in the temple of God (vii. 15), or in the literal heaven. Again if there be any remnant of her seed, the first seed must be
the first fruits. And if the first fruits be the hundred and forty-four thousand, who, being the first sealed on earth, must be the first arrived to where the Lamb dwells, viz. tbe literal heaven, called Mount Zion, then the great multitude (vii. 9) who are described as first arrived there must be these hundred and forty four thousand; and "an hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” must mean
a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” of the holy city, and the names of the tribes must mean the names of the twelve apostles, with whom the holy city is crowned. vii. 4. 9. Again, if the first seed be “ the souls under the altar of those who were slain for the word of God,” then the remnant of the seed of the holy cily will be “ their fellow-servants and their brethren that should be killed, as they were (vi. 11), “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” xii. 17. And these are declared to be those who do not worship the beast and bis image, nor receive his mark in their forehead or in their hand. xiv. 12. The remnant of the seed of the holy city will be therefore they “ who have gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over the number of his name.” xv. 2. Again, if the worshippers who arrive in the terrple of God, or the literal heaven, compose the bride, and the bride be READY, when “ the souls of them wbo were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands," have arrived in heaven, then these souls will compose the bride (Rev. xix. 7; xx. 4); and if the souls of them who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, compose the seed of the holy city, those who had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, must compose the remnant of the seed. Again, if the temple of God be the literal heaven, then to measure the temple of God will be to measure the worshippers in heaven; and if the golden altar where the candlesticks were situated, according to the mode of the Jewish sanctuary, be the church of Christ on earth, to measure the altar will be to measure the worshippers on earth. But if the temple include the golden altar, according to xi. 2, as must have been the case, since the ultar was measured, which all what was without the temple was not to be, then the case of the Christian is the same as that of the Jewish temple, which had one part of it called specifically the temple, while the name in general included that part and the rest. In the Jewish temple the sanctuary, containing the golden altar and the holy of holies, composed what was called the temple specifically, or the inner temple; and the outer courts in one of which was the brazen altar of burnt offerings, composed the rest of the temple, or outer temple. But as in the Christian temple there is no altar of burnt offerings, the outer court is the same with the holy city (xi. 2); the holy of holies, in which Cbrist dwells (Heb. ix. 12), answers to the specific temple of the Jewish edifice; and the sanctuary, in which is the golden altar, upon which are situated the candlesticks, answers to the rest of the temple called the outer temple. The lemple of God, or inner temple, will therefore be the church in heaven in the Christian edifice; and the golden altar, or outer temple, will be the church on earth. The temple of GOD, or the temple in HEAVEN may be a name applied to the church in heaven in particular, while the temple may apply indifferently to the church in heaven or the church on earth. xi. 1, 2; xiv. 15. 17. Thus, in the temple of God, the ark of the testament is seen (xi. 19), which then must be the literal heaven, as the holy of bolies contained the ark of the testament, called also the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony (xv. 5); and the ark of the testament will then be Christ, who is the Mediator, or keeper of the New Testament (Heb.ix. 15); and the book which he holds will be that New Testament. The opening of the temple of GOD, and the smoke of his glory filling the TEMPLE (xv. 5. 8.), will denote some new light emitted froin God on the church on earth. And if seven angels are represented as coming out from the temple of God, and one of them is declared to be (xxi.9; xxii.9) "a fellow-servant” of St. John, and “ of those who keep the sayings of the prophecy,” they will represent ministers raised up by God, and sent upon the earth; and as one minister may represent a ministry, according to prophecy (see p. vi), then seven successive angels will represent seven successive ministries. And as two witnesses are represented as standing before God, and seven angels as standing before God, and as the effect of the prophesying of the witnesses is the same with
that of the sounding of the angels, viz. that they waters into blood,” and “smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will ” (viii. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13; ix. 3), and, as the prophesying is simultaneous with the trumpeting, then the two witnesses may be the same as the seven angels. And as the witnesses are two churches, then the seven angels may be the seven successive ministries who are the mouth of these churches, and the fire of their mouth will be their doctrines and the fire of the altar. An angel coming out from the temple of GOD will enter the altar or church on earth to minister there. An angel coming out from the altar will proceed into the city, to minister in things which do not exactly regard the altar. xiv. 18. Again, if a star or angel represent a minister of a Christian church, by analogy it will represent a minister of any other religion, whether he be whoily sacerdotal or not. Thus a star may be a king or khalif as temporal head of a religion. The sun will be an imperial high-priest. The moon, the religious world, subject to its head. The heaven, the dominion of the imperial pontiff and his satellites, in which their influence extends. An eclipse in any
of the luminaries will signify some partial and temporary deficiency in their influence in their heaven; and the passing away of the heaven itself will denote the passing away of the dominion of the head of a religion. A star falling from heaven, again, will denote the apostacy of a minister from the dominion of the head of a religion. The ascending of any ministers or churches to heaven after they had been cast down, will mean their regaining the dominion which they had lost. xi. 12. The opening of heaven, again, will denote the extension of the dominion of a religion. The air, upon which the heaven is based, will denote the world at large upon which a religious dominion is established; and hail, as belonging to the colder regions of the air, will denote the more northerly nations of the world, who, making an irruption on the more southerly, are said to fall out of heaven when they descend from the dominion of the "same religion. Wind, again, as being a portion of the air in a state of motion or fermentation, will denote a hostile irruption of one part of the world upon another, and the four winds being let loose, a commotion in all quarters of the world. A cloud, again, as floating upon the air or world, will denote a multitude, or people, or nation, or tongue; and thunders and lightnings, as proceeding from
a commotion or disruption of the clouds will denote the wars or fracas among contending multitudes. To ascend to heaven in a cloud, after having been cast down, will mean to regain a former dominion, with the increase of a great multitude ; and rain from heaven will denote the extension of a dominion. Again, if there be a sun, and stars, and heaven, of one religion, and a sun, and stars, and heaven, of another religion, then if the woman, or city, after leaving the heaven clothed with the light of one sun, fly into the wilderness, it becomes bereft of the light, and ceases to be the heaven of that sun; and if it become the heaven of another sun, it is then denominated a whore. And if this hearen be a beast's or empire's, its sun will be the head or emperor, and its stars, its horns, or kings; and if the apostate city be the whore of the emperor, its daughters or cities like it, will be tbe harlots of the kings. From this it is plain, that when one heaven becomes shut (xi. 6) another becomes open; and when this again becomes shut the other becomes open. xix. 11. Thus the heaven of our Lord may be open till the holy city becomes a whore, when the heaven is shut up with the two candlesticks in sackcloth, and the beast's heaven becomes open; and this, again, may become shut when the candlesticks cease to prophecy in sackcloth, and the other beconies open. xix. 11. If the heaven of one sun be a spiritual dominion, and the heaven of the other sun be a temporal dominion, then if a city apostatise from a spiritual to a temporal dominion, the whoredom or harlotry consists in that apostacy, But we cannot always abstractedly fix the precise import of a symbol: it will very often be modified by the connexion in which it stands. The same observation with which we closed our deduction of the first set of symbols may be extended to the second, viz. that the words considered symbols in this set do not always occur as symbols, as is evident in the use of the word heaven iïi. 12; x. 6; xx. 9; xxi. 10; X. 4, 8; xiv. 2, 13; xviii. 4, and elsewhere.
Other symbols there are which are not peculiar to prophecy, but common to all language. To these prophecy furnishes no key.