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should be given in this place. And this is done in the little book received from the mighty Angel of the covenant.

We have seen that when severe judgments were to be poured out upon the world, true believers were sealed as the peculiar property and charge of God. Now that the corruptions of the church are about to be described, they are again explicitly distinguished from mere nominal Christians. This is taught us in the first and second verses, by figures that are derived from the Jewish temple, and by images similar to those employed in the fortieth chapter of Ezekiel, and the second chapter of Zechariah. St. John receives a measuring reed, and is ordered by the Angel of the covenant, the great Head of the church, to "measure the temple of God, and the altar, aud them that worship therein;" but," to leave out the court without the temple and not measure it; because it, together with the holy city, was to be given up to the Gentiles, to be trodden under foot forty and two months." The Jewish temple consisted of the sanctuary and two courts; the inner court, where the altar of burnt-offerings stood, was appropriated to the priests; there they performed the services of religion, and, on ordinary occasions, the people did not enter it. In the outer court, the people in general stood. In the second temple, there was added the court of the Gentiles, to which strangers were admitted. The part of the temple where the altar stood, where God was peculiarly present, and solemnly worshipped, represents the sincere disciples of the Redeemer, who, in the language of Peter, "are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Of these who worshipped in spirit and in

truth, and who should be the objects of God's special love, the apostle is ordered to take an exact account; while mere nominal professors, destitute of the spirit and power of religion, notwithstanding their profession and their privileges, are left out in common with the world, regarded as mere worshippers in the outer court, and not as the sealed and peculiar people of God. A reason for not measuring this court is given to the apostle. Both it, and "the holy city" in general, that is, the visible church, were to be profaned by the Gentiles, or by those who, while they pretended to be worshippers of the Redeemer, yet, in their idolatry and unholy conduct, resembled heathens rather than Christians. The precise nature of that great apostacy which is here referred to, is more fully developed in the succeeding chapters. For the consolation of the pious, it is added, that this profanation shall not be perpetual; that it shall be terminated at the end of forty-two prophetic months. You know that, in prophetic chronology, a day denotes a year; you see this in Daniel's prophecy, and numerous other passages. The forty-two months, then, or twelve hundred and sixty days, as the same period is termed in the next verse, denote twelve hundred and sixty years. At what time this important period, (at the conclusion of which the church will appear in all the lustre of millennial glory,) commences and terminates, we shall be led to consider, with some minuteness, in a future lecture.

During all this time, the two witnesses of the Redeemer are to prophesy. Their character and qualifications are given from the third to the sixth verse inclusive. "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These

are the two olive-trees, and the two candlesticks, standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." They are witnesses, defending the truth as it is in Jesus, against antichristian corruptions, and ready to die in attestation of it. They are not merely, as some have supposed, two illustrious individuals. The length of their testimony forbids this supposition. Nor are they the Old and New Testament church; this does not accord with the definite period of their testimony: nor, as others have imagined, the Old and New Testaments; it would be forced to say that these were slain, and that their dead bodies lay in the streets. They are the succession of those pious men, who, during the whole time of darkness and corruption in the church, testified to the truth, and maintained the pure gospel against prevailing errors. As in prophetic language, king or horn signifies not an individual, but a succession of rulers, so witness signifies a succession of pious men, zealous for the truth. Many have shown from history, that, in the darkest ages of the church, such men have never been wanting.

These witnesses are said to be two: to teach us that they should be comparatively few, yet still sufficient, since this is the number required by the law; and also, in allusion to those illustrious persons, who appeared two and two, to plead the cause of God, and bear their testimony against prevailing sins.

Of these, three are particularly referred to in these verses: Joshua and Zerubbabel, after the Babylonish captivity; Elijah and Elisha, during the idolatry of Israel; and Moses and Aaron, at the departure from Egypt.

They prophesy, not so much by foretelling future events, as by defending, explaining, and enforcing the truths of the scriptures; a sense which the word prophesy often bears in the New Testament. They are in sackcloth, exposed to affliction and persecution, and mourning over the vice which they every where behold.

Like Joshua and Zerubbabel, in the fourth chapter of Zechariah," they are two olive-trees, and the two candlesticks, standing before the God of the earth." They are furnished with all needful supplies of grace, and they hold up the light of truth in the midst of surrounding darkness.

Like Elijah, who by his word brought down fire from heaven, to consume his enemies; like Moses, for whose vindication fire consumed the two hundred and fifty men who offered incense with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; "fire proceedeth out of the mouths of these witnesses, and devoureth their enemies. They denounce the threatenings of God against the wicked, and the fiery indignation of the Lord will be manifested against their foes. By the divine interposition crushing their opposers, they are prevented from being cut off or silenced.

Like Elijah and Moses, their prayers shall be so prevalent with God, that the most wonderful effects will be produced, whenever these peculiar manifestations of the divine regard to them, and opposition to their enemies, shall require them.

The death of these witnesses is mentioned, verses 7-10. "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the peoples, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

The "beast ascending out of the bottomless pit” has not been previously mentioned. It will be fully described when we come to the thirteenth and seventeenth chapters. It is sufficient in this place to remark, that it denotes the antichristian power. Provoked by the testimony borne against its corruptions, this power will wage war upon the witnesses, will be permitted to conquer them, so that for a time they will appear to be silent and dead. This shall be done publicly, in the view of the world. While the utmost rancour against the witnesses is expressed, there shall be loud congratulations and applauses by all the friends of Antichrist. This event shall take place in some part of the Roman western empire, that was submissive to Antichrist; and that for its iniquities is compared to Sodom; for its idolatry, superstition, and cruelty towards the people of God, to Egypt; and to Jerusalem, because, while it pretended to be a holy city, it killed the saints, and afresh crucified Christ in his



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