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angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel"—that is, 12000 from each tribe, making 144,000, as described in verses 5 to 8.-Verse 9.
I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders, and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever, Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
The striking feature of the foregoing passage is the blessing upon the elect of Israel. They, as the elder
brethren, have pre-eminence above the Gentiles. The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first. Zech. xii. 17.-They are called first unto their Messiah; and clothed with their spiritual bodies, they delight themselves in the presence of their King. The tribe of Dan, however, is not numbered. The word Dan signifies judgment, and it may perhaps seem as if this tribe were left for judgment, even as Judas from amongst the apostles was left. To the children of Israel thus collected together, succeed the countless multitude of the Gentiles, and united as one fold under one shepherd, they, the risen saints, together constitute the Millennial Church.
Rev. viii. 1.-" And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."
This silence represents the Church when she has entered into the joy of her Lord. He has led her into the banquetting house, and his banner over her is love. Her sun no more goes down, neither does her moon withdraw itself: for the Lord is become her everlasting light, and the days of her mourning are ended.
: CHAP. XVI.
Prophecy of the Seven Trumpets-Four first Trumpets considered.-Rev. viii. 2-12.
The eighth chapter of the Apocalypse, introduces a third set of symbols, the seven trumpets. commence with the second verse of that chapter, and end with the last verse of chapter xi. The trumpets describe the effects produced by the preached gospel of Jesus Christ, in the world which lieth in the wicked one; and the judgments falling upon the children of men for their opposition to the truth of God, and their systematic corruption of it. The trumpets, like the seals, divide themselves into four, and three; and the three last, inasmuch as they bring temporal judgments upon the inhabiters of the earth, are denominated woe-trumpets. It has been accurately remarked by a learned commentator, that the seventh trumpet most clearly announces the victory obtained by Christ and his Church, over the powers of hell and of antichrist, and a corrupt world. If the seventh trumpet proclaims this victory, the former ones will doubtless treat of the previous warfare between the parties, or the connection of the symbols would be lost; and,
therefore, it cannot be the true interpretation of the four first trumpets, to refer them to the circumstances and the fortunes of the Roman empire, as many commentators have done. It may be remarked further, that under the four first trumpets, as under the four first seals, few particulars are exhibited; so that the general outline they afford, may be adapted to the history of the Church's warfare, with at least as much facility, as to the affairs of the Roman empire. Considering then the trumpets as describing the contest between the powers of light and darkness, the history of the witnesses of the light, ordained to stand up against the powers of darkness, becomes a natural feature in this series of symbols; and it will be found accordingly in chapters x. and xi.
The trumpets are arranged as follows:-The four first relate the Church's warfare before the division of the Latin and Greek empires; the fifth and sixth, the judgments upon the Greek empire; the seventh, the victory and triumph of Messiah, and his Church. Between the sixth and seventh vials, the history of the witnesses is introduced; and the Latin empire is not distinctly mentioned, as it belongs to the succeeding symbols.
Rev. viii. 2---6. " And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And
another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came up with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth and there were voices; and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets, prepared themselves to sound.”
The object here presented, is the pure fire, taken immediately from off the altar of God, and cast into the earth; and it was fulfilled at the day of Pentecost; when the followers of the risen Saviour, being all with one accord in one place, were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This soon produced a mighty revolution in spiritual things; the law having been fulfilled, passed away, and was succeeded by the everlasting gospel: salvation was no longer of the Jews, but of the Christians and the apostles, being endued with power from on high, went forth, as they were commanded, to preach unto all the world, teaching all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The voices, thunderings, and lightenings may represent the first preaching of the gospel, which prepared the way for the things that were ordained to follow.