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them that fear thy name small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
The sounding of the seventh angel forms a most important era in the Christian church; and the events predicted under this trumpet are of vastly greater importance than any that have preceded, both in respect to the Church and to her enemies. This trumpet exhibits a double aspect. To the enemies of the Church it is a woe trumpet, denouncing upon them the judgment and vengeance of God : to the Church itself it is a jubilee trumpet, proclaiming her deliverance and final triumphs. Under the former of these aspects it includes the judgments referred to in verse 18, and those afterwards predicted under the seventh vial. In the latter aspect it introduces the long-desired and glorious period, when “ the “ kingdoms of this world are to become the king“ doms of our Lord and of his Christ;” and “ the “ whole earth shall be filled with his glory." It will be followed, therefore, by the millennium and all its glorious results, as described in the latter part of the prophecy. On the sounding of this trumpet, there were great voices in heaven: all the blessed inhabitants rejoice with admiration and gratitude, because the kingdoms of the world, which had so long been under the wicked one, willingly become subject to JEHOVAH, and to his anointed King, whose reign on earth would now continue to the end of time, and in heaven through eternity. On this occasion, the four-and-twenty elders, the emblematical representatives of the whole Church, fall upon their faces and worship God. They render thanks and praises to him as the self-existent, omnipotent, and eternal Lord God.
The circumstances mentioned in verse 18 seem to refer to the execution of the divine wrath on the antichristian nations and powers, previously to the millennium, for their raging enmity against the servants of God, whom they had persecuted and slain, but who were figuratively raised from the dead, in the revival and final triumph of the Gospel, and rewarded in the peace and prosperity of the Church ; while those who persecuted it, and corrupted and destroyed the inhabitants of the earth, should themselves be exterminated and destroyed. This appears to be the meaning of the passage, though it has been considered by some, in a more literal point of view, as referring to the temporary opposition raised against the Gospel towards the conclusion of the millennium, and immediately before the general resurrection and the final judgment. But it should be noticed, that the account here is very concise, including in three or four verses the whole period of time between the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the millennium. We shall, however, now be taken back again into the early ages of the Church, and by the records of the last book which was opened, the little book, or the last volume under the seventh seal, we shall be led into more amplified and dilated descriptions of events which hitherto have been only briefly hinted at. Thus we have arrived, through a series of prophecies, from the Apostles' days to the era when the oath of God shall be accomplished, and “ the whole earth shall be filled with his glory;" and when “ the kingdoms of this world shall have “ become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his “ Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." Thus the prediction of the seventh trumpet will receive its glorious fulfilment. May every Christian pray for the accomplishment of that blessed revolution in the moral condition of the world, which is the subject of so many Scripture prophecies ! May the church of Christ soon be called to join in songs of thanksgiving to “ the Lord God Almighty, who “ is, and who was, and who is to come,” for the fulfilment of his faithful and sure word of prophecy! May the pame of our heavenly Father be thus hallowed; may his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven; for his is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
19. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
I am of opinion with Bishop Newton, Mr. Scott, and others, that this last verse of the eleventh chapter should have been made the first verse of the twelfth, as it seems evidently the commencement of a new subject, rather than the termination of that which is now brought to its close. The passage bears a striking similarity to the opening of the apocalyptic vision in the fourth chapter, and to Isaiah's vision, as recorded in the sixth chapter of his prophecy *. The scene of the vision was laid in the temple at Jerusalem, which was so far opened as to give a view of the holy of holies, and the ark of the covenant. This denoted that farther discoveries and manifestations were about to be made of the internal concerns of the Church. The lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, were tokens of the divine presence, and emblems of the awful and destructive judgments that were about to be revealed. Bishop Newton has remarked, that no just objection can be made to its being a new subject from its beginning with the conjunction and; as this is agreeable to the style of the Hebrew language, and as the same objection would equally hold against beginning the new subject with the first verse of the next chapter, where we are clearly taken back to the early ages of the Church. The little book of the seventh seal will open to us a discovery of many circumstances concerning the state of the Church before omitted, through many of the same succeeding periods of time we have already passed; but with
more particular reference to the times of the western apostacy, under the three last woe trumpets. We shall not, however, here have the seals and trumpets to guide and direct us in the chronology; but there will be many circumstances in the prophecies themselves which will afford us internal evidence on this subject, especially when compared with the former prophecies and the events of history. This little book gives a prophetic history of the apostacy of the western church, and of many circumstances connected with it; and not only so, but it leads us back to events that preceded it, and gave rise to it. In fact, it gives us a brief prophetic manifestation of the opposition of Satan to the church of Christ, from the time that St. John penned this prophecy to the commencement of the millennium.
Many woes await the enemies of Christ and his church. But the last most dreadful one will in a manner cause all the rest to be forgotten. The first of these prophetic woes long ago reached its termination; of the second it will soon be said, it is past; and then the third comes quickly, when the vengeance of God will be poured out upon all who do not submit to his Son Jesus.—The seventh angel will soon sound, and the kingdoms of this world will shortly afterwards become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. Every Antichrist shall be destroyed, and the privileges of the Gospel church shall open in light and liberty, purity and peace. In the mean time let our earnest prayers be offered up for the accomplishment of this event. At the termination of the prophetic period so frequently referred to in this book, the Saviour will vindicate the righteous cause of his servants, and visit his suffering Church with the smiles of his providence and grace. The almighty Jesus will pour destruction upon all antichristian powers and opposers, by methods as terrible as the most tremendous tempests of thunder, lightning, hail, and earthquake can possibly prefigure. Let this complete deliverance of the Church be her support and consolation under all her persecutions and tribulations ; for, when Christ shall take to himself his great power, and reign, she will then unite with the heavenly choirs in ascribing thanksgiving and praises to Him who shall reign for ever and ever.