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and the Lamb, it is plainly intimated that the judg. ment inflicted on Antichrist, in connexion with the preaching of the Gospel, will contribute to the spread of true religion among all the nations of the earth. The events themselves will be manifest tokens of the interposing providence of God, and will carry conviction to the minds of those who observe them; so that they will be a powerful means of influencing the nations to come and worship before God.
5. And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened : 6. And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
As the throne of the God of Israel was in the holy of holies in the Temple of Solomon, where he manifested his visible glory, he is represented by this imagery as dwelling in “ the temple of the ta“bernacle of his testimony in heaven." This representation seems to denote, that God appears in heaven reconciled to sinners through Jesus Christ. When this holy of holies was opened, the Apostle saw the seven angels come out from before the throne, having received their commissions to execute the divine judgments. They are described as “ clothed in pure and white linen, and having their “ breasts girded with golden girdles.” This attire seems to represent their personal holiness, and the righteousness and excellency of those awful dispensations which they were commissioned to fulfil. The Almighty has sometimes employed evil angels
to execute his will even towards his own people, as in the case of Job; under which circumstances they have never failed to discover their malignity. But when good angels execute the divine will, even upon the most bitter enemies of God, they never manifest any unholy or malignant dispositions. In executing the righteous judgments with which they are commissioned, they are influenced purely by the love of God, and the love of righteousness. These seven angels received the vials which they were to pour out upon the earth from the hand of one of the living creatures before described. These living creatures, as has been explained, were emblerns of the ministers of the Gospel. By the living creature, therefore, giving the vials to the
angels, is implied, that the preaching of the Gospel · would be instrumental in bringing the threatened
judgment upon antichristian opposers. When the living creature had delivered the vials to the seven angels, “ the temple was filled with smoke." This was emblematic of the darkness of these dispensations, and the horror which would accompany them upon the enemies of God. This cloud was a symbol (says an eminent commentator *) of the divine vengeance, as going forth from the presence of the Lord, and to be executed by the glory of his power, in the destruction of Antichrist; in like manner as the cloud on the tabernacle was a symbol of his dreadful judgment upon Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and the murmuring Israelites. And, as Moses could not enter into the tabernacle, nor the priest stand to minister in the temple, while the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; so, no one was able to enter into the heavenly temple, to entreat for the preventing of those grievous calamities which were to be inflicted upon the beast. None were suffered to do this, that judgment might have its free course
till all the seven punishments commissioned to the seven angels were fully executed in their order. The imagery altogether shews the horror and the certainty of the impending judgments.
The severe plagues which God in his wrath inflicts on the wicked, contain things great and marvellous; but none will be able fully to understand these afflictive and painful dispensations of his providence, till they have passed through the waves and fiery trials of the present evil world, and have safely arrived at the haven of rest and felicity; where our present imperfect knowledge shall be done away, and we shall obtain vastly more clear and extensive views of the conduct of God in his providence, both towards the righteous and the wicked.-While we stand upon the sea of glass, we may anticipate the triumphs of our final deliverance over all our enemies : for soon will it be said to us in respect to our enemies, as it was to the Israelites in regard to theirs, “ The Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall “ see them again no more for ever.” In expectation of our final victory, may we now attempt to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. The Lord Jesus, as our gracious Redeemer, and as our sovereign Lord and King, is infinitely worthy to be reverenced, served, and glorified by us. Who that considers the power of his wrath, the nature of his favour, or the glory of his holiness, would refuse to honour him and glorify his name?—The time is rapidly approaching when his judgments shall be fully executed upon all his opposers and adversaries; and then all the nations of the earth shall come and worship him. Till this time arrives, let Christians adore his justice and his wrath, and not dare to arraign the plans and designs of his holy providence; for, when they shall witness the completion of the whole, they will see them to be perfectly glorious, both in mercy and judgment. In the mean time, may the predictions of the omniscient Saviour, in reference to the deliverance of his Church and the destruction of his enemies, be a support, encouragement, and consolation to our minds, under all the tribulations we may be called to pass through, before we quit these mortal scenes and enter upon our promised rest.
Chap. xvi. 1–7. AND I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. 3. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea : and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. 4. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
The seven angels, having received their respective vials of the wrath of God, were ordered by a voice from the heavenly temple, in allusion to Jehovah's ancient method of manifesting his will from the oracle in the earthly temple, to pour out their contents upon the earth. By the earth here is meant the whole of the secular Roman empire (including its ten horns or kingdoms), which, under this character, is to go into perdition. The effusion of the vials, therefore, will fall upon this empire; but, as one grand design of the calamities inflicted by the pouring out the vials, is the destruction of the antichristian hierarchy, or the popish church, they may be expected to have a providential direction given to them, causing them to bear more particularly upon this object. It has been already stated, that there is a great difference of sentiment in reference to the period of the effusions of the vials; some supposing them all to be yet future, and others asserting that five of them have already poured out their contents. It is highly probable that the latter hypothesis is the true one, although it is not admitted upon the supposition that the seventh trumpet has sounded. It has been observed, that on the blast of the seventh trumpet, “ there were great voices in heaven, say“ing, The kingdoms of this world are become the “ kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he “ shall reign for ever and ever.” Now, though it be admitted, that the language of prophecy sometimes uses the present tense for the future, and speaks of what is hereafter to take place as being already accomplished ; and, therefore, that the fulfilment may take place at a considerable distance from the prediction; yet, in this case, the plain and obvious meaning of the language immediately upon the sounding of the trumpet, seems evidently to imply, that this happy event will soon afterwards take place. It has also been granted, that this trumpet must be a woe trumpet, and therefore that farther calamities must intervene before its prediction in the aspect of joy can receive its final and grand accomplishment. But surely the effusion of the seventh vial, by far the most tremendous of all, will be sufficient to give it the character of woe. It is, therefore, highly probable that Mr. Mede's hypothesis, of making the