« VorigeDoorgaan »
mouth of Jeremiah, devoured the apostate house of Israel, by announcing their desolation through the agency of the Romans1.
Accordingly, as we have seen above, the Vallenses were strenuous in maintaining, that the corrupt Roman Church was the apocalyptic Babylonian harlot, and that the sovereign Pontiff himself was the man of sin. Whence, of necessity, they applied to their persecutors the various prophecies of utter extermination, which relate to those predicted enemies of Christ.
(5.) The two witnesses are represented as having power, to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, to turn the waters into blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will,
In the figurative language of Scripture, the prophets are said to do what they only announce, and are described as being the cause of evils which in reality are the consequence of other men's misconduct. On this principle is framed the commission of the two witnesses. Their shutting of heaven, so that it rain not in the days of their prophecy (imagery borrowed from the circumstance of there being no rain upon the land of Canaan, for the mysterious space of three years and a half, in consequence of the punitive prayer of Elijah 3), denotes the shut
1 Jerem. v. 14-19,
* See Isaiah vi. 10. Matt. xiii. 15. Acts xxviii. 27, and Bp. Newton's Dissert. diss. xxiv. vol. iii. p. 123.
ting up of the temple or the spiritual Church, so that the dew of God's word and spirit should not descend upon the apostate inhabitants of the Roman world while their power of turning the waters into blood and of smiting the earth with diverse plagues means, that blood and slaughter and judicial desolation should be the consequence of men's slighting the admonitions of God's two mystical wit
With regard to these particulars, the first respects the condition of the Roman world during the whole period of the latter three times and a half; for we read, that heaven or the temple or the spiritual Church is shut at the commencement of the period during which the two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, and that (although it is opened again at the sounding of the seventh trumpet) no man can enter into it until the plagues of the vials are accomplished or (in other words) until the latter three times and a half shall have expired: and the second eminently relates to the season, during which the six first vials are poured out; for then it is, that the waters are turned into blood, and that the earth is smitten with every plague.
The whole of this prediction has been accurately fulfilled. Agreeably to the denunciations of the Vallenses and the Albigenses, who failed not to apply the leading prophecies of Daniel and St. John to the gross corruptions of Popery, the spiritual
Compare Rev. xi. 6, with xi. 15, 19. xv. 5-8.
Compare Rev. xi. 6, with xv. 1. xvi. 1—6.
heaven has been shut against them of the Apostasy during the entire period of the latter 1260 years which has hitherto evolved; so that, for want of the kindly rain of the blessed Spirit, though the two witnesses in sackcloth have been prophesying far and wide throughout the greatest part of western Europe, still the ground has been parched up, and there has been a grievous famine of God's word in the land and, as we shall hereafter see, there is abundant reason to believe, that several of the vials have been in action since the year 1789, smiting the earth with all plagues and turning the waters into blood.
III. The third clause of the vision foretells the figurative death and revival and ascension of the two witnesses, chronologically combining these events with a great earthquake and with the passing away of the second woe.
And, when they shall have finished their testimony', the wild-beast, that ascendeth out of the
· Gr, ὅταν τελέσωσι τὴν μαρτυρίαν αὐτῶν. Mede, Whiston, Newton, Halifax, Woodhouse, Butt, Cuninghame, Bicheno, Frazer, Thruston, Hardy, and others, all agree to render this place, When they shall be about to finish their testimony, or When they shall be finishing their testimony: on the ground, as Mede (the original author, I believe, of the translation) argues, that TEλéowo is the first aorist subjunctive; and every grammarian knows, that the aorists subjunctive supply the place of the future which the subjunctive wanteth. Mede's Works, book iii. p. 596.
Such a version, however, notwithstanding its very general adoption on the high authority of Mede, is most certainly un
abyss, shall make war against them, and overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the broad city which is the great one', which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the peoples
tenable. My mind misgiving me on the subject, from the circumstance of my never having been able to find, either in the Greek Scriptures or in any classical author, an aorist subjunctive employed as Mr. Mede would employ it; I laid the matter, purely as a grammatical question, before a gentleman who is 'deservedly acknowledged to be one of the first Greek scholars of the age and his reply was peremptory and decisive.
The laws of grammar, said my friend Mr. Tate, inexorably forbid, that orav teλéowσi should be rendered, When they shall be about to finish: the phrase can only mean, When they shall have finished. It is true indeed, that the aorists subjunctive, constructed with örav, bear a future sense; but then it is the future-past, shall have; not the future-perfect, shall be about, No instance can be produced from any Greek author, in which an aorist subjunctive, constructed with örav, ever bears the sense of the future-perfect.
More, Daubuz, and Lowman, would render the place, While they shall be accomplishing. But, in such a sense as this, orav TEXέowo, to say the least of it, is most unnatural and unusual Greek. I altogether doubt the very admissibility of the translation. Clearly, the proper and obvious rendering of orav reλéoooi is, When they shall have finished.
Gr. ἐπὶ τῆς πλατείας πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης. This phrase has occasioned much discussion. The word λarɛiaç has been com monly deemed an adjective used substantively: and a question has then arisen, whether this λarɛia was within or without the city. See Mede's Com. Apoc. in loc. With Peirce and Whiston, I choose rather to consider it as an adjective agreeing with the substantive Tóλews. The common idea probably led to the insertion of rs before wóλews in some copies.
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 send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And, after three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into them; and they stood upon their feet: and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them; Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud: and their enemies beheld them. And, in that hour, there was a great earthquake; and a tenth part of the city fell: and in the earthquake were slain ́seven thousand names of men: and the remnant were awe-struck, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past: and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
1. Before any application of this remarkable prophecy is attempted, several particulars, which it sets forth, must be considered in the abstract.
(1.) The first point to be determined is THE TIME, when the two witnesses are described as being slain.
Now this time is set forth by two very specific notations for St. John predicts, that the witnesses shall be slain, when, on the one hand, the period
Rev. xi. 7-14.