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created heaven, and the things that therein are; and the earth, and the things that therein are ; and the sea, and the things that are therein; that there should be time no longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."
The appearance of the mighty angel who descends with the little open book, agrees so nearly with the description of the glorious Messiah in Rev. i. 13-16. that it may be concluded, he is no other; and the opinion is confirmed by Rev. iv. 3. from whence it may be collected that the rainbow (perhaps radiance or irradiation,) upon his head, is one of the signs of the presence of the Lord.
No explanation is given of the thunders, or of the things they uttered; and the apostle is told that they are not to be made known. But he proceeds to record the oath of the mighty angel, who sware by the name of the Most High, that time shall be no more, and that the mystery of God shall be consummated in the days of the seventh angel, and when he shall begin to sound his trumpet. That mystery is the Revelation which God hath given, concerning the warfare of his Church, set forth, not only in the Apocalypse, but in the writings also of the prophets.
Verse 8-11. "And the voice which I heard from heaven, spake unto me again, and said, Go, and take the little book,
which is open. in the hand of the angel, which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth, sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up. And it was in my mouth sweet as honey, and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings."
The apostle John is spoken of, as the disciple whom Jesus loved; and he was peculiarly favoured by his Master, in being appointed to receive this vision, and to record it for the instruction of the Church. When this vision was committed to writing, the canon of Scripture was finished; and the Book of the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ, being thus completed by the Apostle, the symbol aptly represents him, as receiving that Book of the Testimony from out of the hand of the angel of the everlasting covenant, that he might prophesy again before many peoples. The eating of the book denotes his receiving it into his heart, feeding upon it by faith, and finally digesting its contents, so as to become a living oracle of God. The words of it were sweet in his mouth, although, like Ezekiel, he became bitter in the spirit, for he denounced the judgments of God against many. And thus the unsearchable riches of Christ,
proclaimed unto a guilty world, though a savour of life unto life, have nevertheless been found, even as the Scriptures declare, a savour of death unto death.
It is the peculiar character of the little book, that it was delivered open; not sealed, like the former book-not containing a revelation under types, and figures, and meats, and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation, and having a shadow only of good things to come; but it was itself an unfolding of the good things themselves, and of their very substance; declaring openly and freely and in plain words, such as all men might understand, that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-promised, and true, and only Saviour, even God manifest in the flesh that he is the Lamb of God, ordained as a ransom for many: and that whoso believeth in him shall not perish, but hath everlasting life.
Prophecy of the Trumpets continued.The Two Witnesses in Sackcloth further considered. Rev. xi. 1 to 6.
The written word of God, contained in the two books of the Old and New Testament, is, under the Spirit of God, the only certain and unerring testimony of his truth, which has been vouchsafed unto the children of men, during the dispensation of the gospel. These books were severally given, in the way of the Lord's appointment, unto his Church, under the law and under the gospel; and in the hands of the Spirit of God they remain unto this day, as the only standard, and the only revelation of his truth. They are the two visible witnesses upon the earth, whilst the invisible one, even the Holy Spirit, remains as the pure oil of light in the midst of them, and speaking by the mouth, and in the hearts of his servants, makes perfect the three-fold testimony. It is in, and by the word of God, that the Spirit of God bears witness, bringing that word into the hearts of God's people and this enlightening unction from the Holy
One is the true anointing oil, of which the oil poured upon Aaron was the type: and thus the two books of testimony, one ordained for the Mosaic, and the other for the gospel day, pour forth continually the true anointing oil upon the Church. And hence it is, that these books of testimony are described in the passage which is about to be considered, as the two olive trees, the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth; and that they are also called by the prophet Zechariah, the two anointed ones, (or sons of oil-margin) the two olive trees, or olive branches, upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof, which, through the two golden pipes, communicating with the candlestick in the middle, empty from thence the golden oil out of themselves.
The power and the commission of these witnesses, corresponds with that, which was given unto the prophets of old, for the purposes of their ministry. Elijah the Tishbite, according to the power given unto him, called down fire from heaven upon his enemies. And so the Apocalyptic witnesses-for "fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed." "Elijah was a man subject to
like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not again upon the