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The seventh seal, when opened, discloses all the other series. To the right comprehension of these, it will be well to divide them into the order in which they stand. This order is, the trumpets, Christianity and her internal opponent, the vials, the judgments upon apostate Christianity and Paganism, the millenium, the holy city.



THE trumpets begin with the first movement of Christianity, and proclaim successive movements in opposition until the false, into which Christianity is carried, is put aside, and the true established.

The seventh seal, we have said, comprises several series. It is opened, and discloses matters from the first dawn of Christianity. At its opening there is "silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."

"Heaven," in the Apocalypse, is a term to denote Christ's true kingdom. In this kingdom is silence, or repose, for about the space of half an hour. The Hebrew hours were not sixty minutes, but indefinite portions of the day, regulated by the seasons. Light and darkness were divided into four portions each. Thus there were eight parts in every full day. A day in Scripture is "as a thousand years." The half hour is a portion about a sixteenth of a thousand years. The half hour's silence describes the period

during which the doctrines of Christianity were promulgated without commixture with Pagan doctrines. It may be styled the Apostolic period.

At the expiration of the half hour, "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 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."

The angels of the Apocalypse personify the reigning genius of a movement. This other angel, with all the accompaniments, describe effects produced by the preaching of the Gospel. "Fire from the golden altar," or religious truth, is "cast into the earth." The earth is a figure for nominal godliness. There are three conditions of religious life, expressed in the Apocalypse by the several terms, “heaven, earth, and sea." These comprise every condition; minute shades of difference are not noticed. Earth is used for the Roman empire. When Christianity becomes commingled with the heathen sentiments of Rome, it is still distinguished by the word "earth." "Heaven" is the true kingdom; "earth," the nominal kingdom; 'sea," Polytheism or Paganism. The intimation in the passage before us is, that the Gospel being preached in the Roman empire produced a revolution in religious sentiments.


Upon this, "the first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were

cast upon the earth and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up." "Hail and fire mingled with blood," describe great controversy, wherein truth and falsehood mingled. The third part of the trees of the earth, or the third of the worshippers of Jupiter, by this controversy was burnt up or consumed. Their faith in Jupiter was gone, and they as heathens consumed. "All green grass was burnt up." The spiritual nourishment a former system of religious worship supplied, was destroyed.

"The second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood, and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed."

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When Christianity had made some progress by impregnating a portion of the Roman empire with its doctrines, a great religious mountain was formed, burning as it were with fire. Mountain is a term used throughout Scripture for a religious system. This new mountain seemed like truth, it was as it were" burning with "fire." This was cast into the sea, or Paganism, and the third part of it became blood. Blood is a term used to signify impurity. It stands in contrast with water. Aaron's rod turned the waters of Egypt to blood, and all the fish therein died. The third part of the creatures in the sea, or the third of Paganism, which had life in Paganism, died. The third of the ships on the sea were destroyed, or the third of the religious systems of Paganism were overthrown.

"The third angel sounded, and there fell a great


star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

The third part is repeatedly mentioned. It does not mean an exact third. It denotes three divisions. "Rivers and fountains of waters" are employed as a figure to express religious sentiments. The third part, which by the previous trumpet had become Christian, by the operation of this trumpet becomes bitter or unwholesome. The star from heaven is the Roman government in the person of Constantine. He was burning as it were a lamp. He brought with him the light which had been granted to the former religious system. By introducing into this third the religious sentiments of the preceding system, Christianity was made bitter, and instead of giving spiritual life, was a cause of spiritual death.

"The fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise."

This describes the darkness into which Christendom fell, after the commingling with Christian doctrines the sentiments of a preceding system, which the former trumpet announced.

Now an angel flies through the midst of heaven, denouncing, "Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels yet to sound." These are sequences of the preceding trumpets. The false,

into which Christianity was carried, brings with it as a necessity," Woe, woe."

"The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."

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