Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII

It is scarce possible for any that either love or fear God not to feel their hearts extremely affected in seriously reading either the beginning or the latter part of the Revelation. These, it is evident, we cannot consider too much; but the intermediate parts I did not study at all for many years; as utterly despairing of understanding them, after the fruitless attempts of so many wise and good men: and perhaps I should have lived and died in this sentiment, had I not seen the works of the great Bengelius. But these revived my hopes of understanding even the prophecies of this book; at least many of them in some good degree: for perhaps some will not be opened but in eternity. Let us, however, bless God for the measure of light we may enjoy, and improve it to his glory.

The following notes are mostly those of that excellent man; a few of which are taken from his Gnornon Novi Testamenti, but far more from his Ekklarte Offenbarung, which is a full and regular comment on the Revelation. Every part of this I do not undertake to defend. But none should condemn him without reading his proofs at large. It did not suit my design to insert these: they are above the capacity of ordinary readers. Nor had I room to insert the entire translation of a book which contains near twelve hundred pages.

All I can do is, partly to translate, partly abridge, the most necessary of his observations; allowing myself the liberty to alter some of them, and to add a few notes where he is not full. His text, it may be observed, I have taken almost throughout, which I apprehend he has abundantly defended both in the Gnomon itself, and in his Apparatus and Crisis in Apocalypsin.

Yet I by no means pretend to understand or explain all that is contained in this mysterious book. I only offer what help I can to the serious inquirer, and shall rejoice if any be moved thereby more carefully to read and more deeply to consider the words of this prophecy. Blessed is he that does this with a single eye. His labour shall not be in vain.

Chapter I

1 The Revelation - Properly so called; for things covered before are here revealed, or unveiled. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title; it was reserved for this alone in the New. It is, as it were, a manifesto, wherein the Heir of all things declares that all power is given him in heaven and earth, and that he will in the end gloriously exercise that power, maugre all the opposition of all his enemies. Of Jesus Christ - Not of "John the Divine," a title added in latter ages. Certain it is, that appellation, the Divine, was not brought into the church, much less was it affixed to John the apostle, till long after the apostolic age. It was St. John, indeed, who wrote this book, but the author of it is Jesus Christ. Which God gave unto him - According to his holy, glorified humanity, as the great Prophet of the church. God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ made it known to his servants. To show - This word recurs, Rev 22:6; and in many places the parts of this book refer to each other. Indeed the whole structure of it breathes the art of God, comprising, in the most finished compendium, things to come, many, various; near, intermediate, remote; the greatest, the least; terrible, comfortable; old, new; long, short; and these interwoven together, opposite, composite; relative to each other at a small, at a great, distance; and therefore sometimes, as it were, disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterwards unexpectedly and most seasonably appearing again. In all its parts it has an admirable variety, with the most exact harmony, beautifully illustrated by those very digressions which seem to interrupt it. In this manner does it display the manifold wisdom of God shining in the economy of the church through so many ages. His servants - Much is comprehended in this appellation. It is a great thing to be a servant of Jesus Christ. This book is dedicated particularly to the servants of Christ in the seven churches in Asia; but not exclusive of all his other servants, in all nations and ages. It is one single revelation, and yet sufficient for them all, from the time it was written to the end of the world. Serve thou the Lord Jesus Christ in truth: so shalt thou learn his secret in this book; yea, and thou shalt feel in thy heart whether this book be divine, or not. The things which must shortly come to pass - The things contained in this prophecy did begin to be accomplished shortly after it was given; and the whole might be said to come to pass shortly, in the same sense as St. Peter says, "The end of all things is at hand;" and our Lord himself, "Behold, I come quickly." There is in this book a rich treasure of all the doctrines pertaining to faith and holiness. But these are also delivered in other parts of holy writ; so that the Revelation need not to have been given for the sake of these. The peculiar design of this is, to show the things which must come to pass. And this we are especially to have before our eyes whenever we read or hear it.

It is said afterward, "Write what thou seest;" and again, "Write what thou hast seen, and what is, and what shall be hereafter;" but here, where the scope of the hook is shown, it is only said, the things which must come to pass. Accordingly, the showing things to come, is the great point in view throughout the whole. And St. John writes what he has seen, and what is, only as it has an influence on, or gives light to, what shall be. And he - Jesus Christ. Sent and signified them - Showed them by signs or emblems; so the Greek word properly means. By his angel - Peculiarly called, in the sequel, "the angel of God," and particularly mentioned, Rev 17:1; 21:9; 22:6,16. To his servant John - A title given to no other single person throughout the book.

2 Who hath testified - In the following book. The word of God - Given directly by God. And the testimony of Jesus - Which he hath left us, as the faithful and true witness. Whatsoever things he saw - In such a manner as was a full confirmation of the divine original of this book.
3 Happy is he that readeth, and they that hear, the words of this prophecy - Some have miserably handled this book. Hence others are afraid to touch it; and, while they desire to know all things else, reject only the knowledge of those which God hath shown. They inquire after anything rather than this; as if it were written, "Happy is he that doth not read this prophecy." Nay, but happy is he that readeth, and they that hear, and keep the words thereof - Especially at this time, when so considerable a part of them is on the point of being fulfilled.

Nor are helps wanting whereby any sincere and diligent inquirer may understand what he reads therein. The book itself is written in the most accurate manner possible. It distinguishes the several things whereof it treats by seven epistles, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven phials; each of which sevens is divided into four and three. Many things the book itself explains; as the seven stars; the seven candlesticks; the lamb, his seven horns and seven eyes; the incense; the dragon; the heads and horns of the beasts; the fine linen; the testimony of Jesus: and much light arises from comparing it with the ancient prophecies, and the predictions in the other books of the New Testament.

In this book our Lord has comprised what was wanting in those prophecies touching the time which followed his ascension and the end of the Jewish polity. Accordingly, it reaches from the old Jerusalem to the new, reducing all things into one sum, in the exactest order, and with a near resemblance to the ancient prophets. The introduction and conclusion agree with Daniel; the description of the man child, and the promises to Sion, with Isaiah; the judgment of Babylon, with Jeremiah; again, the determination of times, with Daniel; the architecture of the holy city, with Ezekiel; the emblems of the horses, candlesticks, &c., with Zechariah. Many things largely described by the prophets are here summarily repeated; and frequently in the same words. To them we may then usefully have recourse. Yet the Revelation suffices for the explaining itself, even if we do not yet understand those prophecies; yea, it casts much light upon them. Frequently, likewise, where there is a resemblance between them, there is a difference also; the Revelation, as it were, taking a stock from one of the old prophets, and inserting a new graft into it. Thus Zechariah speaks of two olive trees; and so does St. John; but with a different meaning. Daniel has a beast with ten horns; so has St. John; but not with quite the same signification. And here the difference of words, emblems, things, times, ought studiously to be observed. Our Lord foretold many things before his passion; but not all things; for it was not yet seasonable. Many things, likewise, his Spirit foretold in the writings of the apostles, so far as the necessities of those times required: now he comprises them all in one short book; therein presupposing all the other prophecies, and at the same time explaining, continuing, and perfecting them in one thread. It is right therefore to compare them; but not to measure the fulness of these by the scantiness of those preceding.

Christ, when on earth, foretold what would come to pass in a short time; adding a brief description of the last things. Here he foretells the intermediate things; so that both put together constitute one complete chain of prophecy. This book is therefore not only the sum and the key of all the prophecies which preceded, but likewise a supplement to all; the seals being closed before. Of consequence, it contains many particulars not revealed in any other part of scripture. They have therefore little gratitude to God for such a revelation, reserved for the exaltation of Christ, who boldly reject whatever they find here which was not revealed, or not so clearly, in other parts of scripture. He that readeth and they that hear - St. John probably sent this book by a single person into Asia, who read it in the churches, while many heard. But this, likewise, in a secondary sense, refers to all that shall duly read or hear it in all ages. The words of this prophecy - It is a revelation with regard to Christ who gives it; a prophecy, with regard to John who delivers it to the churches. And keep the things which are written therein - In such a manner as the nature of them requires; namely, with repentance, faith, patience, prayer, obedience, watchfulness, constancy. It behoves every Christian, at all opportunities, to read what is written in the oracles of God; and to read this precious book in particular, frequently, reverently, and attentively. For the time - Of its beginning to be accomplished. Is near - Even when St. John wrote. How much nearer to us is even the full accomplishment of this weighty prophecy!

4 John - The dedication of this book is contained in the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses; but the whole Revelation is a kind of letter. To the seven churches which are in Asia - That part of the Lesser Asia which was then a Roman province. There had been several other churches planted here; but it seems these were now the most eminent; and it was among these that St. John had laboured most during his abode in Asia. In these cities there were many Jews. Such of them as believed in each were joined with the gentile believers in one church. Grace be unto you, and peace - The favour of God, with all temporal and eternal blessings. From him who is, and who was, and who cometh, or, who is to come - A wonderful translation of the great name JEHOVAH: he was of old, he is now, he cometh; that is, will be for ever. And from the seven spirits which are before his throne - Christ is he who "hath the seven spirits of God." "The seven lamps which burn before the throne are the seven spirits of God." " The lamb hath seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God." Seven was a sacred number in the Jewish church: but it did not always imply a precise number. It sometimes is to be taken figuratively, to denote completeness or perfection. By these seven spirits, not seven created angels, but the Holy Ghost is to be understood. The angels are never termed spirits in this book; and when all the angels stand up, while the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders worship him that sitteth on the throne, and the Lamb, the seven spirits neither stand up nor worship. To these "seven spirits of God," the seven churches, to whom the Spirit speaks so many things, are subordinate; as are also their angels, yea, and "the seven angels which stand before God." He is called the seven spirits, not with regard to his essence, which is one, but with regard to his manifold operations.
5 And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth - Three glorious appellations are here given him, and in their proper order. He was the faithful witness of the whole will of God before his death, and in death, and remains such in glory. He rose from the dead, as "the first fruits of them that slept;" and now hath all power both in heaven and earth. He is here styled a prince: but by and by he hears his title of king; yea, King of kings, and Lord of lords." This phrase, the kings of the earth, signifies their power and multitude, and also the nature of their kingdom. It became the Divine Majesty to call them kings with a limitation; especially in this manifesto from his heavenly kingdom; for no creature, much less a sinful man, can bear the title of king in an absolute sense before the eyes of God.
6 To him that loveth us, and, out of that free, abundant love, hath washed us from the guilt and power of our sins with his own blood, and hath made us kings - Partakers of his present, and heirs of his eternal, kingdom. And priests unto his God and Father - To whom we continually offer ourselves, an holy, living sacrifice. To him be the glory - For his love and redemption. And the might - Whereby he governs all things.
7 Behold - In this and the next verse is the proposition, and the summary of the whole book. He cometh - Jesus Christ. Throughout this book, whenever it is said, He cometh, it means his glorious coming. The preparation for this began at the destruction of Jerusalem, and more particularly at the time of writing this book; and goes on, without any interruption, till that grand event is accomplished. Therefore it is never said in this book, He will come; but, He cometh. And yet it is not said, He cometh again: for when he came before, it was not like himself, but in "the form of a servant." But his appearing in glory is properly his coming; namely, in a manner worthy of the Son of God. And every eye - Of the Jews in particular. Shall see him - But with what different emotions, according as they had received or rejected him. And they who have pierced him - They, above all, who pierced his hands, or feet, or side. Thomas saw the print of these wounds even after his resurrection; and the same, undoubtedly, will be seen by all, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven. And all the tribes of the earth - The word tribes, in the Revelation, always means the Israelites: but where another word, such as nations or people, is joined with it, it implies likewise (as here) all the rest of mankind. Shall wail because of him - For terror and pain, if they did not wail before by true repentance. Yea, Amen - This refers to, every eye shall see him. He that cometh saith, Yea; he that testifies it, Amen. The word translated yea is Greek; Amen is Hebrew: for what is here spoken respects both Jew and gentile.
8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God - Alpha is the first, Omega, the last, letter in the Greek alphabet. Let his enemies boast and rage ever so much in the intermediate time, yet the Lord God is both the Alpha, or beginning, and the Omega, or end, of all things. God is the beginning, as he is the Author and Creator of all things, and as he proposes, declares, and promises so great things: he is the end, as he brings all the things which are here revealed to a complete and glorious conclusion. Again, the beginning and end of a thing is in scripture styled the whole thing. Therefore God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; that is, one who is all things, and always the same.
9 I John - The instruction and preparation of the apostle for the work are described from the ninth to the twentieth verse. Rev 1:9 - 20 Your brother - In the common faith. And companion in the affliction - For the same persecution which carried him to Patmos drove them into Asia. This book peculiarly belongs to those who are under the cross. It was given to a banished man; and men in affliction understand and relish it most. Accordingly, it was little esteemed by the Asiatic church, after the time of Constantine; but highly valued by all the African churches, as it has been since by all the persecuted children of God. In the affliction, and kingdom and patience of Jesus - The kingdom stands in the midst. It is chiefly under various afflictions that faith obtains its part in the kingdom; and whosoever is a partaker of this kingdom is not afraid to suffer for Jesus, 2Tim 2:12. I was in the island Patmos - In the reign of Domitian and of Nerva. And there he saw and wrote all that follows. It was a place peculiarly proper for these visions. He had over against him, at a small distance, Asia and the seven churches; going on eastward, Jerusalem and the land of Canaan; and beyond this, Antioch, yea, the whole continent of Asia. To the west, he had Rome, Italy, and all Europe, swimming, as it were, in the sea; to the south, Alexandria and the Nile with its outlets, Egypt, and all Africa; and to the north, what was afterwards called Constantinople, on the straits between Europe and Asia. So he had all the three parts of the world which were then known, with all Christendom, as it were, before his eyes; a large theatre for all the various scenes which were to pass before him: as if this island had been made principally for this end, to serve as an observatory for the apostle. For preaching the word of God he was banished thither, and for the testimony of Jesus - For testifying that he is the Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit - That is, in a trance, a prophetic vision; so overwhelmed with the power, and filled with the light, of the Holy Spirit, as to be insensible of outward things, and wholly taken up with spiritual and divine. What follows is one single, connected vision, which St. John saw in one day; and therefore he that would understand it should carry his thought straight on through the whole, without interruption. The other prophetic books are collections of distinct prophecies, given upon various occasions: but here is one single treatise, whereof all the parts exactly depend on each other. Chapter iv. 1 Rev 4:1 is connected with chapter i. 19; Rev 1:19 and what is delivered in the fourth chapter goes on directly to the twenty - second. On the Lord's day - On this our Lord rose from the dead: on this the ancients believed he will come to judgment. It was, therefore, with the utmost propriety that St. John on this day both saw and described his coming. And I heard behind me - St. John had his face to the east: our Lord, likewise, in this appearance looked eastward toward Asia, whither the apostle was to write. A great voice, as of a trumpet - Which was peculiarly proper to proclaim the coming of the great King, and his victory over all his enemies.
11 Saying, What thou seest - And hearest. He both saw and heard. This command extends to the whole book. All the books of the New Testament were written by the will of God; but none were so expressly commanded to be written. In a book - So all the Revelation is but one book: nor did the letter to the angel of each church belong to him or his church only; but the whole book was sent to them all. To the churches - Hereafter named; and through them to all churches, in all ages and nations. To Ephesus - Mr. Thomas Smith, who in the year 1671 travelled through all these cities, observes, that from Ephesus to Smyrna is forty - six English miles; from Smyrna to Pergamos, sixty - four; from Pergamos to Thyatira, forty - eight; from Thyatira to Sardis, thirty - three; from Sardis to Philadelphia, twenty - seven; from Philadelphia to Laodicea, about forty - two miles.
12, 13 And I turned to see the voice - That is, to see him whose voice it was. And being turned, I saw - It seems, the vision presented itself gradually. First he heard a voice; and, upon looking behind, he saw the golden candlesticks, and then, in the midst of the candlesticks, which were placed in a circle, he saw one like a son of man - That is, in an human form. As a man likewise our Lord doubtless appears in heaven: though not exactly in this symbolical manner, wherein he presents himself as the head of his church. He next observed that our Lord was clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt with a golden girdle - Such the Jewish high priests wore. But both of them are here marks of royal dignity likewise. Girt about at the breast - he that is on a journey girds his loins. Girding the breast was an emblem of solemn rest. It seems that the apostle having seen all this, looked up to behold the face of our Lord: but was beat back by the appearance of his flaming eyes, which occasioned his more particularly observing his feet. Receiving strength to raise his eyes again, he saw the stars in his right hand, and the sword coming out of his mouth: but upon beholding the brightness of his glorious countenance, which probably was much increased since the first glance the apostle had of it, he "fell at his feet as dead." During the time that St. John was discovering these several particulars, our Lord seems to have been speaking. And doubtless even his voice, at the very first, bespoke the God: though not so insupportably as his glorious appearance.
12, 13 And I turned to see the voice - That is, to see him whose voice it was. And being turned, I saw - It seems, the vision presented itself gradually. First he heard a voice; and, upon looking behind, he saw the golden candlesticks, and then, in the midst of the candlesticks, which were placed in a circle, he saw one like a son of man - That is, in an human form. As a man likewise our Lord doubtless appears in heaven: though not exactly in this symbolical manner, wherein he presents himself as the head of his church. He next observed that our Lord was clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt with a golden girdle - Such the Jewish high priests wore. But both of them are here marks of royal dignity likewise. Girt about at the breast - he that is on a journey girds his loins. Girding the breast was an emblem of solemn rest. It seems that the apostle having seen all this, looked up to behold the face of our Lord: but was beat back by the appearance of his flaming eyes, which occasioned his more particularly observing his feet. Receiving strength to raise his eyes again, he saw the stars in his right hand, and the sword coming out of his mouth: but upon beholding the brightness of his glorious countenance, which probably was much increased since the first glance the apostle had of it, he "fell at his feet as dead." During the time that St. John was discovering these several particulars, our Lord seems to have been speaking. And doubtless even his voice, at the very first, bespoke the God: though not so insupportably as his glorious appearance.
14 His head and his hair - That is, the hair of his head, not his whole head. Were white as white wool - Like the Ancient of Days, represented in Daniel's vision, Dan 7:9. Wool is commonly supposed to be an emblem of eternity. As snow - Betokening his spotless purity. And his eyes as a flame of fire - Piercing through all things; a token of his omniscience.
15 And his feet like fine brass - Denoting his stability and strength. As if they burned in a furnace - As if having been melted and refined, they were still red hot. And his voice - To the comfort of his friends, and the terror of his enemies. As the voice of many waters - Roaring aloud, and bearing down all before them.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars - In token of his favour and powerful protection. And out of his mouth went a sharp two - edged sword - Signifying his justice and righteous anger, continually pointed against his enemies as a sword; sharp, to stab; two - edged, to hew. And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength - Without any mist or cloud.
17 And I fell at his feet as dead - Human nature not being able to sustain so glorious an appearance. Thus was he prepared (like Daniel of old, whom he peculiarly resembles) for receiving so weighty a prophecy. A great sinking of nature usually precedes a large communication of heavenly things. St. John, before our Lord suffered, was so intimate with him, as to lean on his breast, to lie in his bosom. Yet now, near seventy years after, the aged apostle is by one glance struck to the ground. What a glory must this be! Ye sinners, be afraid cleanse your hands: purify your hearts. Ye saints, be humble, prepare: rejoice. But rejoice unto him with reverence: an increase of reverence towards this awful majesty can be no prejudice to your faith. Let all petulancy, with all vain curiosity, be far away, while you are thinking or reading of these things. And he laid his right hand upon me - The same wherein he held the seven stars. What did St. John then feel in himself? Saying, Fear not - His look terrifies, his speech strengthens. He does not call John by his name, (as the angels did Zechariah and others,) but speaks as his well known master. What follows is also spoken to strengthen and encourage him. I am - When in his state of humiliation he spoke of his glory, he frequently spoke in the third person, as Matt 26:64. But he now speaks of his own glory, without any veil, in plain and direct terms. The first and the last - That is, the one, eternal God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, Isaiah 41:4.
18 And he that liveth - Another peculiar title of God. And I have the keys of death and of hades - That is, the invisible world. In the intermediate state, the body abides in death, the soul in hades. Christ hath the keys of, that is, the power over, both; killing or quickening of the body, and disposing of the soul, as it pleaseth him. He gave St. Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven; but not the keys of death or of hades. How comes then his supposed successor at Rome by the keys of purgatory? From the preceding description, mostly, are taken the titles given to Christ in the following letters, particularly the four first.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen - This day: which accordingly are written, Rev 1:11 - 18. And which are - The instructions relating to the present state of the seven churches. These are written, Rev 1:20 - Rev 3:22. And which shall be hereafter - To the end of the world; written, Rev 4:1, &c.
20 Write first the mystery - The mysterious meaning of the seven stars - St. John knew better than we do, in how many respects these stars were a proper emblem of those angels: how nearly they resembled each other, and how far they differed in magnitude, brightness, aa& other circumstances. The seven stars are angels of the seven churches - Mentioned in the eleventh verse. Rev 1:11 In each church there was one pastor or ruling minister, to whom all the rest were subordinate. This pastor, bishop, or overseer, had the peculiar care over that flock: on him the prosperity of that congregation in a great measure depended, and he was to answer for all those souls at the judgment seat of Christ. And the seven candlesticks are seven churches - How significant an emblem is this! For a candlestick, though of gold, has no light of itself; neither has any church, or child of man. But they receive from Christ the light of truth, holiness, comfort, that it may shine to all around them. As soon as this was spoken St. John wrote it down, even all that is contained in this first chapter. Afterwards what was contained in the second and third chapters was dictated to him in like manner.

Chapter II

Of the following letters to the angels of the seven churches it may be necessary to speak first in general, and then particularly. In general we may observe, when the Israelites were to receive the law at Mount Sinai, they were first to be purified; and when the kingdom of God was at hand, John the Baptist prepared men for it by repentance. In like manner we are prepared by these letters for the worthy reception of this glorious revelation. By following the directions given herein, by expelling incorrigibly wicked men, and putting away all wickedness, those churches were prepared to receive this precious depositum. And whoever in any age would profitably read or hear it, must observe the same admonitions. These letters are a kind of sevenfold preface to the book. Christ now appears in the form of a man, (not yet under the emblem of a lamb,) and speaks mostly in proper, not in figurative, words. It is not till Rev 4:1, that St. John enters upon that grand vision which takes up the residue of the book. There is in each of these letters,
  1. A command to write to the angel of the church;
  2. A glorious title of Christ;
  3. An address to the angel of that church, containing A testimony of his mixed, or good, or bad state; An exhortation to repentance or steadfastness; A declaration of what will be; generally, of the Lord's coming;
  4. A promise to him that overcometh, together with the exhortation, "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear"
The address in each letter is expressed in plain words, the promise, in figurative. In the address our Lord speaks to the angel of each church which then was, and to the members thereof directly; whereas in the promise he speaks of all that should overcome, in whatever church or age, and deals out to them one of the precious promises, (by way of anticipation,) from the last chapters of the book.

1 Write - So Christ dictated to him every word. These things saith he who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand - Such is his mighty power! Such his favour to them and care over them, that they may indeed shine as stars, both by purity of doctrine and holiness of life! Who walketh - According to his promise, "I am with you always, even to the end of the world." In the midst of the golden candlesticks - Beholding all their works and thoughts, and ready to "remove the candlestick out of its place," if any, being warned, will not repent. Perhaps here is likewise an allusion to the office of the priests in dressing the lamps, which was to keep them always burning before the Lord.
2 I know - Jesus knows all the good and all the evil, which his servants and his enemies suffer and do. Weighty word, "I know," how dreadful will it one day sound to the wicked, how sweet to the righteous! The churches and their angels must have been astonished, to find their several states so exactly described, even in the absence of the apostle, and could not but acknowledge the all - seeing eye of Christ and of his Spirit. With regard to us, to every one of us also he saith, "I know thy works." Happy is he that conceives less good of himself, than Christ knows concerning him. And thy labour - After the general, three particulars are named, and then more largely described in an inverted order,
  1. Thy labour
  2. Thy patience:
  3. Thou canst not

    bear evil men:

  4. Thou hast patience:
  5. Thou hast tried those who say they are

    apostles and are not, and hast found

    them liars.

  6. Thou hast borne for my name's sake and

    hast not fainted.

And thy patience - Notwithstanding which thou canst not bear that incorrigibly wicked men should remain in the flock of Christ. And thou hast tried those who say they are apostles, and are not - For the Lord hath not sent them.
4 But I have against thee, that thou hast left thy first love - That love for which all that church was so eminent when St. Paul wrote his epistle to them. He need not have left this. He might have retained it entire to the end. And he did retain it in part, or there could not have remained so much of what was commendable in him. But he had not kept, as he might have done, the first tender love in its vigour and warmth. Reader, hast thou?
5 It is not possible for any to recover the first love, but by taking these three steps, 1. Remember: 2. Repent: 3. Do the first works. Remember from whence thou art fallen - From what degree of faith, love, holiness, though perhaps insensibly. And repent - Which in the very lowest sense implies a deep and lively conviction of thy fall. Of the seven angels, two, at Ephesus and at Pergamos, were in a mixed state; two, at Sardis and at Laodicea, were greatly corrupted: all these are exhorted to repent; as are the followers of Jezebel at Thyatira: two, at Smyrna and Philadelphia, were in a flourishing state, and are therefore only exhorted to steadfastness.

There can be no state, either of any pastor, church, or single person, which has not here suitable instructions. All, whether ministers or hearers, together with their secret or open enemies, in all places and all ages, may draw hence necessary self - knowledge, reproof, commendation, warning, or confirmation. Whether any be as dead as the angel at Sardis, or as much alive as the angel at Philadelphia, this book is sent to him, and the Lord Jesus hath something to say to him therein. For the seven churches with their angels represent the whole Christian church, dispersed throughout the whole world, as it subsists, not, as some have imagined, in one age after another, but in every age. This is a point of deep importance, and always necessary to be remembered: that these seven churches are, as it were, a sample of the whole church of Christ, as it was then, as it is now, and as it will be in all ages. Do the first works - Outwardly and inwardly, or thou canst never regain the first love. But if not - By this word is the warning sharpened to those five churches which are called to repent; for if Ephesus was threatened, how much more shall Sardis and Laodicea be afraid! And according as they obey the call or not, there is a promise or a threatening, Rev 2:5,16,22; Rev 3:3,20. But even in the threatening the promise is implied, in case of true repentance. I come to thee, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place - I will remove, unless thou repent, the flock now under thy care to another place, where they shall be better taken care of. But from the flourishing state of the church of Ephesus after this, there is reason to believe he did repent.

6 But thou hast this - Divine grace seeks whatever may help him that is fallen to recover his standing. That thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans - Probably so called from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons, Acts 6:5. Their doctrines and lives were equally corrupt. They allowed the most abominable lewdness and adulteries, as well as sacrificing to idols; all which they placed among things indifferent, and pleaded for as branches of Christian liberty.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear - Every man, whoever can hear at all, ought carefully to hear this. What the Spirit saith - In these great and precious promises. To the churches - And in them to every one that overcometh; that goeth on from faith and by faith to full victory over the world, and the flesh, and the devil. In these seven letters twelve promises are contained, which are an extract of all the promises of God. Some of them are not expressly mentioned again in this book, as "the hidden manna," the inscription of "the name of the new Jerusalem," the "sitting upon the throne." Some resemble what is afterwards mentioned, as "the hidden name," Rev 19:12; "the ruling the nations," Rev 19:15; "the morning star," Rev 22:16. And some are expressly mentioned, as "the tree of life," Rev 22:2; freedom from "the second death," Rev 20:6; the name in "the book of life," Rev 20:12; 21:27; the remaining "in the temple of God," Rev 7:15; the inscription of "the name of God and of the Lamb," Rev 14:1; 22:4. In these promises sometimes the enjoyment of the highest goods, sometimes deliverance from the greatest evils, is mentioned. And each implies the other, so that where either part is expressed, the whole is to be understood. That part is expressed which has most resemblance to the virtues or works of him that was spoken to in the letter preceding. To eat of the tree of life - The first thing promised in these letters is the last and highest in the accomplishment, Rev 22:2,14,19. The tree of life and the water of life go together, Rev 22:1,2; both implying the living with God eternally. In the paradise of my God - The word paradise means a garden of pleasure. In the earthly paradise there was one tree of life: there are no other trees in the paradise of God.
8 These things saith the first and the last, who was dead and is alive - How directly does this description tend to confirm him against the fear of death! verses 10, 11. Rev 2:10,11 Even with the comfort wherewith St. John himself was comforted, Rev 1:17,18, shall the angel of this church be comforted.
9 I know thy affliction and poverty - A poor prerogative in the eyes of the world! The angel at Philadelphia likewise had in their sight but "a little strength." And yet these two were the most honourable of all in the eyes of the Lord. But thou art rich - In faith and love, of more value than all the kingdoms of the earth. Who say they are Jews - God's own people. And are not - They are not Jews inwardly, not circumcised in heart. But a synagogue of Satan - Who, like them, was a liar and a murderer from the beginning.
10 The first and last words of this verse are particularly directed to the minister; whence we may gather, that his suffering and the affliction of the church were at the same time, and of the same continuance. Fear none of those things which thou art about to suffer - Probably by means of the false Jews. Behold - This intimates the nearness of the affliction. Perhaps the ten days began on the very day that the Revelation was read at Smyrna, or at least very soon after. The devil - Who sets all persecutors to work; and these more particularly. Is about to cast some of you - Christians at Smyrna; where, in the first ages, the blood of many martyrs was shed. Into prison, that ye may be tried - To your unspeakable advantage, 1Pet 4:12,14. And ye shall have affliction - Either in your own persons, or by sympathizing with your brethren. Ten days - (Literally taken) in the end of Domitian's persecution, which was stopped by the edict of the emperor Nerva. Be thou faithful - Our Lord does not say, "till I come," as in the other letters, but unto death - Signifying that the angel of this church should quickly after seal his testimony with his blood; fifty years before the martyrdom of Polycarp, for whom some have mistaken him. And I will give thee the crown of life - The peculiar reward of them who are faithful unto death.
11 The second death - The lake of fire, the portion of the fearful, who do not overcome, Rev 21:8.
12 The sword - With which I will cut off the impenitent, verse 16. Rev 2:16
13 Where the throne of Satan is - Pergamos was above measure given to idolatry: so Satan had his throne and full residence there. Thou holdest fast my name - Openly and resolutely confessing me before men. Even in the days wherein Antipas - Martyred under Domitian. Was my faithful witness - Happy is he to whom Jesus, the faithful and true witness, giveth such a testimony!
14, But thou hast there - Whom thou oughtest to have immediately cast out from the flock. Them that hold the doctrine of Balaam - Doctrine nearly resembling his. Who taught Balak - And the rest of the Moabites. To cast a stumblingblock before the sons of Israel - They are generally termed, the children, but here, the sons, of Israel, in opposition to the daughters of Moab, by whom Balaam enticed them to fornication and idolatry. To eat things sacrificed to idols - Which, in so idolatrous a city as Pergamos, was in the highest degree hurtful to Christianity. And to commit fornication - Which was constantly joined with the idol - worship of the heathens.
15 In like manner thou also - As well as the angel at Ephesus. Hast them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans - And thou sufferest them to remain in the flock.
16 If not, I come to thee - who wilt not wholly escape when I punish them. And will fight with them - Not with the Nicolaitans, who are mentioned only by the by, but the followers of Balaam. With the sword of my mouth - With my just and fierce displeasure. Balaam himself was first withstood by the angel of the Lord with "his sword drawn," Num 22:23, and afterwards "slain with the sword," Num 31:8.
17 To him that overcometh - And eateth not of those sacrifices. Will I give of the hidden manna - Described, John vi. The new name answers to this: it is now "hid with Christ in God." The Jewish manna was kept in the ancient ark of the covenant. The heavenly ark of the covenant appears under the trumpet of the seventh angel, Rev 11:19, where also the hidden manna is mentioned again. It seems properly to mean, the full, glorious, everlasting fruition of God. And I will give him a white stone - The ancients, on many occasions, gave their votes in judgment by small stones; by black, they condemned; by white ones they acquitted. Sometimes also they wrote on small smooth stones. Here may be an allusion to both. And a new name - So Jacob, after his victory, gained the new name of Israel. Wouldest thou know what thy new name will be? The way to this is plain, - overcome. Till then all thy inquiries are vain. Thou wilt then read it on the white stone.
18 And to the angel of the church at Thyatira - Where the faithful were but a little flock. These things saith the Son of God - See how great he is, who appeared "like a son of man!" Rev 1:13. Who hath eyes as a flame of fire - "Searching the reins and the heart," verse 23. Rev 2:23 And feet like fine brass - Denoting his immense strength. Job comprises both these, his wisdom to discern whatever is amiss, and his power to avenge it, in one sentence, Job 42:2, "No thought is hidden from him, and he can do all things."
19 I know thy love - How different a character is this from that of the angel of the church at Ephesus! The latter could not bear the wicked, and hated the works of the Nicolaitans; but had left his first love and first works. The former retained his first love, and had more and more works, but did bear the wicked, did not withstand them with becoming vehemence. Mixed characters both; yet the latter, not the former, is reproved for his fall, and commanded to repent. And faith, and thy service, and patience - Love is shown, exercised, and improved by serving God and our neighbour; so is faith by patience and good works.
20 But thou sufferest that woman Jezebel - who ought not to teach at all, 1Tim 2:12. To teach and seduce my servants - At Pergamos were many followers of Balaam; at Thyatira, one grand deceiver. Many of the ancients have delivered, that this was the wife of the pastor himself. Jezebel of old led the people of God to open idolatry. This Jezebel, fitly called by her name, from the resemblance between their works, led them to partake in the idolatry of the heathens. This she seems to have done by first enticing them to fornication, just as Balaam did: whereas at Pergamos they were first enticed to idolatry, and afterwards to fornication.
21 And I gave her time to repent - So great is the power of Christ! But she will not repent - So, though repentance is the gift of God, man may refuse it; God will not compel.
22 I will cast her into a bed - into great affliction - and them that commit either carnal or spiritual adultery with her, unless they repent - She had her time before. Of her works - Those to which she had enticed their and which she had committed with them.

It is observable, the angel of the church at Thyatira was only blamed for suffering her. This fault ceased when God took vengeance on her. Therefore he is not expressly exhorted to repent, though it is implied.

23 And I will kill her children - Those which she hath borne in adultery, and them whom she hath seduced. With death - This expression denotes death by the plague, or by some manifest stroke of God's hand. Probably the remarkable vengeance taken on her children was the token of the certainty of all the rest. And all the churches - To which thou now writest. Shall know that I search the reins - The desires. And hearts - Thoughts.
24 But I say to you who do not hold this doctrine - Of Jezebel. Who have not known the depths of Satan - O happy ignorance! As they speak - That were continually boasting of the deep things which they taught. Our Lord owns they were deep, even deep as hell: for they were the very depths of Satan. Were these the same of which Martin Luther speaks? It is well if there are not some of his countrymen now in England who know them too well! I will lay upon you no other burden - Than that you have already suffered from Jezebel and her adherents.
25 What ye - Both the angel and the church have.
26 By works - Those which I have commanded. To him will I give power over the nations - That is, I will give him to share with me in that glorious victory which the Father hath promised me over all the nations who as yet resist me, Psalm 2:8,9.
27 And he shall rule them - That is, shall share with me when I do this. With a rod of iron - With irresistible power, employed on those only who will not otherwise submit; who will hereby be dashed in pieces - Totally conquered.
28 I will give him the morning star - Thou, O Jesus, art the morning star! O give thyself to me! Then will I desire no sun, only thee, who art the sun also. He whom this star enlightens has always morning and no evening. The duties and promises here answer each other; the valiant conqueror has power over the stubborn nations. And he that, after having conquered his enemies, keeps the works of Christ to the end, shall have the morning star, - an unspeakable brightness and peaceable dominion in him.

Chapter III

1 The seven spirits of God - The Holy Spirit, from whom alone all spiritual life and strength proceed. And the seven stars - which are subordinate to him. Thou hast a name that thou livest - A fair reputation, a goodly outside appearance. But that Spirit seeth through all things, and every empty appearance vanishes before him.
2 The things which remain - In thy soul; knowledge of the truth, good desires, and convictions. Which were ready to die - Wherever pride, indolence, or levity revives, all the fruits of the Spirit are ready to die.
3 Remember how - Humbly, zealously, seriously. Thou didst receive the grace of God once, and hear - His word. And hold fast - The grace thou hast received. And repent - According to the word thou hast heard.
4 Yet thou hast a few names - That is, persons. But though few, they had not separated themselves from the rest; otherwise, the angel of Sardis would not have had them. Yet it was no virtue of his, that they were unspotted; whereas it was his fault that they were but few. Who have not defiled their garments - Either by spotting themselves, or by partaking of other men's sins. They shall walk with me in white - in joy; in perfect holiness; in glory. They are worthy - A few good among many bad are doubly acceptable to God. O how much happier is this worthiness than that mentioned, Rev 16:6.
5 He shall be clothed in white raiment - The colour of victory, joy, and triumph. And I will not blot his name out of the book of life - Like that of the angel of the church at Sardis: but he shall live for ever. I will confess his name - As one of my faithful servants and soldiers.
7 The holy one, the true one - Two great and glorious names He that hath the key of David - A master of a family, or a prince, has one or more keys, wherewith he can open and shut all the doors of his house or palace. So had David a key, a token of right and sovereignty, which was afterward adjudged to Eliakim, Isaiah 22:22. Much more has Christ, the Son of David, the key of the spiritual city of David, the New Jerusalem; the supreme right, power, and authority, as in his own house. He openeth this to all that overcome, and none shutteth: he shutteth it against all the fearful, and none openeth. Likewise when he openeth a door on earth for his works or his servants, none can shut; and when he shutteth against whatever would hurt or defile, none can open.
8 I have given before thee an opened door - To enter into the joy of thy Lord; and, meantime, to go on unhindered in every good work. Thou hast a little strength - But little outward human strength; a little, poor, mean, despicable company. Yet thou hast kept my word - Both in judgment and practice.
9 Behold, I - who have all power; and they must then comply. I will make them come and bow down before thy feet - Pay thee the lowest homage. And know - At length, that all depends on my love, and that thou hast a place therein. O how often does the judgment of the people turn quite round, when the Lord looketh upon them! Job 42:7, &c.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience - The word of Christ is indeed a word of patience. I also will keep thee - O happy exemption from that spreading calamity! From the hour of temptation - So that thou shalt not enter into temptation; but it shall pass over thee. The hour denotes the short time of its continuance; that is, at any one place. At every one it was very sharp, though short; wherein the great tempter was not idle, Rev 2:10. Which hour shall come upon the whole earth - The whole Roman empire. It went over the Christians, and over the Jews and heathens; though in a very different manner. This was the time of the persecution under the seemingly virtuous emperor Trajan. The two preceding persecutions were under those monsters, Nero and Domitian; but Trajan was so admired for his goodness, and his persecution was of such a nature, that it was a temptation indeed, and did throughly try them that dwelt upon the earth.
11 Thy crown - Which is ready for thee, if thou endure to the end.
12 I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God - I will fix him as beautiful, as useful, and as immovable as a pillar in the church of God. And he shall go out no more - But shall be holy and happy for ever. And I will write upon him the name of my God - So that the nature and image of God shall appear visibly upon him. And the name of the city of my God - Giving him a title to dwell in the New Jerusalem. And my new name - A share in that joy which I entered into, after overcoming all my enemies.
14 To the angel of the church at Laodicea - For these St. Paul had had a great concern, Col 2:1. These things saith the Amen - That is, the True One, the God of truth. The beginning - The Author, Prince, and Ruler. Of the creation of God - Of all creatures; the beginning, or Author, by whom God made them all.
15 I know thy works - Thy disposition and behaviour, though thou knowest it not thyself. That thou art neither cold - An utter stranger to the things of God, having no care or thought about them. Nor hot - As boiling water: so ought we to be penetrated and heated by the fire of love. O that thou wert - This wish of our Lord plainly implies that he does not work on us irresistibly, as the fire does on the water which it heats. Cold or hot - Even if thou wert cold, without any thought or profession of religion, there would be more hope of thy recovery.
16 So because thou art lukewarm - The effect of lukewarm water is well known. I am about to spue thee out of my mouth - I will utterly cast thee from me; that is, unless thou repent.
17 Because thou sayest - Therefore "I counsel thee," &c. I am rich - In gifts and grace, as well as worldly goods. And knowest not that thou art - In God's account, wretched and pitiable.
18 I counsel thee - who art poor, and blind, and naked. To buy of me - Without money or price. Gold purified in the fire - True, living faith, which is purified in the furnace of affliction. And white raiment - True holiness. And eyesalve - Spiritual illumination; the "unction of the Holy One," which teacheth all things.
19 Whomsoever I love - Even thee, thou poor Laodicean! O how much has his unwearied love to do! I rebuke - For what is past. And chasten - That they may amend for the time to come.
20 I stand at the door, and knock - Even at this instant; while he is speaking this word. If any man open - Willingly receive me. I will sup with him - Refreshing him with my graces and gifts, and delighting myself in what I have given. And he with me - In life everlasting.
21 I will give him to sit with me on my throne - In unspeakable happiness and glory. Elsewhere, heaven itself is termed the throne of God: but this throne is in heaven.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear, &c. - This stands in the three former letters before the promise; in the four latter, after it; clearly dividing the seven into two parts; the first containing three, the last, four letters. The titles given our Lord in the three former letters peculiarly respect his power after his resurrection and ascension, particularly over his church; those in the four latter, his divine glory, and unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Again, this word being placed before the promises in the three former letters, excludes the false apostles at Ephesus, the false Jews at Smyrna, and the partakers with the heathens at Pergamos, from having any share therein. In the four latter, being placed after them, it leaves the promises immediately joined with Christ's address to the angel of the church, to show that the fulfilling of these was near; whereas the others reach beyond the end of the world. It should be observed, that the overcoming, or victory, (to which alone these peculiar promises are annexed,) is not the ordinary victory obtained by every believer; but a special victory over great and peculiar temptations, by those that are strong in faith.

Chapter IV

We are now entering upon the main prophecy. The whole Revelation may be divided thus:
  • The first, second, and third chapters contain the introduction;
  • The fourth and fifth, the proposition;
  • The sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth describe things which are already fulfilled;
  • The tenth to the fourteenth, things which are now fulfilling;
  • The fifteenth to the nineteenth, things which will be fulfilled shortly;
  • The twentieth, twenty - first, and twenty - second, things at a greater distance.

    1 After these things - As if he had said, After I had written these letters from the mouth of the Lord. By the particle and, the several parts of this prophecy are usually connected: by the expression, after these things, they are distinguished from each other, Rev 7:9; 19:1. By that expression, and after these things, they are distinguished, and yet connected, Rev 7:1; 15:5; 18:1. St. John always saw and heard, and then immediately wrote down one part after another: and one part is constantly divided from another by some one of these expressions. I saw - Here begins the relation of the main vision, which is connected throughout; as it appears from "the throne, and him that sitteth thereon;" "the Lamb;" (who hitherto has appeared in the form of a man;) " the four living creatures;" and " the four and twenty elders," represented from this place to the end. From this place, it is absolutely necessary to keep in mind the genuine order of the texts, as it stands in the preceding table. A door opened in heaven - Several of these openings are successively mentioned. Here a door is opened; afterward, "the temple of God in heaven," Rev 11:19; 15:5; and, at last, "heaven" itself, 19:11. By each of these St. John gains a new and more extended prospect. And the first voice which I had heard - Namely, that of Christ: afterward, he heard the voices of many others. Said, Come up hither - Not in body, but in spirit; which was immediately done.
    2 And immediately I was in the spirit - Even in an higher degree than before, Rev 1:10. And, behold, a throne was set in heaven - St. John is to write "things which shall be;" and, in order thereto, he is here shown, after an heavenly manner, how whatever "shall be," whether good or bad, flows out of invisible fountains; and how, after it is done on the visible theatre of the world and the church, it flows back again into the invisible world, as its proper and final scope. Here commentators divide: some proceed theologically; others, historically; whereas the right way is, to join both together.

    The court of heaven is here laid open; and the throne of God is, as it were, the centre from which everything in the visible world goes forth, and to which everything returns. Here, also, the kingdom of Satan is disclosed; and hence we may extract the most important things out of the most comprehensive and, at the same time, most secret history of the kingdom of hell and heaven. But herein we must be content to know only what is expressly revealed in this book. This describes, not barely what good or evil is successively transacted on earth, but how each springs from the kingdom of light or darkness, and continually tends to the source whence it sprung: So that no man can explain all that is contained therein, from the history of the church militant only.

    And yet the histories of past ages have their use, as this book is properly prophetical. The more, therefore, we observe the accomplishment of it, so much the more may we praise God, in his truth, wisdom, justice, and almighty power, and learn to suit ourselves to the time, according to the remarkable directions contained in the prophecy. And one sat on the throne - As a king, governor, and judge. Here is described God, the Almighty, the Father of heaven, in his majesty, glory, and dominion.

    3 And he that sat was in appearance - Shone with a visible lustre, like that of sparkling precious stones, such as those which were of old on the high priest's breastplate, and those placed as the foundations of the new Jerusalem, Rev 21:19,20. If there is anything emblematical in the colours of these stones, possibly the jasper, which is transparent and of a glittering white, with an intermixture of beautiful colours, may be a symbol of God's purity, with various other perfections, which shine in all his dispensations. The sardine stone, of a blood - red colour, may be an emblem of his justice, and the vengeance he was about to execute on his enemies. An emerald, being green, may betoken favour to the good; a rainbow, the everlasting covenant. See Gen 9:9. And this being round about the whole breadth of the throne, fixed the distance of those who stood or sat round it.
    4 And round about the throne - In a circle, are four and twenty thrones, and on the thrones four and twenty elders - The most holy of all the former ages, Isa 24:23; Heb 12:1; representing the whole body of the saints. Sitting - In general; but falling down when they worship. Clothed in white raiment - This and their golden crowns show, that they had already finished their course and taken their place among the citizens of heaven. They are never termed souls, and hence it is probable that they had glorified bodies already. Compare Matt 27:52.
    5 And out of the throne go forth lightnings - Which affect the sight. Voices - Which affect the hearing. Thunderings - Which cause the whole body to tremble. Weak men account all this terrible; but to the inhabitants of heaven it is a mere source of joy and pleasure, mixed with reverence to the Divine Majesty. Even to the saints on earth these convey light and protection; but to their enemies, terror and destruction.
    6 And before the throne is a sea as of glass, like crystal - Wide and deep, pure and clear, transparent and still. Both the "seven lamps of fire" and this sea are before the throne; and both may mean "the seven spirits of God," the Holy Ghost; whose powers and operations are frequently represented both under the emblem of fire and of water. We read again, Rev 15:2, of "a sea as of glass," where there is no mention of "the seven lamps of fire;" but, on the contrary, the sea itself is "mingled with fire." We read also, Rev 22:1, of "a stream of water of life, clear as crystal." Now, the sea which is before the throne, and the stream which goes out of the throne, may both mean the same; namely, the Spirit of God. And in the midst of the throne - With respect to its height. Round about the throne - That is, toward the four quarters, east, west, north, and south. Were four living creatures - Not beasts, no more than birds. These seem to be taken from the cherubim in the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel, and in the holy of holies. They are doubtless some of the principal powers of heaven; but of what order, it is not easy to determine. It is very probable that the twenty - four elders may represent the Jewish church: their harps seem to intimate their having belonged to the ancient tabernacle service, where they were wont to be used. If so, the living creatures may represent the Christian church. Their number, also, is symbolical of universality, and agrees with the dispensation of the gospel, which extended to all nations under heaven. And the "new song" which they all sing, saying, "Thou hast redeemed us out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation," Rev 5:9, could not possibly suit the Jewish without the Christian church. The first living creature was like a lion - To signify undaunted courage. The second, like a calf - Or ox, Ezek 1:10, to signify unwearied patience. The third, with the face of a man - To signify prudence and compassion. The fourth, like an eagle - To signify activity and vigour. Full of eyes - To betoken wisdom and knowledge. Before - To see the face of him that sitteth on the throne. And behind - To see what is done among the creatures.
    7 And the first - Just such were the four cherubim in Ezekiel, who supported the moving throne of God; whereas each of those that overshadowed the mercy - seat in the holy of holies had all these four faces: whence a late great man supposes them to have been emblematic of the Trinity, and the incarnation of the second Person. A flying eagle - That is, with wings expanded.
    8 Each of them hath six wings - As had each of the seraphim in Isaiah's vision. "Two covered his face," in token of humility and reverence: "two his feet," perhaps in token of readiness and diligence for executing divine commissions. Round about and within they are full of eyes. Round about - To see everything which is farther off from the throne than they are themselves. And within - On the inner part of the circle which they make with one another. First, they look from the centre to the circumference, then from the circumference to the centre. And they rest not - O happy unrest! Day and night - As we speak on earth. But there is no night in heaven. And say, Holy, holy, holy - Is the Three - One God.

    There are two words in the original, very different from each other; both which we translate holy. The one means properly merciful; but the other, which occurs here, implies much more. This holiness is the sum of all praise, which is given to the almighty Creator, for all that he does and reveals concerning himself, till the new song brings with it new matter of glory.

    This word properly signifies separated, both in Hebrew and other languages. And when God is termed holy, it denotes that excellence which is altogether peculiar to himself; and the glory flowing from all his attributes conjoined, shining forth from all his works, and darkening all things besides itself, whereby he is, and eternally remains, in an incomprehensible manner separate and at a distance, not only from all that is impure, but likewise from all that is created. God is separate from all things. He is, and works from himself, out of himself, in himself, through himself, for himself. Therefore, he is the first and the last, the only one and the Eternal, living and happy, endless and unchangeable, almighty, omniscient, wise and true, just and faithful, gracious and merciful.

    Hence it is, that holy and holiness mean the same as God and Godhead: and as we say of a king, "His Majesty;" so the scripture says of God, "His Holiness," Heb 12:10. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. When God is spoken of, he is often named "the Holy One:" and as God swears by his name, so he does also by his holiness; that is, by himself.

    This holiness is often styled glory: often his holiness and glory are celebrated together, Lev 10:3; Isa 6:3. For holiness is covered glory, and glory is uncovered holiness. The scripture speaks abundantly of the holiness and glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And hereby is the mystery of the Holy Trinity eminently confirmed.

    That is also termed holy which is consecrated to him, and for that end separated from other things: and so is that wherein we may be like God, or united to him.

    In the hymn resembling this, recorded by Isaiah, Isa 6:3, is added, "The whole earth is full of his glory." But this is deferred in the Revelation, till the glory of the Lord (his enemies being destroyed) fills the earth.

    9, 10 And when the living creatures give glory - the elders fall down - That is, as often as the living creatures give glory, immediately the elders fall down. The expression implies, that they did so at the same instant, and that they both did this frequently. The living creatures do not say directly, "Holy, holy, holy art thou;" but only bend a little, out of deep reverence, and say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." But the elders, when they are fallen down, may say, "Worthy art thou, O Lord our God."
    9, 10 And when the living creatures give glory - the elders fall down - That is, as often as the living creatures give glory, immediately the elders fall down. The expression implies, that they did so at the same instant, and that they both did this frequently. The living creatures do not say directly, "Holy, holy, holy art thou;" but only bend a little, out of deep reverence, and say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord." But the elders, when they are fallen down, may say, "Worthy art thou, O Lord our God."
    11 Worthy art thou to receive - This he receives not only when he is thus praised, but also when he destroys his enemies and glorifies himself anew. The glory and the honour and the power - Answering the thrice - holy of the living creatures, verse 9. Rev 4:9 For thou hast created all things - Creation is the ground of all the works of God: therefore, for this, as well as for his other works, will he be praised to all eternity. And through thy will they were - They began to be. It is to the free, gracious and powerfully - working will of Him who cannot possibly need anything that all things owe their first existence. And are created - That is, continue in being ever since they were created.

    Chapter V

    1 And I saw - This is a continuation of the same narrative. In the right hand - The emblem of his all - ruling power. He held it openly, in order to give it to him that was worthy. It is scarce needful to observe, that there is not in heaven any real book of parchment or paper or that Christ does not really stand there, in the shape of a lion or of a lamb. Neither is there on earth any monstrous beast with seven heads and ten horns. But as there is upon earth something which, in its kind, answers such a representation; so there are in heaven divine counsels and transactions answerable to these figurative expressions. All this was represented to St. John at Patmos, in one day, by way of vision. But the accomplishment of it extends from that time throughout all ages. Writings serve to inform us of distant and of future things. And hence things which are yet to come are figuratively said to be "written in God's book;" so were at that time the contents of this weighty prophecy. But the book was sealed. Now comes the opening and accomplishing also of the great things that are, as it were, the letters of it. A book written within and without - That is, no part of it blank, full of matter. Sealed with seven seals - According to the seven principal parts contained in it, one on the outside of each. The usual books of the ancients were not like ours, but were volumes or long pieces of parchment, rolled upon a long stick, as we frequently roll silks. Such was this represented, which was sealed with seven seals. Not as if the apostle saw all the seals at once; for there were seven volumes wrapped up one within another, each of which was sealed: so that upon opening and unrolling the first, the second appeared to be sealed up till that was opened, and so on to the seventh. The book and its seals represent all power in heaven and earth given to Christ. A copy of this book is contained in the following chapters. By "the trumpets," contained under the seventh seal, the kingdom of the world is shaken, that it may at length become the kingdom of Christ. By "the vials," under the seventh trumpet, the power of the beast, and whatsoever is connected with it, is broken. This sum of all we should have continually before our eyes: so the whole Revelation flows in its natural order.
    2 And I saw a strong angel - This proclamation to every creature was too great for a man to make, and yet not becoming the Lamb himself. It was therefore made by an angel, and one of uncommon eminence.
    3 And none - No creature; no, not Mary herself. In heaven, or in earth, neither under the earth - That is, none in the universe. For these are the three great regions into which the whole creation is divided. Was able to open the book - To declare the counsels of God. Nor to look thereon - So as to understand any part of it.
    4 And I wept much - A weeping which sprung from greatness of mind. The tenderness of heart which he always had appeared more clearly now he was out of his own power. The Revelation was not written without tears; neither without tears will it be understood. How far are they from the temper of St. John who inquire after anything rather than the contents of this book! yea, who applaud their own clemency if they excuse those that do inquire into them!
    5 And one of the elders - Probably one of those who rose with Christ, and afterwards ascended into heaven. Perhaps one of the patriarchs. Some think it was Jacob, from whose prophecy the name of Lion is given him, Gen 49:9. The Lion of the tribe of Judah - The victorious prince who is, like a lion, able to tear all his enemies in pieces. The root of David - As God, the root and source of David's family, Isa 11:1,10. Hath prevailed to open the book - Hath overcome all obstructions, and obtained the honour to disclose the divine counsels.
    6 And I saw - First, Christ in or on the midst of the throne; secondly, the four living creatures making the inner circle round him; and, thirdly, the four and twenty elders making a larger circle round him and them. Standing - He lieth no more; he no more falls on his face; the days of his weakness and mourning are ended. He is now in a posture of readiness to execute all his offices of prophet, priest, and king. As if he had been slain - Doubtless with the prints of the wounds which he once received. And because he was slain, he is worthy to open the book, verse 9, Rev 5:9 to the joy of his own people, and the terror of his enemies. Having seven horns - As a king, the emblem of perfect strength. And seven eyes - The emblem of perfect knowledge and wisdom. By these he accomplishes what is contained in the book, namely, by his almighty and all - wise Spirit. To these seven horns and seven eyes answer the seven seals and the sevenfold song of praise, verse 12. Rev 5:12 In Zechariah, likewise, iii. 9, iv. 10, Zech 3:9, Zech 4:10 mention is made of "the seven eyes of the Lord, which go forth over all the earth." Which - Both the horns and the eyes. Are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth - For the effectual working of the Spirit of God goes through the whole creation; and that in the natural, as well as spiritual, world. For could mere matter act or move? Could it gravitate or attract? Just as much as it can think or speak.
    7 And he came - Here was "Ask of me," Psa 2:8, fulfilled in the most glorious manner. And took - it is one state of exaltation that reaches from our Lord's ascension to his coming in glory. Yet this state admits of various degrees. At his ascension, "angels, and principalities, and powers were subjected to him." Ten days after, he received from the Father and sent the Holy Ghost. And now he took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne - who gave it him as a signal of his delivering to him all power in heaven and earth. He received it, in token of his being both able and willing to fulfil all that was written therein.
    8 And when he took the book, the four living creatures fell down - Now is homage done to the Lamb by every creature. These, together with the elders, make the beginning; and afterward, Rev 5:14, the conclusion. They are together surrounded with a multitude of angels, Rev 5:11, and together sing the new song, as they had before praised God together, Rev 4:8, &c. Having every one - The elders, not the living creatures. An harp - Which was one of the chief instruments used for thanksgiving in the temple service: a fit emblem of the melody of their hearts. And golden phials - Cups or censers. Full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints - Not of the elders themselves, but of the other saints still upon earth, whose prayers were thus emblematically represented in heaven.
    9 And they sing a new song - One which neither they nor any other had sung before. Thou hast redeemed us - So the living creatures also were of the number of the redeemed. This does not so much refer to the act of redemption, which was long before, as to the fruit of it; and so more directly to those who had finished their course, "who were redeemed from the earth," Rev 14:1, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation - That is, out of all mankind.
    10 And hast made them - The redeemed. So they speak of themselves also in the third person, out of deep self - abasement. They shall reign over the earth - The new earth: herewith agree the golden crowns of the elders. The reign of the saints in general follows, under the trumpet of the seventh angel; particularly after the first resurrection, as also in eternity, Rev 11:18;15:7;20:4;22:5;Dan 7:27;Psa 49:14.
    11 And I saw - The many angels. And heard - The voice and the number of them. Round about the elders - So forming the third circle. It is remarkable, that men are represented through this whole vision as nearer to God than any of the angels. And the number of them was - At least two hundred millions, and two millions over. And yet these were but a part of the holy angels. Afterward, Rev 7:11, St. John heard them all.
    12 Worthy is the Lamb - The elders said, Rev 5:9, "Worthy art thou." They were more nearly allied to him than the angels. To receive the power, &c. - This sevenfold applause answers the seven seals, of which the four former describe all visible, the latter all invisible, things, made subject to the Lamb. And every one of these seven words bears a resemblance to the seal which it answers.
    13 And every creature - In the whole universe, good or bad. In the heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea - With these four regions of the world, agrees the fourfold word of praise. What is in heaven, says blessing; what is on earth, honour; what is under the earth, glory: what is on the sea, strength; is unto him. This praise from all creatures begins before the opening of the first seal; but it continues from that time to eternity, according to the capacity of each. His enemies must acknowledge his glory; but those in heaven say, Blessed be God and the Lamb.

    This royal manifesto is, as it were, a proclamation, showing how Christ fulfils all things, and "every knee bows to him," not only on earth, but also in heaven, and under the earth. This book exhausts all things, 1Cor 15:27,28, and is suitable to an heart enlarged as the sand of the sea. It inspires the attentive and intelligent reader with such a magnanimity, that he accounts nothing in this world great; no, not the whole frame of visible nature, compared to the immense greatness of what he is here called to behold, yea, and in part, to inherit.

    St. John has in view, through the whole following vision, what he has been now describing, namely, the four living creatures, the elders, the angels, and all creatures, looking together at the opening of the seven seals.

    Chapter VI

    The seven seals are not distinguished from each other by specifying the time of them. They swiftly follow the letters to the seven churches, and all begin almost at the same time. By the four former is shown, that all the public occurrences of all ages and nations, as empire, war, provision, calamities, are made subject to Christ. And instances are intimated of the first in the east, the second in the west, the third in the south, the fourth in the north and the whole world. The contents, as of the phials and trumpets, so of the seals, are shown by the songs of praise and thanksgiving annexed to them. They contain therefore "the power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing," which the Lamb received. The four former have a peculiar connexion with each other; and so have the three latter seals. The former relate to visible things, toward the four quarters to which the four living creatures look. Before we proceed, it may be observed,
    1. No man should constrain either himself or another to explain everything in this book. It is sufficient for every one to speak just so far as he understands.
    2. We should remember that, although the ancient prophets wrote the occurrences of those kingdoms only with which Israel had to do, yet the Revelation contains what relates to the whole world, through which the Christian church is extended. Yet,
    3. We should not prescribe to this prophecy, as if it must needs admit or exclude this or that history, according as we judge one or the other to be of great or small importance. "God seeth not as a man seeth;" therefore what we think great is often omitted, what we think little inserted, in scripture history or prophecy.
    4. We must take care not to overlook what is already fulfilled; and not to describe as fulfilled what is still to come.
    We are to look in history for the fulfilling of the four first seals, quickly after the date of the prophecy. In each of these appears a different horseman. In each we are to consider, first, the horseman himself; secondly, what he does. The horseman himself, by an emblematical prosopopoeia, represents a swift power, bringing with it either,
    1. A flourishing state; or,
    2. Bloodshed; or,
    3. Scarcity of provisions; or,
    4. Public calamities.
    With the quality of each of these riders the colour of his horse agrees. The fourth horseman is expressly termed "death;" the first, with his bow and crown, "a conqueror;" the second, with his great sword, is a warrior, or, as the Roman termed him, Mars; the third, with the scales, has power over the produce of the land. Particular incidents under this or that Roman emperor are not extensive enough to answer any of these horsemen. The action of every horseman intimates farther,
    1. Toward the east, wide spread empire, and victory upon victory:
    2. Toward the west, much bloodshed:
    3. Toward the south, scarcity of provisions:
    4. Toward the north, the plague and various calamities.

    1 I heard one - That is, the first. Of the living creatures - Who looks forward toward the east.
    2 And I saw, and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him had a bow - This colour, and the bow shooting arrows afar off, betoken victory, triumph, prosperity, enlargement of empire, and dominion over many people.

    Another horseman, indeed, and of quite another kind, appears on a white horse, Rev 19:11. But he that is spoken of under the first seal must be so understood as to bear a proportion to the horsemen in the second, third, and fourth seal.

    Nerva succeeded the emperor Domitian at the very time when the Revelation was written, in the year of our Lord 96. He reigned scarce a year alone; and three months before his death he named Trajan for his colleague and successor, and died in the year 98. Trajan's accession to the empire seems to be the dawning of the seven seals. And a crown was given him - This, considering his descent, Trajan could have no hope of attaining. But God gave it him by the hand of Nerva; and then the east soon felt his power. And he went forth conquering and to conquer - That is, from one victory to another. In the year 108 the already victorious Trajan went forth toward the east, to conquer not only Armenia, Assyria, and Mesopotamia, but also the countries beyond the Tigris, carrying the bounds of the Roman empire to a far greater extent than ever. We find no emperor like him for making conquests. He aimed at nothing else; he lived only to conquer. Meantime, in him was eminently fulfilled what had been prophesied of the fourth empire, Dan 2:40, 7:23, that he should "devour, tread down, and break in pieces the whole earth."

    3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature - Who looked toward the west. Saying, Come - At each seal it was necessary to turn toward that quarter of the world which it more immediately concerned.
    4 There went forth another horse that was red - A colour suitable to bloodshed. And to him that sat thereon it was given to take peace from the earth - Vespasian, in the year 75, had dedicated a temple to Peace; but after a time we hear little more of peace. All is full of war and bloodshed, chiefly in the western world, where the main business of men seemed to be, to kill one another.

    To this horseman there was given a great sword; and he had much to do with it; for as soon as Trajan ascended the throne, peace was taken from the earth. Decebalus, king of Dacia, which lies westward from Patmos, put the Romans to no small trouble. The war lasted five years, and consumed abundance of men on both sides; yet was only a prelude to much other bloodshed, which followed for a long season. All this was signified by the great sword, which strikes those who are near, as the bow does those who are at a distance.

    5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature - Toward the south. Saying, Come. And behold a black horse - A fit emblem of mourning and distress; particularly of black famine, as the ancient poets term it. And he that sat on him had a pair of scales in his hand - When there is great plenty, men scarce think it worth their while to weigh and measure everything, Gen 41:49. But when there is scarcity, they are obliged to deliver them out by measure and weight, Eze 4:16. Accordingly, these scales signify scarcity. They serve also for a token, that all the fruits of the earth, and consequently the whole heavens, with their courses and influences; that all the seasons of the year, with whatsoever they produce, in nature or states, are subject to Christ. Accordingly his hand is wonderful, not only in wars and victories, but likewise in the whole course of nature.
    6 And I heard a voice - It seems, from God himself. Saying - To the horseman, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther." Let there be a measure of wheat for a penny - The word translated measure, was a Grecian measure, nearly equal to our quart. This was the daily allowance of a slave. The Roman penny, as much as a labourer then earned in a day, was about sevenpence halfpenny English. According to this, wheat would be near twenty shillings per bushel. This must have been fulfilled while the Grecian measure and the Roman money were still in use; as also where that measure was the common measure, and this money the current coin. It was so in Egypt under Trajan. And three measures of barley for a penny - Either barley was, in common, far cheaper among the ancients than wheat, or the prophecy mentions this as something peculiar. And hurt not the oil and the wine - Let there not be a scarcity of everything. Let there he some provision left to supply the want of the rest This was also fulfilled in the reign of Trajan, especially in Egypt, which lay southward from Patmos. In this country, which used to be the granary of the empire, there was an uncommon dearth at the very beginning of his reign; so that he was obliged to supply Egypt itself with corn from other countries. The same scarcity there was in the thirteenth year of his reign, the harvest failing for want of the rising of the Nile: and that not only in Egypt, but in all those other parts of Afric, where the Nile uses to overflow.
    7 I heard the voice of the fourth living creature - Toward the north.
    8 And I saw, and behold a pale horse - Suitable to pale death, his rider. And hades - The representative of the state of separate souls. Followeth even with him - The four first seals concern living men. Death therefore is properly introduced. Hades is only occasionally mentioned as a companion of death. So the fourth seal reaches to the borders of things invisible, which are comprised in the three last seals. And power was given to him over the fourth part of the earth - What came single and in a lower degree before, comes now together, and much more severely. The first seal brought victory with it: in the second was "a great sword;" but here a scimitar. In the third was moderate dearth; here famine, and plague, and wild beasts beside. And it may well be, that from the time of Trajan downwards, the fourth part of men upon the earth, that is, within the Roman empire, died by sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts. "At that time," says Aurelius Victor, "the Tyber overflowed much more fatally than under Nerva, with a great destruction of houses and there was a dreadful earthquake through many provinces, and a terrible plague and famine, and many places consumed by fire." By death - That is, by pestilence wild beasts have, at several times, destroyed abundance of men; and undoubtedly there was given them, at this time, an uncommon fierceness and strength. It is observable that war brings on scarcity, and scarcity pestilence, through want of wholesome sustenance; and pestilence, by depopulating the country, leaves the few survivors an easier prey to the wild beasts. And thus these judgments make way for one another in the order wherein they are here represented.

    What has been already observed may be a fourfold proof that the four horsemen, as with their first entrance in the reign of Trajan, (which does by no means exhaust the contents of the four first seals,) so with all their entrances in succeeding ages, and with the whole course of the world and of visible nature, are in all ages subject to Christ, subsisting by his power, and serving his will, against the wicked, and in defence of the righteous. Herewith, likewise, a way is paved for the trumpets which regularly succeed each other; and the whole prophecy, as to what is future, is confirmed by the clear accomplishment of this part of it.

    9 And when he opened the fifth seal - As the four former seals, so the three latter, have a close connexion with each other. These all refer to the invisible world; the fifth, to the happy dead, particularly the martyrs; the sixth, to the unhappy; the seventh, to the angels, especially those to whom the trumpets are given. And I saw - Not only the church warring under Christ, and the world warring under Satan; but also the invisible hosts, both of heaven and hell, are described in this book. And it not only describes the actions of both these armies upon earth; but their respective removals from earth, into a more happy or more miserable state, succeeding each other at several times, distinguished by various degrees, celebrated by various thanksgivings; and also the gradual increase of expectation and triumph in heaven, and of terror and misery in hell. Under the altar - That is, at the foot of it. Two altars are mentioned in the Revelation, "the golden altar" of incense, Rev 9:13; and the altar of burnt - offerings, mentioned here, and Rev 8:5, 14:18, 16:7. At this the souls of the martyrs now prostrate themselves. By and by their blood shall be avenged upon Babylon; but not yet, whence it appears that the plagues in the fourth seal do not concern Rome in particular.
    10 And they cried - This cry did not begin now, but under the first Roman persecution. The Romans themselves had already avenged the martyrs slain by the Jews on that whole nation. How long - They knew their blood would be avenged; but not immediately, as is now shown them. O Lord - The Greek word properly signifies the master of a family: it is therefore beautifully used by these, who are peculiarly of the household of God. Thou Holy One and true - Both the holiness and truth of God require him to execute judgment and vengeance. Dost thou not judge and avenge our blood? - There is no impure affection in heaven: therefore, this desire of theirs is pure and suitable to the will of God. The martyrs are concerned for the praise of their Master, of his holiness and truth: and the praise is given him, Rev 19:2, where the prayer of the martyrs is changed into a thanksgiving: Thou holy One and true: "True and right are thy judgments." How long dost thou not judge and avenge our blood? "He hath judged the great whore, and hath avenged the blood of his servants."
    11 And there was given to every one a white robe - An emblem of innocence, joy, and victory, in token of honour and favourable acceptance. And it was said to them - They were told how long. They were not left in that uncertainty. That they should rest - Should cease from crying. They rested from pain before. A time - This word has a peculiar meaning in this book, to denote which, we may retain the original word chronos. Here are two classes of martyrs specified, the former killed under heathen Rome, the latter, under papal Rome. The former are commanded to rest till the latter are added to them. There were many of the former in the days of John: the first fruits of the latter died in the thirteenth century. Now, a time, or chronos, is 1111 years. This chronos began A. C. 98, and continued to the year 1209; or from Trajan's persecution, to the first crusade against the Waldenses. Till - It is not said, Immediately after this time is expired, vengeance shall be executed; but only, that immediately after this time their brethren and fellowservants will come to them. This event will precede the other; and there will be some space between.
    12 And I saw - This sixth seal seems particularly to point out God's judgment on the wicked departed. St. John saw how the end of the world was even then set before those unhappy spirits. This representation might be made to them, without anything of it being perceived upon earth. The like representation is made in heaven, Rev 11:18. And there was a great earthquake - Or shaking, not of the earth only, but the heavens. This is a farther description of the representation made to those unhappy souls.
    13 And the stars fell to, or towards, the earth - Yea, and so they surely will, let astronomers fix their magnitude as they please. As a fig tree casteth its untimely figs, when it is shaken by a mighty wind - How sublimely is the violence of that shaking expressed by this comparison!
    14 And the heavens departed as a book that is rolled together - When the scripture compares some very great with a little thing, the majesty and omnipotence of God, before whom great things are little, is highly exalted. Every mountain and island - What a mountain is to the land, that an island is to the sea.
    15 And the kings of the earth - They who had been so in their day. And the great men and chief captains - The generals and nobles. Hid themselves - So far as in them lay. In the rocks of the mountains - There are also rocks on the plains; but they were rocks on high, which they besought to fall upon them.
    16 To the mountains and the rocks - Which were tottering already, verse 12. Rev 6:12 Hide us from the face of him - Which "is against the ungodly," Psalm 34:16.

    Chapter VII

    1 And after these things - What follows is a preparation for the seventh seal, which is the weightiest of all. It is connected with the sixth by the particle and; whereas what is added, verse 9, Rev 6:9 stands free and unconnected. I saw four angels - Probably evil ones. They have their employ with the four first trumpets, as have other evil angels with the three last; namely, the angel of the abyss, the four bound in the Euphrates, and Satan himself. These four angels would willingly have brought on all the calamities that follow without delay. But they were restrained till the servants of God were sealed, and till the seven angels were ready to sound: even as the angel of the abyss was not let loose, nor the angels in the Euphrates unbound, neither Satan cast to the earth, till the fifth, sixth, and seventh angels severally sounded. Standing on the four corners of the earth - East, west, south, north. In this order proceed the four first trumpets. Holding the four winds - Which else might have softened the fiery heat, under the first, second, and third trumpet. That the wind should not blow upon the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree - It seems, that these expressions betoken the several quarters of the world; that the earth signifies that to the east of Patmos, Asia, which was nearest to St. John, and where the trumpet of the first angel had its accomplishment. Europe swims in the sea over against this; and is accordingly termed by the prophets, "the islands." The third part, Afric, seems to be meant, Rev 8:7,8,10, by "the streams of water," or "the trees," which grow plentifully by them.
    2 And I saw another (a good) angel ascending from the east - The plagues begin in the east; so does the sealing. Having the seal of the only living and true God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels - Who were hasting to execute their charge. To whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea - First, and afterwards "the trees."
    3 Hurt not the earth, till we - Other angels were joined in commission with him. Have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads - Secured the servants of God of the twelve tribes from the impending calamities; whereby they shall be as clearly distinguished from the rest, as if they were visibly marked on their foreheads.
    4 Of the children of Israel - To these will afterwards be joined a multitude out of all nations. But it may be observed, this is not the number of all the Israelites who are saved from Abraham or Moses to the end of all things; but only of those who were secured from the plagues which were then ready to fall on the earth. It seems as if this book had, in many places, a special view to the people of Israel.
    5 Judah is mentioned first, in respect of the kingdom, and of the Messiah sprung therefrom.
    7 After the Levitical ceremonies were abolished, Levi was again on a level with his brethren.
    8 Of the tribe of Joseph - Or Ephraim; perhaps not mentioned by name, as having been, with Dan, the most idolatrous of all the tribes. It is farther observable of Dan, that it was very early reduced to a single family; which family itself seems to have been cut off in war, before the time of Ezra; for in the Chronicles, where the posterity of the patriarchs is recited, Dan is wholly omitted.
    9 A great multitude - Of those who had happily finished their course. Such multitudes are afterwards described, and still higher degrees of glory which they attain after a sharp fight and magnificent victory, Rev 14:1; 15:2; 19:1; 20:4. There is an inconceivable variety in the degrees of reward in the other world. Let not any slothful one say, "If I get to heaven at all, I will be content:" such an one may let heaven go altogether. In worldly things, men are ambitious to get as high as they can. Christians have a far more noble ambition. The difference between the very highest and the lowest state in the world is nothing to the smallest difference between the degrees of glory. But who has time to think of this? Who is at all concerned about it? Standing before the throne - In the full vision of God. And palms in their hands - Tokens of joy and victory.
    10 Salvation to our God - Who hath saved us from all evil into all the happiness of heaven. The salvation for which they praise God is described, verse 15; Rev 7:15 that for which they praise the Lamb, verse 14; Rev 7:14 and both, in the sixteenth and seventeenth verses. Rev 7:16,17
    11 And all the angels stood - In waiting. Round about the throne, and the elders and the four living creatures - That is, the living creatures, next the throne; the elders, round these; and the angels, round them both. And they fell on their faces - So do the elders, once only, Rev 11:16. The heavenly ceremonial has its fixed order and measure.
    12 Amen - With this word all the angels confirm the words of the "great multitude;" but they likewise carry the praise much higher. The blessing, and the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour, and the power, and the strength, be unto our God for ever and ever - Before the Lamb began to open the seven seals, a sevenfold hymn of praise was brought him by many angels, Rev 5:12. Now he is upon opening the last seal, and the seven angels are going to receive seven trumpets, in order to make the kingdoms of the world subject to God. All the angels give sevenfold praise to God.
    13 And one of the elders - What stands, verses 13 - 17, Rev 7:13 - 17 might have immediately followed the tenth verse; but that the praise of the angels, which was at the same time with that of the "great multitude," came in between. Answered - He answered St. John's desire to know, not any words that he spoke.
    14 My lord - Or, my master; a common term of respect. So Zechariah, likewise, bespeaks the angel, Zec 1:9; 4:4; 6:4. Thou knowest - That is, I know not; but thou dost. These are they - Not martyrs; for these are not such a multitude as no man can number. But as all the angels appear here, so do all the souls of the righteous who had lived from the beginning of the world. Who come - He does not say, who did come; but, who come now also: to whom, likewise, pertain all who will come hereafter. Out of great affliction - Of various kinds, wisely and graciously allotted by God to all his children. And have washed their robes - From all guilt. And made them white - In all holiness. By the blood of the Lamb - Which not only cleanses, but adorns us also.
    15 Therefore - Because they came out of great affliction, and have washed their robes in his blood. Are they before the throne - It seems, even nearer than the angels. And serve him day and night - Speaking after the manner of men; that is, continually. In his temple - Which is in heaven. And he shall have his tent over them - Shall spread his glory over them as a covering.
    16 Neither shall the sun light on them - For God is there their sun. Nor any painful heat, or inclemency of seasons.
    17 For the Lamb will feed them - With eternal peace and joy; so that they shall hunger no more. And will lead them to living fountains of water - The comforts of the Holy Ghost; so that they shall thirst no more. Neither shall they suffer or grieve any more; for God "will wipe away all tears from their eyes."

    Chapter VIII

    1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven - Such a silence is mentioned but in this one place. It was uncommon, and highly observable: for praise is sounding in heaven day and night. In particular, immediately before this silence, all the angels, and before them the innumerable multitude, had been crying with a loud voice; and now all is still at once: there is an universal pause. Hereby the seventh seal is very remarkably distinguished from the six preceding. This silence before God shows that those who were round about him were expecting, with the deepest reverence, the great things which the Divine Majesty would farther open and order. Immediately after, the seven trumpets are heard, and a sound more august than ever. Silence is only a preparation: the grand point is, the sounding the trumpets to the praise of God. About half an hour - To St. John, in the vision, it might seem a common half hour.
    2 And I saw - The seven trumpets belong to the seventh seal, as do the seven phials to the seventh trumpet. This should be carefully remembered, that we may not confound together the times which follow each other. And yet it may be observed, in general, concerning the times of the incidents mentioned in this book, it is not a certain rule, that every part of the text is fully accomplished before the completion of the following part begins. All things mentioned in the epistles are not full accomplished before the seals are opened; neither are all things mentioned under the seals fulfilled before the trumpets begin; nor yet is the seventh trumpet wholly past before the phials are poured out. Only the beginning of each part goes before the beginning of the following. Thus the epistles begin before the seals, the seals before the trumpets, the trumpets before the phials. One epistle begins before another, one seal before another, one trumpet especially before another, one phial before another. Yet, sometimes, what begins later than another thing ends sooner; and what begins earlier than another thing ends later: so the seventh trumpet begins earlier than the phials, and yet extends beyond them all. The seven angels which stood before God - A character of the highest eminence. And seven trumpets were given them. - When men desire to make known openly a thing of public concern, they give a token that may be seen or heard far and wide; and, among such, none are more ancient than trumpets, Lev 25:9; Num 10:2; Amos 3:6. The Israelites, in particular, used them, both in the worship of God and in war; therewith openly praising the power of God before, after, and in, the battle, Jos 6:4; 2Ch 13:14, &c. And the angels here made known by these trumpets the wonderful works of God, whereby all opposing powers are successively shaken, till the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of God and his Anointed.

    These trumpets reach nearly from the time of St. John to the end of the world; and they are distinguished by manifest tokens. The place of the four first is specified; namely, east, west, south, and north successively: in the three last, immediately after the time of each, the place likewise is pointed out.

    The seventh angel did not begin to sound, till after the going forth of the second woe: but the trumpets were given to him and the other six together; (as were afterward the phials to the seven angels;) and it is accordingly said of all the seven together, that "they prepared themselves to sound." These, therefore, were not men, as some have thought, but angels, properly so called.

    3 And - In the second verse, Rev 7:2 the "trumpets were given" to the seven angels; and in the sixth, Rev 7:6 they "prepared to sound." But between these, the incense of this angel and the prayers of the saints are mentioned; the interposing of which shows, that the prayers of the saints and the trumpets of the angels go together: and these prayers, with the effects of them, may well be supposed to extend through all the seven. Another angel - Another created angel. Such are all that are here spoken of. In this part of the Revelation, Christ is never termed an angel; but, "the Lamb." Came and stood at the altar - Of burnt - offerings. And there was given him a golden censer - A censer was a cup on a plate or saucer. This was the token and the business of the office. And much incense was given - Incense generally signifies prayer: here it signifies the longing desires of the angels, that the holy counsel of God might be fulfilled. And there was much incense; for as the prayers of all the saints in heaven and earth are here joined together: so are the desires of all the angels which are brought by this angel. That he might place it - It is not said, offer it; for he was discharging the office of an angel, not a priest. With the prayers of all the saints - At the same time; but not for the saints. The angels are fellowservants with the saints, not mediators for them.
    4 And the smoke of the incense came up before God, with the prayers of the saints - A token that both were accepted.
    5 And there were thunderings, and lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake - These, especially when attended with fire, are emblems of God's dreadful judgments, which are immediately to follow.
    6 And the seven angels prepared themselves to sound - That each, when it should come to his turn, might sound without delay. But while they do sound, they still stand before God.
    7 And the first sounded - And every angel continued to sound, till all which his trumpet brought was fulfilled and till the next began. There are intervals between the three woes, but not between the four first trumpets. And there was hail and fire mingled with blood, and there were cast upon the earth - The earth seems to mean Asia; Palestine, in particular. Quickly after the Revelation was given, the Jewish calamities under Adrian began: yea, before the reign of Trajan was ended. And here the trumpets begin. Even under Trajan, in the year 114, the Jews made an insurrection with a most dreadful fury; and in the parts about Cyrene, in Egypt, and in Cyprus, destroyed four hundred and sixty thousand persons. But they were repressed by the victorious power of Trajan, and afterward slaughtered themselves in vast multitudes. The alarm spread itself also into Mesopotamia, where Lucius Quintius slew a great number of them. They rose in Judea again in the second year of Adrian; but were presently quelled. Yet in 133 they broke out more violently than ever, under their false messiah Barcochab; and the war continued till the year 135, when almost all Judea was desolated. In the Egyptian plague also hail and fire were together. But here hail is to be taken figuratively, as also blood, for a vehement, sudden, powerful, hurtful invasion; and fire betokens the revenge of an enraged enemy, with the desolation therefrom. And they were cast upon the earth - That is, the fire and hail and blood. But they existed before they were cast upon the earth. The storm fell, the blood flowed, and the flames raged round Cyrene, and in Egypt, and Cyprus, before they reached Mesopotamia and Judea. And the third part of the earth was burnt up - Fifty well - fortified cities, and nine hundred and eighty - five well - inhabited towns of the Jews, were wholly destroyed in this war. Vast tracts of land were likewise left desolate and without inhabitant. And the third part of the trees was burned up, and all the green grass was burned up - Some understand by the trees, men of eminence among the Jews; by the grass, the common people. The Romans spared many of the former: the latter were almost all destroyed.

    Thus vengeance began at the Jewish enemies of Christ's kingdom; though even then the Romans did not quite escape. But afterwards it came upon them more and more violently: the second trumpet affects the Roman heathens in particular; the third, the dead, unholy Christians; the fourth, the empire itself.

    8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea - By the sea, particularly as it is here opposed to the earth, we may understand the west, or Europe; and chiefly the middle parts of it, the vast Roman empire. A mountain here seems to signify a great force and multitude of people. Jer 51:25; so this may point at the irruption of the barbarous nations into the Roman empire. The warlike Goths broke in upon it about the year 250: and from that time the irruption of one nation after another never ceased till the very form of the Roman empire, and all but the name, was lost. The fire may mean the fire of war, and the rage of those savage nations. And the third part of the sea became blood - This need not imply, that just a third part of the Romans was slain; but it is certain an inconceivable deal of blood was shed in all these invasions.
    9 And the third part of the creatures that were in the sea - That is, of all sorts of men, of every station and degree. Died - By those merciless invaders. And the third part of the ships were destroyed - It is a frequent thing to resemble a state or republic to a ship, wherein many people are embarked together, and share in the same dangers. And how many states were utterly destroyed by those inhuman conquerors! Much likewise of this was literally fulfilled. How often was the sea tinged with blood! How many of those who dwelt mostly upon it were killed! And what number of ships destroyed!
    10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star, and it fell on the third part of the rivers - It seems Afric is meant by the rivers; (with which this burning part of the world abounds in an especial manner;) Egypt in particular, which the Nile overflows every year far and wide. ln the whole African history, between the irruption of the barbarous nations into the Roman empire, and the ruin of the western empire, after the death of Valentinian the Third, there is nothing more momentous than the Arian calamity, which sprung up in the year 315. It is not possible to tell how many persons, particularly at Alexandria, in all Egypt, and in the neighbouring countries, were destroyed by the rage of the Arians. Yet Afric fared better than other parts of the empire, with regard to the barbarous nations, till the governor of it, whose wife was a zealous Arian, and aunt to Genseric, king of the Vandals, was, under that pretence, unjustly accused before the empress Placidia. He was then prevailed upon to invite the Vandals into Afric; who under Genseric, in the year 428, founded there a kingdom of their own, which continued till the year 533. Under these Vandal kings the true believers endured all manner of afflictions and persecutions. And thus Arianism was the inlet to all heresies and calamities, and at length to Mahometanism itself. This great star was not an angel, (angels are not the agents in the two preceding or the following trumpet,) but a teacher of the church, one of the stars in the right hand of Christ. Such was Arius. He fell from on high, as it were from heaven, into the most pernicious doctrines, and made in his fall a gazing on all sides, being great, and now burning as a torch. He fell on the third part of the rivers - His doctrine spread far and wide, particularly in Egypt. And on the fountains of water - wherewith Afric abounds.
    11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood - The unparalleled bitterness both of Arius himself and of his followers show the exact propriety of his title. And the third part of the waters became wormwood - A very considerable part of Afric was infected with the same bitter doctrine and Spirit. And many men (though not a third part of them) died - By the cruelty of the Arians.
    12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten - Or struck. After the emperor Theodosius died, and the empire was divided into the eastern and the western, the barbarous nations poured in as a flood. The Goths and Hunns in the years 403 and 405 fell upon Italy itself with an impetuous force; and the former, in the year 410, took Rome by storm, and plundered it without mercy. In the year 452 Attila treated the upper part of Italy in the same manner. In 455 Valentinian the Third was killed, and Genseric invited from Afric. He plundered Rome for fourteen days together. Recimer plundered it again in 472. During all these commotions, one province was lost after another, till, in the year 476, Odoacer seized upon Rome, deposed the emperor, and put an end to the empire itself.

    An eclipse of the sun or moon is termed by the Hebrews, a stroke. Now, as such a darkness does not come all at once, but by degrees, so likewise did the darkness which fell on the Roman, particularly the western empire; for the stroke began long before Odoacer, namely, when the barbarians first conquered the capital city. And the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so that the third part of them was darkened - As under the first, second, and third trumpets by "the earth," "sea, " and "rivers," are to be understood the men that inhabit them; so here by the sun, moon, and stars, may be understood the men that live under them, who are so overwhelmed with calamities in those days of darkness, that they can no longer enjoy the light of heaven: unless it may be thought to imply their being killed; so that the sun, moon, and stars shine to them no longer. The very same expression we find in Ezekiel 32:8. "I will darken all the lights of heaven over them." As then the fourth seal transcends the three preceding seals, so does the fourth trumpet the three preceding trumpets. For in this not the third part of the earth, or sea, or rivers only, but of all who are under the sun, are affected. And the day shone not for a third part thereof - That is, shone with only a third part of its usual brightness. And the night likewise - The moon and stars having lost a third part of their lustre, either with regard to those who, being dead, saw them no longer, or those who saw them with no satisfaction.

    The three last trumpets have the time of their continuance fixed, and between each of them there is a remarkable pause: whereas between the four former there is no pause, nor is the time of their continuance mentioned; but all together these four seem to take up a little less than four hundred years.

    13 And I saw, and heard an angel flying - Between the trumpets of the fourth and fifth angel. In the midst of heaven - The three woes, as we shall see, stretch themselves over the earth from Persia eastward, beyond Italy, westward; all which space had been filled with the gospel by the apostles. In the midst of this lies Patmos, where St. John saw this angel, saying, Woe, woe, woe - Toward the end of the fifth century, there were many presages of approaching calamities. To the inhabitants of the earth - All without exception. Heavy trials were coming on them all. Even while the angel was proclaiming this, the preludes of these three woes were already in motion. These fell more especially on the Jews. As to the prelude of the first woe in Persia, Isdegard II., in 454, was resolved to abolish the sabbath, till he was, by Rabbi Mar, diverted from his purpose. Likewise in the year 474, Phiruz afflicted the Jews much, and compelled many of them to apostatize. A prelude of the second woe was the rise of the Saracens, who, in 510, fell into Arabia and Palestine. To prepare for the third woe, Innocent I., and his successors, not only endeavoured to enlarge their episcopal jurisdiction beyond all bounds, but also their worldly power, by taking every opportunity of encroaching upon the empire, which as yet stood in the way of their unlimited monarchy.

    Chapter IX

    1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star - Far different from that mentioned, Rev 8:11. This star belongs to the invisible world. The third woe is occasioned by the dragon cast out of heaven; the second takes place at the loosing of the four angels who were bound in the Euphrates. The first is here brought by the angel of the abyss, which is opened by this star, or holy angel. Falling to the earth - Coming swiftly and with great force. And to him was given - when he was come. The key of the bottomless pit - A deep and hideous prison; but different from "the lake of fire."
    2 And there arose a smoke out of the pit - The locusts, who afterwards rise out of it, seem to be, as we shall afterwards see, the Persians; agreeable to which, this smoke is their detestable idolatrous doctrine, and false zeal for it, which now broke out in an uncommon paroxysm. As the smoke of a great furnace - where the clouds of it rise thicker and thicker, spread far and wide, and press one upon another, so that the darkness increases continually. And the sun and the air were darkened - A figurative expression, denoting heavy affliction. This smoke occasioned more and more such darkness over the Jews in Persia.
    3 And out of the smoke - Not out of the bottomless pit, but from the smoke which issued thence. There went forth locusts - A known emblem of a numerous, hostile, hurtful people. Such were the Persians, from whom the Jews, in the sixth century, suffered beyond expression. In the year 540 their academies were stopped, nor were they permitted to have a president for near fifty years. In 589 this affliction ended; but it began long before 540. The prelude of it was about the year 455 and 474: the main storm came on in the reign of Cabades, and lasted from 483 to 532. Toward the beginning of the sixth century, Mar Rab Isaac, president of the academy, was put to death. Hereon followed an insurrection of the Jews, which lasted seven years before they were conquered by the Persians. Some of them were then put to death, but not many; the rest were closely imprisoned. And from this time the nation of the Jews were hated and persecuted by the Persians, till they had well nigh rooted them out. The scorpions of the earth - The most hurtful kind. The scorpions of the air have wings.
    4 And it was commanded them - By the secret power of God. Not to hurt the grass, neither any green thing, nor any tree - Neither those of low, middling, or high degree, but only such of them as were not sealed - Principally the unbelieving Israelites. But many who were called Christians suffered with them.
    5 Not to kill them - Very few of them were killed: in general, they were imprisoned and variously tormented.
    6 The men - That is, the men who are so tormented.
    7 And the appearances - This description suits a people neither throughly civilized, nor entirely savage; and such were the Persians of that age. Of the locusts are like horses - With their riders. The Persians excelled in horsemanship. And on their heads are as it were crowns - Turbans. And their faces are as the faces of men - Friendly and agreeable.
    8 And they had hair as the hair of women - All the Persians of old gloried in long hair. And their teeth were as the teeth of lions - Breaking and tearing all things in pieces.
    9 And the noise of their wings was as the noise of chariots of many horses - With their war - chariots, drawn by many horses, they, as it were, flew to and fro.
    10 And they have tails like scorpions - That is, each tail is like a scorpion, not like the tail of a scorpion. To hurt the unsealed men five months - Five prophetic months; that is, seventy - nine common years So long did these calamities last.
    11 And they have over them a king - One by whom they are peculiarly directed and governed. His name is Abaddon - Both this and Apollyon signify a destroyer. By this he is distinguished from the dragon, whose proper name is Satan.
    12 One woe is past; behold, there come yet two woes after these things - The Persian power, under which was the first woe, was now broken by the Saracens: from this time the first pause made a wide way for the two succeeding woes. In 589, when the first woe ended, Mahomet was twenty years old, and the contentions of the Christians with each other were exceeding great. In 591 Chosroes II. reigned in Persia, who, after the death of the emperor, made dreadful disturbances in the east, Hence Mahomet found an open door for his new religion and empire. And when the usurper Phocas had, in the year 606, not only declared the Bishop of Rome, Boniface III., universal bishop, but also the church of Rome the head of all churches, this was a sure step to advance the Papacy to its utmost height. Thus, after the passing away of the first woe, the second, yea, and the third, quickly followed; as indeed they were both on the way together with it before the first effectually began.
    13 And the sixth angel sounded - Under this angel goes forth the second woe. And I heard a voice from the four corners of the golden altar - This golden altar is the heavenly pattern of the Levitical altar of incense. This voice signified that the execution of the wrath of God, mentioned verses 20, 21, Rev 9:20,21 should, at no intercession, be delayed any longer.
    14 Loose the four angels - To go every way; to the four quarters. These were evil angels, or they would not have been bound. Why, or how long, they were bound we know not.
    15 And the four angels were loosed, who were prepared - By loosing them, as well as by their strength and rage. To kill the third part of men - That is, an immense number of them. For the hour, and day, and month, and year - All this agrees with the slaughter which the Saracens made for a long time after Mahomet's death. And with the number of angels let loose agrees the number of their first and most eminent caliphs. These were Ali, Abubeker, Omar, and Osman. Mahomet named Ali, his cousin and son - in - law, for his successor; but he was soon worked out by the rest, till they severally died, and so made room for him. They succeeded each other, and each destroyed innumerable multitudes of men. There are in a prophetic
    Com. Years. Com. Days.
    Hour 8
    Day 196 in all 212 years.
    Month 15 318
    Year 196 117
    Now, the second woe, as also the beginning of the third, has its place between the ceasing of the locusts and the rising of the beast out of the sea, even at the time that the Saracens, who were chiefly cavalry, were in the height of their carnage; from their, first caliph, Abubeker, till they were repulsed from Rome under Leo IV. These 212 years may therefore be reckoned from the year 634 to 847. The gradation in reckoning the time, beginning with the hour and ending with a year, corresponds with their small beginning and vast increase. Before and after Mahomet's death, they had enough to do to settle their affairs at home. Afterwards Abubeker went farther, and in the year 634 gained great advantage over the Persians and Romans in Syria. Under Omar was the conquest of Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt made. Under Osman, that of Afric, (with the total suppression of the Roman government in the year 647,) of Cyprus, and of all Persia in 651. After Ali was dead, his son Ali Hasen, a peaceable prince, was driven out by Muavia; under whom, and his successors, the power of the Saracens so increased, that within fourscore years after Mahomet's death they had extended their conquests farther than the warlike Romans did in four hundred years.
    16 And the number of the horsemen was two hundred millions - Not that so many were ever brought into the field at once, but (if we understand the expression literally) in the course of "the hour, and day, and month, and year." So neither were "the third part of men killed" at once, but during that course of years.
    17 And thus I saw the horses and them that sat on them in the vision - St. John seems to add these words, in the vision, to intimate that we are not to take this description just according to the letter. Having breastplates of fire - Fiery red. And hyacinth - Dun blue. And brimstone - A faint yellow. Of the same colour with the fire and smoke and brimstone, which go out of the months of their horses. And the heads of their horses are as the heads of lions - That is, fierce and terrible. And out of their mouth goeth fire and smoke and brimstone - This figurative expression may denote the consuming, blinding, all - piercing rage, fierceness, and force of these horsemen.
    18 By these three - Which were inseparably joined. Were the third part of men - In the countries they over - ran. Killed - Omar alone, in eleven years and a half, took thirty - six thousand cities or forts. How many men must be killed therein!
    19 For the power of these horses is in their mouths, and in their tails - Their riders fight retreating as well as advancing: so that their rear is as terrible as their front. For their tails are like serpents, having heads - Not like the tails of serpents only. They may be fitly compared to the amphisbena, a kind of serpent, which has a short tail, not unlike a head from which it throws out its poison as if it had two heads.
    20 And the rest of the men who were not killed - Whom the Saracens did not destroy. It is observable, the countries they over - ran were mostly those where the gospel had been planted. By these plagues - Here the description of the second woe ends. Yet repented not - Though they were called Christians. Of the works of their hands - Presently specified. That they should not worship devils - The invocation of departed saints, whether true, or false, or doubtful, or forged, crept early into the Christian church, and was carried farther and farther; and who knows how many who are invoked as saints are among evil, not good, angels; or how far devils have mingled with such blind worship, and with the wonders wrought on those occasions? And idols - About the year 590, men began to venerate images; and though upright men zealously opposed it, yet, by little and little, images grew into manifest idols. For after much contention, both in the east and west, in the year 787, the worship of images was established by the second Council of Nice. Yet was image worship sharply opposed some time after, by the emperor Theophilus. But when he died, in 842, his widow, Theodora, established it again; as did the Council at Constantinople in the year 863, and again in 871.
    21 Neither repented of their murders, nor of their sorceries - Whoever reads the histories of the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, will find numberless instances of all these in every part of the Christian world. But though God cut off so many of these scandals to the Christian name, yet the rest went on in the same course. Some of them, however, might repent under the plagues which follow.

    Chapter X

    From the first verse of this chapter to chap. xi. 13, Rev 10:1 - Rev 11:13 preparation is made for the important trumpet of the seventh angel. It consists of two parts, which run parallel to each other: the former reaches from the first to the seventh verse Rev 10:1 - Rev 10:7 of this chapter; the latter, from the eighth of this to the thirteenth verse of the eleventh chapter: whence, also, the Rev 10:8 - Rev 11:13 sixth verse of this chapter is parallel to the eleventh verse. Rev 10:6 , Rev 10:11 The period to which both these refer begins during the second woe, as appears, chap. xi. 14; Rev 11:14 but, being once begun, it extends in a continued course far into the trumpet of the seventh angel. Hence many things are represented here which are not fulfilled till long after. So the joyful "consummation of the mystery of God" is spoken of in the seventh verse of this chapter, which yet is not till after "the consummation of the wrath of God," Rev 15:1. So the ascent of the beast "out of the bottomless pit" is mentioned, Rev 11:7, which nevertheless is still to come, Rev 17:8; and so "the earthquake," by which a tenth part of the great city falls, and the rest are converted, Rev 11:13, is really later than that by which the same city is "split into three parts," Rev 16:19. This is a most necessary observation, whereby we may escape many and great mistakes.

    1 And I saw another mighty angel - Another from that "mighty angel," mentioned, Rev 5:2; yet he was a created angel; for he did not swear by himself, verse 6. Rev 5:6 Clothed with a cloud - In token of his high dignity. And a rainbow upon his head - A lovely token of the divine favour. And yet it is not too glorious for a creature: the woman, Rev 12:1, is described more glorious still. And his face as the sun - Nor is this too much for a creature: for all the righteous "shall shine forth as the sun," Matt 13:43. And his feet as pillars of fire - Bright as flame.
    2 And he had in his hand - His left hand: he swore with his right. He stood with his right foot on the sea, toward the west; his left, on the land, toward the east: so that he looked southward. And so St. John (as Patmos lies near Asia) could conveniently take the book out of his left hand. This sealed book was first in the right hand of him that sat on the throne: thence the Lamb took it, and opened the seals. And now this little book, containing the remainder of the other, is given opened, as it was, to St. John. From this place the Revelation speaks more clearly and less figuratively than before. And he set his right foot upon the sea - Out of which the first beast was to come. And his left foot upon the earth - Out of which was to come the second. The sea may betoken Europe; the earth, Asia; the chief theatres of these great things.
    3 And he cried - Uttering the words set down, verse 6. Rev 10:6 And while he cried, or was crying - At the same instant. Seven thunders uttered their voices - In distinct words, each after the other. Those who spoke these words were glorious, heavenly powers, whose voice was as the loudest thunder.
    4 And I heard a voice from heaven - Doubtless from him who had at first commanded him to write, and who presently commands him to take the book; namely, Jesus Christ. Seal up those things which the seven thunders have uttered, and write them not - These are the only things of all which he heard that he is commanded to keep secret: so something peculiarly secret was revealed to the beloved John, besides all the secrets that are written in this book. At the same time we are prevented from inquiring what it was which these thunders uttered: suffice that we may know all the contents of the opened book, and of the oath of the angel.
    5 And the angel - This manifestation of things to come under the trumpet of the seventh angel hath a twofold introduction: first, the angel speaks for God, verse 7; Rev 10:7 then Christ speaks for himself, Rev 11:3. The angel appeals to the prophets of former times; Christ, to his own two witnesses. Whom I saw standing upon the earth and upon the sea, lifted up his right hand toward heaven - As yet the dragon was in heaven. When he is cast thence he brings the third and most dreadful woe on the earth and sea: so that it seems as if there would be no end of calamities. Therefore the angel comprises, in his posture and in his oath, both heaven, sea, and earth, and makes on the part of the eternal God and almighty Creator, a solemn protestation, that he will assert his kingly authority against all his enemies. He lifted up his right hand toward heaven - The angel in Daniel, Dan 12:7, (not improbably the same angel,) lifted up both his hands.
    6 And sware - The six preceding trumpets pass without any such solemnity. It is the trumpet of the seventh angel alone which is confirmed by so high an oath. By him that liveth for ever and ever - Before whom a thousand years are but a day. Who created the heaven, the earth, the sea, and the things that are therein - And, consequently, has the sovereign power over all: therefore, all his enemies, though they rage a while in heaven, on the sea, and on the earth, yet must give place to him. That there shall be no more a time - "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, the mystery of God shall be fulfilled:" that is, a time, a chronos, shall not expire before that mystery is fulfilled. A chronos (1111 years) will nearly pass before then, but not quite. The period, then, which we may term a non - chronos (not a whole time) must be a little, and not much, shorter than this. The non - chronos here mentioned seems to begin in the year 800, (when Charles the Great instituted in the west a new line of emperors, or of "many kings,") to end in the year 1836; and to contain, among other things, the "short time" of the third woe, the "three times and a half" of the woman in the wilderness, and the "duration" of the beast.
    7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel - Who sounded not only at the beginning of those days, but from the beginning to the end. The mystery of God shall be fulfilled - It is said, Rev 17:17, "The word of God shall be fulfilled." The word of God is fulfilled by the destruction of the beast; the mystery, by the removal of the dragon. But these great events are so near together, that they are here mentioned as one. The beginning of them is in heaven, as soon as the seventh trumpet sounds; the end is on the earth and the sea. So long as the third woe remains on the earth and the sea, the mystery of God is not fulfilled. And the angel's swearing is peculiarly for the comfort of holy men, who are afflicted under that woe. Indeed the wrath of God must be first fulfilled, by the pouring out of the phials: and then comes the joyful fulfilling of the mystery of God. As he hath declared to his servants the prophets - The accomplishment exactly answering the prediction. The ancient prophecies relate partly to that grand period, from the birth of Christ to the destruction of Jerusalem; partly to the time of the seventh angel, wherein they will be fully accomplished. To the seventh trumpet belongs all that occurs from Rev 11:15 - Rev 22:5. And the third woe, which takes place under the same, properly stands, Rev 12:12, 13:1 - 18.
    8 And - what follows from this verse to chap. xi. 13, Rev 11:13 runs parallel with the oath of the angel, and with "the fulfilling of the mystery of God," as it follows under the trumpet of the seventh angel; what is said, verse 11, Rev 11:11 concerning St. John's "prophesying again," is unfolded immediately after; what is said, verse 7, Rev 11:7 concerning "the fulfilling the mystery of God," is unfolded, Rev. xi. 15 - 19, Rev 11:15 - 19 and in the following chapters.
    9 Eat it up - The like was commanded to Ezekiel. This was an emblem of thoroughly considering and digesting it. And it will make thy belly bitter, but it will be sweet as honey in thy mouth - The sweetness betokens the many good things which follow, Rev 11:1,15, &c.; the bitterness, the evils which succeed under the third woe.
    11 Thou must prophesy again - Of the mystery of God; of which the ancient prophets had prophesied before. And he did prophesy, by "measuring the temple," Rev 11:1; as a prophecy may be delivered either by words or actions. Concerning people, and nations, and tongues, and many kings - The people, nations, and tongues are contemporary; but the kings, being many, succeed one another. These kings are not mentioned for their own sake, but with a view to the "holy city," Rev 11:2. Here is a reference to the great kingdoms in Spain, England, Italy, &c., which arose from the eighth century; or at least underwent a considerable change, as France and Germany in particular; to the Christian, afterward Turkish, empire in the east; and especially to the various potentates, who have successively reigned at or over Jerusalem, and do now, at least titularly, reign over it.

    Chapter XI

    In this chapter is shown how it will fare with "the holy city," till the mystery of God is fulfilled; in the twelfth, what will befal the woman, who is delivered of the man - child; in the thirteenth, how it will be with the kingdom of Christ, while the "two beasts" are in the height of their power. And there was given me - By Christ, as appears from the third verse. And he said, Arise - Probably he was sitting to write. And measure the temple of God - At Jerusalem, where he was placed in the vision. Of this we have a large description by Ezekiel, Eze 40:1 - Eze 48:35; concerning which we may observe,
    1. Ezekiel's prophecy was not fulfilled at the return from the Babylonish captivity.
    2. Yet it does not refer to the "New Jerusalem," which is far more gloriously described.
    3. It must infallibly be fulfilled even then "when they are ashamed of all that they have done," Eze 43:11.
    4. Ezekiel speaks of the same temple which is treated of here.
    5. As all things are there so largely described, St. John is shorter and refers thereto.

    2 But the court which is without the temple - The old temple had a court in the open air, for the heathens who worshipped the God of Israel. Cast out - Of thy account. And measure it not - As not being holy In so high a degree. And they shall tread - Inhabit. The holy city - Jerusalem, Matt 4:5. So they began to do, before St. John wrote. And it has been trodden almost ever since by the Romans, Persians, Saracens, and Turks. But that severe kind of treading which is here peculiarly spoken of, will not be till under the trumpet of the seventh angel, and toward the end of the troublous times. This will continue but forty - two common months, or twelve hundred and sixty common days; being but a small part of the non - chronos.
    3 And I - Christ. Will give to my two witnesses - These seem to be two prophets; two select, eminent instruments. Some have supposed (though without foundation) that they are Moses and Elijah, whom they resemble in several respects. To prophesy twelve hundred and sixty days - Common days, that is, an hundred and eighty weeks. So long will they prophesy, (even while that last and sharp treading of the holy city continues,) both by word and deed, witnessing that Jesus is the Son of God, the heir of all things, and exhorting all men to repent, and fear, and glorify God. Clothed in sackcloth - The habit of the deepest mourners, out of sorrow and concern for the people.
    4 These are the two olive trees - That is, as Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two olive trees spoken of by Zechariah, Zec 3:9, 4:10, were then the two chosen instruments in God's hand, even so shall these. be in their season. Being themselves full of the unction of the Holy One, they shall continually transmit the same to others also. And the two candlesticks - Burning and shining lights. Standing before the Lord of the earth - Always waiting on God, without the help of man, and asserting his right over the earth and all things therein.
    5 If any would kill them - As the Israelites would have done Moses and Aaron, Num 16:41. He must be killed thus - By that devouring fire.
    6 These have power - And they use that power. See verse 10. Rev 11:10 To shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesying - During those "twelve hundred and sixty days." And have power over the waters - In and near Jerusalem. To turn them into blood - As Moses did those in Egypt. And to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will - This is not said of Moses or Elijah, or any mere man besides. And how is it possible to understand this otherwise than of two individual persons?
    7 And when they shall have finished their testimony - Till then they are invincible. The wild beast - Hereafter to be described. That ascendeth - First out of the sea, Rev 13:1, and then out of the bottomless pit, Rev 17:8. Shall make war with them - It is at his last ascent, not out of the sea, but the bottomless pit, that the beast makes war upon the two witnesses. And even hereby is fixed the time of "treading the holy city," and of the "two witnesses." That time ends after the ascent of the beast out of the abyss, and yet before the fulfilling of the mystery. And shall conquer them - The fire no longer proceeding out of their mouth when they have finished their work. And kill them - These will be among the last martyrs, though not the last of all.
    8 And their bodies shall be - Perhaps hanging on a cross. In the street of the great city - Of Jerusalem, a far greater city, than any other in those parts. This is described both spiritually and historically: spiritually, as it is called Sodom Isa 1:9 &c. and Egypt; on account of the same abominations abounding there, at the time of the witnesses, as did once in Egypt and Sodom. Historically: Where also their Lord was crucified - This possibly refers to the very ground where his cross stood. Constantine the Great inclosed this within the walls of the city. Perhaps on that very spot will their bodies be exposed.
    9 Three days and a half - So exactly are the times set down in this prophecy. If we suppose this time began in the evening, and ended in the morning, and included (which is no way impossible) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the weekly festival of the Turkish people, the Jewish tribes, and the Christian tongues; then all these together, with the heathen nations, would have full leisure to gaze upon and rejoice over them.
    10 And they that dwell upon the earth - Perhaps this expression may peculiarly denote earthly - minded men. Shall make merry - As did the Philistines over Samson. And send gifts to one another - Both Turks, and Jews, and heathens, and false Christians.
    11 And great fear fell upon them that saw them - And now knew that God was on their side.
    12 And I heard a great voice - Designed for all to hear. And they went up to heaven, and their enemies beheld them - who had not taken notice of their rising again; by which some had been convinced before.
    13 And there was a great earthquake and the tenth part of the city fell - We have here an unanswerable proof that this city is not Babylon or Rome, but Jerusalem. For Babylon shall be wholly burned before the fulfilling of the mystery of God. But this city is not burned at all; on the contrary, at the fulfilling of that mystery, a tenth part of it is destroyed by an earthquake, and the other nine parts converted. And there were slain in the earthquake seven thousand men - Being a tenth part of the inhabitants, who therefore were seventy thousand in all. And the rest - The remaining sixty - three thousand were converted: a grand step toward the fulfilling of the mystery of God. Such a conversion we no where else read of. So there shall be a larger as well as holier church at Jerusalem than ever was yet. Were terrified - Blessed terror! And gave glory - The character of true conversion, Jer 13:16. To the God of heaven - He is styled, "The Lord of the earth," verse 4, Rev 11:4 when he declares his right over the earth by the two witnesses; but the God of heaven, when he not only gives rain from heaven after the most afflicting drought, but also declares his majesty from heaven, by taking his witnesses up into it. When the whole multitude gives glory to the God of heaven, then that "treading of the holy city" ceases. This is the point so long aimed at, the desired "fulfilling of the mystery of God," when the divine promises are so richly fulfilled on those who have gone through so great afflictions. All this is here related together, that whereas the first and second woe went forth in the east, the rest of the eastern affairs being added at once, the description of the western might afterwards remain unbroken. It may be useful here to see how the things here spoken of, and those hereafter described, follow each other in their order.
    1. The angel swears; the non - chronos begins; John eats the book;

      the many kings arise.

    2. The non - chronos and the "many kings" being on the decline,

      that treading" begins, and the "two witnesses" appear.

    3. The beast, after he has with the ten kings destroyed Babylon,

      wars with them and kills them. After three days and an half

      they revive and ascend to heaven. There is a great earthquake

      in the holy city: seven thousand perish, and the rest are

      converted. The "treading" of the city by the gentiles ends.

    4. The beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies are

      assembled to fight against the Great King.

    5. Multitudes of his enemies are killed, and the beast and the

      false prophet cast alive into the lake of fire.

    6. while John measures the temple of God and the altar with the

      worshippers, the true worship of God is set up. The nations

      who had trodden the holy city are converted. Hereby the

      mystery of God is fulfilled.

    7. Satan is imprisoned. Being released for a time, he, with

      Gog and Magog, makes his last assault upon Jerusalem.

    14 The second woe is past - The butchery made by the Saracens ceased about the year 847, when their power was so broken by Charles the Great that they never recovered it. Behold, the third woe cometh quickly - Its prelude came while the Roman see took all opportunities of laying claim to its beloved universality, and enlarging its power and grandeur. And in the year 755 the bishop of Rome became a secular prince, by king Pepin's giving him the exarchate of Lombardy. The beginning of the third woe itself stands, Rev 12:12.
    15 And the seventh angel sounded - This trumpet contains the most important and joyful events, and renders all the former trumpets matter of joy to all the inhabitants of heaven. The allusion therefore in this and all the trumpets is to those used in festal solemnities. All these seven trumpets were heard in heaven: perhaps the seventh shall once be heard on earth also, 1Thess 4:16. And there were great voices - From the several citizens of heaven. At the opening of the seventh seal "there was silence in heaven;" at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, great voices. This alone is sufficient to show that the seven seals and seven trumpets do not run parallel to each other. As soon as the seventh angel sounds, the kingdom falls to God and his Christ. This immediately appears in heaven, and is there celebrated with joyful praise. But on earth several dreadful occurrences are to appear first. This trumpet comprises all that follows from these voices to Rev 22:5. The kingdom of the world - That is, the royal government over the whole world, and all its kingdoms, Zech 14:9. Is become the kingdom of the Lord - This province has been in the enemy's hands: it now returns to its rightful Master. In the Old Testament, from Moses to Samuel, God himself was the King of his own people. And the same will be in the New Testament: he will himself reign over the Israel of God. And of his Christ - This appellation is now first given him, since the introduction of the book, on the mention of the kingdom devolving upon him, under the seventh trumpet. Prophets and priests were anointed, but more especially kings: whence that term, the anointed, is applied only to a king. Accordingly, whenever the Messiah is mentioned in scripture, his kingdom is implied. Is become - In reality, all things (and so the kingdom of the world) are God's in all ages: yet Satan and the present world, with its kings and lords, are risen against the Lord and against his Anointed. God now puts an end to this monstrous rebellion, and maintains his right to all things. And this appears in an entirely new manner, as soon as the seventh angel sounds.
    16 And the four and twenty elders - These shall reign over the earth, Rev 5:10. Who sit before God on their thrones - which we do not read of any angel.
    17 The Almighty - He who hath all things in his power as the only Governor of them. Who is, and who was - God is frequently styled, "He who is, and who was, and who is to come." but now he is actually come, the words, "who is to come," are, as it were, swallowed up. When it is said, We thank thee that thou hast taken thy great power, it is all one as, "We thank thee that thou art come." This whole thanksgiving is partly an enlargement on the two great points mentioned in the fifteenth verse; Rev 11:15 partly a summary of what is hereafter more distinctly related. Here it is mentioned, how the kingdom is the Lord's; afterwards, how it is the kingdom of his Christ. Thou hast taken thy great power - This is the beginning of what is done under the trumpet of the seventh angel. God has never ceased to use his power; but he has suffered his enemies to oppose it, which he will now suffer no more.
    18 And the heathen nations were wroth - At the breaking out of the power and kingdom of God. This wrath of the heathens now rises to the highest pitch; but it meets the wrath of the Almighty, and melts away. In this verse is described both the going forth and the end of God's wrath, which together take up several ages. And the time of the dead is come - Both of the quick and dead, of whom those already dead are far the more numerous part. That they be judged - This, being infallibly certain, they speak of as already present. And to give a reward - At the coming of Christ, Rev 22:12; but of free grace, not of debt,
    1. To his servants the prophets:
    2. To his saints: to them who were eminently holy:
    3. To them that fear his name:
    these are the lowest class. Those who do not even fear God will have no reward from him. Small and great - All universally, young and old, high and low, rich and poor. And to destroy them that destroyed the earth - The earth was destroyed by the "great whore" in particular, Rev 19:2; 17:2,5; but likewise in general, by the open rage and hate of wicked men against all that is good; by wars, and the various destruction and desolation naturally flowing therefrom; by such laws and constitutions as hinder much good, and occasion many offences and calamities; by public scandals, whereby a door is opened for all dissoluteness and unrighteousness; by abuse of secular and spiritual powers; by evil doctrines, maxims, and counsels; by open violence and persecution; and by sins crying to God to send plagues upon the earth.

    This great work of God, destroying the destroyers, under the trumpet of the seventh angel, is not the third woe, but matter of joy, for which the elders solemnly give thanks. All the woes, and particularly the third, go forth over those "who dwell upon the earth;" but this destruction, over those "who destroy the earth," and were also instruments of that woe.

    19 And the temple of God - The inmost part of it. Was opened in heaven - And hereby is opened a new scene of the most momentous things, that we may see how the contents of the seventh trumpet are executed; and, notwithstanding the greatest opposition, (particularly by the third woe,) brought to a glorious conclusion. And the ark of the covenant was seen in his temple - The ark of the covenant which was made by Moses was not in the second temple, being probably burnt with the first temple by the Chaldeans. But here is the heavenly ark of the everlasting covenant, the shadow of which was under the Old Testament, Heb 9:4. The inhabitants of heaven saw the ark before: St. John also saw it now; for a testimony, that what God had promised, should be fulfilled to the uttermost. And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail - The very same there are, and in the same order, when the seventh angel has poured out his phial; Rev 16:17 - 21: one place answers the other. What the trumpet here denounces in heaven, is there executed by the phial upon earth. First it is shown what will be done; and afterwards it is done.

    Chapter XII

    The great vision of this book goes straight forward, from the fourth to the twenty - second chapter. Only the tenth, with part of the eleventh chapter, was a kind of introduction to the trumpet of the seventh angel; after which it is said, "The second woe is past: behold, the third woe cometh quickly." Immediately the seventh angel sounds, under whom the third woe goes forth. And to this trumpet belongs all that is related to the end of the book.

    1 And a great sign was seen in heaven - Not only by St. John, but many heavenly spectators represented in the vision. A sign means something that has an uncommon appearance, and from which we infer that some unusual thing will follow. A woman - The emblem of the church of Christ, as she is originally of Israel, though built and enlarged on all sides by the addition of heathen converts; and as she will hereafter appear, when all her "natural branches are again "grafted in." She is at present on earth; and yet, with regard to her union with Christ, may be said to be in heaven, Eph 2:6. Accordingly, she is described as both assaulted and defended in heaven, verses 4, 7. Rev 12:4,7 Clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars - These figurative expressions must he so interpreted as to preserve a due proportion between them. So, in Joseph's dream, the sun betokened his father; the moon, his mother; the stars, their children. There may be some such resemblance here; and as the prophecy points out the "power over all nations," perhaps the sun may betoken the Christian world; the moon, the Mahometans, who also carry the moon in their ensigns; and the crown of twelve stars, the twelve tribes of Israel; which are smaller than the sun and moon. The whole of this chapter answers the state of the church from the ninth century to this time.
    2 And being with child she crieth, travailing in birth - The very pain, without any outward opposition, would constrain a woman in travail to cry out. These cries, throes, and pains to be delivered, were the painful longings, the sighs, and prayers of the saints for the coming of the kingdom of God. The woman groaned and travailed in spirit, that Christ might appear, as the Shepherd and King of all nations.
    3 And behold a great red dragon - His fiery - red colour denoting his disposition. Having seven heads - Implying vast wisdom. And ten horns - Perhaps on the seventh head; emblems of mighty power and strength, which he still retained. And seven diadems on his heads - Not properly crowns, but costly bindings, such as kings anciently wore; for, though fallen, he was a great potentate still, even "the prince of this world."
    4 And his tail - His falsehood and subtilty. Draweth - As a train. The third part - A very large number. Of the stars of heaven - The Christians and their teachers, who before sat in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. And casteth them to the earth - Utterly deprives them of all those heavenly blessings. This is properly a part of the description of the dragon, who was not yet himself on earth, but in heaven: consequently, this casting them down was between the beginning of the seventh trumpet and the beginning of the third woe; or between the year 847 and the year 947; at which time pestilent doctrines, particularly that of the Manichees in the east, drew abundance of people from the truth. And the dragon stood before the woman, that when she had brought forth, he might devour the child - That he might hinder the kingdom of Christ from spreading abroad, as it does under this trumpet.
    5 And she brought forth a man child - Even Christ, considered not in his person, but in his kingdom. In the ninth age, many nations with their princes were added to the Christian church. Who was to rule all nations - When his time is come. And her child - Which was already in heaven, as were the woman and the dragon. Was caught up to God - Taken utterly out of his reach.
    6 And the woman fled into the wilderness - This wilderness is undoubtedly on earth, where the woman also herself is now supposed to be. It betokens that part of the earth where, after having brought forth, she found a new abode. And this must be in Europe; as Asia and Afric were wholly in the hands of the Turks and Saracens; and in a part of it where the woman had not been before. In this wilderness, God had already prepared a place; that is, made it safe and convenient for her. The wilderness is, those countries of Europe which lie on this side the Danube; for the countries which lie beyond it had received Christianity before. That they may feed her - That the people of that place may provide all things needful for her. Twelve hundred and sixty days - So many prophetic days, which are not, as some have supposed, twelve hundred and sixty, but seven hundred and seventy - seven, common years. This Bengelius has shown at large in his German Introduction. These we may compute from the year 847 to 1524. So long the woman enjoyed a safe and convenient place in Europe, which was chiefly Bohemia; where she was fed, till God provided for her more plentifully at the Reformation.
    7 And there was war in heaven - Here Satan makes his grand opposition to the kingdom of God; but an end is now put to his accusing the saints before God. The cause goes against him, verses 10, 11, Rev 12:10,11 and Michael executes the sentence. That Michael is a created angel, appears from his not daring, in disputing with Satan, Jude 9, to bring a railing accusation; but only saying, "The Lord rebuke thee." And this modesty is implied in his very name; for Michael signifies, "Who is like God?" which implies also his deep reverence toward God, and distance from all self - exaltation. Satan would be like God: the very name of Michael asks, "Who is like God?" Not Satan; not the highest archangel. It is he likewise that is afterward employed to seize, bind, and imprison that proud spirit.
    8 And he prevailed not - The dragon himself is principally mentioned; but his angels, likewise, are to be understood. Neither was this place found any more in heaven - So till now he had a place in heaven. How deep a mystery is this! One may compare this with Luke 10:18; Eph 2:2; 4:8; 6:12.
    9 And the great dragon was cast out - It is not yet said, unto the earth - He was cast out of heaven; and at this the inhabitants of heaven rejoice. He is termed the great dragon, as appearing here in that shape, to intimate his poisonous and cruel disposition. The ancient serpent - In allusion to his deceiving Eve in that form. Dragons are a kind of large serpent. Who is called the Devil and Satan - These are words of exactly the same meaning; only the former is Greek; the latter, Hebrew; denoting the grand adversary of all the saints, whether Jews or gentiles. He has deceived the whole world - Not only in their first parents, but through all ages, and in all countries, into unbelief and all wickedness; into the hating and persecuting faith and all goodness. He was cast out unto the earth - He was cast out of heaven; and being cast out thence, himself came to the earth. Nor had he been unemployed on the earth before, although his ordinary abode was in heaven.
    10 Now is come - Hence it is evident that all this chapter belongs to the trumpet of the seventh angel. In the eleventh chapter, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth verse, are proposed the contents of this extensive trumpet; the execution of which is copiously described in this and the following chapters. The salvation - Of the saints. The might - Whereby the enemy is cast out. The kingdom - Here the majesty of God is shown. And the power of his Christ - Which he will exert against the beast; and when he also is taken away, then will the kingdom be ascribed to Christ himself, Rev 19:16; 20:4. The accuser of our brethren - So long as they remained on earth. This great voice, therefore, was the voice of men only. Who accused them before our God day and night - Amazing malice of Satan, and patience of God!
    11 And they have overcome him - Carried the cause against him. By the blood of the Lamb - Which cleanses the soul from all sin, and so leaves no room for accusing. And by the word of their testimony - The word of God, which they believed and testified, even unto death. So, for instance, died Olam, king of Sweden, in the year 900, whom his own subjects would have compelled to idolatry; and, upon his refusal, slew as a sacrifice to the idol which he would not worship. So did multitudes of Bohemian Christians, in the year 916, when queen Drahomire raised a severe persecution, wherein many "loved not their lives unto the death."
    12 Woe to the earth and the sea - This is the fourth and last denunciation of the third woe, the most grievous of all. The first was only, the second chiefly, on the earth, Asia; the third, both on the earth and the sea, Europe. The earth is mentioned first, because it began in Asia, before the beast brought it on Europe. He knoweth he hath but a little time - Which extends from his casting out of heaven to his being cast into the abyss.

    We are now come to a most important period of time. The non - chronos hastens to an end. We live in the little time wherein Satan hath great wrath; and this little time is now upon the decline. We are in the "time, times, and half a time," wherein the woman is "fed in the wilderness;" yea, the last part of it, "the half time," is begun. We are, as will be shown, towards the close of the "forty - two months" of the beast; and when his number is fulfilled, grievous things will be. Let him who does not regard the being seized by the wrath of the devil; the falling unawares into the general temptation; the being borne away, by the most dreadful violence, into the worship of the beast and his image, and, consequently, drinking the unmixed wine of the wrath of God, and being tormented day and night for ever and ever in the lake of fire and brimstone; let him also who is confident that he can make his way through all these by his own wisdom and strength, without need of any such peculiar preservative as the word of this prophecy affords; let him, I say, go hence. But let him who does not take these warnings for senseless outcries, and blind alarms, beg of God, with all possible earnestness, to give him his heavenly light herein.

    God has not given this prophecy, in so solemn a manner, only to show his providence over his church, but also that his servants may know at all times in what particular period they are. And the more dangerous any period of time is, the greater is the help which it affords. But where may we fix the beginning and end of the little time? which is probably four - fifths of a chronos, or somewhat above 888 years. This, which is the time of the third woe, may reach from 947, to the year 1836. For,

    1. The short interval of the second woe, (which woe ended in the year 840,) and the 777 years of the woman, which began about the year 847, quickly after which followed the war in heaven, fix the beginning not long after 864: and thus the third woe falls in the tenth century, extending from 900 to 1000; called the dark, the iron, the unhappy age.
    2. If we compare the length of the third woe with the period of time which succeeds it in the twentieth chapter, it is but a little time to that vast space which reaches from the beginning of the non - chronos to the end of the world.
    13 And when the dragon saw - That be could no longer accuse the saints in heaven, he turned his wrath to do all possible mischief on earth. He persecuted the woman - The ancient persecutions of the church were mentioned, Rev 1:9, 2:10, 7:14; but this persecution came after her flight, verse 6, Rev 12:6 just at the beginning of the third woe. Accordingly, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the church was furiously persecuted by several heathen powers. In Prussia, king Adelbert was killed in the year 997, king Brunus in 1008; and when king Stephen encouraged Christianity in Hungary, he met with violent opposition. After his death, the heathens in Hungary set themselves to root it out, and prevailed for several years. About the same time, the army of the emperor, Henry the Third, was totally overthrown by the Vandals. These, and all the accounts of those times, show with what fury the dragon then persecuted the woman.
    14 And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place - Eagles are the usual symbols of great potentates. So Ezekiel 17:3, by "a great eagle', means the king of Babylon. Here the great eagle is the Roman empire; the two wings, the eastern and western branches of it. A place in the wilderness was mentioned in the sixth verse also; Rev 12:6 but it is not the same which is mentioned here.

    In the text there follow one after the other,

    1. The dragon's waiting to devour the child.
    2. The birth of the child, which is caught up to God.
    3. The fleeing of the woman into the wilderness.
    4. The war in heaven, and the casting out of the dragon.
    5. The beginning of the third woe.
    6. The persecution raised by the dragon against the woman.
    7. The woman's flying away upon the eagle's wings.

    In like manner there follow one after the other,

    1. The beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty days.
    2. The beginning of the little time.
    3. The beginning of the time, times, and half a time.
    This third period partly coincides both with the first and the second. After the beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty days, or rather of the third woe, Christianity was exceedingly propagated, in the midst of various persecutions. About the year 948 it was again settled in Denmark; in 965, in Poland and Silesia; in 980, through all Russia. In 997 it was brought into Hungary; into Sweden and Norway, both before and after. Transylvania received it about 1000; and, soon after, other parts of Dacia.

    Now, all the countries in which Christianity was settled between the beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty days, and the imprisonment of the dragon, may be understood by the wilderness, and by her place in particular. This place contained many countries; so that Christianity now reached, in an uninterrupted tract, from the eastern to the western empire; and both the emperors now lent their wings to the woman, and provided a safe abode for her. Where she is fed - By God rather than man; having little human help. For a time, and times, and half a time - The length of the several periods here mentioned seems to be nearly this: -
    1 The non - chronos contains less than1111
    2 The little time888
    3 The time, times, and half a time777
    4 The time of the beast666

    And comparing the prophecy and history together, they seem

    to begin and end nearly thus:
    1 The non - chronos extendsfrom about 800 to 1836
    2 The 1260 days of the womanfrom 847 - 1524
    3 The little time947 - 1836
    4 The time, time, and half1058 - 1836
    5 The time of the beastbetween the beginning and end of the three times and a half
    In the year 1058 the empires had a good understanding with each other, and both protected the woman. The bishops of Rome, likewise, particularly Victor II., were duly subordinate to the emperor. We may observe, the twelve hundred and sixty days of the woman, from 847 to 1524, and the three times and a half, refer to the same wilderness. But in the former part of the twelve hundred and sixty days, before the three times and an half began, namely, from the year 847 to 1058, she was fed by others, being little able to help herself; whereas, from 1058 to 1524, she is both fed by others, and has food herself. To this the sciences transplanted into the west from the eastern countries much contributed; the scriptures, in the original tongues, brought into the west of Europe by the Jews and Greeks, much more; and most of all, the Reformation, grounded on those scriptures.

    15 Water is an emblem of a great people; this water, of the Turks in particular. About the year 1060 they overran the Christian part of Asia. Afterward, they poured into Europe, and spread farther and farther, till they had overflowed many nations.
    16 But the earth helped the woman - The powers of the earth; and indeed she needed help through this whole period. "The time" was from 1058 to 1280; during which the Turkish flood ran higher and higher, though frequently repressed by the emperors, or their generals, helping the woman. "The" two "times" were from 1280 to 1725. During these likewise the Turkish power flowed far and wide; but still from time to time the princes of the earth helped the woman, that she was not carried away by it. "The half time" is from 1725 to 1836. In the beginning of this period the Turks began to meddle with the affairs of Persia: wherein they have so entangled themselves, as to be the less able to prevail against the two remaining Christian empires. Yet this flood still reaches the woman "in her place;" and will, till near the end of the "half time," itself be swallowed up, perhaps by means of Russia, which is risen in the room of the eastern empire.
    17 And the dragon was wroth - Anew, because he could not cause her to he carried away by the stream. And he went forth - Into other lands. To make war with the rest of her seed - Real Christians, living under heathen or Turkish governors.

    Chapter XIII

    1 And I stood on the sand of the sea - This also was in the vision. And I saw - Soon after the woman flew away. A wild beast coming up - He comes up twice; first from the sea, then from the abyss. He comes from the sea before the seven phials; "the great whore" comes after them. O reader, this is a subject wherein we also are deeply concerned, and which must he treated, not as a point of curiosity, but as a solemn warning from God! The danger is near. Be armed both against force and fraud, even with the whole armour of God. Out of the sea - That is, Europe. So the three woes (the first being in Persia, the second about the Euphrates) move in a line from east to west. This beast is the Romish Papacy, as it came to a point six hundred years since, stands now, and will for some time longer. To this, and no other power on earth, agrees the whole text, and every part of it in every point; as we may see, with the utmost evidence, from the propositions following:
    1. It is one and the same beast, having seven heads, and ten horns, which is described in this and in the seventeenth chapter. Of consequence, his heads are the same, and his horns also.
    2. This beast is a spiritually secular power, opposite to the kingdom of Christ. A power not merely spiritual or ecclesiastical, nor merely secular or political but a mixture of both. He is a secular prince; for a crown, yea, and a kingdom are ascribed to him. And yet he is not merely secular; for he is also a false prophet.
    3. The beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome. This clearly appears from the seventeenth chapter.
    4. The beast is now existing. He is not past. for Rome is now existing; and it is not till after the destruction of Rome that the beast is thrown into the lake. He is not altogether to come: for the second woe is long since past, after which the third came quickly; and presently after it began, the beast rose out of the sea. Therefore, whatever he is, he is now existing.
    5. The beast is the Romish Papacy. This manifestly follows from the third and fourth propositions; the beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome; and the beast is now existing: therefore, either there is some other power more strictly connected with that city, or the Pope is the beast.
    6. The Papacy, or papal kingdom, began long ago. The most remarkable particulars relating to this are here subjoined; taken so high as abundantly to show the rise of the beast, and brought down as low as our own time, in order to throw a light on the following part of the prophecy:

      The marriage of priests is forbidden.

      conquers him and his successor.

      A.D. 1033. Benedict the Ninth, a child of eleven years old, is

      bishop of Rome, and occasions grievous disorders for above

      twenty years.

      A.D. 1048 Damasus II. introduces the use of the triple crown.
      A.D. 1058 The church of Milan is, after long opposition,

      subjected to the Roman.

      A.D. 1073 Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., comes to the throne.
      A.D. 1076 He deposes and excommunicates the emperor.
      A.D. 1077 He uses him shamefully and absolves him.
      A.D. 1080 He excommunicates him again, and sends a crown to

      Rodulph, his competitor.

      A.D. 1083 Rome is taken. Gregory flees. Clement is made Pope,

      and crowns the emperor.

      A.D. 1085 Gregory VII. dies at Salerno.
      A.D. 1095 Urban II. holds the first Popish council, at Clermont

      and gives rise to the crusades.

      A.D. 1111 Paschal II. quarrels furiously with the emperor.
      A.D. 1123 The first western general council in the Lateran.
      A.D. 1132 Innocent II declares the emperor to be the Pope's

      liege - man, or vassal.

      A.D. 1143 The Romans set up a governor of their own,

      independent on Innocent II. He excommunicates them, and dies.

      Celestine II. is, by an important innovation, chosen to the

      Popedom without the suffrage of the people; the right of

      choosing the Pope is taken from the people, and afterward from

      the clergy, and lodged in the Cardinals alone.

      A.D. 1152 Eugene II. assumes the power of canonizing saints.
      A.D. 1155 Adrian IV. puts Arnold of Brixia to death for

      speaking against the secular power of the Papacy.

      A.D. 1159 Victor IV. is elected and crowned. But Alexander III.
      A.D. 1168 Alexander III. excommunicates the emperor, and brings

      him so low, that,

      A.D. 1177 he submits to the Pope's setting his foot on his neck.
      A.D. 1204 Innocent III. sets up the Inquisition against the Vaudois.
      A.D. 1208 He proclaims a crusade against them.
      A.D. 1300 Boniface VIII. introduces the year of jubilee.
      A.D. 1305 The Pope's residence is removed to Avignon.
      A.D. 1377 It is removed back to Rome.
      A.D. 1378 The fifty years' schism begins.
      A.D. 1449 Felix V., the last Antipope, submits to Nicholas V.
      A.D. 1517 The Reformation begins.
      A.D. 1527 Rome is taken and plundered.
      A.D. 1557 Charles V. resigns the empire; Ferdinand I. thinks

      the being crowned by the Pope superfluous.

      A.D. 1564 Pius IV. confirms the Council of Trent.
      A.D. 1682 Doctrines highly derogatory to the Papal authority

      are openly taught in France.

      A.D. 1713 The constitution Unigenitus.
      A.D. 1721 Pope Gregory VII. canonized anew.
      He who compares this short table with what will be observed, verse 3, Rev 13:3 and Rev 17:10, will see that the ascent of the beast out of the sea must needs be fixed toward the beginning of it; and not higher than Gregory VII., nor lower than Alexander III.

      The secular princes now favoured the kingdom of Christ; but the bishops of Rome vehemently opposed it. These at first were plain ministers or pastors of the Christian congregation at Rome, but by degrees they rose to an eminence of honour and power over all their brethren till, about the time of Gregory VII. (and so ever since) they assumed all the ensigns of royal majesty; yea, of a majesty and power far superior to that of all other potentates on earth. We are not here considering their false doctrines, but their unbounded power. When we think of those, we are to look at the false prophet, who is also termed a wild beast at his ascent out of the earth. But the first beast then properly arose, when, after several preludes thereto, the Pope raised himself above the emperor.

    7. Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., is the proper founder of the papal kingdom. All the patrons of the Papacy allow that he made many considerable additions to it; and this very thing constituted the beast, by completing the spiritual kingdom: the new maxims and the new actions of Gregory all proclaim this. Some of his maxims are,
      1. That the bishop of Rome alone is universal bishop.
      2. That he alone can depose bishops, or receive them again.
      3. That he alone has power to make new laws in the church.
      4. That he alone ought to use the ensigns of royalty.
      5. That all princes ought to kiss his foot.
      6. That the name of Pope is the only name under heaven; and

        that his name alone should be recited in the churches.

      7. That he has a power to depose emperors.
      8. That no general synod can be convened but by him.
      9. That no book is canonical without his authority.
      10. That none upon earth can repeal his sentence, but he alone

        can repeal any sentence.

      11. That he is subject to no human judgment.
      12. That no power dare to pass sentence on one who appeals to the Pope.
      13. That all weighty causes everywhere ought to be referred to him.
      14. That the Roman church never did, nor ever can, err.
      15. That the Roman bishop, canonically ordained, is immediately

        made holy, by the merits of St. Peter.

      16. That he can absolve subjects from their allegiance.
      These the most eminent Romish writers own to be his genuine sayings. And his actions agree with his words. Hitherto the Popes had been subject to the emperors, though often unwillingly; but now the Pope began himself, under a spiritual pretext, to act the emperor of the whole Christian world: the immediate dispute was, about the investiture of bishops, the right of which each claimed to himself. And now was the time for the Pope either to give up, or establish his empire forever: to decide which, Gregory excommunicated the emperor Henry IV.; "having first," says Platina, "deprived him of all his dignities." The sentence ran in these terms: "Blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, incline, I beseech thee, thine ears, and hear me thy servant. In the name of the omnipotent God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I cast down the emperor Henry from all imperial and regal authority, and absolve all Christians, that were his subjects, from the oath whereby they used to swear allegiance to true kings. And moreover, because he had despised mine, yea, thy admonitions, I bind him with the bond of an anathema."

      The same sentence he repeated at Rome in these terms: "Blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, and thou Paul, teacher of the gentiles, incline, I beseech you, your ears to me, and graciously hear me. Henry, whom they call emperor, hath proudly lifted up his horns and his head against the church of God, - who came to me, humbly imploring to be absolved from his excommunication, - I restored him to communion, but not to his kingdom, - neither did I allow his subjects to return to their allegiance. Several bishops and princes of Germany, taking this opportunity, in the room of Henry, justly deposed, chose Rodulph emperor, who immediately sent ambassadors to me, informing me that he would rather obey me than accept of a kingdom, and that he should always remain at the disposal of God and us. Henry then began to be angry, and at first intreated us to hinder Rodulph from seizing his kingdom. I said I would see to whom the right belonged, and give sentence which should be preferred. Henry forbad this. Therefore I bind Henry and all his favourers with the bond of an anathema, and again take from him all regal power. I absolve all Christians from their oath of allegiance, forbid them to obey Henry in anything, and command them to receive Rodulph as their king. Confirm this, therefore, by your authority, ye most holy princes of the apostles, that all may now at length know, as ye have power to bind and loose in heaven, so we have power to give and take away on earth, empires, kingdoms, principalities, and whatsoever men can have."

      When Henry submitted, then Gregory began to reign without control. In the same year, 1077, on September 1, he fixed a new era of time, called the Indiction, used at Rome to this day.

      Thus did the Pope claim to himself the whole authority over all Christian princes. Thus did he take away or confer kingdoms and empires, as a king of kings. Neither did his successors fail to tread in his steps. It is well known, the following Popes have not been wanting to exercise the same power, both over kings and emperors. And this the later Popes have been so far from disclaiming, that three of them have sainted this very Gregory, namely, Clement VIII., Paul V., and Benedict XIII. Here is then the beast, that is, the king: in fact such, though not in name: according to that remarkable observation of Cardinal Bellarmine, "Antichrist will govern the Roman empire, yet without the name of Roman emperor." His spiritual title prevented his taking the name, while he exerciseth all the power. Now Gregory was at the head of this novelty. So Aventine himself, "Gregory VII was the first founder of the pontifical empire."

      Thus the time of the ascent of the beast is clear. The apostasy and mystery of iniquity gradually increased till he arose, "who opposeth and exalteth himself above all." 2Thess 2:4. Before the seventh trumpet the adversary wrought more secretly; but soon after the beginning of this, the beast openly opposes his kingdom to the kingdom of Christ.

    8. The empire of Hildebrand properly began in the year 1077. Then it was, that upon the emperor's leaving Italy, Gregory exercised his power to the full. And on the first of September, in this year, he began his famous epocha.

    This may be farther established and explained by the following observations:
    1. The beast is the Romish Papacy, which has now reigned for some ages.
    2. The beast has seven heads and ten horns.
    3. The seven heads are seven hills, and also seven kings. One of the heads could not have been, "as it were, mortally wounded," had it been only a hill.
    4. The ascent of the beast out of the sea is different from his ascent out of the abyss; the Revelation often mentions both the sea and the abyss but never uses the terms promiscuously.
    5. The heads of the beast do not begin before his rise out of the sea, but with it.
    6. These heads, as kings, succeed each other.
    7. The time which they take up in this succession is divided into three parts. "Five" of the kings signified thereby "are fallen: one is, the other is not yet come."
    8. "One is:" namely, while the angel was speaking this. He places himself and St. John in the middlemost time, that he might the more commodiously point out the first time as past, the second as present, the third as future.
    9. The continuance of the beast is divided in the same manner. The beast "was, is not, will ascend out of the abyss," Rev 17:8,11. Between these two verses, that is interposed as parallel with them, "Five are fallen, one is, the other is not yet come."
    10. Babylon is Rome. All things which the Revelation says of Babylon, agree to Rome, and Rome only. It commenced "Babylon," when it commenced "the great." When Babylon sunk in the east, it arose in the west; and it existed in the time of the apostles, whose judgment is said to be "avenged on her."
    11. The beast reigns both before and after the reign of Babylon. First, the beast reigns, Rev 13:1, &c.; then Babylon, Rev 17:1, &c.; and then the beast again, Rev 17:8, &c.
    12. The heads are of the substance of the beast; the horns are not. The wound of one of the heads is called "the wound of the beast" itself, verse 3; Rev 13:3 but the horns, or kings, receive the kingdom "with the beast," Rev 17:12. That word alone, "the horns and the beast," Rev 17:16, sufficiently shows them to be something added to him.
    13. The forty - two months of the beast fall within the first of the three periods. The beast rose out of the sea in the year 1077. A little after, power was given him for forty - two months. This power is still in being.
    14. The time when the beast "is not," and the reign of "Babylon," are together. The beast, when risen out of the sea, raged violently, till "his kingdom was darkened" by the fifth phial. But it was a kingdom still; and the beast having a kingdom, though darkened, was the beast still. But it was afterwards said, "the beast was," (was the beast, that is, reigned,) "and is not;" is not the beast; does not reign, having lost his kingdom. Why? because "the woman sits upon the beast," who "sits a queen," reigning over the kings of the earth: till the beast, rising out of the abyss, and taking with him the ten kings, suddenly destroys her.
    15. The difference there is between Rome and the Pope, which has always subsisted, will then be most apparent. Rome, distinct from the Pope, bears three meanings; the city itself, the Roman church, and the people of Rome. In the last sense of the word, Rome with its dutchy, which contained part of Tuscany and Campania, revolted from the Greek emperor in 726, and became a free state, governed by its senate. From this time the senate, and not the Pope, enjoyed the supreme civil power. But in 796, Leo III., being chosen Pope, sent to Charles the Great, desiring him to come and subdue the senate and people of Rome, and constrain them to swear allegiance to him. Hence arose a sharp contention between the Pope and the Roman people, who seized and thrust him into a monastery. He escaped and fled to the emperor, who quickly sent him back in great state. In the year 800 the emperor came to Rome, and shortly after, the Roman people, who had hitherto chosen their own bishops, and looked upon themselves and their senate as having the same rights with the ancient senate and people of Rome, chose Charles for their emperor, and subjected themselves to him, in the same manner as the ancient Romans did to their emperors. The Pope crowned him, and paid him homage on his knees, as was formerly done to the Roman emperors: and the emperor took an oath "to defend the holy Roman church in all its emoluments." He was also created consul, and styled himself thenceforward Augustus, Emperor of the Romans. Afterwards he gave the government of the city and dutchy of Rome to the Pope, yet still subject to himself. What the Roman church is, as distinct from the Pope, appears,
      1. When a council is held before the Pope's confirmation;
      2. When upon a competition, judgment is given which is the true Pope;
      3. When the See is vacant;
      4. When the Pope himself is suspected by the Inquisition
      How Rome, as it is a city, differs from the Pope, there is no need to show.
    16. In the first and second period of his duration, the beast is a body of men; in the third, an individual. The beast with seven heads is the Papacy of many ages: the seventh head is the man of sin, antichrist. He is a body of men from Rev 13:1 - Rev 17:7; he is a body of men and an individual, Rev 17:8 - Rev 17:11; he is an individual, Rev 17:12 - Rev 19:20.
    17. That individual is the seventh head of the beast, or, the other king after the five and one, himself being the eighth, though one of the seven. As he is a Pope, he is one of the seven heads. But he is the eighth, or not a head, but the beast himself, not, as he is a Pope, but as he bears a new and singular character at his coming from the abyss. To illustrate this by a comparison: suppose a tree of seven branches, one of which is much larger than the rest; if those six are cut away, and the seventh remain, that is the tree.
    18. "He is the wicked one, the man of sin, the son of perdition" usually termed antichrist.
    19. The ten horns, or kings, "receive power as kings with the wild beast one hour," Rev 17:12; with the individual beast, "who was not." But he receives his power again, and the kings with it, who quickly give their new power to him.
    20. The whole power of the Roman monarchy, divided into ten kingdoms, will be conferred on the beast, Rev 17:13,16,17.
    21. The ten horns and the beast will destroy the whore, Rev 17:16.
    22. At length the beast, the ten horns, and the other kings of the earth, will fall in that great slaughter, Rev 19:19.
    23. Daniel's fourth beast is the Roman monarchy, from the beginning of it, till the thrones are set. This, therefore, comprises both the apocalyptic beast, and the woman, and many other things. This monarchy is like a river which runs from its fountain in one channel, but in its course sometimes takes in other rivers, sometimes is itself parted into several streams, yet is still one continued river. The Roman power was at first undivided; but it was afterwards divided into various channels, till the grand division into the eastern and western empires, which likewise underwent various changes. Afterward the kings of the Heruli. Goths, Lombards, the exarchs of Ravenna, the Romans themselves the emperors, French and German, besides other kings, seized several parts of the Roman power. Now whatever power the Romans had before Gregory VII., that Daniel's beast contains; whatever power the Papacy has had from Gregory VII., this the apocalyptic beast represents, but this very beast (and so Rome with its last authority) is comprehended under that of Daniel. And upon his heads a name of blasphemy - To ascribe to a man what belongs to God alone is blasphemy. Such a name the beast has, not on his horns, nor on one head, but on all. The beast himself bears that name, and indeed through his whole duration. This is the name of Papa or Pope; not in the innocent sense wherein it was formerly given to all bishops, but in that high and peculiar sense wherein it is now given to the bishop of Rome by himself, and his followers: a name which comprises the whole pre - eminence of the highest and most holy father upon earth. Accordingly among the above cited sayings of Gregory, those two stand together, that his "name alone should be recited in the churches;" and that it is "the only name in the world." So both the church and the world were to name no other father on the face of the earth.
    2 The three first beasts in Daniel are like "a leopard," "a bear," and "a lion." In all parts, except his feet and mouth, this beast was like a leopard or female panther; which is fierce as a lion or bear, but is also swift and subtle. Such is the Papacy, which has partly by subtilty, partly by force, gained power over so many nations. The extremely various usages, manners, and ways of the Pope, may likewise be compared to the spots of the leopard. And his feet were as the feet of a bear - Which are very strong, and armed with sharp claws. And, as clumsy as they seem, he can therewith walk, stand upright, climb, or seize anything. So does this beast seize and take for his prey whatever comes within the reach of his claws. And his mouth was as the mouth of a lion - To roar, and to devour. And the dragon - Whose vassal and vicegerent he is. Gave him his power - His own strength and innumerable forces. And his throne - So that he might command whatever he would, having great, absolute authority. The dragon had his throne in heathen Rome, so long as idolatry and persecution reigned there. And after he was disturbed in his possession, yet would he never wholly resign, till he gave it to the beast in Christian Rome, so called.
    3 And I saw one - Or the first. Of his heads as it were wounded - So it appeared as soon as ever it rose. The beast is first described more generally, then more particularly, both in this and in the seventeenth chapter. The particular description here respects the former parts; there, the latter parts of his duration: only that some circumstances relating to the former are repeated in the seventeenth chapter. Rev 17:1 - 18

    This deadly wound was given him on his first head by the sword, verse 14; Rev 13:14 that is, by the bloody resistance of the secular potentates, particularly the German emperors. These had for a long season had the city of Rome, with her bishop, under their jurisdiction. Gregory determined to cast off this yoke from his own, and to lay it on the emperor's shoulders. He broke loose, and excommunicated the emperor, who maintained his right by force, and gave the Pope such a blow, that one would have thought the beast must have been killed thereby, immediately after his coming up. But he recovered, and grew stronger than before. The first head of the beast extends from Gregory VII., at least to Innocent III. In that tract of time the beast was much wounded by the emperors. But, notwithstanding, the wound was healed.

    Two deadly symptoms attended this wound: 1. Schisms and open ruptures in the church. For while the emperors asserted their right, there were from the year 1080 to the year 1176 only, five open divisions, and at least as many antipopes, some of whom were, indeed, the rightful Popes. This was highly dangerous to the papal kingdoms. But a still more dangerous symptom was, 2. The rising of the nobility at Rome, who would not suffer their bishop to be a secular prince, particularly over themselves. Under Innocent II. they carried their point, re - established the ancient commonwealth, took away from the Pope the government of the city, and left him only his episcopal authority. "At this," says the historian, "Innocent II. and Celestine II. fretted themselves to death: Lucius II., as he attacked the capitol, wherein the senate was, sword in hand, was struck with a stone, and died in a few days: Eugene III., Alexander III., and Lucius III., were driven out of the city: Urban III. and Gregory VIII. spent their days in banishment At length they came to an agreement with Clement III., who was himself a Roman." And the whole earth - The whole western world. Wondered after the wild beast - That is, followed him with wonder, in his councils, his crusades, and his jubilees. This refers not only to the first head, but also to the four following.

    4 And they worshipped the dragon - Even in worshipping the beast, although they knew it not. And worshipped the wild beast - Paying him such honour as was not paid to any merely secular potentate. That very title, "Our most holy Lord," was never given to any other monarch on earth. Saying, Who is like the wild beast - "Who is like him?" is a peculiar attribute of God; but that this is constantly attributed to the beast, the books of all his adherents show.
    5 And there was given him - By the dragon, through the permission of God. A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy - The same is said of the little horn on the fourth beast in Daniel. Nothing greater, nothing more blasphemous, can be conceived, than what the Popes have said of themselves, especially before the Reformation. And authority was given him forty - two months - The beginning of these is not to be dated immediately from his ascent out of the sea, but at some distance from it.
    6 To blaspheme his name - Which many of the Popes have done explicitly, and in the most dreadful manner. And his tabernacle, even them that dwell in heaven - (For God himself dwelleth in the inhabitance of heaven.) Digging up the bones of many of them, and cursing them with the deepest execrations.
    7 And it was given him - That is, God permitted him. To make war with his saints - With the Waldenses and Albigenses. It is a vulgar mistake, that the Waldenses were so called from Peter Waldo of Lyons. They were much more ancient than him; and their true name was Vallenses or Vaudois from their inhabiting the valleys of Lucerne and Agrogne. This name, Vallenses, after Waldo appeared about the year 1160, was changed by the Papists into Waldenses, on purpose to represent them as of modern original. The Albigenses were originally people of Albigeois, part of Upper Languedoc, where they considerably prevailed, and possessed several towns in the year 1200. Against these many of the Popes made open war. Till now the blood of Christians had been shed only by the heathens or Arians; from this time by scarce any but the Papacy. In the year 1208 Innocent III. proclaimed a crusade against them. In June, 1209, the army assembled at Toulouse; from which time abundance of blood was shed, and the second army of martyrs began to be added to the first, who had cried "from beneath the altar." And ever since, the beast has been warring against the saints, and shedding their blood like water. And authority was given him over every tribe and people - Particularly in Europe. And when a way was found by sea into the East Indies, and the West, these also were brought under his authority.
    8 And all that dwell upon the earth will worship him - All will be carried away by the torrent, but the little flock of true believers. The name of these only is written in the Lamb's book of life. And if any even of these "make shipwreck of the faith," he will blot them "out of his book;" although they were written therein from (that is, before) the foundation of the world, Rev 17:8.
    9 If any one have an ear, let him hear - It was said before, "He that hath an ear, let him hear." This expression, if any, seems to imply, that scarce will any that hath an ear be found. Let him hear - With all attention the following warning, and the whole description of the beast,
    10 If any man leadeth into captivity - God will in due time repay the followers of the beast in their own kind. Meanwhile, here is the patience and faithfulness of the saints exercised: their patience, by enduring captivity or imprisonment; their faithfulness, by resisting unto blood.
    11 And I saw another wild beast - So he is once termed to show his fierceness and strength, but in all other places, "the false prophet." He comes to confirm the kingdom of the first beast. Coming up - After the other had long exercised his authority. Out of the earth - Out of Asia. But he is not yet come, though he cannot be far off for he is to appear at the end of the forty - two months of the first beast. And he had two horns like a lamb - A mild, innocent appearance. But he spake like a dragon - Venomous, fiery, dreadful. So do those who are zealous for the beast.
    12 And he exerciseth all the authority of the first wild beast - Described in the second, fourth, fifth, and seventh verses. Rev 13:2,3,5,7 Before him - For they are both together. Whose deadly wound was healed - More throughly healed by means of the second beast.
    13 He maketh fire - Real fire. To come down - By the power of the devil.
    14 Before the wild beast - Whose usurped majesty is confirmed by these wonders. Saying to them - As if it were from God. To make an image to the wild beast - Like that of Nebuchadnezzar, whether of gold, silver, or stone. The original image will be set up where the beast himself shall appoint. But abundance of copies will be taken, which may be carried into all parts, like those of Diana of Ephesus.
    15 So that the image of the wild beast should speak - Many instances of this kind have been already among the Papists, as well as the heathens. And as many as will not worship - When it is required of them; as it will be of all that buy or sell. Shall be killed - By this the Pope manifests that he is antichrist, directly contrary to Christ. It is Christ who shed his own blood; it is antichrist who sheds the blood of others. And yet, it seems, his last and most cruel persecution is to come. This persecution, the reverse of all that preceded, will, as we may gather from many scriptures, fall chiefly on the outward court worshippers, the formal Christians. It is probable that few real, inward Christians shall perish by it: on the contrary, those who "watch and pray always" shall be "accounted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand before the Son of man," Luke 21:36.
    16 On their forehead - The most zealous of his followers will probably choose this. Others may receive it on their hand.
    17 That no man might buy or sell - Such edicts have been published long since against the poor Vaudois. But he that had the mark, namely, the name of the first beast, or the number of his name - The name of the beast is that which he bears through his whole duration; namely, that of Papa or Pope: the number of his name is the whole time during which he bears this name. Whosoever, therefore, receives the mark of the beast does as much as if he said expressly, "I acknowledge the present Papacy, as proceeding from God;" or, "I acknowledge that what St. Gregory VII. has done, according to his legend, (authorized by Benedict XIII.,) and what has been maintained in virtue thereof, by his successors to this day, is from God." By the former, a man hath the name of the beast as a mark; by the latter, the number of his name. In a word, to have the name of the beast is, to acknowledge His papal Holiness; to have the number of his name is, to acknowledge the papal succession. The second beast will enforce the receiving this mark under the severest penalties.
    18 Here is the wisdom - To be exercised. "The patience of the saints" availed against the power of the first beast: the wisdom God giveth them will avail against the subtilty of the second. Let him that hath understanding - Which is a gift of God, subservient to that wisdom. Count the number of the wild beast - Surely none can be blamed for attempting to obey this command. For it is the number of a man - A number of such years as are common among men. And his number is six hundred and sixty - six years - So long shall he endure from his first appearing.

    Chapter XIV

    1 And I saw on mount Sion - The heavenly Sion. An hundred forty - four thousand - Either those out of all mankind who had been the most eminently holy, or the most holy out of the twelve tribes of Israel the same that were mentioned, Rev 7:4, and perhaps also, Rev 16:2. But they were then in the world, and were sealed in their foreheads, to preserve them from the plagues that were to follow. They are now in safety, and have the name of the Lamb and of his Father written on their foreheads, as being the redeemed of God and of the Lamb, his now unalienable property. This prophecy often introduces the inhabitants of heaven as a kind of chorus with great propriety and elegance. The church above, making suitable reflections on the grand events which are foretold in this book, greatly serves to raise the attention of real Christians, and to teach the high concern they have in them. Thus is the church on earth instructed, animated, and encouraged, by the sentiments temper, and devotion of the church in heaven.
    2 And I heard a sound out of heaven - Sounding clearer and clearer: first, at a distance, as the sound of many waters or thunders; and afterwards, being nearer, it was as of harpers harping on their harps. It sounded vocally and instrumentally at once.
    3 And they - The hundred forty - four thousand - Sing a new song - and none could learn that song - To sing and play it in the same manner. But the hundred forty - four thousand who were redeemed from the earth - From among men; from all sin.
    4 These are they who had not been defiled with women - It seems that the deepest defilement, and the most alluring temptation, is put for every other. They are virgins - Unspotted souls; such as have preserved universal purity. These are they who follow the Lamb - Who are nearest to him. This is not their character, but their reward Firstfruits - Of the glorified spirits. Who is ambitious to be of this number?
    5 And in their month there was found no guile - Part for the whole. Nothing untrue, unkind, unholy. They are without fault - Having preserved inviolate a virgin purity both of soul and body.
    6 And I saw another angel - A second is mentioned, verse 8; a third, verse 9. Rev 14:8,9 These three denote great messengers of God with their assistants; three men who bring messages from God to men. The first exhorts to the fear and worship of God; he second proclaims the fall of Babylon; the third gives warning concerning the beast. Happy are they who make the right use of these divine messages! Flying - Going on swiftly. In the midst of heaven - Breadthways. Having an everlasting gospel - Not the gospel, properly so called; but a gospel, or joyful message, which was to have an influence on all ages. To preach to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people - Both to Jew and gentile, even as far as the authority of the beast had extended.
    7 Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come - The joyful message is properly this, that the hour of God's judgment is come. And hence is that admonition drawn, Fear God and give glory to him. They who do this will not worship the beast, neither any image or idol whatsoever. And worship him that made - Whereby he is absolutely distinguished from idols of every kind. The heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and fountains of water - And they who worship him shall be delivered when the angels pour out their phials on the earth, sea, fountains of water, on the sun, and in the air.
    8 And another angel followed, saying, Babylon is fallen - With the overthrow of Babylon, that of all the enemies of Christ, and, consequently, happier times, are connected. Babylon the great - So the city of Rome is called upon many accounts. Babylon was magnificent, strong, proud, powerful. So is Rome also. Babylon was first, Rome afterwards, the residence of the emperors of the world. What Babylon was to Israel of old, Rome hath been both to the literal and spiritual "Israel of God." Hence the liberty of the ancient Jews was connected with the overthrow of the Babylonish empire. And when Rome is finally overthrown, then the people of God will be at liberty.

    Whenever Babylon is mentioned in this book, the great is added, to teach us that Rome then commenced Babylon, when it commenced the great city; when it swallowed up the Grecian monarchy and its fragments, Syria in particular; and, in consequence of this, obtained dominion over Jerusalem about sixty years before the birth of Christ. Then it began, but it will not cease to be Babylon till it is finally destroyed. Its spiritual greatness began in the fifth century, and increased from age to age. It seems it will come to its utmost height just before its final overthrow.

    Her fornication is her idolatry; invocation of saints and angels; worship of images; human traditions; with all that outward pomp, yea, and that fierce and bloody zeal, wherewith she pretends to serve God. But with spiritual fornication, as elsewhere, so in Rome, fleshly fornication is joined abundantly. Witness the stews there, licensed by the Pope, which are no inconsiderable branch of his revenue. This is fitly compared, to wine, because of its intoxicating nature.

    Of this wine she hath, indeed, made all nations drink - More especially by her later missions. We may observe, this making them drink is not ascribed to the beast, but to Babylon. For Rome itself, the Roman inquisitions, congregations, and Jesuits, continually propagate the idolatrous doctrines and practices, with or without the consent of this or that Pope, who himself is not secure from their censure.

    9 And a third angel followed - At no great distance of time. Saying, If any one worship the wild beast - This worship consists, partly in an inward submission, a persuasion that all who are subject to Christ must be subject to the beast or they cannot receive the influences of divine grace, or, as their expression is, there is no salvation out of their church; partly in a suitable outward reverence to the beast himself, and consequently to his image.
    10 He shall drink - With Babylon, Rev 16:19. And shall be tormented - With the beast, Rev 20:10. In all the scripture there is not another so terrible threatening as this. And God by this greater fear arms his servants against the fear of the beast. The wrath of God, which is poured unmixed - Without any mixture of mercy; without hope. Into the cup of his indignation - And is no real anger implied in all this? O what will not even wise men assert, to serve an hypothesis!
    11 And the smoke - From the fire and brimstone wherein they are tormented. Ascendeth for ever and ever - God grant thou and I may never try the strict, literal eternity of this torment!
    12 Here is the patience of the saints - Seen, in suffering all things rather than receive this mark. Who keep the commandments of God - The character of all true saints; and particularly the great command to believe in Jesus.
    13 And I heard a voice - This is most seasonably heard when the beast is in his highest power and fury. Out of heaven - Probably from a departed saint. Write - He was at first commanded to write the whole book. Whenever this is repeated it denotes something peculiarly observable. Happy are the dead - From henceforth particularly: 1. Because they escape the approaching calamities: 2. Because they already enjoy so near an approach to glory. Who die in the Lord - In the faith of the Lord Jesus. For they rest - No pain, no purgatory follows; but pure, unmixed happiness. From their labours - And the more laborious their life was, the sweeter is their rest. How different this state from that of those, verse 11, Rev 14:11 who "have no rest day or night!" Reader, which wilt thou choose? Their works - Each one's peculiar works. Follow - or accompany them; that is, the fruit of their works. Their works do not go before to procure them admittance into the mansions of joy; but they follow them when admitted.
    14 In the following verses, under the emblem of an harvest and a vintage, are signified two general visitations; first, many good men are taken from the earth by the harvest; then many sinners during the vintage. The latter is altogether a penal visitation; the former seems to be altogether gracious. Here is no reference in either to the day of judgment, but to a season which cannot be far off. And I saw a white cloud - An emblem of mercy. And on the cloud sat one like a son of man - An angel in an human shape, sent by Christ, the Lord both of the vintage and of the harvest. Having a golden crown on his head - In token of his high dignity. And a sharp sickle in his hand - The sharper the welcomer to the righteous.
    15 And another angel came out of the temple - "Which is in heaven," verse 17. Rev 14:17 Out of which came the judgments of God in the appointed seasons.
    16 Crying - By the command of God. Thrust in thy sickle, for the harvest is ripe - This implies an high degree of holiness in those good men, and an earnest desire to be with God.
    18 And another angel from the altar - Of burnt offering; from whence the martyrs had cried for vengeance. Who had power over fire - As "the angel of the waters," Rev 16:5, had over water. Cried, saying, Lop off the clusters of the vine of the earth - All the wicked are considered as constituting one body.
    20 And the winepress was trodden - By the Son of God, Rev 19:15. Without the city - Jerusalem. They to whom St. John writes, when a man said, "The city," immediately understood this. And blood came out of the winepress, even to the horses' bridles - So deep at its first flowing from the winepress! One thousand six hundred furlongs - So far! at least two hundred miles, through the whole land of Palestine.

    Chapter XV

    1 And I saw seven holy angels having the seven last plagues - Before they had the phials, which were as instruments whereby those plagues were to be conveyed. They are termed the last, because by them the wrath of God is fulfilled - Hitherto. God had borne his enemies with much longsuffering; but now his wrath goes forth to the uttermost, pouring plagues on the earth from one end to the other, and round its whole circumference. But, even after these plagues, the holy wrath of God against his other enemies does not cease, Rev 20:15.
    2 The song was sung while the angels were coming out, with their plagues, who are therefore mentioned both before and after it, verses 1 - 6. Rev 15:1 - 6 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire - It was before "clear as crystal," Rev 4:6, but now mingled with fire, which devours the adversaries. And them that gained, or were gaining, the victory over the wild beast - More of whom were yet to come. The mark of the beast, the mark of his name, and the number of his name, seem to mean here nearly the same thing. Standing at the sea of glass - Which was before the throne. Having the harps of God - Given by him, and appropriated to his praise.
    3 And they sing the song of Moses - So called, partly from its near agreement ,with the words of that song which he sung after passing the Red Sea, Exod 15:11, and of that which he taught the children of Israel a little before his death, Deut 32:3,4. But chiefly because Moses was the minister and representative of the Jewish church, as Christ is of the church universal. Therefore it is also termed the sons of the Lamb. It consists of six parts, which answer each other:
    1. Great and wonderful are thy works, Lord God Almighty.
    2. For thou only art gracious.
    3. Just and true are thy ways, O King of the nations.
    4. For all the nations shall come and worship before thee.
    5. Who would not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?
    6. For thy judgments are made manifest.
    We know and acknowledge that all thy works in and toward all the creatures are great and wonderful; that thy ways with all the children of men, good and evil, are just and true. For thou only art gracious - And this grace is the spring of all those wonderful works, even of his destroying the enemies of his people. Accordingly in Psalm 136:1 - 26., that clause, "For his mercy endureth for ever," is subjoined to the thanksgiving for his works of vengeance as well as for his delivering the righteous. For all the nations shall come and worship before thee - They shall serve thee as their king with joyful reverence. This is a glorious testimony of the future conversion of all the heathens. The Christians are now a little flock: they who do not worship God, an immense multitude. But all the nations shall come, from all parts of the earth, to worship him and glorify his name. For thy judgments are made manifest - And then the inhabitants of the earth will at length learn to fear him.
    5 After these things the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony - The holiest of all. Was opened - Disclosing a new theatre for the coming forth of the judgments of God now made manifest.
    6 And the seven angels came out of the temple - As having received their instructions from the oracle of God himself. St. John saw them in heaven, verse 1, Rev 15:1 before they went into the temple. They appeared in habits like those the high priest wore when he went into the most holy place to consult the oracle. In this was the visible testimony of God's presence. Clothed in pure white linen - Linen is the habit of service and attendance. Pure - unspotted, unsullied. White - Or bright and shining, which implies much more than bare innocence. And having their breasts girt with golden girdles - In token of their high dignity and glorious rest.
    7 And one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels - After they were come out of the temple. Seven golden phials - Or bowls. The Greek word signifies vessels broader at the top than at the bottom. Full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever - A circumstance which adds greatly to the dreadfulness of his wrath.
    8 And the temple was filled with smoke - The cloud of glory was the visible manifestation of God's presence in the tabernacle and temple. It was a sign of protection at erecting the tabernacle and at the dedication of the temple. But in the judgment of Korah the glory of the Lord appeared, when he and his companions were swallowed up by the earth. So proper is the emblem of smoke from the glory of God, or from the cloud of glory, to express the execution of judgment, as well as to be a sign of favour. Both proceed from the power of God, and in both he is glorified. And none - Not even of those who ordinarily stood before God. Could go into the temple - That is, into the inmost part of it. Till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled - Which did not take up a long time, like the seven trumpets, but swiftly followed each other.

    Chapter XVI

    1 Pour out the seven phials - The epistles to the seven churches are divided into three and four: the seven seals, and so the trumpets and phials, into four and three. The trumpets gradually, and in a long tract of time, overthrow the kingdom of the world: the phials destroy chiefly the beast and his followers, with a swift and impetuous force. The four first affect the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun; the rest fall elsewhere, and are much more terrible.
    2 And the first went - So the second, third, &c., without adding angel, to denote the utmost swiftness; of which this also is a token, that there is no period of time mentioned in the pouring out of each phial. They have a great resemblance to the plagues of Egypt, which the Hebrews generally suppose to have been a month distant from each other. Perhaps so may the phials; but they are all yet to come. And poured out his phial upon the earth - Literally taken. And there came a grievous ulcer - As in Egypt, Exod 9:10,11. On the men who had the mark of the wild beast - All of them, and them only. All those plagues seem to be described in proper, not figurative, words.
    3 The second poured out his phial upon the sea - As opposed to the dry land. And it become blood, as of a dead man - Thick, congealed, and putrid. And every living soul - Men, beasts, and fishes, whether on or in the sea, died.
    4 The third poured out his phial on the rivers and fountains of water - Which were over all the earth. And they became blood - So that none could drink thereof.
    5 The Gracious one - So he is styled when his judgments are abroad, and that with a peculiar propriety. In the beginning of the book he is termed "The Almighty." In the time of his patience, he is praised for his power, which otherwise might then be less regarded. In the time of his taking vengeance, for his mercy. Of his power there could then be no doubt.
    6 Thou host given then, blood to drink - Men do not drink out of the sea, but out of fountains and rivers. Therefore this is fitly added here. They are worthy - Is subjoined with a beautiful abruptness.
    7 Yea - Answering the angel of the waters, and affirming of God's judgments in general, what he had said of one particular judgment.
    8 The fourth poured out his phial upon the sun - Which was likewise affected by the fourth trumpet. There is also a plain resemblance between the first, second, and third phials, and the first, second, and third trumpet. And it was given him - The angel. To scorch the men - Who had the mark of the beast. With fire - As well as with the beams of the sun. So these four phials affected earth, water, fire, and air.
    9 And the men blasphemed God, who had power over these plagues - They could not but acknowledge the hand of God, yet did they harden themselves against him.
    10 The four first phials are closely connected together; the fifth concerns the throne of the beast, the sixth the Mahometans, the seventh chiefly the heathens. The four first phials and the four first trumpets go round the whole earth; the three last phials and the three last trumpets go lengthways over the earth in a straight line. The fifth poured out his phial upon the throne of the wild beast - It is not said, "on the beast and his throne." Perhaps the sea will then be vacant. And his kingdom was darkened - With a lasting, not a transient, darkness. However the beast as yet has his kingdom. Afterward the woman sits upon the beast. and then it is said, "The wild beast is not," Rev 17:3,7,8.
    11 And they - His followers. Gnawed their tongues - Out of furious impatience. Because of their pains and because of their ulcers - Now mentioned together, and in the plural number, to signify that they were greatly heightened and multiplied.
    12 And the sixth poured out his phial upon the great river Euphrates - Affected also by the sixth trumpet. And the water of it - And of all the rivers that flow into it. Was dried up - The far greater part of the Turkish empire lies on this side the Euphrates. The Romish and Mahometan affairs ran nearly parallel to each other for several ages. In the seventh century was Mahomet himself; and, a little before him, Boniface III., with his universal bishopric. In the eleventh, both the Turks and Gregory VII. carried all before them. In the year 1300, Boniface appeared with his two swords at the newly - erected jubilee. In the self - same year arose the Ottoman Porte; yea, and on the same day. And here the phial, poured out on the throne of the beast, is immediately followed by that poured out on the Euphrates; that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared - Those who lie east from the Euphrates, in Persia, India, &c., who will rush blindfold upon the plagues which are ready for them, toward the Holy Land, which lies west of the Euphrates.
    13 Out of the mouth of the dragon, the wild beast, and the false prophet - It seems, the dragon fights chiefly against God; the beast, against Christ; the false prophet, against the Spirit of truth; and that the three unclean spirits which come from them, and exactly resemble them, endeavour to blacken the works of creation, of redemption, and of sanctification. The false prophet - So is the second beast frequently named, after the kingdom of the first is darkened; for he can then no longer prevail by main strength, and so works by lies and deceit. Mahomet was first a false prophet, and afterwards a powerful prince: but this beast was first powerful as a prince; afterwards a false prophet, a teacher of lies. Like frogs - Whose abode is in fens, marshes, and other unclean places. To the kings of the whole world - Both Mahometan and pagan. To gather them - To the assistance of their three principals.
    15 Behold, I come as a thief - Suddenly, unexpectedly. Observe the beautiful abruptness. I - Jesus Christ. Hear him. Happy is he that watcheth. - Looking continually for him that "cometh quickly." And keepeth on his garments - Which men use to put off when they sleep. Lest he walk naked, and they see his shame - Lest he lose the graces which he takes no care to keep, and others see his sin and punishment.
    16 And they gathered them together to Armageddon - Mageddon, or Megiddo, is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. Armageddon signifies the city or the mountain of Megiddo; to which the valley of Megiddo adjoined. This was a place well known in ancient times for many memorable occurrences; in particular, the slaughter of the kings of Canaan, related, Judges 5:19. Here the narrative breaks off. It is resumed, Rev 19:19.
    17 And the seventh poured out his phial upon the air - Which encompasses the whole earth. This is the most weighty phial of all, and seems to take up more time than any of the preceding. It is done - What was commanded, verse 1. Rev 16:1 The phials are poured out.
    18 A great earthquake, such as had not been since men were upon the earth - It was therefore a literal, not figurative, earthquake.
    19 And the great city - Namely, Jerusalem, here opposed to the heathen cities in general, and in particular to Rome. And the cities of the nations fell - Were utterly overthrown. And Babylon was remembered before God - He did not forget the vengeance which was due to her, though the execution of it was delayed.
    20 Every island and mountain was "moved out of its place," Rev 6:14; but here they all flee away. What a change must this make in the face of the terraqueous globe! And yet the end of the world is not come.
    21 And a great hail falleth out of heaven - From which there was no defence. From the earthquake men would fly into the fields; but here also they are met by the hail: nor were they secure if they returned into the houses, when each hail - stone weighed sixty pounds.

    Chapter XVII

    1 And there came one of the seven angels, saying, Come hither - This relation concerning the great whore, and that concerning the wife of the Lamb, Rev 21:9,10, have the same introduction, in token of the exact opposition between them. I will show thee the judgment of the great whore - Which is now circumstantially described. That sitteth as a queen - In pomp, power, ease, and luxury. Upon many waters - Many people and nations, verse 15. Rev 17:15
    2 With whom the kings of the earth - Both ancient and modern, for many ages. Have committed fornication - By partaking of her idolatry and various wickedness. And the inhabitants of the earth - The common people. Have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication - No wine can more thoroughly intoxicate those who drink it, than false zeal does the followers of the great whore.
    3 And he carried me away - In the vision. Into a wilderness - The campagna di Roma, the country round about Rome, is now a wilderness, compared to what it was once. And I saw a woman - Both the scripture and other writers frequently represent a city under this emblem. Sitting upon a scarlet wild beast - The same which is described in the thirteenth chapter. Rev 13:1 - 18 But he was there described as he carried on his own designs only: here, as he is connected with the whore. There is, indeed, a very close connexion between them; the seven heads of the beast being "seven hills on which the woman sitteth." And yet there is a very remarkable difference between them, - between the papal power and the city of Rome. This woman is the city of Rome, with its buildings and inhabitants; especially the nobles. The beast, which is now scarlet - coloured, (bearing the bloody livery, as well as the person, of the woman,) appears very different from before. Therefore St. John says at first sight, I saw a beast, not the beast, full of names of blasphemy - He had' before "a name of blasphemy upon his head," Rev 13:1: now he has many. From the time of Hildebrand, the blasphemous titles of the Pope have been abundantly multiplied. Having seven heads - Which reach in a succession from his ascent out of the sea to his being cast into the lake of fire. And ten horns - Which are contemporary with each other, and belong to his last period.
    4 And the woman was arrayed - With the utmost pomp and magnificence. In purple and scarlet - These were the colours of the imperial habit: the purple, in times of peace; and the scarlet, in times of war. Having in her hand a golden cup - Like the ancient Babylon, Jer 51:7. Full of abominations - The most abominable doctrines as well as practices.
    5 And on her forehead a name written - Whereas the saints have the name of God and the Lamb on their foreheads. Mystery - This very word was inscribed on the front of the Pope's mitre, till some of the Reformers took public notice of it. Babylon the great - Benedict XIII., in his proclamation of the jubilee, A.D. 1725, explains this sufficiently. His words are, "To this holy city, famous for the memory of so many holy martyrs, run with religious alacrity. Hasten to the place which the Lord hath chose. Ascend to this new Jerusalem, whence the law of the Lord and the light of evangelical truth hath flowed forth into all nations, from the very first beginning of the church: the city most rightfully called 'The Palace,' placed for the pride of all ages, the city of the Lord, the Sion of the Holy One of Israel. This catholic and apostolical Roman church is the head of the world, the mother of all believers, the faithful interpreter of God and mistress of all churches." But God somewhat varies the style. The mother of harlots - The parent, ringleader, patroness, and nourisher of many daughters, that losely copy after her. And abominations - Of every kind, spiritual and fleshly. Of the earth - In all lands. In this respect she is indeed catholic or universal.
    6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints - So that Rome may well be called, "The slaughter - house of the martyrs." She hath shed much Christian blood in every age; but at length she is even drunk with it, at the time to which this vision refers. The witnesses of Jesus - The preachers of his word. And I wondered exceedingly - At her cruelty and the patience of God.
    7 I will tell thee the mystery - The hidden meaning of this.
    8 The beast which thou sawest (namely, verse 3) Rev 17:3 was, &c. - This is a very observable and punctual description of the beast, verses 8, 10, 11. Rev 17:8,10,11 His whole duration is here divided into three periods, which are expressed in a fourfold manner.
    1. He, 1. Was; 2 And is not; 3. And will ascend out of the

      bottomless pit, and go into perdition.

    2. He, 1. Was; 2. And is not; 3. And will be again.
    3. The seven heads are seven hills and seven kings: 1. Five

      are fallen; 2. One is; 3. The other is not come; and when

      he cometh, he must continue a short space.

    4. He, 1. Was; 2. And is not; 3 Even he is the eighth, and is

      one of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

    The first of these three is described in the thirteenth chapter. Rev 13:1 - 18 This was past when the angel spoke to St. John. The second was then in its course; the third woe to come. And is not - The fifth phial brought darkness upon his kingdom: the woman took this advantage to seat herself upon him. Then it might be said, He is not. Yet shall he afterwards ascend out of the bottomless pit - Arise again with diabolical strength and fury. But he will not reign long: soon after his ascent he goeth into perdition for ever.
    9 Here is the mind that hath wisdom - Only those who are wise will understand this. The seven heads are seven hills.
    10 And they are seven kings - Anciently there were royal palaces on all the seven Roman bills. These were the Palatine, Capitoline, Coelian, Exquiline, Viminal, Quirinal, Aventine hills. But the prophecy respects the seven hills at the time of the beast, when the Palatine was deserted and the Vatican in use. Not that the seven heads mean hills distinct from kings; but they have a compound meaning, implying both together. Perhaps the first head of the beast is the Coelian hill, and on it the Lateran, with Gregory VII. and his successors; the second, the Vatican with the church of St. Peter, chosen by Boniface VIII. the third, the Quirinal, with the church of St. Mark, and the Quirinal palace built by Paul II. and the fourth, the Exquiline hill, with the temple of St. Maria Maggiore, where Paul V. reigned. The fifth will be added hereafter. Accordingly, in the papal register, four periods are observable since Gregory VII. In the first almost all the bulls made in the city are dated in the Lateran; in the second, at St. Peter's; in the third, at St. Mark's, or in the Quirinal; in the fourth, at St. Maria Maggiore. But no fifth, sixth, or seventh hill has yet been the residence of any Pope. Not that the hill was deserted, when another was made the papal residence; but a new one was added to the other sacred palaces. Perhaps the times hitherto mentioned might be fixed thus:

    1058Wings are given to the woman.
    1077The beast ascends out of the sea.
    1143The forty - two months begin.
    1810The forty - two months end.
    1832The beast ascends out of the bottomless pit.
    1836The beast finally overthrown.
    The fall of those five kings seems to imply, not only the death of the Popes who reigned on those hills, but also such a disannulling of all they had done there, that it will be said, The beast is not; the royal power, which had so long been lodged in the Pope, being then transferred to the city. One is, the other is not yet come - These two are remarkably distinguished from the five preceding, whom they succeed in their turns. The former of them will continue not a short space, as may be gathered from what is said of the latter: the former is under the government of Babylon; the latter is with the beast. In this second period, one is, at the same time that the beast is not. Even then there will be a Pope, though not with the power which his predecessors had. And he will reside on one of the remaining hills, leaving the seventh for his successor.
    11 And the wild beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth - When the time of his not being is over. The beast consists, as it were, of eight parts. The seven heads are seven of them; and the eighth is his whole body, or the beast himself. Yet the beast himself, though he is in a sense termed the eighth, is of the seven, yea, contains them all. The whole succession of Popes from Gregory VII. are undoubtedly antichrist. Yet this hinders not, but that the last Pope in this succession will be more eminently the antichrist, the man of sin, adding to that of his predecessors a peculiar degree of wickedness from the bottomless pit. This individual person, as Pope, is the seventh head of the beast; as the man of sin, he is the eighth, or the beast himself.
    12 The ten horns are ten kings - It is nowhere said that these horns are on the beast, or on his heads. And he is said to have them, not as he is one of the seven, but as he is the eighth. They are ten secular potentates, contemporary with, not succeeding, each other, who receive authority as kings with the beast, probably in some convention, which, after a very short space, they will deliver up to the beast. Because of their short continuance, only authority as kings, not a kingdom, is ascribed to them. While they retain this authority together with the beast, he will be stronger than ever before; but far stronger still, when their power is also transferred to him.
    13 In the thirteenth and fourteenth verses Rev 17:13,14 is summed up what is afterwards mentioned, concerning the horns and the beast, in this and the two following chapters. These have one mind, and give - They all, with one consent, give their warlike power and royal authority to the wild beast.
    14 These - Kings with the beast. He is Lord of lords - Rightful sovereign of all, and ruling all things well. And King of kings - As a king he fights with and conquers all his enemies. And they that are with him - Beholding his victory, are such as were, while in the body, called, by his word and Spirit. And chosen - Taken out of the world, when they were enabled to believe in him. And faithful - Unto death.
    15 People, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues - It is not said tribes: for Israel hath nothing to do with Rome in particular.
    16 And shall eat her flesh - Devour her immense riches.
    17 For God hath put it into their heart - Which indeed no less than almighty power could have effected. To execute his sentence - till the words of God - Touching the overthrow of all his enemies, should be fulfilled.
    18 The woman is the great city, which reigneth - Namely, while the beast "is not," and the woman "sitteth upon him."

    Chapter XVIII

    1 And I saw another angel coming down out of heaven - Termed another, with respect to him who "came down out of heaven," Rev 10:1. And the earth was enlightened with his glory - To make his coming more conspicuous. If such be the lustre of the servant, what images can display the majesty of the Lord, who has "thousand thousands" of those glorious attendants "ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before him?"
    2 And he cried, Babylon is fallen - This fall was mentioned before, Rev 14:8; but is now declared at large. And is become an habitation - A free abode. Of devils, and an hold - A prison. Of every unclean spirit - Perhaps confined there where they had once practised all uncleanness, till the judgment of the great day. How many horrid inhabitants hath desolate Babylon! of invisible beings, devils, and unclean spirits; of visible, every unclean beast, every filthy and hateful bird. Suppose, then, Babylon to mean heathen Rome; what have the Romanists gained, seeing from the time of that destruction, which they say is past, these are to be its only inhabitants for ever.
    4 And I heard another voice - Of Christ, whose people, secretly scattered even there, are warned of her approaching destruction. That ye be not partakers of her sins - That is, of the fruits of them. What a remarkable providence it was that the Revelation was printed in the midst of Spain, in the great Polyglot Bible, before the Reformation! Else how much easier had it been for the Papists to reject the whole book, than it is to evade these striking parts of it.
    5 Even to heaven - An expression which implies the highest guilt.
    6 Reward her - This God speaks to the executioners of his vengeance. Even as she hath rewarded - Others; in particular, the saints of God. And give her double - This, according to the Hebrew idiom, implies only a full retaliation.
    7 As much as she hath glorified herself - By pride, and pomp, and arrogant boasting. And lived deliciously - In all kinds of elegance, luxury, and wantonness. So much torment give her - Proportioning the punishment to the sin. Because she saith in her heart - As did ancient Babylon, Isai 47:8,9. I sit - Her usual style. Hence those expressions, "The chair, the see of Rome: he sat so many years." As a queen - Over many kings, "mistress of all churches; the supreme; the infallible; the only spouse of Christ; out of which there is no salvation." And am no widow - But the spouse of Christ. And shall see no sorrow - From the death of my children, or any other calamity; for God himself will defend "the church."
    8 Therefore - as both the natural and judicial consequence of this proud security Shall her plagues come - The death of her children, with an incapacity of bearing more. Sorrow - of every kind. And famine - In the room of luxurious plenty: the very things from which she imagined herself to be most safe. For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her - Against whom therefore all her strength, great as it is, will not avail.
    10 Thou strong city - Rome was anciently termed by its inhabitants, Valentia, that is, strong. And the word Rome itself, in Greek, signifies strength. This name was given it by the Greek strangers.
    12 Merchandise of gold, &c. - Almost all these are still in use at Rome, both in their idolatrous service, and in common life. Fine linen - The sort of it mentioned in the original is exceeding costly. Thyine wood - A sweet - smelling wood not unlike citron, used in adorning magnificent palaces. Vessels of most precious wood - Ebony, in particular, which is often mentioned with ivory: the one excelling in whiteness, the other in blackness; and both in uncommon smoothness.
    13 Amomum - A shrub whose wood is a fine perfume. And beasts - Cows and oxen. And of chariots - a purely Latin word is here inserted in the Greek. This St. John undoubtedly used on purpose, in describing the luxury of Rome. And of bodies - A common term for slaves. And souls of men - For these also are continually bought and sold at Rome. And this of all others is the most gainful merchandise to the Roman traffickers.
    14 And the fruits - From what was imported they proceed to the domestic delicates of Rome; none of which is in greater request there, than the particular sort which is here mentioned. The word properly signifies, pears, peaches, nectarines, and all of the apple and plum kinds. And all things that are dainty - To the taste. And splendid - To the sight; as clothes, buildings, furniture.
    19 And they cast dust on their heads - As mourners. Most of the expressions here used in describing the downfall of Babylon are taken from Ezekiel's description of the downfall of Tyre, Ezek 26:1 - Eze 28:19.
    20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven - That is, all the inhabitants of it; and more especially, ye saints; and among the saints still more eminently, ye apostles and prophets.
    21 And a mighty angel took up a stone, and threw it into the sea - By a like emblem Jeremiah fore - showed the fall of the Chaldean Babylon, Jer 51:63,64.
    22 And the voice of harpers - Players on stringed instruments. And musicians - Skilful singers in particular. And pipers - Who played on flutes, chiefly on mournful, whereas trumpeters played on joyful, occasions. Shall be heard no more in thee; and no artificer - Arts of every kind, particularly music, sculpture, painting, and statuary, were there carried to their greatest height. No, nor even the sound of a mill - stone shall be heard any more in thee - Not only the arts that adorn life, but even those employments without which it cannot subsist, will cease from thee for ever. All these expressions denote absolute and eternal desolation. The voice of harpers - Music was the entertainment of the rich and great; trade, the business of men of middle rank; preparing bread and the necessaries of life, the employment of the lowest people: marriages, in which lamps and songs were known ceremonies, are the means of peopling cities, as new births supply the place of those that die. The desolation of Rome is therefore described in such a manner, as to show that neither rich nor poor, neither persons of middle rank, nor those of the lowest condition, should be able to live there any more. Neither shall it be repeopled by new marriages, but remain desolate and uninhabited for ever.
    23 For thy merchants were the great men of the earth - A circumstance which was in itself indifferent, and yet led them into pride, luxury, and numberless other sins.
    24 And in her was found the blood of the prophets and saints - The same angel speaks still, yet he does not say "in thee," but in her, now so sunk as not to hear these last words. And of all that had been slain - Even before she was built. See Matt 23:35. There is no city under the sun which has so clear a title to catholic blood - guiltiness as Rome. The guilt of the blood shed under the heathen emperors has not been removed under the Popes, but hugely multiplied. Nor is Rome accountable only for that which hath been shed in the city, but for that shed in all the earth. For at Rome under the Pope, as well as under the heathen emperors, were the bloody orders and edicts given: and whereever the blood of holy men was shed, there were the grand rejoicings for it. And what immense quantities of blood have been shed by her agents! Charles IX., of France, in his letter to Gregory XIII., boasts, that in and not long after the massacre of Paris, he had destroyed seventy thousand Hugonots. Some have computed, that, from the year 1518, to 1548, fifteen millions of Protestants have perished by the Inquisition. This may be overcharged; but certainly the number of them in those thirty years, as well as since, is almost incredible. To these we may add innumerable martyrs, in ancient, middle, and late ages, in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe, Afric, and Asia.

    Chapter XIX

    1 I heard a loud voice of a great multitude - Whose blood the great whore had shed. Saying, Hallelujah - This Hebrew word signifies, Praise ye Jah, or Him that is. God named himself to Moses, EHEIEH, that is, I will be, Exod 3:14; and at the same time, "Jehovah," that is, "He that is, and was, and is to come:" during the trumpet of the seventh angel, he is styled, "He that is and was," Rev 16:5; and not "He that is to come;" because his long - expected coming is under this trumpet actually present. At length he is styled, "Jah," "He that is;" the past together with the future being swallowed up in the present, the former things being no more mentioned, for the greatness of those that now are. This title is of all others the most peculiar to the everlasting God. The salvation - Is opposed to the destruction which the great whore had brought upon the earth. His power and glory - Appear from the judgment executed on her, and from the setting up his kingdom to endure through all ages.
    2 For true and righteous are his judgments - Thus is the cry of the souls under the altar changed into a song of praise.
    4 And the four and twenty elders, and the four living creatures felt down - The living creatures are nearer the throne than the elders. Accordingly they are mentioned before them, with the praise they render to God, Rev 4:9,10; 5:8,14; inasmuch as there the praise moves from the centre to the circumference. But here, when God's judgments are fulfilled, it moves back from the circumference to the centre. Here, therefore, the four and twenty elders are named before the living creatures.
    5 And a voice came forth from the throne - Probably from the four living creatures, saying, Praise our God - The occasion and matter of this song of praise follow immediately after, verses 6, Rev 19:6 &c.; God was praised before, for his judgment of the great whore, verses 1 - 4. Rev 19:1 - 4 Now for that which follows it: for that the Lord God, the Almighty, takes the kingdom to himself, and avenges himself on the rest of his enemies. Were all these inhabitants of heaven mistaken? If not, there is real, yea, and terrible anger in God.
    6 And I heard the voice of a great multitude. So all his servants did praise him. The Almighty reigneth - More eminently and gloriously than ever before.
    7 The marriage of the Lamb is come - Is near at hand, to be solemnized speedily. What this implies, none of "the spirits of just men," even in paradise, yet know. O what things are those which are yet behind! And what purity of heart should there be, to meditate upon them! And his wife hath made herself ready - Even upon earth; but in a far higher sense, in that world. After a time allowed for this, the new Jerusalem comes down, both made ready and adorned, Rev 21:2.
    8 And it is given to her - By God. The bride is all holy men, the whole invisible church. To be arrayed in fine linen, white and clean - This is an emblem of the righteousness of the saints - Both of their justification and sanctification.
    9 And he - The angel, saith to me, Write - St. John seems to have been so amazed at these glorious sights, that he needeth to be reminded of this. Happy are they who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb - Called to glory. And he saith - After a little pause.
    10 And I fell before his feet to worship him - It seems, mistaking him for the angel of the covenant. But he saith, See thou do it not - In the original, it is only, See not, with a beautiful abruptness. To pray to or worship the highest creature is flat idolatry. I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus - I am now employed as your fellowservant, to testify of the Lord Jesus, by the same Spirit which inspired the prophets of old.
    11 And I saw the heaven opened - This is a new and peculiar opening of it, in order to show the magnificent expedition of Christ and his attendants, against his great adversary. And behold a white horse - Many little regarded Christ, when he came meek, "riding upon an ass;" but what will they say, when he goes forth upon his white horse, with the sword of his mouth? White - Such as generals use in solemn triumph. And he that sitteth on him, called Faithful - In performing all his promises. And True - In executing all his threatenings. And in righteousness - With the utmost justice. He judgeth and maketh war - Often the sentence and execution go together.
    12 And his eyes are a flame of fire - They were said to be as or like a flame of fire, before, Rev 1:14; an emblem of his omniscience. And upon his head are many diadems - For he is king of all nations. And he hath a name written, which none knoweth but himself - As God he is incomprehensible to every creature.
    13 And he is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood - The blood of the enemies he hath already conquered. Isaiah 63:1, &c
    15 And he shall rule them - Who are not slain by his sword. With a rod of iron - That is, if they will not submit to his golden sceptre. And he treadeth the wine press of the wrath of God - That is, he executes his judgments on the ungodly. This ruler of the nations was born (or appeared as such) immediately after the seventh angel began to sound. He now appears, not as a child, but as a victorious warrior. The nations have long ago felt his "iron rod," partly while the heathen Romans, after their savage persecution of the Christians, themselves groaned under numberless plagues and calamities, by his righteous vengeance; partly, while other heathens have been broken in pieces by those who bore the Christian name. For although the cruelty, for example, of the Spaniards in America, was unrighteous and detestable, yet did God therein execute his righteous judgment on the unbelieving nations; but they shall experience his iron rod as they never did yet, and then will they all return to their rightful Lord.
    16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh - That is, on the part of his vesture which is upon his thigh. A name written - It was usual of old, for great personages in the eastern countries, to have magnificent titles affixed to their garments.
    17 Gather yourselves together to the great supper of God - As to a great feast, which the vengeance of God will soon provide; a strongly figurative expression, (taken from Ezekiel 39:17,) denoting the vastness of the ensuing slaughter.
    19 And I saw the kings of the earth - The ten kings mentioned Rev 17:12; who had now drawn the other kings of the earth to them, whether Popish, Mahometan, or pagan. Gathered together to make war with him that sat upon the horse - All beings, good and evil, visible and invisible, will be concerned in this grand contest. See Zech 14:1, &c.
    20 The false prophet, who had wrought the miracles before him - And therefore shared in his punishment; these two ungodly men were cast alive - Without undergoing bodily death. Into the lake of fire - And that before the devil himself, Rev 20:10. Here is the last of the beast. After several repeated strokes of omnipotence, he is gone alive into hell. There were two that went alive into heaven; perhaps there are two that go alive into hell. It may be, Enoch and Elijah entered at once into glory, without first waiting in paradise; the beast and the false prophet plunge at once into the extremest degree of torment, without being reserved in chains of darkness till the judgment of the great day. Surely, none but the beast of Rome would have hardened himself thus against the God he pretended to adore, or refused to have repented under such dreadful, repeated visitations! Well is he styled a beast, from his carnal and vile affections; a wild beast, from his savage and cruel spirit! The rest were slain - A like difference is afterwards made between the devil, and Gog and Magog, Rev 20:9,10.
    21 Here is a most magnificent description of the overthrow of the beast and his adherents. It has, in particular, one exquisite beauty; that, after exhibiting the two opposite armies, and all the apparatus for a battle, verses 11 - 19; Rev 19:11 - 19 then follows immediately, verse 20, 19:20 the account of the victory, without one word of an engagement or fighting. Here is the most exact propriety; for what struggle can there be between omnipotence, and the power of all the creation united against it! Every description must have fallen short of this admirable silence.

    Chapter XX

    1 And I saw an angel decending out of heaven - Coming down with a commission from God. Jesus Christ himself overthrew the beast: the proud dragon shall be bound by an angel; even as he and his angels were cast out of heaven by Michael and his angels. Having the key of the bottomless pit - Mentioned before, Rev 9:1. And a great chain in his hand - The angel of the bottomless pit was shut up therein before the beginning of the first woe. But it is now first that Satan, after he had occasioned the third woe, is both chained and shut up.
    2 And he laid hold on the dragon - With whom undoubtedly his angels were now cast into the bottomless pit, as well as finally "into everlasting fire," Matt 25:41. And bound him a thousand years - That these thousand do not precede, or run parallel with, but wholly follow, the times of the beast, may manifestly appear, 1. From the series of the whole book, representing one continued chain of events. 2. From the circumstances which precede. The woman's bringing forth is followed by the casting of the dragon out of heaven to the earth. With this is connected the third woe, whereby the dragon through, and with, the beast, rages horribly. At the conclusion of the third woe the beast is overthrown and cast into "the lake of fire." At the same time the other grand enemy, the dragon, shall be bound and shut up. 3. These thousand years bring a new, full, and lasting immunity from all outward and inward evils, the authors of which are now removed, and an affluence of all blessings. But such time the church has never yet seen. Therefore it is still to come. 4. These thousand years are followed by the last times of the world, the letting loose of Satan, who gathers together Gog and Magog, and is thrown to the beast and false prophet "in the lake of fire." Now Satan's accusing the saints in heaven, his rage on earth, his imprisonment in the abyss, his seducing Gog and Magog, and being cast into the lake of fire, evidently succeed each other. 5. What occurs from Rev 20:11 - Rev 22:5, manifestly follows the things related in the nineteenth chapter. The thousand years came between; whereas if they were past, neither the beginning nor the end of them would fall within this period. In a short time those who assert that they are now at hand will appear to have spoken the truth. Meantime let every man consider what kind of happiness he expects therein. The danger does not lie in maintaining that the thousand years are yet to come; but in interpreting them, whether past or to come, in a gross and carnal sense. The doctrine of the Son of God is a mystery. So is his cross; and so is his glory. In all these he is a sign that is spoken against. Happy they who believe and confess him in all!
    3 And set a seal upon him - How far these expressions are to be taken literally, how far figuratively only, who can tell? That he might deceive the nations no more - One benefit only is here expressed, as resulting from the confinement of Satan. But how many and great blessings are implied! For the grand enemy being removed, the kingdom of God holds on its uninterrupted course among the nations; and the great mystery of God, so long foretold, is at length fulfilled; namely, when the beast is destroyed and Satan bound. This fulfilment approaches nearer and nearer; and contains things of the utmost importance, the knowledge of which becomes every day more distinct and easy. In the mean time it is highly necessary to guard against the present rage and subtilty of the devil. Quickly he will be bound: when he is loosed again, the martyrs will live and reign with Christ. Then follow his coming in glory, the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. The bottomless pit is properly the devil's prison; afterwards he is cast into the lake of fire. He can deceive the nations no more till the "thousand years," mentioned before, verse 2, Rev 20:2 are fulfilled. Then he must be loosed - So does the mysterious wisdom of God permit. For a small time - Small comparatively: though upon the whole it cannot be very short, because the things to be transacted therein, verses 8, 9, Rev 20:8,9 must take up a considerable space. We are very shortly to expect, one after another, the calamities occasioned by the second beast, the harvest and the vintage, the pouring out of the phials, the judgment of Babylon, the last raging of the beast and his destruction, the imprisonment of Satan. How great things these! and how short the time! What is needful for us? Wisdom, patience, faithfulness, watchfulness. It is no time to settle upon our lees. This is not, if it be rightly understood, an acceptable message to the wise, the mighty, the honourable, of this world. Yet that which is to be done, shall be done: there is no counsel against the Lord.
    4 And I saw thrones - Such as are promised the apostles, Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30. And they - Namely, the saints, whom St. John saw at the same time, Dan 7:22, sat upon them; and Judgment was given to them. 1Cor 6:2. Who, and how many, these are, is not said. But they are distinguished from the souls, or persons, mentioned immediately after; and from the saints already raised. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded - With the axe: so the original word signifies. One kind of death, which was particularly inflicted at Rome, is mentioned for all. For the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God - The martyrs were sometimes killed for the word of God in general; sometimes particularly for the testimony of Jesus: the one, while they refused to worship idols; the other, while they confessed the name of Christ. And those who had not worshipped the wild beast, nor his image - These seem to be a company distinct from those who appeared, Rev 15:2. Those overcame, probably, in such contests as these had not. Before the number of the beast was expired, the people were compelled to worship him, by the most dreadful violence. But when the beast "was not," they were only seduced into it by the craft of the false prophet. And they lived - Their souls and bodies being re - united. And reigned with Christ - Not on earth, but in heaven. The "reigning on earth" mentioned, Rev 11:15, is quite different from this. A thousand years - It must be observed, that two distinct thousand years are mentioned throughout this whole passage. Each is mentioned thrice; the thousand wherein Satan is bound, verses 2, 3, 7; Rev 20:2,3,7, the thousand wherein the saints shall reign, verses 4 - 6. Rev 20:4 - 6 The former end before the end of the world; the latter reach to the general resurrection. So that the beginning and end of the former thousand is before the beginning and end of the latter. Therefore as in the second verse, Rev 20:2 at the first mention of the former; so in the fourth verse, Rev 20:2 at the first mention of the latter, it is only said, a thousand years; in the other places, "the thousand," verses 3, 5, 7, Rev 20:3,5,7 that is, the thousand mentioned before. During the former, the promises concerning the flourishing state of the church, Rev 10:7, shall be fulfilled; during the latter, while the saints reign with Christ in heaven, men on earth will be careless and secure.
    5 The rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years - Mentioned, verse 4. Were ended - The thousand years during which Satan is bound both begin and end much sooner.

    The small time, and the second thousand years, begin at the same point, immediately after the first thousand. But neither the beginning of the first nor of the second thousand will be known to the men upon earth, as both the imprisonment of Satan and his loosing are transacted in the invisible world.

    By observing these two distinct thousand years, many difficulties are avoided. There is room enough for the fulfilling of all the prophecies, and those which before seemed to clash are reconciled; particularly those which speak, on the one hand, of a most flourishing state of the church as yet to come; and, on the other, of the fatal security of men in the last days of the world.

    6 They shall be priests of God and of Christ - Therefore Christ is God. And shall reign with him - With Christ, a thousand years.
    7 And when the former thousand years are fulfilled, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison - At the same time that the first resurrection begins. There is a great resemblance between this passage and Rev 12:12. At the casting out of the dragon, there was joy in heaven, but there was woe upon earth: so at the loosing of Satan, the saints begin to reign with Christ; but the nations on earth are deceived.
    8 And shall go forth to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth - (That is, in all the earth) - the more diligently, as he hath been so long restrained, and knoweth he hath but a small time. Gog and Magog - Magog, the second son of Japhet, is the father of the innumerable northern nations toward the east. The prince of these nations, of which the bulk of that army will consist, is termed Gog by Ezekiel also, Ezek 38:2. Both Gog and Magog signify high or lifted up; a name well suiting both the prince and people. When that fierce leader of many nations shall appear, then will his own name be known. To gather them - Both Gog and his armies. Of Gog, little more is said, as being soon mingled with the rest in the common slaughter. The Revelation speaks of this the more briefly, because it had been so particularly described by Ezekiel. Whose number is as the sand of the sea - Immensely numerous: a proverbial expression.
    9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, or the land - Filling the whole breadth of it. And surrounded the camp of the saints - Perhaps the gentile church, dwelling round about Jerusalem. And the beloved city - So termed, likewise, Ecclesiasticus xxiv. 11.
    10 And they - All these. Shall be tormented day and night - That is, without any intermission. Strictly speaking, there is only night there: no day, no sun, no hope!
    11 And I saw - A representation of that great day of the Lord. A great white throne - How great, who can say? White with the glory of God, of him that sat upon it, - Jesus Christ. The apostle does not attempt to describe him here; only adds that circumstance, far above all description, From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away - Probably both the aerial and the starry heaven; which "shall pass away with a great noise." And there was found no place for them - But they were wholly dissolved, the very "elements melting with fervent heat." It is not said, they were thrown into great commotions, but they fled entirely away; not, they started from their foundations, but they " fell into dissolution;" not, they removed to a distant place, but there was found no place for them; they ceased to exist; they were no more. And all this, not at the strict command of the Lord Jesus; not at his awful presence, or before his fiery indignation; but at the bare presence of his Majesty, sitting with severe but adorable dignity on his throne.
    12 And I saw the dead, great and small - Of every age and condition. This includes, also, those who undergo a change equivalent to death, 1Cor 15:51. And the books - Human judges have their books written with pen and ink: how different is the nature of these books! Were opened - O how many hidden things will then come to light; and how many will have quite another appearance than they had before in the sight of men! With the book of God's omniscience, that of conscience will then exactly tally. The book of natural law, as well as of revealed, will then also be displayed. It is not said, The books will be read: the light of that day will make them visible to all. Then, particularly, shall every man know himself, and that with the last exactness This will be the first true, full, impartial, universal history. And another book - Wherein are enrolled all that are accepted through the Beloved; all who lived and died in the faith that worketh by love. Which is the book of life, was opened - What manner of expectation will then be, with regard to the issue of the whole! Mal 3:16, &c.
    13 Death and hades gave up the dead that were in them - Death gave up all the bodies of men; and hades, the receptacle of separate souls, gave them up, to be re - united to their bodies.
    14 And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire - That is, were abolished for ever; for neither the righteous nor the wicked were to die any more: their souls and bodies were no more to be separated. Consequently, neither death nor hades could any more have a being.

    Chapter XXI

    1 And I saw - So it runs, Rev 19:11, 20:1,4,11, in a succession. All these several representations follow one another in order: so the vision reaches into eternity. A new heaven and a new earth - After the resurrection and general judgment. St. John is not now describing a flourishing state of the church, but a new and eternal state of all things. For the first heaven and the first earth - Not only the lowest part of heaven, not only the solar system, but the whole ethereal heaven, with all its host, whether of planets or fixed stars, Isai 34:4 Matt 24:29. All the former things will be done away, that all may become new, verses 4,5, 2Peter 3:10,12. Are passed away - But in the fourth verse it is said, "are gone away." There the stronger word is used; for death, mourning, and sorrow go away all together: the former heaven and earth only pass away, giving place to the new heaven and the new earth.
    2 And I saw the holy city - The new heaven, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem, are closely connected. This city is wholly new, belonging not to this world, not to the millennium, but to eternity. This appears from the series of the vision, the magnificence of the description, and the opposition of this city to the second death, Rev 20:11,12; 21:1,2,5,8,9; 22:5. Coming down - In the very act of descending.
    3 They shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God - So shall the covenant between God and his people be executed in the most glorious manner.
    4 And death shall be no more - This is a full proof that this whole description belongs not to time, but eternity. Neither shall sorrow, or crying, or pain, be any more: for the former things are gone away - Under the former heaven, and upon the former earth, there was death and sorrow, crying and pain; all which occasioned many tears: but now pain and sorrow are fled away, and the saints have everlasting life and joy.
    5 And he that sat upon the throne said - Not to St. John only. From the first mention of "him that sat upon the throne," Rev 4:2, this is the first speech which is expressly ascribed to him. And he - The angel. Saith to me Write - As follows. These sayings are faithful and true - This includes all that went before. The apostle seems again to have ceased writing, being overcome with ecstasy at the voice of him that spake.
    6 And he - That sat upon the throne. Said to me, It is done - All that the prophets had spoken; all that was spoken, Rev 4:1. We read this expression twice in this prophecy: first, Rev 16:17, at the fulfilling of the wrath of God; and here, at the making all things new. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end - The latter explains the former: the Everlasting. I will give to him that thirsteth - The Lamb saith the same, Rev 22:17.
    7 He that overcometh - Which is more than, "he that thirsteth." Shall inherit these things - Which I have made new. I will be his God, and he shall be my son - Both in the Hebrew and Greek language, in which the scriptures were written, what we translate shall and will are one and the same word. The only difference consists in an English translation, or in the want of knowledge in him that interprets what he does not understand.
    8 But the fearful and unbelieving - Who, through want of courage and faith, do not overcome. And abominable - That is, sodomites. And whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters - These three sins generally went together; their part is in the lake.
    9 And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven phials - Whereby room had been made for the kingdom of God. Saying, Come, I will show thee the bride - The same angel had before showed him Babylon, Rev 17:1, which is directly opposed to the new Jerusalem.
    10 And he carried me away in the spirit - The same expression as before, Rev 17:3. And showed me the holy city Jerusalem - The old city is now forgotten, so that this is no longer termed the new, but absolutely Jerusalem. O how did St. John long to enter in! but the time was not yet come. Ezekiel also describes "the holy city," and what pertains thereto, xl. - xlviii. Eze 40:1 - Eze 48:35 but a city quite different from the old Jerusalem, as it was either before or after the Babylonish captivity. The descriptions of the prophet and of the apostle agree in many particulars; but in many more they differ. Ezekiel expressly describes the temple, and the worship of God therein, closely alluding to the Levitical service. But St. John saw no temple, and describes the city far more large, glorious, and heavenly than the prophet. Yet that which he describes is the same city; but as it subsisted soon after the destruction of the beast. This being observed, both the prophecies agree together and one may explain the other.
    11 Having the glory of God - For her light, verse 23, Rev 21:23, Isaiah 40:1,2, Zech 2:5. Her window - There was only one, which ran all round the city. The light did not come in from without through this for the glory of God is within the city. But it shines out from within to a great distance, verses 23, 24. Rev 21:23,24
    12 Twelve angels - Still waiting upon the heirs of salvation.
    14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb - Figuratively showing that the inhabitants of the city had built only on that faith which the apostles once delivered to the saints.
    15 And he measured the city, twelve thousand furlongs - Not in circumference, but on each of the four sides. Jerusalem was thirtythree furlongs in circumference; Alexandria thirty in length, ten in breadth. Nineveh is reported to have been four hundred furlongs round; Babylon four hundred and eighty. But what inconsiderable villages were all these compared to the new Jerusalem! By this measure is understood the greatness of the city, with the exact order and just proportion of every part of it; to show, figuratively, that this city was prepared for a great number of inhabitants, how small soever the number of real Christians may sometimes appear to be; and that everything relating to the happiness of that state was prepared with the greatest order and exactness.

    The city is twelve thousand furlongs high; the wall, an hundred and forty - four reeds. This is exactly the same height, only expressed in a different manner. The twelve thousand furlongs, being spoken absolutely, without any explanation, are common, human furlongs: the hundred forty - four reeds are not of common human length, but of angelic, abundantly larger than human. It is said, the measure of a man that is, of an angel because St. John saw the measuring angel in an human shape. The reed therefore was as great as was the stature of that human form in which the angel appeared. In treating of all these things a deep reverence is necessary; and so is a measure of spiritual wisdom; that we may neither understand them too literally and grossly, nor go too far from the natural force of the words. The gold, the pearls, the precious stones, the walls, foundations, gates, are undoubtedly figurative expressions; seeing the city itself is in glory, and the inhabitants of it have spiritual bodies: yet these spiritual bodies are also real bodies, and the city is an abode distinct from its inhabitants, and proportioned to them who take up a finite and a determinate space. The measures, therefore, above mentioned are real and determinate.

    18 And the building of the wall was jasper - That is, the wall was built of jasper. And the city - The houses, was of pure gold.
    19 And the foundations were adorned with precious stones - That is, beautifully made of them. The precious stones on the high priest's breastplate of judgment were a proper emblem to express the happiness of God's church in his presence with them, and in the blessing of his protection. The like ornaments on the foundations of the walls of this city may express the perfect glory and happiness of all the inhabitants of it from the most glorious presence and protection of God. Each precious stone was not the ornament of the foundation, but the foundation itself. The colours of these are remarkably mixed. A jasper is of the colour of white marble, with a light shade of green and of red; a sapphire is of a sky - blue, speckled with gold; a chalcedony, or carbuncle, of the colour of red - hot iron; an emerald, of a grass green.
    20 A sardonyx is red streaked with white; a sardius, of a deep red; a chrysolite, of a deep yellow; a beryl, sea - green; a topaz, pale yellow; a chrysoprase is greenish and transparent, with gold specks; a jacinth, of a red purple; an amethyst, violet purple.
    22 The Lord God and the Lamb are the temple of it - He fills the new heaven and the new earth. He surrounds the city and sanctifies it, and all that are therein. He is "all in all."
    23 The glory of God - Infinitely brighter than the shining of the sun.
    24 And the nations - The whole verse is taken from Isaiah 60:3. Shall walk by the light thereof - Which throws itself outward from the city far and near. And the kings of the earth - Those of them who have a part there. Bring their glory into it - Not their old glory, which is now abolished; but such as becomes the new earth, and receives an immense addition by their entrance into the city.
    26 And they shall bring the glory of the nations into it - It seems, a select part of each nation; that is, all which can contribute to make this city honourable and glorious shall be found in it; as if all that was rich and precious throughout the world was brought into one city.
    27 Common - That is. unholy. But those who are written in the Lamb's book of life - True, holy, persevering believers. This blessedness is enjoyed by those only; and, as such, they are registered among them who are to inherit eternal life.

    Chapter XXII

    1 And he showed me a river of the water of life - The ever fresh and fruitful effluence of the Holy Ghost. See Ezek 47:1 - 12; where also the trees are mentioned which "bear fruit every month," that is, perpetually. Proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb - "All that the Father hath," saith the Son of God, "is mine;" even the throne of his glory.
    2 In the midst of the street - Here is the paradise of God, mentioned, Rev 2:7. Is the tree of life - Not one tree only, but many. Every month - That is, in inexpressible abundance. The variety, likewise, as well as the abundance of the fruits of the Spirit, may be intimated thereby. And the leaves are for the healing of the nations - For the continuing their health, not the restoring it; for no sickness is there.
    3 And there shall be no more curse - But pure life and blessing; every effect of the displeasure of God for sin being now totally removed. But the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it - That is, the glorious presence and reign of God. And his servants - The highest honour in the universe. Shalt worship him - The noblest employment.
    4 And shall see his face - Which was not granted to Moses. They shall have the nearest access to, and thence the highest resemblance of, him. This is the highest expression in the language of scripture to denote the most perfect happiness of the heavenly state, 1John 3:2. And his name shall be on their foreheads - Each of them shall be openly acknowledged as God's own property, and his glorious nature most visibly shine forth in them. And they shall reign - But who are the subjects of these kings? The other inhabitants of the new earth. For there must needs be an everlasting difference between those who when on earth excelled in virtue, and those comparatively slothful and unprofitable servants, who were just saved as by fire. The kingdom of God is taken by force; but the prize is worth all the labour. Whatever of high, lovely, or excellent is in all the monarchies of the earth is all together not a grain of dust, compared to the glory of the children of God. God "is not ashamed to be called their God, for whom he hath prepared this city." But who shall come up into his holy place? "They who keep his commandments," verse 14. Rev 22:14
    5 And they shall reign for ever and ever - What encouragement is this to the patience and faithfulness of the saints, that, whatever their sufferings are, they will work out for them "an eternal weight of glory!" Thus ends the doctrine of this Revelation, in the everlasting happiness of all the faithful. The mysterious ways of Providence are cleared up, and all things issue in an eternal Sabbath, an everlasting state of perfect peace and happiness, reserved for all who endure to the end.
    6 And he said to me - Here begins the conclusion of the book, exactly agreeing with the introduction, (particularly verses 6, 7, 10, Rev 22:6,7,10 with chap. i. 1, 3,) Rev 1:1,3 and giving light to the whole book, as this book does to the whole scripture. These sayings are faithful and true - All the things which you have heard and seen shall be faithfully accomplished in their order, and are infallibly true. The Lord, the God of the holy prophets - Who inspired and authorised them of old. Hath now sent me his angel, to show his servants - By thee. The things which must be done shortly - Which will begin to be performed immediately.
    7 Behold, I come quickly - Saith our Lord himself, to accomplish these things. Happy is he that keepeth - Without adding or diminishing, verses 18, 19, Rev 22:18,19 the words of this book.
    8 I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel - The very same words which occur, Rev 19:10. The reproof of the angel, likewise, See thou do it not, for I am thy fellowservant, is expressed in the very same terms as before. May it not be the very same incident which is here related again? Is not this far more probable, than that the apostle would commit a fault again, of which he had been so solemnly warned before?
    9 See thou do it not - The expression in the original is short and elliptical, as is usual in showing vehement aversion.
    10 And he saith to me - After a little pause. Seal not the sayings of this book - Conceal them not, like the things that are sealed up. The time is nigh - Wherein they shall begin to take place.
    11 He that is unrighteous - As if he had said, The final judgment is at hand; after which the condition of all mankind will admit of no change for ever. Unrighteous - Unjustified. Filthy - Unsanctified, unholy.
    12 I - Jesus Christ. Come quickly - To judge the world. And my reward is with me - The rewards which I assign both to the righteous and the wicked are given at my coming. To give to every man according as his work - His whole inward and outward behaviour shall be.
    13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last - Who exist from everlasting to everlasting. How clear, incontestable a proof, does our Lord here give of his divine glory!
    14 Happy are they that do his commandments - His, who saith, I come - He speaks of himself. That they may have right - Through his gracious covenant. To the tree of life - To all the blessings signified by it. When Adam broke his commandment, he was driven from the tree of life. They who keep his commandments" shall eat thereof.
    15 Without are dogs - The sentence in the original is abrupt, as expressing abhorrence. The gates are ever open; but not for dogs; fierce and rapacious men.
    16 I Jesus have sent my angel to testify these things - Primarily. To you - The seven angels of the churches; then to those churches - and afterwards to all other churches in succeeding ages. I - as God. Am the root - And source of David's family and kingdom; as man, an descended from his loins. "I am the star out of Jacob," Num 24:17; like the bright morning star, who put an end to the night of ignorance, sin, and sorrow, and usher in an eternal day of light, purity, and joy.
    17 The Spirit and the bride - The Spirit of adoption in the bride, in the heart of every true believer. Say - With earnest desire and expectation. Come - And accomplish all the words of this prophecy. And let him that thirsteth, come - Here they also who are farther off are invited. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life - He may partake of my spiritual and unspeakable blessings, as freely as he makes use of the most common refreshments; as freely as he drinks of the running stream.
    18, 19 I testify to every one, &c. - From the fulness of his heart, the apostle utters this testimony, this weighty admonition, not only to the churches of Asia, but to all who should ever hear this book. He that adds, all the plagues shall be added to him; he that takes from it, all the blessings shall be taken from him; and, doubtless, this guilt is incurred by all those who lay hinderances in the way of the faithful, which prevent them from hearing their Lord's "I come," and answering, "Come, Lord Jesus." This may likewise be considered as an awful sanction, given to the whole New Testament; in like manner as Moses guarded the law, Deut 4:2, and Deut 12:32; and as God himself did, Mal 4:4, in closing the canon of the Old Testament.
    19 See note on "Re 22:18"
    20 He that testifieth these things - Even all that is contained in this book. Saith - For the encouragement of the church in all her afflictions. Yea - Answering the call of the Spirit and the bride. I come quickly - To destroy all her enemies, and establish her in a state of perfect and everlasting happiness. The apostle expresses his earnest desire and hope of this, by answering, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
    21 The grace - The free love. Of the Lord Jesus - And all its fruits. Be with all - Who thus long for his appearing!

    It may be proper to subjoin here a short view of the whole

    contents of this book.

    In the year of the world,

       3940. Jesus Christ is born, three years before the common
       In that which is vulgarly called, the thirtieth year of our Lord,
       Jesus Christ dies; rises; ascends.
         A.D. 96. The Revelation is given; the coming of our Lord is
              declared to the seven churches in Asia, and their
              angels, Rev i., ii., iii.
         97, 98. The seven seals are opened, and under the fifth
              the chronos is declared,                             C. iv.-vi.
            Seven trumpets are given to the seven angels,       C. vii. viii.
            Century, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, the trumpet of the
            1st, 2d, 3d, 4th angel,                                  C. viii.
         510-589 The first woe,
         589-634 The interval after the first woe,            }        C. ix.
         634-840 The second woe,                             /
         800      The beginning of the non-chronos
                  many kings,                                 }    C. ix., x.
         840-947  The interval after the second woe,         /
         847-1521 The twelve hundred and sixty days of the
                   woman, after she hath brought forth the
                   man child,                                        C xii. 6
         947-1836 The third woe,                                           12
        1058-1836 The time, times, and half a time, and
                   within that period, the beast, his forty-   }to C. xiii. 5
                   two months, his number 666,                /
        1209      War with the saints: the end of the chronos,              7
        1614      An everlasting gospel promulged,                  C. xiv. 6
        1810      The end of the forty-two months of the beast;
                   after which, and the pouring out of the
                   phials, he is not, and Babylon reigns queen,  C. xv., xvi.
        1832      The beast ascends from the bottomless pit, C. xvii., xviii.
        1836      The end of the non-chronos, and of the many
                   kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of
                   the mystery of God; the repentance of the
                   survivors in the great city; the end of the
                   "little time," and of the three times and a
                   half; the destruction of the east; the
                   imprisonment of Satan,                        C. xix., xx.
        Afterward The loosing of Satan for a small time;
                   the beginning of the thousand years' reign
                   of the saints; the end of the small time,           C. xx.
                  The end of the world; all things new,         C. xx., xxii.
     The several ages, from the time of St. John's being in Patmos, down to
     the present time, may, according to the chief incidents mentioned in
     the Revelation, be distinguished thus:-
     Age  II.     The destruction of the Jews by Adrian,            C viii. 7
          III.    The inroads of the barbarous nations,                     8
          IV.     The Arian bitterness,                                    10
          V.      The end of the western empire.                           12
          VI.     The Jews tormented in Persia,                      C. ix. 1
          VII.    The Saracen cavalry.                                     13
          VIII.   Many kings,                                        C. x. 11
          IX.     The ruler of the nations born,                    C. xii. 5
          X.      The third woe,                                           12
          XI.     The ascent of the beast out of the pen,          C. xiii. 1
          XII     Power given to the beast,                                 5
          XIII.   War with the saints,                                      7
          XIV.    The middle of the third woe,
          XV.     The beast in the midst of his strength,
          XVI.    The Reformation; the woman better fed,                    9
          XVII.   An everlasting gospel promulged,                  C. xiv. 6
          XVIII.  The worship of the beast and of his image,                9

    O God, whatsoever stands or falls, stands or falls by thy judgment.

    Defend thy own truth! Have mercy on me and my readers! To thee be

    glory for ever!

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