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Christ, and through which form Christ manifests himself to a mortal.
4. "Clothed with a garment down to the feet." As celestials are not clothed in mortal apparel, which is a badge of human disgrace, this garment must signify the nature of the spotless character that wears it. A robe of white is a symbol of honor and dignity.
5. "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow." This, also, is emblematic of superior wisdom and glory; for, "a hoary head is a crown of glory."
6. "His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace." "How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth."
7. "His voice as the sound of many waters." That is, as the voice of multitudes; it shows vast authority and fame.
8. "Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." A sword symbolizes authority, as, "He beareth not the sword in vain." Coming from the mouth, it is the word of God, which is called the sword of the Spirit, and
sharper than any two-edged sword."
9. "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." A face symbolizes justice, severity, or favor; here it must represent the light of God's countenance, or favor to his people.
"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”
The address and prophecy to the churches, are plainly included together, under the terms, "which thou hast seen, and the things which are;" for when John is subsequently invited to receive a view of political prophecy, he is called to look only at the "things which shall be hereafter." Now, the temporal state of the churches predicted under the "things that are," seem limited to the period designated by ten days. "Ye shall have tribulation ten days." A day signifies a certain limited period, and is generally put for it. Now, these ten days of tribulation had their coincidence, and by consequence their fulfillment, in the ten great persecutions under the pagan emperors, and closed in the days of Constantine the Great. So that the prophecy of "the things that are," seems clearly bounded by this ten days. This is further confirmed, by the fact, that the political prophecies began to be realized at the union of church and
The very expression, "things that are," seems to imply things that will transpire, while the church is under the then present pagan government, in the world.
POLITICAL PROPHECIES OF REVELATION.
THE visions of John and Daniel, being in the same. great field, they must coincide; and it is plain, that as Daniel prophesied in full of the political state of Rome, so John must also do the same, and that, in the principal features of the fourth kingdom, they must agree together. It will, therefore, be expected that there will be a similarity of the construction of their imagery; and such we shall find to be the case. As Daniel gives a twice doubled view of the world from his times, so does John, from his. John begins his political visions at the union of church and state, and thence proceeds to the final kingdom; but of the Roman world he gives four distinct views. The first view is that by seven seals, extending down to the Millennium; the second, is by seven trumpets, rehearsing great eras of the same period. He then gives a view of Rome, during the same great era, under the form of a dragon and a beast, and under the symbols of a beast and harlot.
In addition to this, he gives a double history of the dual Israel, through the same period, under the symbols of two witnesses, and the woman and her man child. Besides these, he gives two episodical descriptions; one of the destruction of the Roman church, and one of the destroyer of the Roman state.
We shall first interpret the seals, and then the episodical descriptions of Rome and Israel, and then of the seven trumpets.
The seat of prophecy, whence the book of seals is given, is worthy of attention, as it is a prophetic one.
THE SEAT OF POLITICAL PROPHECY.
At the seat of spiritual prophecy, no throne was to be seen; but only Christ among the churches; here the scene is changed, and the symbols of civil dominion over the world are introduced. The imagery before us claims attention, as it is all of a dual character. We shall quote the descriptive text of the second seat of prophecy, as it may be needed.
1. "A door was opened in heaven." This was a symbolic heaven, as any one can see at a glance; for, in the "third heaven," no such objects as beasts or doors exist. The term, heaven, was originally applied by God to the atmosphere, or firmament, and is figuratively used as the etherial dwelling of the true Christians after death; and on earth it is used variously to represent sublimity, or exaltation; and, symbolically, it represents the place of the church on earth, or the dominion of God on earth, &c. Many passages of scripture teach us this figurative sense of the term.
2. "Come up hither, and I will show thee things hereafter." Here John changes his locality of view.
3. Behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne, and there was a rainbow round about the
throne, in sight like unto an emerald." God is a spirit; he can not be represented by any image; yet his ruling power and government can be, and these may represent himself. The worship, therefore, paid to this person, must be symbolic of the praise offered to the God who rules over the kingdoms of the world. The throne, and the person on it, represent the dual and supreme government of Jehovah; the throne, representing his spiritual supremacy, and the person upon it his civil or regal
4. "And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent forth into all the world.” This lamb received the worship of countless millions. The lamb is, plainly, symbolic of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, for a beast, universally, in scripture, symbolizes a kingdom. The seven horns and seven eyes, further represent the dual and perfect nature of this kingdom. The whole, however, having a double significancy, must symbolize, not merely Christ's kingdom, but Christ himself; for, Christ's kingdom, when used as a symbol, must represent himself, just as we have seen that the throne and person upon it signify God's great kingdom; and that then, God's kingdom symbolizes himself. This double representation is the most beautiful imagery imaginable.
5. The seven eyes and seven spirits are representatives of the very same things as "the seven spirits of God and seven stars," which are synonymous with the seven candlesticks and seven stars, which represent the church and its social government, as we have seen