« PreviousContinue »
Of the three last apocalyptic trumpets, or, as they are peculiarly styled, the three woe-trumpets.
HE that letted being now removed, the prophet relates the history of the great Apostasy, which he details under the three last trumpets, usually denominated the three woe-trumpets. He begins with an account of the Eastern branch of the Apostasy under the two first woe-trumpets. He next proceeds to the parallel history of the Western branch of the Apostasy, which he gives at large under the two first woe-trumpets, and more briefly under the third: and, in order that his narrative may be unbroken, and that all confusion may pe prevented, he throws the whole history of the western Apostasy, under all the three trumpets, and during the entire period of 1260 years, into a little book, or codicil to the larger book of the Apocalypse. And he finally details at large the operation of the last woe-trumpet, which contains within itself the seven vials, both in the East and in the West.
Concerning the three woe-trumpets themselves it may briefly be observed in general: that the first describes the rise of the twofold Apostasy; the second represents it in the zenith of its power, 'till the primary and only partial manifestation of Antichrist; and the third exhibits its downfall,
* The French revolution in the year 1789. It professed to establish a limited monarchy, respecting at once the prerogatives of a lawful prince, and the liberties of the people. This only partial revelation of Antichrist deceived numbers, and led them to form, the romantic idea, that France was become (to use the detestable cant of the day) a regenerated kingdom. Four years however were not suffered to elapse from the commencement of the revolution, ere the streets of Paris and the provincial towns streamed with the blood of innumerable victims, ere the sovereign himself was brought to the scaffold, ere religion was abolished, and a sort of jumble of atheism and idolatry was established in its stead. In the first year of Gallic liberty, Antichrist was partially revealed: in the fourth year of liberty, and the first year of equality (Aug. 12, 1792) he threw off his mask of toleration, candour, and universal philanthropy; and stood openly revealed in all his native deformity. His lamb-like pretensions to reason, moderation, and humanity, vanished as the fleeting clouds of the morning: and the astonished world suddenly beheld the existence of an "execrable power, which alone has steeled the hearts of its votaries against every feeling of nature; has dared to sanction trea
son, parricide, lust, and massacre, and to infuse into the "breasts of its subject multitudes a new passion, which has "sunk them beneath the level of the brute creation; a pas"sion for the sight of their fellow-creatures in the agonies of death, and a literal thirst for human blood." Hist. the Inter. Vol. ii. P. 215, 216.
displaying at the same time the multiplied horrors of the harvest and vintage of the Lord, or the uncontrouled reign of the atheistical king and his subsequent destruction along with all the other enemies of God, and at length conducting us to that happy period when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
Concerning the effects of the two first woe-trumpets
in the east.
THE effects of the two first woe-trumpets in the East have been so fully and satisfactorily discussed by the excellent Bishop Newton, that I shall do nothing more than abridge his remarks, with the exception of noticing a single error into which I conceive his Lordship to have fallen.
At the sounding of the fifth trumpet (the first of the three woe-trumpets), a star which had fallen* from heaven to earth opened the bottomless pit, and let out a vast swarm of locusts with their leader Apollyon at their head. The commission of these locusts was, not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree; but only those men, who had not the seal of God in their foreheads and, in point of time, it was limited to five prophetic months, or 150 natural years. As for the locusts themselves, they were like horses prepared unto battle; their crowns were of gold; their faces were as the faces of men; they had hair
* Such is the proper translation of relaxela, as Mr. Whita ker rightly observes, Comment. p. 116,
as the hair of women; their teeth were as the teeth of lions; their breastplates were like breastplates of iron; they had the tails of scorpions, armed with deadly stings; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle*.
Bp. Newton supposes the fallen star to be the impostor Mohammed; and yet afterwards represents the locust-sovereign Apollyon as being Mohammed likewise. To say nothing of so plain a repetition, the prophet evidently describes the star and the king as being two entirely different persons. The fallen star opens the door of the bottomless pit, and lets out Apollyon with his locusts: consequently Apollyon was confined in the pit, till he was let out by the star: therefore Apollyon and the star cannot both be Mohammed. Moreover, independent of this circumstance, the Arabian impostor can with no more propriety be symbolized by a fallen star, than the Vandalic monarch Genseric. Mohammed never was a star in the sense of a Christian pastor; and, when he afterwards became a sovereign, so far from falling from his high estate, he was uniformly successful in all his enterprises. We must look out therefore for some other character, to whom the hieroglyphic of a fallen star is more applicable.
I conceive, then, that the fallen star of the first woe-trumpet is no other than the apostate Nestorian
Rev. ix. 111.