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The synchronism and order of the Apocalyptical
Prophecies, according to the things transacted, on no hypothetical interpretation, nor preconjecture about the events; but firmly demonstrated from the very characters of the visions themselves, purposely inserted by the Holy Spirit, and offered to examination according to a self-evident scheme: so that it may prove, as it were, a Thesean clero to those who are involved in this sacred laby. rinth, and a Lydian stone to discover the true, and to refute every erroneous interpretation.
1. I call a synchronism of the prophecies a concurrence of events predicted therein within the same time; which may be called a contemporary or coetaneous period; for prophecies of contemporary things synchronize.
2. The order of the seals and of the trumpets included under them, is certain and indubitable; namely, that which the number points out from I. to. VII. When the rest of the prophecies are compared with one another, and then with the seals by synchronism, the order of the whole Apocalypse will be manifest; and this, with God's assistance, we now proceed to exhibit.
O thou that sittest on the throne, and thou, O Lamb, the root and the offspring * of David, who alone wast worthy to receive and open the book, open the eyes of thy servant, direct his hand and his mind, that in these thy mysteries he may discern and disclose something to the glory of thy name, and to the advantage of the Church!
Of the Woman driven into the Wilderness.
It is from hence that I begin, and my first synchronism shall be that of the remarkable quater
Stirps may imply both.
nion of prophecies displayed in equal intervals of time. First, Of the woman living in the wilderness for a time, times, and a half, or (as it is there more fully expressed) for 1260 days. Secondly, Of the seven-headed beast restored, and endued with power for forty-two months. Thirdly, Of the exterior court (or of the Holy City) trodden down by the Gentiles for the same number of months. Fourthly, and lastly, Of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth for 1260 days.
The truth of this synchronism is almost evident of itself, and seems capable of being confirmed, as it generally is, by the very equality of the periods; for a time, times, and half a time, i. e. three years and a half (as appears from the collation of the 6th verse with the 14th of chapter xii.), make up forty-two months, and forty-two months 1260 days.
But because it does not necessarily follow, (though in visions presented at the same time it is extremely probable) that equal times are also synchronic, since equality does not prevent some things being prior, and some subsequent to others, the character of equality will not be adapted to compel reluctant assent; I will search, therefore, for characters elsewhere, from which I may put an end to the matter by clear and irrefragable demonstration.
Of the Beast and the Woman. The times of the beast and of the woman residing in the wilderness, begin from one and the same point; namely, from the red dragon's being conquered, and cast out on the earth. As therefore they are equal, they must of necessity run together through the whole period, and at length complete their course together. That the times of each commence from the same point or terminus, is evident from the 12th chapter; since as soon as the dragon is cast out by Michael, the woman flies from his face into the wilderness, and the dragon being angry, that he had in vain attempted to overwhelm her, as she was departing thither, went to make war on the remnant of her seed, with those whom she was about to bring forth in the wilderness*, and standing on the sand of the sea, he delivered to the ten-horned beast ascending from thence, his power, and his throne, and great authority.
Of the Beast and the Prophecy of the Witnesses.
The times of the beast and of the prophecy of the witnesses being also equal, finish together at the end of the sixth trumpet. It is manifest that they began together, and were contemporary through the whole intervening space.