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The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843

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    CHAPTER V

    We have now arrived to a most deeply interesting part of the book of Revelation. I shall now commence chapter iv. and remark only on such portions of it as may be necessary to give what I believe to be the meaning of the Holy Ghost. I shall not note the verses as I pass; but when a reference is made to any passage out of the chapter under consideration, the quotation will be given. John saw heaven opened, and a voice like a trumpet calling him up thither, where he should see things which must be hereafter. Immediately he was in the Spirit. “And behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats were four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. Lightning’s, thunders and voices came out of the throne; and seven lamps, which are the seven spirits of God, burned before the throne. Before the throne, was a sea of glass, and in the midst and round about the throne were four beasts full of eyes, before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face like a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within; and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, which was and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory, and honor, and thanks, to him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders full down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”PSC 134.1

    The four beasts are the same which Isaiah beheld when he saw the glory of God. Isaiah 6:1-3.” I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, high and lifted up and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings, etc. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Ezekiel also saw them. Ezek. 1st and 10th chap. Their wings seem to represent the graces of the spirit, according to Ezekiel 1:12. “And every one went straight forward: whither the spirit was to go they went.” The Spirit of God guided them, or they were under his direction and influence. The use Isaiah’s seraphim’s made of their wings was, “with two they covered their face,” the two graces of repentance and humility; “with two they covered their feet,” they walked by the two graces, faith and patience; “and with twain they did fly;” for hope and love bore them above the world. “They shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint,” or be impatient. “They were also full of eyes within before and behind.” This intimates that they would have just views of God, of sin, of themselves, and their duty. They could look back and see their sins and sinful state; and forward to Christ and the joys of heaven. They could look within their own hearts and see the corruption of their nature, and their need of an application of that precious blood which cleanseth from all unrighteousness.PSC 135.1

    The four beasts, are the figurative representatives of the church, under the Gospel dispensation. 1. They represent the character of true Christians. They have six wings, each representing the graces of the spirit faith, patience, repentance, humility, hope and love. They are full of eyes, all vigilance and self-examination, studying to know themselves and God. 2. They represent four different chronological periods of the Christian church. The four and twenty elders also represent the ministers of Christ, and the redeemed family. The twenty four courses of the priesthood, under the law, were typical of the Gospel ministry. The elders also were typified by the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles.PSC 136.1

    Chapter 5. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice. Who is worthy to open the book, and loose the seals thereof. And no man in heaven nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” The apostle wept because no one was found able to open the book. Then one of the elders said to him, Weep not, for the lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book and loose the seals. He then beheld in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders, stood a lamb, as it had been slain. He came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had taken the book, the beasts and elders fell down before the lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden seals full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. The beasts and elders then fell down, as the representatives of the family of the redeemed, and joined in a new song of praise. The burden of the song was the worthiness of Christ to open the seals, a song of triumph to him for redemption, and anticipation of their glorious reign on earth with Christ. Then burst the full chorus, from saints and angels, of the worthiness of the lamb to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and blessing and glory. The whole company of heaven were presented to John’s view, as they will be when the reign of Christ begins. The book, or the writing of the book, seems to have been concerning those seven great events which were to transpire when each seal should be opened. The power over those events was given to the lamb. He only had power to open the seals and introduce the event which was to follow.PSC 136.2

    Revelation 6:2. “I saw, and beheld a white horse:” the emblem of the gospel. “And he that sat on him had a bow;” an instrument of war for the conquest of the rebellious sinner. “And a crown was given him:” he was to reign over those whom he conquered by the word of his grace. “And he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” This seal was opened when the gospel began to be preached. The same personage is spoken of Revelation 19:11. “And he that sat upon him was called true and faithful” “King of Kings and Lord of lords,” etc. The beast who was the representative of the church under this seal was like a lion. So were the apostles and first Christians bold and fearless in the cause of Christ.PSC 138.1

    The second seal opened, and a red horse followed; and he that sat on him had power to take peace from the earth. This seal was opened when Nero began the persecutions against Christians, about A. D. 64, and continued until the days of Constantine, when persecution ceased. The beast who represented the church during this period was like a calf, representing that the church under this seal should be like a calf fatted for the slaughter. The horse was red, and denoted blood; the sword, slaughter. The church under this seal was given up to the slaughter.PSC 138.2

    The third seal opened and a black horse followed, and one on him with a pair of balances in his hand. This seal opened in the days of Constantine. The black horse denoted the darkness which should come on the church, in consequence of the flood of riches, popularity, and exaltation which followed the reign of that emperor. Her glory was obscured and her spirituality declined. The balances denoted care of worldly things. The order regulating merchandize other secular affairs, indicates the secular character of the church under this seal. The beast also which represents the church under this [original illegible] has a face like a man. All these emblems denote the worldly and secular character which should prevail under this seal.PSC 139.1

    The fourth seal opened, and there appeared a pale horse; and he that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him. This seal opened when popery was established in Rome by the overthrow of the Gothic kingdom, A. D. 538. The beast which represents the church under this seal, was like a flying eagle. Papal persecutions against the church commenced, and to the woman were given two wings as of a great eagle, that she should flee into the wilderness. Power was given death and hell, “over a fourth part of the earth, that they should kill,” etc. The fourth part of the earth, I understand to mean, one of the four quarters of the earth, Europe; where the papal beast exercised his tyrannical power over the true church and people of God, for so long a period. The various modes of death here named, were literally fulfilled by papal persecutions.PSC 139.2

    The fifth seal opened, and the souls appeared which had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. They inquired how long before the Lord would avenge the blood of the martyrs, on those who dwelt on the earth. This seal I think was opened about the close of the eighteenth century, when the rigor of papal tyranny ceased, and the church began to have some rest. It was said to them that they must rest yet a. little season, until their brethren, who should be slain as they were, should be fulfilled. It was but a little season before the number of the redeemed would be made up, and God avenge the blood of his saints. The beast under this seal is the same as the former, or at least there is nothing said of any change. The woman, is yet in the wilderness, nourished of God.PSC 140.1

    The sixth seal opened, and there was a great earthquake. Earthquake in figurative language denotes a revolution. This seal opened about A. D. 1789, with the French revolution. “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind: and the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” The sun, in figurative language, means generally, kings or chief rulers. Thus, Joseph in his dream saw the sun, his father, the moon, his mother, and the eleven stars, his eleven brethren, come and make obeisance to him. When the sun means king or chief ruler, the moon means the queen or wife of the ruler, and stars represent the inferior officers in the kingdom. The sun under the sixth seal became black as sackcloth of hair. The king of France fell, and after a fruitless effort to flee from his persecutors, he was, after a long series of disasters, beheaded. Thus the sun became black as sackcloth of hair. “The moon became as blood.” The queen soon shared the fate of her husband, and spilt her blood on the executioner’s block. The stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. All the names and titles of the nobility were swept away by the decree of the revolutionists. Thus the stars or the inferior rulers of the kingdom fell to the earth in a violent manner. “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.” The heaven must mean the circle in which the above luminaries moved; the political heavens. The form of government was changed, and a new constitution was framed and adopted; new laws instituted and new officers appointed. The old became like a scroll rolled together, and laid aside, as worn out, or unfit for use. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Mountains and islands are believed to mean great and small kingdoms; and the description here given, to the mighty revolution carried on in Europe by Napoleon; by which all the kingdoms of Europe were shaken to their very base.PSC 140.2

    I have thus far followed the general rule of interpreting figurative language; and I do not say but it is the correct rule; it is certain, viewed in the light given above, the vision of the Revelator has had a very striking fulfillment. If it includes the above meaning, it appears to me that there is another figurative meaning to the above expressions, still more consistent and scriptural. At least it is more satisfactory to me.PSC 142.1

    I would consider the sun to represent the gospel, or New Testament. The moon, the law or the Old Testament. The stars, the ministers of the gospel; and the heaven, the moral atmosphere, or the influence exerted by the gospel on the minds and conduct of men. By mountain, I would understand a church to be meant; and by an island, some institution of the church.PSC 142.2

    The principal argument in favor of this interpretation of the figures, is the description of the woman, chapter 12:1. It is agreed, I believe, pretty generally, by expositors, that the sun, in that passage, with which the woman, the church, is clothed, means the gospel; the moon, the law; and the crown of twelve stars, the ministers of the gospel. To make the figures consistent with themselves, they must have the same meaning in one place that they do in another. If there is any point which cannot be explained on these principles, let it go unexplained. The church is called a mountain; mount Zion; the mountain of the Lord’s house, etc.PSC 142.3

    On these principles of interpretation, the turning of the sun to blackness was the decree of the assembly, by which the Bible was prohibited to be read in the churches and chapels, and by the same act the moon became as blood. The event is the same as the slaying of the two witnesses of chapter 11.PSC 143.1

    Bibles in the French revolution were gathered in heaps and burned. They were also dragged through the streets with circumstances of contempt. By the same decree named above, by which the nobility of France fell, the clergy were also put down. The stars fell, as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs. All moral influence seemed for a season to be thrown off; every one followed the imagination of his own heart. The decree went forth that there is no God, and that death is an eternal sleep. The moral influence of the gospel ceased to be felt. The church of France was annihilated for the time, her property put to secular uses, and her temples and other institutions were demolished. “Every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” All religious institutions were destroyed. Then the secular powers of France are named, and present a spectacle of horror. “The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in dens and in rocks of the mountains; and said to the rocks and mountains, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand. “The above is so literal a history of the terror, which filled the minds of men in France during the reign of terror, that it is difficult making it any more plain. I can but consider the French revolution as the judgment mentioned, Daniel 7:9, 10. It was the great judgment of God on the anti-christian beast. The kingdoms of Europe, who had given their support to the beast, were filled with blood and terror. “Thou hast given them blood to drink for they are worthy.” But after this judgment, when judgment was given to the saints, Rome taken, and the Pope led into captivity, Daniel heard the great words which the horn spake; he again revived for a season. “Him that sitteth on the throne,” means the same as the Ancient of days of Daniel. The great day of the wrath of the lamb was the day when he poured out his judgments on those who persecuted his people for so many ages. But the final catastrophe of the papal beast is yet to come.PSC 143.2

    After the revolutions of Europe, the fall of popery, and the resurrection of the two witnesses, angels were seen holding the four winds of the earth, that they should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. He then saw an angel coming from the east, where the gospel was first preached, having the seal of the living God. The papal beast had borne rule for twelve hundred and sixty years, and caused all, great and small, free and bond, to receive his mark in their forehead or hand. Now his reign was ended, and an angel appeared with the seal of the living God, to seal the servants of God in their foreheads. The winds represent the tempests of war and commotion which should be measurably restrained until near the closing scenes of time, to give an opportunity to spread the gospel through the earth. The servants of God were now to be marked for the judgment of the great day, so that the destroying angel might not harm them. Thus the houses of the Israelites were marked when the destroying angel went through the land, and he passed them by and did not harm them.PSC 144.1

    When John wrote, there had been sealed twelve thousand out of each of the tribes of Israel, making in all of the Israelites, a hundred and forty-four thousand. The number was made up when he wrote, and the distinction between Jew and Gentile annihilated forever. This hundred and forty-four thousand are again presented in chapter fourteenth, singing a song which none could learn but themselves. They are also said to be the first fruits unto God and the Lamb, who were redeemed from among men. I think them, therefore, to be converted Jews, to whom the first offers of salvation through Christ were made. After this, John saw a great company which no man could number, out of every kindred and tribe under heaven, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands. They had entered on their state of blessedness. After the work of redemption is finished, and the servants of God are sealed, then, and not till then, the seventh seal will open, and the moral heavens be silent for a season, here said to be a half hour. The day of grace is over, and the tribulation of the great day begun.PSC 145.1

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