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lowers, the victory will be decisive, and the slaughter of God's enemies immense*.
Ver. 15. Behold, I come as a thief ; &c.] See note, ch. iii. 3, 4. the same kind of warning is here repeated; assuring us, according to the constant tenour of Scripture, that notwithstanding all the signs afforded, and the preparations declared, “that day” will come upon the world unexpected. The victory obtained by the
* Ch, xix. 17. ad fin. It has been already observed, that there is difficulty in determining the place of the third Woe; which is announced as coming after the end of the sixth Trumpet, and consequently is expected under the seventh. (See note, ch. xi. 14.) This dreadful time is not mentioned afterwards, and therefore can be clearly recognized and ascertained by the event only, which seeins yet to come. But if I may be allowed a conjecture, (to which, as being such, I have a right to expect no implicit credence,) this seems to be its probable place. For let us examine the progress of the seventh Trumpet. Upon the first sound of it, (ch. xi. 15.) the triumph of the Messiah, (by which this Woe will probably be ended,) is celebrated; but only as prophetic of the victory. In ch, 12, a conflict begins; but, by the examination of this conflict, we have found it to belong to the seventh Trumpet only in a preparatory light; being a representation of events which had taken place before any of the tlıree Woes, and concluding with events which confessedly must belong to the times of the sixth Trumpet; the poor estate of the Church in the wilderness. This therefore cannot be the third Woe. Chapter xiii, contains the rise of the beast and false prophet. But this is only a more detailed account of the transactions of the sixth Trumpet. The xivth, xvth, and part of the xvith chapters contain the prowess of the Church militant, assisted by the Vials of Divine Wrath. But under the sixth Vial, the evil spirit stirs up new mischiefs, which affect Christianity so fatally, as to enable her enemies to bring their battle-array against her. This then seems to be the place where the third Woe is most likely to operate, by effecting a numerous apostacy of Christians, resembling those which had happened under the two former Woes. This is the only hostile attack under the seventh Trumpet, and it is probably not of long continuance; for the Church is in extreme danger, and perhaps oppression ; but she is suddenly relieved by her great Champion and Redeemer,
Messiah for his Saints, will be sudden, decisive, and complete. This warning, delivered in the fifteenth verse, is to be read as in parenthesis, after which the narrative seems to be resumed. And the verb singular, συνηγαγεν, agrees with the neuter plural ακαθαρία πνευμαία, whose office it was to collect the kings: (ver. 14). This is observed by Daubuz.
Ver. 17. And the seventh poured out his Vial on the air; &c.] The seven Vials are called the seven last plagues*,
“ because in them will be completed the " wrath of God.” And this wrath could not be fully complete until the last of the seven should be poured out. This period is now arrived ; and appears to be the same with that of the sixth Sealt, and of the seventh Trumpet; both of which exhibit a similar earthquake and hail: these are dreadful chiefly, if not wholly, to the enemies of Christ; for, at the sound of the seventh Trumpet, the heavenly chorus announces joy and happiness to the servants of God; who are sealed, and preserved from the calamity of the sixth Seal. The particulars of the conflict will be revealed more copiously in ch. xix. &c. In the present scene, it is represented under the character of a Vial of wrath poured out, of a plague and punishment inflicted on the antichristian powers. Hence the sufferings of these men enter more especially into the description.
This Vial is poured out upon the air; upon that element which pervades, or envelopes, all the other divisions of the world, -of the antichristian world, on which the preceding Vials had been discharged;-the Land, the Sea, the Rivers, and Heavenly Luminaries; and consequently affects them all. It is the region of
* Ch. xv. i.
the air, of which satan, as Mede observes, has been denominated the prince*. Antichristianity, therefore, is now attacked in her strongest holds, and in every part. The discharge of this Vial is accompanied by a voice from the throne in heaven, proclaiming by the emphatical expression, reyovs, the final completion, the perfect victory
Throughout the whole of this prophetical book, expectation is fixed
great event; which however, for reasons above assigned, is not yet exhibited in all its particulars. But the earthquake so dreadful, and unparalleled t; the removal of mountains and of islands $; the hail ; afford the same kind of general display of the tremendous judgments of an offended God, as we have seen exhibited under the sixth Seal, and the seventh Trumpet. All three appear to predict the same period and events, and in like language. Any variation to be observed in each, may be sufficiently accounted for, by adverting to the object, which each had more especially in view. For instance; (1.) the sixth Seal, containing the first opening of this dreadful scenery, would properly present it in a general style of imagery, such as had been already seen in other parts of prophetic Scripturel, such as might serve as a basis, whereon to build the additional information, which would more fitly come forward in the subsequent parts of the prophecy (. (2.) When the same period, attended by the Eph. ii. 2.
+ See notes, ch. vi. 12, &c.
See note, ch. viii. 7.
q The sixth Seal seems also to extend to the final Day of Judgment and retribution, at the consummation of the world ; which the seventh Trumpet and Vial perhaps do not. This, like other prophecies, may have a primary and secondary completion; the first, so far as it agrees and cotemporizes with the seventh Trumpet and Vial; the last, at the latest period of time.
same kind of scenery, was to be exhibited under the seventh Trumpet; joy, triumph, and thanksgiving, would naturally predominate in the description : for, the preceding Trumpets, which had announced a long and mournful warfare to the Church, were now come to their end; but in the back-ground of the scenery, the same dreadful apparatus, which appeared under the sixth Seal, is still displayed : “ lightnings and voices, “and thunders, and earthquake, and great hail.”
hail.” And it is observable, that these commotions proceed from the Temple, and Throne in Heaven; from the very same quarter, whence the angels had brought the Vials filled with the wrath of God; and from which, at the pouring out of the last Vial, the emphatic reyove likewise had proceeded.
(3.) Under the seventh Vial, the same kind of apparatus appears, as under the sixth Seal and under the seventh Trumpet; but with this additional information; that “the great city became divided into three
parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and the great
Babylon was remembered before God, to give her " the cup of the wine of the fury of his anger.”. This particular description is the proper subject of the Vials ; in which the wrath of God is represented as poured out on his enemies. The great city is the same which we find mentioned in ch. xi. composed of
many people, tribes, nations, and languages *;" and seems to be the universal assemblage, or combined power, of the wicked and worldly, who at the instigation of satan, and under the expectation of earthly reward, or fear of the beast, shall have set themselves in tion to the God of Heaven, and to the reign of his
* See note, ch, xi. 8, 13.
Anointed. The division of this community into three parts, must be explained by the event, when the prophecy shall be fulfilled. The cities of the nations may perhaps be associations for worship, pagan and idola- . * trous, beyond the pale of the great city, of the corrupt Christian-antichristian Church. All such are to fall at this time, before the great Lord and Conqueror, “ whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all “ dominions shall serve and obey Him *.” But of all the cities, or communities of Religion, which are opposed to the city of God and of Christ,—to the heavenly Jerusalem, the great Babylon is especially remembered. For her, (the harlot, the adulteress, the apostate Church,) the
of God's anger, the vial of his wrath, is especially prepared. “For it is not an open enemy " that hath done me this dishonour; for then I could “ have borne it;- but it was even thou, my companion, "my guide, and my own familiar friend f.” The description therefore of this city, of her domination, and of her fall, is related; and becomes the especial subject of the two ensuing chapters; where we shall be enabled to unveil her, and to expose her abominations.
Dan, vii. 27.
+ Psalm lv. 12, 14.