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The opening of the seventh Seal, and the Commission to
the Angels with the seven Trumpets.
CILAP, viii. 1-5,
1 KAI Őrs fronte
την σφραγίδα την
εν τω έρανώ ως ημι- -
mos igla e frykles, οι ενώπιον τύ Θεά εσήκασι και εδόθη
σαν αυτοίς επτα 3 σάλπιγες. Και άλ
a älyen @ male, και εσάθη επί το θυσιαςήριον, έχων λιβανωτών χρυσών xai idon aurę do μιάματα πολλά, övre déon rais waga σευχαϊς των αγίων warrwy ni tò duσιαςήριον το χρυ
σαν το ενώπιον το 4 θρόνο. Και ανέβη
ο καπνός των θυμια
1 And when he opened
the seventh seal, there
as it were half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven
Angels who stood be-
were given seveo trum3 pets,
And another angel came, and was stationed at the altar, having a golden censer: and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer, with the prayers of all the saints, upon the golden altar which
was before the Throne. 4 And the smoke of the
incense ascended with the prayers of the saints, from the hand of
1 And when he had
opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the
space of half an hour, 2 And I saw the seven
angels which stood be. fore God; and to them
were given seven trum3 pets. And another an
gel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden
altar which was before 4 the throne. And the
smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints,
μάτων ταϊς προ- the angel, before God. σευχαϊς των αγίων | 5 And the angel took ixxigès to aby the censer, and filled
λε, ενώπιον το Θε8. it from the fire of the 3 Και ελληφεν ο άγ- altar, and cast to γελβ. τον λιβανω
the earth; and there τόν, και εγέμισεν αυ
were voices, and thunτον έκ το συρος το derings, and lightnings, θυσιαςηρία, και έβα- and earthquake. λεν εις την γην και εγένοντο φωναι και bogotains és garai και σεισμός.
up before God, out of the an5 gel's hand. And the
angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
Ver. 1. There was silence in heaven, as it were half an hour.] Upon the opening of each of the former seals, a significant action had immediately commenced. Under the four first seals, voices from heaven, from the place of representation, had invited the Prophet to "come and see.” With the fifth seal, the voices of the Martyrs had been heard. The opening of the sixth seal had been directly followed by a representation of action the most tremendous, accompanied and explained by voices, during which the prophecy seemed to extend even to the great and last day of recompense. Now, upon the opening of this seventh and last seal, no voice is heard, no representation immediately ensues.
An aweful silence suspends the gratification of curiosity. After a solemn pause, preparation is made for a new kind of exhibition; the seven angels come forth.
This silence in heaven has been supposed to express, or at least to allude to, that custom of the Jews, whereby they joined their silent prayers to the offering of the incense. But this silence takes place before the time of incense; before the angel takes his station at the altar. And there is an intervening action between the silence and the offering of incense, namely, the procession of the seven angels; each of whom is presented with his trumpet. This silence, therefore, though it may bear a certain degree of allusion to the templeservice, and may even be supposed to continue during the service which follows, seems to be exhibited for another
purpose; to denote, as it appears to me, a change, in the mode, or in the subject of the prophecy; to disunite the succeeding scene from that which had gone before ; to unfold a new chain of prediction. The connexion, which had hitherto united the seals, is broken; the seventh seal stands apart; and then produces a new method of representation, and a new series of events, to which the silence in heaven, and the offering of incense, are preparatory. But if a new series of events is to be exhibited, whence are we to expect that it will take its date ? Under the sixth seal, preceding this which contains the trumpets, the rapid sketch of the Christian history was brought down to the last great day of recompense. Where then are we to expect that this renewed history will begin ? From the earliest times of Christianity, or, to speak more properly, from the period when our Lord left the world in person, and committed the Church to the guidance of his Apostles. From this time, the first seal takes its commencement; from this also the first Trumpet. This is the beginning, settled by the agreement of divines, of the second advent of Christ, the proper subject of the Apocalyptic Prophecies.
Ver. 2. The seven angels.] These are not the company of angels employed under the preceding seal; for they were four. And this seems to afford an additional argument, that a view kind of representation is to be
expected. expected. Seven is a number expressive of universality, or completion *. The Jewish writers seem fond of enumerating seven principal angels. But the writings, in which they are described, are, I believe, of later date than the Apocalypse, and the notion was probably derived from this passage t.
Ib. Seven trumpets.] The use of the trumpet among the people of God, and its symbolical meaning in this passage, will be explained under verse 6.
Ver. 3, 4. And another angel came, and was stationed at the altar ; &c.] This is expressly said (ver. 3.) to be “ the golden altar, which was before the throne." Upon this altar, which stood before the Mercy-seat (the local seat of the Divine glory in the Temple), was to be offered no strange incense $; no, strange fires; by no strange priest || : but incense, offered thereon by the legal priests, was as an atonement for the people, who accompanied this offering with their prayers For it was the custom of devout people to offer up their prayers in the court of the Temple, while the priest was burning incense within ; as may be seen at large in Luke i. 9, 10, 21, 22. The angel, therefore, seems to represent a lawful priest; and the incense, added to the prayers, a mode of offering, or form of worship tt, probably the Christian; for, the incense, the means of presenting the prayers unto God, is given from heaven to the angel or officiating priest; is accompanied by the prayers of the saints, who are certainly
* See note, ch, i. 4.
+ Tobit xii. 15, on which see Jortin's Remarks, i. 113; Gray's Key to the Old Testament, art, Tobit ; Mosheim, Hist. Eccl. i. 176. Exod. xxx. 9, 38.
§ Levit. x. 1. # Numb. xvi.
1 Numb. xvi. 46. ** Psalm cxli. 2. Luke i. 10.
# See note, ch. v. 8.
Christians ; and ascends before the throne; which implies that it is accepted by the Almighty". This character can belong to no other than the true Religion t. The proper priest of the Christian Religion, the only High Priest, is our Great Intercessor and Mediator, the Lord Jesus. Yet, powerful reasons may be assigned, to shew that the officiating angel, in this passage, is not this High Priest. For, first, he has no distinguishing attributes, such as mark this high priest in ch. i. 13, &c. He is simply styled an angel --another angel, that is, one of the same rank and description with the seven. Secondly, this office of burning incense, under the Mosaic dispensation, was not confined to the high priest; subordinate priests might offer it: and the office was generally discharged by the priests of the twenty-four courses. Zacharias, who, in Luke i. “ burns incense with the prayers of the people,” was of this description. And, thirdly, under the Gospel dispensation, we find this function of offering spiritual incense, committed to the Christian priesthood in general $. So that this angel may be supposed to represent the Christian priesthood in general, as exercised in subordination to the Great High Priest.
This religion is of heavenly origin and institution; and the smoke of its incense, or worship, ascends from the hand of the priest“ before God.”
Ver. 5. And the angel took the censer, and filled it from the fire of the altar, and cast to the earth; &c.] A question seems to arise upon this passage; what did the angel cast to the earth? Our translators have inserted the pronoun it; “ cast it to the earth; by which we must understand the censer. But this construction
+ Mal. i. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 5.
See Acts x. 4.