We have here, the Opening of the seventh Seal. To this succeeds the seven Angels coming forward with their seven Trumpets. An Angel is seen at the Altar of Incense. Four of the Angels in succession sound their Trumpets. Great Plagues follow.
(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 before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
I pause at the very entrance on this Chapter, to observe, that the silence which is said to have been in heaven, by the space of half an hour, at the opening of the seventh seal, is not to be supposed, (indeed it cannot be supposed,) as if there was any pause in the presence of God and the Lamb in heaven. This would not correspond with all the other accounts in scripture, which are given of that blessed place. We are told that the glorious multitude, cease not night nor day, praising God and the Lamb, Revelation 4:8. But it is spoken rather of the Church, which is sometimes, and not unfrequently called heaven, and the heavenly Jerusalem coming down from heaven, Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2. And the silence of half an hour, seems only to have been a short prelude while the Angels were preparing to sound their trumpets, and the Angel at the altar offered incense.
The period of the history of the Church, which appears to correspond to this vision, according to the best calculations, seems to have been towards the close of the reign of Constantine. The Empire was become Christian in profession, and, as such, might be said to have peace from Paganism, and this is perhaps represented by silence for half an hour. But this was only a calm, before a tremendous storm. For, as soon as the Angels began to sound their trumpets, the awful persecutions, which arose from intestine wars, and springing out of damnable errors in doctrine, brought greater evils, than all the opposition from heathens.
(3) And another angel 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 the throne. (4) And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (5) 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.
There can be no question who this other Angel was that came and stood at the Altar with his golden Censer. It could be none but Christ. The office he here performed of the High Priest, belonged only to Christ. He, and he alone it was, whom Jehovah had Sworn into this office, Psalms 110:4. And as this vision was subsequent to the Lord Jesus Christ having performed all his offices of Redeemer upon earth, and was now returned to heaven, there to priest it also, in the office of an unchanging priesthood, nothing could be more refreshing to the mind of the beloved Apostle than to have this view of his Lord, before the sounding of the trumpets. And as it must have been refreshing to the mind of John then, so ought it to be, and, no doubt, as was designed, it hath been in all ages, and is now, to have so precious a representation of Jesus, as in this place is given of him, in the carrying on that glorious character, Hebrews 7:21 to the end. I will beg the attention of the Reader to it, for one moment.
And first. It is very blessed to have such a view of Christ in the midst of judgments. Let the Reader remember that this was shown John at the first opening of the seventh seal, The seventh seal became the prelude of the most distressing events on the earth, which began with the Sounding of the first trumpet, and hath more or less ever since, continued through the long period, of now nearly fourteen centuries, and the last woe trumpet is not yet sounded. Let the Reader first ponder these things, and then consider the grace of the Lord Jesus to his servant John, at such a time, and for Church at all times through him.
Secondly. Let the Reader keep in remembrance the glories of Christ's Person, and the blessedness of this office of High Priest, which he was here exercising. The Gospel taught the Church, that when Christ had made his soul an offering for sin, be should return to his Father, and there carry on his everlasting priesthood. And having spent one life upon earth, in dying for his people, he should spend another in heaven, in seeing the merits of his sufferings and death, recompensed in their salvation. And, that in the execution of this purpose, he should continue a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedec. Here then we see the blessed truth confirmed. Behold Jesus at the Altar with the golden censer of his own merits, and with the much incense of his own blood, perfuming heaven with the fragrancy! Oh! what a sight for every regenerated child of God; everlastingly to keep in view and never to lose sight of! Well may every truly regenerated believer say, how can I fail of being accepted by God and my Father when coming to him in God's own way, and in God's own appointment, under the influence and grace of the Holy Ghost, and in the name, and blood, and incense, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Behold! O God, our shield! and look upon the face of thine Anointed, Psalms 84:9.
Thirdly. This view of Christ at the Altar of Incense becomes richly blessed to a poor sinner, when he is enabled by faith to connect with it, the pleasure of God the Father, in the whole transaction. While on earth, three times from heaven God proclaimed his love for him, and his most perfect approbation in him. And, in proof, God raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, gave him, as Mediator Head of the Church, power over all things in heaven and in earth, telling him, that he must reign till he had put all his enemies under his footstool, and committing to him the final judgment of all things, both quick and dean; because he is the Son of man. Oh! what a relief to all heart-straitenings in prayer, when thus a poor sinner, brought acquainted by grace with the plague of his own heart, thus comes to the throne of grace? What will signify his want of enlargement in himself, when he finds his soul through God the Spirit, so widened to take in the love of God the Father, in such a precious gift of his dear Son, and such views of God the Son's glory, grace, fulness, suitableness, and all - sufficiency, to carry on the purposes of his love towards poor sinners.
Fourthly. And what a finishing view to crown the whole, doth such a manifestation of Christ our High Priest, at the Altar of Incense bring with it, when the child of God, through the Holy Ghost's testimony of Jesus, and in Jesus, discovers the heart of God the Father on Christ's account, receiving, accepting, pardoning, Adopting, sanctifying, and blessing the whole Church, and every, individual of the Church, with his everlasting love, giving them all grace here, and glory hereafter. Reader have you duly considered these things, and marked their blessedness? It is in Christ the Son of his love, God beholds his people, having chosen them in him before the foundation of the world; and now in the time state of the Church, having set Christ forth a propitiation through faith in his blood, Romans 3:24-25. It is in Christ their persons and their prayers are accepted. Jesus upon the golden Censer of his own merits and blood, presents both and perfumes both. And as this scripture saith the smoke of the incense, come up with the prayers of the saints, ascending up before God out of his Almighty hand. Jesus it is which opens to fellowship with God, for we can have no fellowship with God without him having boldness to enter into the; holiest by the blood of Jesus. He it was who first opened the way by his blood, and now ever liveth to keep it open by his intercession, Hebrews 10:19-22. And, as here, in and through Christ, we have access by one Spirit unto the Father, so hereafter, all our drawings nigh, will be in and through him. In hope, saith one of the Apostles, of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began. And addeth another, the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 5:10. Oh! the blessedness of being in Christ Jesus.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
It will neither be improper nor unprofitable I hope, under the Lord's teaching, if, before we enter upon the several dispensations which seem to be pointed out, under the several trumpets, we do by these as we did by the seals; first, take a general view of them, before we enter into the particulars of them. We find, that as on opening of the fifth seal, cries went up from under the Altar, from the souls of those, whose blood had been shed by persecution; see Revelation 6:9-10. So here, before sounding of the first trumpet, Jesus takes up their cause, and now begins to answer their prayers in the judgments, which, with the sounding of the first trumpet, begins to be poured upon the earth.
Concerning the dispensation of the trumpets, there can be no question, but that their very sound is an alarm. Hence, the Angel thrice proclaims, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, after four of the trumpets had been sounded, by reason of the greater sorrow that was to follow in the earth, under the sounding of the other three. And, indeed, it is evident that the ministry of the seals, which referred to the time when the Empire was heathen, had nothing so awful in it, as the ministry of the trumpets. Opposition from heathenism and idolatry, however in appearance it may seem more directly injurious to the truth than any other, is not in fact so much as what comes from false views of the truth, and the opposition made from those quarters. The man that confessed Christ, but in that confession denies his Godhead, is a greater enemy in reality to Christ, than he that denies his being, and his religion altogether. I have found more bitter hatred from Pharisees, than from all the ungodly, and careless, put them altogether. And very sure I am, that all the open enemies to the truth of the Gospel, in those who deny all revelation, are not to be dreaded for persecution, as much as those are, who on the one hand, reduce the Christian doctrine to a mere system of morality, and while professing themselves to be Christians, deny Christ's Godhead; or on the other, those who though acknowledging his Godhead, and in part his atonement, yet make Christ only a procuring cause, and insist upon man's own attainments and improvements, as being a part Saviour.
The trumpet dispensation, through the whole of that department, intimated a season of greater persecution to the true Church of Christ, though the empire became Christian under the countenance of the Emperors, than while it remained under the darkness of idolatry. Hence the trumpets, from the sounding of the first to the last are gradually opening the steps, by which the persecutions came forward to the overthrow of the empire. God had appointed in the depths of the wisdom of his providence, that those two powers, the Mahometan imposture in the East, called the false prophet; and the folly and iniquity of Popery in the West, called the Beast; should both come forward much about the same time, and afflict the people of God. Hence, about this period it was, that upon the opening of the seventh seal, we find the spreading of Mahomet's imposture covering the East. Arabia, Egypt, and Assyria, soon were detached from the empire of Rome; and the Impostor Mahomet set up his standard in all that vast empire. On the other hand, in the Western world, the trumpery of Popery became soon established; and the great enemy of souls, turning Christian, and taking advantage from the errors of Arian heresy, soon proselyted the multitudes to the doctrine, which complimented man's goodness, at the expense of God's truth; and both these soon divided the eastern from the western world, and which, more or less, (for their iniquity is not full,) have continued to the present hour, and must continue, according to this blessed book of prophecy, until the time here predicted, for the accomplishment of both is fulfilled. So much I thought it necessary to observe, on the ministry of the trumpets, in general. We will now go on, under the Lord's permission, and under an humble hope of the, Lord's teaching, to the consideration of the sounding of each trumpet; beginning with the first, and following them regularly one after another, according to the order in which they are placed.
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The first trumpet sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, mid all green grass was burnt up. I would beg, once for all, to observe, that these are all figurative expressions. The earth, means the place of action, the empire where Christ's Church is. The grass and trees therein are the people. So speaks the Prophet. The grass withereth the flower fadeth, surely the people is grass, Isaiah 40:7. Hence, by hail and fire mingled with blood, falling on the earth, or rather people, like the plagues of Egypt, Exodus 9:23-25 is implied, as then, God's judgments.
But the great point is to discover what these judgments were? Various have been the opinions of Commentators. Some supposing that the empire is intended, which; at this time, was divided into great parties. But I confess, that I, am inclined to think, that the empire was no more concerned in these judgments, than as it concerned the Church. For, however humiliating it may be to the pride of men, it is Zion, and Zion only, that is at the bottom of all God's designs in the earth. The putting down one empire, or the setting up of another, is only to bring about the Lord's purposes, concerning his Church and people. When this grand object is to be accomplished, the Lord makes what instrument be pleaseth, subservient to the work. An emperor, or a beggar, in raising, up, or throwing down, when the Church of Christ needs it, is the same.
One thing is certain, that under the era of the sounding of the first trumpet, the heresy of Arius received a deadly blow. The shower of all and fire mingled with blood, might well be said to represent the check which this awful heresy (of the denial of the threefold Persons in the Godhead, and the personal glory of Christ,) then received. And, well might such a storm be sent from the Lord. For the earth, on which the storm is said to have fallen, meaning the professing Church, was full of this awful heresy. A few only of God's hidden ones, comparatively speaking, being preserved from the taint of it. And there is somewhat very descriptive of the different parts of this storm, if we consider it in this point of view. For hail injures the vines and trees, and especially young plants, in their early budding. And heresies coming down upon a Church, cannot but induce great barrenness among it. Fire intimates the contention which is in all professing Churches, where a full, and finished salvation is not uniformly maintained. And blood, mingled with the fire, hath been known to follow the hot, and violent animosities, among men, who hold not the truth as it is in Jesus. Reader! do not dismiss your view of the dispensations under the first trumpet, until that you have gathered some sweet and precious instruction from it. It must have been a very awful time, when the Arian heresy very generally prevailed. As in nature, so in grace, hailstorms, and fire, and blood, are solemn things. What a mercy it was then, that God had a seed to serve him? Depend upon it, the same is now. Never, perhaps, a time more awful than the present. Men mingle up in societies, and smother their views of things, under the specious pretence, that if we preserve brotherly love towards each other, our views of Christ, and his great salvation; we may keep to ourselves. Hence that indifferency to divine things, and that zeal about trifles! Hence that smothering our real sentiments, in order to stand well with others. And men fancy they are doing God service, in joining the greatest enemies of Christ, who deny his Godhead, in order to promote, as they call it, the spread of the Gospel through the earth. Lord! preserve me from such delusions!
(8) And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; (9) And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
As the earth represents the people, so the sea can mean no other. It is the scene of action, where these great things were to be transacted. Hence the great whore, hereafter spoken of is said to sit upon man y waters, Revelation 17:1. And so again, that we may not mistake, the angel which gave John his intimation, said to him, the waters which thou sawest where the whore sitteth, are people; and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, Revelation 17:15. So then, what is said under this second trumpet, is like the former, it refers to persons. And the casting of a great burning mountain into the sea, and the third part of the creatures in the sea dying, and the destruction of the ships, can have no reference whatever but to persons, on whom the Lord's judgments alight, for their persecution of the Church. Some have thought, and perhaps rightly thought, that as the former punishment, under the first trumpet, had reference to the Arian heresy, in denying the Lord that bought them; so this of a burning mountain cast into the sea, might have respect to what hath ever accompanied the denial of the Godhead of Christ, I mean the denial of the Person, Godhead, and ministry of the Holy Ghost. Here also, as in the former judgment, we read of blood. And the history of those times were very bloody. We read of the Lord's people hiding themselves in corners to avoid persecution. But when God hides his people; he manifests himself. And, it is very blessed, often now to remark, what gracious and wonderful interpositions, are sometimes shown, in the salvation of his chosen! That sweet scripture is fulfilled. The Lord knoweth, (though they know not,) how to deliver the godly out of temptation; while he will reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment, to be punished; 2 Peter 2:9.
(10) And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; (11) And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
Some have thought, that the false prophet is here meant; but if we attend to the features of character given, we shall not be inclined to this opinion. His name of wormwood, meaning the bitter accompaniments, during this time of the third trumpet, seems to point out some more special and peculiar exercise, and of longer bitterness than a quick death: such as Mahomet used. And moreover, it, as some have thought, that the period of this trumpet, opened very early in the fifth century, and ran on to near the close of it; it could not be, in point of time, the false Prophet; for certainly he did not commence his imposture until the year 600, at the earliest. But, might it not be (I ask the question, but do not decide,) that heretic, who first shone like a meteor, in the firmament of the professing Church, possessing great human learning, but soon fell into the awful error, of denying original sin; thereby lessening, or rather doing away, the necessity of redemption. The person I mean, is Pelagius; who lived about this time and whose horrible doctrines have spawned to this hour. Surely he might well be called wormwood; for bitter indeed must be that error which strikes at the very root of the Gospel, and, where received, becomes like a deadly poison, causing men to rot, and swell, and at length die, inflated with a fancied purity of nature born with them, and man's free will sufficient to keep himself pure.
Reader! I pray you, pause over the consideration of this awful heresy. And think, what a mercy it is, that the Lord hath made such a provision, by the sovereignty of his grace, for preserving his called and regenerated children, from the dreadful delusion. Wormwood indeed, it may well be called, when the very waters of the sanctuary, which should run in healing streams, are thus poisoned by those who dispense them, (unsent as they are, uncalled of God,) and which kill the souls of the unawakened, with their bitterness! Now a child of God, through the mercy of divine teaching, hath in himself an effectual remedy, to resist the contagion. Should all the devils in hell, or all the men upon earth, attempt to persuade a child of God, whom God hath convinced of sin, and brought acquainted with the plague of his own heart, that there is no such thing as original sin; his very feelings must everlastingly contradict him. A man taught of God, knows better. He is conscious of indwelling, inbred corruption, and inherent unholiness. He feels his corrupt nature forever disturbing him, even sometimes in moments of solemn worship. He feels what Paul felt, and groan's under it as the Apostle groaned, that when he would do good, evil is present with him. Think then, what a mercy it is, to have the blessedness of divine teaching, as an antidote against the impudent assertions of man. The Lord knows how distressing it is to a child of God, to feel these inward workings. But better is it, to groan under a sense of inward workings of evil, so as to make Christ dear, and to compel the soul to go to him continually for deliverance; than in a fancied holiness within, which, whoever talks of, no man of the fallen sons of Adam ever knew; to make men proud, and to keep from Christ, instead of leading to Christ.
Reader! pause a moment longer. And, if the Lord hath been, and is your Teacher, say, how truly blessed it is, both to have learnt from him original sin, and also the remedy of Christ's righteousness and blood-shedding, to do the whole evil of it away. Oh who shall speak, or describe the preciousness of that grace, whereby the child of God both feels and knows the bitterness of original sin, which he had before conversion, together with the remains of corruption after conversion; and the blessedness of Christ's daily cleansing the soul from both, and from all sin? Oh! the sweet consolations of the Lord's strength, daily made perfect in creature weakness, to carry the child of God on in the life of grace! The child of God knows all these things. They are inlaid truths, in his heart, They are brought forward all the day, and every day, in renewed personal, practical knowledge, to dispute, or contend against them, is to be arguing against our very being. Sure I am of all these things, as much as I am of my very existence. And, blessed Lord; while thou shall bring the whole home to my heart, day by day, as thou art graciously doing, neither men nor devils, can be able to make me relinquish thy truth, in compliment to their false reasoning. Oh for grace in this Christ-despising day and generation, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3.
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
The sounding of the fourth trumpet, brought forward a new series of calamities upon the empire, and which are figured to us under the images, of smiting the third part of the sun, and the moon, and the stars. It is well known, how much the Jews dwelt in figurative language. Indeed, it was the most general method made use of, by ancient nations, to convey instruction. Our Lord himself dwelt much in it, Matthew 13:34. By the darkening the luminaries of heaven, is very generally meant, lessening the powers, and reducing the glory, of princes and great men of the earth. At this period, which (if correct according to history,) took place about the middle of the sixth century, that is, about the year 540, the empire was brought low indeed. The Roman Emperors both when heathens, and afterwards when professing christianity, had, for many centuries shone as suns, among the lesser lights of the nobles, and as stars in the world. But now the Lord, in his providence, was about to cause a revolution of men and things, with an eye to his Church; and, therefore, as here said, the third part is darkened. And they who are conversant with history will know, that toward the close of this century, and before the rise of the false prophets, Mahomet and the Whore, at the opening of the succeeding; (who both sprung up nearly together, about the year of our Lord God 600;) the empire gave way to new masters.
But it will be much more to our purpose and improvement, to observe, under this fourth trumpet, the progress of error which sprung up to trouble the Church. We have noticed, as we have advanced, under the three preceding trumpets, (the first of which began after the empire was changed from heathenism to the profession of Christianity,) how much more the true Church of God suffered from false friends, than from the more open enemies. The faithful in Christ Jesus were always prepared, through grace, to oppose the open idolatries around them. But when professors of the Gospel arose in the very Church itself, speaking perverse things, and heresies, of various forms, sprung up among them, here were more bitter exercises. By means of the Arian heresy, in the denial of Christ's Godhead, and the counterpart of the same deadly evil, in calling in question the Person, Godhead, and work of the Holy Ghost, under the first and second trumpets; the peace and comfort of the Church had been broken in upon. And, if, (as is very generally believed,) the Pelagian heresy arose within the period of the third trumpet, denying original sin, and insisting upon man's purity and free-will to keep the whole law of God, whereby the necessity of Christ's death, as a sacrifice for sin, became, in such men's views, superseded, and the regeneration of the heart by the Holy Ghost done away; what a state was the Church of God arrived at by this time? Let not the Reader mistake me. The Church of God, that is the true Church of God: by which I mean composed only of regenerated believers, can ultimately receive no injury. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; the Lord knoweth them that are his, 2 Timothy 2:19. But I am speaking of the professing church; the church, as established in the then Empire, as ours is in the present moment. The nation was then, as ours now is, Christian in name. And what an awful state was it arrived at under the fourth trumpet: if compared to the days of the Apostles, even though in their time the Empire was heathen?
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
What is said in this verse hath no connexion with the former, neither doth it form a part of the trumpet proclamations. It is not one of the seven Angels who had the seven trumpets, but another angel which John beheld flying through the midst of heaven, that as through the midst of the church. And the design of his embassy seems to have been to call up the more awakened attention of the Apostle to what was coming on under the remaining dispensations, which were to take place when the other three angels should sound their trumpets The Angel intimates this, by thrice repeating woe to the inhabitants of the earth, when these awful times came on, which should take place, as they sounded their trumpets. And awful indeed they have been, still are, and must be until the whole predictions contained in them are accomplished! We, who stand upon the hill of time which hath been trodden over by the generations since then, and before us, in ascending the rising ground of observation, and now look back, and behold in those already accomplished, in the correspondence between the prediction and the event, can and do see enough to lament; and much more to deplore in what yet remains to be fulfilled. And the generation now which looks on, if taught by grace, in viewing the whole that is past, compared with the prophecies here recorded by divine inspiration, may be well assured that every tittle must and will be accomplished.
It doth not fall within the compass of this chapter to enter upon the subject. This would be to anticipate it; and it will more properly meet our attention, as we prosecute the history of the trumpets, in their due time and place. But, before we finish the present chapter, I would take occasion, from what the angel here said (whom John beheld flying through the midst of heaven,) to observe, that as the times of the three last trumpets, evidently take in, not only the whole period of centuries, which have already run out, from the moment the fifth trumpet was sounded, to the present hour, but to the very end of time (for the seventh is not yet sounded, neither will, until it ushers in the kingdom of Christ, as is related, Revelation 11:14-15.) it will be our wisdom to consider the subject, with an eye to the Lord, more especially from the great interest in which the Church is included, in the events coming on, as well as our own personal concern. There cannot remain the shadow of a doubt but that we are now under the sixth trumpet. It hath been a long sounding trumpet of woe indeed in the Church. Many hundreds of years have passed since it opened, and no man can ascertain how much longer it will continue. It is blessed to consider, that, when ended, all the powers of antichrist will end with it: and that blessed period will come on when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign forever and ever. In the mean time it will be our mercy to watch a gracious God, as a gracious God is everlastingly watching over his people for good. I know the thoughts I think towards you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end, Jeremiah 29:11. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him. Woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him, Isaiah 3:10.
But, Reader with these things in view, and in the fullest assurance a faith, knowing that they must be so, allow me to say one word in closing up this chapter. We behold here an Angel pronouncing, woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of, the trumpet of the three Angels which were then remaining to be sounded. Most evidently the last of these trumpets hath not yet sounded. The two great powers which oppose Christ's kingdom, both in the East, and in the West, are still in their plenitude. The latter did indeed lately seem to be somewhat tottering; but is now more than recovered from his halting. And indeed great changes are to be expected according to scripture prophecy before the total fall. The death of the witnesses which is to take place before that event plainly shows that his termination is not yet, Revelation 11:8-9. But what I would in this place beg to remark is that after the second woe trumpet is said to be past, the third woe (not the seventh trumpet) is said to come quickly. And this is said, before the seventh Angel is said to sound. See Revelation 11:14.
From hence it should seem abundantly clear and evident, that under the sixth trumpet, or at the close of it, there is to be the third woe. And whoever considers the subject attentively, must conclude that so it will be. I am not, in the very nature of things, (unless the judgments indeed are now at the door,) likely to live to see it going fast as I now am the way of all the earth. But without a spirit of prophecy (for there can need none more than is before us) great commotions, such as the third woe intimates, may be supposed likely to take place before those two Anti-Christian powers of Mahometanism and Popery are destroyed. And however some men may please themselves with the hope that the world is evangelizing, the Holy Ghost speaketh expressly, and speaketh to the reverse: in the latter time there will be great departures from the faith, 1 Timothy 4:1. The Lord prepare his people for what he is preparing for them! Who that considers the real state of vital godliness in the present day but must be concerned for the eventual consequence. If there was ever a period more suited for that solemn question of our Lord's one than another, the present is eminently so: when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth, Luke 18:8.
MY Soul! behold the grace of thy God, when at opening of the seventh seal, and silence took place in the Church, before the new circumstances of sorrow began, Jesus will be seen at the Altar, in his High Priestly Office, with his golden Censer! Was it not to teach the Church, both then, and now, yea, in all ages, that under every seal opened, every trumpet sounded, every vial poured out, He is unceasingly engaged, for all his redeemed ones, and not a moment intermits his care, but is forever carrying on the whole purposes of his unchangeable priesthood? Oh! what a blessed view was here opened, for the everlasting consolation of the Church. Ye redeemed of the Lord! Ye Priests of my God! Ye Ministers of the sanctuary! never cease to shew the Church Jesus in this endearing office, as always engaged for his people. And do ye follow up petition after petition, neither keep silence, nor give him rest, until he hath made his Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Oh! the preciousness, from this blessed view of our God, that Jesus it is, at the Altar, which offers up in his incense, the prayers of his saints; and both the persons and offerings of his people ascend before God out of this Almighty Angel of the Covenant's hands!
Lord! thy Church finds cause to bless thee to this day, that amidst the destructions which have followed those trumpets, Jesus hath yet a seed to serve him, which are counted to the Lord for a generation, And, though heresies still abound, yea, are in various instances, increasing in the earth; yet the Lord knoweth them that are his. Oh! for grace, to be found faithful, and to live above the reproach of men, by living upon the faithfulness of God in Christ. And then, while all the woe trumpets have been, or now are sounding, and our God shall show wonders above, and signs in the earth, beneath, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke, Jesus will own them whom he hath sealed; and the world shall know whose they are, and to whom they belong, when that great and notable day of the Lord shall come!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany