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- 1 January 2001
- Catalogue information compiled by Rob Iliffe, Peter Spargo & John Young
- 1 July 2003
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- 1 August 2006
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- 28 September 2006
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- Notes on the Electronic Edition
The last pages of these Observations having been differently drawn up by the Author in another copy of his Work; they are here inserted as they follow in that copy, after the 22d line of the 261st page foregoing.
And none was found worthy to open the book till the Lamb of God appeared; the great High-Priest represented by a lamb slain at the foot of the Altar in the morning-sacrifice. And he came, and took the book out of the hand of him that sat upon the throne. For the High-Priest, in the feast of the seventh month, went into the most holy place, and took the book of the law out of the right side of the Ark, to read it to the people: and in order to read it well, he studied it seven days, that is, upon the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth days, being attended by some of the priests to hear him perform. Theseseven days are alluded to, by the Lamb's opening the seven seals successively.
Upon the tenth day of the month, a young bullock was offered for a sin-offering for the High-Priest, and a goat for a sin-offering for the people: and lots were cast upon two goats to determine which of them should be God's lot for the sin-offering; and the other goat was called Azazel, the scape-goat. The High-Priest in his linen garments, took a censer full of burning coals of fire from the Altar, his hand being full of sweet incense beaten small; and went into the most holy place within the veil, and put the incense upon the fire, and sprinkled the blood of the bullock with his finger upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat seven times: and then he killed the goat which fell to God's lot, for a sin-offering for the people, and brought his blood within the veil, and sprinkled it also seven times upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat. Then he went out to the Altar, and sprinkled it also seven times with the blood of the bullock, and as often with the blood of the goat. After this he laid both his hands upon the head of the live goat; and confessed over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat; and sent him away into the wilderness by thehands of a fit man: and the goat bore upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited, Levit. chap. iv. & chap. xvi. While the High-Priest was doing these things in the most holy place and at the Altar, the people continued at their devotion quietly and in silence. Then the High-Priest went into the holy place, put off his linen garments, and put on other garments; then came out, and sent the bullock and the goat of the sin-offering to be burnt without the camp, with fire taken in a censer from the Altar: and as the people returned home from the Temple, they said to one another, God seal you to a good new year.
In allusion to all this, when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And an Angel 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. And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the Saints ascended up before God out of the Angel's hand. And the Angel took the Censer, and filled it with fire of the Altar, and cast it to the earth, suppose without the camp, for sacrificing the goat which fell to God's lot. For the High-Priest being Christ himself, the bullock is omitted. At thissacrifice there were voices and thundrings, of the musick of the Temple, and lightnings of the sacred fire, and an earthquake: and synchronal to these things was the sealing of the 144000 out of all the twelve tribes of the children of Israel with the seal of God in their foreheads, while the rest of the twelve tribes received the mark of the Beast, and the Woman fled from the Temple into the wilderness to her place upon this Beast. For this sealing and marking was represented by casting lots upon the two goats, sacrificing God's lot on mount Sion, and sending the scape-goat into the wilderness loaden with the sins of the people.
Upon the fifteenth day of the month, and the six following days, there were very great sacrifices. And in allusion to the sounding of trumpets, and singing with thundring voices, and pouring out drink-offerings at those sacrifices, seven trumpets are sounded, and seven thunders utter their voices, and seven vials of wrath are poured out. Wherefore the sounding of the seven trumpets, the voices of the seven thunders, and the pouring out of the seven vials of wrath, are synchronal, and relate to one and the same division of the time of the seventh seal following the silence, into seven successive parts. The seven days of this feastwere called the feast of Tabernacles; and during these seven days the children of Israel dwelt in booths, and rejoiced with palm-branches in their hands. To this alludes the multitude with palms in their hands, which appeared after the sealing of the 144000, and came out of the great tribulation with triumph at the battle of the great day, to which the seventh trumpet sounds. The visions therefore of the 144000, and of the palm-bearing multitude, extend to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and therefore are synchronal to the times of the seventh seal.
When the 144000 are sealed out of all the twelve tribes of Israel, and the rest receive the mark of the Beast, and thereby the first temple is destroyed; John is bidden to measure the temple and altar, that is, their courts, and them that worship therein, that is, the 144000 standing on mount Sion and on the sea of glass: but the court that is without the temple, that is, the peoples court, to leave out and measure it not, because it is given to the Gentiles, those who receive the mark of the Beast; and the holy city they shall tread under foot forty and two months, that is, all the time that the Beast acts under the woman Babylon: and the two witnesses prophesy 1260 days, that is, all the same time, clothed in sackcloth. These have power,like Elijah, to shut heaven that it rain not, at the sounding of the first trumpet; and, like Moses, to turn the waters into blood at the sounding of the second; and to smite the earth with all plagues, those of the trumpets, as often as they will. These prophesy at the building of the second temple, like Haggai and Zechary. These are the two Olive-trees, or Churches, which supplied the lamps with oil, Zech. iv. These are the two candlesticks, or Churches, standing before the God of the earth. Five of the seven Churches of Asia, those in prosperity, are found fault with, and exhorted to repent, and threatned to be removed out of their places, or spewed out of Christ's mouth, or punished with the sword of Christ's mouth, except they repent: the other two, the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, which were under persecution, remain in a state of persecution, to illuminate the second temple. When the primitive Church catholick, represented by the woman in heaven, apostatized, and became divided into two corrupt Churches, represented by the whore of Babylon and the two-horned Beast, the 144000 who were sealed out of all the twelve tribes, became the two Witnesses, in opposition to those two false Churches: and the name of two Witnesses once imposed, remains to the true Church of God in all times and places to the end of the Prophecy.
In the interpretation of this Prophecy, the woman in heaven clothed with the sun, before she flies into the wilderness, represents the primitive Church catholick, illuminated with the seven lamps in the seven golden candlesticks, which are the seven Churches of Asia. The Dragon signifies the same Empire with Daniel's He-goat in the reign of his last horn, that is, the whole Roman Empire, until it became divided into the Greek and Latin Empires; and all the time of that division it signifies the Greek Empire alone: and the Beast is Daniel's fourth Beast, that is, the Empire of the Latins. Before the division of the Roman Empire into the Greek and Latin Empires, the Beast is included in the body of the Dragon; and from the time of that division, the Beast is the Latin Empire only. Hence the Dragon and Beast have the same heads and horns; but the heads are crowned upon the Dragon, and the horns upon the Beast. The horns are ten kingdoms, into which the Beast becomes divided presently after his separation from the Dragon, as hath been described above. The heads are seven successive dynasties, or parts, into which the Roman Empire becomes divided by the opening of the seven seals. Before the woman fled intothe wilderness, she being with child of a Christian Empire, cried travelling, viz. in the ten years persecution of Dioclesian, and pained to be delivered: and the Dragon, the heathen Roman Empire, stood before her, to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who at length was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne in the Temple, by the victory of Constantine the great over Maxentius: and the woman fled from the Temple into the wilderness of Arabia to Babylon, where she hath a place of riches and honour and dominion, upon the back of the Beast, prepared of God, that they should feed her there 1260 days. And there was war in heaven, between the heathens under Maximinus and the new Christian Empire; and the great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent, which deceiveth the whole world, the spirit of heathen idolatry; he was cast out of the throne into the earth. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child, stirring up a new persecution against her in the reign ofLicinius. And to the woman, by the building of Constantinople and equalling it to Rome, were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness into her place upon the back of her Beast, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent, upon the death of Constantine the great, cast out of his mouth water as a flood, viz. the Western Empire under Constantine junior and Constans, after the woman: that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth, the nations of Asia now under Constantinople, helped the woman; and by conquering the Western Empire, now under Magnentius, swallowed up the flood which the Dragon cast out of his mouth. And the Dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, which in that war were sealed out of all the twelve tribes of Israel, and remained upon mount Sion with the Lamb, being in number 144000, and having their father's name written in their foreheads.
When the earth had swallowed up the flood, and the Dragon was gone to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed, John stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a Beastrise out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. And the Beast was like unto a Leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a Bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a Lion. John here names Daniel's four Beasts in order, putting his Beast in the room of Daniel's fourth Beast, to shew that they are the same. And the Dragon gave this Beast his power and his seat and great authority, by relinquishing the Western Empire to him. And one of his heads, the sixth, was as it were wounded to death, viz. by the sword of the earth, which swallowed up the waters cast out of the mouth of the Dragon; and his deadly wound was healed, by a new division of the Empire between Valentinian and Valens, An. 364. John saw the Beast rise out of the sea, at the division thereof between Gratian and Theodosius, An. 379. The Dragon gave the Beast his power, and his seat and great authority, at the death of Theodosius, when Theodosius gave the Western Empire to his son Honorius. After which the two Empires were no more united: but the Western Empire became presently divided into ten kingdoms, as above; and these kingdoms at length united in religion under the woman, and reign with her forty and two months. <319>
And I beheld, saith John, another Beast coming up out of the earth. When the woman fled from the Dragon into the kingdom of the Beast, and became his Church, this other Beast rose up out of the earth, to represent the Church of the Dragon. For he had two horns like the Lamb, such as were the bishopricks of Alexandria and Antioch: and he spake as the Dragon in matters of religion: and he causeth the earth, or nations of the Dragon's kingdom, to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed, that is, to be of his religion. And he doth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men; that is, he excommunicateth those who differ from him in point of religion: for in pronouncing their excommunications, they used to swing down a lighted torch from above. And he said to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the Beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live; that is, that they should call a Council of men of the religion of this Beast. And he had power to give life unto the image of the Beast, that the image of the Beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed, viz. mystically, by dissolving their Churches. And he causeth all both small and great,rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads, and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name; that is, the mark ✝, or the name ΛΑΤΕΙΝΟΣ, or the number thereof χξς, 666. All others were excommunicated.
When the seven Angels had poured out the seven vials of wrath, and John had described them all in the present time, he is called up from the time of the seventh vial to the time of the sixth seal, to take a view of the woman and her Beast, who were to reign in the times of the seventh seal. In respect of the latter part of time of the sixth seal, then considered as present, the Angel tells John: The Beast that thou sawest, was and is not, and shall ascend out of the abyss, and go into perdition; that is, he was in the reign of Constans and Magnentius, until Constantius conquered Magnentius, and re-united the Western Empire to the Eastern. He is not during the re-union, and he shall ascend out of the abyss or sea at a following division of the Empire. The Angel tells him further: Here is the mind which hath wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth; Rome being built upon seven hills, and thence called the seven-hilled city. Also there are sevenKings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space: and the Beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. Five are fallen, the times of the five first seals being past; and one is, the time of the sixth seal being considered as present; and another is not yet come, and when he cometh, which will be at the opening of the seventh seal, he must continue a short space: and the Beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, by means of the division of the Roman Empire into two collateral Empires; and is of the seven, being one half of the seventh, and shall go into perdition. The words, five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, are usually referred by interpreters to the time of John the Apostle, when the Prophecy was given: but it is to be considered, that in this Prophecy many things are spoken of as present, which were not present when the Prophecy was given, but which would be present with respect to some future time, considered as present in the visions. Thus where it is said upon pouring out the seventh vial of wrath, that great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath; this relates not to the time of John the Apostle, but to the time of pouring out the seventh vial of wrath. So where it is said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and thrust in thy sickle and reap, for the time is come for thee to reap; and the time of the dead is come, that they should be judged; and again, I saw the dead small and great stand before God: these sayings relate not to the days of John the Apostle, but to the latter times considered as present in the visions. In like manner the words, five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and the Beast that was and is not, he is the eighth, are not to be referred to the age of John the Apostle, but relate to the time when the Beast was to be wounded to death with a sword, and shew that this wound was to be given him in his sixth head: and without this reference we are not told in what head the Beast was wounded. And the ten horns which thou sawest, are ten Kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as Kings one hour with the Beast. These have one mind, being all of the whore's religion, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, at the sounding of the seventh trumpet; and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings; and they that are with him are called and chosen and faithful. And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest where the whore sitteth, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues, composing her Beast. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the Beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, at the end of the 1260 days. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the Beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest, is that great city which reigneth over the Kings of the earth, or the great city of the Latins, which reigneth over the ten Kings till the end of those days.