Revelation of John 11* The state of the church is represented under the figure of atemple measured. (1,2) Two witnesses prophesy is sackcloth.(3-6) They are slain, after which they arise and ascend toheaven. (7-13) Under the seventh trumpet, all antichristianpowers are to be destroyed and there will be a glorious state ofChrist's kingdom upon earth. (14-19)1,2 This prophetical passage about measuring the temple seemsto refer to Ezekiel's vision. The design of this measuring seemsto be the preservation of the church in times of public danger;or for its trial, or for its reformation. The worshippers mustbe measured; whether they make God's glory their end, and hisword their rule, in all their acts of worship. Those in theouter court, worship in a false manner, or with dissemblinghearts, and will be found among his enemies. God will have atemple and an altar in the world, till the end of time. He looksstrictly to his temple. The holy city, the visible church, istrodden under foot; is filled with idolaters, infidels, andhypocrites. But the desolations of the church are limited, andshe shall be delivered out of all her troubles. 3-13 In the time of treading down, God kept his faithfulwitnesses to attest the truth of his word and worship, and theexcellence of his ways, The number of these witnesses is small,yet enough. They prophesy in sackcloth. It shows theirafflicted, persecuted state, and deep sorrow for theabominations against which they protested. They are supportedduring their great and hard work, till it is done. When they hadprophesied in sackcloth the greatest part of 1260 years,antichrist, the great instrument of the devil, would war againstthem, with force and violence for a time. Determined rebelsagainst the light rejoice, as on some happy event, when they cansilence, drive to a distance, or destroy the faithful servantsof Christ, whose doctrine and conduct torment them. It does notappear that the term is yet expired, and the witnesses are not apresent exposed to endure such terrible outward sufferings as informer times; but such things may again happen, and there isabundant cause to prophesy in sackcloth, on account of the stateof religion. The depressed state of real Christianity may relateonly to the western church. The Spirit of life from God,quickens dead souls, and shall quicken the dead bodies of hispeople, and his dying interest in the world. The revival ofGod's work and witnesses, will strike terror into the souls ofhis enemies. Where there is guilt, there is fear; and apersecuting spirit, though cruel, is a cowardly spirit. It willbe no small part of the punishment of persecutors, both in thisworld, and at the great day, that they see the faithful servantsof God honoured and advanced. The Lord's witnesses must not beweary of suffering and service, nor hastily grasp at the reward;but must stay till their Master calls them. The consequence oftheir being thus exalted was a mighty shock and convulsion inthe antichristian empire. Events alone can show the meaning ofthis. But whenever God's work and witnesses revive, the devil'swork and witnesses fall before him. And that the slaying of thewitnesses is future, appears to be probable. 14-19 Before the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet,there is the usual demand of attention. The saints and angels inheaven know the right of our God and Saviour to rule over allthe world. But the nations met God's wrath with their own anger.It was a time in which he was beginning to reward his people'sfaithful services, and sufferings; and their enemies frettedagainst God, and so increased their guilt, and hastened theirdestruction. By the opening the temple of God in heaven, may bemeant, that there was a more free communication between heavenand earth; prayer and praises more freely and frequently goingup, graces and blessings plentifully coming down. But it ratherseems to refer to the church of God on earth. In the reign ofantichrist, God's law was laid aside, and made void bytraditions and decrees; the Scriptures were locked up from thepeople, but now they are brought to the view of all. This, likethe ark, is a token of the presence of God returned to hispeople, and his favour toward them in Jesus Christ, as thePropitiation for their sins. The great blessing of theReformation was attended with very awful providences; as byterrible things in righteousness God answered the prayerspresented in his holy temple now opened.
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