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Preface, -.. - .....xi

Scheme of th€ Prophecy, - - - XT


Chap. i.
The Introduction and Preparatory Vision, - - . - -2S


Chap. ii. 1—17.
The Epistles to the Churches, . - - - " -33i


Chap. ii. 18 — 29. Chap.iii.
The Epistles to the Churches, continued, - 4S


Chap. iv.
The Visionprecedin^^e Book with Seven Seais, - 55


Chap. V.

The Book with Seven S«als, ....69



Chap. vi. 1 — 4.

The Seeds opened, -. - - -• $§


Chap. vi. 6—17,

The Opening of the SecUt, continued, - .. 71


The Sealing of the Servants of Ood, 77


Chap. viii. 1—12.

The Subdivision of the Seventh Seal into Seven Trumpets, - - - - 88 -

A Sketch of the History of the First Four Trumpets, &f


Chap. viii. 13. Chap. ix. 1—12.
ItheJirstWoe-Trxmnpet; or, tiie Smoke and Locusts, - - - 97


Chap. i». 13—21.

The Second Wo^Trumpet ; or^ the Army of Horfcm^n, - - ^ - 103



Chap. X.


Introduction to the Western, or Papal Apostasy, 109


Chap. xi. 1 — 6.

The First General Description of the Papal Apostasy, and of the

State of the Church under it, - - - - t - - - \\s

The History of the Witnesses, 121


Chap. xi. 7—13.

The First General Description, continued ,- or the Slaughter and
Resurrection of the Witnesses, with the Falling of the Tenth
Part of the City, 129


Chap. xi. 14—19.

Tfti First General Description, concluded; or the Sounding of the

Seventh Angel, - 139


Chap. xii. 1—6.

The Second General Description; or, the Great Red Dragon, and

the Woman fleeing into the Wtidemesst -. - >..^ 145



Chap, xii.7— 17.

The Second General Description, concluded ; or the Wa,r hetween

Michael and the Dragon, - 153


Chap. xiii. 1 — lU.

The Third General Description ; or, the Beast wiih Seven Heads

and Ten Horns, -.-. - - - -. - -15&


Chap.xiii. 11 — 18.

The Third General Description, continued; or, the Beast with two

Horns like a Lamb, - - - - - - - 16T


Chap. xiv. 1-^5.
The Third General Description, continued ; or the LarnVs Company, 173


Chap. xiv. 6—20.

The Third General Description, concluded ; or, the Messages of the

Three Angels, the Harvest, and the Vintage, 179


Chap. XV.

Introductiou to the Vials, - - 185



Chap. xvi. 1—9.

Onihe Vials, l»i


Chap. xvi. 10—21.

The Vials, continued, .-. - - - - - -•- 191


Chap. xvii.
The Great Harlot, and the Beast that carrieth her, .....,- 204


Chap, xviii. Chap. xix. 1 — 10.
The Fall of Babylon, and the Marriage of the Lamb, - - - - - 215


Chap. xix. 11— 31.

The Taking of the Beast and the False Prophet, - - - 22ft


Chap. XX. 1 — 6.

On the Millennium, - - - - - - ' - - 333


Chap. XX. 7—15.

The Falling away, the End of the World, the Resurrection of the

Dead, and the Last Judgment, - - - - - -§43

Vol. VI. 2



Chap. xxi. Chap. xxii. 1 — 5.
The J^tew Heaven, and the JsTew Earth, with theMew Jerusalem, - 241


Chap. xxij. 6 — 2L

\MtetlaiionsloiheTrvih of Hw Prophecy, - - - - - 253

CoTvciUsion, _.___ - - - _ - . - 259

^ddititmmlUU, - .. - . - . - - -269



Dear Brethren,

It is at your request that these discourses appear in print.
When in the course of exposition I first entered on them, it
was not from an idea that I at that time sufficiently understood
the prophecy, but from a hope that by this means 1 might
understand it better. And now that I have ventured to pub-
lish, it is not because I am fully satisfied of having given the
true meaning in every instance. There are parts in which 1
can only say, I have done the best I could. If, however, I
had not been satisfied as to the general meaning of the pro-
phecy, or had been conscious of having thrown no new light
upon it, I should have felt it to be my duty to withhold my
papers from the public eye.

Observing the blessing pronounced on "him that readeth,
and on them that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
those things which are written therein," I had a desire to enter


upon it, accompanied, I think, with some sense of my depen-
dence upon the enhghtening influences of the Holy Spirit, The
reason also assigned why we should study this part of the
Holy Scriptures in particular — that " the time is at hand,"
seemed to have greater force after a lapse of above seven-
teen hundred years, than it could have at the time of its being
written. I conceived also that the events of the present times,
though we should beware of illusive hypotheses founded upon
them, yet called for a special attention to prophecy. They
might also be expected to throw some light upon it. Some
late writers upon the subject appear to understand many
things which earlier ones did not ; and there is reason to
expect that prophecy will be understood much better in years
to come than it is at present.

The method I pursued was, first to read it carefully over,
an(j as I went on, to note down what first struck me as the
meaning. After reducing these notes into something like a
scheme of the prophecy, I examined the best expositors I
could procure, and comparing my own first thoughts with
theirs, was better able to judge of their justness. Some of
them were confirmed, some corrected, and many added to

I have dealt but little in quotations, refusing nothing how-
ever from any writer which appeared to me to be just. And as
to what appeared otherwise, I have generally passed it over
without attempting to refute it ; as being rather desirous of
giving the true meaning, than of proving that other men's
opinions were founded in mistake.


The exposition of a prophecy, dehvered in symboUcal
language, must be Hable to many mistakes. A style so highly
figurative furnishes great scope for the imagination, which,
unless it be accompanied with a sober and just judgment,
will lead us into labyrinths of error. How far I have been
enabled to avoid them, and to succeed in throwing light upon
any part of the prophecy, it is not for me to decide. This I
know, my object has been to obtain its true meaning, and to
communicate it in a manner suited, not to the curious, but to
the Christian reader.

The manuscript has hen by me between four and five years,
during which I have frequently re-examined its contents, and
availed myself of any farther light which by reading or reflec-
tion has appeared on the subject. During this period several
of our most highly esteemed friends, who joined in the re-
quest, are gone the way of all the earth. We shall soon fol-
low them. We have seen enough, amidst all the troubles of
our times, to gladden our hearts ; and trust that our children
will see greater things than these.

I am,

Your affectionate Pastor,


Kettering, March 21, 1815.


The addresses to the seven churches are applicable to all other churches
in similar circumstances, in all ages, but not prophetic — The things
which the apostle was commanded to write being those which he had
seen, those which if)f re, and those which should be hereafter, prove that the
prophecy commences, not from the time of the vision, but probably
from the ascension of Christ, in like manner as the four monarchies of
Daniel commenced from the rising up of the Babylonish empire, many
years before the time of the vision . Chapters i — iii-

The book of sevkn seals contains ^^He whole of the prophecy, the
trumpets being only a subdivision of the seventh seal, and the vials of
the seventh trumpet Chapters iv, v.

The opening of the Jirst seal, — on which appeared " a white horee, ani
he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he
went foilh conquering and to conquer" — represents the great progress
of the gospel in the apostolic age Chapter vi. 1, 3.

The opening of the second seal — on which there appeared " a red
horse, and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from
the earth, and tbat they sliould kill one another," — signifies the wars
between the Jews and the Romans, who had united in persecuting Christ
and his followers Chapter vi. 3, 4.

The opening of the third seal — on which there appeared " a black
horse, and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand, &c." —
denotes a famine, or scarcity approaching to famine, in which the neces-
saries of life would be required to be weighed out with the utmost care,
and which was fulfilled during the reigns of the Antonines Chap. vi. 5, 6.


The opening of the fourth seal — on which there appeared " a pale
horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and hell followed,"-^
signifies great mortality, owing to the intrigues and intestine wars in the
empire, between the years 193 and 270, which pl-oduced famine and
pestilence, and by diminishing the number of men gave ascendancy to
the beasts of prey Chap. vi. 7, 8.

The fifth seal was opened, on which were seen " under the altar the
souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony
which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying. How long,
Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them
that dwell on the earth ? And white robes were given unto every one of
them, and it was said unto them that they should rest [or wait] yet
for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren that
should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." This seal represents
the state of the church about the year 270, when it had endured nine out
of ten of the heathen persecutions, and was about to endure the tenth
under Dioclesian and Maximian, after which God would avenge their
cause, by an utter overthrow of their persecutors . Chap. vi. 9 — 11.

The opening of the sixth seal — on which appeared " an earthquake,"
and as it were a day of judgment, — signified the revolution of Constan-
tine when the pagan empire was overthrown, and the prayers of the souls
under the altar were answered Chap. vi. 12 — 17.

The " sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads," portends
danger to the spiritual interests of the church from its outward prosper-
ity, and distinguishes the faithful from the crowd of nominal Christians
that would now be pressing into it Chap. vii. 1 — 8.

This chapter concludes with a vision of the martyrs who had overcome,
serving to strengthen the servants of God to encounter new trials.

Chap. vii. 9—17.

The seventh seal is opened — A solemn pause ensues — It is then subdi-
vided into SEVEN TRUMPETS, which are put into the hands of se%'^en angels ;
and the sounding of them is prefaced by " another angel's offering up
the prayers of the saints with much incense, filling his censer with fire,


and casting it into the earth, denoting that the judgments to be brought
by the trumpets would be in answer to their prayers . Chap. viii. 1 — 5.

The sounding oi the first four trumpets, which affect " the earth, the
sea, the fountains of waters, and the sun, moon, and stars," denote the
(tontinental, the maritime, and the mountainous parts of the empire, by
the invasion of the northern nations, the issue of which was the ecUpse of
the government, supreme and subordinate. As the seals overthrew the
pagan empire, these overthrew the Christian . . . Chap. viii. 6 — 12.

The sounding of the fifth, or first woe-trumpet, on which followed
" smoke from the bottomless pit, and locusts," represents popery as
filling the world with infernal darkness, and thus preparing the way for
Mahometan delusion and depredation Chap. ix. 1 — 12.

The sixth, or second woe-trumpet, is complex, relating partly to the
" loosing of the four angels in Euphrates," followed by " an army of
horsemen," and partly to the conduct of " the rest of the men, who
were not killed by these plagues," — the first denoting the rise and rav-
ages of the Turks, by whom the eastern empire, and with it the Greek
church, were overthrown; and the last, the idolatries and cruelties of
the members of the western church, who, instead of taking warning
from the fate of the eastern, repented not, but persisted in corrupting
the religion of Jesus Christ, and in persecuting his witnesses.

Chap. ix. 20, 21. to Chap. xi. 14.

The vision of the angel with " a little book open," whose cry was
followed by " seven thunders," refers to the Western, or papal church,
which the prophecy now goes some ages back to take up, and which
occupies the whole of what follows, till the beast and the false prophet are
taken, or down to the times of the Millennium. The " thunders" may
probably refer to the same things in the form of a general threatening,
which are afterwards particularly disclosed under the vials : for it appears
to be of their execution that the angel swears by Him that liveth for
ever and ever that there shall be no delay ; but that in the days of the
voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, (that is, in the
times of the pouring out of the vials) the mystery of God should be finish-
ed." This accounts for the command "not to write them," as they
would be particularized under the vials Chap. x.

Vol. VI. 3


The eleventh and three following- chapters are considered as three
general descriptions of the false church, chiefly under the 1260 years of
antichristian usurpation, together with the state of the true churck
during the same period. These general descriptions of course are not
confined to the times of this or that trumpet, but comprehend those of
the greater part of the trumpets.

The Jirst general description, contained in the eleventh chapter, de-
nominates the false church " gentiles," and the true church " wit-
nesses," who bear testimony against them. It leaves out of " the tem-
ple of God" the place occupied by the former. It represents, by the
" slaughter of the witnesses," the prevalence of the antichristian party;
by their " resurrection and ascension to heaven," the protestant refor-
mation ; and by the " earthquake," in which a tenth part of the city
fell, (and which, by the way, marks the termination of the sixth, or
second woe-trumpet) the late revolution in France. By the sounding
of the seventh angel, a signal is given of the progress of the gospel.
And by the song of the heavenly choir, are intimated the judgments
which should be inflicted on the antichristian party, and the Millennial
glory that should follow Chap. xi.

The second general description, contained in the twelfth chapter, repre-
sents the true church prior to the introduction of antichristian corrup-
tions, as " clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and
upon her head a crown of twelve stars." These corruptions originate in
a third part of the stars of heaven being drawn from their orbits by the
tail of the dragon, and cast upon the earth ; or by the rulers of tlie church
being seduced by the riches and honours of the Roman empire. The
dragon having thus prevailed over a part of the Christian church, aims
to devour the other. The true church fleeth into the wilderness, where
she exists without legal protection or toleration, till the Reformation m
the sixteenth century, when Michael fights her battles, and the dragon
is cast down. Succeeding persecutions are the eflfect of his defeat.

Chap. xii.

The ffiird general description, contained in the thirteenth and four-
teenth chapters, represents " a beast rising out of the sea, with seven
heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, &c." signifying that
secular government by which the false church has been all along support-
ed — namely. The Roman empire under its last head, after it had been
divided into (en independent kingdoms, each of which was a horn of the


beast. When paganism was overthrown, the beast, in one of its heads
was, "as it were, wounded to death ;" but when Christianity became so
corrupted as to be paganized, " the deadly wound was healed."

Chap. xiii. 1 — 16.

Another beast " rose out of the earth, with two horns like a lamb, but
who spake as a dragon" — denoting the hierarchy, or false church itself,
which is cotemporary, and all along acts in concert with the first or
secular beast — 18.

During the ravages of these beasts, and in opposition to them and
their followers, appears " a Lamb standing upon Mount Sion, and with
him 144,000, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. Their
victory over antichristian error and corruption at the Reformation, is
signified by " the voice of many waters, like tliunder, and of haipers,
harping with their harps." The spirit lately excited to carry the gospel
to the heathen, is thought to be denoted by the evangelical " angel."
The diminution and approaching dissolution of the antichristian power,
is represented by " another angel following, and saying, Babylon is
fallen, is fallen !" And the danger of symbolizing and tampering with
antichristianism is suggested by the solemn warnings of " a third angel."
Then follows that of which the signal only had been given in the cry of
the second angel — namely, the overthrow of Babylon, which is denoted
by a harvest and a vintage ^ Chap. xiv.

Three general descriptions having been given, each of which carried
us to the end of the 1260 years, the series of the prophepy, from the time
of the sounding of the seventh, or third woe-trumpet, is now resumed.
This trimipet wears a two-fold aspect : it is partly a woe-trumpet, and
partly what may be called a jubilee-trumpet. In the first view, the
SEVEN VIALS are a subdivision of it — in the last, it comprehends the Mil-
lennium, and all that follows to the end of the prophecy . Chap. xv.

The sounding of the seventh angel is the signal for the commencement
of the pouring out of the vials, and is supposed to have taken place
within the last five and twenty years. The vials are interpreted on the
principle of their resemblance to the trumpets — namelj, the Jit\^i, poured
out on the " earth," is supposed to denote the late wars on the conti-
nent between France and the other continental powers; the second,
poured upon the " sea," the wars carrying on in the maritime nations
of Spain and Portugal ; the third, poured upon the " rivers and foun-


tains of water," the wars which, if the principle here adopted be just,
will ere long befcill Italy and Savoy, the countries where was shed in
shocking- profusion the blood of the Waldenses ; the fourth, poured upon
the " sun," the oppression of the supreme government to which the
antichristian church will be subjected at the time; the Jifth, poured on
" the seat of the beast," such judgments as will either drive him from his
den, or render him very miserable in it; the sixth, poured on "Euphra-
tes," and producing the battle of "Armageddon," partly the overthrow
of the Turkish empire, and partly the temporal ruin of the adherents of
popery ; the seventh, poured into the " air," the overthrow of the spiritual
power of popeiy, and of every other species of false religion.

Chap. XV i.

The three following chapters are considered as JVbies of Illustration,
containing more particular accounts of several subjects which have been
already introduced. . In the first of them, (Cliap. xvii.) the false church
is described under the opprobrious name of " the great whore," and the
powers which support her, under that of " a beast with seven heads and
ten horns." This beast, namely, the Roman empire, " was, and is not,
and j'et is." When it was pagan, it existed with all its beastly proper-
ties ; when it became Christian, it was supposed to have lost them, and
to be a beast no longer; but by the corruptions introduced into Chris-
tianity, and which were supported by it, the beast still continued.

The " seven heads" of the beast have a two-fold application. — First,
they are said to be "seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth;"
referring to the seven hills on which Rome, when in its full extent, i^ well
known to have stood, and so pointing out the seat of the hierarchy. They
are also said to be " seven kings," that is, governments, under which
the empire had subsisted, did subsist, and would subsist hereafter. The
forms under which it had subsisted, but which were passed away at the
time of the commencement of the prophecy, were Kings, Consuls, Dic-
tators, Decemvirs, and J\Iilitary Tribunes ; the form under %vhich it then
subsisted was that of Emperors ; and that which was " yet to come, and
to continue a short space," was the government which succeeded the
overthrow of the Emperors, and continued under various changes for
about 300 years, till the days of Charlemagne; when a government was
established which combined all the nations of Europe in support of the
antichristian hierarchy. This short-lived intermediate power might on
some accounts be considered as the " seventh" head of the beast, and as
such be distinguished from its Inst head, which in this view would be the


■' eighth :" but upon the whole, it was rather to be considered as belonging
to that in which it terminated, and which in this view would be " of the

The " ten horns" are the kingdoms of Europe, which till the Refor-
mation all united with the empire in supporting the harlot ; but which
have already begun, and wjll go on to hate her, to eat her flesh, and to
burn her with fire Chap. xvii.

The second of these JS/~otes of Illustration (contained in the 18th and
the first eight verses of the 19th chapter) is a sacred ode, sent, as it were
from heaven, to be suug at the overthrow of the antichristian church, id
which are celebrated not only the "fall of Babylon," but " the marriage
of the Lamb;" that is, not only the termination of the reign of tlie beast,
but the introduction of the Millennial reign of Christ, which shall follow
upon it . Chap, xviii. xix. 1 — 8.

The third and last of these Jiotes (which begins at the 9th verse of
the 19th chapter) describes the actual accomplishment of the fall of Baby-
lon, which the foregoing ode had anticipated. He whose name is the
Word of God goes forth " riding upon a white horse," (the appropriate
symbol for the success of the gospel,) joined by his faithful followers. —
Tliis provokes the adherents of the beast and of the false prophet, who,
gathering together their forces to oppose them, perish in the attempt.

Chap. xix. 9—21.

As the overthrow of the antichristian hierarchy was celebrated in the
preceding ode, under tlie symbol of " the fall of Babylon," prior to its
actual accomplishment ; so was the Millennium under that of " the
marriage-supper of the Lamb." This glorious period is now introduced
as actually taking place. The " beast and' the false prophet," or the
secular and ecclesiastical powers being fallen, the Dragon himself is
next seized and thrust into a state of confinement. — "Thrones" may
denote stations of importance both in the world and in the church, which
will now be filled by righteous men : thus " the kingdom is given to
the people of the saints of the Most High;" and as the public mind will
favour it, righteousness will every where prevail ; corruptions, oppres-
sions, ware, tumults, and rebellions, will cease from the earth, and all
nations feel towards each other as children of the same f^ily. — Now

Online LibraryAndrew FullerThe works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller .. (Volume 6) → online text (page 1 of 35)