Bookshelf/ Vol.I / Vol. IV. Part VI. Contents. Chapter I. 1. 2. 3. II. 1. 2. 3. III. 1. 2. 3. IV. 1. 2. V. 1. 2. Appendix I. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. II. 1a. 1b. 2a. 2b. 2c. 3. 4. III 1. 2a. 2b.


     It is the Part within-written of the Apocalyptic scroll, with its fuller and more particular series of prefigurations of the events of the seventh Vial, that now calls for attention.

     “Behold I come as a thief: blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame! - And they gathered them together [1] to the place [2] which is called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. [3]

     And the seventh [Angel] [4] poured out his Vial on the air: [5] and there came a great voice from the temple of heaven, [6] from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders: and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men [7] were upon the earth, - such an earthquake, [8] so great. And the city the great one [9] was divided into three parts: and the cities of the nations [10] fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup [11] of the wine of the fierceness of his anger. And every island fled away; and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon the men [12] great hail out of heaven; [every stone] about a talent’s weight. And the men blasphemed God because of the plague [13] of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” Apoc. xvi. 15-21.

     I. And here then, introductorily to the outpouring of that Vial, and next after the vision of the three spirits like frogs issuing forth “to gather the kings of the whole earth to the war of the great day of God Almighty,” there came first that solemn warning-voice by Christ from heaven, “Behold I come as a thief: blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, that he may not walk naked, and his shame be seen!” A warning this suited to every age of the Church; but doubly so, of course, when the spirits of delusion were to be thus abroad, the night thus far spent, and the cry already raised, as it would seem, of the day of Christ’s coming being at hand. [14] For then surely, if ever, He might expect his servants and especially the ministers and watchmen of his temple, [15] to be awake and looking out for his appearing: [16] then, if ever, that they should be watchful against putting off, like indecorous slumberers, [17] or men drugged into sleep by the poison-draught of some spirit of delusion, those garments of righteousness [18] and salvation of which He himself was the giver: [19] lest, seeing them naked, He should shut them out from his heavenly temple and kingdom; [20] and their spiritual nakedness and shame be exposed before the world! [21] - Next after which follows a passing notice of the three unclean spirits of delusion advancing successfully in their object of gathering the kings of the earth (inclusive of course of the people of their kingdoms) towards the scene of the great conflict, called in the Hebrew Armageddon: [22] - an appellative this etymologically explicable either as the mountain of gathering, or the mountain of destruction; [23] and on which, and whether designative of some actual locality, or wholly figurative, I deem it best, as the conflict falls later, under the seventh Vial, to reserve my remarks for a later Chapter.

     And then at length, and without further delay, the outpouring is described by the Evangelist as taking place of the seventh and last Vial of judgment; an outpouring, it is said, on the air, or atmosphere, of the Apocalyptic world: - the immediate sequel of which outpouring was voices, thunderings, and lightnings, and a great earthquake such as had not been since the men were upon the earth, affecting the sea, or maritime parts, as well as the mainland, and causing the disruption of the Great City into three parts. Immediately following on which, however, though so severe, was ineffectual to induce repentance among the people: and then a yet more terrible judgment on “Great Babylon;” (so “the city the great one” is here first called;) which now at length came up in remembrance before God, “to give to her the cup of the wine of the wrath of his anger.”

     Of the primary part of which prefiguration the sense, translated from symbols into realities, (let me here, A.D. 1861, reprint my explanation just as originally given in 1844,) - realities yet future, but apparently quickly coming, seems to be this: - that after a certain progress of the three unclean spirits now abroad, viz. (as I conceive,) those of infidel and perhaps revolutionary irreligion, of popery, and of antichristian priestcraft, such as to marshal their strength in Western Christendom and its colonial dependencies in hostility against Christ’s cause and Church, and after a cry too of Christ’s coming as near at hand, such as seems now surely begun, [24] there is to arise, all suddenly and fearfully, some extraordinary convulsion, darkening, and vitiation of its political atmosphere: the permitted effect perhaps, in God’s righteous judgment, of the working to a crisis of those evil principles. - I thus explain the air in the Apocalyptic vision to mean the European political and moral atmosphere, after the analogy of the Apocalyptic firmament, which has been construed, on I think undoubted evidence, to symbolize the political firmament. And I speak of the effect of the disturbance caused in this figurative atmosphere by the Vial’s outpouring as of that threefold atmosphere character; because, as the natural atmosphere (whence the symbol is derived) is alike the region of storms, the medium through which the heavenly luminaries shine on us, and the element we breathe, a great physical disturbance wrought therein must needs affect it in respect of each of those functions: [25] which being so in the symbol, it seems but reasonable to suppose the same in the thing symbolized. Besides that in the only other instance in the Apocalypse wherein the air is spoken of as affected, - viz. on occasion of the issuing from the pit of the abyss of the smoke and miasma of Mahometanism, “whereby the sun and the air were darkened,” [26] - we know from history that there resulted an agitation and tainting of the moral and political atmosphere of Greek Christendom, through the spread of that false religion; as well as an obscuration of the lights, or ruling authorities, in its political heaven. - Nor does it seem to me improbable that some furnish a literal groundwork for the figure, nearly contemporarily. [27] - Doubtless under the judment of the seventh Vial (if I have rightly explained it) we must expect this convulsion, vitiation, and darkening of the political and moral atmosphere in Western Europe to be unprecedentedly awful: the very elements of thought and feeling, of social affection and moral principle, whereby society and its national polities are in God’s wonderful wisdom constituted and preserved, being so affected as very much to intercept all genial influences of the ruling authorities in its system, - to minister disease instead of health to each body politic, - and perhaps, with terrible convulsions, to resolve society for a while into its primary elements. [28]

     So as to Vial’s outpouring on the air: the only new symbol in the figurations before us. And then as regards the thunders, lightenings, and voices of the vision, they indicate of course wars and tumults following, so as always elsewhere in the Apocalyptic prophecy: while the notice of the fearful hailstorm attendant may perhaps further indicate that France, the most northerly of the Papal kingdoms, is again to enact the part of a chief instrumental operator of the plague, [29] very much as in the earlier judgments of the seventh Trumpet. [30] - For the result a most remarkable revolution is foreshown as destined to befall the European Commonwealth; viz; the final breaking up of that decemregal form of the Papal empire, which has now characterized it for near thirteen centuries, into a new and trepartite form: the tripartion meant being probably, like the earlier separation of the tenth of the Great City, conjointly religious and political. [31] In which form the Great City, or ROME, - including, I presume, both its subject Ecclesiastical State, and the third of the tripartition connected with it, - is to receive its own peculiar final and appalling fate: as it is said, “And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” - So that whensoever, after fearful wars and convulsions, a tripartition like this shall take place in the European commonwealth, it must be regarded as the proximate sign, and very alarum bell to Christendom, of the judgment, the great judgment being at length close at hand.

[Such was the explanation of this Apocalyptic symbolization given in my three former Editions, published successively in 1844, 1846, 1847. And can it be right for me to republish the Work again, now in 1850, (so I added in my 4th Edition, and yet again, on the 5th reprinting of my Work ten years later, in 1861, I see no reason to alter the opinion there and then exprest,) without asking whether what occurred at the revolutionary outbreaks of 1848 did not singularly coincide with the expectations so stated as to the probable characteristics of the commencing effusion of the seventh Vial? For, first, there was then a vitiation of the natural atmosphere over all Europe, such as to awaken the general attention and awe, - a vitiation affecting with its poison alike the vegetable world, and the health and life of man; [32] and then, almost coincidently therewith, convulsions altogether unprecendented in character, outbreaking primarily in France without any adequate apparent cause, [33] and thence propagated lightning-like throughout Europe, which disordered and imperilled the whole social [34] as well as political relations of men, alike in France, Sicily, North and South Italy, Rome, Germany, Austria, Hungary. Truly the current language of the day seemed almost like an adoption of the Apocalyptic figure, and confession to the effusion of a vial on the air. (129 A) [Editor: Somehow I missed the notes-on this page. Please see pg. 347were they are included] And, as results, who even now sees the end? Does not all seem as if the European Commonwealth was on the eve of some new construction: France leading the van in the revolution, and Germany and Italy following? Does there exist a statesman who can look upon the coming future without awe; or one who can have any confidence in predicting its isues? - After all that has happened, how can it be but that with increased solemnity of feeling we now bethink us of those awful words, “And he said, It is done:” or repeat, that if, after fearful wars and convulsions, there result in Papal Christendom a tripartition like that predicted in the Apocalypse, it must be regarded as the actual proximate sign, and alarum bell to Christendom, of the judgment, the great judgment, being then beyond a doubt close at hand?]

II. But proceed we to mark the description of the judgments next following, as detailed in the two or three next Chapters: first subjoining Chapters xvii., for the convenience of the reader; that given indeed before, already, with a view to its comparison with Apoc. xiii. [35]

“xvii. 1. And there came one of the seven Angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great harlot, that sitteth upon many waters: [36] 2. with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

“3. So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness [37] and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls; having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness [38] of her fornication. 5. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. 6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great wonder.

“7. And the Angel said unto me. Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

“8. The beast which thou sawest was, and is not; and is to ascend [39] out of the bottomless pit, and to go into perdiction: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,) when they beheld the beast that was, and is not, and shall come. [40] 9. Here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, where (or, on which) the woman sitteth. 10. And there are seven kings: and five have fallen; the one is; the other hath not yet come; and, when he shall have come, he must continue a short space. 11. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have not yet received a kingdom; but receive power as kings at one time [41] with the beast. 13. These have one mind, and give [42] there power and strength unto the beast. 14. These shall make war with the Lamb: and the Lamb shall overcome them, (for he is the Lord of lords and King of kings,) and they that are with him, the called, and chosen, and faithful. [43] 15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon [44] the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17. For God hath put into their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18. And the woman which thou sawest is the city the great one, which ruleth over the kings of the earth.”

The vision of this Chapter xvii. is one introductory to the judgments of Babylon, and explanatory to St. John (to St. John as the symbolic man [45] ) of its causes and reasonableness. Such is God’s usual method, when about to execute any very notable act of vengeance. He shows his Church its justice beforehand: thereby at once vindicating his own honour; and giving warning to such of his people as may thus far have been deceived by the offending party, to separate from it, and so escape its imminent doom. [46]

Turning to the particulars of the symbolization here shown to St. John, the prominent figure in the vision appeared to be a gaudily-dressed drunken Harlot, seated on a Beast of monstrous form, with seven heads, and on the seventh (itself growing out of the cicatrice [a scar] of a former excised seventh [47] ) ten horns. A symbol this last which has been pretty fully explained for the most part in a preceding chapter of this Work: [48] for I have there discussed quite at large the mystery of the Beast’s seven, or rather eight heads; its eighth head’s ten horns; and also its general history and character. So that it is only the Woman, its rider, i.e. Babylon, or Rome personified, (of whom but little comparatively has been said before,) and her connexion with the Beast, that now seems to call for explanation or illustration.

And here, first, let me call attention to one point in the Angel’s description, (a point some time since very passingly noticed by me, [49] ) which, both as regards the ten horns on the Beast, and as regards the Woman, refer to them, I doubt not, in a state of existence previous to that pictured in the vision of Apoc. xvii.; - I mean his statement about “the ten horns hating the Harlot, and making her desolate, and eating her flesh, and burning her with fire.” Now in our present vision the pictured relationship of the Beast and its ten horns to the Woman is that evidently of closest friendship: and this seems meant to figure the normal kindly relationship between them, during the 1260 years of the Beast’s life under its last head. Moreover, as regards the Woman’s final sudden destruction by fire, described in Apoc. xviii, there is plainly figured a judgment from God, like that on Sodom; not a burning by the ten kings: indeed the kings of the earth, whatever their number, are depicted as then lamenting over her destruction. How then are we to explain the verse in question, and what it says of the ten horns hating, and desolating, and burning the harlot with fire? Just in this way. It is evident that the Angel, in his explanatory remarks, includes the whole history of both Beast and Woman, from the beginning of their existence; not that alone depicted in the vision before us: - of Rome, as the city reigning over the kings of the earth in St. John’s time, (verse 18,) that is, imperial Rome with its sword of conquest; as well as of Rome Papal, with the drugged cup of her superstitution, as pictured in the vision: [50] of the seven successive earlier ruling heads of the Beast, five of which had fallen in St. John’s time; as well as of the second seventh, i.e. the eighth, under which the revived Beast of Roman empire was again to prosper, bearing on it the ten horns as its constitutent kings, and together with them supporting, and fornicating with, the cup-bearing Rome, or Rome Papal. Just so, I conceive, there was indicated by the Angel the prior history of the ten horns, as well as their later history; - their history as hinted at in Apoc. xii., before they got their diadems, and when Rome was still imperial: and that then they would desolate the Harlot, (a title equally applicable to Rome imperial, as to Rome Papal, [51] ) and eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. Now all this, we know, was most strikingly fulfilled by the ten Gothic powers spoiling and desolating and burning imperial Rome in the 5th and 6th centuries; indeed so desolating her campagna as in fact to originate that erhmia out of which she rose up again as Papal Rome; and which attached to her ever after, even when the selfsame Gothic powers, in their diademed and second stage of existence, had become unitedly subjected, so as is depicted in our illustrative vision, to her harlotry. [52]

This premised, and that the Harlot-Woman, as figured in vision, or Papal Rome, must as Mother and Mistress of all Churches of the Papacy, be considered to include as part and parcel of herself, not only the ecclesiastical State, or Peter’s Patrimony, in Italy; but also the vast domains, convents, churches, and other property appertaining to the Papal Church elsewhere, both in Europe, and over the world, [53] there seems nothing more needed, in order to the complete exposition of this part of the vision, than the observations following. - 1st, as in the emblem the Beast’s body both upheld, and was subject to, the Woman that sate on it, so the Western Papal Empire, as a whole, with the power of its ten secular kingdoms and many peoples, upheld, and was also at the same time ruled by, Papal Rome, as the recognized Mother and Mistress Church of Christendom: the Pope too for the time being, or Beast’s ruling head, fully concurring and taking part in the same act; sustaining his Church upon the seven hills, even as one married to her, [54] to use the phraeseology of the Roman Law; [55] and gloryingly up-bearing and exhibiting her, somewhat as the heathen Jove might be represented as carrying, or ridden by, his concubine. [56] - 2ndly, as the Woman was here depicted before St. John under a double character, viz. as a harlot to the ten kings, and a vintner or tavern-hostess vending wines to the common people, [57] (just according to the custom of earlier times, in which the harlot and the hostess of a tavern were characters frequently united, [58] ) so, the Church of Rome answered to the symbol in either point of view; interchanging mutual favours, such as might suit their respective circumstances and characters, with the kings of Anti-Christendom; and to the common people dealing out for sale the wine of the poison [59] of her fornication, her indulgences, relics, transubstantiation-cup, as if the cup of salvation, &c., (see again the late Pope’s most illustrative medal, here given, pointing the application,) [60] therewith drugging, and making them besotted [obsessed, fanatical] and drunk.- 3. With regard to the portraiture of the Woman, as “robed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls,” [61] it is, as applied to the Romish Church, a picture characteristic and from the life; the dress colouring specified being distinctively that of the Romish ecclesiastical dignitaries, [62] and the ornaments those with which it has been bedecked beyond any church called Christian; [63] nay, beyond any religious body and religion probably that has ever existed in the world:- not to add that even the very name on the harlot’s forehead, Mystery, (a name allusive evidently to St. Paul’s predicted mystery of iniquity, [64] ) was once, if we may repose credit on no vulgar authority, [65] written on the Pope’s tiara; and

the Apocalyptic title, “Mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth,” the very parody, if I may so say, of the title Rome arrogates to herself, “Rome, Mother and Mistress.” [66] - 4. As to the Harlot’s depicted drunkenness with the blood of the saints the fact of its applicability to the Romish Church, throughout the latter half at least of its patron the Beast’s 1260 predicted years of prospering, [67] is written in deep-dyed characters on the page of history; and superabundant evidence thereof given by me in other parts of the book.

In these several points I have embraced, I believe, all the main characteristics of the depicted seven-hilled Harlot’s protraiture and history. [68] It would seem from the picture of her given that whatever injury might have been sustained by the Woman during the time of the preceding Vials, whether from the outpouring of the 5th Vial upon the throne of the Beast, so as we saw it fulfilled in the anti-Romish acts and fury of the French Revolutionists, [69] or again from the progress of the Angel with the everlasting Gospel, would have been at the time of the vision, just a little before her final destruction, in appearance repaired. And so in truth we see it now. [70] For Rome’s Harlot-Church appears at this present time putting on all her former bravery, and boastings, and charms. [71] Still, as of old, she holds out to the world her cup of abominations; [72] still, as of old, breathes out, and acts out, her spirit of bloodthirstiness against the saints of Christ. [73] As to the ultimate promised victory of the saints persecuted by her, - “Christ’s called and chosen, and faithful ones.” - its fulfillment is yet future; but surely, judging from the signs of the times, not so very far off.

Thus much as to the figure in the foreground of the picture now exhibited to St. John. We have next to consider the local scene associated in the picture with it.

“He carried me away in the Spirit to a desert place (or plain); and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-coloured Beast; &c.”

“A desert:” - such is the graphic description primarily given of the local habitation of the figured Harlot. And, with a view to its right understanding, it will be important first to notice the absence of the article prefix; [74] for thereby this desert scene is pointedly and at once distinguished from that into which the Woman, the true Church of Apoc. xii., was previously said to have fled and hidden, for her destined 1260 days of obscurity, solitude,and trial: [75] the latter being h erhmov, the desert, distinctly; [76] or that which answered on the Apocalyptic earth to the great and desolate wilderness in which, under the older dispensation, the nation and church of Israel, and afterwards Elijah too, that then Christ, were for a longer or shorter period of time hidden from the world. [77] - But what then this desert scene, pictorially associated with the Apocalyptic Harlot; and what its significancy in the prefiguration? There is predicted elsewhere a state of e(?)hmia total and final, that is destined to befall the Woman at last through the judgment by fire from Almighty God. [78] And some have supposed this latter to be anticipatively signified by the desert in question. [79] But the whole character of the Harlot’s symbolization seems to me to negative the idea of this being the desert scene here depicted: for she is here pictured, not as suffering under judgments either of human or divine origin, but in all the wantonness, pride, and gaudiness, flamboyance of a prospering harlotry. - Putting this then aside, it may be worth observing that, in the course of the Angel’s explanatory statement, a certain further characteristic was noted of the desert scene’s appearance to St. John; viz. that it appeared to a considerable extent flooded with water, round where the woman was seated on her subject Beast: - “The waters,” it is said, “that thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth.” [80] And hence in fact Vitringa draws his explanation, [81] to the effect that the local scene exhibited was imaginatively designed to answer to the chorography of the Euphratean Babylon; which, being finally surrounded by marshes, from the circumstance of the waters of the river overflowing and stagnating round it, was designated by the Prophet Isaiah as ‘the desert of the sea’.” [82] But Vitringa should have observed that the Angel’s discourse intimated yet a third and still more notable feature in the chorography of the scene associated with the Woman, viz. that of seven hills as her seat: [83] so that the conclusion, is, that the desert-scene pictured in the vision was not the Campagna of Babylonia, but the Campagna of Rome.

[1] kai sunhgagen autouv. It seems to me very obvious that this sunhgagen in the singular has for its nominative the neuter plural of pneumata daimoniwn agreeably with a well-known rule of Greek grammar; the pronoun accusative autouv, meaning the kings, being governed by it. Compare verse 14: (eisi lar pneumata daemanewn poiounta shmeia, a ekporeuetae epi touv basileav thv oikoumenhv olhv, sunagagein autouv eiv ton polemon thv hmerav ekeinhv thn megalhv. I am supprised that not only certain other expositors, following our authorized version, but even Mr. Tregelles, should have construed sunhgagen, instead of topon.

[2] A has the curious reading potamon, instead of topon

[3] Armagedwn A; Mageddwn B.

[4] Aggelov is omitted in A and B.

[5] epe ton aira, not eiv. So A, B, and the critical editions generally.

[6] tou ouranou, omitted by A.

[7] anqrwpoi. So the MS. B, and Wordsworth. A and Tregelles read anqrwpov egeneto, in the singular.

[8] thlieotov

[9] h poliv h megalh.

[10] twn eqnwn a word used vii. 9, x. 11, xiv. 6, &c., where it may probably have a meaning extending beyond the Roman world: as well as in xi. 2, 9, and xvii. 15, where it seems used restrictedly of the Latinized Christians of the Popedom.

[11] to pothrion.

[12] Literally, “there falls;” katabainei epe twv anqrwpwv.

[13] ek thv plhghv.

[14] Rom. xiii. 12-14.

[15] I thus particularize, because many expositors, with Vitringa, (p. 985,) think there is an allusion in the text to the Jewish custom of the Prefect of the Temple going his rounds at night, to see that the watchmen there were awake at their posts. Which watchmen seem alluded to in Psalm cxxx. 6, and elsewhere.

[16] Compare Luke xii. 35; “Let your loins be girded, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like men waiting for their lord:” 2 Peter iii. 12; “looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God:” &c.

[17] Though the Eastern habits are in many respects different from our own, yet they have very much the European custom of putting off day-clothes on lying down to sleep at night, and putting on a loose and open night-dress. This is alluded to figuratively in Rom. xiii. 12; “It is high time to awake out of sleep . . . The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light:” - or, as he says verse 14, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Again 1 Thess. v. 8: “Let us who are of the day be sober; (and watch, verse 6;) putting on the breastplate of faith and hope, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”

The need of attention to the avoidance of spiritual self-exposure, was strikingly symbolized to the Israelites in the charges given about outward decency. So in Deut. xxiii. 14; “The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp: . .  therefore shall thy camp be holy; that He see no unclean thing (or nakedness, so the Hebrew) in thee.” Also Exod. xxviii. 42, 53; a passage referred to by Daubuz.

[18] Isa. lxi. 10.

[19] Apoc. iii. 17, 18; “Because thou knowest not that thou art poor and naked, I counsel thee to buy of me. . . white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.”

[20] As the slumbering watchman of the temple would be excluded; or as the man that wanted the wedding-garment.

[21] So in the case of the watchman of the temple thrust out in his night-clothes.

I might add that, in case of detected unfaithfulness in the wife, exposure was one of the punishments sometimes inflicted. So Hosea ii. 2, 3: “Let her put away her whoredoms;  . lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born:” &c. But the idea of the marriage relation does not seem to me referred to in the verse before us.

[22] It is agreed, I believe, on all hands that the war of Armageddon must be considered as taking place under the seventh Vial, and constituting the conflict immediately prior to the judgment of the consummation. Hence the notice here made must either be anticipative, or the eiv construed in the sense of towards, so as in Apoc. xii. 6. See my Vol. iii. p. 46, Note 3.

[23] Both Grotius and Vitringa derive it from rh" a mountain, and db"a} (to destroy) and µg"a and to collect; the former as in Dan. iv. 14, (Ċx"q] (Aramaic) cut off,) verse 23, (dd"G]  (Aramaic) to cut-down); [[Editor: I was compelled to substitute the Aramaic words to destroy, and to cut-off in place of the Chaldee: to destroy and to collect]] --- Micah v. 1 - hk;n;  (slaughter). Of which meanings Grotius adopts the latter for his etymology of Armageddon, Vitringa the former. Mede, p. 522, prefers to derive if from excidium, and turma; in a sense of the word very much the same as Vitringa’s.

It was probably from one of these words that Megiddo derived its name: a town of Manasseh famous on the scene of the battle in which the good king Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Necho, 2 Ki. xxiii. 29; and also near to that of the battle in which Sisera was overthrown by Barak, Judg. v. 19. And some expositors have supposed this precise place Megiddo to be intended as the actual Armageddon of the prophecy; or, if not so, a reference to be meant to one or other of these battles fought near it. - I should think however that there is hardly reason for this opinion. Of the two battles that of Barak and Sisera was scarcely of sufficient importance to be singled out as a precedent; and that of Josiah and Pharaoh Necho was of an issue and character the direct reverse to that of Armageddon.

On the other hand M. Stuart supposes a reference to the occasion told of in Zech. xii. 11; when, after the final gathering of the nations against Jerusalem, and their destruction, there is to be a great mourning in Jerusalem, “like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo.” The locality of the Apocalyptic warring, on this supposition, would be not Megiddo itself, but Jerusalem and its neighborhood. And Vitringa and others identify the conflict of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, mentioned by Joel, with that of Armageddon. - I purpose to notice these points on occasion of noticing the war itself, at the conclusion of my next chapter on Daniel xi. xii.

Probably the name should be considered simply mystical; so as those other appellatives mentioned in the Apocalypse, - Sodom, Egypt, Babylon, Abaddon.

[24] I here wish to take the Scriptural expression of Christ’s coming with a certain latitude of meaning; so as to include the voice of many who may yet not be distinctly expecting his personal manifestation, or the great judgment of quick and dead. So, e.g. Dr. Arnold. Christ, he says, is to come again after his resurrection in three different senses: - 1st, and in the highest sense, when this world shall end, and we shall rise to judgment; 2ndly, when individually we each receive Christ’s call at death. 3rdly, when He comes to bring on the whole earth, or on some one or more nations, (as on Jerusalem at the time of its destruction by the Romans,) a great season of suffering and judgment. Then he adds, that to all of us now living it may be said that in the 1st sense Christ may come “in this generation,” since we know not the times and seasons which the Father hath in his own power; and also that in the 3rd too He may come to us “in this generation,” “there not being wanting signs which make it probable that He will so come.” - In his Lectures on Modern History, p. 38, there is a remarkable passage yet more to my point, which I reserve for citation to my 5th and concluding Chapter.

[25] Somewhat as in that remarkable case alluded to by Cowper:

             And Nature seems with dim and sickly eye

             To wait the close of all.

I have quoted this already in Vol. iii. p. 345; and stated that it alludes to a very remarkable fog, which covered both Europe and Asia the whole summer of 1783, and in one country of Europe prevented the sun being seen for three years.

[26] Apoc. ix. 2 See Vol. i. pp. 441, 442.

[27] See Vol. iii. pp. 347, 348.

[28] As the symbol of the air is a new one in the Apocalyptic visions, it may be satisfactory to the reader to have the explanations of it given by two other commentators, - one of an earlier age, one (in 1844) a contemporary, - who have paid most attention to the figure; viz. Vitringa and Mr. Cuninghame.

Vitringa, p. 988, after noting that the word air is here to be taken in its largest signification, goes on thus to describe the effects (as he supposed them) of the Vial’s outpouring on it. “Ad phialam hanc effusan tenebrĉ obduct sunt coelo mystico illius terrĉ cujus imperium sibi vindicaverat Bestia. Rectores atriusque ordinis, qui in hoc eoelo fulserant, de sedibus suis visi sunt deturbari: . . . omnia autem in regimine politico et ecclesiastico illius magni imperii cum in modum conturbri, ut aer decasset populo illius civitatis quem biberet, et à quo refocillaretur; (sunt enim Principes et rectores populorum, quatenus populos sibi subjectos fevent, et in illos curâ et institutione suâ influnt, [qu, infiant?] veluti spiritus oris populi, hoc est veluti aer quem bibunt et hauriunt, ut vocantur apud Jeremiam; (Lam. iv. 20;) et aer ille conturbatus locum faceret, et occasionem Deo prĉberet gravissimis illis judiciis quĉ Imperio Bestiĉ ad totalem statûs ejus subversionem decreverat.”

Mr. Cuninghame. “it is through the medium of the natural air, or atmosphere, that the natural sun, moon, and stars communicate to us their light, heat, and influences: it is the same air which is in us the principle of vitality. Now, through what air or atmosphere do the symbolic sun, moon, and stars communicate to us their influences, light and heat? I answer, through the medium of the political and ecclesiastical constitutions of the states. These constitutions are also the principle of vitality to the body politic.” And thence he argues that the outpouring of the seventh Vial is to be upon the political and ecclesiastical constitution of the Roman Empire; causing a tremendous agitation throughout the government and politico-ecclesiastical system of the bestial empire, destroying the general balance of power, and super inducing the horrors of a political storm, pp. 305, 306. - There is no very great difference, it will be seen, in our explanations.

Besides which expositor let me also cite the explanation of M. Stuart, as representative of quite a different system of Apocalyptic interpretation. “We are probably, “ says he, “to regard the air in this case as the element of which is to be engendered the dreadful storm that follows, which is to overthrow the principal cities of the Beast and his confederates.”

[29] The precedent of the first Trumpet seems at any rate to indicate, if its analogy be followed, a judgment from the North. Many expositors prefer to explain it of the Russian power. And on revising my Work, and comparing this prophecy with one in Ezekiel xxxviii., xxxix., which seems to point to Russia’s taking part in the great pre-millennial conflict, as will be noticed at the end of my next Chapter, I must admit that this view of the symbol is also not improbable.

It is to be observed that the mention of the great hail falling comes after, not before, that of the great city’s tripartition.

[30] See Vol. iii. pp. 337-339. - Vitringa, p. 994, explains the hail-storm simply to indicate a judgment immediately from heaven. He compares the hail which fell in the seventh Egyptian plague, and that which fell on the Canaanites after Joshua’s victory over them at Gibeon, Joshua x. 11; the latter especially a very notable case for comparison. He might not unfitly have added the case of Barak’s victory near Megiddo, where “the stars in their courses” fought against Sisera: for Josephus (as Horsley observes on the song of Deborah) explains this of a hail-storm directed against him. - Compare too the as yet unfulfilled prophecy of Isa. xxx. 30; “The Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard; and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hail-stones.”

It seems to me very possible that there may be here too that which shall literally answer to the prediction. See the Note, Vol. iii. p. 346. But the analogy of all the Apocalyptic prefigurations requires primarily a symbolic explanation.

[31] Vitringa conjectures that one-third will be adherents to the Papacy, or Beast; another third favorers of superstition, but not the Papacy; and the last third on the side of the true Protestant Church: “totam illam civitatem scindendam esse in partes sive factiones tres; quarum una superstitioni et idololatriĉ Romancnsi adhuc adhĉrebit; altera auctoritati Pontificiĉ renunciare parata sit, sed superstitionem tamen veterem non facile deseret; tertia in partes transibit ecclesiĉ, cujus caussĉ Deum viderant notabili Providentia favisse.” p. 991.

Mr. Cuninghame’s general view is to the effect that the division will have relation to the work of the three unclean spirits, as understood by him: one division ranging under the standard of atheism and anarchy, another of despotism, another of popery. In his last Edition he still advocates, though with a certain variation from his former opinion, a tripartition of political principles, not territorial division. Which latter however seems to myself certainly included; just as in Apoc. xi. 13.

[32] In his speech on the Public Health Bill, as reported in the Times of Aug. 8, 1848, Lord Morpeth cited a then recent Number of the British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review, “which proved,” he said, “by induction from a mass of facts, that certain atmospheric conditions and electrical states concurred in the production of the cholera.” Again, in the 18th meeting of the British Association for advancement of science, the Athenĉum of Aug. 26, 1848 notices a very elaborate paper by Col. Sykes on “the Atmospheric Disturbances throughout the world:’ - a paper, it says, which “characterizes the atmospheric disturbances and anomalies that presented themselves in various places in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, for some months past, as not less remarkable than the political agitations and storms which swept lately over Europe.”

The manner in which the potato blight was a sign and consequence of the atmospheric vitiation over a large part of Europe, as well as the cholera morbus, is notorious; and to how alarming an extent in some countries, above all in Ireland.

[33] In France the revolution of 1848 was but a fresh shock of the great original revolution of 1789. So M. Montalembert justly observed, as cited in my Vol. iii. p. 476.

[34] So in Count Mole’s Address to the Electors of the Gironde on his election, at the beginning of October, 1848. “It is society itself which is in danger. The contest has commenced between civilization and barbarism. On the one side is placed family and property: on the other the abolition of those eternal laws of which the roots are implanted in the heart of men, and which emanate directly from his divine Creator.” ap. Evening Mail, Oct. 4, 1848.

[35] Viz. in Vol. iii. p 71 et seq.

[36] For critical notices I beg to refer generally to Vol. iii. pp. 71-74. The chief variations in A and B from the received text are there given. The Codex Ephraemi, or C, it should be understood, is wanting in all this Chapter. I here only add, or repeat, just a few critical notices on the text.

[37] eiv erhmon. No MS. or edition prefixes the article here.

[38] The received text has akaqarthtov. A, B, and the critical Editions read ta kaqartnta.

[39] mellei anabainein 1. give Mr. Tregelles’ version, which I conceive expresses the real force of mellei. See my remarks on Apoc. x. 7, Vol. ii. p. 127.

[40] Our translators render, “and yet is, “after the reading kaiper eoti. Kai parestai is the reading of A, B, and the critical Editions.

[41] mian wran lambanousi meta tou qhriou. The translation above given is, I feel persuaded, the true one. The authorized version is, “one hour.” See my Vol. iii. pp. 81, 82, Note 1.

[42] didoasin. So A and B; for the received deadidwsousi.

[43] So Vitringa; understanding vincent, or nilkhsousi, after the klhtoi. This is also, I conceive, beyond a doubt the true rendering: not that of our English authorized version; which translates, “They that are with him are the called, &c.

[44] So our version, reading epi. A, B, and the critical Editions generally have the reading kai: as if the Beast itself would at last turn with the ten kings against the woman. And Bellarmine urges the reading kai in defense of the Papacy against Protestants. “For how can Bishops of Rome be Antichrist,” he urges, “when Antichrist is to join with the ten kings, and destroy Rome?” But see my Note 3 on p. 74 of Vol. iii. in support of the reading epi. I there cite Tertullian and Hippolytus, two Fathers of earlier date than any extant Greek MS. of the Apocalypse, in support of epi. It is the reading too of most copies of the Vulgate; “Decem cornu quĉ vidisti in Bestiâ:” and adopted by the Romanists Ribera, à Lapide, Mulvenda, &c., as well as by our Protestant interpreters Vitringa, Daubuz, &c.

It should be observed that the apostate Church’s False Prophet continues with the Beast to the end. So Apoc. xix. 19. Comparing with this what is said of the wine-press being trodden without the city, p. 10 suprà, it is supposable that the city Rome might be destroyed, while the Pope and Papal Priesthood and Church remained.

[45] See Vol. ii. p. 115.

[46] So in the angel’s declaration to Lot, Gen. xix 12, 13, 22, before the destruction of Sodom; in Jeremiah’s prophetic denunciation of the Chaldean Babylon’s coming overthrow, and warning to escape from it, Jer. li. 6, &c.; and in those by Christ, and afterwards by his apostle St. James against the guilty Jerusalem, just before its destruction by Titus.

[47] Inferred from Apoc. xiii. 3; “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death, and the deadly wound was healed.”

[48] Part iv. chap iv.

[49] See my Vol. iii. p. 396, Note 4.

[50] Compare the very illustrative medals of Rome imperial, and Rome Papal, in my Plate.

Peter Olivi, a Franciscan monk of the xiiith century, (noticed hereafter in my History of Apocalyptic Interpretation,) thus similarly in his Postils on the Apocalypse, speaks of the two Romes as alike included in the description. “Hĉe mulier stat pro Romanâ gente et imperie, tam prout fuit quondam in statu  paganismi quàm prout fuit in fide Christi, multis tamon criminibus cum hoc mundo formicata. Vocatur ergo Meretrix magna.”

[51] In either case and character the title of harlot would suit Rome. It is applied to heathen cities, e.g. to Tyre, Is. xxiii. 16; to those in covenant with God, under the old dispensation, both Judah and Israel, Is. i. 21, Jer. iii. 1, 8, Exek. xvi., xxiii., &c; and, under the gospel, to an unfaithful wife, Matt. v. 32, xix. 9.

[52] See p. 19 infrà.

[53] Vitringa understands the Great City in its largest sense, and as comprehending its decem-regal empire, both in xi. 13, where a tenth part of the city is said to have fallen, and in xvi. 19, where it is said to have been divided into three parts; but in this xviith chapter he seems to understand it in a stricter sense of the City of Rome exclusively. And so too Daubuz, p. 800. I think it more reasonable however to understand it, as elsewhere, with a larger latitude.

It is observable that both in Jeremiah’s Lamentations, Jerusalem personified is spoken of sometimes as Judah; (compare Lam. i. 1, 3, 7, &c.;) and that in the medals struck after the Romans’ capture of Jerusalem, the personified City has the legend Judĉa Capta.

In medals of the middle age I have observed Rome depicted as sitting on a couch, of which the end on either side are heads of Beasts.

Under a different kind of figure the great city of the seven hills is represented elsewhere as the ruling Pope’s throne, or sea. So Apoc. xiii. 2; “The Dragon gave him up his power, and his throne:” that is, his seat on the seven hills; spoken of also xvi. 10. - Similarly Zion is at one time represented in holy Scripture as the Lord’s throne, at another as his spouse; e.g. Jer. iii. 17, Isa. lxii. 5.

[54] See Vol. iii. p. 179, Notes 1 and 2. - “The proud Church of Rome,” says Bale in fitter phrase, “the paramour of Antichrist.” - Somewhat similarly in the medals of ancient Rome there was often an association of Rome and Rome’s emperor: e.g. Roma Dea was sometimes depicted as crowning the Emperor, sometimes as crowned by the Emperor. See Rasche in verb. Roma, col. 1132, 1144.

[55] “Necessitas imponit marito mulieris sustentationem sufferre.” Ulpian Digest, 1, 2, tit. 3, leg. 22. - In Martene De Rit. ii. 90 I read, in the prayer on a Pope’s consecration, that, as “ei universĉ Christianitatis inolem superimposuisti,” so God will strengthen him that “ecclesiasticĉ universitas onus dignè ferat.” The universe Christianitas and the ecclesiastica universitas are precisely that which Rome Papal, as borne up by the Beast in the vision of Apoc. xvii., figured. In a medal of Julius II, he was in a symbol of yet larger pretensions, but not so correct, figured as Atlas bearing up the whole globe on his shoulders; with the legend, “Immane Pondus, Vives infractĉ.”

[56] Daubuz, p. 750, illustrates from a picture of the rape of Europe, as described by Achilles Tatius, the manner in which we may consider the woman to have sate on the Beast; viz. sideways, as woman generally ride in our country. He says; `H parqenov mesiv epekaqhto toiv tou boov, ou peribadhn, alla kata pleuran, epi dexia sumbasa tw pode. Erot. Lib. i. So on coins of Sidon. Rasche iv. 939. &c.

In medals of the middle age I have observed Rome depicted as sitting on a couch, of which the end on either side are heads of Beasts.

Under a different kind of figure the great city of the seven hills is represented elsewhere as the ruling Pope’s throne, or seat. So Apoc. xiii. 2; “The Dragon

gave him up his power, and his throne:” that is, his seat on the seven hills; spoken of also xvi. 10. - Similarly Zion is at one time represented in holy Scripture as the Lord’s throne, at another as his spouse: e.g. Jer. iii. 17, Isa. lxii. 5.

[57] Compare Apoc. xvii. 4, “Having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication;” xiv. 8, “Babylon hath fallen because she hath made all nations to drink of the wine of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her.”

[58] So Daubuz 754. - For example, the reader may remember disquisitions in vindication of the character of Rahab, founded on the frequent identity of the pandoceuv and the pornh.

[59] See Note 199 p. 21 infrà. Mede too had construed the word qumou to the same effect, before Daubuz.

[60] It was first struck just after the commencement of the 6th Vial’s outpouring; and exhibited now in a Protestant country just before the 7th Vial’s effusion: - the precise time, if I mistake not, that this vision is to be referred to. - Compare this example of allusive contrast with that given Vol. ii. p. 61.

[61] The comment of Tichonius is; “ornatu vario et lapidibus pretiosis; id est omnibus illecebris simulatĉ veritatis.” (Qu. virtutis?)

[62] For these colours appertain to the dress of the ecclesiastical dignitaries of no other church, I believe; - e.g. neither of the Greek, Armenian, or Coptic: of course not to that of the English.

[63] Bishop Newton exemplifies from the riches of the chapel of “our Lady” at Loretto: “The riches of whose holy image, and house, and treasury, - the golden angels, the gold and silver lamps, the vast number, variety, and richness of the jewels, of the vestments for the holy image and for the priests, with the prodigious treasures of all sorts, are far beyond the reach of description: and, as Mr. Addison says, ‘as much surpassed my expectation as other sights have generally fallen short of it. Silver can scarce find an admission; and gold itself looks but poorly amongst such an incredible number of precious stones.’” - This is but a sample.

[64] “The mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken away: and then shall that Wicked One be revealed,” &c. 2 Thess. ii. 7, 8. See my Vol. iii. p. 96, &c. - There is a contrast in this to the mystery of godliness, 1 Tim. iii. 16. On which contrast see my Vol. iii. p. 186.

   Bishop Newton and others observe that there is an allusion here also to the custom of certain notorious prostitutes having their names written on a ‘label on their foreheads: - as Seneca says; “Nomen tuum pependit in fronte; pretium stupri accepisti:” and Juvenal Sat. vi. 122;

Nuda pupillis

Constitit auratis, titulum mentita Lysiscĉ

   Vitringa supposes the name to have been thus written;





[65] Sealiger, on the authority of an informant of the Duke of Montmorency whilst at Rome. And so again Francis Le Moyne and Brocardus, an ocular evidence, they assure us; saying that Julius III removed it. See Daubuz, Vitringa, and Bishop Newton ad loc.

[66] So the Tridentino Council; “Romana Ecclesia, quĉ omnium Ecclesiarum Mater est et Magistra.” Hard. x. 53. Whence the common phrase our Holy Mother the Church.

[67] See my Vol. ii. pp. 20, 28, 423-429, &c.

[68] The prophecy was one much noted by the early Fathers. “Lege Apocalypsin Joannis; et quid de muliere purpuratâ et Babylonis cantetur exitu, contuere. Exite, inquit Dominus, de illâ populus meus, &c.” So in the Epistle of Paula and Eustochium to Marcella, apud Hieronymi Op. iv. ii. 551. The object of the letter was to urge Marcella to leave Rome for Bethlehem: it being allowed that there was a holy church there; but the ambition and greatness of the city deprecated, as alien from the spirit of monastic devotion.

[69] See Part v. Chap. v. in my Vol. iii. p. 395, &c.

[70] So first written in 1844. Yet more did she so appear after the storm of 1848 - 1851, on L. Napoleon’s inauguration as President, and then Emperor, and courting and patronage of the Roman Church, so long as his policy seemed to require it.

[71] Daubuz notably observes, p. 784, that St. John’s here wondering (he being a symbolic man) shows that even to the end Babylon will be powerful, and the true worshippers affrighted: - that, having recovered from former judgments and losses, Rome will again appear invested with very great power; and having no apprehension of her future destruction, which is to be very sudden and unexpected, will revive all her former pretensions: whereupon Protestants, who judge according to human wisdom only, may think that what she has done (in the way of persecution) she may do still; until ministers of God, like the Angel, are made use of as instruments to show their fellow Protestants that the Romish Harlot is just about to be suddenly destroyed.

[72] See again the late Papal Jubilean medal. - Earlier examples of nearly the same medal may be seen in Bonanni, ii. 497, 737, &c.

[73] So, for example, at Lisbon and Madeira, as Hewitson notices in 1844, Life, pp. 126, 269, &c.; so at Florence, as in the case of the Madinie, &c.

[74] eiv erhmon. The absence of the definite article is the rather observable; as it is the only instance, I believe, in the New Testament in which the word occurs as a substantive [that is, a word or phrase used as a noun] without it.

[75] See my Vol. iii. pp. 65-68. - Mr. Brooks has fallen into the mistake of identifying the two erhmoi; -  the stepping-stone to his identification of the two women. An error fatal, as it seems to me, to all true interpretation of the Woman of chap. xii.

[76] See Horne’s Introduction, Vol. iii. p. 53.

[77] 1 Kings xix. 4, 8; Matt. iv. 1. See, to this effect, Michaelis’ Note on “the desert” of Christ’s temptation, as cited and approved by Middleton on the Greek Article, when commenting on Matt. iv. 1.

[78] Apoc. xviii 19; “For in one hour she hath been desolated;” mia wra hrnmwqh.

[79] Such, for example, is Daubuz’s explanation of the scenic figuration; as “depicting the state of the whore on her accusation and conviction; . .  just upon the brink of destruction, and ready to become desolate.” pp. 748, 749. He however just alludes afterwards to the actual desert state of the Campagna.

[80] Apoc. xvii. 15.

[81] p. 1015.

[82] Isa. xxi. 1. So too Jer. li. 13; “Thou that dwellest on many waters.” - This its predicted desert state was very much the actual of the Euphratean Babylon in St. John’s time. His contemporary Pliny, N. H. vi. 30, speaks of it as then a great desert wilderness.

[83] Apoc. xvii. 9.