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the ninth. The seventh trumpet is the most important, and displays the dragon with the two beasts; as also the kingdom of Christ in heaven and earth. Here precede, first, the preparation, in chapter the tenth ; secondly, the summary contents, (ch. xi. 15, &c. ;) and lastly, the account itself. In this we have, first, the adversaries, consisting of the dragon, (ch. xii.) the two beasts, (ch. xii.) and the great harlot, (ch. xvii.); secondly, their overthrow; (which indeed begins in chapters xv. xvi.)—then, (but in an inverted order,) the harlot, (ch. xviii.) the beast and the false prophet, (ch. xix. 11,) and the dragon, (ch. xx.)--are taken out of the way; thirdly, after gradual advances, under the trumpet of the seventh angel, (ch. xi. 15; xii. 5—8; xiv. 1, 13, 14; xv. 2 ; xix. 1 ; XX. 4,) we have the final completion of Christ's kingdom, (ch. xx. 11 ; xxii. 5;) and then the conclusion, exactly corresponding to the introduction. The fulfilment of such parts of this prophecy as have no specification of dates or times, was to begin quickly, (év Táxe.) It did so, namely, in the Apostle St. John's own time; it has been going on through each succeeding century ever since, and will do so unto the consummation, and end of the world. Therefore in the dates or periods here presented, we have nearly the total sum of the world's remaining duration. These periods are se important a concern in the prophecy, that its right interpretation is impossible without them. Now we find they are in the seven denominations of hour, day, month, year, season (waipos,) time (xpóvos,) and age (aióv.) To interpret these, we must distinguish when common days and years, and when such as are prophetic or mystical, are intended : we must also find the key to their computation. Some have thought they denote only common time throughout; (as that a day here spoken of, is always a common day;) others are for prophetic or mystical computation exclusively, and assert, that every prophetic day is a common year. To either of these acceptations there are insurmountable difficulties; the sum of which is, that a prophetic day is found to be much shorter than a common year, and much longer than a common day. So that probably the truth lies in a mean reckoning ; which makes a prophetic day to be about half of a common year. We are conducted thus far, by considering merely the explanations given by former expositors. Let us now advance a step further, by means of the text itself. This, in ch. xiii. 18, invites us as follows: “Let him who hath understanding, count the number of the Beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six." Here is something
to be calculated ;* but we require for our calculation two numbers at the least. Accordingly this thirteenth chapter furnishes us with one other number, and only one; it is that of the forty and two months. We must therefore assume this for our second number. But before we begin to reckon, it may be proper to inquire, what noun, understood in a grammatical sense, can belong to the numeral expression 666. The answer is, that it must, according to the context, be a noun denoting computation of time. Moreover the neutral form of this numeral as found in the best Greek MSS., and its masculine form, as found in the Latin Vulgate, direct us to the word “years," as the understood noun for it to agree
with. Thus the numeral expression 666, denotes 666 years; and these, as the text implies,† are common years; while the forty and two months denote likewise 666 years; and with these two expressions, we may frame the following proportion ; 42: 662:: 1:x; according to which, one prophetic month is=159 common years. Thus we have the key to all the other computations. Now if it be asked which of the periods we consider mystical, and which common; we reply, that those which elapse previous to the number of the Beast, (for example, those which precede the third woe, we consider mystical, (the number of the Beast forming as it were a connecting link, half visible and half secret ;) but those which belong to the finishing of the mystery of God we understand literally. And this decision is analogous to the manner in which other things preceding the third woe are expressed, for they are expressed figuratively; whereas, things which follow it are expressed in common language.
Bengel, soon after he had published this sketch of his plan, was induced to insert in the “Spiritual Reporter," (comp. xv. xxiii. p. 1235—37,) an apocalyptical article in answer to Seiz, who had determined the fulfilment of all these prophecies to as early as the year 1736. Next to this, Bengel published his
Exposition of the Apocalypse.” In his preface to the first edition, he states, how he had obtained the key to his computations: and that the longer he made use of it, the more clearly was this sacred book opened to him; and that in consequence of the pressing requests of friends, and the false reports circulated by ignorant or ill-designing persons respecting his method of interpretation, as also lest his conscience should be hurt by with
* Ynplodtw, “let him calculate.”-Rev. xiii. 18. * 'Αριθμός γάρ ανθρώπου εστί.--Rev, xiii, 18.
holding from the public what had come to his notice unsought for, he had at length resolved to publish this full “ Exposition,” after having heard, examined, and profited by a great variety of opinions, elicited upon his Plan by the Essay he had published in 1734, On an accurate and unforced system of interpretation for the Apocalypse.” He added, with as much modesty as integrity, that he did not wish his “ Exposition” to be regarded as any
infallible revelation, which he should be supposed to have been favoured with, but simply as the natural fruit and result of his honest inquiries and researches in the word of God; in which view he humbly offered it to the examination of the public.
The work itself consists of a new version of the Apocalypse, with a running exposition, preceded by an introduction, which contains a general view of the whole prophecy; and followed by a conclusion divided (in the third edition) into seven sections ; 1. A table of the chronology. 2. An humble attempt to determine more accurately the times of the Beast. 3. Characteristics of genuine interpretation. 4. An account of men's expectations from age to age in reference to prophecy. 5. Prophetic exposition with respect to its influence on men's actions. 6. Examination of some other prophecies. And 7. Salutary advices.
The “Exposition" was intended as a distinct work from that comprised in his next publication, the “Gnomon;" as this, which was in Latin, was more particularly for matters interesting to persons acquainted with the learned languages; whereas the “Exposition” set forth what might become intelligible and profitable to all ; so that both may be used either together or separately.
In the introduction above mentioned, is found a more copious analysis than he had before given, of the contents of the Apocalypse (see above, p. 287,) with explanatory remarks. But previously to discussing the periods, he directs the reader's attention to the following notices, deducible from the simple showing of the text;—that the first woe came to its end before the rise of the Saracen empire; that the second woe denotes the Saracen dominion; that the third, though long ago commenced, was not yet expired; and that these are fundamental matters essentially connected with a system of correct interpretation,
He then proceeds to a more particular investigation of the chronological periods; resuming the inquiry he had commenced in an Essay already noticed ; and speaks as follows:-“Since by
comparing together the two most common, but opposite systems, we have been led to conclude that in all probability a prophetic 1: day is about half of a natural year, let us now further consider that that conclusion makes the forty and two months of the Beast to be about half of 1260 = about 630 years; which tends to confirm the supposition already expressed, namely, that the number 666 denominates years.
“Let us make use of the result thus far attained, for the purpose of discovering all the other apocalyptical periods. This is to be done principally by comparing with the number 666, the 1000 years mentioned in the twentieth chapter. At once we perceive that this latter number bears to the former the relation of 3 to 2; and by a little additional thought we obtain the following interesting proportion: 3:2::999;#years : 666443 years; consequently a unit of 666;:; must be 16 year. And this may be one reason why the word years is not added to the numeral expression, 'six hundred three score and six,' in the sacred text. Unity, in each of these denominations, with the appropriate fraction annexed, (thus, 111,) very little exceeds the ancient Roman century, which consisted of 110 years. Mention is made of a half-time' in the text itself, and there is reason for supposing a half-time to be exactly the unity we here speak of, with its appropriate fraction ; so that we may exhibit the apocalyptical periods according to the following scale :A Half-time
1115 years, ch. xx. 4. A Time (καιρος)
2222 A Time and a half
= 333 Two Times
= 4445 A Half-period (half xpóvos) = 5555 The Number of the Beast
6664 ch. xiii. 18. A Time, Times, and Half a Time 7773
ch. xii. 14. A Short Time (όλίγος καιρός)
888; ch. xii. 12. A Thousand Years
ch. xx. 2. The 'time no longer,' ovKéte xpóvos,
or no whole period between=999, and 1111; ch. 6. A Period (xpóvos)
= 11115 ch. vi. 11. An Æon, or double period (aiwv)
ch. xiv. 6. “ Thus an accurate consideration of the text discovers a regularly ascending series of periods as here stated. The difficulty, that a short time' (ch. xii. 12,) should denote the long space of 888; years, is done away by considering that our computation is by
half-times, (viz. 1115.) Now the ancients used to reckon no less than seven to the completion of a time, (kaipòs ;) hence four times (or 222 x 4) might easily be denominated a short time,' ολίγος καιρός.” The application of this key of times to the apocalyptical dates and to those of history will be seen in the following table, to which a few particulars are added, which obviously could not be found in Bengel's “Exposition,” that we may take a better general view of his chronological system.
Ante Christum. 1 The Creation of the World
Beginning of “ The Midst,” (or middle period,) of
51 394038 Birth OF CHRIST. 3943
Beginning of the Vulgar or Dionysian Era 4038
Opening of the Apocalypse in the reign of Nerva 96 4040—4059 The First Seal, ch. vi. 2. Victorious reign of Trajan
The Second Seal, ch. vi. 4. War with Decebalus
98 4040—4054 The Third Seal, ch. vi. 6. Scarcity under Trajan 98-112 4040
The Fourth Seal, ch. vi. 8. Calamitous events of
every kind, from the time of Trajan; especially
98 4040—5151 Ch. vi. 11. Period (xpóvos) of 1111} years, from
the persecution of Christianity under Trajan, to
the persecution of the Waldenses by the papacy 98-1209 4056—4077 Ch. viii. 7. Trumpet of the First Angel. Rebel
lion of the Jews; and sanguinary wars with that
Ch. viii. 8. Trumpet of the Second Angel. Irrup
tion of barbarous nations into the pagan Roman
Ch. viii. 10. Trumpet of the Third Angel. The
315 4337—4452 Ch. viii. 12. Trumpet of the Fourth Angel.
Gradual decline of the Roman empire, which
Ch. viii. 13. Flight of the Eagle * which an
nounces the Three Woes. Diligent inquiries
500 • Angel in our English version ; but Eagle is considered the genuine reading; detoū RETONévov. Lectio indubie genuina. Griesb.