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version appears in the second, on the one hand, in the flight of the Woman into the wilderness for 1260 days, ch. xii. 6, and in the prophesying of the Two Witnesses in sackcloth for this period, ch. xi. 3; and, on the other, in the persecution of the Dragon for 1260 days, ch. xii. 14, and the continuing (to make war on the saints) of the Beast, (all whose power the Two-horned Beast exerciseth, ch. xiii. 12,) for 42 months which is 1260 days, ch. xiii. 5, and also in the treading under foot by the Gentiles of the holy city for 42 months, ch. xi. 2.
The Sixth Seal, which is longer than the other in the first version, receives in the second a proportionally long recapitulation. The chief remaining part of this version is almost entirely devoted to the recapitulation of this seal.
It opens with judgment. In the second version the judgments on the three enemies who fought and for a season oppressed the Conqueror, are represented by Seven Trumpets, the last of which completes their destruction, chs. viii., xi. This seventh and last Trumpet is what is to be understood as having its special counterpart in the Tempest of the Sixth Seal; but in the first version all the judgments are to be regarded as comprehended in the representation made of this last, which is to be looked upon there as the representative of the whole. The Seventh Trumpet is subdivided into Seven Vials or Seven Last Plagues of judgment. This subdivision presents a description of the particular events which mark the last judgment, chs. XV., xvi.
The desperate condition of the three enemies
during the period of the judgment is described in reference to two of them by the representation of the Beast and the Whore in the wilderness, ch. xvii. 3. The condition of the Dragon during this period is described by his being chained in the bottomless pit or abyss for the extravagant period of 1000 years ! The contest in its intensity lasts for 1260 days, and as an episode in it the Dragon is chained for 1000 years ! This is one of those absurdities which, as has been already referred to, more or less characterize the first representation of a prophetic allegory. It looks on the first sense as a mere phantasm and disfigures it at its pleasure. The absurdity here, however, is not greater, by no means so great, as that involved in the conception that a lamb should take a book and open the seven seals of it, ch. vi., or that a water-Dragon should be seen in the sky, ch. xii. Symbolic prophecy delights in such extravagances; she excels all orators in the boldness of her figures. The second sense shows that this period, with such audacity of statement made so extravagantly long, is, in truth, in comparison of the 1260 days, an incomparably short period.
Such is the miserable condition of the three enemies as they are subjected to the strokes of that vengeance and judgment promised to the persecuted under the fifth seal, or, to use the imagery of the sixth seal, as they are lying under the awful tempest in the great day of the wrath of the Lamb; and which, in the second allegory, reappears in another form in the effusion of Seven Golden Vials full of the wrath of God.
The final consummation occurs in the Seventh and last Vial and while the last notes of the Seventh Trumpet are sounding. The Beast and the False Prophet are taken captive and cast by the great Conqueror into a lake of fire, ch. xix. 20; the city, Babylon, falls, which is a rehearsal in part of the above, ch. xviii.; the Dragon is cast into the same lake of fire and brimstone in which "the Beast and the False Prophet are," ch. xx. 10. Such is the destiny of those three enemies that presumed to measure swords with the great victor, who, in the first seal, is seen unfurling his auspicious ensign and going forth “conquering and to conquer.” He achieves a hard-wrought victory ; in this achievement we see the design of the work and the unity of its design exemplified.
The victorious course of the Conqueror, as he inflicts the judgments above-described, after the long period of his depression has passed away, during which he succumbed to his enemies, is more particularly represented in ch. xix., while it is elsewhere referred to.
Such is the recapitulation in the second allegory of the Tempest of the sixth seal.
But the sixth seal depicts also the triumph of the victor in glowing langnage, ch. vii. 9–17. This triumph is described in still more vivid colors in the representation which ends the seventh seal and closes the second allegory, chs. xxi., xxii.
There is, then, in the Revelation, a double allegory exhibiting in each form of it unity of design, and displaying a fourfold group in each.
SECOND REPRESENTATION OF THE ALLEGORY.
KEY TO THE SECOND AND REAL SENSE OF A PROPHETIO
It has been seen there is a vast difference between figurative and allegorical language. The former presents no enigma, for it combines the two mental pictures which compose and complete the figurative representation made, and explains itself. It is rare, accordingly, that an interpretation is formally rendered of this kind of writing; if there is, the figure is really a fragmentary allegory. Scripture affords, however, many interpretations of allegories, especially of the allegorical prophecies. They were requisite; an allegory is an enigma : it contains, but it witholds, if not entirely, to a great extent, the second picture. They were peculiarly necessary in respect to the allegorical prophecies. These are couched in hieroglyphical signs organized into a language. The sense of
the signs of this language required to be definitely fixed.
It is immaterial to our present purpose to ascertain the origin of these hieroglyphical signs. They are probably remains of that ancient hieroglyphic mode of writing which certainly preceded the invention of the alphabet, and which, having passed out of general use, were enigmatical and suitable as vehicles for the delivery of prophecy. For this they were eminently suitable, inasmuch as they combined definiteness with concealment of meaning. It is enough to know that they are used by the symbolic prophets, that such interpretations are rendered of them in Scripture as to leave no doubt in regard to the signification of the greater part of them, and that they form a language, which, although it bears a certain analogy to ordinary figurative language, is still essentially different from it.
It is obvious from what has been said in the preceding pages that the interpretation of an allegory consists in nothing more and nothing less than the discovery of that second picture which it conceals from view, but which it bears, and in which its real sense lies.
In regard to a prophetic allegory the following means contribute to this end :
18t. Circumstances connected with the delivery of the allegory which tend to suggest its second sense.
2d. Peculiarities in the structure of the allegory which have the same effect.
3d. Partial developments which it makes of the second picture.