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SYNOPTICAL VIEW OF THE INTERPRE
The two main and distinctive features, in so far as the form of the prophecy is concerned, of the interpretation of the Revelation submitted in the foregoing pages, may be stated as follows:
1st. The prophecy is delivered in a DOUBLE VERSION. (See under Prop. 3d. It is unnecessary to state how valuable this principle is to the elimination of the meaning. The one version occupies the place of an interpreter to the other, and the prophecy to a certain extent, interprets itself.
2d. The prophecy is constructed in the QUATERNAL FORM. (See under Prop. 4th.) By the aid of this principle, the various pictures of the seven-sealed book may
be ranged under FOUR HEADINGS. thus enabled to institute a comparison between them; light is thrown on what is dark, and confusion resolves itself into order. ·
So far as we are aware, these principles have not yet been applied to the Book of Revelations, and if they are true and necessary to the right interpretation, is it at all wonderful that this has not yet been rendered ?
It appears to us that these two principles go far to unlock the chambers of imagery of this sublime prophecy. Under their application the prophecy exhibits an admirable simplicity combined with an exquisite symmetry in all its parts. Perhaps in the end it will be found that the wise conception and clesign manifested in the book are yet more astonishing than the splendor of its imagery. Rivalling the highest poetry, does it exhibit all the exactitude of mathematical science in its design and structure? If so, and there is no reason to doubt that it does this, it forms a wonderful instance of the wisdom and goodness of God, who has thus delivered to His people a book to guide and cheer their path by the figures of a glowing imagery, which, in the end, resolve themselves into problems of demonstrable certainty and of prophetic import, attesting at once the divinity of His Word and His government of the world.
As a HELP or KEY to the understanding of the book, we beg to submit and prove the following propositions.
1st PROP.—The Book of Revelations is a prophecy written in the symbolical language of Scripture, which language is one and uniform, as the interpretations rendered in Scripture show it to be.
2d Prop.-It is a prophecy distinguished by unity of design. This is evident from its being contained in a seven-sealed book (ch. v. 1), the pictures of which constitute the prophecy (ch. vi.—viii. 1), and it
may also be concluded on the ground that the other symbolical prophecies of Scripture manifest this principle (Dan. ch. ii., vii., viïi. Zech. vi.)
3d PROP.— It exhibits the feature of reduplication, or it contains a double version of itself, for the following reasons: Firstly, because this also is a feature of symbolical representation, as is evident from Gen. xli. 32, where the principle is distinctly enunciated, and from its being displayed by Daniel in his great prophecy regarding the four great empires of the world (ch. ii., ch. vii.) and elsewhere, and secondly, because the book itself plainly shows it—a first version terminating at ch. vii. 1—for the whole subject of the prophecy there takes end, and is repeated in the remaining portion of the book, and “a silence in heaven about the space of half an hour " occurring at this place (ch. viii. 1), which silence is not explicable except on the ground that it divides a first version from a second.
4th PROP.-It is constructed in the form of a Quaternary, or it presents its subject in a fourfold group, because it is the practice of the symbolic prophets to construct their prophecies in this form (Dan. ji., vii. Zech. vi.), and because the four beasts or living-creatures announce or introduce four subjects (ch. vi. 1-8), contained in the representations of the first four seals, which four subjects, from this special introduction, are to be held on the ground of unity of design (Prop. 2), as well as of the analogy of Dan. ch. vii., to be all the subjects which the prophecy predicts concerning. This proposition is
also a corollary from the preceding one, for if the prophecy has a double version, it contains no more than four subjects, no more than four being in the first version, which must be held to end with ch. vii.
5th Prop.—It is a prophecy regarding political dominions and events only; Firstly, because the symbolic language in which it is couched, on a legitimate explication of its meaning derived from Scripture, only bears this reference. Secondly, because the four beasts or living-creatures introduce the four subjects which the prophecy concerns (Prop. 4) in a manner precisely similar to the four winds of Daniel ch. vii. 2, and the whole structure of the prophecy exhibits an analogy both in manner and matter to the prophecy of Daniel ch. ii. and vii., which is entirely political in its bearing. Thirdly, because there is an interpretation rendered in the book (ch. xvii. 7–18), which is entirely political, and which interpretation must be held an example to be followed; and Fourthly, it being certain that parts of the prophecy are political, a regard to unity of design (Prop. 2) necessitates the conclusion that it is all political.
6th PROP.—The political dominions and events predicted of are all of the first magnitude, because the symbolic prophecies of Scripture are restricted to dominions and events of this kind (Dan. passim Zech.), and because the burden of the prophecy as is undeniable is to predict the triumph of the Kingdom of God over certain worldly dominions which must be great, because it is only such which can enter the lists with it for that universal empire which is its destiny.
7th PROP.-Of the four dominions which the prophecy concerns (Prop. 4), three are Roman, and one is the Kingdom of God, which latter clause of the proposition requires no proof. Three dominions are to be held Roman for the following reasons : 1st. It is acknowledged that the iron and clay of the Image (Dan. ch. ii. 40—43) and the fourth Beast (Dan. ch. vii. 23—25), as is evident from the interpretations, stand for the Roman dominion. It is also generally acknowledged that the fourth chariot of Zechariah ch. vi. 6, 7, stands for this dominion likewise. The application which has been made of these prophecies in the above sense may be regarded as a certain truth. It is known that the prophet of the Revelation follows these prophets, as well in the selection of his imagery as his subject while there is no ground to suppose that he departs from them in any respect. For this reason, it is to be held that he predicts only of the Roman dominion as the antagonist of the Kingdom of GodDaniel and Zechariah, whom he follows, not recognizing any other. 2d. Daniel predicts of the Roman dominion in two branches, at the crisis of the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the world, which two branches are represented by the beast itself and by the little horn (Dan. ch. vii. 23—26). The prophet of the Revelation predicts of the same crisis, and must therefore predict of the Roman dominion in two branches at least, for his prophecy is more enlarged than that of Daniel; but a third dominion mentioned by him is in combination with one of the others (Ch. xiii., xvii.), so that three dominions are Roman, which,