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5. As the four angels are loosed for the special purpose of destroying the Constantinopolitan Monarchy; so the duration of their freedom for such purposes. of extensive mischief, as might well constitute a preëminent woe, is accurately limited to a certain definite prophetic period.
And the four angels, who had been prepared unto the appointed season, were loosed during both a day and a month and a year, in order that they might slay the third part of men!
The second woe is evidently produced by the victorious and overbearing liberty of the four angels to do mischief to their Christian neighbours. Consequently, when this liberty is brought to an end, the second woe is also brought to an end. Hence it will follow, that the period of a prophetic day and month and year, which is marked out as the duration of the
anti-christian Beast or Empire, on which the trumpets have already been inflicted, and on which probably the vials are yet to be poured; namely, the Roman-Catholic countries : and they are here, according to our interpretation, directly and formally charged with idolatry by the Holy Ghost. Whiston's Essay on the Rev. par. ii. p. 219.
" Rev. ix. 15. The many erroneous versions of this passage have entirely arisen from improper punctuation. I read the original Greek, pointed as follows.
Και ελύθησαν οι τέσσαρες άγγελοι, οι ήτοιμασμένοι εις την ώραν, και ήμέραν και μήνα και ενιαυτόν, ίνα αποκτείνωσι το τρίτον των ανθρώπων. .
The accusatives, ημέραν and μήνα and ενιαυτόν, I consider, as denoting continuance of time, and as depending not upon the preposition εις but upon the verb έλύθησαν. .
liberty to do mischief, must also be the specific duration of the second woe: just as the period of five prophetic months was the specific duration of the first woe.
(1.) In computing the term now before us, there is, antecedently, some degree of uncertainty as to the proper mode of reckoning.
If the prophetic year, in the present passage, be viewed as comprehending 360 prophetic days: then a day and a month and a year will be equal to 391 prophetic days or 391 natural years. But, if, agreeably to the true length of the solar year, it be viewed as comprehending 3654 prophetic days: then a day and a month and a year will be equal to 3961 prophetic days or 396 natural years and 3 months.
The former mode of reckoning is followed by Sir Isaac Newton and Bishop Newton: the latter mode is preferred by Mr. Mede and Mr. Whiston.
In favour of the former mode, it may certainly be urged, that the prophetic time or year, in the case of the three times and a half, contains no more than 360 days whence we are apparently bound to conclude, that the year, in the present passage, ought to be similarly computed. Yet the peculiar phraseology of St. John, which, in this single passage, varies from the ordinary phraseology elsewhere employed both by himself and by Daniel, may well incline us, even antecedently and abstractedly, to adopt the latter mode.
Had the Apostle written a day and a month and a TIME; analogy would have required us to follow
that short mode of computation, which has been preferred by Sir Isaac Newton and Bishop Newton: for no instance occurs, in which the prophetic time is ever employed to designate a term of more than 360 prophetic days. But he writes a day and a month and a YEAR; employing a word, entirely different from that which he uses when he speaks of the time and times and half time': and, for this remarkable and insulated variation from the ordinary language both of himself and of Daniel, I see not what satisfactory reason can be given, save that it was adopted for the purpose of artfully intimating the use of a different mode of computation. If the Apostle had wished to express the sum of 391 calendar years, he would, I think, agreeably to the analogy both of his own predictions and of the kindred predictions of Daniel, have written, not a day and a month and a YEAR, but a day and a month and a TIME. On the other hand, wishing, as we may reasonably conclude from the fact of his verbal singularity, to express the sum of 396 calendar years and 3 months, he would not write a day and a month and a TIME; because such phraseology, from the manner in which it is constantly employed, would necessarily have expressed the sum of 391 calendar years only: but, with a marked and apparently studied variation, he wrote a day and a month and a YEAR; because this peculiar
'In Rev. ix. 15, he uses the word iviavrós: but, in Rev. xii. 14, he employs the word kapóc.