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beginning of the gospel-dispensation to the day of judgment. It proves an index, by shewing the general order of events, and their relative. situation to each other; so that, when an event is introduced in the Old Testament prophecies, in a detached manner, not connected with what goes before, or follows after, we are enabled, by the aid of the Apocalypse, to refer it to its proper place, in the series of events.
The series of events is carried on in the Apocalypse by seven seals opened in their order, fe. ven trumpets founded in their order, and feven vials poured out in their order. The seven trumpets are the evolution of the seventh seal, the seven vials are the evolution of the seventh trumpet. The seventh vial introduces the Millennium, from which period the aspect of the church and the world is uniform until the day of judgment, except a short interruption by Gog, at the close of the Millennium. Now, as every remarkable event yet to be accomplished, is referred in the Apocalypse to some one of the trum. pets or vials, to the duration or clofe of the Millennium, the place of such event, in the general order of events, is known, and to that place it may be referred, wherever it occurs. Again, the Apocalypse not only shews the
general order of events, but by using the expressions of the Old Testament prophets, refers the
reader to particular passages, where the same event is treated of more fully. Thus the “ wine press," mentioned Rev. xiv. and xix. obviously refers to Joel chap. iii. which treats of the same event. And the army of Gog, Rev.xx. is a reference to the 38th and 39th chap. of Ezekiel. However, it must be acknowledged, that the expressions of the Old Testament prophets are sometimes used, on account of a similarity in the events, though they are not the fame. This part of the rule, therefore, is not decisive, unless upon examining the passage referred to, it is confirmed by the coincidence of some of the rules which follow.
New Testament Interpretations.
SEVERAL passages of the Old Teftament prophecies are quoted and explained in the New Teftament. Every passage of this kind I confider as a key to open up the whole section of prophecy connected with it. Thus, Isaiah lix. 20. 66 The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and turn 6 away ungodliness from Jacob,” is quoted by the Apostle Paul, Rom. xi. 26. and applied to the conversion and restoration of the Jewish nation. Hence I infer, that the former part of the
chapter chapter represents the sins of the Jews in their present dispersion; and the following chapter, which is evidently connected with it, shews the glory of their church after their conversion to Christianity.
All Christians muft allow, that this rule is well founded, because the Spirit of God is the best interpreter of his own expressions; but few, if any, in their comments upon Scripture, have been directed by it, as they ought.
To give an instance, in the case of a propliecy already fulfilled. In the 28th chapter of Isaiah, are two verses, quoted and explained in the New Testament ; verfe 11. is applied by the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. xiv. 21. to the gift of tongues in the apostle's days; ver. 16. is said to fignify, that the kingdom of Christ should be established, in defiance of the Jews, who rejected him ; Eph. ii. 20. and 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5.
Now, all the commentaries I have seen apply the whole of the chapter to the state of the Jews in Hezekiah's time, and the invasion of Senacherib. They allow the New Testament interpretation to be true, only in a secondary sense; the consequence is, that the interpretation of the whole chapter does not hang together, but is perplexed and contradictory; whereas, if the quotations from the New Testament be considered as a key, and the chapter from
the 7th verse downward, be applied to the times in which our Saviour appeared, the perplexity isremoved, the interpretation appears connected, and every expression of the prophet has been fully verified by the event.
If ver. 11. fignifies the teaching of Senacherib’s rod, how does that agree with the doctrine taught?“ To whom he said, This is the rest s6 wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, " and this is the refreshing, yet they would not -65 hear ;* ver. 12.
Was it to offer reft that Senacherib invaded Judea? But was not this the design of the apostle's ministry, to point out Jesus as the Messiah, whom the prophets foretold, their fathers expected, and in whom their fouls should find rest and refreshment? The address to the rulers, ver. 14, 15. if applied to Hezekiah's time, fupposes a faction in opposition to his government, which the history of these times does not warrant; whereas, without supposing any thing, but what is on record, the address is perfectly applicable to the rulers of the Jewish nation in our Saviour's time. They derided and rejected the Saviour, to ingratiate themfelves with the Roman people, the great destroyers of mankind at that period. “ If we 6 let him thus alone, (say they) all men will « believe on him, and the Romans shall come
“ and take away both our place and nation;" John XI. 48.
In ver. 18.-22. it appears, that the covenant of the rulers, with the destroyers called Death, ended in the destruction of the rulers, and the utter desolation of their land. Was this the end of Senacherib's invasion ? Did it not iffue in a glorious deliverance ? But every part of this de. fcription was fully verified by the Roman disperfion.
State of the Jews.
The history of the Jews is more or less mingled with the greater part of the Old Testament prophecies. They are sometimes represented as in a state of dispersion ; at other times, as restored to the favour of God ;-gathered from among the nations ;-brought back to their own land; or as enjoying all happiness in it.
Some one or other of these circumstances annexed to a section of prophecy, at the beginning or end, or blended with it throughout, shews, that the events contained in that section of prophecy shall be contemporary with the state of the Jewish nation represented. D