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Introduction and Key


Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator





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070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World




1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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The Apocalypse
with notes and reflections

By Isaac Williams

"the fall of Jerusalem was the coming of Christ in His kingdom"


"But the presence of the Lamb has rendered that easy which before was difficult." The six Seals appear to be fulfilled in the forty years in which the Spirit pleaded with Jerusalem before its destruction; this may be the writing "without," as understood by all: but every Seal seems also to have an ulterior fulfilment, which is the hidden sense "written within".

Since the vision of the last chapter represented the mystery of the power and worship given to the Son of Man on His being raised to the right hand of God, there now follows in order the emblematic history of His victory on earth from that period. Consequently the six first Seals contain an account of our Lord's coming in judgment on Jerusalem, marking and defining, in their successive stages, the images by which it had already been spoken of in the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels; as in Leviticus (xxvi. 25), in Ezekiel (xiv. 12—23), and in our Lord's discourse on the Mount of Olives6. As that His discourse does at the same time, and by the same figures, refer to His final coming to Judgment and the last days; these Seals may, of course, likewise have a further reference to the same; and, indeed, from the successive stages and order in which God's Providences seem to move, it is not improbable. Or it may be that these latter fulfilments are carried out in the seven Vials; for there appears a marked correspondence between the Seals, the Trumpets, and the Vials—the visitations differing in each successively rather in intensity than in character. "If judgment first begin at us," says St. Peter, "what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel'?" begin perhaps at us in Jerusalem, and thence fulfilled in the world. Such ulterior accomplishments it is not for us to speculate upon or understand, but the former fulfilment we may see in these exquisitely beautiful figures of Divine imagery; and if we may at all rightly augur of the future, it will probably be by beholding them in this mirror of the past, which is so designedly given us for that purpose. We take, therefore, with Victorinus the discourse on the Mount of Olives for the key to these Seals; and naturally so and of necessity, for our Lord then spake of His successive comings in His Kingdom ; the Apocalypsis therefore of Christ, the opening of the Seals, must be in some sense the same as that discourse. 

These Seals are of awful judgments, of "lamentation, and mourning, and woe," yet this is only on their earthly aspect; we are to bear in mind, throughout the whole, the previous chapter of the thanksgivings and blessedness of the Redeemed coincident with it. The reference which these judgments have to the plagues in Egypt seems to be, that as then God was about to bring His own out of Egypt, so now out of the earthly Jerusalem, become as Egypt to them; and, in like manner, afterwards His own out of the mystic Babylon under the Vials. It may be owing to this circumstance that the Prophet Zechariah and the vision of horses seems taken for the basis of this prophecy, for that was the bringing of Israel out of Babylon, the establishment again of Jerusalem—the horse is the going forth of "judgment unto victory8." Owing to these circumstances the four first of these seven Seals have a distinct character of their own, being composed of the four horses and connected with the four Living Creatures, which severally announce and minister to them; in like manner as the four Seals are but the expansion of that discourse of our Lord's delivered to the four Apostles9, the setting forth, as it were, in picture or living emblem what was then spoken of. The four Evangelists say, " Come and see;" the Gospels will interpret the meaning, Come and behold what therein you read of. These four Seals

are connected with the Throne of God, as it is supported by the four Living Creatures, "the quadriform Gospel," "the chariot of the Lord10," the kingdom of Heaven, the "altar four-square," or the Atonement spread forth through the world; and first in type through "the cities of Judah" was it to be preached by the Apostles before Christ came to destroy Jerusalem. The number four expresses the idea of solidity, and from thence the material universe; the first number which speaks of what is external to God—the world; and thence the four elements; the four seasons; the four quarters of the globe, but watered by the four rivers of Paradise going forth from one head: Christ in the four Gospels: "the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth "." The four, therefore, is of the kingdom established on a solid basis. "Lift up now thine eyes," was said to Abraham, "northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward "." Thus was the throne on the four extended. "And then shall the end come13."

"I heard, as it were the noise of thunder"—for it is an inspired Evangelist that speaks, or the voice of God; when God spake unto Christ in St. John's Gospel, "the people said that it thundered: others said, an Angel spake." Our Lord Himself named the Apostle of love "a son of thunder." It is, moreover, the Lion that speaks in thunder, the appropriate emblem of this Seal; for "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" introduces that which is of conquest and dominion. Each of the four mystic Creatures speaks in order, and their individual symbols may be found

throughout singly to apply. Here the expression itself is from the Gospel narrative; "Come and see," as Philip said to Nathanael—" Come and see" if this be not the Christ going forth "conquering and to conquer." This manifestation of Christ diners from the two preceding, and from the emblems of Himself in the parables. It is not the Sower; nor the King inviting to a feast; nor a Master calling to account His servants; nor a Shepherd; not a treasure hid in a field; nor a pearl; but a horseman, indicating dominion; the King and the Conqueror, the crown and the bow. "Who is this that cometh," the solitary Eider, "travelling in the greatness of His strength1?" It is He who again appears with His army on white horses, with many crowns, and with His vesture dipped in blood (ch. xix. 13, 14). He says now, "I have trodden the winepress alone: and of the people there was none with Me." But hereafter this winepress is trodden by an army of horse (ch. xiv. 20). And the "little one hath become a thousand."

Again; this going forth is from the Old Testament, which supplies all the accompaniments of the picture; as he that calls attention to it is the Lion of Judah. A Conqueror setting forth; "Thou art fairer than the children of men . . . Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most Mighty. . . . and in Thy Majesty ride prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righteousness. Thine arrows are sharp. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever2." He goes forth "conquering and to conquer;" "conquering" in His first Apostles and Martyrs, and this the pledge of future conquest—of what He is afterwards to do unto the end. If we ask, why is "white" the colour? Bede will answer, "It is the Church made by grace whiter than snow." If we ask, from whence is the bow? Aretas replies from the Prophet, "Thou didst ride upon Thine horses, and Thy chariots of salvation: Thy bow was made quite naked. At the light of Thine arrows they went3." Or Tichonius from another, He "hath made them as His goodly horse in the battle." ..." Out of Him came forth the battle bow4." Or again, if we ask, what is the "crown" which is "given Him?" or of what composed is the bow with which He fights? they are His own elect; the same Prophet will supply the answer; "When I have bent Judah for Me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion:" "His arrow shall go forth as the lightning:" "The Lord their God shall save them. They shall be as the stones of a crown 5." In these all is of God — of God made Man. Of the "arrows" which so often occur, as in the Psalms and in Job (ch. vi. 4), St. Augustin beautifully says, that they are "the words of God, which occasion the wounds of love. For love cannot be without pain6." He is the Lamb in the last vision; He is on the throne in Heaven; "Sit Thou on My right hand till I make Thy foes Thy footstool:" yet here He goeth forth on earth in His Apostles and Preachers; and He crowns them, and them is crowned. He is Himself their "crown and rejoicing" in those He wins. He in them by Saul was persecuted.

Thus Victorinus, Aretas, (Ecumenius, and others unite in the obvious interpretation, that it is Christ going forth as Conqueror in the Apostolic preaching; and victorious against the prince of error. "We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God'r" Tea, as His "goings forth have been from everlasting," even Berengaudus may be explained as seeing the type of this, when he speaks of it as His going forth after the blood of the righteous Abel, in the beginning of the world. Here He is setting out to take His Kingdom; and thus under the seventh Trumpet the twenty-four Elders give thanks, "because He hath taken His great power and hath reigned" (ch. xi. 17)." (p. 92)

"It should be unnecessary to mention that the Seals are not of the Romans, nor of the Jews, but of the Christian Church, and the bringing of the same out of the earthly Jerusalem. It is Christ's coming, indeed, on that city in judgment, as the first enemy of His Kingdom to be subdued in His goings forth on the White Horse, but as carrying on the cause of His Church. In this point of view alone are either Rome or Jerusalem in which once "lodged righteousness, but now murderers," any subject for this Divine Book, only, in fact, as Egypt or Pharaoh were of old. The destruction of Sodom, and judgments of Egypt, are kept as memorials in Scripture, because they were in themselves typical and prophetical; and it is as such that these last visitations on Jerusalem are so prominent, as inwreathed with figures of things hereafter, which will not be known until accomplished, and when accomplished will have ceased to be of interest, being rolled up as a scroll with all things seen and temporal. Throughout these Seals, which are of judgments, ever must be kept in mind, as parted only by a slight veil, the scene invisible of the previous chapter, the eternal Blessedness of those gathered in from these troubles of the world. The Throne is still with us throughout, supported by the four Evangelists of mercy." (p. 94)


"And now, under the Fifth Seal, on Jerusalem itself is concentrating the desolation: "For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come V Here we must especially notice that these "souls under the altar" are the saints of the Old Testament, and those ancient martyrs whose blood our Lord had so emphatically said should be avenged on Jerusalem: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets!" was her designation; "that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the hlood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar'." They had now slain our Lord's own Apostles and martyrs under the former Seals, according to His awful declaration, "Wherefore, I send unto you prophets and wise men, and some of them ye shall kill . . . ." Thus they had "filled up," as He had said, "the measure of their fathers -." to which it was added, "Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation." Here we have, as throughout, our Lord's own expressions as the key for the interpretation. It is thus exactly harmonized, and explained in keeping with itself and with all the Seals. They have " killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets," they have "filled up their sins," and "the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."  (p. 99)

But their brethren to be slain must be those whom our Lord had spoken of as yet to be killed by the Jews, to "fill up the measure of their iniquity," when it all should be visited. There is no reason why it should not refer to both: our Lord comes to avenge them in the destruction of Jerusalem: but yet the "little while," when they shall see Him again, also will be the Day of Judgment: yet to the first, as the strongly-marked and definite fulfilment, and as the pledge of the latter, all things direct our attention -. the mirror held out to us wherein we may see as in a glass darkly the great mysteries of the latter times. Our bearing this in mind will serve to adjust many difficulties and confusions. Thus Aretas suggests it may be " the cry of prophets and wise men before the Incarnation of Christ, impatient of His long-suffering and delay. For before the saving Passion of the Cross, the vengeance of God on unholy men was not so evident." "These things we may adapt to the men who loved God under the Law." But he adds, "it may be more suitable to understand it of the martyrs after Christ." Berengaudus says, "The 'little season' is till the Day of Judgment." (p. 99)

"Nor less closely is the destruction of Jerusalem and the New Zion of the redeemed spoken of under these figures in the Prophets; as in Isaiah, "the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zions." And the memorable occurrence of all these images in the Prophet Joel has its application to this great event9. Again; those figurative expressions of the Prophets, of their calling on the "mountains and rocks" to "fall" on them and "cover" them, our Lord has Himself taken and stamped with His own authority as having a fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem, when He said; "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves'." And in comparing it with the Prophet we find "the wrath of the Lamb" thus spoken of; that they shall " go into the clefts of the rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth V Adam hid himself among the trees: these will call on mountains to hide them, so far greater their terror and shame. What may be the meaning of these things it is impossible to decide, but that they have a primary subordinate sense as figures is obvious. As this is the Sixth Seal, so on the sixth day and at the sixth hour the sun was darkened at our Lord's death. It may be that He now withdraws His countenance from Israel, "the Sun" of Righteousness is turned to "sackcloth," and has no light for them; that Church, as the "moon," is turned into "blood" at that terrible siege; for their "hands are full of blood3:" and her "stars" or great ones "fall," not by gradual decay—not, as it will be at the end of the world, when the figs are "ripe4," but by untimely violence cast down to the ground. The fig-tree being often put for the synagogue, on which our Lord sought fruit in vain, and cursed from the root. The "Heaven" is "rolled together" as a book folded up and done with. "It is the Old Testament," says Berengaudus. And St. Austin takes the Heavens for the type of God's Word 5 . In some sense certainly the Heaven or book of that dispensation. "Every mountain and island were moved from their places" as in that great change and dissolution of which the Prophet speaks; "the earth is utterly broken, the earth is moved exceedingly6." It is much to be noticed how in the corresponding ulterior fulfilment these same figures increase in power; when "the great Babylon" falls, "every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.  The sublimity and vastness of the expressions by which the destruction of Jerusalem is described raise our thoughts to those greater visitations in which they will be finally fulfilled, when in a fuller sense "the great day of His wrath is come." "The great, the rich, the mighty, the kings, and captains," may be those "ten kings" so mysteriously described with the Beast, for ten is of multitudes. And the "falling" of the "stars" may have a reference to that time when Antichrist shall cast down the stars of Heaven to the ground, and stamp them under his feets. "In the end," says Aretas, "with exceeding vastness, and not in any one part of the world as on Jerusalem, but in a surpassing manner to the whole world, will occur the exceeding great tribulation on the coming of Antichrist; in which on those pre-eminent in worldly authority, whom he hath set forth as kings, or of ecclesiastical order, whom he hath figuratively named mountains and islands, that fearful tribulation will be brought." The number six, as Bede remarks on the sixth Epistle, is of Antichrist. This seems to be the object of those vast and overwhelming figures by which things are described, casting their huge shadows long before and covering all lesser fulfilments in the untold consummation yet to be, to which they point and tend. For this reason it appears to be that all these signs of the sun, moon, and stars, and the like, are not confined to Jerusalem, but are descriptive of the fall of other cities and nations; as of Babylon9, of Idumea', and of Egypt2. These, fixed by our Lord on Jerusalem, combine together to point out the way to their one great final meaning. The language of God must be that of mystery—cannot be that of exaggeration or hyperbole." (p. 105)

The six Angels of destruction are seen, the word is gone forth to destroy the city; "the glory of the God of Israel was gone up, from the cherub whereon he was, to the threshold of the house." "And the Lord said unto the man; Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations:" as in another Prophet, "A book of remembrance was written before Him;" "And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels'." And St. Peter, in his great sermon of Pentecost, has strongly marked it as the fulfilment of the Prophet Joel, that when "the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood," i.e. at the destruction of Jerusalem, as we have seen in the sixth Seal, "whosoever shall call on the Lord shall be saved10." "God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." "There is a remnant according to the election of grace'." Our Lord's own words, then, bear out the same with greater fulness and exactness, combining also in the fulfilment the final one of which itself is the type. In all the accounts it is the critical moment of destruction at which this pause is made, and this in the Apocalypse lies between the two descriptions, that of Ezekiel and the Gospel. "And He shall send His Angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds'."  (p. 114)

"4. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and (here were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand out of every tribe of the sons of Israel."  The Greek commentators speak of this sealing being fulfilled in those many Jews who, sealed by faith in Christ, were not destroyed in Jerusalem, but escaped. And we have the testimony appealed to by St. James of the "many thousands of the Jews who believed2." "Or," adds Aretas, "more probably is it spoken of those Jews in the end, of which St. Paul says, 'so shall all Israel be saved3.'" But this sealing cannot be interpreted of merely the escape of those Christians, it is stamped throughout with a higher signification also; and the exact specification of number would prevent our limiting it or applying it too much to any such fulfilment. "


The Reverend Isaac Williams (1802–1865) was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement, a student and disciple of John Keble and, like the other members of the movement, associated with Oxford University. A prolific writer, Williams wrote poetry and prose including the well known Tract: "On Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge".


In 1841, Williams had been suggested as John Keble's successor as the professor of poetry at Oxford. Due to furor raised by Newman's Tract XC, and Williams' association with the Oxford Men, the election became a referendum on Tractarianism. The controversy created became so heated that Williams withdrew his name and James Garbett was given the position.[1]


Sermon Preached at the Consecration of the Church of Llangorwen, in the Diocese of St. David's, December 16, MDCCCXLI.
Aberystwith: J. Cox, 1841.

The Autobiography of Isaac Williams, B.D.
Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, Oxford, Author of Several of the Tracts for the Times
Edited by Sir George Prevost, Late Archdeacon of Gloucester.
London: Longmans, 1892.

Isaac Williams and the Oxford Movement.
The Church Quarterly Review, Volume XXXIV, July 1892.
London: Printed and Published by Spottiswoode & Co., 1892.

Isaac Williams. London: The Catholic Literature Association, 1933.

Tract Number 80--On Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge.

Tract Number 87--On Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge. (continued)

A Brief Analysis of the Tracts on Reserve in Communicating Religious Knowledge
By Henry Arthur Woodgate
Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1842.

From A Course of Sermons on Solemn Subjects chiefly bearing on Repentance and Amendment of Life, Preached in St. Saviour's Church, Leeds, During the Week after its Consecration on the Feast of S. Simon and S. Jude, 1845. (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1845).

Sermon 8
Sermon 10

The Altar; or Meditations in Verse on the Great Christian Sacrifice
London: Joseph Masters, 1849.

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