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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 16

Section IV Subsection 1

The Air


"He poured out his vial into the Air".

The Air is the political firmament, or heaven, of the world. That air and heaven are regarded as synonymous, appears from Matt. 13:32, which speaks of "the birds of the air," as equivalent for what both Matthew and Luke style the birds, or fowls, of "the heaven". But better authority than James' Version informs us, that "the firmament" between the clouds and the earth's waters, which is the air, or ---- atmosphere, Elohim called "Heaven" (Gen. 1:6-8). When We look into this expanse we see the sun, moon, stars, and constellations, Which, though far beyond it, appear to be in the air or heaven. Now, the political world has its air as well as the natural. Like this, the political air, or firmament, "divides the waters," or peoples who rule, "from the waters," or peoples who are ruled; and whatever constitutes this division is the air or heaven. The governments of the world are in this air, and constitute the sun, moon, stars, and constellations of the air or heaven. If there were no air in the natural world, there would be no clouds, or "waters above the firmament;" but simply "darkness upon the face of the deep" - all waters would be commingled without order or distinction. Such would also be the case in the political world, if there were no political air or aerial. This air divides the ruling class from the common people or "waters," called also "the sea", and sometimes "the earth". The air, or heaven, is therefore that which divides; or in modern phrase, the constitution, or constituted order of things among the nations.
When the Saracens made their irruption into the Dragon, or Graeco-Roman Constantinopolitan empire in the seventh century "the Sun and the Air were darkened" (ch. 9:2) in all the countries they subdued. In other words, the political authority and constitution which placed them in subjection to the Byzantine Dynasty in Constantinople were eclipsed; as the kingdom of the Beast was "darkened" by the judgments of the Fifth Vial, but which afterwards became light again when the darkening power passed away.
Paul refers to the Air or Heaven of the Gentile world, or constitution of things, in Eph. 2:2, where he says, 'ye who were dead in trespasses and in sins, in time past walked according to the aion of this kosmos", or course of this order of things, "according to the chief of the authority of the Air, (which is) the Spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience". The spirit that works in the disobedient is the spirit offlesh, or King Sin. He is the chief, the ruler, or prince, of "the authority of the Air". The constituted authority of an empire, kingdom or republic, is "the authority of the Air" in those several dominions or states. The Powers that be are the Sin-Powers of the Air, styled by the apostle in Eph. 6:12, "principalities and authorities, the world-rulers of the darkness of the course of things (aion) the spirituals of the wickedness in the heavenlies". These all belong to "the authority of the Air". The spirituals of the wickedness in his day were the civil, or secular, and the ecclesiastical, world-rulers, who Were either Jewish or Pagan; but in our day, they are emperors, kings, magistrates, popes, priests, and parsons, called "the clergy", of all orders and degrees, of imposture and blasphemy, pretending to be Christian. These spirituals of wickedness all, as the daemons, foul spirits, and unclean and hateful birds (ch. 18:2), are the ephemera which roost in the branches of the widespreading upas(*) which poisons the air of the Great City in which it grows.
This Air of the Seventh Vial is the air or heaven of Daniel's Four Beasts, or dominions. In his seventh chapter it is styled, kol shemayah, "all the heavens" (ver. 27) under which the kingdom, dominion, and greatness, exist, which are to be given to the chosen people of the saints. The Air of this vial comprehends all these heavens or aerials. It is the same air or heaven, in which a door is opened, and a new throne estab-lished (ch. 4:1,2). This door will be opened, and the throne set therein, when the Armageddon victory shall have cast out the enemy from Jerusalem, and have planted the Lamb and 144,000 on Mount Zion. The denouement of the Sixth Vial opens the door and sets up the throne. There is then a throne in the Air which the air or heaven does not contain at the present time. All other thrones will continue to exist in the air contemporaneously with this new throne, which is the Throne of David restored, until they shall all be taken possession of by the saints of the Most High; when "the kingdoms of the world become our Lord's and his Christ's" (ch. 11:15).
The Air of this Seventh Vial is "the Heaven" of ch. 20:11, which, in consequence of the wrath poured out into it, "flies away" with "the earth" that stands related to it. Both earth and heaven, as now constituted in church, state, and general society, will all be broken up and abolished; and a New Air, or firmament, constituted, in which will shine only "the Splendid Ones," the Sun of Righteousness and the kings of his rising, who obtain "the victory over the Beast, and over his Image, and over his Mark, and over the Number of his Name" (ch. 15:2). These will all meet together with the Lord in the Air, as the "New Heaven," styled also "the Heaven," in ch. 18:20, which rejoices over Babylon in the disaster of her fall. This New Air, I remark again, is the air in which, and for which, the chosen saints are convened. Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4, that when "the time of the dead that they should be judged" arrives, the living saints will not anticipate the dead. That is, they will not be gathered together into the presence of Christ before them. When Christ comes, the living will have to wait, until the reproduction of the dead saints is complete. Be the time of this reproduction long or short, the how long is not revealed; this, however, is certain, that "the dead in Christ shall be restored (anastesontai) FIRST". He then tells us What is to happen next. "After that, We the living Who remain, together with them shall be hurried away in clouds for a convention of the Lord in an air (eis haera), and so (in that Air) We shall be always With the Lord". Thus the dead are the subjects of anastasis, or "restoration" to what they once were; and then, in company with their fellow earthborns in Christ of the generation contemporary with this great anastasis, they go to report themselves for better or worse at the Judgment Seat in Teman. All of them who are approved, or "accounted worthy to obtain that aion" (aion, course of things, or Air), are "clothed with the house from heaven;" and henceforth, appointed to be with the Lord always in the Air.




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