Dissertation on the Prophecies...
(1st ed., Charlestown, MA, 1811)
A DISSERTATION ON THE P R O P H E C I E S; RELATIVE TO ANTICHRIST AND THE LAST TIMES; EXHIBITING THE RISE, CHARACTER, AND OVERTHROW. OF THAT TERRIBLE POWER; AND A TREATISE; ON THE SEVEN APOCALYPTIC V I A L S. BY ETHAN SMITH, A. M. PASTOR OF A CHURCH IN HOPKINTON, N. H. In the last days perilous times shall come PAUL. Ye have heard that Antichrist shall come. JOHN. The Lion hath roared; who shall not fear? The Lord God hath spoken; who can but prophesy? AMOS. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in my holy mountain. JOEL. PRINTED AND SOLD BY SAMUEL T. ARMSTRONG. Charlestown, Massachusetts. 1811.
BE it remembered that on the nineteenth day of February, A.D. 1811 and in the thirty fifth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Samuel T. Armstrong, of the said district, has deposited in this office the title of a book the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
"A Dissertation on the Prophecies relative to Antichrist, and the Last Times: exhibiting the Rise, Character and Overthrow of that terrible Power; and a Treatise on the seven apocalyptic Vials. By Ethan Smith, A.M. Pastor of the church in Hopkinton, N. H. In the last days perilous times shall come PAUL. Ye have heard that Antichrist shall come. JOHN. The Lion hath roared; who shall not fear? The Lord God hath spoken; who can but prophesy? AMOS.
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in my holy mountain. JOEL."
In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, intitled "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned;" and also to an act entitled "An act supplementary to an act intitled 'An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned;' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
WM. S. SHAW,
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
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Rev. Doctor Lathrop's. "The Rev. E. Smith has read in my hearing a considerable portion of a Dissertation on the Prophecies relative to Antichrist, and the last times, written by himself. And so far as I can judge, from what I have heard, it is written with great ingenuity, communicates new and important light on the subject, and would be at any time, and especially at the present time, highly deserving of the public attention.
Rev. Doctor Hemmenway's. "Having heard a considerable part of the Dissertation above mentioned read, I can heartily concur with the others, who have recommended the publication of it, as ingenious, seasonable, and highly worthy of the public attention.
Rev. Doctor Spring's. "Having heard Mr. Smith read his Dissertation on the Prophecies, relative to Antichrist, and the last days, it is sincerely hoped he will be induced to publish it. He has so attentively developed and displayed the design of Inspiration relative to the last times, by judiciously comparing various predictions, that it is judged he has cast new light upon the interesting subject; and that his labored work will be read with advantage by all candid inquirers after truth.
Rev. Doctor Thayer's. "Having attended to a Dissertation in manuscript of the Rev. E. Smith on the Prophecies, relative to Antichrist, and the last days, including a Treatise on the seven Vials, I am fully of opinion that new light is thrown upon the subject; that the predictions, and the events stated as their fulfilment, better accord with each other, than in any publication I have seen upon this interesting subject. The work appears to be handsomely and judiciously executed, and calculated to afford important and necessary instruction and warning to the present generation. For these reasons it is wished that it be made public.
Rev. Doctor Morse's. "The Rev. E. Smith has communicated to me the plan of his Dissertation on the Prophecies, and read in my hearing a considerable part of his MS. I deem his work seasonable, ingenious, and deeply interesting to the public. In explaining and applying some very important prophecies, he appears to differ from all the writers on the subject, who have preceded him, and for reasons, which, so far as my attention to the work enables me to decide, are as satisfactory as the nature of the case I will admit. I cordially unite with my fathers and brethren above named, in their wishes to have this work published, and am persuaded it will be read with interest, and I would hope with profit, by multitudes of Christians who are anxiously observant of the signs of the times.
"The Hopkinton Association, in the state of New Hampshire, having given a hearing to the Dissertation of the Rev. E. Smith, on the Prophecies relative to Antichrist, do approve of the object and execution of the work. They view it calculated to promote the interest of Zion in this age of the world; and do therefore cordially recommend it to the careful and impartial perusal of every class of people.
EBENEZER PRICE, scribe pro tem."
Rev. Mr. M'Farland's. "I have read in manuscript a "Dissertation on the Prophecies, relative to Antichrist, and the last times," by the Rev. E. Smith. I n this eventful age, a work, that is calculated to explain the import and fulfilment of prophecy, is peculiarly seasonable and interesting. I can with sincerity concur with others, who have given their opinion respecting this work, and say, I believe it communicates new light on the prophecies, which relate to the last times. I wish it may be published, and have an extensive circulation.
SAMUEL T. ARMSTRONG would inform his friends and the public generally, that he intends shortly to open a BOOK-STORE, in a central part of Boston, and he takes this opportunity to solicit orders for BOOKSand STATIONERY, of which articles he will endeavor to have a complete and constant supply.
N. B. The PRINTING BUSINESS will be carried on as usual; orders to any extent attended to with promptitude, and executed with neatness and accuracy upon liberal terms.
Charlestown, Mass. Feb. 20, 1811.
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We are taught in the prophetic parts of the sacred Scriptures to expect the rise of a terrible atheistical Power, and a vast influence of Infidelity, in the last days, or just before the Millennium.
SECTION 1.17 Preliminary remarks upon the 10th and 11th chapters of Daniel.
98 Concluding remarks upon the chapter.
The last days have arrived, and an inceptive fulfilment of the predictions concerning Antichrist is now manifest before our eyes.
SECTION 1.101 Chronological calculations.
165 Concluding remarks upon the chapter.
Some other particulars relative to the subject under consideration.
SECTION 1.167 The trials of the Church under the reign of Antichrist.
261 A treatise on the seven apocalypyic Vials.
264 Vial 1. The discovery made of Papal corruption, at the reformation, early in the sixteenth century
285 Vial 2. The terrible wars in Italy for nearly half a century, between Charles V. and Francis I, ending in 1569
299 Vial 3. The subsequent wars and judgments in the Papal nations, for about two centuries
315 Vial 4. The operations of the European civil governments against the Papal hierarchy, concluding in the expulsion of the Jesuits, after the middle of the last century
323 Vial 5. The overthrow of the Papal beast, by the rise of the Antichristian beast in France, in and after the year 1789
325 Vial 6. The subversion of the Turkish empire, to prepare the way for the restoration of Israel and the Jews to the Holy Land
336 Vial 7. The destruction of Antichrist in the Holy land, in an expedition against the Church of Christ there; and the overthrow of all contending enemies of the Church, to introduce the Millennium
351 1. Repentance and reformation
355 2. Faithfulness in the government of our literary Institutions
355 3. Vigilance and faithfulness in the embassadors of Christ
358 4. Proper caution in the induction of men into the Gospel ministry
358 5. A faithful support and improvement of the regular administration of the Gospel, and avoiding erroneous and unknown teachers
364 6. Due exertions to promote the sanctification of the Lord's day
366 7. Proper caution in the admission of members into the Church; and a faithful support of Christian discipline
367 8. Family religion; and a pious, discreet family government
368 9. The employing of pious as well as able instructors of our children
369 10. Wisdom and prudence in the choice of our civil rulers
373 11. A vigilant eye upon the movements of the enemy; and a solemn attention to the signs of the times
375 12. Watchfulness, and special prayer
[ ix ]
I HAVE believed the signs of the times to be very interesting; and have wished that some able writer might succeed in opening and presenting, in a judicious and connected manner, the sacred Prophecies, which are receiving their fulfilment. Mr. Faber, I think, has succeeded better in this, than any other writer on the subject.
I am not insensible of the arduousness of this undertaking; abd that some worthy men discountenance attempts to explain prophecies, till a long time after their fulfilment. Doubtless the prophecies generally will be more closely understood, when they shall be viewed at a considerable distance past. But this should not preclude our present attempts to form correct opinions relative to those which are not fulfilled: much less relative to the accomplishment of those, which are recently fulfilled; and of those which are now in a train of fulfilment. The Jews were by our Lord reproved for not understanding the signs of the times; i.e. for not understanding the fulfilment of prophecies, then taking place before their eyes.
The prophecies were given, not only to evince the divine origin of Revelation, by being viewed after their respective and evident fulfillment; but also to direct and animate the people of God in the prospect of, and during their fulfilment. But this implies our duty to study them, while the events which they predict are taking place, and while they are future. Accordingly, when the Revelation was made to St. John, it was prefaced with this admonition. Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things, which are written therein; for the time is at hand. Repeatedly it is given in charge, in the midst of some of the darkest prophecies; Let him, that readeth, understand. We read: None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. They shall know the judgments of the :ord. Daniel previously understood by books the return of the Jews from Babylon. This knowledge excited his prayer for the accomplishment of the event. Simeon, Anna, and others, who waited for the consolation of Israel, understood by prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah; and they discerned the accomplishment before their eyes, in the Babe of Bethlehem. We are told; The secret of the Lord God is with them, that fear him; And; The Lord God will do nothing, but he will reveal it to his servants the prophets: Not by new revelations; but by leading to a correct investigation of those already given. All the directions given to the people of God, relative to the perilous times just preceeding the Millennium,
clearly imply, that the Church will, at that day, understand the most interesting prophecies then to
The Church of Christ has been preminished respecting most of the signal events, in which she was to be much interested, in every age. In this the care and kindness of her divine Lord have ever appeared. And he has graciously so ordered, that his people should be led to form essentially correct views of the fulfilment of those premonitions. Shall the great events of this period of the world then be an exception to this general rule? Shall the events of our days, more interesting than any events of former ages, and which for more than twenty years have been alarming the world, and demonstrating the commencement of a new and important era, be supposed to be veiled in impenetrable mystery? It cannot be probable! Some of the most interesting prophecies of Revelation have recently received their accomplishment; which is leading on a train of events most important, and clearly predicted. And it must be important to Zion to be able rightly to view in the light of Divine prophecies, the present, and the subsequent designs of Providence.
Attempts to write upon the prophecies have been, in the estimation of some, brought into disrepute, by
the failing of even able and good men, in their conjectures upon the subject; and especially by the injudiciousness and enthusiasm of others. But shall occasion be hence taken to neglect the important and useful part of the word of God?
The author of the following work is not insensible of the perils of the times, and the delicacy of his subject, at such a day as this, Permit him once for all to protest, that he is not knowingly governed in the least, in any thing he has written, by the party interests of the day. He solemnly disclaims every such motive: And confidently appeals to all, who for about twenty years have known the tenor of his public ministry, and of his life, that he is no party man; nor did he ever attempt to figure in politics. What he has written, is written under a solemn conviction of the infinite weight of evangelical truth; and of his accountability to God, as a minister of the Gospel. From an attempt to answer some questions publicly proposed relative to the increasing fanaticism and Infidelity in our states, and the most potent remedies against them, my pages have gradually increased into a volume. I am indebted to Mr. Faber for my conviction, that the prophecies concerning Antichrist, instead of being exclusively applicable to the Romish hierarchy, designate an Atheistical Power of later date; and am indebted to him for finding in Dan. xi, 36, -- a prediction of this Atheistical Power; and finding a fulfilment of it in the French nation. But this author wrote before the
government of France had assumed its Imperial form. There are striking traits of character in the above noted prophecy, and in various others, overlooked, or misapprehended by this celebrated author. On reading his application of the prediction in Dan. xi, 36, -- to the French nation, I felt a difficulty from the seeming abruptness of such an application. But on consulting the preceding parts of the chapter in connexion with chapter 10th, and learning, as I apprehended, the object of the revealing Angel, I found my doubts removed, and my confidence in the correctness of the application of the passage to the French nation, established. With this clue I have endeavored to examine various other prophecies, which respect the same period, and some preceding, and subsequent periods; with what success, the reader will judge. I acknowledge many expositions given in this work are new; at least they are so to me; which has excited my fear and solemn attention in the investigation of the true sense of those passages. I have endeavorcd to consult and compare authors on this subject; and have long been in a habit of perusing them with some pleasure. But it will be seen that I have not been governed wholly by old opinions; but have endeavored to compare Scripture with Scripture and to follow its most obvious and natural meaning. I have no other apology to make for presenting this Dissertation to the public, than the fact that several gentlemen whose judgment I venerate, have advised
to it; and my own conviction of the truth of my scheme and the weight of the subject.
Note: Since writing this Dissertation, Mr. Faber's last volume, that upon the Restoration of the Jews, has made its appearance: Upon the perusal of which, I have been strengthened in finding so many of my opinions accord with his upon this point. His scheme relative to Ezekiel's Gog, I think incorrect, and have assigned my reasons in a section inserted for the purpose.
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We are taught in the prophetic parts of the sacred Scriptures, to expect the rise of a terrible atheistical Power, and a vast influence of Infidelity, in the last days, or just before the Millennium.
THERE are many predictions of this event, both in the Old and New Testaments; some of which will be noted in the following sections.
Preliminary remarks upon the 10th and 11th chapters of Daniel.
The first passage, which will be addressed to prove the proposition, is Dan. xi, from the 36th verse to the end. To prepare the way for the consideration of this passage, let the following things be premised. The prophet Daniel had twice predicted the existence of the Roman empire; in the legs of iron; * and in the fourth beast strong and terrible, having great iron teeth. Popery had been before predicted, under the emblem of the little horn of the Roman beast, speaking great things against the Most High. And Mohammedism had been predicted, under the emblem of the little horn of the he-goat; § as Mr. Faber has ingeniously shown. ▀
* Dan. ii, 34, 40.
Dan. vii, 7.
Dan. vii, 8, 24.
§ Dan. vii, 9.
▀ Vol. I, p. 158.
In Dan, ix, we have an account of the prophet's fasting and supplication relative to the return of the Jews...
Popery was not much, if at all, before noted...
Hurd, p. 57.) We find much of this...
up his courage and power against the king of the south, who checked his progress...
Thus the Angel proceeds in his description...
and in a detail of events under his tyranny...
is common in the prophetic qritings...
The Infidel Power predicted in Dan. xi, from the 36th verse to the end.
The way being thus prepared...
2. By a king, in the language of prophecy...
And the Seed of the woman...
which woman did then entertain...
received as their supreme ruler...
will be found to unite...
a most extensive and prosperous expedition...
and to unite in a vast confederacy...
Antichrist another Power beside the Papal hierarchy.
It has been the general opinion of Protestant divines that the predictions concerning Antichrist were fulfilled in the Papal hierarchy...
christ of the last times...
has already fallen under the iron grasp of a far superior Power...
Antichrist predicted by the Apostles.
In 1 John ii, 18, we read...
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The last days have arrived, and an inceptive fulfilment of the predictions concerning Antichrist is now manifest before our eyes.
THIS I shall endeavor to evince in the following sections.
THE Church of Christ was to remain in the wilderness, after being given into the hands of the Papal horn, 1260 years. * Mr. Faber is confident, that this goving of the saints into the hands of the Papal power was A. D. 606, when Phocas constituted the bishop of Rome, universal bishop. A former English writer, noted with approbation in Pool's Annotations, by the name of Stephens, was of the same opinion. This opinion appears high;y probable. If the saints were to be given into the hands of the Papal horn 1260 years; the giving of them into his hands surely must mark the commencement of the 1260 years. And the constituting of the bishop of Rome universal bishop, appears to be the very act of giving the saints into his hands. In A. D. 606 then, we must probably date the beginning of the 1260 years. Much evidence in favor of this period, Mr. Faber attempts to adduce from the predictions concerning the Mohammedan imposture. This, and the Papal imposture, he thinks, were to commence, continue, and close their existence, together. But Mohammed began his diabolical system A. D. 606; the very year in which the saints were given into the hands of the Papal horn.
* Dan. vii, 25, and Rev. xii, 6.
Another argument in favor of this period the above named author adduces...
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Some other Prophecies relative to the Subject under consideration.
The Truths of the Church under the reign of Antichrist.
IN this section I shall remark upon some of the prophecies, which are thought to relate to the trials of the people of God under the prevalence of Antichristian tyranny. As the scenes of this tyranny may continue for some time, perhaps for half a century, and it may be more, some of the prophecies now to be noted may relate to that period generally; some to one part of it; and some to another.
But before any prophecies relative to that period are considered, let it be remarked, that the great infidel Power of the last days denominated Antichrist; being also represented as the old Roman beast revived, and as the sixth, or Imperial head, recovered from its deadly wounds; these things alone portend solemn things to the Church. Why is this Power called Antichrist? Why was his existence in the last days so long, and so abundantly and solemnly predicted to the Church under this, and various other terrific appellations? Will he not verify the hostility indicated in his very name? Can the appellation of Antichrist be unmeaning? Why is he represented in addition to this, as the last head of the old Roman beast? And the sixth, the most persecuting head, recovered from his deadly wound? The best expositors agree, that a beast, in the symbolic language of prophecy, means a great power hostile to the Church of Christ. Powers ever so great, not hostile to the Church are not symbolized by beasts. And when a great power, that has been hostile to the Church, and has been symbolized by a beast, ceases to
to be hostile to the Church, that Beast is represented as dying, or being wounded to death: As in the case of the old Pagan Roman empire, when, in the revolution under Constantine, its government was changed from Pagan to Christian. And when the same Beast is represented as reviving, the indication can be nothing less, than that a similar Power equally hostile to the Church, and mystically the same, has come into existence. If this trait of character be not verified by the hostility of such a Power to the Church, there can be no meaning in the representation, that the old Beast is revived. That the Antichrist should be raised up to inflict judgments only on Papal and Mohammedan nations, cannot by any means answer to his appellations; for those Powers were hostile to Christ. But the appellations given to this great Power indicate hostility to the friends of Christ.
And the representation of the sixth, the Imperial head of the old Beast being recovered from its deadly wound, and this under the immediate agency of the devil, in his rage of the last days, because he knoweth that he has but a short time, must indicate alarming hostility to the cause of Christ! This was the head, which in ancient days was the most terrible of all the heads of the Roman Beast. Under this, Christ was crucified. Under this, the Apostles were put to death. And under this, the greatest exertions were made, in ten bloody persecutions, to eradicate primitive Christianity from the earth. If this head then, be symbolically represented as rising out of the bottomless pit, being revived under the agency of the devil, in his last rage before the Millennium, and all this under the additional name of Antichrist, who the Christians in the days of John had heard was to come; we need not wonder, that solemn admonitions are given to the Church relative to the event. And if amazing hostility be not exerted by this Power against the Church, why is Jesus Christ abundantly represented as coming from heaven, with all his armies and equipage of a most mighty conqueror, to carry on a war against him, and to vanquish him in the battle of that great day of God Almighty?
Does not all this indicate the most violent hostilities to be undertaken by the terrible Power of the last days against the true Church of Christ?
In Rev. xvii, 14, we read, concerning the horns of the last head of the Roman Beast, These shall make war with the Lamb. Here we learn, that one real object of Antichrist is, War with the Lamb.
In Rev. xiii, 6, 7, 8, it is said of the healed head of the Roman Beast; (which is the same that is symbolized by a new Beast in chap, xvii;) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle (or church) and them, that dwell in heaven, (live in Gospel order.) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all, that dwell upon the earth, shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Here is the extent of his power. God grant it may mean only the old Roman earth! Here is his object, as in chap, xvii, 14, just noted; war with the saints. Here is his fatal success against the saints for a time; -- and to overcome them. But how does this agree with the other prediction of the same event, chap, xvii, 14; These shall make war with the Lamb; and the Lamb shall overcome them. Reply. These passages, which seem to contradict each other, relate to different parts of the scene. Antichrist will prevail for a season; as did the Egyptian tyrant, when he had the tribes of the Lord shut up in Pihahiroth; (the straits of Hiroth;) and every thing external indicated that they were given into his hands. But at the close of the scene, the Lamb shall overcome; as in that case, when the people of God were by and by safely standing on the eastern bank of the Red Sea; and the terrible enemy sunk like lead in the mighty waters. This we may view as a prophetic miniature of the destruction of Antichrist. On the occasion of the latter, the saints sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb; which indicates, that the song of Israel on the eastern bank of the Red sea, and its occasion, were a type of the victory
and the song of the followers of the Lamb, at the close of the period of the vials.
In Rev. xii, we find the depression of the Church under the reign of Antichrist. After a long season of warfare in the symbolic heaven of the corrupt Church of Rome, the dragon was, at the reformation, cast out unto the earth. For a space of time the Church of Christ now rises, like the spouse coming up out of the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved. She doubtless hopes her days of tribulation are at an end; and that she is going uninterruptedly to ascend into her millennial glory. But alas, it is there added, (verse 13,) And when the dragon saw that he was east out unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time. and times, and half a time from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his month water, as a flood, after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman; and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his month. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who kept the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Mr. Faber supposes, and I think it is very evident, that the casting out of the dragon from heaven to earth, was fulfilled at the time of the reformation under Luther. Consequently, the new attack of the dragon upon the Church must be sometime subsequent to the reformation; viz. after his prime instrument, the Imperial head of the Roman Beast, is revived. But this new attack produces a second flight of the Church into the wilderness. She had fled into the wilderness at the commencement of the war in heaven, verse 6; or upon her being delivered into the hands of the Papal Power, for 1260 years. But after the reformation, and the devil was thus cast out of the Papal heaven, by the discovery of the abominations of that system, and before he had prepared his new engine of persecution, the Church had in some good degree
returned from her wilderness state. The Lamb had appeared on mount Zion, or in the Protestant Church, and with him vast multitudes, with their Father's names on their foreheads; worshipping God in the purity of the Protestant religion, in opposition to the idolatries of Papal Rome. When lo! the woman is again driven into the wilderness, by the new attack of the dragon in Antichrist, for a time, times and half a time; i. e. for the short residue of this noted term: It cannot now mean for the whole of this term. For 1260 years were the term of her depression, at the time of her first flight, many centuries before. Her being now to remain in the wilderness 1260 years, must of course mean, the short remaining part of the 1260 years. And the days of this remaining part, Christ will for the elect's sake cause to be short: Otherwise, no flush could be saved. He will alleviate the distress, by causing the earth to help the woman. When they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help. The extreme sufferings of the Church may not continue more than three days and an half; i. e. three years and an half. The Captain of her salvation will interpose, and lighten the rest of the way with the cloud of his gracious presence, the wonders of his Providence, till her deliverance shall be complete. Floods of rage, mischief and violence, poured forth against the Church, as from the mouth of the old serpent, will be providentially swallowed up. Unexpected events, probably from earthly, or political views, will counteract the mischief aimed against the cause of Christ. And the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against the flood of the enemy. Upon this the dragon, in vexation and rage, goes to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed; or with some distant branch of the Church. Some new and powerful attack is undertaken. Probably this will be fulfilled in the furious coalition led by Antichrist against the converted Jews in the Holy Land; which will prepare the way for the battle of the great day. Thus in the 12th chapter of Revelation, appear to be clearly predicted great trials to the Church, under the reign of Antichrist.
Do the preceding passages furnish a clew to the events in Rev. xi, 7, relative to the slaying of the two witnesses? The striking coincidence, between the former and the latter, has forced a conviction on my mind, which I cannot relate without sensible concern. Alas! I had long hoped, that the slaying of the witnesses was a past event. I well knew that some good men are of opinion that it is still future. But others have in this differed from them; and have indulged the pleasing hope, that all the peculiarly fiery trials of the Church are past; and that she is henceforth to enjoy greater and greater degrees of prosperity, till she reaches her millennial glory. I had fondly embraced this opinion; and was pleased when I found arguments adduced in favor of it. May the king of Zion mercifully grant, (if it accord with his holy plan,) that this may yet prove to be the case! But attention to the subject has constrained me to doubt of the correctness of the sentiment, that the slaying of the witnesses is a past event. I have turned to the arguments of those, who view it thus; and I cannot on the whole feel satisfied with them, or deem them conclusive. May the friends of Zion examine the subject with devout attention!
And when they (the two witnesses) shall have finished their testimony, the Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall make tear against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies, three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. * And they, that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over
* The witnesses lie dead three days and an half, probably meaning three years and an half. Was not this event prefigured by the abominable desolation made upon the Jewish Church by the typical Antiochus? Bp. Newton observes, that "the desolation of the temple and the taking away of the daily sacrifice by Appollonius (the commissioner of Antiochus) continued three years and an half." Vol. i, p. 310.
them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth. And after three days and an half, the spirit of life from God entered into them; and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them, who saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
Upon the question, Who are the witnesses? much has been said. Some have supposed them to be the two Testaments. This appears irrational. We find no other instance, in which either of the Testaments is personified, or represented as God's witness. Bp. Newton thought the two witnesses to represent the few faithful followers of Christ through the 1260 years. Mr. Faber thinks them to mean the twofold Church of the Old and New Testaments. Some have supposed them to mean a Christian magistracy and ministry. Pool's continuators understood by them the faithful Gospel ministry. They observe that Christ first sent out his ministers two and two; and note, that the embassadors of Christ are called witnesses, in many sacred passages. And ye are witnesses of these things. * And ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, -- and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. These were the last words spoken by Christ on earth. Addressing his ministers, after having told them before, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, he now, the moment he ascended, tells them, they shall be his witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Accordingly we abundantly find them afterward so denominated. One must be ordained to be a witness with us of the resurrection. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. § Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us. || Does not the clause, "I will give power
* Luke xxiv, 48.
Acts i, 8.
Acts i, 22.
§ Acts ii, 32.
|| Acts x, 41. See also Acts iii, 15, and iv, 33, and v, 32, and x, 39, and xxii, 15, and xxvi, 16; I Peter v, 1.
unto my two witnesses," imply that they are persons known by this appellation? But who are so well known by this appellation, as the true ministers of Christ? The prophesying of the witnesses, Dr. Lowman observes, "signifies persons full of the Spirit of God; preaching God's word, and bearing witness to the truth." * The witnesses are called, the two prophets who tormented them that dwell on the earth. But who else answer so well to this description, as do the faithful preachers of the Gospel? "These (says the Revelator) are the two olive trees." -- This relates to Zech. iv, 3, 11, 14. The two olive trees there (one on each side of the candlestick) are supposed to have been Joshua and Zerubbabel, who unitedly prefigured Christ; and who Pool supposes prefigured also the embassadors of Christ. These (said the angel to Zechariah) are the two anointed ones (sons of oil, Heb.) that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. The gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit are represented by an anointing with oil. And the ascension-gifts of Christ to his embassadors, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, render it fit for them to be called, olive trees, or sons of oil. Thus reference appears to be had, in the witnesses, more immediately to the ministers of Christ.
But the witnesses are also the two candlesticks. A candlestick is a noted emblem of the Church. The seven candlesticks which thou sawest, are the seven Churches. * Doubtless the true members of Christ are not to be excluded from constituting the witnesses. They are cordially united in the same cause with their pastors. And though special reference is had to the latter, in the description of the witnesses, yet all the true Church are to be viewed as included.
But why are the witnesses said to be two? Reply. Two witnesses constitute a complete testimony. At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. Two were essential to the scriptural validity of a testimony. See Deut. xix, 15; and Matt. xviii, 16. And God never left himself without
* On Rev. p 109.
Rev. xi, 10.
Rev. i. 20.
a competent testimony from his followers among men. In the darkest times his number of witnesses was indeed small, but always competent. No doubt it is a fact, as Mr. Faber observes, that in this small number of the true followers of Christ, was in a sense contained the essence of the Church of the Old and New Testaments. Whether some reference be not had to this circumstance, in the dual number of the witnesses, I would not decide.
If the slaying of the witnesses be future, whether any circumstances may be found to exist at that time, of the Church being found in two general local divisions, which may afford an additional illustration relative to the number two, events will determine.
Concerning the slaying of the witnesses, authors have been much divided. It would be tedious, and needless to hint their different schemes, and the proper objections to them. I will mention the scheme of a late celebrated author upon the point, and my objections to it.
His scheme is this; that the witnesses were slain in Germany, in 1547; when the two German princes, the Elector of Saxony, and the Landgrave of Hesse, sometime after the commencement of the reformation, were overcome at Mulhberg, in a battle with the emperor of Germany, and were forced to submit at discretion. Several years before this event, these German princes, and some others, espoused the cause of the reformation. They by an association, called the league of Smalkalde, gave a kind of political life to the Protestants in Germany; which at the defeat above noted, was taken from them; and the cause of the reformation in Germany, seemed to be lost. But the reformers again stood upon their feet in 1550, by defeating the duke of Mecklenburg; and in 1552 a peace was ratified at Passau, and confirmed at Augsburg, in 1555, by which the Protestants in Germany were allowed the free exercise of their religion. And the Church, according to this author, then ascended to her political heaven.
Against this scheme, the following objections appear to me of weight;
1. Those events were inadequate to a fulfilment of the prediction; and in some things contrary to it.
One would think so much importance could not be attached to the political privileges obtained, and for some years enjoyed by the Protestants in Germany, as that the interruption of those privileges, for several years should be represented, in ancient prophecy, as the slaying of God's witnesses? The witnesses had lived and prophesied, without those privileges, through all the preceding ages of their testimony, till within a few years of their defeat at Mulhberg. And if they were alive before those privileges were obtained, why not equally alive, alter they were taken from them? Indeed if the throwing of the Protestant Churches now, in the vast Christian world, into a similar situation with that of the reformers in Germany, after the battle of Mulhberg, might amply amount to what was designed in ancient prophecy by the slaying of the witnesses; it does not hence follow, that the above event in Germany was adequate to a fulfilment of that prophecy.
It is evident that the slaying, the lying dead, and the resurrection, of the witnesses, are represented in the prophecy as events of extensive and great moment. And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they, that dwell upon the earth, shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them, that dwell on the earth. What kindreds, and tongues, and nations took so great delight in the defeat of the German Protestants at Mulhberg? Wherein did they rejoice, and make merry, and send gifts one to another? How long had the people, who dwelt on the earth, the kindreds, and nations and tongues, been tormented by the German Protestants? What were the emotions in fact excited among the catholic nations on that occasion? They were the very reverse of the joy and triumph indicated in the prophecy, upon the slaying of the witnesses. * Upon the dispersion
* See vol. iii, p. 368, of Robertson's Hist, of Charles V.
of the army of the Protestants, combined under the Smalkalde league, and the submission of all to the Emperor, except the Elector of Saxony, and the Landgrave of Hesse: and when the prospect appeared certain, that these two princes would be overcome, as they afterward were; a general spirit of jealousy arose among the Catholic powers, in fear of the unrestrained dominion about to be obtained by Charles. He had professed, this his war against the confederate princes was not undertaken on account of their religion; (though this was evidently the Pope's motive in aiding this war) but to vanquish a political combination. The real motive of the Emperor no doubt was, the extension of his own power, at the expense of the liberties of Germany; and the eventual re-establishment of the Catholic religion through Germany, as being more favorable to his ambitious views. But in the terms of the submission of those Protestant states to Charles, not a word was said concerning any abridgment of their religious rights, nor even concerning religion. But as the Smalkalde league had been viewed, even by other Papal powers, as a salutary check to the thirst of the Emperor for universal power, and as the Catholic nations dreaded his ambition; so upon the dispersion of the Protestant army, and the prospect that the Elector and the Landgrave would soon be subdued, the Papal powers became alarmed. The Pope himself trembled for the fate of the Italian states. And he immediately sent and recalled his troops from the Imperial army. This greatly perplexed the Emperor. For he had depended on the aid of these troops, for the reduction of the two princes yet in arms. Charles entreated, and threatened; but all in vain. The Pope was inflexible; and his armies were recalled to Italy.
The Pope also at the same time revoked the license, which he had given to Charles, of taking to himself certain Church lands in Spain, as an inducement to suppress those, whom he called heretics. Francis also, the French monarch, was distressed at the thought of the reduction of the Protestant German princes. Not that he favored the reformation; but rejoiced in the check of his rival. He
sent his embassadors, and labored to revive the Smalkalde league; and to prevent the submission of the Elector and the Landgrave to Charles. And he sent them large sums of money, to enable them to withstand the Emperor. The Pope expressed great joy upon hearing of the total defeat of Albert, marquis of Brandenburg, whom Charles had sent forward with a detachment, to aid Maurice against the Elector, but whom the Elector had intercepted, and cut off." And great exertions were made to form a coalition, to consist of the Pope, the Italian states, France, England, and Denmark, against the Emperor on this occasion. The Emperor, after he had subdued the two princes, published his system called the Interim, a kind of bungling attempt to reconcile the Catholics and Protestants. This was disgusting to all parties. The Pope and the Catholics execrated it. And the Protestants despised it. In short, the feeling and conduct of all, on that occasion, formed a striking contrast with the events in the prophecy, of all nations, tongues and languages rejoicing, and sending gifts one to another.
The compact obtained by the Protestants, in the peace of Augsburg, respected only the Protestants in Germany; and those only, who adhered to the confession of Augsburg. The others, who thought this confession was too lenient to the catholics, the followers of Calvin and Zuinglius, and all the Protestants in other countries, were left by this peace unprotected.
2. A difficulty attends the scheme of this author, in point of chronology. The slaying of the witnesses is said to be when they shall have finished their testimony. I am sensible that some critics are of opinion, that the verb ______, being found in the first aorist, subjunctive, may admit the rendering, When they shall be about to finish. If the word may bear this construction, it is not the most natural one. Had that been the meaning of the writer, he might have adopted words to have expressed it precisely. But the literal rendering of the words ____ ____, is when they shall finish. Even admitting the rendering in the criticism referred to; with what propriety could the witnesses be
said to have been even about to finish their testimony, at the time of the defeat at Mulhberg? That defeat was in 1547; 319 years before they will actually have finished their testimony, according to the above author's calculations; which calculations appear to me the most satisfactory that I have ever seen, making the 1260 years terminate in 1866. Should they terminate at a later period, the difficulty would be proportionably increased. There was then, according to this scheme, at the time of the slaying of the witnesses, more than one quarter of the whole long time of their prophesying still before them. Surely they were not, at that time, even about to finish their testimony.
3. We should conceive, from reading the account of the resurrection of the witnesses, and of their ascension to heaven, that their days of sore trial were chiefly over. I cannot but think this idea, upon perusing that prediction, would at first be impressed without a doubt upon every impartial reader. But some of the most dismal persecutions ever experienced by the Church, under Papal tyranny, have taken place, in various Catholic countries, since the peace of Augsburg. Recollect the massacre of the Protestants in France, on the evening of St Bartholomew, in 1572 under Charles IX, when 30,000 were destroyed; the slaughter of them in Ireland, in the reign of Charles I; and in Poland, in after days. Recollect the persecutions under Louis XIV, who repealed the edict of Nantz, in 1685, and murdered and banished nearly two millions of his Protestant subjects in one year; the persecutions of the Piedmontese by the duke of Savoy, toward the close of the seventeenth century; when one million in France were murdered; and many other bloody scenes, experienced by the followers of Christ, in Popish countries, since the aforementioned peace of Augsburg. And read the prophecies of the trials, which the Church is to experience under the reign of Infidelity, just before the battle of the great day, whether the witnesses be then to be slain, or not. These things do not appear to accord with the representation given of the witnesses, after their resurrection, and their ascension to heaven.
4. In the same hour with the ascension of the witnesses to heaven, there was a great earthquake, in which
a tenth part of the city fell. There was no event within a prophetical hour of the peace of Augsburg in 1555, which can answer to this prediction. No event is by the aforementioned author supposed to have answered to it, till the revolution in France, in 1789. But this was 234 years after the supposed resurrection of the witnesses. And to say that two disconnected and different events, 234 years apart, may yet be said to take place in the same hour, would be extraordinary indeed. It would be unprecedented in the Bible, and in all common conversation.
5. The agent, by whom the witnesses are said to be slain, was not in existence, till centuries after those events in Germany. The first apocalyptic Beast rose (as did the same Beast in Dan. vii, 2, symbolizing the heathen Roman Empire) from the sea. * The second apocalyptic Beast (answering to the little horn of the Roman Beast in Daniel, and symbolizing the Romish hierarchy) rose from the earth. The third apocalyptic Beast (numerically the eighth, but specifically the sixth head of the old Roman Beast, healed of his deadly wound, and at the same time symbolized by a new Beast, in Rev. xvii) rose from the bottomless pit. This is expressly said to be the agent, that slays the witnesses. Twice in the description of this Beast, in Rev. xvii, he is said to ascend out of the bottomless pit. And it is said of the witnesses, And when they shall have finished their testimony, (or when their 1260 years shall be closing,) the Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. The rise of this Beast is by far too recent, to have slain the witnesses in Germany in 1547. There can be no plausible pretence, that Charles V. was this Beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit. And it appears most evident, that this last head of the Roman Beast did not rise in Charlemagne.
Upon the event of the earthquake, subsequent to the ascension of the witnesses to heaven, § it is predicted
* Rev. xiii, 1.
See remarks upon this point in note, p. 63.
§ Rev. xi, 13
And the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Did any thing take place in France, after their revolution, which answered to this? Did they not rather blaspheme the God of heaven? I know not that any even of the Catholic priests did any thing, which may be construed a giving of glory to the God of heaven.
For these reasons I am constrained to dissent from the aforementioned scheme, relative to the slaying of the witnesses; and to admit the sentiment, that the event is still future. The remarks above stated go equally to refute all the schemes of authors, who have placed the slaying of the witnesses in past centuries.
The dead bodies of the. witnesses are to lie three days and an half in the street (according to Mede and Pool, in "the territories, and jurisdiction") of the great city? which spiritually, or mystically, is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Our Lord was crucified under the sixth head of the Roman Beast. A governor of Imperial Rome, at the instigation of the Jews, condemned and crucified him. And under the same head our Lord was crucified, in his members, in ten bloody persecutions, before that head received its deadly wound in the year 320. Must it not then be in the city, or under the dominion, of this same head, healed of its deadly wound, in order to be in the city where our Lord was crucified, that the witnesses are to lie slain and unburied? It is to be in a city mystically called Sodom and Egypt. Sodom and Egypt were Pagan. How much better the Atheism of Antichrist accords with their character, than did the sanctimonious professions of Papal Rome? Our Lord was not literally crucified under Rome Papal; but he was under Rome Pagan. And under the latter, revived in the last days, it is natural to look for the slaying of his witnesses.
What is to be particularly understood by the witnesses being slain, and lying unburied, the event will determine. The predictions of the event may lead us to expect, that the rights of the Church, and of conscience, will under some pretence be invaded. And the pretence probably will be, as it was in ancient times,
against Christ, and against his persecuted followers; a pretence of their being bad and dangerous members of civil society, detrimental to national interests; speaking against Cesar; moving seditions; weakening the hands of the men of war; and, We have a law; and by our law he ought to die. *
Perhaps the process of the events of that period is hinted in Rev. xiv. Christ there appears on mount Zion; or comes powerfully into his Church, in the reformation under Luther. The Church enjoys a sealing time, as she did after the revolution under Constantine, Rev. vii, 1-8. Vast numbers, as at that period, are sealed to the day of redemption. A description of the enlargement of the Protestant churches, and of their purity from the defilements of the Papal harlot, follows. In process of time a missionary spirit is excited, and pervades the Church; the Angel, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to heathen lands, begins his flight. This, he gives us to understand, is in the same hour with the judgment of God on the Papal see. A second Angel announces, Babylon is fallen, is fallen. The signs of the times become notorious. The fall of Papal Babylon, by the rise of Antichrist, is ascertained. The warning flies through the Church. Upon this, a third Angel follows; warning of the sins of God's enemies; and of the judgments of Heaven now just ready to fall
* That great man, the late President Witherspoon, published a very able sermon entitled, "The Charge of Sedition a nd Faction against good Men, especially faithful Ministers, considered and accounted for." The preacher concludes one part of his subject by saying, "That worldly men have been always disposed first to oppress the children of God, and then to complain of injury from them; that by slander they might vindicate their oppression. Their slander too hath still run in the same strain; troublers of Israel, deceivers of the people, enemies to Cesar, and turners of the world upside down, have been the opprobrious titles generally give to the most upright and most faithful men, in every age and country."
In accounting for this fact, he says, "True religion docs indeed, give trouble and uneasiness to wicked men, while they continue such; and it cannot be supposed, but they will deeply resent it."
See Witherspoon's Works, vol. ii, p. 415, Woodward's edition.
upon all, who have the mark of the Beast, and plunge them into endless burnings. The trumpet is now blown in Zion; the alarm is sounded in God's holy mountain. Warning is given concerning all, who worship the beast, or receive his mark. This bold warning through the Church must be very offensive to those who are implicated. Infidel powers, or Anti-Christian Babylon, and those, who partake of her sins, and are now notified of it, and that they are about to receive of her plagues, will be far from taking this in good part from the witnesses of Christ. And God only knows what the former will now be enraged to attempt against the latter! The texts, which follow, are indicative of evil to the Church. Verses 12 and 13; Here is the patience of the saints: here are they, that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. Here the patience of the saints is to be tried. Now it is to be known, who keep the commands of God, and have the faith of Christ. Now the voice from heaven announces, that from henceforth, and while the troubles then overwhelming the Church shall continue, peculiarly blessed are the pious, who find rest ui their graves. The cruelties of the enemies of the Church, here indicated, soon demand the presence of the Captain of her salvation. The next verse, accordingly, presents him upon the white cloud, with his sharp sickle. The harvest of the earth is reaped; the vine of the earth, with her grapes now fully ripe, is gathered; and the wine-press trodden: striking emblems of the judgments of the last vial; or the destruction of Antichrist, and of all the contending enemies of the Church. In this striking portrait of the affairs of the Church, from the days of Luther, till the close of the battle of the great day, reference appears to be had to that depression of the Church, under consideration; and perhaps we find also, a hint of the immediate occasion of it; the faithfulness of God's witnesses, in ascertaining the signs of the times; warning of the wickedness of that day; and announcing
the impending judgments of Heaven. But the particulars of the event, the day will unfold.
Our blessed Lord gave to his disciples a description of an awful coming of his in judgment against his enemies; and of scenes, which should both indicate its approach, and prepare the way for it: See Matt. xxiv, Mark xiii, and Luke xxi. These are parallel accounts of the same predictions. We are here presented with several instances of the coming of Christ. Chronological predictions, Mr. Faber informs us, can receive but one accomplishment. But this prediction of Christ is not of that description; but is to be ranked among those prophecies, which are constructed to receive a twofold accomplishment; and involve both type and antitype. There are many predictions of this tenor, as Dr. Hopkins, and other judicious writers on the prophecies, inform us. Mr. Faber upon this point observes, "But an unchronological prophecy, -- instead of being incapable of a double fulfilment, we perpetually find such evidently constructed with the express design of receiving a double accomplishment. They are at first fulfilled in an inchoate manner; and afterward will be fulfilled more amply at a period, to which they ultimately and principally refer." * Many of the predictions of the battle of the great day, in the Old Testament, are of this description. They had a primary and literal fulfilment in ancient events; but are to receive their ultimate fulfilment in events still future. This is the case with the above noted
* Faber on the Jews, p. 46.
Mr. Faber quotes, in favor of this opinion, Archdeacon Woodhouse, Bp. Lowth, Jortin, Sir I. Newton, Bp. Hurd, Bp. Sherlock, Bp. Warburton, Bp. Home, Jones, and Nares.
Bp. Hurd informs us, (Introduction to the Study of the Prophecies, p. 55,) "There is reason to believe that more than one sense was purposely inclosed in some of the prophecies. And we find in fact that the writers of the New Testament give to many of the old prophecies an interpretation very different and remote from that, which may be reasonably thought the primary and immediate view of the prophets themselves. This is what divines call the double sense of prophecy; by which they mean an accomplishment of it in more events than one; in the same system indeed; but at distant intervals, and under different parts of that system."
prediction of our Lord. It had a primary and typical fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem. But it will receive a much more interesting fulfilment in the battle of the great day: And a still more important fulfilment at the great judgment day. In relation to the former, Christ gave assurance, that it should take place upon that generation. But in relation to the latter, he informed his disciples, that as a snare shall it come on all them, that dwell on the face of the whole earth. This could not be said of the destruction of Jerusalem. For that event came as a snare on but a very small part of the earth. It was predicted of our Savior, that he should proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God. * But surely if the copious and affecting predictions of Christ, recorded in Mat. xxiv, Mark xiii, and Luke xxi, related only to the destruction of Jerusalem, he did but in a very partial sense indeed proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. But Christ decides this point. Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Compare this with Dan. xii, 1, which relates to the war between Antichrist, and the great head of the Church, just before the Millennium. After having described the terrible infidel Power of the last days, and brought him into Palestine against the Church there, the Angel says; And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince, who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was, since there was a nation, even to that same time. Now if the words of Christ, in the former of these passages, had exclusive reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, then the above passage in Daniel is untrue. For our Lord declares there never shall be such trouble on earth again, as that, which he then predicts. Certainly both the passages are not true, if they relate to different events. For each of two different scenes of distress cannot be the greatest, that ever was, or ever shall be. This argument evinces, that the event predicted by Christ, is the same with that in Dan. xii, 1.
* Isa. lxi, 2.
Mat. xxiv, 22, and Mark xiii, 10.
And the words of Christ it is thought evidently allude to that very passage. But the latter is the battle of that great day of God. Consequently these predictions of Christ must relate to the same. Although they received a primary fulfilment in the days of the Apostles; yet they also related to events then far future.
Our Lord says; * And when ye shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars, see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Here I apprehend we have predicted the wars and commotions, which were to attend the rise of the Antichristian Beast, and the formation of his horns. The latter events must of course occasion as great wars and commotions, as are here predicted; as great as are indicated of the same period, in Rev. x, 3, by the seven thunders uttering their voices. But as the Angel there affirms, that the time shall not be yet, as in the original, verse 6; or the time shall not be prolonged; so our Lord informs, with respect to the wars and rumors of wars; But the end is not yet. A season is to intervene, though not long, between the rise of Antichrist, and his overthrow. And Christ proceeds to foretell some of the events of this intermediate space. Some of these predictions I will now adduce, as they are collected in harmony from the evangelists, by Dr. Doddridge.
"And fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. All these are the beginning of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves. For they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, and shall deliver you up to councils, and into prisons, to be beaten and afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations; and shall be brought before rulers and kings for my name's sake, for a testimony against them. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. And the Gospel must be first published among all nations.
* Matt. xxiv, 6,--.
"But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, settle it in your hearts not to meditate before what ye shall answer; and take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given yon in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor resist. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death; and the father the son; the children shall rise up against the parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved -- In those days there shall be great tribulation, and distress in the land, such as was not from the beginning of the creation unto this time; no, nor ever shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, those days shall be shortened. -- And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened; and the moon shall not give her light; and the stars shall fall from heaven; and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
No events of the Apostle's days are to be viewed as more than a primary and typical fulfilment of these sublime and interesting predictions. The last clause, which seems to relate to much that precedes, Then look up. and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh, had no relation to the days of the Apostles. It can relate to no period short of that which is connected with the dawn of the Millennium. Does not this clause then decide, that these predictions relate to scenes, which shall just precede the Millennium? And do they not indicate most solemn things to the Church, at this period?
The battle array of the last head of the Roman Beast, and his false prophet, and the kings of the earth, against Jesus Christ and his armies. Rev. xix, 19, confirms the sentiment, that the Church is to be sorely tried under the reign of Antichrist. For although this passage relates to the last attack, the expedition in Palestine against the church of Judah and Israel, yet it shews, that war with Christ is the object of Antichrist. And such a Power will be able greatly to afflict the people of God.
Our Lord gave his disciples a signal, when they should flee out of Jerusalem. * When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand) then let them who be in Judea flee into the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes.
Daniel had spoken of the abomination of desolation in three passages, and in relation to three different events. The first is Dan. ix, 27; And in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. This related to the arm its of the Romans in array
* Matt. xxiv. 15, and onward
against Jerusalem, with their eagles and other images, which they worshipped; which were an abomination to the Jews; and which (when seen around the walls) indicated the speedy destruction of Jerusalem. The second is Dan. xi, 31; And arms shall stand on his part, and they sail pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination, that maketh desolate. This relates to the invasions and garrisons of Antiochus, the noted type of Antichrist, in order to compel the Jews to renounce their religion; to eat swine's flesh, and to violate their consciences. Upon this occasion many of the Jews suffered martyrdom, and underwent the most cruel torments. *
This conduct is here predicted by the Angel, when he was preparing the way to give a prophetic description of Antichrist, and was first presenting him by his type, Antiochus. The third passage, in which Daniel speaks of the abomination of desolation, is in chap, xii, 11; And from the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate, set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. This relates to the impious establishment of Popery, or Mohammedism, or both, in the year 606, or whenever Popery was established.
The question then occurs; To which of these three passages in Daniel did our Lord refer, when he spoke of the abomination of desolation, as the token to his people to flee into the mountains? Answer. As the direction applied to the Apostles and Church at Jerusalem, we must conclude he referred to that which relates to the Roman eagles and idolatry, when the Romans were besieging Jerusalem; Dan. ix, 27. As the direction applied to the Christian Church at the commencement of Popery, or Mohammedism, the direction
* The particulars of this persecution are given in the 5th╗ 6th, and 7th chapters of the second book of the Maccabees. The material parts of the account are copied by Polybius and Josephus; and are found in Rollin's Ancient History. Book xvii, Art. 2.
must be viewed as referring to the passage, which relates to that period; Dan. xii, 11. And as the direction respects the Church in the days of Antichrist, we must view our Lord as referring to that passage, Dan. xi, 31, which relates to the type of Antichrist, or to Antiochus; and was given, when the Angel was undertaking to give a description of the infidel Power of the last days. When that shall take place under Antichrist, which was prefigured when his type Antiochus set up the abomination, that made desolate, in the holy place, then this token to the Church at that period will be fulfilled. Violating the rights of the Church, making a direct attack upon them, may prove to be this abomination, that maketh desolate. Setting up a desolating abomination, seems to be a prophetic figure to express a violent attack upon the people of God. As the persecutions of Antiochus are noted by the Angel, when his object was to predict the rise, character, and overthrow of Antichrist, this seems to indicate, that events may be expected under the reign of Antichrist, corresponding with those cruel deeds of Antiochus. It becomes interesting then, to examine those predictions concerning the cruelties of Antiochus, and their fulfilment. The Angel says; * And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination, that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries; i. e. hypocrites and apostates will be found to be fit tools of his intrigue and malice against the Church; but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people, shall instruct many, yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, days. This was a sore persecution under Antiochus. Now it was, that the events took place, narrated in Heb. xi, 35-38: And others were tortured not accepting deliverance, (i. e. on wicked terms) that they might obtain a better resurrection. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings; yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonments. They were stoned, they
* Dan. xi, 31.
See the Hebrew.
were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, abided, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy I they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth. Antiochus at this time plundered and defiled the temple at Jerusalem; calling it, The temple of Jupiter Olympus; and erecting there, upon the sacred altar, the image of this heathen God. This, with the attendant evils, of defiling the Jewish altars, forbidding their sacrifices, and compelling the Jews to conform to the rites and manners of the heathen, was the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Upon this, multitudes of the pious Jews fled to the mountains, as is noted in the above passage in Heb. xi, 35--; an event, to which probably our Lord alludes, when he gave the direction to his disciples, to flee to the mountains, at the destruction of Jerusalem. A powerful army was sent by Antiochus, with a command to destroy Jerusalem; to put to death all the men, and to sell for slaves the women and children. The commander, after arriving at Jerusalem, concealed his object; till on the sabbath, when the Jews were assembled for Divine worship, he undertook to execute his orders. The massacres and horrible scenes, which followed, were dismal. The city was plundered, set on fire, and some of the walls demolished. The temple was spared. But a fortress was built, to prevent any worshipper approaching it. The impious monarch resolved utterly to extirpate the Jewish religion. He issued a decree, enforced with the severest penalties, that no God should be worshipped, "The desolation of the temple, and the taking away of the daily sacrifice under Antiochus, continued three years and a half;" * the very term given for the slaughtered state of the witnesses!
It is striking to observe the coincidence of the following events. When the tribes of Israel, just redeemed from Egypt, fell under the Divine displeasure, they were doomed to wander forty years in the wilderness. When Jezebel persecuted the prophets of the Lord, Elijah fled into the wilderness. When Antiochus was suffered to invade the rights of the Jewish Church, and set up his abomination in the temple of Jerusalem; some of the pious Jews fled into the wilderness, and wandered about in sheep-skins And goat-skins, -- in deserts, mountains, dens and caves of the earth. When the Roman abomination of desolation was found in array against Jerusalem, the disciples were directed to flee, in the utmost haste, over the tops of their flat-roofed houses, and from their fields, out of Jerusalem, into the mountains. When Popery and Mohammedism were suffered to invade the rights of conscience, and thus set up their abomination of
* Newton on the Prophecies, vol. i, p. 310.
Rev. xi, 9.
desolation in the holy place, the true Church fled into the wilderness, (or into a situation mystically so represented) for 1260 years. And when Antichrist appears, and the dragon commences his last furious attack upon the woman, previous to her millennial glory, she is represented as again flying into the wilderness, the residue of her 1200 years; * indicating, that she had previously in a measure come forth from her wilderness state; but is again driven back to it. What particular kind of fulfilment this prediction of the woman's second flight into the wilderness, will receive, time will disclose. But the predictions which relate to that event, give it a very interesting complexion.
In Isa. xxvi, the introduction of the Millennium, and the tremendous events preceding it, are prophetically described. And the chapter closes with the following address to the saints; Come my people, enter info thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her mood, and shall no longer cover her slain.
The former of these texts has been supposed to import only the flying of God's people to Him, in that day of distress. And this, no doubt, is a blessed idea involved in the words. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. But in the light of the predictions already noted, relative to that period, it appears natural to view this text as a brief description of the state of the Church, during the little moment, or the three prophetic days and a half, of the severest trials of the witnesses; that for this short term, they will, through the violence of the tempest, in some way resemble persons, who are driven from their business, and hid in their inner chambers. This idea has countenance as has been noted, in Ezra iv. The return of the Jews from Babylon, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, were a type of the introduction of the Millennium. But the walls of that new Jerusalem were built in troublous times. And the builders, through the falsehood and violence of their enemies, were forced to discontinue the work, for a time. The antitype of this event may be experienced in a time still future, through the instigation of vile Samaritans, and by persecuting authorities.
Is it not analogous with God's usual dispensations toward his people, that the Church should endure her
* Rev. xii, 14.
most severe conflict with her enemies, just before the dawn of her millennial glory? What has given rise to the well-known maxim, The darkest time is just before day? No doubt this has abundantly been found to be true, in its figurative import. The Church and individuals have often found it true in their trials. The severest struggle is often just before relief comes. Recollect the oppressed state of the Church in Egypt; and in the subsequent captivities of Israel. The truth of the above remark was there very manifest. The events, which have been supposed to be emblematical of the relief of the Church, at the dawn of the Millennium, favor this idea; for instance, the scene at the Red Sea; and the passing of Israel over Jordan, into the promised land, when that river was overflowing all its banks, in the time of wheat harvest. * This idea has been found true in the greatest and in smaller events. When the devil found he was about to be cast out of the youth brought to Christ, (Matt, ix, 20,) he exerted all his violence upon the unhappy subject. He threw him down, cried out, tore him, yea rent him sore, and left him as dead. The reason is evident; it was his last opportunity. And how natural is the import of the solemn notice from Heaven, Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea; for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time. Here Satan's rage increases, as his time to persecute diminishes. Docs not the above text decide,
* Gideon and his three hundred men wrought a great deliverance in Israel from the vast combined hosts of the Midianites, Amalekites, and children of the east, whose camels and numbers were as the sand of the sea. (Judges vii, 12,--) This deliverance was preceded by the breaking of the pitchers, which contained the lights, in the little army of Gideon. How fit an emblem were those pitchers of the followers, particularly of the ministers of Christ! Paul said to the Corinthians, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us; alluding probably to that very passage in the history of Gideon. How far Christ's earthen vessels are to be broken, before the armies of Antichrist shall be vanquished, God only knows. But the severest trials often just precede the greatest deliverances.
what analogy forcibly suggests, that the Church will see most trying scenes, just before her millennial salvation? Or will the analogy of God's usual dealings with his people fail on that occasion? *
Scripture and analogy seem unitedly to teach, that it may be said of the Church general, at the opening of the Millennium, These are they who came out of great tribulation. And the same thing is indicated in their song of Moses and of the Lamb. The Church will just have been delivered, under the Captain of her salvation, from the most violent assaults of the enemy; as were Israel on the eastern bank of the Red Sea, under the direction of Moses, when they uttered their song of praise.
It is not to be expected, that the Church will again see such depression, as she saw in the worst times in the dark ages; such smallness of numbers; and involved in such clouds of ignorance! It does not seem probable that she will be forced to return to this state. The present numbers of the Church, and the light which has dawned upon her, seem to forbid it. Perhaps the numbers of true Christians, and the light enjoyed in the Church, will never be less than at present; nay, will increase. But can we hope a majority of the people
* Possibly all the predictions, which indicate the fiery trials of Christ's witnesses, may relate only to his witnesses on the old Roman earth, or within the present compass of the Empire of the last head of the Beast. For that seems to be the theatre of the events of many of the predictions of the Apocalypse. And no doubt some of Christ's true witnesses are there, notwithstanding that those regions are so enveloped in Atheism. Whether the predictions of the depressions of the people of God in the last days, under the reign of Antichrist, will principally be fulfilled upon the few followers of Christ who may be found in the old Popish countries, the event will decide. God in mercy grant, that the calamities may be no more extensive! But I do not feel satisfied, that the prophecies do not give them a far wider extent. The Church of the restored Jews in Palestine is surely included in the last struggle. And we have much reason to apprehend that the great body of the Christian Church will be involved in trials under the reign of Antichrist.
of the Christian world will become gracious, before the battle of that great day? No doubt a very great majority of them will continue to reject Christ. This is gathered from the predictions, which relate to that period. What then may we expect this very great majority of people, rejectors of Christ, will be found to be doing, under all the artful and powerful attacks of Infidelity and licentiousness? and under the attack of that three-fold agency, of the dragon, of Antichrist, and of false religion; * which if it were possible, would deceive even the very elect? They will be gathered to the battle of that great day of God Almighty! They will be found rapidly filling up the measure of their sins. Usual restraints will be taken off. Let us break their bands asunder; and cast away their cords from us. The abounding of iniquity will cause the love of many to wax cold, and to indulge violent hatred. Their opposition will rise in proportion to the evangelical light, which they reject; as did that of the crucifiers of Christ. This principle of human depravity, of hating the more, the more clearly the light shines, will then be found operating to an unprecedented degree; as restraints will be taken off, and things will be found ripening to an unprecedented crisis. This may cause the Jordan of Antichristian violence to overflow all its banks; and to roll its turbid billows, even in the time of wheat harvest, between the tribes of the Lord, and their millennial Canaan then in view! In this way the impenitent under the Gospel will be prepared for the awful scenes of judgment, which will burst forth upon them, and accomplish the designs of the battle of the great day. The slain of the Lord, at that period, are to be many, from one end of the earth, even to the other end of the earth. And they will prove to be the slain of the Lord, in consequence of being found in battle array against the Lord. And this their battle array will be threatening, as the subsequent judgments will be decisive and awful.
* Rev. xvi, 13, 14.
Ye friends of the kingdom of Christ; how interesting are the times, into which it has been our lot to fall? We behold the last head of the Pagan Roman Beast; the deadly wounded head healed; and the Beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, presented before our eyes! This is mystically the head, that crucified our Lord; and in ten bloody persecutions, endeavored to banish primitive Christianity from the world! And his eventual object now will be, war with the Lamb; (Rev. xvii, 14;) war with the saints; (Rev. xiii, 7;) persecution of the woman; (Rev. xii, 13;) to make war against him who sitteth on the horse; (Rev. xix, 19;) to fulfil the deeds of the antitype of Antiochus; (Dan. xi, 31-35;) to make war against the witnesses; (Rev. xi, 7;) and to fulfil the distressing things against the Church, predicted by Christ in Matt, xxiv, Mark xiii, and Luke xxi, as noted in this section. This may not be the present motive of Antichrist. While forming his vassal kingdoms, his object will appear to be more political. But the above are objects predicted to be eventually accomplished by him, and by men of his spirit. These things are interesting to us. We may have peace in our day; and we may see the reverse. Let us not be greatly disappointed, if we are called to meet sore trials!
When these days are found opening upon us, are not the following sacred injunctions emphatically applicable?
"Watch ye; stand fast in the faith; quit you like men; be strong. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put en the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. -- Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day; and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth; and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
"which is the word of God: Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit; and watching thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all saints. Seek the Lord all ye meek of the earth, -- seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye may be hid in the day of the Lord's anger, for as a snare shall it come on all who dwell on the face of the earth. Ye are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you unawares. Exhort one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching. Take heed that no man deceive you. Watch ye therefore, and pray always; that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, that shall come to pass; and to stand before the Son of man."
What matter of gratitude and joy, that we are not left in darkness relative to the termination of the trials of the Church under the tyranny of Antichrist! Though she may for a season be depressed; yet God will be near, and will regard her as the apple of his eye. And she will eventually rise; and the enemy will sink. The first reign of the Imperial head of the Roman Beast closed in his being wounded to death. And the second, his present reign, will close in his going into perdition. This will be inconceivably more terrible and decisive, than the first catastrophe. Concerning the first, in the revolution under Constantine, we read, (Rev. vi, 12, to the end,) And I beheld, when he. had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the gun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heavens departed as a scroll, when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath
of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? This exhibition of divine wrath, at the wounding to death of the Imperial head of the Roman Beast, was terrible. How much more terrible will be the exhibition, when Antichrist, who is represented as this same head revived, and renewing his war with Christ, shall be utterly destroyed under the most signal judgments of Heaven? This latter event will answer to that description, in a far more extensive and terrible sense, than did the revolution in Rome, in the year 320, to which the passage, in its chronological order relates.
Ye learn then, O Christians, who may live in the days of Antichristian violence, the happy termination of your struggles with Antichrist. Your afflictions will for a time abound; and your consolations may also abound. Hear the animating words of your Almighty Captain, when the terrors of the battle shall be perceived.
"Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God. When thou walkest through the waters, they shall not overflow thee; and through the fire thou shalt not be burnt. I am with thee, to deliver thee, saith the Lord. I, even I am he, that comforteth you. Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man, that shall die, and of the son of man, that shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, who hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day, because of the fury of the oppressor, as though he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor? When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings. Fear not them, who kill the body; and after that have no more that they can do. But fear him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall to the ground, without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more
value than many sparrows! Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father, who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father, who is in heaven. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it, that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it, that hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depth of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away."
* Dan. x, 14.
distinct from the Papal horn, being slain at the battle of the great day, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame; Dan. vii, 11; all unite to evince, that Antichrist is to lead in this attack upon the Church of Judah and Israel in Palestine.
We have then a clew, by which to understand the predictions in the 38th, and 39th, chapters of Ezekiel, concerning Gog and his bands. The Angel said to Daniel, when about to predict Antichrist; But I wilt show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth. Antichrist then, was before noted in the Scripture of truth. We may believe he here refers to these very chapters of Ezekiel. For in no other part of the Old Testament had Antichrist been more clearly predicted.
In Ezekiel xxxvi and xxxvii, we have very express predictions of the return, re-union, and conversion of the house of Israel; meaning not only the Jews, Levites and the tribe of Benjamin; but also the other ten tribes. In chapter xxxvi, 16--; God relates the criminal cause of their dispersion; the great dishonor they had done to his name among the heathen, where they had resided; and that for his own name's sake he would gather them. * God says; For I will take you from among the heathen, and will gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land: Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes; and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land, that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. In chapter xxxvii, the subject is resumed; and their restoration and conversion are predicted under a figure of the resurrection of a valley full of dry bones. The vision is applied, verse 11;
These bones are the whole house of Israel; i. e, the Jews, and all the other tribes. Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come out of your graves, and bring you info the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it saith the Lord.
A striking representation follows of the re-union of the Jews and the ten tribes. The prophet by Divine direction takes two sticks. Upon the one he writes, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions; i. e. For the Jews, and such of the other tribes, as returned with them from Babylon. On the other stick he writes, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions; i. e. For the ten tribes of Israel, who revolted in the days of Rehoboam, and have ever since been separate from the Jews. These two sticks miraculously become one in the prophet's hand. And this miracle God explains, by the two nations, the Jews and Israel, becoming permanently united in one nation, in the land of their fathers, and remaining holy and happy thenceforward under the reign of Christ, their spiritual David.
And now, in the two following chapters, we have a description of a terrible event, which is to take place upon this their re-union and re-settlement in the Holy Land. Lest Israel should expect to regain their ancient inheritance, and enter upon their millennial bliss, without any signal danger; or lest, when they should find an extensive and furious coalition formed against them, not long after their return, they should deem this event inconsistent with the promises of God; and also that the Church of God might be forewarned of so signal an event, as what was now to follow; an account is given of a most extensive and terrible combination against the Jews and Israel in Palestine.
As the ancient deliverance of Israel from Egypt was attended with signal judgments on the Egyptians; as their entrance on the possession of the promised land was succeeded by the destruction of the Canaanites; and as their deliverance from Babylon was attended with the total destruction of that Pagan empire; so the resettlement of that people of God in the promised land, after their long dispersion, must be succeeded by scenes of destruction to the surrounding enemies of the Church. And these scenes of destruction are to be as much more terrible, than were those of old, as the importance of this restoration of Israel shall exceed those former restorations. God will now suffer the devil, and his legions of followers on earth, to do their worst, and make their most desperate effort, in order to exhibit a new momento of what is in the human heart; to occasion to the Church of Israel their last and most fiery trial, previous to their millennial glory; and to afford the great Head of the Church an opportunity to make an exhibition of his power and faithfulness, in the most signal vindication of his cause; and in the destruction of the kingdom of the devil.
This last and most terrible effort is to be directed by a Power, called Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. *
* Mr. Faber in his last publication, which has come to my knowledge since the writing of this Dissertation, reads the above passage; Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. This I think is incorrect. We find the names of Magog, Meshech and Tubal, in ancient sacred record; but not the name Rosh, or Ros; excepting a son of Benjamin of this name, (Gen. xlvi, 21) who could not have been reckoned among the re-settlers of the earth after the flood. Why this Hebrew word ros, found in connexion with prince in the text under consideration, should be construed as a proper name, I cannot comprehend. Ros in Pike's Lexicon, signifies head, chief, top, captain principal, first. This word then, when found among the names, who were known to be among the ancient re-settlers of the earth, and united with the word, which imports prince, is well rendered by our translators, the chief prince; or prince of the chief, as rendered by Pool. But to render it a proper name, fetters the text with the. needless difficulty of having to ascertain who can be meant by Ros, and what connexion Gog has with him. To ascertain which, no data can be found.
The prophet begins; And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophecy against him, and say, Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. The Power here addressed is veiled with a mystic appellation; as is usual in prophecy. Different things have been conjectured concerning this name. Some have supposed it derived from Gyges, an ancient king of Lydia, a country in Asia Minor, which fell under the dominion of Antiochus; and that the address was to Antiochus. Possibly this may account for the name, as Antiochus was a designed type of Antichrist. But whether it account for it, or not, there appears full evidence, as I shall attempt to shew, that the address was designed for Antichrist. The name Gog appears a natural abbreviation of Magog; and is doubtless designed to signify a noted dynasty or government of the descendants of Magog. It signifies a roof or covering; and would be naturally applied to the most noted sovereignty of the descendants of Magog, at the time of the restoration of Israel.
The dominions of Gog are called, the land of Magog. Magog was a son of Japhet, and grandson of Noah. His descendants peopled ancient Scythia, which lay east and north of the Euxine and Caspian seas} north of Syria. Thence they spread, and peopled the vast regions of the present Tartary. They are said to have peopled a large tract in the north of Asia and Europe, 5000 miles in length, from east to west; and of great breadth, from north to south. "There can be no doubt (says Mr. Guthrie, Geo. p. 89,) that the Scandinavians" (the inhabitants of Denmark, Norway and Sweden,) "were Scythians by their origin." The descendants of ancients Magog, under the various names of Scythians, Tartar, Moguls, Turks, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Franks and others, have made the most terrible ravages in the earth. Various clans of them, in early ages, overran, and peopled a considerable part of Asia
and Europe. "A little before the Christian era, (says a geographer, *) Sigge, afterward called Odin, from the north cast of Asia," (where Magog settled) "conquered and then inhabited part of Sweden." There we accordingly find a Gothland, whose ancient inhabitants were thus of the descendants of Magog. Hordes of these northern barbarians were ravaging various kingdoms in the south of Europe, in the early days of Christianity. In the reign of Gallus, "an almost innumerable company (says Dr. Lowman ) of Scythians fell upon Italy, and ravaged Macedonia, Thessaly and Greece; a part of them, from the Palus Moeotis, broke through the Bosphorus into the Euxine sea, and laid waste many provinces." And abundantly are we informed of the terrible ravages made in the Roman empire, or in the kingdoms in the southwest of Europe, in the former ages of the Christian era, by floods of these invading northern barbarians. "These fierce tribes were scattered (says Mr. Guthrie ) over the vast countries of the north of Europe, and northwest of Asia, which are now inhabited by the Dunes, the Swedes, the Poles, the subjects of the Russian empire, and the Tartars. -- Great bodies of armed men, with their wives and children, -- issued forth, like regular colonies, in quest of new settlements. New adventurers followed them. The lands, which they deserted, were occupied by more remote tribes of barbarians. These, in their turn, pushed forward into more fertile countries; and, like a torrent continually increasing, rolled on, and swept away every thing before them -- The scourge of God, and the destroyer of nations, are the dreadful epithets, by which the most noted of the barbarian leaders were known." These barbarians, it is well known, overran, and settled in the south of Europe, particularly in the western branch of the old Roman empire. The Suevi and Alans settled in Spain in the year 409. They were afterward overran by the Goths. In 410 the Goths took Rome; and settled in Italy. The
* Morse, Geog. p. 64.
On Rev. p. 49.
Geo. p; 56, 57.
Franks about the year 420 overran the ancient Gauls, and settled in France. The Huns took up their abode in Hungary, in 460; some say at earlier date. The Gapidae and Lombards established a kingdom in Italy, in 568. The Vandals, who had before settled in Gallicia in Spain, crossed the straits of Gibraltar, under the command of Genseric, and invaded the seven northern, rich and fertile provinces of Africa, where they established a kingdom. Thence they, in 455, invaded and plundered Rome, which they possessed for nearly a century, till they were subdued by Justinian. Thus these floods of barbarians, the descendants of Magog, left their own countries in the regions of the north; and for several centuries rendered the fairest parts of Europe a field of blood; and they took up their residence there; they divided the Roman empire into various kingdoms. Well may these territories then, be called, the land of Magog. They perfectly answer that prophetic and mystical appellation.
Gog is called also the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Meshech and Tubal were brethren of Magog: And no doubt their descendants were mingled. The posterity of Meshech peopled Cappadocia, and Armenia. Thence they sent colonies to the north, who were called the Moschi, or Moscovites. The posterity of Tubal, Josephus informs, peopled Iberia on the Black Sea. According to Bochart, Tubal was the father of the Tibarenes, on the north of Armenia the Less. And Martin (in his Philological Library) informs, that Tubal was the father of the Russians. All these may have been different branches of the descendants of Tubal. We must naturally suppose, that in the rage of invasion, which excited the numerous clans of the northern barbarians in the fifth and sixth centuries, the descendants of Meshech and Tubal united with their neighbors and brethren in these incursions upon the Roman empire. No doubt so many of the ancient posterity of Meshech and Tubal intermingled with their neighboring brethren, the posterity of Magog, and became one with them, that it was proper, in a prophetic hint, to add the names of Meshesh and Tubal to that of Magog,
to designate a distant and most interesting Empire of their descendants.
Other reasons may, in the course of Providence, occur, to evince the propriety of the addition of these two names. Should the influence of the French dynasty be found to be extended over regions in the north east, evidently peopled in ancient times by the descendants of Meshech and Tubal, it might afford an additional reason why their names were added in the prophetic description of their sovereignty, of the last days. This We are led to suspect may be the case, after the judgment of the sixth vial; or the subversion of the Turkish empire by the arms of the infidel Power. And this appears to be hinted in the course of these descriptions of Gog, where he forms various of those nations into his vast confederacy, and directs their operations against the house of Israel.
A terrible Power rising on the ground of the old Roman empire answers with as real precision to the description Of Ezekiel's Gog, as would a Power rising in the north of Europe, or Asia, should such an event take place, where the posterity of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal, had their primary residence. Indeed, the description given, as it respects these three names, affords an almost boundless range, in which to look for the dynasty represented by Gog. We have the vast field, of the old Roman empire; especially its western branch; the present Russian empire; and the north and western parts at least of the Ottoman empire. Pool informs, that Syria, and Asia Minor have been supposed to belong to the land of Magog. And he was of opinion that the Scythians or Tartars, the Turks, and the Roman Antichrist, (by which he meant the Papal Power) would be found, at some time to unite in the confederacy predicted in this chapter concerning Gog. He was of opinion, that in the last times some active, daring prince would be found to unite these numerous nations, and lead them against the Church of Israel re-settled in Palestine.
In looking over this vast range of nations, to find the Power designated by Gog, are we not constrained to fix our attention on the terrible Power, which has risen
on the ground of the old Roman empire; and which exhibits every characteristic of the last head of the Roman Beast; the Imperial head, recovered from its deadly wound; the Antichrist of the last times? Here we find a Power, which bids fair to be of equal magnitude with Gog; which with sufficient precision is in the land of Magog, is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and which goeth into perdition on the same ground, at the same period, and on the same expedition, with the Gog and his bands, under consideration. Do we need further evidence then, that Antichrist and Gog are the same? The numerous points of coincidence between them leave no room to doubt of the affirmative.
The reasons why Antichrist may properly receive the appellation of Gog, the land of Magog, the chief, prince of Meshech and Tubal, may be summoned up as follows.
1. Gog is a natural abbreviation of Magog, and naturally be taken as a mystic appellation of a terrible dynasty or government of some important empire of the descendants of Magog.
2. The French, and the nations, which do or will constitute the French empire, may properly be said to have been the natural descendants of Magog, Meshech and Tubal, since the northern barbarians overran, and settled in those nations, in the fifth and sixth centuries.
3. These appellations are striking, on account of the similarity between Antichrist, and those northern barbarians, in point of real heathenism, conquests, and cruelty; both alike overwhelming the Roman empire, and nations marked out for a prey, like a sweeping flood; pulling down and setting up kingdoms at pleasure, in defiance of all justice, and the laws of nations. Antichrist has thus exhibited a character similar to the chief princes of those barbarous invaders, who were called The scourge of God; and the destroyers of man. And
4. The future conquests and influence of Antichrist in the east, and north, may add a still further emphasis to the propriety of these appellations. Thus much for his description.
The prophet proceeds in recording the words of the Most High to Gog, in Ezek. xxxviii: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. This text suggests not only the entire control, which pod will exercise over Gog, but also the greatness of the numbers of the mixed multitudes under him. Other passages of Scripture speak of them as being the kings of the earth, and of the whole world. * For behold in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will, also gather all nations, and will bring them down unto the valley of Jehoshaphat.
The prophet proceeds to give a summary list of the nations in this coalition under Gog: -- Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shields and helmets: Gomer and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands, and many people with thee. Vast mixed multitude! Let us trace them. Persia is at the head of the catalogue. Persia is situated on the east of the Ottoman empire; and is of the same religion, the Mohammedan. And as it is of late thought that the Afghans in Persia are the ten tribes of Israel, who will then have quitted their Persian territories, and gone to the land of their fathers, the Persians will readily be induced to unite in the coalition against Israel in Palestine. Perhaps they will claim them as their subjects; as the ancient Egyptian monarch did the tribes of Israel, when they were fleeing from his territories.
Ethiopia and Libya: These names are noted, as in connexion with the infidel Power, in his preceding expedition into the east; Dan. xi, 43; And the Libyans and Ethiopians shall be at his steps. It is natural then, to expect them to be in this final coalition. But who are the Ethiopians here mentioned? A considerable part of Africa is comprised under the name of Ethiopia,
* Rev. xvi, 14, and xix, 19.
Joel iii, 1, 2.
Upper and Lower. The former including Nubia, and Abyssinia. The latter all the kingdoms south of the equinoctial line. But it is not probable that this vast territory, so far to the south, can be the Ethiopia in the coalition under Gog. The original Ethiopia, or Cush, was in the northwestern parts of Arabia. Here, east of the northern parts of the Red Sea, Cush the son of Ham, took up his residence. From him those regions, in the Stony Arabia, were called the land of Gush, or Ethiopia. Here Moses married his Ethiopian wife. * This is nearly in the line pursued by the infidel Power in his preceding expedition. These northwestern Arabs, it is natural then to suppose, will be the Ethiopians in the coalition under Gog. Probably they will be induced to unite, in hopes of rich plunder.
Libya comprises the States of Barbary. The Hebrew word for Libya here, is Phut. But Phut, the son of Ham, (Martin in his Phiollogical Library informs,) took up his residence in the western pans of Africa, on the Mediterranean, in the country of Mauritania, now Morocco and Algiers, where we find a city Putea, and a river Put. Pool on this passage informs, that Libya here means "a people of Africa, either now subjects of, or confederate with the Turks." As the Libyans are said to be at the steps of the Infidel Power, at the time of the overthrow of the Turks; as the States of Barbary are now subject to the Turks, and are the only powers of any note west of Egypt; and as the Libyans in the prophecy under consideration must be supposed to be of some note, to have been predicted three or four and twenty centuries ago, to be in the coalition under Gog; the Barbary powers must have been designed by the Libya or Phut in this place.
Gomer and all his bands. Gorher, the oldest son of Japhet, peopled Galatia, Phrygia, and some regions round about the Euxine Sea. Thence his descendants penetrated into Europe; and according to Brown they peopled Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal and Britain. Some of the Scots and
* Numb, xii, 1.
Dan. xi, 40-43.
Irish, the Picts particularly, are supposed to have been of the same origin. Martin is not so full upon the descendants of Gomer. But he informs that the ancient Gomerites and the Gaiatians were the same: That from Galatia they sent colonies into Europe, and settled Germany; from which they spread themselves into France, where they were called by the Greeks Galatae, or Gomerites, by the Latins Celtae, and by the Britons Gauls. Thus the name Gauls is derived from Gomer. And from Germany, or France, Martin informs, Came the first inhabitants of Great Britain. France, being the only people of importance, who retain the name of their primitive ancestor, or an evident derivation from it, must be the people meant by Gomer. Gomer, and all his bands: i. e. The Gauls and all their Empire. It was the original inhabitants of France, and some of her neighboring nations, who descended from Gomer. They in process of time became mixed with their barbarous invaders from the north, the descendants of Magog, as has been shown. They now therefore, answer to both the names. The two names of the French illustrate this idea; Gauls, or Gomerites; French, or Franks, a clan of the descendants of Magog. Brown informs, * that the ancient Gomerites in France and Switzerland were long a terror to the Romans; but were conquered by them; and were finally swallowed up by the descendants of Magog; meaning the floods of the northern barbarians.
But some may inquire, whether more is not included in the clause, Gomer and all his bands, than the nations included in the present French empire? The original inhabitants of Britain, after the flood, were from Gomer's line. The Welsh in Britain call themselves
* Dictionary of the Bible,
The present Gaelic multitudes, in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, are a remnant of this people. The above denomination of their dialect is, no doubt, a derivation from the name Gomer. This people are descendants from the ancient Celtae, or Gomerites. Says the Secretary of the Society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge, relative to a new edition of the Bible in the Gaelic language, -- "I will not enter into the
Cumri, Cymro, or Comeri. These also are ancient Britons, who upon the invasion of England by the Saxons, from the north of Germany, in the sixth century, (in the fifth century, according to Milner, or in A. D. 447, vol. iii, p. 109) were driven into Wales. It is evident then, that the first inhabitants of Britain were Gomerites. If therefore France is included in Gomer and all his bands, notwithstanding her being overrun by the northern invaders, because her original inhabitants were Gomerites; why must not Great Britain, and consequently the United States, be likewise included, notwithstanding that Britain, after it was settled by the Gomerites, was afterward overrun by the Saxons, and then by the Normans; and the present English have descended from some of them? Reply. Should Britain and the United States fall under the French Empire, they would answer, with sufficient precision, to the description of Gomer, and all his bands, both as being, in their primitive ancestors, the descendants of ancient Gomerites; and as belonging at last to the bands of the Gallic Empire. But we devoutly trust, that gracious Heaven does not design the subjugation of our land, nor of that of our ancestors, to that devouring Power. We may hope for exceptions under this general prediction. The great body of the Church of Christ is now found in these two nations, the distant ramifications of Comer's line. And "Oft has the Lord whole nations blest, for his own Church's sake." But how many nations will eventually be found included in the bands of Gomer, time alone will disclose.
The house of Togarmah. Togarmah, a grandson of Japhet, peopled Phrygia, Cappadocia, Turcomania, some parts of Armenia and Paphlagonia. No doubt Asia Minor is here included, and probably the chief of the countries of the present Turkish or Ottoman empire.
question, how far the preservation of that ancient dialect of the Celtic, the language of our forefathers, the primitive inhabitants of this island, is an object of just desire. -- Surely while the Celtic, whether in the Irish, Welsh, or Gaelic dialects, is the existing language of great bodies of remote and ignorant people, no wise and good man will refuse to give them the means of instruction in the only language, in which they are capable of receiving it." See the Panoplist for Sept. 1805, p. 167.
Of the north quarters and all his bands. This may be read in apposition with the house of Togarmah; and leave out the of: The house of Tagarmah; the north quarters; and all the bands of the north: Many of the Tartars, and perhaps the Russians. And many people with thee. Many others promiscuously united.
Here is a traversing round Palestine, from Persia on the east, to Arabia on the south; and to the west, through the north of Africa; then to the north, through the southern and middle nations of Europe; then round to the cast, through Asia Minor, and the Turkish empire; then away indefinitely to the vast regions of the north. Amazing combination, collected from at least three of the quarters of the globe, to destroy and plunder the Hebrews, recovered from their long dispersion; a combination excited by the threefold agency of the dragon, the Beast, and the false prophet; and prepared for the battle of that great day of God Almighty. * This is indeed gathering the nations and assembling the kingdoms, to pour out upon them the Divine indignation. I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle. § And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. ||
Various motives no doubt will be found operating among the various nations and tribes thus uniting; such as enmity against the Christian religion; rage at the restoration of the Hebrews; rage at their conversion to Christianity; rage against some rival nation, who will have been aiding in their restoration or conversion, and may be ready to afford them further assistance; a desire among the fragments of different denominations, (as Papists and Mohammedans,) to meliorate their own broken cause; and an expectation of rich plunder. The latter will be a prime motive among many of these confederates; as we learn in the course of this chapter.
* Rev. xvi, 13, 14.
Zech. ii, 8.
Isai. lxvi, 18.
§ Zech. xiv, 2.
|| Rev. xix, 19.
The Jews and Israel having gone in great numbers from different parts of the world to Palestine, and transported with them vast sums of property; their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord; * this will naturally turn the attention of the multitudes, among whom they have resided, after them. No doubt some will feel as though they have a right to pursue and recover them, as their subjects; or to plunder them, as having conveyed off vast wealth from their territories. They may hence be excited to pursue them, like Pharaoh of old, rallying his army to pursue Israel, when leaving his dominions. And all the mighty movements will fall under the direction of Gog, or Antichrist.
The Most High addresses him. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou and all thy company, that are assembled unto thee; and be thou a guard unto them. Most significant, ironical admonition! After many days thou shalt be visited; in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste; but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. In the last days God will fulfil these things by you against his people, just recovered from their long dispersion, and dwelling heedlessly; or, they shall be built up, notwithstanding all your rage against them. Thou shalt ascend, and come like a storm; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou and ail thy bands, and many people with thee. Your attack shall be like a terrible shower, which ascends from the horizon, rises, approaches, roars, darkens the hemisphere, extends its wings beyond sight, becomes terrific with its lightning, thunder and wild commotion, till it overwhelms all, and seems about to blend the heavens and earth in ruin. Thus saith the Lord God, it shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought. And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages, I will go to them who are at rest, and dwell safely,
* Isai. lx, 9.
all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places, that are now inhabited, and upon the people, that are gathered out of the nations, who have golden cattle and goods, and dwell in the midst of the land. Here one motive of the vast movement is exposed, which is plunder. They will expect to make an easy prey of the rich and defenceless. The He brews will return with much riches, of cattle and goods: Their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord. * They will have no city walls, nor gates; will have made no effectual arrangements for defence; but will appear an easy prey. This text clearly indicates, that the attack will be made not long after Israel's return: And yet that it will be a season; probably a number of years.
Mark what follows! Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee. Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver, and gold; to take away cattle and goods; to take a great spoil? Who are these? Is this an additional account of the nations in the confederacy under Gog? Or does it present a coalition in opposition to him? In favor of the latter, it may be observed, that the nations in a coalition under Gog, from every point of the compass, were before enumerated. And it does not seem probable, that the Holy Spirit would resume this subject, as though several powers had been forgotten or passed over. We must conjecture, that Gog had anticipated a powerful opposition in this enterprise. Else why had he collected so vast an army? The motive of the Most High, is to destroy his enemies; and that the nations should be collected, to see his justice and glorious power. But this is no part of the motive of Gog. And he too must have a motive, or reason, for collecting so vast an army. Do such sagacious generals make such vast collections of forces, to beat the
* Isa. lx. 9.
air? Or to take a city, where they expect little or no opposition? No verily! The movements of Gog indicate, that he expects powerful opposition. The earth had previously helped the woman, and swallowed up his floods cast forth for her destruction. And he, in vexation and rage, undertakes this new expedition. * Tidings out of the east and out of the north trouble him. Some rival power assisting in the restoration of the Hebrews, or the conversion of the latter, fills him with wrath: Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. This text, and the vast collection, which he makes of forces, clearly indicate an expectation of vastly more opposition than he can expect from the Jews and Israel in Palestine. It is evident in this chapter that he expects little or none from the latter. His expectations of opposition must be from another quarter beside the Jews. Palestine is at that time chosen as the seat of contest with a more formidable power; although the affairs of the Jews and Israel afford a pretext for the expedition. A most desperate effort Antichrist now makes, to destroy and utterly to make away many; Dan. xi, 44, to exterminate the forces of some rival enemy. Hence the vastness of his movements.
And this rival enemy is here presented, under the name of Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof. Their language is not that of friendship, but of opposition. Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold; to take away cattle and goods; to take a great spoil? Here then is a voice, that dares to interrogate Gog in the height of his glory; at the head of his countless legions; in those days of revolution, and of blood!
But who are they, that constitute this coalition? Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof! God can either raise up, or strengthen an opposition to Gog, from nations, that may now appear the most unlikely. And he probably
* Rev. xii, 17.
Dan, xi, 44.
will do it. Some noted power may be aided by others now insignificant. Who are these merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof? Tarshish was a grandson of Shem. He peopled Cilicia. And from him the city Tarshish, or Tarsus, there (the birth place of St. Paul) had its name. Its inhabitants became the most expert seamen; built the best ships; * and many of them became merchants. The Mediterranean in their vicinity came to be called the sea of Tarshish. This name was given to a city in Spain, Tartossus, or Tarshish. The west end of the Mediterranean came to bear the same name. And many, authors inform us, Tarshish came to be a name for the sea in general. Accordingly, the ships of Tarshish (Psalm xlviii, 7, and other places) mean the ships of the sea. (See Pool on this passage.) Nothing is more common, than for names in prophetic language to be thus extended, and transmitted from one place, and even nation, to another. When we read therefore, of the merchants of Tarshish, at the time of the restoration of Israel, we must understand, not the descendants of any of those ancient cities of that name; but the merchants of the sea; or some great mercantile, maritime power. And their ships of war, we may suppose, are designed by all the young lions thereof. The lion may be the sign of their navy; or their coat of arms.
This naval, mercantile power will appear interested for the Jews; and will dare to interrogate the leader of the coalition against them. This idea receives countenance from collateral prophecies. In Isaiah lx, the return of the Jews is predicted in lively colors; flying as clouds, and as doves to their windows. In verse 9th, we are informed of an agency employed in their restoration. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God. Here we find the same power; the isles, and the ships of Tarshish first, officiating in the return of the ancient people of God, with their treasures, to Palestine. And
* 1 Kings x, 22.
Ezek. xxvii, 25; and Jer. x, 9.
as this naval power of the isles will be found with ability to do this, in those days of revolution and of terror; so we must naturally expect they would do what is indicated by the above interrogations to Gog, when he shall be about to plunder the Jews of their treasures, and to seek their ruin. The isles and ships of Tarshish first bring back the people of Israel, and their silver and gold with them unto the name of the Lord. Gog rises to plunder and ruin them. And the merchants of Tarshish, with all their young lions, and with others upon this occasion, interrogate Gog; Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold', to take away cattle and goods; to take a great spoil? Surely then, the isles, and the ships of Tarshish, in Isa. lx, 9; and the merchants of Tarshish, and all the young lions thereof, in the passage under consideration, must ie the same.
In Psalm lxxii, we find the same thing. To predict the Millennium is the object of the Psalm. And in verse 10 we read, The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents. In the light of the preceding texts, we must naturally conceive, that this bringing of presents, by the powers of Tarshish and of the isles, must refer to the restoration of the house of Israel; which is a most prominent event in the prophecies of the introduction of the Millennium. Then that ancient people of God will need just such services; but probably not afterward. In Zeph. iii, 10, we read, From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. Or, From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, (away in the western hemisphere,) my worshippers shall bring mine offering, viz. the children of my dispersed, or of Israel. It is natural then to expect, that this mercantile naval power, (be it who it may,) with all its lions of naval strength, will be found, with whatever nations they may find to unite with them, in opposition to Gog, in his expedition against the house of Israel in Palestine.
But who are the Sheba and Dedan connected with them in this passage. We find several of the name
of Sheba; as Sheba, a grandson of Cush; * Sheba, the son of Joktan of the line of Shem; and Sheba, son of Joksham, and grandson of Abraham These all settled in Arabia; "and perhaps most of them in the southern parts of it." § There was a country of this name. Thence it is supposed some of their descendants crossed the Red Sea, and peopled Abyssinia. || Here I apprehend is the place designed by the Sheba under consideration. The queen of Sheba came to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon's reign was a type of the Millennium. And his visit from the queen of Sheba may be viewed as a kind of prelude to the early aid Sheba is to afford to the house of Israel at, or after, their restoration. In Psalm Ixxii, where the reign of Solomon and the Millennium are unitedly predicted, (one as type, and the other as antitype,) we read, verse 10; The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Here are Tarshish and Sheba connected, as in the text under consideration. In the afore-noted prediction of the restoration and conversion of the house of Israel, Isa. lx, where the isles and ships of Tarshish are first to wait on God, >i>to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord; it is predicted, verse 6; All they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense. Where then is this Sheba? Whence did the queen of Sheba come to hear the wisdom of Solomon? Brown says it is not agreed whether she came from Sheba in Arabia Felix, or from a place of this name in Abyssinia. In favor of its being the latter, he observes, that Abyssinia abounds with just such kind of treasures as that queen brought to king Solomon. And she is said to have come from the uttermost parts of the earth; i. e. the uttermost parts then known to the Jews. But Abyssinia was then known to the Jews, and was the southernmost nation then
* Gen. x, 7.
Gen. x, 27.
Gen. xxv, 3.
|| See Pool on Joel iii, 8; and Brown on the word Sheba.
known by them. Sheba in Arabia was not so far distant. In Abyssinia their language and religion are similar to those of the Jews. And that people have a tradition, that a queen of theirs in ancient times visited king Solomon. And they fondly relate a number of things relative to this event. These things render it most highly probable, that the Sheba sought was in Abyssinia. The Sheba in the text no doubt denotes the country, in which it was situated; under whatever name it may now be known. And it must appear highly probable, that Abyssinia is the place designed. This is a large country in Africa, south of Egypt; bounded east by the Red Sea; 900 miles in length; 840 in breadth; and is an important part of Ethiopia. "This spacious empire (says a historian) contains a great mixture of people, of various religions; Pagans, Jews, and Mohammedans; but the main body of the natives are professed Christians, who hold the Scriptures to be the sole rule of faith. Their emperor is supreme, as well in ecclesiastical, as in civil matters. The patriarch is the highest ecclesiastical dignitary in this empire. This patriarch is by his clergy called Abuna, the Hebrew word for our father. The next order of ecclesiastics -- is a kind of Jewish Levites, who assist in all public offices in the Church. They boast that they are of Jewish extraction; and pretend to imitate the service of the Jewish temple. -- They have other priests of various orders. They use different forms of baptism; and keep both Saturday and the first day of the week, as a Sabbath. They are circumcised, and abstain from swine's flesh. -- Their Divine service consists in reading the Scriptures, administering the Eucharist, and hearing some homilies of the fathers." *
It was from this country, it is believed, that the pious eunuch came to Jerusalem to worship, to whose chariot Philip was commanded by the Holy Ghost to join himself. Milner upon this event observes: "This Ethiopia seems to be that part of the country whose
* H. Adams's View of Religion, p. 363,--
Acts viii. 26--
metropolis is called Meroe, situated in a large island encompassed by the Nile, and the rivers Astapus and Astabora. For in these parts, as the elder Pliny informs, queens had a long time governed under the title of Candace." *
This eunuch was said to be a man of great authority under Candace, queen of Ethiopia. And his coming up to Jerusalem to worship indicates, that some peculiar acquaintance then subsisted between his nation and the Jews. This was probably the case ever after the visit of their queen to king Solomon. How many of the Jews might flee thither, after their dispersion by the Romans, we know not. But multitudes of Jews now reside there. Accordingly we read, of the time of their restoration, (Isa. xi, 11,) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Puthros, and from Cush (Ethiopia) and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the isles of the sea. The Cush or Ethiopia here mentioned, is among the places, from which God will set himself to recover his people, the Jews. And it seems the Ethiopians will be so far from being disposed to pursue after them, or unite in a coalition against them, that they will be found operating in a coalition of powers in their behalf; and will early share in the blessings of the Millennium. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants shall bring mine offering even the daughter of my dispersed. All they from Sheba shall come. § And he shall live; and to him shall be given the gold of Sheba. || These predictions seem to indicate, that Sheba, or Abyssinia, will be of some note in favor of the Jews upon their return to Palestine. Sheba is mentioned first in the coalition, in the text under consideration; Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish. And the repeated mentioning of
* Church Hist. vol. i, p. 54.
Psalm lxviii, 31.
Zech. iii, 10.
§ Isa. lx, 6.
|| Psalm lxxii, 15.
the latter as beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, seems to indicate some connexion between the Ethiopians, and this mercantile, naval power, in aid of the Jews.
Dedan is another power in this coalition. We find two of this name among the early settlers of the world; Dedan a brother of Sheba, and grandson of Cush; * and Dedan a brother to another Sheba, and grandson of Abraham. These both settled in Arabia; the former on the west side of the Persian gulph, in Arabia Felix, where there is a city Dedan. The other Dedan probably gave name to the city Dedan on the frontiers of Idumea. The Dedanites were formerly of some note as merchants, trading in the fairs of Tyre. § But probably no correct genealogy is now to be found of their posterity. No doubt they mingled with the other tribes of Arabia. The Dedan in the text will probably be found to mean some people inhabiting Arabia Felix, and the southeastern parts of Arabia; and is the same with Seba, found in connexion with the kings of Tarshish and Sheba, who are engaged in favor of the Jews, at the time of their restoration. The kings (or powers) of Tarshish, and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. || Here are three powers, connected in the same object, at the same period, with the three powers in the text under consideration. Must not the powers then, be the same? Two of them are of the same name. And we must suppose the third to be the same with the Dedan in the text. A rational account can be given for this changing of names. It has been noted, that several by the same of Sheba settled early in Arabia; and some of them in the southern parts of it; whose descendants emigrated, and peopled Abyssinia. Those who remained were known by the name of Sabeans, or Seba. Dedan, it has been observed, settled in the same region. And no doubt his descendants intermixed, and became one people with the Sabeans.
* Gen. x, 7.
Gen. xxv, 3.
Brown on the word Dedan.
§ Ezek. xxvii, 15, 20,
|| Psalm lxxii, 10.
And the subsequent inhabitants of that country were called Sabeans, or Seba; and Dedanitcs, or Dedan. They were travelling companies; Isa. 21, 13; "O ye travelling companies of Dedanim." A tribe of the Sabeans in the time of Job, infested Arabia Deserta, and robbed him. of his cattle. * But most of the Sabeans probably dwelt farther southeast. These Sabeans are mentioned in Joel iii, 8, in a sublime prediction of the battle of the great day; which seems to indicate that the Sabeans will then be present in some kind of opposition to the enemies of the Jews on that occasion. The Most High announces to the nations to be convened to the valley of Jehoshaphat, that their children shall be sold to the Sabeans, a people far off. Repeatedly we find in the predictions of the salvation of the Jews, in the last days, Sheba and Seba connected in their behalf. I gave Ethiopia and Seba for thee: The same with Sheba and Seba, as shown before. The merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee. § Here then, are Sheba and Seba, connected with the kings of Tarshish and of the isles, Psalm lxxii, 10, in aid of the Jews, after there restoration: And the Sheba and Dedan, in the same connexion with the merchants of' Tarshish, with their lions, must be the same.
The merchandise of the Sabeans shall come over unto thee. The people of the southeast of Arabia, as well as in Mecca, have been famed for trading with the Turkish caravans, in balm, manna, myrrh, cassia, aloes, frankincense, spikenard, cinnamon, pepper, cadamum, oranges, lemons, pomegranates, figs, honey, wax and other articles. The city of Bassora, at the head of the Persian gulf, in Irac Arabia, is one centre of this trade. "Here are many Jews." || Probably there are Jews in Arabia Felix, as well as in Abyssinia. In the enumeration of nations, from which devout men were at Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost; (Acts ii, 5-11,) are mentioned Arabians, And more went thither in after days. A writer remarks; "Egypt and Arabia were filled with Jews, who had fled into these
*; Job i, 15.
See Pool on Joel iii, 8.
Ias. xliii, 3.
§ Isa. xlv, 14.
|| Morse's Gaz.
corners of the world from the persecution of the emperor Adrian." * And when God shall bring the seed of Israel from the east, and gather them from the west; shall say to the north, Give up; and to the south. Keep not back; these Jews in Arabia, as well as in Abyssinia, will fly as clouds, and as doves to their windows.
And the friendly interest, which the Dedanites, or Seba, will be excited to take on the occasion, in connexion with the two other powers noted, time will disclose. It is remarkable, that these three powers are so repeatedly found in this connexion, in the prophecies, as aiding the people of God in Palestine, after their return thither.
This Dedan, or Seba, most probably, is the people meant by the Edom, Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon, in Dan. xi, 41; who are to escape out of the hands of the infidel Power, in his first expedition into the east. The ancient nations under these names have long since been extinct, or been swallowed up among the Arabian tribes. When these names therefore are said to escape out of the hands of Antichrist, in his first excursion into the east, in distinction from the Ethiopians in the northwest of Arabia, who shall be at his steps; they must mean the people of Arabia Felix, and those in the east of Arabia. And why are they expressly excepted from the conquests of Antichrist, in his first expedition; unless to indicate, that they are to be of some note in opposition to him, in his subsequent operations? The name of Edom is in prophecy mystically applied to the greatest enemies of the Church. Christ, in the battle of the great day, is said to come from Edom with died garments. § The Edom here is Antichrist. But when it is applied to some people in Arabia, who shall escape the domination of Antichrist, it is not thus mystically, but is more literally applied: And it may denote a people there, whom God will excite to aid his cause in the re-establishment of
* Morse's Geo. p. 578.
Isa. lx, 8.
Dan. xi, 43.
§ Isa lxiii, 1.
the Jews in Palestine. And probably this Edom, and Moab, and chief of the children of Ammon, and Dedan, and Seba, all denote the same power. *
* The agency of the naval power in this coalition, in the return of the Jews to the land of their fathers, we find predicted in Isa. xviii, as well as in other passages. I will quote this chapter, with some small variations from our transition, but which are according to Bp. Lowth, in his Isaiah, or other able translators.
"Ho land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: 3 That sendeth messengers on the sea in vessels of bulrushes, on the face of the waters. Go ye swift sailors, to a nation scattered, and with their hair plucked off; to a people remarkable from the beginning and hitherto; a nation of line, line;" (or, "the people looking for, and expecting one to come;" so some Jews in the east have translated the passage;) and trodden under foot; whose lands the rivers have spoiled. 3 All ye inhabitants of the world, when the standard is lifted up on the mountains, behold ye; and when the trumpet is sounded, hear ye. 4 For thus hath the Lord said to me, 1 will take my rest, and will regard my fixed habitation, like the clear heat after rain, and like a cloud of dew in the days of harvest. 5 Surely before the vintage, when the bud is perfect, and the blossom is becoming a swelled grape, he shall cut off the shoots with the pruning hooks, and shall cut down and take away the branches. 6 They shall be left together to the rapacious fowls of the mountains, and to the wild beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them; and the beasts shall winter upon them. 7 At that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered, and with their hair plucked off; of a people remarkable from the beginning and hitherto; the people looking for, and expecting one to come; who are trodden under foot; whose lands the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion."
1 Ho nation, darkening with thy sails, or thou great maritime power of the last days, when this address shall become applicable; thou land beheld in vision as though in a line with Ethiopia, (or the Sheba, who shall aid my people) but away beyond her rivers; how far, and in what particular direction, the event shall unfold: 2 Thou land, whose embassadors and missionaries are conveyed by sea to distant climes seemingly with as great facility as that nation, beyond which thou art in vision beheld, used to navigate its rivers in light vessels made of the rind of Papyrus: Come thou naval power; I have a business for thee to perform. Thy art and power in navigation shall now be found
The prophet proceeds. Therefore son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord, in the day when my people dwell safely, shalt thou not know it? Thou wilt hear of their defenceless state, and wilt attempt
to answer a new and important purpose Go ye swift seamen; collect my ancient people: That people, who have long been scattered over the face of the earth; who have long been insulted and abused: That people, whose history has been so remarkable from ancient date: That people long looking for and expecting another Messiah, beside Jesus of Nazareth; but in vain: Who have been trodden under foot among the nations: Whose ancient inheritance in Palestine, the mystic rivers of invading nations, (the Romans, the Persians, Saracens, Turks, Egyptians, and Ottomans in turn) have overflown and ravaged. But the Ottoman Euphrates being dried up, and the way for the return of my people being prepared, go ye now, and aid their return. Thus it is predicted, Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring my sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord. (Isa. Ix, 9.) 3 All ye inhabitants of the world, now behold the standard of salvation, which I am about to erect! Hear ye the great trumpet, which shall now be blown. (Isa. xxvii, 13.) 4 For thus saith the Lord, I am going to regard and renew my ancient resting place; I will again have a fixed habitation in Canaan, as I have declared by the prophets; especially in Zech. i, 16; Therefore thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it. And viii, 3, Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. This event shall be as life from the dead to the Gentiles: Therefore ye nations behold. I will now be to mine heritage like the genial heat of the sun after rain, and like the cooling dew after the sultry heat of harvest; as I have repeatedly predicted, Israel shall be as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by the clear shining after rain. (2 Sam. xxiii, 4.) I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily; and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. (Hos. xiv, 5.) 5 But, connected with the introduction of this event, is a scene which awaits mine enemies, as I have always given notice, in the many predictions which relate to that period; ruin to mine enemies, and salvation to my cause! The seventh vial, the vintage of wrath, must be fulfilled. And at the time of the return of the house of Israel, this event will be even at the doors. As in the natural vineyard, when the blossom is succeeded by the swelled pulp, which soon arrives to the size of the grape, indicating that the vintage is near; so at the time of the return of the Jews, wickedness will have blossomed, pride will have budded: The sour grapes will have obtained their bigness; and the time for casting the vine of
their ruin. And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, a mighty army. Ancient Babylon was called, the land
the earth into the great wine-press of the wrath of God, will be at hand. (Isa. lxiii, 2-6; Joel iii, 13; Rev. xiv, 8-20.) 6 Soon the most prominent branches of this vine shall be scattered upon the mountains of Israel, at Armageddon; and the fowls of heaven, and the beasts of the earth, shall feast upon them. (Ezek. xxxix, 4, 17-21; and Rev. xix, 17, 18.) 7 To prepare the way for this event, the present, which I now claim of you, must be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of the people long scattered over the earth, and long insulted and abused; that people, whose history has been so remarkable from ancient date; that people long expecting another Messiah beside Jesus of Nazareth, but in vain; who have been trodden under foot among the nations; whose ancient inheritance in Palestine invading nations have long occupied; the present shall be brought consisting of this people, unto the Lord of hosts, to the literal mount Zion. *
The naval power here addressed, being described in relation to the rivers of Ethiopia, both in the first verse of this chapter, and in Zeph. iii, 10, before noted, which rivers may mean the Nile, and according; to Pool, the Red Sea, which lies upon the eastern bound of Ethiopia, and resembles a great river; also the skill of this naval power in navigation being described by the bulrush navigation of the Nile and the shores of the Red Sea, seems to indicate some connexion of this naval power with these Ethiopians (Abyssinians, or people of Sheba) in this service, to which they are called. If the meaning be simply, that this naval power is away somewhere westward of the mouths of the Mile, why are these called the rivers of Ethiopia? Perhaps the true solution may be, this power is beheld in vision, in a line with Ethiopia, or Sheba, to denote some connexion between them, in the friendly aid to be afforded to the Jews. This power's being beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, does not decide relative to the particular point of compass, or the distance, at which the power is to be found. It decides only, that it will be in the western hemisphere from Jerusalem: But whether in the west of Europe, or in America, the event will decide.
* Since writing the preceding comment on this chapter, I have, for the first time, seen Bp. Horsley's comment upon it; published in Mr. Faber's volume upon the return of the Jews; and am pleased to find my opinion on the great points of this prophecy confirmed by so distinguished an authority. In some particulars his exposition differs from the one, which I have given. But in those differences I think my interpretation as well accords with the text; and better with collateral prophecies.
of the north, * because most of the Assyrian empire lay in a latitude north of Jerusalem. But France lies in a latitude much farther north, than did the Assyrian empire. It extends almost twenty degrees north of
Other predictions seem to favor this coalition against Gog. Obad. 21; And saviors shall come union mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's. By the mount of Esau here must be meant, that terrible enemy of the Church, prefigured by ancient Edom, (Isa. lxiii, 1.) The event is to take place when the kingdom becomes the Lord's, or at the introduction of the Millennium. And saviors are then to come to mount Zion, to aid the destruction of the great enemy. Though Christ fights that battle, yet he may make use of some human instruments. And this prediction hints that he will.
Micah v, 5-9. "For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread on our palaces, then we shall raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the lain! of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, in the midst of many people, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lift up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off."
"Some imagine, (says Dr. Gray, Key to the Old Test. p. 465,) that Micah foretells in this prophecy the victories obtained by the leaders of the Medes and Babylonians, who took Ninevah. Others suppose him to speak of the seven Maccabean leaders, with their eight royal successors, from Aristobulus to Antigonus." But the Doctor goes on to give his opinion, that it refers to some higher triumph still future, and refers us to the scene of Ezekiel's Gog for its accomplishment The prediction might receive a primary and typical accomplishment at the time of the Maccabees. For Antiochus then afflicting the Jews, was a type of Antichrist. But it will probably receive its great fulfilment in the antitype of the wars of Antiochus upon the Jews, or at the time of the last expedition of Antichrist into the east. And if so, it teaches, that God will then make some use of human instruments in the destruction of the Antichristian confederacy against the Jews in Palestine, beside their own swords. I will call for a sword against him. (Ezek. xxxviii, 21.)
* Jer. iv, 6; and xlvi, 20; and iii, 12.
Jerusalem; and may well therefore be called the north parts. And thou shalt come up against my people Israel as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter
Zech. ix, 11-14. "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope; even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee: When I have bent Judah for me, filled my bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrows shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south."
Here is the return of Judah and Ephraim (the Jews and the ten tribes) at the latter day. The passage received but a very partial, if any degree of accomplishment, in the return of the Jews from Babylon. For but a few, if any of Ephraim then returned. God did not then fill his bow with Ephraim. The event must be still future; And by the blood of the covenant, (the entail of the covenant with Abraham,) it will ere long be fulfilled. The Jews and Israel are indeed like prisoners in a dry pit. But they are prisoners of hope. God has promised to recover them. And he will fulfil his promise. And at that period God will find occasion to raise up the sons of Zion against the sons of Greece; and he will make the former like the sword of a mighty man. Grotius gives this paraphrase to this part of the passage, "I will animate the Jews against the troops of Antiochus." But those scenes of warfare were but a type of the scene still future between Antichrist and the Jews, as has been noted. Accordingly Bishop Newcome, upon the above passage of Grotius, observes, "It is true, that Judas Maccabaeus gained some advantages over the Syrians. But the language of this prophecy seems too strong for these events; and may remain to be fulfilled against the present possessors of the countries called Javan, or Greece." When we consider that Antiochus, in his wars against the Jews after their restoration from Babylon, was a lively type of Antichrist, in his attack upon the Jews to take place after their final restoration; and when we consider that the armies of Antiochus were considerably composed of Grecians, and that the nations of Greece, or of Asia Minor, are to be in the final coalition of Antichrist against the Jews and Israel, we shall discover that the prophecy quoted had a primary and typical fulfilment in the success of the Maccabees against Antiochus; but it is to receive its great fulfilment in some power to be raised up against Antichrist in his final expedition against the Jews in Palestine. And this probably will prove to be the coalition indicated in Ezek. xxxviii, 13, by Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof.
days; and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord God, Art thou he, of whom I have spoken of old times by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days, many years, that I would bring thee against them? As though the Most High comes out to view the combined armies; and address their chief; Art thou that mighty being, so long foretold by the various prophets in Israel, to do such wonderful things in the last days? Most portentous address!
"And it shall come to pass at the same time, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up into my face. For in my jealousy, and in the fire of my wrath, have I spoken. Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all the creeping things, that creep upon the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword upon him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence, and with blood; and I will reign upon him and upon his bands, and upon the many people, that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hail-stones, fire and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the Lord."
Here we have the tremendous scene of the vintage * on Gog, and his vast armies. The judgments, at the same time, will be executed on the cities of the nations, and on the enemies of the cause of Christ through the Christian world. Here is the battle of that great day of God Almighty, the seventh vial.
* Isa. lxiii, 1,-- Rev. xiv, last part.
Rev. xiv, 17, to the end.
The next chapter, Ezek. xxxix, is taken up in repeating and enlarging on the predictions of this destruction of Gog and his bands. In verse 6, the judgment is extended. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles. The empire of Gog, the nations of his government, will be burnt in the same fire. And the wicked and careless people of distant lands will perish. As in other prophecies; The cities of the nations fell. To the isles he will repay recompence. This slaughter is not to be confined to the literal armies of Gog. Nor will it probably be effected at once. But the fatal evil will progress through the nations. The slain of the Lord are to be from one end of the earth to the other.
In this xxxixth chapter, the beasts and fowls are invited to come and partake of the supper of the great God, the sacrifice, about to be made for them; as in Rev. xix, 17; where the same figure is used upon the same occasion; being borrowed from this passage. The stench of the unburied carcasses of the bands of Gog fills various parts of the land. Seven months are occupied in burying their carcasses, and cleansing the country.
The military apparatus of these slaughtered hosts furnishes the nation of Israel with a sufficiency of fuel for seven years. And the account closes thus: Then shall they (the Church of Israel;) know that I am the Lord their God, who caused them to go into captivity among the heathen: But I have gathered them into their own land, and have left none of them any more there; (in heathen lands;) neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.
Thus ends the infidel Power of the last days. After he shall have filled a considerable part of the world, for a course of years, with carnage and terror, he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. * He is thus slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. The Beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, thus goeth into perdition. And the beast was taken and with him the false prophet, that wrought miracles before him -- these both were cast alive into the lake of fire, burning with brimstone. §
* Dan. xi, last part.
Dan. vii, 11.
Rev. xvii, 8, 11.
§ Rev. xix, 20, 21.
The nine succeeding chapters of this prophet, which close the book of Ezekiel, present a description of the Church of God in the Millennium, under the similitude of a vast capacious temple and city, whose name thenceforth shall be, THE LORD is THERE.
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THAT the way may be prepared to note the prophecies relative to Antichrist, in some of the last vials, I shall endeavor to give an explanation of the whole of them.
We are informed, Rev. xv, 1; And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. Verse 7; And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. Chap. xvi, 1; And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
The vial here mentioned is a plain cup, out of which to drink (---- from ----, to drink.) We read, Psalm lxxv, 8. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same; but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out and drink them. A cup is often used in sacred Writ, to signify a portion from God, either of blessing, or of jusgment. * The seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, poured out from heaven to earth, are symbols of a series of peculiar judgments, which were to be inflicted upon the most notorious enemies of God on earth. Each vial being poured out by an Angel, indicates that Angels are the ministers of Divine Providence, to inflict the judgments of heaven on the enemies of the Church. The apocalyptic vials are seven. The number seven is much used in the word of God; and especially in this mystical book. Here are the seven seals; the seven trumpets;
* See Psalm xi, 6; Jer. xxv, 15, 17, 28; Ezek. xxiii, 32; Mark xiv, 36, and x, 38; Psalm cxvi, 13, and many others.
the seven spirits of God; and the seven vials...
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I have now finished my arguments and proofs in favor of the points proposed in this Dissertation. Concerning the weight of the evidence, the reader will judge. But proceeding on the ground that the points proposed are substantiated; what have the friends of Zion to do, to understand the Infidelity of this period? They have much to do: much with their own hearts; much with their families; and much with their fellow men. The Divine precepts, now emphatically applicable, are many, and most weighty. One important direction we find prefixed to the prophetic description of the rise of Antichrist in Jude. The Apostle exhorts us that we contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. The duty here enjoined implies, in addition to faithful support of the scheme of Gospel grace, the diligent use of all proper remedies against the insidious attacks of all, who aid the cause of Antichrist. As these attacks are concealed, oblique, and subtile; so the means of withstanding them must be extensive; and must consist much in guarding those principles, on the subversion of which, the enemies make their highest calculations. These means ought to be wisely ascertained, and vigilantly applied.
For this purpose, I shall now suggest some things, which may be esteemed important.
1. Repentance and reformation.
If these be neglected, all other means will be of but little avail. For God will wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. This will hold true of nations, as well as of individuals. However blamable may be the instrumental causes of our calamities or public dangers, yet
they are a just punishment for our sins. Nothing but sin could betray us into the hands of the agents of Infidelity...
speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Here the coming of Christ, in those decisive scenes of judgment, is to avenge his elect: and is in answer to their long and persevering cries.
Here then is the powerful weapon, which shall secure to Christians the victory. If the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much; surely the effectual, fervent, abd special prayers of all the righteous, under the oppression of the last days, will avail more. For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety.
The following Divine directions and promises are accordingly given: "Ye, that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Pray without ceasing. Be careful for nothing, but in every thing with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God. Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you. It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved: For in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant, whom the Lord shall call."
Therefore, "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people; sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, and those that suck the breast. Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests and ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar; and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord; and give not thine heritage to reproach, that he heathen should rule over them. Wherefore should they say among the heathen, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people." Here is the duty of the people of God, and their only path of safety, under the reign of Antichrist.
Rev. Ethan Smith's
Dissertation on the Prophecies