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same shall be clothed in white raiment.” And again, “I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." This shows conclusively that the people of God are compared to a woman. And now let me show
II. What we may understand by the great red dragon and beast that persecuted the church, or women that fled into the wilderness.
The Red Dragon is the same power as Daniel's fourth kingdom, the Roman, for the description is the same, having ten horns ; his character, too, is the same. Daniel says he should break in pieces the whole earth, and stamp the residue with his feet, that he should work deceitfully, &c. John
says that the dragon drew a third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth, and that he deceiveth the whole world. The Roman government then must be the apocalyptical red dragon beast, having seven heads and ten horns. The Roman power is called red, either because of their persecuting and bloody, spirit, or on account of their emperors wearing purple robes, when dressed in state: either might be sufficient to entitle them to the appellation red." “Dragon” is undoubtedly given the Roman government from the fact that the Romans changed their forms of government so often, having seven different forms in about five hundred years, and from their deceitful cunning, intriguing manner, by which they obtained power over the nations around them, that they were properly a nondescript, could not be described by Daniel or John by any thing seen on earth, and therefore takes the inhabitants of the bottomless pit, “ the dragon," to describe to us by figure this dreadful, persecuting and bloody power. The red dragon is, therefore, used as a figure to denote Pagan Rome, and the woman sitting on the scarlet coloured beast to denote the church of Rome, or Papal Rome; and both together, civil and papal, makes the anti-christian abomination which would lrive the church of Christ into the wilderness, where she would be fed 1260 days, or time, times and half a time. I shall
III. Give the history of the woman, as in the twelfth chapter of Revelation.hres
Wow! Verse 1, " And there appeared a great wonder in heaven." John saw this wonderful sight as transpiring under the gospel day, or government of God, with his peo
ple in the gospel, the circle in which the church moves, here called "heaven," " A woman clothed with the sun." The church adorned with gospel light; as the natural sun gives light to the world, so does the gospel the church.
And the moon under her feet.” This shows us that John had a view of the church while it was in its Jewish state. For the moon represents the cerernonial law which was typical of the gospel, like the moon shining in a borrowed light, and liable to change when the Shiloh should come. Under her feet,” shows that she walked or stood on the ordinances of God's house, which, like the moon, pointed to the sun both before and after Christ. "And upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” First the twelve patriarchs, afterwards the twelve apostles. Eph. ii. 20. Like stars they are smaller lights in the government of God and teachers under the law and gospel.
Verse 2, «. And she being with child,” having the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the ser, pent's head, “ cried travailing in birth, denoting prayer in taith, "and pained to be delivered,” that is, an anxious and deep longing for the advent of the promised Messiah, when she expected deliverance from bondage, sin, and all her foes. Matt. xiii. 17.
Verse 3, " And there appeared another wonder in heaven," another sight or view of God's government of the world in connection with the gospel, and behold a great red dragon," a figurative representation of the Roman kingdom.
Verse 4, " And bis tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth." Judea became a Roman province before the Messiah's advent, which is figured by the tail, and the Jews had for a number of years been governed by tetrarchs or kings of the Romans appointment. The Jews were governed by three different offices, figuratively called stars, kings, high-priest and sanhedrim or the seventy elders. When, therefore, the Jews were deprived of their right to appoint their own kings, one third part of their rulers fell to the Roman power, in this passage called "earth.” “ And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered." Herod was then king of the Jews, at the birth of Christ, a representative of the Romans because he was supported by their au, thority, " For to devour her child as soon as it was born.”
Herod sought the young child's life, to destroy him. See Matt. ii. 13.
Verse 5, " And she brought forth a man child.” Jesus Christ born of a virgin. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;" &c. Isa. ix. 6, 7, " Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron," denoting the power of Christ to break in pieces and subdue all the kingdoms of the earth. Psalms ii. 9. Rev. xix. 15, " And her child was caught up to God and his throne. » Christ has ascended up on high, and is séated at the right hand of the Father until he makes his enemies his footstool. See John vi. 62 ; Eph. iv. 8-10.
Verse 6, “And the woman fed into the wilderness where she hath a place prepared of God." The church had grown weary of the protection of the Roman power, for she found by woeful experience that whenever she placed herself under the protection of this red dragon he destroyed some of her blessed privileges, and brought in a flood of errors which caused divisions and subdivisions in the church. The Jews had tried their friendship and protection for more than two hundred years before and after Christ, and the event proved the destruction of their nation and place. The christians, too, had tried the friendship of the same power, under Constantine and succeeding emperors, for little more than two hundred years, beginning A.D. 313 and ending in A. D. 638, as we shall show, which so corrupted the Romish church that she became the antichristian abomination, and the true children of God were driven into the wilderness out from her connection with the anti-christian church, the city of the nations," as she is called. But God took care that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days,” which is 1260 years from A. D. 538 until 1798, during which time a free toleration of religious rights were not permitted in any of the kingdoms which formerly composed the Roman empire : but God raised up teachers among them, who retained in a good degree the doctrine and purity of the word of God, and practised the ordinances as hey were delivered to the saints in the apostles' days : yet but little is known of them for six or seven hundred years.
Verse 7, " And there was war in heaven.” After the prophet John had given us a history of the church, as in the preceding verses, he now goes back to bring up the history of the dragon, the Roman kingdom, and begins his
history in the days of Christ and his apostles. “Michael and his angels fought,” Christ and his apostles. See Matt. X. 34, “ Think not I am come to send peace on earth : I came not to send peace, but a sword," "against the dragon,” against principalities and powers, and wickedness in high places. "And the dragon fought and his angels,” imperial Rome and worldly men.
erse 8, "And prevailed not, neither was there place found any more in heaven.” Rome could not prevail against the kindom of Christ or the gospel; for it differed materially from the Jewish mode of worship: and although Rome in her Pagan state could find easy access into the Jewish sanctuary, because of the similarity of their worship, yet when Christ set up his gospel kingdom they were excluded, for none could enter this kingdom without regeneration, faith and repentance.
Verse 9, “And the great dragon was cast out,” Rome Pagan was deprived from having any authority in the gospel kingdom, as Christ says in John xii. 31, “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. “That old serpent,” Rome Pagan is compared to the old serpent because he works deceitfully and deceives the church, (woman) as the serpent did Eve, the woman in the garden, "called the devil," because they devour and persecute with a devilish spirit. "And satan,” because satan like he claims power over all kingdoms of the world. 16 Which deceiveth the whole world.” This may be said of Rome, for she conquered more nations by deceit and flattery than by fair warfare. “He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” This was literally fulfilled when Christ cut off the Jews and all unbelievers, when he said, “ My kingdom is not of this world;" when he excluded the kingdoms of this earth from participating in the spiritual kingdom which they claimed on account of their authority among men.
Verse 10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven," (many voices in the church under the gospel dispensation)
now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ." This represents the grand chorus of all the saints, when they discover the true principle on which the kingdom of God is built. This was literally true at the day of Pentecost. " For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God night and day.” The Romans had, by
drawing the Jews into idolatry, caused them to sin against God in all their evening and morning sacrifices. And by these means, they were accused before God, that is, God was angry with them and destroyed our brethren, the Jews.
Verse 11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." By the blood of atonement, 'all believers in Christ do finally overcome the powers of darkness and princes of this world. “And by the word of their testimony," preaching and testimony of the apostles. “And they loved not their lives unto the death," suffered martyrdom. This was fulfilled in the death of the apostles and others.
Verse 12, “ Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.” It was a matter of great joy among
the primitive christians, to be counted worthy io suffer persecution for Christ's sake. “Wo to the inhabitants of the earth”--those who live under the Roman government" and of the sea"--meaning the principal kingdom among the ten kingdoms. France is generally meant by sea in this prophecy. “For the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” The devil means destroyer, and the three woes, and seven last plagues, were all to be sent upon the earth and sea, which denote wars, revolutions, and changing of governments. These things would prevail in the close of this Roman kingdom, and war would be the closing up of the earthly scene of this fourth kingdom which Daniel saw and John has been describing under the figure of the “great red dragon.”
Verse 13, “. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth”—when the Roman government saw they could have no control in the things of Christ's kingdom, they hated the church and the doctrine that taught that Christ's kingdom was not of this world, and they persecuted the woman that brought forth the man child," which is the church that had a Saviour born unto her, Christ Jesus, the Lord of life and glory.
Verse 14, “ And to the woman was given two wings of a great eagle." By which wings I understand the means God used between the Arian and Papal controversy, at the time of the division of the Greek or eastern church from the west or Roman church, which happened in the reign of Justinian, emperor of the east, about A. D. 538, when