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submissive; a man, proud and independent. Fire, denotes justice and judgment in its figure; in the metaphor, denotes the purifying or consuming up the dross or wickedness; as fire has a cleansing quality, so will the justice or judgments of God. “For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Therefore almost all the figures used in prophecy have their literal and metaphorical meaning; as beasts denote, literally, a kingdom; so metaphorically good or bad, as the case may be, to be understood by the subject in connection.
To understand the literal meaning of figures used in prophecy, I have pursued the following method-I find the word “beast” used in a figurative sense; I take my concordance, trace the word, and in Daniel vii. 17, it is explained to mean “ kings or kingdoms.” Again, I come across the words “bird or fowl,” and in Isa. xlvi 11, it is used meaning a conqueror or warrior, Cyrus. Also, in Ezekiel xxxix. 4-9, denotes armies or conquerors.-Again, the words, “air or wind," as used in Rev. ix. 2 and 16, 17, to understand which I turn to Ephe. i1. 2 and 4-14, and there learn that it is used as a figure, to denote the theories of worldly men or vain philosophy. Again, “ water or rivers" are used as figures in Rev. xvii. 15, it is explained to mean people or nations.” “Rivers" of course means the nation or people living on the river mentioned, as in Rev. xvi. 12. “Fire” is often used in a figurative sense ; explained in Num. xxi. 27–28: Deut. xxxii. 22: Psal. lxxviii. 21: Heb. xii. 29: to mean justice and judgment.
As prophecy is a language somewhat different from other parts of scripture, owing to its having been revealed in vision, and that highly figurative, yet God in his wisdom has so interwoven the several prophecies, that, the events foretold, are not all told by one prophet, and although they
lived and prophesied in different ages of the world, yet they tell us the same things, so you take away one and a link will be wanting. There is a general connection through the whole; like a well regulated community they all move in union, speaking the same things, observing the same rules, so that a bible reader
almost with pro. priety suppose, let him read in what prophecy he may, that he is reading the same prophet, the same author. This will appear evident to any one who will compare scripture with scripture. For example, see Daniel xii. 1: Math. xxiv.21 : Isa. xlvii. 8: Zeph. ii. 15: Rev. xviii. 7. There never was a book written that has a better connection and harmony than the bible, and yet it has the appearance of a great store house full of all the precious commodities heart could desire, thrown in promiscuously; therefore the biblical student must select and bring together every part of the subject he wishes to investigate, from every part of the bible; then let every word have its own scripture meaning, every sentence its proper bearing, and have no contradiction, and your theory will and must of necessity be correct. Truth is one undeviating path, that grows brighter and brighter the more it is trodden; it needs ro plausible arguments, nor pompous dress to make it more bright; for the more naked and simple the fact, the stronger the truth appears.
Let it be noticed that God has revealed to his prophets the same events in divers figures, and at different times, as he has to Daniel in the 2d, 7th and 8th chapters concerning the four kingdoms; or to Peter, see Acts x. 16: also, Isa. and John. Then to get the whole truth, all those visions or prophecies must be concentrated and brought together, that has reference to the subject which we wish to investigate, and when combined let every word and sentence have . its proper bearing and force in the grand whole, and the the
ory or system, as I have before shown, must be correct. I have likewise noticed that in those events, visions and prophecies which have had their fulfilment, every word and every particular has had an exact and literal accomplishment, and that no two events has ever happened that I can learn, which will exactly apply or fulfil the same prophecy: take for instance the prophecies concerning the birth, life and crucifixion of our Saviour, and in his history we find a literal fulfilment; yet in the birth, life or death of any other individual it would be in vain to find a parallel. Again, take the prophecies which have been admitted, by protestants, at least, to apply to Cyrus, Alexander, Julius Cæsar, destruction of Jerusalem, and the church of Rome, and I have never been able to trace even a resemblance to the prophecies in question, in any historical events except the true ones. If this is true, may we not suppose that the unfulfiled prophecies in their accomplishments will be equally as evident and literal ?
There are two important points 10 which all prophecy seems to centre, like a cluster of grapes upon its stem—the first and second coming of Christ. The first coming to proclaim the gospel, set up his kingdom, suffer for sinners, and bring in an everlasting righteousness. His second coming to which the ardent faith and pious hope of the tried and tempted child of God centres, is for complete redemption from sin, for the justification and glorification promised to all those who look for his appearing, the destruction of the wicked and mystical Babylon the abomination of the whole earth.
His first coming was a man, his human nature being only visible, his Godhead known only in his miracles. His second coming will be as God, his divine Godhead and power being most visible. He comes first, like the “first man of the earth, earthly;" his second coming is “the Lord from
heaven." His first coming was literally according to the prophecies. And so we may safely inser will be his second appearance, according to the scriptures. At his advent, his forerunner was spoken of, “one crying in the wilderness :” The manner of his birth, “a child born of a virgin :” The place where, “Bethlehem of Judea:” The time of his death, “when seventy weeks should be fulfilled :" For what he should suffer, “ to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.” The star that appeared, the stripes he received, the miracles he performed, the tauntings of his foes—all were literally fulfiled. Then why not suppose that all the prophecies concerning his second coming will be as literally accomplished as the former? Can any man show a single reason why it will not? If this be true we can obtain much light by reading the scriptures. We are there informed the manner of his second coming, “suddenly, in the clouds, in like manner as he ascended:” The majesty of his coming," on a great white throne, with power and great glory, and all his saints with him :" The object of his coming, “as the ancient of days, to send his angels into the four winds of heaven, gather his elect, raise the righteous dead, change the righteous living, chain satan, destroy anti-Christ, the wicked and all those who destroy the earth, judge, justify and glorify his people, cleanse his church, present her to his Father, live and reign with her on the new heavens and new earth,” the form of the old having passed away.
The time when these things shall take place is also specified by some of the prophets, unto 2300 days, (meaning years ;) then shall the sanctuary be cleansed, after the antichristian beast has reigned her "time, times and an half;”
after the two witnesses have prophecied “a thousand two hundred and three score days clothed in sackcloth ;” after the church captivity in the wilderness," forty-two inonths;” after the “gospel should be preached in all the world for a witness, then shall the end come.” The signs of the times are also given, when we may know, he is near even at the door. When there is many “lo here's, and lo there's ;"> when the way of truth is evil spoken of; when many seducers are abroad in the land; when scoffers disbelieve in his coming, and say “where is the promise of his coming ;" when the wise and foolish virgins are called to trim their lamps, and the voice of the friend of the bridegroom is, “behold he cometh ;" when the city of the nations are divided into three parts; when the power of the holy people is scattered, and the kings of the east come up to battle ; when there is a time of trouble, such as 'never was before and the church in her Laodicean state; when the seventh seal opens, the seventh vial is poured out, the last woe pronounced by the Angel flying through the midst of heaven, and the seventh and last trumpet sounds; then will the mystery of God be finished, and the door of mercy be closed forever, then shall we be brought to the last point, his second coming.
Again, prophecy is sometimes typical; that is, partly fulfiled in the type, but completely only in the anti-type. Such was the prophecy concerning Isaac, partly fulfilled in him, wholly so in Christ; likewise concerning Israel, partly fulfilled in them as a nation, but never fully accomplished until the final redemption of spiritual Israel. Likewise the prophecies concerning the Jewish captivity in Babylon, and their return, are only partly accomplished in the history of past events. The description of those things in the prophets are so august and magnificent; that if only applicable to the literal captivity of the Jews and their return, the exposi