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shown in the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters. She symbolizes the teachers and rulers of the churches, with whom the kings of the earth join in the institution, practice, and dissemination of a false religion ; uniting with her in the usurpation of the rights of God as lawgiver, upholding her in her pretence to his authority for her impious assumptions, offering the worship she enjoins and because of her appointing it, and imposing and enforcing it on their subjects. Her difference accordingly from the image to the wild beast is, that she embraces the Protestant hierarchies of the ten kingdoms, as well as the Papal and Catholic, which constitute that image :—the vast structure of nationalized ecclesiastical rulers and teachers, who usurp the rights of God, whatever may be their divisions or names, hold a faith essentially false, offer an unauthorized worship, and act with the antichristian civil powers in their usurpations and persecutions. The image to the wild beast, on the other hand, denotes only the array of Catholic rulers and teachers within and without the papal territories, which the princes and people erected into one vast hierarchy with the pope as its head, and invested with a sway over the church, analogous to that which the civil rulers exert over their political empire. The fall of the city is accordingly her dejection from that station as a legal establishment, the creature and organ of the civil governments, deriving her revenues from their treasuries, and supporting her usurped dominion by their power. This is apparent from her continued existence after her fall has taken place, as is shown by the summons of the people of God, by the angel in the eighteenth chapter, to come out of her, after having announced that she had fallen. As she is to subsist after her dejection, her fall cannot be her dissolution as a community; nor can it be the dissolution of her government or hierarchy, inasmuch as the image also is to continue to subsist after her fall, as is seen from the command not to worship the image, which is uttered by the third angel immediately after the annunciation of her fall. Her fall is therefore her severance from the civil governments, and dejection from her station and power as a combination of national establishments. The angel here simply announces her fall. In the eighteenth chapter, he adds the reasons of her dejection, and the character of her subsequent vassals.
This symbol then foreshows that the usurping hierarchies denoted by great Babylon, are to be thrown down from their stations as national establishments. As the angel announcing her fall, follows the angel bearing the everlasting gospel, her fall is to take place not only after those represented by the latter have commenced their work, but undoubtedly after they have fulfilled it. This angel, like that, is the representative of a body of men; his flight in mid-heaven denotes their publicity and conspicuity; and his annunciation, that there is to be a public and exulting celebration of her overthrow.
Grotius, Bellarmine, Dr. Hammond, Rosenmuller, and Mr. Daubuz, regard great Babylon as pagan Rome. But that is to assume that the symbol is of the same species as the thing symbolized, which is against analogy. Ancient Babylon is a symbol, not of a literal city, but of an apostate and idolatrous hierarchy.
Mr. Brightman, Mr. Mede, and Bishop Newton, exhibit the Romish church as great Babylon, and the denunciation of her idolatries by the Albigenses, Waldenses, Wicklifites, and others of that period, as the annunciation of her fall. But that was a proclamation of her apostasy to idol-worship simply, not of her dejection from her station as a nationalized hierarchy. She did not then fall from her civil establishment by the nations, nor had those symbolized by the angel bearing the everlasting gospel, then fulfilled their office.
Cocceius and Vitringa interpret her fall of the secession of the Protestant nations from the Catholic communion in the sixteenth century, and establishment of the Reformed churches in her place. But, on the one hand, there was no total severance at that period of the Catholic hierarchies from the civil governments; and on the other, the Protestant churches, so far from going out of great Babylon, continued in her community by still acting on her principles, arrogating the same dominion over the laws of God, and uniting in the same manner with the civil powers in imposing their creeds and rites on others, and persecuting dissentients. That assumption of the prerogatives of God is the great and fundamental crime of the antichristian church, from which her other unauthorized arrogations and her idolatrous worship spring. It is because of that, that she pretends that her agency is essential to salvation; that she denies the legitimacy of any other rites, and the acceptableness to God of any other worship than hers; and that she claims submission to her authority as an act of allegiance to him. It is because of that, that she perverts the ordinances of the gospel, institutes a superstitious worship, and enjoins the homage of idols. The Protestant nationalized churches, therefore, great as was the sum of her false doctrines which they rejected, inasmuch as they thus imitated her in an arrogation of the throne of God, and elevation of their authority above his rights and will, still continued to belong to great Babylon, and are to share in her fall.
CHAPTER XIV. 9-13.
THE THIRD ANGEL DENOUNCING WRATH ON THE WORSHIPPERS OF
THE WILD BEAST AND ITS IMAGE.
And another, a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any one worship the wild beast, and its image, and receive a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he shall even drink of the wine of the wrath of God poured an unmixed wine into the cup of his indig. nation, and shall be tormented in fire and brimstone before the holy angels, and before the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever. And they have no rest day and night who worship the wild beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.' Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who hereafter die in the Lord ; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their toils, and their works follow with them.
As this angel follows the others, the agents whom he represents are to be of a later period than those whom they symbolize. His warning implies, that notwithstanding great Babylon has fallen from her station as a national establishment, men are still worshipping the wild beast and its image, and receiving its mark; and that ihe wild beast therefore and the Catholic hierarchies of the fallen city denoted by the image, still continue their usurpation of the rights of God, and domineer over the church, alihough no longer in the same relations to each other. Those Romish hierarchies are still to subsist therefore after their fall, and acknowledge the pope as their head.
The tremendous punishment threatened to whoever continues to worship those antichristian powers, and unite in their idolatries, implies that their assumptions are a virtual usurpation of the throne of God, and arrogation of his essential prerogatives, and that whoever accordingly submits to their claims, and renders them the allegiance they exact, exalts them to the station of the Almighty, yields them the homage that is due only to him, and must necessarily thence be treated as a deliberate and incorrigible apostate. It indicates therefore that at that period, the principles on which those arrogations and that worship proceed, are to be so fully discussed and developed, that all shall be able to discern and appreciate their relations to the rights of God and the obligations of creatures.
The representation that at that crisis the saints who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, are to display their patience ; and that they who thereafter die in the Lord are blessed, because of the release they are to obtain from their toils, and the rewards to which they are to be exalted ; foreshows that the antichristian powers are to carry their endeavors to domineer over believers, and force them to apostatize, to the extreme of a bloody persecution; as the saints are in the thirteenth chapter exhibited as displaying their patience in enduring the war made on them by the wild beast. To die in the Lord, is to die for his sake as a witness to his truth; as to be a prisoner in the Lord, is to be a prisoner as his minister. That iheir works are to follow with them, denotes doubtless that they are immediately to be raised from death, and as kings and priests in Christ's kingdom on earth, to resume their work towards the nations, and exert an important instrumentality in converting them to the homage of God.
This persecution is obviously to be of a later period than that in which the witnesses are to be slain; as this is to follow the fall of great Babylon, and take place at the summons and final withdrawment of the people of God from connection with the apostate hierarchies; but that is to precede her fall, as the resurrection of the witnesses is to be the occasion of the earthquake by which a tenth of her is to be overthrown.
This symbol, then, foreshows, that after great Babylon has fallen from her station as a combination of nationalized hierarchies, numerous teachers are to arise, who, publicly and strenuously asserting the exclusive right of God to enjoin the faith and institute the worship of the church, and pointing out the error and impiousness of the principles on which civil and ecclesiastical rulers proceed, who usurp dominion over his law, and demand supreme homage to their authority, shall denounce his avenging judgments on all who thereafter yield submission to those antichristian powers; and that the wild beast will obstruct them and endeavor by persecution to compel them to apostatize,
and put them to death; but that they will sustain the conflict with a patience and fidelity worthy of prophets, and receive for their steadfastness, a speedy resurrection and elevation to the station of kings and priests, and participation in the momentous agencies on which the glorified saints are immediately thereafter to enter with Christ at the establishment of his kingdom on the earth.
The great principles on which the pure and the apostate church proceed, are thus immediately before the advent of the Redeemer, to be brought into the most open and violent antagonism; the worshippers of God are to give the most public and perfect demonstration of the truth and inflexibleness of their allegiance, by resigning their lives, rather than apostatize; and the antichristian powers and their vassals are to give the most resistless proof of their deliberate and incorrigible apostasy, by continuing their rebellion amidst the threatenings of avenging judgments; and thus demonstrate the propriety of the discrimination the Son of God is immediately to make between them, in raising his slaughtered people from death and exalting them to the rewards of his kingdom, and in condemning the apostates and consigning them to everlasting punishment.
Mr. Daubuz regarded this angel as symbolizing the witnesses who testify against the corruptions of the church, through the whole period of the wild beast and false prophet; and the judgments that are threatened to the worshippers of the wild beast and its image, as the temporal calamities with which, during the same period, the antichristian nations were to be scourged. But the gospel had not at the commencement of the twelve hundred and sixty years, been preached to every nation, nor had great Babylon fallen. The period is therefore wrong. Nor are eternal punishments ever made the symbols of temporal. It were against analogy. The punishments therefore threatened to the worshippers of the wild beast, are not calamities of this life.
Mr. Brightman and Bishop Newton regarded this angel as a representative of Luther and his associate Reformers. But Babylon had not then fallen, nor had the gospel been made known to all nations, nor has either of them yet taken place. Nothing is clearer than that the period denoted by the vision is yet future. Mr. Daubuz, Bishop Newton, and others, are perplexed, on their views of the symbol, to determine the nature or reason of the blessedness promised to those who thereafter die in the Lord. But that promise is raised to a significance worthy of an express annunciation from heaven, when it is seen that those