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their persecutors. Si sends to his servants, But as the converted the battle, and to be th must therefore set forth other Christians, they share of grace, and stancy for their territ gular favour announce
Chap. vii. 1. After ing on the four corner of the earth, that they upon the sea, nor on
V. 2. “And I saw of the sun, having to with a loud voice to hurt the earth and
V. 3. “Sayur till we sign the
Here are for earth, holdi ready to whole glol persecution and which the four wi persecution which is carro coming from Hit to the east." Ps. hurt the earth and people wherever clergy. But th has marked the sign of the li Christ, who 1 those seryant
V. 4. “A a hundred the childi tasted the by embr marked
* In the
of Antichrist, the most bloody of all wars since the existence s of the world, as in it are killed the third part of men, Apoc. ;--; ix. 15, will last three years and a half, as observed before from
St.: John: "and power was given him to do* two and forty months,” xüi. 5.
But, furthermore, in our present text is added: “And the holy city they shall tread under foot two and forty months." No sooner has the haughty monarch, Antichrist, declared war against mankind, but with the same breath he proclaims a general persecution, which he himself intends to carry on, and despatches his orders to have the same executed in every part of the earth. For it is now allowed to him and his bloody agents to tread under foot the holy city, that is, the whole body of the holy Christians, for forty-two months, or three years and a half. This space of time Christ has set apart, to purify his Church, and to try his servants, and for that purpose allows them to fall under the power of this mere ciless tyrant: " And it was given unto him," says St. John, " to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” Apoc.
We are admonished of the same by tbe prophet
held," says he, "and lo that horn (Antichrist)
lood, how justly may the of
send up to heaven their ntatio.
tic strains which their thers us
nd havoc made by chodonos
ist would one day O God, t.
thy inheritance; eminence over all other men that have ever existed, of the greatness of his empire, of the number of his armies, of his command over all the beings and works of nature, and even presumes to extol his own power above that of the Almighty; as it seems to follow from what St. John proceeds to say of him:
Chap. xii. 5. “And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies." And St. Paul calls him, “the man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. Daniel also gives us much the same picture of him: “And behold,” says that prophet, "eyes like the eyes of a man were in this little horn, and a mouth speaking great things," vji. 8. We have before observed, that Antichrist is meant by the little horn, which is here said to have eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things; the eyes of a man and a mouth indicate a man, one individual man, who speaks great things, as we have just heard from St. John. Daniel goes on painting his character: “and he shall think himself able to change times and laws,” vii. 25. He will imagine himself powerful enough to change times, the course of times and seasons of the year, as night into day, winter into summer, &c., and to change laws, to alter the law's by which nature acts, by which the sun, and moon, and other planets, move, to alter their times of rising and setting, to raise up the harvest in winter, and to make the earth barren in summer, and to command the clouds to rain, or not, at his pleasure; in fine, he will boast of having power to reverse the whole order of nature. And perhaps he will attempt some particular of this sort, which by the devil's aid he may apparently effect.
V. 5. “And power was given him to do two and forty months.” He is permitted by the Almighty to do what he pleases during two and forty months, or three years and a half. or else, as the Greek text has it, power was given him to make war two and forty months, which he resolves to do with the utmost violence and cruelty.
V. 6. ." And he opened his mouth unto blasphemies, against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell therein." Here is a shocking picture of Antichrist's superlative arrogance and unparalleled impiety. Inflated with the venom that Satan instils into his heart, and furious against the Christians, whom, with all his art and feigned miracles, he has not been able to gain over, he now, in rage, flies in the face of heaven. He pours out blasphemies against God; Lucifer-like, he revolts against God, and blasphemes him; he blasphemes his name, that is, religion, which commands homage to be paid to the Supreme Being alone; he blasphemes his tabernacle, or heaven, the seat of God, and his Church on earth; he blasphemes them that dwell in heaven, that is, the angels and saints. Thus this monster of iniquity, like a swollen sea that overtops all boundaries, rises up against God and every thing that is holy. Daniel with one stroke of his pencil draws much the same picture of him: “And he will speak words against the Most High,” vii. 25. He seems to have sucked up all the virulence and spirit of impiety of the preceding ages. In the fourth vial, we heard blasphemies against the name of God, Apoc, xvi. 9; and in the fifth vial, blasphemies against the God of heaven, Apoc. xvi. 11. Both these sorts of blasphemy Antichrist uses, and adds others to them.
St. John seems to intimate in his first Epistle, some particular instances of this man's presumption and opposition to Christ. He will deny that Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah, and will thereby endeavour to take away the belief of the blessed Trinity. “Who is a liar,* but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, t who denieth the Father and the Son." 1 Ep. ii. 22. He will deny that the Son of God took human flesh: “Every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, I is not of God; and this is Antichrist, $ of whom you have heard that he comes and is now already in the world." 1 Ep. iv. 3.-Here St. John says that Antichrist, who they have heard will one day come into the world, “is now already in the world;" that is, there are already in the world men, who broach such impious doctrine about Christ, as Antichrist himself will do. Such were the Simonians ånd Corinthians in St. John's time. St. Paul has likewise sufficiently described the detestable character of Antichrist, calling him, “the man of sin, that sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God-whose coming is according to the working of Satan.” 2 Thess. c. 2. And in a similar strain have also the ancient fathers spoken of him. “Satan,” says St. Jerom, "will wholly possess Antichrist,” in Dan. c. 7. St. Chrysostom says: “ Antichrist will be a man, that will possess all * In the Greek text, (the liar.) + In the Greek, (the Antichrist.)
In the Greek, (that doth not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.) 9 In the Greek, (and this is the spirit of Antichrist.)
the power of Satan.” St. Irenæus is very ample in the de. scription of his character. Adversus Hær. lib. 5. c. 25.St. John proceeds,
V. 7. “ And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” Here Antichrist has power allowed him to persecute “the saints," or good Christians, "and to overcome thern," or put them to death with great cruelty and torments; and this we shall soon see him putting in execution.
V. 7. “ And power was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation.”
His power, his dominion will extend over every nation and people of the globe. Already monarch of a great part of the kingdoms of the earth, when he commences Antichrist; the rest he will now subdue, and thus will become master to tyrannize over mankind, and persecute religion in every corner of the world. We shall here just remark, that the reason why St. John in this and several other places of the Apocalypse uses the four terms, tribe, people, tongue, and nation, seems to be to indicate the four great divisions of the earth, Europe, Asia, Africa, and America; the term people, probably being put for Europe; nation, for Asia; tongue, for Africa; and tribe, for America. And the order in which the above terms stand in this place, perhaps indicates the progressive course of Antichrist's conguests.
V. 8. “And all that dwell upon the earth, adored him, * whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamh, which was slain from the beginning of the world.”
Here we see such a general apostacy of mankind, that, except those whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb, which was slain from the beginning of the world in the decrees of God, that is, except the predestined, all the rest yield to the tyranny and persecution of Antichrist, and adore him as a God.
The preceding account of Antichrist's character, power, and actions, doubtless, must appear to every one very alarming: nevertheless we further learn from St. John, that this man of sin, this son of perdition, notwithstanding his exorbitant power and satanic malice, as if yet not sufficiently armed for mischief, will acquire an associate of the same stamp as himself, who will perform the function of his principal minister, and be his chief aid in the course of his future proceedings. Chap. xiii. 11. “And I saw,” says St. John, “another beast
* In the Greek text, (will adore him.)