« הקודםהמשך »
scriptions of the end of the world are borrowed. But we can no more infer from this, that the final judgment then commences, than we can infer from the predictions of the above noted ancient instances of the coming of Christ, that every event of the final judgment then commenced. “And I beheld till the thrones were cast "down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose gar. "ment was white as snow, and the hair of his head "like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, “and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued "and came forth from before him: thousand thousands “ministered unto him; and ten thousand times ten thou“sand stood before him. The judgment was set, and "the books were opened. And I beheld then, because “of the voice of the great words, which the horn spake, “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body “destroyed, and given to the burning fame.” The last verse here decides, that this coming of Christ is at the destruction of the last head of the Roman beast, with his Papal false prophet, at Armageddon just before the Millennium. But none of the other numerous predictions of the same event, give an idea, that the final judgment commences at that period. Daniel speaks of the books being opened. But St. John, Daniel's best interpreter, tells us when the books shall be opened for the final judgment, that it shall be after the thousand years of the reign of Christ, and after the de. struction of the final, mystical Gog and Magog. Rev. xx, 11, 12. Then and never till then, the great white throne of judgment is erected, and the dead, small and great, stand before God. This will be immediately preceded by a literal resurrection of all, good and bad. Here the predictions of the coming of Christ will meet their ultimate accomplishment. This is called the second coming of Christ, called thus in relation to his first coming in the flesh. “So Christ once suffered to bear “the sins of many; and unto them, that look for him, "shall he appear the second time, without sin unto sal“vation.” (Heb. ix, 28.) “This same Jesus, who is taken “up from you into heaven, shall so come in like man"ner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts, i, 11.
Here is the literal, and personal, the second coming of Christ. But to imagine, as some have done, that there will be a personal appearing of Christ, and a commencement of the final judgment, at the battle of that great day.of God Almighty, which precedes the Millennium, I think is very incorrect, and involves the subject in great obscurity and error.
3. We are presented in some of the predictions noted in the preceding pages, with the sameness of the characters and judgments of the most notorious enemies of the Church, in the different ages of the Gospel day. For they are designated by the same appellations; are spoken of as though the same things were again and again repeated. The infidel Jews were antichrists, because they were of the same spirit of the great Antichrist of the last time. (1 John ii, 18.) And they were destroyed under a coming of Christ. The primitive Pagan Rome, laboring to destroy the Church of Christ, was symbolized by a great and terrible beast. The infernal agent who managed this beast, was symbolized by a great red dragon, of seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads, laburing to destroy the Church. The revolution in the Roman empire, from Paganism to Christianity, is represented not only by the wounding to death of the sixth, the Imperial head of the Roman beast, but by a coming of Christ, as before noted. The new systein of Papal corruption and opposition, which rose upon the same ground, under the Christian name, was symbolized by another beast of two horns like a lamb, but who spake like a dragon; i. e. was really under the influence of tine same infernal agent, with the preceding empire; and accordingly was said to exercise all the power of the first, the Pagan beast, and to make an image to him; because the essence of the same idolatry was es. tablished, though under the Christian name. And the judgments of God upon Papal Rome consequently, were to be no less terrible than those on Pagan Rome. Her seat or throne was to be subverted, and her kingdom filled with darkness, under the rise of
Antichrist; and her broken remains, under the name of the false prophet, are to go into perdition with him.
The infidel French Empire (the real Antichrist of the last times) is symbolized by the last head of the old Pagan beast; the eighth nu nerically, but specifically one of the seven, viz. the sixth, the Imperial, recovered from its deadly wound given under Constantine. It is represented as this sixth head thus recovered, as well as by a new beast of seven heads and ten horns, fro n the bottomless pit, (Rev. xvii,) on account of the similarity of the character and object of the French Enpire, with those of ancient Pagan Rome, in its persecuting Imperial form. And they are represented as under the management of the same great red dragon, of seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads, laboring to destroy the Church, and who gives to this newly healed head, his power and seat, and great authority. And the destruction of this last head of the beast, under the seventh vial, is represented as an awful coming of Christ to judgment.
Also the apostasy over the face of the world, at the close of the Millennium; and the new attack then to be made on the cause of Christ, are represented as the resurrection of these former wicked powers, the kingdom of darkness on earth; particularly Antichrist under his appellation of Gog and Magog; in whose fall the cause of the kingdom of darkness is lost. Under these same names the wicked cause is represented as rising again, at that period, on account of the similarity of the character and conduct of the world of Infidels, who will then arise, with the character and conduct of Ezekiel's Gog, or Antichrist, preceding the Millennium.
Thus powers of Infidelity and of heathenism, of different ages and nations, are represented as one and the same power, raised up from time to time, and falling under the same judgment, the coming of Christ. This strikingly indicates the similarity of their characters. To the same point it might here be noted, that the great infidel Power of the last days is mystically identified with the notorious enemies of the Church under the Old Testament. He is Edom, Bozrah, and Bat
ylon. ' And many of the judgments denounced against these ancient enemies, are to have an ultimate accom. plishment in the destruction of Antichrist.
And for the same reason, all mankind, of whatever place or nation, who are of the same infidel spirit, beIong to the same family, and may expect similar judgments from God. Should they not belong politically to Antichrist, if they belong to him spiritually, partake of his sins, they may expect to receive of his plagues. In this sense, the class of the children of perdition is
Their characters are fast maturing; and their prospects are dreadful! O my soul, come not thou into their secrets! Unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united!
Some other Prophecies in the Old Testament relative to
the last expedition, and the overthrow of Antichrist; and the ruin of the enemies of the Church.
The Most High addresses Gog, Art thou he, of whom I have spoken in old times by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days many years, that I would bring thee against them? (Ezek. xxxviii, 17.) This terrible Power of the last days then, was much predicted by the ancient prophets in Israel. The same idea we find in Rev. x, 7. After the seven thunders had uttered their voices, and the Angel had sworn that the time should not be yet, or should not be prolonged, he adds; But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. This finishing of the mystery of iniquity at the beginning of the seventh trumpet, involves the destruction of Antichrist. And this is what God had revealed to the ancient prophets. The phrase relative to the preparing of the enemies of the Church for the seventh vial, Rev. xvi, 14, To gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty, implies that it is a day well known, as being much
predicted in the prophets. We may then open the books of the prophets with an assurance, that we may there find the overthrow of Antichrist. I shall now note a few of the passages which relate to this event.
The prophet Joel describes a terrible scene, which he calls, The day of the Lord; a day of darkness and gloominess, of clouds and thick darkness. He directs the people to fast and cry mightily to God; and promises, that thereupon God would remove from them the northern army, which he represents as innumerable, and most ruinous; and that the stench of their ruined hosts should come up, because they had done great things. Upon this he predicts the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon all flesh. Then in chapter iii, he gives a more particular account of the terrible scene of judgment, and identifies it with the destruction of Antichrist, which has been described. "For behold, in "those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again "the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gath. "er all nations, and will bring them down into the val. “ley of Jehoshaphat.” The battle of the great day follows, verse 9,-“Proclain ye this among the Gen"'tiles; prepare war; wake up the mighty men; let all "the men of war draw near, let them come up, Beat "your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks “into spears; let the weak say, I am strong. Assem. "ble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather "yourselves together round about: thither cause thy "mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the hea“then be wakened and come up to the valley of Je. “hoshaphat, for there will I sit to judge all the heathen "round about.” The bringing of this vast army to the valley of Jehoshaphat, is supposed to be expressed in allusion to the account in 2 Chron. xx, of the vast combined army, that came against the Jews, in the reign of Jehoshaphat. This pious king, upon this oc. casion, convened the people to the house of God, and prayed for deliverance. The Lord by his prophet engaged to fight the battle. A spirit of niutiny was excited in the combined hosts. They fought among themselves; and all were destroyed together. The Jews