Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

“Thus shall he (this new power of atheism) do in the most strong-holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge, and shall increase with glory. And he (this new emperor) shall cause thern (his people) to rule over many; and shall divide the land for gain. The armies of the new empire, with their foreign god at their head, shall overrun the strong-holds of surrounding nations, whom he will subdue; and he will divide out the conquered nations among favorites for his own aggrandizement.

The prophecy proceeds (verse 40) to give a temporary prostration of this wilful empire, by a furious combination of nations from the north, like a whirlwind; composed of armies of cavalry, infantry, and a navy, or a naval power, ("with chariots, and horsemen, and many ships."). This whirlwind from the north, for a time prostrates his forests (armies), and drives hirn into his characteristic non-existence;' “who was, and is not, and yet is!” " who had a wound by the sword and did live!” whose feet and toes are “part of iron, and part of clay; partly strong, and partly broken!" Yet he again appears in this prophecy of Daniel, and does wonders, till he goes into perdition at the battle of the great day, when (Daniel informs us at the close of the chapter) "he comes to his end, and none shall help him!” Most perfectly is this picture, as far as the prostration in verse 40, fulfilled in events in France, and in her history of modern days. And most clear is the light thus reflected on the descent of Christ and the seven thunders, in Rev. x.

This tenth of Revelation is thus but an inspired comment on Daniel's prediction of the rise of that wilful power

of the last days.

Ver. 5. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up bis band to beaven,

6. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

7. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when be shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

We must here again have recourse to the parent text in Daniel's last chapter. After he had seen the things just noted, he beholds the Angel of the covenant (Christ) stand

ing upon the waters; and heard him interrogated, “how long it should be to the end of those wonders?” Or, when shall the wilful power (here just described) go into perdition?—not when one dynasty of it shall be prostrated, and its power of iniquity be for a time checked: for the beast that was, and is not, and yet is, may have a succession of powerful leaders, as had the Roman empire in the first reign of its imperial head, in early days. Those feet and toes of the image, formed of iron and clay, may break before its final fall, and its parts “not cleave one to another,” as Daniel assures shall be the case, Dan ii. 40-45. This beast from the bottomless pit will know full well the arts of hiding in his midnight caverns, and of there healing his wounds! But the question here asked of Christ was, When shall that deep and fatal system end?—that system which nothing will utterly destroy but the exterminating fire of the great and notable day of the Lord!—when shall this exterminating event take place? Upon the question, the angel Christ, the same with that in our text, lifts up his hand to heaven, and swears by him that liveth for ever and ever, “that it should be for a time, times, and a half time! And when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all those things shall be fulfilled.” The battle of the great day then, in which this impious system goes into perdition, we here learn, is at the close of the notable 1260 years! All agree, that a time is a year; times, two years; and half a time, half a year; each day in the account standing for a year; and each year being reckoned of 360 days, from the views of the ancients. This time then, is 1260 years;—the noted time in prophecy for the residence of the church in the wilderness!

The probable commencement of this noted period will be shown in the lecture on the papal beast, in Rev, xiii. 11, to end. The thing decided by the oath of the angel of the covenant here, is that this power shall be destroyed at the close of the 1260 years,—that the time of its duration, after it arose, was from the time of that rise, till the close of the 1260 years. And that oath of the angel, in Daniel, gives the exact sense of the oath of Christ, in our text, which is but a comment upon it. In the latter, his words are, "chronos ouk estai eti!-rendered in our translations, “there should be time no longer." Granting the Greek words are capable of giving this sense; they are no less capable of giving the following, -- "the time shall not be yet” (but clearly meaning that it shall not be long deser

red). The parent text, in Daniel, shows that the latter is the correct rendering here,-as also does the following verse in our text: “But in the days 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;” alluding, no doubt, peculiarly to this parent text in Daniel. We hence learn, that the seventh trumpet is future, at the time in our text, but not far future. And the utter destruction of this enormous influence of infidelity would not be till then; and should be no longer deferred than to that event. For the seventh trumpet is to destroy this very power, and all that is found wickedly connected with it. But, while the sentiment of the oath of Christ in our text, rests on the sentiment of his own oath in Daniel, and hence must mean the same thing; its phraseology goes to correct a mistake, prevalent with many, in the course of the terrors which were to attend the rise and progress of this system from the world below, viz., that this is the battle of that great day of God! The oath says, No, that event is not yet: but in the seventh trumpet (which is still future, though not far distant), the scene shall be accomplished! But the horrors of this descent of Christ, and of the seven thunders, are antecedent to, and distinct from the battle of the great day,—the seventh trumpet. And the whole union between Daniel and John, upon this subject, shows that these two events are distinct; though the former may be most naturally mistaken by many for the latter. And it was shown, in the preceding lecture, that other prophecies have allusion to these two events, as distinct, and at some distance from each other. Joel assures us, "the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord comes.” The sun of regal authority should be darkened, and the moon of armies turned to blood, before the seventh trumpet, -and distinctly from it. Our Saviour, in his predicted coming, Matt. xxiv., Mark xiii., and Luke xxi., manifestly includes in this his prediction, his coming in the battle of the great day of God, to destroy Antichrist. (To be convinced of this, read 2 Thess. ii., and Rev. xvi. 15, and its connexion.) And among the signs of this coming of Christ, in the battle of that great day, are “wars, and rumors of wars;” meaning that there should be such a signal course of wars, as to seem to imply that there never were wars before. This is the same, probably, with the seven thunders in our text. And Christ there adds, “See

that ye be not troubled,-in Luke, “be not terrified,”implying that those wars should be peculiarly terrifying; and then our Saviour adds, as in his oath in our text, “the end (the closing scene) shall not be yet,”—as in Matthew: -in Luke, "For these things shall first come to pass, but the end shall not be by-and-by," or immediately! We have here the same sentiment with that in our text-" The time is not yet, but in the days of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished:” These seven thunders terrified the world from the year 1789, for about twenty-five years; till the whirlwind from the north, Dan. xi. 40, prostrated a dynasty of that power, and gave to the world a temporary quietus: and those terrors were indeed mistaken, by many, for the seventh trumpet.

Ver. 8. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.

9. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

10. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it my belly was bitter.

11. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

The ambassador of Christ is here directed to go and take the little open book, which was in the hand of the angel. It was not given for nothing. Its being open was not without meaning. Its contents—long sealed upshould now be known. The time had now arrived when the seal upon it should be taken off, and its contents ascertained. The faithful minister goes to Christ, and prays for the little book. The true sense of Christ's predictions must be learned from him, from his word and Spirit, in view of his signal providences. And such teaching must be from him devoutly sought; and when the humble learner says, Give me, I pray thee, the lillle book! Christ will say, Take it! Yea, "take and eat it.” “ Let him that readeth understand.” “Thy word was found (says the prophet),

and I did eat it." This is the Bible expression of devoutly and diligently studying the prophetic scriptures, and the great passing events of Providence as fulfilling them. This is the true discerning of the signs of the times. “Ye hypocrites; ye can discern the face of the sky; how is it that ye cannot discern the signs of the times?" It was noted, in a past lecture, that each of the four living creatures, as an emblem of the gospel ministry, when a seal opens a new signal event, calls, “Come and see!” People have a right to inquire of their spiritual guides, “Watchman, what of the night?” And the watchman should be able to give a correct answer. John finds, on eating this little book, what he was before assured would be the case

." and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; but as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” The first discovery of the contents of this little symbolic book, was sweet. To learn the true sense of these prophetic scriptures,

and the correct view of their events—to learn that God has thus renewedly taken in hand the blessed work of building up Zion—that the time has come for many to run to and fro, and that knowledge shall be increased; these things afford to the true preachers of righteousness, and the friends of Zion, exquisite pleasure. But when the subject is well digested and understood; when the terrors connected with its fulfilment, -of judgments upon enemies, and especially of signal trials to the people of God, shall be correctly considered; these contents of the little

open

book are found to be bitter, and similar to the roll of Ezekiel, that was “sull of lamentation, and mourning, and wo. This bitterness of the little book, after being well digested, is here explained by Christ thus: “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings!” As though he had said, Ye ministers of my gospel, and children of Zion, must again be called to bear testimony for me, before great men of the earth! This, Christ assures, must be done "again!” as though the peculiar kind of prophesying, here in view, had for a time ceased; but must be resumed. If they had fondly hoped such peculiarly trying duties of the Christian religion were done away—and light and liberty had chased them from the world—they must, for a short time, be resumed, even before the Millennium. This seems to be the true sense of the bitterness of the little book.

Do we find any thing in the parent text in Daniel (of which our text seems to be but an illustration), to accord

« ПредишнаНапред »