FROM these clear-cut statements of Daniel we now turn to John. This apostle lived nearly seven centuries after Daniel. While in exile on the isle of Patmos, banished for the testimony of Jesus Christ, he was favored with a most wonderful revelation, both of “things that are and things to be hereafter.” The first containing an account of the seven churches, and the second the future history of the church.
Being in the spirit on the Lord’s Day, he was favored with a view of the symbolic throne of Jehovah, located in the firmamental heaven, surrounded with a coruscation of light and glory, and in the midst of which, and surrounding the throne, were twenty-four elders, seated upon thrones, and four Living Creatures, with four different faces. The first like al ion, the second like a calf, the third like the face of a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle, representing, as we understand it, the different orders of the redeemed, crowned and uncrowned; the former, the sanctified saints in heaven, already crowned, and the latter the unsanctified saints on earth struggling in the flesh.
John also saw, in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, by the reason of the abundance of the revelation, or perhaps, as Elliott suggests, the things without being supplemental to those within.
This book was divided into three parts, the first containing the seals, the second the trumpets, the third the vials; seven of each. The seventh seal containing the seven trumpets, the seventh trumpet the seven vials. At the close of the seals there was an earthquake or upheaval, announcing a change and introducing and containing the trumpets or judgments. At the close of the trumpets another earthquake or upheaval, announcing another change, and introducing and containing the vials or last plagues. At the close of the vials another and greater earthquake or upheaval, the greatest of all, including the binding of Satan, the Millennium, the loosing of Satan, the battle of Gog and Magog, the general resurrection and final judgment.
Under the seals we have the following symbols: First, a white horse with its rider, with a bow and a crown given to him, and going forth conquering and to conquer. Second, a red horse, with power to kill and take away peace. Third, a black horse with balances, and a statement of the price of corn, weighed with exactness, on account of scarcity, but oil and wine to be left; God’s judgments always tempered with mercy. Fourth, a pale horse, with death sitting on him and hell following in his train. Fifth, the souls of martyrs crying for vengeance. Sixth, the great earthquake, and the sealing of the 144,000, and concluding with the seventh seal.
INTERPRETATION OF SYMBOLS.
The first four seals being under the same symbol of a horse and rider must refer to the same thing, and represents the Roman empire, with the church of Christ in its bosom. Church and state are always in one sense united, being alike blessed and cursed of God together. At first the state dominated the church; in the end the order is to be reversed, and the church is to dominate the state. At first the world was punished for its treatment of the church; in the end the church chastened for its treatment of the state; but always one and inseparable. According to this interpretation the white horse in the first seal fitly represents the victory, progress, and prosperity of the Roman empire, bearing the church of God in its bosom as the horse its rider. Then the horse, changing its color to red, representing the same empire in a state of strife, war, and bloodshed. Then to black, the symbol of distress, representing famine and want. Then the pale color, a representation of still greater general terror and dismay consequent upon the preceding state of things. Then the souls of martyrs, the symbol of persecution. Lastly, the earthquake or upheaval, betokening some great revolution about to follow, which likewise would be in the same empire.
In this general outline we have a corresponding outline in the history of the world for the first three centuries, till the first great upheaval in the time of Constantine, and afterwards followed by the great invasion of the Vandal hordes from the North. According to Gibbon, the time of the greatest prosperity of the Roman empire was during the reigns of Nerva, Trajan. Hadrian, and the two Antonines, from A.D. 96 to 180, known as “The golden age.” After which, with the assassination of Commodus, began the decline, and for about ninety years, till the accession of Diocletian, there was incessant strife, “thirty-two emperors and twenty-seven pretenders alternately hurling each other from the throne.” Then a period of greater distress, from 180 to 193. Then still greater terror and dismay, from 193 to 243, and greater still from 243 to 248. Then the cry of those martyred souls, the result of those awful persecutions, beginning with Nero and terminating with Diocletian, when the sword of Caesar and the whole world sought to put down this new religion, and when the blood of martyrs flowed like water, when so many sealed their testimony with their life’s blood. Then the great earthquake or upheaval, connected with the conversion of Constantine, the Roman governor, when there was a complete somersault, the whole world rushing into the church. Never, perhaps, was there ever before such a complete revolution in matters religious and ecclesiastical. As Dr. Adam Clark has well said, “The revolution under Constantine and the destruction of Jerusalem were the two greatest events that have ever taken place in the world since the flood to the eighteenth century of the Christian era.” And this is the more remarkable on account of the smallness of the number of the Christians, they being, according to Gibbon, only about one-twentieth of the population. So general was the reaction against heathenism, and so complete the revolution, that it required some such striking images to represent it as the darkening of the sun, paling of the moon, and blotting out of the stars; when, as Bishop Newton has expressed it, “The great lights of the heathen world, the great powers, civil and ecclesiastical, were all eclipsed, and obscured, the heathen emperors and Caesars were slain, the heathen priests and emperors and Caesars were slain, the heathen priests and augers extirpated, the heathen officers and magistrates removed, the heathen temples demolished, and their revenues appropriated to better uses.”
That the figures thus employed were none too bold to depict these scenes will appear from the fact that they are the very ones used by the old prophets in speaking of similar things. Thus Isaiah, in speaking of the destruction of Babylon, says, “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” (Chap. xiii. 10.) So in the judgments to be visited upon Idumea, “All the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens be rolled together as a scroll, and their host shall fall down as the leaf falleth off the vine.” (Chap. xxxiv. 4.) So Joel, in his description of the change from the old to the new dispensation, uses language equally strong: “And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy; . . . and I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” (Chap. ii. 28-31.) See also Amos. viii. 9, and Zech. i. 14, 15, where the destruction of Jerusalem is spoken of as “the great day of the Lord.”
The entire suitableness of the figures employed will also appear in a still stronger light when we remember that beyond and behind all this we have here given us a typical foreshadowing of impending judgments still in the future. In this typical overthrow of governments, and the whole world in consternation and woe, we also have a forecast of coming judgments, set forth in the trumpets, and even extending to the final destruction of all the enemies of the Lord and his church. Every rill is but the prophecy of the existence of the mighty ocean; so every judgment is but the foreshadowing of the final destruction of all the wicked. We cannot look out upon any object in nature without seeing objects behind it as a background. As the Savior, in his description of the destruction of Jerusalem, imperceptibly glides into the final judgment, because included in it, so here. This terrible upheaval, the dim adumbration of final destruction of all his enemies, was but the first great ground swell, or reactionary movement back in the direction of God and heaven. Hence the consternation and woe represented by the call to the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of an angry God. Similar language is used in Hos. x. 8. referring to Shalmaneser’s invasion, and also by the Savior in Luke xviii. 30, where, when speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, he represents its terrified inhabitants as calling to mountains and hills to fall on them, and furnish a place of retreat.
Here, then, in this first outlook, reaching to the distant future, we are brought face to face with all the after judgments set forth in the trumpets and seals that are to be visited upon all the enemies of the Lord, the past being but the earnest, prophecy and pledge of all succeeding ones.
SEALING OF THE 144,000.
Before the sounding of the trumpets, introducing these impending judgments, we have the sealing of God’s people, not Jews simply, but all his elect people, 144,000; a definite for an indefinite sum. As in Egypt, before the destroying angel went forth, the houses of Israel were first marked; and as in Ezekiel’s vision, the man with the inkhorn first went through Jerusalem and marked every one who wept and sighed for the abominations done therein before the man with the sword upon his thigh should pass through; so the sealing or marking of God’s people must precede these judgments. Thus showing that God will ever take care of his people at all times, and under all circumstances.
As in the first outlook we have the judgments as already completed, so we also have the anticipatory giving of thanks, as though the final victory was likewise achieved. John sees the multitude of victors with palm branches in their hands, as having already passed through the tribulation of earth, and now led beside the fountains of living waters, and having all their tears wiped away by the hand of a loving Father.
After the sealing of the 144,000, the angels with the trumpets were commanded to sound. The trumpet, the usual signal for war, was also employed to herald the approach of any important event. Here it was used to proclaim the coming of those terrible judgments about to be visited upon a corrupt church and world; for, though seemingly advanced, the church was really abased by her worldly alliances. The scene was preceded by voices, thunderings, and an earthquake, all indicative of the unwonted heaviness of those judgments, and in all of which we have clearly set forth the invasion of the Northern vandal hordes upon the Roman empire, the then masters of the known world, with the church of God in her bosom, and as her pretended guardian and protector.
The first angel sounds, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, which were cast upon the earth, and the third part of the trees were burned up; that is, a third part of the Roman empire, or the whole, as a third part of the world. In this we have a striking and most picturesque description of Alaric and the Goths, who made several incursions into the country from the North, carrying destruction and ruin in their march—(395-410)—when he took and sacked and burned the city of Rome.
And the second angel sounded, “and as it were a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea, and the third part of the sea became blood, and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died, and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
Soon after the depredation of Alaric, Attila, fitly styled “the scourge of God and man,” with a large army of Huns, ravaged the empire, for the space of fourteen years, aptly represented by the burning mountain cast into the sea; in which another third part of the empire was destroyed, or as the Roman people were estimated about one-third part of the earth, another third part of the whole is thus fitly spoken of as turned into blood.
The third trumpet sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven as a burning lamp, and it fell upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called “Wormwood”; and a third part of the waters became wormwood; and men died of the waters because they were bitter.
Soon after Attila’s retreat, Genseric, with a large army of 300,000 Vandals and Moors from Africa, invaded the empire, and besieged and took Rome, and abandoned the city to the licentiousness and cruelty of his soldiers. The bitterness of such an experience may well be termed “Wormwood.” Genseric being also a bigoted Arian, and a cruel persecutor of the orthodox Christians, likewise poisoned the fountains, and rendered their bitterness still more intense.
The fourth angel sounded, and the fourth part of the sun was smitten, and a third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. The judgments here reached the government. If the three preceding trumpets refer to the disasters sent upon the Roman empire, this trumpet is then simply the completion of the work; and we here have the final fulfillment in the complete overthrow of Roman supremacy, and the final establishment of barbarian dominion under Odoacer, the king of the Heruli, who, coming to Rome with an army of barbarians, stripped Momylus of the imperial robes, and caused himself to be proclaimed king of Italy; and thus putting an end to the very same of the Western empire; fifty represented by the smiting of one-third part of the sun, moon and stars.
The remaining three trumpets are termed “Woe trumpets,” on account of the intense bitterness connected with them. The four preceding ones seem to contain woe enough, and bitterness enough, but nothing to be compared with the three that are to follow, because these blight the soul as well as destroy the body; and because they were to continue longer, and take in a larger scope in their vast sweep. The first four trumpets refer chiefly to the downfall of the Western empire: these last three to the downfall of the Eastern, to be effected by the influx of the Mohammedan and Turkish hordes, the setting up of the “Man of Sin,” at first stated in a general way, but afterwards with more fullness and distinctness.
These trumpets are introduced with an angel flying through mid-heaven, and saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels yet to sound.”
FIFTH TRUMPET.—(FIRST WOE TRUMPET.)
The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key to the bottomless pit, and there arose a smoke, which darkened the sun and air, and out of the smoke came locusts, to which was given power as to scorpions, and to hurt only those who had not the seal of God in their foreheads. They should not kill, but only torment for five months. And their torment was the torment of a scorpion. And in those days men desired to die, but death fled from them. The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle. They had a crown on their heads, and faces of men. Their hair as that of women, and teeth of lions, and breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings like the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle, and had tails like scorpions, and stings in their tails; and had power to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them whose name was Abaddon in Hebrew, but Apollyon in Greek.
This trumpet is generally conceded to have reference to the Mohammedan or Saracenic conquests; the Mohammedan leaders represented by the star, and the Arabian army by the locusts; with faces like men, but long, flowing, uncut hair like women, indicative of the fierceness of their nature; with the sting of scorpions in their tails, poisoning men with the destructive doctrines of the Koran; their power to torment being five months, equal to one hundred and fifty days or years, just the length of the Mohammedan conquests, extending from A.D. 612 to 762.
“One woe is past, behold there cometh two more woes hereafter.”
SIXTH TRUMPET.—(SECOND WOE TRUMPET.)
The sixth angel sounded, and with greater solemnity, as a still greater woe was coming, and as coming from the “four corners of the altar,” as the place of the guilt. The angel with the trumpet was ordered to loose the four angels bound in the great river Euphrates. The number of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand. They had breast plates of fire, and of jacinth, and of brimstone. The horses had heads of lions, and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. They had power alike in their mouths and in their tails. By these the third of men were killed. The time for which they were prepared were an hour, a day, a month, and a year.
We are not long in finding an event in history and the world at that time, agreeing precisely with this description. The Mohammedan or Saracenic conquest was followed by that of the Turks, a people of the same general spirit and character; hence the similarity of the description. There were four Sultans (the four angels) arising at different times, but at last uniting in the same work, and these angels were at first bound or held back in their conquests by the Crusades. The description, too, exactly suited their horsemen, and the fierceness and celerity of their conquests. They had power in their horses` tails as well as heads, as they carried the teachings of Mohammed with them, thus stinging men with their teachings, as with the sting of a scorpion. Their number two myriads, or two ten thousands of thousands, equal to two millions, a definite for an indefinite number. Their time, an hour, a day, a month, and one year, being a total of three hundred and ninety-one days or years; the length of the Turkish conquests, beginning A.D. 1281, and continuing till A.D. 1672, the time of their last victory over the Christians.
In this conquest the Romans were in a measure protected by the armies of the Crusaders. So it is added: “the rest of the men, that is, the Romans, not killed with these plagues, and who were not deterred by them, repented not of the works of their hands, but continued to worship devils, and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.”
In this particular case, as in the preceding trumpet, the description given and the developed facts seem wonderfully to agree.
Before the sounding of the seventh trumpet, introducing the third and last great woe, there is a pause in the vision to introduce “The Little Book,” with its account of the slaying of the witnesses. The arrest was made with the statement that the mystery of God connected with the last great woe would not yet or then be revealed, as the time was not yet (χρονος ουχ εσται ετι) but would be at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
THE LITTLE BOOK (THE REFORMATION.)
John saw a mighty angel come down from heaven, with a little open book in his hand, which, upon his request, was given him with instruction to eat it, which he did; but soon found it, as the angel had foretold, both sweet as honey to his mouth, but all bitterness within, and also the added instruction, “Thou must prophecy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” A very striking statement indeed, as, before the Reformation, preaching had fallen into disuse, the mass and other ceremonial observances having wholly taken its place.
In looking for the fulfillment of this symbol we are at once reminded of the Reformation in the time of Luther and his coadjutors in the preaching of the true gospel preparatory to and connected with the second great upheaval. In this preaching of the gospel there was a striking admixture of bitter things with much that was exceedingly sweet.
SLAYING OF THE WITNESSES.
In this connection we have the measuring of the temple, the casting out of the apostatized portion, and giving up the court without to the Gentiles, who were to tread it under foot forty-two months; that is, twelve hundred and sixty days, or years, during which time the two witnesses should prophecy; not two men, or even two peoples, who were to live that long, but the continuation of faithful witnesses; and two, because that number was required by the Mosaic law to establish any fact. These should prophecy clothed in sackcloth; and when they shall have finished, or about to finish, their testimony—or finished at least so far as the purpose was concerned, for they are bearing testimony, and always will—the beast, that was to ascend out of the bottomless pit, and to be afterwards described, would slay them, and leave their bodies unburied for three days and a half in the streets of the city spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, the former on account of its wickedness, and the latter on account of its oppression; and after three days and a half would come to life again and ascend up unto heaven.
Some, like Scott, that prince of interpreters, and following Bishop Newton, have held that the matters here spoken of are yet in the future; but it does seem that the events happening since their day show them to be mistaken, and too clearly prove that the time is past for the fulfillment of this part of the prophecy. These two witnesses obviously were slain with the suppression of the gospel in 1514, when the whole world was under Popish authority, and when at the Council of Constance the orator of the occasion, at the ninth session, May 5th of that year, could and did say, “Jam nemo reclamat nullus obsistet” (No one now denies, no one opposes)... But the witnesses were not buried, nor really dead, for it was on the 21st of October, 1518, only three years afterwards, that Luther nailed his theses to the church’s door posts at Wittenberg, when the witnesses came to life again, and have been living and testifying ever since; and taken up to God, not in the sense of leaving the world, but in the sense of being kept and preserved by him, never again to be silenced or put to death.
SECOND GREAT EARTHQUAKE.
After the resurrection of the two witnesses, and in connection with it, there was a second great earthquake or upheaval, when a tenth part of the city fell, and of men, ten thousand were slain, and the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to God; all fulfilled in the Reformation in Luther’s day, which was truly a great upheaval, in which there was a great loss to, and falling away from, the doctrines of Popery, and when the British Isles, one of the ten minor kingdoms into which the Roman empire was divided, came out from under the Romish yoke.
At this stage of the prophecy the announcement is made, “The second woe is past, and behold a third woe cometh quickly.”
SEVENTH TRUMPET—(THIRD WOE TRUMPET.)
As the third woe is the largest and longest in continuance, and had already commenced, and needed a more minute description, the announcement is here simply made that the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and the result given as already accomplished, as well as a general outlook, and in the following terms:
“And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven saying, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And, as anticipating the final result, the heavenly hosts fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, “we give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art and wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast reigned.”
Here with this general outlook, in which the final anticipatory triumph of the church is asserted, the first part of the book closes.
THIRD GREAT WOE.
After this glowing doxology the prophecy goes back a little to give a fuller account of the great woe of which mention has already been made, and of things written “without” the book, as Elliot suggests. As the Papacy is clearly the great woe, and had already been in existence for centuries before this time, the prophecy goes back to give a fuller account of its origin, rise, and progress. We have this account in Chapter xii.
WONDER IN HEAVEN.
John saw, in the firmamental heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a crown of twelve stars upon her head, all indicative of majesty, and about to be delivered of a child; whilst a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads, and with his tail drawing the third part of the stars of heaven, was standing before the woman ready to devour the child as soon as born. The woman brought forth a man child, who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was caught up to God and his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there for a thousand two hundred and three score days.
He also saw, in this connection, Satan, spoken of as a dragon, cast out of the firmamental heaven, where previously seen as the great Adversary and accuser of the brethren; and now, being cast out, began persecuting the woman, casting out water out of his mouth, and seeking to destroy her; but God gave her two great wings, by which she fled into the wilderness, and where she was “nourished for a time and times and a half,” that is, three and a half years, or 1,260 days.
These two visions seem clearly to refer to the same event; the first being anticipatory of the second; the first stating in general terms what is more fully explained in the second, the woman being the same and representing the church in both instances, and the child her prospective increase and enlargement.
THE RED DRAGON.—(ROME PAGAN.)
The Red Dragon, with its seven heads or forms of government, and ten horns or kingdoms , is clearly Rome Pagan, as generally admitted, even by Papists. Satan and the Dragon are interchangeably used, because he works through the Dragon. As he is called “the old serpent,” because he first appeared to our first parents in the garden in the form of a serpent, and worked through the serpent, so here he is the Red Dragon because he entered the Red Dragon and worked through it. And the name is the more appropriate as the Dragon was the original standard of the Roman legions; and because, as the Red Dragon, Rome had subdued one-third of the princes of the world; so he is represented as drawing one- third of the stars with his tail. The general idea, then, is that as there was about to be an enlargement in the church, in the conversion of Constantine, and successive Christian emperors, who were appointed of God to punish the enemies of the gospel, and thus “rule the world with a rod of iron,” Satan instigated Rome Pagan to endeavor to thwart the purpose by persecuting the women, or church, who was hid by God in the wilderness for twelve hundred and sixty years, the church’s increase being taken to heaven in the sense of being defended and preserved by the Lord; the two great wings given the woman being the Eastern and Western empires, and the water out of the Dragon’s mouth and helping the woman being the multitudes of the Northern hordes who remained at Rome after the invasion and were converted to Christianity, and thus becoming helpers of the cause.
The further continuance and progress of this struggle between the woman and her adversaries are set forth in the rising of two beasts, or enemies, one from the sea, the other from the earth, against both of which she must contend.
FIRST BEAST.—(ROME CHRISTIAN.)
The first beast is described as coming out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon the horns ten crowns, and upon these heads “the name of blasphemy.” The beast was like unto a leopard, his feet as the feet of a bear, his mouth as the mouth of a lion. And the Dragon gave him his power and his seat and his great authority. One of his heads was wounded as unto death, but his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the Dragon and worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like unto the beast, and who is able to make war with him?” And unto him was given a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty-two months. And it was given him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. And power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life.
If the Red Dragon be Rome Pagan, as interpreters, and even Papists themselves generally admit, then it is but a step, and an easy one at that, to the conclusion, that this first beast was Rome Christian; that is, the same power as before; in other words, the Red Dragon with the form of Christianity engrafted upon it; for it derived its seat and all its power and authority from the Dragon. In other words, this first beast was the same Dragon, modified and held in check by the elements of this new religion.
Notice the description, how sharply drawn, and how applicable to Rome. Seven heads! That is, seven forms of government. The different forms of government of Rome were Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes, Emperors (the head wounded and afterwards healed) and Dukedom. “Ten horns”! that is, ten kingdoms into which the empire was divided, already mentioned, viz., Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Sueves and Allans, Vandals, Franks, Burgundians, Heruli, Saxons and Angles, Huns, Lombards.
Notice, too, the Dragon had seven crowns upon his seven heads; that is, had his power within himself. But this beast differs in this, that his crowns, ten in number, are not upon his heads, as in the case of the Dragon, but upon his horns, showing his authority being not within himself, but as coming from the kingdoms composing the empire. He also had the additional name of “Blasphemy,” growing out of the engrafted and perverted abuses of the religious element.
Further, one of the heads, the sixth (the emperor) was wounded “unto death,” representing the entire subversion of imperial authority in the time of Augustulus, when Rome became a Dukedom, subject to the Exarchate of Ravenna; but afterwards healed in the revival of the imperial name and dignity, in the person of Charlemagne, who was proclaimed Augustus. And this beast withal had all the characteristics of the different animals; the leopard, bear, and lion, because he had the same spirit and power of the former kingdom. He was to “practice” and continue to exercise his power for forty-two months. What other power ever existed, agreeing at all with this description?
SECOND BEAST.—(ROME PAPAL.)
The prophet saw a second beast. The first he saw had seven heads and ten horns; but this one had only two horns, and was like a lamb. The first beast came up out of the sea; out of the wars and tumults of the world. This last comes silently up, like a plant out of the earth. This second beast exerciseth all the power of the first that had been healed. He also doeth wonders; maketh fire to come down from heaven in sight of men, and deceiveth by means of those miracles, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image of the beast that had been wounded by the sword and did live, and that no man should buy or sell, without the mark and number of the beast; the mark being put, either “upon the forehead,” as evidence of profession, or “on the hand,” in token of service.
If the first beast be Rome Christian, then the second can be nothing else than Rome Papal, or the Romish hierarchy; for he is connected with the first beast, being its legitimate offspring, and which he has caused all men to worship. The further description also fixes this interpretation, as it had two horns, viz., the two orders of her clergy, or two sources of her power, secular and spiritual. Its identification also with the image to be made proves the same thing, as we shall see.
IMAGE OF THE BEAST.
We do not agree with Newton, who is followed by Scott and Clark, in holding that the Pope is the image, nor yet with Elliott, who interprets it of the Ecclesiastical Councils. We understand it of the second beast itself; in other words, the Papacy. This identity is clearly inferable if not expressly stated. It will be noticed that the second beast neither makes the image nor worships it, but puts this upon the people. So Popery is not the direct creation of the civil government, but grew up among the people, and had civil power engrafted upon it. It will be noticed that the second beast had all the power of the first, whom it orders all men to worship. It not only had power to order the making of the image, but also to impart life and power to it, both to make it speak, and to require all men to worship it; and yet, what is passing strange, and even marvelous, is that, though thus clothed with such regal power, being the successor and possessor of all the rights and prerogatives of the first beast and dragon, yet itself is not worshipped. The dragon and first beast are said to be worshipped (Chap. xiii. 4) , but not the second beast. Wherefore? The answer seems easy, because the image and the second beast are one and the same, and worship rendered the one is worship rendered the other. The dragon merges into the first beast, and the first beast merges into the second, with the Papacy as the perfected image and culmination of the whole. Indeed, a mere glance is sufficient to show that the first and second beasts, and the image, are all associated together, as members of a common firm, and actuated by a common impulse, the destruction of Christ’s kingdom. As the horses in the seals are one, under different colors, so these are all one, only under different forms and different stages of development. I therefore hold and earnestly maintain, that the “Antichrist,” or “Man of Sin,” is not simply the dragon, or first, or second beast alone, but all three combined: a triune monster of iniquity, all working in harmony, and all under the control of the first great dragon, Satan; the acts of the one being the acts of the others, and worship rendered the one being worship rendered the others.
We see, therefore—
1st, Why the name of the monster is always “beast,” and never “beasts”; although spoken of as three, they are really but one.
2nd, Why the name of the monster is always “beast,” and never “beasts”; although spoken of as three, they are really but one.
3rd, Herein, too, is the answer to the objections that have been raised: that the forty-two months, as the time given for the existence of the beast, as well as what is said concerning the shedding of the blood of the saints, is affirmed only of the first beast; and further, that Popery cannot be both the Woman and the beast she was riding; the point of these objections being to relieve the Papacy of all complicity with the beast, and all participation in its guilt. The answer to it all is found in their essential unity. What is true of the one is true of all the others. The signature of any one of a firm being the signature of the whole.
4th, We likewise can see why the second beast puts the mark and number of the entire beast upon all the subjects of the kingdom, because it stands and acts as the representative and accredited agent of the whole.
5th, We will also see, as we further proceed, the exact fitness of the suggestive name as given the beast, viz., “The Latin Man,” because Latin, in all of its transformations, whether pagan, Christian, or Papal.
NUMBER OF THE NAME.
The number of the name as given is 666. “Here is wisdom; let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man”; that is, a name, the number of the numerical value of its letters would amount to 666. As a challenge is here given, it is no evidence of presumption should we attempt, at least, to find out the number, especially as it is so closely linked with the intolerance of the beast, no one being allowed or tolerated, unless bearing the same. Now it is a remarkable fact that the name Lateinos, The Latin Man, the name of the fourth kingdom seen by Daniel, makes 666, both in Greek and Hebrew. This solution was first suggested by Irenaeus, as far back as the second century, and some three centuries before the rise of the beast. Says he, “Lateinos has the number 666, and it is a very probable solution, this being the name of the last kingdom of the four seen by Daniel.” (Clark’s Pub., 107) And this has been the common interpretation among protestants ever since. As to the appropriateness of the name, we leave the reader to judge, since her letters, decrees and services are all in Latin. The two words in Greek and Hebrew are Lateinos and Romiith.
Here we have, to say the least of it, a most singular thing, that the same name should have the same numerical value in both Greek and Hebrew, the two languages in which the Scriptures were written.
Ere the declaration of the downfall of this beast, known as the mystical Babylon, and for the encouragement of God’s people, the prophet again sees the 144,000 already sealed, standing upon mount Zion with the Lamb, and singing a new song; and also another angel flying through the midst of heaven, with commission to preach the everlasting gospel to every nation kindred, tongue, and tribe.
In quick succession, another angel follows, crying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Then follows the third angel, saying with a loud voice, and by way of warning or caveat, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured without mixture into the cup of his indignation.”
Thus, not only is the great city to be destroyed, but, according to the commission of the third angel, the curse shall even extend to all the worshippers of the beast, in every place and in every land.
The world not being influenced by the warning of these three angels, then follows by anticipation the prophetic description of the execution of the threatened judgments. This is set forth under the figure of a harvest or vintage; as much as to say, that the destruction, when it does come, will be so terrible, and the blood shed so abundantly, that, like the wine pressed from the grapes in the vintage, the stream would reach even to the horses` bridles; and this to extend “a thousand and six hundred furlongs,” or two hundred miles, the exact length of the old papal dominions. How terrific the judgments yet to be visited upon the idolatrous and wicked city!
SEVEN LAST PLAGUES.
After these prophetic warnings and delays, as if loath to issue the order for the execution of the sentence, one of the four Living Creatures gave the seven vials, containing the seven last plagues to the seven angels, with instructions to empty them upon the earth.
In obedience to the above instruction, the first angel poured out his vial upon the earth, and there fell a grievous sore upon the man that had the mark of the beast, and them which worshipped his image. This sore or running ulcer, similar to one of the plagues of Egypt, was but the fit emblem of, and fulfilled in, the blatant infidelity, national and individual, social disorder and moral corruption of France in the latter part of the eighteenth century; and just before, and preparatory to, the great revolution which shook all Europe to its centre. Thus poured out upon France because at that time the leading supporter of the Papal throne and worshipper of the image. In the days of Charlemagne she took the lead in restoring the Papacy; and on account of her constant and unswerving devotion to the interest of the Papal See, her king received from the Pope the loving sobriquet, “The eldest son of the church,” upon whom she leaned, and from whom she expected support.
The second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, as the other upon the earth; upon the sea as the representative of the turbulent seething masses of men; and, as in another of the plagues of Egypt, the sea became as blood of a dead man. According to Alison, over a million persons were put to death in France during the Reign of Terror. And not in France alone, but all Europe, according to the saying of Napoleon, that “A revolution in France is sooner or later followed by a revolution in all Europe.” And thus it was. As the result of the revolution, all Europe was deluged in blood. It is quite easy therefore to see how this emblem of pouring out on land and sea fitly represents the murders and terrible scenes of the French revolution, and which led to the revolution in Europe, in which human blood flowed as a sea, and which, instead of leading to repentance, only resulted in increased wickedness and rebellion of heart.
The third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters, and they also became blood; this being but a continuation of the same judgments as in the two preceding vials, only more general, now permeating the whole land, and reaching even to individuals and communities, as well as to the centers of governments. The revolution, local at first, soon became general, and, like an ocean upheaval, covering all Europe with its disastrous effects, as already indicated.
The fourth angel poured his vial upon the sun, and giving him power to scorch men with fire. In accordance with the general, and we may say the invariable interpretation of this symbol, the sun and moon standing for governments and rulers, this pouring out of a vial upon the sun, must mean nothing more than military rule or despotism; and if Napoleon and his military contemporaries did not scorch the world, it will never be again. Without enlarging, we point to the Napoleonic wars and the devastation and accompanying terrors and dismay that followed, and reaching all the governments of Europe, as the exact fulfillment of this vial, both as to time and place, it being in close connection, following upon the very heels of the three preceding ones.
The fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast, and his kingdom became dark, and they gnawed their tongues, and blasphemed the God of heaven; all of which was most strikingly fulfilled, beginning in 1798, when Rome fell into the hand of the French army, and the Vatican was robbed of its works of art, and the Pope compelled to flee; again repeated in 1868, when Victor Emanuel disrobed the Papal See of all temporal power, and Rome was thrown open to all the world. And later still, in 1900, in the disasters upon Spain, another seat of Papal power and supremacy.
The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the river Euphrates, to dry up the river, and to “prepare the way for the kings of the East.” In this prediction we think we clearly see reference to the Turks. Nor is this interpretation so arbitrary as may at first appear. In the sixth trumpet the horsemen were turned loose from the river Euphrates. This is generally admitted to refer to the Turkish conquests. If so, the drying up of that river is simply to dry up the source of that power; in other words, the weakening, if not the entire overthrow, of that government. The Turkish power has for some time been waning. As far back as 1820, with the insurrection in Greece, Walachia, and Moldavia; the taking of Algiers in 1829, and the loosening of its hold upon Egypt; and now upon its tottering throne we see indelibly stamped the unmistakable seal of prophecy forecasting its impending doom. The present and past discontent and unrest are but the distant mutterings of the coming storm; nothing now supporting it but the strategic policy of the interested princes of Christendom.
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON.
Before the pouring out of the seventh vial we have an account of the preparation for the final great struggle between the church and her enemies. Three unclean spirits like frogs are seen going forth to gather all the kings of the earth, with all their forces, to a place, called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. As the battle is no real battle, but simply a struggle of principle, so no particular locality is intended, but simply a place of destruction, as the word seems to mean “Mountain of Megiddo”; so designated from Megiddo, the place that witnessed the slaughter of the Canaanites in the days of Barak, when the stars fought in their courses against Sisera (Judg. v. 19), as well as the scene of the defeat of Josiah, and the great lamentation which followed. (2 Chron. xxxv. 23-25.)
THREE UNCLEAN SPIRITS.
The sources from whence these unclean spirits proceed show the work to be done, as well as the agents to be employed.
1, One is to proceed form the mouth of the dragon; that is, Rome pagan, which points to pagan idolatry as one of the agents to be employed.
2, The second from the mouth of the beast; that is, Rome Pseudochristian. In the union of church and state under Constantine, instead of a friend, the church only found, in her pretended ally, a bitter, relentless foe, a very beast indeed, sordid, fierce, corrupt, preying upon her flesh, and drinking her very life’s blood. This symbol finds its interpretation in every unholy alliance of Church and state, as well as in the different forms of worldly entanglements and associations, leading alike to her enslavement and ruin.
3, The third from the mouth of the False Prophet; that is, Rome Papal, the pretended expositor of the word, and yet the great perverter of the truth. This symbol points to the different pervertings and obscurings of the truth as the third method to be employed.
Here then, in these three suggestive symbols, we have the different methods to be used by the adversary in the last great struggle.
1st, He will, as far as possible, continue to keep the world under the chains of heathenish darkness and away from the knowledge of Christ, ever seeking to drown every uplifted and opposing voice, with the old cry, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
2nd, He will seek to weaken and destroy the influence and power of the church, directly if possible, by the use of Cæsar’s sword; if not, just as effectively, though more stealthily, by means of worldly entanglements and alliances.
3rd, By false and heretical teaching; if not entirely to deny and disown, to degrade the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, by covering it up in a mass of worthless forms and ceremonies, so as to rob it of its power or else secure the same end by human additions and substitutions, calculated only to deceive and to lead to destruction.
In the setting up of these and similar golden calves in different parts of the kingdom, these croaking spirits are ever calling to the people, and saying, “These by thy gods, O Israel,” and thus preparing for the final struggle, which is to result in the destruction of the beast and False Prophet, as well as all the other enemies of the Lord. The time for this destruction is not now given; but we have an anticipatory description of it further on, in Chapter xix. 17-21. Only this caveat is here added: “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
The seventh angel poured out his vial in the air (universal), followed by thunderings, lightnings, and the final great earthquake or upheaval, that is to usher in the Millennium; described as the greatest earthquake men have ever seen, or ever will see; when the great city is to be divided into three parts, cities of nations are to fall, and the great Babylon will come for remembrance before God; and when the last judgment, like hail of the size of a talent, shall be visited upon the earth.
After the pouring out of these vials, we have presented a more extended and minute account of the great city of Babylon, spoken of as the great whore, or apostate church, the mother of abominations, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornications; and also the judgments to be visited upon her.
This apostate or persecuting church is presented as a woman, drunk with the blood of saints, and with the blood of the martyrs, and as a woman seated upon a scarlet beast, full of the name of blasphemies, having seven heads and ten horns; the same as heretofore mentioned. And the woman was arrayed with gold and precious stones and pearls, insomuch as to excite the astonishment of John, which the angel sought to allay with the question, “Wherefore didst thou marvel?” I will tell thee the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carrieth her.” The following is the description and interpretation as given by the angel.
“The beast thou sawest was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.”
“The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth; and there are seven kings; five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet, and when he cometh he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”
“The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate, and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”
The above description and interpretation, easily and unmistakably find their fulfillment in the Romish church, and nowhere else.
THE MAN OF SIN.
That the Papacy is this apostate church, elsewhere Styled the “Antichrist,” and “Man of Sin,” the culmination and embodiment of the Dragon, and first and second beasts, and as such, the image and representative of the whole, will appear from the following considerations:
1, From the very name, “Catholic,” which means universal, at one time the only church, and therefore the only church to become universally apostate.
2, It agrees with the time and place set for its appearance. It was to come out of one of the ten kingdoms of the fourth monarchy. Daniel speaks of it as “the little horn,” with eyes, coming up in the midst of, and during the existence of the ten kingdoms into which the fourth kingdom was to be divided. If so, then the time and place for its appearance have both passed.
So the order and succession are given. First the Chaldean, then the Medopersian, then the Macedonian, then the Roman, acknowledged by all, even the Papists, as the red dragon with seven heads and ten horns with seven crowns upon its seven heads; then the first beast, with its seven heads and ten horns, and ten crowns upon its ten horns; then the beast with two horns, like a lamb but speaking as a dragon; then lastly, the image and representative of the whole. In each remove the succeeding form not only takes the place, but also inherits the seat and power of its predecessor. The Dragon gave his seat and power to the beast with seven heads and ten horns (Chap. xiii. 2), and the woman in scarlet was afterwards seen seated upon, and riding the same. Rome Papal is but the continuation of Rome Pagan. The modern city is built on the ruins, with much of the same material, and garnished and adorned with many of the works of art of the ancient; the image of St. Peter itself being the old image of Jupiter, with the two keys substituted for the thunderbolts of the former.
As the time and place for its appearance, and the order of the succession, are given, and with such definiteness, if this be not the Antichrist, then there can be none in the future, unless this same order and succession return, and the Dragon,—that is Pagan Rome,—be again brought to life; a thing too unreasonable to be entertained for a moment.
3, It has all the characteristics ascribed to the Antichrist.
(a). It was to be in the church. “Sitting in the temple of God,” and therefore an apostate church.
(b). It was to be a great power ruling the nations of the earth. “And power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Was there ever a greater nation than Rome, at one time the acknowledged master of the world? Will there ever be a stronger religious organization than the Romish hierarchy, with its different orders and equipments, with its cathedrals, treasures of art, its schools, nunneries, monasteries, covering the whole earth; and with such power over kings and princes, having actually dethroned fifty of them at different times!
(c). It was to be a persecuting power, making war upon the saints, shedding the blood of the same, and so abundantly as to be “drunk with blood.” To say nothing about the ten awful persecutions under Rome Pagan, in which it is estimated that fifty millions of martyrs were slain, the victims of Rome Papal have simply been astonishing. Witness the horrors of the Inquisition, the innocent slaughtering of St. Bartholomew, the bloody cruelties of the Duke of Alva, and the bitter persecutions of the Waldenses, which moved the pen of Milton to write:
“Avenge, O Lord, they slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
E’en them, who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,
Forget not; in thy book record their groans,
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow
O’er the Italian fields, where still doth away
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
An hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.”
“It is estimated that in the war with Albigenses and Waldenses, there perished of these poor creatures, in France alone, a million. From the first institution of the Jesuits to the year 1480, that is, in a little more than thirty years, 900,000 orthodox Christians were slain. In the Netherlands alone, the Duke of Alva boasted that within a few years he had dispatched to the number of 36,000 souls, and those all by the hand of the common executioner. In the space of thirty years the Inquisition destroyed, by various kinds of tortures, 150,000 Christians.”
It is true that these were not all put to death by the Papacy, any more than Christ was crucified by the Jews; but by instigators alike. “Quid facit per alium, facit per se.” Whatever he does by another he does himself. It was the first beast that was to make war on the saints, and to overcome them. (Ch. xiii. 7; Dan. Vii. 26.) But the first beast was agent of the second, and the second approved and endorsed all the deeds of the first and became its accomplice. There is such a thing as a sinner by endorsement, as well as actual transgression; so all the bloodshed of the first was added to that of its own.
(d), It was to be a blasphemous power. “Blasphemies upon her heads.” “Sitting in the temple of God and thinking that he is God.” “Speaking great words against the Most High.” Thinking to change “times and laws.” “With all power and signs and lying wonders.” “Giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” All of which are found in the Church of Rome.
We give the following quotations in proof of this high assumption: “Tu enim pastor, tu medicus, tu gubernator, tu denique alter deus in terris.”… Thou art a shepherd, thou art a physician, thou art a ruler; in one word, thou art another God. “Considera te esse vicarium Christi, Christum Domini.” Consider thyself to be the vicar of Christ, the Christ of God. “Honorem qui debetur Christo, secundum quod Deus est, deberi, papæ; quia honor debetur potestati, sed uno est potestas Christi, secundum quod deus est, et papæ.” The honor which is due to Christ, because he is God, belongs likewise to the Pope; for honor is due to authority; but the same authority belonging to Christ, because he is God, belongs likewise to the pope. “Deus, quia Dei vicarious.” God, because the vicar of God. What blasphemies!
To say, then, that we are to have another antichrist in the future, with the same characteristics, is simply that we are to have two antichrists identically the same; a thing as unscriptural as it is unreasonable.
4, Notice other peculiarities mentioned with great minuteness by the angel, and which find their fulfillment nowhere else. “The seven heads are seven mountains,” or hills, Rome being built on seven hills; hence the sobriquet, “Urbs Septicollis,” city of seven hills. Their names are familiar, viz., Palatinus, Capitolinus, Esquilinus, Caelius, Aventinus, Quirinalis, Viminalis. The seven heads, or seven kings, are seven forms of government, already mentioned, viz., Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes, Emperors, Dukedom. Five were fallen, viz., Kings, Consus, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes. These were already past in John’s day; “one now is,” at that time, the Emperor; one yet to come, and continue a little while, viz., Dukedom. “And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seventh, and goeth to perdition.” The beast was first in the form of Rome Pagan “and is not”; that is, not then existing in that form. “And yet is,” at that time as Rome Christian; “And is the eighth, and is of the seventh.” The Papacy was but the continuation of the seven different forms already mentioned, and to be the eighth and last; there being no ninth or tenth to come after it; and to go to perdition or destruction. “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings”; the ten kingdoms already mentioned, “which have received no kingdom as yet”; that is in John’s day; but were “to receive power as kings one hour with the beast,” and continue for a little while, as only an hour compared with the life of the beast, which was to be 1,260 years.
5, The number of the name furnishes additional proof “Lateinos,” the name of the last kingdom, as we have seen, aggregating, in the numerical value of its letters, the prophetic number 666.
6, The same also appears from the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the judgments to be sent upon it. First, those set forth in the first four trumpets, and secondly, in those in the sixth vial poured out upon the seat of the beast. These have been and are now being poured out.
7, Also in the fulfillment thus far of the saying, that these kings would at last turn against her and eat up her flesh, as was the case in the British Isles, when she renounced Papal authority; and later in France, in the revolution, when thousands of priests were put to death; and later still, even in Italy, herself, the Pope being a prisoner to-day in the Vatican, upon his own confession, and in her very bosom.
8, The condition of the world precludes all possibility of another man of sin, another apostate church, of the same characteristics, ever again arising with power to bring the whole world under its corrupting influence and crucifying power, requiring, as it would, centuries for its growth and development. Before this could be, the whole world of necessity must again be brought under the arbitrary sway of another, if not the same Cæsar, which neither Scripture nor reason will for a single moment allow. Nothing less than a miracle will ever again place the ruling power of the world in the hand of any single man or nation. Up to the time of the Papacy the world was ruled by Cæsar; but from then till now a struggle has been going on, which will result in the reversal of the order, and in the subjugation of Cæsar to the church. In the end the church is to be the dominant power in the world, controlling her kingdoms and governments; not, however, by the mistaken scheme of union of church and state, but by the dissemination of her pure and holy principles, which, like leaven, are yet to leaven the whole earth.
9, The testimony of the interpreting angel. To make the matter so plain as to leave no room for doubt or misapprehension, the angel adds, “The woman thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Nothing could make the description more complete. Rome was the only city that then, or since, has dominated the world.
10, The whole is confirmed by the consensus of opinion. The early fathers generally identified the little horn of Daniel with Paul’s man of sin; and this sentiment has been growing ever since, and is now commonly held by the Protestant world.
11, The commingling of so many minute and unusual particulars, and the merging of the whole into such a strange compound, which finds its parallel in nothing else, and running through so many centuries, forever fixes the interpretation, and as unmistakably points to the true Antichrist, as the footprints in the sand determine the owner and wearer of the shoe.
In opposition to all this we are told:
1st, That Antichrist means against Christ, the preposition anti meaning against, and one that denies Christ; whereas the Papacy neither denies Christ nor is against him.
2nd, That the historic facts do not agree with the prophetic dates, neither as to the time of taking away the daily sacrifice, nor the length of the profanation.
3rd, That what is said concerning the shedding of the blood of the saints, as well as the time of the existence of the beast, refers to the first beast or antichristian Rome, and not the Papacy.
As to the alleged disagreement between the facts and the dates, I must refer him to what I have to say upon this point further on.
Concerning the name, Antichrist, I have now to say that the word does not necessarily mean against Christ. The preposition anti has two meanings, either against, or for, that is, in the place of another. (See Schleusner’s Lex.) In this sense it is frequently used in composition of proper names, as Elliott has shown (Vol. 1., 67). According to that meaning, Antichrist would be one who claims to be the agent or representative of Christ, or, so to speak, a Vice-Christ. As the world occurs nowhere else except in the New Testament, and only in John’s epistles, and there only four times, why may not that be the meaning here?
But admit the meaning to be in the sense of against, as generally understood, still the objection has no force; for may not a man really be against, though seemingly in favor, of a person or thing? Witness the strange and apparently contradictory statement of the apostle Paul, “Some preach the gospel, even of envy.” (Phil. i. 15.) Witness Peter’s unquestioned zeal in defending his master, with the accompanying rebuke, “Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou savorest not the things that be of God.” (Matt. xvi. 23.) Witness a similar mistaken zeal on the part of James and John, in asking for fire to come down from heaven to consume the Samaritans, and the sharp rebuke that followed: “Ye know not what Manner of spirit ye are of.” (Luke ix. 54.) Witness the untiring and even greater zeal still of the Scribes and Pharisees of old, compassing sea and land to make one proselyte, coupled with the unsparing denunciation of the Master, which seemingly only increases in intensity with the increase of zeal: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how shall ye escape the damnation of hell”? (Matt. xxiii. 33.)
There is such a thing as “having zeal, but not according to knowledge”; such a thing as saying and doing great things with flourish of trumpets, and yet to no purpose; such a thing as speaking with the tongue of angels and of men; having faith to remove mountains; giving all one’s goods to feed the poor, and even the body to be burned, and yet, in the end all “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.” (I Cor. xiii. 1-3.) There is such a thing as prophesying in the name of the Lord, casting out devils in the name of the Lord, and doing many and wonderful works in the name of the Lord, and yet being driven away at last, as “workers of iniquity,” and that too with the still more striking announcement, “I never knew you.” (Matt. vii. 22, 23.) Yea, more,—and the Master’s word for it,—there is even such a thing as being “False Christs,” and with power to show signs, work wonders, and to deceive many. (Matt. xxiv. 24.)
It is very easy, then, to see how a church may far outstrip all others in her charities and self-sacrificing labors, and after all be an apostate church; the very mention of its possibility being a prophecy of its existence; and if apostate, what else but antichrist?
Another rule is applicable here. The Savior lays it down as a basic principle of his kingdom, that he and his disciples are one. Whatever is done to them is done toHim. Give but the cup of cold water to a disciple, and it is given him. So to persecute his people is to persecute him. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” To be against the disciple is to be against him. How, then, can a persecuting church, “drunk with the blood of saints,” be anything more or less than Antichrist?
Then, there is still another sense in which a man can be against Christ without openly fighting him, and that is by sitting in his seat, and claiming his honors and prerogatives. This is to be against him, as well as to deny and reject him. This is what Popery has done. It makes the Pope the Vicar and Vicegerent of Christ. For it is only upon this ground he bases his claim to infallibility. It is as the Vicar of Christ, sitting in his seat, he claims homage, requiring kings to how in humble supplication and kiss his feet, being addressed as “His Holiness,” “My Lord God the Pope,” and even worshipped as another God, as in days past, and as previously shown. As Vicar he claims the power of dethroning kings, as he has done in scores of instances; of granting indulgences, as well as absolution of sins; the power of carrying the keys, and of opening and shutting the gates of Paradise; the power of making and enforcing laws and decrees. For how can the representative of God be subject either to man or his laws? He who is the Vicar of Christ must absolutely be above law. Paul describes his case exactly when he speaks of him as the “lawless one” (ὁ ανομος): the one not under, nor subject to law. (2 Thess. ii. 8.) And what is all this but robbing Christ of his rights and crown? And what is a usurper but an Antichrist?
This usurpation may also extend to erroneous teachings, as well as assumption of power. To preach any thing but what Christ has taught is to be against him; for it is tearing down his authority and kingdom by setting up another, different and opposite. This is what the Papists have done; placing for the doctrines of Christ the commandments of men; such as baptismal regeneration, worshipping saints and images, praying to and for the dead, purgatory, Mariolatry, auricular confession, penance, canonization of saints, mass for the dead, immaculate conception, forbidding to marry, and denying the cup to the laity.
Schleusner, therefore, correctly defines the word when he says, “The word antichrist, in John, and to this the old Fathers agree, stands for the whole crowd of false teachers and false apostles.” (Lex. in loc.) The open enemy, who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh, is indeed an antichrist, but not the only one, of whom, as John says, there are many. Equally so is every false teacher, and every usurper, claiming either to be Christ or to be in the place of Christ.
LAMENTATION OVER THE FALL.
After the description of the great city, we have presented to us the great lamentation over its fall; symbolically set forth by the angel casting the millstone into the sea, and formally declaring its perpetual destruction.
Then follows the rejoicing in heaven, and rendering thanks to God, over the destruction of the great enemy of God and man, as already accomplished; for in prophecy distant things are spoken of as present; together with an anticipatory allusion to the future marriage of the Lamb to his heavenly bride. As no account of the marriage is given, the nuptials to take place after the new heaven and new earth have been set up, of which mention is made in the next chapter.
DESTRUCTION OF REMAINING ENEMIES.
After this we have a sublime description of the Faithful and True, riding upon a white horse, having many crowns upon his head, with his vesture dipped in blood, and his eyes aflame of fire, with a sharp sword out of his mouth, with the armies in heaven following upon white horses, and clothed in fine linen, white and clean, going forth conquering and to conquer, extending his kingdom with the destruction of his enemies, and with this superbly royal title emblazoned upon his thigh, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
In connection with this slaughter, an angel is seen standing in the sun, and calling to all the fowls of the air to come and eat the flesh of kings and captains and mighty men.
John saw, that in this great struggle, the beast and kings of the earth, gathered together to make war upon him that sat on the horse and against his army; but that the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone. The remnant were also slain, and all the fowls were satisfied with their flesh. All indicative of the final and universal spread and triumph of the gospel, as well as the destruction of all the enemies of the Lord.
BINDING OF SATAN.
After the destruction of the beast and false prophet, and all the other enemies of the Lord, Satan himself was bound with a chain and cast into the bottomless pit, not, as Professor Milligan strangely interprets, that Satan is always bound to the Christian, and always loose to the sinner, but that his power was put under actual restraint, and that for a thousand years, which constitutes what is known as the Millennium.
We understand the Millennium literally as a thousand years of rest and peace, and not simply a symbolic portraiture of the intermediate state, as Professor Warfield would have us believe. That there will be such a period of rest and peace we doubt not, as this will be but the natural sequence from the binding and imprisonment of Satan. Besides, we have the positive statement, as well as the general analogy of scripture to guide us. “The kingdom will be given to the saints of the Most High.” (Dan. vii. 27.) “The heathen shall be given for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession.” (Ps. ii. 8.) “The earth is to be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. xi. 9) So from analogy, as the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, the seventh seventh is the sabbatic year, and the seventh sabbatic the year of Jubilee, we would naturally expect the seventh thousand of the world to be a millennium of rest. There is an old tradition, two hundred years before Christ, that the world is to continue 6,000 years; 2,000 years before the law; 2,000 under the law; and 2,000 under the Messiah. And ever since the days of Irenaeus, the idea has currently obtained in the Christian church, that the seventh thousand would be the sabbatic thousand.
Concerning this Millennium, we are not to understand that everybody will be converted. The wheat and tares will always continue to grow together to the end of time. “Many shall be purified, but the wicked will do wickedly,” says Daniel xii. 10. But simply that all organized opposition to the gospel will be done away with; the principles of Christianity will prevail; the authority of the scriptures be recognized. Instead of war, political questions will be settled by arbitration. When the conscience of the world is aroused as it should, and yet will be, the nations of the earth will feel that they are the “nation’s keeper,” as every man his “brother’s keeper,” and will no more allow internecine wars, between nations, than individual broils are now permitted on the streets by the bystanders.
Whether Christ is to come at the beginning of the Millennium, and reign in person on earth during this period, with his saints, who are to be raised from the dead; or whether he will not come till the end of the world as judge, is a question which has long divided the world, Premillennialists holding the former view, Postmillennialists the latter. As I will, further on, and somewhat at length, discuss this question, I will now only say this much: that I cannot believe that the language is to be understood literally, and that either the martyrs, or any part of the dead, are to be raised up at the beginning, or rest of the dead at the termination, of the thousand years; but figuratively, viz., that during the Millennium the martyr spirit will return, and be honored, and represented as being put upon thrones; and that after that the old spirit of ungodliness and persecution will return, when Satan will be said to be again turned loose.
After the thousand years Satan is to be loosed for a season, and go forth to deceive the nations. The world is again to become wicked and degenerate. If the binding of Satan is to produce the Millennium, his release will again restore the world to its former wicked state. Hence the inquiry of the Master, “When the Son of man shall come, shall he find faith on the earth?” Also his emphatic declaration, “As in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, … so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
BATTLE OF GOG AND MAGOG.
Some time after the Millennium,—how long we know not,—will be the final struggle, when Satan shall seek to regain his lost supremacy, by stirring up the world and his associates everywhere, to make war against the saints, for so largely invading his domains during his imprisonment. But God shall send fire from heaven and consume all the aiders and abettors of the unholy crusade, and the devil that deceived them shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, to be tormented forever.
RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT.
After this,—but when, no man knoweth, not even the Son, but only the Father,—will be the Resurrection and Judgment.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, both small and great, stand before God. And the books were opened—(no new matter to be introduced)- and another book was opened, which was the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
After all this the new heaven and new earth will appear. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” This was the new heaven and new earth in which righteousness was to dwell, of which Peter speaks, and which manifestly did not appear till after the Millennium.
THE HEAVENLY CITY.
The prophecy most fitly and beautifully concludes with a dramatic description of the heavenly city, in connection with the new heaven and new earth, wit its pearly gates, its sapphired walls, its dazzling splendor, its burning glory. As the inspired volume begins with the Paradise lost, it is proper that it should close with the Paradise regained, and end with the invitation to all shut out of the first to enter the second. After a solemn warning not to add to, or take from, the words of the book of this prophecy, the whole concludes with the heavenly benediction, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all.—Amen.”
 Greek ἐν τῶ ουρανῶ not εν τοις ουρανοις, as in other places, for the real heaven. The reader will bear this distinction in mind, as it runs through the entire book.
 That the living creatures are the symbol of the church on earth appears:
1. Scene located in the firmament, and not real heaven, as stated above.
2. Animal nature a fit emblem of unsanctified human nature.
3. Thanksgiving commenced with living creatures, and taken up by the elders; heaven rejoices with earth.
4. Because they, together with the elders, only twenty-four in number, declared, “Thou hast redeemed us from every nation, kindred and tongue”; therefore the representative of every nation and people.
5. The symbol dropped in the closing part of the book, where real heavenly scenes are depicted.
 Vol. I., 1.
 Com. in Loc.
 Vol. I., 583.
 Vol. II., 203.
 That these were not Jews simply, but all God’s chosen ones, will appear: (1) From the interchanging and intermingling of the tribes of the free and bond woman, and not according to primogeniture. Comp. Gen. xxix. and xxx. with Rev. vii. 5-8. (2) The restoration of the name of Levi to the list: There being a change of priesthood, also a change of law, Heb. vii. 12. See Elliott I., 236. (3) Of the new song it is said, Rev. xiv. 3, “That no man could learn that song but the 144,000, which were redeemed from the earth.” Which necessarily covers all the redeemed, both Jews and Gentiles.
 The word is spelled both with “ei” and “i”, as Lateinos and Latinos. See Schleusner’s Lex. But the former and less common spelling is here used, as Professor Stuart suggests, “For the very purpose of concealment.” Com. in Loc.
 Dr. Clark gives η Λατινη Βασιλεία, the Latin kingdom, as the interpretation, for, says he, “No other kingdom on earth can be found to contain 666.” Thus: η = 8, Λ = 30, α = 1, τ = 300, ι = 10, ν = 50, η = 8, Β = 2, α = 1, σ = 200, ι = 10, λ = 30, ε = 5, ί = 10, α = 1, = 666.
 I., 310.
 Horæ, Apoc. III., 151.
 For names and dates see Trial of Antichrist, p. 246.
 Newton, Vol. II., p. 291.
 Hor. Apoc., II. 80.
 III., 152, 153. See also additional quotations of a similar character given by Turretine, Opus IV., 162, 163.
 Exp. Lec. VI.
 Princeton Review.