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come them.” This tremendous execution of Almighty wrath, though it will produce universal consternation among the nations of the earth, yet will it not effect the universal conversion of sinners; so that when “В the enemy" shall make his last effort against truth and holiness, when he shall “come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Now if the fulfilment of these prophecies cannot long precede, or rather will terminate with the Second Advent of the Redeemer, the general repression of sin must doubtless commence by the total destruction of the wicked; and this we must consistently suppose, as war and all its calamitous results shall for ever cease.
Let us "turn to the important prophecy of our Lord in Matt. xxiv., and its parallel in Luke xxi. At verse 21 of Matthew's account of it, we are informed of a great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be.' The parallel place in Luke's account (verses 23, 24) shows that this tribulation began with the siege of Jerusalem by Titus Vespasian, and continues through the whole time of Gentile domination, or, in other words, during the times of the Gentiles.' For, speaking of Jerusalem being compassed with armies, he says, “These be the days of vengeance, that all things, which are written may be fulfilled, &c. For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people; and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden
B “ This all the Rabbins refer to the coming of the Messiah. If, say they, ye see a generation which endures much tribulation, then expect Him according to what is written, ' When the enemy shall come in like a flood, &c.'”—Bagster's Compr. Bible.
down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” That which however is chiefly important to observe, is, that the passing away of this tribulation shall likewise prove its acme to the Jews, (as will appear from Dan. XII. 1,) and likewise a time of unheard-of tribulation to the Gentiles, whose times are then run out. Matthew speaks of it as immediately after the tribulation of those days, (ver. 29,) and Mark has it, “But in those days, after that tribulation." The character of it is thus described by the Evangelists. St. Luke says; “ And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.” Matthew and Mark inform us what those signs are:-“ The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.” To this, St. Luke adds, " That there shall be upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Then all three conclude, “For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.". The sun is, in prophetical language, a symbol of the regal power; the moon, of ecclesiastical; and the stars, of the aristocracy or nobles, both in church and state; and the heavens, the combination of them all: likewise that the sea and the waves are symbols which signify the multitude of the people, even as the “ waters," on which the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. We have therefore set forth in this prophecy of our Lord, the darkening (i. e. the diminishing or actual putting out) of the regal and ecclesiastical powers, and the fall of the aristocracy ; and this is to be effected apparently by the insurrection of the people against their rulers,—“the sea and the waves roaring;" that is, the populace being in a state of
commotion and wrath, and thus shaking the political hea
“ This is likewise borne out by the Psalms: as for example in Psalm xlvi, we have 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble : therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains' (i. e. established and settled governments) 'be carried into the midst of the sea ; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.' (Ver. 1-3.) This, in the sixth verse, is thus explained: “ The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted.' In Psalm Lxv. 7, it is also said of God, that he stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and '(or rather 'even') the tumult of the people.' Isaiah (v. 26, 30,) foretells that the Lord will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, &c. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow,' (on earth distress with perplexity,) and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.'”* See also, Isai. xvii. 12-14; and Rev. XI. 17-19.
* Brooks's Elements.
EXTINCTION OF THE MAHOMMEDAN POWERS OF TURKEY
The termination of this important period is apparently the first in order, and not far distant. Daniel, after what is generally considered a prediction of the papal apostacy, ch. xi. 36-39, proceeds to describe the successful invasion of the Roman eastern empire by the Saracens and Turks, concerning which the best commentators are agreed. The reader is requested to refer to the remainder of this chapter, verses 40–45. It will be perceived that it is the latter clause with which we are more particularly concerned, viz. “ And he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” Rev. ix. 1411, is understood to describe the conquests and ravages of the Saracens; and of the Turks from ver. 12, to the end; but the termination of the period of the latter, or “ king of the north," is not mentioned as in Daniel, this being reserved to the pouring out of the sixth vial, ch. xvi. 12, viz., “ The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” But we revert to the ninth chapter.
There are some who think that the bishop of Rome, as representative of his church, was the star which fell from heaven ; that church having introduced general corruption into the church of Christ. And thus, opening a door for the imposture of Mahommed, was dispossessed of its authority in the east, so far as the destructive influence of Mahommedism prevailed. The latter is represented as the smoke of a great furnace, arising out of the bottomless pit, and by which the atmosphere of the ruling power of those countries, civil and ecclesiastical, was darkened. The bottomless pit seems to denote the source of Mahommedism, as destitute of foundation in truth; “ The smoke which came out of the pit signifying the multitude who embraced that religion.” The devouring or plundering armies of the Arabians “ which came out of that smoke" are compared to locusts, swarms of which often arise in Arabia Felix, and thence infest the neighbouring nations, and so a very fit type of these numerous armies invading the Romans."
The father-in-law of Mahommed, Abubecr, while marching his army into Syria under Yezid, commanded that no palm-trees should be destroyed, nor any fields of corn burnt, nor any fruit trees cut down, while the apostate professors of Christianity were not spared. They had not power, however, to " kill,” or extinguish them, as a political body. They ravaged both the Latin and Greek churches, but did not conquer the empire.*
The torment occasioned by the cruelties of the Saracens, is here repeated, probably because excessive in its kind; and
“ It was given them that they should be tormented five months,” five prophetical months, each consisting of thirty days, and each day denoting a year, amounting to one hundred and fifty years; and accordingly, from the time that Mahommed began to propagate his imposture, A. D. 612, to the building of Bagdad, when they ceased from their ravages, A. D. 763, are just one hundred and fifty years.--Bagster.