« AnteriorContinua »
to remember those predictions. There is something striking in the last characteristic given. They separate themselves. Their p'ans are formed separately from the mass of mankind. All is done in the dark. This accords with their
first feature given by the same Apos. tle; Ungodly men, crept in unawares. This first and last feature predicted, has a striking relation to the rise and progress of the licentious infidel Power under consideration.
Antichrist predicted in Rev. 12th chapter.
In this chapter the church of Christ is symbolized by a woman away in the aerial heavens, clothed with the sun; the moon under her feet; and on her head a crown of twelve stars. The desires and exertions of the Church for the propagation of the Gospel, and the salvation of men, are represented by the woman travailing in child birth, and pained to be delivered. The devil is sy mbolized by a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads; and his tail drawing a third part of the sturs, and casting them to the ground. And his rage against the cause of Christ is represented by his standing before the woman, to devour her son as soon as it was born. *
The eventual safety of the suc. cession of the Church, is represented by the child's being born; and being caught up to the throne of God. The devil now persecutes the Church; upon which the woman flies into the wilderness for 1260 years. From what follows in the chapter, we learn, as it is thought, that the war of the devil against Christ was carried on, through the dark ages of Popery, in the symbolical heaven of the Papal church. The devil fought under the standard of Religion, in the corruptions and persecutions in that wicked system. But at the time of the reformation under Luther, the devil was cast out of
*This may be in allusion to Pharoah's destroying the male jgfacts in Israel. Exod. i, 22. Isai. li, 9; and Ezek. xxix, 2, 3.
this symbolical heaven, by the exposure of the abom-
pent, like an overwhelming torrent: Insomuch, that · nothing can save the cause of Christ from destruction,
but signal interpositions of Providence, in counteracting those violent measures, and confounding the enemy; like the earth opening her mouth, and swallow. ing up floods of water. All this implies the rise of a
NEW PRSEY terrible Antichristian Power, at that period, who by himself and his agents, shall be the instruments of these tremendous operations. For though the devil is represented as being the mover of these scenes of oppo. sition and violence; yet his being symbolized by a great red dragon, of seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads, indicates that his operations will be through a Power of this description. By the dragon, (says an expositor) “ we understand the devil
*Isai. Ivii, 20.
+See Rev. viji, 8, and xvi, 3; also xvii, 1, 15.
, in the heathen emperors of Rome.”* Satan's operations against the Christian church, when she was first travailing in birth for the propagation of the Gospel through his dominions in heathen lands, was by the instrumentality of bloody Pagan Rome. And his last, violent operations against the Church, previous to the Millennium, and while she is again peculiarly strug. gling to propagate the Gospel through heathen lands, t will be through the instrumentality of Infidel Rome, under her last head. And both these states of Rome, (or Rome Pagan, and Rome Infidel, under her last head,) are unitedly symbolized, Rev. xiii, 1–11, by a beast of seven heads and ten horns. And Rome Infidel, under her last head, is symbolized, Rev. 17th chapter, by a scarlet beast of seven heads and ten horns. The devil therefore, the malignant manager of these beasts, and who gives to them his power, and seat, and great authority, though he be an invisible agent, is represented as having the body of a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads. The reason of which no doubt is, that his most violent, and mischievous operations were to be through a Power of this symbolic description; the revival, and last reign of which were to fulfil the predictions concerning the Antichrist of the last times.
*Pool on Rev. xiii, 1.
+ See Rev. xiv, 6, 7, 8.
In order to find the terrible Power under consideration among the prophetic beasts, we will examine three portions of Scripture, in which those beasts, which relate to Rome, are found. Although references are repeatedly made to some of these beasts, we find a full description of them given only in three passages; Dan. vii, and Rev. xii, and xvii. In each of these passages, it is remarkable, that we find two distinct powers given; the Roman empire; and the Papal hierarchy. The two are not blended; but given, and kept, distinct in each passage.
In Dan. vii, 7, we find the Roman empire symbolized by a great beast, strong and terrible, (rising out of the sea, verse 2,) with great iron teeth, and with ten horns. The explanation is given, verses 23 and 24. None doubt of its application to the Roman empire. In a little horn of this beast is symbolized the Papal hierarchy, (verse 8.) And it is to be noted, that this beast, as distinct from the little horn, is in existence, when the Ancient of days appears; or the battle of the great day commences.
This Roman beast is the great dominant power then destroyed. Verse 1l, I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words, which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. Here is in existence the Roman beast, as distinct from
.. Popery, and predominant, when they are destroyed. Let this idea be remembered. It will aid our forming a correct view of Antichrist. In the 13th of Rev. we find this subject resumed; and the same two powers, the empire, and the hierarchy, distinctly given in a still clearer view. In verse 1, the empire is presented under the same symbol, as in Daniel; a beast rising out of the sea; but with some additional appendages; and more particularly described. The genera of the different parts of the beast are now given. His body is like
a leopard; or like the Macedonian empire. His feet are as the feet of a bear; or like the Medo-Persian empire. And his mouth is as the mouth of a lion; or like the Babylonian empire. The meaning is, all the terrors of the preceding empires concentre in this one. This beast has seven heads, and ten horns. On his horns are ten crowns; and on his heads the name of blasphemy. And he received from the dragon, (the devil) his pow. er, and seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed. His sixth, or his Imperial head, was wounded to death A. D. 320, in the revolution from Rome Pagan, to Rome Christian, under the reign of Constantine. * But this Imperial wounded head is,
*As a beast, in the symbolic language of prophecy, is a great power, hostile to the cause of Christ, so the wounding to death of such a beast may be effected by a revolution in such an em. pire, from Paganism to Christianity; as well as by its being ut. terly destroyed. Such a revolution took place in Rome, in 320; or, according to some, in 323. Soon after the tenth most bloody persecution in Pagan Rome, under Diocletian, Constan. tine, upon the death of his father Constantius, became emperor of his part of the western. branch of the Roman empire. Gale. rius, who had succeeded Diocletian, was emperor of the other part of the western branch, who carried on the persecution against the Christians. Galerius was smitten with a loathsome, tormenting, and incurable disease. After he had raged under its torments for a considerable time, he became conscious that it was the hand of God upon him, for his cruelty to the Christians. He therefore put an end to his persecutions, by a public edict; and desired the Christians to pray for his restoration to health. But his disease soon termioated his life. Maxentius bad got himself declared emperor at Rome; and a large faction followed bim. Constantine became friendly to the Christians, and determined to favor their cause. He marched against Maxentius, who met him with an army of 170,000 foot, and 18,000 horse. After a bloody battle, Maxentius was defeated; and Constantine became sole emperor of the west: In the eastern wing of the empire, Maximin, and Licinius were emperors. The former made war upon the latter; but was defeated with great slaughter of his numerous army. Upon this, Maximin put to death
of his Pagan priests and soothsayers, as impostors, for their false flatteries. Soon after, as he was meditating another battle with Licinius, he was smitten with a violent disease of intolerable tor. ments, became blind, and died raging in despair, confessing the