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vial. The collateral prophecies of this latter event, decide, that by great Babylon here, Antichrist, or the last head of the Roman beast, is primarily intended, although Popery, as a subordinate power, may be included. While the Papal hierarchy was predominant, this was the beast; and the old Roman beast lay dead. But when the latter revived, and took the ground, the Pa. pal beast died. Popery is not thenceforward called a beast, but the false prophet, under the dominion of the new beast: The beast and the false prophet; meaning Antichrist and Popery. And as the Papal beast dies, on the rise of the Antichristian, so in like manner Papal Babylon sinks under the fifth vial, and in this 18th of Revelation, upon the rise of the Antichristian Babylon. And the latter is the Babylon, whose destruction was announced by the ancient prophets in Israel, as an event just to precede the Millennium. Various of those ancient predictions of the destruction of ancient Babylon, will meet their ultimate accomplishment in the destruction of Antichrist, under the seventh vial. He is the Babylon to be destroyed at the battle of the
great day. *
This view may help to explain Rev. xiv, 8; † And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. After wonderful missionary exertions to propagate the Gospel through the world, as we find indicated in the
* See Isa. 14th chapter, and other chapters. + This 14th chapter of Revelation I apprehend will be found to contain events, which exactly synchronize with the events of the seven vials: Or, events from the opening of the reformation from Popery, till the close of the battle of the great day, which is to precede the Millennium. Verse 1; And I looked, and lo a Lamb stood on the mount Zion; and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. This follows a description of the Papal beast. Some time in the course of his dismal tyranny, the event here in. troduced might be looked for. It was an event some time to precede the fall of Papal Babylon, by the rise of the terrible Power of the last days; as the announcing of this fall of Papal Babylon is found in the 8th verse of this chapter. This appear. ing of the Lamb on Mount Zion, indicates a remarkable appear. ing of Christ in his Church, for the enlargement, purity, and protection, of his followers. His having with him 144,000, who have his Father's name written in their foreheads, indicates a
vast accession to the number of his witnesses. In Rev, vii, 1–, we find four angels holding the four wiods, or staying impend. ing judgments, till the people of God should be sealed in their foreheads. The number of 144,000 are sealed. Expositors in. forni us, that this description related to the prosperous state of the Church, in the Roman empire, after the revolution under Constantine, from Paganism to Christianity; and before the aw, ful judgments of the northern invasions commenced. The Church then enjoyed a sealing time, a season of great enlargement. Vast multitndes, represented as 12 times 12,000 (12 being the number of the apostles, and also of the patriarchs) were sealed; 144,000 or a vast multitude, a certain number put for an uncertaio.' In this verse (chapter xiv, 1) we have a simi. lar representation; as if it had been said, Christ again, after a dismal reign of darkness and Papal tyranny, appears in his Church. Another remarkable sealing time commences. AO. other 144,000, or class of countless multitudes, are set apart for God's pure worship. To what event could this relate, but to the reformation under Luther? The events of that day perfectly answer to the figure. And no events of any preceding period do appear to answer to it. The succeeding verses accord with the events of the reformation. Verse 2; And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the dire of harpers harping with their harps. 3; And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that song, but the hundred and forty and four thousand, who were redeemed from the earth. 4; These are they, who were not defiled with wonien; for they are virgins. These are they, who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb. 5; And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God. Ilere the scene enlarges, as the doctrines of the reformation progress through Protestant lands. The heavenly hosts on the oc. casion sing, Rev. xii, 10; Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down. The voice of the Pro. testant worshippers becomes liké the roaring of great waters, yea of mighty thunder. It is the voice of harpers, or of those engaged in the sublime worship of God. Their song is new, and known by none, but those, who are taught it by the Spirit of grace. The purification of their doctrines and worship from
preceding verse, it becomes a matter of public notoriety, that Babylon is fallen, és fallen. And it is that Babylon which made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. This was the Papal
the filthy idolatries of the Papal harlot, is strikingly noted. Idolatry is spiritual whoredom. And the Protestants having renounced the idolatries of the Papal see, and become correct and huly in their doctrines and modes of worship, are represented as above, and as being spotless before the throne of God. Free. dom from idolatry was the perfection of Job, uf David, aod of Asa. And this was the perfection of the Protestant multitudes here described. They are the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb; a resemblance of the dawn of the Millennium. The Church now seemed to be fast coming forth from her long exile in the wilderness.
By and by the eyes of Protestant multitudes are opened, and their hearts voited and enlarged, to attempt great things to. ward evangelizing the heathen world. Verse 6; And I saw un. other angel, (or the first of several angels) fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them, that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred and tongue and people; 7; Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him, who made heaven, und earth, und the sea, and the fountains of iouter. A spirit of missions wakes up, and diffuses itself through the Protestant pations. Much is shortly done toward disseminating the knowledge of Gospel salvation through heathen lands. The missionaries introduce their message, as they must do to Pagans, by unfolding first the volume of nature: We have come to teach you who made yonder heavens; this great earth; the sea; and the fountains of water; and how you must worship and serve him. Their argument evinces, that the preaching of the Gospel here predicted, is an advance made from the preaching of the Protestant doctrines to the Papal nations, at, and soon after the commencement of the reformativn. It was to be an eventsubsequent to that period. We find it was to be in the same hour with the signal judgments of God on the Papal see. For the hour of his judgment is come. And the next verse inforins of the object of this Divine judgment, that it was the fall of Bab. ylon; the subversion of the Papal power. The flight of the An. gel, to preach the Gospel, is an event collateral with this, or in the same hour with it.
Some exertions have been made for the propagation of the Gospel among Pagans in many ages. But they did by no means amount to a fulfilment of the sublime figure under consideration. Here is represeuted one great and general exertion for this object; and the unity of the undertakers: The Angel is one. And
harlot. But this her fall is not the last scene at Arma. geddon. For the saints are to be tried by the influence of some other power, after this announced fall of Babylon; which other power must be Antichrist.
his object is to evangelize every nation, kindred, tongue, and peo. ple. Great engagedness in the object is indicated: The Angel cries with a loud voice. Great facility and perseverance are im. plied: The Angel flies directly on, over mountains, lakes, and Nothing obstructs his course or progress.
Obstacles im. passable to footmen, are nothing to him. An event is predicted, which God would undertake, by inclining the hearts of the chil. dren of Zion, to undertake it; by removing obstacles; causing provision to be made unexpectedly; preparing instruments; opening effectual doors; thus sending out his word, and unfold. ing his glorious grace: Not to convert the heathen world at once. For the millennial morn is still future. But to light up Gospel fires in heathen lands;. to call in some; to fulfil his own counsels; and to prepare the way for the kingdom of Christ. The Gospel of the kingdom must first be preached to all nations, for a testimony unto them. We have lived to see the introduction of this flight of the Angel.
Soon it is ascertained what the unprecedented judgments of God, in the same hour with the flight of the Angel, have effected. Verse 8; And there followed another ungel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. It must be Papal Babylon, and not Antichristian Babylon, whose fall is here ascertained. For it is the Papal, and not the Antichristian Babylon, who has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
The clear perception of this event excites another proclama. tion through the Church, of solemu caution and warning. Verse 9; And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand; 10; The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Terrible denunciations of judgment are here expressed, and follow, upon all, who are contaminated with the spirit of the beast.
This bold and powerful warning probably will provoke the then dominant beast, and the minions of his order, to invade the rights of conscience in the kingdom of Christ. And it follows; verse 12; Here is the patience of the saints: here are they who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Here the patience of Christians must be tried, that it may be known who truly have his faith, and keep his commands. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord from henceforth;
Verses 12, 13; Here is the patience of the saints: here are they, that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who dic in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do fol. low them. And scenes of awful judgment succeed this fall of Babylon, represented by the Angel on the white cloud, with his sharp sickle, reaping the vine of the earth: And by another Angel, who has also a sharp sickle: And by a third, who has power over fire, who directs the second Angel, with the sharp sickle, to thrust in his sharp-sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, whose grapes are fully ripe. The latter obeys. The vine of the earth is gathered, and cast into the great wine press of the wrath of God; which is trodden: and, which discharges a river of blood, as high as the horse bridles, for the space of two hundred miles. These are the finishing scenes of
. judgment. And they are subsequent to the above fall
yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. Here are indicated peculiar trials then to be endured by the Church, But the Captain of her sal. vation soon interposes. The next verse, and the following verses to the end of the chapter, describe the scenes of consequent judgments to be ipflicted on Antichrist, and on all the active enemies of the Church. An Angel, like the Son of man, with a golden crown, and a sharp sickle, appears upon a white cloud. And he soon reaps the harvest of the earth, which is then fully ripe. His ministers of Providence soon collect the vine of the Infidel world, with its grapes, then fully matured, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God; which is trodden; and which emits a river of blood for 200 miles. Here is a double figure to represent the terribleness of the scene of the battle of the great day of God. The harvest and the vintage, both unite in that event, . For both are subsequent to the depression of the Church under the reign of Antichrist. But po vial of wrath on Antichrist, except the seventh, is subsequeat to that depression.
Thus the events of the 14th chapter occupy the same period with the vials in the two succeeding chapters; the period of the seven last plagues upon the enemies of the Church. That ap. pearance of Christ on mount Zion introduced enlargement and salvation to his Church; and destruction to her enemies.