« PreviousContinue »
with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and hath upon her forehead a name written, “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth," and is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Third, the great red dragon who was seen in heaven, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads, who is called that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan, who with his angels made war with Michael and his angels, but he was cast out of heaven and finally was chained and shut up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. Fourth, the beast which rises up out of the earth, which had two horns like a lamb, and spake as a dragon. This beast “causeth the earth and them that dwell therein, to worship the first beast" (that rises out of the sea) and works miracles before him, and allows no man to "buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Now all of these famous characters of the Book of the Revelation are construed by the writers and interpreters of these times to represent Gentile nations and kings, whereas there is but one of them which represents the Gentiles, while the other three represent the people of Israel as they will be manifested in the latter days.
The beast which rises out of the great sea of nations, having seven heads and ten horns, is indeed a great Gentile power and manifestation, and with his heads and horns comprises all the Gentile nations which are brought to view in this book, and they are spoken of as waters ”; and “the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth," saith the angel, " are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
But the woman that sits upon the scarlet colored beast, who is drunk with the blood of the saints, who is called Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, which is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth, — this lewd woman of whom it is written, “ And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire,” this woman is Jerusalem and her people, and not by any means Papal Rome and her people, as Protestant clergymen and interpreters, and others of like character say. The Pope of Rome and all his adherents throughout the world are comparatively of too little importance to attract a thousandth part of the attention that the inspired men of God in the Old and New Testament Scriptures have bestowed upon this woman, — that is upon Jerusalem and her people, first as a faithful city, and afterwards as an harlot, even as the prophet Isaiah says, “ How is the faithful city become an harlot? It was full of judgment, righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers."
The great red dragon is a king upon whom God hath conferred extraordinary power for the purposes of chastisement. He is a wicked prince in whom is concentrated all the evil passions of our nature. He is heartless and has no pity; he is intensely covetous and greedy and gathers into his net what his eyes see; he is an extortioner and a treacherous dealer; he is a murderer and slays the righteous by wholesale, and power is given him over all the assembled nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, and power is given him to continue three years and a half, and he opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his Tabernacle, and them that dwell in
heaven. This wonderful character is not what the modern interpreters who are under the veil spread over all nations say. He is not a Gentile, nor a Gentile power, but instead he is a great king in Israel and is pointed to by Samuel when the children of Israel said to him presumptuously and wilfully, "Nay; but we will have a king over us: that we may be like all the nations." And so the Lord said unto Samuel, “Hearken unto their voice, howbeit solemnly protest unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them."
This prophecy refers to the great red dragon of the latter days, as contained in the Book of the Revelation. This king is referred to by Daniel as "the little horn" in the seventh chapter, and as “the king that does according to his will," in the eleventh chapter of his book; and he is spoken of by Isaiah as “Lucifer, son of the morning"; by Ezekiel, under the figure of "the Prince of Tyrus"; and by Paul, as "the man of sin.” These things we will show when we come more minutely to speak of this king and his doings. Again, “the two horned beast” is another manifestation in Israel. This beast rises not out of the sea of nations, but out of Israel's earth. He has two horns like a lamb to distinguish him from the Gentiles but he speaks like a dragon, as he is the same kind of a blasphemous power.
The angel said to Daniel, in interpreting the vision of the ram and he goat, “The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia." So in this vision which John saw, the beast which rises out of the earth with two horns like a lamb, are the kings of Israel and Judah, in cooperation to do honor to the Assyrian, or the beast, by recognizing his form of idolatry, and by making an image in his honor, and by honoring his idolatrous priests, admitting them into the Temple to eat of their sacrifices and to drink of the wine of their drink offerings, notwithstanding the Lord had said,
No stranger uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.” All these things we expect to be able fully to prove and establish by the law and the prophets, for if any man speak not according to that word, it is because there is no light in him.
When Jesus sent his prophecy to his servants, he says in the end of this revelation, “ I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things that are written in this book.”
Now if such is to be the case, and such is to be the punishment of those that add to, or take from the words of this prophecy, where will those appear who, by their spurious interpretations, nearly annihilate these great prophecies altogether by applying them to peoples and nations to whom they have no reference whatever, and who seek in their blindness to find a fulfillment of those wonderful prophecies in the doings of the nations in an age to which they do in no wise refer? No human history is of any use or value in the interpretation of the Book of the Revelation. Moses and the prophets alone furnish the only key to this book. The little book, written within and without, sealed with seven seals, has never yet been put into the hands of the Lamb that was slain, to open and read. Therefore not one of the seals have yet been opened, nor a single trumpet of the seven yet been sounded, nor a single vial of the seven yet been poured out.
THE KINGDOMS AND EMPIRES OF ANTIQUITY Before proceeding to interpret the visions of Daniel and John, and kindred revelations, we first propose to speak somewhat of the rise and fall of some of the great kingdoms and empires of ancient times. These great dominions, such as the Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman, flourished contemporaneously with the people of Israel. When the Lord brought up Israel out of Egypt and planted them in the mountain of his inheritance, in the holy land, while they flourished there under various vicissitudes of fortune, the Assyrians were steadily increasing in numbers and strength, until in the days of the prophet Jonah, Nineveh, the chief city of the Assyrians, had become an exceeding great city, of three days' journey. Therefore, when Israel walked not in the laws of the Lord, he first employed the surrounding nations to vex his rebellious people and finally brought against them the Assyrians, who besieged the capital of the ten tribes, Samaria, three years; and having broken up the city, they carried away the ten tribes and dispersed them in the countries, from whence they have never yet returned.
Afterwards the Lord brought up the Assyrians against Judah, the object of which was, not that a righteous king of the house of David might fall before them, but to show that there is a God in Israel who rules over the kingdoms of the heathen, and at whose rebuke the armies of the nations before him are but as chaff before the whirlwind. And the Assyrian overthrow before the city of Jerusalem is a good illustration of how the great Assyrian of the latter days will fall at Jerusalem.
Next, when Babylon arose to power and supremacy in the earth, her kings gloried in themselves and were vain enough to imagine that Babylon was great by the might of their power, and for the honor of their majesty. The nations indeed had been subdued by them, and the kingdom of David had fallen before them; and Jerusalem, where the God of Israel's name was recorded, and where his temple was built, a house of prayer for all nations, was destroyed, and Judah was carried captive to Babylon and dispersed among the nations over which they held supremacy. But while they were captives in Babylon seventy years, the Lord raised them up prophets even there, and during this period particularly, the Lord taught these great and haughty kings, princes, and lords, some most valuable lessons, which kings and princes and all others do well to give heed to, for all time, as will appear from the following
NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S PROCLAMATION AND VISION "Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth, Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts of my head upon my bed troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. Then came the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers, and I told the dream before them, but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
“ Thus were the visions of mine head upon my bed: I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
The Decree of the Watcher “I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an ho one came down from heaven. He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches. Nevertheless, leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.”
This watcher of human affairs that came down from heaven continues, saying, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar says further, " This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known'unto me the interpretation : but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.
" Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake and said, Belteshazzar, Let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. The tree that thou sawest, which grew and was strong, whose height reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: it is thou, O King, that art grown and become strong; for thy greatness is grown and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the ends of the earth.
And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the earth; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times (seven years) pass over him; this is the interpretation, O King, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O King, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
“ All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of my kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee: and they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
“The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes, unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me: and I blessed the Most High; and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me, and my councellors and my lords sought unto me, and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol the King of heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." (Dan. 4.)
These wonderful things that the God of heaven did with the kings of