Page images
PDF
EPUB

eth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts." The wild beasts are spoken of in the plural number, showing that the Devil was composed of more than one person. Zephaniah prophesied of Jerusalem and her princes, saying (3:3), “Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves (verse 5). The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not, but the unjust knoweth no shame."

These are the kind of beasts that the just Lord (Jesus) was with in the wilderness, and he was there among them not as a matter of choice, for it is said, "The Spirit driveth him into the wilderness." And the specific object for which he was led there by the Spirit is stated by Matthew saying, “ Then was Jesus led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." It was necessary that the second Adam should be tried, as well as the first. The serpent that tempted Eve is a symbol of the serpents that tempted Christ. They are called serpents by both John the Baptist and Jesus. When John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And Jesus said to them, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” The chief priests and rulers of Israel were comprehended in this class among these serpents and vipers.

Now Luke has furnished us with the key whereby we may identify the serpents and be able to tell who the parties were that constituted the Devil that tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Luke says, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season," thus showing that the temptation was to be resumed again at a future season. Now what was the platform on which the Devil based the trial in the wilderness? Jesus had been introduced to Israel by John as the Christ, the Son of God; therefore the Devil took him on that ground and said, after he had fasted forty days and was an hungered, “If thou be the Son of God command this stone that it be made bread.” If Jesus had done as our first parents did, and said, Yes, I am the Son of God, and I am hungry, and I have the power, I will do so,- that would have been to obey the Devil, not God, and he has said himself, “No man can serve two masters.” But Jesus withstood the Devil saying, “ It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Again the Devil brought Jesus to Jerusalem and set him on a pinnacle of the Temple (for he was in their power) and said unto him, "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence, for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." And Jesus answering said unto him, “ It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

These considerations determine the basis on which the temptation was laid. The Devil denied that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, but maintained that he was a deceiver, guilty of blasphemy, and should be put to death. Therefore when Jesus was delivered into their hands the second time by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and was betrayed by Judas, and arrested by the chief priests and rulers of the people of Israel, tried, condemned and hanged upon the cross, then the Devil appeared again upon the scene with his test; therefore Matthew records saying (27:40), “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him; for he said, I am the Son of God.”

Thus it is perfectly evident who the Devil was that first tempted Jesus in the wilderness, and afterwards arrested, condemned and put him to death. It was the chief priests, and rulers of Israel, the scribes and Pharisees, who, as a body, were animated by the lusts of the flesh, the spirit of evil, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, which is called the prince or god of this world. Therefore Jesus said to his disciples before he was arrested, " The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." when the chief priests and captains of the temple came with the elders, Jesus said to them, “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hand against me, but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

We may say that one of the greatest victories that the devil ever achieved over the children of men was when he deceived them and led them to believe that he himself was a person separate and apart from the human family, and that his powerful influences over the children of men for evil come chiefly from without. This doctrine of the Devil has taken like wild fire among the children of men, for it is so very convenient and natural for the children of disobedience to lay the cause of their wrongdoing and their evil deeds upon some one else than themselves. Adam said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree, and I did eat,” which was as much as to say, You are partly to blame for it yourself. If you had not given me this woman to persuade me, I might have got along well enough. Moreover, Eve was just as ready as Adam to excuse herself, saying, “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat." Therefore from the creation it has been the most natural thing in the world for evil-doers to excuse themselves and lay the blame of their wicked works upon some one else. Therefore it is that this imaginary Devil is a most convenient character upon whom mankind delight to lay the blame of their own misdeeds.

But unfortunately this false doctrine makes Christ and his apostles liars, for Jesus said, “There is nothing from without a man entering into him that can defile him, but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” For from within, out of the heart of men proceeds this long list of evil things which defile the man; and the apostle James saith (1:14), “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” Therefore "the lusts of the flesh " and "the Devil" are interchangeable terms, meaning the same thing. But nevertheless the Devil has had in the past, and has now throughout the earth, tens and hundreds of thousands of ministers preaching his doctrine, deceiving the children of men, and being themselves deceived.

Now that same old serpent, the Devil and Satan, that tempted Christ in the wilderness and which hanged him on the cross and then taunted, saying, “If he be the king of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and we will believe him, for he said, I am the Son of God,”— the same old serpent, the Devil and Satan, will be manifest in the latter days in the kings, princes, prophets, priests, and people of the rebellious house of Israel when the whole house of Israel will be present in the land and the people of Israel themselves as the sand of the sea for multitude, and Jerusalem the chief city of the earth.

CHAPTER VII

THE TIME OF TROUBLE

(Rev. 13-14)

Beast that rises out of sea Military strength Alliance with Israel -Deadly wound healed "- War upon saints Two-horned beast His idolatry Sin of Levites The hundred forty and four thousand Everlasting Gospel - When preached Fall of Babylon Judgments on idolatrous Israelites Patience of saints Sufferings and reward Harvest of wicked Treading of wine-press of God's wrath Hostile armies the agency Trodden without the city ”- Gog returns with great fury.

THE BEAST THAT RISES OUT OF THE SEA (REV. 13-14) And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." We have already written so much touching the things contained in this thirteenth chapter of the Revelation in the interpretation of other and relative Scriptures that we need now but briefly speak of the things contained in this chapter.

This wonderful symbol by which the great nations of the earth and a multitude of the smaller nations in one great confederacy are represented, is worthy of him who created these nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, and who then groups them together in the latter days as this symbol represents them; and when he brings them against his people and against his land, none but the Almighty himself is able to gather such a vast host of military men and mighty men of war, whom the Lord hath made strong to execute his judgments upon his own rebellious people, for the Lord speaking by Isaiah the prophet, says of them, “I have commanded my. sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together; the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle” (Isa. 13:3-4).

These kingdoms of the nations when gathered together in the holy land, comprising the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen, will constitute the greatest gathering of military men and armies that the inhabitants of the earth have ever beheld. Therefore the Prophet Joel says of them, “ As the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations” (2:2). Moreover the Lord in the Revelation has furnished us with the number of this prodigious army, saying (9), “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand”: which

us.

[ocr errors]

is two hundred millions, and John adds, “And I heard the number of them." John not only heard the number of them, but he saw them in vision, for he says, “ And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them.”

When this vast assemblage of nations comes into Israel's land, for Israel will be a very numerous and powerful people themselves in that day, then there will be great excitement, and the league and covenant that the rulers of Israel immediately enter into with these strangers will be a matter of great interest and public notoriety among the people of Israel; therefore the Lord speaks to the remnant of his people in that day by the Prophet Isaiah (8: 9-15) concerning these nations, saying, “ Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces: and give ear, all ye of far countries. Gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with

For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me, that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself: and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence, to both the houses of Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”

These nations, though great and mighty, are not to be relied on, for they are destined to be broken into pieces after their work is finished; that is, they ascend out of the abyss of nations and go into perdition. This great confederation of nations will be broken to pieces and become as the chaff of the summer threshing-floors. Therefore the wise in Israel are warned not to fear and not to enter into this confederacy, for they are blasphemers of God's name, and his Temple, and them that dwell in heaven, and the prophet adds (verses 16-17), “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Moreover the Lord will in that day be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, as it is here declared. The Lord Jesus was a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to only the house of Judah in the days that are past, but in the latter days he will be thus to both houses, after which the stone of Israel will fall upon them and grind them to powder in the day that he hides his face from his people and delivers them into the hand of their enemies to destroy them.

This beast that John saw rise up out of the sea is the four beasts of Daniel's vision of the lion, the bear, the leopard and the fourth beast dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly, all grouped into one, which is indicated by the body of a leopard, mouth of a lion and feet of a bear. And as the four beasts of Daniel's vision had among themselves seven heads and ten horns, even so the beast that John saw had seven heads and ten horns. And as in Daniel's vision a little horn came up among the ten with a mouth speaking great things, so in John's vision the dragon is given as a mouth to the beast speaking great things and blasphemies.

The dragon king of Israel honors the beast and gives him his power, seat

« PreviousContinue »