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THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES
Visited upon idolaters - Remnant safe in Zion Sea of glass Song of Moses applies here --World learning righteousness — Executors of judgments — Wrath of God filled up -"Temple filled with smoke"- First vial — Diseases of Egypt - Second vial - Civil strife - Third vial - Israel against Judah — Angel of waters — These plagues upon Jews — Fourth vial — An infuriated king — Fifth vial - Incurable diseases — “Dark
Sixth vial — Israelitish armies destroyed by “ kings of east” — Unclean spirits like frogs from mouth of dragon, beast and false prophet gather hosts for battle of great day - Meaning - Christ's coming — Armageddon - Seventh vial -- Alliance with Gog broken - Wine-press — Jerusalem desolated— Captivities Great "hail”_" It is done."
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” The seven last plagues are to be visited upon the idolaters of the house of Israel in their own land, upon those who worship the beast and his image (Rev. 14:9-10; Rev. 16:2, 6),- this image which the house of Israel and the house of Judah under the symbol of the two-horned beast cause to be made and set up in the Temple in honor of the Assyrian, or the beast that rises out of the sea, and to whom the king of Israel as the dragon gives his power, his seat and great authority, by which act the Assyrian becomes their king, as it is written (Hos. 11:5).
When this image is set up in the land, then the law goes forth that as many as will not worship the image of the beast shall be killed, and they cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their forehead, or in their right hand, that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Rev. 13:16-17). These will be the times of trial for the righteous spoken of by Jesus, saying, "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (that is, in the Temple), then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains ” (Mark 13:14),that is to hide themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains from the face of the enemy. Hence the expression, “Mountains fall on us, and hills cover
as Jesus said when he was being led forth to execution by his enemies, the rulers of his own people, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in a dry? Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, Cover us.”
In these evil and adulterous times, the woman that is clothed with the sun will be safe in her retreat in the wilderness. That is, the hundred forty and four thousand will be securely entrenched and encamped in Mount Zion, a people of whom the Prophet Isaiah speaks saying, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity : the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain ” (Isa. 26: 20-21).
The hundred forty and four thousand from their exalted position in Mount Zion will be witnesses of the plagues that are poured out upon those who worship the beast and his image, but the plagues will not come nigh them, only with their eyes will they see the destruction of the wicked; and on this occasion they will sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, which song was given to Israel by the hand of Moses and Joshua to be sung as a witness against the idolaters of Israel at this very time in the latter days. Therefore John speaks saying, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee () Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” In these precious and memorable words, there are some things worthy of special notice.
THE SEA OF GLASS (REV. 15:2-4) When a door was opened in heaven and John saw the Father himself sitting in majesty and glory upon his throne surrounded by the beasts and elders and seven spirits standing before the throne, he also saw a sea of glass like unto crystal spread out before the throne (4:1-6), but the sea of glass was at that time unoccupied. The people that were to stand upon that platform before the throne were not as yet developed. Therefore after this, John saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads. This sealing will consist in men like unto the apostles going among all the tribes of Israel preaching the Gospel and warning the people of the wrath to come.
The sum of those that are sealed out of each tribe is specified as twelve thousand, which makes in round numbers, one hundred forty and four thousand. These being gathered out of all the tribes of Israel by the proclamation of the truth will constitute a powerful army which will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These have to be thoroughly tried; they must go through fire and through water. These must face and contend in battle with the mightiest combination of armies in one great confederation that the world will have ever seen. But under the command of Michael, the great prince which stands for the children of Daniel's people, they will be victorious. They will cast the dragon king of Israel with all his helpers out of the heavens of Israel, and take the citadel of Mount Zion, the city of David, and hold it until they are called to come out of Babylon just before the city is burned with fire.
These stand with the Lamb upon Mount Zion, and by a figure of speech they are said to stand upon a sea of glass mingled with fire. The pavement of pure glass like unto crystal is a symbol of the pure truth and doctrines that they have received. The fire mingled with the glass indicates the fiery trials through which they have come in resisting the worship of the beast and his image. They are not defiled with women, neither the Israelitish harlot nor her daughters, the nations.
THE SONG OF MOSES AND THE LAMB (REV. 15: 3-4) That the song of witness that Moses was commanded to write was intended to apply at this time in the latter days, is evident from the following: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. . . . And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they gớ to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day, for all the evils which they shall have wrought in that they are turned unto other gods. Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. . . . And Moses gathered the elders of their tribes, and their officers, and the people, and spake all the words of this song in their ears until they were ended, and said unto them, I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil shall befall you in the latter days.”
Therefore whatever bearing the words of this song may have upon the evils which have already befallen the people of Israel in the past, yet they have especial reference to the future and will be sung on Mount Zion as a witness against the rebellious house when the seven last plagues are being poured out upon them for their destruction. The preliminaries to this song are found in the thirty-first chapter of Deuteronomy, and the song itself is contained in the thirty-second chapter (verses 1-43).
In this song the mark of the beast and the mark of the saints are first mentioned in verse 5, saying of the idolaters, “They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children." This spot of God's children is their Father's name written in their foreheads. The spot of those who have corrupted themselves consists in having the mark of the beast in their right hand or in their foreheads.
THE EFFECTS OF THE JUDGMENTS
The hundred forty and four thousand say in the song, All nations shall come and worship before thee for thy judgments are made manifest." This is according to what the Prophet Isaiah says (26:9), when speaking of the same latter days, “When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness," and it may be truly said that they never will learn it till then. And it is for that very reason that such a vast multitude of the inhabitants of the world are then brought to Jerusalem that they may be witnesses of, as well as partakers of the judgments on faithless Israel.
Accordingly the Lord speaks thus to his people, saying, “Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted and drunken but not with wine, Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God, that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street to them that went over " (51: 17-23). Therefore the Lord speaks by the hand of this same prophet in another place concerning the Assyrian whose yoke in the latter days will be upon Israel's neck, saying, “ For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction " (10:25).
When God's righteous judgments shall have been finished upon the people of Israel and his vengeance laid upon the heathen nations assembled in Israel's land and when, after that, the Lord rebukes strong nations afar off, and when the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, as a result of these things all nations will come and worship before the Lord in Jerusalem; and the words of the song of Moses and the Lamb as expressed by the hundred forty and four thousand will be fulfilled.
THE EXECUTORS OF THE JUDGMENTS It is said by the third angel (Rev. 14: 10) that those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads, or in their hands, shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. In these strong figures of speech the wrath of God against his rebellious and idolatrous people is called fire, and the breath of the Lord in inflicting judgment upon the wicked is said to be like a stream of brimstone, to kindle the fire of his wrath. Therefore the judgments referred to by these figures are manifested by the pouring out of the seven vials of God's wrath which contain the seven last plagues, in which are filled up the wrath of God.
The torment of the worshippers of the beast and his image as these vials of God's wrath are successively poured out upon his evil family, will not only be in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, but the holy angels also will be employed by the Lamb to pour out these vials and to execute the punishments and inflict the torments that these vials of God's wrath call for, and to those who find pleasure in searching out the deep things and the wonderful things of God, to such one of the most interesting features of these marvelous things is the fact that the holy angels introduced to our special attention in these visions are angels of our race, men of the ages preceding the latter days, righteous men who have died in the Lord, and who have been raised in glory before these judgments begin, because the saints of past ages could not execute the judgments written unless they were raised from the dead before these judgments begin, as dead men can execute no judgment upon the living.
Now that the angels are immortal men raised up from among Adam's posterity may be proved in this way. The seven angels to whom are given the seven golden vials full of the wrath of God are all of them clothed in pure and white linen (Rev. 15:6), and pure white linen in this book does not represent the righteousness of angels, but the righteousness of saints, therefore these seven angels are seven saints. And that they are saints of our species is proved from the fact that one of their number is the angel that Jesus sent to John to show him these things (21:9), and when John in his rapture fell down to worship him, he spake of himself, and said, " See that thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book, Worship God” (Rev. 22:8).
And not only are these seven angels saints from among, men, but the Temple of the Tabernacle of the testimony out of which they come is the body of Christ (or church) made perfect, as they will be in the resurrection; and the four beasts, one of which gave to the seven angels the seven vials,— these also were redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation, and are the same body of people which constitute the Temple but presented under a different symbol. And another very important reflection in connection with these marvels is this, that all these in the present age who really are saints of the Scripture stamp and who die in the true faith and in the Lord, will be raised from the dead, with the rest of the saints who have died in the Lord since the world began, and will be there present with them and will be angels, and of the angels who execute these judgments and in whose presence these wicked idolaters of the house of Israel will be tormented with fire and brimstone, as manifested in the pouring out of these seven vials of the seven last plagues, in which are filled up the wrath of God.
And if a man who thinks that he himself is a saint, and an heir of the honor and glory and the inheritance that God has offered to those who believe the Gospel, if such a man says that such a view of the calling of the righteous as is presented in the foregoing is something that he never heard of before, it is entirely new to him, he was never shown such things by his teachers, moreover he never so understood the Scriptures, then we reply that all this argues badly against such a man's being a saint at all, and it also argues that his teachers under whose ministrations he has been taught were not themselves properly instructed in the great things of God's law. It argues that they in their zeal without proper knowledge have been encouraging people to look for things which their eyes will never see, and to hope for things that they will never realize. And therefore they can only in the words of the great teacher be called “blind leaders of the blind.” For did not Paul say reproachfully to the saints in Corinth, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world”? . They knew this, because they had been so taught by Paul himself.