Page images
PDF
EPUB

This evil people which refuse to hear my words, and walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.

“ Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and all the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the Lord; I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains (the seven mountains on which the woman sitteth) and while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” ... (Verse 18) “Say unto the king and

“ to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down; for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.”

This darkness, this gross darkness, is what is referred to in the Revelation under the reign of the beast which hath the seven heads, which are also called seven mountains on which the harlot sitteth. These are the dark mountains upon which the rebellious house will stumble, so that when they look for light, he will turn it into the shadow of death and make it gross darkness; and as it is said that Gog and his great multitude come from the north, so it is said in this connection (verse 20), “Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north.” It is from that direction that the evil comes in the day of the Lord, even as it is said in the first chapter of this book (verse 14), “Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.”

THE SIXTH ANGEL AND THE SIXTH VIAL (REV. 16: 12-16) “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

The great river Euphrates ran through the ancient city of Babylon which was an exceeding great city and populous, surrounded by strong walls of great height and thickness to protect its people from invading armies. But when her time came, the man of whom it is written (Isa. 45:1), “ Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut,"— he captured the city.

There is nothing that the skill of man can devise for his own protection that the Lord cannot undo; therefore when he brought his servant Cyrus

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

against Babylon, he put into his heart a very simple contrivance by which he might take the city. Therefore selecting the night of that great feast to a thousand of his lords when Belshazzar saw the handwriting on the wall, Cyrus turned aside the waters of the river so that the Euphrates, which ran through the city, was dried up, and, as the Lord said, “ The gates shall not be shut "; even so, on the night of that feast the gates of the city leading down to the river were left open, and Cyrus marched his army on dry ground through the channel of the river straight up into the city, and as it is written, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about three score and two years old.”

Now these things form a symbol and a picture of what is to come upon another Babylon in the latter days, whose people were at that very time captives in Babylon and in the countries that were subject to Belshazzar King of the Chaldeans. The waters of the great river Euphrates have already been spoken of as a symbol of a great army by the Prophet Isaiah (8:6) saying, “ Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly (the stream that ran at the foot of Mount Zion) and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son; now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river (Euphrates), strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: and he shall pass through Judah: he shall overflow and go over; he shall reach even to the neck (to Jerusalem); and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel."

All these things contribute in aiding us to rightly interpret the things set forth under the sixth vial. The great city Babylon of the Revelation is Jerusalem, when her kings, princes, prophets, and priests become idolaters like unto the Babylonians. Therefore Jerusalem spiritually is called Babylon, not only in the Revelation but also by the prophets, especially by Isaiah and Jeremiah ; and by another figure of speech the military strength of the nation, consisting of all the armies of Israel, is called the great river Euphrates; and as the great river Euphrates was dried up so that Cyrus could march his army into, and take the city, even so when the mystical river Euphrates, the armies of Israel, are destroyed, then the armies of the latter day Cyrus, the great Assyrian, will march into Jerusalem and destroy this great and wicked city.

THE WAY OF THE KINGS OF THE EAST

To dry up the waters of the great river Euphrates is to prepare the way of the kings of the east (Rev. 16:12). The way of the kings of the east is described by another term, as the angel spake to John saying, “The beast that thou sawest (with the seven heads and ten horns which are the kings of the east) was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition." This is the way of the kings of the east, and to annihilate the armies of Israel is one of the things which they have to do as they journey on their way to their own destruction, which is perdition upon the mountains of Israel.

The Lord speaks in many different ways of the same things as they are set forth in this book. For instance, the Scriptures speak chiefly of four points of the compass; therefore an army coming from the northeast against Israel may be said to come either from the north, or from the east; and coming from the north they may be, and are, spoken of as hail; and coming from the east, may be likened to and called the east wind, as it is said of Israel when she appeared in her height, " but she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit." It is also said of Ephraim in the day of rebuke, “ Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come; the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up. ... Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword” (Ezek. 19:12; Hos. 13:15-16). Thus the east wind is a great army which wields the sword upon the rebellious house to their destruction.

To dry up the waters of the great river Euphrates by the sword of the great Assyrian, and to tread the great wine-press of the wrath of God, which is done by the same power when they tread down the people of God's wrath as the mire of the streets, and to slay the third part of men (that is the men of Israel), which is done by the four angels who are the four great division commanders of the army of the locusts who are bound in the great river Euphrates, until they are loosed for that prupose, — all these three things are really but one and the same thing, only they are spoken of in the wisdom of God under different figures and similitudes, even as the Lord said by the prophet Hosea, “I have spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions and used similitudes by the ministry of the prophets" (12:10).

THREE UNCLEAN SPIRITS LIKE FROGS (REV. 16:13) After John speaks of drying up the great river Euphrates, under the pouring of the sixth vial, he continues saying, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty."

This saying, “ unclean spirits like frogs,” refers us to the plagues of Egypt and is a plain intimation to us that these unclean spirits which proceed from the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet are the same as Jannes and Jambres employed to resist Moses and to deceive Pharaoh. For when Moses and Aaron at the command of the Lord cast down their rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent, then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; now the magicians of Egypt, they did in like manner with their enchantments, for they cast down every man his ro

and they became serpents; but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.

And when Moses and Aaron at the command of the Lord lifted up their rod and smote the waters that were in the river in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood, the magicians did so with their enchantments. And again when Aaron, at the command of the Lord and Moses, stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt, the magicians also did so with their enchantments and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.

Again, “the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. . . . Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God." Thus Jannes and Jambres, the magicians of Egypt, withstood Moses before Pharaoh and worked three miracles. They cast down their rods and they became serpents; they smote the water and it turned to blood; and they smote the water and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt, but there their power ended; they brought forth frogs, but they could do no more.

Therefore when the three unclean spirits go forth out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, that is, out of the mouth of the king of Israel, the king of Assyria, and the king of Judah, they are said to be like frogs, which is as much as to say that the same unclean agency by which the magicians of Egypt wrought miracles by which they deceived Pharaoh and his people, will these three kings in the latter days employ to deceive the nations to gather them together for the great day of God Almighty, to go up and fall at Jerusalem, as it is said, “As Babylon (Jerusalem, mystical Babylon) hath caused the slain of Israel (the saints) to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth " (Jer. 51:49). So vast will be the numbers that will fall at Jerusalem and in the land of Israel, that it will require a period of seven months for the remnant of Israel to bury the dead and cleanse the land.

Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah, obtained a good report, yet he went down to Ahab King of Israel at Samaria and was persuaded by Ahab to go up with him to battle at Ramoth-gilead against the Syrians. But before going up, “Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to-day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.

“ And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians until thou have consumed them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king's hand.

6

And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

' So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord ? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did not I tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

"And he said, Hear thou, therefore, the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith ? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

“But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction, and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.

And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you. So the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, went up to Ramoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put on thou thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle."

The sequel is soon told. Jehoshaphat came very near losing his life, for the captains of the Syrians compassed him about and he cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God moved them to depart from him. But a certain man at a venture drew a bow and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness, wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, “Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am sore wounded.” And the battle increased that day; and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians and died at even, and about the going down of the sun he died, according to the word of the Lord by the hand of his faithful prophet, Micaiah.

“So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king

« PreviousContinue »