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in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; according to the word of the Lord by Elijah the Tishbite. For indeed the prophets of the Lord in Israel had spoken evil of Ahab, who walked in all the sins of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin. And the Lord said, I will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha, the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, to make Israel to sin. And of Jezebel also spake the Lord saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city, shall dogs eat, and him that dieth in the field, shall the fowls of the air eat. But there was none like unto Ahab which did sell himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up."
These historical facts which are found in the annals of Israel and Judah (1 Kings 22) are not only instructive to show us the way of the Lord with his people in times of old, but they serve also to throw light upon what the Lord will yet do in the latter days with the house of Israel and the house of Judah after they are again, from being one united nation, divided as in times of old into two warring nations.
This record shows how the Lord sent a lying spirit into the mouth of Ahab's prophets who numbered about four hundred and fifty men, who were valiant to prophesy lies to please their master, whereas the prophet of the Lord who spake what the Lord commanded him, Micaiah, him did Ahab treat with dishonor and affliction and imprisonment, after the manner that the Ahabs of the latter days will treat the prophets of the Lord in those times. Micaiah saw in vision the secret and true reason of Ahab's downfall which Ahab saw not, and he said, “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 Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came out 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 out and do so. Now therefore,' said the prophet to Ahab himself in the presence of Jehoshaphat, “Behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.” The same unclean agency was now being employed to entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead that the magicians of Egypt employed to entice Pharaoh that the Lord might multiply his signs upon him and that in the end he might go up and fall in the Red Sea. Now these things serve to illustrate the manner and the m
means that the Lord will take when he sends forth unto all the world to gather them to the great day of God Almighty.
THE MOUTH OF THE DRAGON, THE BEAST, AND THE FALSE PROPHET
(REV. 16:13-14) In what does the mouth of these three notable characters consist? Aaron was given as a mouth to Moses, that is, he was his spokesman. When the Lord sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh, he shrunk from the task and tried to excuse himself, and said, “I am of slow speech and of a slow tongue." And the Lord was angry with him, and gave him Aaron, saying, “He shall be thy spokesman unto the people, and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shall be to him instead of God." Therefore Moses spake to Pharaoh and the people by the mouth of Aaron, even as the Lord said to Moses, “ Aaron, thy brother, shall be thy prophet. "
On the same principle, Ahab's prophets numbering about four hundred men would be Ahab's mouth. And in the latter days the false prophets of the dragon king of Israel, and the false prophets of the king of Assyria, and the false prophets of the king of Judah, will be their mouths, to speak for them to the kings of the earth and the whole world; and as typical Ahab had about four hundred false prophets to speak for him, even so these three kings will doubtless each have as many prophets, if not more, to prophesy for them. Therefore out of the mouth of these false prophets (who are mouths to their masters) proceed three unclean spirits like frogs, working miracles like the magicians of Egypt whose power ceased with the production of frogs; thus showing that the power that Jannes and Jambres manifested before Pharaoh and his servants is the same as that by which the false prophets will do great signs and miracles in the latter day, so that if it were possible they would deceive even the very elect.
The power to work great signs and miracles by false Christs and false prophets in the latter days is fully attested by Christ and his apostles. Jesus says, “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” And Paul also speaks of the working of Satan (the man of sin) “with all power and signs and wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all might be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” The Lord himself sends them strong delusion, and gives them great power to work signs like the magicians of Egypt to deceive others who delight in wickedness that they may go on and perish.
THE BATTLE OF THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY” (REV. 16:14) This great confederation of nations was shown to John by the figure of a beast that rises out of the sea with seven heads and ten horns. These seven heads of Gog's confederacy represent seven great nations with a multitude of lesser nations that come with them when they come from the north and encamp in Israel's land among the people of Israel. After that they gather into their confederacy the nations which have from the beginning lived round about Israel on the outskirts of Israel's land, a people whom the Lord speaks of as
mine evil neighbors which touch the inheritance, which I have caused my people of Israel to inherit.” These nations were left round about Israel as briers and thorns: the Lord would not cut them off because the spirit of revolt and desire to go after strange gods was but too manifest among the children of Israel from the beginning; therefore the Lord said, “I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck an iron sinew, and thy brow brass, and thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb." Therefore these nations have flourished round Israel in the past, and will be found there still in the latter days. Ten of these nations will be crowned and join Gog's confederacy, and will be allowed to satisfy in a great measure their old grudges against Israel in the day of her calamity when, as it is testified both in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire, and take away her fair jewels, strip her of her clothes and leave her naked and bare.
Now the battle of the great day of God Almighty does not come until after this confederation will have wrought God's judgments upon his own rebellious family, even as it is testified by the prophet saying, “Wherefore it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria and the glory of his high looks.” This is where the battle of the great day of God Almighty comes into view. When the Assyrian begins to glory, and attribute his great success to his own skill and power, then as the Lord says, “mine anger
shall cease in their destruction.” Then the Lord will consume him and his legions in battle in one day, and he shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth.
When the Assyrian has trampled the house of Israel under foot like the mire of the streets, they prepare to go still farther. There will yet remain unsubdued the hundred forty and four thousand, the remnant of Israel called the Lord's hidden ones, which are thus referred to in the eighty-third Psalm, saying, “ They have taken crafty counsel against thy people and consulted against thy hidden ones; they have said, Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” This evil purpose will bring them into collision with him whose the hundred and forty and four thousand are, and him whom they serve, and whom they follow, which is Jesus of Nazareth, the Lamb of God, for it is said of them, “ They follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” This people were redeemed from among men, that is, from among the rebellious and idolatrous tribes of Israel, and they are not defiled with the women, Aholah and Aholibah, nor with the lewd women of the nations in whose sight Aholah and Aholibah will be punished. They are the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb, and in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God. They are the beginning of God's new nation who are written among the living in Jerusalem, and are spared to people the land again after it has been bereft of its inhabitants in the judgment.
Now when the combined powers of this great confederation of nations undertake the task of annihilating this remnant of the house of Israel, a people with which God's declared purpose is to found a new nation in the earth unto which all nations of the earth, great and small, are to be made subject and tributary, they enter upon a task which ends in their utter discomfiture; for this attempt brings on the last battle of the great day of the Lord between the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the beast and kings of the earth and their armies. This will be the battle of the great day of God Almighty, and the three unclean spirits like the frogs that Jannes and Jambres employed will be manifested in the false prophets of the king of Israel, the Assyrian, and the king of Judah, that will go forth to gather all these great and mighty armies to battle in the last great contest in the valley of decision, when the great question will be settled that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father, when all the kindreds of the nations shall fear and obey him; when he and his brethren shall reign in Jerusalem and Mount Zion, and before his ancients gloriously, when the law to govern the nations shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
BEHOLD I COME AS A THIEF (REV. 16:15) Christ's coming will be sudden and unexpected to the wicked, as Paul says, “When they (the false prophets of Israel and Judah) shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape." The point of time when Christ will appear in the clouds of heaven above Jerusalem is spoken of by the Lord himself as follows, saying (Matt. 24:29), "Immediately after the tribulation of those days (that is the tribulation of the righteous which continues three years and a half), shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven." These luminaries are here used to symbolize the kings, princes, priests, and false prophets of the rebellious houses of Israel and Judah, who will be overwhelmed with consternation and dismay. “And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Paul also interprets the word of the Lord by Haggai saying, “whose voice then shook the earth, but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Now Paul explains the meaning of this saying, and says that this word yet once more signifies the removing of those things that are shaken (the Mosaic heavens and earth) as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken
remain." Now the means by which the old heaven and earth are to be shaken and removed, is by the famine, by the pestilence, and by the sword, because of the wickedness of those that dwell therein, and Christ's coming stands immediately connected with these judgments upon the ungodly, even as Jesus himself said (Matt. 24:36-39), “ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
The warning that is written under the sixth vial, saying, "Behold I come as a thief, Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame," — this warning is for the churches which will flourish in the land of Israel and among the people of Israel in the latter days and in the day of Christ's coming. They are called spiritually " the seven churches," or rather all the churches in Israel at the time of Christ's coming. As the number seven is a complete mystical number and signifies the whole, therefore this warning also is embodied in the letters to the churches, saying, “Repent and do the first works or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent"; and again, "Repent or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Again, “That which ye have already, hold fast till I come.' Again, “ If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Again, “Behold I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown"; and again, “ Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me.”
These words and warnings are addressed to the saints that will live in the land of Israel and will be alive on the earth at the time of Christ's third coming. Christ's first coming is in the past, and is now a matter of history. His second coming will be when he comes to raise the righteous dead of past ages and to translate the righteous living,— those that are then alive, who will ascend into the heavens as Elijah did to meet the Lord in the air and to be presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. His third coming will be with all his saints, as it is written, " The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” They come to execute the judgments written, even as Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied, saying, “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all that are ungodly."
It is his third coming, therefore, that is referred to under the sixth vial, and in the letters to the churches. Moreover there is one important feature in the Scriptures to which we must needs call especial attention, a feature which cannot be overlooked if we would rightly divide the Scriptures, and that is this; there are two periods of Israel's history, their former days, and their latter days, under the law of Moses. These two periods are separated the one from the other by a long interval of thousands of years, during which time the people of Israel are buried among the nations of the earth and are like a dead man out of mind. But their bones will come together again when the spirit of God shall blow upon them, and life and breath will enter into them, and they will come up out of their graves an exceeding great army and will live again in God's sight, in their own land. The prophets of the Lord who spake to Israel in their former days disregard this long blank period that lies between their former and latter day histories, and speak of the two periods as though they were but one.
Moreover, when the works and doings of the house of Israel in their former days and again as they will be manifest in their latter days, are put together, then there is abundant scope and abundant material to warrant all the strong language that the Lord has made use of in speaking by the former prophets to his people and of his people. Therefore if a man be ignorant of Israel's work and history in the future, or if we strike out of our calculations the doings of Israel in the latter days and have only before our minds their former history and doings, then the words of the former prophets would indeed appear to be very much strained and hard to interpret; but when we put the two histories together, then all is clear, and the interpretation easy and natural. We who seek for the Kingdom of God must learn to view things as God views them, and to count time as he counts it, for with him a thousand years in his sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. He calls things which be not as though they were, and we must learn to do likewise.