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"! the War against the Romans, which began in the 12th $5 of Nero." *
This is a very remarkable passage, and deserves particular attention ; for besides that it assigns a very rational and pro. bable cause for the delay of the apostasy-or rebellion of the Jews against the Romans; it likewise points out, pretty strongly, by what means this apostasy was at length effected. " After the death of Claudius, the affairs of the Jews became
worse and worse by reason of those Magicians who deceived o the people." Here the judicious and attentive Reader cannot fail to recollect the predi&tion of our Lord that many should come in his name, i. e. in the name of the Messiah, and should deceive many. And again, ver. 24. There shall arise false Christs and falsc Prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very Elect. Josephus, it has before been observed, had declared that what chiefly excited the Jews to the War, was the expectation of the Messiah as a temporal deliverer, and this, it is probable, was what the Magicians made use of to deceive the people, and to prevail upon them to rebel against the Romans.
It must not pass unnoticed, that the learned Dr. Benson, though a strenuous advocate for the application of St. Paul's Man of Sin to the Church of Rome, in his Note
upon phrase-the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work, refers his Readers to Matthew xxiv. 4, 24. which he has, in the most express and unequivocal terms, asserted, relates to what was to come to pass during that generation, and cannot relate to the day of Judgment and the end of th eworld. In the former sense, he says, " it was fully accomplished and does not now remain to “ be accomplished. +
To this testimony of an opponent of the opinion here espoused, may be added that of the learned Dr. Whitby, who appears to have had very clear conceptions of the causes
* The Note of Mr Hardy is remarkable. " Tantum modò qui detinet, " vel obstat (sub obstabit) usquedum è medio sublatus fuerit. Ellipsis sic de supplenda, et hoc modo construi debet, donec amoveatur, nempè per mòr” tem à medio collatur, is, sc. Claudius imperator, qui hactenus moratur, “ illud consilium, quicquam contra Romanum imperium seditiosè moli" endi, et populum Judaicum ad defectionem concitandi.
+ See Benson's Essay on the Unity of sense of Scriptnre prefixed to his Paraphrase P, XXX.
the to usurp
which led to the accomplishment of our Lord's predi&ion, “ The Jews," says he, “had already imbibed their pernici.
ous principle that it was not lawful to pay tribute to “ Cæsar or to be subject to any other government under 66 God.
They had already made some seditious attempts, " not only in Babylon, but in Judea, under Theudas Gaulos 56 nites, and had also been incited farther to do so, by one “ Dortus and his associates, who persuaded the multitude 6 to revolt * from the Romans. Josephus doth also inform
us, that before that time there were many tumults in “ Judea, and that the time prevailed with many
the 66. kingdom.
“* This Mystery of Iniquity,” saith Dr. Lightfoot, " cannot “ be understood but of the Jewish Nation, and so it is ex“ plained again and again by St. John, saying—This is the " last hour, and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh
so now are there many Antichrists; by which we know this " is the last hour, 1 John ii. 18. and ch. iv. 3. Every spirit " that confesseth not Jesus Christ, who is come in the flesh, \ is not of God; and this is the spirit of Antichrist. This 66 is the Deceiver and the Antichrist. Here therefore is a “ plain account of the working of the Mystery of Iniquity in “ the false Christs and Prophets of the Jewish nation, who “ also were the great incendiaries to, and agents in, the " apostacy of that nation from the Roman government." +
The Apostle Paul, having stated to the Thessalonians that the let-or hindrance, whatever it was, would be removed or taken out of the way, goes on to observe, that it would be followed by the destruction of the Man of Sin. Ver. 8. And then shall that wicked or as the original word properly sig, nifies--that lawless one, be revealed whom the Lord shall con. sume with the spirit-or rather with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
It has repeatedly been observed, in the course of this work, and that not without the strongest and most convincing proof
* It is the same word in the original which the Apostle makes use of to denote the Apostasy, connected with the coming of Christ.
+ Mr. Hardy, in his Greek Testament, has the following remarkable Note upon the working of the Mystery of Iniquity. “Mysterium iniquitatis “ jam nunc operatur, vel cuditur, nam energeitai vel activè, vel passive “ sumi potest, sensu prorsus eodem manente. Et hoc de Judæis, de qui. " bus exponitur, 1 John ii, 18. et iv. 3. nec de aliis quibus vis intelligi potest, Ff
of the fact, that our Lord connected the crowning évidence of the true nature of his character as the Messiah with the destrution of Jerusalem. It has also been observed, tħat if the predi&tion of Jesus concerning the destruction of Jerusalem had not been accomplished—the controversy concerning the nature of his coming as the Messiah, viz. that it would be in clouds or in the execution of vengeance, as in the days of Noah and of Lot, instead of his coming to raise them to universal empire, would have been completely at an end, and he would justly have been convicted out of his own mouth, of his having been an Impostor.
Here then particular attention must be given to the conne&tion of the Apostle's argument. In the first verse, he tells the Thessalonians that he was speaking to them of the coming of Christ, and in the third verse, he tells them that that day should not come except there came A FALLING AWAY—or an apostasy first, and that Man of Sin-the Son of Perdition, be revealed. * In the sixth and seventh verses, he informs them of certain hindrances which, for a time, would prevent the full revelation of the Man of Sin, and that when they were taken out of the way--then, that wicked, or lawless one, would be revealed, whom the Lord should consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
If the evidence which has been offered to the Reader's at. tention be satisfactory, that the phrase the coming of Christ,
* It was omitted to insert the Note of Mr Hardy in its proper place, upon the meaning of the coming of Christ---but the candid Reader will excuse its having a place here. “ Quoad adventum Domini, quantum ad articu“ lum apud vos controversum, nempè de adventu Christi attinet. Pag
rousia Christi de judicio Christi in Judæos intelligi potest, secundùm * locutionem scripturæ satis usitatam. Amant quoque sacri scriptores “ easdem voces usurpare de judicio universali, et de judicio in populum “ Judaicum, quod hoc sit illius imago. Sed de dié novissimo hic agi “ liquet, ex collat. 1 Thess. iv 15, 16, 17. ubi de finali adventu Christi « scribit, qui cum resurrectione conjungitur."
Whoever will examine Mr. Hardy's Notes upon this Chapter, with a cri. tical attention, cannot fail to discern a considerable degree of inconsistency in them. “ The Apostasy,” he allows, “ seems to signify the defection of the “ Jews from the Roman Empire. The Mystery of Iniquity," he says, “ be expounded of the Jews, and can be understood of no one else;" and even the brightness of his coming, he understands of the destruction of the Jews by the Romans, and yet he here says, " the coming of Christ means his final advent !
has a relation to the true nature of his coming as the Messiah, which would be decisively and finally determined by the destruction of Jerusalem--the Apostle's idea that this Man of Sin, this lawless one, would be destroyed, in-or by the brightness of his coming, will be found, upon mature consideration, to be most strikingly forcible, and to harmonize, most exactly, with our Lord's declaration, in the xxivth of Matthew, and the xviith of Luke-that the destruktion of Jerusalem would be a most bright and splendid display of the true nature of his character as the Messiah, in opposition to the manner in which the Jewish nation expected him to
as a temporal Prince, to render them the Masters and the Lords of the world. St. Matthew says, chap. xxiv. 27, As the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west-so shall also the true nature of the coming of the Son of Man, the Messiah, for perspicuity, be. St. Luke also says, chap. xvii. 24. As the lightning that lightneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven ; so shall also the Son of Man be in his day-i. e, in the day when the true nature of the coming of the Son of Man is revealed, as is more plainly stated in verses 29 and 30. As it was in the days of Lot--Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Both Matthew and Luke there. fore appear to express the precise idea of the Apostle of his coming in a bright and splendid manner, and are an admirable commentary upon the Apostle's meaning, *
If upon examination this shall be found to be the true meaning of the phrase the brightness of his coming it will not perhaps be very difficult to ascertain, with tolerable precision, the sense of the following verse. The coming of the Messiah, the Jews conceived would be, as a temporal Prince, to lead them to conquest and to empire. With this persua. sion they rebelled against the Romans-encountered unparallelled miseries, in the expectation of his appearance, and grasped, with avidity, at the smallest pretensions to the charaEter of the Messiah, in proportion as their affairs grew more desperate. To support these pretensions, they had re. course to the most flagitious arts of deception to signs and lying wonders, and to all the deceivableness of unrighteousness,
* The following is the Note of Mr. Hardy upon this passage. adventum ejus illustrem, et exeidium Judæoruin per Romanos,
The design of the Apostle therefore seems to have been to point out in what manner the Jewish nation would endeavour to support the pretensions of the false Messiah. And as he had before said that the mystery of iniquity was already workinghe says here, that they would endeavour to effect the coming of this false Messiah, by the energy of Satan with all power and signs, and lying wonders. *
This language of St. Paul has so striking a reference to that of our Lord in the xxivth of Matthew and the parallel chapters, that there is scarcely a single Commentator who has not observed it. They may truly be said to be a cloud of witnesses to its connection with those chapters, -and to such witnesses, in such a cause, no one surely can object. Among these, the most remarkable and the most deserving of notice are Dr. Benson and Dr. Macknight. The former, in his note on the Apostle's expression—that they may believe a lye, refers, among a multitude of other passages, to Matt. xxiv. 5, 11, 23. And the latter, in his note on the verse under consideration says, 66 Our Lord himself foretels that "false Christs and false Prophets would shew great signs or and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they $ would deceive the very Elect." + Nor must it be omitted to be observed, that Mr. Kett, having quoted our Lord's words—There shall arise false Christs, &c. says, “ Josephus for makes use of the exact wo ds, signs and wonders, when “ speaking of the false Prophets foretold by our Saviour. “ If they shall say he is in the desert, go not forth. Josephus
says, they drew many people after them into the desert."
* Our Translators have found it necessary, in order to distinguish THE COMING which was after the working of Satan from the coming of Christ, to insert the words even him. Mr. Hardy's Note upon this passage appears to be judicious. “ Cujus est adventus. nempè illum, cujus est adventus, Est, pro, “ erit, per enallagen præsentis pro futuro. Relativum hîc non ad proximè $ præcedens, autou, sed ad remotius illud o anomos, more Hebræorum, 6 referri debet, sicut ex re ipsâ liquet.”
+ It has already been repeatedly observed that both Dr. Benson and Dr. Macknight applied these passages to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the former without any distinction.
# See Kett on Prophecy, Vol. 1: pages 230, 231. Mr. Hardy's Note is as follows. “ Prodigiis mendacii. i. e. Mendacibus “ (ex Hebraismo) per qæ in errorem inducuntur homines. Vide Matt. xxiv,
24. Ter,ata Pseudous sunt ea, quæ falsæ. doctrinæ inserviunt; nam quod “ vice genitivi est apud Hebræos, sæpe finem significat,"