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“ fand of the sea. And they went up on the “ breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp “ of the saints about, and the beloved city: and “ fire came down from God out of heaven, and “ devoured them," Rev. xx. 7.-9. This account is short, because the same enemy of the church, had been already largely described by the Old Testament prophets. This serves chiefly to note the time of his appearance in the world.
The prophet Ezekiel gives a minute account of the enemy by the same name, chap. xxxviii. and xxxix. throughout. No doubt some of the most eminent commentators on the Apocalypfe, as Mede and Newton, apply the description of the prophet to a different period, and to quite another person than this mentioned by the Apoftle : However, a minute examination and comparison of both paffages, muft convince the unprejudiced that they refer to the same perfon:
1. The prophet repeatedly enforces on Judea, that a long period of time should intervene betwixt the prediction and the accomplishment of it. “ After many days thou shalt be visited : in “ the latter years thou shalt come into the land," (Ezek. xxxviii. 8.) “ It shall be in the latter
days,” ver. 16." Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants,--which
prophesied in those days many years, that I “ would bring thee against them?" ver. 17. Gog and his army are “ to come up against the peo
“ple of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land” of Judea, ver. 16. And this circumstance not only refutes the application of the prophecy to times and events already past, but likewise directs our attention to the last event predicted, that which immediately precedes the general resurrection, and last judgment, with which the apostle has explicitly connected it.
2. The prophet carefully notes another circumstance relative to the time of Gog's appearance, that the Jews should then be in pofseflion of their own land, after a long dispersion. " Thou shalt come into the land that is brought « back from the sword, and is gathered out of
many people, against the mountains of Israel, “ which have been always wafte: but it is
brought forth out of the nations,” Ezek. xxxviii. 8. “ to turn thine hand upon the deso“ late places that are now inhabited, and upon “ the people that are gathered out of the na« tions,” ver. 12.
This circumstance, in conjunction with that mentioned in the preceding paragraph, clearly demonstrates, that the prophet has an eye to the re-settlement of the Jews in their own land, after their present dispersion, Now, from the time the Jews go up to take pof. session of their native land, until the day of judgment, the Apocalypse shews, that no memorable battle is fought betwixt the members of the church and her enemies, excepting two, the bat
tle of Armageddon immediately before the Millennium, and the battle of Gog and Magog immediately after it ; therefore, the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel, must refer to one or other of these. But there are other circumstances in the relation, which effectually prevent the application of it to the battle of Armageddon; and therefore the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel, and of St. John, must be the same.
First, The prophet represents the Jews in pofa session of their land previous to the invasion of Gog; but they only take possession by the battle of Armageddon, and were not in poffeflion before it was fought.
Secondly, He represents them as dwelling at ease, not dreading an enemy, nor prepared for an attack; “ And thou shalt say, I will go up “ to the land of unwalled villages ; I will go to “ them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of “ them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,” Ezek. xxxviii. 11. This can by no means apply to Armageddon, for at that time they are represented as being aware of the preparation of their enemies ; yea, as being trained
up and employed as the instruments in God's hand, to subdue them.
Thirdly, He represents them as wealthy, pofsessed of cattle and goods in abundance." To “turn their hand upon the people which have
gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the “ midst of the land, hast thou gathered thy com
pany to take a prey? to carry away silver and
gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take as a great spoil, Ezek. xxxviii. 12, 19. All this supposes them to have been long in possession of their own land. Both the sacred and the prophane historians Thew, that wealth is not the attainment of an infant state; it is a blessing acquired by a course of years. This representation, therefore, cannot apply to the battle of Armageddon.
Fourthly, The prophet represents the Jews on the defence in the invasion of Gog, and their enemies on the offensive. This is obvious from the whole strain of the narrative; but in the bat. tle of Armageddon, the enemies of the church are on the defence, (see vial 6.) and the Jews on the offensive, (see Rev. xix. 11.); therefore, the Gog of Ezekiel, and the battle of Armaged.' don cannot relate to the fame event.
But all these circumstances fitly apply to the Gog and Magog of St. John. The time of their invasion is at the end of the Millennium, when the Jews have been a thousand years in possession of their native land. During all that period, universal peace prevails, and therefore they dread no enemy;-outward prosperity abounds, and therefore they have cattle and goods ; love and communion fubfist betwixt them and the
Gentile church, and therefore they are not difposed to make any hostile attack.
Bishop Newton allows, that the prophecy of Ezekiel and this of St. John, remain yet to be accomplished, and cannot be absolutely certain, that they may not both relate to the fame event, but thinks it more probable that they relate to different events'. I shall just glance at his reafons, “ The one is expected to take effect be“ fore, but the other will not take effect till af« ter the Millennium." To this a fufficient answer has been given in the observations already made, on the time of Gog's appearance.
Gog and Magog are said expressly to come “ from the north quarters and the north parts; “ but in St. John, they come from the four quar“ ters, op corners of the earth. Gog and Mx
gog, in Ezekiel, bend their forces against the Jews resettled in their native land; but in St.
John, they march up against the faints, and “ church of God in general.”
These circumstances do not contradict but illustrate each other. Some of those which the Prophet had omitted, the Apostle mentions; and others which the Prophet had mentioned, the Apostle omits. May we not suppose, that the leader of this vast army comes from the north quarters, and yet that multitudes of a similar fpi
(1) Newton's Diff. on Prophecies.