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Egypt: and it appears, that this valley of the destruction of Megiddo, or, as it is termed by Joel, this valley of the judgment of the Lord, is hereafter to be the scene of a yet more dreadful conflict.
I have observed, that the gathering together of the kings of the earth to the battle of Armageddon may possibly mean the gathering together of some great confederacy of the infidel popish powers, against the converted Jews supported by the arms of Protestantism, to the place appointed for their destruction. This conjecture is strengthened by a certain peculiarity of expression, which the Holy Spirit taught both Joel and Daniel to adopt in their respective predictions concerning the great troubles about to come to pass at the end of the 1260 years.
Joel describes the proclamation, by which the nations are to be gathered together, as inviting them to sanctify war: and Daniel represents the infidel tyrant as going forth in great wrath to devote, under the pretext of religion, many to utter destruction. * From these expressions I am much inclined to think, that the gathering together of the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the Latin earth, will be for the purpose of undertaking what a Papist would denominate a holy war : that is to say, a war somewhat similar to the ancient holy crusade against the Waldenses of Provence, a war entered into under the cognizance of the cross for the pious purpose of exterminating all those whom the Church of Rome thinks proper to denominate heretics.t This infamous prostitution of the sa
Such is the proper meaning of the word onn Harem, here used. Though Bp. Newton, I am persuaded, interprets the whole of this prophecy very erroneously, yet he is perfectly right in what he says respecting the verb Harem. “ The original word, which we translate utterly to make away, signifies to anathematize, to consecrate, to devote to utter perdition; so that it strongly implies, that this war should be made upon a religious account.” (Dissert. XVII.) Onn. Anathematizavit, anathemate vel anathemati, internecioni, perditioni, devovit : consecravit, devotum effecit. (Buxtorf. Lexic.) O'n.7. Occidit, disperdidit, devastavit, morti addixit, anathematizavit, anathemati subjecit. Calas. Concord.
+ Mr. Whitaker's idea, thát Jerusalem is ultimately to be the seat of the Pope, is perhaps not altogether improbable ; but I cannot find, that there is any express warrant for such a supposition in Scripture. Mr. Whitaker refers to Rev. xi, 7, 8. in confirmation of his opinion : but this passage affords no proof. Jerusalem is never styled tbe great city. That title is exclusively applied to the Roman empire, which is here likewise intended. (Com. p. 441.) Mr. Whitaker, since this was written, has laboured in a pamphlet, which he bas published against ine, to prove that the great city mean Jerusalem : but he appears to me to hare completely failed in establishing liis posię
cred name of religion will however be amply repayed upon their own head. The Arma, or destroying anathema, which the false prophet shall fulminate against bis enemies, and which his zealous coadjutor the atheistico-papal tyrant will go forth in great fury to put in execution against those whom he hath religiously devoted to destruction, shall prove an Arma only to themselves. Accordingly we find, what is somewhat remarkable, that the saine word Arma, the radical verb of which Daniel uses to express the manner in which the infidel king should go forth in his wrath, is united by St. John in composition with the proper name Megiddo : as if he wished to intimate, that they, who had pronounced an Arma against all their opponents, should themselves feel the baleful effects of the Lord's Arma at Arma-Megiddon.* The very league of the false prophet indeed with the beast and the kings of the earth might alone lead us to conclude, that this war should be a religious war : for, if it were a war undertaken only upon common principles, it is not easy to assign a reason why the false prophet should be evidently so much interested in its success.
The following, as far as I am able to collect from prophecy, seems to be the order, in which the great events that begin to take place at the close of the 1260
will succeed each other.t
At the pouring out of the seventh vial, the great Latin city will be divided into three parts ; and the expedition of the wilful king against Palestine, predicted by Daniel, I will commence. The 1260 yeurs having now expired, the restoration of the Jews will likewise commence : for it is declared, that their restoration shall at once be contemporary with the time of unexampled trouble which marks the time of the end, and shall begin to take place tion, in which indeed he runs counter to the opinion of Mede, Newton, and all our best commentators.
* Mr. Fleming has much the same remark. After obserying that Arma signifies both an anatbema and a slaughter, he adds," that both the anatbemas darted against the saints by the Romanists, and their armies made use of against them, may be here alluded to." Apoc. Key, p. 63.
† I purposely give only a very brief statement of these matters, and omit all references to particular prophecies, as I propose to discuss them at large in a separate tyork on the Restoration of Israel and the overtbrow of tbe Antichristian comfeleracy.
| Dan. xi. 40-45,
so soon as the three times and a half terminate. One great body of the Jews will be converted and restored by the instrumentality of some mighty maritime nution of faithful worshippers, and therefore by some maritime nation hostile to the views and principles of Antichrist.*
* Bp. Horsley's translation of the 18th chapter of Isaiah, and some of his remarks upon the prophecy contained in it, are so remarkably apposite to the plan of the present work, that I shall take the liberty of transcribing them.
ISAIAH XVIII. 1. Ho ! land spreading wide the shadow of (thy) wings which art beyond the rivers of Cush!
2. Accustomed to send messengers by sea, even in bulrush vessels upon the surface of the waters! Go, swift messengers unto a nation dragged away and plucked, unto a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto, a nation expecting, expecting, and trampled under foot, whose land rivers have spoiled :
3. All the inhabitants of the world, and dwellers upon earth, shall see the lifting up, as it were, of a banner upon the mountains; and shall hear the sounding as it were, of a trumpet.
4. For thus saith Jehovah unto me: I will sit still, (but I will keep my eye upon my prepared habitation,) as the parching heat just before lightning, as the dewy cloud in the heat of harvest.
5. For, afore the harvest, when the bud is coming to perfection, and the blossoni is become a juicy berry, he will cut off the useless shoots with pruning hooks; and the bill shall take away the luxuriant branches.
6. They shall be left together to the bird of prey of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth. And upon it shall the bird of prey summer, and all the beasts of the earth upon it shall winter.
7. At that season present shall be led to Jehovah of hosts, a people dragged away and plucked; even of a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto; a nation expecting, expecting, and trampled under foot, whose land rivers have spoiled, unto the place of the name of Jehovah of hosts, Mount Zion.
COMMENTARY. The shadow of thy wings.] The shadow of wings is a very usual image in prophetic language for protection afforded by the stronger to the weak. God's protection of his servants is described by their being safe under the shadow of his wings. And, in this passage, the broad shadowing wings may be intended to characterize some great people, who should be famous for the protection they should give to those, whom they received into their alliance ; and I cannot but think this the most simple and natural exposition of the expression.
To send messengers] The original word soy may be taken for persons employed between nation and nation, for the purposes either of negociation or commerce.
Bulrush vessels] Navigable vessels are certainly meant If the country spoken to be distant from Egypt, vessels of bulrush are only used as an apt image, on account of their levity; for quick sailing vessels of any material. The country therefore, to which the prophet calls, is characterized as one, which in the days of the completion of this prophecy should be a great maritime and commercial power, forming remote alliances, making distant voyages to all parts of the world witla expedition and security, and in the habit of affording protection to their friends and allies. Where this country is to be found, is not otherwise said, than that it will be remote from Judèa, and with respect to that country beyond the Cushèan
A nation dragged away] The dispersed Jews : a nation dragged away from its proper seat, and plucked of its wealth and power ; a people wonderful from the beginning to this very time for the special providence, which ever has attended them, and directed their fortunes ; a nation still lingering in expectation of the Messialı, who so long since came, and was rejected by them, and now is coming again in glory;
Those consequently, who are thus converted and brought back by sea, must clearly be such Jews, as were either scattered through the dominions and colonies of the maritime power, or through those of other smaller maritime
a nation universally trampled under foot ; whose land rivers, armies of foreign invaders, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Syro-Macedonians, Romans, Saracens, and Turks, have over-run and depopulated.
At that season a present sball be led] Immediately after the purgation of the Churck, at the very time, when the bird of prey with all the beasts of the earth, Antichrist with his rebel rout, shall have fixed his seat between the seas, in the holy mountain, a present shall be brought; the nation, described in ver, 2. as those to whom the swift messengers are sent, after their long infidelity, shall be brought as a present unto Jehovah. (Compare lxvi. 20.) They shall be converted to the acknowledgment of the truth, and they shall be brought to the place of the name of Jehovah, to mount Zion: they shall be settled in peace and prosperity, in the land of their original inheritance~This then is the sum of this prophecy, and the substance of the message sent to the people dragged away and plucked. That, in the latter ages, after a long suspension of the visible interpositions of Providence, God, who all the while regards that dwelling place which he will never abandon, and is at all times directing the events of the world to the accomplishment of his own purposes of wisdom and mercy; immediately before the final gathering of his elect from the four winds of heaven, will purify his Church by such signal judgments, as shall rouse the attention of the whole world, and, in the end, strike all nations with religious awe. At this period, the apostate faction will occupy the Holy Land. This faction will certainly be an instrument of those judgments, by which the Church will be purified. That purification therefore is not at all inconsistent with the seeming prosperity of the affairs of the atheistical confederacy. But, after such duration as God shall see fit to allow to the plenitude of its power, the Jews, converted to the faith of Christ, will be unexpectedly restored to their ancient possessions. The swift messengers will certainly have a considerable share, as instruments in the hand of God, in the restoration of the chosen people : otherwise, to what purpose are they called upon (ver. 1.) to receive their commission from the prophet? It will perhaps be some part of their business to afford the Jews the assistance and protection of their fleets. This seems to be insinuated in the imagery of the first verse. But the principal part, they will have to act, will be that of the carriers of God's message to his people. This character seems to describe some christian country, where the prophecies, relating to the lacter ages, will meet with particular attention ; where the literal sense of those, which promise the restoration of the Jewish people, will be strenuously upheld ; and where these will be so successfully expounded, as to be the principal means, by God's blessing, of removing the veil from the hearts of the Israelites. Those, who shall thus be the instruments of this blessed work, may well be described, in the figured language of prophecy, as the carriers of God's message to his people. The situation of the country, destined to so high an office, is not otherwise described in the prophecy, than by this circumstance; that it is to be beyond the rivers of Cush : that is, far to the West of Judèa, if these rivers of Cush are to be understood, as they have been generally understood, of the Nile and other Ethiopian rivers ; far to the East, if of the Tigris and Euphrates. The one, or the other, they must denote: but which, is uncertain. It will be natural to ask of what importance is this circumstance in The character of the country; which, if it be any thing is a geographical character, and yet leaves the particular situation so much undetermined, that we know not in what quarter of the world to look for the country intended, whether in the East Indics, or in the western parts of Africa or Europe, or in America ? I answer, that the full importance of this circumstance will not appear, till the completion of the prophecy shall discover it. But it had, as I conceive, a temporary importance at the uime of the delivery of the prophecy ; namely, that it excluded Egypt. The Jews of Isaiah's time, by a perverse policy, were on all occasions courting the alliance of the Egyptians, in opposition to God's express injunctions by his prophets to the contrary,
nations in alliance with and professing the same faith as the great naval power itself. Another considerable body of the Jews there is reason to believe will be restored by land and in an unconverted state by the Antichristian fuction ; and that for mere political purposes. Those consequently, who are thus brought back, must be such Jews as are scattered through the territories of the infidel king and his vassal allies.
Daniel has given us a wonderfully minute account of the progress of the Antichristian confederacy to Palestine ; which, as might naturally be expected from the circumstance of the maritime power commanding at sea, is plainly by land. This expedition of the infidel king, which we must conclude both from local and chronological evidence to be the same as the expedition of the beast under his last head, the false prophet, and the kings of the Latin earth, will at its first setting out be opposed by two kings of the south and the north. Now, if the infidel king be France, he must, in his attempt to invade ihe holy land from his empire in the West, necessarily pass through Turkey. flere therefore most probably will be the first collision. The Ottoman power, as we learn from St. John, will have previously fallen under the sixth apocalyptic vial : but in whose hands Turkey and Asia minor will then be, no one can at present with certainty determine. In spite however of all the opposition made by the two kings, Antichrist will enter into the countries, overflowing them like a resistless torrent; will pass over the narrow channel of the Constantinopolitan sea ; and will force his way into Palestine. Such being his progress, he must unavoidably enter the holy lund from the north : hence his invasion is so frequently spoken of as proceeding from that quarter.
Successful in his first attempt, and having placed his allies the unconverted Jews in Jerusalem and its vicinity, he will next direct his steps towards Egypt. Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon, will nevIsaiah therefore, as if he would discourage the hope of aid from Egypt at any time, tells them, that the foreign alliance, which God prepares for then in the latter times, is not that of Egypt, which he teaches them at all times to renounce and to despise, but that of a country far remote : as every country must, that lies either West of the Nile, or East of the Tigris. Bp. of St. Asaph's Letter oa Isaiah xxiil.