« PreviousContinue »
ties engaged in the battle. Hence we may conclude, that this darling and first-born child of Satan after the general deluge, with a part of his pagan host, will be suffered to escape, being reserved for a future and more dreadful punishment. And although we shall find this conclusion verified in the next chapter, yet the utter destruction of apostacy and atheism, and the reservation of polytheism for future perdition, are foretold by Daniel in a manner so corresponding with what we have here seen, that I cannot forbear to add a summary view of what this first of prophets has said respecting them, and the following kingdom of Christ, although I have treated of them more fully in a subsequent chapter. . .
Daniel*, when foretelling the great events which were to come to pass between his time and the kingdom of Christ, represents the God OF HEAVEN as sitting in judgment upon the four beasts, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, and passing a decree for their utter destruction. He then adds, “ And I « beheld then, because of the words the little “ horn spake, I beheld even until the beast (the 6 fourth or Roman beast) was slain, and his r body (meaning every member, horn and “ branch of him) destroyed, and given to the “ burning flame," or everlasting destruction : and the angel, when explaining the decree, tells him it included “ the little horn." « But, * the judgment shall sit, and they (the saints)
"bodu, or Rubeheld
* Chap. vii.
“ shall take away his dominion, to consume « and destroy it unto the end.” Having thus foretold the execution of the decree against the Roman beast, even in its papal state, and of France in its atheistical state, he informs us what was the fate of the three other beasts, or the Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian empires, and adds, “as concerning the rest of the beasts, “ they had their dominion taken away; yet “ their lives were prolonged for a season and “ time.” evidently meaning, that though they should lose their civil powers, yet their superstitions and idolatries were to remain for a time. And as he further foretells, that the reign of Christ is to take place immediately after the execution of the first part of this decree, to what period can the time of the reprieve allude, but to the thousand years during which Christ is to reign upon earth? To these brief observations upon the prophecy of Daniel, I shall only add, that he foretells the coming of Christ to take possession of this kingdom in these words : “ And I saw in the “ night visions, and beheld one like the Son “ OF MAN, came with the clouds of heaven “ (with the saints and martyrs not yet justifi“ed by his righteousness,) and came to the “ ancient of days (THE GOD OMNIPOTENCE “ from all ETERNITY ;) and they brought hiri “ near before HIM. And there was given “ unto him dominion and glory and a kingdom, “ that all nations and languages should serve “ him. His dominion is an everlasting do
e minion which shall not pass away ; and his " kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed.”
Now Polytheism, or pagan idolatry, was the first great system of wickedness into which the descendants of Noah were seduced from the precepts of their pious father by Satan, the great and indeed the only enemy of the Jewish church, the first persecutor of the Gospel of Christ, and is, as we shall find hereafter to be the last ; and this eldest child of Satan is properly designated by the figure of a dragon*, the most powerful of all animals, throughout the Old and New Testaments. Mohamedan and Papal apostacies, the second great enemies of the church of Christ, which arose in the same year, and are jointly to seduce and persecute the church of Christ, during the same period, are here denoted by the beast: and the third great enemy of the same church, the abominable system of atheism and blasphemy, very properly described by the false prophet, because, respecting a futurity, it foretels more destructive and internal falsehoods, in a more direct contradiction to the word of God, than either of its other enemies. Mohamed has been erroneously thought by former commentators to be the prototype of this monster, because he has foretold a sensual paradise ; but atheism teaches us to believe, that the world is eternal, and shall not hereafter be destroyed ;
* Psalm lxxiv. 13. Isaiah, li. 9. Ezek. xxix. 3. Rev. xii. 3. xiii, 4. xix. 20. xx. 2. xxi. 10.
that Christ was an impostor, and shall not come to judge the world ; that there will be no resurrection of the body, no future rewards or punishments, for that death is only the eternal sleep of the soul; and uniting all kinds of falsehoods into one great future LIE, it asserts that there neither is, nor that there shall be hereafter, a God to rule over the world. Is not this a greater false prophet than Mohamedanism, popery, or even polytheism? Is it not in the emphatic words of the text, “ THE FALSE PROPHET?”
THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER OF THE
REVELATION. . .
Satan imprisoned and deprived of his power
during a thousand years—The millennium, or reign of Christ, and first resurrection The blessedness of his reign-Satan released from his imprisonment, seduces the nations Gog and Magog to attempt the destruction of the kingdom of Christ=His and their condemnation and eternal punishment_The destruction of the present world-Christ's victory and triumph over Death and HellWho shall be saved.
WE have seen that the prophet, in his account of the battle between Christ and the ungodly confederacy, has foretold the utter perdition of the Beast and The false prophet, and said nothing of the Dragon, or Pagans, but leaves us to conclude, according to the prophecy of Daniel, that their “*lives (their superstitious idolatry) were pro"longed for a season and time.” Daniel gives no intimation of the divine motive to this merciful reprieve of polytheism and idolatry, beyond the time of the execution of the sentence upon apostacy and atheism; but it may, I humbly apprehend, be clearly inferred, from the context of this chapter., St. John here informs us, immediately after he has foretold the destruction of apostacy and atheism, that “the dragon, that old ser“pent which is the devil (not meaning the “dragon,” the type, or the leader of the pagan host, but expressly, that old serpent the devil, who tempted our first parents), shall be bound, chained, and imprisoned; that is, that his power to do mischief shall be taken from him during “a thousand years,” the period of the reign of Christ. And he further informs us, to what end Satan is to be thus deprived of all power, which is, “that “ he may deceive the nations no more, until the " thousand years shall be fulfilled.” But to deceive what nations? There are to be none upon the earth, but those under the dominion and protection of Christ, and the pagan nations, for those of apostacy and atheism are to be destroyed at. bis coming to reign; and we read of no others in the prophecies: and we cannot reasonably suppose it to mean the nations over which Christ