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All the events of the vintage or the last Vial will hape pen at the time of the end, or at the termination of the 1260 years.* Antichrist himself will then perish, united as at present, contrary to every expectation at his original developement, with the false Romish prophet : for, according to the sure word of Scripture, one fate awaits them both in the region between two seas near the glorious holy mountain, in the country which extends 1600 furlongs, in the valley of Megiddo.f Then will the fulness of the Gentiles be come in : then will the wine-press of God's wrath begin to be trodden in the valley of concision: then will the great controversy of Jehovah with the nations commence.
At the beginning of this time of unexampled trouble, that is to say, at the expiration of the 1260 years, the Almighty will put forth his hand to bring back his ancient people the Jews to the country of their fathers : and, when that is accomplished, and when Antichrist is over
Mr. Mede believes, like myself, that the seventh vial will begin to be poured out exactly at the termination of the 1260 years : for he supposes, that the first blast of the seventb trumpet and tbe first effusion of tbe seventh vial, which he justly calls the vial of consummation, exactly synchronize; and he maintains, that at this era the three times and a balf terminate. (Compare Clav. Apoc. Pars Alt. Synchron. iii. V-Comment. Apoc. in Tub. vii. et in Phial. vii--and the plate at the end of the Clavis.) Though, as I have already observed, I prefer Bp. Newton's arrangement of tbe seventb trumpet, I think Mr. Mede's opinion nearly indisputable, that the 1260 years expire when the vial of consummation begins to be poured out, because the contents of that vial plainly shew that it relates to the time of God's great controversy witb the nations. But this great controversy, this period of unexampled trouble, synchronizes, according to the unanimous testimony of all the prophets who treat of the subject, with tbe restoration of the Jews; which restoration commences, according to Daniel, at the close of the three times and a balf: therefore the contemporary period of unexampled trouble must commence at the close of the fbree times and a balf; and consequently the effusion of the seventh vial, which relates to that period, must likewise commence at the close of the three times and a half : in other words, the seventh vial must begin to be poured out, so soon as the three times and a half or the 1260 years expire ; which was the point asserted.
+ That is to say, between the Mediterranean sea and the Dead sea, in the land of Pakstine, the length of which country extends 1600 Jewish Risin or stadia. The subject will be discussed at large hereafter. Mr. Mede very justly remarks, that the treading of the wine press at the period of the symbolical vintage is the same as the great battle of Armageddon under the last vial, and for this plain reason : the beast, tbe false prophet, and their confederates, cannot experience two final overthrows. The vintage however, predicted in the little book, is represented as being the last event that takes place in that book: but the little book reaches to the end of the 1260 years, and indeed in its first and last chapters extends beyond the end of those years : therefore the vintage must take place after the end of the 1260 years. Hence it must necessarily be the same as the battle of Armageddon; which is the last event of the last vial, and consequently takes place after the end of the 1960 years likewise. See Mede's Comment. Apoc. in Vindemiam.
Joel üi. 14.
thrown, the lost ten tribes of Israel will likewise be rea stored, and will henceforth form only one people with Judah. Then will the first resurrection take place, and the Millennium will commence. That there will be a preternatural manifestation of the Messiah at this eventful period, we have, I think with Mr. Mede, reason to expect.* But, whether the first resurrection mentioned by St. John as taking place before the Millennium, and the continued reign of Christ with his saints upon earth during the Millennium, are to be understood in a literal or in a figurative sense, time alone can determine.t Such “ secret things," as unaccomplished prophecies, "belong unto the Lord our God ;" and it is a vain waste of time to weary ourselves with conjectures respecting the precise mode of their accomplishment. Upon these points when we go beyond what is written, we exceed our commission: and it has almost invariably been found, that the commentator, who attempted to shew how a prophecy was about to be fulfilled, was by the event convicted of error. We may safely and positively declare what will come to pass, and we may even say how it will come to pass, so long as we resolutely confine ourselves to the explicit declarations of Scripture : but to point out the manner in which an event will be accomplished, any further than the word of God hath revealed
* This point is discussed at large in a Work which I am now preparing for the press on the restoration of Isreal and the overthrow of the Anticbristian confederacy.
+ Mr. Mede strongly maintains, that the first resurrection will be a literal resurrece tion of the martyrs. I confess that his arguments rather silence me, than convince me. Tbe resurrection is not unfrequently used in Scripture to typify the political resurrection of a nation or community. Should such be the meaning of the apocalyptic first resurrection, it will simply denote that the saints of God, long oppressed by tbe Papacy, shall ultimately be raised up to political power and influence, agreeably to the literal predictions both of Daniel and St. John. (Dan. vii. 27. Rev. XX. 4, 6.) To this interpretation however, which I could wish to adopt, Mr. Mede urges objections not very easy to be answered. (See a curious discussion of this point in his Works Book iv. Epist. 20.) Abp. Tillotson is inclined to understand the reign of Christ in a spiritual sense. “ Though I see no sufficient grounds from Scripture to believe the personal reign of Christ upon earth for a thousand years : yet it seems to be not improbable, that some time before the end of the world, the glorious kingdom of Christ, I mean the prevalency of the pure Christian religion, should be of as long a continuance, as the reign of Mohammed and Antichrist have been, both of which have now lasted about a thousand years.” (Serm. Vol. X. p. 177.) The reader will find the question, Wbeber the first apoculyptic resurrection ought to be understood figuratively or literally, very well discussed in Lowman's Paraphrase on Rey, XX. I dare not give an opinion on the subject.
but bof God washe Old Tes
............ the manner of it, is to pry too curiously into what he hath purposely concealed, and to aim at becoming prophets instead of contenting ourselves with being humble and fallible expositors of prophecy. What the Bible hath declared, that we may without hesitation declare : beyond this, all is mere vague conjecture. It was very wisely remarked by Sir Isaac Newton, that “the folly of interpreters has been to foretell times and things by the Apocalypse, as if God designed to make them prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men's curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own Providence, not the interpreter's, be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things, predicted many ages before, will then be a convincing argument, that the world is governed by Providence." May I add, without the imputation of vanity, in the words of the same great and good man ? 6 Ainongst the interpreters of the last age there is scarce one of note who hath not made some discovery worth knowing: and thence I seem to gather, that God is about opening these mysteries. The success of others put me upon considering it; and, if I have done any thing which may be useful to following writers, I have my design."*
At the close of the Millennium, Satan will again be let loose to deceive the nations ; when the last confederacy against the Church, which this world shall ever behold, will be formed by certain enemies of the Messiah whom both St. John and Ezekiel concur in denominating Gog and Magog.t Upon this occasion, God will specially interfere in behalf of his people. While the enemies of the saints are encompassing the camp and the beloved city, fire will come down from heaven and devour them. Their great instigator the devil will then be finally cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, to which the beast and the false prophet had already been consigned at the
* Observ. on the Apocalypse, p. 251, 252, 253. po Rev. xx. 8. Ezek. xxxviii. xxxix.
commencement of the thousand years : and the second, or general resurrection will take place. The Apocalypse triumphantly concludes with a figurative description of the happiness of the pious.
The following scheme will shew, at one point of view, the manner in which I arrange that part of the Apocalypse, which treats of the 1260 days, under the three successive periods of the woe-trumpets.
The two first Woe-trumpets.
- 2 der the two first woe-trumpets.
Contemporary history of the Western
of the following prophecy.
• 2 tbe Vials.
e out of the
he pouring out of
Vial 1.) The harvest
Vial 3.9 wrath
( Vial 7. A detailed account of the events a
The vintage XVII. \bout to take place under the seventb
y of God's XVIII. Vial; such as the destruction of the
wrath. XIX. scarlet whore, the overtbrow of Baby- )
(lon, and the battle of Armageddon.
If we compare the four preceding prophecies of Daniel with the Revelation of St. John, the point of their chronological coincidence will of course be that age of the Roman Empire in which St. John flourished; or the period, as the Apostle himself tells us, when the fourth great beast was existing under his sixth head.* Hence the feet of the image branching out into ten toes, the fourth beast with ten horns, and the apoclyptic bcast with seven heads and ten horns, must all be designed to symbolize the same power. It is equally evident, that the three years and a half of Daniel are the three years and a half, the 42 months, or the 1260 days of St. John.
* Rev. xvii. 10.
............ Since then the feet of the image, the ten-horned beast, and the seven-headed and ten-horned beast, are one and the same power : the victory achieved by the stone over the feet of the image must be equivalent to the victory of the Lamb over the beast, the fulse prophet, and the con. federated kings ;* and the triumphant reign of the mountain, to the duration of the Millennium.t In a similar manner the judgment of Daniel's fourth beast by the Ancient of days must be the same as the victories of the stone and the Lamb :while the beasts, whose dominion was taken away, and whose lives were prolonged during the reign of the mountain, (for there was no other reign during which they could be prolonged, inasmuch as the first judgment was already past,) must be identified with the Gog and Magog mentioned by St. John, as existing during the period of the Millennium, and as making a final effort against the Church towards the close of it.* Lastly, the second judgment, predicted by Daniel as taking place after the season to which the lives of the three first beasts had been prolonged, must be the second judgment, foretold by St. John as about to commence at the expiration of the Millennium.t
These coincidences are sufficiently obvious, but to ascertain the others is attended with a greater degree of difficulty; more especially since such a variety of opinions has been entertained by those, who have written upon the subject. As far as I am able to judge, and I shall attempt to prove in the sequel what I am now about to advance, the two little horns and the atheistical king, mentioned by Daniel, are three distinct powers. The first of the little horns, into whose hand the saints were to be
* Dan. ii. 34.–Rev. xix. 17-21.
+ Dan. ii. 35.- Rev. IL 6. | Dan. vii. 9, 10, 11.-Dan. ii. 34.-Rev. xix. 17-21.
§ This prolongation “ the Rabbins take for some season and time after the fourth beast was destroyed ; and R. Solomon, at the time of the war of Gog and Magog, which they look for soon after their restitution, upon the destruction of the fourtb beast." (Mede's Works Book iv. Epist. 24.) They appear to me to be perfectly right in their general idea respecting this passage : but the war of Gog and Magog, the precise epoch of which is not defined by Ezekiel, will not take place, as we are taught by St. John, till 1000 years either natural or prophetic after the restoration of the Jews. This war of Gog and Magog will be discussed at large in the work, which, as I have already mentioned, I am now preparing for the press. Dan. vii. 12. Rev. xx, 7, 8, 9.
+ Dan. vii. 13. Rev. XL. 11.