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Mark xiii. 14, as will be seen by Luke xxi. 20. The context of each of these scriptures, gives the whole of Christ's memorable reply to the inquiries of his disciples, with regard to the period of the destruction of Jerusalem, the time of his second coming, and of the end of the world. Regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, which doubtless is typical of the destruction which in the latter day shall overtake the mystic Babylon, and all her followers who are resting in the letter, and have not the Spirit, our Lord says, in words that may be applied to both events, “ when ye, therefore, my disciples, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand) then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains.”—The corresponding passage in Luke's gospel runs thus—“ And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh, then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains," &c.—The armies which destroyed Jerusalem were those of the Roman empire, the fourth kingdom of the earth: and connecting this fact with the passages just quoted from the gospels of Matthew and Mark, it is manifest that the Roman power, either in its character of the fourth beast, or as the little horn of that beast, is signified by Daniel under the expression, “ the abomination
that maketh desolate :", and, further, that the papal power of Rome is intended, may be collected from the original text. The peculiar characteristic of Rome, as a pagan, or as an imperial power, has ever been its military prowess; its papal characteristic is idolatry. Now the Hebrew word, ripo, in verse 31. translated abomination, is used in the Old Testament continually to signify idolatrous abomination, and never in reference to military power : the Greek word, Edenvypa, used in the Septuagint translation, and which is again found in Matthew xxiv. 15. and Mark xiii. 14. before referred to, is of a similar import; and hence it may fairly be presumed that idolatrous, and not military Rome is intended.
In which of the preceding verses the Roman power is first mentioned, may be questionable. Perhaps it might be successfully contended, that verse 16 speaks of it, as standing “in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.”. If so, verse 16 would probably refer to pagan Rome destroying the Jewish Church and people; and what follows, to verse 31, might be intended to trace the history of the Christian Church during the times of the Roman emperors, until that empire professed Christianity, and the ten kingdoms, into which the western por
tion of it was divided, united together under the influence of the eleventh, or papal horn, in persecution of the Church of Christ. If this view be the correct one, the notable exploits of the Roman ecclesiastical power, in destroying the saiuts, in blaspheming the majesty of the most high God, and in establishing its sway over the nations of the earth, form the subject of the rest of the chapter, and it will be found to divide itself as follows:-Verses 33, 34, and 35, treat of the persecution of the saints,- verses 36, 37, 38, and 39, set forth his blasphemies,--and the remaining verses, from 40 to the end, declare the prevalence of his power amongst the nations. The whole is concluded, and in different places is interspersed with declarations of the judgments that await him. A transcript of the text, accompanied by a short paraphrase, will be sufficient to shew the writer's view of the interpretation of this prophecy, and to illustrate generally his opinion of its fulfilment. It is the less necessary to enlarge, as the views of Mr. Mede who may be referred to, are not very dissimilar.
Verse 31. “ They shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”—They shall corrupt the simplicity which is in Christ, even the faith which was once delivered to the saints, and shall not allow the finished work of Jesus to be set before the people; but shall deny the great gospel truth of justification only by faith in Him, and shall set up a justification by works, alms-deeds, penances, and human merit, worshipping the Virgin Mary and the saints, and their images and relics, and thus bringing an abomination into their sanctuary, and the doctrine of devils into the ordinances of their temple.
Verse 32. “ And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries, but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”—The power before described shall gain over to himself, by temptations of worldly advantage, those professing people who are not stedfast in the faith : but the true followers of the Lamb shall stand up to maintain the truth, notwithstanding every evil which may await them.
Verse 33. “ And they that understand among the people shall instruct mapy, yet they shall fall by the sword, by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many
days.”—They who are taught of the Spirit, shall ; become preachers of righteousness to many around
them, but they shall be persecuted unto death, their goods shall be wasted, and they themselves shall be destroyed by the sword, by imprisonment, and by fire, for the long appointed period of 1260 years.
Verses 34, 35. “ Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help, but many shall cleave to them with flatteries; and some of them of under standing shall fall to try them, to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for a time appointed.”—During the foregoing period of trouble and persecution, the Lord's people shall, from time to time, find help and rest for a short season, to strengthen and refresh them under their accumulated afflictions ; but many deceivers shall arise, and, under the specious pretence of favouring their cause, or of protecting them from danger, shall seduce them into unworthy compliances; and, through their devices, some who are spiritually minded shall be turned away from the truth, and shall fall, not to perish, but that they may be chastened and approved unto their master, and that others may be excited to watchfulness.
The persecution of the Church of Christ having been described in the preceding verses, the blasphemies of him who is the persecutor, form the next link of the prophecy.