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of the Jews); the slaying of the witnesses must be future.
In verses 11-14 of this chapter, we find that the resurrection of the witnesses is near the close of the period assigned to the second wo, as it there soon follows, “ The second wo is past, and behold the third wo cometh quickly!” and the next verse presents it. This forbids that the slaying of the witnesses can be a past event.
2. What is said of the three unclean spirits like frogs, Rev. xvi. 13-16, does the same. For surely the great effect of this threefold agency from the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, must now be future. It is an event to be accomplished between the sixth and seventh vials; thus it is to take place after the destruction of the Turkish government, and
for the final ruin of Antichrist. But the object of this general diabolical agency,-going forth unto the kingdoms of the world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God, is to excite the last and most violent attack of the kingdom of Satan on earth upon the cause of Christ. And can this be an event to be accomplished after the slaying and the resurrection of the witnesses? Must not the slaying of the witnesses result rather from this gathering of all the world against Christ, and be the event which brings him down to destroy his enemies?
This event of Christ's destroying his warring enemies, is given in chap. xix. 19—“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army." I here again ask; can the attack of this same beast upon the witnesses, his having slain them, and their having arisen, and ascended up to heaven, and their enemies having beholden them, be an event long past, when this new violent attack is made upon the church of Christ? Is not this last gathering of all the powers of Satan on earth against the church at the very time of their slaying of the witnesses ? This much better accords with all that is testified relative to the event. Jesus Christ (it will then be found), has risen in the majesty of his glory, to cut off the enemy, when the slaughtered witnesses rise from the dead, and ascend up to heaven, and their enemies behold them! The latter stroke indicates their terror and dismay at the sight of the witnesses now triumphant;
rather than their courage to make a new attack. No—as the mystical resurrection and ascension to heaven of the witnesses, evince that Christ has come to vindicate their cause, and to take their enemies in hand (as the decisive battle immediately follows); so the slaying of them is but three years and a half before the commencement of this new interposition of Christ in their behalf, and cannot now be a past event.
3. Other prophecies corroborate this sentiment. Rev. chapter xiv. commences with a view of the reformation, as will be shown on the chapter ;—the appearing of the heavenly Lamb on the Mount Zion! In verse 6th, the angel of missions commences his flight round the world; an event now accomplishing. A second angel of general influence follows-testifying that “ Babylon is fallen !" The flight of this second angel is now manifestly future. A third angel follows, calling on all, upon the penalty of eternal death, to flee from all affinity with the beast, as will be shown upon the passage. This, as might be expected, excites ire and persecution from the enemy thus implicated: and it hence follows, “ Here is the patience of the saints : here are they that keep the commands of God, and the faith of Jesus !” These hints, and what follows, imply much relative to new trials of Christian faith and patience. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth (from the time of the commencement of these new trials). Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.” These warnings, and what still follows, imply much relative to new and signal trials to the church. It has ever been a fact, that " blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” But this text is here a chronological passage, and has a peculiar meaning at a peculiar time. It implies new and signal trials to the living. Hence Christ is noted as immediately appearing on his white cloud of the judgment and victory of the battle of the great day! He appears there with the sharp weapon of his indignation, now to reap the wicked harvest, and to gather the infidel clusters of the vine of Antichrist. “ Thrust in thy sickle and reap! for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe”—“Gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe!” and the decisive work is
done! This series of events strongly indicates that the slaying of the witnesses follows the flight of this third angel ; trying the patience of the saints; causing that 6 blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth;” and bringing down the Captain of our salvation for the harvest and the vintage! Now, shall we say or admit, that the slaying, and the triumphant resurrection, and ascension to heaven of the witnesses, are events anterior to the flight of the first missionary angel here, whose mission is now blessing the world?
In Rev. x. the same thing appears. It has been shown that the descent of Christ there, and the seven thunders, were accomplished in the infidel French revolution—that this was naturally mistaken by some for the battle of the great day: but the oath of Christ corrects this mistake, and assures that the battle was not yet; but in the days of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound (an event still future), the mystery of God shall be finished;" or, the battle shall then commence, and be soon accomplished. And here, subsequent to the seven thunders, is the bitterness of the little book; or the fact, that “thou must again prophesy before peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings !” a kind of prophesying which had been laid aside, but which must again be resumed before the seventh trumpet, and to introduce that event. Let it be here asked, can this experience of the bitterness of the little book ; this new prophecying before peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings,-be viewed as accomplished before the descent of Christ, and the seven thunders here given? Surely not. They are future of these scenes. And must they not then be future of the present period ?
4. Sentiments of noted writers on this subject are entitled to some consideration; more at least than the mere conjectures of men who have never bestowed any
serious and patient attention to the prophecies. Bishop Newton, after giving all the schemes of past authors upon this point, gives his own opinion that the event was still future. Mr. Scott gives as his full belief that it was future of his day. I will give his words.
He says, “Many private interpretations (for so they appear to me) have been given of this passage (the slay. ing of the witnesses), as if it related to the martyrdom of individuals, or partial persecutions, in some times past,
I cannot but think that it relates to events yet future ; and that it will be fulfilled about the sounding of the seventh trumpet."
In a subsequent edition of his Bible, he says (speaking of his former comments on this passage), “Since that time, I have had abundant opportunity of reconsidering my interpretation (of this passage), and of comparing it with those of many others, and with events which have occurred. I must, however, avow my full conviction, that the transactions have not hitherto taken place !" Mr. Scott shows, that the triumphs of persecutors in Germany, Bohemia, Spain, and Italy, do not amount to any thing that can be called the slaying of the witnesses. The time of the event, “ when they shall have finished their testimony,” he proceeds to show, is manifestly future. I will call no man father, upon earth. But the reasoning and views of such men as Newton and Scott, will have with me, much more weight, than the confident assertions of men who speak only according to their wishes, and intuitive views, but have never duly investigated the subject.
5. The beast that slays the witnesses, is another besides the papal beast; and therefore no past papal persecutions can amount to it. It is (our text assures) “ the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit,” that “makes war upon them, and overcomes them, and kills them.” This is the infidel power of the last days. See Rev. xiii. 3–7; and xvii. 3, 8, 14. This is noted as the old pagan Roman beast, recovered to life, in the last days. It is a power of infidelity, licentiousness, and military despotism. It has already appeared and exhibited its infidel nature and design. It is a beast " that was, and is not, and yet is." It has, at times, only a mystical and invisible existence; but a real one, till it goes into perdition at the battle of the great day of God. This is the mischievous agent in our text. The last part of his existence is noted as terrible, till he goes into perdition ; " till his body is destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” This is the beast that, with the dragon, and the papal false prophet, leads the kings of the earth, and their armies, to the last battle with Christ and his army, the church. Rev. xix. 19; Dan. vii. 11.
6. In the scene at the Red Sea, light is reflected on this subject. That destruction of the Egyptians was a
type of the destruction of Antichrist, in the seventh vial, as is evident from the fact, that at the close of this vial, “ The song of Moses and of the Lamb,” is sung; Rev. xv. 3. This teaches that the scene at the Red Sea was a type of the battle of the great day. In the type, Israel had set out for Canaan; the Egyptians had been terrified at the death of the firstborn, and had hastened Israel away. But they afterward pursued them; and the chosen tribes, after they had supposed all danger was past, found their greatest trial of all. So it may be in the antitype. After it is thought all danger is past, and the church is going directly into the Millennium-her greatest trial, as in that case, may come; the gracious removal of which, will occasion “the song of Moses and of the Lamb.” (See Exodus xv.)
7. The oath of the angel decides as follows, Dan. xii. 7, relative to the wilful infidel power of these last days; "And when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” This he says, when noting the event which closes the 1260 years; or the destruction of this wilful power. It takes place upon his accomplishing to scatter the power of the holy people: the very event in our text. Must not this be now future? Says our text, “ And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war upon them, and shall overcome them.” At the close of their 1260 years, then, this beast shall, for a short time, scatter the power of the holy people!" Then he himself shall go into perdition, and the mystery of God shall be finished. The sense of this scattering of the power of the holy people, the event will in due time unfold. This making war upon them, overcoming them, and killing them, must import something of deep concern!
Mr. Scott says, “present appearances do indeed favour the opinion, that the general and successful war of the beast against the witnesses will be conducted under another form and other pretences, and perhaps by other instruments and means, than have been former assaults. Papal persecutors were concealed infidels. And infidels concealed under any other mask, may equally answer to the prediction.” Although I had never seen these remarks of Mr. Scott, when I formed and published my