« AnteriorContinuar »
he comes forth in his war with Christ, in awful hostility, and vast strength ; as Rev. xix. 19, and Dan. vii. 11. The body of this beast is said, in our text, to be like a leopard, or like the Macedonian empire, led by Alexander the Great; his feet are like a bear, or like the Medo-persian empire ; his mouth like the mouth of a lion, or like the Babylonish empire ; as though all the terrors of these ancient powers combined, should be found to centre in him. And the dragon (the devil) gives him his
power, and seat (throne), and great authority. This pre-eminence is thus ascribed to the agency of the devil; as it is indeed the devil's most signal instrument of hostility to Christ. This same secular Roman empire we have seen to have been in most active and powerful hostility to Christ, in the origin, and in the first ages of Christianity ;-crucifying the Saviour, and persecuting his followers. And, upon the healing of his deadly-wounded head, in the last days, the world is said, in our text, to wonder after him. The tide of his influence is noted as thus extensive. The world (the Roman world) is here said to worship the dragon (the devil), who gives power unto the beast; and to worship the beast;-most highly to admire this system, and to deem it invincible : “ who is like unto the beast? or able to make war with him ?” The worship in the text denotes overwhelming admiration. A mouth speaking great things and blasphemies is given him; and power to continue to the end of the noted 1260 years.
The passage, of his "continuing forty and two months," has perplexed and misled commentators. They have been led to suppose that as this is the time allotted for the continuance of the papal power; so the power here described must be the papal power, and not the old secular Roman beast; and they have thus thrown the two powers into confusion, and rendered the subject inexplicable. Their mistake is, in taking for granted that this “forty and two months,” in our text, gives the exact time from the rise of this beast to his fall : but this is not the sense. It is designed simply to give the time of his fall, which is at the end of the noted 1260 years. His rise was before the Christian era. This sense of the passage is decided in Dan. xii. 6. Daniel, here, having described the wilful power (the same with the healed head in our text), heard the question, how long it should be to the end of these
wonders ?—meaning these calamities ;-the very question which would be of interest in the case. The Angel of the covenant answers with an oath, that it shall be “ for a time, times, and an half;" or the 1260 years : as though he had said, the end of these wonders shall be at the end of the 1260 years. He had no occasion to give the whole time of the existence of this horrid system ; but simply to tell the time of its end. This period,—the 1260 years,had been before given as the length of the time of the saints being given into the hands of papal power,—Dan. vii. 25. And the end of that noted time, gives the period of the destruction of this secular beast. The phrase, that he hath power to continue forty and two months, is thus elliptical ; giving a part for the whole. This well accords with the language of prophecy.
As to the blasphemy of this beast; should he, at any one time, assume the characteristic mark of direct and open blasphemy ; it is sufficient to form this character, even if he should afterward, from motives of policy, learn greater caution, and assume his nominal form of godliness; a thing long predicted that he would do. But his fixed character, notwithstanding this, is that he is a blasphemer; as Rev. xvii. 3 ; "full of names of blasphemy." It will be there shown, that this characteristic was by him most fully assumed. He is the beast of ten horns, as well as of seven heads; though his ten horns were not of continual existence. If at any one time they were found to exist; it gives him this permanent character: and so with his blasphemy. But the latter will be found to be abundantly manifest, under whatever adventitious form of godliness, or cloak of goodness. He is an infidel,--denying the Father, and the Son.
Our text informs that this beast has power 6 to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. is given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." This was, in a terrible sense, true of this secular beast in the ten primitive pagan persecutions, before he received his deadly wound in his imperial head from Constantine. But the event in our text seems to be after that wound is, in the last days, healed. The predicted slaying of the witnesses, by the beast from the bottomless pit, may tell the secret of this clause in our text. The eventual popularity of this resuscitated beast, in the last days, is great. In
addition to what has been noted, of all the world wonder, ing after him, and worshipping him; and the dragon that governs him ; exclaiming, 66 Who is like unto the beast ? who is able to make war with him ?"—it is added, " And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (or plead his cause), whose names are not written in the book of life.” Our Lord, upon the same period, says,—" If it were possible, they would deceive even the very elect.” Then it is that God will search Jerusalem (his visible kingdom) with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees. When things shall have come to this pass; this power will soon go into perdition. To this our text alludes, when it says, " He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword, shall be killed with the sword.” As he thought to
so it shall here be done to him.” Their judgment lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not; as in Isa. xxvi. (of this very event)— For the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.” 6. And the beast was taken, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.' The account closes,—" Here is the patience and the faith, of the saints !" Or, these their graces, having been most deeply tried, shall find full relief; as did the patience and faith of the chosen tribes, when they found themselves safe on the eastern bank of the Red Sea; and the Egyptians “ sank, like lead, in the mighty waters !"
The papal beast follows, but must be deferred to the next lecture.
Further particulars are given of this secular Roman beast in chap. xvii., where the new beast there, will be shown to be the same with the healed head which has been given.
This power on the Roman earth, it is believed, has appeared, and terrified the world, in these last days, as has been shown of Illuminism, breaking out in the revolution of France, in 1789.. To the joy of this age of the world, it fell, after the most horrid scenes of a quarter of a century, into its characteristic non-existence. But it will be found, that it "yet is !” For the going of this power into perdition, under the seventh trumpet, and seventh vial, is manifestly now future; and to prepare the way for this, it will again appear in vast strength and terror, under some new forms, or occasions. In this, the prophecies of
this period do fully agree ; as has appeared, and will, in future lectures, be more fully shown.
Behold the depravity of fallen man, that millions of the human race should be of such a character and conduct, as to be justly represented by a ferocious beast, governed by the devil, as has appeared! How fully is fallen man, though created in the image of God, now justly said to be of his father the devil; and the lusts of his father he will do! Sensual and base must be the heart of the millions thus represented! How utterly unfit for heaven! How wretched if admitted there !
Marvel not, then, O fallen man, that you must be born again. This delivering act of grace you must receive, or eternally perish. Where now are the ancient Roman heroes, denoted by the nondescript beast which has been considered! Where are those blaspheming French atheists, who brought again that beast from the bottomless pit! O infidels, and sensualists ! will you, to idolize self and the body, forget and destroy the soul? Will you, for time, forget eternity ? Eternity will not return the compliment, and forget you. Your eternal hell will not forget to receive you as its prey. Multitudes, multitudes, in regions far from the old Roman earth, carry the mark of this beast; some in their foreheads, and some in their hands. And such, unless repentance prevent, will receive of his plagues ; and must drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Happy it is, that the prophetic scriptures do furnish us with a clear admonitory view of the calamities, and dangers through which the people of God must pass, from their present to their millennial state. monitions do most solemnly demand devout attention, study, and practical improvement, to meet their events with due discernment and preparation.
And most blessed is the fact, that the prophecies furnish the church with a blessed Pisgah's top, whence to behold the Millennium, and also the glories of heaven. We will not fail to ascend this height by faith! We will not idly sleep at the foot of this mount of God!
Ver. 11. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles, which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor,
free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads :
17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath under , standing count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six,