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Jews were formerly called a kingdom of priests. And they may yet be pre-eminent in Christ's gracious kingdom of “kings and priests unto God." But does this entitle them to the appellation of kings of the east? It may; but it seems doubtful. Can it mean that the
for the conversion of the eastern nations may be prepared ? But the gathering in of those of mankind who shall be left, after the battle of the great day, is to be an event after the seventh, and not the sixth vial.
Some have conceived that the phrase, “ the kings of the east,” in this vial, alludes to the kingdoms of the east which composed the army of Cyrus, when he destroyed ancient Babylon; and that those kings of the east were a type of the character, in the text, who, on this account are so denominated. The event will decide whether this will prove correct. If it should, then the sense must be thus : The Turks must be put down, that the way may thus be prepared (by the restoration of the Jews, and whatever else might occur), for that collection of the nations, long predicted in the prophets, which shall open the event of the destruction of Antichrist (typified by ancient Babylon), even as the kings of the east destroyed Babylon of old. The kings of the east, in the text, according to this, must mean the armies of the beast from the botiomless pit, collected against Christ, Rev. xix. 19; the Gog and his bands, Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix., the last effort of the horrid system of infidelity. Such an event as this is in fact to take place, at the battle of the great day. The event of the sixth vial opens the way for the combination of the three unclean spirits like frogs, to go forth and collect all the wicked world against Christ, for the battle of the great day; as we find following our text. And, should many who will be found thus active in collecting, and being collected, upon that awful occasion, be known as kings, and grand kings; and as great admirers of light in the east (as the ancient kings of the east were worshippers of light); this may aid future expositors of our text. But of particulars of the events of this mystical phrase, time will lead to the best solution.*
* See prophetic descriptions of the infidels in the last days in Ezek. viii. and 2 Pet. üi. and iii. ; Epistle of Jude; and 2 Tim. iii. 1-5.
Relative to the time of the subversion of the Turks ;-it might be expected soon after the close of the fifth vial in the battle of Waterloo. If the year, for which the Turks are said, in the sixth trumpet, to have been prepared, is a prophetic year, to be reckoned from the time of their empire being established in Europe, in 1453; then the 360 years added to this, brings it to the year 1818, for the commencement of that fall. In Dan. viii. 14, we have the time stated for the cleansing of the sanctuary, which is the same event. This time is said to be 2300 years. Reckoning this from the commencement of the Macedonian empire ; which is said to be 481 years before Christ; this brings to 1819, for the fall (or the commencement of the fall) of the Turks : within one year of the other reckoning; and, we may say, at the very time the oppressed Greeks were commencing their attack upon the Turks; which either has issued, or will issue, in the fall of the latter.
The signs of the times then, from the state of the Turks, are of the deepest interest. They testify not only that the Bible is indeed the sure word of prophecy; and that all its predictions will be fulfilled ; but that we have every encouragement to study the prophecies in view of the signs of the times.
It was stated, in the lecture on the fifth vial, that there is a manifest analogy between some of the last plagues on Egypt, and some of the last vials; as the stroke in the Revelation testifies, where, upon the last vial being executed, Christians sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Look then at the last plague but one, and the last vial but one (or the sixth), and behold the following like
That plague cut off the first-born in Egypt in the night. And it is worthy of note, that a terrible plague, the cholera (a plague which has more generally seized upon
prey in the night), has, at this very age of the world, swept over the Turkish empire, and much of the earth. Our Lord, predicting the signs of the battle of the great day (which must be at, or near the time of the sixth vial), says, "there shall be great earthquakes, in divers places, and famines, and pestilences, and fearful sights, and great signs shall there be from Heaven.” Have not these warnings been seen, and known ? And what has cut off, in a few years, at least one-sixteenth part of the human family ; and utterly desolated some cities of the
Turks? The cholera is indeed a sign of the times, under this vial, of no small interest; and it more than hints its amazing analogy to its corresponding plague on Egypt.
And should it prove to be a fact also, that this is a period of very great terror to kings, and first men of the earth; that many of them fall; and others tremble for their thrones, and even existence; the analogy between that plague and the vial may be yet more complete. God says of the period just before the battle of the great day, “ The sun (an emblem of kings) shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come.” Joel ii. 31. As Psalm lxxvi. 12; “ He shall cut off the spirit of princes; he is terrible to the kings of the earth.” Isa. xxiv. 21; “ And it shall come to pass, in that day (at or near the battle of the great day), that the Lord will punish the host of the high ones, and the kings of the earth.” This seems the same as the turning of the “sun to darkness, before the great and notable day of the Lord shall come.” When future days shall give these things in history, they will be plain. And they may be found to bear a part toward the introduction of the Millennium, similar to that which the death of the first-born in Egypt bore to the settling of the chosen tribes in the promised land. Christians, rejoice in your humbler walks of life; and prepare to meet the heavenly Bridegroom, coming to set up his kingdom on earth, in its millennial glory. He leaves his heaven, and comes down; darkness is under his feet! But he will shed light upon your path, as the Light of Israel ; the Saviour thereof in time of trouble,
Six vials have come under consideration. We arrive now to an interesting event between the sixth and seventh vials, preparatory to the seventh, and followed with a solemn warning from the mouth of Christ.
Ver. 13. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
At this period arises a complicated and most extensive combination, slyly moving over the world to ripen the nations for ruin, to collect them to the battle just before the Millennium. The infernal dragon, on every new defeat, ever wakes up to new efforts. And we find in our text, one of the last efforts of the devil, and one the most extensive and interesting. The greatness of the event is fully implied in the following things,-its being so long predicted, and the descriptions occupying so considerable a space allotted to the description of the vials,-its occasioning such warning from the mouth of Christ, as follows our text, and shall be noticed,—the greatness of its extent,—and the result of its operations,—" going forth to the kings of the earth, and of all the world,” and collecting them,--the notable things ascribed to it,—“working miracles"—(Semeia, signs, wonders),—their successes and innovations will appear like miracles,deceiving and leading off characters, who would not have
been believed to be capable of being thus led off to sin and ruin.—“If it were possible, they would deceive even the very elect.” Behold the vast effects ascribed to this diabolical agency!
" For they are spirits of devils !"“ Going forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world,” to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty !—that great day so much predicted in the prophetic scriptures.
The first of these combined agents comes out of the mouth of the dragon. This is the devil, as Rev. xii. 9. This means a spirit of the outbreaking of licentiousness and wickedness of any and every most dreadful kind, just as Satan can find tools on which to work. This is a kind of filling up of all or any species of wickedness, from the most vulgar to people of better style, as the devil can find millions who will unite in no system; but have a sordid wickedness of their own. The beast (at this late period, and as distinct from popery) is the last head of the secular Roman beast, rising, in the last days, from the bottomless pit, to go into perdition. See Rev. xvii. and xix. 19. It is that enormous power of infidelity which is predicted to appear on earth in the last days, with a head healed which had been wounded to death, which beast arose in the Voltaire system of infidelity in the French revolution of 1789. And the false prophet, in our text, is the papal system after it ceases to be a reigning power as it has been, "reigning over the kings of the papal earth;" or, when it was taken into the grasp of the beast from the bottomless pit, as a mere tool of his policy. The papal hierarchy, from that time, ceased to be a beast, or reigning by his own power, and the name of false prophet is given it. Till the fifth vial, it was itself a beast. But this vial has been poured in his seat (throne) and overturned it. This hierarchy, after this event, drags out a miserable existence, till it sinks in the battle of the great day of God; but it is never more a beast, or an independent power.*
* That this is the false prophet in our text is evident from the following considerations.
1. What is said of the hierarchy, and the false prophet, shows that they are one and the same. They go into perdition in the same connexion with the secular Roman beast, and at the same time. The two following passages decide this. In Daniel ix. 11,