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This false prophet sends out one of the three diabolical influences, the spirits of devils, which go forth into the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle. This will be popery, where papal influence may be allowed to operate ; and where it cannot, other systems of false religion may amount to the same thing. These three kindred spirits are " unclean,” filthy, licentious, having eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin,”—as kindred prophecies assure us. They are “ like frogs," sly, out of sight, slippery, at rest, or leaping, as may best answer their purpose. They will creep into every apartment, as it was said of the frogs in Egypt. In the depth of their designs, their unity, their incredible perseverance, and the depravity of the human
we read, “I beheld, then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn (the papal horn), spake ; I beheld, till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” This is the parent text of the following, Rev. xix. 20, " And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that bad the mark of the beast, and that worshipped his image ; these both were cast alive in the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” We have here manifestly the same event, at the same time. The two powers in the parent text, are the beast and his horn. The two in the text copied from it, or giving the same event, are the beast and the false prophet. The false prophet, then, is popery after it ceases, in the fifth vial, to be a beast.
2. Mohammedism, which some have groundlessly conjectured to be this false prophet, goes into perdition under the sixth vial, as has been shown, and hence cannot be the false prophet in our text as connected with the secular Roman beast. It never had any connexion with the beast; and hence is not here to be associated with it.
3. Popery is, in fact, the nominal form of godliness of the secular Roman beast. After that beast arose in France, and subverted the power of the pope ; he found (after the bloody experiment of several years), that a professed atheistical power cannot exist on earth, but will destroy itself. Hence, at Notre Dame, the infidel emperor, with his posse, in a very formal manner, adopted popery as his nominal form of godliness, and thus gave birth to the false prophet in our text. This tool of popery is thenceforth thus denominated. It is officially now the mere creature of a superior master, as a woman borne upon a beast to her execution, Rev. xvii. 3. That re-establishment of popery, at Notre Dame, was enough to give it this view ; however the millions of people of the same system of infidelity, in other lands and times, should be disconnected with popery, and should have their own congenial forms of godliness in their own way.
heart, will all unite to give the most astonishing force and success to their operations. Every incident, every local interest, every corrupt or interested passion, and all the power of sly insinuation, will be found to be pressed into their service. Licentiousness, infidelity, and false religion will unite their influence to aid the same cause of the devil, however the different branches and agents will have their own subordinate ends in view. The great things ascribed to these three unclean spirits like frogs, do forcibly suggest that they are moving only in a well known track, although this new and efficacious method is noted as going forth with power, after the sixth vial. They will then be the old, and not the young, of their race, when those new and powerful operations are ascribed to them! Such vast and subtle systems of influence do not spring at once into existence, but are usually a work of time. At the period in our text, their agency becomes more efficient, but their track and designs will not then be
It will be a last effort in behalf of a darling cause. Dragonism, infidelity, and false religion, will now be found, each making its last effort! As to any concert' between them, it may be only such as is always sound among the enemies of God,-a determinate hostility to the cause of Christ, while yet they are the subjects of ever so many minor differences among themselves. Much is yet to be done by this vast system of infidelity noted as the beast from the bottomless pit. When the code of the Jesuits was suppressed, it next came forward in a new dress of open infidelity, with great improvements, in Illuminism. In this, it introduced the judgment of the fifth vial, as has been shown; when the earth then opened her mouth and swallowed up its floods,-as upon the close of Bonaparte's dynasty ; it has still continued in various regions to operate, as one of the founders long since boasted, that let it go to ruin, he would engage to restore it in a short time to a more perfect state than before. This system, though attended with severe checks, will live till the battle of the great day of God, and will then stand pre-eminent in the ranks of the kingdom of Satan, to do now its worst. In the fifth vial, its judgments were so terrific, that many mistook them for the battle of the great day of God. And after the judginents of the sixth vial, the system, essentially the same, will slide forth from its retreats, with im
provements, to meet the ruling passions and circumstances of the day, and will lead on the events of that long-predicted battle. The terrors of these preparatory opera tions may be learned in some degree from other prophecies of the same period. Here may be the bitter contents of the little book, Rev. x. 10, 11. Here the trial of the patience of the saints, Rev. xiii. 10, and xiv. 12, 13. And here may be the most serious depression of the witnesses, known in Rev. xi. 7, as their being slain. This agency of the three unclean spirits actually gathers the nations to the battle of that great day of God Almighty ;" that event so well known through all the prophetic scriptures, and which accomplishes the seventh vial.
In the midst of the scene of gathering the nations, our blessed Lord gives the following notice.
Ver. 15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
This is as though Christ should say, Now is near at hand, the time and event, to which my warning, “Behold, I come as a thief,” had a more special allusion. Now is the time, when my people on earth shall need to watch; as I urgently directed them, when I predicted my coming, as it related to the battle of the great day of God. This my coming is at the door. Watch now, and henceforth, therefore, and keep the garments of your souls, lest when I come ye be found naked, and sink in endless shame. Jesus Christ here decides, that the predictions he uttered, in Matt. xxiv., Luke xxi., and Mark xiii., while they had a primary allusion to his coming in the destruction of Jerusalem (as he said it should take place on that generation); had more signal allusion to the seventh vial, or battle of that great day of God, to introduce the Millennium. Paul decides the same in 2 Thess. ii. The Thessalo ans, finding that Christ predicted this coming of his to take place on the Jews of that generation; and knowing that that generation was then drawing to a close; were terrified with the thought, that this coming of Christ, in its general sense, “ as a snare on all that dwell on the face of the whole earth, was then at the door.” We have here, as well as in our text, a most positive decision, that
this predicted coming of Christ involved both the destruetion of the Jews, as type, and the destruction of Antichrist as antitype. This is the coming, of which Christ in our text gives warning ;-"Behold, I come as a thief.” And he blesses those who keep his solemn commands to watch. For things are now fast ripening into that tremendous event. The diabolical agency, noted in this lecture, will now soon be found accomplishing its work. The operations are already more than commenced, like a field of frogs, thickening under the grass, which already shakes with their numbers, and nestlings; and is corrupted with their slime and filth! This agency will fully perform its work!
Ver. 16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Armageddon is a compound' word, importing the moun. tain of Megiddo. This was a city of Manasseh, 44 miles north of Jerusalem; and was the noted place where the army of Jabin was routed by the few men of Israel under Deborah and Barak. See Judges i. 27 and v. 19. It was to this place, that Abaziah fled from Jehu, and there died of his wounds. In this place also, was Josiah slain by Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt. It was hence known as a place of slaughter and mourning; as noted in Zech. xii. U. This" valley of Megiddo" implies a mountain, or hill, there, as Armageddon imports. The armies for the battle of the great day of God, being gathered there, may have something of a literal, as well as mystical import. The prophets repeatedly speak of a literal expedition in that land against the Jews, as having returned thither. See Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix. ; and Zech. xii.; Joel iii. 1, and onward. But whether the text and such predictions will, or will not have a literal fulfilment, they will have an awful mystical fulfilment on antichristian nations, who will be cut off in that fatal fall of Antichrist. These nations will be found warring against Christ, and prepared for destruction; which it is abundantly declared shall then be accomplished. A preparation for this destruction is their gathering at Armageddon. This expression implies those enormities of conduct and character, which, in the predictions of this period, are ascribed to
them. In Joel iï. 9-12, is a prophecy of the sentiment in our text, and which reflects light upon it. This prophet had said, of these last days, - Blow ye the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in my holy mountain ; let all the inhabitants of the land (earth) tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh; for it is nigh at hand.” The prophet then proceeds to describe this day of the Lord. “For behold in those days, and at that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and will plead with them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations." This bringing them to the valley of Jehoshaphat, is phrased in allusion to another ancient typical scene in Palestine ;-the combined attack upon the Jews there, in 2 Chron, xx. The pious king Jehoshaphat, on this occasion, betook himself to God, with his people, and prayed as follows; “Wilt thou not judge them ? 'for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee !” God undertook for them, fought their battle, and destroyed their enemies; so that the Jews had nothing to do but to gather the spoils, and bless God. And in allusion to this fact, the nations collected by the three unclean spirits are said to be gathered to the valley of Jehoshaphat; just as in our text they are said to be gathered to the mountain of Megiddo. The prophet Joel proceeds ; " Proclaim ye this among the gentiles; prepare war; wake up the mighty mnen; let all the men of war draw near ; let them come up. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears ; let the weak
say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about ; thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord.” This is the same gathering for the battle, with that in our text. And the same event with the seventh vial follows ;—“Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem;