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and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord shall be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” This is the battle of that great day of God Almighty, to prepare for which, the spirits of devils gather their legions to Armageddon. But what is the sense of the mystical gathering of the nations? It means their wicked preparation for ruin: being found as though in battle array against God. It means what is implied in the following warnings relative to that day. 66 When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth.” “ For the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” “ 'The press is full,—the fats overflow, for the wickedness thereof is great.” Hear the following inspired strokes : “ There shall be mockers in the last time, who shall walk after their own ungodly lusts.” “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh, with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment.” That precious fragment of primitive revelation is thus given anew, to assure of the abomination and destruction of infidels of these last days! “These filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." “What they know naturally, as brute beasts, in. those things they corrupt themselves." " They have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core." 56 Clouds without water, carried about of winds; trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” “Raging waves of the sea, foaming ont their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Walking after their own lusts, speaking great swelling words." "That walk after the flesh, in the lusts of uncleanness, and despise government; presumptuous are they, self-willed," " natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil of things which they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruptions." Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls ; a heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children!" “ While they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption." These are some of the traits of character, given of the infidels and licentious, who are to be gathered, as in battle array, against the Heavens! Already do they appear, The
world is filling with them; and it will fill more and more rapidly under Satanic influence, till the judgments of Heaven will burst upon their guilty heads ;-in the seventh vial. Most critical and dangerous will be the state of the rising generation, when things are thus !
Ver. 17. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air ; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.
19. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
This is an assemblage of figures the most terrific ; more than all that is found in the antecedent six vials. This is “the batile of that great day of God Almighty !" as in the antecedent context, alluding to a day much known in the prophets. The words, in the Greek rens
dered that, are more emphatical than can be rendered in English; the article being doubled, and the demonstrative pronoun inserted, to show it to be a day of vast note. The other vials seem to have been local ;-partial judg. ments on particular places, or systems : but this is general on all the enemies of Christ : to denotc which, it is said to be poured into the air, a striking figure ;-poured upon the world of every thing antichristian ; upon all that had been collected by the three unclean spirits. Other prophecies note this event as executed first on Antichrist; and then on all that is antichristian. All that partake of his sins, shall receive of his plagues. The beast seems to take the first discharge ; and then all that have the mark of the beast. As in Ezek. xxxviii. and xxxix., the battle commences upon Gog: and then rolls over all his hosts, and the legions combined with him, in the different nations. A great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, is heard, saying, “ It is done !" or, this is the last scene of wrath ; as in another passage upon the same event, “ the mystery of God shall be finished.” This is, then, the finishing scene of judgment. And the complication of figures by which is given this finishing scene of wrath, is notable indeed. We have here epitomnes of the most striking figures of divine wrath, on nations that are found in the prophets.
* Voices" commence the scene, like those given by lion-like generals, at the head of their armies, when just entering a field of battle. “The Lord is a man of war !" 6. The Lord shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great;" says the prophet Joel, when describing this very battle. This may be the parent passage of the clause in our text, which speaks of voices! "'Thunderings, lightnings” follow, most fit emblem of unprecedented wars. And the greatest earthquake ever known, an emblem of by far the most fearsul commotions through the world of mankind ever known. “The great city," or the antichristian world, is fatally divided; and God remembers to fulfil on Babylon the fierceness of his wrath. Islands, and mountains, or the less and greater kingdom of the world, disappear in fatal revolutions, and destruction. And to finish the whole, a hail falls, of such stones each of 114 pounds weight, as to de stroy inevitably every one on whom they fall. Our Lord, upon the same event, says, “There shall be great tribulaa
tion, such as was not from the beginning of the world to that time; no, nor ever shall be.” This assertion of Christ shows its event must be the same with that in our text; as no other event could be the greatest. Daniel speaks of it thus; “ Then shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time.” “And (says the text,) the great city was divided into three parts." The great empire of Antichrist shall be thus divided This empire will then be found to be “ great ;" and to have been so organized as to constitute it, in all its parts, a city,—one entire system. This is taught also in chap. xi. 8; when noting where the slain witnesses lie unburied; " in the street of the great city” of the noted system of the infidelity of the day, called the beast from the bottomless pit. Parts of this great system now revolt. The Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem (a type of this very event) fatally fell into three great divisions, and thus facilitated their own ruin. What this division of the great antichristian city will be, time will best decide. The unclean spirits that collect this battle array, are three. And fatal divisions are predicted of that time. Our Lord assures lis, “there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.” Fathers with sons, and sons with fathers shall contend ; and even mothers with daughters. It is said in Ezek. xxxviii. 21 ; where this fall of Antichrist is predicted as the fall of Gog, and his bands ; “And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; every man's sword shall be against his brother.” Says the text, " And the cities of the nations fell." The divine vengeance, after it breaks forth, rolls and thunders through the antichristian nations, demolishes their capitals, and lays their cities in ruins. As Ezek. xxxix. 6, after the battle is noted as opening, first on Gog and his bands, noted as collected in Palestine against the restored Jews, God says, " And I will send a fire on Magog, and among
them that dwell carelessly in the isles." The nations of Gog, dwelling carelessly at their homes, shall next receive the fatal discharge of this cup of wrath, and the fire of God will devour them. How far literal fire will have an agency in this falling of the cities of the nations, the event only must decide. The stroke, in Rev. xiv. 18, where (upon the same period and event) it is said, “And another angel
came out of the altar having power over fire,” has been supposed to indicate that the element of fire may,
with other furious elements, be let loose on the cities and nations given up to ruin. “ The fire of thine enemies shall devour them.”
“ And great Babylon caine in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” Great Babylon here, must include the powers combined against Christ, in this concluding scene. Who these powers are, we learn in other predictions of the same event, as Dan. vii. 11; " I beheld then because of the great words which the horn spake ; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." We learn here, that the beast, the secular Roman beast, and his papal horn, constitute the great Babylon to be destroyed. In Rev. xix. 19, 20, we find the same. “ And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him; these both were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Here is the great Babylon, and her destruction, in the text. She is the secular Roman beast and popery ; together with all the adventitious powers, kings, or kingdoms, of the earth, which the powers of infidelity, popery, and licentiousness shall be found to have combined against Zion. “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." Islands and mountains here stand for less and greater nations, and are found no more. It then follows; “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent," or 114 pounds. Hail is an emblem of divine judgments; and hailstones of 114 pounds indicate that the judgments here will be as much more terrible than any ever known, as hailstones of 114 pounds weight exceed any hail ever before known. This ema blem teaches not the nature of those judgments, but their greatness, and the fatal ruin they accomplish.
These judgments will sweep away the horrid system of infidelity, with the remains of popery; all systems of false religion, and of licentiousness ;-the open and contending enemies of God in every land. The many predictions of the event suggest that violent exterminating wars, civil