Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Æmilian and the Flaminian way, with a design of sacking the defenceless mistress of the world.”! And again, “ Rome? was still adored as the queen of the earth.” The “queen of the earth” is the imagery of the Revelation ; for there "she rules over the kings of the earth," and "site a queen."

There can, then, be no doubt that the great city which sitteth “ on seven hills,” and “reigneth over the kings of the earth," and was, in the apostle's time, under her sixth form of government, is Rome; that "the earth" is her dominions; and, II., that the “ kings of the earth" are her subject kings or nations.

III. Having thus ascertained the earth and the kings of the earth, we shall now proceed to “ the beast,” the third subject proposed to be investigated. It is evident that "the beast" is the Roman monarchy, or Rome and her territories under any of her seven forms of government; for the seven heads represent the seven hills, “ the septicollis," the “ seven-hilled” city, or Rome;

, and they also represent her seven successive forms of government: Rome, therefore, under any one of them, kingly, consular, or imperial, is a head of the beast. So far is clear. But what constitutes the body of the beast? Is the body coextensive with the provinces of the empire as the boundaries were fixed by Augustus Cæsar? This very important question prophecy enables us to answer in the negative, and to mention some regions that are necessarily excluded from forming a part of the body. The prophet Daniel sees " four* great beasts come up from

“ the sea, diverse one from another.” These beasts, representing the empires of Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome, are con

the gods that my Rome be the capital of the world.”—Livy, b. i. c. 16. Milton makes the angel show Adam

" where Rome was to sway

The world.”— Paradise Lost, b. xi.
Lord Byron, in the Deformed Transformed, introduces Bourbon saying-

“ The world's Great capital, perchance, is ours to-morrow.' And Goethe writes from Rome-"At last I am arrived in this great capital of the world.”—Autobiography. I Decline and Fall, vol. i. c. 10, p. 356.

2 Ib., vol. iv. c. 31, p. 98. 3 Revelation, xvii. 18 ; xviii. 7.

4 Daniel, vii.

3

[ocr errors]

sidered in prophecy as living at the same time, and the three first, surviving the fourth. “I beheld,” says the prophet, “ even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed. As concerning the rest of the beasts they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were preserved for a season and a time.”

Consequently , all the beasts being alive at one and the same time, every beast has its own body, or every kingdom its own proper dominions, from which the nations that constitute the body of another beast, are excluded: as Assyria has her own dominions, Persia, her own dominions, and Greece, her own dominions, so Rome must have her own dominions; that is, her dominions must be on this side of Greece. The beast, therefore, is Rome and her proper dominions, to the exclusion of Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, and all the countries which formed a part of the first, of the second, or of the third monarchy.

“ It is to be observed,” says Bishop Hurd, from Mede and Sir Isaac Newton, “ that as the four kingdoms of Daniel, considered in succession to each other, form a prophetic chronology, so in another view they form a prophetic geography, being considered in the eye of prophecy as co-existent, as still alive, and subsisting, when the dominion of all but the last was taken away. consequence of this idea, which Daniel gives us of his four kingdoms, so much only is to be reckoned into the description of each kingdom as is peculiar to each; the remainder being part of some other kingdom, still supposed in being, to which it properly belongs. Thus the second, or Persian, does not take in the nations of Chaldæa and Assyria, which make the body of the first kingdom; nor the third, or Græcian kingdom, the countries of Media and Persia, being the body of the second. In like manner, the fourth, or Roman kingdom, does not, in the contemplation of the prophet, comprehend those provinces which make the body of the third, or Græcian kingdom, but such only as constitute its own body, that is, the provinces on this side of Greece.”

IV. Having thus ascertained that Rome with her own proper territories, under any of her seven forms of government, is the beast, the fourth thing to be determined is, when the war began, and the period of it.

In

| Sermon xi. on Prophecy, p. 257.

F

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

66

In the Revelation, the ten-horned beasts of chapters xii. and xiii. are regarded as one, though existing in two different states: for the beast is slain and immediately restored to life. " And I beheld,” says

St. John, one of his heads as it had" been slain to death, and his (the beast's) deadly wound (the wound of his death, or the wound causing his death2) was healed," and he “ lived."4 The beast is, therefore, slain some time during the course of the prophecy (when is necessarily a subject of future inquiry), and is again restored to life, which is symbolically represented (chapter xiii.) by his rising out of the sea.

This is fully borne out by chapter xvii. * The beast which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit; and the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth” (king). In all these places there is only one beast, though he is in two different states. When seen by St. John, he is under his sixth head; afterward he is not, or ceases to be; but he soon rises out of the bottomless? pit; and, in this state, he is the eighth king, or ruler, of a monarchy whose capital is the “great city.”

This representation made to St. John, of a beast existing in two different states through a long period of time, a portion of which is still future, corresponds with, and is elucidated by, the symbolical prophecy of Daniel. The prophecy is as follows:“ After this I saw in the night visions a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. And I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there

[merged small][ocr errors]

4

[ocr errors]

| Compare, for this translation, c. v. 6, where the Greek is the same. 2 Vulnus mortiferum.-Schleusner. 3 xiii 3.

verse 14. 5 Some have supposed the noun in concord with eighth, is head. A little attention to the meaning of the symbol, head, or the Greek, would show the impossibility of such a construction, and that king is the word referred to.

6 Holden (cited in Bloomfield's Greek Testament) thus explains verse 11—“ And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth," " that did exist” under his former heads, and does not so any longer, but exists under another form.

7 It has been doubted if the beasts of chapters xiii. and xvii. are the same, because in the one chapter he rises from the sea, in the other, from the bottomless pit. It will be shown that "abussos,” the deep or bottomless pit, and sea, have in symbolical langrage the same signification.

a

were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in the horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld, till the thrones were set, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the

pure

wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set and the books were opened. I beheld then, because of the voice 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." I

According to this prophecy, the beast lives till the judgment sits, which is an event still future, when his body will be given to the burning flame; but though his existence is prolonged for an immense period of time, yet, it is not under one, but two different characters he domineers: at first, till he “ has devoured the whole earth," and "trodden it down," he tyranises as the beast with “ great iron teeth;" afterward, three horns having been plucked up by the roots, it is as the “ little horn," with eyes like the “eyes of a man,” and “whose look was more stout than his fellows."

It is clear, and it is noticed by expositors, that the beast and the kings of the earth, who, in chapter xvii., make war with the Lamb, are described again, in chapter xix., fighting against Him: the same war is, therefore the subject of two different visions. But, as the beast exists in two different states, before the latter vision can be fully understood, two questions must be answered—did the war commence against him in his second, or first state, and when ?

The time of the Revelation, from the opening of the first seal to the termination of the war (xix.), may be divided into two periods—the former ending, when the beast receives his deadly wound, and the second beginning, when his deadly wound is healed (chapter xiii. 3, 12). Now, during the greater part of the former period, two only of the four powers, represented in chapter xix. 11, &c., " the beast” and “the kings of the earth,” are in existence. For the “two-horned beast," or “ false prophet,” and the “image,” are not introduced in the prophecy till “ the beast” has been slain ; when the “twohorned beast," which had been gradually rising out of the earth, and the “ image,” become prominent characters; and from this time there are four symbols——the “ beast,” the “ kings of the earth," the " image," and the "two-horned beast," or "false prophet;” denoting so many powers, which are banded together, and fight against the Lamb. But at the beginning of the war, and, obviously, while it has been for some time going on, the " beast” only, and the “ kings of the earth,” are mentioned:“ 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” (xix 19). But in the verse which brings the conflict almost to an end, the “ false prophet” and“ image” are particularized:—“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." Hence, as the “false prophet” and “image” are not mentioned at the beginning, and are towards the conclusion, of the war, it would appear to have commenced before their time, and, consequently, against the beast in his first state.

i Daniel, vii. St. John's beast, like Daniel's, is finally destroyed by fire. Compare Revelation, xix. 20.

Let us see if this can be confirmed. It has been shown that when a prophecy of the Old Testament, having its accomplishment after the Ascension of the Lord, is interwoven in an Apocalyptic vision, both predictions refer to the same events; so that if the scope, place, or time of the one can be ascertained, the time, place, and scope of the other will be known. We shall now endeavour to prove, by means of this principle, that the war continues through a long Apocalyptic period, and that it commenced against imperial Rome, A.D. 66.

The elder Lowth, the bishop, Vitringa, Scott, and other writers on prophecy, maintain, that Isaiah, lxiii. 1-6, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

| Ante, pp. 5, 6.

« НазадПродовжити »