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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Chapter 1 Section 1 Subsection 5
Apocalypse Rooted In The Prophets
In treating of the causes which operated the rapid progress of the gospel in the first two hundred years of our era, the historian of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" thus expresses himself with reference to the great subject matter of the Apocalypse.
"The ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium," says Gibbon, "was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ. As the works of creation had been finished in six days, their duration, in their present state, according to a tradition which was attributed to the prophet Elijah, was fixed to six thousand years. By the same analogy it was inferred that this long period of labour and contention, which was now almost elapsed (as they supposed), would be succeeded by a joyful Sabbath of a thousand years; and that Christ, with the triumphant band of the Saints and the elect who had escaped death, or who had been miraculously revived, would reign upon earth till the time appointed for the last and general resurrection. So pleasing was this hope to the minds of believers, that the New Jerusalem, the seat of this blissful kingdom, was quickly adorned with all the gayest colors of the imagination. A felicity consisting only of pure and spiritual pleasure would have appeared too refined for its inhabitants, who were still supposed to possess their human nature and senses. A garden of Eden with the amusements of pastoral life, was no longer suited to the advanced state of society which prevailed under the Roman Empire. A city was therefore erected, of gold and precious stones, and a supernatural plenty of corn and wine was bestowed on the adjacent territory; in the free enjoyment of whose spontaneous productions, the happy and benevolent people was never to be restrained by any jealous laws of exclusive property. The assurance of such a millennium was carefully inculcated by a succession of fathers, from Justin Martyr and lrenaeus, who conversed with the immediate disciples of the apostles, down to Lactantius, who was preceptor to the son of Constantine. Though it might not be universally received, it appears to have been the reigning sentiment of the orthodox believers; and it seems so well adapted to the desires and apprehensions of mankind, that it must have contributed in a very considerable degree to the progress of the Christian faith. But when the edifice of the church was almost completed, the temporary support was laid aside. The doctrine of Christ's reign upon earth was at first treated as a profound allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and was at length rejected as the absurd invention of heresy and fanaticism. A
mysterious prophecy (the Apocalypse) which still forms a part of the sacred canon, but which was thought to favor the exploded sentiment, has very narrowly escaped the proscription of THE CHURCH."
This is the impartial testimony of a man who was well acquainted with the literature of the times contemporary with, and immediately succeeding, those of the apostles; and who conceived that the propagators of Christianity were deceived, and of such low morality that they did not hesitate to invent and promulgate lies to gain their ends. This was doubtless the case with the Babel builders of what Gibbon calls "the church"; but it is a gross calumny when insinuated against those "servants of God" to whom the Apocalypse was "sent." Gibbon's testimony, however, is important and useful in this:
1. That it proves that the nearer we approach to the times of the Apostles, the stronger and more universal was the belief of the Apocalyptic teaching concerning the Millennium, and reign of Christ and the Saints upon the earth;
2. That it was well adapted to the desires and apprehensions of mankind;
3.That so long as it continued the reigning sentiment, the faith rapidly progressed;
4. That when the edifice erecting by the Sons of Balaam and Jezebel was almost completed, the doctrine of Christ's reign began to be abandoned;
5. That when they had completed the Apostasy, the doctrine was repudiated as heresy and fanaticism; and
6.That the Apocalypse itself had a narrow escape of being expelled from the canon of inspiration.
But here we beg leave to remark, that the doctrine of Messiah's reign with the Saints on earth for a long season did not originate with the Apocalypse. It is the burden of all the prophets from Moses to Malachi. Moses teaches that the seed of Abraham shall be a great nation; that that nation with Abraham and his Seed, the prophet like to him, shall possess the Holy Land for ever; that all nations shall be blessed in them; and that then the whole earth shall be full of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] glory. This is the future state which Moses preached as the gospel to Israel. Nor was the preaching confined to him. The proclamation was amplified in all the prophets. The "Songs of Jehovah [Yahweh]" are full of it. Isaiah announced it in glowing terms, and tells us that in vision he saw the King upon his throne, who is to reign in righteousness, on Mount Sion and in Jerusalem gloriously in the presence of his Ancients, or Saints, whose death shall be swallowed up in victory (ch. 6:1-5; 32:1; 24:23; 25:8). Jeremiah testifies to the same effect, telling us that Jehovah [Yahweh]
will raise up to David a Righteous Branch; that this man shall be King of Israel, reigning and prospering, and executing judgment and justice in the earth; that in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; that He shall be for the righteousness of the nation; that then Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of Jehovah [Yahweh]; that all nations shall be concentred to it as the throne of empire; and that they shall all be enlightened, and blessed in their king, who shall be called "The God of the Whole Earth" (ch. 3:17; 23:5, 6; 33:15; Isa. 54:5).
The Apocalypse in Ezekiel.
EZEKIEL prophesies that the Dry Tree of Israel, which now bears no fruit, shall be made to flourish in the mountain of the heights of Israel; where it shall shoot forth boughs, and bear fruit; and that under its branching foliage shall dwell all fowl of every wing (Ch. 17:22-24). He tells us concerning that epoch, that the kingdom of Israel shall be given to a man of low station whose right it is; that he shall be a Plant of Renown; that he shall be a David; that he shall be Prince, or High Priest, of Israel for an Aion; that he shall be immortal; that the Holy Land shall be as the Garden of Eden, or Paradise; that the twelve tribes of Israel shall be a united nation, and form one kingdom
in the land; that a magnificent temple shall be built in Jerusalem differing from that of Solomon; that the Dead Sea shall be healed, and become as productive of fish as the Mediterranean; and that from the time of the establishment of these things, the old name of the city shall be abolished-that it shall no longer be Jeru, "they shall see," shalaim, "peace"; but, Yahweh-shammah, HE WHO SHALL BE IS THERE (ch. 21:26, 27; 34:29, 23; 37:25, 22; 36:35; 47:8-10; 48:35).
The Apocalypse in Daniel.
DANIEL foretold the establishment of a kingdom which shall be a great military power in its beginning, and of perpetual continuance: that it should conquer all kingdoms extant in the Latter Days; that until then "the Kingdom of Men" would bear rule over all the earth -- until seven times, 2,520 years, should be completed; which is the age of Nebuchadnezzar's Image from the first year of his reign, B.C. 608. That these two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Men, should be antagonist kingdoms in all their elements and principles; that till the end of a period of 1,260 years, the Kingdom of Men should "prevail against the Saints," or Heirs of the Kingdom of God; that it should also destroy the power of the Jews, and rule over Palestine to the end of that period; that when this end should arrive, the power of God
should be Apocalypsed, or revealed, in the person of Michael, the Prince of princes, who shall appear to deliver Israel, and awake the dead; that in effecting this deliverance, the thrones, or kingdoms of this world, shall be cast down, and the Kingdom of Men transferred to the Saints, who shall possess it under the whole heaven ad-ahlmah, "during an Aion," or Millennium, we-ad ahlam ahlmayah "even for the Aion of the Aions," or "a season and a time" (ch. 2:44; 4:15, 16; 8:24; 7:21, 22, 25; 12:1, 2; 7:9, 18, 27, 12).
The Apocalypse in Hosea.
HOSEA declares that Judah shall be saved by Jehovah [Yahweh] their Elohim; that is, by Messiah; that in the countries where it is now said to them, "Ye are not the people of Jehovah [Yahweh]," there they shall be called, "The sons of the living God." He says also, that at that time Judah and Israel shall become a united nation, and agree to place themselves under One Chief; that he shall betroth the nation to himself for the Aion; that they shall hear Jezreel; that he shall be a David and that this shall come to pass in the Latter Days; and that these, the days of their national resurrection, shall be "in the third day" after their being rent, and removed out of His sight. This can only mean during a third period of a thousand years. The present year of Ephraim's rending and dispersion is 2,588, which is synchronical with that of our era 1861 (ch. 1:7,10,11; 2:19,22; 3:4,5: 5:14,15; 6:2).
The Apocalypse in Joel.
JOEL, though brief, is very explicit, and coincident with the above. After predicting terrible calamities upon Israel and their country by the lions of Assyria, and others, he consoles the nation with the assurance that after the Gentiles had filled up the measure of their abominations, Jehovah [Yahweh] will be jealous for his land and will pity his people; and that they shall no more be made a reproach among the nations. He predicted that Jehovah [Yahweh] will do great things, at which the children of Zion shall be glad, and that they shall rejoice in Jehovah [Yahweh], their Elohim, or Christ: that he would give them the latter rain of the Spirit, as on Pentecost, of the first month; and the former rain litzdahkah, on account of righteousness, in the seventh month, which is also the first of the civil year. That in this period there shall be restoration, and that henceforth Jehovah's [Yahweh's] people shall never be ashamed. He foretold that between the two Spirit-Rain periods, Zion's Sun should be turned into darkness, and the Moon of her ecclesiastical heavens into blood, before the great and terrible Day of Jehovah [Yahweh] should be apocalypsed, or revealed, upon Israel's enemies; whose destruction shall proceed from Mount Zion and
Jerusalem, in which shall be deliverance for the remnant whom Jehovah [Yahweh] shall call. He further makes known, that in the days of the Restoration of Judah and Jerusalem, Jehovah [Yahweh] will gather all national armies into the valley of Jehoshaphat or Armageddon; and there contend with them in battle for the possession of the Holy Land: that on the eve of this contest a proclamation shall be made among the nations, stirring them up to the war, which in the Apocalypse is styled "the war of that great day of God Almighty": that, at this epoch of restoration, Jehovah [Yahweh] shall lead down his warriors to the conflict in the valley of judgment; that the harvest-sickle, and the vintage press, shall then do their work; that Jehovah [Yahweh], as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and shake the heavens and the earth of the non-Jewish world, whose Sun and Moon shall be darkened, and the shining of their stars shall be destroyed; that when this is consummated, Jerusalem shall be holy; and no strangers, or enemies, shall pass through her any more; that the land shall be as Paradise, flowing with wine and milk, being so rich in vines and pasturage, fountains and running streams; and to crown the whole, Joel testifies with Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, that Jehovah [Yahweh] then dwells in Zion, the place of rest, and city of the Great King (ch. 1:6: 2:18,19,23,24,26,31,32: 3:1,2,9,11-18,20,21).
The Apocalypse In Amos.
Amos, who was contemporary with Isaiah, adds his testimony to a like effect. He says that Jehovah [Yahweh] will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; but that he will do nothing without first revealing it unto his servants the prophets. He predicted that the ten tribes of Israel should be carried into captivity beyond Damascus; that there should come a famine of hearing the words of Jehovah [Yahweh], and that Israel should run to and fro to seek the word, but should not find it, as it has come to pass for the past eighteen hundred years. He foretold the desolation of the kingdom in all its elements; but also that Jehovah [Yahweh] will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob; but that he would sift them among all nations as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet that not one good seed should fall to the earth to rise no more: for that when the indignation shall be completed, Jehovah [Yahweh] will raise up the dwelling-place of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; he will raise up David's ruins, and build the kingdom AS IN THE DAYS OF OLD; that they who shall inherit it, may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the nations when Jehovah's [Yahweh's] name shall be proclaimed to them: then Israel shall be planted upon their land, and rooted up no more from thence, saith Jehovah [Yahweh] Elohim, who hath given it to them, and not to the Gentiles (ch. 1:2; 3:7: 5:27; 9:8,11-15).
The Apocalypse in Obadiah.
Edom, in the prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel's kingdom in "the latter days," is representative of the enemies of Jacob, banded together under the guardianship of Gog, who is then the Chief of the House of Esau. OBADIAH had a vision of this Confederacy, occupying a similar relationship to Israel hereafter, that Edom did in the typical times of the prophet. Obadiah has placed on record the sentence that "Every one of the Mount of Esau shall be cut off by slaughter for ever, and shame shall cover them, because of their violence against Jacob;" that as Edom has drunk upon Jehovah's [Yahweh's] holy mountain, (where also they revel to this day), so shall all the nations drink, and they shall be as though they had not been: for that upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions; and the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, (or as Paul styles it "a fire of flame" in 2 Thess. 1:8,) and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; and that at the time appointed for this, deliverers shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau; and the kingdom thus obtained shall be Jehovah's [Yahweh's] (verses 9,10,16-18,21).
The Apocalypse in Micah.
MICAH was contemporary with the times of Amos and Isaiah. He opens his prophecy apocalyptically by saying, "Behold, Jehovah [Yahweh] cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth." He predicted that because of the iniquity of the Israelites and their rulers, Zion should be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem should become heaps, and the mountain on which the temple stood as the high places of the forest. But, he goes on to say, that Zion, Moriah, and Jerusalem, although thus trodden under foot of destroyers, should not always be abased. He coincides with Isaiah, and testifies in the same words, that in the latter days yet future, the kingdom of Jehovah [Yahweh], which he terms "The mountain of the house of Jehovah [Yahweh]," shall have the sovereignty over the empires and kingdoms of the earth, and that all nations shall concentrate around its throne: that Jehovah [Yahweh] the Elohim of Jacob will enlighten, or apocalypse them, and that they will in consequence walk in his ways: that a law and a word will be promulgated from Zion and Jerusalem, and be universally obeyed: that war will then be abolished, peace be established as the order of the day, and good-will everywhere prevail. He further testifies, that Israel shall then be a strong nation, with Jehovah (Christ) reigning
over them in Mount Zion from thenceforth, and for the Olahm, or Millennium -- the First Dominion shall come to Zion; and the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem. But he also testifies, that before this exaltation to dominion, Zion's daughter should dwell in Babylon, in the ten streets of which she is a wanderer to this day: that in Babylon she shall be delivered: in Babylon Jehovah [Yahweh] shall redeem her from the hand or power of her enemies, the Gentiles. He testifies that when the time of this deliverance shall arrive, the Daugher of Zion (which is constituted of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the Saints) shall arise and thresh with horn of iron and hoof of brass, and beat in pieces many people, whose spoil shall be consecrated to Jehovah [Yahweh] the Judge of Israel, and the Adon or Sovereign Ruler of the whole earth; who, in the days of his humanity, should be smitten with a rod upon the cheek by the rebellious.
Isaiah had foretold that the Judge of Israel should come of the house of David (Isa. 9:6,7); and Micah predicted he should be born in Bethlehem Ephratah. But, because of the unworthy treatment he should experience at their hands, he should abandon the nation to its calamities, until the time of Zion's travail, when he shall be apocalypsed as a thief in the night; and then the remnant of his brethren shall return on account of the children of Israel.
He goes on furthermore to say, that in this day of apocalypse, the Judge of Israel shall stand and rule in the strength of Jehovah [Yahweh], in the majesty of the name of Jehovah [Yahweh] his Eloah; that Israel shall then abide, or dwell safely in the Holy Land, because their Divine King shall be great to the ends of the earth. That when he is apocalypsed in the day of Zion's travail, writhing in pain under Gentile oppression, the Bethlehem-born Judge of Israel shall be the nation's peace; because He and his brethren princes shall expel the Assyrian from Judea, and, carrying the war into the land of Nimrod, shall reduce the enemy to the necessity of suing for peace, which will be granted with the loss of dominion and independence. That the remnant of Jacob in more distant nations of the earth shall be as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among a flock of sheep; who, if he go through, both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
But though Israel is to do valiantly in the latter days, he showed that they should previously suffer much because of iniquity, transgression, and sin. That they would be not only nationally corrupt, but socially treacherous and cruel, so that a man's enemies would be those of his own house. That, though they should cause the fall of One, he should rise again; and though they should cause him to sit in the darkness of death, Jehovah [Yahweh] should become to him a light. That after this cruel treachery,
Jerusalem, his enemy, should be covered with shame, and trodden down as mire in the streets; and that when the day of her rebuilding should arrive, the decree authorizing it should come from afar.
Micah, perceiving that there was hope in Israel's end, petitions Jehovah [Yahweh] in their behalf. He prays that they may be fed in Bashan and Gilead "AS IN THE DAYS OF OLD." His supplication is heard, and he is informed by Jehovah [Yahweh] that their Exodus from Babylon should be after the type (and duration) of that from Egypt into Canaan: that in this exodus from Babylon the nations shall be confounded when they shall behold the prowess of the Jews; that they shall lick the dust like a serpent, and be afraid of Jehovah [Yahweh] our Elohim (Christ), for he will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations, such as they have not heard.
But concerning Israel the prophet testifies, that the Conqueror of the nations will pass by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage, that he will have compassion on them; that he will subdue their iniquities, and cast all their sins into the depth of the sea; that he will perform the truth to Jacob, the mercy to Abraham, which he has sworn to Israel's fathers from the days of old (ch. 1:3; 2:12,13; 3:12; 4:1-4,7,8,10,13; 5:1-8,15; 7:6,8,10,11,14-20).
The Apocalypse In Nahum.
NAHUM saw Israel oppressed by Nineveh; and predicted its overthrow, because its monarch was wicked, and imagined evil against Jehovah [Yahweh]. But Israel's deliverance from the Assyrian by the fall of Nineveh was only the type of a greater deliverance at the apocalypse of Messiah. The prophet, therefore, looking forward to this, concerning which Micah's testimony is already before the reader, says, "Behold upon the mountains the feet of HIM that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows; for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off (ch. 1:15). This must be future, because the wicked are not yet cut off, but are in possession of the Holy Land.
The Apocalypse in Habakkuk.
Now while Nahum looked at the latter day deliverance of Israel through the fall of Nineveh, HABAKKUK contemplated the same consummation through the typical fall of Nebuchadnezzar's Dynasty. He saw Babylon in the plenitude of its power. Success would intoxicate the Golden Head, whose spirit would change, and he would transgress and offend by imputing his power to his own strength. And while Babylon triumphed, he saw that Israel and the nations were enclosed in
its net, being subjected thereby to spoliation and great distress. He was desirous to know what all this would result in. He therefore besought Jehovah [Yahweh] to reveal to him what the end would be. His petition was granted, and the consummation was presented to him in a vision, which is to speak "at the end." He saw in that epoch, which is termed "the Day of Trouble," a chief of nations, proud, covetous, rapacious, and impious, as Belshazzar; who will not confine himself to his own territories, but will enlarge his desire as the grave, and will be as death, which cannot be satisfied, but will gather to his throne all nations, and laden himself with all people as with thick clay. He saw this Power in vision execrated in its time as the spoiler of the nations, and the violator of the land of Israel, Jerusalem, and its inhabitants. This is the Gog of Ezekiel, the Assyrian of Isaiah and Micah, the King of the North of Daniel, the Lawless One of Paul, and the Dragon of Apoc. xx. Habakkuk saw that "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah [Yahweh] as the waters cover the sea;" but he saw also that this could not be the character of the times until this CLAY-POWER should be removed out of the way. It was accordingly shown to him that the power should be broken by certain who should "rise up suddenly" and "awake;" and that the sleepers who shall awake to life and stand upon their feet for action, shall bite, and vex, and spoil him. These are the Saints he saw in vision, in whose midst is the STONE OF THE WALL, which shall cry out against him.
After the prophet had seen the vision, and heard the speech accompanying it, in his hymn to Jehovah [Yahweh] he recounts the glorious apocalypse he beheld. He saw Israel in extremity, and the Thick-Clay Power in Egypt in all the confidence of victory. But the Stone out of the Wall makes proclamation against him, which results only in stirring him up to fury; and the prophet sees his hosts in tempestuous motion "coming out as a whirlwind to scatter me, and rejoicing in the prospect of devouring the poor in the lurking-place." The tents of Cushan and Midian, in this "day of Midian" (Isa. 9:4), overspread the wilderness of Mount Paran, the country of Teman, situated between Palestine and Egypt, south of the Mediterranean, and between the Gulph of Suez and the Gulph of Akaba or Elath, north of Mount Sinai. The mistar, or lurking-place of Judah's Lion, the place of his encampment in the vision, is the region of Edom and Moab running down to the Gulph of Elath. After the type of the Exodus from Egypt, Jehovah [Yahweh] will rise up from Seir, and shine forth from Mount Paran (Isa. 16:3,4; Dan. 11:41; Deut. 33:2; Hab. 3:3). This arrangement places the Gulph of Elath, "the Tongue of the Egyptian Sea" (Isa. 11:15), the Elanitic Gulph of the Red Sea; in other words, between the Gogian army of
Egypt, and, as the Egyptian forces imagine, the feeble and dispirited outcasts of Moab. But they know not that with these outcasts is the antitypical Joshua, the prophet like unto Moses, and the antitypical Gideon, with the sword of Jehovah [Yahweh] and his chosen band, as represented in Apoc. 19:14; 17:14. If the reader keep these geographical relations before his mind, he will discern what Habakkuk testifies in saying, "Thou didst march thine horses into the sea through a heap of great waters"; "was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thy horses, thy chariots of salvation?" No, the prophet saw that the wrath was against the tents of Cushan, and the curtains of the land of Midian, which, when they came to see the waters open a way into their encampment for their enemy's cavalry, trembled in dismay. Brightness as the light burst forth upon them; beams of light from his hand, the hiding-place of his power. The prophet saw him march on in indignation, and thresh the heathen in anger. The conqueror's feet were like hind's feet; he overtook the flying enemy, and cut them in pieces with his troops. Israel in Egypt had cried unto Jehovah [Yahweh] because of the oppressors, and he sent them "a Saviour, even a Great One," whom Habakkuk beholds from his watch-tower. "Thou wentest forth," says he, "for the salvation of thy people, for salvation with thy Christ (Anointed) thou woundedst the Head of the house of the wicked." Thus Jehovah [Yahweh] becomes known to Egypt, and his outcasts in the land of Egypt are redeemed, and the way opened for them to return to the land of promise. The land of Judah now becomes a terror to the land of Egypt, and is terribly smitten from thence; so that every Egyptian that maketh mention thereof shall tremble because of the counsel of Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies, which he determines against it. His counsel is this. "I will bring Israel again out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria, and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, and room shall not be found for them. And he shall pass through the sea in adversity, and he shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away" (Zech. 10:10,11).
But though Jehovah [Yahweh] Elohim shall thus "smite Egypt," he will afterwards "heal it." His conquests, however, and its terrible accompaniments will never be forgotten. For "in that day five cities in the land of Egypt shall speak the language of Canaan, and swear allegiance to Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies, City of the Destruction shall one be called. In that day there shall be an altar to Jehovah [Yahweh] in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Jehovah [Yahweh]: and it shall be for a sign, and for a witness to Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies in the land of Egypt. And the Egyptians shall know Jehovah [Yahweh] in that day, and shall do sacrifice
and oblation; yea, they shall promise a votive offering to Jehovah [Yahweh], and perform. And they shall turn to Jehovah [Yahweh], and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria; and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance" (Isa. 19:17-25).
After the conquest of Egypt, then, Habakkuk, whose position may be supposed to be Jerusalem, sees, in the vision of the end, "Eloah coming out of Teman, and the Holy One (or Christ) from Mount Paran." He has now taken away the dominion of the Lion and the Bear from India to Ethiopia, and possesses for his own Egypt, Israel, and Assyria. "His glory covers the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise." In making these conquests, and those which remain, in relation to the Leopard, and the Fourth Beast of Daniel, "the pestilence goes from before him, and a flame from his feet." What follows is verv grand. Viewing the work of conquest to be done, the prophet says, "He stood and surveyed the earth; he beheld, and drove asunder the nations: and the mountains of antiquity (or empires) were scattered, the perpetual hills (or ancient kingdoms) did bow: the ways of antiquity are for him." That is, the kingdoms and empires existing in the hour of the end are for Jehovah's [Yahweh's] Christ. These "mountains saw him and trembled: the overflowing of the water," their military inundation, "passed by: the deep uttered his voice," the roaring of the bottomless pit of nations; but He, after the type of Joshua, commanded "the Sun and the Moon to stand still in their habitation; and his arrows went in the light, and his glittering spear in the shining". Judah his bow, and Ephraim his arrow, arrest the sun and moon of the Gentile heavens, and go in the light thereof.
The Apocalypse in Zephaniah.
ZEPHANIAH was contemporary with Jeremiah, and prophesied in the reign of Josiah, king of Judah. Jehovah [Yahweh] declared by him, that he would utterly consume all things, constituting Judah's commonwealth, from off the Holy Land. This was to come to pass, because Jerusalem "obeyed not the voice; received not correction; trusted not in Jehovah [Yahweh]; drew not near to her Elohim. Her princes within her were as roaring lions; her judges as evening wolves; her prophets light and treacherous persons; and her priests had polluted the sanctuary, and done violence to the law." We can look back by the light of history, and see how
terrible hath been the indignation of Jehovah [Yahweh] and His Christ. The sea coast of Palestine, once so rich and flourishing in the hands of the Philistines, has become, as Zephaniah predicted, "dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks"; and "an afflicted and poor people only is left in the midst of the land." The Philistines, and Moab, and Ammon, and Nineveh, and Khushistan, people all contemporary with the prophet, have all passed away as he foretold; and a despised remnant of his countrymen alone continue, a living monument of woe.
But of this remnant and their country the prophet has recorded great and glorious things. "The sea coast," says he, "shall be for the house of Judah; and they shall feed thereupon: for Jehovah [Yahweh] their Elohim shall visit them, and turn away their captivity." "They shall spoil Moab and Ammon; and shall possess them." This change in the fortunes of the poor and afflicted remnant of Israel, the prophet shows, is to occur at a period when Jehovah's [Yahweh's] wrath is to be let loose against the nations. Jehovah [Yahweh] informs us through the prophet, what his determination is with respect to the world at the coming crisis. Addressing the afflicted remnant, Jehovah [Yahweh] says "Wait ye for me, until the day that I rise up to the prey "-"the Day of Wrath and Apocalypse" of Paul: "for my determination is to gather the nations, to assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for with the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be devoured."
The result of this manifestation and outpouring of wrath will be sevenfold;
1. The Apocalypse of Jehovah [Yahweh], the King of Israel in Jerusalem;
2. The taking away of judgments from Jerusalem;
3. The purification and pardon of the remnant;
4. The exaltation of Israel to fame and-praise throughout the world;
5 . Their restoration to the Holy Land from all parts of the earth;
6 . The abolition of all the " Names and Denominations," and other superstitions of every form, shade, and color, that now bewilder and divide mankind; and which are sustained as elements of the civil and ecclesiastical polity of the nations; and,
7. The establishment of One Religion and One Government for all the world.
In view of these things, the prophet exclaims, "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem", -- "the Mother of us all" (Gal. 4:26). "Jehovah [Yahweh] hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel, Jehovah [Yahweh], is in the midst of thee: THOU SHALT NOT SEE EVIL ANY MORE... Jehovah [Yahweh] thine Elohim (that is, the Mystical Christ) in the midst of thee is mighty: He will save; he will rejoice over thee with
joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing... Behold at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and will gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame."
It is manifest, however, to every considerate person, that this glorious result for Israel and the Saints (for the one is not redeemed without the other) can only be consequent upon the binding of the Dragon and conquest of the kings of the earth, as represented in the Apocalypse. The governments must be broken as a potter's vessel, or Israel, the Saints, and the nations, cannot attain the blessing promised. The testimony of all the prophets concurs in this; and that when broken the grand obstacle to the world's blessedness will be removed; and that "then will Jehovah [Yahweh] turn to the peoples a pure lip, that thay may all call upon the name of Jehovah [Yahweh], to serve him with one consent. For he will famish all the Elohim of the earth (among whom are the clerical soultraders of the Apocalypse), and men shall worship him, every one from his country, all the isles of the nations" (ch 1:1; 2:6,7,9,11; 3:1-4,8,9,14-19).
The Apocalypse in Haggai.
HAGGAI prophesied about a century after Zephaniah; and was contemporary with Zechariah, and the rebuilding of the Temple after the return from Babylon. He stirred the people up to finish it. Zerubbabel, son of David, and ancestor of Joseph the husband of Mary, and of Mary and Jesus, was Governor of Judah under the Persians; and Joshua, the son of Josedec, high priest. These were "men of sign"; that is, men representative of ONE, who shall afterwards himself occupy, at one and the same time, the position of Governor and High Priest of the nation. Zerubbabel and Joshua are so regarded both by Haggai and Zechariah. In reference to the apocalypse of the Holy One they typified, Jehovah [Yahweh] says in Haggai, "Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry; and I will shake all nations, and that to be desired of all nations they shall come (bahu, 3 p. plur.), and I will fill this house with glory." And this "yet once more," says Paul, "signifieth the removing of those things which may be shaken as of things that are constituted, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." The heavens and earth shaken in the Babylonian desolation, were shaken "once more" in the Roman. But the time approaches when the heavens, earth, sea, and dry land of the Gentile world, are also to be convulsed. Therefore Jehovah [Yahweh] commanded Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, and say, "I will
shake the heavens and the earth: and I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies, I will take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, son of Shealtiel, and will make thee as a signet; for I have chosen thee, saith Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies" (ch. 2:6,7,21-23). Now as these things did not come to pass in the lifetime of Zerubbabel, he was either a representative of his descendant the Son of Mary who shall be the ensign; or he must be raised from the dead if it is to be personally accomplished in him. Whichever alternative may be accepted, this is certain, that Zerubbabel is to be a living man when the shaking of the nations predicted shall come to pass. The prophecy, then, relates to our future, and will be found hereafter to have been incorporated in some of the scenes of the Apocalypse.
The Apocalypse in Zechariah.
The next prophet in the order of the Old Testament is ZECHARIAH; a book which, like all the preceding, is intimately connected with the Apocalypse of the Anointed Jesus. Zachariah was contemporary with Zerubbabel, Joshua the High Priest, and Haggai, and prophesied about 520 years before the birth of Jesus.
Like John in Patmos, Zechariah had a Vision of Horses of divers colors-red horses, bay horses, and pale horses, ranged behind a Man upon a red horse, standing among myrtle-trees. The branches of myrtle-trees were used in the construction of booths under which Israel dwelt in celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. In their rebelliousness the Jews are regarded as briers and thorns; but in restoration, because of righteousness, they are olive-branches, pine-branches, myrtle-branches, and palm-branches. When, therefore, it is prophesied in Isa. 55:13, "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to Jehovah [Yahweh] for a name, for an Aion-memorial that shall not be cut off"; and in ch. 41:19, "I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah-tree, and the myrtle, and the olive-tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together; that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah [Yahweh] hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel (Christ) hath created it:" - when these things are declared, it not only imports that the land previously desolate shall become like Eden, the Garden of Jehovah [Yahweh] (Ezek. 36:35), but that all its inhabitants in Messiah's Olahm, the Millennial Aion, shall be
"trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah [Yahweh], that he might be glorified" (Isa. 61:3).
These considerations fix the time of Zechariah's horses at rest, -- at the Feast of Tabernacles first ensuing, when the Holy One of Israel, the Man on the Red Horse, shall have completed his conquests, and shall be Prince of Peace in the midst of Israel. He and his cavalry march to and fro through the earth with blood, signified by redness, famine by the bay, and pestilence by the pale or whitish, until the earth is reduced to submission, and obtains rest from these calamities. This vision is reproduced in the Apocalypse, only on a more extended scale; but with the same result.
"Thus saith Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies," who, as Moses saith, "is a Man of War" and "a Jealous Power," "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the nations at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction." Now, if this were the state of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] mind in the days of Zechariah, what must be the intensity of his jealousy for Jerusalem and Zion at this day! The Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem, and burned the temple, and overturned the kingdom and throne of David; and he punished the Chaldean Babylon with the loss of empire, and a conversion into heaps of ruins as at this day. The Roman nations followed in their stops; and have aggravated the affliction and their own guilt, by great cruelty towards Israel, and slaughters, or rather torments inflicted upon the brethren of Jesus, the Saints. The Little Horn Babylon, therefore, of our times, will be subjected to a more terrible vengeance than hitherto experienced by any power, or confederacy of powers, hostile to the Jews.
The decree of Jehovah [Yahweh] concerning Jerusalem and Zion hath gone forth; and he commanded Zechariah to proclaim it, saying, "Thus saith Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies, My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and Jehovah [Yahweh] shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem." But how shall this come to pass?
In reference to this inquiry the prophet is introduced to another scene - the visions of the Four Horns, and of the Four Carpenters or artificers. He is told that the Horns represent the powers by which Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem are scattered; answering to the Lion, the Bear, the Leopard, and the Fourth Beast of Daniel; whose oppression has so completely scattered the power of Judah, "that no man doth lift up his head." And in this prostrate condition the Jews and Jerusalem must remain until the "Four Carpenters" are apocalypsed or revealed for the work assigned them. This work the prophet says, is to terrify the horns; to make them afraid; to cast out the horns of the nations,
which "lift up their horn, or power, over the land of Judah to scatter it." No such power, with such a mission, has appeared since the days of the prophet: on the contrary, all the powers that have arisen have been Gentile, and ambitious of exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem and Judea, as at this day. These "Four Carpenters" are, therefore, not Gentile, but of Jewish nationality; and are yet to be apocalypsed, or revealed. We may here say in passing, that they are the Brethren of the Carpenter's Son; the squadrons of the Man in the midst of the myrtle-trees; the Seraphim of Isaiah; the Four Cherubim of Ezekiel; and the Four Living Ones of the Apocalypse.
These are they by whom the Horns of the Gentiles are to be broken, and the Holy Land and City are to be avenged, and Zion comforted. But the prophet and his friends would, doubtless, delight to know "the times and seasons" when Jerusalem should be exalted to the dignity of "Jehovah's [Yahweh's] throne" (Jer. 3:17). Might this happen in Zechariah's day; or when Ezekiel's 430 years were expired during which Judah and Israel were to eat defiled bread among the Gentiles (4:4-6,13); or were there any times measured off that must expire before the work of the Four Carpenters could be commenced?
To afford them some idea of the fact in relation to this matter, another vision was granted to the prophet. He saw a man with a measuring line in his hand, who told him he was going to measure the length and breadth of Jerusalem. He saw by this that there were measurements, and that the fortunes of the city were not abandoned to accident or caprice. He was told what the line of Jerusalem's humiliation extended to; but he was not informed of the number of the years that humiliation should continue. He could not discern from what he saw, whether the treading of Jerusalem under foot by the Gentiles should terminate in A.D. 35, when the apostles inquired if the kingdom should then be restored again to Israel; or in A.D. 1864-8, to which we look with earnest expectation. Zechariah was told what the line was for, but he was not informed of the details of the measurements. These details were reserved by the Father, to be communicated afterwards to the Anointed Jesus, that he might send and "indicate them by sign," represent them symbolically, to his servant John. The apocalypse, however, to which the "measuring line" extended, was communicated to Zechariah. He was told these words, "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, for the multitude of men and cattle therein:" and the reason given why it should be so secure in such a country was, "Because, saith Jehovah [Yahweh], I will be unto her a Wall of Fire (the Jasper - wall of Apoc. 21:12,14,18) round about her, and will be the Glory (the Jasper - stone, clear as crystal - ver. 11) in the midst of her."
He perceived from this, as we may also perceive, that Jehovah [Yahweh] would appear in Jerusalem at the end of the measuring line. He found also, by attending to the words spoken, that when He should be therein apocalypsed or unveiled, he will make a proclamation to the Israelites dwelling in the countries north of Jerusalem, called "the Land of the North," the territory under the dominion of Gog, the then Head of the Little Horn Babylon of our future. The Israelites dwelling in this Babylon-Confederacy of Greeks and Latins are thus addressed in the proclamation stirring them up to war, "Ho! ho! Come forth and escape from the land of the north, saith Jehovah [Yahweh]; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon." Here is a call upon the Jews to rise against the governments of the nations, and doubtless because those governments will not regard the proclamation of the Apoc. 14:6, 7. Zion, thus appealed to, will respond to the invitation; and in concert with the Four Carpenters (the resurrected saints and the true believers living at the time of the proclamation) proceed to break in pieces and consume the power of the nations. These are to be spoiled and subjugated by their servants, the Jews; and after that the glory will be apocalypsed. Things will proceed very much upon ordinary principles before the public; only those who carry on the insurrection, or revolution, will know the reality of things. This is the import of the words spoken to Zechariah in connection with the call upon Zion to "arise and thresh the nations" (Mic. 4:13). "After the glory he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] eye." "For, behold, I will shake my hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants; and ye shall know that Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies hath sent me," the Christ. "After the glory" is apocalypsed in Jerusalem, in other words, after Messiah effects his entrance into Jerusalem, the work begins that is to result in removing the veil from the mind of lsrael with respect to Jesus; in their restoration to Palestine; in the subjugation of the nations; and their subsequent enlightenment. When this work is accomplished the apocalyptic millenary is introduced, in which the things expressed in the following words of Zechariah become the order of the times: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo! I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah [Yahweh]; and many nations shall be joined to Jehovah [Yahweh] in that day (the Day of Christ), and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee; and thou shalt know that Jehovah [Yahweh] of armies sent me (Jesus) unto thee. And Jehovah [Yahweh] shall inherit Judah, his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be at rest, O all flesh, from before Jehovah [Yahweh]; for he is risen up from the habitation of his holiness" (ch. 2:13).
The mind of the prophet, having been thus fixed upon Him who is to deliver Israel, and to rule over them in Jerusalem, becomes the subject of a vision in which is brought before him the Apocalyptic Stone, the Jasper and Sardine Stone, with Seven Eyes, the Head Stone, whose graving is of Jehovah [Yahweh]; and which being laid before Joshua and Zerubbabel, men of sign, is representative of the Divine Governor and High Priest of the house of David. He sees Joshua, the High Priest of the Restoration, angelized, and clothed in filthy garments. That is, he represents the Christ, in the capacity of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] Messenger, "the Angel of the Covenant," clothed with "the flesh of sin," in which, Paul tells us "dwells no good thing." While Joshua was in these filthy garments, Zechariah sees the Adversary at his right-hand; that is, in power, standing to resist him. This represents the resistance of power that would be brought to bear against the Christ in the days of his flesh. But that the Adversary should not finally prevail is indicated by the words of Jehovah [Yahweh] to the Adversary, saying, "Jehovah [Yahweh] shall restrain thee, O Satan; even Jehovah [Yahweh] that hath chosen Jerusalem shall restrain thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" This is, that although the Adversary that possessed Jerusalem might resist the High Priest of the Order of Melchizedec, and wound him in the heel, He shall, nevertheless, wrest Jerusalem from his grasp, and restrain, or bind him, as is apocalyptically represented in ch. 20:1-3.
While Zechariah was beholding, he saw the garments of Joshua, the High Priest, changed; and was instructed that the action represented the putting away of iniquity which the priest is supposed to bear. In this we see, by the light of the New Testament, the change of nature, or body, in relation to the Christ, "whom," says Paul, "we know henceforth no more after the flesh." He was crucified in "flesh of sin;" and then sin was "condemned in the flesh." But when he rose again he became spirit-body, called by Paul spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4). He is now the Angel-High Priest of Jehovah [Yahweh], no longer oppressed with our filthy nature, but "clothed in a garment white as snow" (Dan. 7:9) reaching to the foot (Apoc. 1:13): and the words of Jehovah [Yahweh] are now addressed to him, saying, "If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house (rule my kingdom), and shalt also keep my courts (be High Priest of Israel), and I will give thee places to walk among those that stand by," the Angel Princes, or Elohim, we read of in Daniel.