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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 14

Section 14

Sixteen Hundred Furlongs




This "thousand six hundred furlongs" is a great Apocalyptic puzzle. Is it a measure of territorial surface, a measure of length without breadth and depth; or is it such a measure of length, representative of a measure of time? It cannot be taken in the sense of territorial measurement, because this would require a continuous line of cavalry two hundred miles long; and whether in single file, or broadly massed, cannot be told. Such an exposition would not be reasonable; nor is there anything in the prophets to justify it. The winepress is not a locality sixteen hundred furlongs in length; but the aggregate of the wrath of the Deity, affecting all the nations "without the city". Wherever there is a nation, kingdom, or republic, beyond the limits of "the Great Babylon," to be trodden down, there is the winepress, though it may be ten thousand furlongs from Jerusalem.

The question, then, in relation to the treading of the winepress is not where, but how long? How long is the smoke of the torment "from the glory of the Deity, and from his power" to ascend? In the eleventh verse the answer is eis ajonas aionon, unto aeons of aeons. This reminds one, that "it is the glory of the Deity to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to search out a matter". This answer, it is true, reveals the how long. It is to continue till the commencement of "the Economy of the fullness of times," commonly styled the Millennium: but still the question remains to be solved, How long from the reaping of the harvest of the earth by the Son of Man upon the white cloud, which puts the saints in possession of Mount Zion, and the end of the judgments when the Millennial Economy begins? The answer before us is "a thousand six hundred furlongs" off; that is,. a time of this length is the square of the time to be occupied in the execution of the judgment given, or committed, to the saints.

This principle of the square, traditionally incorporated in Masonry, is a specialty of revelation, from the Aaronic breastplate of judgment, to "the city that lieth foursquare". The measure of its wall, which is 144 cubits is the square of 12, obtained by multiplying 12 by itself- 12 X 12 = 144. The like treatment applied to the sixteen hundred furlongs will show that they are the square of forty. Thus, the division of 1600 without a remainder gives 40; and 40 multiplied by 40 gives 1600 --- 40 x 40 1600. Here, then, is the answer in figures. The treading of the winepress by the saints in command of the armies of Israel will continue by the space of forty years, at the end of which will be reached the fulfilment of the Jubilee in the kingdom of the Deity, when every Israelite shall return to his possession and to his family (Lev. 25:9,10).

This forty years is the period of Israel's Second Exodus, in which "it shall come to pass that the Adon (Lord) shall add his hand to redeem a second time the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. They shall fly (as a bird of prey) upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; and they shall spoil them of the east ("without the city") together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt" (Isa.11:11,14,16).

It is clear from this testimony, that the restoration of the twelve tribes of Israel in our future is to be after the example of their ancient migration from Egypt under Moses; when "Yahweh led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, to make Himself an everlasting and a glorious name (Isa. 63:12-14). Ezekiel testifies to the same thing, and cites the Exodus from Egypt, as the similitude of the manner of their deliverance from the long dispersion of the past. "As I live, saith Adonai Yahweh, I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith Adonai Yahweh" (chapter 20:33-36).

But, do the prophets testify to the how long, as well as to the manner, of Israel's second exodus, or returning from the lands of their enemies to their own possession? Let us see. The spirit of Christ in Micah caused him to place on record in ch. 7:14, the supplication following: "Feed Thy people with Thy rod, the flock of Thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood (or forest of nations), in the midst of Carmel; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old". This is a petition praying, in effect, for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel; for their return from their present long dispersion in "the land of the enemy;" for their re-establishment as a powerful and independent nation in the holy land; for the subjugation of all kingdoms and nations to the laws and ordinances of their king. To perform this great work will require considerable time, and a great manifestation of almighty power. It consumed forty years of days "in the days of old," or "a thousand six hundred furlongs" of time, from the institution of the Passover in Egypt to its celebration in the Valley of Achor under Joshua; which was its typical fulfillment in the kingdom of God (Josh. 5:6,10). These were "the days of the coming out of ihe land of Egypt" into the land of Canaan; in which Yahweh fed His people with the rod, and purged out the rebels among them, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness - the days of the corning out, in which He made use of the twelve tribes as His soldiery in His wars against the Amalekites, Amorites, and so forth, as recorded in the earliest records of the nation.

Understanding these things, the reader will perceive the meaning of the words of the oracle delivered to the prophet in answer to his petition. The Eternal Spirit replied, saying to him as the petitioner for Israel, "According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things". That is, as the coming out of Egypt consumed forty years; so, in causing Israel to feed in Bashan and Gilead, I will consume forty years in the marvelous works whereby it shall be effected. Thus it is that Micah testifies to the length of the period Apocalyptically represented by the sixteen hundred furlongs. These are the square of forty; and this is the number of years during which the saints will be executing the judgment written, as symbolized, not only in this fourteenth chapter, but also in the sixteenth, from the seventeenth verse to the end; in the whole of the eighteenth and nineteenth, and the twentieth to the fourth verse inclusive. These forty years are included in Daniel's "Time of the End," which is the period of transformation and transition, styled by Jesus "the Regeneration" (Matt. 19:28); and by Peter, "the times of the Restitution of all things, which the Deity hatli spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets ap' ajonos, from the aion"; or beginning of the course of things instituted through Moses (Acts 3:21). In these forty years the present constitution of the world is abolished. At the end of them there will be no armies and navies. These destructive agents will cease to exist. The vintage will have cut them off, and disbanded them as useless and demoralizing encumbrances upon society. War will be studied no more; and a general disarmament, which is now impossible, will be enforced by the all-conquering "King of the Jews," then become "the Light of the Gentiles, and the salvation of the Father to the ends of the earth" (Isa. 49:6). Babylon will have fallen with its Papacy and all the powers, temporal and spiritual, which now sustain it. They will all have "licked the dust like a serpent;" and the Deity will have performed the truth to Jacob and the mercy to Abraham which he swore to the fathers from the days of old (Mic. 7:20).




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