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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Section 1 Subsection 1
Act VI The Sixth Vial
12. "And the Sixth Angel poured out his Vial upon the Great River Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the Kings who are out of a Sun's risings might be prepared.
13. "And I saw out of the Mouth of the Dragon, and out of the Mouth of the Beast, and out of the Mouth of the False Prophet, three Unclean Spirits like to Frogs (for they are Spirits of Demons working wonders) go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole habitable, to gather them together for the war of that great day of the Deity who is almighty.
15. "BEHOLD I COME AS A THIEF. Blessed he who is watching, and keeping his garments that he may not walk naked, and they see his shame.
16. "And he gathered them together into a place called Hebraistically ARMAGEDDON".
Such is the prophecy of the Sixth Vial. The reader will perceive that it divides itself into four sections. First, into the prophecy concerning "the Great River Euphrates;" second, into that concerning the Frogs; third, concerning the Advent and those specially related to it; and fourth, respecting the place into which the Powers that be are gathered for the conflict. This being the order in which its parts are presented in the text, I shall proceed in the exposition, to expound it, in what may be termed, its natural order, and distinguishing its divisions by separate "Parts".
1. The Outpouring of Wrath Upon Euphrates
"And the Sixth Angel poured out his Vial upon the Great River Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the Kings, who are out of a Sun's risings, might be prepared".
In these words, "the Great River Euphrates" is indicated as the subject of the wrath. Wrath is not poured out upon rivers as such; but upon people in some way related to them. In the figurative prophecy before us, "the Euphrates" is a sign representative of some thing analogous to "the flood", or "the river", of the name, well known in the geography of the East. In the days of Isaiah, the Euphrates was the principal river of Assyria; and is therefore used by the prophet, in ch. 8:7, as a sign, or symbol, of the many and strong peoples of the Assyrian empire. Because the Ten Tribes of Israel rejoiced in Retzin and Remaliah's son, instead of rejoicing in Yahweh. He therefore threatened both Damascus and Samaria with an Euphratean invasion and inundation, predicted in these words - "Behold Yahweh bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks; and he shall pass through Judah: he shall overflow and go over; he shall reach to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings (the wings of his armies) shall fill the breadth of thy land, 0 Immanuel"
We see, then, that in Scripture there are two Euphratean rivers analogically related to each other - the one, the natural; the other, the political Euphrates. The waters of the natural, are representative of the peoples of the empire to which the natural river belongs. This, in the rainy season, overflows its banks; which, by analogy, represents the armies of Assyria crossing the river for the invasion of adjacent countries.
When the Ninevite Dynasty was abolished, Assyria was annexed to Babylon. The Euphrates then became a river of Babylon. It flowed into and through this great city and province. For this reason, as Babylon is introduced into the Apocalypse as symbolical of the Fourth Beast, whose dominion migrated from Babylon to Rome and Constantinople, so the Euphrates is also introduced there; for a figurative Babylon without a figurative Euphrates, would be in violation of the analogy and fitness of things. Babylon of old was a city and empire, with the Euphrates flowing through the latter into the former; so, Apocalyptically, the Great City of Babylon is OLD ROME and its Ten Kingdoms, with its political Euphrates flowing up to the Danube, and confining upon Hungary, the Austrian empire, the Adriatic and Greece; with "NEW ROME", or Constantinople, also built on Seven Hills, for the centre of its population, the great majority of which, though Antipapal, is "Catholic". Thus, the political Euphrates flows right into the city; and, at the opening of this sixth vial, in addition to the populations inhabiting the countries through which the natural Euphrates meanders its way to the Persian Gulf, there were reckoned among its waters, the peoples of Egypt, Algiers, Asia Minor, Greece, Roumelia, Albania, Bosnia, Servia, Bulgaria, Wallachia, Moldavia, and certain islands of the sea.
The Ottoman Power being "the Great River Euphrates" of the symbolical Babylon, we have a subject before us capable of receiving, and as its sanguinary and earth-destroying history proves, well deserving, the indignation and wrath of Deity. As the fourth of the Euphratean Angels (ch. 9:15) loosed against the Greek Catholic division of the Babylonian Apostasy, it has judicially and terrifically executed its mission. In performing the part allotted to it, it has repaid justice the debt incurred by the demon-worshipping and idolatrous Greek Catholics, who, when they reigned in Constantinople, were more wicked, and less tolerant of truly good men, than the Turks. The Osmanlis are not idolators. Their zeal was great against all such; hence their Contempt of Catholics, both Greek and Latin, and their greater tolerance of Protestants. Still, the Euphratean is only a Sin-Power, well and heavily laden with its own peculiar offenses. One of its greatest offenses consists in the treatment Yahweh's land, and people Israel, have experienced at its hand. As the modern representative of the Little-Horn-of-the-Goat power, it has "parted his land" "for gain" (Joel3 :2; Dan. 11:39); and ruling over Israel, has made them to howl; so that His name continually every day is blasphemed (Isa. 52:5). No man likes his property to be laid Waste, and his slaves to be abused. Of both these counts the Constantinopolitan Little Horn has been so intensely guilty in regard to Yahweh's inheritance, that it has acquired the Scriptural epithet of Shomaim, THE DESOLATOR (Dan. 9:27). It is true that appearances Would seem to justify the conclusion of some, that the Deity has ceased to take any interest in the land of Palestine, and in the natural Israel. But let such remember the Words of Christ, who says, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge true judgment". The appearance of things is not their real nature. It is the testimony of the prophets, that "Yahweh will be jealous for His land, and pity his people; . . . and will no more make them a reproach among the nations" (Joel 2:18,19). But they still are a reproach among the nations: it is therefore evident that the Divine jealousy for the land, and pity for the people in reproach are things pertaining to a future situation of the world's affairs. Hence, the political Euphrates standing in this antagonism to Deity, it is for this, and not because of its severity upon the Greeks, that the wasting wrath of the sixth vial is poured out upon it.
"And the waters thereof were dried up" - The effect of the Outpouring of the vial is to dry up "the water" of the political Euphrates. The Euphrates being a political channel, the water flowing therein must be political also. Waters Apocalyptically signify "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (ch. 17:15); but, in the text before us, it is not waters but "water", in the singular. The prophecy, then, doth not signify a drying up of population. The Euphrates represents a power of the Apocalyptic Babylon; and as the name is indicative of water flowing in a certain channel, "water must signify the power of the Euphratean empire, expressed, as governments ordinarily express it, by force and arms.
There is one other place, and one only, in the Apocalypse, where water is used in the singular; as, inch. 12:15, in the words, "the Serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the Woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood". In this place "water" signifies power incorporated in armies, Sent forth from government to sweep away, as by a flood, the objects of its displeasure. Hence, the water of the Great River Euphrates, in like manner, represents the military power of the Ottoman empire; which is dissipated by a process of evaporation, a drying up; a gradual exhaustion, so as at last to leave the channel of the river in the heart of the Great City, empty; and devoid of all power to impede, or interfere with operations developing in the south-eastern recesses of the empire.
"That the way of the Kings who are out of a Sun's rising, might be prepared". This is the exact rendering of hena hetoimasthe he hothos ton basileon ton apo anatolon heliou - which is the received text; and, though objected to by some commentators, who can see nothing in it but the natural sun-rising, is no doubt perfectly correct. The military and political power of the Ottoman empire was to be dried up by the wrath of the Sixth Vial, that the way for a certain class of kings might be cleared of all hindrances and impediments to their enterprize in its be-ginning.
The reader will note, that in this sixteenth chapter there are two suns introduced into the prophecy; and that both of them are symbolic, but of different things. The first is the Sun of Europe, upon which was poured out the wrath of the fourth vial: the other Sun, on the contrary, is not the subject of wrath; but one which rises above the world's horizon, some time during the period of the sixth vial. During the five preceding vials and much even of the sixth, He is below that horizon concealed from view, and we know, that before the sun rises it is dark- "darkness covers the earth" (Isa. 60:2) - and that it is while he is rising that the darkness is receding; and the objects upon the earth gradually become visible.
Further, it may be remarked, that the Sun of this twelfth verse, is the illustrious personage of the fifteenth, who says, "Behold, I come as a thief". No one, I believe, doubts, that the subject of this thief-like manifestation is THE ANCIENT OF DAYS - He whom the ETERNAL FATHER by his power, "made both Lord and Christ", when he transformed the risen, earthborn, body of Gethsemane, into a life-engendering Spirit. This being beyond dispute, we have next to consider certain testimonies concerning him.
In the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, we are informed, that at a time when darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the peoples, Yahweh shall arise upon Zion; that His glory shall be seen upon her; and that kings shall come to the brightness of her rising. Here, Yahweh is the Light arising who sheds forth brightness, which, among other objects previously enveloped in gross darkness, brings Zion into view. She is seen "rising" before it can be said she is risen. Her coming into view is progressive, as objects come into view in the dawn. Hence she is a rising ot this Rising Light, which shines her out of darkness, the gross darkness of Mohammedan, or other Gentile, down-treading, into his marvellous brightness, as by his rising it becomes developed.
"His glory shall be seen upon Zion". Whose glory? The glory of the Redeemer, who comes to Zion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Isa. 59:20; Rom. 11:26). The glory which shall be seen there, is figuratively exhibited in Apoc. 14:1, as "the Lamb on Mount Zion with 144,000" Sons of his Father, whom He had "redeemed from the earth" - from among all peoples; and from the very dust thereof.
In the period of Zion's rising out of present darkness into future light and glory, she is manifested as the metropolis, or Mother City, of a rising world, styled in the English Version, "the world to come;" but in the original, he oikoumene he mellousa, the future inhabited (earth) or, habitable. This New Constitution of Things, which was the great burden of Paul's discourse, (Heb. 2:5) will comprise the "NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH" to be created by the Eternal Spirit, through Christ Jesus arid his Brethren, in the development of which, He will "create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy" (Isa. 65:17) - a New Government, and a New civil, ecclesiastical, and social Organization of the nations of the earth. Concerning this new government, or "Economy of the fullness of the times (Eph. 1:10), it is written in Psa. 19:1-6, "The heavens declare the glory of AlL (the Invisible Power), and the work of his hands the firmament shews. Day unto day will utter speech; and night unto night will shew knowledge. There is no language, nor any words, where their voice is not heard. Their line hath gone out in all the earth; and their words to the ends of the world. In them he hath set a tabernacle for the Sun; who as a Bridegroom coming out of his covering or place where he was hid from view), will rejoice as a mighty man to run a course. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and his circuit unto the ends thereof; and there is nothing hidden from his heat".
This Sun is the great illuminator, who "enlightens the earth with his glory" (Apoc. 10:1; 18:1; 21:23); and who, in the days of his flesh, said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the Light (or Sun) of the world" - a Light which shone into the darkness, but was not comprehended by it (John 9:5; 1:5). It is this "Great Light;" once seen by them "who sat in the region and shadow of death", which is styled in Mal. 4:2, "THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS," who arises with genial influences upon all who fear the Name of Yahweh Elohim; but with intensely scorching effect also upon the wicked who serve him not.
But who are "the Kings out of a Sun's risings?" Some say, they are the Jews returning from the East; others, eastern potentates in general; others change kings to "king," and explain it of Christ, as "King from the East;" others expound it as kings coming from the East to take part, as actors and sufferers, in the slaughters of the great day of slaughter; and lastly, it is said, that the Kings from the East signify "Christian Preachers," or the Clergy commissioned from Christ the Sun of Righteousness, for whose missionary operations an opening is made by drying up' the power of Babylon for opposing the truth; and who are called kings, from their zeal in ruling both themselves and the church!
But none of these "orthodox" replies to the question throw any light upon the subject. Time and space are too precious to be occupied in stating objections to them, or in arguing against them. The shorter and more satisfactory course will be to ignore them altogether; and to present an answer that cannot be Scripturally gainsaid.
If we understand what "the risings of a sun" are, we shall perceive who are "the Kings" that proceed therefrom. The word anatole rendered "rising", is derived from the verb anatello, "to rise,to cause to rise, to spring up". All that springs up out of the earth is caused to rise by the power of the sun acting upon the seeds therein. Every thing therefore brought up from beneath, or from darkness, into view is "a rising of the sun". Hence, "as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so Adonai Yahweh will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations" (Isa. 61:11). The earth brings forth, and the garden causes to spring forth, as the result of the sun's power so that the earthborn products of the garden, are the sun's risings. After this analogy, the Sun of Righteousness, who rises only once to set no more, causes righteousness to spring forth from the earth, in causing righteous men to spring forth from the grave; who, when "clothed upon with their house from heaven," will praise him before all the nations. The righteousness first pours down from heaven, then the earth opens, salvation is brought forth, and salvation and righteousness spring up together (Isa. 45:8): thus "truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven" (Psa. 85:11).
The Wings of the sun are his rays or beams. It is with these potent radiations that he causes things to spring forth from the earth. But, all he causes to spring forth are not good risings. Some are very noxious, poisonous weeds, which are not healed of their evil qualities by the brightness of his shining. Hence, his natural risings are some good and some bad, according to the seeds in embryo. Nor do the best and choicest of his risings spring forth in their perfection. They spring forth with bodies altogether unlike the bodies they will be, when clothed in the brilliance of their flowering glories. When they spring forth, these risings of the sun are only distinguishable from weeds by a well practised observer. As Paul indicates, they spring forth "not that body that shall be. . . but the Deity giveth a body that pleaseth him, and to every seed his own body".
So, after this analogy, are the risings of the Sun of Righteousness out of, or from which proceed "the Kings," whose way is prepared by the drying up of the political and military power of the Ottoman empire. The rays of his power shine forth with creating and formative energy. Men and women are created in the earth, and projected from it. At this stage of the wondrous operation, they have "not the bodies that shall be;" but "come forth" (John 6:29), With bodies corruptible, without honor, weak, soulish, and earthy; for, that which is, "out of the earth, is earthy," ek ges choikos. Each one is the Sun's rising, because the Sun of Righteousness is "the resurrection" (John 11:25); and so long as he is below the horizon, there can be no springing forth. But those people who have sprung forth into existence, "must all," both good and bad, "be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things through the body, according to what he hath done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). That which makes manifest is light (Eph. 5:13). The light thrown upon the case of each individual is his account of himself to the Deity; "for we shall" not only "all stand before the judgment seat of Christ;" but "every one of us shall give account of himself to the Deity" (Rom. 14:10,12). This self-rendered account manifests the character of the reporter, and determines his case for better or worse. If he be approved by "the Judge of the living and the dead," he is recognized as "the blessed of his Father," and being quickened, is authorized to "inherit the kingdom prepared for" such as he; to sit with him in his throne; and to exercise power over the nations (Matt. 25:34; Apoc. 2:26; 3:21). Now, he that inherits a kingdom, sits upon a throne, and rules nations, is "a king;" and such a king, who was once dead, and sprung forth from the earth by the power of the Sun of Righteousness; and was selected from a crowd of people newly born of the earth, is "a king from, or out of, a Sun's risings".
But, though there is "healing in the wings of the Sun of Righteousness," all are not healed who spring forth from earth, by the potency of his formative and life-imparting beams. "Many," saith Daniel, "dust of the ground, shall awake from sleeping; some for living ones of the Olahm (the Millennium) and some for the objects of reproach and contempt of the Olahm" (ch. 12:2): an arrangement in the resurrection-state endorsed by Christ, who, in John 5:28, saith, "the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs (mnemeios 'retained in memory' there) shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth; they who have done the good things, for a resurrection of life; but they who have practised the evil, for a resurrection of condemnation." All these whose destinies are so diverse, are "risings of the Sun;" but, we see, that they do not all attain to the kingdom; for none can possess this, who, having come forth", are condemned. The condemnation leaves them corruptible, without honor, weak, soulish, and earthy; and such, Paul testifies, in 1 Cor. 15:50, "cannot inherit the kingdom of the Deity". They are repudiated by the Judge; and consigned to a common fate with the Beast and the False Prophet; who are subjected to the sword and burning flame by "the Kings" "chosen" "out of the risings of the Sun;" to prepare whose way, the wrath of the sixth vial is drying up the power of the Euphratean Ottoman Dynasty of the Goat's Little Horn.
"The Kings," then, are the sanctified ones, "the called and chosen and faithful," of whom Christ Jesus is the Imperial Chief, and therefore styled, "KING of kings" (Apoc. 17:14; 19:16; 1 Tim. 6:15). They are the same, who, at the outset of their arduous, glorious, and ultimately victorious, career, sing the new song in which, addressing the Great Captain of their redemption who leads them to glory (Heb. 2:10), they say, "thou hast made us for our Deity kings and priests; and we shall reign as kings (basileusomen) upon the earth" (Ch. 5:10). They begin their career under this sixth vial, and "turn not" from "the way," he hothos, (Ezek. 1:9,12,17) opened to them by the drying up of the Buphratean Power, until they have taken the Great City Babylon; and possessed themselves of all its thrones (Apoc. 20:4; 11:15; Dan. 7:9,18,27). The consummation of their "way" will be, that "the kingdoms of the world become our Lord's and his Christ's; and he shall reign king (basileusei) for the Aions of the Aions".
Whither the Spirit is to go they go, and they turn not when they go. These kings go their way, every one straight forward; for "their feet are straight feet," and consequently there is no deviousness in their way. "They accompany the Lamb whithersoever he goeth;" and his purpose is not crooked. His way is into the midst of the Great City, where, after the example of Cyrus, his prototype in the capture of Babylon, and the deliverance of the Jews, he hurls the Papal Belshatzar from his throne, and seizes upon his dominion for himself.
Cyrus, and the "sanctified ones," his Medes and Persians, were typical of Christ and his Kings in "the way prepared," through the drying up of "the Great River Euphrates" by the sixth vial. Cyrus was named by Deity, and mentioned by name, about one hundred and sixty years before the capture of Babylon. His name and office are both representative as well as his mission. The name given was Coresh, which some interpret by the word sun; on the ground that the Greek writers affirm that the name in Persian signified the sun. Gesenius says, they were correct. But, should we go to pagan Greeks and Persians to learn the meaning of a Hebrew name conferred upon a man whom the God of Israel intended to raise up to accomplish a work upon Babylon, which was to find its an-titype over 2400 years after? My answer is, no. Coresh in Hebrew does not signify the sun, which is there represented by shemesh. Coresh is a proper name compounded of caph, like, and yoraish, the participle of yarash, which signifies, to seize, to take possession of, to occupy, mostly by force. Hence, Yoraish comes to signify one who takes possession of his inheritance by conquest. This definition of Cyrus' Hebrew name accords with the facts of his history. The Deity had predetermined, that he should inherit the Babylonish Empire, which included the Holy Land; and that he should take possession of it by conquest. He therefore made Yoraish a part of his name; and, as he intended his career to be typical of His own Son's, Whom he hath constituted "the Heir of all things" terrestrial; and who is also to acquire possession of his inheritance by conquest; he added the letter caph, and condensing the three syllables into two, named him Coresh, or Koraish, signifying Like the Heir.
Now, let the reader note What occurred before Cyrus and Darius, with their "sanctified ones" (Isa. 13:3), the kings of the north, could take possession of Babylon. It was necessary, that "the Great River Euphrates," which flowed into and through the city, "should be dried up; that the way of Yahweh's Anointed Shepherd and his flock, might be prepared" (Isa. 44:25; 45:1). "A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up;" "I will dry up her great river eth-yammah; and make her springs dry" (Jer. 50:38; 51:36). This was literally accomplished by Cyrus, who turned the Euphrates from its course; left the channel of the river dry; marched his troops along the dried way in the night into the very heart of Babylon; and, coming upon the king and nobles "as a thief," put them without discrimination, or mercy, to the sword.
Such was the practical representation of the entrance into the Apocalyptic Babylon by Yahweh's Anointed Shepherd, the all-conquering Heir of the World, and the Kings, whom he will have raised to consubstantiality with himself (1 John 3:2), and constituted his co-operators, and companions in arms. He has been, so to speak, besieging Babylon, and inflicting upon her all the miseries of a besieged city, by the forces engaged in the execution of the plagues of the first five vials; but, as in the typical operations of Cyrus, "the sanctified ones" of the Eternal Spirit have not come into the possession of the Apocalyptic Babylon by direct assaults. The Divine purpose required that the European Babylon should be entered by a coup de main, or unexpected attack. Cyrus entered thus. Since the commencement of the sixth vial, Christ Jesus has been, by his agents, drying up the Great River of Babylon, the Ottoman power; which, undried, would have been an inconvenience, and an embarrassment, in the development of those judicial household-arrangements, which must precede the manifestation of "the kings of the Sun's risings", to the world. Before the outpour of this vial, the Ottoman was a power, overshadowing Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Syria, in great force. It could have concentrated its armies upon any of these provinces in great numbers; and with powerful and embarrassing effect, upon any un-warlike crowd that might be convened for the purposes of judgment, organization, and legislation, the necessary preparation for all great enterprises in a world like this. It is true, that the Deity could destroy them all, however numerous and powerful, as He did the army of Sennacherib, in the reign of Hezekiah: there is here no question about what He could do; He can do what He pleases: but it is not according to His revealed plan of operations in the work of manifesting His sons, to have that judicial and preparatory work interrupted by battle, and the burial of a host of corpses. To prevent this embarrassing inconvenience, He deemed it necessary to dry up from those countries the overflowing power of "the Desolator" - to diminish it, and hold it in check by other jealous powers whose mutual distrust should reduce "the Sick Man" to a nullity.
But, shall it be said, that the wrath of the sixth vial was designed to dry up the great Turkish power, in order to put in its place a stronger and greater power, the Muscovite, before the coming of Christ and the manifestation of his Kings? The sixth vial is in part to remove Gentile Power to a convenient distance - to diminish, not to increase it, in the region of Sinai, and Teman, and Mount Paran (Hab. 3:3; Deut. 33:2): but, to substitute the Russian in Constantinople for the Turk; and to give the Czar dominion over the Ottoman empire before Christ comes; would render nugatory the drying up process of the past forty-eight years. My present conviction therefore, is, that the gathering together of the national armies against Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2) is after the appearance of Christ in the South; that is, in Teman; where he begins his career as "THE KING OF THE SOUTH(*) Dan. 11:40); and before he appears upon Mount Zion. Hence, we have not to wait the advance of the Russian Gog against Constantinople, and his overflowing and passing over, and stretching forth his power over Egypt, and the Holy Land. This will certainly come to pass; but it will all be consequent upon, not antecedent to, the appearing of Christ in Teman. The Great Euphratean Ottoman Power is not dried up to prepare the way of the greater power of Gog; but, "that the way of the Kings out of the Sun's rising might be prepared"