The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
The Destruction of Antichrist, the Man of Sin, or Wilful King
The Destruction of Antichrist, the Man of Sin, or Wilful King.
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs," signifying great talkers, "come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils," or inspired by the devil, "working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev. xvi. 13. 14, 16.)
Where is Armageddon ? Various opinions have been formed as to the situation of the place styled "Armageddon," where that great battle has to be fought. We shall now point out where we understand the place to be, and leave it to the reader to judge.
There is a remarkable prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel, chapters xxxviii. and xxxix., of the destruction of a certain prince, "Gog." Indeed the prophecies, and the things shown to the prophet in vision, including this chapter to the end of the book, are of such a nature that many commentators, both ancient and modern, have owned themselves unable to interpret their meaning. It is certain, however, that these prophecies have never been fulfilled as regards the letter; and to attempt to spiritualise them, as some commentators now-a-days appear so inclined to do, is altogether unsatisfactory. It is true that God occasionally in ancient times protected His people Israel against their enemies by a miraculous deliverance, and the sudden destruction of their enemies; but there is nothing on record, in Scripture or in history, that can possibly be compared with the destruction of Gog and his army as predicted in Ezekiel. And, further, the description of the building of the Temple; the way in which the land is to be divided; and the description of the rights and duties of the Prince referred to in various places in these chapters, cannot be applied to the Jews since their return from the captivity at Babylon, seeing that they have always been more or less under foreign domination, and have never had an independent head or prince of their own. Also the particulars respecting the building of the Temple, and the division of the land, and many other things, have never yet become realised. Hence it follows that these are matters for the fulfilment of which we must look to the future.
We must therefore conclude that the predictions given from the 28th chapter of Ezekiel to the end of the book will be accomplished after the return of the Jews to their own land; that the destruction of Gog and his army is the destruction of Antichrist, or the Wilful King, and his army; and that the great battle will take place in Palestine. We would here caution the reader against taking the destruction of "Gog" predicted in Revelation, chapter xx., and the destruction of Gog and his army, predicted in Ezekiel, for one and the same. Though the destruction of both will take place in Palestine, and there may be other similarities, nevertheless they are quite distinct from each other, though both are styled "Gog." We may know this by the fact that the final judgment follows upon the termination of the career of the one; whilst on the destruction of the other, with his army, a great clearing of the battlefield takes place, and the continuance of the Jews to sojourn in Palestine is assured. Neither can the destruction of Gog and his army, as described in Ezekiel, refer to the time when the Jews return to their land from their now scattered state among all the nations of the world; because their return from their present state is brought about in a time of peace, on an agreement (covenant) with that vile King. The destruction of Gog and his army must, therefore, take place when the Jews are settled in Palestine.
While considering the destruction of this vile King, we may fairly inquire into the reason of his coming with such a vast army into a country so insignificant as Palestine will be, when compared with the flourishing nations of Europe. The reason seems as follows :—When the King described in Daniel viii. 23 as of "fierce page 28 Countenance" shall have accomplished his work of bringing all the western and northern powers under his subjection; when he shall have established his seat and throne as the Roman Emperor, and set up his abominable worship in all the Christian countries; and when the end of the last three and a-half years draws near, then, in order to make himself master of the whole world, he will turn his attention to the hitherto unnoticed Eastern parts. In this invasion he will call up all his strength, and will collect a vast and powerful army. It would seem, how. ever, that this immense army will not be collected because the King thinks such strength necessary to subdue the remaining parts to his rule, but on account of his pride, which by this time will have risen to such a height as will induce him to bring into the field an army unprecedentedly great and magnificent, thus exhibiting for his own gratification and admiration his mighty power, like Nebuchadnezzar, who, swelling with pride, said "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" (Daniel iv. 30.)
It will not, of course, require much effort for the King to bring these countries, so insignificant in strength, under his subjection, and he will then direct his army against the Jews. "And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and will bring thee forth, and all thine army Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them, .... Gomer, and all his bands .... and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited : in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste : but it is brought forth out of the nations Thou shalt ascend, and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee" (Ezekiel xxxviii. 4—9).
But, it might be asked, what could possibly be this King's object in going against the poor Jews, who only about seven years previously had returned and settled in Palestine ? That great King shall be drawn there by hooks thrown out to him : "And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws." And what could possibly be meant by these hooks? Why, the immense wealth in the hands of the Jews may be taken for it. When the agreement for seven years' protection, and perhaps freedom from taxation, has been made between the King and the Jews, and confirmed (Daniel ix. 27), all the rich Jews, inspired by the memory of their former grandeur, with all their wealth, will hasten to Palestine with the intention of taking up cheaply large tracts of land, that so they may become great lords in the land, holding large estates, and living in magnificent palaces, for the building of which suitable stone will be plentiful. Thus immense wealth will be carried there from all other countries, which will have the effect of making other countries comparatively poor; for we must remember that the Jews return to their land in unbelief, being earthly; and further, almost every Government is heavily indebted to the Jews, and after their return they will obviously be continually draining other nations by the interest they will annually receive, which will be the more noticeable when they become a separate nation, and thus the jealousy against them will grow very strong everywhere. At this period three persons, called "unclean spirits like frogs," signifying great talkers (Rev. xvi. 13—16), will then, inspired by the devil, and commissioned by the King and his false prophet, make themselves very busy in representing the state of things in this light, showing that if the Jews be left alone they will soon become the richest and most glorious nation and look upon other nations as their servants. And why should the Jews be allowed to have their own worship before other nations, who have all bowed to the King's laws and his worship, &c. ? Thus inspired, all the Kings will urge upon that King to bring the Jews to obedience, whilst their real object is "to take a spoil, and to take a prey" (Ezekiel xxxviii. 12, 13).
This attack upon the Jews, though with intent "to take a spoil, will made under pretence of enforcing the King's worship. The image will of course have been set up in the Jewish Temple, which they will have rebuilt (perhaps temporarily), and in which they will have re-established their Mosaic worship; but still, page 29 stubborn as they are by nature, and encouraged by their priests, they will refuse to worship the image. For a time the King, having plenty to do in all the Christian countries, and considering his agreement with them, will overlook their disobedience.
But now that his agreement with them has so far run out, inspired by Satan, and urged on by his prophet not to pass over any longer the actions of the Jews, he will bring force to bear upon them; and should there be resistance, will determine to sweep them, the whole race, from the face of the earth, and thus to take a spoil. To do this will appear to the King no difficult task; and accordingly his army is prepared : "And thou shalt come up against my people Israel as a cloud to cover the land." Here is an army comprising the choicest men of all the kingdoms of the whole earth, all brave men—men of valour—all trained for warfare, and men of experience during many battles fought on both sides, whilst that great King (the Emperor of Rome and the Roman Empire) conquered the whole world. This powerful army, of which any commander-in-chief would be proud, and so vast as to cover the whole of Palestine like a cloud covers the land—this vast army is marching on like a herd of sheep driven to be slaughtered.
But what about the poor Jews, without walls, gates, or fortifications; without cannon, swords, or arms of any kind (Ezekiel xxxviii. 11) to resist this great army, in numbers so vast as never had been brought into a field of battle before. Who shall take up arms, when there are none, and go against the approaching army ? The battle, however, must be fought, and shall be fought most successfully, to the complete annihilation of their enemies. But how ? Shall the Jews do it ? No; in them there is no strength; and no other power is in existence, for all the kings of the earth have become subject to that great King (Rev. xiii. 7). "Surely in that day there shall be great shaking in Israel" (Ezekiel xxxviii. 19). The priests will urge upon the people to fast and pray in sackcloth and ashes, and cry to heaven for help. Public fasting and prayer will be proclaimed, because the hearts of the people will tremble on account of the approaching foe, whilst there is no hope of escape; total destruction is staring them in the face.
But let us see by whom this great battle shall be fought, and who is to go against that mighty King, at the head of his choice and powerful army. Is it our Lord Jesus, at the head of his faithful followers, the Christians ? There are no Christians left in all the earth, for they are all slaughtered by the sword (Rev. xiii. 15) of that powerful King, except that "remnant" who have fled to the wilderness. These might be brought back again by our Lord, at the time of the invasion of Palestine by that King and his army, and the work might be done by them to whom the promise pertained that "one man of you shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight." (Deut. xxii. 30; Josh, xxiii. 10.) Though unarmed by swords, clubs may answer, like Samson's jawbone of an ass. But it is altogether unlikely that the Lord of heaven and earth should place himself at the head of mortals, to stay an army of mortals, whatsoever favourites his faithful ones may otherwise be to him. And further, there is, at the termination of the great battle, an act to be done which cannot be carried out by mortals.
The Prophet Daniel saw, in the vision of the beast representing the Roman Empire, that, when ultimately the beast (Empire) was included in a single man, "his body was destroyed and given to the burning llame" (Daniel vii. 11); and in Revelation, where this beast and all his actions and performances are more fully described, we learn that, when all the evils he shall have wrought are at an end, he and his false prophet shall be sought for, not to be slain like his army, but to be cast alive into the lake burning with fire and brimstone, that is, into hell (Rev. xx. 10). That is an act which it is impossible to be carried out by mortals, and must be accomplished by a heavenly host; and to understand how this shall happen the reader is requested to turn again to Revelation xix. 11, and read to the end of the chapter.
When the anxiety and fears of the Jews have risen to the extreme by the approaching army, then the heavenly host here referred to, of which our Lord is the commander in person, will, for a blind for that vile King, appear as a visible army; perhaps far in the distance, to be espied by his generals that there is an army approaching. That proud monarch of the whole world, "the God of the earth" page 30 (Rev. xi. 4), before whom all the world have bowed and worshipped as God; "the man of sin" (2 Thess. ii. 3), will command and lead on his army for battle : "Who is he that will dare to lift his hand against me ? Who is that Lord whom I should obey?" But here that proud blasphemer will come short; for he will be destroyed without hand (Daniel xi. 45; viii. 25); consumed by the spirit of His mouth (2 Thess. ii. 8); cut down with the sharp sword Which goeth out of the mouth of him who is sitting upon a white horse, leading on the heavenly army to meet his enemies (Rev. xix. 11). But we read of no actual encounter; for, cursing that vile King, the God of the earth: "Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth" (Isaiah xlv. 9)—"Go and Fight with Thyself." The result is instantaneous, dissension and mutual ill will arises, and "every man's sword shall be against his brother" (Ezekiel xxxviii. 21). Thus the whole army will be annihilated—slain by their own swords, that not a man shall be left to tell the tale. The beast (King) together with his false prophet shall be sought for, and cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. xix. 20); as also shown to Daniel in a vision that such would be the end of the fourth beast, representing the Roman Empire (Daniel vii., 7 to 11); of course, not the Empire itself but the last ruler of it, at the time when, having done all the evil he could towards God's Kingdom on earth, and his people, he should be destroyed.
As both Enoch and the prophet Elijah were taken alive up to heaven, as a token that all those on earth who live in obedience and to the honour of God shall likewise, in due time, with their body and soul ascend to heaven; even so shall these two, the beast and his false prophet, while still alive, both body and soul, be cast down to hell, as the first-fruits of the completely condemned state of all those who offend God, and will not be ruled by him.
The fire in hell is of course not a material fire, such as we are acquainted with, which consumes and destroys; but it is a tire for torment, which never consumes; and therefore, in order that the punishment might be at once inflicted, the bodies of these two men. the King and his false prophet, will in the twinkling of an eye be changed, as without such change the hell-fire would have no effect on them to torment them. It is likely that their eyes will not be opened until this change has taken place, when they will first really see and understand into whose hands they have fallen. Their final and everlasting punishment will then be awarded them. But before this can be done they must be judged, and sentence of death passed upon them; as it should be noted that these are the only two beings who will be excluded from the final and universal judgment of the whole world,—the beast and his false prophet being already in hell when the devil was cast there (see Rev. xx. 10). As they are caught in the open act of rebellion, and on the battle-field, they will be treated as prisoner's of war and summarily dealt with, and a court-martial will therefore be held over them on the battle-field; even as Zedekiah. King of Judah, when he was taken prisoner, was straightway brought before the King of Babylon to be judged (Jeremiah lviii. 9). All this will take place during the time the heavenly host stands on the battle-field as a visible army; and then suddenly all will disappear again from human sight, and the heavenly army will return, with their prisoners, to the place from whence they came.