The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
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.
Return and Conversion of the Jews.
In order to follow us in this connection, we will ask the reader to turn to Ezekiel xxxvii., and read carefully to the 14th verse the vision of the valley of the dry bones. That valley of dry bones represents the Jews in their present state. They are so dry, so very dry, with regard to spiritual blessings that their recovery and conversion would seem to be almost hopeless. These "dry bones are scattered amongst, all nations, and as it were buried in their graves, never to appear again as a nation. But they are recognised everywhere as a distinct people; their features and appearance proclaim themselves to every one; and the words of our Lord, "this generation shall not pass away" (Luke xxi. 32), are yet applicable to them as being of one body, though in their present state a very dry one. But their graves shall be opened (verse 12), and they shell be brought together again. "So I prophesied as I was commanded : and as I prophesied there was a noise, an behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I page 31 beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them" (verses 7, 8).
Upon that crafty King confirming his covenant with the Jews (Daniel, ix. 27), there will no doubt be a great noise among these dry bones throughout the whole world, for now at last has their Messiah come, who will restore to them their former glory and make them the most glorious nation in the world; now all the prophecies (carnally interpreted by them) will be fulfilled; and with the greatest enthusiasm will these "dry bones" look forward to their future greatness. "And behold a shaking." Oh ! what a shaking will there be among them. Every one who can possibly manage his affairs in that direction will hasten to the land of promise, that glorious land flowing with milk and honey. The rich Jews especially will have the first chance of becoming large landowners. But there will be no life and "no breath in them." That is, no spiritual life and breath—not a spark, all will be dead, dry, and useless. But now we read : "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon the slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army (Ezek. xxxvii. 9, 10).*
We cannot for a moment suppose that God would convert and redeem Israel by pouring out his spirit upon them suddenly, without previously preparing them for that great change. When God brought Israel out of Egypt they soon proved themselves unfit to enter the land promised them, and so had to be prepared for it and broken in to obedience by a long wandering up and down in the wilderness. When a woman is about to give birth to a child, she travails in pain.
When that false King sets up his image in the Temple at Jerusalem, the Jews, who have from time to time heard of his doings in other countries, and of his putting to the sword all those who will not bow to the image, will be filled with great consternation and great sorrow in their hearts, for they will then see clearly that they have been altogether deceived in regarding this King as their Messiah. But what is to be done? This will be the question anxiously asked one of another; to bow to the image, and thus again to commence the worship of idols which they have for many centuries forsaken as an abomination—this they will not be able to make up their minds to do—no, never. But the danger draws nearer; they hear tidings of an army to be raised and marched against them to enforce the horrible worship. Further tidings come of the vastness of the army; of its near approach; till ultimately the mighty host makes its actual appearance, and when their fears are raised to the highest pitch, and the pains for deliverance have become extreme, then suddenly the Lord appears with his heavenly host, and their deliverance is gloriously accomplished. They will now be prepared to bow to the Saviour who has so signally appeared for them, and will joyfully hail and accept him as their Messiah, saying : "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of page 32 the Lord!" (Matthew xxiii. 39.) Then will the Lord sprinkle clean water upon them, and they shall be clean from all their filthiness. He will give them "a new heart," and put "a new spirit within them, and will take away the stony (earthly) heart," out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh" (of feeling). The Lord will put his spirit within them, and cause them to walk in his statutes and do them. (Ezekiel xxxvi. 25-27.) For now they are prepared for such blessings. And then will be fulfilled that to which St. Paul refers in Romans xi. 26, 27, and many other passages.
The Jews being thus cleansed from their filthiness (from being earthly-minded) their selfishness will disappear, and they will lay all their property at their Commander and Redeemer's feet; and he will establish them in Palestine, as described in Ezekiel xxxvii. 15, to the end of the book. The Lord will then bring back his people, the Christian "remnant," out of the wilderness, and incorporate them with the Jewish nation, and the Millennium will commence.
That vile King whom the whole world worshipped (Rev. xiii. 1) having, with his mighty army, been destroyed, and with his prophet cast bodily into prison (hell) as prisoners of war; what will God now do with the King's subjects? As the lands have become parched and fruitless for want of rain during the past three and a half years, so that almost every blade of grass and all the foliage on the trees has disappeared (Rev. xi. 6), will God now give rain again to revive the land and make the fields productive? There is no Elijah or any other prophet left to intercede for them; for the last two prophets the Lord sent, and who faithfully warned them not to bring destruction upon themselves, they triumphantly killed and destroyed (verses 7-10). There are not 7,000 left amongst them who had not bowed down to that blasphemous image, who could lift up their voices for a ruined race for blessings from heaven, as there were of Israel in Elijah's time who had not bowed to Baal no, not a solitary one. For when God visited them with plagues to bring them to repentance, instead of repenting they blasphemed the name of God, "and they repented not to give him glory" (Rev. xvi. 9). And what they believe and do, they also taught their children. The Bible, God's Standard amongst men, they have trampled under their feet, and entirely abolished; the schools for religious teaching and instruction are condemned and swept away from amongst them; and the churches are converted into temples for the worship of the King's image and places of pleasure; there is therefore no prospect even for the rising generation, and all the world has become corrupt—" flesh,' as it was in Noah's time, when God destroyed the earth by the flood, and washed them thus from the face of the earth. The whole scene of the once civilized and christianized world has been converted into a Sodom and Egypt (Rev. xi. 8), for our Lord is crucified amongst them. Again we feel constrained to ask, What can or will God do with them? The angels of heaven give the signal for destruction; they shout mightily one to another, saying: "Thrust in thy sickle and reap : for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. . . . Thrust in the sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. . . . And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. (Rev. xiv. 15, 18, 19.) Because they all, every one of them, bear the mark for hell and condemnation on their forehead or in their right hand (Rev. xiii. 16; xiv. 9). Thus the world, entirely destitute of any good, is purified, and "that determined is poured upon them (Daniel ix. 27). We shall now turn our attention to Revelations xvii.
Destruction of antichrist's Dominion, or "Babylon the Great."
We have in Revelation, chapter xviii., a description given of the destruction of "Babylon the Great," as a certain mighty and wicked city. Some expositors who have taken the Pope to be the Antichrist have naturally understood this "city" to refer to the seat of the Roman Church—Rome; others, again, have thought that London is meant, on account of its extent, nches, and wickedness. But that no city is meant by this "Babylon" is evident, for the following reasons
When the destruction of the ancient City of Babylon was predicted, althoug it was mentioned by name as being about to be destroyed, the whole Empire of the page 33 Chaldeans was involved in its ruin, and the whole land was accordingly laid waste (see Jerem. Li., the whole chapter). And when God commanded his ancient people to remove from the doomed place, it was not that they should depart out of the city only, but out of the country of the Chaldeans altogether, which they accordingly did. and returned to their own land. Even so will it be in this case; the command has gone forth, "Conic out of her my people," and will be obeyed; God's people must remove from the Dominion of Antichrist altogether, "that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues," which will be abundantly poured upon them even before their final destruction (Rev. vi., 1 to 12).
Moreover, it may be asked, what effect could the destruction of a single city have upon the whole of Antichrist's vast dominion; it would be but one city out of scores of others, and would amount to a mere nothing, and scarcely be felt. It is therefore quite clear, considering these reasons, and the whole circumstances attending the destruction of Antichrist, that this "Babylon the Great" is the representative of Antichrist's Extensive Empire. When we also remember that after the destruction of Antichrist and his army the millennial government is to be set up. it will obviously be necessary that the nations who have bowed to the Blasphemer and received his mark should be speedily reckoned with, and they will; their ruin quickly follows that of their king and army (Rev. xvi. 17 to 21).
The destruction of ancient Babylon was signified by the prophet casting the book of the prophecy attached to a stone into the river Euphrates (Jerem. li. 63). This would slowly sink; and so, step by step, was the land laid waste never to flourish again. The destruction of this second Babylon is represented by a mighty angel casting, with much force, a stone like a great millstone into the sea, which swiftly passes out of sight,—so, suddenly and with much violence, shall the nations under Antichrist be laid low, to rise again no more.
After God had brought his people Israel out of Egypt, and when he was settling them in Canaan, he commanded them to destroy all the inhabitants of the land; and though they were fully prepared, with God's aid, to do so, still they did not do it, but made peace with some of them, only laying them under taxation. In this case, when the Lord shall set up his Millennial Kingdom, it is with Him to make the bounds between his people and the outsiders, so that his chosen people may not be molested as the Israelites were by the surrounding nations—and considering the long period, a space of a thousand years. His people, in this case, cannot do it themselves; our Lord must do it : it is therefore necessary, if for this reason alone, that Antichrist's dominion should be destroyed.
Although we are so sure of the rising of the great Evil King, and of the unexampled events that shall follow through him. we are not so certain as to the exact time of his appearance. This is nowhere distinctly stated in Scripture, but there is an indication given which we think will enable us to form a tolerably close idea of the time. We will endeavour to explain our views upon the matter, and ask the reader to carefully consider the following :
The Apostle Peter, when writing of the coming of Christ, says : "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day "(2 Peter iii. 8). The Apostle here seems to allude to a Jewish tradition, which was to this effect : Each day of the Creation was thought to be the representation of a thousand years of this world's existence. As, therefore, God was six days engaged in creative work, and rested on the seventh day, so this world would continue for 6,000 years, and then the seventh day, or Sabbath of Eternal Rest, would commence. At the time Peter wrote his epistle nothing was known of the millennial period, when Satan should be bound for a thousand years. Even Christ gives no intimation of that time; and the Apostles are silent regarding it. The know ledge of the Millennium was first revealed to the Apostle John on Patmos (Rev. i. 1—9), the predictions of Daniel and Ezekiel we have been considering being not then understood. If, therefore, we may take the words of the Apostle to mean that each day of the Creation is to stand for a thousand years of this world's existence, then we may understand that the world in its present state will last for 6,000 years, and that the 1,000 years of millennial rest and peace—the Sabbath of the world—will follow. If this be so we can soon make our calculation.page 34
Whatever the reckonings of the Jews or Gentiles may be, we shall not be very far out in the following dates : (1.) From the Creation to the birth of Christ was 4, 0-years; (2.) from the birth of Christ to the present time, 1,890 years. It will be seen that we have added four years to the date in common use, because it is now generally accepted that Christ was born four years before the time usually assigned to that event. We have therefore a total of 5,890 years of this world's life, and a balance of 110 years is required to complete the 6,000 years. Now, we must understand the 1,000 years of millennial blessedness, during which period Satan shall be bound, will last exactly that time; but then comes the question as to how long a period will elapse between the time of Satan being loosed and the coming of Christ to judgment. We are told that it shall be for "a little season" (Rev. xx. 3). By that term we cannot possibly understand a few years to be meant; because Satan will doubtless only be enabled to exercise his power by degrees, and, step by step, to obtain such influence over the people as to madly incense a large number against the saints and their beloved city, Jerusalem, the seat of the Millennial Empire.
As, therefore, the 1,000 years of millenial happiness is a full term, the time for that "little season" must be taken out of the 110 years required to complete the 6, 0 first noted. This being the case, we must conclude that the date of Antichrist's rise and dominion is not far distant, and that the troublous times to ensue will soon have to be faced.
The first sign upon which we may base our assurance is the coming into prominence of one connected with a kingdom descended from the Roman Empire, and his forming an alliance with the other Kings. It may commence, say, by France, Spain, Austria, and Italy forming a mutual compact, and all the other nations gradually joining in it.
However this may be, the most assured and unmistakable sign is when this King concludes an agreement with the Jews to bring them back to the land of their fathers; and from the date of that agreement to the destruction of Antichrist we know will be seven years. This time need not, therefore, come upon us unawares—"as a thief in the night."
But, seeing that the duration of our life is so uncertain, the best and most profitable calculation we can make is as regarding ourselves. Therefore, Reader, let us take counsel, and "so to number our days," which are always and only To-Day, "that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom," for we know not what to-morrow may bring forth; nay not even this very day. As one who has obtained mercy, therefore, we would counsel you to seek to be rid of the burden of your sins, by casting them upon your Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the only one accepted by God on your behalf; and being thus discharged from the curse resting upon sinners, and reconciled to your Heavenly Father, you will be prepared to leave this world at a moment s notice, and in a manner very different from that of the fools (Luke xii. 20). Then, too, if it should please God that you should still be living at the time God calls his people out of Sodom—that great city, Babylon : "Come out of her my people," (Rev. xviii. 4,) you will sit very loosely to your earthly property, and will not receive the doom of Lot's wife, of which our Lord so tenderly and graciously warns and reminds us (Luke xvii. 32).
* There is another important point which is noteworthy, as proving that the vision refers to the return of the Jews to Palestino from their present state, and not to their return from the captivity of Babylon.
The prophet was commanded to prophesy : and when he did. the hones came together, bone to his bone, and they became covered with flesh and skin. All this operation was accomplished at his first prophecy. But they remained dead corpses, without life in any of them. And to bring life into them the prophet was commanded to prophesy a second time; each prophecy being thus distinct the one from the other. At the return of the Jews from Babylon there was life (faith) in some of them at least, for where there is faith there is life; and good strong faith it was. because it produced the fruit of their desire to return to the house of God. In this instance, however, when Ezekiel had prophesied the first time there was no life in any of them until the prophet had prophesied a second time, thus showing that to become united as a nation and to become alive are two distinct operations.
The return of the Jews to Palestine in this instance is not because they have faith and love to God. but an act of circumstance brings it about; they return on the confirmation of the covenant made with them by that prince (Daniel, ix. 27); and through their faith in him as their promised Messiah—"If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John, v. 43—and through their expectation and desire to become a distinguished nation. They come to Palestine therefore as a dead nation (entirely earthly) and in order to produce faith and life a further step remains to be taken with them, after their return, each event being thus quite distinct.