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eth with iniquity, and hath conceived recoil on those who promote them. mischief, and brought forth false It is the violence and strife which hood. He made a pit, and digged it, the Lord spies in the city that causes and is fallen into the ditch which he him to bring on his windy storm and made. His mischief shall return upon tempest;d and thus “with violence his own head, and his violent dealing shall that great city Babylon be shall come down upon his own pate. thrown down.”'e
Here again the Antichrist, or head Oh! how refreshing, amid the over the houses of the wicked, is clamour of this strife of tongues," alone mentioned ; though the whole which is already begun, and the of his ungodly household are in “violence” which is already “risen cluded. And again we have it plain. up into a rod of wickedness,”f to ly asserted, as intimated in verse 10 know that we have a covenant God of Psalm v, that he falls by his own who is earnestly mindful of his peocounsels, and is snared in his own ple, and who is then about to lay toils : having sown the wind, he bare his arm in their behalf, and take reaps the whirlwind. It is espe to him his great power.
He admocially worthy of notice, in reference nishes us, when we see these things to the present times, that it is his begin to come to pass, to lift up our mischief and violent dealing that are heads, for our salvation draweth recompensed on his own pate. Of nigh; and presently all those who this character are the principles of trust in him will praise the Lord insubordination and agitation, or according to his righteousness, and violence and strife, by which popu will sing praise to the Name of the lar objects are now sought to be ob- Lord Most High.-Verse 17. tained; and which must ultimately
Of the many deep and moment- should arise previous to the coming ous truths which are unfolded to the of the Lord ; by which, as by a sign, church by the sure word of prophe they would be informed of the nearcy, there are none perhaps of more ness of his approach, inasmuch as serious and pressing importance than he would destroy the head and leader those which concern the revelation, of the apostacy "by the Spirit of the operations, and the downfal of his mouth and the brightness of his Antichrist. It is proposed in this coming." By attending to this prepaper to inquire into the testimony diction they would not be “shaken of the Scriptures on this subject; in mind nor troubled” to the negtaking as the basis and guide of our lecting of their proper duties, in the search the words of the Apostle expectation of the immediate apPaul, 2 Thess. II. 1-12.
pearing of the Lord, which they so The intention of the Apostle, in
eagerly desired. this portion of the epistle, is to warn It will be desirable to divide the the church of an apostacy which matter of the prophecy under con
sideration into distinct heads; that in the 4th chapter he again alludes by comparing the different Scrip- to the dislike of the truth which tures which appear to speak to the should be manifested at a time then same point, the concurring testimo- future, but which appears from the ny of the whole may be more easily context to have a connexion with perceived. The first head will con the coming and kingdom of the Lord tain the announcement of
Jesus Christ. 1. The apostacy which should take The apostles Peter and Jude af. place before the Lord's coming. The firm in the strongest terms the evil terms in which this announcement is character of the men of “the last made would lead us to expect some times.”a They are represented as thing definite and general, affect false teachers ; corrupt and filthy ing the whole professing church. It men ; despisers and blasphemers of is called (i anootasia) the apostacy, dignities; covetous, like Balaam ; to distinguish it from the falling murderers, like Cain; gainsayers, away of particular churches or bodies like Korah; and in this class are of men, and to mark it as that of probably to be found those "scofwhich the apostle had already warned fers” who shall tauntingly ask the the church at Thessalonica. (v. 5.) expectants of the Lord, “Where is
Now such an apostacy is predict the promise of his coming ?" St. ed both expressly and by implication John also gives a mark of the Antiin many places of Scripture. The christ which strikingly corresponds apostle Paul (in 1 Tim. iv. 1-3) with the doctrine of the false teachdeclares the express testimony of ers spoken of by the two former the Spirit, that “ in the latter times apostles : compare 1 John 11. 22; some shall depart from the faith," IV. 3 with 2 Pet. 11. 1 and Jude v. 4. (literally apostatize.)* In the 2nd How remarkably coincident are epistle chap. 111. he warns Timothy these testimonies of the apostles that “in the last days, perilous with the description given by our times shall come,” when the evil Lord of the character of the men passions of men, being freed from who shall be living at the time of the restraints till then imposed on his re-appearing.
There shall be them, shall manifest their perni. false Christs and false prophets, cious influence on society, by the who shall shew great signs and general production of those bitter wonders ; in so much that if possible fruits which are now met with un- they shall deceive the very elect.” der various disguises, and are at- “And as it was in the days of Noah, tended with a measure of disgrace.t and as in the days of Lot, so shall
* It has been asserted by some who have seen nothing more than the Papal apostacy in 1 Tim. IV. that the expression votepois kaipong signifies a different period from that denoted by the expression xoxatais viuepais in 2 Tim. 11. (See Morning Watch. vol. I. p. 108.) I think this is an hypercritical distinction, and one which will not serve to disunite these two prophecies, if they are considered with reference to their distinguishing features. The former appears to me to contain an intimation of every remarkable particular of the ultimate apostacy.
+ A. specimen has been afforded to professing Christendom in the French Revolution at the close of the last century. I would beg to refer the reader to the 14th of Abdiel's Essays, which may perhaps impress him with the idea which it forcibly conveyed to my own mind,—that we are witnessing the rapid approach of the period foretold by the Apostle,—and that the evil day is nearer than we may be disposed to allow.
a 2 Pet, II. and 111, ; Jude vv. 15, 18.
it be in the day when the Son of pear that there is predicted in them man shall be revealed.” “ Reck
“Reck- a general apostacy, distinguished by lessness, violence, and extraordinary a denial of God and of the Lord wickedness distinguished both those Jesus Christ,—by idolatrous wortimes." " They did eat, they drank, ship,—by persecution of the saints, they married wives, they were given -and by an universal degeneracy in marriage, they bought, they sold, of morals and the prevalence of viothey planted, they builded ;"—they lence, fraud, blasphemy, and every pursued the affairs of the world re- species of wickedness ? And let the gardless of the warnings given unto marks of similarity between the man them, -saying to themselves,“ peace of sin and the first beast of Revelaand safety" when sudden destruc tions xiii. be carefully observed. tion came upon them; as it shall The second portion of the prophecome upon the careless and ungodly cy will set forthof the latter day.b
II. THE HEAD OF THE APOSTACYBut the grand feature of the apos the Man of sin—the Wicked one. tacy, as is proved by Bp. Newton, Concerning him several particulars is idolatry—the giving to another are mentioned.the worship and honour due to God 1. He is called the Son of Per.. only. And by this mark the bishop dition. This expression is applied would fasten on the church of Rome to no one else save Judas the traithe charge of having fulfilled both tor. Many there are indeed who the Scriptures in 2 Thess. II. and 1 go into perdition by "the broad Tim. iv, as well as those in Daniel road,” as it is written in Matt. vir. VII, and xi. Now from verse 4 of 13, Phil. 11. 19; but the man of the chapter under consideration it sin has the title by preeminence. appears, (and it will be shewn more And perhaps there may be an imfully hereafter,) that the object of plied reference to the sudden de. worship is the man of sin, “ who struction which will overtake him sitteth in the temple of God, as and consume him at the Lord's God.” In the Apocalypse chap. XIII. coming. a beast is described having seven Now in Rev. XVII. 8, we find a heads and ten horns, to whom, as beast described as coming up from well as to the dragon who gives him the bottomless pit and going into “his power and his seat and great perdition. (v. 11.) He might there. authority,” the whole world, except fore, according to the Hebrew idiom, the elect, give worship and adora- be called a son of perdition. And tion. This worship is given at the in Rev. xix. 19–21, we read that command of another beast with two the beast and false prophet, which horns, (v. 12) who is elsewhere call are evidently the same as are deed the false prophet—who makes scribed in chap. XIII. are cast alive an image of the first beast, and into the lake of fire, and are thus causes worship to be paid to that distinguished from the remnant who also. (vv. 14, 15.) This is enforced are slain by the sword of the Lord. on pain of death, and consequently The beast and his coadjutor go into a great persecution of the saints is perdition at once. Their fate is the carried on by these beasts. (vv. 7,15.) same as hat of the beast in chap.
Does it not appear that these XVII. And the actions of these are Scriptures all refer to the same pe the same ; both being engaged in a riod of time? And does it not ap- conspiracy against Christ and his
b Matt. xxiv. 37-39; Luke xvii. 26-30 ; 1 Thess. v. 3.
saints, and are overcome by him the
eyes of man and a mouth speakwhile thus employed; (v. 13, 14)— ing great things, which we are inand their form (each having seven formed in v. 25 are words against heads and ten horns) is the same the Most High; and he wears out also. There can be but little doubt the saints of the Most High, and therefore that they are the same, they are given into his hand for a viewed under different aspects. But time, times and the dividing of a we observed under the last head a time. And his great words bring remarkable similarity between the him into swift destruction, (vv. 11, man of sin and the ten horned beast 12,) which would render the title of the 13th Rev. We have in this son of perdition very appropriate to another feature of resemblance: the him also. former is expressly called the son of The question now arises, is this perdition, which applies equally to little horn the same power or person the latter. This consideration will who is represented by the beasts in afford a strong proof that they are the xiii. and xvii, chaps, of the A. one and the same.
pocalypse? We may notice several 2. He is distinguished as an op- corresponding features: his blasposer of God and a blasphemous phemous words ;-his persecution usurper of Divine honours. Opposi- of the saints ;—his coming up after tion to God is a characteristic of the the other horns and becoming the men whom St. Peter describes in eighth in number, as in xvii. 11; his 2nd epistle, 11. 1,—“They deny the time of his continuance, viz. 3 the Lord that bought them.” But times and a half, (which are comin Rev. xIII. we have the descrip- monly supposed to be the same as tion of one who not only claims the forty-two months or 1260 days divine honours, but wears upon his mentioned in the Apocalypse ;) — seven heads the names of blasphemy, his sudden and fiery destruction ; and opens his mouth to blaspheme and the establishment of the kingGod his name and his tabernacle and dom of Christ, and of his saints upon them that dwell in heaven. In chap. his removal. It is very remarkable XVII. a scarlet coloured beast is seen also that as the beast in Rev. of the same form as that of chap. 1–8 possesses all the heads and XIII. 3, full of names of blasphemy. horns of the four beasts of Dan. vii. This
power is further described as (except the little horn,) and bears a being the eighth after seven kings resemblance to them all, (see v. 2,) therein mentioned, and of the seven. which would seem to indicate the (vv. 10, 11.) His blasphemy is an- possession of the power and dispoother mark of his identity with the sitions of them all—so the eleventh beast in chap. XIII.
horn appears to sway
the This blasphemous character of the the fourth beast who comes into the man of sin leads us to notice another dominion of the whole earth, (v. 23) place of Scripture ; viz. Dan. vii. in the room of the others who preHere we find four beasts arising one ceded him. after another; the fourth of which If we search farther in the book has ten horns, and another little horn of Daniel we shall find other procomes up amongst them, before phecies concerning a being who is whom 3 of the ten are plucked up, distinguished by opposition to God and consequently he becomes the and blasphemy. Chapter vii. fureighth instead of the eleventh. (vv. 8, nishes one.-In verse 9 a little horn 23, 24.) This horn has eyes like is seen coming forth from one of the
four quarters into which a former bulation occurs, the Jews are delivkingdom (which is universally ad- ered, and the resurrection takes mitted to be Alexander's) had been place,c which fixes the period of divided. This horn waxes great— this king to be immediately before signalizes himself by exploits against the coming of the Lord. He arises, the pleasant land and the holy people, it should seem, from the same quar(vv. 9, 24) expressions which can ter as the king in chapter viii.d and signify nothing less than the land of begins with a small power, (aptly Israel and the Jewish nation. The represented by a little horn,) which vision is declared by the interpret- he speedily augments by his craftiing angel (v. 17) to be fulfilled at ness. (vv. 21-23.) These two then, the time of the end—the last end of —from their origin, their actions, the indignation. (v. 19.) And it may (particularly against Israel,) their be a fair enquiry whether this is not opposition to God and their preterthe indignation against the Jews natural destruction,-are clearly to which began at the destruction of be regarded as one and the same. Jerusalem. (See Luke XXI. 23; But the identity of the man of Isaiah x. 25.) He proceeds to ex sin and the wilful king of Dan. XI. plain, (v. 23) “ In the latter time seems too plain to admit of a quesof their kingdom,” (i. e. Alexander's tion. Any man may be satisfied” successors) “ when the transgressors says Bp. Newton, “ that St. Paul are come to the full, a king of fierce alluded to this description by Daniel, countenance and understanding dark because he hath not only borrowed sentences shall stand up”—" he the ideas but hath even adopted some shall stand up against the Prince of of the phrases and expressions.” It Princes, but he shall be broken will be further apparent from these without hand,”—without human a- particulars : his words against God, gency, but by the immediate visita- —his exalting himself above all gods tion of God.
or objects of worship,-he is deAgain in Dan. xi. there is “a king stroyed in the height of his prosperwho shall do according to his will, ity, at the time of the redemption (v. 36,) and shall exalt himself and of Israel and the appearing of the magnify himself above every god and Lord Jesus Christ. If we consider shall speak marvellous things against also the idolatry established under the God of gods, and shall prosper his sanction, the description will intill the indignation be accomplished.” clude another particular which is He appears to have cast off the pro- given of the beast in Rev. xii. And fession of his ancestors, (v. 37,)*- these chapters of Daniel appear to he nevertheless establishes an idola. form a connecting link between St. trous worship, (vv. 38, 39,)-he en Paul and St. John. The prophetic ters into the glorious land, (v. 41,) Spirit in both seems to have directand plants the tabernacles of his pa- ed them to these visions of Daniellace between the seas in the glorious by exhibiting to the one a similar holy mountain : yet he shall come to vision, and by inspiring the other his end and none shall help him. (v. with the words and phrases by which 45.) And at that time Michael (who those visions are described.
We is as God) stands up, the great tri may therefore consider these Scrip
* The expression “the God of his fathers” would seem to imply that this person was of Jewish extraction.
c Dan. XII. 1-3. d Dan, XI. 4.