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" the great
were to be delivered into the hands of the Papal power.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, the devil, and satan, which deceiveth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him," (vs. 7-9)
Michael is spoken of in Daniel x: 13, as the chief princes ;' in Daniel xii: 1, as prince;" in Jude ix, as “the archangel," and from Thess. iv: 16, we learn the archangel is Jesus Christ.
The term “heaven" denotes an exalted position, as in Is. xiv: 12, 13, where it is said in relation to the fall of Babylon, “ How art thou fallen from heaven!” As old Babylon was a type of mystical Babylon, may not the prophet, in some way, refer to the same thing? Michael (Christ) is here represented as fighting against the dragon in behalf of the Church, as in Daniel x: 13, an angel is spoken of as contending with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, or as the angel seen by Joshua is represented as leading the van of the Israelites, (Josh. v: 14). Michael is here said to make war upon the dragon, not in his imperial form, for that had passed away, but upon the dragon power under the administration of the heads, (namely, at the time when the heads ruled). This power is the same as “the little horn" of Daniel, of which it is said, “The judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion,” which event synchronizes with the war in this chapter between Michael and the Dragon.
10. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ : for the accurser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night.”
This is the song of triumph which the Church would sing when the time of her persecution had passed. This persecution, or war, is a development of satan's wrath poured out through the organization of human governments, which are wielded by his power.
11. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
The faithfulness of the disciples even unto death, evinces the fact of their martyrdom under the reign of the Dragonic power. The Saviour, in allusion to this subject, says, “ for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” The work of shortening the days was accomplished by Michael in his war with the Dragon, which ultimated in the overthrow of his power, so far that he could no longer use the instrumentality of civil governments to destroy the saints. But when the Church rejoices that the season of persecution is past, the devil is filled with wrath, (v. 12) having learned in his contest with Michael, that the time of deceiving the nations had nearly expired ; and, as he is apprized that the governments will no longer make war on the Church, he now exerts his mighty influence to prepare the nations for their final and fatal conflict. To accomplish this purpose, he sends forth, through the medium of earthly governments, three unclean spirits, "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."
13. And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child."
This, we believe, is not the tribulation of the Church in the wilderness state, and for the following reasons: 1. The order of the prophecy here presented demands that the persecntion spoken of in this verse be placed chronologically after the period of 1260 days, inasmuch as that period is named first, and the persecution follows subsequent in the order of events, corresponding to the representation of the 17th verse, when the dragon went to make war with the remnant of her seed. 2. The triumphant song of the Church (v. 10) shows they had obtained a final victory over the dragonic kingdom, so far as its power to slay men is concerned; for it would be incongruous to represent them as rejoicing triumphantly over the downfall of Rome, in its pagan form, when the same government as remodeled in the papacy, was far more formidable and destructive to the Church than it had been before. 3. The action of the dragonic power being changed from persecution of the Church to the destruction of the governments and of the masses of men generally, (v. 12) shows it did not occur during the 1260 days. 4. The duration of the persecuting power after the war with Michael, is represented as being short, which could not with propriety be said of it prior to the 1260 days. It may be objected to this view, that the dragon is said to persecute the woman; (v. 13) but the term persecute, as used in scripture, does not generally refer to the punishment of death, as appears from Matt. xxiii : 34,“ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes : and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.” Here it appears a part of the servants of God were “ killed," and a part “persecuted from city to city;" so in regard to the Roman gov- , ernment, it slew men during the 1260 days; but when that time was expired, it had power to, persecute, though not to slay
14. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
In the preceding verses, John is carried down the stream of time to a point near the end; and in this verse he repasses a portion of the same space, that incidents before unnoticed may be made to appear. The line of events in this chapter are not chronologically arranged; nor can any system of interpretation be adopted, which would present the events in consecutive order. Such transitions in respect to time are frequent in all prophetic writings. Inasmuch, therefore, as the chain of chronology must somewhere be broken, we believe this verse to be the point of transition in the order of events.
15. “And 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.
16. " And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth." How completely the events that transpired at the
Reformation in the days of Luther, and subsequently to that period, correspond to the delineation of prophecy! We are informed that some of the Princes of Germany, Switzerland and England, declared in favor of the woman (Church) And while this embodiment of wickedness, denominated the dragon, was about to strike the last blow, these governments repelled his attacks, shielded the woman, and ultimately the French, under Napoleon Bonaparte, “ cast out” the old Dragon, deprived “the little horn” of its secular authority, and in the providence of God humbled this power, so that it can no longer put the saints to death.
17. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
When is this last act of malignity to be developed ? Just before the end. But how do we know it is thus connected with the end ? Answer John in the 14th chapter brings us down to the last message of the three Angels, shows us the last is intimately connected with the coming of the Lord : and this same class, namely, those "who keep the testimony of Jesus" are spoken of as in the exercise of patience at this point of time, and "waiting for the consolation of Israel.” In the verse under consideration there is a remnant spoken of. By the term remnant, we understand the last part, or end of a thing. Here the word is used in such connection as to justify the idea of its having reference to the Church, just prior to the coming of Christ. The dragon is to make every exertion to reduce and lead them astray from the truth of God, or “the testimony of Jesus"