« AnteriorContinuar »
come when Judah was carried away captive to Babylon, and the prophecy of Jacob says, “ The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come."
Therefore Judah was brought back again and remained in the land until after the days of Jesus, to fulfil the word of the Lord by the hand of Jeremiah saying, “For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end " (Jer. 29: 10-15).
The "expected end " that the Lord here speaks of was the coming of Christ. It was expected, because it was promised to take place before the sceptre should finally depart from Judah, as it had already departed from Israel. Therefore about forty-nine years after Christ came and suffered, because Judah knew not the time of their visitation and because of their many transgressions, the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab was drawn upon Jerusalem and her people in a more full and complete sense than it had been done when they were carried captive to Babylon. For now they were to be again scattered by the Romans, their Temple and city laid in ashes, and they themselves removed out of God's sight, to remain in their enemies' lands, wanderers among the nations like the ten tribes, till the second exodus of the latter days.
The Mystery of Iniquity (II Thess. 2:7), “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." The mystery of iniquity refers to that blindness and hardness of heart that was manifest among the rulers and chief men among the Jews, especially in the days of Jesus and his apostles, as it is spoken of in John's gospel (12:37-43), “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” And Paul said, “ According as it is written (Rom. 11:8), God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear. . . . And David saith, Let their table be made a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them; let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway."
The mystery of iniquity in its ultra form consists in giving unto evil men miraculous power to perform miracles, signs and wonders, by which the wicked may be confirmed in their wickedness and perish. For the coming of that wicked one, says Paul, is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved; and in the latter days these deceptions will be manifest among
the wicked in Israel in their most dangerous and blinding forms, insomuch that if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived.
He who now letteth,” says Paul, “ will let, until he be taken out of the way," that is, removed out of God's sight, as Israel had been removed ; " And then shall that wicked (man of sin) be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.” That is, we must understand that Christ's coming to execute the judgments written is after the manifestation of Satan, or the man of sin, and not before it, and that the man of sin is destroyed by Christ's coming; so that in brief it stands thus: first, Judah had to be removed out of God's sight, as he had removed Israel; second, the man of sin is to be manifested in Israel after they are returned to their own land and fall away again into the idolatry of their ancestors; third, Christ's coming is not until after the man of sin has made his appearance and completed his work; then he will be consumed by the brightness of Christ's coming.
It must be observed here that Paul calls the man of sin, “Satan," and in the Revelation he is called “that old serpent, the devil and Satan which deceive eth the whole world,” the same as is said of mystical Babylon, “By her sorceries were all nations deceived ” (Rev. 18:23). And Jeremiah says of Jerusalem, As fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness (6:7); and again, “ From the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land ” (23:15).
In speaking of the visions of Daniel and others, and in other Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, we shall have occasion to refer to other similitudes by which this man of sin is pointed out and his career and destiny described, for he, like Judas, goeth into perdition when his work is finished.
And now as we purpose to give considerable attention to the things contained in the Book of Revelation, besides these already referred to, especially the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven last plagues, and many other wonderful things contained in the great prophecy of Jesus, as it is called ;before proceeding to do this we will first speak of Nebuchadnezzar's image that was shown him, and Daniel's visions, inasmuch as the visions and similitudes that the Lord has employed by the ministry of the prophets are necessary to be understood, or we cannot interpret the Revelations, as the Book of the Revelation is the prophecy and testimony of Jesus, and " the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,”— that is, a condensation and a concentration of all the things spoken of by the prophets, in which mostly the similitudes, figures, and symbols used by the prophets are preserved, and the plain language is largely left out, so that no small degree of discernment is required to call up the plain language employed by the prophets which unfolds the meaning -f the symbo!
THE VISIONS OF DANIEL
Nebuchadnezzar's image - Daniel's vision of the four beasts - Daniel's second vision (Chapter 8)— The seventy weeks — Last great vision of Daniel.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S IMAGE (DAN. 2-3) The story of the image that was shown to the great king of Babylon in vision is very wonderful and interesting, and the interpretation very instructive, insomuch that all students of the Scriptures are familiar with the narrative. We will therefore content ourselves with pointing out some features in the interpretation which will be seen, when properly considered, to harmonize with the foregoing recast of the modern system of interpretation, especially insomuch as it applies to the people of Israel.
"In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.” And as his dream had gone from him, he demanded of them that they should both revive the dream, and also show the interpretation, and when they insisted upon his telling the dream, he charged them with trying to gain the time, and said there is but one decree for you, either tell me the dream and the interpretation thereof, or ye shall be cut in pieces and your houses shall be made a dunghill. And when they could neither tell him the dream, nor the interpretation, the king was very angry and furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. But Daniel counselled Arioch, the king's captain, to moderation, saying that if they would give him time, he would show the king the interpretation.
" Then Daniel went to his house and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and he setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding (as Jesus said 'To him that hath, shall be given ’): he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him."
When, therefore, Daniel was brought in before the king, “ the king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded, cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers show unto the king: but there is a God in heaven which revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days " (Dan. 2: 1-28).
Now here it should be specially noted, that whatever reference this vision may have to the former days and to things that have transpired in the past, from the time that Nebuchadnezzar reigned in Babylon, and during the reigns of the kingdoms of the Medes and Persians, Grecians and Romans, up to the day that the emperor of Rome, by the hand of Titus, the son of Vespasion, destroyed the kingdom of Judah and removed them out of God's sight as the Lord had declared he would do for their wickedness, by his servants the prophets,— I say whatever reference this vision may have to what transpired in those great empires of antiquity up to the time that the sceptre departed from Judah, and they ceased to be a people, its chief and principal application and fulfillment relates to, and will be manifested in the latter days; because these great empires of the past have their former days and their latter days, as well as have the house of Israel, and they run mostly parallel with each other. They existed contemporaneously in their former days, and they will do so again in the latter days. And whatever features of the prophecies relating to them have not been fulfilled in the past, will transpire in the future; and as has been already from the time that the Jews ceased to be a people some eighteen centuries since, down past the present time until the second exodus in the future, the doings, wanderings, sufferings, and persecutions of that people are not chronicled nor particularized by the prophets, and so it is with the nations during that long period.
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, as brought to view by Rollin and other historians, and its subdivisions into a multitude of lesser kingdoms and states; the rise and manifestation of the Turkish power, of Austria, Italy, Germany, Russia, England, and other states of lesser importance, are not treated of during the mes referred to by the inspired writers, nor do they come, during this long period, within the range of prophetic vision. “The valley of vision," as it is called in the Scriptures and spoken of particularly in the twenty-second chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah, is far down the stream of time, beyond the present, in the latter days. Down into that valley the prophets looked and described what they saw there of God's mighty works with his people Israel, and the nations of the earth. “Behold it is come and it is done, saith the Lord, this is the day (the latter day) whereof I have spoken ” (Ezek. 39:8).
A lack of understanding of this principle of interpretation has been the cause of amassing a mountain of theological rubbish as it is manifested in voluminous commentaries and attempted interpretations of the prophecies, straining to fit them to peoples to whom they have no reference, and to show their fulfillment in an age to which they do not apply. Certain classes of mankind also are liable to two great errors; Paul cautioned the churches against the one, and Peter cautioned them against the other. The first is, when Christ's coming is far away, to deceive people by teaching that it is near;
the other is, when the day of the Lord is near, to teach that it is far away. Both classes of these deceivers will have their day; therefore let wise men take warning and not be deceived by them. One class of them has been manifest in the earth from the days of the apostles, down to the present time, and the other class will be manifest in the latter days, and will say, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the world.” This they will say while the wise men of God will cry throughout the land in trumpet tones, “ The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly ” (Zeph. 1).
But referring again to what Daniel said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king, what shall be in the latter days." With this statement before us, we must look to the latter days (still future) for a fulfillment of this vision. For in the past the image was never complete, and never was manifest except in sections; one part of the image only appeared at a time. When the head of gold passed away, then appeared the breast and arms of silver, next the belly and thighs of brass, and then the legs of iron, but the feet and toes have never in the past been fully manifest. But in the latter days the image will appear perfect and complete in all its parts,— the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay,— standing in all its brightness upon the mountains of Israel, when the form thereof will be dreadful and terrible.
Daniel proceeded saying, “ As for thee O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter (especially in the latter days). And he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass (2:31). Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, and his breast and arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut without hands, which smote the image on the feet, that were of iron and clay, and break them to pieces.”
Now it must be understood that there is a special reason why the stone first smites the image upon his feet, instead of smiting it upon the head. That reason is this, the clay about the feet and toes are the people of Israel, and judgment, according to God's appointment, falls upon the Jew first, and after that upon the Gentile. Therefore the stone must needs smite the image upon the feet first.
(Verse 35) “ Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them, and the stone which smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
“ This,” said Daniel, “is the dream, and we will show the interpretation thereof before the king.” In the interpretation which follows, it will be noticed that the part of the image where the clay is found attracts by far the most attention in the interpretation, because the clay is the people of Israel who join this great confederation of nations, and enter into covenant