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(throne), and great authority and becomes his vassal, and in return for this great condescension and courtesy, the beast concedes him power over his heads and horns, and sustains him in making war upon the saints, the servants of God in Israel, for a period of forty and two months. Both of these great kings, the dragon and the beast, claim divine honors for themselves as well as for their gods that they set up, and this blasphemous worship is conceded by all them that dwell upon the (Israel's) earth, except those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life, that is, the saints who prefer to sacrifice their lives in hope of a better resurrection rather than deny the God that is above and perish with the wicked.
ONE OF HIS HEADS SLAIN TO DEATH (REV. 13:3) This head we have already shown to be the Ethiopian head, which stands in with the king of Egypt and is refractory, and as Egypt in the latter days (as was shown to Daniel in the vision recorded in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth chapters of his book) is to be the antagonizer of the king of the north, therefore when Egypt and Ethiopia withstand the king of the north after he has overflown Palestine and the surrounding countries and established himself as king in Jerusalem, then he goes down to destroy Egypt and to subjugate Ethiopia, and to bring them into line. Therefore it is written, “ He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and Ethiopians (two of the heads of the beast) shall be at his steps" (Dan. 11: 42-44). That is, they wheel into line and march with his army on his return to Jerusalem to deal with Israel, Edom, Moab and Ammon, who have broken away from their allegiance with him while he was absent ravaging Egypt and subjugating Ethiopia. In the twentieth chapter of Isaiah is found an instructive lesson regarding these things.
WAR UPON THE SAINTS (REV. 13:3-10) “And I saw one of his heads (the Ethiopian) as it were wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast, and they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue (that is to make war) forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations (there assembled). And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
The dragon who becomes a mouth to the beast scatters the saints out of
their own land, and they are taken captive by the enemy; some he puts into prison, as the Lord says in one of his letters to the churches, Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer. Behold the Devil (that old serpent, the Devil and Satan) shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (2:10-11).
The saints who stand these fiery trials and who are faithful unto death will, after these troubles are over, be raised from the dead to live forever. But those among them who are fearful and give way to the persecutor and deny the faith to save their lives will lose them, for they will rise from the dead, but to die the second death. He that killeth with the sword (the saints) must be killed with the sword, and so hath the Lord declared that the dragon in the end shall be slain by the Assyrian, who is the sword of the Lord.
THE TWO-HORNED BEAST (REV. 13:11-18) This beast comes up out of the earth, and not out of the sea, thus showing that inasmuch as this power does not rise out of the sea of nations it is not a Gentile power, but on the contrary it rises up out of Israel's earth; and instead of having horns like the wild beasts of the nations, it has, that we may distinguish it from the Gentiles, two horns like a lamb. Nevertheless it has the characteristics of the dragon, for it is said of him that he spake as a dragon. Interpreting the vision of the ram and he goat, the angel said to Daniel (8:20), “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia," that is, they were Cyrus and Darius; so also in this prophecy the two horns like a lamb are the kings of Israel and Judah in alliance to do honor to the beast, a great and mighty Gentile king. As these two kings of Israel now unite to do honor to the great Assyrian, he favors their cause, and they are allowed by him to exercise all the power of the first beast before him and in his august presence, and he causeth the earth and them which dwell therein (that is, the people of Israel) to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.
The Lord also sends them strong delusions, and as he gave Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses power to work miracles whereby they might deceive the Egyptians and neutralize the effect of the miracles that Moses and Aaron wrought, so in the latter days when his people become like the Egyptians and are to be destroyed as the Egyptians were, he bestows upon them miraculous powers that they may work miracles to deceive those whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life, but whose eyes are blinded and whose hearts are hardened so that they may rush headlong into perdition. Therefore it is said in the testimony of Jesus, "And he doeth great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast that had the wound by a sword, and did live” (Rev. 13:14).
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
The manner of the manufacture of the image in these times in Israel's future history, and their works, are minutely described in the prophets. For instance, the Prophet Isaiah foretold how the people of Israel would proceed to construct this image in the latter days, saying (41:6-7), “They helped every one his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved." And again he saith (44), “They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not nor know, that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together. The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretches out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth Alesh, he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire. And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.”
But saith the prophet, " They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, I have baked bread upon the coals thereof: I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination ? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand ?”
This full account of the shameful idolatry of the house of Israel in the latter days, with many others of like character in the prophets, shows how fully they will be given over to the worship of idols in those times, when they will even set up their graven images in the Temple, that is, as Daniel said, “They will take away the daily sacrifice and place (in the Temple) the abomination that maketh desolate.” Thus it is that they blaspheme God's name which is recorded in this house and his Tabernacle, by placing this image in the Temple.
Jeremiah also shows that the rebellious house in that day are idolaters, from the kings of Israel and Judah upon their thrones down to the meanest of their subjects, for he speaks in a certain place, saying, “As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, saying to a stock, Thou art my father: and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.” Then the Lord will answer in reply, “But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can save in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, o Judah ” (Jer. 2: 26-28).
A Talking Image "And he (the two-horned beast) had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the beast should be killed.” It will be no great wonder in that day if they are able to make a talking image, when there is given to them power to even call down fire from heaven and to work miracles as Jannes and Jambres did, who withstood Moses, insomuch that Jesus said that if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect.
THE NAME AND NUMBER OF THE BEAST (REV. 13: 16-18) And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
The name of the beast signifies his doctrine and his idolatrous worship, and the number of his name signifies the number of those persons whom the great Assyrian, or the beast as he is here called, employs to minister before his idols and before himself, as he claims also to be a god and an object of worship, as also does the dragon king of Israel, the man of sin. Now this troop of uncircumcised Gentile priests in violation of God's law are admitted into the temple, and mingle with the priests of Israel, and partake with them of the wine that is poured out in their drink offerings, and they eat also with them of their meat offerings. Therefore the Lord speaks to these transgressors by his servant the Prophet Isaiah, saying, “But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering to that number (666). Therefore saith the Lord, will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter” (Isa. 65: 11-12).
The Lord also speaking of this very time by the hand of Moses inforins us that he will taunt them when they cry to him for help in the time of their calamity and says, And he shall say, Where are thy gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat of the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings ? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection" (Deut. 32:37-38). But the Lord speaking by Ezekiel makes this mystery plain, and although we have already sketched these matters, yet their importance demands that we throw additional light upon them if possible. The
Lord here speaks to these two lewd women, Aholah and Aholibah, saying (23: 40), “And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments, and satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil. And a voice of a multitude (666) being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought, Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands and beautiful crowns upon their heads."
With this strange situation placed before our minds, the Lord speaks of them as follows, saying, “Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them? Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot; so went they in unto Aholah and Aholibah, the lewd women.” The relation of the Lord to the children of Israel in a spiritual sense is illustrated by the relations of husband and wife. The Lord had taken them to be his people, and he to be their God; therefore when they left him to serve other gods, their conduct towards him is like unto a faithless wife who leaves her lawful husband and joins herself to other men, and is therefore called an adulteress. Even so when the house of Israel and the house of Judah, called here by the names of Aholah and Aholibah, forsake the Lord in the latter days and set up gods of their own making in the Temple, and invite strangers with their gods also to enter with them into the Lord's house to eat and drink with them at the Lord's table, upon which the Lord says they have set mine incense and mine oil, — this is what the Lord characterizes as going in unto her as they go in unto an harlot.
Now the priests, the Levites, defile themselves in these times after the manner which is here described and will be degraded, after these evil times are passed away, in the new Temple service which will be celebrated for a thousand years in the new heavens and the new earth, but the sons of Zadoc will be honored in the new Temple and the service thereof, because they fell not away with the other priests. Therefore the Lord speaks thus, as it is written in the forty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel saying (verses 5-16), “Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the Lord, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary. And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, in that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood; and they have broken my covenant, because of all your
have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge (that troop) in my sanctuary for yourselves.
“ Thus saith the Lord God, No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in Alesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their