The Romanists also pretend to communicate with demons,—i.e. with departed spirits. They deify the Virgin Mary, and supplicate the intercessions of many departed saints; and some they supplicate, whose claim to saintship is somewhat equivocal. Their teachings in this particular, Protestants generally recognize as the subject of the following prediction: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,"—demons, 1 Tim. 4:1.
Demon-worship being common to Paganism, Mohammedanism, and Popery, when the frog-like agency emerges from them, the conditions of the symbol seem to require that it shall originate with, but shall pass beyond and outside the influence of those religions. The agency thus symbolized, was to "go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world." Its fulfilment requires a wonderful and an alarming increase of those who teach and believe these doctrines; and as they are to work miracles, whereby the world will be deceived, their teachings are to be accompanied by extraordinary phenomena, which will be unexplainable by any of the known laws of science. The spirits of the departed are to be recognized by them as authoritative teachers, who are to be reverenced and obeyed. They will be regarded as communicating with mortals, as unveiling the hidden things of the invisible state, and as performing acts requiring the exercise of physical power. The former are evident from the analogy which exists between this and demon-worship; and the latter, from the ascription to them of miraculous acts.
The existence of demoniacal intelligences, capable of communicating with and acting on mortals, appears to be in accordance with the teachings of the Saviour and apostles. Demoniacal possessions are clearly distinguished from all diseases; and demons are shown, by the admissions of the New Testament, to be actual intelligences, capable of physical power. When the fame of Christ "went throughout all Syria, they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those which had the palsy; and he healed them," Matt. 4:24. "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first," Matt. 12:43-45. "And as they went out, behold they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.(7) And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake; and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils,(8) through the prince of the devils," Matt. 9:32-34. "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatic, and sore vexed, for oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil, and he departed out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour," Matt. 17:14-18. "And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit: and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with what authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him!" Mark 1:23-27. "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God! I adjure thee, by God, that thou torment me not. (For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.) And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea (they were about two thousand), and were choked in the sea," Mark 5:2-13.
In all these instances, the demons are recognized as actual intelligences, performing given acts. Without the admission of this, it will be difficult to explain the meaning of a large class of scriptures. It cannot for a moment be supposed that the inspired writers would be permitted to use language which should directly mislead the common mind.
Among the miracles which the apostles wrought, "unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many possessed with them, and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed," Acts 8:7. "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs, or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits, the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And many that believed, came and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver," Acts 19:11-16, 18, 19.
The necromancy, divination, and witchcraft, forbidden in the Old Testament and practised by the heathen of those times, were all of a similar character. A necromancer was one who had, or pretended to have communication with the dead,—who sought "for the living to the dead,"(9) Isa. 8:19. They practised divination in divers ways, but usually admitted their dependence on familiar spirits,—the spirits of the departed,—demons. "The king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination; he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver. At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering-rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort. And it shall be unto them as false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken," Ezek. 21:21-23. They observed times, i.e. they regarded some as lucky, and others as unlucky times for the commencement of any work,—recognizing distinctions which God had not made. The heathen divinities were regarded as more propitious at some times than others. It is enumerated among the sins of Manasseh, that he "made his sons pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards," 2 Kings 21:6.
They practised various arts, whereby they thought to protect themselves from evil, and to pry into the secrets of futurity. Because of these things, ancient Babylon was suddenly overwhelmed,—"for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments." These could not save, as they supposed. Therefore God said to them: "Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee," Isa. 47:12, 13. All these practices were forbidden by God, who said: "Neither shall ye use enchantments, nor observe times," Lev. 19:26.
Those who consulted with familiar spirits were termed wizards and witches,—the practice of which was also expressly forbidden. To make witchcraft a mere pretence, is to impute to Jehovah the making of laws against pretences and nonentities. To suppose that he would legislate against, and inflict capital punishment, because of mere pretences, is incredible! God said to Moses, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," Ex. 22:18. And to the Jews he said, "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God," Lev. 19:31. "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people." "A man, also, or a woman, that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them," Lev. 20:6,27. When Egypt was to be destroyed, they were left to "seek to the idols, and to charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards," Isa. 19:3.
The manner in which the familiar spirit spoke, was by "peeping," "muttering," whispering out of the dust, &c. God said to Ariel, "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust," Isa. 29:4. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: (should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead!) to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Isa. 8:19, 20.
Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land; but when he "inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-dor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards out of the land; wherefore, then, layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware unto her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up to thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David: because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedest his fierce wrath upon Amelek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him," 1 Sam. 28:6-20.
Micaiah "saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee," 1 Kings 22:19-23.
When Paul was in the house of Lydia, he says, "It came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination, met us, which brought her masters much gain by her soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this she did many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour," Acts 16:16-18.
By sorcery, enchantment, &c., they performed wonders, or miracles, either real or pretended. "There was a certain man called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries," Acts 8:9-11. When "Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent, then Pharaoh also called the wise men, and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods," Ex. 7:10-12. When Aaron turned the water of the river to blood, "the magicians did so with their enchantments," v. 22. In like manner they "brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt," 8:7. But when Aaron changed the dust to lice, the magicians attempted the same with their enchantments, "but they could not," Ex. 8:18. These sorcerers who withstood Moses, we learn by Paul, were "Jannes and Jambres," 2 Tim. 3:8. They belonged to an ancient profession in Egypt; for, when Pharaoh dreamed his dreams, he first "sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dreams; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh," Gen. 41:8. In like manner Nebuchadnezzar "commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came, and stood before the king," Dan. 2:2.
These things were practised to some extent in Judah, but were all put away by Josiah. "Moreover, the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord," 2 Kings 23:24.
The acts and influences of demoniacal agencies are apparent from the foregoing; and the symbolization under the sixth seal, seems to indicate a revival of those teachings and manifestations at the present time. Within a few years, the curiosity of the community has been excited, and large numbers of persons greatly interested, in various phenomena, known as Mesmerism, Animal-Magnetism, Clairvoyance, Pathetism, Neurology, Psychology, Biology, Electro-Biology, &c. &c. Similar manifestations have been before exhibited, but not in modern times to the extent now witnessed. These were regarded as harmless phenomena and independent of any supernatural agency, till audible sounds were heard communicating intelligible responses. Then the claim was set up that these are caused by departed spirits.
These sounds were first heard near Rochester, New York, in 1847; and, at the present time (1852), they are affirmed to exist in hundreds of places in this country, and other sections of the globe. They are audible raps, the cause of which, aside from the hypothesis of spiritual agency, has never been satisfactorily accounted for. By these raps, unimpeached and credible witnesses testify that correct answers have been given to questions, the facts respecting which were known to no one at the time of answering. Since then, furniture has been seen to move about the room, and other wonders, or miracles, been performed, by invisible agency, at the command of mediums to attending spirits,—i.e. to demons. Mediums have written on paper, as they profess, involuntarily, lengthy communications, in poetry and prose, the subjects of which they claim to have been ignorant of, while the pen they held was moved independent of their own will. These exhibitions have been attested by hundreds of credible witnesses.
By such manifestations large numbers of persons have given their adherence to these real or pretended agencies as truthful and reliable intelligences; whose responses they receive with the same credence that we do the revelations of scripture. "Circles" are extensively formed, who have sittings, at stated times, to receive communications from the spirits of the departed; and these are enforced by miracles, audible sounds, the exercise of physical power, &c.
The reality and the credibility of these agencies are separate questions. Their reality is shown by their identity with similar manifestations of former times. The Bible affirms the existence of such: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places;" or "wicked spirits" in "heavenly places," as the margin reads, Eph. 6:12.
1. The familiar spirits of old responded in a manner similar to these. They did "peep" and "mutter;" their speech was low out of the dust; they spoke out of the ground, and whispered; or, as in the margin, did "peep" or "chirp" out of the dust. These "rap" and mutter. They respond from beneath chairs, tables and floors.
2. They exercised similar physical powers. They threw down and tare the persons they possessed. They turned the swine into the sea, &c. These claim that chairs and tables, are lifted and moved at will by an invisible agency.
3. They made similar pretensions to credibility. Simon Magus gave out "that himself was some great one;" and these, that they utter divine truths.
4. Similar regard was bestowed on those, which is claimed for these. To Simon "they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God." Yet "he had bewitched them with sorceries." Similar claims by, and regard for these modern pretenders to the same art, do not relieve them from the suspicion of a like agency. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness: whose end shall be according to their works," 2 Cor. 11:13-15.
5. Both have given utterance to some truths. The legion of demons who were cast out of the man into a herd of swine, acknowledged Jesus to be "the Son of the Most High God;" and the pythonic spirit which so grieved Paul, declared the apostles to be "the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation." Such communications with the invisible world being forbidden, their credibility is disproved.
They claim that spirits of the departed are brought into direct and intelligent communication with the living, who desire to interrogate them. What more was claimed by the necromancers of old? Said Saul to the woman of Endor: "Divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee," 1 Sam. 28:8.
They claim that not all, but only those persons are mediums who are peculiarly susceptible to spiritual influences. Wherein, then, admitting their claims, do the "mediums" differ from those of old, who divined by a familiar spirit?
Their responses are frequently disproved by facts; and themselves admit the existence of unreliable spirits, which communicate like them. They give contradictory responses, and mutually criminate each other; but their reality is not disproved by any discrepancy, or want of truthfulness in their responses; for if they are spirits, none but unclean spirits would respond in a forbidden manner.
These spirits are to be discredited, because they preach a different gospel from that preached by Paul, who says: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed," Gal. 1:6-9. "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha." 1 Cor. 16:22. Said John, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world," 1 John 4:1. Also Isaiah said, "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Isa. 8:19, 20.
Because of these practices, the nations were driven out from before the children of Israel. And with the miracles to be wrought, the frog-like spirits are to go forth to "the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
In the time of Abraham, "the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full," (Gen. 15:16); but in four hundred years they had practised all the abominations for which they were to be destroyed, and the practice of which God has expressly forbidden. He said to Israel, in the wilderness, "When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nation. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do," Deut. 18:9-14.
Similar pernicious practices and dangerous heresies, are to prepare the way for the final destruction of the nations who reject the claims of Jehovah. Peter declares that "there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not," 2 Pet. 2:1-3. And Paul says of that wicked: "Whose coming 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 for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness," 2 Thess. 2:9-12.
"The battle of that great day of God Almighty," it would seem, must commence by a conflict of opinions. Mind will war with mind, and puny man will stoutly contend against the truths of the Almighty. In this revival of demon-worship, the old gods of the heathen are to be set up against the claims of Jehovah. His declarations are to be made to give place to "doctrines of demons." The teachings of God and of these spirits are to be brought into direct conflict.
The followers of the spirits have baptized their new theological dogmas, "The Harmonial Philosophy," of which Reason is the final umpire. Revelation no longer speaks to them in tones of authority. From the Bible, it is claimed, "the seal of infallibility must be broken away, before a new light and beauty can enliven and embellish the mystical disclosures of any seer, prophet, or evangelist." So writes Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer, one of the leaders of this new school, who complains that "owing to the dogmatism of infallibility, the Bible is taught now-a-days as it was nearly four centuries ago."—Review of Dr. Bushnell, p. 10.
The Scriptures are, with those of his faith, only "the paper and ink relics of Christianity," (Ib., p. 21); which they regard as "a foundation as impermanent as the changeful sand" (Ib. p. 24), and not adapted "to the wants or requirements of the nineteenth century," Ib. p. 26. They reject Him, whom they style "the cruel and capricious God generally worshipped by the Bible Christians," Ib. p. 47. "The Jewish God," says Davis, "is cruel, capricious and tyrannical," whose "kingdom is more despotic, and more contracted in principle, than the present government of the Russian empire," Ib. p. 61. He adds, "The Old Testament idea of a Deity is the outgrowth of the despotic stage of human mental development," and "a superannuated monotheistic conception," Ib. p. 62. In their opinion, "the developments of republicanism, and of mental happiness among men, depend very much upon the absence of these dogmatical compilations, or fossil relics, of an old Hebrew and Chaldean theology," Ib. p. 70. With them "the Bible account of creation is a very interesting myth,—mainly a plagiarism from the early traditions and cosmological doctrines of the ancient Persians and Chaldeans;" and, instead of being "a divine revelation of truth," is "a pagan relic, which should no more command serious respect than the ancient doctrines of Fetichism," Ib. p. 90.
These "Harmonial Philosophers" are antagonistic to the teachings of Jehovah in nearly all their theological notions. They scout the idea that any actual evil exists in the universe. They deny the existence of the devil, and of evil spirits. "Everything," says Davis, "is forever progressing in goodness and perfection," Ib. p. 180. The salvation of all men, is with them as certain as the operation of fixed laws. They recognize no Saviour and no atonement in their system of faith. The teachings of spirits, and "a certain organization of labor, capital and talent," they fancy, "will effect the desired cure" for all actual or supposed ills, Ib. p. 178. They recognize no responsibility in the sinner, but attribute his wrong-doings to ignorance and accident; and their laws of right, are the dictates of their own wisdom.
Their system is essentially Pantheistic, all things being regarded by them as a part and parcel of Deity. They argue that "every object which has an existence in the universe must be in its nature good and pure, on the principle that the effect must partake of the nature of the cause, and the stream must be the corresponding emanation of the fountain from which it flows."—Elements of Spiritual Philosophy, p. 55. They teach that human spirits are "formed primarily from the animating essences that pervade the creation,—which essences," they say, "are the breath and presence of the Divinity;" and hence they argue, "that there are no spirits which are intrinsically evil in their nature, and none which do not present in their inward depths the reflection of divine purity," Ib. p. 56. Going still further, they claim that there is no existing "source of positive evil," "no principle of this nature in the human spirit," and that consequently "there can be no evil designs to emanate from such a source," Ib. p. 60.
These assertions are put forth authoritatively; for the "Elements of Spiritual Philosophy" are attested by witnesses to be "written by Spirits of the Sixth Circle, R. P. Ambler, Medium." And if they are met by the declarations written by those who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, they reply: "The Christian who deifies his Bible is as much an idolater as the heathen who burns his incense before his household image. It is surely attributing to the book what the Pagan attributes to his image."—Shekinah, April No., p. 251. Christianity, they denominate, "learned scepticism, baptized in the name of Jesus," &c., Ib., p. 301. Thus are they warring against the word of God, and placing themselves in direct conflict with the Almighty.
This warfare is not only avowed to be against the God of the Bible, but is recognized by themselves as _the last great conflict _ previous to the millennium_. They regard this subject as "the great question of the age, which is destined to convulse and divide Protestantism, and around which all other religious controversies must necessarily revolve."—_Davis' Review of Bushnell_, page 3. The millennium which is to be thus ushered in, they regard as a period when "every one that desires will be able to hold direct intercourse and conversation with the spirit world."—_Spiritual Tel., Vol. 1, No. 1._ Says Davis: "The thunders of a stupendous reformation are soon to issue from the now open mouth of the Protestant church. The supernatural faith," _i.e._ a belief in the authenticity of Scripture, "will be shaken, as a reed in the tempest. New channels will be formed for the inflowing of new truths, and then a long-promised era will steal upon the religious and political world."—_Review of Bushnell_, p. 187.
In another place he says: "You may be assured of the truth of this approaching crisis. The world must recognize it, because it will be accompanied with war; for politics are inseparably connected, all over the world, with religious systems. Religion will develop reason; but politics will impel the masses to unsheath the sword, and to stain the bosom of Nature with blood! Friends of progress! be not discouraged; for the FINAL CRISIS must come; then the strange interregnum," Ib. p. 217. "Protestantism as now constructed will first decay; because it is to be divided into two,—the smallest party will go back into Catholicism; the other will go forward into Rationalism. And then, after a succession of eventful years, a political revolution will hurl the Catholic superstructure to the earth, and the prismatic bow of promise will span the heavens. The children of earth will then be comparatively free and happy! for the millennial epoch will have arrived; and there will be something like a realization of peace on earth, and good will toward all men!" Ib. p. 221.
Such are their delusive hopes, while setting themselves against the Lord, and against his Anointed. The Bible teaches that multitudes will be deceived by them, and, if it were possible, some of the elect; and hence:
"Behold, I come like a thief. Happy is he who watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Rev. 16:15.
"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat," 2 Pet. 3:10. The Saviour said to his disciples: "Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come," Matt. 24:42. Says Paul: "Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night; for when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh, ... and they shall not escape; but ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief," 1 Thess. 5:1-6.
Thus will the day of the Lord come, as a thief, on those who are careless and indifferent to its approach; but it will not thus overtake those who watch, and keep their garments. Because so many will be deceived by the strange performances of the spirits of demons, and their miracles so delude the multitude, Christ's coming will be to them sudden and unexpected. Therefore the greater necessity for watchfulness. While this is a predicted means for lulling the world to sleep, it is given to the Christian as an indication of the near coming of Christ, whose advent synchronizes with the outpouring of the seventh vial. The blessing pronounced on those who watch, is an intimation that the people of God will be expecting Christ's advent, while others will be taken by surprise: "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation," Heb. 9:28. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ," Titus 2:11-13.
Those who keep their garments, are those who have not "defiled" them with sin, (3:4); they will walk with Christ in white, being worthy; "for the fine linen" in which they are to be arrayed "is the righteousness of saints," 19:8. To be destitute of this, is to be unclothed; and hence the Saviour says: "I counsel thee to buy of me ... white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear," 3:18. The intimation is clear, that to be deceived by the unclean spirits, is to lose those robes of righteousness, and to be found naked at Christ's appearing.
The Success of the Spirits.
"And they gathered them into a place called in Hebrew Armageddon." Rev. 16:16.
Before the coming of the Lord, and as a preparation for that event, the nations are to be thus gathered. Armageddon is the name of a valley at the foot of Mount Megiddo, famous for its bloody slaughters. It fitly symbolizes the final gathering of the nations. The enemies of God will marshal for the final conflict. The powers of darkness will fancy themselves on the verge of victory; and then will be poured out:
The Seventh Vial.
"And the seventh poured out his bowl on the air; and there came a loud voice from the temple [of heaven], from the throne, saying, It is done! And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty and so great an earthquake. And the great city became three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon was remembered before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of his furious wrath. And every island fled, and the mountains were no more. And vast hail, weighing a talent, fell from heaven on men; and men reviled God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceedingly great." Rev. 16:17-21.
The atmosphere is not limited, like a river, or portion of the earth, to a given locality, but encircles the globe. Consequently the effect of the vial poured out on the air, would be universal, and not local like the effects of the previous vials. The air is the region of storms. These symbolize the expression of conflicting opinions, and violent outbursts of passion; which may be the commencement of that "great battle," for the preparation of which the unclean spirits went forth under the sixth vial, to gather the people, and which terminates by the slaying of the remnant with the sword of the Lord, 19:21.
An earthquake is a symbol of a political revolution. As this is to be greater than all preceding ones, it must extend to all nations. It is during the earthquake, that the cities fall and the mountains and islands flee away. This commotion evidently synchronizes with the "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time," when God's "people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book," Dan. 12:1.
"It is done," is a declaration indicating the completion of the work symbolized. It marks the termination of the events of the seventh vial, which are described in the verses following:
"The great city" is "Babylon," (14:8); which "reigneth over the kings of the earth," (17:8); and which John had seen sitting "upon many waters," 17:1. This was doubtless seen when he saw the waters of the symbolic Euphrates being dried up, 16:12. Babylon, being a symbol of the Roman hierarchy, its triple division indicates a like division of the church of Rome, not geographical, but under different leaders, previous to its destruction.
"The cities of the nations," must symbolize other hierarchies, analogous to that of Rome, of which there are the Greek church, in Russia and Greece, the Arminian and Syrian churches, and other corrupt nationalized establishments. All such will become disconnected, like Babylon, with the governments by which they are sustained.
"Great Babylon" then comes into remembrance to drink the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God's wrath. Because her sins have reached unto heaven, "God hath remembered her iniquities," 18:5. This synchronizes with her destruction, symbolized in Rev. 18:8-23. As the Papacy continues till Christ's coming (Dan. 7:21, and 2 Thess. 2:3-8), this epoch must synchronize with that event, when he comes to receive his chosen ones.
With the destruction of Babylon, occurs the subversion of all national authority. As ecclesiastical hierarchies are symbolized by cities, the "mountains" and "islands" on which they are situated must symbolize the larger and smaller governments; and their removal from their places, their subversion in the great moral "earthquake" which is to overwhelm them. This synchronizes with the sixth seal, when they are all "removed out of their places," (6:14); and it leaves the inhabitants of earth in a state of anarchy. It is at this time that the kings and great men of the earth become aware that the great day of God's wrath is come, 6:15-17. With this time of trouble, comes the deliverance of God's people, (Dan. 12:1); who shall be caught up together "to meet the Lord in the air," 1 Thess. 4:17. To them the Lord has said, "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation," Ps. 91:5-9.
The removal of the saints leaves the wicked exposed to the vengeance of God's wrath, of which a terrific hail-storm on their defenceless heads, is an expressive symbol. The Lord said, by Isaiah: "Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption even determined upon the whole earth," Isa. 28:17-22.
This must synchronize with the final conflict, (symbolized in Rev. 19:19-21): also with the casting of the vine of the earth into the wine-press of God's wrath (14:19), and terminates the battle of "Armageddon,"—the "battle of that great day of God Almighty," 16:14.
The Judgment of the Harlot.
"And one of the seven angels, who had the seven bowls, came and talked with me, saying, Come here; I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot who sitteth on many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Rev. 17:1, 2.
The Roman hierarchy had been frequently referred to in the preceding visions; but an institution, so interwoven with the history of the nations, required a more full and minute symbolization.
The subject of this vision is announced to the revelator, by one of the angels who had the seven vials;—very probably, the seventh. The harlot is identified as one "that sitteth upon many waters." Ancient Babylon was thus addressed: "O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness," Jer. 51:13. She is also described as "The well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts," Nahum 3:4. Therefore the harlot whose judgment is to be more minutely shown, is the city of the previous vision, which received the cup of the wine of God's wrath (16:19), and which probably was shown to John on the waters of the Euphrates, (16:12); for the reference indicates that she had been thus previously exhibited,—the waters on which she was seated, being the people, nations, &c., which sustained and defended her idolatries, 17:15. In the vision now to be shown John, the Roman hierarchy is symbolized by Babylon; but it is first exhibited as:
A Woman on a Scarlet-Colored Beast.
"And he carried me away in spirit into a desert: and I saw a woman seated on a crimson-colored wild beast, full of names of reviling, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and crimson, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead a name was written, A SECRET: BABYLON, THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus; and when I saw her I wondered greatly." Rev. 17:3-6.
"And the angel said to me, Why dost thou wonder? I will tell thee the secret of the woman, and of the wild beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns. The wild beast which thou didst see, was, and is not, and will ascend out of the abyss, and go into destruction; and those who dwell on the earth will wonder, (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,) as they behold the wild beast that was and is not, and will be. And here is the mind having wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh he must remain a little while. And the wild beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction. And the ten horns which thou didst see are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom; but they receive power as kings, one hour, with the wild beast. These have one mind, and will give their power and strength to the wild beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and those with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." Rev. 17:7-14.
"And he saith to me, The waters which thou didst see, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples, and crowds, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou didst see, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot, and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh, and burn her up with fire. For God hath put it into their hearts to perform his purpose, and to agree, and give their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman whom thou didst see is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Rev. 17:15-18.
That the woman and city symbolize the same, is shown by the declaration that she is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth, v. 18. She is also thus indicated by the name of "Babylon," on her forehead, and the golden cup in her hand: "Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore are the nations mad," Jer. 51:7. In like manner has the church of Rome intoxicated the nations.
"The scarlet-colored beast" on which the woman is seated, is evidently the same beast that John saw "rise out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns," 13:1. The Roman empire had been symbolized by "a great red dragon," which also had seven heads and ten horns. In that vision, crowns were on the heads of the beast, (12:3); which indicated that Rome, during the period thus represented, existed under the forms of government symbolized by the heads. These heads, the angel affirms, are the seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, (v. 9); and also that they are seven kings (v. 10), or forms of government. Mountains also symbolize governments, (16:20); and as the heads and mountains are the same, they must alike symbolize the seven forms of government under which Rome existed previous to its subversion by the northern barbarians,—viz.: 1, the kingly; 2, consular; 3, dictatorial; 4, decemviral; 5, tribunitial; 6, pagan-imperial; and 7, Christian-imperial. At the time of the explanation of this vision to John, the "five" first-named forms had passed away; or, as the angel says, had "fallen," v. 10. One then was:—Rome then existed under its pagan-imperial, or sixth head. The other, the Christian-imperial, had not then come; but after it came, and had continued for a time, the Roman empire was subverted by the irruptions of northern barbarians. Thus "the beast was;" and then, was not for a season. But afterwards it emerged again from the sea (13:1), under an "eight" form, which was of the previous seven, 17:11. When it reaeppears, its crowns are not upon its heads, but encircle its horns, (13:1); indicating that those governments have the ascendency, which are symbolized by the "ten horns;" and which, according to the angel, are "ten kings," which had not received their kingdom at the time of the vision, v. 12. These were to be kings in "one," or the same hour with the beast, and must therefore be contemporary kingdoms, while the forms symbolized by the heads, are evidently successive. They constitute the government of Rome, in its eighth, or decem-regal form; and symbolize the ten kingdoms which arose after and out of the subversion of imperial Rome. Under this form, the beast goes into perdition, (v. 11):—they continue under various combinations, till the end of the world, when they will war with and be overcome by the Lamb (v. 14), in the great battle of Armageddon, 19:19-21.
The ten contemporary kingdoms have one mind, (v. 13): they perpetuate the kingdom of the beast, by adopting similar laws, pursuing the same line of policy, and assuming the same powers that the empire exercised.
The "names of blasphemy" which cover the beast, symbolize its arrogating the right to dictate in matters of faith and religious worship, and to punish those who dissent from its creed. The Roman hierarchy was supported by legal enactments against heretics in all of the ten kingdoms. Those who dissented from the church were delivered over to the power of the civil arm, which punished by imprisonment, confiscation of goods, bodily torture, and death. The exercise of such power, was a blasphemous usurpation of the prerogatives of Christ, and an assumption of authority over the legislation of God.
On this beast the woman is seated. As its rider, she guides it, and is sustained by it. She is its directing power; and while she is thus seated, there is no reference to crowns encircling either heads or horns. All rule for a time is subservient to her control. Thus were the ten kingdoms obedient to the Roman hierarchy,—sustaining, and being controlled by it. She crowned their kings, and dethroned them at her pleasure. The religion of the church was enforced by the sword of the state; and thus did the kings of the earth commit fornication with her,—the idolatries of the church being sanctioned by them.
The superb attire of the woman, and the costly gems with which she is decked, denote the wealth, luxury, and regal splendor of the hierarchy which she symbolizes. The cup, and its abominations in her hand, denote the false doctrines with which she would seduce the nations. Her names describe her nature, and identify her with Babylon; and her intoxication with blood, indicates her blood-thirsty, persecuting character, and the delight with which she would exult over the slaughter of the saints.
The Roman hierarchy was not, however, always to retain her supremacy over the nations. She was in due time to fall from the position symbolized by the woman seated on the beast; and the kings of the earth were to hate and burn with fire, her whom they had recognized as their mistress, and to whose control they had submitted. The governments which have sustained her pretensions, were to cast her off contemptuously. This has been in progress of fulfilment from the days of Martin Luther, since which her control of the ten kingdoms has been only limited and partial. Many of her ecclesiastical estates have been confiscated, and she has been deprived of her prerogatives in many countries. There may, perhaps, be hereafter a more complete fulfilment of this prediction. It is symbolized in the following chapter, by:
The Fall of Babylon.
"And after this, I saw another angel descending from heaven, having great power; and the earth was enlightened by his glory. And he cried with a mighty voice, saying, She is fallen: Babylon the great is fallen, and is become a dwelling of demons, and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird, for all the nations have drunk of the wine of the fury of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury." Rev. 18:1-3.
This announcement of the fall of the city, synchronizes with the same symbolization in the 14th chapter: "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication," 14:8. The angel, proclaiming her fall, doubtless symbolizes a body of men, who shall give utterance to corresponding declarations.
The epoch of this utterance is shown by the identity of this angel with that of Rev. 10:1-3. They thus correspond: They both descend from heaven: the one is a mighty angel, and the other has great power; the one is enveloped with a robe of cloud, his head is arched with the rainbow, his face is like the sun, and his feet like fire, and he stands on both earth and sea; the other is so glorified, and occupies a position so conspicuous, that the earth is enlightened with his glory; and the one cries "with a loud voice as when a lion roareth," while the other cries "mighty with a strong voice." Thus their position, manner and conspicuousness, are alike. What was uttered by the angel of the tenth chapter, is not revealed; but the fall of Babylon being announced in the eighteenth, it follows that it was the subject of the angel's utterance in the tenth.
As the messenger of the tenth chapter appears subsequent to the sixth, and before the seventh trumpet; and as, after this epoch, there were to be prophesyings "again, before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (10:11), it follows that the time then symbolized must be at an epoch anterior to the end of the world. A corresponding reason—namely, the command to come out of Babylon, and the fulfilment of her plagues and sorrows, which are to intervene between the cry of the angel announcing her fall and the time of her actual destruction—proves that the mighty angel of the 18th of Revelation must also be at an epoch having a considerable period between it and the end.
It follows, that when John saw the angel of the eighteenth chapter, and "the earth was lightened with his glory," it did not symbolize a literal but a moral light,—the light of truth. And as the enlightening of the earth by its promulgation, pre-supposes a previous state of corresponding moral darkness, it must, as in the tenth chapter, symbolize an epoch, prominent in the history of the world, as a time when the darkness of ignorance, error and superstition, began rapidly to disappear before the spread of the light of truth and knowledge.
These considerations point to the epoch of the REFORMATION, when the midnight darkness of the dark ages began to be scattered before the uprising and onward progress of truth and knowledge. Then appeared a body of religious teachers, aided by the newly discovered art of printing, who so brought the Scriptures out from their obscurity, opposed the pretensions of the Papal hierarchy, and, by the clear teachings of the word, so secured the spread of gospel light and liberty, that they might appropriately be symbolized by an angel coming down from heaven, and enlightening the earth with his glory. The descent from heaven would symbolize the heavenly origin of the doctrines promulgated. His mighty power, and the strong voice with which he proclaimed his cry, would symbolize the greatness and earnestness of the movement, and the mighty results to be effected by it. This symbolization, twice given, could only be fulfilled by some great and mighty movement, like the Reformation.
The fall of Babylon is distinct from and anterior to its destruction, and must correspond with the fall of the woman from her position on the beast;—she is no longer to be the director of, and to be sustained by, the civil power. The cry of the angel, announcing her fall, as Mr. Elliot remarks, seems to be anticipative, and not retrospective. The denunciations of the Papacy by the reformers were of a character to fulfil this symbolization.
The year 1300, during the pontificate of Boniface VIII., may be regarded as marking the highest eminence to which the Papal power ever attained. From this period the dominion of the Roman Pontiffs appeared to be gradually undermined. Twenty-four years after this date, John Wickliffe was born, who, together with his followers, made more vigorous attacks upon Babylon itself. Some of these declared Rome to be mystical Babylon, and the Pope and church there to be Antichrist. These heralds announced the fall of mystical Babylon, as the ancient prophets had done that of literal Babylon, long before the event.—Jer. 51:7, 8. Antichrist and Babylon are identified in prophecy. In 1518, Luther first suspected their application to the Papacy; and, writing to his friend Link, on sending him a copy of the acts just published of the conference at Augsburg, he says: "My pen is ready to give birth to things much greater. I know not myself whence these thoughts come to me. I will send you what I write, that you may see if I have well conjectured in believing that the Antichrist of whom St. Paul speaks now reigns in the court of Rome."
At first, Luther and his companions sought only the reformation of that church. They had no idea of dissolving their own connection with it. But when the thunders of the Vatican were hurled at them, and they found themselves excommunicated as heretics, they came to the conclusion that the church of Rome was the Babylon of the Apocalypse. Immediately upon this conviction, they began to cry, "Babylon is fallen!"
In 1520 appeared a famous book, by Luther, on the "Babylonish Captivity of the Church," in which he attacked Rome with great skill and courage. In Switzerland and England the reformers considered themselves as fulfilling this message of the Apocalyptic angel. Elliot says, "They seized on this very prophecy for application; and, for the first time, upon grounds of evidence sound and tenable, concluded on the fact of progress having been made up to it, in the evolution of the great mundane drama, and on their own chronological place being already far advanced under the sixth trumpet, and in near expectancy of the seventh trumpet, of the Apocalyptic prophecy."
These denunciations against Mystic Babylon, and protestations against all her idolatrous ceremonies and superstitious appendages, were given, by the great body of the reformers, within the very bounds of her empire. They resulted in her loss of power, and of control over the princes of Europe. In 1526, the other monarchs becoming jealous of the power of Charles V., Emperor of Germany, "Pope Clement VII. placed himself at the head of a league of the principal states of Italy against him; but their ill-directed efforts were productive of new misfortunes. Rome was taken by storm, by the troops of the constable, sacked, and the Pope himself made prisoner. Charles V. publicly disavowed the proceedings of the constable, went into mourning with his court, and carried his hypocrisy so far as to order prayers for the deliverance of the Pope. On restoring the holy father to liberty, he demanded a ransom of four hundred thousand crowns of gold, but was satisfied with a quarter of that sum."—Ency. Am., v. 3. p. 76.
All the Protestant princes of Germany denied the assumptions of the Pope; and the powers of western and northern Europe, one after another, denied their allegiance to him. In 1798, Pius VI. was taken prisoner by the French, under Gen. Berthier, and died in exile. When Berthier entered Rome, many of the cardinals "fled from the city on the wings of terror;" but those who remained "were disposed still to uphold the authority of the Pontiff." Finally, however, "with melancholy voice, they pronounced their absolute renunciation of the temporal government."—Life of Pius VI. His successor resumed his position. But in 1848 Pius IX. fled from his own subjects, and was only restored by French arms. Thus gradually the Babylonish woman became unseated, and fell from her position on the beast; and, instead of guiding and directing the civil power, now only exists by sufferance. As a city, also, her supremacy was gone. Being no longer the mistress of the nations, or the ruling city, the Papal See is in the condition of ancient Babylon when becoming a dependency of the Medes and Persians.
After the fall of ancient Babylon, it became gradually more and more deserted, until there was a literal fulfilment of the words of Isaiah: "Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces," Isa. 13:21, 22. In like manner the apocalyptic Babylon, after her fall, and the withdrawal of Protestants from her communion, was to become the receptacle of corresponding spirits. Her members were to be more impious than before, and were to adhere more closely than ever to her idolatrous practices. The contrast between these and true Christians would also be more apparent from the separation which succeeds her fall, in obedience to:
The Voice From Heaven.
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues, for her sins have reached to heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities! Reward her even as she rendered to you, and double to her according to her works, in the cup which she hath poured out, pour out double to her. By as much as she hath glorified herself, and lived luxuriously, so much torment and mourning give her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am not a widow, and shall see no mourning. On this account, her plagues will come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she will be burned up with fire; for strong is the Lord God, who judgeth her."—Rev. 18:4-8.
So long as the true character of the apostate church was unperceived, she would contain many good, as well as a multitude of bad members. The voice from heaven, indicates an epoch when there should be a widely extended and marked separation between these two classes. Till the time of that separation should be indicated, the children of God would be justified in continuing members of her communion; but not subsequently. The condition of Babylon, at the time of her fall, indicates that the separation must take place in near connection with that event; and the cry must synchronize with that of the third angel in Rev. 14:9,—which symbolized a body of men who should insist on such a separation from the Papacy as that here symbolized.
After the discovery that the church of Rome was the Babylon of the Apocalypse, the reformers began to call on the people of God to desert her communion; and the formation of the reformed churches was the consequence. This was preached wherever the Reformation extended, and has been continued to the present time. The Protestant churches have proclaimed connection with Romanism, an obstacle to salvation; and have called on its Christian members to come out from her abominations. Even the name "Protestant," was given because of their protestation against the corruptions of the Papal See.
After the fall of ancient Babylon, and before her destruction, the people were, in like manner, commanded to forsake her. Said Jeremiah: "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies," Jer. 51:6, 8, 9. And Isaiah said: "Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob," Isa. 48:20. "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord," Isa. 52:11.
Sins reaching to heaven, indicate great wickedness. Thus God said to Jonah: "Go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me," Jonah 1:2. And he said of old Babylon: "Her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies," Jer. 51:9.
The Destruction of Babylon.
"And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and wail for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off through the fear of her torment, saying, Woe! woe! that great city, Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come! And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her; for no one buyeth their merchandise any more; the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and crimson, and all thine wood, and all kinds of vessels of ivory, and all kinds of vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and fragrant ointment, and incense, and myrrh, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and bodies, and souls of men. And the autumnal fruit of thine appetite's desire is departed from thee, and all things dainty and sumptuous are destroyed from thee, and thou wilt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, who were enriched by her, will stand afar off, through the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying, Woe! woe! that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and crimson, and adorned with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! for in one hour such great wealth is destroyed. And every pilot, and every one sailing to any place, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried, when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like the great city? And they cast dust on their heads, and cried out, weeping and mourning, saying, Woe! woe! the great city by which all who had ships on the sea, were made rich through her precious merchandise! for in one hour she is desolated." Rev. 18:9-20.
"Rejoice over her, O heaven, and ye saints and apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her!" Rev. 18:20.
"And a strong angel took up a stone like a great mill-stone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus violently, will Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and be no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and pipers, and trumpeters, will be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of any art, will be found any more in thee; and the sound of a mill-stone will be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a lamp will shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride will be heard no more at all in thee; for thy merchants were the nobles of the earth; for by thy sorcery all nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all those slain on the earth." Rev. 18:21-24.
The punishment of Babylon is proportioned to her wickedness, and is to be inflicted partially by the kings of the earth, and partially by other agencies. The kings were to hate, and burn her with fire, (17:16); and were also, when they should see the smoke of her burnings, to bewail and lament for her, 18:9. The former passage indicates their agency in her impoverishment, and has been fulfilled in the confiscation of her property in France and England, the spoliation of churches and religious houses, wherever the arms of Napoleon extended; the dethronement of the Pope, by Gen. Berthier, in 1798; the refusal of some of the powers to permit her to nominate, within their limits, the candidates for ecclesiastical preferment, &c. She is thus made to feel her widowhood,—her divorce from the secular arm,—and has mourned the loss of her most devoted children, who have forsaken her communion.
Her final destruction is, however, to be entire. She is totally to disappear, like the sinking of a millstone in the sea. She is to be utterly burned with fire; but the lamentation of the kings over her burning, indicates that her destruction is to be completed by other instrumentality than theirs. Probably the multitude are to be incensed against her, and will so manifest their hatred that the governments will neither join in it, nor attempt to resist it, for fear that the same torment will be inflicted on them, 18:10. But her existence is terminated by the brightness of Christ's coming, 2 Thess. 2:8. Her destruction precedes that of the kings of the earth, who mourn her end. The merchants of the earth, the captains, sailors, &c., symbolize those who bear a relation to the hierarchy, analogous to that sustained by such to a great commercial emporium. They are those who have the control of her preferments, benefices and revenues,—who traffic in her indulgences, and thereby become themselves enriched. And these articles of traffic are symbolized by the merchandise which, after her destruction, no man would buy.
The commerce of this ecclesiastical city, has been immense,—particularly in indulgences. The sale of these was reduced to a system, says D'Aubigne, by "the celebrated and scandalous Tariff of Indulgences," which went through more than forty editions. The least delicate ears would be offended by an enumeration of all the horrors it contains. Incest, if not detected, was to cost five groats; and six, if it was known. There was a stated price for murder, infanticide, adultery, perjury, burglary, &c. Polygamy cost six ducats; sacrilege and perjury, nine; murder, eight; and witchcraft, two ducats.
The penances of various kinds which were imposed as a punishment for sin, might also be compounded for money.
Tetzel, one of Rome's travelling merchants, told the people of Germany that for "a quarter of a florin" they might "receive letters of indulgence," by means of which they might "introduce into paradise a divine and immortal soul, without its running any risk." Hist. Ref., pp. 56, 242.
He also said "Indulgences avail not only for the living but for the dead. With twelve groats you can deliver your father from purgatory." "At the very instant," said he, "that the money rattles at the bottom of the chest, the soul escapes from purgatory, and flies, liberated to heaven." This is but a specimen of her vile traffic.
Responding to the command, are heard the voices of much people in heaven,
Rejoicing Over Babylon's Destruction.
"And after this, I heard a loud voice of a mighty crowd in heaven, saying, Praise ye Jehovah! The salvation, and the glory, and the power of our God! For true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great harlot, who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand! And again they said, Praise ye Jehovah! And her smoke ascendeth for ever and ever. And the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshipped God, who sat on the throne, saying, So be it! Praise ye Jehovah!" Rev. 19:1-4.
Daniel, in vision, saw the same persecuting power symbolized by a "Little Horn," having "eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things;" and he beheld, "and the same Horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom," Dan. 7:8, 21, 22. And Paul testified of "that Wicked" who was to be revealed, that he was the "Man of Sin," "whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming," 2 Thess. 2:3-8. The destruction of that which was thus symbolized and predicted, must, consequently, be at the epoch of Christ's second coming and of the establishment of the kingdom of God.
It is also at the epoch anticipated by "the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held," who, from under the altar, on the opening of the "fifth seal," "cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" 6:9, 10. The epoch which they anticipated not having then arrived, "white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also, and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled" (6:11),—i.e., till their number should be filled up. As the destruction of that hierarchy, in which "was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth" (18:24), had just been symbolized (in the 18th chap.), and as these rejoicings are because God "hath judged the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand" (19:2), it follows that the epoch here symbolized is that to which the saints were to wait, and that they are now to be crowned with their reward.
As the destruction of Babylon is a little anterior to that of the beast and false prophet (19:20), and is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming (2 Thess. 2:8), at a time when the kingdom is to be given to the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:22), it explains how it is that the kingdom is set up in the days of the kings symbolized by the divided toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image: symbolic of the same as the horns of the beast in Dan. 7:7, 24, and Rev. 17:3, 12, 16; for "in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever," Dan. 2:44.
The kingdom is therefore commenced previous to the descent of the Lord to the earth, by the saints being caught up to meet him in the air. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord," 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.
This epoch, then, is that of the sounding of the seventh trumpet; for "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets," 10:7. This mystery Paul thus explains: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed," 1 Cor. 15:50-54. This "saying" was thus written by Isaiah,—"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation," Isa. 25:8, 9. It follows, then, that the voices heard in heaven, shouting "Alleluia," and ascribing "salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God" (v. 1), synchronize with those heard when "the seventh angel sounded: and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.—And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned: And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth," Rev. 11:15-18.
The time of the dead being come that they should be judged, and the saints rewarded, is another evidence that this epoch is that of the second advent and kingdom of Christ, "who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom," 2 Tim. 4:1. Consequently it must synchronize with that of:
The Marriage of the Lamb.
"And a voice came from the throne saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both the small and the great! And I heard a voice like that of a great crowd, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, Praise ye Jehovah! for the Lord God Almighty reigneth. Let us rejoice and exult, and give glory up him: for the marriage of the Lamb hath come, and his wife hath prepared herself! And it was granted to her to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: (for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.) And he saith to me, Write, Happy are those called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb. And he saith to me, These are the true words of God. And I fell before his feet to worship him. And he saith to me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant and one of thy brethren, who have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev. 19:5-10.
The marriage of the Lamb is at the epoch when "the kingdoms of this world are to become our Lord's and his Christ's"—when the Lord God Almighty takes to himself his great power and reigns, 11:15, 17. Therefore, in connection, are heard the mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth," 9:16. This scripture, then, corresponds with that in Matt. 24:30, 31, when "they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." For, "when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats—the one on his right hand and the other on his left," Matt. 25:31, 32. Those on his right, we learn from 1 Cor. 15:51, and 1 Thess. 4:16, 17, are the elect, gathered by the angels from all parts under heaven, who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air—and those on the left are consequently the living wicked, who are to be slain by the sword which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lamb, 19:21.
The wife who "hath made herself ready," is shown by the foregoing scriptures to be, undoubtedly, the church triumphant—the redeemed, who have been raised out from among the dead, and the living saints, caught up together to meet the Lord in the air; to welcome him in his coming to reign. These constitute the bride, the Lamb's wife; for as "the husband is the head of the wife," even so "Christ is the head of the church," Eph. 5:23. He "loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish," Eph. 5:25-27. This accords with God's ancient promises to his people. Thus Isaiah saith: "Thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of hosts is his name, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel: the Lord of the whole earth shall he be called," Isa. 54:5. Also Hosea: "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi," my husband; "and shalt call me no more Baali," my Lord. "And I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord," Hos. 2:16, 19. Thus is the church "espoused to one husband," to be presented "as a chaste virgin to Christ," 2 Cor. 11:2.
The epoch of this presentation being here symbolized, it synchronizes with that part of the parable of the "ten virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom," when, the Bridegroom having come, "they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut"—those left without, afterwards crying in vain for admittance, Matt. 25:10. The wife had been made ready by its having been "granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white—[mar. 'bright']; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints," 19:8. Such were the "white robes" given to those who cried from under the altar (6:11), and who afterwards, at an epoch synchronizing with the marriage of the Lamb, appeared, "a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," who "stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb," 7:9, 10. These were they of whom one of the elders asked, saying, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?" and who was answered: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," 7:13-17. These had complied with the condition to the promise: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before the Father and before his holy angels," 3:5. "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb," 14:4.
"Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb," 19:9. Truly are they blessed; for "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat," 7:16. They attain the promised blessing: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," 20:6. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away," 21:4. So entranced was the apocalyptic seer at these symbols of the glorified redeemed, that he fell at his feet to worship the angel who showed him these things. But his fellow servant shrank back from the reception of homage, and pointed to God as the only object of adoration.
The union of the saints to Christ in the clouds of heaven being symbolized, they receive the gracious welcome: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world," Matt. 25:34. But first it is necessary to redeem the "purchased possession" (Eph. 1:14), to reconquer the revolted province, which, since the fall, has been subject to "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2), to rescue it from the dominion of the usurper, and deliver it from its present mis-rule "up to God the Father" (1 Cor. 15:24), who will bestow it on One who is worthy to wear its crown. For when Daniel saw that "the judgment was set and the books were opened," he also "saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came in the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed," Dan. 7:10, 13, 14. He comes, then, to dispossess the usurper, and to take possession of his kingdom. The next representation, then, symbolizes the coming of:
The King and his Armies.
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse: and he who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judgeth and maketh war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many diadems; and he had a name written which no one knew except himself. And he was clothed with a garment dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And from his mouth goeth forth a sharp sword, that he may smite the nations with it: and he will rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the wine-press of the furious wrath of God, the Almighty. And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Rev. 19:11-16.
According to the significance of symbolic language, Christ is here represented as coming personally. The heavens open and he appears in resplendent majesty, in accordance with the predictions respecting his second advent. When the clouds of heaven had received the ascending Saviour, the shining ones who stood by said to the gazing disciples, "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven," Acts 1:11. "And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," Matt. 24:30. "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him," Rev. 1:7.
The white horse of the King, and those of his armies, are symbols of the pomp and grandeur of their descent, and show that they will triumph in victory.
The names ascribed to the descending Monarch are applicable only to Christ. He was "the Faithful and True Witness" who commanded John to write "to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans," (3:14); for he who commanded John to "write in a book and send it unto the seven churches" of Asia (1:11), was the One whom John saw "in the midst of the seven candlesticks, like unto the Son of man" (1:13), and who announced himself as "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come—the Almighty," 1:8. "The Word of God," was the "Word" that was "in the beginning," that "was with God," and that "was God," the same that was "in the beginning with God," and which "was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John 1:1-14. Jesus is "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," (Ib., 29); and "the Lamb" "is Lord of lords and King of kings," 17:14. It is "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth," (1:5); and he alone is possessed of that incomprehensible "Name" which no man knoweth, and which he hath promised to write on "him that overcometh," 3:12.
That the visible and personal coming of Christ, and not any providential interposition, is here symbolized, is self-evident. For, while no created object can adequately symbolize Him, it would derogate from the dignity of his character and position to be a symbol of some inferior object. In all mere providential interpositions, foreshown by symbolic imagery, the predicted events are represented by corresponding acts of symbolic agents. War between nations is symbolized by beasts, representatives of the nations, contending with each other. (See Dan. 8th chap.) Pestilence and famine are symbolized by analogous results, and not by Christ's appearing. When, therefore, he is seen coming in person, it must symbolize his personal advent.
His eyes "as a flame of fire," show his identity with the one "like unto the Son of man" in the "midst of the seven candlesticks" (1:13), the author of the message to "the church in Thyatira;" which "things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass," 2:18.
His "many crowns" are symbols of his sovereignty. Rome undivided and mistress of the world, when symbolized by the seven-headed and ten-horned dragon, is represented with the crowns on the heads, which were the seven successive kinds of government by which its sovereignty was enforced, 12:3, and 17:9, 10. But when its imperial had given place to its decem-regal form, and it is to be shown under the government of ten contemporaneous kingdoms, "the crowns," the symbols of sovereignty, are represented as encircling the "horns" of the beast, 13:1. So, when "the King of kings" cometh, to take to himself his great power, and to reign, and "the kingdoms of this world are become those of our Lord and of his Christ" (11:15, 17), He, "the head of all principality and power" (Col. 2:10), at whose name "every knee should bow" (Phil. 2:9), is shown the wearer of "many crowns."
"Come, then, and, added to thy many crowns, Receive yet one, the crown of all the Earth, Thou who alone art worthy! It was thine By ancient covenant, ere nature's birth; And thou hast made it thine by purchase since, And overpaid its value with thy blood." Cowper's Task.
His "vesture dipped in blood" is symbolic of his coming to tread "the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (19:15), when he shall "smite the nations," and "rule them with a rod of iron," (Ib.) Thus Isaiah prophesied: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth," Isa. 63:1-6.