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1. That by gaining a clear discovery of this most deadful eneiny, we may be guarded against his influence, and escape from his destructive power.
2. That we may thereby know when the time of the end is come, and so be prepared for the great day of wrath, of which the rising of the last Antichrist is the immediate prelude.
Our Lord mentioned a variety of things as being general signs of the end of the world; after which he mentioned this as being particular and unequivocal. "But when ye shall see the abomi"nation of desolation spoken of by Daniel the "prophet, standing where it ought not; let him "that readeth understand." Mark xiii. The placing of the abomination of desolation, scattering the power of the holy people, taking away the daily sacrifice, and slaying the witnesses, &c. are concomitant events..........Paul, to the Thess. Epis. ii. chap. ii, gave this reason why the day of Christ was not then immediately to be expected, viz...... that there must "come a falling away first, and "that man of sin be revealed, the Son of Perditi"on." This is given in all parts of the Scripture as the indisputable signal of "the coming of the "Son of Man in the clouds of heaven."
It is now time to look for the zeta, or last sign of the Antichrist.......Paul says, 2 Thess. ii, "He "who now letteth will let, until he be taken out "of the way. And then shall that wicked be re"vealed." The Roman empire in its chi, its first character or general mark, was finished about the date of A. p. 500. The witnesses, cotemporary with the ten kingdoms succeeding, were to have power soon after the fall of the empire, and they were to prophesy in sackcloth 1260 years. The late event, therefore, of a new formation of the Roman empire, has fallen out at the very time, when, according to the prophecies, it must have
been urgently expected. How long the last Antichrist is to continue we are not warranted to say; but he must continue a short space;" and just at the close of his reign, like Belshazzar, in calling for the vessels of the Lord's house at his great feast, and using them in honor of the gods of Babylon; he will not only have slain the witnesses, but will instigate over their dead bodiessome act tragically profane.
John said, in his Epistles, that it was the last time, and gives this reason; for "as ye have "heard that Antichrist shall come," and "ever "now" that character was to be seen," whereby "we KNOW that it is the last time." In this place he refers to the Antichrist in his first, or generat mark. When the Papal empire rose, by the same method of observation, it was then to be known that the last times had advanced to high day; and when, after the Papal, there shall be again a new formation of the Roman empire, by the same infallible method, it will then admit of no doubt that the last time of the last times have come.
"If any man have an ear let him hear." Rev. xiii. 9. Reader, observe the connection!.......Our Lord spake a parable, saying, “Behold the fig"tree and all the trees; When they now shoot "forth, ye see and know of your own selves, "that summer is now at hand. So likewise ye, "when ye see these things comeito pass, know "ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." Again, "Let him that readeth understand.". Daniel says, that at that time," the wise shall un"derstand." This is the "sign of the Son of "Man," and the "midnight cry." And in this posture of affairs, both as to the world and the church, God's people are no longer to remain in suspense." By the CHI XI ZETA, to him that readeth, the awful crisis, now impending the world, will be known with equal certainty, as that by
the MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN, the catastrophy then immediately impending Babylon, was known to Daniel. From thenceforth there will remain no room for conjecture; but the wise will know, surely, that the end of the time of the end is come.
SECTION VI......Mystical Babylon.
THE Babylon of the New Testament, like the Beast who is seated therein, as already noticed, is triplicate. The full portrait of this abominable and accursed city, is given by that of a queen mother, together with two daughters, all of the same whorish and cruel character. John, in his descriptions of Babylon, alludes to Ezek. xxiii, and all his figures answer strictly to that prophecy. According to which view, we are to look for two falls of Babylon, previous to its last and utter overthrow.
This Mother of Harlots is the consort of imperial Rome, who, as we have seen, at the time of Constantine, put on a disguise, and changed his form from that of a ferocious Pagan Dragon to that of a tame Christian riding Beast.........And when this metamorphosed Dragon received his wound unto death, our lady was thrown from her seat upon his back, and received a tremenduous shock. This is recorded as a first fall of Babylon. She, however, survived, and by means of whoredoms with the kings of the earth, the new states that rise up after the fall of the empire, bears two daughters, whom she christened as Christian women; these may be called the Aholah and the Aholibah of the New Thstament; and their characters are now as distinctly seen in
a France, and an England, as the women of Ezekiel were to be seen in a Samaria, and a Jerusalem. These belles, as it is natural for them to do, follow the steps of their Italian mother, and commit fornication with the kings of the earth, and so become queens, famous among women; one of whom, Aholah, is represented as being inland, seated upon seven mountains, Rev. xvii. 9, but the other, Aholibah, is insular, a sea queen seated upon the waters. Ver. 15. In the descriptions of whom, there are frequent allusions to the ancient Tyre, which commercial city is held up as her type. The fall of these two daughters of the whore of Rome, particularly the last, accomplishes a second fall of Babylon. Hence, in relation to this event, chap. xiv. 3, the word fallen is repeated.
But the old mother will still live, and will furnish resources for the Beast and Dragon, until the last scene of the great battle. Hence, at the time of pouring the last vial, "great Babylon came in "remembrance before God, to give unto her the
cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." Mystical Babylon is an extraordinary wife; like the woman of the Saducees, she has had seven husbands, six Pagan and one Christian; and besides all these, like the woman of Samaria, she has one who is not her husband;" and this she will one day know to her sorrow. It will be observed, that this city, viewed on the large scale, includes all the grand enemies of the church, both Jew and Gentile, from the first of them to the last; hence it is said, Rev. xviii. 24, " In her was "found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and "of all that were slain upon the earth."
Let it here be noticed, that the struggle of the New Testament witnesses, as they prophesy in sackcloth, is chiefly against the enemies of their own bouse, viz. with the idolatrous church, as connect
ed in marriage with the ten horns of the Beast, a's Samaria was connected with the ten idolatrous tribes of Israel; and with the commercial church, connected with every body who will gratify her lust of power, and gain of traffic, as apostate Jerusalem was connected with all the nations who could be induced to flatter her idle and corrupt policy...... Thus, in Ezek. xxiii. 36. "Son of Man, "wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? Yea, "declare unto them their abominations." That this prophecy respected the last days is evident; for ancient Samaria, if not Jerusalem, had fallen at the time it was penned. And let it be noticed farther, that the business of the witnesses is not to execute judgment upon these enemies, but merely to judge, pronounce sentence, and lay the consuming curse upon them. The executing work will be done by other hands, as may be seen in the prophecy of Ezekiel before us, compared with Rev. xvii. 16, viz. by their own lovers and customers, who will do the work with the fury of men deceived in the bed of love.
The manner in which the apostate church is judged and executed, may be particularly seen in Zechariah, chap. v, in which the prophet relates two visions.
1. He saw a flying roll, which denotes the ministry of the word; which roll had two equal measures; the one of length, and the other of breadth, which denotes the two witnesses, and which measures answered to the length and breadth of sanctuary; which, according to the pattern, were each twenty cubits; and as these measures were appropriate to the sanctuary, and were the great ecclesiastical standard, it was thereby denoted, that the work to be done by this roll was purely of an ecclesiastical nature. So this passage was understood by the Protestants. And that the Babylon, against which this roll flew forth, was