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and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments; he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more."
Malachi prophesied of the millennium, and the preceding slaughter of the wicked, in the battle of that great day of God Almighty, in the following concise and striking language:" Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked: for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, in the day that I do this, saith the Lord of hosts."
After this view of the prophecies of the battle of that great day of God Almighty, we repeat the observation, that they contain the fullest and most fearful ideas of the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, that could possibly be exhibited to the human mind by words: and we are constrained to believe, that they mean nothing less than the dissolution of the whole of this world, political, moral, and natural.
The political constitutions-the cities of the nations shall fall. A perfect moral change is implied in these prophecies, as they fully express the destruction of the wicked, and exaltation of the righteous. And the dissolution of the natural
world is no less plainly foretold: "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down. The earth shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away. The world languisheth and fadeth away. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth; therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.” *. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again." t
"And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."
"For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter." "The mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall
Isa. xxiv. 17-20.
*Isa. xxiv. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14. Rev. xvi. 18, 20.
be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig-tree." "For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion."*
Zephaniah prophesied, saying, "I will utterly consume all things from off the earth, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked, and I will cut off man from off the earth, saith the Lord. The whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy." This agrees with what Moses said of the great day of God's wrath the fire, kindled in the divine anger, shall consume the earth with her increase.
Haggai also prophesied, saying, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth.”‡ This signifieth (saith the apostle to the Hebrews) the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.§
God himself will fight this battle, as at Megiddo: They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The word of attack to God's hosts will be, as at the Red sea, Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord: and, as in the valley of Jehoshaphat, Stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
*Isaiah xxxiv. 2-8.
† Chap. i.
Heb. xii. 26--29.
The principal weapons of this battle will be the elements, particularly fire, as may be observed in the prophecies quoted. "Every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire."
This battle is often called, in the Scriptures, the judgment; as in Isaiah xxxiv. 5. "My sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon the people of my curse to judgment." "I beheld," (said Daniel,) "till the Ancient of Days did sit:-his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." And again, "But the judgment shall sit." That the judgment here represented will precede the millennium, or kingdom of Christ and his saints, we think is very obvious: for then the beast will be destroyed, and given to the burning flame-the Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven; and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom. Judgment was given to the saints. Do ye not know (said the apostle Paul) that the saints shall judge the world? So John saw thrones at the opening of the millennium, and the saints seated upon them; according to the promise that they shall sit with Christ in his judgment throne. John also saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, saying, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is
* Dan. vii. 9, 10, 26.
† Dan. vii. 22.
come and there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen. This is the same time called the judgment in Daniel-the time of the final destruction of Antichrist.
Such is the day of vengeance to be looked for, when the year of the redeemed, the millennium, shall come. How vain and delusive then is the desire of the unconverted world to see the day of the Lord!
Before the first coming of Christ, an expectation generally prevailed of some great event taking place in providence: not Jews only, but also Gentile nations, were looking out, with raised hopes and eager desires. The magicians in the east, and the philosophers and poets in the west, were talking and writing of it; and all the world were praying for the golden age.* But how generally were their views and expectations disappointed and crossed!
And so now, all the world are in expectation of some great event. Among Christians, some are looking for the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and also, according to his promise, for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Others are looking for days of rest, peace, and prosperity to the people of God, in this world; that they, being delivered out of the hands of their enemies, might serve him without fear, in righteousness, all the days of their lives.
* "O mihi tam longæ maneat pars ultima vitæ, Spiritus et quantum sat erit tua dicere facta!"