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and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations;" and thus much for the first time of punishment.
Seeing, then, that the "seven times more," just spoken of, implied one time-viz., 360 years-gone before; as the seven times of Nebuchadnezzar were seven years as applied to a man; and as 360 was the number of Chaldean and Jewish days in a year: so in application to the history of a nation, we consider that the seven times more will be 7 × 360=2520 years; during which Israel should be punished of God: years alluded to by our Lord and Saviour when He told us, that "Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles, the times of Gentile supremacy, were fulfilled."
We have now therefore to see when this last asserted dispensation of times, viz., 2,520 years began and ended; and we take the beginning, as by the chronology of the late learned treasurer of the Chronological Society, J. W. Bosanquet, in the year B.c. 658, as by his work entitled "Messiah the Prince," wherein he writes, page 450, opposite to that year and under the heading, "Remarks from Holy Scripture," "Ephraim no longer a people. (Isa. vii. 8.) Commencement of the punishment of Israel for seven times. Levit. xxvi. 17-24-2,520 years." We cannot therefore but hold that 2,520-653 B.c.=1867 A.D., gives the true ending of the times of the Gentiles, and thence gather that we are now absolutely in the end of that general dispensation of times and seasons, which, after mighty judgments on the whole earth, is to close with the restoration of Israel to the favour of God, and supreme honour in the world.
In fact, the year 1867 opened a most remarkable epoch in the history of the world, as we propose to show by two remarkable instances: one connected with Romanism, and one with Mahomedanism; premising however a principle which we believe will be found to be most essential to the understanding of prophecy-namely, that, in the Divine counsels, things are often spoken of as finished and done from the moment of incipient action towards a given end; whereof we have a remarkable illustration in our Saviour's exclamation, "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out;" although we see not, as yet, all things put under Christ; yet then, Christ's coming began the mighty work accounted for as done, while only just begun.
The two instances spoken of are these:
Firstly. The German War of 1866, by exalting Northern Germany above Roman Catholic Austria, brought in a set of politics adverse to the Papacy; which culminated in the destruction of its temporal power in 1870; so that with 1867 a new epoch arose, whereof we see not yet a visible end. But we say that we are in the end, which will culminate in the destruction of the spiritual power of that depraved form of Christianity.
Secondly. In 1867, the period foretold by Daniel viii. in the year circum 553 B.C., as by the marginal reference, reduced apud Bosanquet by 21 years to circum 532; we say, the period foretold of 2,400 years as by the same authority, for the cleansing of the sanctuary (that is, unto the year of Jubilee of Jubilees 49 x 49=2401), came to an end; and in that very year 1867, the Porte issued a firman sanctioning the purchase of land by foreigners, and among them of course, by Jews, within the boun
daries of Syria; and thus the cleansing of the sanctuary in that year began-2,400-532=1868; but considering the uncertainty as to a special, single year, arising from the differing commencements of the European and the Jewish year; we may well conclude that 1867 was the actual year in which the favour of the God of Israel began to return to His "banished ones:" the year of the commencement of "the End." The times therefore of the Gentiles have been fulfilled, The end of this dispensation is come upon all the world; that is, it has begun; and again remembering that is written," Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants, the prophets; " let us go on to inquire and search diligently into the signs of "the end,” as revealed through that prophet who in less than as many verses, five times tells us of the End."
Turning then to the prophecies of Ezekiel, we shall find that they open in the first seven chapters with a glorious vision of the " appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord:" showing forth the Lord Jesus Christ seated on a throne surrounded by a rainbow, signifying ultimate purposes of mercy, above the four great Empires represented by cherubic forms, whereof we will not now speak particularly; save that as in God's first dealings with a nation, God's mercyseat was between two cherubim, the powers of Israel and Judah-so, when about to show forth the end of this dispensation, He is shown seated above four cherubim, the consummated four Empires: the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman.
And seated thus, He speaks to Ezekiel; and after various declarations, concludes the first great vision as shown in seven chapters with the repeated declaration in the last; "an end, the end is come-now is the end come upon thee-an evil, an only evil, behold is come—an end is come-the end is come, it watcheth for thee, behold, it is come."
How deeply this concerns us all who are alive during " the end," in preparation for the "last end," we only venture to suggest: but we now go on to preface an exposition of the Sth and three following chapters of Ezekiel with the needful remark: that though it may be true that some of his prophecies have received fulfilment in his days, such as that wherein it was shown that the King Zedekiah was to be brought to Babylon, yet should not see it though he should die there; which was fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar, who, having blinded him, carried him to Babylon; yet doubtless the great fulfilments prefaced by the signs which we are about to attempt to expound, have never yet taken place; seeing that Ezekiel foretold judgments on all the nations of the earth, always concluding with the declaration," and they shall know that I am the Lord." These nations do not yet know this mighty fact as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord; therefore we affirm-the judgments are yet to come.
But previous to their absolute descent, we have fore-knowledgeprophecy-offered "as a light shining in a dark place, to which we do well that we take heed;" and we now therefore propose to go on as far as we may be assisted, to interpret and apply facts which have passed, or are passing, under our very eyes.
We commence then with the 8th chapter of Ezekiel, in which we read that the prophet was "brought in the visions of God" to Jerusalem, to the
door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north, where was "the seat of the image of jealousy which provoked to jealousy;" and we propose to demonstrate, that this denotes that in vision he was called to consider affairs commencing, from one point of view, at the Hellespont; which is as it were the door of the Bosphorus, that inner gate of the Mediterranean which looketh or is turned toward the north (as by the map), whereon is seated Constantinople, that seat of jealousy which provoketh to jealousy among the European nations.
In fact, he was thus led to open his prophecies, concerning what men call "the Eastern Question;" as presented for consideration in the end of this present dispensation at the close of the times of the Gentiles; and just when the favour of God is faintly beginning a preparation for its return to His holy land, and to that people who shall yet again be called His holy people.
But it will at once be objected that Jerusalem was the city spoken of; and so it was, and that by name; and it is therefore incumbent upon us to show, that that city whose name significantly means "the vision of peace" (which all men wish to establish!) was only to be taken in vision as a type; and when we have done this, we shall find a wondrous sequence of events in conformity with that view.
If then we turn back to the 5th verse of the 5th chapter, we shall obtain the key to this mysterious type. There it is written: "Thus saith the Lord God: This Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries round about her."
Our translation has it-"This is Jerusalem "-the word is being printed in italics, signifying that that word is an arbitrary insertion. Which insertion we conceive is an improper one; for, strictly speaking, what could be the sense derivable from its being said of the well known city Jerusalem, This is Jerusalem ? And to say of Jerusalem that it is set in the midst, &c., would be a mere platitude; for every city is set in the midst of its surrounding nations and countries.
But truly Jerusalem is here emphasised; and not to be taken otherwise than in typical allusion to the nations and countries round about her; containing, that "Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with her children;" in fact, the nations and countries now inhabited by the scattered tribes of all Israel; the peoples of Europe and Turkey desirous of establishing their "vision of peace."
Let us then admit, if only for argument's sake, this view, confirmed by a passage in Jeremiah iv. 15, which runs : "Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem," &c.; and see and judge what will come of it. Jerusalem typifying the countries of Europe and Turkey which surround the Mediterranean; "the chief gate thereof which looketh toward the north," and "the seat of the cause of jealousy between the nations, surely represent Constantinople on the Bosphorus ; though the prophet's attention was first drawn to the door of that gate; even as our attention may well have been drawn first to the door of that gate, the Dardanelles or Hellespont, by the despatch of the British fleet to Besika Bay.
And the door or opening of understanding for comprehending the prophecies on the Eastern Question lies in this, that we understand that what men so term, is that to which the prophet's attention is primarily,
though briefly called, in ver. 8, chap. viii., while the general state of the continent, or so-called Christendom, is farther alluded to in three consecutive visions in the same chapter, upon which we will somewhat dilate ere we go on to the full development of the Eastern Question, as shown in the particulars of the 9th, 10th, and 11th chapters.
The first of these three visions is that, in which "seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel" were seen standing before portraitures of every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the House of Israel pourtrayed upon the wall round about, and saying: "The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth." Startling as it may seem, we believe it to be very possible that this vision had reference to the Great Exhibition at Paris in that very epoch, the year A.D. 1867; when about fifty-eight out of seventy of the great men of the earth were seen there, as by the Times alone; not in any wise honouring God, the Creator, when they assembled together; but ascribing all honour to great inventors, artists, mechanists, &c.; and virtually wor shipping what God's word possibly alludes to ironically, as creeping things; locomotives of all sorts; and great guns all rifled—as abominable beasts. The second vision was one of women worshipping and "weeping for Tammuz," concerning whom an interesting paper lies before us by the Rev. G. W. Straton, entitled "Babylonianism, the historical proof that the Church of Rome is the Babylon of the Apocalypse." (Partridge & Co., 9, Paternoster Row.)
Tammuz is supposed to have been a son of Nimrod by Queen Astarte. His actual name was Assarac; but he was known and worshipped in other lands by the names of Adonis, Horus, Apollo, and Tammuz. His mother, Astarte, was similarly worshipped under the names of Aphrodite, Cybele, Semiramis, Isis, and Ashtaroth; this last signifying riches. And Mr. Straton's tract shows how false priests managed in the 4th and 5th centuries to transmute the worship of this mother and her son into that of the Virgin Mary and her wondrous Son-surrounding the worship of the latter with all the idolatrous splendour and superstition wherewith the former was worshipped.
Hence the condemnation in "the end," as by Ezekiel, of the worshippers of Tammuz, as applicable to all Romanising worship, of which women under guidance of priesthoods have always been among the chief promoters in every degree.
Thirdly, in the end of this eighth chapter, we have to consider a vision of "about five and twenty men" with their backs turned toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east;" of whom it is said, "and they worshipped the sun toward the east."
And it was said, "Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger and lo! they put the branch to their nose. Therefore also will I deal with fury; mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
This is a vision respecting the Ecumenical council of 1869-70, under Pope Pius IX. When that council was arranged, there were appointed two subordinate councils, consisting each of 26 members, and one superior council of 24 members; the whole therefore has been
enigmatically pointed out in a vision of "about five and twenty men." These having turned their backs upon the true faith, are seen worshipping him who is called among them the Vicar of Christ.
Christ is "the Sun of Righteousness," who is one day to arise with healing on His wings. His assumed Vicar, the Pope, is therefore ironically spoken of as the sun; not in the East, but "toward the East;" since Italy lies toward the East of Europe.
Now the Papacy is that system concerning which, the Pope being the head, it is declared in Revelation: "By thy sorcery were all the nations deceived. And in her the blood of prophets and of saints was found, and of all that were slain upon the earth." Therefore, the Ecumenical council having consummated iniquity by the declaration of the "infallibility" of the Pope, on the 18th July, 1870; the fall of the temporal power of the Papacy followed closely upon the declaration of war made by the eldest son of the Papal Church, the French Emperor, Louis Napoleon, on the 15th July, 1870; and the fury of the Lord has begun to fall upon the Papacy, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
Surely, in these three instanced visions "prophecy is a light shining in a dark place;" and opens to us God's promise, "Ask of me things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me."
CHAPTER THE SECOND.
AND now we come to a very striking portion of Ezekiel's prophecies: singularly descriptive after an enigmatical fashion of facts which have most recently been passing before our eyes; since we beheld the defeat of the Turks by Herzegovinian insurgents on July 30th, 1875, followed by the Servo-Turkish war of July 2nd, 1876, OPENING THE EASTERN QUESTION. Then the Conference of seven Ambassadors at Constantinople on the Bosphorus, in December 1876, followed by the Turco-Russian war of 1877; and that again succeeded by the Congress of Berlin in 1878: all of which we trust to be enabled to make manifest, as foretold, in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters of the prophecies of Ezekiel.
Let us then take the ninth chapter in full detail, accompanying the text with current explanations.
Verse 1. "He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice-the Servian War-saying, Cause them that have charge over the city-the chief rulers of the Continent-to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
Verse 2. "And, behold, six men - six Ambassadors of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey-came from the way of the higher gate, by reason of jealousy concerning the Bosphorus-which is turned toward the north (see the map) and every man-fully armed— with a slaughter weapon in his hand-six representatives of armed nations and one man among them-that is a seventh man, the representative of England-clothed with linen-as representing a Protestant nation-with a writer's inkhorn by his side-with a free press, and being the only nation that has such-and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar."