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The only place in which “the great city” is mentioned besides, is chapter xi. 8,—“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” This great city evidently stands opposed to “the Holy City, New Jerusalem," or true Church, and doubtless is the emblem of the Anti-christian community, not simply the Western or Latin Church, but the whole Anti-christian Church in the East and West—elsewhere symbolized by a “wild beast with two horns as a lamb that spake as a dragon.” For, although the Romish Church, or Western horn of this Beast, is elsewhere represented as a great city,” yet the emphatic expression “ the great city,” as well as the fact of that apostate hierarchy being expressly mentioned a few words onward, “ And great Babylon came in remembrance before God," — proves that “the great city” cannot be identical with the Church of Rome.
The division of this great city into three parts, is somewhat difficult of explanation. It is by some thought to signify its complete destruction ; by others, to whose opinion I rather incline, its being split into three opposite factions. “ The cities of the nations falling," certainly signifies that overthrow of all those Ecclesiastical establishments throughout the world, not united to Babylon the Great. " The islands and mountains fleeing away,” symbolizes the general destruction of all forms of political power, and the “great hail," is the emblem of general destruction, from which escape is impossible and resistance vain, which shall overwhelm mankind and close this awful scene. This last-named judgment, however, will form the particular subject of investigation at the close of this work, which is a sufficient reason for merely alluding to it here.
The vials of divine wrath, thus constitute the means of overthrowing the Anti-christian powers, both secular and spiritual, as well as all other enemies of God. The dominion of the Civil and Ecclesiastical Wild Beasts having been previously “taken away,” at the close of the twelve hundred and sixty years, the seventh trumpet “ quickly” follows, and the effusion of the seven vials which it contains at once begins, and in the course of certainly less than thirty years, destroys their very existence. The twelve hundred and sixty years are, by almost all the commentators, considered to measure the period of the two Beasts' existence ; but this is a most palpable error. It is said to be the period of the Papal horn's dominion over the saints (Dan. vii. 25), and of the seven-headed Wild Beast's power to effect his will (Rev. xiii. 7), and of the Gentiles treading down the Holy City (Rev. xi. 2). But not so much as the slighest hint is ever given, that its expiration would terminate the existence of the Anti-christian powers. So far from this, the capture of the Wild Beast and the False Prophet is expressly mentioned as one of the results of the great Battle of Armageddon, which plainly does not occur till the seventh vial is poured out, whilst the twelve hundred and sixty days terminate previous to the seventh trumpet, which contains that vial, having sounded (Rev. xi. 3, 7, 15). This appears also to be the import of Dan. vii. 26,—“ And they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end;" that is, the dominion of the Romish hierarchy shall be taken away, as a preparatory means to the gradual, but utter destruction of that apostate Church. The notion, therefore, upon which the theories of Faber, Habershon, Keith and others are built, that the close of the twelve hundred and sixty years is the period of the seventh vial, the Battle of Armageddon, the destruction of the ten-horned Wild Beast and the false prophet, is manifestly incorrect.
THE INFIDEL KING OF DANIEL, OR IMAGINARY LAST STAGE
Theory of an Infidel power to arise in the last days—Two forms in which it
prevails—Proofs that the prophecy of Daniel cannot bear this senseFrom no reference to the last days occurring in the passage-From the power predicted, prospering till the indignation is accomplished—From the marked pause between his rise and his downfal — Exposition of the prophecy of Daniel — Application of the whole prophecy to the Papal power—The prophecy of an Anti-christ in John denotes the Papacy -St. Paul's Man of Sin sitting in the Temple of God denotes the Papacy
- Faber's application of Dainiel's prophecy to Napoleon most inconsistent and absurd.
According to the principal expositions of Prophecy of the present day, one of the chief characteristics of the fearful period termed in Scripture " the last days," is the rise of a mighty power described in Daniel “as the king who does according to his will, and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished."-Dan. xi. 36. This notion has always appeared to me destitute of any Scriptural foundation, and a thorough investigation of the subject has forced the conviction on my mind, that no such individual is the subject of prediction in the oracles of truth. The manifest importance, however, of the opinion, and the powerful support it has received, render it necessary, that the subject should be fully discussed in the ensuing pages of this work.
Amongst the advocates of this theory, one class contends
that the prophecy of the wilful king has received its accomplishment in part already in the Emperor Napoleon, although they regard some future successor in the title of King of Rome will fulfil the latter part of the prediction. The other class rejects this opinion, and considers it to refer to some final stage of Anti-christ yet to come ; “its appearance in the last days, in the form of an individual king, with all those remarkable circumstances of success, cruelty, and sudden destruction, which are to characterize the coming of the Lord."* Instead, however, of separately considering each of these somewhat different theories, I propose first to shew, that the language, which is the strong-hold of both classes of writers, can only apply to a line of potentates stretching through a lengthened period, and then to point out the complete fulfilment of all the predictions respecting it in the Roman Pontiffs.
“ And the king shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished : for that that is determined, shall be done. Neither shall he regard the god of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god : for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces : and a god whom his fathers knew not, shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.”—Dan. xi. 36–39.
The first consideration to which I advert is, that the king spoken of in this prophecy must refer to a long line of potentates, from the fact, that no intimation is given as to
Quarterly Review, December, 1842.
the period in which he should rise up. To suppose that the Divine Author of Scripture would describe the character and conduct of so marvellous an individual, hereafter to appear upon the stage of the world, without giving some reference to the time of his standing up, is most incredible ; yet, the most cursory perusal will satisfy the reader that no hint of this kind is given, when describing his principles and practice. The inconsistency, therefore, of enumerating such a variety of particulars respecting this “ wilful king,” and yet omitting all reference to the age when he should blast the earth by his presence, is a convincing proof to my mind, that the language respects the little horn of Daniel's fourth Beast, and therefore required no mention of what was already known, the period when he should stand up. It is true,
“ the time of the end” is mentioned (verse 35); but it must not be inferred from this, that what follows occurs either subsequently to, or at the time of, the end. The prophecy describes the persecutions of the saints from the introduction of Christianity, and it is natural to mention the continnance of this persecuted state of the Church before commencing a new subject. “The time of the end” again occurs in describing his overthrow (verse 40).
But to allege this as a proof, that he rises up at or about “the time of the end," is to beg the question. that the attack takes place at this period, and what is denied is, that this is the period to which the previous description of his acts and character refers. But, in fact, this very mention of the period of the attack by the kings of the South and North upon this potentate, is, altogether incompatible with the idea that he is an individual king. It is the part of a historian to give the era of those events that are more remarkable, rather than of such as are less and hence it is but natural to expect (on the supposition that an individual is here denoted), that the rise of such a monster
Since all agree