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decision in the following chapters, it will probably be admitted by all, that both predictions relate to the same event, the difference being, that the former is figurative, and the latter literal; the former entering with great minuteness into the feelings, humiliation, and conduct of the people of God, and being solely addressed to them; whilst the latter is addressed to the hostile armies, and scarcely contains any reference to the Jews.
From these remarks, it is clear, that the 12th and 14th chapters of Zechariah refer to the same battle. The following quotation will supply additional particulars of that great and unparalleled conflict :-“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle ; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished ; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”—Zech. xiv. 1-3. “And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction ; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem ; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them ; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.” -Zech. xiv. 11-13.
The same attack is clearly described in Ezekiel, chapters 38th and 39th, as an attentive perusal of that prophecy will shew. From the circumstance of the nations of the earth at the end of the Millenium being called by the same
names, GoG AND Magog,” when arrayed once more against the “beloved city," i. e., Jerusalem, it has been rashly inferred, that Ezekiel refers to that event. Nothing, however, can be more erroneous, as I shall have occasion to prove in the next chapter ; Isaiah li. 17, 23, and Obadiah i. 11-14, also clearly refer to the same event.
From the foregoing remarks, then, it clearly appears, that the time of trouble such as never was, or GREAT TRIBULATION, instead of denoting a persecution of the Christian Church, or a period of universal misery to the whole world, signifies an unparalleled judgment upon the Jewish nation, shortly after their return to their own land. It will arise from a tremendous siege and assault upon the city of Jerusalem, by countless hosts of warriors, distinguished by invincible might and valour, led on by the kings of the whole earth. One constituent part of the tribulation appears to be famine, arising from the depredations and desolation of the invading host. The whole land is described as being burnt up
and wasted,—the wine and oil dried up,—the barns desolate and broken up,—“The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind as a desolate wildernsss ; yea, and nothing shall escape them."-(Joel chap. i., and chap. ii.)
The principal part, however, of this unparalleled visitation, clearly arises from that awful visitation,—the storming of a great and thickly peopled city, by a mighty, and countless, and infuriated host. This is referred to in the account of the figurative locusts : They shall run like mighty men ; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks : Neither shall one thrust another ; they shall walk every one in his path : and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city: they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses ; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.”.
Joel ii. 7-9. “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle ; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished ; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”— Zech. xiv. 1, 2.
There is ground to fear, that the slaughter of the hapless inhabitants of this devoted city, will involve a large proportion of the Jewish nation. The Saviour alluding to it in Matt. xxiv. 22, says,—“Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be savedl.” The expression of “a remnant,” which is often used in the prophecies to denote those who survive this judgment, also affords evidence of the fact. Zechariah intimates, that one half of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be cut off, in his 14th chapter, and in the preceding one, speaks of two-thirds throughout all the land being cut off.
It is probably to this "residue of the people” who will escape destruction that the language of Joel refers,—“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with wceping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God : for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him ; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts : let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD,
and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them : wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God ?”—Joel ii. 12–17. I think this from the fact, that this assembly for fasting and supplication is mentioned after the storming of the city, and dreadful slaughter of the inhabitants; and from the fact, that the very next word describes the deliverance of the city by means of the destruction of the foe.
The means employed by the Deity for the destruction of this countless multitude are two-fold, -one by sending a sudden panic amongst them, so that each sha'l attack his fellow in the confusion of the moment,the other by smiting them with a horrible plague or pestilence, which will waste away their flesh as they stand upon the field of battle :Ezek. xxxviii. 21, 22; Zech. xiv. 12, 13.
The unparalleled destruction of life in this tremendous overthrow of the kings of the earth and all their armies, baffles all attempt at description. The best idea we can form of it, is gathered from the statements contained in the following passages : -Ezek. xxxix. 9, 14.
As this is the greatest, so it is the last infliction of divine wrath, which the awful iniquity of the Jews will bring upon themselves ; for, the survivors of this awful tribulation, blessed as every individual will be with the converting and sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God, will be the principal instruments of evangelizing the whole world, and accomplishing the glorious predictions, which promise a thousand years of holiness and peace.
Want of interest towards this subject accounted for-Important character
of the event-Opinion of Commentators as to its nature - This theory untenable — The identity of this battle, with the attack of the nations of the earth upon Jerusalem, proved from the 3rd chapter of Joel-And from Matt. 24th— Three reasons why that chapter has remained inexplicable -An attempt to expound it on fresh principles—Particulars of the Battle of Armageddon deduced from the foregoing passages Exposition of the Sixth Seal as illustrative of that conflict-Exposition of Ezek., chapters xxxviii. and xxxix.-And Zech., chapters xii. and xiv.-And Isaiah lxvi. 15—19–And Zeph. iii. 8–Real character of this tremendous battle.
The Battle of Armageddon is the inspired appellation given to that mighty and unparalleled conflict with the Kings of the whole world, in which the Beast and the False Prophet are taken and cast into a lake of fire. Although this universal war has been a favourite subject of investigation with Students of Prophecy, yet it has never attracted much attention from Christians in general. Various causes have operated to produce this want of interest. The obscurity which has ever invested the subject,—the distant futurity of its occurence,—the figurative interpretation which viewed it as a mere conflict of principles,-and lastly, the fanciful and ridiculous perversions of this prophecy, in which some writers have indulged, -all have conspired to render this one of the most neglected portions of the word of God.
There can be no question, however, that “the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” possesses the very highest claims upon the attention of every believer in inspiration.