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thus this verse was applied by Tertullian, by the first Protestant Reformers, and even by the Jansenists in France. See "Reflexions sur l'histoire de la capitivite de Babylone," and "Idee de Babylone spirituelle," cited by Bengelius. What Babylon has been to the Old, Rome is to the New Testament Church. Her fall was the salvation of Israel; and the destruction of Rome will hasten the approach of the glorious Millennium. There are two cities mentioned in the Revelation, each of which is termed the great city, and which have sometimes been confounded by expositors. We have met with one, chap. x1, 8. in the days of Antichrist, which again occurs, chap. XVI, 19. where it is evidently distinguished, as a city totally different from Babylon. The most important question, now to be decided, is, when did Rome begin to be Babylon ? In my opinion it obtained this name of distinction with the rise of the beast from the sea to universal dominion in Christendom, and is designated by it, during the exercise of the despotism of the papal hierarchy, until it receives its final doom. The message of the angel therefore, in consequence of which he proclaims the fall of Babylon, does not necessarily denote the total ruin of the city; it is fully accomplished by the overthrow of its spiritual monarchy in Europe, to which it has a more immemediate reference in this place. Babylon, according to the Revelation, is to await a double fall. The first is predicted in this verse, and only seems to indicate a loss of reputation, power and authority, after which it rises. again for a short time; the second is mentioned chap. XVIII, 2. and indicates the total ruin of the city itself. This also was the case with ancient Babylon, whose loss of power had been predicted by the prophets Isaiah chap. xx1, 1-9. and Jeremiah chap. LI, 8. in the same words.
Because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Rome stands charged with fornication, when yet only termed Jezebel in the councils of
heaven, chap. 11, 20. However, in those days she only seduced the servants of the Lord. But since she has arisen to the distinction of Babylon, she greatly enlarged her sphere of action, and made all nations drink of her cup of abominations; wherefore she is now herself entitled, the whore, the great whore, and the mother of harlots, chap. XVII, 2. 4. 5. chap. XVIII, 3. 9. chap. XIX, 2. in conjunction with the Roman hierarchy. Fornication here signifies idolatrous doctrines and false worship, which she introduced among the nations, under the garb of Christianity, in conformity with Babylon of Old from whence this expression is borrowed Jer. LI, 7. See Jer. III, 6. Exek. XXIII, 2. 3. Her fornication is compared with wine, because of its gratifying nature, being offered combined with the riches, honours, pleasures and fallacious appearences of the world, and on account of its intoxicat ing effects.* And the wrath of her fornication may denote, her perverse zeal in propagating her idolatrous worship; all which is particularly ascribed to the city, from whence these missions are sent, superintended, supported and directed by the inquisition, the Congregations and Jesuits.
This angel, in my humble opinion, is a symbolical representation of the writers on the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, at the head of whom is that learned and pious prelate, Bengelius; who was the first of all the authors on his subject, that was enabled by his discovery of the true prophetic calculation of extraordinary time to determine the fall of Babylon with precision, and therefore bore the most poignant and pointed testimony against her abominations. His preeminence in this respect is incontrovertible, by those who have read and studied his works; and all Germany bears testimony to his talents
*This figure of speech probably refers to the philtra or love-potions of the ancients, by which they charmed and infatuated their objects which was mixed with wine.
and success. He is, without doubt, the most happy expositor of the Revelation; great as the merits of others may be, considering the degree of light, they enjoyed from the progress of completion in their days, and the eternal decrees of Providence, to discover his mysterious ways only according to the wants of his Church. He published his "Commentary on the Revelation of St. John" A. D. 1740; in which he determined the commencement of the great conflict in Europe, and the fall of Babylon with exact limitation, fifty years before it began, at a time when no human sagacity could prognosticate such a tremendous catastrophe, from the then existing circumstances of the world. The minds of men seemed disposed to receive such a publication, and his work soon acquired uncommon celebrity and fame, which it has maintained to this time. His followers or those belonging to his voice, are many in every country of Christendom, among whom are Dr. Roos, Dr. Young, &c. &c. men of great talents, erudition and indisputable piety, who have borne the same testimony against popery, and whose writings have been a blessing to thousands. But what principally establishes the credibility of this supposition concerning Bengelius, is, that distant preparations were commenced from that time, for the accomplishment of this prophecy. We all know that Voltaire and his associates have been the great and dreadful instruments who prepared and finally effected the downfall of Rome, and of the power of the Pope; and they flourished and wrote about A. D. 1750. Whilst these infidels thus publicly pointed their arrows against Rome, those three ministers of state, the marquis of Pombal at Lisbon, the duke of Choiseul at Versailles, and prince Kaunitz at Vienna, who managed the helm of Europe about the middle of last century, prepared the mighty shock of the Roman hierarchy by secret machinations, in abolishing the order of the Jesuits, and reducing the authority of Rome to a mere exchange
of ceremony. The depth to which Rome fell by these means, is now obvious to every discerning mind. She is fallen indeed; and this her first fall was completed by the French Revolution, as the pious Bengelius had foretold.
Verse 9. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11. And the smok of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
12. Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The Peculiar fundamendal principle of doctrine, by which this angel stands distinguished from the rest of the gospel ministry in the Church, is, to raise his warning voice against the worship of the beast and his image. Of all denunciations of the wrath of God against the children of disobedience in scripture, this is the most dreadful and rigorous; and the crime must be of a heinous nature indeed, to induce the righteous judge of all, to pass such a sentence. However, this angel has not yet appeared upon the theatre of action, which I conclude from the following reasons.
1. We have seen in the administrations of the two preceding angels, that their language and doctrine fully accorded with the very words and spirit of their message. But there never yet appeared a man in the spirit of this message, who in his whole sphere of action, has made this doctrine his chief aim, and in such terrible language, created a general sensation in the Church.
2. The warning voice of this angel and his denunciation, cannot be expected to exist before the object to which it refers. And since no image and mark of the beast, is as yet advanced to public view, the worship of which could justify the dreadful punishment pronounced by this angel, we may conclude that his present existence would be premature. This angel therefore must as yet be future, though his appearance cannot be far off.
Verse 9. Saying with a loud voice. This third angel will follow them both, while the voices of the preceding angels are yet resounding through this symbolical heaven; from which we may conclude, that all three arise at least nearly in the same region, if not in the same country. He is distinguished from the second and resembles the first angel in his loud voice, by which he again makes a deep impression, and produces a quick and general sensation in the Church. He will roar his message through the air as he ascends and it will reach the ear of every mortal within his sphere, in a language replete with the most appalling figures in all the writings of the prophets.
If any man worship the beast and his image. Here I would first refer the pious reader to what has been said concerning the worship of the beast, his image and of his mark in chap. XIII. For at the time of this angel, this stupid and superstitious worship will have reached its most heinous state of guilt and criminality. It will certainly be something new, added to the present practice of image-worship, or this preposterous practice will be set forth, in a light, which will greatly change its nature from what it at present appears. We will not venture conjectures about its true nature; the third angel will point it out in all its features of malignity. May the Lord give us ears to hear, and eyes to see when he shall appear; and may we then remember, and reflect on this prophecy, when he raises his warning voice!