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Antichrist another Power, beside the Papal hie rarchy.
IT has been the general opinion of Protestant divines, that the predictions concerning Antichrist were fulfilled in the Papal hierarchy. Some of late doubt the correctness of this sentiment. It probably may be doubted I shall in this section note some prophecies, and make some remarks, not so much with a view to find the certainty of the rise of a great Power subsequent to the reign of Popery, as to show that this terrible subsequent Power is emphatically the Antichrist of the New Testament. In the prophecies now to be noted, and in the remarks to be made, both the above objects will be ascertained.
No doubt the Romish hierarchy was indeed antichristian; and was so to a fatal degree. It was the blasphemous horn of the Roman Beast, into whose power the saints were to be delivered, for 1260 years; Dan. vii, 8, 25. It was the apostasy predicted by Paul, 1 Tim. iv, 1, 2, that "in the last days some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." It was the second Beast, in Rev. xiii, 11, which rose out of the earth, had two horns like a lamb, but spake like a dragon. It was the woman, Rev. xvii, called "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth." It was the subject of various prophecies; a terrible power; an awful judgment to the world; and as abominable, as any have ever conceived.
But it appears evident, that the Papal hierarchy was not the last great and terrible Power, foretold to be raised up in judgment to the wicked nations, in the last days. Another Power was to be raised up, for the execution of divine judgments, to be a rod of iron, a battle axe of destruction, to execute divine wrath on that Mother of harlots, to hate the whore, to make her desolate and naked, to eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, and to dash in pieces the nations of God's enemies. This work of judgment was not to be done by a Papal
hierarchy! but by a tremendous Power, raised up for the purpose, subsequent to the reign of the Papal hierarchy.
In the predictions to be noted in this dissertation, it is evident, that it is the secular Roman Beast, under his last head; and not the Papal Beast, the little horn, the false prophet, that is, the great leader in battle array against Christ, at the time of the end, or of the seventh vial. This appears in Dan. vii, 11, "I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words, which the horn spake, I beheld even till the BEAST was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." It is important to note here, that the great Power upon the stage, predominant when Christ appears at the battle of the great day, is the Roman Beast, which in verse 2, rose out of the sea, or the tumultuous state of the nations, before the Christian era. This Beast is here spoken of as distinct from the Papal power, which in the same passage is mentioned as the horn of this same Beast. The Beast is the great Power then to be slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. This event, of his body's being destroyed and given to the burning flame, none can pretend has yet taken place. It must be future. The Roman Beast then, great and terrible, must be found in existence, distinct from Popery, either now, or at a time still future. secular Roman Beast is the great Power in hostile array against Christ; and is the Leader of the contending nations, in that last battle of the great day of God.
The above passage in Daniel accords with, and is explained by, Rev. xix, 19, 20; where we have a more full account of the same period and event. After a description is there given of Christ in battle array, occasioned by a war against him by the terrible Power of the last days, we read, "And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth gathered together to make war against him, who sat on the horse, and against his army. And the Beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them, that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image:-These both
were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him, who sat upon the horse." It is thus evident, that the great Power of the last days, leading the battle against Christ, is the old Roman Beast, distinct from the Papal hierarchy, and managing this hierarchy, as a puppet in his hands; which hierarchy in the above pas sage, is noted, as the false prophet; and in the corresponding passage, in Daniel, as the horn of that Beast. In various other passages these two Powers are found, at the same period, in the same connexion; the Beast and the false prophet. The Beast is first, or is the great mischievous Power, then in existence. And the horn, the false prophet, is a mere subordinate tool of mischief in his possession.
In Rev. xvii, this Power is found ascending, in the last days, from the bottomless pit, to go into perdition. (A passage which will be explained in another section.) The going of this Beast into perdition, is there twice spoken of, as nearly connected with his rise from the infernal world, and from his state of long inactivity; indicating, that the time of this his revival is in the last days, or but a short time before he goes into perdition. This idea we repeatedly find. The apostles inform, of the same Power, "that his judgement lingereth not, and his damnation slumbereth not;" that he bringeth upon himself swift destruction; as did the rebelling angels, and various most notorious transgressors of old; Jude 5-8 verse. And 2 Pet. ii, 1-10. But so short a reign cannot be attributed to the Papal hierarchy; which continued for a great course of centuries. The great Power of the last days then, must be subsequent to, and distinct from Popery.
In the above noted chapter, Rev. xvii, this great Power is represented as distinct from Popery. The one is the scarlet colored Beast, full of the names of blasphemy. The other is a woman, with all the characteristics of the hierarchy, borne by this Beast, and by his horns executed, verse 16. This Beast must be the tremendous Power of the last days, noted in the aforecited passages, Dan. vii, 11; and Rev. xix, 19, 20.
In Rev. xvi, 13, we find this Beast, distinct from Popery, and placed before it, as a greater enemy. The passage informs of the three unclean spirits like frogs, from the mouth of the dragon, (the devil) of the Beast, (the newly raised terrible Power, placed next to the dragon) and of the false prophet; (the skeleton of Popery and false religion) spirits of devils, going out into the kingdoms of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Here is a Beast, at that time, beside, and superior to Popery. These three Powers, the devil, the Beast, and the false prophet, are found again in the same connexion, in Rev. xx, 10, being cast together into the lake of fire. From the view of these passages, it clearly appears, that a great and terrible Power was to rise posterior to Popery. The same appears, as will be noted, in Rev. xiv, 8—11, where, after Papal Babylon is fallen, a most terrible Beast is presented.
The present state of the Romish hierarchy forbids, that it can be that terrible Power of the last days. That hierarchy has already fallen under the iron grasp of a far superior Power who is inflicting on its nations the denounced judgments of heaven. To whatever degree of mischief, to the people of God, the dependant skeleton of the hierarchy may be yet made an occasion, before the battle of the great day; (and the indications concerning this are thought to be not uninteresting,) yet this false prophet will be only an engine of policy, and perhaps of desperate malice, in the hands of a far superior Power, who most heartily despises all true religion.
The great Power of the last day is, (Dan. vi, 40-43,) at or near the time of the end, engaged in a war with the king of the south, and the king of the north, and probably a coalition united with them. This was never fulfilled in the Papal hierarchy. If it were, it must have been in the attacks of the Saracens, who fulfilled the first wo trumpet, Rev. ix, 1-12; or in the invasions of the Turks under the second wo trumpet, Rev. ix, 12-21. No other events can have the least
even apparent claim, as having been a fulfilment of that prophecy. But the former of these events was more than 1200 years ago; and the latter more than 350. But the time of the end, when this war, with the king of the south and king of the north, is to be undertaken, must be still future. Consequently, that war must be with a Power subsequent to the hierarchy, viz. the terrible Power of the last days. The king of the south was Egypt: The king of the north, Syria. Those nations are now under the government of the Turks. The Turkish government is soon to be subverted, under the sixth vial of wrath; Rev. xvi, 12. The fulfilment of the prediction, relative to this war, with the king of the south, and the king of the north may soon commence. And some power may be found in union with the latter or the Turks, which may give an emphasis to his being called, at this late period, the king of the north. However this may be, the argument in this paragraph shews, that a great and terrible Power was to be raised up subsequent to the reign of Popery.
Popery was a very different thing from a rod of iron to dash wicked nations to pieces. It was an abominable corrupting system; a harlot, to pollute, and to prepare the nations for judgment. But it was very far from being that great new threshing instrument, having iron teeth, to beat the nations to powder, which was to be furnished in the last days, Isa. xli, 15. It required an instrument very different from the Papal hierarchy, (represented as a delicate female,) to beat small the mountains of wicked potentates and kingdoms of the earth, and to make the hills as chaff. And a very different instrument was, for this purpose to be furnished, and is indeed furnished, before the face of the world.
When the reformation under Luther, the art of printing, and the revival of learning in Europe, after the dark ages, had unveiled the abominations of Popery; there were many millions whose pride of heart would not permit them to embrace the doctrines of the reformation, and who would easily be induced to deny the Christian Religion, and its blessed Author.