the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
Click here to join the effort!
Scott's Commentary on Revelation Scott on Revelation
by Walter Scott
The principle on which our “Exposition” proceeds is that the main contents of the Apocalypse are yet future, and that an exhaustive fulfilment of prophecy must be sought for in the near crisis of several years, culminating in the Return of the Lord in power. We cannot have the accomplishment of prophecy so long as the Church is the platform of God’s activity in grace. But when it is taken up to Heaven, then God’s suspended dealings with Israel and the nations are resumed. The Church Christ’s body and bride is an election out of both, and is not itself a subject of prophecy, but of New Testament Revelation (Matthew 16:16-17 ; Ephesians 3:1-21 ). Events, political and religious, are transpiring before our eyes which are the growth and result of centuries. But in the prophetic week of seven years (Daniel 9:27 ) changes of the most startling character are witnessed. The whole political government of Europe is then rearranged under Satan’s prime minister, the Beast of the Apocalypse a gigantic confederation of ten powers. The old Roman empire will reappear under new conditions, guided and controlled by its active blaspheming and persecuting head, the little horn of Daniel 7:1-28 . His partner in crime and sharer in everlasting ruin is the Antichrist who guides religiously in Christendom, as the Beast does politically . The whore, or the mystical Babylon, is the concentration of everything religiously vile. Her political dethronement in the revived empire is effected instrumentally by the ten kings (Revelation 17:16 ), who at first upheld her; her ruin is mourned over by kings, merchants, and peoples outside the Roman earth (Revelation 18:9-19 ), and she is subsequently destroyed by God Himself (Revelation 18:2 ; Revelation 18:21-24 ) a short time before the destruction of the Beast. This latter is effected by the Lord in Person, and at His Coming in power (Revelation 19:1-21 ). The destruction of Babylon and the Beast are separate events. The former precedes the latter.
There can be no public development of these and other events of a like character so long as the Church is on earth. Evil at present is a mystery, though actively at work, but it is restrained or kept in check by two powers: what restraineth (2 Thessalonians 2:6 ) is the Church on earth, and He Who restraineth (2 Thessalonians 2:7 ) is the Holy Ghost. Hence there cannot be the public abandonment of the Faith till the Church and Spirit leave the earth. But the principles are at work which are surely and rapidly undermining the moral foundations of the professing Church and of society in general. The “Higher Critics” are the advance guard in the unholy crusade. The full-blown development may be expected ere long.
We have freely used the labours of many scholarly men in our translation of the text. The New Translation (Morrish, London) has been largely drawn upon.
Note to the Third Edition.
We are profoundly thankful to God for the many testimonies which have reached us of help and blessing, as also for the rapid sale of the second issue of our “Exposition.” We bespeak a warm welcome for the third edition now in the hands of our readers.
The futurist application is, we are convinced, the only consistent and Scriptural one. “History is an old almanac,” is ever repeating itself. There is nothing new under the sun. The principles and motives which govern men in thought and action are ever the same, while, of course, the facts are new; but even these are framed on old types and models; hence a general resemblance to the past may be traced in the prophecies. But the complete and exhaustive fulfilment of prophecy is undoubtedly future. “ The Revelation ” is regarded by many as a mystery, as a sealed book. It is not so. It is open for the simple to understand. Explanation of its every symbol may be found by diligent search in some part or other of the Sacred Volume, whose verbal inspiration is the faith of the writer.
Note to the Fourth Edition.
We adore our ever gracious God for His mercy in permitting us to issue a fourth edition of our “Exposition.”
Before the study of the “Exposition” itself is entered upon we would advise, in the first instance, a careful reading of the three special papers indicated at head of Contents on next page. Walter Scott.
Authors Quoted or Referred To:
ALFORD, DEAN. New Testament for English Readers, etc. ANDREAS. The Apocalypse, with Notes and Reflections. AUBERLEN, C. A. Daniel and the Revelation.
BAINES, T. B. The Lord’s Coming, Israel, and the Church. BELLETT, J. G. BENGEL, J. A. Exposition of the Apocalypse. BLEEK, F. Lectures on the Apocalypse. BOUSSET, W. The Antichrist Legend. BRODIE, T. Notes on the Revelation. BULLINGER, E. W. Number in Scripture. BURDER. Notes on the Apocalypse.
CAMPBELL, COLIN. Critical Studies in St. Luke’s Gospel. CARPENTER, W. B. Commentary on the Apocalypse. CORFE, R. P. C. The Antichristian Crusade. CULBERTSON, ROBERT. Lectures on Prophecies of John.
DANTE, A. Divina Commedia. DARBY, J. N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, etc. DELITZSCH, FRANZ.
ECUMENIUS. ELLICOTT, Bishop. A New Testament Commentary. ERASMUS (of Greek Testament Fame).
FARRAR, DEAN. The Early Days of Christianity.
GIBBON, EDWARD. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. GLOAG, P. J. Introduction to the Johannine Writings. GRANT, F. W. Facts and Theories as to a Future State, etc. GRANT, P. W. The Revelation of John.
HENGSTENBERG, E. W. The Revelation of St. John. H. (HARTRIDGE), W. R. Revelation of Jesus Christ. HERODOTUS (the Father of History). HERVEY. Meditations. HILGENFIELD. HISLOP, ALEXANDER. The Two Babylons. HOOPER, F. W. The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John. HUSSEY, ROBERT. The Rise of the Papal Power.
JOSEPHUS (the Jewish Historian).
KELLY, WILLIAM. Lectures on the Book of Revelation, etc.
LEE, ARCHDEACON The Speaker’s Commentary. LUTHER (the Great Reformer).
MACLEOD, ALEXANDER. The Cherubim and the Apocalypse. MANNING, CARDINAL. The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. MILLS, JOHN. Sacred Symbology. MOSHEIM, DR. Ecclesiastical History. MULLER, MAX. Science of Languages.
PHILO (the Celebrated Philosopher). PLUMPTRE, E. H. POOL, J. J. Studies in Mohammedanism. PORPHRY. Treatise against Christians.
RAMSAY, WILLIAM. Lectures on the Revelation
SCOTT, WALTER. Doctrinal Summaries, etc. SEISS, DR. Lectures on the Apocalypse. SHEPHERD, H. The Tree of Life. STUART, C. E. Truth for the Last Days, etc. STUART, MOSES. A Commentary on the Apocalypse.
TISCHENDORF, L. F. TREGELLES, S. P. TYNDALE, WILLIAM (the Reformer).
URSINIUS. Heidelberg Catechism.
WARBURTON, WILLIAM. Lectures on Prophecy. WHITE. The Eighteen Christian Centuries. WILKINSON, W. F. Personal Names in the Bible. WORDSWORTH, CHRISTOPHER. Lectures on the Apocalypse. WYCLIFFE (the Morning Star of the Reformation). WYLLIE, J. A. The History of Protestantism.
HOW TO USE.
There are three ways in which this volume may be helpfully used.
1. By reading straight through as an ordinary book, making a pencil note in the margin of portions suitable for meditation and careful study.
2. Taking chapter by chapter , first reading the chapter in the Bible itself, then carefully noting the valuable and suggestive thoughts herein set forth in the fear of the Lord.
3. As a book of reference . The Index will readily indicate where any incident or event mentioned in the book may be found.
The Bible chapters are indicated at the head of each page, the verses at the beginning of each paragraph. The black type clearly indicates portions of the book quoted.
Distribution of the
Contents of the
Book of Revelation
“Revelation” the Veil rolled aside .
The book was written and the visions seen by the beloved John in the island of Patmos about A.D.96.
The book is in two distinct and equal parts.
1. From Revelation 1:1-20 to Revelation 11:18 , in which the general condition of things and events is prophetically sketched from the close of the first Christian century till the introduction of the eternal state. Compare “the time of the dead that they should be judged” (Revelation 11:18 ) with “I saw the dead , small and great, stand before the throne” (Revelation 20:12 ).
2. From Revelation 11:19 to Revelation 22:21 , in which details are furnished connected with Israel and Christendom in the future awful crisis of their history.
The threefold division of the prophecy is noted in Revelation 1:19 . This verse is the key to the interpretation and understanding of the book. It contains a past, a present, and a future.
1. “Write the things which thou hast seen.” This constitutes a vision by itself, comprised within verses Revelation 1:10-18 , in which Christ in the midst of the seven golden lamp-stands is the central object. PAST.
2. “Write the things...... which are .” These are embraced in Revelation 2:1-29 and Revelation 3:1-22 , in which the professing Church is traced through contemporary and successive stages of her history, from her decline (Revelation 2:4 ) till her rejection (Revelation 3:16 ). PRESENT.
3. “Write the things . . . which shall be hereafter ,” or after these things . This division commences with Revelation 4:1-11 , and runs on to Revelation 22:5 . This is essentially the prophetic part of the book. FUTURE. The Seals, Trumpets, and Vials; Babylon, the Marriage, the Reign, etc., are each and all FUTURE.
There are twelve sections into which the whole contents of the Apocalypse is distributed, and which if carefully noted and mastered will greatly facilitate the study of the book.
1. A general introduction, Revelation 1:1-9 . 2. Christ in judicial glory in the midst of the seven Asiatic Churches, Revelation 1:10-18 . 3. The Church in profession as God’s witness on earth. Her growing departure from love and truth, Revelation 2:1-29 ; Revelation 3:1-22 . 4. The heavenly saints enthroned and glorified, including all embraced in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ; Revelation 4:1-11 ; Revelation 5:1-14 . 5. The seven Seals successively opened by the Lamb, Revelation 6:1-17 8: 1.Revelation 7:1-17 is a parenthetical one of deep interest. 6. The seven Trumpets successively sounded by the angels, Revelation 8:2-18 . Here the revived Roman empire is in the forefront in these judgment prophecies. 7. Three Sources (Revelation 12:1-17 ), two Actors (Revelation 13:1-18 ), and seven Results (Revelation 14:1-20 ), Revelation 12:1-17 14. 8. The seven Vials of God’s wrath successively poured out, Revelation 15:1-8 ; Revelation 16:1-21 . The closing dealings of God upon the empire, Israel, and the earth. 9. Babylon, the mystical, in her political and ecclesiastical associations, and utter destruction,Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 17:1-18 ; Revelation 18:1-24 . 10. Chronological sequence from the fall of Babylon till the eternal state, opening with rejoicing in Heaven, and closing with a picture of eternal misery in the Lake of Fire, Revelation 19:1-21 Revelation 21:8 . 11. The Bride of the Lamb in governmental and Millennial splendour. A thing of love, of Life, and of beauty for ever, Revelation 21:9 Revelation 22:5 . 12. Warnings, threatenings, and encouragements, Revelation 22:6-21 .
Revelation 2:1-29 and Revelation 3:1-22 unfold the moral history of the Church in successive periods of her history, from the close of the first Christian century to its final rejection. Then Revelation 4:1-11 ; Revelation 5:1-14 are chronological in so far that Heaven and not earth is the scene of action, the heavenly saints having been removed to their home above. The fact of the Rapture is not mentioned in the Apocalypse, but assumed as having taken place in the time between chapters 3 and 4. Paul unfolds the Rapture, John follows on assuming it has occurred. We place, therefore, the Rapture of the saints after the Church ruin shown in chapter 3, and before the glory witnessed in chapter 4.
The history on earth is then resumed from the close of chapter 3, but it is the history of the apostate world Israel, the revived Roman empire, and Christendom generally. This will be found in Revelation 6:1-17 , Revelation 8:1-13 , Revelation 9:1-21 , Revelation 11:14-18 ; Revelation 15:5 ; Revelation 16:21 ; Revelation 19:11 Revelation 21:8 .
There are six distinctly marked parentheses in the book, which are as follows:
1.Revelation 7:1-17 , between the sixth and seventh SEALS. 2.Revelation 10:1-11 - Revelation 11:1-13 . between the sixth and seventh TRUMPETS. 3.Revelation 11:19-1 -4, between the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring out of the bowls of wrath. 4.Revelation 16:13-16 , between the sixth and seventh VIALS. 5.Revelation 17:1-18 19: 1-10, between the pouring out of the seventh Vial and the personal advent of the Lord in power and glory. 6. Revelation 21:9 Revelation 22:1-5 , between the description of the eternal state and the concluding section of the book. The longest parenthesis is the third in which the hidden sources of good and evil are disclosed (Revelation 12:1-17 ), the agents and chief instruments of evil named (Revelation 13:1-18 ), and the results in grace and judgment fully stated (Revelation 14:1-20 ).
The strictly prophetic part of the book commences with Revelation 6:1-17 and concludes with Revelation 22:5 .
The chronological events under the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials transpire after the Rapture and before the Appearing in glory. It will be impossible to understand the Revelation if this is not clearly seen.
No date can be fixed for the opening of the Seals. The Roman empire may be forming while the Seals are being opened one by one. The empire is not recognised as existing under the Seals. It may be that under the throes of the sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17 ) the empire emerges out of the general chaos, but we cannot pronounce with certainty.
The first four Trumpets (Revelation 8:1-13 ) specially concern the Roman world. The three “Woe” Trumpets announce judgment respectively upon apostate Israel , apostate Christendom , and upon the guilty world . The Trumpets succeed the Seals, and the Vials succeed the Trumpets. The Seal judgments are comparatively light but widespread, with but one exception (Revelation 6:8 ). The trumpet chastisements are heavier in character; the first four are more limited in extent, while the three last are “woe” judgments.
The martyred company of Judah on the glassy sea harping and singing are noted in Revelation 14:2 ; Revelation 15:2-4 .
The preserved company of Judah on Mount Zion alone can learn the song of their brethren above, Revelation 14:1-5 .
The sealed company of Israel (Revelation 7:1-17 ) are not said to emerge out of the Tribulation, and are a distinct company from that of Revelation 14:1-20 . The hundred and forty-four thousand of Revelation 7:1-17 are of all Israel , whereas the hundred and forty-four thousand of Revelation 14:1-20 are of Judah only.
The apostate part of Israel is specially in view in Revelation 9:1-11 . Thus all Israel is fully accounted for.
The Celebrated Prophecy of
Seventy Weeks, or 490 Years.
(Daniel 9:24-27 .)
The mass of Jews and Christians err alike in the understanding of this celebrated prophecy. The mistake lies in not perceiving that the last or 70th week is yet future , and that a long interval of time, one which has lasted for nigh 2000 years, occurs between the close of the 69th week and the opening of the 70th, and, further, that the prophecy concerns Jerusalem and the Jewish people. The apostle had no need to write of times and seasons to Gentile Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:1 ). The prophecy itself clearly teaches a long gap or interval between the last two weeks.
We transcribe the words of the prophecy in full, adding a word here and there of explanation.
“Seventy weeks (490 years ) are determined upon thy people ( the Jews ), and upon thy holy city ( Jerusalem ) to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy ( six blessings ). Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-20 ) unto the Messiah, the Prince (Matthew 21:1-46 ) shall be seven weeks (49 years ), and threescore and two weeks (434 years ); the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after three score and two weeks ( in addition to the seven ) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people ( the Romans ) of the Prince that shall come ( little horn of Daniel 7:1-28 ) shall destroy the city ( Jerusalem ) and the sanctuary ( the Temple ), and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he ( the Roman Prince ) shall confirm the (“ a ”) covenant with many ( “the many,” that is, the mass of the people ) for one week ( seven years ); and in the midst of the week he ( the Prince ) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations ( idolatry ) he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate ( i.e., the desolator ).”
To whom then does the prophecy refer to Christians or Jews? To the latter undoubtedly. Daniel’s people (the Jews ) and city ( Jerusalem ) the Jews and Jerusalem are the subjects of the prophecy (v. 24). In a letter received a few years ago from one of the most distinguished students of the prophetic Word, he urged the writer to study carefully the celebrated prophecy of the seventy years, as he regarded them as “the key to all prophecy.” The 70th week is yet future. The latter half of it is variously spoken of as 42 months, 1260 days time, times, and half a time. It is that solemn period referred to in the central part of the Apocalypse, one profoundly interesting, and absolutely needful to understand if the prophecies are to be scripturally apprehended. Within these 70 weeks or 490 years the prophetic programme is mapped out.
Are the weeks periods of days or years? All competent Hebraists hold that the “week” simply denotes “seven,” whether of days, years, or other denomination of time, must be learned from the context; the word itself does not determine. It is simply “seventy sevens.” Says the learned Tregelles: “I retain the word ‘week’ for convenience sake, and not as implying seven days to be the import of the Hebrew word.” That they are weeks of years is evident on the surface of the prophecy.
In Daniel 10:2 we have weeks of days ; in that before us weeks of years . But another important inquiry meets us. When did the 70 weeks or 490 years commence? We are informed that it was “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem .” Now, in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah we meet with several decrees, but only one in reference to the building of Jerusalem, the others refer to the Temple . This special commandment or decree is that to which the prophecy refers, and will be found fully recorded in the last historical book of the Old Testament Nehemiah 2:1-20 . This decree was promulgated in the 20th year of Artaxerxes, the king. Thus, then, we have the exact commencement of the 70 weeks 455 B.C. *“Dates and Chronology of Scripture,” p. 44.
The prophecy is thus divided:
1. Seven weeks, or 49 years, occupied in the reconstruction of the city (see Nehemiah 2:1-20 ), which had been destroyed by the universal autocrat, Nebuchadnezzar the head of gold (Daniel 2:38 ), and the lion amongst beasts (Daniel 7:4 ). The books of Nehemiah and Ezra give the history of this period, or “troublous times.”
2. Three score and two weeks, or 434 years, which commenced from the city rebuilt, and the restoration of its social and ecclesiastical polity, which occupied 49 years, till Messiah the Prince. Thus, from the decree of Artaxerxes in the 20th year of his reign (Nehemiah 2:1-20 ) commanding the rebuilding of Jerusalem till the triumphal entry of Christ as Messiah into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-46 ) we have the two former periods multiplied; in all 463 years.
3. One week, or seven years, yet future. This interesting time, which introduces the closing sorrows of Judah, commences after the removal of the Church, and after the restoration of Judah to Palestine (Isaiah 18:1-7 ). All prophecy, more or less, is concentrated in its final character in this interesting crisis. It is a week in which the gravest events which the world has ever known, political and otherwise, have their place.
4. ‘Midst of the week of seven years, or three years and a half. This last week is divided into two equal parts. The attention of the reader in the books of Daniel and the Revelation is fixed on the history of the second half of the week. The first half will be one of general peace, one, too, of preparation for the awful outburst of satanic blasphemy, power, and cruelty, which characterises the closing half of the week. The history of the first three years and a half is not written, either by the Hebrew prophet or by the apocalyptic Seer.
Times, Days, Months.
A time is a year (for the force of the term, time , see Daniel 4:16-37 ); times, two years; dividing of time, or half a time, signifies half a year; months are of 30 days; days are literal days of 24 hours. Now these periods refer to the same time, namely, the last half of the 70th week. They cover the period of the tribulation. It will be observed that in Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6 , days , and not months or times, are spoken of, the reason being that God’s suffering saints are in view; hence the days of their testimony and trial are carefully numbered. Days of interest to Him, Who has numbered the hairs of our heads. But when the power and blasphemy of the great political enemy of God and of the Lamb, as also the persecutor of the godly-fearing part of Judah, the king of the west is in question, and we may add, of the oppressing Gentiles as well, then the period is curtly spoken of as 42 months (Revelation 13:5 ; Revelation 11:2 ). The days are twice named in reference to God’s saints. The months are twice named in relation to the enemy of God’s people. “Times and laws,” not the saints, are given into the hands of the little horn, or head of the revived Roman empire, “until a time, and times, and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25 ). He rages and ravages in the wide scene of Christian profession, but especially in Palestine is his iron hand felt, not against the nation as such, but against the God-fearing part of the people who boldly witness for God in these awful times. The Antichrist will support the pretensions of the arrogant, blaspheming king, energised by Satan cast down from Heaven, whose expulsion there-from is noted in Revelation 12:1-17 . Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:5 refer to the same personage and to the same period. The continuance of the last and satanic phase of the empire (Revelation 17:8 ) is limited to 42 literal months. Thus the 1260 days of suffering, 42 months of 30 days each of Gentile domination, and time, times, and half a time of Judah’s abject misery synchronise.
Five months of torment (Revelation 9:5-10 ). The locust judgment under the sounding of the fifth angel is a terrible one, and spite of the assertion of Hengstenberg to the contrary, we believe that the “five months” of torment is in allusion to the ravages of the natural locust which usually lasts five months. A limited and brief period is referred to, and one which may not exceed five months.
Hour, Day, Month, Year.
An hour, a day, a month, and a year (Revelation 9:15 ). The angels of judgment bound at the Euphrates were to be loosed, not during the time specified, but at that particular moment. These evil agencies were to be let loose at an exactly defined moment. The very hour of the day of the month and year is noted. It is an exact note of time.
Three Days and a Half.
Three days and a half (Revelation 11:9-11 ). The dead bodies of the witnesses lying unburied in the streets of Jerusalem, and exposed to the cruel and public gaze of the Gentiles, is a scene of three and a half literal days. Be it observed that the testimony of the witnesses extends during the last half of the unfulfilled week. Then they are killed, and after the public exposure of their bodies for three days and a half a public resurrection is granted them. The prophetic days in Daniel and in other parts of the Apocalypse are literal; why then should this particular passage form an exception? This is a special scene, confined in its peculiar features to events in Jerusalem. It is the Beast who murders the Jerusalem witnesses.
Two Thousand and Three Hundred Days.
2300 days (Daniel 8:14 ) is an historical statement referring to the desecration of the Temple and the cruel treading down of the Jewish people by the Syrian monarch of infamous memory, Antiochus Epiphanes. That there is a typical bearing on the last days of Gentile supremacy and misrule over the restored Jewish commonwealth seems evident from verses 17 and 19. Antiochus figures the future Jewish antagonist, the king of the north.
Twelve Hundred and Ninety Days.
1290 days (Daniel 12:11 ). These days exceed by a month the tribulation and the forced interruption of Jewish worship. They commence with the well-known and divinely-appointed sign (Matthew 24:15 ), idolatry, which will mark the commencement of the closing sorrows of the coming crisis. The extra month is needed to complete the destruction of Israel’s enemies. The prophet does not speak of blessing in connection with this period, because not only must judgment clear the scene of evil and evil men, but the people themselves must be morally prepared for the full tide of millennial blessing. The days are literal, of course.
Thirteen Hundred and Thirty -Five Days.
1335 days (Daniel 12:12 ). Here 45 days are added to the former number. “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand, three hundred, and five and thirty days.” Thus we have 75 literal days added to the 1260 before the full blessing of Israel is secured. What a busy two months and a half! The tale of judgment will be finished, “the filth of the daughters of Zion” washed away, temple worship restored under new conditions (Ezekiel 40:1-49 ), and the people morally cleansed from all defilement in heart and life; then “blessed is he” who waits and reaches that moment of wondrous blessing for Israel and the earth.
Postponement of the Seventieth Week of Seven Years.
The present interval of grace and of Jewish degradation are co-existent, and are terminated by the translation of the heavenly saints, consisting of the changed living and raised dead. Then the last week, needed to complete the full tale of 490 years, opens with the apostate Roman prince and the apostate nation returned to Palestine, making a mutual agreement. The prince perfidiously breaks the treaty in the midst of the week. The great Tribulation with its horrors immediately ensue. It is enough. The throne is satisfied (Isaiah 40:2 ). The seven years close, and the ancient people, chastened, saved, and blest, enter into blessing. Her sun will never again set, and Jerusalem becomes the throne of the Lord (Jeremiah 3:17 ).
Now unless this Dispensation is seen as having its place between the 69th and the 70th week of prophecy, there must be muddling and confusion. The interval between these weeks explains much.
The Six Chief Actors in the
1. The Great Dragon, the Old Serpent, the Devil, and Satan names and titles of ominous import is the unseen leader of the moral darkness and wickedness of the closing days prior to the Lord’s Return in power. The concentration of satanic wickedness on earth is consequent on the issue of the war in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9 ; Revelation 12:13-17 ), Satan, expelled therefrom, directs his untiring energies, and employs his almost unlimited resources in ruining the earth, filling it with anguish and misery. In his diabolic mission he is ably supported by his distinguished ministers, the Beast and the False Prophet, probably the two guiltiest men then on the face of the earth, satanically inspired.
2. The Beast of the Apocalyptic Prophecies (Revelation 11:7 ; Revelation 12:1-17 ; Revelation 13:1-8 ; Revelation 14:9 ; Revelation 16:17 ; Revelation 19:19-20 ; Revelation 20:10 ). The little horn (Daniel 7:7-8 ; Daniel 7:11 ; Daniel 7:20-21 ; Daniel 7:23-26 ). This little horn or king is the personal head of the revived empire. The little horn of Daniel 8:1-27 is a different personage. “The prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26 ).
3. The Antichrist of John’s Epistles. *For a fuller account see Revelation 9:1-21 ; Revelation 13:1-18 . The false messiah (John 5:43 ). Man of sin, son of perdition, and the wicked or lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 ). The false prophet (Revelation 16:13 ; Revelation 19:20 ; Revelation 20:10 ). Another beast (Revelation 13:11-17 ). The king (Daniel 11:36-39 ; Isaiah 30:33 ). The man of the earth (Psalms 10:18 ). The bloody and deceitful man (Psalms 5:6 ).
4. King of the North (Daniel 11:1-45 ). The overflowing scourge (Isaiah 28:1-29 ). The Assyrian (Isaiah 10:1-34 ; Isaiah 14:1-32 ; Isaiah 25:1-12 ; Isaiah 31:8 ). King of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23-25 ).
5. King of the South , i.e. , of Egypt (Daniel 11:1-45 ).
6. Gog, the last Czar of Russia , and head of the great northern confederacy against Israel and her land. In Ezekiel 38:1-23 ; Ezekiel 39:1-29 we read: Gog, his allies and armies, ingloriously fall on the mountains of Israel. Of the hosts enticed by greed to plunder and spoil Israel, then the centre and storehouse of the world’s wealth, but a sixth part are spared, and these are sent through the various lands of the east to proclaim the vengeance of the Lord on the enemies of His people, and to make known Jehovah’s presence in the midst of His own, saved Israel. Jehovah is the defence of happy Israel.
The foregoing characters, save Satan their chief, are of different nationalities. Gog and the king of the north act together in the political oppression of Israel, the former the more distinguished of the two. The Beast and the False Prophet are confederates, the former wielding the royal and civil power, the latter the spiritual authority of Satan. The king of the south plays a comparatively unimportant part compared to that of his brother monarch in the north. The five persons referred to are actual men, not systems, although they may head them up, nor do they represent a succession of eminent persons. These five distinguished men have their various parts assigned them in the coming conflict betwixt good and evil, light and darkness. Their respective spheres of action, whether in the west against Christ (Revelation 19:1-21 ), or in the north-east against the Jews (Psalms 63:1-11 ; Zechariah 14:1-21 ), are subjects with which all prophetic students should be thoroughly acquainted. To locate these future apostates, to apportion their work and doings as mapped out in the prophetic programme, is a necessity for all desirous of intelligently understanding the prophecies.