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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 1

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    The Apocalypse, although of a highly figurative character, yet is a part of the revelation of God to man, and as such is worthy of our careful and prayerful study.PREX1 93.1

    And the study of it is greatly facilitated by the great similarity existing between the prophetic characters of Daniel and this book. The two chapters before us, especially, receive great light from the visions of Daniel. The Roman government being one of the principal subjects of prophecy with him, it is very fully described in all its various changes and phases. The same characteristics again occur in Revelation, and must apply to the same powers.PREX1 93.2


    There are some traits in the chronology and history of the dragon which cannot fail to fix his identity.PREX1 93.3

    1 He was the government which existed or had jurisdiction at the time of the birth of “a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,” and who “was caught up to God and his throne.” Who this power is, there is no room for doubting. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the person who is to rule or break all nations with a rod of iron, even as he has received of his Father. See Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27. The Roman empire was the then reigning power, and under it Christ was crucified; and from its face was caught up to God’s throne, until his foes be made his footstool.PREX1 94.1

    2. Before the imperial Roman government the church in the east fled into her wilderness state, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent. At the same time the papal government in the west persecuted and made war on the saints, the eastern church was plunged into a state of darkness by the old imperial government, which still remained in the east, first in the Greek and afterward in the Turkish empire. The final casting out of the old dragon from the holy land, the inheritance of Christ, will be when Christ and his kingdom come; and the wrath of the dragon and his war on the seed of the woman, will be the battle of that great day of God Almighty, in the place called Armageddon.PREX1 94.2

    The dragon was located in the west until the days of Constantine. He removed the seat of empire from Rome to Constantinople in A. D. 329. After his death the empire was divided among his three sons; but in a very few years was again united under the eastern emperor, A. D. 353. In 356 commenced the conquest of the empire by the Huns. The imperial power, however, was variously disposed of; sometimes being entirely in the east, and at other times enjoyed by both the east and west. In 476, imperial power expired in the west by the conquest of Rome by Odoacer, the king of the Heruli; and by a vote of the Roman senate, imperial power was removed to the east. So that the eastern emperor was properly and legally the emperor of Rome, by vote of the Roman senate; and whatever shape or phase the empire assumed, it was properly a part of the dragon. Hence it is said the dragon had seven heads and ten horns, in allusion to the seven forms of government which Rome was to assume; and ten horns, in allusion to the ten kingdoms of the barbarians within the empire. These ten horns have already been given. The seven heads, or forms of government, are as follows, viz.-1. Regal or kingly power of the Latins.-2. The dictatorship.-3. The prætors.-4. The consulate.-5. The triumvirate.-6. The imperial.-7. The papal government. These forms of government have existed in the Latin kingdom, or masters of Rome.-[See Clarke on Revelation 17:10.]PREX1 94.3


    The beast is represented as coming up “out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns.” This beast is clearly a perpetuation of the dragonic government. The government of Rome had long been in the hands of the imperial power; but at length that power was removed to the east, and another power came up amid the troubled elements of party strife which aspired to the supremacy of Rome, and ultimately obtained it. That power was popery. To this beast the dragon gave his power, his seat, and great authority-and of course the beast assumed all the characters and attributes of the dragon, when he received not his power only, but also his seat and great authority. He was a beast of seven heads and ten horns. The dragon giving his power and seat to the beast, the papal form of government thus created, became an appendage of the dragon, the seventh head; and the beast receiving the power and seat of the dragon, partook of all his characteristics: he became the offspring and image of the dragon.PREX1 95.1


    The similarity between the two emblems of Daniel and John is most striking.PREX1 96.1

    1. The little horn (Daniel 7:25) was to be a blasphemous power. “He shall speak great words against the Most High.” So also was the beast of Revelation 13:6, to do the same. “He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God.”PREX1 96.2

    2. The little horn (Daniel 7:21) “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” Thus the beast of Revelation 13:7, was also “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”PREX1 96.3

    3. The little horn (Daniel 7:8, 20) “had a mouth which spake very great things.” So likewise wise there was given the beast of Revelation 13:5, “a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.”PREX1 96.4

    4. Power was given the little horn of Daniel 7:25, “until a time, times, and the dividing of a time.” To the beast also, (Revelation 13:6,) “power was given to continue forty-two months.”PREX1 97.1

    5. The dominion of the little horn (Daniel 7:26) was to be taken away at the termination of that specified period. The beast of Revelation 13:10, who led into captivity and put to death with the sword so many of the saints, was himself to “be led into captivity and be killed with the sword,” at the end of the forty-two months.PREX1 97.2

    With these points of similarity in the two emblems, the little horn and beast, who can doubt their identity?PREX1 97.3


    The date of the twelve hundred and sixty years of the pope’s reign, is a matter of a good deal of doubt and uncertainty in many minds. But why should it be so? No argument was ever more clearly made out, than the argument on the time of the little horn’s reign, from 538 to 1798, as already given. But I will here give another argument, based on the thirteenth chapter of Revelation.PREX1 97.4

    1. The beginning or origin of his power. Verse 2: “And the dragon gave him his power, his seat, and great authority.”PREX1 97.5

    The power of the dragon was transferred. The dragon, the imperial government, from the days of Constantine to the time of Justinian, had been supreme head of the church. The councils and bishops had been under their control. The Greek or eastern emperors had the supremacy in the eastern third or division of the empire; so that the tail of the dragon drew a third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them unto the earth. What, then, I ask, did Justinian, the Greek emperor, do, but give his power to the beast, and cast the third part of the stars to the earth, when, in 533, he “hastened to subject and unite to [his] holiness all the priests of the whole east.” And also when he determined not to “suffer anything which belonged to the state of the church, however manifest and undoubted, that [was] agitated, to pass without the knowledge of [his] holiness, [whom he declared] the head of all the holy churches?” Also, when in his letter to the Bishop of Constantinople, he declared that the pope of Rome “is the head of all bishops,” and that by decisions and right judgment of his venerable see, heretics are corrected.” Likewise, when he decreed that “the most blessed bishop of the elder Rome is the first of all the priesthood.”—[See Justinian’s Letters and Decree, pp. 86-7.]PREX1 97.6

    It is all vain, after such a plenitude of power as was here given to the pope by the dragon or imperial power, to talk of the grant of Phocas, 606, of the title of “universal bishop,” as the beginning of his supremacy. What was that grant compared with this? Just nothing. Mr. Croley, speaking on the subject, says:PREX1 98.1

    Page 117: “The highest authorities among the civilians and analists of Rome spurn the idea that Phocas was the founder of the supremacy of Rome; they ascend to Justinian, as the only legitimate source, and rightly date the title from the memorable year 533. (Gothopredus Corpus Jur. Civ., etc.)”PREX1 98.2

    Page 9: “The entire transaction was of the most authentic and regular kind, and suitable to the importance of the transfer. The grant of Phocas was found to be a confused and imperfect transaction, scarcely noticed by the early writers, and, oven in its fullest sense, amounting to nothing beyond a confirmation of the grant of Justinian.”PREX1 99.1

    The seat of the dragon was transferred to the beast.PREX1 99.2

    “Extinction of the western empire, A. D. 476, or A. D. 479. Royalty was familiar to the barbarians, and the submissive people of Italy were prepared to obey without a murmur the authority which he should condescend to exercise as the vicegerent of the emperor of the West. But Odoacer resolved to abolish that useless and expensive office; and such is the weight of antique prejudice, that it required some boldness and penetration to discover the extreme facility of the enterprise. The unfortunate Augustulus was made the instrument of his own disgrace; and he signified his resignation to the senate; and that assembly, in their last act of obedience to a Roman prince, still affected the spirit of freedom and the forms of the constitution. An epistle was addressed, by their unanimous decree, to the emperor Zeno, the son-in-law and successor of Leo, who had lately been restored, after a short rebellion, to the Byzantine throne. They solemnly disclaim the necessity, or even the wish of continuing any longer the imperial succession in Italy; since in their opinion the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pervade and to protect, at the same time, both the east and the west. In their own name, and in the name of the people, they consent that the seat of universal empire shall be transferred from Rome to Constantinople; and they basely renounce the right of choosing their master, the only vestige which yet remained of the only authority which had given laws to the world. The republic (they repeat that name without a blush) might safely confide in the civil and military virtues of Odoacer; and they humbly request that the emperor would invest him with the title of patrician, and the administration of the diocese of Italy.-The deputies of the senate were received at Constantinople with some marks of displeasure and indignation; and when they were admitted to the audience of Zeno, he strongly reproached them with their treatment of the two emperors, Anthemius and Nepos, whom the East had successively granted to the prayers of Italy. ‘The first,’ continued he, ‘you have murdered; the second you have expelled, but the second is still alive, and, while he lives, is your lawful sovereign.’ But the prudent Zeno soon deserted the hopeless cause of his abdicated colleague. His vanity was gratified by the title of sole emperor, and by the statues erected to his honor in the several quarters of Rome; he entertained a friendly but ambiguous correspondence with the patrician Odoacer; and he gratefully accepted the imperial ensign, the sacred ornaments of the throne and palace, which the barbarian was not unwilling to remove from the sight of the people.” 2Gibbon’s History, Vol. VI., pp. 226-228.PREX1 99.3

    By this proceeding, Rome passed into the hands of the barbarians, and the imperial power was legally transferred by emperor, senate and people, to the east. Thus it continued until, in 536, the emperor of the east sent against Rome his general, Belisarius, who took the city from the Ostrogothic king, and after a defence of the city for two years, was left, March, 538, by the Ostrogoths, in full possession of that ancient seat of power. Thus the west and east were again united, and the imperial authority again existed in Rome.PREX1 101.1

    The objection frequently arises, why not date the supremacy of the pope in 533, when Justinian gave him supremacy in the church? The plain answer is, the dragon was to give his seat, as well as his power. But while the Goths held Rome, the emperor could not give it to the pope. But in 538, when the city came again under the power of the emperor, the power was in his hands to give his ancient seat to the beast. And he did it. For after the retreat of the, Goths from the walls of Rome, and the complete conquest of the city by Belisarius, Justinian called home that general and his army; leaving the pope and Rome to protect themselves. From 538, therefore, the supremacy of the pope in Rome, the seat of the dragon, properly commences.PREX1 101.2

    But it is again objected, that “the Goths again returned, after the recall of Belisarius, and retook the city.” True, but this only presents another evidence of the supremacy of the pope in Rome, and that he looked upon himself as the master of the city. For Gibbon informs us that on this occasion the pope made a personal journey from Rome to Constantinople, to arouse the decaying energies of Justinian, and induce him to send another army to repel the invaders. And at the instigation and importunity of the pope, it was done. Narses the eunuch, the successor of Belisarius, defeated the Goths A. D. 552, and achieved the conquest of Rome.PREX1 101.3

    “As soon,” says Gibbon, “as Narses had paid his devotion to the author of victory, and the blessed virgin, his peculiar patroness, he praised, rewarded, and dismissed the Lombards. Neither the fortifications of Hadrian’s mole, nor of the port, could long delay the progress of the conqueror; and Justinian once more received the keys of Rome, which under his reign had been five times taken and received.” During the reign of the barbarian kings in Rome, both the senatorial and consular power of Rome had been perpetuated; and Justinian, in his laws of 534, recognized them as then existing. But in a transcript of them, made in 540, says Ruter, (Church Hist.) no notice whatever is taken of the consuls. So that between 534 and 540 it expired. Keith, in his Signs of the Times, vol. I., pp. 260-61, gives us the following history:PREX1 102.1

    “But, in their prophetic order, the consulship and the senate of Rome met their fate, though they fell not by the hands of Vandals or of Goths. The next revolution in Italy was its subjection to Belisarius, the general of Justinian, emperor of the East. He did not spare what barbarians had hallowed. ‘The Roman consulship extinguished by Justinian A. D. 541,’ is the title of the last paragraph of the fortieth chapter of Gibbon’s History of the decline and fall of Rome. ‘The succession of consuls finally ceased in the thirteenth year of Justinian, whose despotic temper might be gratified by the silent extinction of a title which admonished the Romans of their ancient freedom.’ 3Gibbon’s History, Vol. VII., p. 153. The third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the noon, and the third part of the stars. In the political firmament of the ancient world, while under the reign of imperial Rome, the emperorship, the consulate, and the senate, shone like the sun, the moon and the stars. The history of their decline and fall is brought down till the two former were ‘extinguished,’ in reference to Rome and Italy, which so long had ranked as the first of cities and of countries; and finally, as the fourth trumpet closes, we see the ‘extinction of that illustrious assembly,’ 4See the Index to Gibbon’s Hist., under the name Senate. the Roman senate. The city that had ruled the world, as if in mockery of human greatness, was conquered by the eunuch Narses, the successor to Belisarius. He defeated the Goths, (A. D. 552,) achieved ‘the conquest of Rome,’ and the fate of the senate was sealed.”PREX1 102.2

    Both the consular and senatorial power of Rome having thus expired, we should be led to inquire, where was the supremacy of Rome vested? In the emperor, or his general? No. For the army of the emperor, under Narses, was withdrawn to Ravenna, and the civil government of the emperor over Italy was located in that city under the title of Exarch of Ravenna.PREX1 103.1

    If the pope was not left supreme in Rome, what was the supreme power? Twice Justinian conquered Rome, but neither time did he attempt to establish a civil government in the city.PREX1 104.1

    But we are told that the pope did not receive his supremacy as a civil power until Pepin, king of France, conquered the Exarch from the Greeks in 755, and gave it to the pope in perpetual sovereignty; thus constituting him a civil prince. But what, I ask, had that gift of Pepin to do with the gift of the dragon, of his seat, Rome, to the beast? France was not the dragon, nor was Ravenna, Rome, the seat of the dragon and afterwards of the beast. The possession of Rome by the pope, in 538, and onward, as the conquest of Justinian, was a gift of the dragon, to the beast, who already possessed the dragon’s power as head of the church, and “the true and effective corrector of heretics.”PREX1 104.2


    It has already been shown that the “time times, and dividing of time,” of Daniel 7:25, continued 1260 years. The power of the beast was to continue forty-two months, the same number of prophetic days as the above period.PREX1 104.3

    That period was to end by taking away the dominion of the little horn, to consume and destroy unto the end. The forty-two months of the beast were to close by leading him into captivity, and putting him to death by the sword. Has such an event occurred? It most certainly has. It is a most notorious matter of history that on Feb. 10, 1798, General Berthier, at the head of the republican army of France, entered the city of Rome and took it. On the 15th of the same month, the pope and his cardinals were taken prisoners, and shut up in the Vatican. The papal government was abolished, and Rome and Italy, at the request of the people, was erected into the Roman republic. The pope was carried a captive to France, where, in 1799, he died a prisoner and an exile. [See Dr. A. Clarke, on Daniel 7:25. Croley on the Apocalypse. Thiers’ History of the French Revolution.]PREX1 104.4

    The government was, in its administrators, led. into captivity, and itself abolished by the power of the French sword.PREX1 105.1

    A more distinct and literal fulfilment of prophecy never was recorded than we have in this instance. From 538, when the dragon gave his seat to the beast, to 1798, when that beast was led into captivity and killed with the sword, was 1260 years.PREX1 105.2

    But, say our opponents, “this could not be a fulfilment of the period, for popery now exists.” What if it does? Is it not in accordance with the prophecy, that it exists? Did not the Revelator foretell the history of this government subsequently to its captivity, as well as the captivity itself? He most certainly did, as we shall see by following the prophecy through.PREX1 105.3


    Revelation 13:11: “I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake like a dragon.” Was there any beast or government, just emerging from obscurity and coming into notice just as popery went down in 1798? Observe, John says, “I saw another beast coming up.” He was not already up at the time, but was just appearing. Just such a government we have in Bonaparte, who, in the winter of 1798, was appointed by the French, commander-in-chief of the foreign armies of the French nation. Up to that time he had “been a subordinate, but from that period enjoyed an independent command in all his enterprises. “He had two horns like a lamb.” This was the only lamb-like characteristic he possessed: “two horns.”PREX1 106.1

    A horn is a kingdom. Daniel 8:20: “The ram which thou sawest having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia.” The two kingdoms of this beast were the French empire, and kingdom of Italy. He was crowned emperor of the former in 1804, and of the latter in 1805.PREX1 106.2

    He spoke as a dragon.” The dragon was the imperial power of Rome. Let the following extract from from a circular mandate of Bonaparte, under date of July 13, 1809, illustrate this point. “Though our Lord Jesus Christ sprang from the blood of David, he sought no worldly empire; on the contrary, he required that in concerns of this life men should obey Cæsar. His great object was,-the deliverance and salvation of souls. We, the inheritors of Cæsar’s power, are firmly resolved to maintain the independence of our throne, and inviolability of our rights.” [See the whole mandate, pp. 109, 110.]PREX1 106.3

    If Bonaparte did not here speak like a dragon, it is difficult to see how he could.PREX1 107.1

    Verse 12: “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them that dwell therein, to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” That Bonaparte healed the deadly wound of popery, is clear from history. After the revolution of the 11th of Nov. 1799, when Bonaparte, Sieyes and Ducos, were appointed a provisional consulate, one of the first acts of reform accomplished by them was, “the discarding of the HEATHEN RITUAL, and the re-opening of the churches for Christian wohship; and of this the credit was wholly Napoleon’s, who had to oppose the philosophic prejudices of almost all his colleagues.”-[Lockhart’s Napoleon, Vol. I., p. 154.]PREX1 107.2

    The same month the college of cardinals was convened and entered on the election of a new pope; succeeded in the election of pope Pius VII., March 1, 1800. Thus Bonaparte exercised, as the pope had done, supreme power in the church, overruling all his associates, and restoring popery. He caused the earth, by this exercise of power, to worship the beast whose deadly wound was healed.PREX1 107.3

    Verses 13, 14: “He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire to come down from heaven on earth in the sight of men; and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles which he had power to do, in the sight of the beast.”PREX1 107.4

    That Bonaparte performed wonders or prodigies and imposed on the credulity of men, none who have read his history will doubt. The following extract from Scott’s life of Napoleon, will illustrate the reference to fire.-[Vol. I., pp. 297-8.]PREX1 108.1

    “On entering the sepulchral chamber in the pyramid of Cheops, ‘Glory be to Allah!’ said Bonaparte; ‘there is no God but God, and Mahommed is his prophet.’ ‘Thou hast spoken like the most learned of the prophets,’ said the Mufti, who accompanied him. I CAN COMMAND A CAR OF FIRE TO DESCEND FROM HEAVEN,’ continued the French general, ‘AND I CAN GUIDE AND DIRECT ITS COURSE UPON EARTH.’ ‘Thou art the great chief to whom Mahommed gives power and victory,’ said the Mufti.” * * * “‘Sheriffs,’ he said, ‘Ulemats, Orators of the Mosque, teach the people that those who become my enemies shall have no refuge either in this world or the next. Is there any one blind enough not to see that I am the agent of Destiny, or incredulous enough to call in question the power of Destiny over human affairs? Make the people understand that since the world was a world, it was ordained, that having destroyed the enemies of Islamism, and broken down the Cross, 5“Alluding to the capture of the island of Malta, and the subjection of the pope, on which he was wont to sound as services rendered to the religion of Mahommed.” I should come from the distant parts of the West to accomplish the task designed for me; show them that in more than twenty passages of the Koran my coming is foretold. I could demand a reckoning from each of you for the most secret thoughts of his soul, since to me everything is known; but the day will come when all shall know from whom I have my commission, and that human efforts cannot prevail against me.’ It is plain, from this strange proclamation, that Bonaparte was willing to be worshipped as a superior being, as soon as altars could be built, and worshippers collected together.”PREX1 108.2

    Also, the following, from Lockhart’s Napoleon, (vol. I., p. 118.) After relating the story of the Battle of the Pyramids, he says,—“Such were the immediate consequences of the Battle of the Pyramids. The name of Bonaparte now spread panic through the East; and the Sultan Kebir,’ (King of Fire, as he was called, from the dreadful effects of the musketry in this engagement,) was considered as the destined scourge of God, whom it was hopeless to resist.”PREX1 109.1

    Verses 14, 15: “Saying to them, that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast which had the deadly wound by the sword and did live. And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.”PREX1 109.2

    Bonaparte, at a subsequent period, after the restoration of the pope, remodelled the papal system until it suited him, and required of the pope to acknowledge it, and gained his reluctant assent; of which, however, he-most heartily repented when it was too late.PREX1 109.3

    Bonaparte did profess to alone have power to restore popery, as the following circular mandate of his will testify:PREX1 110.1

    “Though our Lord Jesus Christ sprang from the blood of David, he sought no worldly empire; on the contrary, he required that, in concerns of this life men should obey Cesar. His great object was,-the deliverance and salvation of souls. We, the inheritors of Cesar’s power, are firmly resolved to maintain the independence of our throne, and the inviolability of our rights. We shall persevere in the great work of the restoration of the worship of God;-we shall communicate to its ministers that respectability which we alone can give them;-we shall listen to their voice in all that concerns spiritual matters, and affairs of conscience. We shall not be drawn aside from the great end which we strive to attain, and in which we have hitherto succeeded in part,-the restoration of the altars of our. divine worship; nor suffer ourselves to be persuaded that these principles, as Greeks, English, Protestants, and Calvinists affirm, are inconsistent with the independence of thrones and nations. God has enlightened us enough to remove such errors far from us. Our subjects entertain no such fear.”-[Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for 1810].PREX1 110.2

    Why I ask, do our opponents object to 1798, as being the termination of the 1260 years, when the prophecy has throughout had a most literal fulfilment? Had popery ceased to be, in 1798, or since that time, the word of prophecy would have been broken. If the 1260 years yet remain to be fulfilled, the same scenes must be acted over again, word for word, that took place in 1798 and subsequently, or it will not be a fulfilment of prophecy. But have we a right to look for another series of events of the same order?PREX1 110.3

    NAY, VERILY. The 1260 years of papal rule have been accomplished precisely according to the prediction, and it is all we have a right to expect.PREX1 111.1

    If our opponents are dissatisfied with this evidence, we ask them what they would have; or what evidence would be sufficient to satisfy them of the fulfilment of the 1260 years of papal rule? Can they produce an argument of one fourth part the strength, proving the period to have begun at any other time? They cannot do it. Then why find fault with this, until a better and more perfect one can be produced?PREX1 111.2

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