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Miller’s Works, vol. 1. Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology

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    III. THE TIMES AND PERIODS GIVEN US IN THIS PROPHECY

    We shall feel as though we were not treading on forbidden ground, while we attempt,MWV1 68.2

    I. TO UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS SPOKEN OF BY GOD IN THIS PROPHECY. And first, it appears to me that this prophecy has special reference to the two great contending powers on the earth; their contention, and the final victory of the one over the other. As it respects personal power, it means the wicked and righteous. As far as principle may be involved in this prophecy, it would mean sin and holiness; but if men in a collective sense, then it must be understood to mean the kingdoms of this world in a worldly sense, and the kingdom of God in a spiritual sense. The places spoken of in these chapters, sometimes describe the world at large, at other times the particular places where the people or kingdoms have sway, spoken of in the prophecy.MWV1 68.3

    And, now, let the reader keep in view these principles, or rules, and a knowledge of some of the principal outlines of history and geography will give, in my humble opinion, sufficient helps to understand the literal sense of these chapters, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, he may improve upon this knowledge, to the glory of God, and to the good of his fellow-beings.MWV1 68.4

    What does Gog mean? Answer. God tells Ezekiel that it is “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” He is a chief, over what? I say over the world, or wicked nations of the world. Meshech, if a character is meant, signifies, “to draw by force.” If a place is meant, it would mean what is now Russia in Asia, Georgia, etc. Meshech was the sixth son of Japheth, and settled in that part of the world, when the earth was divided, after the flood. Tubal signifies “confusion,” or, properly, “the earth or world.” If a place is designed, then it would be in Syria, Armenia, etc. He was the fifth son of Japheth. It is my humble belief, that by Meshech and Tubal we are to understand the character and quality, rather than place of this chief prince. My reasons are these: the places from whence the multitude of the forces of this chief come, are given in another place, Ezekiel 38:5 and 6, and include the three quarters of the world, then supposed to be the whole earth, i.e.-Persia, which is in Asia, and was settled by the descendants of Shem, the third son of Noah; Ethiopia, which is Arabia and Upper Egypt. This country was peopled by Ham’s posterity. Sheba and Dedan are mentioned in this prophecy, 13th verse, both of them sons of Ham. See Genesis 10:7. Libya is Egypt, Barbary, Tripoli, in Africa. This land was settled by the descendants of Ham also. Gomer was the oldest son of Japheth, and his sons peopled the Grecian islands, and all the maritime countries of Europe, and the part now called the Russian empire, both in Asia and Europe. Togarmah, he too was a son of Japheth, and settled the countries of the north; the same as I have mentioned before-the Russian empire. “These were the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.” Genesis 9:19. Magog is mentioned too in this prophecy, as “the land of Magog,” Ezekiel 38:2, which signifies “covering.” He, too, was one of the sons of Japheth. And Noah says of Japheth, Genesis 9:27, “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.” This prophecy has been literally fulfilled, and the descendants of Japheth have actually covered the world with fruit, and for ages have dwelt in the tents of Shem, and have been chief prince over the nations of Ham. Tarshish is also mentioned in this prophecy; he also was a descendant of Japheth, and settled in Europe. This country lay upon the north side of the Mediterranean sea. There is now no doubt remaining in my mind, that the Gog spoken of in our text means the great powers which Daniel gives us to understand were to arise up, and each successively rule over the world: the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Grecians, and lastly the Romans. These nations, or kingdoms, have, each in their turn, ruled over the people of God, drawn them into idolatry, and persecuted them with a spirit of the old serpent, the devil, for more than 2500 years. Gog, then, has appeared and “drawn away” the holy people, and ruled over the world, made war with the saints, and opposed God. Gog, in my opinion, constitutes the wicked powers of the earth, and especially Antichrist, or Rome papal. These are the “kings of the East,” and of the world, which will be gathered to the great battle of God Almighty in the last day, when the final issue of Gog and the church will be decided, at the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. You have undoubtedly noticed the similarity of events between Ezekiel 39:17 to 21, and Revelation 19:17 to 21. These are events of the same time, and describe the last great battle, when God shall destroy the kingdoms of this world, and set up his glorious kingdom, which shall fill the whole earth.MWV1 69.1

    Israel is the other character specially noticed in our text. We should suppose, that there could be no dispute on this word, or who is meant by Israel. Yet on this name there is as much division as on any other in the whole Bible. Some will tell you, that it means the ancient covenant people of God, the Jews; others will tell you that Israel means the “ten tribes” of the children of Israel which were separated from the Jews in the days of Jeroboam; but if you will suffer me to give my opinion, I shall say, that “Israel” means the whole household of faith, whether among Jews or Gentiles, whether under the law or gospel. And Paul has given us this rule in Romans 9:6 and 7: “For they are not all Israel that are of Israel. Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Here is the stumbling stone, where our teachers of prophecy stumble; they will have Israel mean the Jews, and so prove the Jews’ return, by this mode of expounding the prophecies; when Paul has given us a plain rule to the contrary. Therefore, wherever I find a prophecy unfulfilled when the gospel was preached by Christ and his apostles, I am constrained to understand the word Israel to mean the children of Christ, except where they plainly declare they mean Israel in the flesh. Then so far as this prophecy was not fulfilled before Christ, I must understand the “house of Israel” to mean the household of faith. By the word “heathen,” we understand not only unbelievers among the Gentiles, but also among the Jews; “for God hath included them all in unbelief,” as Paul tells us, “that he might have mercy upon all.”MWV1 70.1

    II. I WILL NOW PRESENT THE HISTORY AND TRANSACTIONS PROPHESIED OF. I will give a paraphrase of the chapter, which will enable me to present my views clearly on this point.MWV1 71.1

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