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ask, "Who is he that cometh from the scarlet confede racy of Antichrist, with dyed garments from the vintage of his wrath? Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat?" To which the Lord answers, "I have trodden the winepress alone: the tyranny, however diversified, whose peculiar badge is scarlet, hath long trampled upon my church, hath been drunken with the blood of my saints, and hath at length in one of its principal members openly defied me to my face: but now my garments are sprink led with the blood of the Roman beast, and the false prophet; I now, in my turn, am red in mine apparel; as my enemies have shed the blood of saints and prophets, I have given them their own blood to drink, for they are worthy."
Whether the reader approve or disapprove of this conjecture, is of little consequence, so far as the main position is concerned. That, which was previously said, is alone considered as the argument, by which the Roman Antichristian confederacy of the last days is shewn to be the mystical Edom of Isaiah.
The call of the Jews-The mystic birth of the Jewish nation- A description of the Antichristian confederacy-Its overthrow-The scattering of such as escape-The restoration of the converted ten tribes-The glories of the Millennium.
Isaiah lxvi. 5. Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren, that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. 6. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies. 7. Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child. 8. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? shall a country be brought forth
The reader will find some remarks not very dissimilar to this conjecture in Mr. Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah xxxiv. 5. and lxiii. 1.
in one day, or shall a nation be born at once? for, as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11. That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 13. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14. And 14. And ye shall behold, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like a herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.
15. For behold, the Lord will come with fire †, and his chariots like a whirlwind, to bring back his people in the fury of his anger, for his rebuke is with flames of fire. 16. For by fire the Lord will contend in judgment, and by his sword with all flesh: and many shall be the slain of the Lord t. 17. They, that sanctify and purify themselves in the gardens § after the rites of Achad ¶, in the
*Your bones shall flourish like a herb.] "You Jews shall recover your ancient strength and beauty, and be renewed in as wonderful a manner, as if dry withered bones should recover their youth and moisture, or as if the dead bones in a charnel house should have life and vigour infused into them. See Ezek. xxxvii. and Rom. xi. 15." Mr. Lowth in loc.
t Behold, the Lord will come with fire-to bring back his people.] This corresponds with the declaration of Daniel, that Judah will be restored during a season of unexampled trouble (See Dan. xii. 1.). It is proper however to observe, that Bp. Lowth translates the passage, To breathe forth his anger in a burning heat; supposing that does not here signify to render or to bring back, but to breathe, from w
Many shall be the slain of the Lord.] "This may be understood of the battle of Armageddon (Rev. xvi. 14. xix. 19.), where the armies of Satan and Antichrist are to be vanquished by the Lamb and his followers-The Scriptures do in general declare, that there shall be a great destruction of Christ's enemies here upon earth, before the general judgment or consummation of all things Mr Lowth in loc.
They, that sanctify and purify themselves in the gardens.] An allusion to the ancient idolatrous grove-worship, so repeatedly stigmatized in the Old Testament. See Mr. Lowth's Comment. on Isaiah i. 29.
After the rites of Achad.] (See Mr. Lowth and Bp. Sun. His name signifies One.
Achad or Adad was the chief god of the Syri-
midst of those who eat swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse *, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. 18. For I know their works and their thoughts: and I come to gather all nations and tongues together: and they shall come, and see my glory.
19. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, Tarshish, Pal, and Lud, Mesech [skilled in the bow]†, Tubal, and Javan, and distant islands, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20. And they shall bring all your brethren out of all nations, an offering unto the Lord, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and in covered vehicles, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel unto the house of the Lord. 21. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. 22. For, as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. 24. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die‡, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
*The mouse. e.] "Jamblichus Syrus, in Phot. Cod. 94, reckons mice among the several sorts of animals by which the heathens practised magic or divination, and saith, that some derived the word uvolngiov from μʊç.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
Mesech skilled in the bow.] It seems evident, that nep has crept into the text from the original gloss of some transcriber, who mistook the proper name Mesech for a participle, and therefore pluralized it in his note, adding to it by way of explanation. The word np could not have been in the copy, which the LXX used; for they justly consider Mesech to be a proper name, writing it Mocox, and make not the least mention of any bow. Mesech is ordinarily joined with Tubal, precisely as we ought to read in the present passage. See Ezek. xxvii. 13. xxxii. 26. xxxviii. 2. xxxix. 1. See also Bp. Lowth in loc.
Their worm shall not die.] An allusion to the valley of Hinnom. The whole conclusion of this prophecy is couched under "images, which relate not to the translation of the just to heaven, and the burning of the wicked in hell; but to the placing of the faithful in a state of peace and security on earth, and to the excision of the incorrigible of the irreligious faction." Bp. Horsley's Letter on the 18th Chap. of Isaiah, p. 97.
Isaiah, in the last of his prophecies, seems as it were to sum up, in exact chronological order, all that he had previously said relative to the restoration of the house of İsrael. He had already taught us, that part of his countrymen should return by sea, and part by land: that those who returned by sea, namely the converted of Judah, should be chiefly brought back through the instrumentality of the ships of Tarshish, or the navy of the then principal maritime European power, of the then modern Tyre: that Antichrist and his associates, who will contemporaneously restore certain members of the house of Judah in an unconverted state, should at the same era be utterly overthrown; and that another grand division of Israel, or the ten tribes, should be brought back out of all nations, notwithstanding they had so long vanished, as it were, from the face of the earth, and had been lost in the countries whither they had been carried away captive. He now repeats much of what he had said before, adding however certain other particulars which are highly interesting and important.
He begins with calling upon the Jews, who, in the midst of their long blindness, had never ceased to venerate their ancient Scriptures, to hear the word of the Lord. This word declareth to them, that their brethren of the Gentiles, who, through a succession of dark and bigoted ages, had hated them, and had cast them out, from a pretended zeal for the glory of God, and as if persecution had been a meritorious act of faith, should now have abundant reason to fear and be ashamed. The Gentiles, here alluded to, are manifestly those of the papal apostasy, whose descendants at the time of the end shall constitute the great Roman confederacy of Antichrist. The various persecutions, which the Jews have suffered throughout Europe from the bloody superstition of Popery, are well known*: England herself, while she remained in the polluted communion of Rome, partook largely, as of her other sins, so of this. Since the reformation, the
* See Bp. Newton's Dissert. VII.
Jews have been persecuted only in Popish countries: to them therefore we may safely apply the words of the present prophecy *.
But, when the Papacy shall have filled up the measure of its iniquities by leaguing itself with Antichrist, by sanctioning all his enormities, by entering into a confederacy with him, by proclaiming (such is the wretched perversion of language) a holy war of extermination against the converted Jews and their supporters the mighty maritime protestant nation; then shall the Lord suddenly cause his voice to be heard from his holy temple, and shall render recompense unto his enemies. Under the image of a woman travailing and bearing a man-child, the prophet sets forth the unexpected conversion and restoration of Judah. The description necessarily implies, that these great and wonderful events will be almost as it were instantaneous. Ere Zion hath well begun to travail, the time of her delivery is come. As a single address of St. Peter converted three thousand of the Jews, and brought them unto God the first fruits of their people: so now a yet more astonishing thing shall happen; a whole nation shall be born at once. It is no objection to say, Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? The Lord himself affords an answer by asking, Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? From the whole passage we must necessarily, I think, conclude, that the conversion of Judah will be sudden as that of St. Paul, general as that of the congregation of St. Peter f.
The whole, that the prophet has hitherto said, refers exclusively to the conversion of one great branch of Judah and to the restoration of that branch by the instrumentality of the maratime power; an event, which is destined to take place previous to the no less remarkable event of the conversion and restoration of the ten tribes: he now,
*See Bp. Newton's Dissert. VII. 15..
I may however here again observe, that, although the whole of Judah will be restored previously to Israel, yet there is reason to believe that he will be restored partly in a converted and partly in an unconverted state, partly by sea and partly by land, partly by some great maritime power, and partly by Antichrist. It appears that the conversion of both these branches of Judah will be so sudden, as to deserve to be considered (comparatively speaking) as instantaneous.