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he will bestow upon them the yet greater blessings of pure religion. He will pour out, in a manner unknown in former ages, his Holy Spirit upon all flesh; insomuch that the day of Pentecost itself shall be only a type of this yet greater and more extensive effusion. Nevertheless, before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come, the world shall be convulsed with unexampled political changes and revolutions. But, wonderful as the success of Antichrist shall be during his permitted hour*, the believer will only infer from these predicted signs that his redemption draweth near. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall surely be delivered; for he will save both the remnant of his people Israel, and his spiritually wise children of the uncircumcision.
The prophet now proceeds to give a more full account of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He declares, that, when God shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, he will likewise gather all the nations into the valley of his judgment, and will plead with them on account of the unjust violence with which they have scattered Israel. These nations, as we are taught by Daniel and St. John, are those which will compose the great Antichristian Roman confederacy. Joel, like Ezekiel, typically terms one branch of the confederacy Tyre and Zidon †. He also, like St. John, terms it Egypt; and, like many of the ancient prophets, he denominates the whole confederacy Edom t. With an awful and sublime
"He shall prosper," says the prophet Daniel, "till the indignation be accomplished." Dan. xi. 36.
† Chandler, agreeably to his scheme, understands the literal Tyre and Zidon, and supposes that they might have bought some of the Jewish prisoners from the Edomites. But, if the prophecy relate to the final restoration of Judah, as I think it must, Tyre and Zidon will mean the corrupt church of Rome, as in Ezek. xxvii. and xxviii.
+ Egypt and Edom are literally understood by Chandler, though he acknow. ledges that it is impossible from history to fix the particular event by which the prophecy was accomplished. Kimchi comes much nearer the truth, and speaks a language much more accordant with many other ancient predictions, in supposing that Egypt means the Mohammedans, and Edom the Romans. I am rather inclined however to think, that both Egypt and Edom equally typify the Antichristian confederacy of the Roman beast and his vassals. Egypt is used by St. John as a type of the Roman empire (Rev. xi. 8.) along with Sodom, whence it is not unnatural to conclude, that it here likewise along with Edom means the same. As for the Mohammedans, although their superstition will be broken without hand at this period (Dan. viii. 25.), I cannot find that we have any warrant for supposing that they will nationally be
inversion of a prediction of Isaiah, he calls upon the nations, which arrange themselves under the banners of Antichrist, to beat their plough-shares into swords, and their pruning-hooks into spears. He calls He calls upon them to wake up the mighty men, and to sanctify war *; to proclaim a miscalled holy crusade against those, whom the infidel and papal tyrants have devoted with an anathema to utter destruction: and he declares, that in such a cause even the weak shall think themselves strong. Yet, when the nations are roused, when they have assembled themselves together in the valley of judgment, in the valley of the cursing of Megiddo; then will the Lord sit as a judge in the day of his great controversy with the Gentiles. The harvest of the rank vine of the Roman earth is now fully ripe: and the Almighty Word of God begins to tread the wine-press of Bozrah, and to sprinkle his garments with the blood of Edom†. The sun and the moon of the Latin firmament shall then be darkened‡, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The longlived Roman beast shall be slain, and his false prophet
engaged in the last war of the beast. One great branch of them, Turkey, will be destroyed previous to that era; and the other branch, Persia, is situated without the limits of the Roman empire. I will not however positively deny, that the Mohammedans may be intended by Egypt. They certainly answer, no less than the Papists, to the prophetic description of committing violence against the children of Judah, and shedding innocent blood; innocent at least, so far as they were concerned. Gibbon, though by no means unfriendly to Mohammed, states, that that impostor "commanded or approved the assassination of the Jews and idolaters, who had escaped from the field of battle." * The sanctification of this war, and the destroying anathema, with which Daniel's wilful king goes out to his work of devastation, equally, I think, relate to the apocalyptic junction of the false prophet with the Roman beast under his last head and the confederated kings of the Latin earth. We seem to gather from these parallel passages, that the last war will be undertaken by the Antichristian faction as a sort of crusade or holy war.
†The vintage, here spoken of, is the great vintage of Armageddon under the last vial. Compare Isaiah Ixiii. 1---6. and Rev. xiv. 17---20. xix. 15. This studied uniformity of metaphor, for I can consider it in no other light, affords an argument to prove, that we ought to refer the prophecy of Joel to the second advent, and not to the period which Chandler imagines.
I understand by this imagery the final overthrow of Antichrist. It may perhaps be said, that, while I shortly after object to Chandler because he affixes such various meanings to the phrase of the great day of the Lord as used by Joel, I myself apply differently the signs the political heavens as mentioned in this passage and in the two preceding passages. My answer, is, that I am expressly warranted by the prophet himself in making such a distinction. The signs in the heavens, predicted in Joel ii. 10 and 30, 31, are occasioned by the locust-army and precede the great day of the Lord: whereas those, predicted in Joel iii. 15, are, in the day of the Lord; and the total over
shall be brought to utter destruction. For the Lord shall roar out of Zion, and shall be the hope of his people Israel. Jerusalem shall be holy, and shall no more be trampled under foot by strangers: the mountains shall drop down with new wine: and the waters of life, the healing streams of the Gospel, shall come forth out of the house of the Lord.
The learned Chandler seems to me very greatly to have mistaken the drift of this prophecy of Joel. The nation spoken of in the first, and afterwards described at large in the second chapter, is undoubtedly a nation of locusts: no one, I apprehend, will be inclined to deny so plain a matter. But the question is, whether they be natural, or symbolical, locusts. Chandler resolutely maintains the first of these positions, and labours fruitlessly (I think) to remove the difficulties with which it is clogged. If ever Judea, in the days of her monarchy, had been visited by such a plague of locusts as that described by the prophet, a plague in no respects inferior to that with which Egypt was once visited, we might reasonably expect to find it mentioned in the historical part of Scripture. But nothing, that bears any resemblance to it, can there be discovered. Chandler indeed quotes R. Kimchi, as producing a Jewish tradition, that during four out of the seven years of famine predicted by Elisha † there were four species of locusts, and that during the other three there was a great want of rain. The sacred text itself however gives not the least countenance to this mere Rabbinical gloss; and, even if it did, Chandler would have put it out of his power to avail himself of it by fixing the age of Joel in the reign of Ahaz, whereas Elisha's famine occurred in the days of Jehoram the son of Ahab considerably more than a century earlier.
throw of the Antichristian confederacy, or the utter destruction of the Roman beast in his last form (Dan. vii. 11.), is the subject of them. Christ predicts in a similar manner, that his advent should be preceded, and as it were ushered in, by signs in the sun and moon (See Matt. xxiv. 29, 30, 33. Mark xiii. 24, 25, 26, 29. and Luke xxi. 25, 26, 27, 28, 31.): unless indeed we are bound to refer these different transcripts of the same prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans exclusively. I have never yet met with an exposition of our Lord's prophecy, that gave me entire satisfaction.
To save the trouble of endless particular references, I beg to refer the reader in general to Chandler's Comment. on Joel, and the annexed Disser+ 2 Kings viii. 1.
cordingly he does not attempt to produce any account of these locusts from the scriptural history *.
But this difficulty is by no means the only one. Joel declares, that the army of locusts shall cause the heavens to quake, and the earth to tremble; that the sun and the moon shall be dark before them; and that the stars shall withdraw their shining t. These magnificent images, as it is well known, denote in the prophetic language great wars and revolutions, wherein established governments are either overthrown, or at least shaken to their very centre. Some great political commotion therefore must have taken place in consequence of the ravages of these locusts. Now, although a brief history might be silent respecting a mere plague of locusts; yet, if that plague occasioned a revolution in the government, it is incredible that the very shortest history should then have preserved a profound silence. Where then do we find any such circumstance mentioned in the sacred history? To get quit of this difficulty Chandler maintains, that the expressions in question are to be understood literally. He tells us, that the earth really appears to tremble through the continual motion of a swarm of locusts; or at least that it may be fairly said to tremble through the excessive fear of its inhabitants: that the heavens shake, because the locusts obscure the very light of them: that the sun is turned into darkness, because they ordinarily fly in the day time, and that in such numbers as to darken even the sun himself: and that the moon and the stars withdraw their shining, because they may be supposed in warm eastern countries sometimes to shift their place by night.
Here an objector would naturally urge, that much the same imagery is twice elsewhere used by Joelt: are we then to conclude, that he is there likewise to be understood literally? for, to make him consistent with himself, we must, in all the three parallel passages, understand him either literally throughout, or figuratively throughout.
Bochart, who like Chandler understands the locusts literally, exerts all his ingenuity to parry the force of this argument, which had been strenuously urged by St. Jerome'; but, I think, with very little success. See Hieroz. Pars 1. L. iv. C. 5. p. 482.
† Joel ii. 10.
Joel i. 30, 31. and iii. 15.
For this objection Chandler is prepared; and tells us, that the fire and pillars of smoke, mentioned in the 30th verse of the 2d chapter, mean only the fire and smoke that proceed from burning towns and villages; and that the smoke, as it ascends, darkens the sun, and gives the moon a red and bloody appearance. He acknowledges indeed the propriety of Sir Isaac Newton's remark, that the darkening the sun, and the turning the moon into blood, denote the ceasing or desolation of a kingdom: but adds, that it is evident from the 10th verse of the 2d chapter, that it does not always denote this; and thence infers, that neither does it in the 31st verse. Thus does he attempt to decide the sense of one disputed passage, by referring us to another which is no less disputed. The third passage, contained in the 15th verse of the 3d chapter, he treats in the same manner; and refers us, for an authority, to what he had said on the second passage. What is this but completely arguing in a circle? As for what Chandler says respecting the literal acceptation of all the three passages, it is so totally contrary to the universal spirit of prophetic language, and so plainly contrived (particularly in the case of the first passage) to serve a turn; that I scruple not to assert, that there is not the slightest foundation for it. It will follow therefore, unless I be greatly mistaken in this assertion, that the locust-army, which occasions dreadful political revolutions, can not be an army composed of literal locusts.
The opinion here advanced by me is adopted, as Chandler himself acknowledges, by the Chaldee Paraphrast, Grotius, and Jerome*. The first of these writers renders Joel ii. 5, Peoples, nations, tongues, emperors, and revenging kingdoms. The second thinks, that the prophet does not mean real locusts; but that he points out under such imagery the successive irruptions of Phul, Tiglathphilasar, Salmanasar, and Sennacherib. The third agrees with Grotius in principle; but differs from him in the application of the prediction. He observes, in explaining Chap. ii. Ver. 20, that the northern one means the Assyrians and Chaldeans, who came from the north; and adds, that the term northern is here used to
It is likewise adopted by Abarbanel and Mede.