The situation will be an astounding novelty in the "balance of power". The Christ in fulness in the Great City Babylon, and none suspecting even that the Lord Jesus had individually descended from heaven! Could any surprise be more complete! Here then is the Eastern Question in a phase not dreamt of in the philosophy of the worshippers of the Beast.
2. "Blessed He Who Watcheth"
"Blessed he who watcheth and keepeth his garments, that he walk not naked, and they see his shame".
The Apocalyptic benedictions are not mere ornamental figures of speech, thrown in, as it were, for the ventilation of pious feeling. They are substantial and joyous realities, promising present and future benefits. Thus,
"Blessed he that readeth and they that understand the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is near" (ch. 1:3). He that reads, understands, and keeps "the sayings of the prophecy of this book," thereby places himself in the blessed companionship of the apostle John, and of his brethren the prophets, one of whom (whether Enoch, Moses, or Elijah, we know not) was the bearer of the Apocalypse to him (ch. 1:1; 22:7-10). The knowledge herein revealed, understood and kept, is an infallible preservative against all the wiles of the adversary, and all the delusions by which the worshippers of the Beast's Image are deceived, and made meet only for capture and destruction.
Again, blessedness is pronounced upon them who die in the Lord, in ch. 14:13. These are the same as they who keep the sayings of the prophecy. This text informs us when they are blessed -- at the time, namely, when, as constituents of the Perfect Man, they rest from their arduous judicial labors.
But they are greeted with benediction as candidates for the high honor and glory of which he is the subject. This candidature is predicated upon "watching and keeping the garments"; not upon watching, or looking, only, but upon keeping the garments, as well. In this sense it is that the Christ personal shall appear with out sin to them who are looking for him for salvation (Heb. 9:28). They must first put on the garments, and then keep them from being soiled by the corruptions of the flesh and world. None can watch Scripturally, who do not "keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book;" for, without an understanding of them, it is impossible to know the signs of the advent, and whether it is near or afar off. All the world sees the facts in regard to the Ottoman, Papal, Austrian, and French, powers; but it knows not what is indicated thereby, or whether anything is signified at all. This is the case also with many who profess that they are not of the world, but whose practice belies their profession. They talk glibly about the advent, but they are neither in the faith, nor do they know what it is. Such are "naked," and have no garments to keep; and all their professed looking for Jesus is not the "watching" of the text before us.
But they who are truly "watching and keeping their garments" are blessed in that they see "the Sign of the Son of Man in the heaven," by which they are warned to trim their lamps with "the knowledge of the Deity's will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding," that, when his arrival is announced, they may go forth to meet him with all confidence and joy. They are "blessed" in being able thus to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, in the wilderness of Teman; but more blessed still will they be when the account they are able truthfully to render of themselves is accepted and approved; and they are pronounced by the Judge to be the blessed of his Father (Matt. 25:34); and are exalted to be sharers with him in his joy (Matt. 25:21). In this exaltation they will have attained to that perfected blessedness to which they were called in the gospel of invitation to "the marriage supper of the Lamb" (ch. 19:9). Being adopted, by the transforming power of the Spirit, as constituents of the Perfect Man, they are "blessed and holy:" not blessed only, but holy likewise. "Be ye holy in all manner of conduct: because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy". This was their character in the days of their flesh; but, being now participants of the Perfect Man, they are the holy, in the sense of the incorruptible and immortal "Firstfruits" of the resurrection. On them, the Second Death will have no power; but they shall be priests of the Deity and the Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (ch. 20:6).
Such is the blessedness which results from doing the commandments of "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last". By obedience to his institutions, they obtain "the right," which, not being forfeited by misconduct, is realized in "the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body of us," "who are kept by the power of the Deity through faith for salvation, ready to be apocalypsed in the last time". As the blessed constituents of the Perfect Man, they are the Tree of Life, and the Great City, the holy Jerusalem, into which they have entered, and whose name is written upon each (ch. 3:12). The door is yet open to all who aspire to so great and exalted a destiny; as it is written in ch. 22:14, "Blessed they who do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city".
The penalty incurred by neglecting to watch and keep the garments, is expressed in the words, "that he walk not naked, and they see his shame". When a body comes out of the dust of the ground, and there is impressed or written upon its organization a character previously developed in a former state, if that character be bad, such a person is said to "walk naked", even though he might be abundantly supplied with clothes. He is morally naked, and certain to be put to shame. Being morally naked, he will continue to walk naked, in the sense of not being "clothed upon with the house which is from heaven;" that is, his earthy body will not be transformed into an identity with the spirit-body of the Lord Jesus. He will be dealt with judicially after the example of the first man, who, after receiving sentence of death, was "driven" with shame from the Divine Presence, to live awhile in sorrow and pain, and then to die and rot in the dust from whence he came (Gen. 3:24). Such is the unhappy future of those "who profess to know God, but in works deny him;" and who, being "in Christ Jesus, walk after the flesh". After this order, "they come forth into a resurrection of condemnation," in which they reap of the flesh the corruption due to what they have thereunto sown.
But, the first man of the earth was put to shame before a plurality of Divine Personages. This is evident from the narrative, which records the saying of the Judge, who remarked, "Behold the man is as one of us, knowing good and evil". The "us" is indicative of the associates of the speaker, styled by Moses Yahweh Elohim. These it was who, in the language of our text, "Saw his shame". This Court of Assize in Eden, which condemned the man of the earth to remain earthy unto death because of one offence, is the type, or example, of the future Court of Assize in Teman, where his earthy representatives, who come forth from the dust as he, will be tried, or scrutinized, and justified or condemned, "according to their works". As in the case of the first human pair, this justification and condemnation will be pronounced and carded into effect before a plurality of dignitaries. In relation to the condemned, this is indicated in the word bleposi "they see" his shame. If it be inquired, who are the "they," it must be admitted, that the words of ch. 16:15, do not inform us. The exposition, however, I have given, will supply this lack. The man of the earth condemned to walk naked in his shame, will stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus, of the angels of his power, and of the justified constituents of the Perfect Man, all of whom will be embodiments of the power or spirit of the Eternal Father. This "I" who comes "as a thief" upon the sons of night, is the "they" who see the shame of the earthborns, who are sentenced to condemnation with the world. And this interpretation is in harmony with the words of Jesus, who saith in Luke 12:8, "whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of the Deity, and before my Father who is in heaven;" and "whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory, and the Father's, and of the Holy Angels" (Luke 9:26): "I will deny him before my Father" (Matt. 10:33). So that what we confess, or deny, and do in the present state, will define our moral standing at the bar of the Divine Court of Teman; where "they who have been accounted worthy to obtain of that aion (the Resurrection-Aion) and of the resurrection from among the dead (which gives entrance into it) are equal to the angels:" all else are repudiated, or denied, and put to shame before all "his servants, both small and great," whether angels, or constituents of the Perfect Man.
The Gathering into Armageddon
"And he gathered them together into the place called Hebraistically, Armageddon" -- Verse 16
Let it be noted by the reader, that a gathering of the Powers is the subject of the prophecy in the fourteenth and fifteenth verses. In the former, the daemon Froglike spirits are represented as the agencies so operating upon the kings of the earth and of the whole habitable, as to cause a gathering of them for the war of that great day of the Almighty Deity: but, from the sixteenth verse it would appear, that the daemon-spirits did not of themselves alone consummate the gathering; for it is here written "He gathered them". The case then appears to be this, that the Froglike Spirits begin a work in 1848, which they carry on for twenty or more years, during which, by their policy, they bring the powers of the world into such a situation regarding "the Dragon," or Eastern Question, and "the Beast and False Prophet," or Roman Question, as to prepare them for a general move against any power, come from whence it may, that may intervene in the settlement of those questions contrary to their interests, and such a distribution and balance of power as they may approve. Every one may see that this is the present situation of affairs. The Powers are all "armed to the teeth," with their hands upon their swords, and in a highly irritable or inflammable frame of mind, upon the Roman and Eastern Questions, and ready to do battle against any who might venture athwart the path of their policy or ambition. They are conscripting the cultivators of the soil to a vast extent, and preparing them for war; as though war, and not agriculture, were the normal condition of mankind. Thus, they are beating their plough-shares into swords, and their scythes into spears; and the weak say they are strong; as an indispensable preliminary to the great conflict which is to follow (Joel 3:10).
But, the unclean daemon-spirits like Frogs having prepared the situation; and the great river Euphrates being sufficiently dried up; who is He that gathers them into Armageddon? The Apocalyptic answer is, the "One Angel standing in the Sun" -- ch. 19:17 -- the One Angel-Body, invested with omnipotence and glory; the Perfect Man, constituted of "the kings of a Sun's rising;" to prepare whose way "the water," or power, of the great Ottoman river has been dried up. This "One Angel," hena aggelon, whose "countenance is as the sun shining in his strength" (ch. 1:16; 10:1), has then command of the situation. He cries with a loud voice, "a voice as the sound of many waters;" or, "as when a lion roareth", making proclamation, and saying to all the fowls flying in midheaven, to whom judgment is given, "Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great Deity". The gathering of the birds of prey which lodge in the branches of the kingdom (Luke 13:19), implies the previous gathering of the hosts to be devoured; and also the presence of a power potent enough to give their carcasses to the birds. This is the power that "comes as a thief;" which, having clothed himself with a cloud of brethren, next proceeds to gather by the policy he develops, the armies of the Beast and Kings of the Earth for a conflict with the New Power of Teman (ch. 19:19).
Such is the Apocalyptic answer to the question, who is He that gathers them? And the testimony of the prophets is in harmony with it. In Isaiah 66:18, the Spirit saith, "It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory;" and in Mic. 4:12, "Yahweh shall gather many nations as the sheaves into the floor" for threshing: "therefore wait ye upon me, saith Yahweh, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy" (Zeph. 3:8). The Spirit of Christ also informs us of the place to which he will gather them. In Zech. 14:2, he says, "I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken" and in Joel 3:2, 14, "I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat -- the Valley of Threshing". These are sufficient to show that it is the Spirit in Apocalyptic manifestation who is the gatherer.
But these passages in context also show, that the Spirit in Son of Man, or One Angel, apocalypse, will not be in Jerusalem during the siege and capture of