30.—The “Time of Trouble” Position of the Russian and British Forces at the Advent
This terrible epoch precedes the good time celebrated traditionally in the ballads of the Gentiles. The termination of the King of the North’s career is one of the great events of the crisis. Having been stirred up to fury by the defiance hurled against him to the Anglo-Tarshish power, and in consequence invaded the Holy Land, he will take up his position “between the seas to the mountain, the glory of the holy”; that is, between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Gallilee, and from thence to the Holy City, which he will invest with his forces. Thus he will be like a cloud preparing to cover the land marked out, being a distance of 70 miles from Jerusalem to the rear of his position, and about 35 miles from sea to sea. Within this area is included Jezreel and the plain of the ancient city Megiddo, celebrated in Jewish history for the great lamentation caused in Judah and Jerusalem because of the overthrow of their forces, and death of Josiah there at the hand of the Egyptians. As this was a notable national mourning, it is cited by Zechariah as an illustration of a future national lamentation at the time when “all nations shall come against Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:9, 11), especially as they will overspread the field of Josiah’s disaster. The whole area that will be occupied by the king of the north is represented in the Apocalypse by this celebrated section of it; and styled Armageddon, or The Mountain, or Heap, in the Valley of Judgment.
On this area Daniel says, “the King of the North shall plant the tents of his camp”. He will then be at the head of the armies of all the nations of the Gogian confederacy gathered against Jerusalem to battle, as Zechariah and other prophets have foretold. Well garrisoned and defended as the Holy City no doubt will be by the Anglo-Tarshish power and the Jews, the city will nevertheless be taken, but not destroyed; though great calamities will be inflicted upon the inhabitants. Jerusalem being taken, there is reason to believe that the war will be continued on the other side of the Jordan in that part of Ammon which does not escape out of the hand of the King of the North. This will extend the seat of the war to Eastern Idumea or Edom in the region of Bozrah; while South Edom, Moab, and the major part of Ammon escape its ravages. This will be the position of the two armies; Gog’s extending from Egypt to Mount Carmel and the sea of Tiberius northward; and from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea; and from Carmel across the Jordan to Bozrah eastward: while the Anglo-Tarshish forces, cut off from the Mediterranean and their western fleet, will face the enemy in the northern part of Ammon, their communication with the ocean being maintained by the Red Sea.
This being the final position of the hostile armies, the reader will see the force of Isaiah’s inquiry of the blood-stained traveller, “Who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, advancing in the greatness of his strength?” The army contending for the possession of Yahweh’s Land is therefore Yahweh’s enemy. In holding South Edom, the capital of which was Seir; Moab, and the major part of Ammon, etc., to Khushistan, Anglo-Tarshish will occupy a part of the territory covenanted to Abraham and Christ; while Gog at the same time holds the rest: to say nothing of “their wickedness” which “is great”, he is, because of this invasion, and coveted appropriation of the land, the enemy of Yahweh and his King; as it is written, “Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies”.
Edom then may be styled the front of the Gogian armies; and therefore when Yahweh goes forth to fight them “as when he fought in the day of battle” in old time, He strikes the first blow at Bozrah. And a terrible blow it will be, as may be conceived from the answer to another question by the same prophet, saying, “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?” “I have trodden”, says the advancing Hero, “the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment: for the Day of Vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore mine own arm brought salvation to me; and my fury it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth” (Isa. 63:1–6).
From this we learn that when Isaiah sees him coming towards Jerusalem a blow had been struck, and that others remained to be inflicted; and that the Jews and their British protectors had afforded no effective co-operation in the overthrow. But who was this conquering Hero from a far country whose appearance is attended with such sudden destruction? He answers the question by saying, “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save”: or, as it is apocalyptically expressed, “The Faithful and True one, who in righteousness doth judge and make war: clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, whose name is called the Word of God” (Rev. 19:11–13). Daniel styles him, “Michael the Great Commander, who standeth for Judah” also “the Commander of commanders”, which is equivalent to “King of kings, and Lord of lords”. Hosea calls him Jezreel. Ezekiel terms him Adonai Yahweh; Isaiah, “the Name of Yahweh coming from far, burning with his anger”; and Paul, the Lord Jesus revealed from heaven, taking vengeance, consuming and destroying with the brightness of his coming.
The means by which in the absence of all co-operation his own almighty arm brings salvation are terrific. The following testimonies will exhibit them: “Yahweh shall cause the glory of his voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones; for through the violence of Yahweh shall the Assyrian be beaten down which smote with a rod. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire, and much wood; the breath of Yahweh, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it” (Isa. 30:30–33).
“When Yahweh shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fall together. For thus hath Yahweh spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the multitude of them: so shall Yahweh Tz’vaoth come down to fight for Mount Zion and for the hill thereof. As birds flying, so will Yahweh Tzvaoth defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. In that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver and of gold. Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, … and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith Yahweh, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem” (Isa. 31:3–9).
And again, “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people; let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of Yahweh is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he utterly destroys them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stench shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their armies shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven; behold it shall come down upon Edom, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of Yahweh is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for Yahweh hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. And the Unicorns (one of the symbols of Britain) shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the Day of Yahweh’s vengeance, the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion” (Isa. 34:1–8).
Furthermore, “I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all my mountains, saith Adonai Yahweh: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, saying, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do slaughter for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth; and ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have slaughtered for you. Thus shall ye be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God. And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am Yahweh their Elohim from that day and forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they trespassed against me, therefore I hid my face from them, and gave them into the hands of their enemies; so fell they all by the sword” (Ezek. 38:21, 22; 39:17–23).
“In the valley of Jehoshaphat will I sit to judge all the nations round about” (Joel 3:12): “and I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon them, such as they have not heard” (Micah 5:15). “In that day, saith Yahweh, I will smite every horse with consternation, and his rider with madness” (Zech. 12:4). “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their orbits, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And a great tumult from Jehovah shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour” (Zech. 14:12)
Thus will the Image be smitten, the Little Horn of the Goat broken without help, and the King of the North come to his end with none to help him—a catastrophe in which the struggle ere long to begin among the nations of the Old World will be sure to end.