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Church was high treason, punishable with death. For this Blessed John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and Blessed Sir Thomas More, sometime Lord Chancellor of England, died. A series of appalling executions followed (see Gardner, “ Letters and Papers” v., viii. pref.). Persecution continued more or less for about two centuries in England, Ireland and Scotland. Penal laws were enacted against the Church, which went beyond the severities of paganism. Priests of the Church were hunted down and executed for the offence alone of being priests.
On shelf, P. 4, of the Bodleian Library is the record of the trial at the Old Bailey Sessions, before all the judges of England, including the Lord Chief Justice, of six English priests, for the sole crime of being in England. The sentence runs, " That you be then severally hanged by the neck, that you be cut down alive, that your privy member be cut off, that your bowels be taken out and burnt in your view, that your heads be severed from your bodies, that your bodies be divided into quarters, to be at the King's disposal” (italics ours).
Satan's persecuting day in England, Merpòv xpóvov, is over ; and we would gladly forget the past. But the exegesis of Revelation requires the mention of these things. The ruined abbey churches of Great Britain are the historic monuments of this persecution.
Gog and Magog are symbols of world powers, gathered together to battle by Satan. This is the conclusion of the post Roman theme, and it is on the same lines as the conclusion of the Roman theme. Συναγαγείν αυτούς εις τον πόλεμον is the phraseology of R. xvi. 14. We have the climax of a great battle in which the enemies of the Church are defeated, and the devil is cast into the pool of fire to join the Beast and the false prophet (R. xx. 9, 10).
The prophet Ezechiel foretells the coming of Gog upon the land of Israel, as it were, in the last days, " And I will rain fire and brimstone on him and on his army and upon the many nations that are with him. And I will be magnified and I will be sanctified. And I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezech. xxxviii. 22, 23). This picture is followed in Ezechiel by a lengthy description of the heavenly Jerusalem, in which God dwells with His people for ever. In like manner the Seer follows these passages with a picture of the heavenly Jerusalem.
Gog, Prince of Magog, with his allies, Mesach and Tubal, lived in the land between the Euxine and Caspian Seas, and to the north, in the Caucasian mountains. They were a terror to middle Asia, and have often been called the Scythians of the
East. S. Augustine holds that they typify the wicked nations, who shall assail the Church in the last days. Gog and Magog were scriptural characters, known to the “ servants of God” as concerned in the last great fight with the hosts of the Lord, in which they are destroyed, and peace reigns for ever. See Ezech. xxxviii.
“Whose number is as the sand of the sea," shows that the attack on the Church in the last days will be made by antiChristian forces, not confined to one sect, religion, nation, or people. The four quarters of the earth will combine against the Church. But not necessarily all at one time. That is not indicated.
9. Και ανέβησαν επί το πλάτος της γης, και έκύκλωσαν την παρεμβολής των αγίων και την πόλιν την ηγαπημένην, , και κατέβη πυρ από του Θεού εκ του ουρανού και κατέφαγεν αυτούς. .
9. And they ascend upon the breadth of the earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
(S. = έκύκλευσαν. He omits από του Θεού.) The Vulgate splits this verse into two, and begins the gth verse with “And fire came down." The Douay Bible follows the Vulgate. Owing to the joining together of verses 7 and 8 in the Vulgate, the above verse is numbered 8.
In Scriptural language one ascends or goes up to Jerusalem from any part of the world, as one goes up to London from any part of England. It is a common figure of speech denoting the approach to an important capital city." The beloved city” is the Church, the “Civitas Dei” of S. Augustine. The Church is the bride. In the Canticle of Canticles, the expression “ beloved ” as applied to the Church occurs frequently (i. 12, ii. 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, V. I, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, vi. 1, 2, vii. 10, 11, viii. 14). And the city of the beloved is indicated at Canticles iii. 2, 3, 4.
The Gentiles surround "the camp of the saints,” the headquarters of the Church Militant. This we take to be Rome of the Popes. “The primacy of S. Peter and the perpetuity of that primacy in the Roman See are dogmatically defined in the canons attached to the first two chapters of the Constitution * Pastor Æternus.' ... The Pope becomes the chief pastor because he is Bishop of Rome; he does not become Bishop of Rome because he has been chosen to be head of the universal Church” (G. H. Joyce, S.J.M.A., The Cath. Encyc. “Pope").
It looks as if the fulfilment of this prophecy took place at the time of the Italian occupation of Rome in the year 1870.
The history of the Church and the world, from the end of the thousand years until the day of judgment, is compressed into this one symbol of the Gentiles coming up against the Church from every quarter of the world. It is the old secular contest of the Church and the world with the renewal of persecution added. It means that nearly all nations will harass the Church from time to time, but not all together. The centuries that have already elapsed since the sixteenth have seen the Reformation attack, the Russian persecution, the French Revolution, the French Republic attack, the Italian “occupation," and the Portuguese Republic persecution. Other attacks will follow, for so it is written. In every case of revolution the dragon “stood before the woman,” the Church, that “he might devour her son " (R. xii. 4).
“And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them." We have had many opportunities of studying the symbolism of fire in this Book. The manifold woes of Jerusalem in its last days are covered by the symbolism of fire, “And the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar and cast it on the earth" (R. viii. 5, 7, 8, 10, ix. 17, 18, xi. 5). So also in the Roman theme, “And another angel came out from the altar who had power over fire" (R. xiv. 18), and he ordered the gathering of the vineyard of the earth, and the treading of the winepress with its enormous outflow of bloodof Roman blood, shed in various wars. See also R. xvi. 8, xvii. 16, xviii. 8. The fire indicated here is the fire of God's wrath, which is a symbol of many forms of punishment. We gather that the nations which go up against the Church will suffer for it in the end, as the Jews and pagan Rome suffered. God will protect His Church.
Ιο. Και ο διάβολος ο πλανων αυτούς έβλήθη εις την λίμνην του πυρός και θείου, όπου και το θηρίον και ο ψευδοπροφήτης, και βασανισθήσονται ημέρας και νυκτός είς τους αιώνας των αιώνων. .
10. And the devil who seduced them was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The Vulgate ends its gth verse with “where both the beast," and makes a short roth verse of the remainder of the sentence, and so gets level with the Greek. Having elected to follow
the Greek text of Brandscheid, we have no choice in the matter.
As a sign that we have reached the end of the contest, the devil is cast into hell. The Beast and the false prophet were cast into the pool of fire at R. xix. 20; and we are presently told that this is “the second death" (R. xx. 14). The Beast and the false prophet, i.e., paganism, cannot again dominate the world. They remain in the hell of the damned, where the dragon will join them at the last day.
THE GENERAL JUDGMENT Ι. Και είδον θρόνον μέγαν λευκών και τον καθήμενον επ' αυτού, ού από του προσώπου έφυγεν η γη και ο ουρανός, και τόπος ουχ ευρέθη αυτοίς.
11. And I saw a great white throne and him that sat upon it, from whose presence the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them.
Και, “and,” again introduces a new theme. The Seer follows the Hebrew Scriptures, where still greater transitions are made by = και, viz., the passing from one book to another. Even independent books sometimes commence with 7, e.g., Lev. i. I and Num. i. I.
The vision of the "throne in heaven and one sitting upon the throne" (R. iv. 2) is again in evidence. The occasion is the final judgment. “Heaven and earth shall pass away" (Matt. xxiv. 35). “But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away ... and the earth ... shall be burnt up” (2 Pet. iii. το). Το show that this symbolism refers to the end of the world, the dead are immediately marshalled to judgment (see R. vi. 14, notes). There can be no mistake about it, that this vision refers to the day of judgment. It is the only convincing picture of the last days in the Book.
12. Και είδον τους νεκρούς τους μεγάλους και τους μικρούς, εστωτας ενώπιον του θρόνου, και βιβλία ήνοίχθησαν, και άλλο βιβλίον ήνοίχθη, ό έστιν της ζωής, και εκρίθησαν οι νεκροί εκ των γεγραμμένων εν τοις βιβλίοις κατά τα έργα αυτών.
12. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
The dead of every degree, high and low, rich and poor, stand before the throne to be judged according to their works. And