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gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.' II Thess. i: 649.
This punishment fell on the Jews who persecuted the saints or believers in the gospel, soon after it was written by Paul. It took place when the temple was set on fire, and the holy of holies was burnt up, where the Lord had declared his presence should remain, and his glory rest. When this took place, this people were banished from the presence of their God and the glory of his power. Then their old heavens were on fire, and their heavens and earth were burnt up. This was what Peter referred to when he said, “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men.' II Pet. iii: 7. This destruction was to come sudden and unexpectedly. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with a fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burut up.' Deut. v. 10. This
judgment fell on the dragon, which represented Israel, and the works that were burned up, were those of the old Jewish sanctuary.
But the apostle goes farther, and adds, • Nevertheless we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.' Ch. v. 13. John re'fers to the same subject, when he says, 'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven, and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea.' Rev. xxi: 1. This was the sea where the dragon was slain. The new heavers and the new earth is the gospel mount, that was erected where the old mount Sion, which was the old heavens, was destroyed by fire.
Peter says, “Even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.' II Pet. iii: 15, 16. Paul speaks of this same matter to the Hebrews. He tells them the word was preached to them in
and the pow
the wilderness; but their unbelief in the word which was sent unto them, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, made them trees whose fruit withered; were twice dead, plucked up by the roots. Through their backsliding from God who was their habitation, their fruit withered.
Paul has this subject in view, when he says, 'For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, ers of the world to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance: seeing they crucify to themselves the son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.' Heb. vi: 4, 6. The Jews were the people who had fallen away from their allegiance to God, and so were reserved unto destruction by fire. When they were judged out of the books for their backsliding, it proved to be with them according to the scriptures. Their last state was worse than the first, as it ever will be with those who turn away from the commands of God.
This backslidden people, who were twice dead and plucked up by the roots, are those which Jude and Peter call fallen angels. They
are also called in scripture, dragons of the wilderness. Daniel and John call them, the Beast.' This was the beast whieh received the wound by Esau's sword, and lived. They did live; but were bound by the Roman laws, and under them allowed some of their former privileges. John had a view of this beast. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarletcolored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.' Rev. xvii: 3. This represents fallen Israel, which was full of blasphemy. It was they who blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, which was not to be forgiven, neither under the law, nor the gospel dispensation; and their end confirmed this saying: Israel have died in their sins eighteen hundred years, so they could not come to Mount Sion, where Christ hath taken lis rest, the place of the saints rest.'
ON THE OVERTHROW OF THE DRAGON, DEATH AND HELL.
Now we are under the gospel dispensation: and those beasts which had their lives prolonged for a time and season, of which Daniel speaks, were that portion of fallen Israel which did not suffer in the day of Jerusalem's judgment. These still remained in unbelief, and the mark of blasphemy has not yet been effaced from them; neither will it be until the deliverer which came out of Sion, shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; then all Israel will be saved. But now they are bowing down their vecks under all the nations of the earth, according to the prophecy of old. These Jews will be brought in with the rest when the fullness of the Gentiles has arrived.
It will be borne in mind, the beast spoken of in this book, was of a scarlet color. What gave him this color, was his being stained with the