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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

This is the career marked out for him; which neither France, nor England, nor the world combined can obstruct or circumvent.

"BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF!

" In dismissing this part of the subject, it is necessary to call the attention of the reader to a very important intimation in connection with the prophecy of the "unclean spirits like frogs" This part of the prediction is contained in four verses, that is, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth inclusive.

Now, if the reader will examine the passage, he will find that there is a break in the prophecy.

That is to say, the subject of the spirits of demons gathering the kings of the whole habitable to war, is suddenly and entirely dropped; and an altogether different subject introduced.

This new topic is nothing less than the appearance of him who sent and signified the contents of the Apocalypse to his servant John.

"Behold," says he, "I come as a thief.

Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame".

Then, in the next verse, the former subject is revived, and it is revealed, that the angel of the sixth vial gathers the kings and their armies into the battlefield of Armageddon; where, as we learn from other testimony, they encounter the Lamb, upon whom they make war, without knowing, probably, that he is the Commander of the forces with which they are contending.

Now, does it not strike the reader as remarkable that the coming of the Lord should be introduced in a prophecy like that concerning the frogs?

But singular as it may seem it is by no means accidental, but the best possible place for it, because it is intimately connected with their operations.

It is mercifully introduced as a warning of what is about to happen at the crisis, that the believer may not be taken unawares.

It speaks to us in effect, saying, "When you perceive the policy of the Frog-power acting upon the demon of Turkey, the demon of Austria, and the demon of Romanism, so as to cause them to assume an attitude tending to embroil the nations, you may then know that I, the Lord, am about to revisit the world stealthily".

Christ says, "Behold, I come as a thief".

That is, he comes as a thief comes when he is bent on stealing.

A thief not only comes unexpectedly, but he gets into the house with secrecy.

John, indeed, says, "He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, even those (cai; o{itine") who pierced him; and all the tribes of the land shall mourn over him (ejp?

aujtovn)".

This, however, is affirmed of his appearance in Israel, when he shall make himself known to his brethren after the type of Joseph; which will be subsequently to the great battle in the valley of Megiddo.

The 185,000 Assyrians in the reign of Hezekiah felt the vengeance of the destroyer, but they saw him not; so I believe it will be at the battle of Armageddon, the kings and their armies will be overcome with dreadful slaughter, but they will not see the Avenger's person.

The work of the succeeding years requires that so signal a revelation be withheld from them.

Israel and the saints of the holy city will see the Lord, but not the nations at large.

The divine majesty is not prodigal of its manifestations.