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NO.2, ON ISAIAH 20th.

Brother Beebe: - Having in the preceding letter noticed the principal characters of the great and awful drama predicted in this chapter, I will now examine the facts prophetically assigned to each. We will commence with the Prophet’s part as specified verse 2: “At the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.” According to verse 3rd, He thus walked naked and barefoot, three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and Ethiopia.

As Isaiah and other prophets had to endure in their measure the same afflictions they were directed to pronounce upon the people, so the Great Prophet of Israel, the Antitype of those prophets, not only endured the same temptations, persecutions, and afflictions which he has appointed for his people, for he was tempted in all points like as we are; but he also subjected himself to the same wrath which is due to transgressors. And as Isaiah was three years a sign of what Egypt and Ethiopia was to suffer, so our Lord was three days a sign of what awaits the transgressors, the finally impenitent; for in his being subjected to the curse of the law in his death, we see exemplified that eternal curse which awaits them. Hence “this gospel of the kingdom is to be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” But herein he far excels the type, Isaiah was only a sign, the Lord Jesus besides being thus a witness unto all nations of the wrath due them from the divine law, and hence his declaration. If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry? But he also suffered as a substitute for his people, and was made a curse for them, “to deliver them from the curse of the law.” Gal.3:13.

Again as the prophets were thus made to feel the afflictions they prophesied of, so the true ministers of the gospel have to be made acquainted, in their own experience, with the various temptations and trials, to which the people of God may be subject, among whom they minister; that they may know how to speak a word in season to those who are in trouble.

But 3rdly, the Prophet here, I think, represents the church of Christ; and as he had to endure beforehand nakedness and shame, representing that, coming upon Egypt and Ethiopia; so Peter assures us, I Pet. 4:17, that the time is that judgment must begin at the house of God; and adds, “And if it begin first at us, what shall the end of them be that obey not the gospel of God, &c.” The connection is evidently applicable to the gospel of God in every period of the gospel day, and so I understand the Apostle as intending by the time, the gospel time; that is, that such is the order under the gospel dispensation. That no less, than in the coming of the judgment upon literal Jerusalem, must it be in the judgment of God, coming upon the Egypt where our Lord was crucified, or the man of sin; that judgment must begin at the house of God, by which is meant the Church of Christ; hence Peter says, if it begin at us. It must there begin for the trial of the faith of the saints, {verse 12 of the context,} and also for purging of the churches; for it is written, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” But the same afflictions or persecutions which the Lord, for wise purposes, suffers the Egyptians and Sodomites of this day, to inflict upon his people; he will visit upon them in a more awful degree. He giveth blood to drink, to those who have shed the blood of saints and prophets; the that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity, &c. Rev.16:6, & 13:10.

But an important inquiry in this case, is, what is intended by Isaiah’s walking naked and barefoot? 1st. It was an emblem of captivity. 2nd. Of degradation and shame. As Isaiah bore the emblem, so the church must bear these. She has been for a long time in the wilderness, but she is now approaching to a state of captivity; that is like captives, the churches of Christ will be deprived of their religious liberty, and be driven from their homes, the places where they now meet in the family circle, the tents where they are sheltered from the storms of the world. In addition to this, they will experience a famine; “not of bread, nor of water; but of hearing the word of the Lord.” All this will be evidently in connection with the killing of the Witnesses.

As to the degradation and shame, this was in the case of Isaiah, only so in the eyes of the people, in truth it was not so, for he was walking in obedience to the command of God; so in the case of the churches of Christ, and of the ministers of the gospel, every attempt will be made to turn their glory into shame by those who seek after leasing; or deception. And too successful will these benevolent Egyptians be in heaping shame and contempt before men, on those who will not tread mortar in their brickyard, or in other words, who will not do their dirty work of filching pennies from widows, orphans and servants, to increase the funds of what they call the Lord’s treasury; or their slavish work of grinding at their mills; and who prefer the simple manna and the water from the Rock of the wilderness, to eating the fish, and the leeks and onions of Egypt. And truly this is the diet on which the Egyptians of our day live. For as the eating of fish increases a man’s thirst, so the system which they live on, as gospel, is continually increasing their thirst both for money and for the praises of men. And as your breath will publish aloud the fact, if you eat leeks or onions, so these persons must have published, all their religious doings. Such will be the shame heaped at this period upon those who will not conform to have religious burdens imposed upon them, and will not admire their parade, that it will be too insufferable a disgrace to be an Old School Baptist, for any to endure, but such as choose rather to obey God than man, and who, like Moses, have been brought by Divine grace to esteem the reproaches of Christ greater riches, than the treasures of Egypt, yea than all the funds connected with their benevolent Institutions, and all their glory. As these things must be immediately connected with the killing of the Witnesses, that event must certainly be fast approaching, for these things begin to come to pass; therefore the direction is; look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:23. But that which I particularly wish to notice, is the prophecy upon Egypt and Ethiopia; namely, that, “So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.” Verse 4. As this is to be understood of a spiritual or religious captivity, it can mean nothing less than that these Egyptians shall be brought under the power of the king of Assyria, that is, of the Pope; and not only loose their liberty and forms of worship, and be oppressed as they have oppressed the true church of Christ, or as quoted before from Rev.13:10, as they have lead into captivity so shall they go into captivity; but they shall be lead clear off, that is, as I understand it, be led to submit to, or embrace popery. For it cannot be a mere persecution, or force put upon them, because it is to be to the shame of Egypt; and no shame can be attached to the persecuted as such.

Again the expression used in reference to the nakedness of these must imply something more than Isaiah’s walking naked. To me it is probable that Isaiah wore breeches such as the priests wore, Exod.28:42, and such as those Africans which go naked, wear. So the churches of Christ will not be left to expose themselves to shame by acting out the corruptions of their hearts. But these Egyptians will have no such covering; all their uncleanness and vileness will be exposed to open view. The shame and contempt which they have endeavored to put upon the Old School Baptists, will be heaped four fold upon themselves; for when they go over to popery, their deception, and the tendency of their religious frenzy, toward that corrupt and beastly religion will be fully manifested.

Verse 5 and 6; “And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?” The term is frequently used in scripture to denote countries beyond the sea whether properly islands or not. The they of verse 5, and the inhabitants of verse 6, do not refer to the Prophet or the church represented by him; but to the inhabitants at large. There is, at this time, a considerable excitement among the citizens of this country on account of the great increase of Catholics among us, and the attention seems generally turned to the Home Mission, Bible, and Sunday School Societies, as preventatives to the Catholics gaining the ascendancy in our country; and the advocates of these Institutions are encouraging this excitement, and this expectation, and turning it to their advantage; to the increase of their funds and influence. Hence the sentiment which has been once and again advanced, by the advocates of the Home Mission Society, that it has a claim upon us as citizens to support it. And in thus fleeing to those institutions for help, they are building them up, increasing their influence, and thus empowering them ultimately to scatter the holy people, and kill the Witnesses. And when the expectations of the people, becomes a little more intensely fixed on these institutions, to save the country from the horrors of popery, they will sanction the putting down of those who oppose the progress of these institutions, as do we Old School Baptists, upon Bible grounds. But how awful will be the disappointment of the people, as seeing the leaders, agents, and notaries of these institutions, going over to popery. Well may they in their confusion cry out, Behold such is our expectation! The fact is, the putting down the Old School Baptist preachers, and scattering the churches, will directly hasten the consummation of this amalgamation of the Mission interest with popery; for contemptible as we may be in their eyes, whilst we have liberty to bear public testimony against their innovations and trickery, and to hold forth the doctrine and order of the New Testament. We have considerable influence in restraining them from going the whole length of their corrupt desires. Instances no doubt will occur to most of the readers of this, exemplifying the above position.

In the winding up of this great drama, will be fully exemplified that which is written, Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world, and also, God taketh the wise in their own craftiness. I Cor.1:20 & 3:19. As it ever has been, so it will be in this case, when men lean to their own understandings to guide them in religion and thus exalt the wisdom of men above the wisdom of God, they will run into the grossest absurdities. And God will take these, who are so wise to devise for Him, in their own craftiness, sending them strong delusions, by suffering them successfully to add scheme to scheme, until they land in popery, and thus turn the flattering expectations of the people, into disappointment and disgust, as the Ten kings, after giving their power one hour to the Beast, will be made to know the abominations of the whore and to hate her, &c. Rev.17:12, 16. Besides being thus allured along by their vain imprudence and presumption into popery, these Egyptians will become finally identified with the Beast, and involved in the sudden destruction that awaits that whole interest, and the declaration of God will be fulfilled in them, “That if any man worship the beast or his Image and receive his mark in his forehead, or hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture,” &c. Rev.14:9, 10.

Owing to the remark I made in the commencement of the former Letter, “That I may have been mistaken in supposing that the Witnesses would be killed by the Image or two horned Beast, as expressed in my Letters on the Image of the Beast,” &c., it will be proper here to make some additional observations. On first contemplating this subject I concluded it probable that the killing of the Witnesses would be brought about by the Catholics getting the ascendancy in this country, and of course by the power of the seven horned Beast. Hence the remark above quoted from Letter 1st. But on a closer examination of the subject, I feel convinced, from the connection of events, and of prophecy, as above developed, that the Witnesses will first be killed, and then will come the captivity here prophesied of the Egyptians as Christians, the professors of the church. There the dead bodies of the witnesses will be seen lying not in Babylon, but in the great City which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, &c. This seems to me to receive additional confirmation from the specified period Isaiah was to walk naked and barefoot for a sign and wonder, &c., namely - Three years. The dead bodies of the Witnesses are to lie before life from God enters into them, three prophetic days and a half; that is, three years and a half. And as the three years captivity of these Egyptians is to terminate in their being involved in the destruction of the Beast, by the pouring out of the vials of the wrath of God, as has been showed in part, and is fully confirmed by Rev.16:2, this period certainly cannot terminate previous to the killing of the Witnesses, or after the commencement of the Three and a half years.

You see I am again at my old practice of counting numbers; but as periods and numbers have been, by the Holy Spirit, connected with the prophecies concerning the Beast and his Image, I do not feel that I have any more right to throw away, or to treat with neglect these numbers or periods, than I have any other parts of the prophecies. Brethren therefore, I hope, will excuse me for trying to count or compute these numbers, not to display my wisdom, but for a better understanding of the wisdom of God therein revealed in a mystery. I must also beg the excuse of certain brethren, if I have or again should, make my objections to anything delivered as Divine prophecy which seems to stand for support, not upon the direct portions of the more sure word of prophecy, which we have, but upon strong impressions made upon the minds of those who deliver such. If I err in this, may the Lord and my brethren forgive me. A word to the wise is sufficient.

But to return to the subject before us. At what ever period this captivity may come upon Egypt. It will be a rapid conquest which the Catholics or spiritual Chaldeans will make according to Hab.1:5-11. The description given of it by this prophet is terrible. That this prophesy had not a final accomplishment in the captivity of the Jews by the king of Babylon’s army, is evident from Paul’s quoting the 5th verse, and addressing a caution therefrom to the Jews to whom he spake. See Acts 13:40, 42. As therefore an accomplishment of the prophecy was looked for since the commencement of the gospel dispensation, and of course must refer to Chaldea or Babylon spiritually, no event seems more to correspond with the rapidness of the conquest here predicted, than that last grand struggle of the beast, when the kings shall agree and give their kingdoms unto the beast and receive power as kings one hour with the beast &c. See Rev.17:12,17. But rapid and terrible as may be this last prophecy of popery, the church of Christ may adopt the language of Habakkuk in verse 12th of the same chapter and connection, “Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die, O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O Mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.”

Again, the prophet Isaiah compares this same conquest by the spiritual Assyrians, to the overflowing of a mighty river, Isa.8:5,8. This overflowing is to fill the breadth of Immanuel’s land, the conquest therefore is to extend over all countries where the churches of Christ are. It must be a very contracted and forced construction that would confine the prophecy of this and the preceding chapter to the conquest of Israel and Judah literally, by the Assyrians. Notice the sign given, chap.7:11, and compare that with what has just been quoted from verse 8, chapter 8.

I have thus given the views my mind has been led to receive from this 20th chapter of Isaiah, and from a comparison thereof with other Scriptures referred to. The time I think is short, in which the correctness or incorrectness of these views will be decided. I have no idea that they will be found perfectly correct, or so in every point. They may be wholly wrong, I leave others to form their own opinions from an examination of the Scriptures referred to, and others relating to the same subject. One thing is certain, the word of God will abide, and every prophecy therein contained will receive its just and full accomplishment, and at the appointed time, whether we or any of us, have wisdom given us to discern the signs of the times as they approach or not, and in spite of all the devices of men to change the times. Daniel says, the wise shall understand, and none of the wicked shall understand. Into God’s hand would I commit my times and ways, and wait patiently for him. Still I think it my duty to seek and to understand what he has been pleased to reveal, and to discern the signs of the times, and if he give me understanding therein, to him belongs, and to him will result the glory and the praise.

Yours, in Brotherly Affection,
Fairfax County, Va., Sept.26, 1836.