Jonathan Edwards on Absalom as a type of Antichrist and a forerunner to the papacy

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Haeralis

Puritan Board Freshman
Stumbled upon this interesting passage in my readings of Jonathan Edwards today. Edwards argues in his Miscellaneous Observations on the Holy Scriptures ("The Blank Bible" Commentary) that Absalom is a forerunner to the Pope. Commenting on 2 Samuel 15-18, Edwards wrote:

"ABSALOM seems to be a type of Antichrist. He was a son of David, as the man of sin was originally a Christian bishop, one of the ministers of the gospel who in a peculiar manner are as it were Christ's sons. Absalom was David's son by Maachah, the daughter of the king of Geshur, the only wife he had that was a Gentile. So popery is a mixture of Christianity with heathenism. Absalom was the son of a heathen mother, or one that had been a heathen; so the Church of Rome is the daughter of old heathen Rome. Absalom usurped his father's authority over his kingdom, and his city Jerusalem, and over his house, as the pope usurps the authority of Christ, sets himself up to be king in his kingdom, and takes possession of the church, the spiritual Jerusalem, and sits in the house of Christ as lord of that. Sitting in the temple of God, he showeth himself that he is God. Absalom was a person of great beauty, and was exceedingly admired and praised by the people for his beauty. So it has been with the pope, whereas Christ himself appeared in a mean and low condition, without form or comeliness, without any external magnificence; and when the people saw him, there was no beauty wherefore they should desire him [Isaiah 53:2]. On the contrary, Antichrist appears in exceeding external pomp and glory, decked with gold, and silver, and precious stones, fine linen, and scarlet, which all the world has admired, and all wondered after the beast, saying, "Who is like unto the beast?" [Revelation 13:4]. Absalom's head was exceeding fruitful in hair, representing the exceeding policy and subtilty of Antichrist. See note on Numbers 6:5. Absalom cloaked his rebellion and usurpation with a pretense of religion and the service of God, like Antichrist. He said to his father, 2 Samuel 15:7–8, "Let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord will bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then will I serve the Lord." Absalom drove David and those that adhered to him out of Jerusalem; so Antichrist casts out of the church all the true and faithful followers of Christ. David went away into the wilderness, and his faithful subjects went with him wherever he went (1 Samuel 15 ff.). "And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise let us flee.… And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my Lord the king shall appoint. And the king went forth, and all his household after him" 2 Samuel 14:14–16]. 2 Samuel 14:17, "And the king went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off." Ittai the Gittite expressed the spirit of his true followers on this occasion. 2 Samuel 15:21, "As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be," which is agreeable to what is described to be the spirit of the true followers of Christ in the time of Antichrist. Revelation 14:4, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." Revelation 17:14, "They that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Jerusalem was left, and as it were given up to Absalom and his multitude; and it was as it were trodden down by them, which is agreeable to the description of the time of the reign of Antichrist. Revelation 11:2, "It is given to the Gentiles, and the holy city shall they tread under foot."

Absalom committed whoredom with his father's concubines, and that openly in the sight of the sun. Thus Antichrist defiles the church that by profession is bound to be faithful to Christ as his spouse. He claims the peculiar prerogatives of the husband and lord of the church, and usurps these prerogatives in the most open manner...

Absalom was "cast into a great pit in the wood" [2 Samuel 18:17]. This "great pit" represents that bottomless pit into which it is said the beast and false prophet were cast (Revelation 19:20 and Revelation 20:10). Absalom had a "great heap of stones" raised upon [him], a most conspicuous and lasting monument of his wickedness and ruin, representing the same thing as that smoke of Babylon's torment which is said to rise up forever and ever (Revelation 19:3 and Revelation 14:11). Soon after this was that joyful triumphant song of praise which we are told, 2 Samuel 22:1, he "spake unto the Lord in the day that he had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies," which song agrees much better with the description of the great things God did for his church in and upon the destruction of Antichrist than to anything David himself was the immediate subject of. As that in the 2 Samuel 22:8 ff., "Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook because he was wroth," which agrees with the account of the great earthquake that accompanied Antichrist's destruction. "There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it." 2 Samuel 22:13–15, "Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled. The Lord thundered from heaven; the Most High uttered his voice. He sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared; the foundations of the world were discovered" 2 Samuel 22:16]. In the same song, as we have it, Psalms 18, we have these words, Psalms 18:12–13, "At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hailstones, and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice, hailstones and coals of fire." These things agree with Revelation 11:19. "And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." And Revelation 16:18, "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. "Revelation 16:20–21, " And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. "And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent." There are also other passages in that song of David that agree much better with the time of Antichrist's destruction than the times wherein David sang it, as 2 Samuel 22:28. "And the afflicted people thou wilt save; but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayst bring them down." And 2 Samuel 22:44–46, "Thou hast kept me to be the head of the heathen; a people which I knew not shall serve me. As soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me. Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places." Thus Christ will lead the way in the joyful songs of the church after Antichrist's destruction (Revelation 19:1–7). Soon after this great victory of David and his company, and this joyful song, succeeds the peaceable, joyful, and glorious reign of Solomon, which undoubtedly was a type of the glorious day of the church after the fall of Antichrist."
 
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