HORAE APOCALYPTICAE,

OR

A COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE,

 

CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL;

 

INCLUDING ALSO AN EXAMINATION OF

THE CHIEF PROPHECIES OF DANIEL.

 

ILLUSTRATED BY AN APOCALYPTIC CHART, AND ENGRAVINGS

FROM MEDALS AND OTHER EXTANT MONUMENTS

OF ANTIQUITY.

 

 

WITH APPENDICES,


CONTAINING, BESIDES OTHER MATTER,

A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF APOCALYPTIC INTERPRETATION, CRITICAL REVIEWS OF

THE CHIEF APOCALYPTIC COUNTER-SCHEMES, AND INDICES.

 

 

BY THE REV. E. B. ELLIOTT, A. M.

LATE VICAR OF TUXFORD, AND FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

 

FIFTH EDITION,

 

CAREFULLY REVISED, CORRECTED, ENLARGED, AND IMPROVED THROUGHOUT;

AND WITH MANY ADDITIONAL PLATES, AND A NEW PREFACE

 

VOL. IV.

SEELEY, JACKSON, AND HALLIDAY, 54 FLEET STREET, LONDON.

 

MDCCCLXII.

1862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX

PART III

 

CHAPTER I

 

THE ADAMIC WORLD'S CHRONOLOGY, ACCORDING TO THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES, AND PROBABLE NEARNESS TO ITS SEVENTH MILLENNARY.

 

 

 

THE fact of the Jewish pre-christian church having long and fixedly entertained the opinion that Messiah's kingdom of blessedness would occupy the seventh millennium of the world, agreeably with the type of the seventh day's sabbatism of rest after the six days of creation, is well known. {1} And as I have observed in the preceding part of my Book, St. Paul's use of the word sabbatismov, sabbatism, to designate the saints' expected glorious time of rest with Christ, might also perhaps be construed that it was Hebrew Christians whom he was then addressing; and that by them the word thus chosen could not but be almost necessarily associated, from long national usage, with some chronological septenary {1a}

 

---------------

 

1. So the Rabbi Eliezer, cap. xxviii. p. 41: - "The blessed Lord created seven worlds; (i.e. aijw>na?, ages) [Editor: McClintock & Strong's: -  From the same as (104) (ajei>); properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): - age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end). Compare (5550) (cro>nov).] -- but one of them is all sabbath and the rest is life eternal." "Where," observes Dr. Whitby on Heb. iv. 9, "he refers to their (the Jew's) common opinion that the world should continue 6000 years, and then a perpetual sabbath begin, typified by God's resting the seventh day, and blessing it." (For perpetual Whitby should have perhaps said a millennial sabbath; it being aiwniov in the sense in which the aiwnev, ages, before mentioned, were each millennial. So in the Midras Till. p. 4, the same Rabbi Eliezer says, "The days of Messiah are 1000 years."1) - Similarly the Bereschith Rabba, quoted also by Whitby; "If we expound the seventh day of the seventh thousand years, which is the world to come, the exposition is, 'He blessed it,' because that in the seventh thousand all souls shall be bound in the bundle of life. . . So our Rabbins of blessed memory have said in their Commentaries on 'God blessed the seventh day,' that the Holy Ghost blessed the world to come, which beginneth in the seventh thousand of years." - Again, Philo is copious on the same subject: stating that the sabbaths of the law were allegories, or figurative expressions. With which view we may compare St. Paul's declaration in Col. ii. 16, 17; "in respect of the sabbath-days, which are a shadow of things to come:" akia twn mellontwn.

 

The general opinion of the Jews was, that the world was to be 2000 years without the law, 2000 under the law, and 2000 under the Messiah. This is still called by the Jews" a tradition of the house of Elias," an eminent Rabbi that lived before the birth of Christ: - who also taught that in the seventh millennary the earth would be renewed, and the righteous dead raised, no more again to be turned to dust: and that the just then alive should mount up with wings as eagles: so that in that day they would not need to fear, though the mountains (Psalm xlvi. 2) should be cast into the midst of the sea. Mede, Book iv.

 

{1a} So Whitby says on Heb. iv. 9, that "the apostle by changing the word anapausin, rest, into sabbatism, clearly leads us . . to the spiritual sabbath of which the Jewish doctors speak so generally as the great thing signified by their sabbath." Similarly Osiander, about the time of the Reformation. "De quà requie sempiteruà ad Hebræos, cap. 4, ita loquitur Apostolus, ut hoc ipsum mysterium nobis, veluti digito, commonstrare videatur."

 

Mr. Brown disputes this from the etmology of the word sabbath, as simply meaning rest: (see p. 95, Note 809, suprà:) but the meaning conveyed to the Hebrew mind by the word cannot surely be with reason overlooked. So much were sabbath and septenary associated together in it that, as Schleusner observes on the word Sabbiaton, the Septuagint translators sometimes render the Hebrew word by ebdoman.

 

It is a word applied to the seventh year of the rest in the Mosaic law, as well as to the seventh day of rest. See Lev. xxv. 4, &c.

 

[Editor: We have included Strong's Numbering of these terms for the reader, so that hopefully he may distinguish them more easily: -

 

Lev. 25:4 But in the seventh <7637> year <8141> shall be a sabbath <7676> of rest <7677> unto the land <776> , a sabbath <7676> for the LORD <3068> : thou shalt neither sow <2232> thy field <7704> , nor prune <2168> thy vineyard.

 

[1]. Seventh year 7637; "{7637} y[iybiv] - shbiy`iy, sheb-ee-ee'; or Y[IBIV] shbi‘iy, sheb-ee-ee'; ordinal from 7657; seventh: - seventh (time). click to see {7657}; µy[ib]vi - shib`iym., shib-eem'; multiple of 7651; seventy: - seventy, threescore and ten (+ -teen). click to see {7651}; [b"v, - sheba`, sheh'-bah; or h[;b]vi (masculine) shibrah, shib-aw'; from 7650; a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication, a week; by extension, an indefinite number: - (+ by) seven(-fold),-s, (-teen, -teenth), -th, times). Compare 7658. click to see {7650} click to see {7658}".

 

[2.] Sabbath of rest for the LORD unto the land, 7676; "{7676} tB;v" - shabbath, shab-bawth'; intensive from 7673; intermission, i.e (specifically) the Sabbath: - (+ every) sabbath. click to see {7673}; {7673} tb"v; - shabath, shaw-bath'; a primitive root; to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causative, figurative or specific): - (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away. .

 

In fact among the Christian fathers that succeeded on the apostolic age, this view of the matter was universally received and promulgated. 2a Which being so, the chronological question as to what may be the world's present age, dated from Adam's

 

2a. I may specify more particularly the pseudo-Barnabas, a writer of unquestionably a very early age in the Church; 2 - Which being so, the chronological

 

[Editor: In Elliott's original manuscript we have it written in Greek. Fortunately I have English Translations of Barnabas' writings in my possession  which will replace Elliott's Greek: -

 

1. Barnabas. Further, also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, "And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart." And He says in another place, "If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them." The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: "And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it." Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, "He finished in six days." This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth, saying, "Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years." Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. "And He rested on the seventh day." This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day. Moreover, He says, "Thou shalt sanctify it with pure hands and a pure heart." If, therefore, any one can now sanctify the day which God hath sanctified, except he is pure in heart in all things, we are deceived. Behold, therefore: certainly then one properly resting sanctifies it, when we ourselves, having received the promise, wickedness no longer existing, and all things having been made new by the Lord, shall be able to work righteousness. Then we shall be able to sanctify it, having been first sanctified ourselves. Further, He says to them, "Your new moons and your Sabbath I cannot endure." Ye perceive how He speaks: Your present Sabbaths are not acceptable to Me, but that is which I have made, [namely this,] when, giving rest to all things, I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfullness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead. And when He had manifested Himself, He ascended into the heavens.

 

[Editor: Likewise we have taken the liberty to include for your inspection some excerpts taken from Irenæus which relate to his mind on the Jewish Sabbaths: -

 

2. Irenæua.  Moreover, we learn from the Scripture itself, that God gave circumcision, not as the completer of righteousness, but as a sign, that the race of Abraham might continue recognizable. For it declares: "God said unto Abraham, Every male among you shall be circumcised; and ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, as a token of the covenant between Me and you." This same does Ezekiel the prophet say with regard to the Sabbaths: "Also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord, that sanctify them." And in Exodus, God says to Moses: "And ye shall observe My Sabbaths; for it shall be a sign between Me and you for your generations." These things, then, were given for a sign; but the signs were not unsymbolical, that is, neither unmeaning nor to no purpose, inasmuch as they were given by a wise Artist; but the circumcision after the flesh typified that after the Spirit. For "we," says the apostle, "have been circumcised with the circumcision made without hands." And the prophet declares, "Circumcise the hardness of your heart." But the Sabbaths taught that we should continue day by day in God's service. "For we have been counted," says the Apostle Paul, "all the day long as sheep for the slaughter;" that is, consecrated [to God], and ministering continually to our faith, and persevering in it, and abstaining from all avarice, and not acquiring or possessing treasures upon earth. Moreover, the Sabbath of God (requietio Dei), that is, the kingdom, was, as it were, indicated by created things; in which [kingdom], the man who shall have persevered in serving God (Deo assistere) shall, in a state of rest, partake of God's table.

 

 Thus, then, in the day that they did eat, in the same did they die, and became death's debtors, since it was one day of the creation. For it is said, "There was made in the evening, and there was made in the morning, one day." Now in this same day that they did eat, in that also did they die. But according to the cycle and progress of the days, after which one is termed first, another second, and another third, if anybody seeks diligently to learn upon what day out of the seven it was that Adam died, he will find it by examining the dispensation of the Lord. For by summing up in Himself the whole human race from the beginning to the end, He has also summed up its death. From this it is clear that the Lord suffered death, in obedience to His Father, upon that day on which Adam died while he disobeyed God. Now he died on the same day in which he did eat. For God said, "In that day on which ye shall eat of it, ye shall die by death." The Lord, therefore, recapitulating in Himself this day, underwent His sufferings upon the day preceding the Sabbath, that is, the sixth day of the creation, on which day man was created; thus granting him a second creation by means of His passion, which is that [creation] out of death. And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since "a day of the Lord is as a thousand years," he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin. Whether, therefore, with respect to disobedience, which is death; whether [we consider] that, on account of that, they were delivered over to death, and made debtors to it; whether with respect to [the fact that on] one and the same day on which they ate they also died (for it is one day of the creation); whether [we regard this point], that, with respect to this cycle of days, they died on the day in which they did also eat, that is, the day] of the preparation, which is termed "the pure supper," that is, the sixth day of the feast, which the Lord also exhibited when He suffered on that day; or whether [we reflect] that he (Adam) did not overstep the thousand years, but died within their limit, - it follows that, in regard to all these significations, God is indeed true. For they died who tasted of the tree; and the serpent is proved a liar and a murderer, as the Lord said of him: "For he is a murderer from the beginning, and the truth is not in him."

 

These are [to take place] in the times of the kingdom, that is, upon the seventh day, which has been sanctified, in which God rested from all the works which He created, which is the true Sabbath of the righteous, which they shall not be engaged in any earthly occupation; but shall have a table at hand prepared for them by God, supplying them with all sorts of dishes. ]

 

3. Quæst. et Respons. which go under the name of Justin Martyr. - No 71: [Editor: We are unable to read the scanned treatise with regard to this excerpt, and further, we cannot find any reference in the writings of Justin Martyr which relates to the chronological aspects of Elliott's discussion.]

 

4. Cyprian. "Ut primi in dispositione divinà septem dies annorum septeim millia continentes." De Exh. Murt. 11. flae sexti millesimi anni malitia omnis abolcatur è terrà, et regnet perannos mille justitia." vii. 14.

 

5. Lactanius. "Quoniam sex diebus euneta Dei opera perfecta sunt, per secula sex, id est annorum sex millis manere in hoc statu mundum necessu est. . . Et rursus quoniam perfectis operibus requievit die septimo, eumque bettesixit, necease est ut in fiae sexti millesimi anni malitia omnis aboleatur è terrà, et regnet per annos mille justitia." vii. 14.

 

6. Ambrose. "Quia cum septimo die requieverit Deus ab omnibus operibus suis, post hebdomadam istius mundi quies diuturna promittitur." in Luc. viii. 23.

 

For notices to the same effect from Jerome and Augustine see my Vol. i. p. 396, 397. Besides the passage there cited Augustine speaks of it also in his C. D. xx. 7. 1.

 

7. So too, as Feuardentius observes in his Notes on the passage quoted above from Irenæus, Hilary on Matt. xviii.

 

It is to be observed that the anti-premillennarian fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries explained the sabbatical seventh day as typical, not of a seventh sabbatical Millennium of rest, but an eternal sabbath: -a view generally adopted afterwards. In the pseudo-Barnabas' view (ibid.) it seems to have been rather the Christian sabbath on the "eighth" day that typified the saints' eternal rest; the Jewish seventh-day sabbath the millennial.

 

 

creation, and when the termination of its sixth millennary becomes one of real interest. Nor is there wanting the evidence requisite for our attaining a near probable approximation to this notable epoch; and finding, as the result of our inquiries, that according to the chronology of our Hebrew copies of the Old Testament, which cannot but be looked to a priori as our most authoritative guide on the subject, we are at this present time fast (perhaps very fast) approximating to it.

 

Mr. Flynes Clinton, in his Essay on the Hebrew Chronology, appended to the third volume of his late learned work entitled Fasti Hellenici, has greatly elucidated the subject. For, setting aside the many comparatively leaseless mundane chronologies, such as Hales has enumerated, he lays down as indisputable the opinion just expressed that our appeal on the question must be to Holy Scripture, and primarily to the Hebrew text of Scripture: then proceeds thus to illustrate and argue out the point; including at the commencement in his review a notice of the chronological differences of the Samaritan Pentateuch and Greek Septuagint translation from the Hebrew.

 

It is on the Patriarchal chronologies that the differences (and great they are) first occur. And, on the disputed question, whether it be the Hebrew text with its shorter chronology that has by fraud been robbed of eleven centuries, or the Septuagint with its longer, that has had them fraudulently added, {1a} (for that the difference in the result of design is a thing evident, and long since noted by Augustine, {2b} as also whether its authority is to be set aside from respect to the Samaritan text, and its smaller variations, the answer seems on every account to be in favor of the Hebrew text: - considering, first, the superior reverence and almost superstitious care with which the Hebrew text was watched over, as compared with the Septuagint; {3c}. - next, the wonderful uniformity of the numerals of the Hebrew text, in all its multitudes of manuscripts existing in different parts of the world, contrasted with the varieties and uncertainty of the numerals in the Septuagint and Samaritan; {4d}-considering, further, the general agreement of the Samaritan with the Hebrew in the chronology of the antediluvian Patriarchs, {5e} and its thus fixing the fraud in that table at least, and by probable consequence in the postdiluvian  table also, on the Septuagint: Septuagint; {6f}- considering moreover the better agreement of the historical fact with the Hebrew than with the and the more easily supposable object with the Septuagint translators {7g} - than with the keepers of the Hebrew text, as well as better opportunity, {8h} for falsifying in the matter.

 

---------------

 

{1a} The following tabular schemes exhibit the variations: the numbers expressing the parent's age at the son's birth, except in the cases of Noah and Shem; and Abraham's birth assigned to Terah's 130th year, the true date. (See Note † p. 709. infrà.) [Editor: We are unable to find this note (†) on page 709, however, hopefully, with God's help, we will transcribe pg. 709 'The Scripture Chronology of the Word,' when we view pg. 709.]

 

{2b}In the Antediluvian Table (where the question is between the Hebrew and Josephus ), the years before the son's birth and the residence agree in all cases with the totals of the lives; except that in the Samaritan the residence in the sixth, eighth, and ninth are shortened, to adapt them to the shorter period between Jared and the Flood. Thus,

 

in the Hebrew and Samaritan Adam has  130 + 800 - 930.

 

Septuagint and Josephus           230 + 700 - 930.

 

And in the Hebrew and Samaritan Seth has               105 + 807 - 912.

 

Septuagint and Josephus           205 + 707 - 912.

 

This can only have been by design. So Augustine Civ. Dei, sv. 13.1; "Videtur habere quamdam, si diei potest, error ipse constantiam; nee casum redolet, sed industriam." And so Mr. Clinton.

 

{3c} The Jews even counted the letters of their Bible.

 

{4d} Professor Baumgarten, of Halle, in his Remarks on Universal History, observes; "Both the Samaritan copy and the Greek version abound in various readings, with respect to their different chronologies, and frequently contradict themselves: whereas the Hebrew is uniform and consistent in all its copies." And Mr. Kennedy, in his Chronology of the World, says, that in examining the Hebrew Text he "was not able to discover one various reading in that multitude of numeral words and letters which constitute the scriptural series of years from Creation to the death of Nebuchadnezzar."

 

I quote this from a Paper on the subject in the Christian Observer for May, 1802, p. 287; and, in further illustration of the uniformity of the Hebrew copies in respect of their numerals, may add from it that the Chaldee Paraphrase of Onkelos, written probably near about the time of Christ, agrees with the Hebrew chronologies, and that the same are recognized in the two Talmuds; - also that Dr. Wolff informs me that "in the ancient manuscripts which he saw at Bokhara, the chronological notices were exactly according to the received Hebrew text, though the letters of the manuscripts resembled Samaritan."

 

As regards the Samaritan, it is to be observed that the manuscript from which our Samaritan Pentateuch was published, being written about A.D. 1400, was consequently not nearly so old as many Hebrew manuscripts. And in earlier existing copies of it we know that there were certain variations to the numerals, more accordant with the Hebrew. So the English Universal History, referred to in the Christian Observer. See Note 5a infrà.

 

Of the errors of the Septuagint numerals in many copies a notable example is given by Augustine, C.D. xv. 11. For it seems that in almost all the copies then extant Methuselah was made to have begotten Lamech at the age of 167, and to have lived 802 years after: that is, fourteen years after the Flood, according to the Septuagint chronology itself; though we know that no man but Noah, and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japhet, were preserved alive through it.

 

{5e} Viz. in the cases of all but the sixth, eighth, and ninth Patriarchs. Here the Samaritan residues are shortened to adapt them to the shorter period, made by the shorter genealogies corresponding between Jared and the Flood; to the intent that these Patriarchs might not be thought to have been involved in it. But we are told by Jerome (so the compilers of our English Universal History have remarked) that in his time there were some Samaritan copies which made Methuselah's and Lamech's ages, at the birth of their sons, the same as the Hebrew.

 

{6f} On the two points alleged in their own favor by the advocates of the Septuagint Chronology, Mr. Clinton quite turns the tables against them. - 1. As to the age of the paioogonia, which these writers have placed after the lapse of one third of life, Mr. C. says that it appears from Scripture to have been in the Patriarchal age as early as it is now; Judah being at forty-eight a great-grandfather, - Benjamin having, under thirty, ten sons, &c. - 2. As to the Dispersion at Babel, which the Septuagintarians say implies a mundane population such as could not have been according to the Hebrew postdiluvian chronology, Mr. C. answers, that under favorable circumstances, even now, it has been known where it has doubled for short periods in less than thirteen years; and that in older cases of the Israelites in Egypt, and later of certain parts of the North American colonies, the population doubled itself in fifteen years: - that the circumstances of the first families after the Flood were precisely the most favorable to increase of population, with all the arts of the antediluvian world, unoccupied land to a boundless extent before them, and lives extended to 500, 400, and 200 years: - that thus we may reasonably assume twelve years, at the most, as that of the population doubling itself: on which assumption the population of the earth, derived from the stock of six parents, would in 276 years amount to above fifty millions, and in 300 years to two hundred millions. Even at the rate of fifteen years it would have reached two hundred millions in 373 years from the Flood; i.e. in the twenty-fourth year of Abraham. - Now at the time of the Dispersion, had the world's population then amounted to many millions, men would have been forced by their wants to disperse; whereas the Sacred History tells us that it took place contrary to the wishes of men, who desired all to dwell together. A population of about 50,000 would just answer the probabilities of the case. And this number must have been reached within 100 years from the Flood; i.e. about the thirtieth year of Peleg (according to the Hebrew chronology); in whose days it is said, Gen. x. 25, that the Dispersion occurred.

 

 

 

 

 

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            ANTIDELUVIAN PATRIARCHS

 

                        Hebr.  Samr.  lxx.  Joseph.

1.  Adam .............  130    130    230   230              

2.  Seth .............  105    105    205   205

3.  Enos .............   90     90    190   190                    

4.  Cainan ...........   70     70    170   170
5.  Mahalaleel .......  
65     65    163   165                 

8.  Jared ............  162     62    162   162                   

7.  Enoch ............   65     65    165  (1)65*                

8.  Methuselah .......  187     67    187   187             

9.  Lamech ...........  182     53    188   182

10. Noah (at the flood) 600    600    600   600

               Total.. 1656   1307   2262  2256


-------------------------

* 165 is doubtless the correct reading.
-------------------------

            POSTDILUVIAN PATRIARCHS

 

                        Hebr.  Samr.  lxx.  Joseph.

11. Shem (aged 100 ?

        at the Flood)..    2      2     2    12

12. Arphaxad ....         35    135   135   135

    [Cainan spurious                  130    ..]

13. Salah .............   30    130   130   130

14. Heber .............   34    134   134   134

15. Peleg .............   30    130   130   130

16. Reu ...............   32    132   132   130

17. Serug .............   30    130   130   132

18. Nahor .............   29     79    79   120

19. Terah .............  130    130   130   130

   (Gen. xi:32, xii:4.)

     So to Abraham ....  352   1002  1002  1053

\+

 

Jerom (Vol. ii. p. 573) In his Letter to Evangelius about Melchisedek, thus gives and reasons on the numerals.

 

\-

They say that Shem was 390 years when Abram was born. For

   Shem at   100 begot Arphaxad, and lived 500 years after.

   Arphaxad.. 35 .... Salem.

   Salem .... 30 .... Eber.

   Eber...... 34 .... Phaleg.

   Phaleg.... 30 .... Rehu.

   Rehu...... 32 .... Saleg.

   Saleg..... 30 .... Nahor.

   Nahor..... 70 .... Abram, Nahor, and Horan.

And Abraham died at 175. Therefore Shem overlived him 35 years.

\+

 

{7g} Jackson allows that it is difficult to see the motives of the Jews in shortening the patriarchal genealogies. On the other hand the Septuagint translator's had an obvious motive for enlarging the chronology. The Chaldeans and Egyptians (whose histories were about this time published by Borosus and Manetho) had claim to a remote antiquity. Hence these translators of the Pentateuch might have been led in a spirit of rivalry to augment the amount of the generations of their ancestors, alike by the centenary additions, and by the interpolation (as Hales himself allows it is) of the second Cainaan.

 

{8h} Augustine, whose four chapters on this subject (C. D. xv. 10-14) well deserve attentive perusal, has put this point very strongly. Which, says he, is most credible, - that the Jews, dispersed over all the world, should have conspired together to defraud their scriptures and themselves of truth, the exclusive possession of which is so much their boast; or that the seventy Greek translators, united together in conclave by King Ptolemy, should have managed to falsify the numerals? He adds, 13.2,) as his own solution of the matter, that it was after all probably not the translators, but the first transcriber of the manuscript from the original in the royal library, that introduced the error; "Scripture tribustur errori qui de Bibliothech supradleti Regle codicem describendum primus accepit:" and concluses thus: "El lingus polise erodatur unde est lu aliam per iuterpretes facta translatia." - Augustine's testimony is the more valuable and remarkable because he was himself originally (see my Note Vol. i. p. 307) a Septuagintarian in chronology. At the conclusion of the C. D. however he measures the six periods of the world proceeding its septenary period, or sabbath, by æras, not millennaries; the 1st to the Flood, 2nd to Abraham, 3rd to David, 4th to the Babylonish Captivity, 5th to Christ, and 6th that after Christ. C. D. xxll. 30. 5.

 

This point settled, {9a} than there  remain but two chasms in the Hebrew chronology to fill up, and one doubtful point to settle, arising from a difference between the Old Testament statement and one in the New Testament, in order to the completion of our chronological table. The chasms are, 1st, that from Moses' death to the first servitude; {9b} 2ndly, that between Samson's death and Saul's election to the kingdom:{9c} of neither of which could the length be much longer or shorter than thirty or forty years. {9d} - The doubtful point alluded to concerns the same period of the Judges: it being whether the reckoning given in 1 Kings vi. 1, of the interval from the Exodus the building of Solomon's temple at 480 years be the correct one, {9e} or that by St. Paul, in Acts xiii. 18-22, at about 580. {9f} Mr. Clinton (but here Usher and other eminent chronologists, as I shall have soon to observe again, who take the Hebrew text of SS. as the basis of their chronology, differ from him) prefers the latter. {9g} And thus, completing his table, he makes the date of the Creation to be about 4138 B.C.; and consequently the end of the 6000 years of the world, and opening of the seventh Millennium, by approximation, about A.D. 1862: - the same year, very nearly, that we before fixed on the epoch of the full end of the 1260 years, on quite different data, and so the commencement at least of the time of the end. I subjoin a precis of his Mundane Chronology, from the Creation to Christ.

 

---------------

 

\-

B. C.   A. M.                                 Years

4138 Adam

2482 - 1656 The Deluge                         1656

2130 - 2008 Birth of Abraham                    352

2055 - 2083 The Call                             75

1625 - 2513 The Exodos                          430

1585 - 2553 Death of Moses                       40

1558 - 2580 First Servitude (by conjecture)      27

1128 - 3010 Death of Eli                        430

1096 - 3042 Election off Saul (by conjecture)    32

1056 - 3082 David                                40

1016 - 3122 Solomon                              40

 976 - 3162 Rehoboam                             40

 587 - 3551 Zedekiah’s Captivity                389

\+

 

{9a}  It is to be observed, as Clinton remarks, p. 203, that the question is not an indefinite one, from want of testimony, so as in the case of the early chronology of Greece. The uncertainty is one arising from two different distinct testimonies. We have only to decide which is the genuine and authentic copy. Either the space before the Flood was 1656 years, or it was 2256. Either the period from the Flood to the call of Abraham was 352 years, or it was 1002. "These periods could not be greater than the highest of these numbers, or less than the lowest."

 

{9b} This period is that comprehended in Josh. xxiv. 31; "And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord that he had done for Israel."

 

{9c} Compare Judg. xv. 20, xvi. 31, and 1 Sam. iv. 1, vii. 13, xii. 2.

 

{9d} Mr. Brooks, in the Preface to his late history of the Jews, p. xiii., argues that the interval from Moses' death to Joshua's most probably have been longer, because of Joshua being called r["n" a young man, in Exod. xxxiii. 11, and Numb. xi. 28, with reference to the second year after the Exodus. But this Hebrew word is used to designate servants also (compare Gen. xxiii. 3, &c.); and Joshua is called in the places above cited as the servant of Moses. (So Kimchi explains this appellative of Joshua, in Zech. ii. 7: and so, I may add, Ambrose comments on Gen. xxiv. 2: "Etiam senioris ætatis servuli pueri dicantur à dominis.") Thus the appellation can no more be argued from than the French word garcon or English postboy. - Moreover, at the time of the division of the land, seven years after Moses' death, (Josh xiv. 10) Joshua is said (ibid. xiii. 1) to have been "old and stricken in years." - Thus Mr. Clinton seems fairly to have estimated Joshua's age at the time of the spies at about forty; it being the then age of his associate Caleb also, who overlived him. See Judg. i. 1, 9-12. If so, as Joshua was 110 years at his death, (see Josh. xxiv. 29,) the interval must have been 110-(38+40)=32.

 

{9e} 1 Kings vi:1; "It came to pass in the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, that he began to build the house of the Lord."

 

{9f} Acts xiii. 18; "Forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness: and when he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he divided their land to them by lot: and after that, he gave unto them judges about the space of 450 years, and Samuel the prophet. And afterwards they desired a king: and God gave them Saul."

 

{9g} Because, argues he, the servitudes must be included in the periods of rest, on the shorter system; which inclusion seems directly contrary to the tenor of the Scripture statements.

 

So Mr. Fynes Clinton. On the other hand, as before observed, the Hebrew Chronology about the time of the building of the temple may by many not unreasonably be deemed of the greater weight. - Mr. C.'s chronological table of this period, formed from the express declarations in the Book of Judges, is given below: - it being premised that Chushan's oppression followed (Judg. iii. 7) on Israel's first apostasy to the worship of Baalim, on the death of the elders that overlived Joshua. 9h this last Philistinian servitude of forty years appears to have included the judgeships of both Samson and Eli: the former being said (xv. 20, xvi. 31) to have judged Israel "in the days of the Philistines;" and the latter to have died from grief at their defeat of Israel, and capture of the ark. Their supremacy continued until Samuel's defeat of them near Mizpeh, of which the stone Ebenezer was the record, 1 Sam. vii. 12: after which Israel had rest "all the days of Samuel;" (ib. 13;) until he was old, (viii. 1, xii. 2) and anointed Saul king.

 

Thus the time of Judges, exclusive of Joshua and Samuel, appears from these numbers to have been 390 years: and, if we add 30 years for Joshua and the Egypt-born elders that overlived Joshua, reckoned from the time of the conquest and division of Canaan, (about 7 years having intervened between the event and Moses' death,) and 30 years more for Samuel's judgeship after the Philistine's defeat, it exactly makes up St. Paul's "about the space of 450 years." Add 7 for the conquest of Canaan, 40 for the wilderness, 40 for Saul, and 40 for David: and then the 4th year of Solomon comes to about the 580th year from the Exodus; instead of the 480th, as the Hebrew text defines it in 1 Kings vi. 1. - Taking this view of the chronology, therefore, the only solution of the difficulty from 1 Kings vi. 1 that I see is by supposing a mistaken reading in our Hebrew copies of 480 for 580.

 

\-

Servitudes                         years             Rests and Judges                          years

 

1st. Chusan (Judg. iii:8.)            8

 

                                                     lst Rest (Judg. iii:11.)                     40

2nd. Eglon (Judg. iii:14.)           18

                                                     2nd . . . (Judg. iii:30.)                    80

3rd. Jabin (Judg. iv:3.)             20

                                                     3rd . . . (Judg. v:31.)                      40

4th. Midian (Judg. vi:1.)             7

                                                     4th (" the days of Gideon," Judg. viii:28.)  40

                                                     Abimelech's judging (Judg. ix:22.)            3

                                                     Tola's do. (Judg. x:2.)                      23

                                                     Jair's do. (Judg. x:3.)                      22

5th. Ammon (?. d.)                   18

                                                     Jepthah do. (xii.:7.)                         6

                                                     Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, (xii:8-?4.)              25

 

6th. Philistines (Judg. xiii:1.) .   40                     [Samson 20 years, and Eli.]

                                  ---------                                                ---------

                                    111                                                          279

 

\+

 

 

On the other hand, if we adapt the Hebrew numeral in 1 Kings 6:1, St. Paul's 450 years will have to be explained either, as Whitby prefers, by reference to the then current Septuagint chronology; or possibly, as Archbishop Usher, by supposing it the measure of the time from Abraham to the division of the lands, not from the division of the lands to Samuel. {1} Then, of course, the world's chronology will be near 100 years less advanced then on Clinton's hypothesis, and we have yet to wait near that time (not very different from the 75 years of Daniel's time of the end) for the end of the world's sixth millennary, according to the Hebrew Scriptural data, and beginning of the world's sabbatism.{2}

 

{1} On the fly-leaf is appended a Tabular Scheme of this Scripture Chronology, with the Scriptural authorities in brief; drawn up by the Rev. C. Bowen, Rector of St. Thomas, Winchester.

 

So too Calmet, quoted to that effect by Dr. A. Clarke - In order to this construction of the passage, from near the beginning of verse 17 to the end of verse 19, in Acts xiii. must be constructed parenthetically thus: -[Editor: The Greek copy in my possession is very difficult to read, so my transcription of the following may be faulty.]

 

O qeov tou laou toutou Israhl exelexato toue patepav hmwn. (Kai ton laou ufwsen en th paroikia en gh  lh Aiguptw, kai meta bracionov ufhlou axhgagen autouv ex autohv. Kai wv tessakontaeth cronon etropaforhsin autouv en th erhmw. Kai, kaqelwn, equh epta en gh canaan kuteklhronorhsen autoiv thn ghn autwn.) Kai meta tauta, wv etedi tetrakosioiv kai penthkonta, adwke kritav ewn Eamsuhl tou profhtou.

 

In order to make out the 450 years on this view, the chronological epoch of God’s choosing the fathers of the Jewish people, referred to in verse 17, is fixed at the birth of Isaac; from which to the division of the land by lot is by some chronologists (not by Mr. Clinton) made 452 years. No doubt with many the necessity of dating from Isaac’s birth, instead of Abraham’s call, in order on any chronological system to make out the time from the “choosing of the fathers” to the division of Canaan not more than 450 years, constitutes a primary objection to the solution of the passage. Besides that the meta tauta, after these things,” in the plural, seems to make it most natural that we should date the 450 years from the end of the succession of events that the apostle had just been particularizing, not from the one event of the choice of the fathers first mentioned. - Thus the case is one in which we have to make a choice of difficulties.

 

{2} In the Jewish Calendar, as lately edited by Mr. Liude, (a publication replete with Jewish learning, and sanctioned by the Chief Rabbi in London, Solomon Hirschell,) there appear several most material variations from the above Chronological Table; involving a difference from Mr. Clinton’s in the Æra of the World altogether of 340 years. The following are the points of variation.

 

1. Agreeing with Mr. C. in dating the Deluge, A.M. 1656, it makes the birth, and consequently the call too, of Abraham sixty years earlier. This arises from the supposition of Abraham’s being the eldest of Terah’s three sons, born when Terah was seventy years old, Gen. xi. 26: - a supposition quite unnecessary: as Abraham’s first mention among the three sons no more implies his primogeniture than Solomon’s last mention among Bathsheba’s four sons, 1 Chron. iii. 5, his being the youngest; or Shem’s first mention, Gen. x. 1, among Noah’s three sons, his being eldest; (for Japhet is in Gen. x. 21 expressly declared eldest;) and which is directly contradicted by the statement, Gen. xii. 4, that Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran; compared with Acts vii. 4, which says that it was at Terah’s death in Haran at the age of 205 years. - 2. There is in it the further difference of 100 years less between this event and Solomon’s completion of the Temple; a difference grounded mainly on the circumstance of the Jews calculating by the chronological statement in 1 Kings vi. 1, noted by me in the text. - 3. The Jewish Calendar shortens the interval between Solomon and Zedekiah’s captivity 15 years: - and 4thly, that between Zedekiah and the Christian Æra yet 165 years. By the latter most gross and extraordinary falsification of a period as well ascertained as that between our Richard the First and the time now present, the Jewish Rabbis make the interval between the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and second by the Romans, just about 400 years.

 

Let me add that the early Reformers noticed, and were struck with, the last mentioned strange error in the Jewish chronology; and referred it to the Jew’s Identification of Darius Hystaspis (father of Xerxes) with the later Darius conquered by Alexander; and the obliteration from their calendar of all the Persian Kings intervening. So Melancthon on Dau. ix., and Osiander, De Ult. Temp. ch. 1.

 

But why this abbreviation? I have nowhere seen a reason stated. Since however by it the interval between the first destruction of the temple and the second is reduced to about 490 years, the equivalent of the period of Daniel’s 70 hebdomads, in the prophecy which speaks of the Jewish temple’s desolation, it may have been the abbreviator’s object to make those two periods correspond; and in fact, as I have been told by a Jew, the interval is spoken of by Jews as one of 70 hebdomads, by a kind of memoria technica.

 

-------------------------

 

  THE SCRIPTURE CHRONOLOGY OF THE WORLD

\-

 

A.M.

   1 Creation of Adam                to the birth of Seth        130 years #Ge 5:3       "Adam lived 130 years and begat a son, ... and called his name Seth."

 130 Seth born                       to the birth of Enos        105 years #Ge 5:6       "Seth lived 105 years, and begat Enos."

 235 Enos born                       to the birth of Cainan       90 years #Ge 5:9       "Enos lived 90 years, and begat Cainan."

 325 Cainan born                     to the birth of Mahalaleel   70 years #Ge 5:12      "Cainan lived 70 years, and begat Mahalaleel."

 395 Mahalaleel born                 to the birth of Jared        65 years #Ge 5:15      "Mahalaleel lived 65 years, and begat Jared."

 460 Jared born                      to the birth of Enoch       162 years #Ge 5:18      "Jared lived 162 years, and begat Enoch."

 622 Enoch born                      to the birth of Methusela    65 years #Ge 5:21      "Enoch lived 65 years, and begat Methuselah."

 687 Methuselah born                 to the birth of Lamech      187 years #Ge 5:25      "Methuselah lived 187 years, and begat Lamech."

 874 Lamech born                     to the birth of Noah        182 years #Ge 5:28,29   "Lamech lived 182 years, and begat a son, and he  called his name Noah."

1056 Noah born                       to the Flood                600 years #Ge 7:6       "Noah was 600 years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth."

1656 The Flood                       to the birth of Arphaxad      2 years #Ge 11:10     "Shem begat Arphaxad 2 years after the Flood."

1658 Arphaxad born                   to the birth of Salah        35 years #Ge 11:12     "Arphaxad lived 35 years, and begat Salah."

1693 Salah born                      to the birth of Eber         30 years #Ge 11:14     "Salah lived 30 years, and begat Eber."

1723 Eber born                       to the birth of Peleg        34 years #Ge 11:16     "Eber lived 34 years, and begat Peleg."

1757 Peleg born                      to the birth of Reu          30 years #Ge 11:18     "Peleg lived 30 years, and begat Reu."

1787 Reu born                        to the birth of Serug        32 years #Ge 11:20     "Reu lived 32 years, and begat Serug."

1819 Serug born                      to the birth of Nahor        30 years #Ge 11:22     "Serug lived 30 years, and begat Nahor."

1849 Nahor born                      to the birth of Terah        29 years #Ge 11:24     "Nahor lived 29 years, and begat Terah."

1878 Terah born                      to his death                205 years #Ge 11:32     "The days of Terah were 205 years:and Terah died." (#Ge 12:1) "Now the Lord," etc.

2083 The Covenant made with Abram    to the giving of the Law    430 years #Ga 3:17      "The Covenant ... the Law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul."

2513 The Giving of the Law           to the return of the Spies    1 years #Nu 10:11     (Compare #Ex 19:1)

2514 Promise to Caleb on return of Spies to division of the Land  45 years #Jos 14:10    "These 45 years, ever since the Lord spake this word unto Moses."

2559 The division of the Land        to Samuel the Prophet       450 years #Ac 13:20     "After that, he gave unto them Judges, about the space of 450 years, until Samuel."

3009 Saul anointed                   to the death of Saul         40 years #Ac 13:21     "Afterward ... God gave unto them Saul ... by the space of 40 years."

3049 David began to reign            to his death                 40 years #1Ki 2:11     "The days that David reigned over all Israel were 40 years."

3089 Solomon began to reign          to his death                 40 years #2Ch 9:30     "Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel 40 years."

3129 Rehoboam began to reign         to his death                 17 years #2Ch 12:13    "He reigned 17 years in Jerusalem."

3146 Abijah began to reign           to his death                  3 years #2Ch 13:2     "He reigned 3 years in Jerusalem."

3149 Asa began to reign              to his death                 41 years #2Ch 16:13    "As a ... died in the 41st year of his reign."

3190 Jehoshaphat began to reign      to his death                 25 years #2Ch 20:31    "He reigned 25 years in Jerusalem."

3215 Jehoram began to reign          to his death                  8 years #2Ch 21:20    "He reigned in Jerusalem 8 years."

3223 Ahaziah began to reign          to his death                  1 years #2Ch 22:2     "He reigned 1 year in Jerusalem."

3224 Athaliah’s usurpation           to her death                  6 years #2Ch 22:12    "He (Joash) was with them hid in the house of God 6 years:and Athaliah reigned."

3230 Joash began to reign            to his death                 40 years #2Ch 24:1     "He reigned 40 years in Jerusalem."

3270 Amaziah began to reign          to his death                 29 years #2Ch 25:1     "He reigned 29 years in Jerusalem."

3299 Uzziah began to reign           to his death                 52 years #2Ch 26:3     "He reigned 52 years in Jerusalem."

3351 Jotham began to reign           to his death                 16 years #2Ch 27:1     "He reigned 16 years in Jerusalem."

3367 Ahaz began to reign             to his death                 16 years #2Ch 28:1     "He reigned 16 years in Jerusalem."

3383 Hezekiah began to reign         to his death                 29 years #2Ch 29:1     "He reigned 29 years in Jerusalem."

3412 Manasseh began to reign         to his death                 55 years #2Ch 33:1     "He reigned 55 years in Jerusalem."

3467 Amon began to reign             to his death                  2 years #2Ch 33:21    "(Amon) reigned 2 years in Jerusalem."

3469 Josiah began to reign           to his death                 31 years #2Ch 34:1     "He reigned in Jerusalem 31 years."

3500 Jehoahaz began to reign         to his deposition             0 years #2Ch 36:2     "He reigned 3 months in Jerusalem."

3500 Jehoiakim began to reign        to his death                 11 years #2Ch 36:5     "He reigned 11 years in Jerusalem."

3511 Jehoiachim began to reign       to his deposition             0 years #2Ch 36:9     "He reigned 3 months and 10 days in Jerusalem."

3511 Zedekiah began to reign         to the Captivity             11 years #2Ch 36:11    "(Zedekiah) reigned 11 years in Jerusalem."

3522 The Captivity                   to the proclamation of Cyrus 70 years #Jer 25:11    "These nations shall serve the king of Babylon 70 years." (See #2Ch 36:22)

3592 The Decree of Cyrus             to the birth of Christ      536 years According to the commonly received Chronology

4128 The Christian Æra               to the present year        1851 years According to the commonly received Chronology

                                                                         ————————

5974 The present year A.D. 1846                                 5974 years since the Creation of Man

 

 

This chart brings the end of 6000 years to the year 1872 A.D.

\+

 

 

CHAPTER II


PROPHETIC GROUNDS FOR EXPECTING MESSIAH'S SECOND COMING AT NO GREAT DISTANCE OF TIME FROM THE PRESENT, COMPARED WITH THE PROPHETIC GROUNDS THAT EXITED FOR EXPECTING MESSIAH'S FIRST PROMISED COMING AND MANIFESTATION IN HUMAN FLESH ABOUT THE TIME OF JESUS OF NAZARETH'S BIRTH AND LIFE, IN THE REIGNS OF THE ROMAN EMPERORS AUGUSTUS AND TIBERIUS. {5}

 

 

THE question often and often recurs to my mind; Is there really reason for supposing, as many do, that the Lord's second coming is not probably very far off: - that coming at the brightness of which, according to the concurrent prophecies of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, {6} the Man of Sin, or Antichrist, is to be destroyed and Christ's own glorious kingdom to supervene?

 

And, in answer to this question, when I retrace the prophetic evidence on which such expectations have been grounded, it appears to me certainly very strong and consistent. Yet, notwithstanding, I must confess

 

-------------------------

 

{5} This Paper was drawn up originally, and delivered in the Hanover Square Rooms as a Lecture, at the request of a London Prophetic Association.

 

{6} Dan. vii. 11-13, 2 Thess. ii. 8, Rev. xix. 11-20.

 

 

 

to experiencing the greatest difficulty when I try to realize the fact. In part this may arise from the evident want of sympathy in the feeling on the part of men in general, and even of Christian men: in part to the great differences of opinion among prophetic students, respecting much of that prophetic evidence which to my own judgment appears the strongest of all to the point in question, and most convincing. But, doubtless, yet more the surpassing great and wonderful nature of the event to be expected, excites and strengthens my instinctive skepticism on the matter. "Can it really be the fact," I say again and again to myself, "that that glorious consummation is probably near at hand, for which the whole creation has been groaning and travailing ever since the fall?" So that the present generation, or the next following, may see it?

 

But is skepticism reasonable on these accounts? May I not so fall under somewhat of the same condemnation for unbelief with them of whom St. Peter tells us, asking in the latter day, "Where is the promise of his coming? for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were since the beginning of the creation?"{7} It becomes me, surely, well to take heed against this. And, in order to satisfy my mind as to the truth on this great question, and to direct and confirm my faith, as well as that of others who find themselves stumbling at similar doubts and difficulties, I know not what I can do better than what the present Essay proposes: - viz. to turn their thoughts, and my own, to that æra and event in the world's past history, which beyond all others offers the nearest parallel to that which we look for in the coming future, - I mean the æra and event of Christ's first coming: and to compare the prophetic evidence which in those earlier times led the Jews very correctly, as well as generally, to suppose it near at hand, with that which leads not a few in our own day to look for Christ's second coming as now not very far distant; consideration being had of the objections and difficulties, as well as of the evidence, in the one case and in the other. A fairer standard of comparison cannot, I think, be imagined; nor one better fitted to guide the judgment aright, amidst the conflicting opinions of these latter times.

 

-------------------------

 

{7} 2 Peter 3:4.

 

 

§ 1. PREMONITORY INDICATIONS

ABOUT THE TIME OF AUGUSTUS AND TIBERIUS

OF THE NEAR APPROACH OF MESSIAH'S FIRST COMING

 

It is to be remembered, then, as a fact notorious in history, and one moreover very remarkable, that expectations of Messiah's speedy coming and manifestation were wide spread among the Jews, both in Palestine and elsewhere, near about those times when Jesus of Nazareth lived and died, in the reigns of the Roman Emperors Augustus and Tiberius.

 

Evidence of this abounds in the contemporary Gospel narratives of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and we must well take heed that our familiarity with it do not cause us to overlook, or to forget, the very remarkable nature of the fact.

 

Thus about the time of Jesus Christ's birth, in the 27th year of the sole reign of Augustus, {8} we read of Simeon, that "he was a just man and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel;" {9} the last a well-known Hebraic phrase among the Jews for the Messiah; {10} and of Anna the prophetess, that she spoke of the child

 

-------------------------

 

{8} Dated from the defeat of Antony at Actium, see Note 2593 below.

 

{9} Luke ii. 25

 

{10} So, says Whitby ad loc., the Targum on Isaiah iv. 3.

 

 

Jesus in the temple, "to all those that were looking for redemption in Jerusalem." {11} Nor as regards the angelic revelation made to Zechariah about a son to be born to him in his old age, who was to be Messiah's immediate forerunner, or that which was made to the Virgin Mary about Messiah's own birth into this world, do we find any wonderment expressed in reference to the declared imminence of his coming; whatever wonderment, and in Zachariah's case unbelief, there might have been respecting other points in the statements of the revealing Angel. The same, pretty much, as regards the shepherds at Bethlehem, when it was told them by the leader of the angelic choir, "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Messiah the Lord." And, when the wise men came to Jerusalem shortly after, under some supernatural guidance, to make inquiry after one just born, who was in fact, they affirmed, no other than the great predicted King of the Jews, Messiah, we read that all Jerusalem, both priests and people, was stirred from its depths at the news and the inquiry: not, clearly, as if they considered it a suggestion absurd or incredible; but rather, as may be inferred from the priest's answer to Herod about the destined place of Messiah's birth, (and mark hence that it was an actual incarnation of Messiah in true human flesh which they then expected,) because it was one on which the general expectation was intensely alive and excited. - Such was at that time the general state of expectancy, as depicted in the Gospel narratives.

 

And, passing on with them from this epoch to one some 30 years later, corresponding with the 15th year of the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, {12} when in the land of Judæa John the Baptist began his public ministry; the fact of the same general expectancy of Messiah's manifestation at that time, on the part of the Jewish people, is stated or implied in the sacred history just as strikingly. Thus, concerning John, we read how all the people mused in their hearts whether he were the Christ or not; and, moreover, how they sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem expressly to question him on the subject. {13} The same shortly after, in the history of the ministry of Jesus himself. "We have found the Messiah," said Andrew to Peter, after converse with Jesus {14} And Nathanael, on hearing from him those words of supernatural knowledge about himself, "When thou wast under the fig-tree I saw thee," addressed him not as a mere prophet, but as Israel's Divine expected King of Israel." {15} After this, and as the wonderful drama of the life of Jesus was advancing, we read again and again of the Jews speculating and asking questions, on the disputed fact of his being the very Messiah. "How long makest thou us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." {16} "And some said, This is the Christ. But others said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? So there was a division among the people because of him." {17} - And as among the Jews, so too among the Samaritans. "We know that the Messiah cometh," said the woman of Sychem. And her townsmen's ready

 

-------------------------

 

{11} Luke ii. 38.

 

{12} Luke iii. 1. He seems in this to have dated from Tiberius' association in the Empire with Augustus, which was two years before Augustus' death, and the beginning of Tiberius' sole reign. See the authorities in my Warburton Lectures, Appendix, p. 458.

 

{13} Luke iii. 15; John i. 19.

 

{14} John i. 41.

 

{15} Ib. 49.

 

{16} Ib. 24.

 

{17} Ib. vii. 41, 43: also verse 26.

 

 

acknowledgement of Jesus shortly after, in that character, showed that the time then present was that at which they were quite pre-disposed to expect his coming. {18}

 

And this further is to be well observed, especially, because of its being an index, as we shall hereafter see, to the source of the expectation, that it seems to have been always in connection with the introduction on this earth of some kingdom, called the kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven, that Messiah was looked for. John the Baptist spoke language that was evidently familiar to the Jewish mind, when he preached that "the kingdom of heaven was at hand:" and it was with the same language that Jesus himself opened his ministry; as also the 70 disciples whom he sent forth to preach in his name. {19} The question was asked him afterwards by the Pharisees, as St. Luke tells us, {20} "when the kingdom of heaven should come." But this not as respecting an event which in their opinion might be far distant. For we read shortly after, in the same Evangelist, that Jesus Christ spoke a parable in correction of the expectation then generally prevalent, "that the kingdom of God would immediately appear;" {21} that is, appear (as was evidently meant) in the glory of its triumphant establishment.

 

The expectation of Messiah continued rife and strong among the Jews, after their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth's claims to the Messiahship, down to the Jewish war, some 30 or 40 years later, and consequent destruction of Jerusalem. It was this evidently which led them so readily to give credence to the pretensions of one and another false Christ that rose up in the interim; {22} this too which armed them in fine with such desperate fanaticism of confidence and courage in their war against the Romans. So Josephus, their national historian, expressly tells us. "What did most encourage them to the war was an oracle, ambiguous indeed, but which was nevertheless found in the sacred books, that about that time some one from their country should obtain the empire of the world. This they understood to belong to themselves, and many of their wise men were mistaken in their judgment of it." {23} The same fact is mentioned in their notices of the breaking out of the Jewish war by the Roman historian Tacitus and Suetonius. Says the former; "The persuasion was entertained by very many (i.e. of the Jews), that in the ancient books of the priests it was predicted that at that very time the East would prevail, and that some one going forth from Judaea would gain the empire of the world." {24} Suetonius adds, that "the rumor was an old and abiding one, and that it prevailed throughout the whole East." {25}

 

-------------------------

 

{18} John iv. 25, 29, 42.

 

{19} Matt. iii. 2; iv. 17; x. 7, &c.

 

{20} Luke xvii. 20.

 

{21} Luke xix. 11.

 

{22} See Josephus on this point.

 

{23} [Editor; Again, I have had great difficulty reading Elliott's reproduction as the Greek lettering is almost unreadable.] Joseph. de Bel. vi. 5. 4. O de eparan autuv malieta pron ton pulemen hn cphsmuv amfebolov dmoiwv en toiv iepoiv eurhmenov grammadin, wv kata tun kairou ekeinon apo tnv cwpav tiv autwn upxei thv ukkamenhv.

 

{24} Pluribus persuasio inerat untiquis sacerdotum literis contineri eo ipso tempore fore ut valesceret Oriens, profectique Judaea rerum potirentur." Tacit. Hist. v. 13.

 

{25} "Percrebuarat Oriente toto vetus et constans opinio esse in fatis ut co tempore Judaea profecti rerum potirentur." Suet. in Vespas, c. 4.

 

 

Let me, ere passing onward to trace this expectation to its source, add an illustration of the fact of the expectation from the writings of the greatest of the Roman poets, in the reign of Augustus; - a quarter where, a priori, one might least have expected to find it. I allude to Virgil's famous 4th Eclogue. It is inscribed, as its title imports, to a Roman nobleman named Pollio, and makes reference to the year of his consulship, B.C. 40, {26} as one marked by the birth of a child of most extraordinary and felicitous destinies. He speaks of him in glowing prophetic stain, as of heavenly origin, and born to be the introducer of the world's final golden age, so as had long previously been foretold by the Cumæan Sibyl: {27}- a golden age which was to have its dawn and partial beginnings with his childhood, but only to come to its perfectness as he rose into manhood.{28} He goes on to describe how that then would be the reign of universal justice and universal peace; wars rage no longer, the lions and the flocks feed together, and the venomous serpent no more exist: how that the uncultivated earth would then bring forth abundance; human toil be no more needed, and corn and wine and oil grow spontaneously: - moreover, that men would then live life of heroes; heaven and earth be reunited, as in primeval times; and men and gods again mix in intercourse together. {29}

 

There can be little doubt, I think, that the child intended by Virgil was Marcellus, son to Claudius and Octavia, Augustus' sister; {30} whose birth occurred in Pollio's consulship, just after the peace of Brundusium between Augustus and Antony; and who, on marriage, at the age of 18, to Augustus' daughter Julia, was destined to be Augustus' successor in the empire; a destiny the realization of which was only prevented by his sudden and premature death shortly afterwards. For we know the high expectations entertained of him by the Roman people; especially from those exquisite lines of funeral eulogy on him, written soon after his death by Virgil, in the 6th Book of the Æneid. {31} And probably the various, and in some points rather difficult, chronological conditions of the Eclogue will be found best satisfied by supposing it to have been composed by Virgil after Marcellus had been adopted by Augustus, and when all those fond expectations were entertained respecting him; the reference to the child's birth, and to Pollio's year of consulship, being by a not very uncommon poetic license retrospective. {32} - But, however, this may be, what at present concerns us is the fact of Virgil's having sung

 

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{26} i.e. 40 years before the vulgar Christian aera. Jesus Christ's actual birth, as is well known, may be proved to have been 4 years before it.

 

{27} The poem opens thus: -

Ultima Cumæi venit jam earminis ætas:

Magnus ab integro sæelorum nascitur ordo,

Jam redit et Virgo; redeunt Saturnia regna;

Jam nova progenies coelo demittitur alto,

Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferres primum

Desinet, ac toto surget gens aurea mundo,

       Casta cave Lucina.

 

{28} . . . ubi jam firmata virum to fecerit ætas.

Hence the poet speaks of the necessity of his own life being prolonged to old age, in order to his participation in the coming golden age, v. 54.

 

{29} Ille Deûm vitam accipiet, divisque videbit

Permixtos heroas, et ipse videbitur illis.

 

{30} So Heyne and other commentators.

 

{31}  Si quà fata aspera rumpas

          Tu Marecellus eris.

 

{32} Various things predicated of the child's youth and early manhood might seem sufficiently accordant with certain events in the correspondent part of Augustus' reign, allowing for the adornment of a poet's and a courtier's fancy. The particular Eclogues may have been inserted in the long previously published book of Virgil's Eclogues, on a new edition of the book.

 

 

of the destined coming of the world's golden age within some 20 or 30 years from the date of Pollio's consulship, as the subject of one of the Cumæan Sibyl's prophecies, and this in strains singularly similar to those of Isaiah, respecting the blessings of the reign of Messiah. And, as we know that about those times multitudinous verses were widely circulated and read at Rome as the Sibyl's which were in fact of Eastern, and many of Hebrew, origin, {33} there seems reason in Bishop Lowth's opinion that it is to such an original that we are to refer this prophecy: and that consequently we may regard it as an echo of the expectation of Messiah, and Messiah's blessed kingdom, then prevalent in Judæa and the far East; though reproduced by Virgil in Roman form, and with the intermixture of courtly flattery to the family of Augustus.

 

2. And now then I revert to the question, Whence may we suppose that the Jews' expectation of Messiah and Messiah's kingdom about this time came to prevail? - And in a general way it is obvious alike from what we read in the Gospel narratives, and from the agreeing testimonies of Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius, that it arose from prophecies in the Jews' sacred books; {34} i. e. as compared, of course, with the existing signs of the times. Nor can we well err in chiefly referring it to Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks; that in the same prophet, respecting the four great mundane empires, figured in the quadripartite image seen by Nebuchadnezzar; and further, the more ancient prediction respecting Shiloh's coming delivered by the patriarch Jacob.

 

I ought not indeed here wholly to omit notice of the famous tradition, as it is called, of the house of Elias, founded on a typical view of the six days of creation, and seventh of rest, as related in the Book of Genesis: to the effect that the world was to be 2000 years before the law; (the law; and then 2000 under Messiah, prior to the sabbatism of the 7th millennary. {35} For Elias is said to have been a Rabbi, that lived shortly before the time of Jesus Christ. And it is likely that this notion, whether the type were at all really intended or not, may have had a certain influence, when the 2000 years from Abraham were in the Jewish chronology drawing to a close, to increase expectation in the minds of some at least amongst the Jews, on the subject of the probably speedy coming of Messiah. {36}

 

But doubtless far more influential to this effect, and with better reason, were the three direct inspired prophecies that I have just before particularized.

 

Thus first, and specially, as to the seventy weeks' prophecy in Daniel. "Seventy weeks" (or hebdomads) said the angel Gabriel, "are determined upon thy people to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to anoint the most holy." But measured from that epoch or event? "Know that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah, the Prince, shall be 7 hebdomads and 62 hebdomads: the street shall be built

 

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{33} It is mentioned among the reforming acts of Augustus, on entering upon the office of Pontifex Maximus, B.C. 12, that he caused multitudes of prophetic books to be collected, which were then widely circulated and read at Rome, and excited much vain hope or fear in the minds of the people respecting the coming future; and had most of them burnt, to the number of 2000 volumes; reserving those only which bore the names of some of the Sibyls as their authors. Suetonius in Octav. c. 31.

 

Now the Sibylline verses then known at Rome had been chiefly collected at Erythræ in Ionia, by order of the Senate, in the year B.C. 83; after the burning of the Capital, and the old books then kept there, in the civil wars of Sylla and Marius. Thus they had almost altogether an Eastern origin. See on this, Prideaux, Part ii. B. 9.

 

It is observed by Heyne in his Preface to the Eclogue, that we are not to wonder at the similarity of much that we find in it to the sacred Hebrew prophecies; seeing that "in magno illo Sibyllinorum oraculorum numero multa esse debuisse à Syris et Judæis hominibus propagata."

 

{34} See the citations, p. 337, suprà.

 

{35} See the citation from the Gemara in Mede's Works, B. iv. Ep. 22.

 

{36} So the ancient Universal History, Vol. x. p. 459, Note 3.

 

 

again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after 62 hebdomads shall Messiah be cut off, though not for himself . . . And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one hebdomad; and in the midst of the hebdomad (or in the half part, the last half part, of the hebdomad) he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease."

 

Now, without entering very particularly into the details of this prophecy, thus much seemed clear enough as to its purport: - that, measured from some notable decree for the Jews' restoration from Babylon, and Jerusalem's rebuilding, (and we all know there would elapse respectively unto Messiah's manifestation and the term of his earthly ministry; these being hebdomads of years apparently, (whether in imitation of Ezekiel's year-day precedent, {37} or otherwise,) because 70 times 7 days would seem far too small a space of time for all that was predicated as to take place within its range. Accordingly, when the periods of 69 times and 70 times 7, i.e. of 481 or 490 years, measured from Cyrus' decree for the Jews' restoration from Babylon (the earliest of all such decrees) , were now about to reach their endings, then, and on this account, learned Jews seem to have begun to think it time for looking and lifting up their heads, in expectancy of Messiah's manifestation. And, when nothing then happened in Judæa correspondingly, they would naturally measure from Darius's decree of similar purport to that of Cyrus, but some seventeen or eighteen years later: - and, when disappointment again ensued, then from one or other of the 60 or 70 years still later decrees of the 7th and 20th of Artaxerxes; the former, I doubt not, the decree really intended in the prediction.{38} For it is to be observed that, with all the numeral definiteness of the prophecy, there was yet, from the circumstance of its various possible commencing dates, a considerable range of time within which expectation might doubtingly speculate.

 

In proof that it was very mainly from calculation of Daniel's 400 years' prophetic period that that strong expectancy of Messiah arose among the Jews which was shown at the time spoken of, I might refer to what the Talmud reports, as a tradition of the olden times, that "in Daniel is-delivered to us the end of Messiah," i.e. as R. Jarchi interprets the phrase, the time when Messiah ought to appear. {39} Yet more this will appear, I think, from the fact that in such historic records as we have of the Jews in times somewhat preceding the earliest possible epoch of the 69 and 70 hebdomads; for example, the Maccabean Books, which carry down that history from about 174 to 135 B.C., no such lively expectation of Messiah's speedy coming is at all discernible. I pray the reader to run through those books (the First Book of Maccabees more especially, as being the most authentic) with the special object of noting the state of Jewish feeling there indicated on the point referred to.{40} It will be well worth his while to do so. - On the other hand, so soon as 490 years had elapsed from Cyrus's decree, so soon, as before said, the expectation seems to have begun. We are told by Grotius {41} of a learned Rabbi, named Nehemiah, who lived 50 years before Jesus Christ, or near about the time of the expiration of 490 years calculated from the decree

 

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{37} Ezek. iv. 5, 6. See on this my Horæ Apocalypticæ, Vol. iii. p. 268 (5th edition).

 

{38} The dates of the four decrees were B.C. 530, 510, 457, and 411 respectively.

 

{39} So the article on Messiah in Kitto's Biblical Cyclopædia.

 

{40} 1 Macc. xiv. 41, says that in gratitude to Simon, brother of Judas Maccabeus, they appointed him their governor and High Priest for ever; (i.e. himself and his posterity; Lowth on Zech. vi. 13;) until there should arise a faithful prophet, or till the faithful prophet should arise; meaning the Messias. Lowth.

 

{41} De Ver. Christ. Rel. v. 14. - "In Jesum tempus (sc. of the 70 weeks) tam bene convenit, at magister Hebræus Hehumias, qui annis quinquaginta cum præcessit, apertè jam tum dexerit non posse ultra cos quinquaginta annos protrabi tempus Messiah a Daniele significatum." - One cannot but regret with Le Clere that Grotius did not give his authority for this statement. But both his well-known extensive and accurate learning, and the fact of his having made Jewish religious opinions and writings a special subject of investigation, as he himself tells us at the opening of his book i. l, furnish a guarantee to us of its trustworthiness.

 

 

of Cyrus; by whom it was declared that the time fixed by Daniel for Messiah could hardly go beyond 50 years further.{42} And we have seen from the Gospel histories, alike at the birth of Jesus Christ, and to the end of the 30 or 35 years of his subsequent life, how general, strong , and continuous was then the Jews' expectation of the Messiah; all which period was comprehended, as is evident, between the end of the 490 years, as measured from the 1st of Darius, and that from the 7th of Artaxerxes. - If the same feeling of expectation continued after their rejection of Jesus Christ's claims to the Messiahship, this might have seemed for a while warranted on the ground of this same prophecy, by measuring from the fourth and latest of the Persian king's decrees for Jerusalem's restoration, that of the 20th of Artaxerxes, the same that was signalized by Nehemiah's return. Nor is it inconsistent with my hypothesis, or to be wondered at, that it should have remained yet later, even down to the Jewish war and destruction of Jerusalem, considering the Jews' unwillingness to abandon their long fondly cherished hopes of a Messiah, who in his here predicted character of Prince and King would lead them on to triumph and dominion, especially against their Roman oppressors. And this indeed the rather, as the two other prophecies that I have referred to, compared with the signs of the times, might have seemed still to favor such expectancy.

 

For, as regarded the one, viz. Daniel's prefigurative image of the four great empires, thus much was clear from it: - that it was whilst under the fourth, or last empire of iron, that the image was to be broken to shivers by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands: itself evidently an emblem of Messiah's kingdom; and which was thereupon to become a great mountain, and to fill the whole earth. Now who in those times, that was at all acquainted with history, could doubt but that the Roman Empire was the fourth empire; it being that which had taken the supremacy from the Greeks, as the Greeks had taken it from the Persians, and they from the Babylonians; which Babylonians, and their then reigning king, the Angel declared to be the head of gold? And well indeed did the very iron of the symbol suit the Romans, so as it had suited no other conquering people; and, as such, was adopted in a manner by the Roman poets themselves for a national emblem. {43} No doubt the prophetic symbol represented the fourth empire as a ten-divided state, correspondingly with the image's ten toes of mixed iron and clay, at the time of the stone's smashing it to pieces. But might not some such division occur any day to the Roman Empire, even though for the present united under Augustus' rule, from some great internal or external revolution?

 

And then, further, as to that ancient prediction by Jacob, that "the sceptre should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh came," it might well serve to strengthen the expectation. For Shiloh was expounded in the Targum of Onkelos, and by Jonathan Ben Uzziel, {44} and other Rabbis of the age pretty consistently to be the Messiah. And, though it might seem difficult absolutely and precisely to fix the time when the power of the sceptre and the law departed from Judah, yet was it evident that from the time of the domination of Herod and Idumæan, Augustus' protégé, {45} and during the subsequent encroachments by Roman procurators' on the independent rule of High Priest and Sanhedrim, there was more and more an approximation to the state so described in Jacob's prophecy; and consequently a sign that, according to it, Messiah must either have come ere the end of Augustus' reign,

 

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{42} It was shortly after this, viz. B.C. 40, that the birth of Octavia's son Marcellus occurred: to whose youth and riper manhood, as I have before stated, the so-called Sibyl had assigned the world's coming golden age.

 

{43} Ataue omnis Latio quæ seervit purpura ferre. So Lucan vii. 228.

 

{44} Jonathan Ben Uzziel is generally said to have been one of the most distinguished of the eighty disciples of Hillel, and Onkelos another: Hillel himself being grand-father to Gamaliel at whose feet sat Saul of Tarsus. This fixes the date to a short time before Jesus Christ's birth.

 

{45} In Kitto's article on Messiah it is stated that, on Herod the Idumæan setting aside the Maccabees and the Sanhedrim, the Jews were said to have shaved their heads, put on sackcloth, and cried, "Woe to us, because the sceptre is departed from Judah, and a law-giver from between his feet." - It is added that other later Jews date the fulfillment of that predicted fact not till the time when Vespasian and Titus destroyed Jerusalem.

 

 

or at that time not be very far off. {46} It is to be observed that the two prophecies last referred to well harmonized together, from the circumstance that it was the fourth or Roman Empire that not other nations' freedom alone, but also Judah's self-governing power of the sceptre and the law was taken away. And hence indeed that bitter feeling of the Jews against the Romans, which quickened their general interest in the prophecies referred to; and longing for the Messiah, in whom they erroneously expected to find their earthly triumphant chief and avenger.

 

On the whole so rotted, it appears, was this expectation among the Jews of the first and second centuries, and as derived from their Scripture prophecies, that after rejecting Jesus of Nazareth, and when no one else came that could really support his pretensions to the Messiahship, they fell into two opinions: - either that the Messiah had come, but was concealed, so as we find it stated in the Targum on Mic. 4; or else that the time of his coming had been deferred on account of their sins. Both of these opinions will be found hinted in Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho in the second century. {47}

 

3. But let not the reader think that the Jews were altogether unanimous in this expectancy of a personal Messiah, or this interpretation of the prophecies. Objections and objectors we have reason to suppose there were even then, on various grounds, and with various counterviews, to each and every particular of the above-mentioned prophetic evidence; and difficulties too raised against one and another of the prophetic arguments, such as were hard sometimes to answer.

 

Thus, first, as regarded Jacob's prophecy, (for Elias' tradition would hardly be much insisted on,) besides those Rabbis who affirmed that the sceptre had departed from Judah on Herod the Great's supersession of the Maccabees and Sanhedrim, it was open to others to argue, and not without much plausibility, that the sceptre had departed from Judah long previously, at the time of the Babylonish captivity, however it might have been restored afterwards: and that the circumstance of no Messiah, in the highest sense of the word, having come previous to that overthrow of its self-government, nor indeed previous to Herod's supersession of the Sanhedrim, was sufficient to weaken all argument for expecting Messiah's speedy coming on the establishment of Augustus' or Tiberious' dominion over Judæa, drawn from that prophecy by Jacob.

 

Again, as regarded Daniel's prefigurative image of the four empires, a question might have been raised whether it was so certain that the fourth empire prefigured was the Roman: seeing that this could hardly but be the same with the fourth empire figured in the vision of the four wild beasts; and that then the fourth empire would seem to be that of the Seleucidæ, if, as many Jews thought, the little horn out of it, that domineered over the ten horns, was a symbol of the blaspheming tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes. {48} In which case all argument for speedy expectation of the Messiah after the establishment of Roman domination over the Jews, drawn from this prophecy, would also be a delusion; and indeed doubt thrown on the Messianic exposition itself of the symbol of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. Nowhere was learning more cultivated by the Jews of the first century than in the Jewish Alexandrian school. And Philo, the most famous of the Rabbis of that rationalistic school, taught that all such prophecy should be understood allegorically, and a golden age looked for in the general ascendancy of

 

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{46} Let me refer on this point to Mede's eighth discourse, the subject of which is this prophecy of Jacob.

 

{47} Whitby remarks on this in the General Preface to his New Testament Commentary.

 

{48} See the diverse interpretations of this prophecy of Dan. vii in Pole's Synopals. And compare Dr. S. R. Maitland's doubts (strange doubts surely) as to the fourth empire figured being the Roman.

 

 

Jewish ideas, and the Jewish religion; independent of the coming of any such heaven-sent personal king and saviour. {49}

 

Yet again as regarded Daniel's seventy weeks' prophecy, various and many may be supposed to have been the objections made by certain of the learned Jews against the exposition generally received among the people at the opening of the Christian æra; especially when urged a little later by the apostles and early disciples of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

A Jewish Scripture literalist might tauntingly have asked for some precedent in the sacred Hebrew Books, where the word Shabua used by itself, and without any genitive of specific measure of time following, was meant of a septenary [or century] of years, or any other than a septenary of days. {50} And, in the confessed want of this, he might have denounced the year-day principle, whereby alone it could be made a prophecy of 490 years from Cyrus, or Artaxerxes, to Messiah: and sought some solution of it as a prophecy of 490 days; whether in Jewish anointed chief's, like Ezra and Nehemiah, of the distant past; or in the indefinite possibilities of some new Jewish captivity, and new royal decrees for the captivity's return in the distant future.{51} In which exception against the year value, generally attached to the hebdomads, the Jewish objector might have been joined by some casually intervening Roman philosopher; - "Why but to suit a purpose is the prophecy construed of years, nor days?" {52} - Another, of a different school, might have argued with later Jews {53} for septenaries [or centuries] of Jubilees; so putting off the time for Messiah's first coming to a future far distant date: and yet another have urged that the prophetic numbers were simply symbolic; the sevenfold multiples of septenaries in Daniel being only meant to signify a sacred but indefinite number. - While Rabbis fresh from the Pharisaist school of Hillel {54} might have protested against all appeal to profane heathen learning, and all the intricate chronological calculations based on it, in order to make out the fulfillment of the prophetic period (even though admitted to be 490 years) as reaching from Artaxerxes' decree to Tiberius. {55} "Ought not a devout Scripture student entirely unacquainted with the details of profane history, or the vicissitudes of political and ecclesiastical affairs, during the five or six preceding centuries, to be expected to understand Scripture prophecy, in so far as it concerned Messiah in his relations to Israel, equally with the most learned?" {56}

 

And what as to skeptical critics of the Sadducean school? How might they, before Jesus Christ's birth, have noted sarcastically the proved failure of calculations of the prophetic period, as made first from

 

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{49} See Neander's Church History (Clark's Edition), Vol. i. pp. 88, 89, on Philo's views on this matter; also pp. 78, 79, about Philo generally.

 

{50} Besides the instances of this chapter of Daniel, on which the question arises, there are some 19 passages in other parts of Scripture where the noun is used either in its singular or other forms, and always in the sense of a hebdomad of days. See the Paper on this point by the Rev. C. J. Elliott, in my Vol. iii. pp. 604 to 608.

 

{51} So, even now, Drs. Todd and Burgh.

 

{52} Says Gibbon, in a Note near the conclusion of his fifteenth chapter: - "If the famous prophecy of the seventy weeks had been alleged to a Roman philosopher, would he not have replied in the words of Cicero, 'Quæ tandem ista auguratio est, annorum potius quàm aut mensium aut dierum?'"

 

{53} See Pole's Synopsis on Dan. ix. p. 155.

 

{54} Hillel is said to have been the grandfather of Gamaliel, at whose feet sate Paul of Tarsus.

 

{55} See a statement and descussion of all the various opinions and calculations on this point in Pole's Synopsis, Vol. iii. col. 1537 to 1550.

 

{56} I have here used the language of the writer of Plain Papers on Prophecy: a volume lately published, on the futurist scheme of prophetic exposition.

 

 

Cyrus' decree, and then from that of Darius, as its commencing epoch; no Messiah have appeared at the end of 490 years, so calculated! Whence an inference as to the folly of all such calculations, whatever the ephemeral popularity of the expositors propounding them; and the anticipated necessity, when calculations from the 7th of Artaxerxes should have been similarly falsified by the event, of a new exposition, reckoning from some later decree, for the silly believers in such comments. Moreover, even after Jesus Christ's coming, and the fulfillment in him of the prophecy in respect of its chronological period, measured from the 7th Artaxerxes, they might have pointed sneeringly to the differences of the calculations made by Christian writers, in order to suit its application to Jesus of Nazareth; {57} and, with a view to giving greater effect to their sarcasm, have drawn out tables, like our modern Tyson, exhibiting to the eye those multitudinous differences. "Would it not be better, instead of such fanciful and mutually inconsistent calculations, to wait till Elijah come, before urging on the people Messiah's first coming as imminent or fulfilled? That is, till Elijah the great prophet of Ahab's time comes in person, as predicted by the prophet Malachi? For as to any such spiritualizing sense as that by which the Christians made the prophecy to have been fulfilled in John the Baptist, as being a man of Elijah's spirit and character, it was but an explaining away of Scripture, and mere subterfuge."

 

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So, I say, might the Jewish objectors, one and another, have argued against the more generally received meaning of those prophecies on which the expectancy of Messiah by the Jews of the time of Augustus and Tiberius was mainly founded. And probably, had I lived at that time, the objections would not have been without their influence to deaden my own expectation. - But much more, I suspect, would such skeptical tendency have fixed itself in my mind from the marvelous nature of the fact which I was called to look for; it being nothing less than the incarnation of Jehovah Himself, the ETERNAL SELF-EXISTENT ONE, in the whole history of the world, but in itself astounding, even so as to seem to faith itself all but incredible. - And this the rather because of the total want of thought and interest about it on the part of mankind in general; alike among the rich and poor, the statesmen, merchants, military men, philosophers, in every part of the great Roman Empire, Judæa alone excepted. Mark, for instance, in Rome itself, the metropolis of the empire, the absorption of all that rushing tide of population in the common earthly pursuits and interests of life; alike at the time of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and afterwards during the whole progress of his eventful life in the Judæan province! Listen to their eager talk about the politics, pleasures, or commerce of the day, the games of the circus, the monthly dole of bread to the citizens, the every-day fresh tales of vice and scandal, the rising or falling of the markets, the news from the frontier camps, whether of victory or disaster; anything, everything, but what was then passing in Judæa. Is it possible, I might then have thought within myself, that in a world so utterly thoughtless, and indifferent to the mighty fact, the Creator God can either be just on the point of becoming incarnate, or else already born into and ministering in it, in fulfillment of the grand work of man's redemption, as predicted in the old Hebrew prophecies? - Yes! though the groans of all nature without me, and the groans of my own soul within me, in its conscious and sad sense of separation from its Maker, might have been felt as absolutely crying out for the coming of the promised Redeemer, again to reconcile together fallen man and God, yet! do I suspect that skepticism, under all these wrong influences, would have sorely battled against the better feelings of faith at that eventful epoch, and not only have shut my mind against all realizing expectancy of Him prior to His coming, but, even after it, except through a miracle of God's interposing and enlightening grace, have prevented my recognition of him in the humble form of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

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{57} See Pole's Synopsis, ubi suprà

 

 

But, however that might have been, and whatever the indifference of the world in general, and the counter-speculations and many objections of skeptical or philosophizing Jewish Rabbis, yet did the prophecies about Messiah's first coming in human form have their fulfillment, in respect of the time of that great event, as well as of all else: albeit not so clearly or definitely as absolutely to exclude all controversy, or difference of opinion, on that point. As the sceptre was passing out of the hand of Judah into that of the great fourth or Roman Empire, and as the 490 years of Daniel, measured from the decree of the seventh of Artaxerxes, whereby first the Jewish restored remnant from Babylon was reconstituted into a nation, were advancing near towards their term, - just, I say, at that time Jesus, the true Messiah, was born into our world. And, when the period of 490 years, so calculated, had actually reached its completion, in that self-same month of April, as well as in that self-same year, according to the most authentic historic evidence, {58} Jesus Christ, after about some four years of public ministry, expired on the cross at Golgotha: thereby completing the work of redemption for which he had come into the world; fulfilling, and so abrogating, the types of the Jewish ceremonial law; making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in for all that should believe on him, just as Daniel had predicted he would, everlasting righteousness.

 

 

§ 2. PREMONITORY INDICATIONS

AT THE PRESENT TIME

OF THE NEARNESS OF CHRIST'S SECOND COMING.

 

And now, secondly, I turn from the Scriptural prophetic evidence, which in the times of Augustus and Tiberius seemed to warrant the Jews' general expectancy of MESSIAH's first coming and manifestation in human flesh, to the prophetic evidence which has been judged by many to point to his second coming as even now not very distant: - that coming at the brightness of which the Antichrist, or Man of Sin, of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, is to be destroyed, and Messiah's own glorious kingdom thereupon to have its establishment in this our fallen world.

 

And certainly I think that very strong prophetic evidence does exist to this effect; though not, however, without objections and objectors as before.

 

I. As to the evidence, we shall find it to be of substantially the same character with that which was considered under my former head; only more copious , clear, and strong.

 

1st, then, and as the very alphabet of prophetic knowledge on the great subject of inquiry, there stands before us for contemplation that same wonderful prefigurative image of the four great successive empires of the world, which was seen by Nebuchadnezzar, and interpreted by Daniel. And, whereas the fourth or Roman Empire, answering to the statue's legs of iron, had not in the times of Augustus and Tiberius split into its ten toes of the mixed material of iron and clay, we have in the subsequent history of the Gothic invasions of the empire in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian æra, and the several Romano-Gothic kingdoms supervening, seen the accomplishment of that great revolution: and consequently seen the image brought into that decem-partited state, (a state which has continued ever since,) in which the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, the emblem of Messiah's church or kingdom, was at some time or other to smite and shiver the image to atoms, and itself to become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth.

 

2ndly, and in inseparable connection with the primary prophecy of Daniel, there is to be considered the prefiguration of the same four great successive empires of the world, recorded in his seventh chapter, under the symbol of four great wild beasts, (an indication of their being one and all persecutors of

 

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{58} On this let me refer to the notice of the subject in the Appendix to my volume of Warburton Lectures.

 

 

the truth,) the lion, bear, leopard, and ten-horned deino-therium: the last answering evidently to the iron or Roman Empire of the previously seen statue, and its ten horns to the statue's ten toes; but with these two most important additional intimations respecting the later decem-regal form of the Roman Empire; first, that the ten kingdoms would be connected together by the common domination over them of a little horn, with eyes like the eyes of man; and secondly, that the term of allotted duration to the supremacy of that little horn was to be a time, times, and half a time, or three and a half years, according to the well-known force of the phrase in the Hebrew language. And, taking these three and a half years, or 1260 days, as the period is elsewhere expressed to symbolize 1260 years, on somewhat of the same principle, Scripturally considered, {59} as Daniel's 70 weeks, (and let me observe in passing, as I shall hereafter have to show, {60} that the unbroken continuity of the legs and ten-toed feet of the image will be found absolutely, and of itself, to forbid our explaining the period as meant of simple days,) I say, taking the little horn's destined time of supremacy to be 1260 years, there will appear in regard of it, on comparison of the prophecy and the later Roman history, the two facts following: - first, that a Roman power, singularly answering to the characteristics of the little horn, came, after the dissolution of the old Roman Empire, to hold supremacy over the Romano-Gothic kingdoms of Western Europe, in the usurped and most extraordinary character of Christ's Vicar on Earth; in which character, moreover, it has, beyond all preceding powers of the world, been a persecutor of God's truth and people: - secondly, that as measured (not indeed from its first possible epoch of commencement, but) from an epoch of all others, apparently the most fit and probable, viz. that of the ten Western kingdoms completed subjecting of themselves to the Pope, as Christ's Vicegerent on Earth, whereby was constituted the Papal Empire, {61} and that too of the Eastern Roman emperor's admission of this his claim, {62} both which events date near about the close of the 6th century, - I say that, as measured from this epoch, the Papal domination must have not very nearly fulfilled its destined course of 1260 years. In which case the time must also have nearly come for the Beast's being given, together with its little horn, to the burning flame, according to the sequel of the prophetic imagery; and (even though the 75 additional days, or years, of Dan. xii. be added as still supervening) for Messiah's triumphant establishment of his glorious kingdom, then solemnly to be committed to him by the hand of the Ancient of Days. {63}

 

3rdly, We have in St. John's Apocalyptic prophecy a yet additional and most strong confirmation of this inference from the Old Testament prophetic evidence. Seeing that that revelation of the coming future was given to St. John in Domitian's reign, while the fourth or Roman Empire still existed under its imperial regime, and when its only great remaining revolution, as foreshown by Daniel, was that whereby it was to be broken up into ten kingdoms, under the dominion of the little horn, it might a priori have been anticipated as probable that that particular revolution, and both what would happen after Domitian, introductorily to it, and what would happen subsequently under the little horn's regime, would constitute its special subjects of prefiguration. Nor do I doubt that such was actually the case. After the most elaborate investigation of history, as compared with the Apocalyptic prophecy, the result is this: (a result which hostile criticism, the most determined, careful, and particular, has been unable to gainsay or deny:) -

 

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{59} See pp. 340, 341 supra.

 

{60} See pp. 345, 346 infra.

 

{61} In the Apocalypse the Beast's existence in domineering power, to which the duration of 1260 days is assigned by the prophecy, dates from his rise with the ten horns attached to him.

 

{62} See on this my Vol. iii. pp. 302-301 (5th Edition).

 

{63} Dan. vii. 9-13.

 

 

that there is found in it the most wonderfully exact, succinct, comprehensive, philosophic sketch of the fortunes of the Roman Empire, previous to its predicted division into ten kingdoms; and also of the character and chief changes of the Roman Papal empire, after that division, including the Christian witness against it, even to the present time; {64} to which Papal empire, it is to be observed, there is attached by it the same period of three and a half times, or 1260 days, as was before attached by Daniel to the little horn. - Thus does our reason for belief in the inferences from Daniel's prophecies seem to be strengthened and confirmed; to the effect that we are indeed now approaching very rapidly to the end of the 1260 years of Papal domination, and (whether the additional 75 years be still supervening or not) to the time of Messiah's destroying the anti-christian monster with the brightness of His own second coming.

 

4thly, and once more, there are various signs of the times, all which, various as they are, Scripture prophecy speaks of in one or another place as signs of the closing days of the present dispensation. Thus, first of all, in the last days of this dispensation, and towards the close of the destined time, times, and half a time of the man of sin's abomination standing in God's church or sanctuary; it is intimated by Daniel that "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased:" {65} - increased, doubtless, with a view to the better preparation of the whole world for understanding God's judgment in the great coming catastrophe. Let me ask then, Do not many run to and fro now? Is not knowledge of every kind increased and increasing now? Who knows not, if at all adequately acquainted with history, that there has never been anything like such an answering to the prophetic language in the whole course of the world's history as at the present time?

 

Again, it is foretold that at no great distance of time before the great catastrophe the everlasting Gospel is to be sent forth and preached, for the completion of the witness, to every nations under heaven. {66} Look, then, at what is now done, done altogether within the present century, by our Bible Societies and Evangelic Missionary Societies; and say whether this sign of the approaching consummation seems not to be fulfilling.

 

Further, it seems clearly intimated in Holy Scripture, that shortly before the time of the end the Lord's people are to have their hearts turned in special feelings of compassionate interest to the Jew. "The time, yea the set time is come," says the Psalmist, that is, for the Jews' conversion and restoration: "for thy servants think on Zion's stones, and it pitieth them to see her in the dust." {67} Is not this very markedly the state of feeling with Christians now, after near 1800 years of neglect, contempt, and hardness of heart towards the Jew? If so, then remember that this, too, is a premonitory sign of Jesus Christ's speedy second coming and manifestation. For, in the throes of their national repenting for the rejection of Jesus, the Jews, we know, are "to look on Him whom they have pierced:" {68} and that when, thereupon, the Lord again builds Zion, "He will appear in His glory." {69}- A prophecy this remembered probably, as well as

 

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{64} On all this I must beg my readers carefully to consider the argument as drawn out in the Horæ Apocalypticæ. Without such a careful, thoughtful consideration it will be impossible for them to do justice to it.

 

{65} Dan. xii. 4, also verse 9, 11.

 

{66} Apoc. xiv. 6. Compare Matt. xxiv. 14.

 

{67} Psalm cii. 13, 14.

 

{68} Zech. xii. 10.

 

{69} Psalm cii. 16.

 

 

confirmed, by St. Peter in his first sermon to the Jews after the day of Pentecost; saying, "Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out; and that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and he may send Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive unto the times of the restitution of all things, spoken of by all the prophets." {70} And what shall I say of the Euphrates drying up? - the drying up not of a political power alone, but of the very heart, spirit, and life-blood of Mohammedanism itself in the great Turkish Empire; especially as accelerated, just of late, by means and in a manner so unexpected and wonderful? - The object in God's providence of this its drying up, is stated to be "that the way of the kings from the East (not of the East, as many wrongly state it) may be prepared:" {71} whether meant of the light-bearing beams of Christ's coming with His saints, {72} or perhaps of the converted Jews' re-establishment in their own country. For there is a way, I think though as yet unnoticed by expositors, in which the expression, kings from the East,  may be applicable to them; albeit that their gathering at the latter day is to be not from the East alone, but alike from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South. I mean by reference to their Eastern first original in Abraham; "the righteous man raised up and called from the East," as Isaiah emphatically designates him. {73}

 

Nor if it be thought, as many think, that our Lord's prophecy on the Mount of Olives refers at its close to the ending of the present dispensation, does that statement, "This generation auth h genea shall not pass away till all these tings be fulfilled," (Luke xxi. 32,) present any necessary obstacles to its application to the present age. For auth h genea may mean that generation which witnesses the signs in the sun and moon, &c.; those convulsions which may have had their accomplishment in the French Revolution, agreeably with the use of similar imagery in the Apocalypse and other Scripture. Then the force of the saying will be, that ere a century or so elapse from that event, all having perished that were alive at the time of its first outbreak, the end of his second advent shall have taken place. {74}

 

Nor can I altogether omit the fact that, according to the elaborate tables of one of the most judicious and learned of our modern chronologists, the late Mr. Flynes Clinton, the world's 6000 years would seem to be very near their ending; and this, most remarkably, just about the self-same as the ending of the 1260 years of the Papal Antichrist, so calculated, as I have stated before. {75} Nor if we take Usher's somewhat

 

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{70} Acts iii. 19, 20. See on this most important passage the critical remarks in my Horae Apocalypticae, Vol. iv. pp. 175-180.

 

{71} iva etoimasqh h odov twn basilewn twn awo anatolwn hli?. Apoc. xvi. 12.

 

{72} Compare the figure in Apoc. vii. 2: also Luke i. 78 and 2 Thess. ii. 1, 8; Apoc. xx. 4.

 

{73} Isa. xli. 2. Compare Gen. xvii. 6, 16; Josh. xxiv. 2, 3.

 

{74} My impression is, that the saying may have had a double reference, 1st, to the fulfillment of the judgments on Jerusalem, ere the generation then alive should have past away; 2nd, to the final judgment of the consummation, ere the generation should have wholly past away that had witnessed the signs in the sun and moon, &c. (verses 25, &c.), which signs I suppose to have begun at the French Revolution. See my Vol. iii. p. 361, Note 1; also my Paper in the Investigator, Vol. iv. p. 311.

 

It is to be observed that the word auth, this, in the clause h genia auth, needs not necessarily to be aspirated: as there were no aspirates in the unical characters of the olden Greek MSS. And if without the aspirate, then auth would mean that; . . " that generation shall not have passed away, &c.;" with reference distinctly to the generation that was alive at the time of the signs in the sun and moon, &c., appearing. But the view I advocate does not depend on the absence of the aspirate. Because our Lord might mean by "this generation," the generation of the time he was then speaking of: just as in Luke xvii. 34, where, speaking of the time of his second coming, he says, tauth th nukti, "On this night shall two be in one bed; one shall be taken, &c.:" meaning thereby the night of his coming; and so rendered in our English version, "In that night."

 

{75} See my abstract of Mr. Clinton's chronological argument and tables in the Chapter immediately preceding the present; and also my pp. 117-119 supra.

 

 

more protracted Scripture chronology, and moreover consider that Daniel's 75 years of the time of the end have to be added on to the completed 1260 years ere the consummation, will the further postponement of the ending of the 6th millennary be very long. And with the world's 6000 years ending, the world's sabbatism may be drawing on?

 

In fine, and on summing up, the more I consider it the more strong and convincing does the prophetic evidence appear to me, in indication that Messiah's promised second coming, - that coming at which Antichrist is to be destroyed, - is near at hand. In order at all to realize its strength, it will be well to consider separately and distinctly alike that evidence which results from the demonstrated long and continuous agreement of historic fact and prophetic figuration, respecting the four great successive empires of the world, from certain known epochs of commencement, viz. that of the reign of the Babylonian monarch Nebuchadnezzar, and time of St. John's seeing the visions in Patmos; a parallelism whereby we are brought down in John's prophecy quite near to its close in the consummation; - that which results from the near ending of long prophetic chronological periods, dated from a commencing epoch which, within certain narrow limits, may be fixed almost certainly; - and then again, that which arises from what I have designated as the signs of the times; signs very various, very marked, very peculiar to the present æra, and each independent of the rest. Then let the cumulative force of the whole taken together be considered; all tending, as it does, to one and the same result; - that namely, as I have before said, of the nearness of Messiah's second coming. It seems impossible to deny that it is evidence immensely stronger than that which, in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, warranted the Jews of those days in their conviction of the time for Messiah's first coming having then arrived. {76}

 

11. But now, as to objections and objectors.

 

And, no doubt, there are learned Rabbis now, even as then, who with various views, and on various grounds, deny, and seek to invalidate, more or less of the prophetic evidence on which our inference has been grounded. - By some it is said that the whole of the Apocalypse, and all too of Daniel's prophecies which I have expounded as reaching in its range down to the present time, and yet beyond it, was fulfilled centuries ago.{77} By others, on the contrary, it is contended that all the Apocalypse, and whatever in Daniel's two prophecies concerns the ten-toed division of the iron legs of the image, or ten-horned division, and synchronic rise and dominancy of the little horn of the fourth Beast, still waits its fulfillment

 

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{76} I must quote a remarkable passage to the same effect, from the late lamented Dr. Arnold's Lectures on Modern History, (p. 38) which is the more interesting from its consideration of the subject quite in a new point of view.

 

"Modern history appears to be not only a step in advance of ancient history, but the last step: it appears to bear marks of the fullness of time, as if there would be no future history beyond it. For the last eighteen hundred years Greece has fed human intellect: Rome, taught by Greece and improving upon her teacher, has been the source of law and government and social civilization: and, what neither Greece nor Rome could furnish, the perfection of moral and spiritual truth has been given by Christianity. The changes which have been wrought have arisen out of the reception of these elements by new races; - races endowed with such force of character, that what was old in itself, when exhibited in them, seemed to become something new. But races so gifted are, and have been from the beginning of the world, few in number: the mass of mankind have no such power . . . . Now, looking anxiously round the world for any new races, which may receive the seed (so to speak) of our present history into a kindly yet vigorous soil, and may reproduce it, the same and yet new, for a future period, we know not where such are to be found. Some appear exhausted, others incapable; and yet the whole surface of the globe is known to us . . . Everywhere the search has been made, and the report has been received. We have the full amount of earth's resources before us; and they seem inadequate to supply life for a third period of human history. I am well aware that to state this as a matter of positive belief, would be the extreme of presumption. There may be nations reserved hereafter for great purposes of God's providence, whose fitness for their appointed work will not betray itself till the work and the time for doing it be come . . . But, without any presumptuous confidence, if there be any signs, however uncertain, that we are living in the latest periods of the world's history, that no other races remain behind to perform what we have neglected, or to restore what we have ruined, then indeed the interest of modern history becomes intense."

 

{77} So first the Jesuit Alcasor, then with their various modifications the Germans Eichhorn, Ewald, &c.; also Bossuet, and the American Moses Stuart. The lastest Apocalyptic expositor of this class that I have seen is Mr. Desprez of Wolvurhampton. I have noticed his work in a critique in the Appendix to my Warburton Lectues, p. 518. The others are reviewed in the Appendix to this fourth volume of my Horæ Apocalypticæ.

 

 

in the future; {78} the 1260 days of the little horn's duration in power meaning simply, say both, 1260 literal days. {79} And thus, though the present signs of the times may be admitted by some of them as evidence tending to the conclusion I have stated, yet that most convincing portion of the prophetic evidence, - the same substantially in kind with some that greatly tended, doubtless, to excite expectation among the Jews of Messiah's first coming as imminent in the days of Augustus, - I mean that of a long-continued parallelism of prophecy and history, reaching from a known commencing epoch, down nearly to the event expected, - is set aside.

 

It is my settled conviction, after much and careful thought, that each and either of these prophetic counter-theories, the prætoristic and that of the futurists, in any of the multitudinous and mutually contradictory forms of either, may be shown to be self-refuting. Thus as regards the latter, and its fundamental dogma of the Man of Sin being an individual yet future, who is to sit as God, and have his image placed for worship, in some now-built Jewish temple at Jerusalem, which they would have to be called God's temple in St. Paul's prophecy, {80} though built in direct opposition to himself and the Son of His love, {81} - I say as regards this theory of the futurists, construct but the time-table of their Antichrist's 1260 days, and you will have there what will of itself suffice to refute it. It is during the whole of these 1260 days, or 3 1/2 years, that he is, according to their interpretation of Daniel, to have his abomination standing in the Jewish temple, {82} (these being the 3 1/2 years, observe, which end in his destruction by Christ's appearing,) and during the whole of them that the Gentiles, in subjection to Him, are to occupy the Holy City. {83} Yet meanwhile he is, during part at least of the self-same 3 1/2 years, to be occupied in besieging Jerusalem from without, according to these self-same theorists; {84} and, moreover, during part be busied sundry ways, in connection with, and on the site of, the Roman seven-hilled city, or Apocalyptic Babylon. {85} For vainly do they seek Scripture warrant for assigning more than 3 1/2 years, or 1260 days,

 

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{78} e. g. Drs. S. R. Maitland and Todd, Mr. Molyneux, &c. &c. Mr. Molyneux's book is critically noticed in my Warburton Lectures, p. 512: the others in the Appendix to the present fourth volume of the Horæ Apocalypticæ. The Jesuit Ribæra was, I believe, the first author, after the breaking up of the old Roman Empire, of this system of prophetic exposition.

 

{79} 2 Thess ii. 4.

 

{80} I have vainly asked from advocates of these sentiments for any Scripture warrant for such a designation of such a temple.

 

The distinction is ever to be remembered between a temple originally founded in opposition to God's will, and one originally founded in accordance with it, but which may have become afterwards apostate. Even under Manasseh the old Jewish temple might be called God's temple, though corrupted to heathen worship, (2 Kings xxi. 4, 5; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 4, 5, 7,) because originally instituted by him. And similarly the symbolic temple of the Christian visible and professing Church (compare 1 Tim. iii. 15) might still be so called under the Popes, though then apostatized, because originally founded in his name, and according to his will. This distinction is perpetually overlooked by futurist expositors.

 

{81} Some futurist expositors, while disclaiming the year-day principle with reference to the 1260 days' prophetic period, seem to admit and adopt it with reference to the smaller Apocalyptic period of the 3 1/2 days of the two witnesses lying dead. Apoc. xi. 9, 11. So "Eight Lectures on Prophecy," p. 154 (Dublin, 1853, 3rd Edition): "May not there 3 1/2 days be the very period of the time, times, and half a time?" i. e. 3 1/2 years, or 1260 days. So, also, many of the patristic expositors.

 

{82} Dan. xi. 31, xii. 11, compared with 2 Thess. ii. 4. This has been asserted not long since, as a certain fact, by two Christian ministers to large congregations in London churches.

 

{83} Apoc. xi. 2. "During Antichrist's reign Jerusalem will be occupied by his followers; for they will tread under-foot the holy city forty-two months. There he will slay the two witnesses; and set up the abomination in the holy place. All prophecy agrees in pointing out Jerusalem as the seat of Antichrist's kingdom." So the Rev. C. Maitland at p. 14 of his so-called Apostolic School of Prophetic Interpretation; though with Apoc. xvii. before him.

 

{84} Zech. xiv. 2. This is an essential part of the futurist theory.

 

{85} Apoc. xvii. 3, 4, 5, 18.

 

 

(whether construed literally, or on the year-day principle,) to his duration in power. {86} - Again, admitting the iron legs of Daniel's image to signify the old Roman Empire, as most of them do, they must, in order to the ten-toed feet being yet future in their significancy, suppose the iron legs to have appeard broken off at the ankle, and a vacuum, indicating some twelve or fourteen unrepresented centuries, (unrepresented through the all-important times of the Papacy!) to have separated in the vision between those imperial legs of iron, and the feet and ten toes of mixed iron and clay. {87} - No; the evidence of continuous prophecy as fulfilled in continuous history remains, I am well persuaded, to us. Coincidences, great and small, running all down the line, even to the present time, establish the connection between the one and the other. And as, when travelling down by rail, as I have often done, to the westward, I may feel sure that I am at length approaching the terminus at Torquay, not simply because of seeing the fair valley of King's-Kerswell between Newton and Torquay on either side of me, (for valleys similarly fair there are elsewhere that resemble it,) but because I have seen past in succession all the several intervening places along the line of route, - the towers of Windsor, the red-brick buildings of Reading, the Didcot and the Swindon stations, the cities of Bath, Bristol, and Exeter, and in fine the towns of Teynmouth and Newton, each and every one with its own peculiar and distinguishing characteristics, - just such is the convincing effect to my own judgment of the evidence of continuously fulfilled prophecy from Daniel's time even to the present; and the fact of the time now present being thereby shown, as well as by other signs of the times, to be in very truth near the termination of the 1260 years, and close consequently at least to the time of the end. Signs of the times, such as we now see around us, furnish a powerful corroboration to our conclusion as to the world's present position in the prophetic calendar. But they will not do by themselves. By one well-known futurist expositor it has been confessed that, on the evidence he has to offer, the destruction of Babylon and so Christ's second coming, coincidently, may either be close at hand or ages distant.{88} And here he speaks on his theory reasonably.

 

Nor, indeed, are other objectors wanting. There are some so-called expositors who, explaining the numerals of the great prophetic periods as simply typical, would make them all but meaningless; and thus set aside all argument as to the world's present position in the prophetic calendar drawn from them. {89} And some there are who indulge themselves further in sneers at the disappointments of one and another of earlier or more recent Protestant interpreters, who have calculated the 1260 years from some too early a commencing epoch, {90} have had their expectations of Messiah's then coming to judgment falsified by the event: - whence a suggestion as to the folly of such calculations altogether.

 

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{86} This duration is fixed alike by Dan. vii. 25, and Apoc. xiii. 5; and it is at the end of the three and a half years of his sitting in the temple to receive worship and oppressing the saints, that, according to Dan. vii., Apoc. xiii., and 2 Thess. ii., he is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming.

 

{87} Drs. S. R. Maitland and Todd, as I have stated earlier in this work, Vol. iii. p, 298, would have the whole of the iron legs future, as the symbol of a supposed future Antichrist's future kingdom. They thus would have the gap in the statue between the bottom of the brazen thighs, and the beginning of the iron legs; in symbolization of some thirteen or twenty unrepresented centuries, according as the third empire is made by them the Greek, or the Roman. I have ventured to suggest that it might, perhaps, suffice to disabuse them of their hallucinations on this point, if they would simply publish a lithograph of the statue sketched according to this view of it; with the iron legs separated at a distance by some empty void from the thighs of brass; or dangling suspended from above the knee-joints by a long thin thread.

 

{88} The Rev. C. Maitland in his so-called "Apostolic School of Prophetic Interpretation," p. 104. "Of the yet remaining length of Rome's career we know nothing certain from prophecy. It may be that the sorceress has before her long ages of iniquity; it may be that we are now resisting her latest arts." I have heard other futurists make the same confession.

 

{89} e. g. very lately Hengstenberg. See p. 322 suprà.

 

{90} Mede, Brightman, Cuninghame, &c. The sneering at such mistaken calculations of prophetic times is very common.

 

 

About such objectors, however, I little trouble myself: remembering the similar mistake of dating the 70 weeks' commencing epoch from too early a decree, into which some of the Jews, as we saw, may have probably fallen shortly before the time of Jesus Christ's birth; and yet how, calculated from a later decree as the commencing epoch, that famous prophecy was found to have its fulfillment in respect of time, as well as in respect of all other particulars, in the coming, life, and death of Jesus. - Nor, yet again, is my mind affected, nor are my convictions of judgment disturbed, by the allegorizing system of our modern Philos; {91} who would explain away the promised second coming itself of our blessed Lord, with all its glorious accomplishments, as nothing persona, and almost nothing real. The thing is too absurd, except on principles of direct infidelity, which is disclaimed. - But there is another kind of difficulty in the way of realizing its probable nearness (one to which I made allusion at the opening of this Paper) which I confess does exercise on me, almost in spite of myself, a most powerful influence towards the deadening of my faith in the fact: i.e. the generally thoughtlessness, skepticism, and indifference of the mass of men around me on the subject. Is it possible, I think with myself, that so unparalleled an event in the world's history can be near at hand with all its infinitely important results, and yet the world be so utterly unaware and thoughtless about it? Then, however, I again resort to the parallel sketched in this Paper. I bethink me of the world's general unpreparedness and thoughtlessness about Messiah's first coming, when quite near at hand, and how, mighty as may be that coming which we have now to expect, it cannot be an event mightier, or more wonderful, than Messiah's first coming; seeing that that was in truth nothing less than the incarnation in human flesh and blood of the INFINITE SELF-EXISTENT ONE, THE CREATOR, THE INHABITER OF ETERNITY. Moreover, I remember our Lord's own premonitory warning, to the effect that in the last days the general careless state of the world before His coming would be just such as that we see around us: that like as it was in the days of Noah, and like as it was in the days of Lord, so should it then be with men: - eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, immersed in wordly business, wordly politics, worldly pleasures; and with all going on just as usual. Just agreeable with which, too, is St. Peter's prophecy: "There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." It becomes me evidently, and all who are conscious of similar weakness of faith, very earnestly to battle against such skepticism. And, in order to this, after the most careful consideration of Scripture prophetic evidence on this subject, and when the judgment has been sufficiently satisfied with its consistency and strength, then to ask the teaching of that Holy Spirit, who can alone savingly impress upon the soul Scripture verities: Him who effectually taught Jesus Christ's early disciples to recognize Messiah on his first coming, when the Jews generally, in spite even of their previous expectancy, failed to recognize Him: and who, on the subject of Messiah's promised second coming, is able now also to lead the sincere inquirer into all truth.

 

THE END.


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{91} The Rev. B. Jowett, Greek Professor at Oxford, seems almost to aspire to this character by his late publication on St. Paul's Epistles. See my brief notice of his speculations on St. Paul's prophecy 2 Thess. ii. in the Appendix to my Volume of Warburton Lectures.