Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

(viii. 13, 14.) “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” and he is answered, "unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” The first renewing of the sacrifice, as we find, (Ezra vii. 12—23.) was under the decree of Artaxerxes, 458 years before Christ. That decree was directly connected with the building of the temple and the restoration of worship and the sacrifices. Of the whole period of 2300 years, 70 weeks of years were determined anna or cut off, from the restoration of the daily sacrifice to the completing of the perfect sacrifice of Christ, when the spiritual temple was raised up, (John ii. 19-21.) and the most holy was anointed. Heb. i. 9; ix. 24. We have here then the ecclesiastical period of 70 weeks, or 490 years distinct and perfect. There is another period of seventy weeks, however, brought before us in verses 25, 26, and 27. As the 70 years' captivity had a double commencement from the first captivity to the decree of Cyrus; and from the second captivity under Zedekiah to the decree of [196] Darius: so this longer period of 70 weeks appears to have a double commencement. The second commencement is stated to be from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. The date of Nehemiah's commission from Artaxerxes was 446. But it very clearly that the period mentioned by Daniel is to be reckoned in complete weeks and not in parts of weeks; hence as in the period of our Lord's burial, parts of time are reckoned for the whole. The commencement of a perfect week therefore, in that course of weeks which had begun to run with Ezra's commission must be taken, or the year 451.

There are three periods, (1) seven weeks, (2) sixty-two weeks, (3) one week. From 451 to A. C. 33 is just 483 years, or 69 weeks. For 7 weeks or 49 of those years, constituting a jubilee, (a sacred measure of time,) there are predicted, troublous times, as we may judge by the history of Nehemiah there really were, till the Jewish polity was settled. This seems to be one reason mentioned for the separation of the first seven weeks from the 62; though it is probable there may be other reasons. Then follow the sixty-two weeks which will reach till A. D. 33, when the Messiah was to be cut off, and (as it is in the margin) the Jews were to be no more his people. We have then, in v. 26, an indefinite period, the events of which are, the destruction of the city and temple by the Romans, and the Jewish desolation. This desolation was to last, as we learn by other prophecies, till the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. Matt. xxiii. 38; Luke xxi. 24. In v. 27, we have

appears

.

the additional week at the close of the times of the Gentiles when the people of Israel are again taken into covenant as pointed out, Ezek. [197] xx. 33–38; Rom. xi. 25-27. This week is divided into two parts. The character of the first half week seems to be set out, Isaiah lxvi. 1-3, where the Jews are represented as, in a self-righteous spirit, re-building the temple and offering sacrifices; and the character of the second half or dividing of the week, answers to Isaiah lxvi. 4–6, where they are represented as under the terror of the infidel Antichrist, who causes the sacrifice to cease; and at the close is the consummation in the destruction of that Antichrist, as set before us. Isaiah x. 23–25; 2 Thess. ii. 8.

There is a period called by our Lord, THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES. On this Mede remarks, "I make no question but these "times of the Gentiles,” (Luke xxi. 24,) with which the Jews' tribulation shall end, are either the times of the four monarchies in general (that is the times of that prophesied dominion of the Gentiles; or, which is all one in event, those last times of the fourth kingdom, of a time, times, and half a time, at the fulfilling whereof Daniel prophesies of the same appearing and coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, (Dan. vii. 13, 22,) as St. Luke does in Luke xxi. 27.* The period of a time, Mede has shewn, signifies a year, and times two years, and half a time half a year: the Jewish year consisting of 360 days; three years and a half make 1260 days. The grounds have been already stated which justify the large body of Christian interpreters, in considering the prophetical day to intend a year, and viewing 1260 days as 1260 years. But three prophetical times and a half are but the half of the whole Jewish dispersion. There is a remarkable prediction of [198] their troubles for their sins, in Lev. xxvi. in which they are told again and again (see verses 18, 21, 24, 28), that they shall be chastened seven times, or sevenfold, for their sins. The frequent repetition of seven times, or sevenfold, connected with theirólengthened suffering under the Gentile monarchies, seems to point out a special design, and may intimate the length of time which these chastisements should last. It would make, interpreted as we do the times in Daniel, a period of 2520 years, from their being carried into captivity. The same period of seven times or 2520 years is brought out, as has been noticed, in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. These times were to pass over that king (who seems a type of the Gentile nations) in a state of bestial derangement, and after them he was to be restored. Dan. iy. 25. Possibly if these times are connected with cycles, they denote a period something shorter, as 360 days are less than the length of a natural year, or the seven times may be current only. But if reckoned as 2520 years, they would terminate earlier, or later, according as we reckoned the commencement of the captivity of Israel, or of Judah. If we reckon the captivity of Israel as commencing in 727 before Christ, Israel's first captivity under Shalmanezer, it would terminate in 1793, when the French Revolution broke out: and if 677 before Christ, at their captivity under Esarhaddon (the same period when Manasseh, king of Judah was carried into captivity, 2 Kings xvii. 23, 24. 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11,) it would terminate in 1843. These periods may have a reference to corresponding events at their termination, and are worthy of serious attention. *

* See Mede, 753.

[199] The whole of this period of seven times, as it regards those countries with which the church of God has been connected, has been marked by the prevalence of four empires. Mr. Mede, in his Apostacy of the latter times, has remarked“For the true account of times in the scripture we must have recourse to that SACRED CALENDAR AND GREAT ALMANAC OF PROPHECY, the four Kingdoms of Daniel, which are a prophetical chronology of times measured by the succession of four principal kingdoms, from the beginning of the captivity of Israel until the mystery of God should be finished; a course of time during which the church and nation of the Jews, together with those whom, by reason of their unbelief in Christ, God should surrogate in their room, were to remain under bondage of the Gentiles and oppression of Gentilism; but those times once finished, all the kingdoms of the world should become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ: and to this great calendar of times, together with that other, but lesser calendar of seventy weeks, all mention of times in the scripture seems to have reference.' A Jewish Rabbi, Saadias Gaon, in the tenth century, stated, on Dan. vii. 48:-"Because Israel had rebelled against the Lord, their kingdom shall be taken from them and given to these four monarchies, which shall possess the kingdom in this age, and shall lead captive and subdue Israel to themselves in this age, until the future age, when Messiah shall reign.” See Mede's Works, p. 536.

The four kingdoms are, 1. Babylonian, Dan. ii. 32, 38. 2. Medes and Persians, Dan. ii. 39; v. 26–28. 3. Grecian, Dan. viii. 20, 21. See 2 Mac. ii. 1-4.* [200] 4. Roman, John xi.

* See Habershon on the Prophecies, for many valuable observations on this subject.

+ Some have supposed that the Grecian empire did not fulfil the predicted description of Dan. ii. 39; the account given of it in 2 Mac. ii. 1-4, in the author's view removes this difficulty.

48; xix. 15. It might at first sight be supposed that the ten kingdoms should be formed out of the whole Roman empire, both eastern and western. The reason why it is not so, is thus stated by Sir I. Newton, in his remarks on the prediction of Dan. vii. 11, 12. "The rest of the beasts had their dominion taken

away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and time." "The four beasts are still alive, though the dominion of the three first be taken away. The nations of Chaldea and Assyria are still the first beast; those of India and Persia are still the second beast; those of Macedon, Greece and Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, are still the third; and those of Europe on this side Greece, are still the fourth. Seeing, therefore, the body of the third beast is confined to the nations on this side the river Euphrates, and the body of the fourth beast is confined to the nations on this side of Greece, we are to look for all the four heads of the third beast among the nations on this side of the river Euphrates, and for all the eleven horns of the fourth beast among the nations on this side of Greece. And, therefore, at the breaking of the Greek empire into four kingdoms of the Greeks, we include no part of the Chaldeans, Medes, and Persians in those kingdoms, because they belong to the bodies of the two first beasts. Nor do we reckon the Greek empire seated at Constantinople, among the horns of the fourth beast, because it belonged to the body of the third.”

In the raising up of Greece to a distinct kingdom in our day, we may now see in Turkey, Persia, [201] Greece, and the ten European kingdoms, all these empires in existence.

The inquiry then comes, What are these ten kingdoms? Dr. Cressener has observed that “the number ten is usually taken in scripture for an uncertain multitude of those things of which it is said to be the number; and in such a long succession and change of kingdoms as it is here joined with, and where there is no other circumstance to shew it to be a definite number, it ought in all reason to be taken in that sense; that is, for an uncertain multitude of kingdoms that were to be set up with the beast in the bounds of the Roman empire.”* The reason is hardly satisfactory, and it is hoped that more certain light may yet be attained on this point.

It is singular that Machiavel, a professed member of the church.of Rome, has given a list of the Gothic tribes which overthrew the Roman empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, making them ten in number.f It is painful also to us, of this long-favoured land, to find that Britain is included in almost

* See Cressener's Demonstration of the Apocalypse, page 244. + See Chandler's Vindication of the Defence of Christianity, vol. i. p. 246 every list of the chief interpreters of Revelation, (as Mede, Lloyd, Sir I. Newton, Bishop Newton, Hales, Cuninghame, &c.) among these ten kingdoms.*

[202] The following are considered by some as the ten kingdoms as they now subsist. 1. Ravenna. 2. Lombardy. 3. Rome. 4. Naples. 5. Sardinia. 6. France. 7. Austria. 8. Spain. 9. Portugal. 10. Britain. Another list gives these:-1. Rome, with Ravenna and Lombardy. 2. France. 3. Spain. 4. Portugal. 5. Savoy. 6. Naples. 7. Austria. 8. Bavaria. 9. Venice. 10. Tuscany. If Rome be considered as an 11th horn, Hungary, part of which at least was included in the Roman empire, might be added. In the natural animal, horns plucked up may grow again; and so the place of the three horns plucked up before the 11th, may be supplied by fresh kingdoms, which seems proved by the number being 10 at the close, Rev. xvii. 16, 17.

The term in Dan. ii. 43, of the iron mixed with the miry clay, explained, "they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron was not mixed with clay,” may have been given to prepare us for the difficulty of identifying distinctly ten kingdoms, though that has generally been about the number.

The author confesses that he is not fully satisfied with any list yet given; he trusts that the farther investigation [203] of students may throw more light on this important part of prophecy. On the lists as might be expected, there are different opinions--some being left out, and others added; and if ten be not a definite number, we cannot expect a concurrence of view. The symbolizing and uniting with Popery and its issue, infidelity, is the darkest mark for any nation which has once been a part of the Western Roman empire. In every case, the moral

* Prophetical writers have differed in opinion whether Britain be included among the ten kingdoms of the Roman Empire. From the expressions, They receive power as Kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unlo beast; it has been concluded, that as Britain, before the rise of Popery, was separated from the Roman Empire, and did not become papal at the beginning of Popery, and separated from it at the Reformation, it cannnot be among the ten kingdoms. See the Christian Guardians for 1830, p. 135, and Whiterby, p. 79 to 88. Rejoiced, indeed, would a British Christian patriot be, to see his country not included in the last judg. ments on the Roman Empire. Daniel ii. 35; vii. 11. But it has seemed to some interpreters of Revelation, that there are changes in the Roman Empire revealed under the terms Dragon and beast; Rome Pagan, ch. xii., Rome Papal, ch. xiii., and a third in chapter xvii., which may be called Rome Papal, Infidel, Republican. The differences of the beasts of ch. xiii. and xvii. are distinctly pointed out by Woodhouse, p. 359, 360. It is in the last form that the ten kingdoms have one mind with the beast

, and are cast into perdition, and no time is allotted for the duration of this beast. If it be so, what an argument is here furnished for contending with Papacy, and Infidelity, and Lawlessness, the three evils of the last days! See Mr. Cuninghame's remarks on the last form of the Roman Empire, in his Dissertation, page 446 and 493. The state of our country cannot but occasion much anxiety.

« НазадПродовжити »