DANIEL viii. 13, 14.
THE hearer will, at the first view of our text, perceive that there is something very important communicated in the question and answer given; or why are saints commissioned (as we may reasonably suppose) from the courts of heaven, to ask and answer the question contained in the text, in presence of the prophet? And that it concerned Daniel, and us for whom the prophet wrote his prophecy, to understand, is evident from the answer being given to Daniel--"and he said unto me"--instead of being given to the "saint," who made the inquiry. Then we are not treading on forbidden ground, my dear hearer, to search to understand the meaning and truth of our subject.
"Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, 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 said unto me, Unto two thousand three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed;" or justified, as it might have been translated.
I shall then treat our subject in the following manner:
I. Explain some of the figures and expressions used in the text.
II. Show what the "daily sacrifice vision" is, and,
III. The time or length of the vision "unto two thousand three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
I. I am to explain some of the figures used in the text; and,
1st, the "daily sacrifice." This may be understood, by some, to mean the Jewish rites and ceremonies; and by others, the Pagan rites and sacrifices. As both Jews and Pagans had their rites and sacrifices both morning and evening, and their altars were kept smoking with their victims of beasts, and their holy fire was preserved in their national altars and temples devoted to their several deities or gods, we might be at a loss to know which of these to apply this figurative expression to, did not our text and context explain the meaning. It is very evident, when we carefully examine our text, that it is to be understood as referring to Pagan and Papal rites, for it stands coupled with "the abomination of desolation," and performs the same acts, such as are ascribed to the Papal abomination, "to give both the sanctuary and host to be trodden under foot." See, also, Rev. xi. 2, "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." This last text only has reference to the Papal beast, which was the image of the Pagan; but the text in consideration has reference to both Pagan and Papal. That is, How long shall the Pagan transgression and the Papal transgression tread under foot the sanctuary and host? This must be the true and literal meaning of our text; it could not mean the anti-Christian abomination alone, for they never desolated the Jewish church; neither could it mean Antiochus, the Syrian king; for he and his kingdom were made desolate and destroyed before Christ; and it is evident that Christ had an allusion to this very power, when he told his disciples, Matt. xxiv. 15, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place." I believe all commentators agree that Christ meant the Roman power--if so, then Daniel has the same meaning; for this is the very passage to which Christ alluded. Then the "daily sacrifice" means Pagan rites and sacrifices, and the transgression of desolation, the Papal; and both together shall tread under foot the "sanctuary and host," which brings me to show what may be understood by "sanctuary and host." By sanctuary, we must understand the temple at Jerusalem, and those who worship therein, which was trodden under foot by the Pagan kingdoms of the world, since the days of Daniel, the writer of our text; then by the Chaldeans; afterwards by the Medes and Persians; next by the Grecians; and lastly by the Romans, who destroyed the city and sanctuary, levelled the temple with the ground, and caused the plough to pass over the place. The people of the Jews, too, were led into captivity and persecuted by all these kingdoms successively, and finally by the Romans were taken away and destroyed as a nation. And as the prophet Isaiah, lxiii. 18, says, "The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary." Jeremiah, also, in Lam. i. 10, "The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things; for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation." The word host is applied to the people who worship in the outer court, and fitly represents the Christian church, who are said to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth, having no continuing places, but looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. Jeremiah, speaking of the gospel church, says, iii. 19, "But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the host of nations?" evidently meaning the church from the Gentiles. "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed or justified," means the true sanctuary which God has built of lively stones to his own acceptance, through Christ, of which the temple at Jerusalem was but a type, the shadows having long since fled away, and that temple and people now destroyed, and all included in unbelief. So whosoever looks for the worldly sanctuary to be built again, will find themselves as much mistaken as the unbelieving Jews were, when they looked for a temporal prince in the Messiah. For there is not a word in the prophets or apostles, after Zerubbabel built the second temple, that a third one would ever be built; except the one which cometh down from heaven, which is a spiritual one, and which is the mother of us all, (Jew and Gentile,) and which is free, and when that New Jerusalem is perfected, then shall we be cleansed and justified; for Paul says to the Phillippians, iii. 20, 21, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself;" that is, "they that are his at his coming." We see by these texts--and many more might be quoted--that the spiritual sanctuary will not be cleansed until Christ's second coming; and then all Israel shall be raised, judged, and justified in his sight.
II. We shall now try to understand what is meant by the "vision," in the text.
The vision, spoken of in the text, alludes to three separate times in which God revealed unto Daniel all that may be considered a prophecy in the book of Daniel, which vision was explained to Daniel by a heavenly messenger, called Gabriel, at three separate times, the last of which closes the book of Daniel; which last instruction will be the subject of a future lecture.
Daniel's first vision was the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had, and which troubled him; but when he awoke, the dream was gone from him. He then called for the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and wise men of Chaldea, to show him his dream, and the interpretation thereof; but they could not. The king, being angry, commanded that all the wise men of Babylon should be destroyed. Then Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, went forth to execute the king's decree; and among the rest he sought for Daniel and his three friends, young captive Jews, to execute the purpose of king Nebuchadnezzar upon them also. Daniel then, for the first time, being made acquainted with the decree, went in unto the king, and desired time, and promised that he would make known the dream, and the interpretation thereof. Time being granted, he and his three Hebrew friends held a prayer-meeting, (not a cold and formal one, as we may reasonably suppose,) for their lives and the lives of their fellow-creatures were in danger. They cried for mercies from the God of heaven. God heard and answered their prayers, and revealed to Daniel the dream and interpretation. After rendering suitable thanksgiving, Daniel went in unto the king and told the dream and visions of the king. "As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what should come to pass; but as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Thou, O king, sawest, and behold, a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth," Daniel ii. 29-35.
This was the dream, and the interpretation was clear as given by Daniel; and the history of the world proves it to be true, a large share having already been fulfilled. All that remains to be accomplished is for the stone to smite the image upon his feet, and to become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. "The head of gold" represented the Chaldean kingdom; "the breast and arms of silver" represented the Medes and Persians; "the belly and thighs of brass, which were to bear rule over all the earth," the Grecian. Alexander, a Grecian king, conquered the world; the legs of iron, and the feet part of iron and part of clay," fitly represent the Roman kingdom, which still exists, although in a broken state, like iron and clay. This kingdom has been divided between pagan Rome, the head wounded to death, and Papal Rome, the deadly wound healed, both "mixing themselves with the seed of men," that is, uniting church and state, ecclesiastical and civil, in the government. The stone denotes Christ, the God of heaven; and the mountain the kingdom of God. His breaking the image to pieces, shows that all the kingdoms of this world are to be utterly destroyed and carried away, so that no place can be found for them. And the kingdom of God filling the whole earth teaches us that the beloved city, the New Jerusalem, will fill the world, and God will dwell with his people on the earth. Read Dan. ii. 37-45. This dream was in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, 603 B.C. Forty-eight years afterwards, in the first year of Belshazzar's reign and 555 B.C., Daniel had another dream, yet the same in substance. "Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea, and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagles' wings; I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second, like unto a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo, another like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld, then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake. I beheld, even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed," Daniel vii. 1-14. This ends Daniel's night vision, except the instruction he received from some one standing by. "So he told me, and made me know 'the truth of all this,' or the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most high shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever." We see in this instruction that this vision and Nebuchadnezzar's dream agree in the most prominent parts; the four beasts representing the four kingdoms, and the saints possessing the kingdom, the same as the stone becoming a great mountain and filling the whole earth; "forever and ever" shows us that it is an immortal state in everlasting life; "the saints" evidently includes all saints, "for they shall live and reign with him on the earth," Revelation v. 10, 20. iv. 6. "Then," Daniel says, vii. 19, 20, "I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass, which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell, even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows."
In these verses we learn that the fourth beast would be diverse from the others. This was true with Rome; that kingdom first rose from a small colony of adventurers settled in Italy. Rome, also, had seven different forms of government, while the others had but one. We learn that this kingdom would devour, break in pieces, harass and perplex the people of God, whether Jew of Gentile; that it would be divided into ten kingdoms, and afterwards there would arise another power which would swallow up three of the ten kingdoms. This was all true with the Roman government. In A.D. 476, the Western Empire fell, and was divided into ten kingdoms by the Goths, Huns, and Vandals,--"France, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Tuscany, Austria, Lombardy, Rome, and Ravenna. The three last were absorbed in the territory of Rome," (E. Irwin,) and became the States of the Church, governed by the Papal chair, the little horn that had eyes and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. This description cannot apply to any other power but the church of Rome. "Had eyes," showing that they made pretence at least to be the household of faith; "eyes" meaning faith, and "mouth that spake very great things," showing that the church would claim infallibility; "whose look would be more stout than his fellows," showing that he would claim authority over all other churches, or even the kings, the other horns. See Rev. xvii. 18: "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth." That the little horn is a part of the fourth kingdom is evident, for it was to come up among the ten horns which were upon the head of the beast; and there cannot be a shadow of a doubt, even in Scripture itself, but that Rome is meant by this fourth beast; for what power but the Roman will answer the description here and elsewhere given in Daniel? "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." Daniel vii. 21, 22. In these verses we are taught clearly that anti-Christ will prevail over the church of Christ until the first resurrection and the first judgment, when the saints are raised and judged, which utterly destroys the modern idea of a temporal millennium, a thousand years before the dead are raised and judged. This also agrees with the whole tenor of Scripture; as, "judgment must first begin at the house of God," and "whom he shall destroy with the brightness of his coming;" when the Ancient of days shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, "to give reward to his servants, the prophets, and them that fear his name, small and great, and destroy them who destroy the earth," described next verse, 23. "Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times, and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end," 24-26. In these verses we have the history of the fourth beast, or Roman power, during 1260 years of the close of this kingdom, which I shall, in some future lecture, show is the meaning of time, times, and a half. We have also another clear description of the Papal power: "He shall speak great words," &c.--the blasphemies against God, in the pretensions of the Roman clergy to divine power, working of miracles, canonizing departed votaries, changing ordinances and laws of God's house, worshipping saints and images, and performing rites and ceremonies too foolish and ridiculous to be for a moment indulged in, and which any unprejudiced mind cannot for a moment believe to be warranted by divine rule, or example of Christ or his apostles. And we are again brought down to the time when the judgment shall sit: "And the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, (not temporal, as some say, or a thousand years, but an immortal and eternal,) and all dominions shall serve and obey him." It is very evident that this verse brings us down to the time when the kingdom of Christ will be complete "in the greatness of the kingdom." Every word in Scripture has a meaning, and its own proper meaning, unless used figuratively, and then explained by Scripture itself. "Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me; but I kept the matter in my heart."
This ends Daniel's night vision. Two years afterwards, in the year 553 before Christ, Daniel vii., he had another vision in the day-time, at the palace of Shushan, like the one which we have just described, and Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
"Then I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beast might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great." In the 20th verse, the angel Gabriel explains to Daniel what kingdom was represented by the "ram with two horns," and says, "The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia." We see by this that the Chaldean kingdom is left out, for the reason that that kingdom was then crumbling to ruin, and the glory of the Babylonish kingdom had faded; therefore he now begins his vision with the Mede and Persian kingdom, and that, too, when at the height of their power and conquests. The higher horn denoted the Persian line of kings, under and following the reign of Cyrus, the Persian, son-in-law to Darius the Mede. "And as I was considering, behold, a he-goat came from the west, on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes." In the 21st verse the angel says, "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king." This king was Alexander, that conquered the Persians. He was not the first king of Macedonia, but the first that had all Grecia under his control, and that conquered the world. "And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him, and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he-goat waxed very great; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and for it came up four notable ones, towards the four winds of heaven." We have in these verses a plain description of Alexander's life, conquests, death, and division of his kingdom into four parts, towards the four points of heaven--Persia in the east, Syria in the north, Macedon and Europe in the west, Egypt and Africa in the south. And the angel, when he gives Daniel instruction, says, 22d verse, "Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." Then the vision seems to slide down to the little horn. "And out of one of them (that is, out of Europe) came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down, and a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground, and it practised and prospered." Two or three things in the above description clearly show that, by the little horn, in this passage, we are to understand the Roman power, viz., Its conquering to the south, and east, and pleasant lands, stamping on the host, magnifying himself against Christ, and destroying Jerusalem, the place of his sanctuary, and his practising and prospering. All this description agrees with the history of Rome, and cannot apply to Antiochus, as some writers have supposed. But let us see what Gabriel says, 23: "And in the latter time of their kingdom, (that is, the four kingdoms,) when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up, and his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy, also, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening (in the first year of Belshazzar, Daniel vii.) and the morning (in the third year of Belshazzar, Daniel viii.) which was told, is true; wherefore shut thou up the vision, for it shall be for many days." How many days? Our text answers, "Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. And it came to pass, when I, even I, Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood, and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face; but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man, for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be."
Then comes the instruction of Gabriel, which we have before given.
III. The time or length of the vision--the 2,300 days.
What must we understand by days? In the prophecy of Daniel it is invariably to be reckoned years; for God hath so ordered the prophets to reckon days. Numb. xiv. 34, "After the number of days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years." Ezek. iv. 5, 6, "For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days; I have appointed thee each day for a year." In these passages we prove the command of God. We will also show that it was so called in the days of Jacob, when he served for Rachel, Gen. xxix. 27: "Fulfil her week (seven days) and we will give thee this also, for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet other seven years."
Nothing now remains to make it certain that our vision is to be so understood, but to prove that Daniel has followed this rule. This we will do, if your patience will hold out, and God permit.
Now turn your attention to the ninth chapter of Daniel, and you will there learn that fifteen years after Daniel had his last vision, and sixty-five years after Daniel explained Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and 538 years B.C., Daniel set his face unto the Lord God by supplication and prayer; and by confession of his own sins, and the sins of the people of Israel, he sought God for mercy, for himself and all Israel. And while he was speaking and praying, as he tells us, Daniel ix. 21, "Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, Daniel viii. 16,17, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplication the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week, (or last half, as it might have been rendered,) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomination, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
What do we learn from the above passage? We learn our duty in prayer, and God's goodness in answering. We learn that the angel Gabriel was sent to instruct Daniel, and make him understand the vision. You may inquire what vision? I answer, The one Daniel had in the beginning, for he has had no other. We also learn that seventy weeks, which is 490 days, (or years, as we shall show,) from the going forth of a certain decree to build the streets and walls of Jerusalem in troublous times, to the crucifixion of the Messiah should be accomplished. We also learn that this seventy weeks is divided into three parts; seven weeks being employed in building the streets and walls in troublous times, which is forty-nine years, sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years to the preaching of John in the wilderness, which two, put together, make sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years, and one week the gospel was preached; John three and a half years, and Christ three and a half years, which makes the seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years; which, when accomplished, would seal up the vision, and make the prophecy true. We also learn that, after the crucifixion of Christ, the Romans would come and destroy the city and sanctuary, and that wars will not cease until the consummation or end of the world. "All that may be true," says the objector; "but where have you proved that the seventy weeks were four hundred and ninety years?" I agree I have not yet proved it, but will now do it.
We shall again turn your attention to the Bible. Look at Ezra vii. 11-13: "Now this is the copy of the letter that the king, Artaxerxes, gave unto Ezra, the priest, the scribe, a scribe of the law of God: perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites in my realm, which are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee." This is the decree given when the walls of Jerusalem were built in troublous times. See, also, Neh. iv. 17-23. Ezra and Nehemiah being contemporary, see Neh. viii. 1. The decree to Ezra was given in the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign, Ezra vii. 7, and that to Nehemiah in the twentieth year, Neh. ii. 1. Let any one examine the chronology, as given by Rollin or Josephus, from the seventh year of Artaxerxes to the twenty-second year of Tiberius Cęsar, which was the year our Lord was crucified, and he will find it was four hundred and ninety years. The Bible chronology says that Ezra started to go up to Jerusalem on the 12th day of the first month, (see Ezra viii. 31,) 457 years before the birth of Christ; he being 33 when he died, added to 457, will make 490 years. Three of the evangelists tell us he was betrayed two days before the feast of the passover, and of course was the same day crucified. The passover was always kept on the 14th day of the first month forever, and Christ being crucified two days before, would make it on the 12th day, 490 years from the time Ezra left the river Ahava to go unto Jerusalem.
If this calculation is correct,--and I think no one can doubt it,--then the seventy weeks was fulfilled to a day when our Savior suffered on the cross. Is not the seventy weeks fairly proved to have been fulfilled by years? And does not this prove that our vision and the 2300 days ought to be so reckoned? Yes, if these seventy weeks are a part of the vision. Does not the angel say plainly, I have come to show thee; therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision? Yes. Well, what can a man ask for more than plain positive testimony, and a cloud of circumstances agreeing with it?
But one thing still remains to be proved. When did the 2300 years begin? Did it begin with Nebuchadnezzar's dream? No. For if it had, it must have been fulfilled in the year A.D. 1697. Well, then, did it begin when the angel Gabriel came to instruct Daniel into the 70 weeks? No, for if then, it would have been finished in the year A.D. 1762. Let us begin it where the angel told us, from the going forth of the decree to build the walls of Jerusalem in troublous times, 457 years before Christ; take 457 from 2300, and it will leave A.D. 1843; or take 70 weeks of years, being 490 years, from 2300 years, and it will leave 1810 after Christ's death. Add his life, (because we begin to reckon our time at his birth,) which is 33 years, and we come to the same A.D. 1843.
Now let us examine our subject, and see what we have learned by it thus far. And,
I. We learn that there are two abominations spoken of by Daniel. The first is the Pagan mode of worship, which was performed by the sacrificing of beasts upon altars, similar to the Jewish rites, and by which means the nations around Jerusalem drew away many of the Jews into idolatry, and brought down the heavy judgments of God upon idolatrous Israel; and God permitted his people to be led into captivity, and persecuted by the very nations that they, the Jews, had been so fond of copying after in their mode of worship. Therefore were the sanctuary and place of worship at Jerusalem trodden down by pagan worshippers; and the altars, erected by the command of God, and according to the pattern and form which God had proscribed, were broken down and more fashionable altars of the heathen erected in their room. Thus were the commands of God disobeyed, his laws perverted, his people enslaved, the sanctuary trodden down, and the temple polluted, until at last God took away the Jewish rites and ceremonies, instituted new forms, new laws, and set up the gospel kingdom in the world.
This, for a season, was kept pure from the worldly sanctuaries and policy of Satan. But Satan, an arch enemy, found his Pagan abominations could have but little or no effect to draw the followers of Christ into idolatry, for they believed the bloody rites and sacrifices had their fulfilment in Christ. Therefore, in order to carry the war into the Christian camp, he suffers the daily sacrifice abomination to be taken out of the way, and sets up Papacy, which is more congenial to the Christian mode of worship in its outside forms and ceremonies, but retaining all the hateful qualities of the former. He persuades them to erect images to some or all of the dear apostles; and even to Christ, and Mary, the "Mother of God." He then flatters them that the church is infallible. (Here was a strong cord by which he could punish all disputers.) He likewise gives them the keys of heaven, (or Peter, as they call it.) This will secure all authority. He then clothes them with power to make laws, and to dispense with those which God had made. This capped the climax. In this he would fasten many thousands who might protest against some of his more vile abominations; yet habit and custom might secure them to a willing obedience to his laws, and to a total neglect of the laws of God. This was Satan's masterpiece; and, as Daniel says, "he would think to change times and laws, and they should be given into his hand for a time, times, and a half; but they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end." Therefore, when this last abomination of desolation shall be taken away, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
II. We learn that the vision which Daniel saw was revealed at three separate times--1st. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which carried us down through four great kingdoms, until they should all be swept away like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor before the wind, and no place found for them, and the glorious and everlasting kingdom of Christ fill the whole earth. The next vision Daniel saw was similar to this; he saw four great beasts, representing four great kingdoms, as before, and he saw the fourth beast to be diverse from all the others, dreadful and terrible, and exceedingly strong; he had great iron teeth, and nails of brass, which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the people of God and the whole earth under foot. This beast contained the two abominations which we have before spoken of; the last, under the figure of a little horn, he saw until all these thrones were cast down, till the little horn was destroyed, and his body given to the burning flame. Daniel saw until the Ancient of days did sit. The Son of Man came in the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days. He saw thousand thousands ministering unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. He saw the dominion, and glory, and kingdom given to the Son of Man, and to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. In the third vision, which Daniel has coupled with the former, by saying that it was after (or like) the one which appeared unto him at the first, he saw the three last kingdoms; gave a particular description of the two first, even naming them--the Medes and Persians, and the Grecian. He then gives a short account of the little horn, (having given a more general view of the fourth kingdom in the other vision,) how he would cast down the host of heaven, and the stars, and stamp upon them; also that he would magnify himself against the Prince of the host, Jesus Christ, and cast down the place of his sanctuary, and practise and prosper, but shall be broken without hands, showing that the stone cut out without hand should break him to pieces. Daniel, then, in the 26th verse, couples the two visions, the one in the evening, 7th chapter, and the one in the morning, 8th chapter, and says, "The vision of the evening and morning, which was told, is true."
III. We learn that this vision is two thousand three hundred days long; that days are to be reckoned years--1st, By the command of God; 2d, By the example of Jacob; and 3d, By the fulfilment of the seventy weeks of this vision, at the crucifixion of the Messiah. We learn by the instruction of Gabriel that the seventy weeks were a part of the vision, and that Daniel was commanded to begin the seventy weeks at the going forth of the decree, to build the streets and walls of Jerusalem in troublous times; that this decree, given to Ezra, was exactly 490 years, to a day, before the crucifixion of Christ; and that there is no account, by Bible or any historian, that there was ever any other decree to build the streets or walls of Jerusalem. We think the proof is strong, that the vision of Daniel begins 457 years before Christ; take which from 2300, leaves 1843, after Christ, when the vision must be finished. But the objector may say, "Perhaps your vision does not begin with the seventy weeks." Let me ask two or three questions. Does not the angel say to Daniel, ix. 23, "Therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision"? "Yes." Does not the angel then go on and give his instruction concerning the seventy weeks? "Yes." Do you believe the Bible is true? "We do." Then if the Bible is true, Daniel's 70 weeks are a part of the vision, and 490 years were accomplished when the Mesiah was cut off, and not for himself. Then 1810 years afterwards the vision is completed; and we now live about 1803 years after; of course it must have begun within seven years of that date. But it is very reasonable to suppose it began with the seventy weeks; for the angel said it would establish the vision, that is, make it sure; for if the 70 weeks were exactly fulfilled at the death of Christ, then would the remainder be in 1810 years after, which would be fulfilled A.D. 1843, as we have before shown.
And now, my dear hearer, are you prepared for this great and important event? Are you ready for the judgment to set, and the books to be opened? Let this subject sink deep into your hearts; let if follow you to your bed-chambers, to your fields, or your shops. Not one jot or tittle of the word of God shall fail. If he has spoken, it will come, however inconsistent it may look to us. Be admonished, then, and see to it that you are prepared. Compare the vision with the history of the kingdom, and where can you find a failure? Not one. Then, surely, here is evidence strong that the remainder will be accomplished in its time, and that time but seven years. Think, sinner, how good God is to give you notice, and prove it a thousand fold. Remember the old world; they thought Noah was a maniac; but the flood came, and they were reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Remember the cities of the plain. Lot was unto them like one that mocked; but the same day God rained fire and brimstone upon them, and they are suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Be warned, then; fly to the ark, Christ Jesus, before the door is shut; escape to the mountain of the house of the Lord before the Lord shall rise up to the prey, and you be driven away in your wickedness. Amen.
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DANIEL ix. 24.
OUR text is one of the many found in the word of God, which prove the authenticity of the scriptures, gives us a powerful weapon against Judaizing teachers, and meets the infidel on his own ground--the history of the world.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
It sets a seal to prophecy that it is true, and shows that the prophets were inspired.
It gives incontestable evidence against the Jew, and proves that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
It unlocks the wonderful vision of Daniel's four kingdoms; also the vision of the ram, the he-goat, and the little horn.
It brings to view the great blessings of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, reveals the exact time of its accomplishment, and shows the source of the gospel, proclaiming good news to lost man, even in anticipation of that important era when the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs with the Jews in faith.
It establishes the wavering, and gives hope and confidence to the tried and tempted child of God, that he will fulfil all his promises, according to the letter and spirit of his word.
This text furnished Simeon, Anna, Nathaniel, and others, with a strong faith that they should see the consolation of Israel.
By this text the high priest convinced the council of the necessity of putting to death Jesus. "Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans will come, and take away both our place and nation."
"And one of them, named Caiaphas, being high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself, (not his own prophecy;) but, being high priest that year, he prophesied (from Daniel's seventy weeks; for there is not another prophecy in the Old Testament which shows what year Christ should suffer) that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that, also, he should gather together in one the children of God, that were scattered abroad," John xi. 47-53.
The high priest argues that Jesus must die for the people.
The seventy weeks shows that the Messiah must be cut off at the close of the last week, and not for himself. Also Peter had occasion to say in his epistle, "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time, the spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow," 1 Peter i. 10, 11.
Where was the exact time of Christ's sufferings prophesied of but in Daniel's seventy weeks? Again, to this Christ alludes when he says, "My time is not yet fully come;" and, "Then they sought to take him, but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come:" that is, the seventy weeks were not yet fulfilled, John vii. 8, 30. Mark tells us, xiv. 41, "The hour is come; behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
The seventy weeks were now being fulfilled. And then, at last, when Jesus had completed his work, when the fulness of time had come, he finished transgression, and made an end of sin: he then cried, "It is finished, and gave up the ghost." The seventy weeks ended, our text was fulfilled; Christ had now become the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth; he that knew no sin had become sin for us, and Death had struck his last blow that he would ever be able to give the Son of God. Daniel's vision is now made sure--the Messiah cut off, the time proved true, as given by the prophet Daniel.
Now, ye infidels, can this be priestcraft? And, ye Judaizing teachers, is not this the Christ? Why look ye for another?
I shall now take up the text in the following manner:
I. I shall show what is to be done in seventy weeks.
II. When the seventy weeks began, and when they ended.
I. The text tells us, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city;" that is, upon the Jews, who then were the people of Daniel, and also in Jerusalem, which then was called the "holy city." The first question which would naturally arise on the mind, would be, What for to do? The text and its context must tell us.
1st. "To finish the transgression." When was transgression finished? I answer, At the death of Christ. See Heb. ix. 15, "And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Isaiah liii. 8, "For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken."
2d. "And to make an end of sins." This was also performed at his death. See Heb. ix. 26, "But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." And 1 John iii. 5, "Ye know that he (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins."
3d. "And to make reconciliation for iniquity." Was this also performed at his death? Yes. See Col. i. 20, "And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself." Heb. ii. 17, "Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
4th. "And to bring in everlasting righteousness." "This must be by Christ's obedience," says the objector, "and cannot be at his death." Not so fast, dear sir; let us hear the testimony. Romans v. 21, "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." And, "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Again, see Phil. ii. 8, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Paul says, "I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain;" evidently showing, that by Christ's obedience unto death, he brought in everlasting righteousness.
5th. "To seal up the vision and prophecy." What does "to seal up" mean? I answer, It means to make sure, certain, unalterable. Consult Esther iii. 12, viii. 8. Solomon says, "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm;" that is, make me sure in thy love, and certain by thy power. John says, "He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true." John iii. 33. Paul to Rome, xv. 28, "When I have performed this, and sealed to them this fruit;" that is, made sure the contributions. Again, to Timothy, 2 Epistle, ii. 19, "Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." Therefore the death of Christ would make Daniel's vision sure; for if a part of the vision should be exactly fulfilled, as to time and manner, then the remainder of the vision would be accomplished in manner and time, as literally as the seventy weeks had been.
6th. "And anoint the Most Holy." The Most Holy in this passage, must mean Christ; for no human being can, or ought to claim this appellation, save him whom God hath anointed to be a Savior in Israel, and a King in Zion. See Acts x. 38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power." Also, Acts iv. 27, "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Heb. i. 9, "Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
It will next be requisite to inquire, When was Christ anointed?
I answer, When the Holy Ghost descended upon him, and when he was endued with power from on high to work miracles. See Isa. lxi. 1, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
After Christ was baptized by John, and after being tempted of the devil forty days in the wilderness, he went in the spirit into Galilee, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as his custom was, and he stood up to read. They gave him the book of Isaiah. When he opened the book he found the passage which I have just quoted. After reading it he shut up the book and sat down. He then began to say unto them, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears," Luke iv. 1-21. This passage plainly proves that Christ was anointed on or before this day.
Other things were to be done in the seventy weeks, such as, The cutting off of the Messiah, but not for himself. This can mean nothing less than the crucifixion of Christ. See Luke xxiv. 26, 46, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Rom. v. 6, "For when we were without strength, in due time (or according to the time of seventy weeks) Christ died for us."
"And he (Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." What covenant is this to be confirmed? I answer, It cannot be the Jewish covenant, for that was confirmed by Moses many hundred years before Daniel lived. There being but two covenants, it must of necessity be the new covenant of which Christ is the Mediator; Moses having been the mediator of the old, and Christ afterwards of the new. If these things are so, and the gospel covenant is meant by Daniel, then the time the gospel was preached by John and Christ is here called a week; for Christ himself preached more than seven days. Christ kept three passovers with the Jews after he began his ministry, and before he nailed the ceremonial law to his cross. This is strong evidence that a week is seven years, and that Daniel's 70 weeks are to be understood as meaning 490 years.
Again, "In the midst of the week he should cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease," or, as all Hebrew scholars agree, "In the last half of the week," &c., is the more proper translation; and it is evident that this translation would harmonize with the other parts of the passage, "the sacrifice and oblation to cease."
What sacrifice and offering is this, which the Messiah was to cause to cease? I answer, It must of course be that one offering and sacrifice for sin of which all other offerings and sacrifices were but types. It could not be the Jewish sacrifices and offerings, for two good reasons.
1st. This is but one sacrifice, and the Jews had many. It does not say sacrifices; therefore it cannot mean Jewish sacrifices, nor offerings.
2d reason. The Jewish sacrifices and offerings did not cease in, nor even very nigh, the last half of the week in which the Messiah confirmed the covenant with many; and, even to the present day, they make oblations, if not sacrifices. It must mean that sacrifice and oblation which the Messiah was to make to God for sin, once for all. It must mean that sacrifice which is the antetype of all the legal sacrifices from the days of Abel to the days of the Messiah. Let us hear what Paul says, Heb. vii. 27, "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this he did once when he offered up himself."
See also Heb. x. 11, 12. "And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God." Many more passages might be brought to show that all sacrifices and oblations which could take away sin, or in which God the Father could be well pleased, ceased in Christ's one sacrifice and oblation. But I have given enough to satisfy every candid, unprejudiced mind; therefore I shall,
II. Try to prove when the seventy weeks began, and when they ended.
The angel Gabriel tells Daniel, ix. 25, "Know, therefore, and understand, that, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
In this passage we have a plain declaration when the seventy weeks began: "from the going forth of the commandment." But what commandment? we may inquire. I answer, A command that will finally restore the Jews from their captivity under which they then were held in bondage; also to prepare the way for them to rebuild their city, repeople the same, and raise up the decayed walls, settle the streets, and cleanse the city of Jerusalem; and these things would be done in troublous times. So much is expressed or implied in the declaration of Gabriel, which I have just quoted.
Who would give the command? is the next question. I answer, It must be a king who had power over the Jews to release and restore them. It must of necessity be a king over the Medes and Persians, or it would not be in agreement with the vision in the 8th chapter of Daniel; for he is expressly told by Gabriel that the ram he saw, and which was the first thing he did see in the vision, were the kings of Media and Persia. And now this same angel Gabriel has come the second time, and tells Daniel, plainly and distinctly, that he has come to make him "understand the vision." What vision? The one Daniel had in the beginning, in the 8th chapter. See Daniel ix. 21-23.
Then Gabriel begins his instructions by giving him seventy weeks of the vision, and then shows him, verse 24, when his seventy weeks begin; or, which is the same thing, "the vision." To read and understand the matter thus far, infidelity itself must blush to deny the premises.
Then, if we have settled this question, the next question would be, Which king of Persia, and what commandment? I answer, It must be the fifth king of Persia noted in the Scripture of truth; for the angel Gabriel, the third time he visited Daniel to give him skill and understanding into "the vision," says, "But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth," Dan. x. 21. This shows that he was instructing Daniel into a vision which he before had seen, and written in the Scriptures. See Dan. vii. 1, "Then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters." Dan. x. 14, "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days." What vision? The one noted in the Scripture of truth, says Gabriel. Then, in Dan. xi. 2, he begins his instruction to him of the vision, which he was commanded by the voice between the banks of Ulai to make him understand, by saying, "And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all." This fourth king was the ram pushing, and was the fifth king of Persia, being the fourth from Cyrus, who was then standing up. See Dan. x. 1.
The kings, as Ezra has named them in his 4th chapter and 7th chapter, were, 1st, Cyrus; 2d, Ahasuerus; 3d, Artaxerxes, (the first;) 4th, Darius; 5th, Artaxerxes (Longimanus;) this last being the king who gave a commandment to Ezra to restore all the captive Jews who were willing to go to Jerusalem.
What commandment? is our next question to answer. The decree given by Cyrus (see Ezra i. 1-11) cannot be the decree meant by the angel, for the four following reasons:--
1st. Cyrus was the first king of Persia, and of course cannot be the fifth king, as we have already shown.
2d reason. The decree of Cyrus was two years before the angel gave his last instruction to Daniel, and he would not have spoken of it as being future, if it had already passed: "There shall yet stand up three kings," &c.
3d reason. Cyrus's decree was not given to build Jerusalem, but "the house of God which was at Jerusalem;" neither were the walls built in troublous times, under the decree by Cyrus.
4th reason. This decree by Cyrus was given 536 years before the birth of Christ, or 569 years before his death. Therefore no rules of interpretation given in the Scriptures could possibly show how those things were accomplished in seventy weeks, which Gabriel has shown, in our text and context, were determined to be done. This, then, cannot be the commandment, and harmonize with either Bible or facts.
Again: the decree given by Darius, Ezra vi. 1-14, cannot be the commandment to which the angel alluded, for the same reasons we have shown that Cyrus's decree could not be the one; for this was only a renewal of the former, and this decree was issued 552 years before Christ's death.
The next decree or command of any king of Persia we find in the seventh year of Artaxerxes (Longimanus.) See Ezra vii. 6-28. In this decree we find the last command of any king of Persia to restore the captive Jews. We learn that, in this decree, the king furnished them with money and means to beautify and adorn the temple which had been built by Darius's order a number of years before. We find that the interdict, Ezra iv. 21, in which the Jews were commanded not to build Jerusalem, is now removed by its own limitation, "until another commandment be given from me." This decree, therefore, took off this command. We learn by Ezra's prayer, ix. 9, that Ezra understood that the decree to which we allude did give them the privilege of building, in Judah and Jerusalem, the wall which had been broken down. After Ezra had been high priest and governor in Jerusalem thirteen years, Nehemiah was permitted to go up to assist Ezra in building Jerusalem and repairing the walls; which was done in troublous times, under Nehemiah's administration, which lasted in all 39 years. See Nehemiah, 4th to the 7th chapter; Ezra and Nehemiah, both of them having served as governors 49 years.
Here, then, we find the fulfilment of what the angel told Daniel would be done under the command that would begin the seventy weeks, and which is the same thing--"the vision." This decree was given 457 years before Christ: the seventy weeks began, and if they ended at the death of Christ, which we have proved did end them, then the seventy weeks ended after Christ 33 years, making, in all, 490 years, which is 70 weeks of years.
But it is evident that Gabriel has divided the seventy weeks into three parts, and I think clearly explains the use of this division.
"Shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks." Then, as if you should inquire, What is seven weeks for? he explains, "The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Ezra and Nehemiah were 49 years, or seven weeks of years, performing these very things, which ended before Christ 408. See large edition of Polyglot Bible. What is sixty-two weeks for? The angel has already told us, "Unto the Messiah, the Prince;" that is, to the time Christ was anointed to preach, the meaning of Messiah. Sixty-two weeks are 434 days; or weeks of years would be 434 years, which, beginning where the seven weeks ended, 408, would end 26 years after Christ, the year John began to preach as forerunner of Christ. Then "he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week," making in all the seventy weeks. Thus the seven weeks ended with the administration of Nehemiah, B.C. 408. Then the sixty-two weeks ended when John began to preach the gospel, A.D. 26; and the one week was fulfilled in A.D. 33, when Christ offered himself upon the cross, as an offering and sacrifice for sin; "by which offering we are sanctified once for all." For he need not offer himself often, as the high priest did, under the law. "But now, once in the end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Heb. ix. 26, Therefore, "he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease." That is the only and last sacrifice and oblation that will be ever offered in our world, which can take away sin; "for there remaineth," says the apostle, "no more sacrifice for sin." Then let me inquire, What is the sum of the instruction of the angel to Daniel? I will sum it up in as few words as I can.
After Daniel had a certain vision, commonly called "the vision of the ram, the he-goat, and the little horn," Daniel heard one saint inquire of another, how long that vision should be. The answer was given Daniel, that it should be unto 2300 days, when the sanctuary should be cleansed or justified. Daniel then heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. Accordingly, Gabriel came to Daniel, and informed him that at the end of the world, or time appointed of God, the vision should be fulfilled. He then tells him that the ram represented the Mede and Persian kingdom; and that the rough goat represented the Grecian kingdom; gives a short history of that kingdom, and its four divisions; then shows, at the close of these kingdoms, that another king would arise, (meaning the kingdom of the little horn, or Roman,) describing him exactly as Moses had described the Romans many centuries before. See Deuteronomy xxviii. 49, 50. "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance." This, no person will dispute, means the Romans. Then why not a similar description in Daniel, viii. 23? "When the transgressors (meaning the Jews) are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up, and his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people."
I think the reader, divested of prejudice, cannot apply the description given in the above quotation to any other nation but the Romans. "And through his policy, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand." This description agrees with Paul's man of sin, the mystery of iniquity which worked in his day, and which would be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming. See 2 Thess. ii. 3-8. "So that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Gabriel says, "And he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;" that is, against God; the very same character which Paul has described. "But he shall be broken without hand," that is, "by the brightness of his (Christ's) coming," as says Paul. But as Daniel has said, "By the stone cut out of the mountain without hand;" or, as he says, Daniel vii. 21, 22, "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom."
After Gabriel had instructed Daniel thus far, he left him. Sixteen years afterwards, Gabriel came again to Daniel, and informed him that he had come to instruct him, and give him skill and understanding into the vision, of which we have been speaking. He then gives him the seventy weeks, shows what would be accomplished in that time, the cutting off of the Messiah, and the ceasing of the sacrifice and oblation. He mentions the destruction of Jerusalem, and the war of the little horn; the desolation of the people of God, and overspreading of abominations. He carries us to the consummation, destruction of the little horn, called here the desolator. See marginal reading. Gabriel, after giving the history of the seventy weeks, dwells not in detail on the remainder of the vision, but reserves a more detailed account for the next visit, which is given unto us in the 10th to the 12th chapter of Daniel inclusive.
But the seventy weeks, of which we are more particularly speaking, the angel Gabriel has told us when it began: at the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, &c. We have found no command that will apply in all its bearings, but the one given to Ezra, which was given in the 457th year before the birth of Christ; and 33 years afterwards Christ was crucified; which two numbers, if added, make 490 years, exactly seventy weeks of years. We learn that Gabriel, in order to make the vision doubly sure, divides the seventy weeks into three parts, seven, sixty-two, and one, making in all seventy. He then tells us plainly what would be accomplished in each part separately.
1st. Seven weeks. "The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." No man can dispute but that this was accomplished under the administration of Ezra and Nehemiah. And it is very evident that these two were governors over Jerusalem 49 years, which makes the seven weeks of years, and carries us down the stream of time to the year 408 B.C.
2d. Sixty-two weeks. "Unto the Messiah, the Prince;" that is, unto the time that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power to preach the gospel, either in himself or forerunner John. See Mark i. 1. Sixty-two weeks of years would be 434 years. This would carry us down to twenty-six years after Christ's birth, and brings us to the very year of "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God." Mark i. 1.
3d. One week. "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." One week would, of course, be seven years, which, added to twenty-six, would make thirty-three years after Christ. Here, too, we find an exact and literal accomplishment of the angel's declaration. The gospel of Jesus Christ preached by John three and a half years, and by Christ three and a half years, making seven years, called one week, and then Messiah cut off, and not for himself, Christ crucified, ends the seventy weeks, proves Daniel's prophecy true, establishes the vision, confounds the Jew, confutes the infidel, and ought to establish the mind of every believer in the remainder of the vision.
Here, then, is a combination of facts and circumstances, together with dates and times, which throws upon the mind such strong array of testimony, that it would seem no rational being could withstand the proof. And methinks I hear some say, Why all this argument? No one but a Jew ever disputed, but that the seventy weeks were fulfilled at the death of Christ, and that a day in this prophecy was a figure of a year.
I should not have been thus particular, and have trespassed so much on your time to prove a given point in Christendom, had I not recently met with more than one Christian professor, and even teachers in Zion, who deny that the seventy weeks ended with the death of Christ, or that a day in this prophecy means a year. Some have gone so far in infidelity as to deny that "Most Holy," in our text, and "Messiah," in our context, means Christ. This surely would make a Jew blush. I agree that I never anticipated that any objection could be raised on those points, without a wilful perversion of language, and a total disregard of the word of God.
But man, in his fallen state, is an unaccountable, strange being; if his favorite notions are crossed, he will, to avoid conclusions, deny even his own senses. Therefore it becomes necessary for me to prove, what has been considered by many, even of the objectors themselves in previous time, given points in theology.
It is not more than four years since many of the clergy and D.D.'s in the city of New York met a delegation of the Jewish patriarchs from the East, and in their conference the clergy and doctors brought forward the seventy weeks in Daniel, as proof positive of Jesus of Nazareth being the true Messiah. They explained the seventy weeks in the same manner I have to you, and asked the Jews how they could avoid the conclusion? and I understood they could get no answer. Now, suppose these same clergy and D.D.'s should meet me on the question now pending; I should not be greatly disappointed if they should deny my premises. "Why would they do thus?" say you. I answer, For the same reason that the lawyer hesitated, when he learned that it was his bull that gored the farmer's ox.
"But might we not understand the seventy weeks to be so many literal weeks, that is, 490 common days?" say you. I answer, If so, then the command to build Jerusalem must have been given only a year and a third before Christ's death; and it would have been very improper for Gabriel to have said, "Unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks," when he had already come, and had been preaching more than two years before the weeks began. No, my friends; every reasonable controversialist must acknowledge there is no possible way to get rid of our conclusion but to deny that Most Holy, and Messiah, means Christ, in our text and context. And I pity, and leave the man in the hands of him who knows all hearts, that is forced on to ground so untenable as this.
If I have got a right understanding of the seventy weeks, that a day stands for a year,--and I have never been able to find a Christian expositor who disagrees with me on this point, either modern or ancient,--then the conclusion is, as far as I can see, unavoidable, that the vision of Daniel is 2300 years long, and that the 490 years before Christ's death is not only the key to unlock the commencing of the vision, but shows conclusively how and when, and manner and time, the kingdoms of this world will be broken to pieces and carried away, and no place found for them, by the stone which will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.
For the seventy weeks must seal up the vision and make the prophecy of Daniel true. Then, if 2300 days is the length of the vision, and 490 days of that vision were fulfilled in 490 years ending with Christ's death, so must 1810 days end the vision, which, upon precisely the same rule, will be fulfilled in 1810 years after Christ's death, or in 1843 after his birth, which is the same thing.
But, say some, "Daniel did not understand the vision nor end." Then the angel Gabriel was not obedient to the heavenly command; for he was commanded to make Daniel "understand the vision," and the vision and end are connected by the angel himself. He says, "At the time of the end shall be the vision."
Again: if Daniel did not understand, the angel must have been disappointed; for the angel says, "Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed, (2300 days,) the end shall be."
Again: if Daniel did not understand the vision and time, then his own words cannot be taken as evidence. "A thing was revealed unto Daniel, and the thing was true, but the time appointed (2300 days) was long." This shows that Daniel understood the time; for he says it was long. For no man would have called 2300 common days (not quite seven years) a long time for so many great and important events, as are noticed in the vision, to transpire in. "And he understood the thing, (that is, the time,) and had understanding of the vision." Daniel x. 1.
Now, let the objector quarrel with Gabriel and Daniel if he pleases. I have their testimony, and shall give them the preference. Some say, "God has not revealed the time." I ask, then, Who revealed this vision to Daniel? By whose command was the answer given, 2300 days? Who revealed the seventy weeks, the "time, times, and a half"? How came Daniel by his 1290 and 1335 days? Who said to Daniel, "But go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days"? Read Daniel ii. 20, 23, and 28th verses, and let the objector lay his hands upon his mouth and be silent. Has man become so bold in sin that he will contradict angels, defame the prophets, deny the word of God, that we may cry peace and safety, when sudden destruction cometh? "But if ye will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither would you though one rose from the dead." Peter says, "There shall be scoffers in the last day, saying, Where is the promise of his coming?" God has not revealed the time of the end, say you; therefore it will be no harm for you to "say in your hearts, My Lord delayeth his coming."
Who shall tell the friend of the bridegroom when to give the midnight cry, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh"? For this must be before he comes--no time then to cry; for it will be as sudden as the lightning, says the dear Savior.
Let the objectors look to it, that they do not reject the council of God against themselves.
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, (ignorant of the revelation of God,) that that day shall overtake you as a thief." Amen.
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REV. xiii. 18.
THIS text has caused as much speculation as any text in the whole Bible; rivers of ink have been shed to explain its meaning, brains have been addled in trying to find some great mystery which the wisdom of this world, as was supposed, could only discover; and in trying to be wise above what was written, men have lost their balance, and fell into absurdities too ridiculous to mention. Some have searched through all the vocabulary of Greek names, to find one whose numerical letters would make the number 666, and they have been wonderfully blest, for they found a number; but here again there remained a difficulty to surmount, which required as much ingenuity as the former; but to remedy the evil, every Greek scholar chose the one his fancy dictated, wrote his book on the number 666, and then died, and his wonderful name died with him; for every wise Greek had his own favorite name. Also, the Latin book-worms, not wishing to be outdone by their Greek brethren, rummaged all the old goatskin parchments and musty books in the cloisters of all the monks in Christendom; and behold, a much greater harvest was the fruit of their labor; for now every Latinus had three or more names to his share; and in all this wisdom, all other nations were left without any wisdom, except what they borrowed from their neighbors, the learned Greeks and Latins. But I hope, my dear hearers, that you have learned that if there is any mystery of God not explained by the Bible, it is not for us to understand. Therefore, in treating upon this subject, I shall endeavor to present the Scripture on the point, and then leave you to judge whether we have light or not.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.
I. Show what wisdom this is spoken of in the text.
II. Speak of the beast numbered, and show what beast.
III. The number, and what we may understand by it.
I. The wisdom spoken of in the text.
1st. Is it the wisdom of men, or of this world? I answer, No. For Paul says, 1 Cor. ii. 4, 13, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory." Now, if Paul would not preach the wisdom of men or the world, surely the angel would not instruct John to use the wisdom of man or of this world, "for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God," 1 Cor. iii. 19. And if Paul said our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, neither would John have given any thing that depended on the wisdom of men for a foundation of our faith. But Paul has taught us what true wisdom is, by saying, "Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God;" "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." And Paul tells us how we may exercise this wisdom, 1 Cor. ii. 13, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Here, then, my dear hearer, is the great secret of wisdom, to compare spiritual things with spiritual; and then we have the mind and will of the Spirit, and shall not be very liable to err. Let us, then, follow this rule while we try to explain.
II. The beast numbered in the text. And,
1st. Let us inquire what beast it is. I answer, It is the first beast. See our context, 12th verse, "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him;" that is, the beast which John saw come up out of the sea, (the Roman government,) having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his head the name of blasphemy; and the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." By this beast, I understand the same as Daniel's fourth kingdom, the Roman government; by "names of blasphemy," I understand a mode of worship which would be idolatrous or blasphemous; by the dragon, we must understand the civil power of the same government giving its power to the ecclesiastical beast, whether Pagan or Papal. 3d verse, "And I saw one of his heads, (of blasphemy, Pagan) as it were, wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed, (by the substitution of the Papal blasphemous head;) and all the world wondered after the beast."
John then goes on to describe the civil power of this Roman government under this last head, and shows the length of time they would exercise this last power--"forty-two months"--which is the same as Daniel's time, times, and a half, or John's 1260 days, mentioned Rev. xi. 3, xii. 6. His power to make war and overcome the saints is foretold. In the tenth verse he shows us how this civil power should be destroyed, by captivity and the sword; and this was fulfilled in 1798, when the pope was carried a captive into France, and the states of Italy were conquered by the sword of the French army. In the 11th verse he gives us a discovery of the same beast in his ecclesiastical power; Pagan Rome in the first beast, and Papacy in the image beast; and it will be evident to any one who will examine the chapter carefully, that John was not commanded to number the image beast--for the civil power of that beast was before numbered in the 5th verse,--but the beast which existed before him, which the Papal ecclesiastical beast is an image of, or Daniel's daily sacrifice abomination, (Dan. xii. 11,) the one which Paul said, "he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
In this passage it is evident the apostle alludes to the same power, although he calls it the "working of Satan." John also gives a similar description in Rev. xii. 9, "And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." But I have another evidence that the beast numbered was Pagan Rome, and I think it must be conclusive testimony, in Rev. xvii. 3. In this chapter one of the seven angels that had the seven vials came to instruct John, and to show him "the judgment of the great whore with whom the kings of the earth had committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness, and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns."
Here the same idolatrous beast, having seven heads and ten horns, is described; the woman sitting upon this beast is the same as Daniel's little horn which came up among the ten horns, and shows plainly that it was that part of Roman power which was prior to the woman, and was of course called the first beast. When John saw this woman on the scarlet-colored beast, he wondered with great admiration, and says, Rev. xvii. 7, "And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition, and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." "That was," Pagan Rome before John saw his vision, "and is not," yet in its last stage of Papal Rome, "and yet is," in the same spirit, for Papal Rome is but an image of Paganism, as says the Apostle, 2 Thess. ii. 6, 7, "And now ye know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time, for the mystery of iniquity doth already work." And, 1 John ii. 18, "Little children, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many anti-Christs, whereby we know it is the last time." And again, Rev. xvii. 9, "And here is the mind which hath wisdom;" evidently referring John right back to our text, "Here is wisdom; let him that hath understanding," the same as mind in the above quotation. "The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth, and there are seven kings; five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space, and the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." These texts explain the whole matter; for it is evident that the beast here alluded to was the seven-headed monster who was then in existence when John wrote, for five of its executive forms of government (of which kings and mountains are figures) had fallen. Republican Rome had five different offices under that particular form of government--her senatorial, tribunate, consular, decemvir, and triumvirate. These were fallen. One is, (that was when John wrote his prophecy,) Imperial, and the other had not yet come, Kingly, which is the same as the ten horns. For when the Western Empire fell, Rome was divided into ten kingdoms, "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." These have one mind, (that is, were all converted to the Catholic faith,) and shall give their power and strength unto the beast, Papal Rome. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." And although this beast, whatever form it may assume, whether Pagan or Papal, may for a season tyrannize over and trample on the followers of Christ, through the agency of the evil power of empires, kingdoms, states, or republics, yet He who rules over all, will, in the end, destroy all these powers, and himself reign King of kings and Lord over all. "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and cut her flesh, and burn her with fire."
This text has been literally accomplished within a few years; and those kingdoms which were of the ten, kingdoms which first gave power to the beast, have of late persecuted and destroyed her, who is the abomination of the whole earth. Witness the transactions of Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Naples, and Tuscany, the Seven Kingdoms which were not plucked up by the little horn; each of these nations have in their turn resisted the power and pretensions of the Pope of Rome, until his civil authority is reduced to a cipher in all these kingdoms. "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled." Then must the Papal beast, the image of Paganism, be numbered and finished, and like a weighty mill-stone sunk in the deep, he must with the Pagan beast sink forever and ever.
Thus we see the two beasts, although supported by the same power, "the great red dragon or Roman kingdom," exercising the same authority over the bodies and souls of men, partaking of the same spirit of Satan, made like each other, one being but an image of the other, having the same names of blasphemy on their heads, and both having, at the close of their times, the same ten horns, and both have, and are to have, their civil power destroyed by the same ten horns. Yet we see them kept separate and distinct. Pagan Rome must reign his time, and then the ten horns, or kings, would take away the "daily sacrifice abomination," and place in his stead the "abomination that maketh desolate." The last abomination was numbered in the same chapter where our text is found, "forty and two months." And why not give us the number of the first beast? He has: "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six." This brings us to our next proposition.
III. To show what we may understand by the numbering of the beast. And,
1st. What may we understand by numbering anything of this kind in Scripture? For the Scripture must be our guide, as we have before said.
I answer, It is to count, to finish, or to destroy, when used in a figurative sense, or in prophetic Scripture, as in Isa. xxii. 10, "And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall." They were accused by the prophet of destroying houses, by numbering them or counting them for destruction. Also see Isa. lxv. 12, "Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter." Here again it is used in the same sense: I will reckon or count you to the sword. Again, Dan. v. 25, 26, "And this is the hand-writing that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE, God hath numbered thy kingdom and hath finished it."
As, therefore, the idolatrous and blasphemous kingdom of Babylon was numbered and finished by God, whose decree was conveyed by the hand-writing on the wall to the knowledge of Daniel and others, so was John commanded, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to write in this last book of prophecy, the MENE, TEKEL, of this last idolatrous Pagan beast. "Here is wisdom." Let a wise Daniel, or him that hath the wisdom of God like a Daniel, or "let him that hath understanding" in the work of God, or him that will compare scripture with scripture, "count the number of the beast," or the number of his name.
Let us inquire what is the name of this beast. His name is blasphemy, because he causes all, both high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, to worship stocks and stones, idols of gold, and silver, and wood, that can neither see, hear, nor talk. See the 1st verse of our context, "and upon his head the name of blasphemy," which teaches us what the name of this beast is, and shows us that we are to count, or reckon, how long before the blasphemies of this Pagan power will be finished; "for it is the number of a man." And what, you may inquire, is the number of a man? I answer again, We must apply to God's word "the number of a man."
Moses says, Exodus xxiii. 26, "The number of thy days I will fulfil." Job, speaking of man, says, xiv. 5, "Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months is with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass." David says, Ps. xc. 12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Therefore, we may reasonably conclude that the "number of a man" is the number of his days; and the Scriptures often speak of man in connection with his time of sojourn on the earth, calling it days; as, "few and evil have been the days of my pilgrimage;" "died, being old and full of days;" "length of days is in her right hand;" "all the days of thy life;" "I will wait all the days of my appointed time until my change come." If this is the understanding of this part of our text, which I cannot see any reason to doubt, then our text has this plain meaning. Here is need of spiritual wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of his days; for his days are numbered as a man's; they are six hundred threescore and six. This power (Rome Pagan) would be taken away when his six hundred and sixty-six prophetic days should end; and this brings us to show when those days began, and of course when they ended.
They must have begun when the Jewish rites and ceremonies were in being; for this was the sole object of Paganism, to counteract the Jewish rituals and draw the Jewish worshippers into idolatry, and to blend the heathen rites with theirs. They must have begun before Christ was born, for the great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns was to stand before the woman, (the Jewish Church,) ready to devour the man child as soon as it was born. They could not have begun before they became connected with the Jews, for the reason that no nation is prophesied of, or noticed in the prophecies, except they are somehow connected with the people of God; and for the very reason that this beast was to tread down the Jews, and finally, by cunning, deceit, and intrigue, destroy the city and nation of the Jews, then I think the fairest conclusion is, that when they became connected with the Jews by league, and when they had conquered Daniel's third kingdom, the Grecian. Then, and not until then, had the Romans any part in this prophecy. This agrees with the angel's statement, Dan. xi. 23, "After the league made with him, (that is, Romans,) he shall work deceitfully, and become strong with a small (republican) people." This league was made between the Romans and the Jews, ratified and carried into effect when the Greeks under Bachides left besieging Jerusalem, upon the command of the Romans, and, as Josephus and Maccabees tell us, never returned to trouble them (the Jews) any more. This league, then, took effect when the third kingdom in Daniel's vision ceased harassing the Jews, and the fourth kingdom began its rule over the Jews and the world. This was in the year B.C. 158. Let those who wish to be satisfied of the correctness of the foregoing statements read the 8th and 9th chapters of the 1st Maccabees, and Josephus, B. XII. chapter x. sec. 6, of his Antiquities. Then, if this be correct, that Pagan Rome began his power in the year B.C. 158, and was to continue 666 years, when would Paganism fall in the Roman kingdom, and the "daily sacrifice abomination" be taken out of the way to make room for the abomination of desolation? I answer, Take 158 from 666 and you will have 508. Then in the year A.D. 508 Paganism ceased.
What is the history of that time? I answer, that about the year A.D. 476 the Western Empire of Rome crumbled to pieces, and the Pagan nations of the north, crossing the Rhine and the Danube, established ten kingdoms in what was considered the Western Empire. France was the principal kingdom of the ten. These kingdoms were all governed by Pagan kings; and history informs us that in the city of Rome and other places in the empire these Pagan conquerors sacrificed men, women, and children to their supposed deities; and that in the year 496 Clovis king of France was converted and baptized into the Christian faith; and that the remainder of these kings embraced the religion of Christ shortly after, the last of which was Christianized in the year 508, and of course Paganism ceased, having lost its head by the power of the sword, or kings who wield the sword. Here, then, was the accomplishment of two important prophecies--the daily sacrifice abomination taken out of the way, and the Pagan beast receiving its deadly wound by a sword; since which time we have no account of any Pagan rites or sacrifices being offered within the bounds of ancient Rome. How exactly has the word of God been accomplished! How just and true are all the ways of the God of heaven! And how blind are mortals that they cannot see their own destiny in the rise and fall of others! I am astonished sometimes when I reflect on the simple truths of the word of God, the exact fulfilment of the prophecies, that more do not believe, repent, and turn to God.
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DANIEL x. 14.
THIS is the third time the angel Gabriel came to instruct Daniel. The first time was when Daniel had the vision of the he-goat, Daniel viii. 16. This was 553 years before Christ. The second time he came was when Daniel was praying for the deliverance of his people from their Babylonish captivity, fifteen years after the first visit, when he instructed him into the seventy weeks, and the crucifixion of the Messiah. Now he has come in the third year of Cyrus the Persian, in the 534 B.C., 21 years after Daniel had his vision of the four beasts, nineteen after the he-goat, and four years after the seventy weeks' instruction.
Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days.
After informing Daniel his purpose, as in our text, and making some preliminary observations concerning the vision in the remainder of the tenth chapter, he begins his teachings to Daniel, and through him to us, with the first of the 11th chapter. 1st verse, he tells who he, the heavenly messenger, is--the same who confirmed Daniel in the seventy weeks. See Daniel ix. 1, 21. And in the second verse he begins with the fifth king of Persia, the very same king who issued the decree to Ezra to go up and build the walls of Jerusalem, which began our seventy weeks, Daniel ix. 25; Ezra vii. 1-14. For the first Persian king was then on the throne, Daniel x. 1, which was the third year of the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia. This was the same Cyrus who was general and son-in-law to Darius the Mede, that conquered Babylon. Besides whom "there should be yet three kings," which three kings were Artaxerxes, Darius, and Ahasuerus, as they are named in Scripture. See Ezra, iv. v. and vi. chapters. I am aware that history has named four where Scripture has only named three. History names, 1, Cambyses; 2, Smerdis, same as Artaxerxes above named in Scripture; 3, Darius, son of Hystaspes, same as above; 4, Xerxes, same as Scripture calls Ahasuerus. Why the Scripture did not name Cambyses, if there was such a king, I am not able to tell, unless his reign was so short (which all historians agree in) that he had no hand in building or hindering the building of the temple at Jerusalem, as the other three kings had, which Ezra has named. But as Gabriel did not come to tell Daniel any thing which was not "noted in the Scripture of truth," (see Daniel x. 21, "But I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth,") therefore the language of our text now under examination will be this--"There shall stand up yet three kings in Persia, (noted in the Scripture of truth,) and the fourth shall be far richer than they all," &c. This fourth king was Artaxerxes Longimanus, and is the same king noted in Ezra vii., and the first and only king of Persia "noted in the Scriptures," who ever gave a decree to rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem, especially in troublous times. We may therefore reasonably and conclusively determine that the messenger Gabriel begins his instruction with this king's reign, the 5th king noted in Scripture. And if so, we have another strong and forcible evidence that Daniel's vision of the ram and he-goat began with the seventy weeks, 457 years before the birth of Christ, and 490 years, or 70 prophetic weeks, before his death, Dan. xi. 3, 4. We have the plain history of Alexander, the conqueror of the world, his death, and division of the kingdom into four great empires. Hear what Gabriel says of him more than 200 years before the event happened, and learn, ye skeptics, the evidence that this prophecy is of divine origin. "And a mighty king shall stand up that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven, and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others besides those," (that is, his posterity.)
Need I, then, tell my hearers that history tells us that Alexander conquered the then known world in about six years, and that he died 323 B.C. at Babylon; that his kingdom was divided among his greatest generals, from which division arose four great kingdoms, Egypt in the south, Persia in the east, Syria in the north, and Macedonia in the west, which kingdoms lasted until conquered by the Romans? Between the years 190 and 30 B.C. nearly all these kingdoms became Roman provinces. From Daniel xi. 5, 13, inclusive, we have a prophecy of the two principal kingdoms out of these four--Egypt and Syria; and any one who may have the curiosity to see the exact agreement between the prophecy and history, can read Rollin's Ancient History, where he has not only given us the history, but applied this prophecy. And as I see no reason to disagree from him in his application of these texts, I shall, therefore, for brevity's sake, pass over these texts, and examine the text, Dan. xi. 14, "And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south; also, the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall." The king of the south, in this verse, without any doubt, means king of Egypt; but what the robbers of thy people means remains yet a doubt perhaps to some. That it cannot Antiochus, or any king of Syria, it is plain; for the angel had been talking about that nation for a number of verses previous, and now says, "also the robbers of thy people," &c., evidently implying some other nation. I will admit that Antiochus did perhaps rob the Jews; but how could this "establish the vision," performing any act of that kind; for he belonged to what is called the Grecian kingdom in the vision. Again, "to establish the vision," must mean to make sure, complete, or fulfil the same. And if it cannot be shown that the Grecian kingdom was to rob the people of God, I think it must mean some other nation which would do these acts, to which every word will apply. And to this we need not be at a loss; for at this very time of which the angel is speaking, Rome, the least kingdom in Daniel's vision, did exalt itself, and this kingdom did have the very marks in the vision, and in the events following. This kingdom was to have great iron teeth; it was to break in pieces, and stamp the residue with the feet of it. The vision also says, "He shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and holy people, and that he should magnify himself," &c., the same as exalt himself, Daniel vii. 7, 23; viii. 10-12, 24, 25 verses. And it cannot be denied but that the Jews have been robbed of their city and sanctuary by the Romans, and the Christian church has been persecuted and robbed by this dreadful beast, the Roman kingdom. It is evident too that when this kingdom falls, the vision will be completed, fulfilled, established: "but they shall fall," says the angel in the verse under our present examination; "they shall fall;" that is, the ten horns in this fourth kingdom, when the vision is fulfilled or established, and when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall grind them to powder. We will take the 15th, "So the king of the north" (Rome is now the king of the north, because they had conquered the Macedonian kingdom, and had become masters of the countries north and east before they attacked Egypt) "shall come and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities; and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand." This was about fifty years before Christ, when Pompey, a Roman general, conquered Egypt, and made that kingdom tributary to the Romans, and afterwards entered Jerusalem, and made them subjects of the Roman government. See verses 16 and 17, "But he that cometh against him" (Pompey coming against Egypt) "shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him, and he shall stand in the glorious land which by his hand shall be consumed. He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him," (or men of equal conditions, as it might have been rendered.) The Roman army, of which Pompey had the command, when he went into Egypt and Palestine, were composed of the sons of all the principal citizens of Rome, who were, according to the laws of the republic, to serve ten years in the service of their country before they were admitted to receive the high offices which they might afterwards be candidates for. This accounts for the language just read in the text--"upright ones with him." And "thus shall he do: he shall give him the daughter of woman, corrupting her; but she shall not stand on his side nor be for him." When Pompey went into Egypt, he found that country divided between Ptolemy and Cleopatra. Pompey, after he had made them tributary to the Romans, compelled them to settle their differences by marriage. Afterwards, when Julius Cęsar came against Pompey with his western veterans, with whom he had conquered the west part of Europe, and in the battle fought between these two contending rivals, Pompey and Julius Cęsar, Cleopatra had the command of the Egyptian fleet on the side of Pompey; but in the midst of the action she deserted over to Cęsar with her whole fleet, which turned the fortune of the day in favor of Julius Cęsar. Pompey then fled into the Grecian isles, where he compelled many of them to declare in his favor. But Cęsar soon followed him, and at the battle of Pharsalia completely defeated Pompey, who was slain by a band of pirates or robbers. This part we have in the 18th verse, "After this shall he (Pompey) turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many; but a prince (Cęsar) for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him (Pompey) to cease; without his own (Cęsar) reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him, (Pompey:) 19th verse, "Then he (Cęsar) shall turn his face towards the fort of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found." This history of Cęsar's death is familiar to every school-boy. After he had conquered Pompey, he returned to Rome, entered the city in triumph, and a few days after, when he was about to be crowned Emperor, he was slain in the senate-house, before Pompey's pillar, by his own friends; "he stumbled and fell, and was not found." 20th verse, "Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes, in the glory of the kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger nor in battle." This verse describes Octavius Cęsar, who first taxed the Roman provinces, Judea being taxed (see Luke ii. 1, 5) when our Savior was born; but Octavius Cęsar, afterwards called Augustus Cęsar, was not slain like his uncle Julius, nor like his successors; but died peaceably in his bed. 21st and 22d verses, "And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overthrown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also, the prince of the covenant." In these two verses we have the history of Tiberius Cęsar, who was the successor of Octavius Cęsar in the Roman empire; and was one of the most vile, profligate, bloody tyrants that ever sat upon the Roman throne. History gives us the same account, that he obtained by flatteries the kingdom, and afterwards ruled it by tyranny. He also assumed the name of Augustus. In his reign Christ was crucified, "the Prince of the covenant was broken." Here ends the history of the seventy weeks. This prophetic history being divided into four divisions, the first part is the history of the seventy weeks, to which we have been attending, which began in the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign, and ended in the 22d year of Tiberius Cęsar's, being four hundred and ninety years; the second part will be the history of Pagan Rome, which begins with the first league made between the Romans and the Jews, and will carry us down six hundred and sixty-six years. You will likewise observe that the angel goes back and begins this history with the league. 22d verse, "And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people."
Let us in the first place inquire, Between whom is this league made? The Romans must be one of the contracting parties, from the fact that the angel is talking about that government before and afterwards, and that the fourth or Roman kingdom was to work deceitfully, "and through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand." See Daniel viii. 25. And also from the circumstance of their being a small republican people at first, Rome, too, was small in territory at this time, although many nations and kingdoms were tributary unto them; but who was the other contracting party in this league? I answer, It must have been some people whom the angel had in view; and he, Daniel, had the same in view, or he would have given some mark by which Daniel or the reader could have come to a just conclusion. Yes, this was the case; for he had told Daniel in the very outset, "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days." See our text. This, then, is the key that unlocks the whole subject, and explains two important points in the vision. First, it teaches who are the subjects of this vision; and, secondly, when and how the Roman kingdom became connected with the vision. If I am thus far correct, then the angel has reference to the league made with the Romans 158 years B.C., when the Grecian general Bachides withdrew his army from before Jerusalem, and never returned to vex the Jews any more, as says 1 Maccabees ix. 72. For the history of this league, you can read 1 Maccabees viii. and Josephus B. XII. chap. x. sec. 6. This league was the first ever made between the Romans and the Jews, according to Josephus. It took effect 158 years B.C., when the Grecian kingdom, at the command of the Romans, ceased to trouble the Jews, and the Romans began to work deceitfully. Then began the Pagan beast to exercise his influence over the people of God. And now let us pursue his history as given by the angel Gabriel, 24th verse, "He shall enter peaceably, even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches; yea, he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds even for a time." This verse is a true history of the rise of the Roman power; they did scatter the prey and spoil among the provinces, and conquered more nations by their munificence and benevolence in the outset, than by their arms of battles. Rome bought more nations by riches and intrigue than she conquered in war; and she compelled the Jews to submit for about two centuries to that which no nation before had been able ever to do, viz., to be ruled by kings, governors, and high priests, appointed by the Romans, and not chosen by themselves. 25th verse, "And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they shall forecast devices against him." This is a description of the war in Egypt, under the government of Mark Antony and Octavius Cęsar. "Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow, and many shall fall down slain." When Antony went into Egypt with a great army, Cleopatra, then queen of Egypt, deserted her husband's standard, as she had before Pompey's, and went over to Mark Antony with all the forces she could command, by which means Egypt became an easy prey to the Romans; so that a part of the Egyptian army, that fed of the portion of the king's meat, were the means of destroying the kingdom. "And both of these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper; for yet the end shall be at the time appointed." These two kings are Antony and Octavius, their characters agreeing with the description given in this passage; history agreeing that they ruled over the Romans for a season jointly, and that they were both of them great deceivers and liars. History also informs us that after Antony had conquered Egypt, he and Octavius quarrelled; Octavius Cęsar declared war against Antony, marched an army towards Egypt, and at the battle of Actium defeated Antony and Cleopatra's forces, afterwards took Alexandria in Egypt, and Antony and Cleopatra put themselves to death, and Egypt becomes a Roman province. This was thirty years before the birth of Christ. 28, "Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits and return to his own land." Then Octavius returned to Rome. And the next exploit that this fourth kingdom would do would be against the holy covenant. They, by their authority, crucified our Savior, persecuted the saints, and destroyed Jerusalem; and this fills up the acts of this Pagan history until towards the close of the reign of the Pagan beast. 29, "At the time appointed, he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter." The time appointed must mean the length of the reign of this beast, whose history the angel is now giving, which I have shown, in a former lecture, is 666 years. "He shall return, and come towards the south," not as the former or latter. Not as the Romans going into Egypt, the latter; not the Syrians going into Egypt, as the former; but Italy must now take her turn to be overrun by the northern barbarians. Therefore the angel says, in the next verse, see 30. ("For the ships of Chittim shall come against him;") the meaning of which is, that the Huns, which lived on the north of the Adriatic Sea, the place where it was anciently called Chittim, under their leader Attila, (surnamed the Scourge of God,) should ravage the Roman empire. This was fulfilled 447 years after Christ. "Therefore he shall be grieved and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant; so shall he do; he shall return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant."
About the time that Attila ravaged the Roman empire, Christians conceived it to be a judgment of God upon the Romans for their idolatry and wickedness, refused to bear arms in favor of the Roman emperors, which led to a bloody persecution of Christians, and a renewal of Pagan rites and sacrifices, which had been partially suspended during the reign of Constantine and succeeding emperors, except in the case of Julian the Apostate. "And arms shall stand on his part," that is, the force of the empire would be on the side of Paganism. "And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength." They, in this passage, mean the governments or kings, established on the fall of the Roman empire in the west, by the Huns, Goths and Vandals of the north. "By the sanctuary of strength," is meant Rome. And it is said that at the time that Rome was taken, men, women, and children were sacrificed to their Pagan deities. "And shall take away the daily sacrifice." The angel is giving us a history of what these kings would do, when Rome should be divided into its ten toes, or when the ten horns should arise, which the angel has heretofore explained to mean ten kings, Daniel vii. 24. This is evident by his using the plural pronoun instead of the singular, as before, or as he will following, when the little horn obtains the power. To "take away the daily sacrifice," means to destroy Paganism out of the kingdom. This was done by those ten kings who now ruled the Roman empire, and would for a little season, until they should give their power to the image beast. "And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." They, meaning the ten kings, shall place, shall put in the room or place of the daily sacrifice or Pagan beast which would now receive its death wound by the sword, that is, by the civil power of this fourth kingdom, under the reigning power of these ten kings; for John tells us, Rev. xvii. 12, 13, "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but shall receive power as kings one hour with the beast; these have one mind, (being all Pagans,) and shall give their power and strength unto the beast;" that is, to support Paganism. Now, this was evidently fulfilled; for after the fall of the Western Empire, A.D. 476, and before A.D. 490, ten kings had risen upon the ruins, and formed ten separate kingdoms, the names of which I have before given; they all being Pagans, or course they supported that form of worship, until they were converted to the Christian faith, which happened within the space of twenty years, Clovis, the king of France, having been converted and baptized in the year A.D. 496. By the year A.D. 508, the remainder of the kings were brought over and embraced the Christian religion, which closes the history of the Pagan beast, whose number was 666; which, beginning 158 years B.C., would end the beast's reign A.D. 508, having reigned but a short time, (one hour, says John,) with the ten kings. We have now gone through with the angel Gabriel's second part of the history, as we promised.
I shall now go on with the illustration of the third part of his prophetic history, which is the history of the image beast, the deadly wound healed, or what Daniel calls "the abomination that maketh desolate." This beast would rule over the kings of the earth, and tread the church of God under foot forty-two months, or time, times, and a half, which is twelve hundred and sixty years, in common time, or, as the angel tells us in Daniel xii. 11, from the taking away the daily abomination to set up the abomination that maketh desolate, should be a thousand two hundred and ninety days, showing a difference of thirty years from the statement of the actual reign of the image beast and the other, which includes all the time from taking away down through the setting up or reign of the image beast. Therefore, to reconcile these two statements, we must conclude there were 30 years from A.D. 508, when Paganism ceased, before the image beast, or Papal Rome, would begin her reign. If this is correct, then the 1290 began 508, and would end us in 1798. But the reign of Papacy would not be set up until A.D. 538, and would end us in the same year, A.D. 1798, being 1260. This, then, is the history the angel will give us next. 32, "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall be corrupted by flatterers; but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." The ecclesiastical historians tell us that in the beginning of the sixth century, about A.D. 538, a number of writers in that day undertook to prove that the Papal chair, together with councils of his approval, were infallible, and their laws were binding on the whole church. These writers were highly honored and flattered with promotion by the reigning power; while on the other hand there were many who opposed this power of the Pope and clergy, who were denounced as schismatics and Arians, and driven out of the kingdoms under the control of the Romish church. 33, "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days." Those who instructed the common people, and opposed the worshipping of images, the infallibility of the Pope and councils, the canonizing of departed saints, were persecuted by the civil power, (the sword,) were burned by order of the ecclesiastical courts established by the laws of Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, whose code of laws, published about A.D. 534, gave unto the bishop of Rome power to establish courts for this purpose, and many in the sixth century and subsequent down to a late period, "many days," suffered death, imprisonment, and confiscation of goods, in consequence of a difference of opinion in matters of religion, by the tyranny of this abomination, "the bloody city which has reigned over the kings of the earth." 34, "Now, when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help; but many shall cleave to them with flatteries." This text agrees with one in Revelation xii. 16, "And the earth helped the woman." "But many shall cleave to them;" that is, many men of the world would cleave to them, and professedly would flatter the true people of God that they were friendly at least to them, and by these means Satan carried on his wars against the children of God. 35, "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge and to make them white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for a time appointed." This verse shows us that even Christians would be led into some of the errors of Papacy, and would be tried and purged, even to the end of this image beast's reign, which time is appointed, as I have already shown, to be "time, times, and a half," 1260 years, ending A.D. 1798. 36, "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished, for that that is determined shall be done." The king here spoken of is the same as Daniel's little horn, which came up among the ten horns. It it the same that blasphemed the God of heaven. It is mystical Babylon. Isa. xiv. 12-15; Rev. xiii. 5, 6. The same Paul has described in his Epistle, 2 Thess. ii. 1-9; the same image beast which we have been examining the history of; and one thing is evident, that this beast will continue until the day that God pours out his indignation upon a guilty world in some form or other. 37, "Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all." In this passage we have a plain description of Papacy; they do not worship the same gods the Pagans did--"their fathers." And their clergy are forbidden to marry; the Pope calls himself the vicegerent of God, or God on earth, having the keys of heaven, &c. 38, "But in his estate shall he honor the god of forces; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things." It is true that the Pope, for ages past, has had large armies at his command, and always a body-guard to attend him in his capital; also, that they adorn their pictures with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things, and that the gods they worship, such as the images of Christ, apostles, and Virgin Mary, and canonized saints, were not known to Pagan worshippers. 39, "Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain."
These patron saints, which the Pope divided among the several nations of the earth, and in almost every family, each one having their patron saint to rule over them, by the appointment of the Pope, were strange gods indeed; and rational beings might truly wonder when they beheld the power of this last abomination over the minds and judgments of mankind. And then, again, to see the number of kingdoms, provinces, states, and territories, which the Pope has sold to enrich his coffers, without any more right or title to them than we have to the land in the moon, must convince every one that the description given must apply to the church of Rome or the Pope, who claims to exercise this great authority by his crazy title to St. Peter's chair.
We have now arrived to the end of the third division of the angel's history; for the next verse tells us, "and at the time of the end," meaning the end of his power, to tread on the church by his civil authority, or reign over the kings of the earth, and to dispose of lands for gain I have brought you down, my kind hearer, through a long prophetic history of more than 2200 years, and landed you to the year A.D. 1798, when the Pope of Rome lost his civil power. In the beginning of the year 1798, on the 15th of February, a French general, Berthier, entered Rome with a French army without resistance, deposed the Pope, abolished the Papal government, and erected the republic of Italy. The Pope, being taken prisoner, was carried a prisoner by them first to Sienna in Tuscany, from thence to Florence, afterwards to Grenoble, and then to Valence, in France, where he died on the 19th of August, 1799, since which time the Pope of Rome has exercised no more of his former power over any of the kings in Europe, or the Protestant church. We shall now close our lecture on this history for the present, reserving the remainder of Gabriel's interesting history for another lecture.
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DANIEL xii. 8.
PREVIOUS to Daniel's asking the question contained in our text, he had been taught, as we have seen in our former lecture, not only the history of future events as they would succeed each other down to the end of the world, but he had the regular order of time specified in the duration of the little horn, "time, times, and a half," as in Daniel vii. 25, and xii. 7. But he had been informed of many events which should transpire after his "time, times, and a half" should be finished, and not having the length of the Pagan beast, or daily abomination, given to him at all, he could not tell or understand whereabouts in his grand number of 2300 days, the end of the civil power of the little horn, or Papal Rome, carried him: there was no rule given Daniel yet by which he could tell when or how long after the crucifixion of the Messiah before the daily sacrifice abomination would be taken out of the way, and the power of the little horn be established, and the abomination of desolation set up. Be sure, Daniel had heard the whole history down to the resurrection, and had the whole vision specified in his 2300 days. But as he saw there were evidently three divisions of the time after the crucifixion or cutting off of the Messiah at the fulfilment of his 490 years, or 70 weeks, down to the end of his 1810 years, which would be the remainder of his total number of 2300 years, after his 70 weeks should be fulfilled; and having only 1260 of those years accounted for by the reign of his little horn, leaving five hundred and fifty years to be applied on the Pagan beast, and for the events which we are to attend to after the Papal beast lost his civil power,--therefore the propriety of Daniel's saying in our text, "Then I heard, but I understood not." He understood not how this time was divided, and especially, how much time would be taken up in the last division of the angel's history, beginning with the 40th verse of the 11th chapter, where our last lecture ended, and finishing with the context of the 12th chapter, the verse previous to our text. That this is the plain and significant meaning, is evident from what follows our text, viz., the angel's answer to Daniel's question, "What shall be the end of these things?" And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end;" that is, my mission is closed, the words are finished, and registered in the roll of God's word, they are sealed, that is, made sure, unalterable, will stand until every word has its fulfilment, which in the end shall be accomplished; not, as some suppose, that Daniel's prophecy is sealed, closed up, out of sight, and cannot be understood. This is not the way of God's dealings with us; for if this had been the angel's meaning, he would have said to Daniel as he did to John in similar circumstances, Rev. x. 4, "Seal up those things, and write them not." But it is the reverse; for he says in the next verse, 10, "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand." None of the wicked shall understand what? Why, the things before spoken of--Daniel's vision and instruction. Very well, then the wicked do right for once. Certainly, if your exposition of the former text is correct, that it is hid, and cannot be known, they are obeying the command of the angel, close up and seal the words; and surely they will not be condemned for obedience. "But the wise shall understand," says the angel. What shall the wise understand? They shall understand the vision; or the words before spoken by the angel at least. But say you, "Daniel was commanded to seal up and close the words, so that they may never know them till the end, and the wise understand them. How can these things be?" I answer, These texts explain each other. There is a close connection in the word of God which must always be kept in view, and if our exposition of one contradicts another of the same connection or of like import, we may know there is a wrong in us. Now, one thing is certain,--"all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." And "secret things belong to God; but things revealed, to us and our children." And when I see pretended servants of God, men of great pretence to piety and knowledge, disputing long and sharp on some metaphysical point in theology which they nor their hearers can never understand, and when they are asked to explain the plain declarations of God, put it off, by saying, it is sealed up, and we ought not to try to understand it, it makes me think of Ęsop's fable of the dog in the manger; of Christ's reproof to the scribes and Pharisees, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in;" and this passage in Daniel, "The wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." You may depend upon one thing, when you hear such declarations as the above from the pulpit, that the speaker does not love his Bible as well as he loves his own popularity, and studies to support his faith, the popular writers and standard authors of the day, more than the divine revelation of God. But God is now trying his people; he is now giving them a great rule to know their love for his word. If the word of God is to them foolishness, and they take more delight in the popular writers of the day, they may depend upon it they are stumbling at that stumbling-stone. But the angel tells us that many shall be purified and made white. This was good news to Daniel, and ought to be so to us; for it is the declaration of God through the medium of Gabriel, his messenger. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days: but go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Now Daniel had all he could ask for; now he could understand the time, and the length, and part of every division which the angel had given him in his instruction, so far as to fill up his vision of 2300 years, (as we shall call them, having proved in a former lecture that they ought to be so reckoned, and have been so fulfilled.) He has now learned that, to begin and reckon back from the resurrection, which he well knew would be 1810 years after Christ's crucifixion, he might find out when the daily sacrifice abomination would be taken away. Therefore take 1335 years from 1810 years, would leave 475 years; and he could reckon from the end of the 70 weeks, or 490 years, to the end of Pagan Rome, would be 475, from thence to the time he should stand in his lot, would be 1335 years. Then by adding
And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
1335 would make the sum total of his whole vision
2300 years. And now, let us suppose he wished to know when the abomination of desolation would end, and when it would begin. He has only to take his number, one thousand two hundred and ninety, as given him by his angel, from his 1335, thus,--
and he finds that 45 years before the resurrection the little horn would lose his civil power. Now, let him take his time, times, and a half, and add, say 1260 years to 45 years, and he will find that the little horn began his reign 1305 years before the resurrection, and 30 years after the daily sacrifice abomination was taken away. And now he is prepared to give his vision and the instruction of the angel all their proper bearings, and prove it thus:--
1st. The seventy weeks or 490 years to the crucifixion of Christ,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 490
From crucifixion to taking away daily abomination, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475
From taking away Pagan rites to the setting up abomination of desolation, . . . . . . . 30
From setting up Papal power (time, times, and a half) to the end of his civil reign, . . 1260
From the taking away the Papal civil rule to the resurrection, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Now add these together, and you will have the whole 2300 years of Daniel's vision. Do you not, kind hearer, see by this mode, and by these last numbers given him, Daniel could learn every part and division of the whole history down to the time when he should stand in his lot? But now, for his instruction, we will suppose Daniel understood our mode of reckoning time; he might have given it to us in this way:--"The 70 weeks, or 490 years, will be accomplished A.D. 33. The pagan abomination will be taken away 475 years afterwards, which will be A.D. 508. The papal abomination will be set up 30 years after, A.D. 538, and will continue 1260 years, A.D. 1798. After this 45 years, I shall stand in my lot, and all that come forth to this resurrection will be blessed, A.D. 1843." "Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." Rev. xx. 6. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection."
We are now prepared to give you the remainder of the angel's instruction to Daniel, beginning where we left off in our last lecture; and you will likewise now take notice that it is the last division, and what we now shall read to you must all take place in 45 years, between the years 1798 and 1843. So that you may, almost all of you, judge for yourselves, upon your own observations, whether these things are so or not.
We therefore begin at the 40th verse of the 11th chapter of Daniel, "and at the time of the end" of the papal civil power. Now, another person has obtained this civil power: this was Bonaparte, the ruler of the French nation. This year of which we are now treating was the very year that the French destroyed the power of the pope, and Bonaparte began his extraordinary career in conquest and authority; and it was evident, by his success and fortune, that he was raised up by God himself for some great and special purpose; and through him, as an instrument, and by means of the French revolution, the shackles that had bound more than half of Europe in bigotry, superstition, and tyranny, were burst asunder, and the inquisition and Papacy lost their power and terror over the bodies and minds of men. At this time, then, our prophecy begins, and Bonaparte is the person designated by the pronouns he and him in the prophecy: "And, at the time of the end, shall the king of the south push at him; and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships." This is a description of an alliance entered into by the king of Sardinia, Italy, and Spain, in the south, and Great Britain, in the north, for six years. England engaged, in this treaty, to pay the king of Sardinia 200,000l. per annum to furnish an army of horse and a large fleet. The command of the fleet was given to Lord Nelson. Various was the success of the allies in the south. Spain had to recede, and finally joined the French. The king of Sardinia had to leave his territories on the continent, and shut himself up in the island of Sardinia. The king of Naples fled to the island of Sicily, after making a vigorous push at the French, in November, 1798, and getting possession of Rome, while Lord Nelson took and destroyed the French fleet, near the mouth of the Nile, the same year. But the French soon retook Italy; and this broke up this league, and the French remained masters of almost all that belonged to the Western Empire of Rome, except Great Britain. "And he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow, and pass over," was literally accomplished. "He shall enter also into the glorious land," (or land of delight, as it might have been translated.) This, I have no doubt, means Italy. Bonaparte fought some of his most brilliant battles in this delightsome country. The battle of Marengo was fought, if I mistake not, in June, 1800, after crossing the Alps, an impassable barrier between France and Italy, as it was supposed by his enemies "And many countries shall be overthrown." It is said that Bonaparte conquered three kingdoms at the battle of Marengo. "But these shall escape out of his hands, even Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon." Bonaparte, when he went into Egypt, calculated to march into the East Indies: he advanced into Syria, where, after gaining some advantages, he received a decisive check before St. John d'Acre, when he was obliged to raise the siege, and retreat back to Egypt with the shattered remains of his army. So the country once inhabited by the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, "escaped out of his hands." 42, "He shall stretch forth his hands also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape." "Hands" signifies power; and what country on the globe did not more or less feel the effects of Bonaparte's power? Egypt, surely, did not escape; for all Lower Egypt was conquered by his arms. 43, "But he shall have power over the treasures of gold, and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt." Bonaparte, in his conquest of Egypt, levied contributions upon the inhabitants of the country sufficient to support and pay his troops, and brought away much with him. "And the Lybians and Ethiopians shall be at his steps." When he first went into Egypt, he landed his army on the coast of what was anciently called Lybia, and his last battle was fought in Upper Egypt--what the ancients called Ethiopia. So both of these places were at his steps, although neither of them was fairly conquered, as was Egypt. 44, "But tidings out of the east, and out of the north, shall trouble him." This was what was at that time called the Holy Alliance. This was composed of most of the kings on the north and east of France, which finally proved the overthrow of the power of Bonaparte, and the restoration of the Bourbons on the throne of France.
The news of this alliance caused him much trouble, and also his immediate return to France. "Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy and utterly to make away many." This is a plain description of Bonaparte's campaign into Russia. He went forth with an army of 400,000 men, with fury, in order to break up the Holy Alliance. He did utterly destroy Moscow, and laid desolate the country through which he passed. He made away with more than 200,000 of his own army, besides the destruction of his enemies, say many thousands more. Such a destruction of life and property in one campaign was never known since the days of the Persians and the Greeks. 45, "And he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain," (or mountain of delight.) This was literally fulfilled, in May 26, 1805, when Bonaparte was crowned king of Italy at Milan,--Italy lying between two seas. To "plant the tabernacle of his palace" would be to establish him as king. "Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." This closes the history of one of the most powerful monarchs--the most ambitious and fortunate of warriors, and a man of unbounded sway--that modern times had ever produced. He had destroyed, perhaps, more than 3,000,000 lives; he had dethroned more than one half of the kings of Europe; he had disposed of kingdoms at his will; all nations had been under the control of his decrees; he had commanded more than two millions of veteran soldiers; the treasures of the four quarters of the globe lay at his feet. "Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." How soon the tale of his end is told! A breath, and his end is come; a vapor, and he is gone. O God! the breath of kings is in thy hand; thy word goeth forth, and it is done; thy decree passeth, and it stands fast. "He shall come to his end, and none shall help him." Where are those kings that courted his alliance? Where are the twenty millions of French who idolized him as a god? Where are those two millions of veteran soldiers whose bodies had been used as ramparts to mount him to glory? Where are his five brethren who sat in the seat of kings by his power? Where is his mother, made a rich dowager by his munificence? Where, O where is the empress Maria Louisa, and the young king of Italy? "And none shall help him." Yes, Bonaparte was by the British, after he had resigned himself into their hands, carried a prisoner to the island of St. Helena, in the Atlantic Ocean, where he died in exile. "He shall come to his end, and none shall help him."
By this history the kings of the earth may learn, that God can, with perfect ease, when the set time shall come, break them and their kingdoms to pieces, so that the wind may carry them away like chaff, that no place shall be found for them.
I shall now examine the remainder of Gabriel's message, contained in Daniel xii. 1, "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people." Michael, in this passage, must mean Christ; he is the great Prince, and Prince of princes.
The time here spoken of is when Bonaparte shall come to his end, and none to help him. This was in the latter part of the year A.D. 1815. There are two things for which Christ stands up for his people to accomplish; one is their faith, and the other their judgment. Jer. iii. 13. Now, it is evident he did not then stand up in judgment; therefore I shall choose the former, that he stood up to plead the cause of his people, to restrain backsliders, and to add to the church of God many who should be saved. And blessed be his holy name, he accomplished his purpose; for in the years 1816, 17, 18, more people were converted to the faith of Jesus than had been for thirty years before. Almost, and I know not but every town in these states was visited with a shower of mercy, and hundreds and thousands, yea, tens of thousands, were born into the invisible kingdom of the dear Redeemer, and their names recorded among the members of the church of the first born. This has lasted in a great measure for 20 years, and has spread over a large share of the Christian world; even the islands of the sea have lifted up their voices to God, and the wilderness has bloomed like the rose, and the heathen have seen of his salvation. The grace of God has distilled upon us like the morning dew, and like showers upon a thirsty soil. Surely this must be by the power of Michael, the great Prince of the covenant. "And there shall be a time of trouble, such as there never was since there was a nation, even to that same time." This time of trouble is yet in futurity; but is hanging, as it were, over our heads, ready to break upon us in tenfold vengeance, when the angel of the gospel, who is now flying through the midst of heaven, shall seal the last child of God in their foreheads. And when the four angels, who are now holding the four winds, that it blow not on the sea nor on the land, shall cease their holding; when the angel, standing on the sea and land, shall lift his hand to heaven and swear by him that liveth forever and ever, that time shall be no longer, or, as it might, and, perhaps, ought to have been translated, "that there should be no longer delay;" that is, God would wait no longer for repentance, no longer to be gracious; but his spirit would take its flight from the world, and the grace of God would cease to restrain men. He that is filthy will be filthy still. Mankind will, for a short season, give loose to all the corrupt passions of the human heart. No laws, human or divine, will be regarded; all authority will be trampled under foot; anarchy will be the order of governments, and confusion fill the world with horror and despair. Murder, treason, and crime, will be common law, and division and disunion the only bond of fellowship. Christians will be persecuted unto death, and dens and caves of the earth will be their retreat. All things which are not eternal will be shaken to pieces, that that which cannot be shaken may remain. And this, if I am right in my calculations, will begin on or before A.D. 1839. "And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Now is come salvation indeed. The people of God are now to be delivered from outward foes and inbred lusts, from the corruptions of the grave and the vileness of the flesh. Every one, the poor and despised child of God, will then be delivered when he makes up his jewels. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." This verse brings us down to the resurrection of the dead, when the dust will give up the bodies of the saints, and they shall awake to everlasting life, when death shall be finally conquered, and the grave resign up her captive saints to victory and glory. The angel also mentions the resurrection of the wicked, and speaks of their shame and everlasting contempt. He dwells not in detail on this second resurrection, as though it was too painful for thought, yet tells enough to let the wicked unbeliever know his awful doom, and is silent. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." This verse needs no comment; it is a beautiful figure of the righteous in glory, and the durability of that happiness in the invisible and immortal kingdom of God. " But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." Some have taken occasion, from these words, to say, that this prophecy was to be shut up and sealed, that none might understand it until the end. If it was so, why give it to Daniel at all? Why note it in the Scripture of truth? Why give to us the same instruction which made Daniel understand what should befall the people of God in the latter day? But the plain and obvious meaning of the first part of this verse is, But thou, O Daniel, close up your prophecy, and set your seal to the truth of it, for at "the time of the end many shall run to and fro;" that is, at the time of the end the means of travel would be greatly extended, so that many would travel into all parts of the earth, and would increase in knowledge of places, men, and things. "And knowledge shall be increased." Can any prophecy be more literally fulfilled than this? The increase of travel, and the means of conveyance, and the improvement in the arts and sciences at the present day, have astonished the projectors themselves. But if it should mean holy things, then look at the great number of missionaries sent into all parts of our world. There are but few nations, civilized or barbarous, Christian or heathen, but what are visited by the professed ministers of Christ, and knowledge of the word of God has increased. And within thirty years, the Bible has been translated into one hundred and fifty languages, more than three times the number of all languages that had received a translation during 1800 years before. Millions of copies of the Bible have been circulated within the thirty years past, where thousands only had been circulated before. "Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river, and said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" Here Daniel saw the two holy ones inquiring of the man clothed in linen, which stood upon the waters of the river. This man is the same as Michael standing up for the children of thy people. The reason I assign is, he is clothed in linen, which shows he is the high priest for the people of God. It is the same angel that John describes, Rev. x. 1-6. This angel is represented as being the messenger of the covenant, by having a rainbow on his head. He was clothed with a cloud pure and white like linen. He, too, had a little book open, showing what he should do, agreeing with our explanation, spreading the gospel for the last time through the world, standing one foot on the sea, and the other on the earth, to keep down the power of anti-Christ, who sits on many waters Rev. xvii. 1, 15, and the power of the kings of the earth, until the whole elect should be sealed. See Rev. vii. 1-3. And that this Angel is the Mediator is evident. And now he closes up the mediatorial kingdom, when he says, Rev. x. 6, "That there should be time no longer," or, as some translate it, that there should be no longer delay, which must of course have one of two meanings--either God will no longer delay his judgment, or he will no longer wait to be gracious. See next verse, and 2 Peter iii. 9. Take either one or both positions, and it proves my object, that a part of the 45 years, the history of which we are now considering, is taken up in spreading the gospel, and bringing the last remnant into Christ's fold. "For this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come;" Matt. xxiv. 14. But the question, How long to the end of these wonders? means to the end of the reign of the beast, which the world wondered after. Rev. xiii. 3, 7th verse, "And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven." This language shows us plainly, that it is the same angel which John saw in Rev. x. i. 1-7. And the same time is indicated in Revelation as in Daniel. Here in Daniel it is in the last 45 years, and in Revelation immediately preceding the time when the mystery of God shall be finished, all that had been declared by his servants, the prophets, the whole prophecies would be accomplished. "And sware by him that liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half." This is the same length of time given in Daniel vii. 25, which is there given as the reign of the little horn. It is also the same time which is given in Rev. xi. 2. Forty-two months, (three years and a half,) to give the holy city to be trodden under foot. Again, the same time is given, Rev. xi. 3, for the two witnesses to prophesy, clothed in sackcloth, 1260 days. Also, Rev. xii. 6, 14, for the church in the wilderness, and, again, in Rev. xiii. 5, where the anti-Christian beast had his delegated power to continue forty-two months. All these times ended in A.D. 1798, as we may hereafter show; when the 45 years began to accomplish the things which I have been attending to in this lecture. "And when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
This brings us down to our text, and gives us another important and conclusive sign by which we may know we live on the eve of finishing the prophecies, and on the threshold of the immortal and eternal state. Let us be wise, then, and secure an interest in the inheritance among the just, that when we fail on earth, we may be received into everlasting habitations prepared for those who love Christ.
But the last sign, "the scattering of the holy people;" a part of the perilous times. How are they to be scattered? I answer, By the errors of the anti-Christian abomination, and the lo heres and lo theres, by dividing the people of God into parties, divisions, and subdivisions. And methinks I hear you say, "Surely these things are already accomplished." Yes, you are right, in part, but not to its extent; the sects are all divided now, but not crumbled to pieces; some are subdivided, but not scattered. The time is soon coming when father will be against the son, and son against the father. Yea, the sects are all divided now. Presbyterians are divided into Old and New School, and then again into Perfectionists. Congregationalists are divided between Orthodox and Unitarian, old and new measures, Unionists, &c. Methodists are divided between Episcopal and Protestant. Baptists are divided between old and new measures, Antimasons, Campbellites, open and close communion, &c. &c. Quakers are divided between Orthodox and Hicksites; and thus might we go on and name the divisions and subdivisions of all sects who have taken Christ for their captain.
And now let me sum up in short what we have proved to you in this discourse. And first, I showed the length of time our history would take up, viz., 45 years. By the numbers given in Daniel xii. 11-13, his 1290 days, beginning when the ten kings, represented by the ten toes in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and ten horns in Daniel's vision, should be converted to the Christian faith, and the daily sacrifice abomination taken out of the way, viz, A.D. 508, which would end us in 1798, when the Pope lost his power to reign over the kings and trample on the holy people, and the abomination of desolation ceased his civil reign, by being deprived of his civil power by Bonaparte. I then showed you that the number 1335 days, beginning at the same time as the 1290 days, viz. A.D. 508, would end in 1843, at the resurrection, for Daniel would stand in his lot at the end of these days. And you have undoubtedly noticed that this brought us to the same year that Daniel's whole number, 2300, brought us, which is forty-five years, the difference between the two numbers, 1290 and 1335. I then began at Daniel xi. 40, and gave you the history of Bonaparte, his wonderful career of conquest and power, and his final end. I then gave you the history of Michael standing up, and the reformation that followed in the years 1815, 16, 17, even down to the present time. Then the unfulfilled prophecy which must come soon upon us, the troublous times. Next we came to the time of the deliverance of the people of God, every one that sleep in the dust of the earth, and the resurrection. Then the angel gave us a few signs which would happen in the course of this time, such as the running to and fro, the increase of knowledge, the nations being restrained from preventing the gospel being preached, and scattering the power of the holy people, all which you have many of you witnessed, and can judge for yourselves whether these things are so.
I shall now leave you for the present; and may you reflect candidly and seriously on the subject; for many of you who are now on the earth may live to witness this fulfilment; and if unprepared then, with what regret will you look back on your present opportunity, and wish you had improved these precious moments for the salvation of your souls, and for the glory of God!
Be wise, O ye inhabitants of the earth, for the Lord will come and will not tarry, and the day of vengeance will overtake you as a thief in the night; "but the wise shall understand."
On to LECTURE VIII. "The Three Woe Trumpets"
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