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This is the foundation of the whole system; and Mr. M. himself seems so to regard it. Accordingly, in his closing lecture, (page 297,) referring to his exposition of these two visions in former lectures, he says, “ Then I inquired, if 490 years of the 2,300, was fulfilled when our Savior was crucified, how much of the vision remained after his death? I answered, 1810 years. I then inquired what year after his birth that would be; and the answer was in the year 1843. I then begged the privilege, and do now, for any person to show me any failure of proof on this point, or where, possibly, according to Scripture, there may be a failure in the calculation I have made on this vision. I have not yet, by seventeen years' study, been able to discover where I might fail.”
I shall endeavor to comply with this request of Mr. M., and to show his “ failure of proof” on this point. And as it is only necessary to expose the weakness of a foundation, in order to prove that of the superstructure raised upon it, I shall enter into the examination of this principal prop of Mr. Miller's theory, much more minutely and at length, than any one of his other positions. I shall divide this chapter into seven sections.
First, the vision of the seventy weeks.—Dan. ix. 24.
Second, the vision of the ram and he-goat. . Dan, chap. viii.
Third, the little horn.-Dan. viii. 9, &c. · Fourth, proofs that the little horn referred to Antiochus Epiphanes; with a narrative of the cruelties and death of that'violent persecutor of the Jews.
Fifth, meaning of the 2,300 days, or evenings and mornings.-Dan. viii. 14..
Sixth, this time shown to have been literally fulfilled, in the duration of the taking away the daily sacrifices by Antiochus Epiphanes.
Seventh, examination of Mr. Miller's date for the commencement of the 2,300 days, or, as he understands them, 2,300 years.
As the author has expended his main strength on this point, and considers it the main prop of Mr. Miller's system, we shall enter fully into his argument, and if it can be proved to be fallacious, and Mr. Miller's positions sound on this point, his system will stand, regardless of all other points.
That we may do Mr. Dowling no injustice, we shall give copious extracts from him, that the reader may have the whole strength of his argument before him, and thus be the better prepared to judge of the merits of the question. The following is the first section of chap. 3, pp. 42-52.
THE VISION OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, 10 finish the transgression and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up ihe vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”— Dan. ix. 24.
The above prophecy has ever been regarded by Christian expositors as one of the most remarkable predictions in the sacred Scriptures. It is expressed in language so sweetly evangelical, that we might suppose it to have proceeded from the pen of a John or a Paul who had seen Christ, rather than that of a prophet who lived five centuries before his incarnation. It not only declares the object for which JEHOVAH Jesus, the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, became incarnate, and obeyed, suffered, and died; but designates the time in which the glorious victory over the powers of darkness should be achieved by the Messiah, and when he should put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. I feel a pleasure in according most heartily with the following sentiments expressed by Mr. M. at the commencement of his lecture upon this precious passage of Scripture.
" This text (says Mr. M.) is one of the manyfound 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.
“ It sets a seal to prophecy that it is true, and shows that the prophets were inspired.
"It gives incontestible evidence against the Jew, and proves that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah. * * * · * * *
“ 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 men, 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 afflicted 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 strong faith that they should see the consolation of Israel.”
To understand this prophecy, it is necessary to remember that at the time the angel Gabriel spake these words to the prophet Daniel, the children of Israel were in captivity. The city of Jerusalem was in ruins, and had continued so ever since its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in the year B. C. 588. Jeremiah had informed the Jews that this captivity should continue seventy years. (See Jer. xxv. 11, 12.) This protracted period of captivity and bondage had now nearly arrived at a close. .
When the venerable prophet Daniel (see chap. ix. 2) “understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jer. emiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem, he set his face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes." The prayer which he offered, (ver. 3 to 20,) is a most sublime and beautiful specimen of penitential devotion. At the beginning of Dan. iel's supplications, (see verse 23,) the angel Ga. briel received a command from Jehovah to comfort and instruct the pious prophet, and “whilst he was speaking," the celestial messenger, being caused to fly swiftly, touched him about the time of the evening oblation. So true is the promise of God, “ It shall come to pass that before they
call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”—Isaiah lxvi. 24.
There is a beautiful correspondence between the prayer of Daniel, and the delightful prophecy which was communicated in answer thereto. Had the prophet confessed in verse 5th, “ We have sinned, and have committed iniquity and have done wickedly ?” In the 24th verse, a Savior is proinised, who should“ finish transgression, make an end of sins, and bring in an everlasting righteousness.” Had David prayed in verses 16, 17,“ O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain; shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake?" He is informed, verse 25th, that a commandment shall go forth to restore and to build Jerusalem, and that “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
He is not only encouraged to expect these glorious events, but is even informed of the time of their occurrence, and more particularly of the far more glorious event of the two-the coming of the Messiah, and his obedience unto death. “ Seventy weeks are determined,” &c.
With the general explanation given by Mr. M. of the fulfilment of this remarkable prediction, I have no fault to find. It is the common exposition given by Christian commentators generally, and I suppose no believer in the Old Testament, except a Jew, would be inclined to dispute its correctness in the main, though they might question the accuracy of some minute particulars.
By the seventy weeks it is universally admitted,