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Two points are admitted above. 1. That the seventy weeks are weeks of years, 490 years. 2. That the decree of Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign, (Ez. vii.,) is the beginning of the 490 years. One point is denied, viz., that the seventy weeks were filled up from that decree of Artaxerxes to the death of Christ. He sometimes seems to admit it for argument sake but denies the fact, with the understanding that if it was not fulfilled Mr. M.'s whole system is overthrown. We shall therefore undertake to prove the seventy weeks fulfilled at Christ's death.
Mr. Dowling says, “ Archbishop Usher places this event (the decree) in the year B.C. 457. Mr. Miller, who adopts this date, seems to be ignorant of the fact that the real date of the birth of Christ, is four years before the common era, and that Christ was crucified A. D. 29, and not A. D. 33.”
But is Mr. Dowling'ignorant of the fact” that the same sort of evidence (astronomical calculations, which determines Christ to have been born four years before the vulgar era
commences, also proves him to have been 37 years of age at his death, instead of 33, the commonly received age. We should notsuspect from anything in his book, that he was acquainted with the fact; but yet a fact it is. So that the time of his death was where our vulgar era fixes it; and the four years are taken from the 457 B. C. and added to 33, Christ's supposed age at his death, which would make him 37 at his death, and leave 453 B. C. instead of 457. Then 1810 years more will make out 1843 of the vulgar era.
Ferguson, the astronomer, has given us the method of obtaining the proof. See Miller's Life and Views, pp. 244—248.
The time of Christ's death' is obtained as follows:—He was crucified on Friday, and at the time of a Jewish passover. The passover was always held during the first full moon after the vernal equinox. But a paschal full moon would not happen every year, nor only once in many years, on the same day of the week. There are, however, but three or four years' dispute about the time of Christ's death, within which time there was but one paschal full moon on Friday. That
event was 1,808 years last April. This is confirmed by Phlegon, a heathen historian, who has recorded a great eclipse of the sun to have taken place the same year ; but astronomical calculations prove that there could not have been an eclipse that year, nor for many years before or after that year. It must, therefore, have been the supernatural darkness at Christ's death.
But it may be asked how the time of Christ's birth is determined. It is as follows :-Josephus, in giving a history of the last sickness of Herod, who commanded the children of Bethlehem to be slain at Christ's birth, records an eclipse of the moon to have taken place during that sickness. From Christ's death to that eclipse is 36 years. One year more, added for the age of Christ at that time, will make him 37 at his death. He was baptized, and commenced his public ministry at the age of 30. Luke iii. 33.
Daniel ix. 25. “Know therefore and understand, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto Messiah the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.”
“Unto Messiah”-not to his death, but to
his coming as the Messiah, which was when he wos baptized, and the Holy Ghost, in a bodily shape like a dove, came and rested on him. ' A voice came from heaven, which said, “ Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” John bare record, this is the Son of God. If he ever came, and was publicly announced as the Messiah, he was so then, when he was about thirty. He was then led up into the wilderness, and was tempted of the devil; and after. John was cast into prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and saying, “THE TIME IS FULFILLED,” &c. Mark i. 15. What time? Is there more than one time named in the Bible for the coming of. Messiah, and is not that the 69 weeks? If any predicted time was fulfilled, it was that; if there was no special time accomplished, he spoke at random, and meant nothing. "If the 69 weeks were fulfilled at the beginning of his ministry, according to his own declaration, and Christ was, as is astronomically proved, 37 at his death, then he confirmed the covenant with many for one week; and in the half part of the week, the last half or end of the week, he ended all the typical sacrifices by his offering the great antitype. Then we are not driven to the alternative of bringing in either John or the apostles to help him in the work assigned for him personally.
Again: the events predicted to take place within the 70 weeks could not be accomplished until the death of Christ; for the last of the series was the anointing, or consecration of the Most Holy, or Holy of Holies. But the Holy of Holies, consecrated by Christ, was the holiest of all in heaven itself, which he sprinkled with his own blood in our behalf. The events there enumerated, (Daniel ix. 24,) must have taken place, according to the prediction, within the seventy weeks; and they could not come short of it, and be filled up sooner, without frustrating what was determined; for it would be as much a failure for them all to be done three or four years before the time, as to exceed it by that time. The prediction is definite"seventy weeks are determined.” Where can an error be found in this argument? Most certainly Mr. Dowling will not presume to deny that the same authority which dates the birth of Christ four years before A. D. 1,