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WHY WE BELIEVE THAT “THE KING.
DOM OF GOD IS NIGH AT HAND."
" So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
Luke xxi. 31.
I. We find, in the second of Daniel, that the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar is interpreted by Daniel to represent the kingdoms of this world, which were to precede the coming of the kingdom of God. It represents that four great empires, symbolized by the four metals in the image, were to succeed each other; the last of which was to be divided into ten kingdoms and continue till the end of the world. By comparing the prophecy with history, we find that four such kingdoms have succeeded each other; — the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman, the last of which has been for the last thirteen hundred years divided into ten kingdoms. The prophecy in the second chapter of Daniel has thus all been fulfilled, but the smiting of these ten kingdoms-symbolized by the toes of the image-by the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, when they will become like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, be driven away, and no place found for them; and be succeeded by the kingdom of God, which is to consume these kingdoms, never be destroyed or left to other people, but is to stand forever. As, therefore, this is the only unfulfilled event of this prediction, we feel justified in living in continual expectation of its accomplishment, and believing that the kingdom of God has come nigh unto us.
II. We find, in the seventh of Daniel, a vision seen by him in the first year of Belshazzar, covering the same ground as the vision in the second chapter. According to this vision, Daniel saw four beasts arise out of the sea, which symbolized the four universal empires that were to succeed each other. The third of these was to be divided into four parts, represented by the heads of the leopard ; and the fourth kingdom into ten parts, symbolized by the ten horns. Three of these were to be plucked up by a persecuting power, which should speak great words against the Most High, and have power over the saints of the Most High for three and a half times, or twelve hundred and sixty years; and after the termination of that period it was to make war and prevail against them till the Ancient of Days should come, give the body of the beast to the burning flames and the kingdom to one like the Son of Man. Then the judgment was to be set and the books be opened, the judgment be given to the saints of the Most High, and the time come that the saints should possess the kingdom, who are to possess the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, forever, even forever and ever. We find in history the same fulfilment of all these kingdoms, which were to precede the end, in the four empires before referred to; the third of which, Grecia, was divided into four kingdoms; and the fourth, Rome, into ten; three of these were subverted by the rise of Popery in 508, which, in 538, obtained power over the saints, who remained in its hands for twelve hundred and sixty years, till the downfall of the pope in 1798. It has also continued to war upon and prevail against the saints from that day, for the last forty-five years. The only unfulfilled portion of this prophecy is, therefore, the coming of the Ancient of Days in judgment, to put one like the Son of Man and the saints of the Most High in possession of the kingdom, which is to be eternal. We have, therefore, reason to believe that this event may be at any time fulfilled.
III. In the eighth of Daniel, we find a vision, seen by that prophet in the third year of Belshazzar, commencing with a view of the Medo-Persian kingdom in its meridian glory, with none able to stand before it. This was to be succeeded by the Grecian, which was to be divided into four parts, towards the four winds of heaven ; and these were to be succeeded by another power, which was to become exceeding great, and stand up against the Prince of princes, but it was finally to be broken without hand. This vision, Daniel is told, was to continue twenty-three hundred days, or years, when the sanctuary should be cleansed. History shows us that these respective kingdoms have successively arisen, and that the divisions of the Grecian were succeeded by the Roman, which became EXCEEDING GREAT, and stood up against the PRINCE of PRINCES, sentencing him to be crucified and nailing him to the cross. We have also passed down the stream of time, so that we are now about twenty-three hundred years from the meridian glory of the Medo-Persian empire, and consequently may expect the CLEANSING OF THE SANCTUARY will be the next event, and at the doors.
IV. In the ninth of Daniel, we find that, in answer to the prayer of the prophet, the same angel Gabriel, that he had seen in the foregoing vision, is sent to explain to him more fully the vision of the twentythree hundred days. He informs Daniel that seventy weeks are cut off, sixty-nine of which, beginning with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, were to extend to MESSIAH the Prince, and that the sanctuary was to be destroyed and desolated till the consummation. We find that this decree went forth B. C. 457 ; 80 the twenty-three hundred days, reckoning from that, would
terminate about A. D. 1843, when we look for the consummation, and the cleansing of the sanctuary. Having passed down the stream of time to A. D. 1843, when the days appear to terminate, and finding no chronological error or other reason militating against this termination of that period, we are warranted in, expecting this event at the time appointed, and in looking for it from this time till the Lord shall come.
V. In the eleventh and twelfth of Daniel, we find a prophecy, reaching down to the resurrection of the dead, bringing to view the most prominent events which were to transpire before that event. We also find, from history, that all the events which were to precede the resurrection have been fulfilled in their proper order and time ; so that we are justified in looking for that as the next event. We also find that the words of that prophecy were to be closed up and sealed till the time of the end, which was to be twelve hundred and ninety years from the taking away of the daily and setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate in A. D. 508. This would terminate about A. D. 1798, when we find fulfilled the very events that were to mark the time of the end, and to which period the end of time was sealed up. Daniel is also told, in the same prophecy, that in thirteen hundred and thirty-five days (years) from the taking away of the daily, he shall stand in his lot. This period, reckoning from 508, would terminate about A. D. 1843; so that being unable to discover any reason to the contrary, we have cause to look continually for the consummation of all things.
VI. We find, in the twenty-sixth of Leviticus, that Israel were to be scattered seven times, or two thousand five hundred and twenty years ; that, according to Jeremiah xv. and 2 Chronicles xxxiii. this began with the captivity of Manasseh, B. C. 677, since which Israel has not been independent; so that these times appear to terminate about 1843. And we are told by Daniel,
twelfth chapter, that when God shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all the things written in the book of Daniel, which include the resurrection, will be accomplished.
VII. We find that all the unfulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament, which have reference to Israel, are to be fulfilled, according to the testimony of the apostles, in the restoration of the whole house of Israel-all who are of the faith of our father Abraham, in their resurrection bodies, to the new earth, where they are to abide forever. We also find that God has promised to regenerate this earth, restore it to its Eden state, and make it the eternal abode of the righteous; and that the various prophecies which have been adduced in support of a temporal millennium, have reference only to that eternal state, and will be fulfilled in the restitution of all things spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets, since the world began. We also find that all the various discursive prophecies of events before the end, have, as we understand them, all been fulfilled in their proper order; so that the restitution of all things, in the restoration of this earth to its Eden state, and the removal of the curse, is the next expected event in unfulfilled prophecy.
VIII. We find, in the twenty-fourth of Matthew, that our Saviour, in answer to the question of his disciples, respecting the sign of his coming and end of the world, gave them a series of events reaching to the end, and the signs which were to precede his coming, with the assurance that this generation-the generation that should see these signs-would not pass away until all should be fulfilled. These events, we find, have occurred as predicted, and also the sign of his coming and end of the world : the sun was darkened May 19, 1780; the night following, the moon did not give her light; and on the night of the 13th of November, 1833, the stars of heaven-the only stars which can fall-fell to the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when shaken