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as 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 cornmand 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 l 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 òx.
“But might we not understand the seventy weeks to be so many literal weeks, that is, 490 common days?” say yon. I answer, If so, then the command to build Jerasalem 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 hcavenly 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 6 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
barm for you to "say in your hearts, My Lord delaycth ais 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.