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In order to make this prophecy, and this phrase “ Messiah the Prince,” or “the annointed Prince" apply to Jesus of Nazareth. Christians connect, and join together this first member of the prophecy with the second, in open defiance of the original Hebrew; and after all, they can reap no benefit from this manœuvre ;, for the term “Messiah Nagid' or the anointed Prince, can never apply to Jesus, in this place, at any rate; because he certainly was no · Prince or Nagid, a word which in the Hebrew Bible always, without exception denotes a Prince, or Ruler, one invested with temporal authority, or supreme command. Now, as it is allowed on all hands, that Jesus had no such temporal power, as a Prince, or Ruler, it consequently follows, that he can by no means be the “ anointed Prince," mentioned in the prophecy.
Second Period." And (in) threescore, and two weeks, the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
Here the Angel gave him to understand, that after the seven weeks before mentioned there would come a time in which the building would be hindered, sand which was on account of the letter written by Rheum, and Shinishai to Artaxerxes; who in consequence thereof made the building to cease, (See Ezra, and Nehemiah,)] till the second year of Darius, who gave leave to finish the building: which continued till the Destruction by the Romans, sixty two weeks, beside the last week, at the beginning of which, the Romans came, and warred against them, and at length entirely destroyed the cities of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple. For, from the time that Cyrus, first gave leave to build the Temple till its completion, was twenty one years; and its duration four hundred and twenty, in the whole, sixty three weeks, or four hundred and forty one years. But the angel made his division at sixty two weeks, as he afterwards described what was to come to pass in the last week sand with reason, for the horrible Jewish war lasted seven years! And by the words " in troublous times," he informed Daniel, that during the building of the Temple, they would have continual trouble, and alarms from their enemies, as is mentioned. in Ezra, and Nehem. where we find, that while some worked, the others held the shield and spear. And even after finishing it, they were almost continually in trouble, and persecuted, as is evident from the Books of Maccabees, and from Josephus. The difficulty that learned Christians have met with ni their attempts to do this will be easily conceived by any person when he knows, that more than a dozen dit. erent Hypotheses have been framed by them for that purpose. But that they have lost their labour will be obvious from this single observation, that “ the annointed one, or Messiah” who the prophet says was to be “ cut off," was to be cut off " AFTER the threescore, and two weeks" i. e. at the destruction of Jerusalem, or wilhin the seven years preceding that event ! Now we know from the Evangelists, and from profane History, that Jesus was crucified more than 40 years before the de. struction of Jerusalem. In addition to This nothing need be said, for this circumstance lays flat their interpretation at one stroke.
Third Period.--" And after threescore and two weeks shall the anointed be cut off, and have no successor. [Heb. 66 and not or none to him."? And the city, and the sanctuary shall be destroyed by the people of the Prince that shall come ; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.""; · That is, and after that period, shall the High Priest (or 6 the annointed one") be cut off. [The High Priest is called “ Messiah," witness Lev. iv. 3. “ If the Messi. ah Priest, (or annointed Priest) doth sin, &c.”] And have no successor ; and the city, and the Temple shall be destroyed by Titus and the Romans, and until the end of the war, your country shall be swept with the besom of destruction.
The angel finishes the prophecy with these wordsg. 66 And he (the Prince that shall come) shall strengthen the covenant with many for one week. And in the midst of the week [i. e. the seventieth and last week.] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."
This prediction was fully accomplished; for 1. Titus 66 the Prince that should come” was continually of. fering peace to the Jews, and tried to 6 strengthen the covenant ;" i. e. their old treaties made with the Ro. mans, and in fact did bring over many. 2. On ac.. count of the distress of the siege, the daily sacrifice did in fact cease to be offered in the temple some time before its destruction : and the angel further observes, that all this was to come upon them for their sins 6 for the overspreading of abominations it should be made desolate.;
This is what appears to be a plain, and fair explication of this prophecy. But since Christians seeing mention made in it of a Messiah to be cut off, have eagerly endeavoured to press it into their service, it re. mains for me to show, that it is impossible to make this prophecy refer to “ the cutting off of Jesus.
Those who desire to see a more elaborate discussion of this prophecy, and an ample defence of this Interpretation, are referred to 6 Levi's Letters, to Priestly.'' And those who are desirous of seeing an account of the various, contradictory, perplexed, and 'multitudinous contrivances, by which it has been endeavoured to apply this Prophecy to Jesus, are referred to Prideaux, Michaelis, and Blayney.
We have now gone through an examination of the evidence adduced from the Prophets of the Old Testament to prove that Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Tesstament; and those of our readers who love truth, are, we trust now made sensible that the Religion of the New Testament,if built upon such proofs as these, is eye' idently founded on—a mistake.
Many of our Readers have no doubt heard from the Pulpit many exclamations, and Declamations against “ the blindúess of the Jews,”' in not recognizing their Mes ah in Jesus of Nazareth. The reasons of this
Blindness” are made I think by this time pretty intelligible.
Nevertheless, for the further satisfaction of the reader, I will here set down the principal reasons given by
Rabbi Isaac in his 6 Munimen Fidei” which cause the Jews to deny the Messiahship of Jesus.
" At a certain time, says he, a certain learned man of the wise men of the Christians said unto me, wherefore are you Jews unwilling to believe Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, when yet your veritable Prophets testified of bim, whose words you profess to have faith in."
“ I gave him this answer. 6: How, I require, could we believe him to be the Messiah, when you can produce no genuine proof from the Prophets in his favour? since all those things adduced by the Evangelists from them to prove Jesus the Messiah are nothing to the purpose. And we have many and evident reasons to prove, that he was not the Messiah. And of these I will bring forward a few arising. 1. From his Genealogy. 2. From his Works. 3. From the time of his appearing. 4. From the prophecies of the things to take place in the time of the Messiah not having been fulÄlied in his age. And in these things are contained the genuine marks characteristick of our Messiah.”
1. As to what concerns his Genealogy, it does not prove this necessary thing that Jesus was the Son of David. Becanse he was not begotten by Joseph, as the Gospel of Matthew testifies. For in the first chapter of it, it is written, that Jesus was born of Mary when she was yet a Virgin, and had not been known by Joseph, wbich Uings being so the Genealogy of Joseph has nothing to do with Jesus. The desceut and origin of Mary is stii! less known, but it seeins froin Luke's calling Elizah:ih who was of Levi her cousin, that Mary was on the tribe of Levi, and not of Judah, and consequently not of David, and if she were, stil! Jesus is not the more the Son of David, descents being reckoned from the males only. Neither is the Genealogy of Josepl rightly deduced from David, but labour's under great difficulties. Matthew, and Luke also, not only disagree, but irreconccilably and flatly contradict each other in their Genealogies of Joseph. Now it cannot be that the testimony of two witnesses who directly contradict each other in the matter to be proved by them, rean he received as true. But the Prophets have din rected us to expect no Messiah but one born of the seed of David.'
6 2. As to the works of Jesus, we object to what he said concerning himself. “Do not consider ine as come to establish Peace on Earth, for I have come to send a sword, and to seperate the Son from the Father, and the Daughter from her Mother, and the Daughter in Law from her Mother in Law," which words are written Mat. ch. 10. But we find the prophecies concerning the Messiah to attribute to him very different works from these ; nay the very opposite. For whereas Jesus testifies concerning himself, that he did not come to establish Peace in the Earth, but“ Division," “ Fire,” and “ Sword." Zechariah says concerning the expected Messiah ch. 9. “He shall speak Peace to the nations." Jesus says he come to send “ fire and sword", upon the Earth, but Micah says ch. 2. that in the times of the true Messiah “ they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against Nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Jesus says, that he come “ to put Division between the Father, and the Son, &c.” But in the time of the true Messiah, Elias the Prophet shall come, of whom Malachi prophecied " that he shall convert the heart of the Fathers unto the children, and the heart of the children to the Fathers.” Jesus says, “ that he come to serve others, not to be served by them,” Mat xx. 28. But of the true Messiah it is said Ps. 2. “ All kings shall bow themselves before him, all nations shall serve him.” The same also is said by Zechariah ch. 9. ' “ His dominion shall be from one sea to the other, and from the river unto the ends of the Earth.” And so Dan. ch.7. 6 All dominions shall serve, and obey him.”
63. As to the Time, we object to the Christians, that Jesus did not come at the time designated by the Proph. ets. For the Prophets testify that the coming of the Messiah should be in the end of Days," or in the lat. ter days, (which surely have not yet arrived, as it is in Is. ch. 2. 6 It shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be estab-