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Then comes the instruction of Gabriel, which we have before given.
III. The time or length of the vision - the 2,300 days.
What must we understand by days? In the prophecy of Daniel it is invariably to be reckoned years; for God hath so ordered the prophets to reckon days. Numb. xiv. 31, “ After the number of days in which yo searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years." Ezek. iv. 5, 6,“ For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of is. racl. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days; I have appointed thee each day for a year.” In these passages we prove the command of God. We will also show that it was so called in the days of Jacob, when he served for Rachel, Gen. xxix. 27 : “ Fulfil her week (scven days) and we will give thee this also, for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet other seven years."
Nothing now remains to make it certain that our vis. ion is to be so understood, but to prove that Daniel has followed this rule. This we will do, if your patience will hold out, and God permit.
Now turn your attention to the ninth chapter of Daniel, and you will there learn that fifteen years after Daniel had his last vision, and sixty-five years after Daniel explained Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and 538 years B. C., Daniel set his face unto the Lord God by supplication and prayer; and by confession of his own sins, and the sins of the people of Israel, he sought God for mercy, for himself and all Israel. And while he was speaking and praying, as he tells us, Daniel ix. 21, “ Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, Daniel viii. 16, 17, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplication the commandment came forth, and I am
come to show thee ; for thou art greatly beloved ; there. fore understand the matter, and consider the vision Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for ini. quity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous tiines, And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary ; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week, (or last half, as it might have been rendered, he shall cause the sacrifice and the ob. lation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomination, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
What do we learn from the above passage? We learn our duty in prayer, and God's goodness in answering. We learn that the angel Gabriel was sent to instruct Daniel, and make him understand the vision, You may inquire what vision? I answer, The one Daniel had in the beginning, for he has had no other. We also learn that seventy weeks, which is 490 days, (or years, as we shall show,) from the going forth of a certain decree to build the streets and walls of Jerusalem in troublous times, to the crucifixion of the Messiah should be accomplished. We also learn that this seventy weeks is divided into three parts; seven weeks being employed in building the streets and walls in troublous times, which is forty-nine years, sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years to the preaching of John in the wilderness, which two, put together, make sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years, and one week the gospel was preached; John
three and a half years, and Christ three and a half years, which makes the seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years; which, when accomplished, would seal up the vision, and make the prophecy true. We also learn that, after the crucifixion of Christ, the Romans would come and destroy the city and sanctuary, and that wars will not cease until the consummation or end of the world. “All that may be true,” says the objector; “ but where have you proved that the seventy weeks were four hundred and ninety years?" I agree I have not yet proved it, but will now do it.
We shall again turn your attention to the Bible. Look at Ezra vii. 11-13: “Now this is the copy of the letter that the king, Artaxerxes, gave unto Ezra, the priest, the scribe, a scribe of the law of God: perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites in my realm, which are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.” This is the decree given when the walls of Jerusalem were built in troublous times. See, also, Neh. iv. 17—23. Ezra and Nehemiah being contemporary, see Neh. viii. 1. The decree to Ezra was given in the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign, Ezra vii. 7, and that to Nehemiah in the twentieth year, Neh. ii. 1. Let any one examine the chronology, as given by Rollin or Josephus, from the seventh year of Artaxerxes to the twenty-second year of Tiberius Cæsar, which was the year our Lord was crucified, and he will find it was four hundred and ninety years. The Bible chronology says that Ezra started to go up to Jerusalem on the 12th day of the first month, (see Ezra viii. 31,) 457 years before the birth of Christ; he being 33 when he died, added to 457, will make 490 years. Three of the evangelists tell us he was betrayed two days before the feast of the passover, and of course was the same day crucified. The passover was always kept on the 14th day of the first month forever, and Christ being crucified two days before, would make it on the 12th day, 490 years from the time Ezra left the river Ahava to go unto Jerusalem.
If this calculation is correct, - and I think no one can doubt it, then the seventy weeks was fulfilled to a day when our Savior suffered on the cross. Is not the seventy weeks fairly proved to have been fulfilled by years? And does not this prove that our vision and the 2300 days ought to be so reckoned ? Yes, if these seventy weeks are a part of the vision. Does not the angel say plainly, I have come to show thee; therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision ? Yes. Well, what can a man ask for more than plain positive testimony, and a cloud of circumstances agreeing with it ?
But one thing still remains to be proved. When did the 2300 years begin ? Did it begin with Nebuchad. nezzar's dream ? No. For if it had, it must have been fulfilled in the year 1. D. 1697. Well, then, did it begin when the angel Gabriel came to instruct Daniel into the 70 weeks ? No, for if then, it would have been finished in the year A. D. 1762. Let us begin it where the angel told us, from the going forth of the decree to build the walls of Jerusalem in troublous times, 457 years before Christ; take 457 from 2300, and it will leave A. D. 1843; or take 70 weeks of years, being 490 years, from 2300 years, and it will leave 1810 after Christ's death. Add his life, (because we begin to reckon our time at his birth, which is 33 years, and we come to the same A. D. 1843.
Now let us examine our subject, and see what we have learned by it thus far. And,
I. We learn that there are two abominations spoken of by Daniel. The first is the Pagan mode of worship, which was performed by the sacrificing of beasts upon altars, similar to the Jewish rites, and by which means the nations around Jerusalem drew away many of the Jews into idolatry, and brought down the heavy judgments of God upon idolatrous Israel; and God permitted his people to be led into captivity, and persecuted by the very nations that they, the Jews, had been so fond of copying after in their mode of worship. Therefore were the sanctuary and place of worship at Jerusalem trodden down by Pagan worshippers; and the altars, erected by the command of God, and according to the pattern
and form which God had preseribed, were broken down and more fashionable altars of the heathen erected in their room. Thus were the commands of God disobeyed, his laws perverted, his people enslaved, the sanctuary trodden down, and the temple polluted, until at last God took away the Jewish rites and ceremonies, instituted new forms, new laws, and set up the gospel kingdom in the world.
This, for a season, was kept pure from the worldly sanctuaries and policy of Satan. But Satan, an arch enemy, found his Pagan abominations could have but little or no effect to draw the followers of Christ into idolatry, for they believed the bloody rites and sacrifices had their fulfilment in Christ. Therefore, in order to carry the war into the Christian camp, he suffers the daily sacrifice abomination to be taken out of the way, and sets up Papacy, which is more congenial to the Christian mode of worship in its outside forms and ceremonies, but retaining all the hateful qualities of the former. He persuades them to erect images to some or all of the dear apostles; and even to Christ, and Mary, the Mother of God." He then flatters them that the church is infallible. (Here was a strong cord by which he could punish all disputers.) He likewise gives them the keys of heaven, (or Peter, as they call it. This will secure all authority. He then clothes them with power to make laws, and to dispense with those which God had made. This capped the climax. In this he would fasten many thousands who might protest against some of his more vile abominations; yet habit and custom might secure them to a willing obedience to his laws, and to a total neglect of the laws of God. This was Satan's masterpiece; and, as Daniel says, "he would think to change times and laws, and they should be given into his hand for a time, times, and a half; but they shall take away his dominion to consume and de stroy it unto the end." Therefore, when this last abomination of desolation shall be taken away, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
II. We learn that the vision which Daniel saw was revealed at three separate times 1st. In Nebuchado