- Light for the Last Days : A Study Historic and Prophetic... - Primary Source Edition
- Light for the Last Days - Henry Grattan Guinness - Bok () | Bokus
- About the author
Pusey very thorough and candid, as well as learned, giving not the results of investigation only, but the process, and the fullest reference to original documents. As the predictions of Daniel lie at the base of the following treatise, we must indicate the nature of the defence, though we cannot do more. Porphyry, in the third century, in his attack on Christianity as a whole, devoted one of his fifteen books to an assault on Daniel. He asserted that it must be the work of a Jew of Palestine, written in Greek in the time of Antiochus; and assigned as the ground of his theory the exact correspondence of events with the predictions, asserting that Daniel "did not so much predict future events as narrate past ones," bearing thus a noble testimony to the prophet!
His book was by imperial command condemned to the flames, and we know it mostly from fragments preserved in the writings of Jerome. Spinoza, the infidel Jew, was the first modern to renew this old attack; and then Hobbes and Collins, and other English deists. Michaelis made however the first scholarly attempt to undermine confidence in the authenticity of Daniel, and he decidedly maintained the genuineness of the greater part of it.
The names of more recent opponents are legion, and we need not give them here, but simply indicate the arguments that prove the futility of the objections. To a Christian mind the highest and most conclusive testimony lies in the fact that our Lord speaks of Daniel as a prophet, and quotes from him. The name by which He most frequently speaks of Himself, "the Son of man," is taken from Daniel vii.
Many of His descriptions of His own coming and kingdom are also distinctly connected with Daniel's predictions of them. Surely our Lord would not thus have endorsed an impostor! Josephus tells us that the book was eagerly studied in Christ's days; would He have treated it as Scripture, and allowed His disciples to regard it as such, if it were a forgery? The apostles uniformly recognise Daniel as a prophet. Peter alludes to his inquiries as to the "times," and states that he was inspired by the Spirit of Christ.
Paul in 2 Thessalonians ii. Hebrews xi. The allusions to Daniel as one of the holiest and one of the wisest of men, by his contemporary Ezekiel, show how early he attained his high position in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and how far the fame of his blameless, holy life had spread, even in his own days. As he most distinctly and repeatedly claims to be the author of his own book, and writes much of it as an autobiography, the very holiness of his character makes the thought of deliberate forgery and falsehood revoltingly inconsistent. That the book was widely distributed and well known and revered by the pious in pre- Maccabean times can be demonstrated.
The very accurate and reliable First Book of Maccabees makes exact, though brief and simple, reference to the stories in Daniel. The dying words of Mattathias to his sons are recorded, in which he encourages them to fidelity to God amid persecution by recalling various Bible histories, and among the rest, that of the Hebrew children in the fire, and Daniel in the lions' den.
Hence it is evident the book was known and regarded as Scripture at that time. Further, Josephus makes several remarkable and explicit statements on the subject. Speaking of one of the predictions, he says, "Now this was delivered years before the fulfilment," thus recognising the received date as unquestionable, and as generally admitted to be so in his day. In a still more conclusive and very interesting passage he asserts that Daniel's prophecy was shown to Alexander the Great when he visited Jerusalem, and that this monarch took the prediction about a Greek who was to overthrow the Persian empire to mean himself, and was much encouraged thereby in his enterprise, and very favourably disposed towards the Jews in consequence.
Josephus was indeed much impressed by the remarkable fulfilments of Daniel's predictions, which even in his day were evident. After expounding several of these he says: "All these things did this man leave behind in writing, as God had showed them to him: so that those who read his prophecies, and see how they have been fulfilled, must be astonished at the honour conferred by God on Daniel. Both were familiar to the Jews of the captivity era, and to them only; the one was Daniel's mother tongue, the other the language in which he had been educated, and by which he was surrounded for the greater part of his life.
Hebrew ceased to be used by the Jews in and from the captivity, except as a sacred learned language. It had been entirely superseded before the Maccabean days, and no writer of the time of Antiochus could have counted on being understood, had he written in that language. Daniel reckons on such a familiar acquaintance with both languages, that it is evidently a matter of indifference to him and to his readers which he uses. The language is a mark of genuineness set by God on the book. Rationalism must rebel, as it has rebelled; but it dare not now with any moderate honesty abuse philology to cover its rebellion.
Almost every single circumstance mentioned in the book is confirmed directly or indirectly by cotemporary historians, and proved to be absolutely and even minutely correct. In the Maccabean age, as existing remains prove, the utmost ignorance of the history and geography of foreign countries prevailed among the Jews in Palestine, and an exact and comprehensive knowledge of the history of a period so dark and already so remote as the captivity era, did not exist and could not have existed.
And the same may be said of the accurate knowledge exhibited in the book of the institutions, manners, usages, and entire state of things, existing in the Babylonian and Medo -Persian times. Again, it has been remarked that "the complexion of the prophecies of Daniel corresponds so exactly with what is related in the historical part of the circumstances of his life, that even the most crafty impostor would not have been able to produce this agreement artificially.
Daniel occupied high offices of state; he was witness to great revolutions and changes of rulers and empires; and this circumstance is very significantly impressed on his prophecies. The succession of the various empires of the world forms their principal subject. In the representation of the Messianic idea also he borrows his colours from his external relations. Throughout there is apparent a religious, as well as a political gift, such as we meet with in no other prophet. Hence the prophecies of Daniel were already at that date recognised as inspired writings. It is true the book does not appear in the list of the prophets, because Daniel was not officially a Jewish prophet, but a Babylonian statesman.
David, also, though a prophet, was officially a king, and thus his writings, like Daniel's, are classed among the hagiographa, or sacred books, rather than among the prophets. The principle of the Jewish arrangement of the canon was, that sacred writings by men in secular office, and not occupying the pastoral or prophetic position, were put in a class apart from the prophets. But the Jewish rabbis hold his prophetic revelations in the highest esteem, and the Talmud places him above all other prophets. There is therefore no question at all for candid minds that the book is authentic, and rightly attributed to the time of the Babylonish captivity; and if so, it must be granted by all that it contains prophecy-definite predictions which have been most marvellously fulfilled.
The importance of this conclusion can scarcely be over-estimated, though it seems to be less appreciated by Christians than by sceptics. They regret their inability to wrest a mighty weapon out of the hands of the Church. But we-what use are we making of it? What execution are we doing with it? Is it not a pity that it is allowed to so great an extent to lie idle? If eight or nine centuries of fulfilled prophecy drove Porphyry, in the third century, to feel that he must either admit Divine inspiration or prove the book of Daniel spurious, ought not the twenty-five centuries of it, to which we in our days can point, be even more efficacious in convincing candid inquirers and confounding prejudiced opponents?
The battle of authenticity has been fought and won; no fresh objections can be invented. Archeological discovery may yet find Daniel's name among the Babylonian records; it will certainly produce no evidence against the book which it has already done so much to authenticate. It rests with Christian teachers and preachers to use the miracle of the last days, fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy, for the conviction and conversion of men.
Should this volume increase such a use of "Daniel, the prophet," we shall rejoice. It will, we trust, in any case confirm the faith of those who already believe, and brighten the hope of those who are waiting for the kingdom of God. It has been written amid the pressure of many claims, and makes no pretension to literary excellence, though it may be relied on for exact accuracy in its historic and chronologic statements. Our Missionary Institute-with its three colleges, and its various other enterprises at home and abroad- imposes upon us so much stern, practical work, as well as so much constant financial responsibility, that it is with difficulty we can make leisure for writing.
Yet the ever-growing conviction of the shortness of the time for gospel labour, of which the grounds are here indicated, forbids us to relax effort for the multiplication of missionaries in heathendom, and evangelists in destitute districts of Christendom. Should any reader of this volume derive from it such light and help as to deserve a special thank-offering to God, let him remember, not us, but our work!
Its opportunities are great, its needs are large. It has already furnished many hundreds of missionaries to the dark parts of the earth, and the number is increased by one every week in the year, on an average. We dare not decrease our work in this practical direction, yet is there much, very much, still unwritten on the sacred themes treated in these pages which, should leisure be afforded, we long to write. The Institute is evangelical, but undenominational, and consequently unsustained by any denomination as such.
It is conducted in faith, and dependent on the voluntary contributions of friends in all sections of the Christian Church. It involves an outlay of many thousands annually, and its circle of supporters is extremely limited; we make bold to plead its cause with all who with us believe that "this gospel of the kingdom must first be preached among all nations for a witness unto them, and then shall the end come. And now, in sending forth this volume on its mission, we commend it to the great Head of the Church, who has promised light in the last days on the mysteries of His prophetic word, humbly praying that He may deign to use it for His own glory and for the good of many.
December, The conviction that we are living in days which have about them a character of finality deepens in the minds of thoughtful men. From the most unlikely quarters there come, ever and anon, expressions of this feeling. The grounds assigned for the sentiment or opinion differ; in some cases it is apparently without foundation; but it prevails. It is in reality a well grounded conviction; the word of God leaves no room for doubt that we are living in the last days of this dispensation, and have well-nigh reached the close of the existing state of things.
It leaves no room to doubt that a change-a change greater than any the world has ever seen-is impending. Bible readers have a clearer and deeper impression on the subject than others, though in too many cases even they would find it difficult to give any solid reason for their opinion. But students of the prophetic Scriptures have no such difficulty; to them the fact that these are in the most literal sense the last days is one capable of the fullest demonstration, a fact as clearly ascertained and as easily proved as any other fact of science.
The assertion may sound strange to some, but there is a science of chronologic prophecy-a science of recent origin, and one as yet too little studied, but one of unspeakable interest and importance. Our desire in the following pages is to lead lovers of truth to the study of this sacred science. It is not a fashionable one in any circle. It is condemned and decried as speculative folly in some, and totally neglected in others; in others again it is pursued, but only in a desultory manner, by a few.
As a rule, it is not publicly taught, even by those who understand it; and the result is that it is scarcely recognised as a science at all. But if Science be a knowledge of facts arranged in order and explained by law, then is there beyond all question a science of chronologic prophecy; and none of the sciences so ardently studied in this nineteenth century yield results of greater practical importance. In bygone ages there was a cause why this science made little progress, a reason why it could not be understood.
But this cause and this reason exist no longer; on the contrary, the time has come when the subject must and will be successfully studied and understood by many; for so it is distinctly predicted in Scripture. When, twenty-five centuries ago, God granted to Daniel the revelations which form a large part of the material of this science, the prophet, who failed to understand especially the chronological statements embodied in the predictions given to him, asked further explanation.
His request was refused, and he was informed that these predictions were not for the benefit of the then existing generations, but for that of distant future ones. He was directed in the meantime to "shut up the words, and seal the book," and informed that the meaning of the visions was "closed up and sealed" to "the time of the end"; that in that time "the wise" would understand them, though "the wicked" would never do so. Now it is clear that none can read a divinely sealed book until God Himself break the seal and throw open the pages.
None can penetrate His sacred mysteries till He is pleased to remove the veil that covers them. Chronologic prophecy must, in the very nature of the case, be designed for the benefit of later and not of earlier generations. The prophets themselves did not always understand their own chronological predictions. When the time was near, the period short, and the language in which it was expressed simple and literal, they of course did so; but when the events were distant, the period long, and the prophecy expressed in symbolic language, we are told by the Apostle Peter that, so far from understanding, they "inquired and searched diligently.
As the end draws near the mysterious predictions are gradually explained by their own progressive fulfilments, and the light grows stronger and clearer to the close. The statement that not even "the wise shall understand" chronologic prophecy till "the time of the end," accounts for all the misunderstandings of earlier ages, and all the partial comprehension of later times, and is an encouragement to the study of it in these days; for that we live in "the time of the end" is plain with a moment's reflection. What does the expression in Daniel "the time of the end" mean?lambertcastle.com/147-comprar-hydroxychloroquine.php
Light for the Last Days : A Study Historic and Prophetic... - Primary Source Edition
Clearly the time of the end of the events revealed to Daniel. His prophecies foretold the events of twenty-five centuries, the existence of the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, and represent these as occupying the entire interval between the prophet's own days and the day of the resurrection of the dead, and the establishment of the glorious and everlasting kingdom of God on earth. They predict that the last or Roman dominion would exist in two distinct and successive stages, contrasted in many respects, but alike in some, and especially in that they are both phases of the rule of ROME.
The first, a stage in which that great city is the fountain of authority and government to an undivided empire; and the second, in which it is so, in a different way, to a tenfold commonwealth of kingdoms. We know, that not only the three first of these great universal empires have risen, ruled, and passed away as predicted, but that the dominion of Rome pagan was in due time, as foretold, succeeded by that of Rome Papal over the ten Gothic kingdoms of modern Europe; and that this last is now in a state of decadence, its temporal rule having already come to an end sixteen years ago.
The Babylonian empire occupied the time of the beginning; the rule of Persia, Greece, Rome pagan, and Rome Papal, occupied the long subsequent course of the period, and the fall of this last power must clearly mark the close of the predicted series of events. The promise that in the time of the end "the wise shall understand" must therefore, if it is ever to be fulfilled at all, be fulfilled in our days; and there is no room for an "if" as regards any of the promises of the Faithful and True Witness, the God who cannot lie.
The time has come at last for the comprehension of the chronological predictions of Scripture, and all who desire to understand them may plead the promise that there shall be light on them in these days. But let us note well to whom light on this great and glorious subject is to be granted in this "time of the end. And similarly we may say, whoso is wise, and will observe the hand of God in history, even they shall understand the meaning of sacred prophecy. In Daniel's predictions, the saints are continually contrasted with their enemies and persecutors; all through his prophecies, as well as in those of the Apostle John, these two classes are distinguished, and the context shows that they are the two classes alluded to by these expressions, "the wicked" and "the wise.
They despise and neglect, not only the prophetic Scriptures, but the word of God as a whole: "The wicked" of these verses are preeminently the opponents and persecutors of the saints, so frequently alluded to in the earlier portions of the prophecy, and especially those of the Romish apostasy, which figures so largely in all predictions of this Gentile age. The doctors and teachers of this system do study and profess to understand Daniel's predictions, and they even presume to expound them to others. This inspired statement consequently puts us on our guard against any system of prophetic interpretation which emanates from Rome.
Such interpretations must needs be misunderstandings, and therefore false and misleading; for it is written, "none of the wicked shall understand. The moral and ecclesiastical position of these latter forbids the possibility of their understanding; the true light will arise, not among the persecutors, but among the persecuted. Hence on this subject we should lean to Protestant and not to Papal interpretations. The numerous and wide differences of view among the students of prophecy are frequently alleged as a reason for not attempting its study.
A moment's thought will show that under the circumstances this difference was inevitable. The progress of all sciences is gradual, and often slow. The transition from total ignorance to perfect knowledge on any subject cannot, without a miracle, be made suddenly. This promise, that "the wise shall understand," does not contain the condition that they shall do so suddenly, or correctly and completely at once. As comprehension was not to take place till the time of the end, the dawn of true light must have been comparatively recent. What science is there that has never made a mistake or started a false theory in its early days?
What science is there that has not been driven, as it grew, and developed, to modify some of its first conclusions, and to abandon some of its earlier positions? Recall the history of astronomy, the eldest of the sciences, or of biology, the youngest! Change and modification are involved in growth, nor can they be avoided until full maturity is reached.
This objection is therefore simply an expression of impatience with the invariable law that there is no royal road to learning. Time must be allowed for careful and repeated observation, for study, meditation, and research; and patience must be exercised, for it may be many generations before a science is really understood and established on any solid basis. Moreover, when human selfishness warps the judgment, and produces a strong prejudice, as it does for instance in the sciences of political and social economy, opposing theories must be expected.
The science of chronologic prophecy bears strongly against three of the most numerous and influential religions communities in existence,-Romanists, Mohammedans, and Jews. How can it then be otherwise than controverted by those belonging to these communities? If the Government publish the photographs of three notorious criminals, men guilty of high treason and murder, and, holding these in his hand, a detective address to a certain trio the accusation, "You are the men," are they likely to agree with his opinion?
From the very nature of the case, differences of interpretation must exist to the end between "the wicked" and "the wise"; but the differences of the latter among themselves ought now to be daily diminishing. As a matter of fact, much real progress has already been made by the godly and learned students of the last three centuries.
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Though not a few erroneous anticipations have been indulged and false maxims adopted, the main principles of the science are clearly ascertained, and it is now a question of exact application. This important study has been mainly brought into disrepute by the foolish speculations of some, who, instead of being students of prophecy, become themselves prophets, and presumptuously venture to foretell future events, instead of cautiously comparing history with the statements of Holy Writ.
But a broad distinction exists between this foolish and reprehensible course, and that devout and humble study of chronologic prophecy for which we have the highest examples. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ began His ministry with a statement connected with chronological prophecy; a statement which showed how carefully He had pondered, and how clearly He comprehended Daniel's prediction of the "seventy weeks.
The mysterious "seventy weeks" to Messiah the Prince. Peter says of this study, that we do well to take heed to it; and John says of it, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear"- the words of the most mysterious of prophetic books, -"and keep those things that are written therein,"- the latter clause showing that prophetic study has practical bearings.
Daniel, a scholar and a statesman, one of the wisest and holiest of men, gave himself earnestly, even in his old age, to the study of chronologic prophecy. He was himself a prince among prophets; and yet he disdained not, as he tells us, Dan 9. The effect of his studies was to prostrate him in prayer and supplication before God, and to secure for him an additional revelation, the most glorious that up to that time had ever been given-a revelation of the exact interval to the first advent and redeeming work of Christ.
Simeon and Anna were students of chronologic prophecy, and to their light on this subject it was owing that they were found in the temple, waiting for "the Consolation of Israel. Nay, is it not an insult to the ALL- WISE to assume that it is folly for His people to study the predictions which He in His wisdom has given, and which He has sealed with this unconditional promise, that the wise shall in "the time of the end" understand them?
Twenty-five centuries of history are now casting back the light of their multiplied fulfilments on these sacred prophecies.
Light for the Last Days - Henry Grattan Guinness - Bok () | Bokus
Men require in these last days just such fresh demonstration of the inspiration of Scripture as only fulfilled prophecy can afford. Miracle is doubted or denied; the supernatural is spurned as incredible by this generation, which smiles at the idea of inspiration. But if it be so that the very things now going on in the world were distinctly predicted in Daniel's day, and even the very dates of the occurrence of contemporary events indicated, who can doubt that "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"?
Such evidence should be, and frequently is, valuable for convincing the most sceptical unbelievers; but if it only serve to root and ground the Christians in their most holy faith, and to render them proof against the attacks of infidelity, it answers no mean end. If it serve, moreover, to quicken hope and practical zeal, and to produce and preserve in the Church a body of disciples who shall be watching and waiting for Christ at His coming, it abundantly accomplishes its purpose.
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What is our present chronological position, and our present duty in this matter? It may help us to understand both if we note the parallel between our own position and that of Daniel in the days of Darius the Mede. The holy prophet had spent in Babylon the greater part of his life, as he had been there during the whole of Judah's captivity.
He had risen to high estate in the land of his exile, was full of years, full of honours, and full of wisdom: but his heart remained true to the God and the land of his fathers, true to Jerusalem and the Jewish people; and his mind was consequently full of the-to him-profoundly interesting question, When would their long captivity in Babylon come to an end?
He knew it must be nearly over; for though Judah still hanged her harp upon the willows and sat down and wept by the rivers of Babylon, she yet began to wipe away her tears and to lift up her head, for her redemption was drawing nigh; she had seen the great city fall, and the hand of the Persian conqueror was already resting on the pen that was to sign the blessed edict of liberation and return.
The day was one of approaching crisis; a great turning point in the history of Israel was at hand, and Daniel knew it. He had not been assured of it by an angel from heaven; he did not guess that it was so from political appearances, but he knew it as the result of study-a study of "books," as he expressly tells us. Those books included no doubt the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, and it may be also the boastful records inscribed on many a Babylonian cylinder and slab. The book which he specially mentions however by name is that of the prophet Jeremiah, and the portions of that book which had principally enlightened his mind and influenced his heart, were the two chronological predictions recorded in chapters xxv.
From an earnest study and comparison of these various books the holy prophet gathered that the end of Judah's captivity was close at hand, that the dark week of bondage-a week of decades, seventy years -was well-nigh over, and that already it began to dawn towards the first day of a new "week" in the history of his people. This glad conclusion was not however arrived at so easily as some may suppose.
Daniel did not argue, "The captivity was to last seventy years; I have been now about seventy years in Babylon, so it must be nearly over. Daniel's opinion of the crisis at which he lived was evidently the result of all these. His studies had a sanctifying and blessed effect on his mind, leading him to confession, supplication, and prayer, and securing for him an angelic visit, and a further glorious revelation. He perceived, as he studied the predictions of Jeremiah, and the records of events which had happened when he was a child, that the captivity of his people had not been a sudden catastrophe, but a gradual process; that it had been accomplished by stages during a period of twenty years, stages as to the relative importance of which there might be some question.
Taking no note of the conquests of the Assyrian monarchs, Pul, Shalmaneser, and Esarhaddon, nor of the various captivities inflicted by them on the ten tribes of Israel, nor even of the overthrow of Manasseh, king of Judah, under the last of these three monarchs, but confining his attention exclusively to the different successive campaigns of Nebuchadnezzar and his generals against Jerusalem, it was evident that a wide chronological margin-very wide as compared with the whole period of seventy years-existed, somewhere in which the initial date of the captivity must occur; but it was not exactly easy to select the precise year.
The relative importance of historical events, and especially of contemporary events, is often difficult to discern. The edifice of Jewish monarchy had trembled and tottered for some time before it fell, and when it did fall, it fell in several successive crashes. Which was the critical one? Was it the third year of Jehoiakim, B. On this occasion the city was finally broken up, and Zedekiah, after seeing his sons slain before his face, and having his own eyes put out at Riblah, was carried away to languish and die in exile. Later in that same year Nebuzaradan burned the temple, razed Jerusalem to the ground, and carried off to Babylon the rest of the people.
This was the last stage of the long process of the decay and fall of Jewish monarchy, and the record of it terminates with the fateful words, "so Judah was carried away out of their land. Daniel had consequently need to pray, and to study carefully, before he could discern whether the restoration of his people, and of that temple worship for which his soul yearned, were still twenty years distant, or even then close at hand. Moreover, as he pondered the expression, "seventy years, the question could hardly have failed to occur to him, What sort of years-sacred years or secular?
The sacred year of the Jews was lunar, for the intervals between the feasts and tile fasts of the Levitical calendar were all strictly lunar; but they also used a longer tropical year, as did the Babylonians, while the Egyptians employed a retrograde solar one. The true length of the years intended must therefore have been a point on which Daniel reflected, and that perhaps without being able to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion, though he must have perceived that the actual duration of the captivity would vary to the extent of two years, according to the calendar employed.
As he studied, the thought, proved by the result to be a true one, could scarcely fail to be suggested to his mind, that the restoration might probably be as gradual and as much by stages as the captivity had been, and so occupy an era rather than a year. His people had not all come to Babylon at one time. Was it likely they would all leave at one time? Jerusalem and its temple had not fallen in a day, nor in a year, but by stages. The temple had been first despoiled of its treasures, and then consumed with fire eleven years later. Was its reconstruction and its rededication to be similarly interrupted?
The national overthrow had been gradual; was it not likely that the national restoration would also be gradual? As he pondered, the question would arise in his mind, "If so, which will be the principal stage? Babylon the overthrower had been overthrown; the city still stood, but its power was gone. The Median monarch occupied the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Persian empire had succeeded the Babylonian. This fact would greatly confirm the faith of Daniel as to the nearness of the restoration of his people, because Jeremiah had said, "This whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. Daniel's studies of chronological prophecy were at a time when one of the salient points of the Divine prediction had already been accomplished. Not only had the time run out, but one part of the thing predicted had happened. How confirmed must his faith have been, and how confident his hopes, though the restoration itself had not come!
Yet there were difficulties through which he could not quite see. The promised deliverer was not yet on the throne; Cyrus was there, but he was not sole monarch, not yet in a position to make the predicted decree. Darius was the ruling monarch, and prophecy had, two hundred years before his birth, named Cyrus as the deliverer. Would Darius soon die then, and Cyrus succeed him?
There was probably no immediate prospect of this, but Daniel doubted not that in some way God would make His promise good, fulfilling His own predictions, and that speedily. Cyrus would become supreme ruler, and would restore Israel, and rebuild Jerusalem. Isa ; Isa Knowing this, he bowed himself in confession and prayer, and in humble supplication that the promise of restoration might come to pass, even as the threats of judgment had done.
Spiritually minded and intelligent students of prophecy occupy at the close of this nineteenth century a very similar position. They too understand by books, and especially from the book of Daniel, that the end of the present state of things must be close at hand. They have studied with reverential care, not only the perfected scroll of prophecy, but also the records of God's providential government of the world, from Daniel's days to our own.
They have compared history and prophecy, and the actual chronology of the one with the predicted chronology of the other. They have received immense help also through the study of a third book, one which throws a flood of light on this latter subject, as from its nature and its authorship it could not fail to do -the book of nature.
Astronomy has taught them that the great chronometer provided by God for man marks off by its different revolutions years of three different lengths: one measured by the sun, one by the moon, and one by the conjoint movement of both orbs; the solar year, the lunar year, and the calendar year. They have found by research that God in His word employs in prophecy all these three years which He has caused the sun and moon to measure, and that the difference between them, small in a single year, becomes so considerable in longer periods, as to have veiled from earlier generations the accurate fulfilment of chronological prophecies.
They have observed that the great episodes of Jewish and Gentile history are measured, both actually and in prediction, by all these three different years; First demonstrated in "The Approaching End of the Age," A work published eight years ago, and now in its tenth edition.
That light however is enjoyed as yet by few, because just as there was but one Daniel in the days of Darius the Mede, who endeavoured to understand by books "the number of the years" whereof the Lord had spoken, so there are in these analogous days few who either desire or try to comprehend the more complex chronologic prophecies, contained in Daniel's own book, and in the complementary predictions of Revelation, which alone can illumine the mind on the chronology of the close of the present age.
What had directed Daniel's mind to the study of prophecy at this special time? He was an old man, who might well have excused himself from any such research, on the ground that he had no time for it, and that it would make no difference to him personally whether Judah were restored or not, or when the event should take place; he, at any rate, would have to die as he had lived, in Babylon.
What led him to the study? We cannot question that it was the events which were taking place around him. He had seen the Euphrates, on whose banks he had passed his days, dried up "that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared"; he had seen executed at Babylon the judgment foretold by Jeremiah; and he knew that these events were a sign that the desolations of Judah were accomplished.
Do we not occupy an analogous position? Have we not been watching the drying up of the antitypical Euphrates for many a long year? And have we not beheld the fall of the temporal power of the Papacy, if not as yet the final fall of "Babylon the Great," the apostate Church of Rome? Is it not time then for us to look into these things, and try, as Daniel did, to understand our own chronological position with regard to the approaching second and greater restoration of Israel, marking, as it will do, the end of this Gentile age?
Our desire in the following pages is to help our fellow Christians to perceive that the chronological prophecies of Scripture are not mysterious, incomprehensible, and comparatively useless portions of the word of God, but that they are, on the contrary, in these last days, clear and luminous, and of the utmost practical importance. Our statements will be expository rather than controversial. It is high time now that prophetic students of the Protestant historic school should cease to argue about first principles, and, recognising them as established, go on to their cautious and careful application.
The occurrences of the last century have thoroughly tested the firm and solid character of the foundations on which we build; there is no need any longer to question their stability. The multiplied and ever-multiplying proofs of this set the question practically at rest.
Protestant students of the last three hundred years have been following the right tracks. Their mistakes have been only " way marks in the progress of the Church from that entire ignorance of the times, in which she was purposely left, in the apostolic age, to the full and certain knowledge that the Bridegroom is at hand, which shall prepare her, like the wise virgins, to enter in with her Lord to the marriage feast.
That in symbolic prophecy a "day" is the symbol of a year, and a "time" of years. That Daniel's prophetic visions of the fourfold metallic image and of the four beasts have been fulfilled in the histories of the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires. That "Babylon the Great" in Rev That the little horn of Daniel vii. To those who recognise these axiomatic truths the following pages will, we feel confident, prove both interesting and edifying.
They present in a systematic, concise, and detached form many of the chronological facts first published in our former work, " The Approaching End of the Age," Also the writings of Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Elliott, Bickersteth, Birks, etc. Those who have not received the above foundation principles of prophetic science, may nevertheless be interested by the chronological facts here marshalled in order, according to a clue afforded by Scripture.
But for a discussion of the principles underlying the historic interpretation, we would earnestly refer such to parts ii. Our hope is that, in this time of the end, large numbers of Christians, who have received without personal investigation futurist views, may be led to examine at any rate the opposite historic system, to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. To trace the hand of God in history, to note how all the ages of His providential government have moved according to a foreseen and foretold order, to watch the last stages of the Divine programme of universal history fulfilling themselves in our sight in these last days, to discern "the signs of the times," and to observe the budding of the fig tree, is to find hope merging in definite expectation, and in patient waiting for Christ-a waiting for Him as for one whose footfall may be already heard, one who even now standeth at the door; it is to lift up our heads, convinced that our redemption, our full redemption, the redemption of the body, and of the world itself, draweth nigh.
DANIEL understood, as to the character of the days in which he lived, that the seventy years' captivity was all but over, and that the predicted restoration of Israel and rebuilding of Jerusalem were close at hand. What may we "understand by books" as to the chronological character of the days in which we live? We know that the larger "seven times" of Israel's dispersion and degradation is all but over, and their full and final restoration to Palestine close at hand-a restoration to be accompanied by their repentance and conversion, and by that supreme and long foretold crisis of such profound importance, not to Israel only, but also to the whole world, the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth.
The restoration for which Daniel prayed came, but it proved to be only partial, the ten tribes not having been restored at all. It proved also to be only temporary; for in consequence of Judah's rejection of their Messiah, it endured but for a few centuries, after which it was succeeded by the present longer and more complete dispersion. Even while it lasted it was not a restoration to complete national independence; for during its entire course Jerusalem was tributary to one Gentile power or another, and was, as we know, actually under Roman domination at the time of the advent of Christ.
After Messiah was cut off, and by wicked Jewish hands crucified and slain, the wrath of God came upon the people "to the uttermost," and the overthrow of Jerusalem by Titus introduced a judgment incomparably more severe,- their present expatriation and dispersion, the deep affliction and complete subjection to Gentile powers, which have lasted now for eighteen centuries.
The continuance and duration of this whole period of judgment has its chronological limits assigned, just as the Babylonish captivity had. This last is indeed regarded and treated in Scripture as a part merely of the one great and long continued judgment of "the times of the Gentiles," appointed to last, not for seven decades of years, but for seven years of years, "seven times "-a tremendous national judgment for tremendous national crimes.
This is the period to which our Lord alluded in the words, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. To some readers this expression may not convey the clear and definite idea which Scripture attaches to it; and as this period lies at the base of all the chronologic prophecies connected with this Gentile age, the duration of which forms the subject of the following pages, we must, before going further, distinctly define its nature and its measures. It is the long period of history which began with the beginning of the succession of the four great Gentile monarchies revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, and which ends with the close of these four empires, and the manifestation of the kingdom of God.
The "times of the Gentiles" are marked by Jewish loss of dominion and independence, by Jewish subjection to and suffering under Gentile conquerors, by the dispersion of the twelve tribes of Israel, and by the desolation of their land. It is, so to speak, the lifetime of the great fourfold image of Gentile monarchy shown to Nebuchadnezzar, as well as the period of the four wild beasts subsequently exhibited to the prophet. It is the period during which supreme power on earth is by God Himself committed to Gentiles rather than to Jews, as it is written of Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
And wheresoever the children of men dwell He hath made thee ruler over them all. It is the period extending from the beginning of the typical Babylonian power to the end of the anti-typical power of "Babylon the Great. It is the period which, according to prophecy, is to be immediately followed by the establishment on earth of a universal monarchy of a wonderfully different description,-by the setting up of the long predicted, long prayed for kingdom of God, the kingdom of the Son of man, of which Christ so often spoke,-the kingdom in which God's will is to be done on earth even as it is done in heaven; the kingdom which shall never be destroyed or left to other people, but which shall break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and stand for ever; a kingdom which shall be possessed by "the saints of the Most High for ever, even for ever and ever," in which the dominion shall he given to the Son of man, who comes with the clouds of heaven, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
Dan , Dan , 18, A great change in God's providential government took place at the time of the Babylonish captivity. He ceased to recognise the Jewish monarchy, which He had established in the days of David and Solomon, on account of the gross sins of the idolatrous Jews. He cast them out of their land, deprived them of their independence, and permitted Babylon to enslave them. It was not by chance or by mere human prowess that Assyria overthrew Israel, and Babylon Judah: the hand of God was in the double catastrophe, and the overthrow was a direct judgment on a disobedient and idolatrous people.
The long period of subjection to Gentile nations, of which the Babylonish captivity was only the first section, and which still continues, was imposed on the Jews as a chastisement for inverate and long continued sin. Lev The full weight of the judgment did not fall on them at first, because they had not then filled up the measure of their sins; but when they "killed the Prince of life," a flood of desolation overwhelmed them, and rests upon their nation still.
Dan They are however beloved for their fathers' sakes, and destined, as Scripture abundantly asserts, to be ultimately restored to their land and to their high position of supremacy on earth. When "the times of the Gentiles" run out they will be led to repentance, they will receive their long rejected Messiah, saying, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!
These "times of the restitution of all things" are the dispensation next following "the times of the Gentiles. Whereabouts in its course are we, judging from history? The Babylonian empire, the first of the four predicted universal monarchies, rose and fell long since; so did the Medo- Persian, so did the Grecian. The fourth, or Roman empire, would, so it was predicted in the prophecy, exist in two forms: first, as one united empire; then as a commonwealth of ten kingdoms. The first form passed away fourteen hundred years ago, when the old empire built up by pagan Rome fell in the fifth century, under the incursions of the Goths and Vandals.
The second or tenfold form-the commonwealth of nations, bound by a voluntary subjection to the Roman Papacy throughout the middle ages- has already existed for more than twelve centuries. Whereabouts then in the "times of the Gentiles" are we? Evidently near their close! What are the last forms of Gentile power predicted as dominating during this period?
They are symbolised by two "little horns," the one described in the seventh, and the other in the eighth chapter of Daniel -two politico- religious dynasties which should exercise a vast and exceedingly evil influence in the latter half of this Gentile dispensation. These two "little horns" symbolise the Papal power in western, and the Mohammedan power in eastern Europe. The rise, character, conduct, decay, and doom of both these powers are enlarged upon in the prophecy, as it was natural that they should be, considering the tremendous and most evil influence which they have so long exerted, the one on the Christian Church, and the other both on it and on the natural Israel in Palestine.
The outline of their history only is given in Daniel, details are added in the New Testament; by Paul, in his epistles, and by John in his Apocalypse. The Papacy and Mohammedanism rose contemporaneously with the ten horns of the Roman beast; in other words, they originated at the same time as did the kingdoms of modern Europe-that is, on the fall of the western Roman empire. They have consequently already lasted for over twelve centuries, and their destruction is to be accomplished by the second advent of Christ Himself, and to be immediately followed by the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.
The reign of these two politico -religious dynasties constitutes the last phase of Gentile power presented in prophecy. Both have for more than twelve centuries opposed and blasphemed God and His truth, persecuted His saints, defiled His sanctuary, literal or spiritual, and trodden down the holy city.
It must be remembered that, the object of Scripture being to trace the story of redemption, and the fortunes of the people of God in this world, it dwells exclusively on the history of the nations and powers who have most influenced the Jewish people and the Christian Church. Hence, while it mentions briefly the career of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome pagan, it enters with far greater fulness into the history of the Papal and Mohammedan powers, because these are the powers which have most seriously oppressed, corrupted, or persecuted the natural and spiritual Israels.
In a word, "the times of the Gentiles" occupy the interval between the desolation of the land of Israel by Babylon, and the yet future restoration of the Jews; between the fall of the throne of Judah in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, and the future restoration of that throne in the person of Christ; between the destruction of the temple of God at Jerusalem, and the yet future re-establishment of His worship on Mount Zion. The period is the great Gentile dispensation, spoken of by Paul in Rom 11, during which Israel is apparently, though not really, cast off by God in righteous judgment, as an exhibition of Divine justice; and during which salvation is come to the Gentiles, as an exhibition of Divine grace: during which blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until "the fulness of the Gentiles be come in," when "all Israel shall be saved," as it is written.
So much as to the general character and extent of this Gentile age. The question next arises, Does Scripture assign to the period any definite chronological limits? The answer might also be anticipated, when we remember that in previous stages of Jewish history, similar periods of trial had always had their chronological limits foretold. The time of Israel's bondage in Egypt, years; the time of the wandering in the wilderness, forty years; the time of the captivity in Babylon, seventy years, -all were predicted in advance. If to these comparatively brief intervals the wisdom of God saw fit to assign limits, and He permitted these limits to be known to His people, how much more likely it is that He would assign limits to this far longer and more terrible dispensation of judgment and suffering appointed to the guilty nation of Israel, and that He would permit those limits to be more or less distinctly understood, at any rate towards the close of the period!
On searching the Scriptures we find that this is the case. Chronological limits are distinctly assigned to "the times of the Gentiles" in Scripture, and in these our days their actual measures have become evident, because the fulfilments of the predictions are clearly traceable in history. We cannot pause here to prove that the great prophecies of Daniel are for the most part fulfilled and not unfulfilled prophecies; that, starting from near their own epoch, they each give the outline of the history of the people of God, Jewish or Christian, in the world right on to the second advent and the millennial kingdom; that the powers figured as "little horns" in the seventh and eighth chapters of Daniel respectively symbolise the Papal and Mohammedan politico- religious apostasies; and that a day in these predictions stands as a symbol for a year.
These basis truths of prophetic science have been ably demonstrated for some centuries past, and careful, trustworthy works in abundance are available for those who wish to study the subject, such as those of Bishop Newton, the late Professor Birks, Bickersteth, Elliot, and others. We have already published the grounds for our own conclusions on this subject in "The Approaching End of the Age," book ii.
THEY ARE A GREAT "WEEK," analogous to other weeks on other scales which we find in Scripture, such as the week of days; the week of weeks, leading to Pentecost: the week of months, including all the feasts of the Lord; the week of years, leading to the sabbatic year; the week of weeks of years, forty-nine years, leading up to the jubilee; the week of decades, or of human life, seventy years; and the week of millenaries, leading up to the yet future sabbatic millenary.
As we wrote in the "Approaching End of the Age;" "This is inferred from Scripture rather than distinctly stated in it; but the inference is so well grounded, as to be of almost equal weight with a distinct declaration. That this had any chronological force was not of course understood by those who received the warning, but it is almost impossible, in the light of subsequent predictions, and in the light of history, to doubt that the omniscient God used an expression in harmony with His foreknowledge of Israel's future, and expressive of His Divine purpose-a purpose which we have seen wrought out in history.
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