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of the Greek church, and the first partial restoration of Israel, time alone can explain.
But the great difficulty which at present seals this prophecy, is our ignorance when we should begin to reckon the two thousand three hundred years. One should naturally have supposed, from the date of the vision; the vision was seen by Daniel, B. C. 553.* But the event has shown this to be wrong, for two thousand three hundred years from this date brings us to A. D. 1747 ; and the sanctuary has in no sense been cleansed, either in the west, or in the east, or on the holy mountains of Palestine. This has led to the conclusion, that a subsequent epocha must be fixed upon for the commencement of this period.
Bishop Newton Iras fixed upon the year B. C. 334, the time of Alexander's invasion of Asia; when, according to the vision, the “he-goat came from the west :” “ 2300 years from that time," he observes, “ will bring us towards the conclusion of the sixth millennium of the world; and about that period, according to an old tradition, which was current before our Saviour's time, and was probably founded on the prophecies, great changes and revolutions are to be expected; and particularly, as Rabbi Abraham Sebah saith, Rome is to be destroyed, and the Jews restored.'”
Another epocha, that has been suggested for the period of the 2300 years, is the conclusion of Persian greatness in the memorable expedition of Xerxes against Greece, followed soon after by his death. And it is remarkable, that the angel interpreter, in his repetition of this pro
Dr. Hales, 556.
phecy, chap. xi. 2, makes a break in his narrative with the unsuccessful exploits of this prince; and immediately, without noticing the intermediate space, or the princes that reigned in the interval, proceeds to describe the appearance of Alexander. So that, as Bishop Newton dates from the ending of this break in the narrative of the prophecy, the hypothesis we are now noticing dates from its beginning. This memorable expedition was commenced in B. C. 480, and ended with the battles of Platæa and Mycale, fought on the same day, the 28th or 29th of August, B. C. 479. The Persian war itself, we should probably reckon to have ended with the victories of Cimon at Eurimedon, * B. C. 470; and the reign of Xerxes was closed in the year 464, or 465. If we date from the close of the expedition of Xerxes against Greece, the 2300 years will bring us to the year 1821 ; if from the close of the Persian war, to the year 1830; if from the death of Xerxes, to the year 1836. So that this hypothesis, to its utmost extent, will be soon put to the proof.
These expositions retain the present reading of the text; and, as Dr. Hales has remarked, “ There is no number in the Bible, whose genuineness is better ascertained than that of the 2300 days. It is found in all the printed Hebrew editions, in all the MSS. of Kennicott and Dr. Rossi's collations, and in all the ancient versions, except the Vatican copy of the Septuagint, which reads 2400, followed by Symmachus ; and some copies noticed by Jerome, which read 2200; both evidently literal errors in excess and defect, which compensate each other, and confirm the mean 2300.”
The first of these various readings has, however, been
See STANYAN's Grecian History, vol. i. 292.
adopted by Mr. Faber' and Mr. Frere. The former of these expositors, dating from the first year of Cyrus, makes his two thousand four hundred years to expire in 1866; the latter, by a far preferable hypothesis, (should this, indeed, be the correct reading,) dates from the 553 B. C., and has thus the advantage of taking the date of the vision itself, which brings him to the year 1847.
The last of these various readings is, I find, adopted by Mr. Piere. He (supposing, erroneously as I conceive, ,' the Romans to be this little horn of the third beast,) dates from the year B. C. 200, when, he says, the Roman standard first appeared in Asia. This would bring us exactly to the
The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. *
The famous prophecy of the seventy weeks, in whatever difficulties it may be involved, must not be altogether passed over in our review; since it is probable, as Sir Isaac Newton has observed," it is not to be restrained to our Lord's first coming only.”
The prophet, after his earnest supplications for his people, is informed by an angel, chap. ix. 24:
“ Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquities, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy."
B. C. 550.
Sir Isaac Newton's exposition, which upon the whole I prefer, is this :
“ Here, by putting a week for seven years, are reckoned four hundred and ninety years from the time that the dispersed Jews should be reincorporated into a people and a holy city, until the death and resurrection of Christ; whereby transgression should be finished, and sins ended, iniquity be expiated, and everlasting righteousness brought in, and this vision be accomplished, and the prophet consummated, that prophet whom the Jews expected; and whereby the Most Holy should be anointed; He who is, therefore, in the next words, called the Anointed, that is, the Messiah, or Christ.” “For by joining the accomplishment of the vision with the expiation of sins, the four hundred and ninety years are ended with the death of Christ. Now, the dispersed Jews became a people and city when they first returned into a polity, or body politic, and this was the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, when Ezra returned with a body of Jews from captivity, and revived the Jewish worship; and by the king's commission created magistrates in all the land, to judge and govern the people according to the laws of God and the King.–Ezra, vii. 25.” This era is commonly dated B. C. 457, from whence to the year of the crucifixion, A. D. 33, is four hundred and ninety years.
25. “ Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment, or oracle, to restore and build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks."
The following is Sir Isaac Newton's exposition :
“ The former part of the prophecy related to the first coming of Christ, being dated to his coming as a Prophet: this, being dated to his coming to be Prince or King,
seems to relate to his second coming. There, the prophet was consummate, and the Most Holy anointed; here, He that was anointed comes to be Prince, and to reign. For Daniel's prophecies' reach to the end of the world; and there is scarce' a prophecy in the Old Testament concerning Christ which doth not, in something or other, relate to his second coming. If divers of the ancients, as Irenæus, Julius Africanus, Hippolitus the martyr, and Apollinaris, bishops of Laodicea, applied the half week to the times of Antichrist; why may not we, by the same liberty of interpretation, apply the seven weeks to the time when Antichrist shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming ?"
“ The Israelites, in the days of the ancient prophets, when the ten tribes were led into captivity, expected a double return; and that at the first the Jews should build a new temple, inferior to Solomon's, until the time of that age should be fultilled; and afterwards they should return from all places of their captivity, and build Jerusalem and the temple gloriously, Tobit, xiv. 4, 5, 6: and to express the glory and excellence of this city, it is figuratively said to be built of precious stones, Tobit, xiii. 16, 17, 18; Isaiah, liv. 11, 12; Rev. xi.; and called the new Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem, the holy city, the city into which the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour. Now, while such a return from captivity was the expectation of Israel, even before the times of Daniel, I know not why Daniel should omit it in his prophecy. This part of the prophecy being, therefore, not yet fulfilled, I shall not attempt a particular interpretation of it, but content myself with observing, that as the seventy and sixty-two weeks were Jewish weeks, ending with sabbatical years, so the seven reeks are the compass