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first importance as connected with the general exposition of prophecy, and it is stated thus :
V. 13, 14.Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake; How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, unto two thousand and three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,"
From these verses it is seen, that, from the commencement to the close of the vision, there will be 2,300 years, at which time, the Church of Christ being cleansed from all impurity, the Millennial dispensation will commence for it should be recollected, that the sanctuary cannot be cleansed until the Lord comes to his temple, as Malachi iii. intimates. The exact commencement of the vision is not defined clearly, lest men should know the seasons, which God keepeth in his own power; and many different opinions have been maintained by different commentators. The event has certainly made 'it manifest, that the commencement is not to be computed from the time when the prophet saw the vision, for that was the third year of Belshazzar, or before
Christ 553, which gives the close at the year 1747, when the changes foretold, did not in any respect take place. A date which seems probable, and which has been assigned by some writers, is 481 before Christ, being the date of the great expedition of Xerxes against Greece. That expedition was a pushing of the ram westward, and, as before observed, he was in the act of pushing westward when first seen by the prophet. The prophecy of Daniel xi. which gives the history of the great apostacy in the West, begins from this point of history; and it may possibly have been intended thus to mark the commencement, or point of time, of the present vision going forth into action. If this should be the date, the vision terminates in the year 1819, being thirty years from the French revolution, and 1290 years from the setting up of the power of Popery, according to the scheme which is given in p. 71. Whenever the appointed epoch shall arrive, events will speak for themselves; and a few months may be sufficient to bring to its test, the date that is now suggested. Our opinion, therefore, may well be suspended for a short time; and it may be sufficient to search for another date, when this is found not to be the true one.
Before the subject is closed, it is necessary to apprize the reader, that much contrariety of opinion
has prevailed respecting the interpretation of the present prophecy. It has been referred to Popery, to Mahometanism, to Antiochus Epiphanes, and also to Mahomet personally, and, again, to the Ottoman dynasties. The masterly disquisition of Mr. Clarke, who maintains this last opinion, deserves every praise, although his results are not assented to. Mr. Faber will, also, be read with pleasure, and with profit. He refers the prophecy to Mahometanism, but upon grounds which differ from those which have been here suggested. That it cannot be applied to popery is clear from this circumstance, that the word used to express the power, or rather the iniquity of the little horn, is YW, translated transgression, and it specially signifies a defiance of God, in setting up falsehood against His truth-prevaricatio, as in Montanus. The word applied to popery in Daniel xi. is p, abomination, a word continually used in the Old Testament in reference to idolatry, or the heathen worship of idols. Rebellion against the revelation of Jesus Christ, is the distinguishing feature of Mahometanism; the corruption of it, by the admixture of idolatry, is the peculiar character of popery.
Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks-Daniel ix.
In the three preceding prophecies, Daniel has presented to our view the four great empires of the earth, and the two antichristian powers arising in the East and in the West, ordained on the one hand as scourges upon the ungodly, but at the same time to try, and to purify the Church of Christ unto the end. The prophet has also shewn, that, when all these powers are destroyed, the kingdom of Messiah will be established. Hitherto the history of the Church has rather been treated of incidentally. But, in his four concluding chapters, the prophet enters upon it more directly. In these chapters are found two distinct prophecies and that which is contained in chapter ix. describes the formation of the Christian Church, which is ordained under its glorious leader to become the fifth kingdom, described in Daniel ii. and which, as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, shall break in pieces, and consume all other kingdoms, and stand itself for ever. The other prophecy, which occupies the three last chapters, gives briefly the history of the people of that
fifth kingdom during the times of their affliction and their warfare, and until they enter into rest. Taking then a general view of the arrangement of the book of Daniel, it will be found to present, first a prophetical history of the kingdoms of the earth amongst which the Christian Church was destined to be brought to light, and then the history of that Church down to the consummation of all things. The prophecy of the seventy weeks describes the bringing forth, or commencement of the Christian Church; and it is only necessary to premise, that the seventy weeks were fulfilled at the first advent. The prophecy is stated thus: :
In the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus, the prophet Daniel, groaning under the Babylonish captivity, but understanding by the books, the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord spake by Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem, set his face unto the Lord to seek by prayer and supplications, that He would turn away his anger, and cause his face to shine upon his sanctuary which he had made desolate. Dan. ix. 1 to 19. The angel of the Lord, even Gabriel, was sent in answer to the prophet, and he delivered unto Daniel the revelation which will be found at verse 24: and which, notwithstanding the