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full accordance with the conclusions already drawn, and offer decisive evidence against the contracted exposition.
1. First, the solemnity of the oath itself almost requires the larger interpretation. It is difficult to understand the purpose of its introduction if the times thus predicted are not one six-hundredth part of the whole interval revealed; for the whole stress of the revelation is made to rest on this annunciation of the time. And it is scarcely possible to trace, on this view, any reason for so impressive and solemn an introduction to the message. But when we remember how entirely the Gentile dispensation was hidden from the Jewish Church, and what a long and mysterious break it has interposed before the fulfilment of the great national promises; the statement, that 1,260 years were certainly to intervene, would answer to the dignity of the event, and be of such importance to the Church as might well account for the grandeur of its introduction.
2. Next, the inquiry which is made, when taken in connexion with the prophecy to which it refers, implies the same truth. The vision reaches, demonstrably, from the time of Cyrus, B.C. 534, to the still future resurrection. Now when, in connexion with this sacred history, a celestial spirit puts the question, how long shall it be to the end of these wonders ? there is no reasonable construction of which the words are capable by which three years
and a half could be the true answer. The very form and aspect of the inquiry shows that it must refer to some main portion of the included time, and zot to a millesimal fraction of the whole.
But the words of St. Peter (1 Pet. i. 12), which seem elearly to refer to this very passage, make the conclusion still more obvious. The reason assigned why the meaning was concealed from Daniel is, that it related to the Christian dispensation. If the period of time here in
tended were three years and a half, there would be no perceptible connexion between the fact of its concealment and the reason thus assigned, But if it be a prediction of 1,260 years, to elapse before the close of Israel's dispersion, the knowledge of its meaning would have implied an acquaintance with the whole mystery of Israel's rejection and the calling of the Gentiles.
3. The connexion of these times with the Jewish dispersion is another feature which helps to fix their true meaning. “When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
Now it is very conceivable that a short period of three years and a half might serve to limit and define the years of Israel's dispersion. But surely it is most urlikely that a period of eighteen centuries should be viewed as defining the close of a shorter period of three and a half literal years. The words of the oath, by every maxim of common reason, imply that the predicted times were commensurate with those of the dispersion, and formed at least the principal part of them. The aspect which the statement assumes is that of a limitation on a time which might else have seemed unlimited. The strange and mysterious power described is not to prevail without a bound assigned; the restoration of Israel is to be the signal of its fall, and of the completion of its appointed dominion. All this agrees only with the larger interpretation.
4. A still more decisive proof may be drawn from the words which follow, upon the renewed inquiry of the prophet: “Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." The sealing refers plainly to the oath which has just preceded, and to the revelation of times which it contains. Now the words thus sealed contain the duration
of the period, but not the date of its commencement. And hence the duration implied in the phrase time, times, and an half, was not to be understood till some distant
of the Church. This is strictly true on the year-day theory; but is not true if the words denote simply three natural years and a half.
IX. THE SUPPLEMENTARY DATES, at the close of the same vision, are equally distinct in the proofs they furnish of the same general truth. The periods of 1,290 and 1,335 days are the first of the disputed passages in which the shorter reckoning has any claim to be more literal than the other; while in all those which follow the dates occur in the symbolical parts, and not in the explanations. And here there are no less than four eautions on the face of the passage, to keep us from resting in the bare letter. First, the peculiar form, as already noticed, which is without Scripture precedent, that periods of such length should be expressed in days only. Secondly, the words by which they are prefaced: “None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” The meaning, then, was not to be evident at first sight, but would require the exercise of spiritual wisdom. Thirdly, the two periods are a supplement to the times previously mentioned, and which had already received a key to their true meaning in the vision of the seventy weeks. Finally, the assurance, that the prophet should stand in his lot in the end of these days, naturally implies that those days are themselves of a longer continuance than might appear from the letter of the prophecy.
But these verses supply us with another argument, which results from a close examination of the periods themselves.
In the first place, both these numbers are extensions of the time, times, and a half, which, reckoned as in the book of Revelation, are twelve hundred and sixty days. There are thus two successive additions of thirty and forty-five days.
Now it is difficult to conceive that the Holy Spirit would overlook the whole course of God's providence; to reveal the events of four years only. But it is still more unnatural to suppose that this whole book of prophecy should close with a prediction of thirty and forty-five literal days, and this without any event expressly assigned to them. There arises, on this hypothesis an unavoidable feeling of incongruity, which forbids us to rest in such an exposition.
On the contrary, the year-day interpretation restores these passages at once to their natural dignity, and invests them with a deep practical importance. The first interval will then correspond with a natural generation; and the second, with the space from the Exodus to the first season of rest in the land of promise (Josh. xiv. 7-11).
There is thus a peculiar and beautiful significance restored to the close of the prophecy. Just as in our Lord's discourse the last generation before the fall of Jerusalem was marked out by an especial notice, so, on this view, are the two latest generations in the Gentile Church. And the very same interval of time, which marked the transition from the bondage of Egypt to the actual possession of Canaan, will here be applied to the days in which the Church of Christ enters on its higher inheritance, and will be linked with that word of promise-si Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirtyfive days." The allusion to the lot in the closing words of the vision, when its connexion is thus traced with the typical history of Caleb (Josh. xiv. 1-14), shines forth also with a redoubled beauty.
X. THE CYCLICAL CHARACTER OF THE PROPHETIC
TIMES is a further proof of the year-day system, which deserves a short notice before passing from the dates of Daniel to those of the Revelation. It seems to have been first unfolded by M. de Chesaux, a French writer, purely as a curiosity of science; but it is Mr. Cuninghame who has revived attention to this interesting topic. Though unable to concur in the whole superstructure which he has reared on this basis, the first principles, I believe, are both true in fact, and form a remarkable and collateral confirmation of the figurative view of these prophetic times. Two or three remarks will perhaps make the subject plain to general readers, so far as it bears on the present argument.
1. On the fourth day of creation it was announced as the divine purpose in the appointment of the heavenly luminaries"Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years.” The division of time was one main purpose of their institution as lights in the firmament. The word rendered seasons is the same which here denotes the times, and there is consequently a tacit reference to that original ordinance of God.'
The revolutions of the sun and the moon have thus, in
every nation, formed the basis of the calendar. The day, the month, and the year, are the first elements on which it depends. If the natural month and year had been each a complete number of days, or a simple fractional part, the calendar would have been quite simple. But this is not the case, and hence the various intercalations used to bring them into agreement.
Where the calendar is adapted to the sun only, its construction is very simple. The Julian year is a close approximation, and the Gregorian is practically correct for some thousands of years.
But in the sacred calendar of the Jews, and those of Greece and the eastern nations, the motions both of the sun and of the moon enter into the reckoning. And