« PreviousContinue »
after the days of the northern king of Syria, polluting the sanctuary, taking away the daily sacrifice, and setting
the abomination that maketh desolate :* there cannot up be a doubt, but that by those nervous and mighty arms the Roman empire is symbolized ; both because the eastern conquests of that republic followed the preceding events in regular succession of time, and because the subsequent events foretold in the prophecy followed the eastern conquests of Rome with the same chronological regularity. Hence we may safely conclude, that the abomination of desolation, there mentioned, is the abomination of desolation which our Lord applied to the Romans.t
Hitherto the subject is sufficiently clear: but we must now endeavour to determine, whether the transgression of desolation, connected with the little horn of the third beast or the he-goat, be the same as the abomination of desolation, set up by the warlike arms of the Roman empire in the temple of Jerusalem.
When Daniel mentions the abomination of desolation the third and last time, he merely attaches to it certain numbers, evidently speaking of it as a thing which he had already noticed in a preceding part of his prophecies. Such being the case, this last mentioned abominaiion of desolation must be the same as either the abomination of desolation, connected with the little horn of the he-goat; the abomination of desolation, set up by the arms of the Roman empire ; or, lastly, as both these abominations of desolation, considered as one and the same. Sir Isaac Newton and the Bishop do conceive them to be one and the same : for they maintain, that they both equally relate to the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans, and their idolatrous worship of their standards within the very precincts of the temple.
If then they be the same, the last mentioned abomination of desolation must be the same likewise : in other words, all the three abominations of desolation, predicted by Daniel, must be equally referred to the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans ; for we have already seen,
* Dan. ii. 31. † The same Roman abomination of desolation is described, along with the destruction of Jerusalem, in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks. See Dan. ix. 24-27.
that the last mentioned abomination must be the same as either the one, or the other, or both, of the two former abominations. But, if all the three abominations of desolation are to be considered as relating to one and the same event, namely, the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans ; then the chronological numbers, attached to the last mentioned abomination, will be found perfectly to harmonize with the era of the siege of Jerusalem : for, if they do not harmonize with that era, the abomination connected with them cannot possibly relate to that era : and, if the last mentioned abomination, connected with those numbers, do not relate to that era, then neither can one out of the two former abominations relate to that era ; inasmuch as the last mentioned abomination must be the same as either the one, or the other, or both, of the two former abominations of desolation.
These matters being premised, we will next consider how far the numbers, attached to the last mentioned abomination of desolation, will harmonize with the era of the siege of Jerusalem.
We are informed then by Daniel, that, at the end of a time, and times, and half a time, or 1260 years, the restoration of the Jews will commence ; and that all the matters comprehended within the period of the wonders will be finished : that “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1290 years" to some event or another, which however he does not specify: and that “ blessed is he, that waiteth, and cometh to the 1335 years" after the time when the abomination of desolation shall be set up.*
Such are the numbers, which the prophet has connected with the last mentioned abomination of desolation ; numbers, which by no efforts of calculation can be made to harmonize with the cra of the siege of Jerusalem. The capital of Palestine was taken by the Romans, and one of the abominations of desolation spoken of by Daniel was set up by them in the holy place, in the year of our Lord 70.† The Jews however were certainly not beginning to be restored to their own country, neither were
Dan. 27. 7, 11, 12.
+ Chronol. of Univ. Hist. p. 36%.
all the matters which are comprehended within the period of the wonders finished, in the year 1330, or 1260 years after the sacking of Jerusalem : nor is it easy to say what particular event, to which the prophet might possibly allude, happened in the year 1360, or 1290 years after the same epoch: nor yet shall we be able, without the exertion of extraordinary ingenuity, to point out the peculiar blessedness of living in the year 1405, or 1335 years after the Romans had set up the abomination of desolation in the temple and had taken away the daily sacrifice.
Thus it is abundantly manifest, that the abomination of desolation last mentioned by Daniel, cannot possibly be the same as the abomination of desolation set up by the Romans, and alluded to by our Lord : that is to say, it cannot be the same as the abomination of desolation, set up by certain symbolical arms, which were to invade the East, after the days of Antiochus Epiphanes.† But, if it be not the same as the abomination of desolation set up by the symbolical arms of Rome, it must be the same as the abomination of desolation connected with the little horn of the he-goat : for it is scarcely probable, that Daniel should speak of some third abomination of desolation, entirely distinct from the two former ones, and yet should give us no sort of intimation by whom this supposed distinct third abomination should be set up. If then the last mentioned abomination of desolation be the same as the abomination of desolation connected with the little horn of the he-goat, (and there is no other mentioned in the whole book of Daniel, excepting this, with which it can
The computation will answer no better even if it be made from the year 136, when Jerusalem was finally destroyed by Adrian. This event' however certainly cannot be alluded to by our Lord; both because he declares that the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel should stand in the holy place before tbat generation had passed away, and because he warns his disciples to fee from Jerusalem when they beheld it compassed with armies. Jerusalem accordingly was sacked before that generation did pass away; and the Christians, profiting by the prediction of their master, saved their lives by flight. These circumstances decidedly prove, that our Lord's prophecy relates to the days of Titus. See Matt. xxiv. 15-20, 34. and Luke xxi. 20-24, 32.
† Bp. Newton very justly applies the three verses immediately preceding the mention of the symbolical Roman arms to ibe bistory of Antiocbus Epipbanes : consequently the abomination, set up by tbese arms, must of course be posterior to the days of that tyrant. (See Dissert. svj.) “And after him (Antiochus) arms shall stand up." Dan, xi. 31.
be identified) it will necessarily follow, that the little horn's abomination of desolation must be something entirely distinct from the abomination of desolation set up by the symbolical arms : consequently, since the abomination of the little horn is not the same as the abomination set up by the arms, the little horn itself must be some power totally different from the power symbolized by the arms: but the arms are allowed by every commentator to symbolize the Romans, and no one ever yet doubted that the abomination which they set up is the very abomination alluded to by our Lord : therefore, finally, since the little horn is not the same as the symbolical arms, it certainly cannot be the same as the Roman empire in the East.
On these grounds, which to myself at least appear satisfactory, I am obliged to dissent in toto from the interpretation proposed by Sir Isaac and Bishop Newton. The eastern conquests of the Romans are very fully predicted in the eleventh chapter of Daniel's prophecies ;* but they cannot, for the preceding chronological reasons, be at a!l alluded to in the twelfth chapter and in the history of the little horn of the he-goat.
Before I dismiss this part of my subject, I cannot refrain from observing, that the force of Daniel's chronological numbers, which I have so largely insisted upon, has in a manner compelled Bp. Newton, notwithstanding his previous interpretation of the vision of the ram and the he-goat, to notice, among various other conjectures, what I am persuaded is the true exposition of the abomination of desolation connected with the little horn, as contradistinguished from the Roman abomination of desolation. “ The setting up," says he, “ of the abomiration of desolation appears to be a general phrase, and comprehensive of various events. It is applied by the writer of the first book of Maccabees to the profanation of the temple by Antiochus, and his setting up the image of Jupiter Olympius upon the altar of God. It is applied by our Saviourf' to the destruction of the city and * Ver. 30, 31.
+1 Mac.i. 54. It is more than merely applied : our Lord expressly pronounces, that the approaching profanation of tbe temple by ibe Romans was the event intended by some one of the abominations of desolation mentioned by the prophet Daniel. The abomination to which our Lord alluded, is, as we have seen, that predicted in Dan. xi. 31.
temple by the Romans, under the conduct of Titus, in the reign of Vespasian.* It may for the same reason be applied to the Roman Emperor Adrian's building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, in the same place where the temple of God had stood; and to the misery of the Jews, and the desolation of Judèa, that followed. It may with equal justice be applied to the Mohammedans invading and desolating Christendom, and converting the churches into mosques : and this latter event seemeth to have been particularly intended in this passage.t If this intepretation be true, the religion of Mohammed will prevail in the East the space of 1260 years, and then a great and glorious revolution will follow; perhaps the restoration of the Jews, perhaps the destruction of Antichrist : but another still greater and more glorious will succeed ; and what can this be so probably as the full conversion of the gentiles to the Church of Christ, and the beginning of the millennium or reign of the saints upon earth? for, blessed is he, that waiteth and cometh to the 1335 days.”
Mr. Kett, in his exposition of the vision of the ram and the he-goat, supposes the little horn of the he-goat or Macedoniun empire primarily to mean the Mohammedan Apostacy of the East, and ultimately the Gallic Infidelity of the West. This opinion however he maintains, without wishing to invalidate the former applications of the prophecy both to Antiochus Epiphanes, and to the Romans. In short, unless I have entirely mistaken his meaning, the little horn of the he-goat was designed by the prophet to typify no less than four distinct powers; Antiochus Epiphanes, the Roman empire in the East, the Mohammedan superstition, and the infidel republic of France. Had Mr. Kett confined the application of this symbol to the false religion of Mohammed, I could have given my hearty assent to his scheme : but unfortunately he has marred his whole exposition, by involving the prophecy respecting the little horn of the he-goat or third beast in the same perplexing confusion of primary and secondary and ultimate accomplishments, as he had previously done
* Matt. xxiv. 15. † Dan, xii. 11.
$ Hist, the Inter. Vol. 1. p. 346-359, 360,