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ginable cause why they should not be stated in the most usual and simple terms. This remark is of primary importance to the whole inquiry.
III. THE GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE PASSAGES THEMSELVES has next to be examined. If these do really occur, all of them, in the explanation of the visions
-if they are worded in the most simple, usual, and natural terms, to express the intervals which they seem to indicate at first sight, the presumption will be strong in favour of the shorter interpretation. But if the reverse be true if they either occur in the midst of the symbols themselves, or bear plain marks of a singular, uncommon, and peculiar phraseology, or are prefaced by words impor concealment, then the presumption in favour of some figurative or analogical sense will be no less strong. Let us now proceed to examine their actual character.
The following are all the passages in Daniel and St. John to which the year-day principle has usually been applied:
(1). Dan.vii. 24-26. " And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand, until a time, and times, and the dividing of a time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end."
(2). Dan. viii. 13, 14, 26. « Then I heard one saint speaking; and another saint said unto the WONDERFUL NUMBERER, which spake, How long shall be the vision of the daily sacrifice and of the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto
evenings mornings, two thousand three hundred [or, unto an evening morning, two thousand three hundred]; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."
“And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days."
(3). Dap. ix. 24-27. “Seventy weeks (or sevens) are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, &c.
“Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, upto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and troo weeks.
66 And after the threescore and treo weeks shall Messiah be cut off, and they shall not be his; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
" And he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and with the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured on the desolator."
(4). Dan. xii. 5-9. “Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold there stood other two, the one on this side the bank of the river, and the other on that side the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven,and sware by Him that liveth for ever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the
holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not; then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things ? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel ; for the words are closed up and
sealed till the time of the end." (5). Dan. xii. 10-13. 66 None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
(6). Rev. ii. 10. “Ye shall have tribulation ten days."
(7). Rev. ix. 5, 10. “And to them it was given that they should not hurt them, but that they should be tormented five inonths; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when it striketh a man.
“ And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months."
(8). Rev. ix. 15. “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year (evlavrov), to slay the third part of men."
(9). Rev. xi. 2, 3. “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”
(10). Rev. xi. 9, 11. “And they of the people, and
kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half; and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves...... And after the three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them."
(11). Rev. xii. 6. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (12). Rev. xii. 14.
" And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."
(13). Rev. xüi. 6. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months."
2. From a review of these passages, in order, the following conclusions evidently arise.
In the first passage, the words do not, of themselves, literally denote three years and six months, but three and a half times some unit, which is left quite undefined. The shorter computation is, therefore, not in the least more literal than the other.
In the second, if we accept the common rendering in a more exact form, the phrase will be-unto evenings and mornings, two thousand three hundred. Now, although this might denote the period either of 1,150 or 2,300 natural days, it is not, on either view, the natural or usual form in which such a period would be expressed. The literal expression would be six years, three months, and twenty days; or three years, one month, and twenty-five days; and is very different from that which is actually employed.
But a comparison with the end of the chapter suggests
a different version. The angel there tells the prophet, “the vision of the evening and of the morning is true.” Now, since the words evening and morning before occurred in the singular, this reference seems to prove that they ought to be so rendered, and are together descriptive either of the whole interval, or else of its close. In every other case in this prophet, the times, if really plural, are in the plural form. The conclusion can hardly be avoided that one evening and morning only is meant in this passage; and therefore the numeral stands alone, without any specified unit of time. The reckoning, then, of 2,300 natural days is not at all more literal than if we expound it of the same number of
months or years.
The third passage is the prophecy of seventy weeks. The word employed must denote, properly, either common weeks, or simply sevens. In the one case, the proof is clear that the literal sense is abandoned for a larger meaning: on the other hand, if the meaning of the word be sevens, this is included under the same remark with the two former; and the longer is equally literal with the shorter reckoning.
The same remarks apply to the fourth passage as to the first. The terms employed are exactly similar, and have the same inherent latitude in their signification.
The fifth passage is the first in which the shorter period has any just claim to be called the literal interpretation, since days are directly expressed. But there are three counteracting circumstances, which, on the most general view, tend to throw doubt on such an exposition. First, it is added, like an appendix, to another period expressed in an indefinite form. Secondly, it is prefaced by direct assertions that it has a mysterious meaning. And, finally, the form of expression is entirely different from that which is commonly used, both