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poor* afflicted French, were of opinion, that the unequalled persecutions which were then endured, were the slaying of the witnesses; and they were on tip-toe looking for the end of the three days and a halft. What is here laid down, particularly, that the days here should have a different meaning from those other days in this book, being granted, (as I think it must), let us proceed to seek an answer to this very interesting question: What length of time is intended by these three days and a half?
My answer is, that days in this lith verse are the same with months in the 2d verse, or, if you please, lunar days, reckoning, as the Jews did, thirty days to a month, and, as is the method in calculating the above forty-two months, to make them agree with'the 1260 days in verse the thirdi.
Thirty multiplied by three, adding fifteen for the half day, makes 105. When this way of reckoning first occurred to my mind, I had no idea of the events which this number connected ; for I did not recollect the year when the edict of Nants was revoked. But looking over Quick's Synodicon, I found it to be October 18, 1685, to which, if 105 be added, it brings us to 1790; take off a few months (if that should be thought necessary for the event taking place before the half day is quite expired, and it brings us to 1789, when the witnesses were to be
* One of them, Peter Jurieu, says, “ I know not from what time God shall please to begin the reckoning of the three years and a half. Not but that I strongly hope, that God intends to begin it at the time of the revocation of the edict of Nants, but this does not rise to a full assurance." No, it did not comport with the designs of God, that any man should certainly know before the accomplishment.
+ See Bishop Newton on the Propbecies, in locum.
| Some have supposed that these three days and a half are to be reckoned as we reckon the time and times, and half a time, (chap. xii. 14.) taking them for Jewish years (360 days) and then reckoning the days for years, i. e. 1260 years. But this is subrersive of all that is said from the seventh verse and on, it makes the whole duration of their prophesying the same with their finishing it. The idea of lunar days, or months, seems a vast deal more feasible.
Originally, the Jews measured their months by the sun, and then every inonth consisted of thirty days. But after they caine out of Egypt, they measured them by the course of the moon, and then the first was of thirty days, the next of twenty-nine, and so alternately; that which had thirty days was called a complete month, and that which bad but twenty-nine an incomplete month. From change to change are 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes. And it may not be amiss to recollect, that one lunar month is the length of the moon's day, for she turns round her axis exactly in the time that she goes round the earth,
quickened. Whether this may strike others as it struck me, when I first observed the coincidence, I cannot tell; but, from this agreement of the number 105, with the time which elapsed between one of the greatest persecutions that was ever experienced by Christians, and this wonderful revolution which has taken place, a thousand ideas rushed upon my mind. Is it probable, is it possible, that this can be the quickening of the witnesses or any way connected with that great event? What! the olive trees? the candlesticks? I have always supposed these to be all saints* ! And can that zeal which hath fired Frenchmen to combat for civil and religious liberty, be the spirit of life from God? Is this resurrection, in the vision, the rising to this civil and religious liberty, previous to better days?-I will do all that I can to discover the truth.
But it may possibly be asked, are days used in this sense in any other place of the holy scriptures? If not, this is a reason for rejecting this mode of calculation. Could we adduce a passage directly to the point, it would certainly strengthen the hypothesis very much; but though we may not be able to do this, all that can be argued from the failure is, that it weakens, but not that it destroys the whole probability of the truth of the conjecture f. All al
* There are doubtless many characters among the French reformers who seem not to deserve the honourable title of witnesses; but was there ever a cause, however good, which agitated a nation, in which some bad characters did not uningle with the excellent? A mixture of good and evil seems inseparable from the present stace of things. And let it be recollected, that as God in his providence may employ even bad men in a good work, especially if
, to effect the good, it should be necessary to , use them as instruments to inflict the divine judgments, as is to be the case when Papal tyrannies perish; so also, for the part which they act as the instruments of God, and not on account of their moral character, they may be distinguished by an honourable title, like this of witnesses. Thus the idolatrous and cruel Medes and Persians, who had no pity, are denominated God's sanctified ones, (Isa. xiii. 3.) and Cyrus, their leader, is adorned even with that title which is one of the chief distinctions of the Son of God, -his Messiah, his Christ, or Anointed, (Isa. xlv. 1.) The great and leading principles for which the French reformers have borne witness, the principles of civil and religious liberty, are no novel nostrums of philosophers, but such as were coeval with human nature, and which have been long recognized in this country, and what makes our happy Constitution the boast of Englishmen, and which, it is to be hoped, they will never cease to cherish.
† I find that I am not the first who has supposed that a day, in the figurative language of the prophets, may mean a month, as well as a year. See Polt. Synop. Dan, viii. 14. Per dies 2300 intelligit menses totiden,
low that the language of these kinds of prophecies is very enigmatical, and that days, in scripture, are often of a very indeterminate signification. But let as imagine a similar case. Suppose on the appearance of our Saviour, a Jew had said to his neighbour, “ I think that by the seventy weeks of Daniel, (chap. ix. 24,—27.) we are to understand seventy weeks of years, (seventy times seven) or four hundred and ninety years, and that they are now about to be accomplished , and hence it deserves inquiry whether this Jesus be not the Messiah.” It might have been objected, “ But where, in our sacred scriptures, does a week (voqw) intend seven years?"-" No where. But though this be the case, yet as this manner of reckon. ing seems to be quite consistent with the enigmatical language of prophecy, the hypothesis deserves attention."
It is true that the etymology of the Hebrew word is applicable to seven of years, as well as to seven of days ; but, as the venerable Mede says, (p. 599 of his works), “ The question lies not in the etymology, but the usę, where you always signifies seven of days, and never seven of years: wheresoever it is absolutely put, it means of qui constituunt 180 annos a Principio Regni Græcorum usque ad Antiochum.” Sand. in Willotus.
I feel great satisfaction that this interpretation of a most important passage, about the publication of which I felt so much, has been approved by some of the best judges of such matters; and that some have strengthened the hypothesis by additional arguments, and those more apposite than what occurred to me. What the sensible and indefatigable author of Illustrations of Prophecy, has brought forward to shew the propriety of this uncommon use of the term day, is very much to the purpose. See vol. i. p. 129,4134. " A prophecy concerning future events, is a picture or representation of the events in symbols, (the author cites from Dr. Lancaster, which being fetched from objects visible at one view, or cast of the eye, rather represent the events in miniature, than in full proportion.-And, therefore, that the duration of the events may be represented in terms suitable to the symbols of the visions, the symbols of duration must also be drawn in miniature. Thus, for instance, if a vast empire persecuting the church for 1260 years, was to be symbolically represented by a beast, the decorum of the symbol would require, that the said time of its tyranny should not be expressed by 1260 years, because it would be monstrous and indecent to represent a beast ravaging for so long a time, but by 1260 days." In like manner, in the present instance, as Daubuz expresses himself, “ the Holy Ghost was tied to the decorum of the main symbol of a dead body that will keep no longer unburied without corruption." From these observations, it will, I think, appear evident, why, in the prophetic scenery, it was proper to represent the body of the witnesses as having lain dead only three days and a half antecedently to their symbolic resurrection,
days, is no where used of years. Gen. xxix. 27. The week which Laban would have Jacob fulfil before he gave him Rachael, was not the seven years service, but the seven days of Leah's wedding-feast; as the Targum translates, and the Vulgar, Imple hebdomadam dierum hujus copule, nor can it be otherwise, by the age of Rachael's children."
Many have taken it for granted, that that general expectation of the Messiah's speedy coming, which prevailed among the Jews, about the time of our Lord's appear. ance, originated from their interpretation of these weeks of Daniei. But this appears to be taken for granted with out proof. It is more likely that their expectation arose from a tradition of the prophecy of Elias, which is well known to have been generally received among them, viz. that the world was to stand seven thousand years; two thousand without the law, two thousand under the law, two thousand under the Messiah, and that then was to fol. low the sabbatical thousand; as also from the visit of the wise men from the east; the testimonies of Simeon and Anna, and the ministry of John the Baptist, whom all the people took for a prophet. I can no where find that the Jews ever reckoned these weeks as seven of years. The objection then would have been as valid in the supposed case, as it is here respecting lurar days. But whatever the reader's opinion may be respecting these days, or the two witnesses and the time of their being slain, I hope he will remember that this does not at all affect our main argument respecting the second beast being the tyranny of the Louises, and the French revolution being the prelude to the ushering in of the third woe, the calamities which are to bring to an end all the tyrannies of the world, both civil and ecclesiastical*.
* Mr. Faber's third objection to my interpretation relative to the witnesses, is because, by asserting that the three days and a half are so many lunar days, or months of years, I have violated both the general analogy of prophetic computation, and in a yet more striking manner the particular analogy of that used in the present prediction. He considers all that I have said about the decorum of symbols as a mere gratuitous assumption: that if the Apostle meant to intimate, that the witnesses should continue in a state of political death during 105 years, he can discover no symbolical impropriety in saying that their dead bodies should lie unburied 105 days: observing that Ezekiel represents the long political death of the house of Israel under the imagery of the dead bodies lying so long unburied that nothing remained of them but dry bones; and why, therefore should I think it so grievous an impropriety,
We have long been praying, thy kingdom come, and is there any probability that the preludes to it are arrived,
that the Apostle should have said that the dead bodies of the witnesses lay unburied 105 days, if he had intended 105 years? This objection may appear to some as very formidable, and my hypothesis as very whimsical, but it will be chiefly by those who either have not thought much on the subject, or have neglected to contemplate attentively this side of it. My reply is: It is true, I believe, that in prophetic computation of time, days generally signify years, and I have no doubt but St. John's 1260. days mean so many yeurs; but it is also true, according to the Egyptian, Persian, and Indian interpreters, collected by Achinet the Arabian; and according to Artemidorus, Diodorus, Jamblicus, and others of the ancients, (as may be seen in Daubuz's Prelim. Disc.) who have profes-. sedly or incidentally written on the subject of symbols, that " yeurs and days are denoted by months, and months and years by days,” and that “ in interpreting them, we must consider what is proportionable and sui“ table." And these writers, from the time in which they lived, and the superior opportunities for information which they possessed, must be supposed to have been better judges in such matters than the moderns can be. And though the sacred symbols are not to be implicitly, and universally, subinitted to the rules of such writers, yet their assistance is not to be utterly rejected; for, seeing that it haih pleased God to adopt the symbolical style of writing as the vehicle of prophecy, and that those of all nations were derived from the same original source, I can perceive no reason why the symbolical writings of the prophets should not be subject to the same original laws of interpretation as those of others; provided those laws can be satisfactorily ascertained. To do this if we are obliged to leave the inspired records, and to search for them in writings where they are to be picked out from a vast heterogeneous mass of superstitious nonsense and corruptions, the discriininating judgment of the enquirer must be exercised, to distinguish between the gold and the dross. Nor is it so hard, I think, to make this distinction, as some may at first imagine, for all the great principles of the symbolic science have their foundation in nature. But let us bear what Dr. Hurd, the present bishop of Worcester, says on this subject, in his Introduction to the Study of ihe Prophecies, vol. ij. p. 92. Speaking of the means by which the abstruse language of the symbolical style may become intelligible to us of this day, he says, among other things, “ Very much of “ the Egyptian Hieroglyphics, on which, as we have seen, the prophe" tic style was fashioned, may be learned from many ancient records " and monuments still subsisting, and from innumerable hints and pas“ sages scattered through the Greek antiquaries and historians, which “ have been carefully collected and preserved by learned men.
“ The Pagan superstitions of every form and species, which were ei“ther derived froin Egypt or conducted on the hieroglyphics, have been “ of singular use in commenting on the Jewish prophets. But, of all "s the Payan superstitions, that which is known by the name Oneirocri“ tics, or the art of interpreting dreams, is most directly to our purpose. “ There is a curious treatise on this subject, which bears the name of “ Achiet, an Arabian writer; and another by Artemidorus, an Ephe“ sian, wbo lived about the end of the first century. In the former of " thicse collections (for both works are compiled out of preceding and “ very ancient writers) the manner of interpreting dreams, according to