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sanctuary"? Did the church of Christ emerge from her wilderness retreat? Or, to be as liberal as possible, was there any church at all organized in those years? We know of none. Consistency, then, as well as compulsion, oblige us to pass on.
Let us try the other point of commencement, that of the first scene. It is the ram "standing before the river." (Verses 6 and 3.)
The ram, according to the interpretation, signifies the kingdom of Media and Persia (verse 20), and the "standing" of this nation signifies that period of its existence as the prevailing, foremost nation of the world. It is the era as covered by the arms and breast of the great image of Daniel 2, and the bear of Daniel 7, and all are agreed that this ascendancy was gained when it overthrew the Babylonian empire. This occurred in B. C. 539. Prideaux Connection, vol. 1, p. 430; Bishop Newton On the Prophecies, p. 147; Faber's Dissertation on Daniel 9, p. 13; Frere's Combined View, p. 298.
Its standing, commencing with its arising in 539, it necessarily retained this position until it fell, and it fell when the Grecian Goat, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, its "great horn" "ran unto him in the fury of his power ... and cast him down to the " ground and stamped upon him.” (Verses 6, 7.) This occurred in B. C. 334 when at the battle of Grannicus the Medes and Persians were overwhelmingly defeated. (Junkin On the Prophecies, p. 73. Marsh's Ecclesiastical History, p. 81. Keith's Signs of the Times, vol. 2, p. 436.)
The standing of the ram then occupied from the year B. C. 539 to 334; and from this period we must commence the 2300 years.
The prophet represents the two-horned Medo-Persian ram, not as rising from the sea, but as standing by his river: in other words, he does not speak of the origin of the united monarchy, which is a fixed, determinate period; but of some period, which he does not specify, in the course of its regular and settled government. ... He continued standing undisturbed only till the year B. C. 334, when the Macedonian he-goat began to smite him by invading his territories, and by gaining his first victory over him at the River Granicus.–Faber On the Prophecies, vol. 1, p. 174, 1811.
From what particular point in this era we should measure, the Scriptures do not say. Evidently from the whole, else we would have been otherwise advised. It would not do to measure from the rise of the ram as Whiston, Case and Reid have done, nor yet from his fall as Nevin, Murphy and Junkin have done. That would be going to the extreme. It would be measuring from the rising or the falling and not from its "standing." Bishop Newton submits both points as a possible beginning, that of the "establishment of the Persian Empire,” and that of its overthrow, B. C. 334. He is uncertain which, and finally confesses his confusion by admitting, “It is difficult to fix the precise time when the prophetic dates begin and when they will end till the prophecies are fulfilled and the event declares the certainty of them." (Dissertation on the Prophecies, p. 294.) Doubtless he discovered that reckoning from 539 did not produce the desired results, but had he lived until 1830 he could have vented no such lamentation.
At some point, therefore, within the era of B. C. 539-334 we must commence our prophetic measurement. This is what Reverends Thurman, Galloway, Cunninghame, Brown, Keith, Biceno, and others have done.
2 3 oo Prophetic yrs
B c 437-436
If it was designed that they should be reckoned from the commencement of the Medo-Persian Empire, the vision would present the ram as arising, as nearly all other beasts were presented, but it is otherwise. Standing before the river has no more reference to its rising than it has to its fall. It refers to neither point in particular, but rather bespeaks the whole era of its conquering power. Consequently our prophetic calculations must commence at some point, commanding and focusing the entire period. That point is the central. It is 437-36 B. C. "Take the meridian glory of Persia as its commencement,” says Doctor Cummings, and surely there is nothing nearer this "meridian glory" than the midway point of its "standing." (Lectures on the Book of Daniel, p. 262.)
As to the nature of the years to be employed, solar, prophetic, or lunar, that was suggested to us in the interpretation of the pattern prophecy, the 70 weeks. Prophetic years solved the problem, measuring from the midway point of the era. It will be the same in this. We must follow the model.
In 2300 prophetic years there are 2266 solar years, and 2300 prophetic years, commencing at B. C. 437-36, terminate in A. D. 1830.
As will be observed, the 2300 years end at the same time as the 1260 years. This was to be expected as they both bespeak the same terminal event, that of the cleansing of the sanctuary, a restoration of the true worship.
I can not but think that it is sufficiently evident, both that the 1260 days are a certain part of the 2300 days, and that these two periods terminate exactly together in the selfsame year. We are expressly told that the vision of the ram and the he-goat, whenever it begins, reaches to "the time of the end," "or to the last end of the indignation" (17, 19); and we are no less expressly informed that to the end of the wonders predicted by Daniel there shall “be three times and a half, or 1260 days." (12: 7, 9.) Hence it necessarily follows that since the period of 2300 days, and the period of 1260 days, both equally reach to "the time of the end,” or to the end of the predicted wonders; they both exactly terminate together. Thus it appears that the period of 1260 days is in fact the latter part of the greater period of 2300 days.—Scott's Commentary, vol. 2, p. 824.
Therefore we may conclude that this vision of Daniel reaches to the close of the period during which the saints were to be given into the hand of the little horn, Daniel 7: 25, i. e., to the end of the twelve hundred and sixty years; consequently the two thousand three hundred days of the vision must be prophetical days, used for years; and these two thousand three hundred years end precisely at the same time with the twelve hundred and sixty years.Cunninghame on The Apocalypse, p. 339.
Expositors as a rule, since 1830, have been unwilling to concede anything to 1830, knowing, as they do, that it registered the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. No; it would not do to give the prominence to this year that was due. About the nearest they will approach it is to submit "the period of 19 years, commencing 1820” and extending to “1839" (Prophetic Times, vol. 8, p. 149; 1870) for the fulfillment of the 2300 years. Accepting, however, of these extremes and mediumizing them as we must, we are presented with 18291/2 as the meridian terminating point.
THE PERIOD OF SEVEN TIMES. Having learned the data covering the three times and a half, our next question is: Where is the other portion of that period of which this seems to be a part? 31/2 is an imperfect number, an incomplete period, suggesting the existence of a remainder somewhere. It is just one half of that great prophetic number known as "seven times."
And if ye will not be reformed by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. ... And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. . . . And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.—Leviticus 26: 23-25, 27, 28, 31-33.
"Times" is expressive of just what it says—time; and as we have learned that a “time” is one year, seven must equal seven years.
But these are not to be taken literally. We have seen that three times and a half represented 1260 years, then seven times must represent double this number, or 2520 years.
The seven times, therefore, which are to pass over it, are the grand prophetic week of years, or period of 2520 years.-Brown's Eventide, vol. 2, p. 138.
There is a remarkable prediction of their troubles for their sins in Leviticus 26, in which they are told again and again that they shall be chastened seven times, or seven-fold, for their sins. The frequent repetition of seven times or seven-fold, connected with their lengthened suffering under the Gentile monarchies, seems to point out a special design, and may intimate the length of time which these chastisements should last. It would make, interpreted as we do the times in Daniel, a period of 2520 years from their being carried into captivity.-Bickersteth's Guide, etc., p. 181.
Thus, the whole period of his church's trials and tribulation, and of the times of the Gentile domination, is said to be seven times, or according to prophetical calculation, seven years of years, that is 2520 years, of which 1260 is the one half.—Duffield's Dissertations, etc., p. 386.
The three times and a half, as considered all along, engages the latter part of the "seven times” period. They reach unto the liberation of the church, to her return from the wilderness, to the time of cleansing "the sanctuary" at the "time of the end," consequently the commencement of the first half of the "seven times” must precede this latter half. And since the latter part of the "seven times" commenced at A. D. 570 and ended A. D. 1830, we shall be obliged to go back into B. C. data, in order to locate the first part.
The conditions to prevail when the period of "seven times” shall commence are clearly indicated. It will be at a time when Israel, sinning exceedingly, shall be "delivered into the hand of the enemy," their cities shall be laid "waste," their sanctuaries brought "unto desolation," and they themselves shall be scattered "among the heathen."
It will not be difficult to locate the period when Israel's troubles commenced. They began "in the fourth year of king Hezekiah" when,
Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it. . . . And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes; because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.--2 Kings 18: 9-12.
Ussher places the besieging of Samaria at B. C. 723. Prideaux, Totten and Duffield date it at 724. The taking of the city and consequent captivity of the ten tribes began in B. C. 721, an indisputed date.
The people of Judah, however, still remained. Failing to profit by the experiences of their brother tribes, and doing wickedly “till there was no remedy," they were brought into subjection also. It was accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. orders their city was destroyed, the temple burned, and the vessels thereof were carried into Babylon, together with Israel that escaped the sword.
But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia.—2 Chronicles 36: 16-20.
This occurred in B. C. 588.61
Prideaux, vol. 1, pp. 111, 112, 430. Elliott, Horæ Apocalypticæ, vol. 3, p. 299. Marsh's Ecclesiastical History, p. 449.
It was a universal national disaster, not a vestige of the ancient Israelitish government remained. They were put in bondage collectively and individually.
Some few of the poorer citizens were suffered to remain in the land, held in bondage as their brethren. Of these there was a later deportation in 585.02
The overthrow of the whole house of Israel, then, is to be credited to that fatal period extending from B. C. 721 to B. C. 588, an era covering 135 years, or if we reckon from the preliminary events of their besiegement, to the latest deportation of the poor above referred to, then 724-585 will be the period. It is immaterial which we select, as both are centered on the same axis, but the era of their national disorganization is that of 721-588.
How are the mighty fallen! Israel once a prince among the nations now become their slaves and serfs. Driven from their native land by the offended wrath of heaven they are made to feel the chastening hand of righteous retribution.
The accomplishment of this calamity is most lamentably referred to by Jeremiah and rightly credited to those enslaving nations, Assyria and Babylon: "Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away; first the king of Assyria hath devoured him and last this Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, hath broken his bones.” -50: 17.
This was indeed the commencement of that long period of punishment, "seven times.”. “From this time the independence of the people of Israel departed for thousands of years, for even their return from the captivity did not restore it, and afterwards it was regained but once, and that transitorily.”-Auberlen's Prophecies of Daniel, p. 17.
Undoubtedly then, as Auberlen says, it is “the exile that forms the historical basis” of the prophecies, which, beginning with the downfall of the ten tribes, was completed in the overthrow of Judah.
The point in this era from whence to compute the seven times is, as in other eras, the central. It is B. C. 655-654.
An earlier commencement might more particularly affect the fall of Samaria, and a later, the fall of Jerusalem; but the only commencing point comprehending the fall of the "whole house of Israel," the ten tribes as well as the Jews, is the central and bisecting date.
This point is covered by the reign of Mannasseh, probably the worst king that Judah ever had, 2 Kings 21 : 2-16. “During this time” says Spanheim, “religion was almost extirpated.” 63
Faber shows that it was also covered by the birth of Nebuchadnezzar, who, as "the head of gold" in the prophetic image occupied the first and foremost place of all nations, past or present.
This learned writer argues, and quite elaborately, that the "seven times," a period doubtless figuratively alluded to by Daniel him
62 See Ussher, Jeremiah 52: 30. & Ecclesiastical Annals, p. 150.