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zer, of Bingen, and the learned church historian the Abbé Rohrbacher, by the days above mentioned understand symbolical or prophetic days, which represent each of them a year. We have distinct authority for this interpretation in Holy Scripture. In the book of Numbers the Lord thus speaks to Moses : “ According to the number of the forty days, wherein you viewed the land, a year shall be counted for a day.”i And again, in the book of the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord thus speaks to him: “Thou shalt take upon thee the iniquity of the house of Juda forty days: a day for a year, yea, a day for a year have I appointed unto thee.”2 This interpretation of years for days fully agrees with that given by all Christian expositors of the seventy weeks, in the prophecy of Daniel concerning the first coming of our Blessed Saviour. That in this prophecy of the seventy weeks, a day symbolizes a year is generally admitted by all interpreters, and no one, who compares the event with the prediction, will for a moment deny it. Seventy weeks would amount to four hundred and ninety days; and it was precisely at the expiration of four hundred and ninety years from the time specified by the prophet that our Lord came: the conclusion, therefore, of all Christian interpreters has been that the term week in that prophecy must signify a period of seven prophetic days, each day symbolizing a year. And if in one prophecy the event has proved the necessity of this interpretation, there is every reason from analogy to conclude that the same method of interpretation may be observed in regard to the meaning of other prophetic periods also ; especially when the context of the 1 Num. xiv. 34.
? Ezek, iv. 6.
prophecy and other circumstances connected with it justify such an interpretation.
Following this interpretation, we say that the years, the months, and the days mentioned in holy prophecy, during which the Holy City will be trodden down by the Gentiles, are symbolical or prophetical years, months, and days; and that the dates of three years and a half, of forty-two months, and of one thousand two hundred and ninety days, make the same amount of one thousand two hundred and ninety years, each day representing a year.
This date, which determines the duration of the profanation of Jerusalem by the infidels-the followers of the Antichrist-commences from the time when the Holy City having fallen under the Mahometan sway, Omar raised an infamous mosque on the sacred spot where once stood the most august temple of Jerusalem, and thus set up the abomination of the desolation in the holy place. From that epoch to the removal of the abomination of desolation and to the cleansing of the sanctuary, according to Daniel's prophecy, there must elapse one thousand two hundred and ninety symbolical or prophetical days, which amount to as many
years. We gather all this from the prophecy of Daniel, contained in the twelfth chapter. There it is related how the prophet, amazed at what he had heard from the angel Gabriel respecting the coming of the Antichrist, the establishment of his wicked kingdom, the profanation of the sanctuary, the desolation of the Holy City, and other similar things connected with the reign of the Antichrist, addressed the angel as follows : “ How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man,”
says the prophet, “that was clothed in linen, that stood upon the waters of the river: when he had lifted up his right hand, and his left hand to heaven, and had sworn by Him that liveth for ever, that it should be unto a time and times and half a time. And when the scattering of the band of the holy people (the time appointed for the dispersion of the Jews) shall be accomplished, all these things shall be finished. And I heard and understood not. And I said : O my Lord, what shall be after these things? And he said: Go, Daniel, because the words are shut up and sealed until the appointed time. Many shall be chosen and made white, and shall be tried as fire: and the wicked shall deal wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the learned shall understand. And from the time when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days."
From these words of the prophecy, it seems that there is good reason for believing that at the close of a thousand two hundred and ninety years from the falling of Jerusalem under the Mahometan yoke, the abomination unto desolation will have an end, and the followers of the Antichrist shall cease to trample under foot the Holy City.
i Dan. xii. 2 St. John says, in the Apocalypse, that the Holy City (Jerusalem) was to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles two and forty months, and tbat God's two witnesses were to prophesy (to bear testimony to the truth) “a thousand two hundred and sixty days.” (Apoc. xi.) From these words some persons argue that the abomination unto desolation will last only a thousand two hundred and sixty literal years; and that at the expiration
But although at the expiration of this period the abomination of the desolation shall cease, the sanctuary shall be cleansed, the scattering of the band of the children of Israel shall be accomplished, and the epoch for their conversion shall be at hand, yet it seems that the time fixed for the great glory and triumph of the Church upon earth will be forty-five years later. For the angel immediately after the passage quoted above, adds the following consoling words: “ Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh unto a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. But go thou thy ways until the time appointed : and thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot unto the end of the days.'
On the final destruction of the Antichrist and of his kingdom.
The prophecies of God leave no doubt that the final destruction of the Antichrist, and of his dominion, must be effected by the power of Christ at His second coming. The Apostle St. Paul, after declaring the time in which the wicked one should be revealed, which was to be soon after the dissolution of the Roman empire, continues thus : “ Whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightof this period the sanctuary will be cleansed, the children of Israel will be converted to the Lord, and Jerusalem will rise again to great glory. But as the Apostle says, that at the consummation of a thousand two hundred and sixty days, when “the two witnesses shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the abyss shall make war against them, and overcome them and kill them,” it is scarcely probable that at this time the abomination unto desolation in the holy place shall have ceased.
| Dan, xii, 12, 13.
ness of His coming."1 Of what coming does the Apostle here speak? Does he speak of a mere spiritual coming of Christ to the soul of man by means of His holy grace? Does he speak of a mere mystical coming of Christ to the wicked by chastising them, and executing his vengeance against them? No, certainly. The whole context shows that the Apostle speaks of the true personal coming of Christ. He speaks of that coming, which the Thessalonians thought to be near, but which he tells them in that very chapter should not take place until the Man of Sin should be revealed : “We beseech you,” says the Apostle, “by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him; that you be not easily moved from your mind
as if the day of the Lord were at hand.” « The wicked one shall be revealed,” adds the Apostle, after a few
verses, “ whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming." The coming of Christ mentioned by the Apostle in the first place, is manifestly of the same nature as that mentioned in the second place. But the coming mentioned in the first instance is the true, the real, the personal coming of Christ in glory, to judge the living and the dead. Therefore, that also which is mentioned in the second place, means His true, real, and personal coming. And therefore it is manifest, that the final destruction of the Antichrist and of his wicked kingdom must be effected by the power of Christ at His second coming. This is, moreover, confirmed by the manner in which the angel describes to Daniel the “King of a shameless face, and understanding dark sen
1 2 Thess. ii. 8.