« PreviousContinue »
dination, and a total want of all the kinder affections of our nature; that, for a season, till he has united himself with the man of sin the domineering head of the apostacy, the abominations even of the pupal superstition are scarcely visible near the infernal glare of avowed Antichristianity.
It requires some degree of circumspection clearly to ascertain the meaning of the phrase of the end or the time of the end, sp or up ny, so frequently used by Daniel. To myself it certamly appears to mean the terminution of the whole 1260 days; the conclusion of the great drama of the two-fold apostacy and the reign of Antichrist. I conceive the time of the end to commence, so soon as the 1260 days expire; and to extend through the 75 years, which intervene between the end of the 1260 days, and the beginning of the season of millennian blessedness.' I believe it in short to be the awful period, during which the judgments of God will go abroad through all the earth, and during which his great controversy with the nations will be carried on.*
Before I attempt to shew that such is the import of the phrase, it will be proper for me to observe, that a very different interpretation of it has been given by Mr. Mede, in which he has been followed by Bp. Newton. Instead of supposing it to mean the termination of the 1260 days, he conceives it to denote the latter days of the Roman empire or the whole duration of the 1260 days.t
* The time of the end, or at least the first portion of it which contains 30 years (Dan. xii. 11,) synchronizes with the last apocalyptic vial, which will begin to be poured out 80 soon as the 1260 days shall have expired.
+ Yet it is worthy of notice, that in two places Bp. Newton understands the phrase precisely as I'do; namely as denoting not the continuance, but the termination of the 1260 years. Commenting upon Dan. xi. 35, he observes, “ These calamities were to befall the Christians to try them, and purge, and make them white, not only at that time, but even to the time of the end, because it is yet for a time appointed : and we see, even at this day, not to alledge other instances, how the poor protestants are persecuted, plundered, and murdered, in the southern parts of France.” (Dissert. XVII. in loc.)
To the same purpose is his comment on Daniel xii. 9. It is indeed no wonder that we cannot fully understand and explain these things; for, as the angel said to Daniel himself, though many should run to and fro, and should inquire and examine into these things, and thercby knowledge should be increased; yet the full understanding of them is reserved for the time of the end, the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. As Prideaux judiciously observes, it is the nature of such prophecies not to be thoroughly understood, til they are thoroughly fulfilled." (Dissert. XVII. in loc.) In both these passages, unless I greatly mistake their import, Bp.
In support of this opinion, I cannot find however, that he brings forward any argument, excepting one which is built upon his own exposition of the question and answer recorded by Daniel : “ Until how long shall be the end of the wonders? It shall be until a time and times and a half.”* Now the import of this passage Mr. Mede supposes to be, that the period styled the end of the wonders, or (as he translates it) the latter end of the wonders, shall be in length three times and a half or 1260 years. Whence he argues, that, since such is to be the length of this latter end, the time of the end must denote the whole period of the 1960 years.
Were such an exposition of the passage allowable, it would at least render it ambiguous ; for we should not be absolutely obliged to concede, that, because it was allowable, no other was allowable : but it appears to me to be by no means allowable ; and I believe that our common English version has accurately expressed the sense of the original, although it doubtless is not quite literal.
If we consider the general context of the passage, Daniel first speaks of the end of certain wonders, and immediately afterwards of the finishing of these things. Now these things plainly appear to be the same as the wonders. But if these things be the same as the wonders (which I suppose will scarcely be denied); it seems most natural to conclude that the finishing of these things is the same as the end of the wonders. The finishing of these things however is plainly the absolute termination of them, and it is declared moreover to be contemporary with the restoration of the Jews : the end of the wonders therefore must at once be the termination of the wonders,
Newton considers the time of the end as being yet future, and as commencing so soon as the men of understanding or the witnesses shall have ceased to prophesy in sackcloth, that is to say, at the end of the 1260 years.
Dan. xii. 6, 7. + Mede's Works, B. iv. Epist. 54.-B. v. Chap. 9. Both Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton make a very important use of the sense which they annex to the phrase of the end or the time of the end. They suppose, that the kings of the south and the north mentioned by Daniel as attacking the wilful king, are ibe Saracens and the Turks. Now, whatever powers these kings may be, their wars are said to begin at the time of the end. But, if the time of tbe end denote the expiration, and not the continuance, of the 1260 years, they certainly cannot be tbe Sararens and the Turks. This subject will be resumed hereafter.
and must synchronize with the restoration of the Jews. Hence the end of the wonders cannot denote the whole period of the 1260 years, but must on the contrary denote the termination of it ; because the restoration of the Jews, even according to Mr. Mede's own opinion,* will synchronize with the downfall of the papal Roman empire, and that downfall will not take place till after the expiration of the 1260 years.
This however is by no means the only objection to the exposition in question.
Mr. Mede translates the original passage, not the end of the wonders, but the latter end of the wonders ; evidently with a view to excite the idea, that of a certain period considered by Daniel as the period of wonders (suppose for instance the whole duration of his last vision) the latter portion is contradistinguished from the former portion, and that this latter portion is termed by way of distinction the latter end of the wonders in opposition to the first part of the wonders. In order to appreciate the solidity of this exposition, it will be necessary to descend to verbal criticism. Two words t are used in Hebrew to express the end, Aarith and Ketz together with its cognates Ketzah and Miketzath. Now the former of these denotes either the continuance of a period or the termination of a period, for it is derived from a root which signifies after ; and it is obvious, that both the successive parts of a period and the absolute termination of it are alike after its commencement : hence the Old Testament phrase of the end of days, which I last considered, denotes either futurity, that is a succession of time in general, or the end of the present order of things and the duration of the Millennium in particular. Whereas the latter, unless I be quite mistaken, never denotes the continuance of the period of wbich it speaks, but always the termination of it; for it is derived from a verb which signifies to cut off or to cut short : whence Buxtorf with much propriety observes, that it denotes the end, “ quasi præcisum dicas ; ubi enim res
* Mede's Works, B. v. Chap. 8. + I do not mean to say, that no more than two words are used; but that these are the two words with which the present discussion is chiefly concerned. Daniel cometimes uses the Chaldaic Supha instead of Ketz, which signifies precisely the same.
præciditur, ibi ejus finis est.” This latter word, not the former, is used by Daniel, both in the present passage, and in every other passage where the time of the end is spoken of.*
The end of the wonders therefore, wben it is considered what word is used in the original to express the end, cannot, as it appears to me, denote either the whole period during which these wonders were transacting, or the latter part of that period; but must on the contrary denote the absolute cutting off' or termination of the period of the wonders.t
T'he end then, or the time of the end, must, agreeably to the import of the original word, signify the termination of some period or another : the question is, what period ? Daniel informs us, the period of the wonders : for, since he speaks of the end of the wonders, the end can only mean the termination of that period which comprehends the wonders. Still the question will occur, what is the period of the wonders? Is it the whole period of Daniel's last vision, or is it the particular period of the 1260 years? This question appears to me not very difficult to be answered. In the earlier part of Daniel's last vision, which treats of the wars between the kings of Syria and Egypt, there is nothing that peculiarly deserves the name of a wonder. The age of wonders, on which both Daniel and St. John dwell with so much minuteness and astonishment, I is undoubtedly the great period of 1260 years ; during which the world was destined to behold the wonderful sight of a two-fold upostacy from the pure religion of the
* Excepting those in which he uses Supba. † It is observable, that, whenever Daniel uses the cognates of Ketz to mark time, ke invariably uses them in the sense of the termination of the period concerning which they speak, never in the sense of its continuance ; a sense indeed of which I believe them to be incapable: insomuch that, if by the time of tbe end and the end of the wonders he means either the whole or a part of the period of those wonders, he entirely departs from the sense which he elsewhere annexes to these cognate words. (See Dan. i. 5, 15, 18. iv. 29. See also Gen. iv. 3. margin. trans.) There is one passage, in which Daniel plainly appears to me to use the words Aarith and Ketz in direct opposition to each other. “ I will make thee know what shall be in the latter end of the indignation ; for it (the vision) shall be until the appointed time of the end.” Dan. viii., 19.) Here the latter end, or rather the continuance, ( Aaritb) of the indignation, denotes the whole period of the tyranny of the heagoat's little born, or in other words the whole period of the 1260 gears; while ibe end (Ketz) to which the vision is to reach, denotes the expiration of the 1260 years or ibe end of the period of the wonders, which therefore synchronizes with the expiration of the 2300 years, to which the vision is likewise to reach. Dan. viii. 13, 14.
See Dan. vii. 8, 15, 19–22, 28. viii. 9-14, 27. Rev. xi. xii. xii. xvi. 6,7.
Gospel, and of the developement of a monstrous power that set the Majesty of heaven itself at defiance. Hence the period of the wonders can surely be only the period of the 1260 years; for let us attentively peruse the writings of Daniel and St. John, and see whether we can discover another period to which we can with the slightest degree of propriety apply the title of the period of the wonders. But a yet more positive proof, that the period of the 1260 years is the period of the wonders, may be deduced from the very passage, which Mr. Mede uses to establish his own exposition by assigning to the word Ketz a sense which it is incapable of bearing.
“ And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, until how long shall be the end (that is, the termination) of the 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 until a time and times and a half; and, wben he shall have finished 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 is 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.”
A question is here asked, how long a time shall elapse before the end of the period of wonders arrives ? The answer is, three times and a half or 1260 years : and it is further declared, that, when the Jews shall begin to be restored, all these things, namely all the wonders which were to come to an end at the cxpiration of the 1260 years, shall be finished. Upon this Daniel inquires, what is the end of them: but the only reply given him is, that the words are sealed till the time of the end, or that his prophecies shall not be fully understood till the end of the wonders arrives.
Now, if 1260 years are to elapse before the end of the wonders arrives, and if all these things, that is to say all the wonders, are to be finished contemporaneously with the restoration of the Jews; it will both follow that the period of the wonders must exactly comprehend 1260