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Dissertation 19.

THE EXPRESSIONS RELATIVE TO TIME

Daniel 12:11

The variety of opinion as to the expressions of Time in this chapter renders it difficult to illustrate our author with sufficient brevity. The wisdom of the early reformers is conspicuous. OEcolampadius agrees with Calvin in treating these periods of days, as implying long and indefinite times — “multiplicatione dierum longum tempus antichristianae impietatis agnoseas” — by the multiplication of the days you will perceive the lengthened period of the anti-christian impiety. Junius and Polanus, as quoted by Willet, consider the days to be literal ones, and the accomplishment to have taken place during Maccabean times. He also gives the views of Hippolytus and Nicolaus de Lyra, to whom Calvin has previously referred. Melancthon adds together the 1290 and the 1335 days, making seven years and three months, beginning b.c. 145, and ending b.c. 151, when Nicanor was overcome. Bullinger understands them of the times of Antiochus, and Osiander of the duration of Antichrist, but thinks this prophecy does not properly, “but by way of analogue, concern the latter times.” The opinions of those modern interpreters who adopt the principles of Mede will be found in the works already quoted. He reckons the years from the time of Antiochus, b.c. 167, which brings us down to the 12th century, when the Waldenses and Albigenses protested against the tyranny of the Papacy; and between the forty-five years, 1123 and 1168 A.D. a great secession occurred from the dominion of the Pope, by which he thinks the prophecy to have been fulfilled. Bishop Newton, Dissertation. 26, page 387, writes as follows, — “It is, I conceive, to these great events, the fall of Antichrist, the re-establishment of the Jews, and the beginning of the glorious millennium, that the three different dates in Daniel of the 1260 years, 1290 years, and 1335 years, are to be referred.” Here the word “years” is used as if it occurred in the scriptural text.

Professor Lee considers that the events which occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus fulfilled the prediction of verse. 1. “The children of thy people,” found written in the book, are said not to be the Jews at large, but the holy remnant who embraced Jesus as Messiah, and escaped to carry the tidings of salvation to the ends of the earth. The many who slept in the dust of the earth were to awake “in a first resurrection with Christ,” Romans 6:3-6, and “some to shame and everlasting contempt, i.e., awakened to hear through the preaching of the gospel, the judgments denounced against unbelief, and to feel this in a general overthrow.” The resurrection is here interpreted of our regeneration and union with the Savior through the Spirit, and the precise period of its accomplishment is confined to the early spread of the gospel among mankind.

The “time, times, and a half” of Daniel 12:7, “must, of necessity, signify the time that should elapse from the fall of Jerusalem, to the end of Daniel’s seventieth week; for, according to the prediction enouncing this, the Temple and the City were to fall in the midst of this week,” page 199. In direct contrast to this extract, Elliotts reference of this chapter to times yet future occurs in volume 2, page 1343. Assuming the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days to be years, the former period is said to close at the French Revolution in 1790 A.D., the second at the Greek Revolution in 1820 A.D.; and as they are “unhesitatingly” pronounced to be all three “measured from one and the same commencing epoch,” the last date must terminate A.D. 1865. Frere terminates the 1290 days in A.D. 1822, and the 1335 in A.D. 1847. See his Letter dated September 9, 1848, to the Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, October 1848. Wintle refers this verse to the struggle with anti-christian powers, when Michael should stand up “to defend the cause of the Jews, and to destroy the enemies of true religion.” Note in loc.

The Duke of Manchester has devoted an Appendix to the discussion of these expressions. He justly observes; if they “are to be taken literally, then the important events of the latter part of this prophecy will be within the compass of a man’s life, and will relate to the actions of an individual. If, on the other hand, the 1290 and 1335 are years, they will extend far beyond the life of any individual, and must therefore be applied, not to a person, but to a system. Thus the whole character of the prophecy will be different.” “The prophecy of Daniel 10-12 is not symbolical, nor even figurative, but is literal. The expression translated days in Daniel 8 is different from the term rendered days in Daniel 12. The character of the prophecy, Daniel 10-12, is rather what we may call biographical, for it details the actions of individuals. I see no more warrant for saying the willful king denotes a system, than for saying the vile person, or the raiser of taxes, or a dozen other kings, mentioned in the prophecy, denote systems. The genius of the prophecy, therefore, seems to require that the measure of time connected with the actions of the willful king, should be suitable to the reign of an individual king, and not elongated into times suitable to the continuance of a system from generation to generation. ‘Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the 1335 days,’ seems to imply that some individuals would endure for the whole 1335 days.” Thus far the noble author’s remarks are completely in the spirit of Calvin, but a few sentences afterwards, he supposes the “abomination of desolation” to belong to the last days of the world, thus giving countenance to the Futurist expositions. The curious reader may consult a Review in “The Morning Watch,” volume 5, page 161, of Fabers Second Calendar of Prophecy, in which many ingenious speculations are brought forward illustrative of Daniel’s expressions relative to Time. The various numbers of this work contain a multiplicity of laborious investigations of this subject, chiefly based upon the year-day theory.

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