OCCASIONED BY A PAPER IN THE
EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTOR,
FOR MARCH 1818,
ON PROPHETIC CHRONOLOGY.
Minister of the Gospel, Wishawtown.
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INQUIRY INTO THE PROPHETIC NUMBERS CONTAINED IN THE 1335 DAYS;
Occasioned by a Paper
EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTOR,
FOR MARCH, 1818,
Near the end of March last, I published five Discourses, containing an Inquiry into the times that shall be fulfilled at Antichrist’s fall—The Church’s blessedness in her millennial rest—The signs that this happy season is at hand—The prophetic numbers contained in the 1335 days—And the Christian’s duty at this interesting crisis. A few days be- fore their publication, a very accurate and ingenious Paper appeared in the Edinburgh Christian Instructor, on prophetic chronology. In turning our attention to this paper, no hostility is intended to that able, useful, and well-conducted, periodical publication in which this paper has appeared. To all who are employed in that work, I ardently wish the greatest success, in propagating by it, wherever it goes, the knowledge of evangelical truth. This paper was preceded by another, containing eleven observations on the prophetic style. These are wisely conceived, accurately arranged, and illustrated with judgment. It has been followed by another, which contains part of an Analysis of the Book of Revelation. It is not to the first or the last of those papers, nor even to the second, but in so far as it fixes the numbers in the prophecy, to which I mean to state any objections. In doing so, I disclaim every design of opposing any judicious and evangelical writer, as the Author of those papers appears to be;—my only intention is more largely to unfold the views which I have been constrained to entertain concerning the prophetic numbers of Daniel and John.
As the time which this writer fixes for the rise and fall of Antichrist, the conversion of the Jews, and the commencement of the millennium, are different from the periods mentioned for those events, in my fourth discourse; it appeared necessary to publish an Appendix to that discourse, stating more particularly our objections to the supposition of Antichrist’s rise in 756, and offering more explicitly our reasons for the opinion that he came into existence in 533, and that he was confirmed in his seat in 606. The dates of the Jews’ conversion, and the millennium’s commencement, with some of his sentiments, on collateral objects, may also be considered.
The view which this accomplished writer suggests of those dates is the following. He concludes that John received his revelations in A. D. 90. By adding to this number 666 years, the number of the beast, Rev. xiii. 18. we have 756, when the Pope became a temporal prince. He considers this year as the date of Antichrist’s rise. The 1260 days during which he is to reign, he, like some other writers, considers to be prophetic years, which, being reduced to civil years, make 1242. This number being added to 756, makes 1998. In this year, he supposes the last persecution of the church in Europe shall cease, the temporal power of the Pope will fall, and the Ottoman empire will be dissolved. The Jews will be converted in 2028. They shall remain under discipline 40 years, till 2068. Four or five years are then allowed for the battle of Armageddon, the binding of Satan, and the establishment of peace in the world. The millennium will then commence in the year 2072. This is the scheme on which we shall make a few remarks.
When the writer of this paper proceeds, “to consult the chronology, relative to Antichrist, and the church of Christ,” he begins by saying, “We conclude, that the Book of Revelation was given to John, A. D. 90. Add to this 666, the number of the beast, and you have 756.” On what grounds the Author was led to this conclusion, he does not here in- form us; but we know that some writers have been obliged to use considerable pains to come at this conclusion, and also for the same end. It is, however, at variance with the ancient record of ecclesiastic history, with the accounts of more modern historians of the church, and with the statements of commentators. Eusebius, who wrote his History in the fourth century, fixes this date in A. D. 97. Dr. Mosheim fixes the commencement of that persecution, in which John was banished to Patmos, in A. D. 93 or 94. Mr. Brown, late of Haddington, is of opinion that John was banished to Patmos in A. D. 95. Mr. Newton, late of London, in his history of the first century of Christianity, fixes on A. D. 94 for the beginning of that persecution. The statements of commentators are equally hostile to that conclusion. Mr. Durham adopts the date mentioned by Eusebius. The Continuator of Mr. Poole thinks that John received his Revelations in A. D. 94 and 95. Mr. Lowman fixes this date at 95. Dr. Gill states it at 95 or 96. Dr. Guyse says, that the Revelation is most commonly thought to have been written about the year of our Lord, 96 or 97. Dr. Doddridge thinks, that if the ancient records are to be credited, the date of this book may be fixed about the year 96. From these authorities, which might easily be increased, we are warranted in declaring the date which is assumed in this paper to be entirely uncertain, if not completely incorrect. On that account, the calculations which are connected with it, so far as they derive probability of truth from that connexion, must be fictitious and unsatisfactory. There are not 666 years from the time, in which John received his revelations, to the date of the Pope’s temporal power; and, therefore, if this “is the epoch from which other calculations shall be computed,” uncertainty must attach to them all.
I do not object to the application of the number 666, as it describes a period of years, at the expiration of which Antichrist should be revealed. Of this number, there are two scriptural descriptions, to which we should attend. It is represented as “the number of the beast,” Rev. xiii. 18. And it is expressed as “the number of his name,” Rev. xiii. 17—xv. 2. The latter of those descriptions of this number, “the number of his name,” warrants the common use to which it has been applied, in proving the church of Rome to be the grand apostacy, and her Popes to be the great Antichrist, by finding the numeral letters in her name amount to 666. The former description of this number, “the number of the beast,” authorizes the application of it, as a statement of a number of years. To direct and encourage us to count the number of the beast, it is added, “For it is the number of a man.” It is not the number of a Prophet, but it is the number of a man. Its duration must be calculated by the ordinary rules for computing time among men; and not by those methods that are used for fixing the continuance of prophetic numbers. This number must signify 666 years, and as it is applied to the beast, it is the number of the beast’s years. It signifies the number of the years in which the Roman power should exist, as the fourth beast in Daniel’s vision. When the Roman government should be 666 years old, in the character of the fourth beast which Daniel saw, the Roman ecclesiastic beast should rise up in the church. The first and the second beasts which were presented to Daniel, in his prophetic vision, the Babylonian and Medo-Persian powers, were Asiatic governments. The third and fourth beasts, in his vision, the Grecian and Roman powers, were originally European dynasties. The first beast, or the Babylonian monarchy, was in its full vigour, and at the height of its power, when Daniel saw the vision. When the Medes and Persians began their attack upon the Empire of Babylon, the second beast of Daniel appeared. When the Grecian armies, under the command of Alexander, the notable horn between the eyes of the he-goat, crossed over into Asia, and began their rapid and successful conquest of the Persian Empire, Daniel’s third beast arose, and began to operate on the scene of prophecy. When the Roman power first got possessions in Asia, and commenced their more slow and difficult, but equally successful conquest of the nations of the east, then the fourth beast in Daniel’s vision made its appearance, and Rome entered on the scene of prophecy. This happened in the year in which Attalus, king of Pergamous died. By his testament, he bequeathed his effects to the Roman Senate, and they instantly claimed his kingdom as their own, sent an army to take possession of it, subdued it under their power, and reduced it into a Roman province. The greater part of Asia the less, was contained in this kingdom, by the government of which the Romans became an Asiatic power, and commenced their destructive operations, as the fourth beast that Daniel saw. Attalus, king of Pergamus, died, and the Romans claimed that kingdom as its rightful sovereign, in the 133d [Prideaux, Con. vol. III. p. 319.] year before Christ. If we add to this number, 533 years, our first date for Antichrist’s rise, we have exactly 666 years. The Roman power was 666 years old, in the prophetic character of the fourth beast of Daniel’s vision, when the Bishop of Rome, by Justinian’s decree, was constituted the head of all the churches, when the little horn sprang up among his ten horns, and that beast rose up out of the earth, which had two horns like a Iamb, and which spake as a dragon.
If we attend to the time at which the Roman power was completely established in the east, and all their enemies were first subdued before them, we will find another remarkable epoch in their history. In the 61st year before Christ, Pompey having returned to Rome from his victorious conquests in the East, obtained a triumph in that city for his great services, and wonderful success. In the 60th year before Christ, the Romans having seen their Empire extended and established in Asia, Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar entered into a confederacy for supporting each other in their pretensions in the Roman state, engrossed the whole power of it into their hands, and divided it among themselves.[Prideaux, Con. vol. IV, p. 81.] This laid the foundation of those destructive civil wars, which soon terminated in the dissolution of the Roman republic, and in the erection of the Roman monarchy. If we add to the 60 years before Christ, 606 years, our second date for Antichrist’s rise, when he triumphed over all his rivals, we will again have 666 years, the number of the beast. By either of those calculations, especially the former, or by both taken together, we have a much more satisfactory explanation of the number of the beast, than by that representation which is given in this paper, both from the nature of the things themselves, and the certainty of the dates. Since it is undeniably evident, that 666 years intervened, from the time when the Roman state began to act as the fourth beast in Daniel’s prophecy, till the time when the Emperor Justinian constituted the Bishop of Rome the head of all the churches; and since there are also 666 years betwixt the time when the Romans triumphed over their enemies in Asia, and the time when the Pope, by the decree of Phocas, silenced his rivals, and consolidated his ecclesiastic supremacy, there must be good reason to conclude, that, in those transactions, the words of John were fulfilled. “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred three score and six.”
When the Author speaks of the time when Antichrist rose, after mentioning some of the dates which expositors have fixed for it, he says; “We are, however inclined to the opinion of those, who date the rise of Antichrist from A. D. 756, when Pepin, king of France, raised Pope Stephen II. to the rank of a temporal prince; for it is in that character that the head of the Roman hierarchy may be considered as the beast.” Blame should be imputed to no man, for being inclined to the opinion of those, who date the rise of Antichrist from 756, though our opinion may be different, and we may believe and hope he is mistaken; but it is not so easy to pass over the reason he assigns for it; “For it is in that character that the head of the Roman hierarchy may be considered as the beast.” In opposition to this, I am still of opinion, that the Pope’s possession of temporal power is not essential to his scriptural character, as the Man of Sin, the Antichrist, and the false Prophet; and, therefore, there is no valid reason for considering the 756th year of the Christian era, as the date of his rise. In that capacity, in which inspired predictions describe Antichrist’s characters and actions, to him, in that same capacity, must the prophetic numbers be applied, for fixing the time of his rise and fall. It must be unreasonable to suppose, that the prophecies should delineate his characters and deportment, under one denomination of him, and that the numbers, which are contained in the same prophecies, should measure his duration under another denomination of him. In order to ascertain the precise idea, in which the numbers in prophecy exhibit the beginning and ending of this Antichristian beast, we shall now take a view of the descriptions which are given of this object, in those predictions.
As the man of sin, he is described by the apostle Paul; Thes. ii. 4. “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” On account of their office, emperors, kings, and temporal princes are called gods, and are entitled to honour from men. In the fulfilment of this prediction, the head of the Roman hierarchy has assumed sovereign authority over them, and has claimed, and sometimes exercised a power to excommunicate and dethrone them, and to absolve their subjects from their allegiance to them. Did he arrogate and exert this power in his civil, or in his ecclesiastic capacity? Certainly not as the temporal potentate of Rome, but as the vicar of Christ, and as the supreme head of the church on earth. The apostle adds, “so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” These words represent his blasphemous conduct, relative to the great Jehovah. In the apostate church, he has set himself as God, and as being above God, by dispensing with Divine laws, by commanding the worship of creatures and images, in opposition to that law, by making the meaning and obligation of the Divine Word depend on his authority, and by placing himself on the throne of God in the church below, in giving laws to it, appointing ordinances in it, exercising unlimited power over it, and receiving blasphemous titles and worship from its members. Whether do these things apply to him in his civil, or in his ecclesiastic capacity? As he is raised to the rank of a temporal prince, he has no connexion with any one of them; but as he is the spiritual and supreme head of the church, every one of them belongs to him. Whether was it his coming as a temporal prince, or as the blasphemous head of the apostate church, that Paul describes in those affecting words, ver. 9, 10. “Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved?” Whether was it by his temporal or spiritual authority, that the head of the Roman hierarchy forbade to marry, and commanded to abstain from meats? These questions must be answered in the same way, that those things belong to him, and are performed by him, as the head of the church, in his ecclesiastic capacity. The prophetic numbers must also determine his duration, in the same capacity.
The apostle John, in his first epistle, describes this head of the Roman hierarchy, several times, by the name of Antichrist: “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” chap. ii. 18. This emphatic designation represents him as the peculiar enemy and opposer of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By opposing all the Redeemer’s offices, the Pope of Rome carries on a wicked opposition, to the one Mediator between God and man. He states himself as an enemy to Jesus, in his prophetic office, by corrupting the Divine word, by denying the doctrines which it reveals, by propagating those errors which it condemns, and by withholding from the people, that word, concerning which Jesus says to all who profess his name, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” He is the enemy of Jesus in his priestly office, by maintaining the merit of good works, by the blasphemous sacrifice of the mass, and by employing and depending upon the intercession of saints and angels, as well as on the intercession of the great Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. In Christ’s kingly office, he also opposes our Redeemer, by suspending his laws, altering the form of worship, the office-bearers, and the administrations that he hath appointed, and by claiming and exercising that absolute power over the church, which belongs to him who hath said, “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me.” In all this opposition to Christ, whether do we recognize the head of the Roman hierarchy in his temporal, or spiritual capacity? As a temporal prince, lie is incapable of it; but it is congenial and essential to him as vested with his spiritual supremacy. The numbers in prophecy must be applied to him in his ecclesiastic, which is his antichristian, character.
In the Revelation of John, there are many things said of this object, by the consideration of which we shall be brought to the same conclusion. The things contained in chap. xvii. only are to be considered. “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit on a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns,” ver. 3. The Roman Pope is here exhibited as a woman, which cannot symbolize him as a temporal prince, but is a most appropriate symbol of him, as the head of the apostate church. The same thing is evident from the inscription on her forehead. “And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” ver. 5. What mystery is found about him as a temporal prince? Is not this attached to him only in his ecclesiastic character and government? What resemblance is there between the Pope’s temporal power, and the extensive sway of the rulers of ancient Babylon? None at all. But there is a very striking likeness in the Pope’s spiritual supremacy over all popish Christendom, to the universal dominion of the Babylonian monarchs. Was the Pope the mother of harlots and the abominations of the earth, as a temporal prince? Was this the effect of his temporal rule over his small state in Italy? This is impossible. It was as the corrupt and blasphemous head of an apostate and adulterous church, that every species of profanity went forth from him throughout all the earth. John saw this “woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” ver. 6. It was not by the exercise of his temporal power, which was very limited, but by the influence of his spiritual supremacy over the kings of the earth, that the head of the antichristian church stirred up cruel, bloody, and exterminating wars against the saints; and excited persecution unto death, and execrable, faithless, and indiscriminate massacres against the martyrs of Jesus. “And when I saw her,” says John, “I wondered with great admiration.” What objects of wonder and great admiration could John see in the head of the Roman hierarchy, as a temporal prince, who reigned over a small part of Italy? But if we consider him in his characters and actions as the blasphemous rival of Christ, the enemy to the doctrines and ordinances of the Christian religion, the persecuting foe of the saints, and as the monstrous head of the antichristian apostasy, all of which belong to him in his ecclesiastic capacity, we will see a terrific and extraordinary figure, which was better calculated to produce wonder and great admiration in such a mind as John’s, than any other earthly object, that was ever presented to the observation of man.
In this vision, the subjection of the Rulers and the people on the Roman earth, to this antichristian beast, constitutes two other particulars, which will establish the same truth. Concerning the subjection of the rulers to this beast, John declares, ver. 3, “I saw a woman sit on a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” The angel said to John, ver. 7, “I will shew thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath seven heads and ten horns.” It is afterwards said in explanation, ver. 12, 13, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings—These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” The beast that carrieth the woman is the same with that beast that was to continue 42 months. Rev. xiii. 5. It does not signify the Pope’s temporal power; but it represents the whole secular power which should exist in that part of the ancient Roman empire, to which the Pope’s spiritual jurisdiction extended. The secular Roman beast, having existed 666 years, from the time at which it began its operations as the fourth beast 12 in Daniel’s vision, did then identify itself with the antichristian power, and voluntarily became the beast that carrieth the mother of harlots. As the prophecy informs us that they shall perish together, Rev. xix. 20, so the duration of the secular power in the Roman empire, in its new character and connexion, must be the same with the time in which the woman who sits on it must exist. As a rider has the direction of the beast that carries him, and as its power and strength are exerted for his benefit; so the secular power in the Roman empire, existing either in the secular beast or in the ten horns, has been subjected to the Roman Antichrist, and exercised for his support and aggrandizement. Did these kings subject themselves to the Pope as a temporal prince? Was it not to him, as the pretended vicegerent of Christ, that they yielded obedience? Did the Pope rest his claim to subjection to himself from the kings of the earth, on his temporal dominion over them? Did he not rest it entirely on his spiritual supremacy over them? It must be perfectly evident that the kings of the earth were subject to the Pope, not as the man who sat on the throne of the Cesar’s; but as the dignified Ecclesiastic who occupied the chair of St. Peter.—The inhabitants of the Roman earth, as well as its rulers, have also yielded subjection to the Pope of Rome. “Come hither,” says the Angel to John, ver. 1, “Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore, that sitteth upon many waters.” This symbol is explained, ver. 15, “And he said unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” This prediction assures us, that multitudes of people, belonging to various nations, and speaking different languages, should submit to the power of the antichristian beast; and we all know that this prophecy has been fully accomplished. In what character were they obedient to his will? Was it in his civil character as a temporal prince? By no means. This kind of subjection to him is peculiar to the few miserable inhabitants of the small state, over which his temporal power is exercised. It is to him in his antichristian character as the head of the church, that the peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, are subjected.
The characters and operations of this beast, as delineated in prophecy, apply to him in his spiritual, or ecclesiastic capacity; but, from his temporal power, it does not appear, that he is at all described, in those visions of God. His temporal power must, therefore, be adventitious, and not essential to him as the beast of Rome. What concern can his possession of a small part of Italy, or his temporal power over it, have with his essential and comprehensive characters, as the man of sin sitting in the temple of God, as the Antichrist who is the principal enemy of Jesus, and as the false prophet who has deceived the nations? The Pope’s enjoyment of his small territory, part of which has been called St. Peter’s Patrimony, is not more essential to his establishment as the head of the Roman hierarchy, and of the antichristian church, than the actual possession of the glebe-land, which is bestowed on some gospel ministers, is necessary to constitute their pastoral relation to the people of their ministerial charge. In this opinion we are the more confirmed, because, after the Pope’s elevation to temporal power, many of his bishops, from motives of policy or superstition, were constituted temporal princes. We may now ask. How shall we distinguish between the Roman beast, and the secular bishops? Not by his possessing temporal power, for this belonged to them as well as to him; but it is in his spiritual supremacy, and antichristian headship over the church, by which he is distinguished from them, and from every other man in the world. It is, therefore, in that character that the Pope of Rome may, and ought to be considered as the beast.
It has also been insinuated, that the Pope’s temporal power is essential to him as the Antichrist, because, in the visions of Daniel he receives the denomination of an horn. If we attend to Daniel’s account of this horn, we will find it to be very different from the rest. To this horn are ascribed peculiar properties, which corresponds not to the temporal, but to the ecclesiastic character and conduct of the Pope. Of him the prophet says, “And, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Dan. vii. 8. The words of the Prophet are of the same import with those of the Apostle. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” Rev. xiii. 1 1. In these two verses, the Pope of Rome is described by three most significant tokens: “In this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man.” These eyes import that this horn should possess wisdom, knowledge, discernment, and counsel in a degree superior to the other horns. When these things belong to an unprincipled and immoral power, they enable it, by exercising cunning, deceit, dissimulation, and falsehood, more effectually to accomplish its designs. In every age, this has been notoriously fulfilled, in the conduct of the Pope of Rome, and his council, acting in their ecclesiastic capacity; but, in their temporal rule, they have never evidenced, that they were possessed of the eyes of a man. This beast “had two horns like a lamb.” Claiming a relation to the lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, he pretended to meekness, humility, innocence and purity; while he was more cruel, proud, injurious, and polluted, than any of the horns of the beast. This description cannot be applied to him with so much propriety in his temporal rule, as it accords with him in his spiritual characters and administrations. He is represented also, as speaking great things, and speaking like a dragon. In him as a temporal prince this prediction cannot be verified; but, in his ecclesiastic character, it has received an exact accomplishment. By his blasphemous decrees, edicts, bulls, anathemas, excommunications, and commands, as St. Peter’s successor, and Christ’s vicar, he hath spoken great things against God, against Christ, against gospel doctrines and ordinances, against the true church and her members, against his own vassals when they dared to dispute his will, and against the temporal, spiritual, and eternal welfare of men. In him, therefore, as an ecclesiastic head, exercising a spiritual supremacy over emperors, kings, princes, ecclesiastics, and the laity, all those representations are most minutely fulfilled.
From all these considerations, we are forced to conclude, that it is not in his temporal power, but in his spiritual jurisdiction and operations, that the Roman beast is the object of prophecy—that his temporal power is not essential to his scriptural characters, as the man of sin, the Antichrist, or the false prophet—that it is not in the character of a temporal prince that he may be considered as the beast—that his rise should be dated from the time in which he, being constituted the head of all the churches, as God, took his seat in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God—and that the year 756 cannot be the date of Antichrist’s rise. In his antichristian character, which is his true one, the world had seen him more than 200 years, before that period. From the days of Justinian, they had seen him, in 533, constituted, by an imperial decree, the head of all the churches. During the reign of Phocas they had seen, in 606, his antichristian headship over the church recognised and solemnly established by another imperial decree. They had seen him, during all this period, grasping at this power and actually exercising it, by sending out swarms of monks, like locusts out of the bottomless pit, to convert, as he called it, the nations to Christianity; by investing the Leader of those who were sent to Britain, with power over all the British bishops, and Saxon prelates, constituting him the first archbishop of Canterbury; by conferring similar dignities on others whom he sent to other countries; by encouraging and employing the different orders of monks, as his most faithful auxiliaries, in extending his power over the rulers of the church; by maintaining and propagating the 16 doctrines concerning the worship of saints and images, the purifying fire of purgatory, the necessity of observing human rites and institutions in order to obtain salvation, and the efficacy of relicts for curing the diseases of soul and body; by adding continually new ceremonies to the ordinances of worship, changing the Lord’s supper into the sacrifice of the mass, appointing litanies, or prayers, to be said to the saints, and erecting temples, and instituting public religious festivals to their honour; by pleading for the authority of the church, claiming it to himself, and pretending to work miracles; by resisting the edicts of emperors, and condemning the decrees of councils; by excommunicating emperors, and liberating their subjects from obedience to them; and by encouraging appeals to his tribunal, deciding in them by his own authority, and punishing, as far as he could, those who refused to submit to his sentence. Since all those things, and many more, were done by the Bishop of Rome, long before he became a temporal prince, we are warranted to conclude that the foundation of his beastly power and blasphemous supremacy was laid by the decree of Justinian, and that the ghostly fabric was finished by that of Phocas.
The observations that are contained in this paper concerning “the chronology of numbers and the chronology of events,” are very judicious. But, alas! while men are as ready to err in applying “the eventful chronology,” as they are in calculating “the numerical chronology,” no infallibility can attach to our speculations in any “path.” It is necessary, therefore, to consider the reasons he assigns, for fixing the other numbers.
Concerning the Jews conversion, he says, “We conclude that the Jews shall be converted, A. D. 2028.” His proof of this is the following: “Our Lord said; ‘Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.’ And Paul said; ‘Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.’ Luke xxi. St. Rom. xi. 25, 30—38. The Jews, from the call of Abraham until their unbelief during our Lord’s ministry, enjoyed the benefits of revealed religion, to the exclusion of the Gentiles, for 2000 years. As the common era is four years later than his nativity, their unbelief may be dated from the 28th year of his age, according to the common era; adding these to the 2000, it makes 2028, when the equity of the Divine government between them and the Gentiles shall be balanced, and when they shall be converted.” In a note, he also says; “Until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled, that is, until the Gentiles shall possess Jerusalem as long as did the Jews; or, until Christianity should be enjoyed by the Gentiles, as long as the benefits of Divine revelation were enjoyed by the Jews, prior to the incarnation, which was about 2000 years; and in this last sense the contrast is stated by Paul (Rom. xi. 25—30) and to his conclusion we ought to accede.”
In the first sense, the contrast will not hold; because from the days of Joshua the son of Nun, till the days of Titus the son of Vespasian, the Jews possessed Jerusalem, including the time of their captivity in Babylon, only about 1520 years; and by his own showing, “the Romans, Saracens, and Turks, have, in succession, possessed it for nearly 1800 years.”
The whole of this statement may be invalidated on two grounds; the arbitrary and uncertain manner, in which the dates are fixed—and the entire silence both of our Lord and Paul, concerning the duration of the times of the Gentiles, or of the length of the time, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
The date assigned for the commencement of this period, at the call of Abraham is very unsatisfactory. May it not, with more propriety, be supposed, that the time when the Jews began to enjoy the benefits of Divine revelation, to the exclusion of the Gentiles, should be fixed from the date of their complete organization as a church, at the giving of the law, and at the erection of the tabernacle among them, in the second year alter they came out of the land of Egypt; or, from the era of their peaceful settlement in the promised land, a few years after they had passed over Jordan. We cannot consider them, as a people, in the possession of the benefits of Divine revelation, or placed under their peculiar economy, till the former or the latter of those periods. Besides, we must not conclude, that the Jews, from the call of Abraham, enjoyed the benefits of revealed religion, to the exclusion of the Gentiles. The saving knowledge of God and his worship, by traditional revelation, in the light of which the saints, during the patriarchal ages, were guided in the ways of faith and holiness, was not at that time removed from the Gentile nations. Of this truth, the knowledge and piety of Melchizedek, Jethro, Job, his three friends, and Elihu, are most satisfactory demonstrations.
As the date which is mentioned for the commencement of this period is uncertain; so also is the time which is assigned for its termination. The date of the Jews’ unbelief, or their rejection of Christ and his gospel, is arbitrarily assumed and improperly fixed It does not appear that the compassionate Redeemer considered the Jews as fixed in their unbelief at his death; when he, after his resurrection, said to his apostles, “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke xxiv. 46, 47. Immediately before his ascension, he again declared to them, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts i. 8. Though the fixing of this date is of no avail, in calculating the time of the Jews’ conversion; yet it may be affirmed, that the time of the burning of their city and temple, of the miserable destruction of many of themselves, and of their banishment from their own land, is the more eligible date of the two. We have, therefore, abundant cause to conclude, that those calculations and conclusions, to the support of which, such uncertain dates as these are essential, must be a visionary fabric.
But the uncertainty of the dates of this season is not our only, nor indeed our principal objection to this scheme of calculation. We are obliged also to deny that either our Lord or his apostle says one word, in the texts quoted, concerning the duration, either of the Jews enjoying the benefits of revealed religion, to the exclusion of the Gentiles, or of the Gentiles enjoying the gospel, to the exclusion of the Jews. In Luke xxi. 24, our Saviour predicts the uncommon slaughter of the Jews by the edge of the sword, and the total dispersion of the remainder of them into all nations; adding, “And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” In these words, our Lord utters a plain and singular prediction, which has been accomplished for about 1750 years. That idolatrous and unbelieving Gentiles should occupy Jerusalem, and possess the land of Canaan, until the times, in which the Christian and enlightened Gentiles should enjoy the gospel exclusively, shall be fulfilled. Not one hint is given concerning the duration of those times. To assert, therefore, that they shall be of the same duration with the time, in which the Jews enjoyed their peculiar privileges, is without any authority from the words of Christ. Nor does Paul, in Rom. xi. 25—30, say any thing concerning the duration of this time. He compares the holy and sovereign procedure of God with the Jews and Gentiles, in the nature of his dispensations to them both; but says nothing concerning the continuance either of the one or the other. Let the reader examine this important prediction, and judge for himself; if this is the conclusion of the apostle, in those verses, “that Christianity shall be enjoyed by the Gentiles exclusively, as long as the benefits of Divine revelation were enjoyed by the Jews, prior to the incarnation, which was in about 2000 years.” For my part, I cannot find in it any such thing. Instead, therefore, of feeling any obligation to accede to it, as an apostolic conclusion, there is sufficient cause to reject it, as an invention of men. Since this groundless conjecture is necessary to uphold this scheme of calculation, the whole system, which is built on it, must fall to the ground.
Will the blessed Millennium commence when the Jews shall be converted? No. “The Jews,” says he, “shall be converted, A. D. 2028. They shall be under discipline 40 years, Mic. vii. 14, 15, which make 2068.” Micah’s words, which are here referred to, are the following: “Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood in the midst of Carmel; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvelous things.” For two reasons, I am obliged to say, that these verses contain no proof of this opinion. The immediate context seems to prove that they do not refer to the millennial deliverance; and though they should predict the final restoration of Israel, they neither countenance nor support the supposition of a forty years’ discipline.
In the two following verses, the Prophet says; “The nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might; they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth ; they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.” At Israel’s deliverance, which is here predicted, the nations are represented as filled with malignant astonishment and confusion, as desiring neither to speak nor to hear of it, as seized with great grief and perplexity, and as overwhelmed with terror at the Divine operations, and at his people’s salvation. That the Jews may have some enemies, who may have such emotions excited in them, at Israel’s glorious deliverance, there is no reason to doubt; but that the nations shall be so affected may justly be questioned. By this time, the nations will be enlightened with the holy scriptures; will understand the nature of those dispensations of providence and grace; will see in them a display of the Divine glory, the fulfilment of scripture predictions, and the approach of blessedness to the church; and will be disposed to hail the happy day, by singing songs of praise to the Lord for this wonderful deliverance. We all know, however, that this is a true description of the dispositions and conduct of the nations when the Jews returned from their Babylonian captivity, to which event this prediction may be more properly applied.
As I am not inclined to restrict the application of Old-testament predictions; let it be granted that the Jews’ final return to their own land, is the event which is here foretold. Upon this admission, this prophecy will not prove that the Jews, after their conversion, will be under discipline forty years. By the “days of their coming out of the land of Egypt,” we certainly should understand the period immediately before and after their triumphant march from the house of bondage. These days include the season of the plagues; of their keeping the first Passover; of the preservation of their first-born; of their solemn departure from Egypt loaded with the spoils of their oppressors; of their miraculous passage with their little ones and cattle through the Red Sea, while the Egyptians, who wickedly pursued them, sank like lead in the mighty waters; of their religious observation of this deliverance by songs of praise to the Lord; and of the blessings which the Lord bestowed on them in the wilderness, till the day when the people rebelled against him, and believed the false report of the unfaithful spies concerning the land of Canaan. It was in those operations of Divine grace and power, that the Lord had shewn to his people marvelous things, in the days of their coming out of the land of Egypt. In all their generations they were taught to sing; “Marvelous things did he in the sight of their Fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through ; and he made the waters to stand as an heap,” &c. Psal. lxxviii. 12—16.—On the fifteenth day of the first month of their sacred year, the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt. As soon as they began their march, “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.”—On the fifteenth day of the second month, they came to the wilderness of Sin, where the Lord gave them manna, bread from heaven to eat. At Rephidim, immediately after, he brought forth water to them out of the rock.—On the third month after they had come out of the land of Egypt, they came into the wilderness of Sinai, and Israel encamped before that mount. At this place, the God of Jacob, in the most solemn manner, delivered to his people his most holy law, and gave them many other statutes and judgments.—In the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle, according to God’s command to Moses, was reared in the wilderness. The house of Aaron was then consecrated to the priesthood, and the tribe of Levi to the service of the tabernacle. At this time, the days of their coming out of the land of Egypt were terminated. These are the marvelous things which the Lord shewed his people, in those days—The forty years, during which that rebellious generation were doomed to bear their iniquities in the wilderness, and to perish there, commenced immediately after this, and continued till they arrived at Canaan. Micah’s prediction assures the Jews, that when the Lord shall deliver them from their unbelief and dispersion, he will accomplish for them all those marvelous works, which their difficult and dangerous situation may require, as he did to their Fathers coming out of the land of Egypt, by feeding them as the flock of his heritage with his Pastoral staff, while they may be in distress as in the midst of Carmel, till he bring them to their own land, and cause them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. There is a great difference between these two expressions, “The days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt;” and, “ye shall bear your iniquities forty years.” The former were fulfilled before the latter commenced. The days of their coming out of Egypt, and the forty years bearing their iniquities, are two different periods of time, not coeval with one another; but the latter immediately succeeds the former. Their bearing their iniquities forty years, must not be mistaken and substituted for the days of their coming out of the land of Egypt. This is using a liberty in explanation, that no text can bear. This opinion also supposes, that the Jews, after their conversion, shall, like their Fathers in the wilderness, commit against God, some heinous and aggravated transgressions, which will provoke him to prevent their entering into their own land for the space of forty years, after they have found the Messiah. With all deference to those great men, who have adopted this sentiment, and built it on this prediction, I am obliged to declare, that it gives no authority for believing any such thing. There is the more reason for this averment, because no other prediction, that I can recollect, bears a clearer reference, or indeed any reference at all, to this opinion. On these accounts, it must be considered as an unwarranted conjecture, and that system of calculation, of which it is a necessary part, may be considered as fallacious
Will the Millennium begin at the expiration of these forty years’ discipline? No. “Allowing,” says he, “four or five years for the battle of Armageddon, binding of Satan, and establishing peace in the world, we have 2072, Rev. xx. 1—8.” A short enough allowance of time, surely, for accomplishing transactions, which are so solemn in their nature, and important in their consequences.
Besides those opinions which have been considered, there are several other sentiments which are objectionable; but as they do not properly belong to my design, I shall not investigate them particularly. They are the following: That the temporal power of the Pope is the tenth part of the city;—That the seventh trumpet will not sound, and none of the vials will be poured out, till the Pope’s temporal power shall be destroyed, and the Ottoman empire be dissolved;—That the death of the witnesses shall take place immediately before 1998;—That the battle of Armageddon shall be fought near Jerusalem;—And that John’s 1260 years do not include the period of the vials.
On the first of those opinions, it may be said, that the tenth part of a city is a strange symbol for the Pope’s temporal power, and that the falling of the tenth part of a city is a very unsuitable representation of the destruction of that power. Of this great city we read, that it is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified, that it was divided into three parts, and came up in remembrance before God, when the seventh vial was poured out. It is not easy to conceive, how the Pope’s temporal power can be the tenth part of a city, which is thus described. The falling of the tenth part of the city has been understood to symbolize the defection of a conspicuous part of his adherents, from their subjection to him. This is easy to be understood; but the other is not so. As this opinion obliges the Author to place the removal of this power, under the sixth trumpet, it may be considered as one of his fundamental errors. But at the battle of Armageddon, which, according to him, is seventy four years after the destruction his temporal power, the head of the Roman hierarchy will be all that ever he was, in any period of his existence, Rev. xix. 19, 20. The second and third of those opinions are the necessary consequences of the first. Having adopted the one, the other two, strange and singular as they are, must also be maintained.
The fourth opinion is founded in Dan xi. 45. This prediction seems to have had its accomplishment in the cruel and impious conduct of Antiochus Epiphanes, and in his miserable end. Though he was a type of the great Antichrist, it cannot be perfectly satisfactory to apply to the anti-type, every circumstance in the prediction, which was accomplished in the type. It is a pity that judicious writers should have, with so much confidence, built such a mighty fabric as this, and the things connected with it, on so slender a foundation as the detached part of an Old Testament prediction, which in the events of former times, has had a most unequivocal accomplishment. The destruction of the Antichristian beast, in any place, must sufficiently verify the prophecy, without bringing him to the very spot, where the object which prefigured him, came to his miserable end.
The last of those opinions deserves a more particular consideration. If John’s number of 1260 years comes no farther than 1998, according to his view of the times, there is a period of 74 years left out of his prophetic chronology; while he gives most minutely, in chap. xv. xvi. and in some other parts of his book, a prophetic account of the events of that period. How can this be accounted for? That John should exclude from his numerical chronology that season, of which, above all others, he distinctly foretells the transactions, is really not to be believed. It will appear to be still more difficult to embrace this opinion, if we consider, that at the expiration of the 74 years, the period to which his number is supposed not to extend, he begins a new chronology of the events, in two particulars, the one numerical, the other descriptive. The account which is numerical, is the 1000 years for the duration of the church’s prevalence, purity, and peace; and that which is descriptive is the “little season,” during which Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, when the 1000 years are expired. Can we suppose, that John would give prophetic numbers, which begin at the rise of Antichrist and terminate at the day of judgment, and exclude 74 years about the middle of that period, out of his chronology? It must be very irrational to suppose, that John’s numbers are not successive. As Daniel’s 1260 days, his 30 days and his 45 days exactly succeed one another; so John’s 1260 days, his 1000 years and his “little season” are equally successive, and closely follow each other. As John’s little season will begin when his 1000 years are expired; so his 1000 years must commence when his 1260 days run out. It is not, therefore, reasonable to suppose, that the prophetic chronology of John for that period, the events of which he largely predicts, must be supplied from that of Daniel. There is no defect in either of these schemes of prophetic numbers to be supplied from the other; but each of them is a distinct and perfect scheme by itself. We will introduce confusion into our views of the word and works of the God of order, if we blend them together, and do not keep them entirely distinct. Those calculations which are formed, by using, at one time, the numbers of John, and, at another time, the numbers of Daniel, building one prophetic number upon another, till we erect a fabric of many stories, and stretch out the time to its greatest conceivable extent, may justly be suspected of error. By this scheme, the Pope of Rome was in possession of his blasphemous supremacy over the church 223 years, before he became a temporal prince, and will continue in the enjoyment and exercise of that antichristian headship for 74 years after his temporal power has been destroyed; and yet it is as he is possessed of temporal power that he may be considered as the beast, whose existence, in that character, is 1260 prophetic, or 1242 civil years. From this scheme it must also follow, that the time of his existence in his ecclesiastic supremacy, that denomination of him under which prophecy describes his characters and conduct, will be 1539 years. Such are the conclusions, to which our mingling the numbers of Daniel with those of John, necessarily conduct us.
In opposition to the scheme which has been examined, I shall bring into view what I have now said, concerning the prophetic numbers, in connexion with what I have formerly said, in that discourse, to which this is a supplement. From the year 133 before Christ, when the Roman state became an Asiatic power, to the time when the Emperor Justinian, by an imperial decree, constituted the Bishop of Rome the head over all the churches, in A. D. 533, there are 666 years, the age of the Roman secular beast, from the time when he began to devour in Asia, to break in pieces, and to stamp the residue with his feet, till the time when he identified himself with Antichrist, and became the beast that carried the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. From 533 to 1792 inclusive, we have Daniel’s number of 1260 years, when the judgment began to sit, and the seven vials to be poured out. From 1792 to 1822 we have Daniel’s 30 years, at the expiration of which the Jews’ conversion is expected to commence, or a new scene of judgments may begin, or perhaps both of them together, Dan. xii. 1. From 1822 we have Daniel’s 45 years, the last of which, as belonging to the millennium, being subtracted from that number, gives us the 1866th year, as the time when the judgment shall be finished, and the vials completely poured out.
From the 60th year before Christ, when the Romans had conquered Asia, had made the eastern nations Roman provinces or tributary states, and had triumphed over their enemies, there are 666 years till 606, when the Emperor Phocas, by another imperial decree, ratified to the Bishop of Rome his Antichristian supremacy, caused him triumph over his rivals, and enabled him to overcome his competitors for the chair of St. Peter. When John’s 1260 years are added to 606, we are brought to the very same year, 1866: after which the blessed millennium will commence, in the year 1867, which will be the 1335th year of Daniel’s numbers, and the first year of John’s number of one thousand years. Dan. xii. 12. Rev. xx. 6.
These two remarkable epochs of the Roman secular beast, 133, and 60, before Christ, by the addition of 666, the number of the beast, to each of them, answering so exactly to 533 and 606, the dates of the imperial decrees concerning the Antichristian power, may fill us with wonder, and engage our serious attention. The addition of Daniel’s 1334 years to the former of those numbers, and of John’s 1260 years to the latter of them, terminating as they do, in the same year, 1866, may also fill us with astonishment, and command our careful consideration. Thus I have given some of the reasons for disagreeing with the statement of dates contained in this paper; and some of the grounds, by which our belief in the calculations I have opposed to it, is encouraged and strengthened.
If any are disposed to object to those calculations, because there is a twofold date mentioned in them for the rise of Antichrist; it maybe observed, for their satisfaction, that this is not contrary to the analogy of similar predictions. The captivity to Babylon had a commencement and a perfection; the same may be the case with the rise of the Antichristian beast, and the subjection of the Church to his power and oppression. The principal reason, however, that can be assigned for this twofold date is, the double scheme of numbers representing this period, with which the Spirit, who indicted prophecy, has furnished us; and the double system of providential operations, by which both of them appear to be fulfilled. We are led to this view of the dates, not by choice, but from necessity. Since Daniel, the prophetic statesman, the man greatly beloved, has given us a series of numbers, from the first appearance of Antichrist, till the first year of the millennium, which answers exactly to one chain of the providences; since John, the prophetic divine, the disciple whom Jesus loved, has given us a prophetic number, which agrees to the other operations of providence, and both terminate at the same year; and since John has given us another number, descriptive of the secular beast’s age at Antichrist’s rise, and Providence has furnished us with two conspicuous eras of the secular beast, when he entered on the scene of prophecy, and when his power was established in the east, between each of which, and the times when Antichrist was placed in his seat, and was afterwards confirmed in it, there are precisely 666 years; we are encouraged to make this application of the numbers to the events, and to look and hope for their consummation, in 1867.
The judicious writer of this paper candidly says; “But be it remembered, that in all the calculations, it is not intended to assert any thing dogmatically.” It becomes us all, in treating subjects of this kind, to say the same thing. Those Old and New Testament predictions, relative to Antichrist, consisting of so many parts, referring to such numerous and important transactions, and extending to so long a time; predictions to which so much attention has been given, on which so many have written, and concerning which so many different opinions have been entertained, must present themselves to the mind of an inquirer into their meaning, as a subject of difficult investigation. A strong desire of the happy time which their accomplishment will introduce, may insensibly dispose us to antedate the period of their fulfilment. A sense of the number of the events, which it may be supposed are yet to the place before this desirable day can dawn, may have a secret and powerful influence in determining us to postpone the date of this glorious season. The present dispensations of providence, being mixed with indications of its speedy approach, and with visible obstructions to its coming, may either excite in us too sanguine expectations, or fill our minds with too much despondency. The same person may be at one time under the influence of the former, and at another time he may be affected with the latter. On this momentous concern, Christians should think soberly, should live by the faith of the Son of God, should wait on him for the accomplishment of his word, should pray earnestly for the prosperity of the church, should commit to God the accomplishment of his own word, and should live under the daily impressions of death, judgment, and eternity.
There is reason to believe, that the Church will not be kept long in suspense, concerning those important matters. If nothing of a singular nature take place, either among the Jews, or among the European nations, in, or about the year 1822; and if all things continue in their present situation, after that time, Christians may conclude that there is some mistake in the above calculations. But if a visible shaking among the dry bones of the scattered nation of the seed of Israel shall take place about that time; or, if the tranquility of Europe shall then be disturbed, and nation shall again rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, this may be considered as a presage of the last sorrows, and the church may lift up her head and rejoice, for the day of her redemption will appear to be drawing nigh.
The church will never be able to attain, with perfect certainty, the knowledge of the termination of those times, till the predictions themselves are fulfilled. We ought to enquire into these things, we should also form an opinion concerning them, we are warranted, with humility, even to make this known to others; but we should carefully avoid presumptuous and dogmatical assertions. This partial uncertainty, under which the Lord is pleased to place his church, has not, in itself, any tendency to darken our knowledge of the church’s happiness, to weaken our faith in it, or to discourage our hope of its coming. From the revelation of those things to us in the Divine word, we are furnished with as ample means for knowing its nature, for believing its truth, and for hoping for it at the Lord’s time, as if we knew the day and the hour, when all those things shall be fulfilled. Neither can this uncertainty have any tendency, in itself to damp our spiritual concern, about the coming of this season ; or to paralyze our active endeavours for promoting the interests of our Redeemer’s kingdom. It has, however, a blessed tendency to increase our humility and dependence on God; to enlarge our hearts in waiting on him, and watching for his coming; to excite us to search the Scriptures, to meditate, to pray, and to talk to one another concerning his doings; and to obey the command, to improve the information, and to believe the promises, which are contained in the Apostle’s words, with respect both to our own salvation, and the church’s enlargement: “Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience; that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith.”
From the things that are coming to pass in our times, it is the Divine call to the followers of Jesus; “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” The saints, who exercise aright their spiritual wisdom, will be making constant preparation for ordinances and providences, for death and a future state. The church may look for a season of public calamities, and a day of glorious deliverance. Since the cessation of bloody wars, the nations, especially our own, have suffered, in different ways, unparalleled distress. There is reason to fear, that at one time or another, the storm will increase. For this we should make preparation. The exercise of faith in Jesus as our Saviour, and in God as our Father and Portion in him, should be our study; saying, “Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Freedom from immoderate attachment to worldly enjoyments should also be our concern; hearkening to the Divine call, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not; for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord.” A scriptural view of God’s design in all the judgments of his hand constitutes a part of this preparation; “The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name.” Cleaving to the truths of the gospel in our profession, and to the precepts of the holy law in our practice, make an important pan of this preparation which is required of us. We should also seek preparation for the church’s deliverance. When the mind is deeply affected with a conviction of the glory that shall be given to God, the honour that shall redound to Christ, and the felicity that shall be brought to men, by the church’s enlargement; when the heart is filled with desire that Satan’s kingdom, in all its forms, may fall like lightning from heaven; and when these impressions constrain to prayer, expectation, and zealous concern that the Sun of righteousness may arise upon the nations with healing under his wings, the Christian has some comfortable preparation for that happy day, “When the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”
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