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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 1

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    EXPLANATION OF THE VISION

    Verse 24. “Seventy weeks are determined.” These weeks are weeks of years, or jubilees; seventy sevens. Seventy years of Jewish bondage had just been filled up. Gabriel now informed Daniel that seventy sevens of years were determined, or as some Hebraists 6Mr. Fulsom, in his new work, admits this reading; also Professors Bush and Seixas, of New York. render it, seventy sevens are ‘cut off’, for thy people and for thy holy city,” to finish the transgression, for which the city and sanctuary is to be desolate to the consummation. See Leviticus 25:8.PREX1 133.1

    Determined.” If “separated” or “cut off” is the real import of the term, then they must be separated from the 2300 days’ vision; there is nothing else from which to cut them off; and the seventy weeks are a part of the vision. But if the word signifies “decided” seventy weeks are decided upon thy people, or for thy people, to “finish the transgression,” still it is an explanation of the vision, and of course gives it a date.PREX1 133.2

    To finish the transgression.” The reader will observe that it is not the transgressions, in the plural, but “the transgression;” “a word,” says Joseph Benson, “which is derived from a theme which signifies ‘to revolt, to rebel, to be contumacious, to refuse subjection to rightful authority, or obedience to a law which we ought to observe.’” The Jews and Jerusalem finished their transgression, or rebellion, for which God sealed their national doom, when they refused to receive Christ. Christ then pronounced their doom: “O that thou hadst known in this thy day the things which belong to thy peace, but now they are forever hid from thine eyes. The days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee,” etc.PREX1 133.3

    And to make an end of sins,” to fill up their national sins.PREX1 134.1

    And to make reconciliation for iniquity,” by the offering of Christ as a sacrifice for sin.PREX1 134.2

    And to bring in everlasting righteousness.” The offerings of the Jewish ceremonial law were continually repeated. “There was,” says Paul to the Hebrews, “a remembrance of sins every year.” “But Christ, by one offering, hath perfected forever them which are sanctified.”PREX1 134.3

    And to seal up the vision and prophecy.” To seal, is, 1. To shut up and make fast. 2. To confirm as a legal instrument, or as weights and measures are sealed and legalized by the government seal. So by the fulfilment of the seventy weeks, the vision of the 8th and prophecy of the 9th chapters of Daniel should be ratified or confirmed, and the measure of time sealed: a day for a year.PREX1 134.4

    To anoint the most holy.” Hebrew, literally “holy of holies.” Heaven itself, which Christ consecrated, when he ascended and entered it sprinkling or consecrating it with his own blood for us.PREX1 134.5

    Verse 25. “Know, therefore, and understand” where the vision is to commence; “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem.” Which of the four orders of the Medo-Persian monarchs, whether that of Cyrus, (Ezra 1:1,) or that of Darius Hystaspes (Ezra 4:6,) or that of Artaxerxes Longimanus, (Ezra 7.) in the seventh year of his reign, or that which was given to Nehemiah by Artaxerxes, in the twentieth year of his reign, (Nehemiah 2:1-8,) has been matter of doubt and uncertainty. There are few persons, however, left at present, who have not abandoned the first two orders, as not answering: to the description given of it by the prophet Daniel. That given by Artaxerxes in the seventh year of his reign, is the one usually adopted by commentators, as the date of the seventy weeks. Following the great body of the commentators, I have formerly inclined to the same opinion, and adopted it without a very critical examination. But I confess my confidence has been shaken in that date, by a more careful examination of the various decrees, and the chronology since that decree. The marginal reading of Daniel 9:24, shows the opinion of the translators to have been, that the decree of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes was the date of the seventy weeks. I find, also, on a critical examination of Rollin’s chronology, he has given us 457 years from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, to A. D. 1.PREX1 134.6

    The following chronological table is made out from Rollin’s Chronology. He allows 47 years for Artaxerxes: 19 years from this, which will bring us to his 20th year, leaves 28 years after the decree by which Nehemiah went up to build Jerusalem, to the end of Artaxerxes reign.PREX1 135.1

    Yr. Mo. D.
    Artaxerxes, after his 20th year, reigned 28
    Xerxes and Sogdianus,“ 7 15
    Darius Nothus,“ 19
    Anaxerxes Mnemon,“ 43
    Ochus,“ 24
    Arses,“ 3
    Alexander the Great,“ 12 8
    Yr. Mo. D.
    From Alexander’s death to the division of his kingdom by his generals, 22
    Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, according to Ptolemy the astronomer, reigned 20
    Ptolemy Philadelphus,“ 39
    Ptolemy Euergetes,“ 25
    Ptolemy Philopater,“ 17
    Ptolemy Epiphanes,“ 24
    Ptolemy Philometer,“ 35
    Ptolemy Physcon,“ 28
    Ptolemy Lathyrus,“ 10
    Alexander I., brother of Lathyrus,“ 26
    Alexander II.,“ 16
    Ptolemy Aulutes and Berenice his daug’r, 14
    Cleopatra and her brother, 21
    The Romans became masters of Egypt B. C. 30
    Total from the 20th of Artax’s to 1 B. C. 457 3 15

    It is certain, also, that the commission or grant given to Nehemiah to go up and build “the city of his fathers’ sepulchres,” agrees better with the prediction than any which preceded it. There is abundant evidence also, in Nehemiah 1 and 2, that Jerusalem was a heap of ruins up to the time of Nehemiah’s going up to built it up and restore it. The wall also, was built under Nehemiah, even in troublous times. From all these circumstances, I think the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign to be the true date of the seventy weeks, according to the opinion of king James’ translators.PREX1 136.1

    But whichever year it was, is perfectly immaterial to my purpose in showing the fulfilment of the prophecy; for that does not rest on the fallible testimony of either profane history or chronology; but on the infallible testimony of Christ.PREX1 136.2

    The prophecy declared, “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; and the street shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times.”PREX1 137.1

    Seven and sixty-two are sixty-nine weeks. Then Messiah was to come; but it was not his birth or death which was here foretold, but the beginning of his ministry. For the 27th verse adds, he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, which gives the entire seventy.PREX1 137.2

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