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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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    DEMONSTRATION THAT THE ROMANS ARE THE SUBJECT OF THIS PROPHECY

    That the Romans are the subject of this prophecy from the fourteenth verse, where they are called “the robbers of thy people,” is demonstrated by the fulfilment of the prophecy in three individuals who were at the head of the Roman government. 1. The first, on returning home in triumph, stumbled and fell, and was not found. 2. The second was to succeed him, and reign in the glory of the kingdom:—he was to be a raiser of taxes, and to die peaceably. 3. The third person was to refuse the honor of adoption, and thus receive the honor of the kingdom from his predecessor, but obtain peaceably and by flatteries, after the death of the emperor, the supreme authority; he was to be overflown and be broken or murdered. 4. The next event is, the same fate will attend the prince of the covenant. Tiberius was betrayed and destroyed by the treachery of his own servants and friends; so also was Christ. These four events did successively transpire in the Roman history, and in the personal history of Julius, Augustus, and Tiberius Cæsar; and immediately after the death of the last, Christ was betrayed and crucified. They never did, nor can they ever occur in the history of any other government; because under no other government was Christ crucified; and he can never be broken or put to death again. All the learning of the world can never carry this back to Antiochus, and show that the prince of the covenant was broken under the Syrian government and immediately after the death of Antiochus.PREX2 42.1

    I wish here to follow out the argument of those who apply all the prophecies of the latter part of this chapter to Antiochus-and contend that he “took away the daily and placed the abomination which maketh desolate,” as in the 31st verse. Bp. Newton has applied this prophecy to Antiochus; and I suppose all who give it the same application as he does, dispose of this difficulty in the same way. He says, “‘The prince also of the covenant was broken,’ that is, the high priest of the Jews; and so Theodoret understands and explains it: ‘The prince of the covenant. He speaketh of the pious high-priest, the brother of Jason and foretelleth that even he should be turned out of office.’” This is the best and only exposition of the place which can be given, on the hypothesis that Antiochus is the vile person here predicted! Reader, look at it; God sent his angel to inform Daniel, some hundreds of years beforehand, and that after the revolution and division of two of the greatest empires of the world, a certain vile person should stand up and overthrow some of the neighboring nations, and even the pious high priest should be turned out of office!!! That fulfils the great prophecy that the prince of the covenant shall be broken!!PREX2 43.1

    One word on the raiser of taxes. This, according to Bishop Newton, was Seleucus Philopater, who “succeeded Antiochus the great, in the throne of Syria: but as Jerome affirms, he performed nothing worthy of the empire of Syria and of his father, and perished ingloriously without fighting any battles. As Appian also testifies, he reigned both idly and weakly, by reason of his father’s calamity. He had an inclination to break the peace, and shake off the Roman yoke; but had not the courage to do it. He raised an army, with intent to march over mount Taurus to the assistance of Pharnaces, king of Pontus; but his dread of the Romans confined him at home, within the bounds prescribed to him; and almost as soon as he had raised, he disbanded his army. The tribute of a thousand talents, which he was obliged to pay annually to the Romans, was indeed a grievous burden to him and his kingdom; and he was little more than ‘a raiser of taxes’ all his days. He was tempted even to commit sacrilege; for being informed of the money that was deposited in the temple of Jerusalem, he sent his treasurer, Heliodorus, to seize it. This was literally causing an exactor to pass over the glory of the kingdom, when he sent his treasurer to plunder that temple, which ‘even kings did honor and magnify with their best gifts,’ and where Seleucus himself, ‘of his own revenues, bare all the costs belonging to the service of the sacrifices.’ ‘But within few days (or rather years according to the prophetic style) he was to be destroyed;’ and his reign was of short duration in comparison of his father’s; for he reigned only twelve years, and his father thirty-seven. Or, perhaps, the passage may be better expounded thus, that within few days or years, after his attempting to plunder the temple of Jerusalem, he should be destroyed; and not long after that, as all chronologers agree, he was ‘destroyed, neither in anger nor in battle,’ neither in rebellion at home, nor in war abroad, but by the treachery of his own treasurer, Heliodorus. The same wicked hand that was the instrument of his sacrilege, was also the instrument of his death. Seleucus having sent his only son, Demetrius, to be an hostage at Rome, instead of his brother Antiochus, and Antiochus being not yet returned to the Syrian court, Heliodorus thought this a fit opportunity to despatch his master, and in the absence of the next heirs to the crown, to usurp it to himself. But he was disappointed in his ambitious projects, and only made way for another’s usurped greatness, instead of his own.”PREX2 43.2

    Why will men of common sense persist in holding on to such constructions, when there is a most natural sense in which the prediction was fulfilled to the letter? The difficulty with our opponents, is, if they admit Rome to be the subject of prophecy, as is here demonstrated, they cannot get back to Antiochus to take away the daily, etc. So they fulfil all prophecy in his wonderful reign.PREX2 45.1

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