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The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843

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    CHAPTER I

    The subject of Prophecy is at the present time exciting great and general interest in the community, and information on the subject is sought and seized upon with avidity by most persons who believe in the divine authenticity of the Holy Scriptures. To facilitate the inquiry after light on this subject, and aid those whose attention has been interested by what has recently appeared from various sources, the following pages are presented to the public.PSC 7.1

    The opinion, from some cause or other, has become very general, that the prophecies of Scripture are not so much designed for the benefit of the world before the event, as to confirm the faith of mankind in the truth of divine revelation, by their fulfilment. It may readily be admitted that prophecy has not, for the most part, been well understood until the event has explained its meaning. To the writer, the prophecies of Scripture appear to be divided into two classes-PSC 7.2

    1. Such as relate to events designed to benefit mankind after their fulfillment, and—PSC 8.1

    2. Such as relate to events which it is of importance to the world should be understood before their fulfillment.PSC 8.2

    1. Of the first class were those which related to the coming of Christ as the Saviour of the world. Take for instance, the first prophecy or promise of a Saviour: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” This prophecy had the effect to lead men to expect a Saviour; but the impression was very general, or vague, and the true meaning of the prophecy was only known by its fulfillment; and, perhaps, we may doubt whether it is yet fully understood, or will be before the great work of redemption is consummated at the resurrection of the just. So also it was with most of the prophecies which; foretold the coming of Christ in the flesh. But when; the events bad taken place, then the veil was taken away,-the understanding of the disciples was opened to understand those prophecies. The obscurity was not however in the prophecies themselves, so much as in the minds of men. When those prophecies were compared with the events, they demonstrated the Messiahship of Christ, and have been the means of confirming thousands in the doctrines of the Gospel, and their faith in Christ. But if the benefits of the Saviour’s birth, life, death and resurrection, had been confined to those who lived before and at the time of his death, the case would have been different; it would then have been important that a full knowledge of the prophecies be had while, men may be benefited by him. But the Gospel was to be preached for many centuries after his death, and the predicted events being literally fulfilled, were to be one grand means of confirming men in the truth of the Gospel.PSC 8.3

    2. But the other class are of a different character. They are events, the knowledge of which is principally important to those who live when they are fulfilled. They generally relate to judgments. God has generally, if not always, when he was about to bring some great judgment on the earth, given the people concerned warning. He did thus with the antediluvian world, and set the time for its accomplishment. A hundred and twenty years was the period set. But who believed it? None but Noah and his family. But the difficulty was not in the obscurity of the prophecy, but their infidelity. God gave them warning before it came; that warning was unequivocal. After the flood came it could not have been of any service to those for whose good the warning was given.PSC 9.1

    One more instance must suffice. The destruction of Jerusalem was foretold in the most plain, unequivocal manner by Christ. It was so plain, that the disciples of Christ all escaped by observing the words of the Saviour, so that not one perished in the siege of Jerusalem. But the prediction could only be of practical utility to the Jews before the event. The battle of the last days is another of God’s great judgments, which he will accomplish in the earth. And from God’s former dealings with men, we may expect before this event happens, and before the judgment of the great day comes, that God will give the world warning of its near, approach. But we need not expect any new revelation on this subject; there is enough already revealed, and all that is necessary is, that the veil should be taken off, and then we may understand these events. To those who live just before and at the time, those events will be important, more than to any other people. But after the terrible scenes of judgment are passed, that voice of warning can avail them nothing, any more than God’s warning now benefits the old world.PSC 10.1

    It appears to me that it is more than intimated that the prophecies of Scripture, which, have so long perplexed the wisest expositors of the Word of God, shall, before their final accomplishment, be understood. The prophecy of Daniel 12:4, is a strong intimation on this point. “Shut up the words and seal the book,” said the angel. For how long a period?-forever? “Until the time of the end.” Some circumstances of the times are then given, when “knowledge shall be increased” on this subject. Those circumstances are, “many shall run to and fro.” There shall be great attention paid to the study of the prophecies, and there shall be many running to and fro through the earth to carry the message of mercy to the nations. There shall be great missionary efforts, and religious knowledge will increase. Those times and circumstances we have seen. Again, verses 9th and 10th, it is said the words are closed up (as commanded) and sealed, to the time of the end. The circumstances of the times when they will be understood are then given. Many shall be purified and made white and tried. That is, there will be a time of general revival, and many will be converted and made white through the blood of Christ. That time now has come. So great and general a work of God was never before known. May we not, then, look for the fulfillment of this promise-“The wise shall understand?” It is not to be expected that it will be different now from what it ever has been. God’s threatened judgments have only been known, understood or improved by the wise, or those who have implicit faith in his word.PSC 10.2

    The views of Mr. Miller on the prophecies are very interesting. His arguments in support of his; theory I think are very plausible, and he may be correct. But whether his views of the nature of the Millennium are correct or not, whether it consists in Christ’s personal or spiritual reign on earth, it appears very plain to me that he has fixed on the correct time for its introduction. So that up to that period, I can go with him in his views. The great event which is to usher in the millenial glory is the great battle of Armageddon, or the destruction of Antichrist. The particulars of that great battle I shall, not at present notice. The prophecies of Daniel carry us forward to that great event, when all the governments of the world shall be overthrown, the man of sin destroyed, and Christ’s kingdom shall be established in all the earth.PSC 11.1

    The first notice of the event which he has given us, is in the second chapter. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, which produced a powerful effect on his mind; but when he awoke, the dream was departed from him. He called for the magicians and other wise men of his realm, and required of them to make known to him his dream and the interpretation thereof. This they declared themselves unable to do, and remonstrated against the unjust and unheard-of demand of the king. But all in vain; they must do it, or suffer death. The decree went forth to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And among the rest, they sought for Daniel and his fellows, to be slain.PSC 12.1

    When the decree was known to Daniel, he obtained an interview with the king, and requested time might be granted him to seek from God a knowledge of the king’s matter. He then requested his three Hebrew friends, that they also would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret. God was pleased to grant them their request, and the thing was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. When Daniel was brought in before the king, he informed him, that it was not through his wisdom that this secret had been made known to him; but that the God of heaven maketh known to the king what shall be in the latter days. The substance of the dream was,-Nebuchadnezzar saw a great image, and the brightness thereof was excellent and the form terrible. His head was of gold, his breast and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. A stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet, which were of clay and iron, and brake them in pieces. The iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, were broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.PSC 12.2

    The import of the dream was, that four great kingdoms should exist in the world. These four kingdoms were represented by the four parts of the image. The head of gold represented the Chaldean kingdom, or Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The breast and arms of silver, the Medes and Persians; the belly and thighs of brass, the Grecians; the legs and feet of iron and clay, the Roman empire, both pagan and papal, ecclesiastical and civil. The stone cut out without hands was Christ. This kingdom is to break in pieces and overcome alt others, and fill the whole world, and shall stand forever.PSC 13.1

    The above dream was in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, B. C. 603. Forty-eight years afterwards, in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar, B. C. 555, Daniel had, a dream and vision of his head upon his bed. The substance of this vision was like the former. He saw four great beasts come up from the sea, diverse one from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. This represented the kingdom of Babylon. The second like a bear, representing the Medo-Persian kingdom. The third like a leopard, pointing out the kingdom of Alexander the Great, or the Greek or Macedonian empire. The fourth was the beast exceedingly dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly. This brought to view again the Roman empire. It had ten horns, and there, came up among them another little horn, Popery, before whom three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots.PSC 14.1

    “These three kingdoms,” says Dr. Clarke, “ were probably, 1. The exarchate of Ravenna; 2. The kingdom of the Lombards; 3. The State of Rome. The first was given to the Pope, Stephen II., by Pekin, king of France, A. D. 765; and this constituted the popes temporal princes.” And they began to mingle themselves with the seed of men. “The second was given to St. Peter by Charlemagne, in 774. The third, the State of Rome, was vested in the Pope in both spirituals and temporals, and confirmed to him by Lewis the Pious.” In token of his rule over three kingdoms, the Pope wears a triple crown.PSC 14.2

    In this horn were eyes, like the eyes of a man, intimating cunning and superintendence. The Pope styles himself “overseer of overseers.” “And a mouth speaking great things;” professing to hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and to be able to open and shut it at pleasure. Proclaiming himself the vicegerent of Christ on earth, having power to absolve from all sins, present, past and future. This horn made war with the saints, as the Roman church has done, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. The rest of the beasts lost their dominion, but their lives were prolonged for a season and time, but this beast shall have none to succeed him. He is to be slain, or destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Son of man, and his body given to the burning flame.PSC 15.1

    Two years after the foregoing, Daniel had another vision, commencing, not with the Chaldean kingdom, as did the two former, for the reason that that kingdom was then crumbling to pieces, and was of little importance to the events then in futurity. The vision accordingly began with the Medo-Persian kingdom, represented by the ram with two horns. Against this ram a he goat came from the west, the Macedonian kingdom, and the goat “had a notable horn between his eyes. He smote the ram and broke his two horns and stamped upon him, and none could deliver the ram out of his hand.” Thus did Alexander conquer, the Persians, and there were none to deliver them.PSC 15.2

    The goat, Alexander, waxed very great; and when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and for it came up four notable, ones, toward the four winds of heaven. The conquests of Alexander were rapid beyond parallel. By the time he was thirty years old, he had conquered all Asia. He died at Babylon, at the age of thirty-three and at the height of his conquests. After his death, his kingdom was divided between four of his generals. Ptolemy in Egypt, in the south; Lysimachus in Persia, in the east; Seleucus in Syria, in the north Cassander in Macedon, in the west.PSC 16.1

    And out of one of them came forth little horn. Rome, it is well known, was in her origin small, but soon enlarged her borders and waxed exceeding great, toward the south, toward the east, and toward, the pleasant land. All the kingdoms into which Alexander’s was divided, were subjected to the Romans, or became Roman Provinces, between the years B. C. 190 and 30. The Roman government had then become, what their writers delighted to call it, the empire of the whole world. This horn waxed great, even to the host of heaven, the Christian church; and cast down some of the host, Christians; and of the stars, ministers, to the ground. And he exalted himself to the prince of the host, Jesus Christ; he shall practice and prosper, but he shall be broken without hand,-shall be destroyed in a super-natural manner. These three visions, Mr. Miller considers but one in substance, and that, as the two first go forward to the destruction of earthly kingdoms, so also does the last.PSC 16.2

    Daniel then “heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot. And he said unto me, unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” By daily sacrifice, we may understand the pagan sacrifices of heathen Rome. By the transgression of desolation the abominations of popery. By sanctuary, the temple at Jerusalem, and the Jewish church. By host, the Christian church, or true people of God. The import of the question would be, How long shall the Jewish and Christian church be trodden under foot by pagan and popish powers? The answer was, Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. That is, the powers of the world shall no longer be triumphant over the people of God, nor shall there be a mixture of good and evil in the church.PSC 17.1

    But what is meant by a day in this prophecy? Answer, A year. This is proved, 1. By the vision of seventy weeks. In seventy weeks, there are four hundred and ninety days; and the fulfilment of that prophecy, proved that each of the four hundred and ninety days, stood for a year. See Daniel 9:24. 2. It was the way God directed his people and the prophets to reckon. When the spies returned from Canaan with an evil report, and discouraged the people from going up to possess the land, God doomed them to wander in the wilderness forty years,-a year for each day in which they searched the land. Numbers 14:34. At what period do the two thousand three hundred days commence? There is no intimation gives in the vision, therefore we must look somewhere else for a clue to it. In the ninth chapter of Daniel, we have an account of his prayer and confession of sin, and of the sins of his people. Then follows an account of the appearance of an angel to him. This angel informed him of the interest which heaven took in him and his welfare; also, that he was come to give him skill and understanding; “therefore understand the matter and consider the vision.” What matter was he to understand? and what vision was he to consider?PSC 18.1

    If the vision he had were but one, then there can be no mistake, but that vision, was meant; and it was concerning that vision Daniel was now to have skill and understanding. He goes on, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, etc.” “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the prince, shall be seven weeks and sixty and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince which shall come, shall destroy both the city and the sanctuary. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease,” etc. This time is divided into three periods. Seven prophetic weeks or forty-nine days, from the going forth of the decree of Artaxerxes, to restore and build Jerusalem, until it was finished. 2. Sixty-two prophetic weeks or four hundred and thirty-four days from the finishing the temple and city, to the preaching of the gospel by John, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cesar Luke 3:1. Again, Christ said, “The law and the prophets were until John; since then the kingdom of heaven is preached.” Forty-nine days, four hundred and thirty-four days, and seven days, are equal to four hundred and ninety days, or four hundred and ninety common years.PSC 18.2

    We learn from Ezra 7:7, that the decree of Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem was made in the seventh year of his reign. From the 11th to the 26th verse is a copy of the decree. Ezra 8:31, we are informed that Ezra left the river Ahava on the 12th day of the first month, to go up to Jerusalem. That was two days before the Passover of the Jews. Christ was crucified in the twenty-second year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Emperor of Home. (See Luke 3:1, 2.) John began his ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar. He preached the kingdom of God three and a half years, and Christ three and a half, making seven years for both. This would bring it to the twenty-second year of Tiberius Cæsar’s reign, when Christ was crucified. The evangelists testify that Jesus was betrayed to be crucified two days be fore the Passover; that is, on the twelfth day of the first month. From the twelfth day of the first month, in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, to the twelfth day of the first month in the twenty-second year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, of Rome, is just four hundred and ninety years, to a single day.PSC 19.1

    If the vision above was designed as a key to the former vision, then we learn from it two important facts:-1. That a prophetic day means a year. 2. When to commence the two thousand three hundred days of the former vision, viz: At the going forth of the decree of Artaxerxes to restore and build the walls arid streets of Jerusalem. Four hundred and ninety years of that time was filled up at the death of Christ-one thousand eight hundred and ten remained after his death. But the Christian era commenced with the birth, not the death of Christ; therefore, we must take his age at his death, from the four hundred and ninety years and add to the one thousand eight hundred and ten years after his death. Take thirty-three from four hundred and ninety, it will leave four hundred and fifty-seven years from the decree of Artaxerxes to his birth. Then thirty-three added to one thousand eight hundred and ten would bring the time for the cleansing of the sanctuary, in A. D. 1843.PSC 20.1

    To confirm the above calculation, there is much corroborative evidence which shall be adduced in its proper place.PSC 21.1

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