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    IT has now been proved, 1. That there is the clearest connection between the 8th and 9th chapters of Daniel. 2. That the seventy weeks are consequently a part of the 2300 days. 3. That these weeks are cut off from those days. 4. That the seventy weeks are the first 490 days of the 2300 days. 5. That, consequently, where the seventy weeks begin, there the 2300 days begin.STTHD 65.1

    Respecting the time, therefore, we have now only to inquire further, From what point are the seventy weeks to be reckoned? The data which the Bible furnishes on this point are found in the further instruction which the angel gave to Daniel in chapter 9. After informing him that seventy weeks were cut off from the 2300 days, and allotted to his people and the city of Jerusalem, he proceeds immediately to tell him in the following language where they begin, and what events would mark their termination:—STTHD 65.2

    “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore 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 that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:25-27.STTHD 65.3

    From this testimony respecting the seventy weeks we learn, 1. That a commandment to restore and build Jerusalem marks their beginning. 2. That seven weeks, or forty-nine years, were allotted to the work of restoration. 3. That sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, would span the interval to the time when the Messiah the Prince should appear upon the earth, or when our Lord should commence his public ministry here among men.. 4. That during the last or seventieth week, the Messiah should confirm the covenant (the new covenant) with many. 5. That in the midst or middle of that last week, he should be cut off, and cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease; expressions which must be considered as referring to his crucifixion, and the effect which his thus offering himself upon the cross would have upon the Jewish sacrifices and ceremonies, in causing them virtually to cease. When the seventy weeks, therefore, are correctly located, we shall find the seventieth week falling at such a time that the commencement of Christ’s ministry will stand at the beginning, and his crucifixion, three and a half years later, in the middle, of that last week. The whole question might therefore be left to an argument on the date of the crucifixion of Christ, since this has as much bearing upon the point at issue as even the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, from which this period is to be dated.STTHD 66.1

    But it is not difficult to find the commandment to restore Jerusalem, and to ascertain that it went forth at the precise time to render the prophecy harmonious in all its parts.STTHD 67.1

    There are four events which have by different ones at different times been regarded as the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. These are, 1. The decree of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the house of God, B.C. 536. Ezra 1:1-4. 2. The decree of Darius for the prosecution of that work, which had been hindered, B.C. 519. Ezra 6:6-12. 3. The decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to Ezra, B.C. 457. Ezra 7. And 4. The commission to Nehemiah, from the same king in his twentieth year, B.C. 444. Nehemiah 2.STTHD 67.2

    1. Respecting this last, we find no feature about it necessary to constitute it a Persian decree. It was essential that such decree should be put in writing, and signed by the king. Nehemiah had nothing of the kind. His commission was only verbal. If it be said that the letters granted him constituted a decree, then the decree was issued not to Nehemiah, but to the governors beyond the river; and moreover these would constitute a plurality of decrees, not one decree, as the prophecy contemplates.STTHD 68.1

    2. The occasion of Nehemiah’s petition to the king for permission to go up to Jerusalem was the report which certain ones, returning, had brought from thence, that those in the province were in great affliction and reproach, that the wall of Jerusalem also was broken down, and the gates thereof burned with fire. Nehemiah 1.STTHD 68.2

    What wall and gates were those that were broken down and burned with fire? Evidently some which had been built by the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem under one, or all, of the preceding decrees, of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes; for it cannot for a moment be supposed that the utter destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, one hundred and forty-four years previous to that time, would have been reported to Nehemiah as a matter of news, or that he would have considered it, as he evidently did, a fresh misfortune, calling for a fresh expression of his grief. A decree, therefore, authorizing the building of these, had gone forth previous to the grant to Nehemiah.STTHD 69.1

    3. Should any contend that the commission to Nehemiah must be the decree in question, because the object of his request was that he might build the city, it is sufficient to reply as above, that gates and walls had been built previous to his going up; besides, the work of building which he went to perform was accomplished in fifty-two days; whereas the prophecy allows for the building of the city, seven weeks, or forty-nine years.STTHD 69.2

    4. There was nothing granted to Nehemiah not embraced in preceding decrees, while those decrees had already granted vastly more privileges than his commission.STTHD 69.3

    5. Reckoning from the commission to Nehemiah, B.C. 444, the dates throughout are entirely disarranged; for from that point the troublous times which were to attend the building of the street and wall did not last seven weeks, or forty-nine years. Reckoning from that date, the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, which were to extend only to the Messiah the Prince, bring us to A.D. 39-40; but Jesus was baptized of John in Jordan, and the voice of his Father was heard from Heaven declaring him his Son, in A.D. 27, thirteen years before. According to this calculation, the midst of the last, or seventieth, week, which was to be marked by the crucifixion, is placed in A.D. 44; but the crucifixion took place in A.D. 31, thirteen years previous. And lastly, the seventy weeks, or 490 years, dating from the 20th of Artaxerxes, extend to A.D. 47, with absolutely nothing to mark their termination. Hence, if that be the year, and the grant to Nehemiah the event, from which to reckon, the prophecy has proved a failure. But such a conclusion is simply an overwhelming proof that that theory which dates the seventy weeks from the commission to Nehemiah in the 20th of Artaxerxes, is an utter failure.STTHD 70.1

    We may therefore dismiss this commission, and this date, from consideration. The question now lies between the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes. Which one, if only one, and how many, if more than one, of these did it take to make that decree to which the prophecy refers as the starting-point of the seventy weeks?STTHD 71.1

    As already noticed, we must look to one, or all, of the decrees issued by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, for the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. And the selection must be determined largely by a consideration of how much is embraced in the prophecy respecting the restoration of this city.STTHD 71.2

    The promise embraced the restoration as well as the rebuilding of Jerusalem. To restore and build, is more than simply to build. The rebuilding of its demolished palaces, the re-opening of its deserted streets, the re-erection of its leveled walls, and the setting up again of its broken gates, would not alone meet the provisions of the prophecy. There must be the forms and privileges of religious worship, the regulations of society, judges to interpret, and officers to execute, the laws, and the re-establishment of that civil polity which made Jerusalem what she was before her fall.STTHD 71.3

    The Decree of Cyrus. The decree of Cyrus, standing nearest to the prophecy respecting the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, naturally first engages our attention.STTHD 72.1

    Some have claimed that this decree of Cyrus must be the commandment in question, because God by the prophet Isaiah speaks of Cyrus as the one who should say to Jerusalem, “Thou shalt be built.” Isaiah 44:28. But there are three conclusive objections to this view: 1. It is not Cyrus who, in the prophecy of Isaiah, says to Jerusalem, “Thou shalt be built;” but the Lord is the one who says this. See verses 26 and 27. 2. The decree of Cyrus pertained simply to the temple at Jerusalem. See Ezra 1:2. It did not even make provision for the building of the city, much less those other provisions, which, as we have seen, must have been included in the prophecy. 3. From the date of this decree, B.C. 536, the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years which were to extend to the Messiah the Prince, fall fifty-three years short of reaching even to the birth of Christ. An effort has consequently been made by those who take the decree of Cyrus to be the commandment in question, to change the date of that decree, placing it at a point late enough to harmonize with the prophecy respecting the Messiah. But this cannot be done, as we shall hereafter see.STTHD 72.2

    By these remarks we do not design in the least to rob the decree of Cyrus of any measure of its importance. It occupies a prominent place in connection with the history of Jerusalem’s restoration. The work which Cyrus did was given him of the Lord to do. He was called by name over a hundred years before his birth, and his work, in a measure at least, pointed out. And that which his decree granted was one of the first steps, and a very necessary step, in the work of restoration; but its provisions were too limited to meet the specifications of the prophecy. Some things, to be sure, would follow as a necessary consequence, such as the building of houses for the workmen, the opening of worship, and the carrying on of some necessary traffic. But the decree did not provide for them.STTHD 73.1

    The Decree of Darius. The decree of Darius stands next in order. It was occasioned by the following circumstances: The next year after the Jews had commenced the work under the decree of Cyrus, the enemies of the Jews made request that they be permitted to join them in the work. This the Jews refused, whereupon their enemies set themselves to work to trouble them in their building and to frustrate them in their purpose, “all the days of Cyrus, .... even until the reign of Darius, king of Persia.” Ezra 4.STTHD 73.2

    Seven years after issuing his decree, Cyrus died, and was succeeded by Cambyses, called in Ezra 4:6, Ahasuerus, who reigned seven years and five months, and who was in turn succeeded by Smerdis the Magian, called in Ezra 4:7, Artaxerxes, from whom the enemies of the Jews obtained an edict prohibiting the further prosecution of the work at Jerusalem. Ezra 4:21-24. But the land being smitten with barrenness, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, having made known to the Jews the cause of this calamity, exhorted them to resume the work of building the house of God, which they accordingly commenced again B.C. 520.STTHD 74.1

    Again their enemies endeavored to hinder and stop them, and appealing to Darius who had now come to the Persian throne, he caused search to be made among the chronicles of the kingdom, and finding the decree of Cyrus, re-affirmed it, with some provisions of his own; and thus the work went forward prosperously again.STTHD 74.2

    Here was a second decree. It was, however, only seventeen years from the decree of Cyrus, and therefore does not meet the prophecy any better than the former, in the matter of dates. And further, it was but a re-affirmation of the decree of Cyrus, and was therefore too limited in its provisions to constitute the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. But it was a second step in the work, and, adding somewhat to the decree of Cyrus, was some advancement toward the end in view.STTHD 74.3

    The Decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus. Third and last stands the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, as recorded in Ezra 7. This Artaxerxes was the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther, which will account for the remarkable favor he showed to the Jewish people. The decree which he issued was given to Ezra at the earnest solicitation of that man of God; for it is said that the king granted Ezra “all his request.”STTHD 75.1

    A mere perusal of this decree shows its full and ample provisions. It is drawn up in a formal manner. It is expressly called “a decree.” It is written, not in Hebrew, but in Chaldaic or Eastern Aramaic. “Thus,” says Prof. Whiting, “we are furnished with the original document, by virtue of which Ezra was authorized to ‘restore and build Jerusalem;’ or, in other words, by which he was clothed with power, not merely to erect walls or houses, but to regulate the affairs of his countrymen in general, to ‘set magistrates and judges which may judge all the people beyond the river.’ He was commissioned to enforce the observance of the laws of his God, and to punish those who transgressed with death, banishment, confiscation, or imprisonment. See verses 23-27.”STTHD 75.2

    No such ample powers as this decree conferred upon Ezra can be found in any previous or subsequent act of this kind. This, in connection with those which had been given before, contained all the provision that could possibly be made for any people who were still to be held tributary to the Persian throne. And we have in Ezra 6:14, a remarkable declaration showing that all three of these decrees are taken as the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem: “And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to THE COMMANDMENT of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” Here the decrees of these three several kings, are called “the commandment,” singular number, according to which the work in Jerusalem was finished. When therefore this last decree went forth from Artaxerxes, enlarging and completing all the provisions that had been made before, then the work was finished; and with the provisions of that decree carried out, the commandment “went forth” in the sense of the prophecy.STTHD 76.1

    We have now to determine when this decree went forth, and then test its agreement with the remainder of the prophecy.STTHD 77.1

    Having ascertained that the decree for the restoration and building of Jerusalem was the authority granted to the Jews to restore their temple, their worship, their city, and their civil state, by the three-fold decree of the Persian kings, Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, and that it was completed, and went forth, when the last touch of authority granted to Ezra by Artaxerxes Longimanus was put into operation by Ezra, in carrying out the work which it gave him liberty to perform, the question next arises,STTHD 77.2

    In what year was this?STTHD 77.3

    Ezra says that it was in the seventh year of that king. Ezra 7:7, 8.STTHD 77.4

    What year before Christ was the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus?STTHD 77.5

    The following testimony is a concise and conclusive answer to this important question:—STTHD 77.6

    “The Bible gives the data for a complete system of chronology, extending from the creation to the birth of Cyrus, a clearly ascertained date.STTHD 77.7

    From this period downward we have the undisputed Canon of Ptolemy, and the undoubted era of Nabonassar, extending below our vulgar era. At the point where inspired chronology leaves us, this Canon of undoubted accuracy commences. And thus the whole arch is spanned. It is by the Canon of Ptolemy that the great prophetical period of seventy weeks is fixed. This Canon places the seventh year of Artaxerxes in the year B.C. 457; and the accuracy of the Canon is demonstrated by the concurrent agreement of more than twenty eclipses. The seventy weeks date from the going forth of a decree respecting the restoration of Jerusalem. There were no decrees between the seventh and twentieth years of Artaxerxes. Four hundred and ninety years, beginning with the seventh, must commence in B.C. 457, and end in A.D. 34. Commencing in the twentieth, they must commence in B.C. 444, and end in A.D. 47. As no event occurred in A.D. 47 to mark their termination, we cannot reckon from the twentieth; we must, therefore, look to the seventh of Artaxerxes. This date we cannot change from B.C. 457 without first demonstrating the inaccuracy of Ptolemy’s Canon. To do this, it would be necessary to show that the large number of eclipses by which its accuracy has been repeatedly demonstrated, have not been correctly computed; and such a result would unsettle every chronological date, and leave the settlement of epochs and the adjustment of eras entirely at the mercy of every dreamer, so that chronology would be of no more value than mere guess-work. As the seventy weeks must terminate in A.D. 34, unless the seventh of Artaxerxes is wrongly fixed, and as that cannot be changed without some evidence to that effect, we inquire, What evidence marked that termination? The time when the apostles turned to the Gentiles harmonizes with that date better than any other which has been named. And the crucifixion, in A.D. 31, in the midst of the last week, is sustained by a mass of testimony which cannot be easily invalidated.”—Advent Herald, March 2, 1850.STTHD 78.1

    Again the Herald says:—STTHD 79.1

    “There are certain chronological points which have been settled as fixed; and before the seventy weeks can be made to terminate at a later period, those must be unsettled, by being shown to have been fixed on wrong principles; and a new date must be assigned for their commencement based on better principles. Now, that the commencement of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus was B.C. 464-3, is demonstrated by the agreement of above twenty eclipses, which have been repeatedly calculated, and have invariably been found to fall in the times specified. Before it can be shown that the commencement of his reign is wrongly fixed, it must first be shown that those eclipses have been wrongly calculated. This no one has done, or will ever venture to do. Consequently, the commencement of his reign cannot be removed from that point.”—Advent Herald, Feb. 15, 1857.STTHD 79.2

    It will thus be seen that the date of the seventh year of Artaxerxes rests very largely upon the records of history respecting eclipses, and the testimony of astronomy as to the time when those eclipses occurred. Of the accuracy with which the dates of eclipses may be settled, Prof. Mitchell eloquently says:—STTHD 80.1

    “Go back three thousand years-stand upon that mighty watch-tower, the temple of Belus, in old Babylon-and look out. The sun is sinking in eclipse, and great is the dismay of the terror-stricken inhabitants. We have the fact and circumstances recorded. But how shall we prove that record correct? The astronomer unravels the devious movements of the sun, the earth, and the moon, through the whole period of three thousand years; with the power of intellect, he goes backward through the cycles of thirty long centuries, and announces that at such an hour and such a day-as the Chaldean has written-that eclipse did take place.”STTHD 80.2

    Respecting the authority of the Canon of Ptolemy, Prideaux, vol. i. p. 242, thus speaks:—STTHD 81.1

    “But Ptolemy’s Canon being fixed by the eclipses, the truth of it may at any time be demonstrated by astronomical calculations, and no one hath ever calculated those eclipses but hath found them fall right in the times where placed; and therefore this being the surest guide which we have in the chronology, and it being also verified by its agreement everywhere with the Holy Scriptures, it is not, for the authority of any other human writing whatsoever, to be receded from.”STTHD 81.2

    Thus positively do we find the date for which we seek. The seventh of Artaxerxes was B.C. 457, and there the seventy weeks commenced.STTHD 81.3

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