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The Chronological Prophecies serve to fix the meaning of those prophecies which are not chronological. Thus the confusion in the heavenly bodies, and the sign of the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, are referred by St. John to the fall of Paganism when the Son of God, and the Christian dispensation were to be substituted in the room of Jupiter and the heathen religious systems (Matth. xxiv. 30; Mark, xiii. 26; Luke, xxi. 27; Rev. vi. 12-17). It was to be immediately after the tribulation of the Jewish people, i.e. about 170 years after, in the bird's-eye view of prophecy. He then began to come figuratively in power and great glory, and sent forth his angels according to Matth. xxiv. 31, with the great sound of a trumpet alluded to at Rev. viii. 2, meaning bis ministers with the public and open promulgation of the Gospel. But as the seventh trumpet is not yet sounded, the coming of the Son of man is not yet completed, it being a figurative coming wbich is finished literally. Thus in Daniel, when the Father sits in judgment upon the Papacy at the Reformation, the Son of man in another vision, or in one supplemental to it, is seen retrospectively as coming from the distance up to the foreground where the Father is sitting, (i.e. from the fall of Paganism we must conclude according to St. John's key,) to be the Father's assessor or to be brought near before bim, i.e. to follow close upon the Father's session by his own sudden literal appearance, according to the chronological interpretation of the perspective (Dan. vii. 9-14). The coming of the Son of man therefore with power and great glory occupies figuratively a long period of time, meaning nothing more than the glorious and open progress of the Gospel from its victory over Paganism, Emperors and Kings, till it is terminated by Christ's sudden and personal Advent. The one is the sign of the coming, while the other is the coming itself; and in the one case Christ may be represented as attended by his angels, and in the other as without any escort whatever, save the caught-up saints, according to Acts i. 9–11. The figurative coming of the Son of man has been strangely made to apply to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, when it was our Lord's sole intention to warn his disciples not to expect any coming at all then. Indeed if there was any coming then, it was the Father's, according to the parable of Matth. xxii. 2-7. For what is the sum of our Lord's argument?
That the disciples were not to confound the destruction of Jerusalem called all these things (Matth. xxiii. 36; xxiv. 3, 33, 34), the sign of his coming, which was to be immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem or all these things (xxiv, 29), and the end of the world, emphatically called is that day” when he should personally appear (xxiv. 14, 27, 36; 2 Tim. i. 12), before which much was to happen. For be says before the end of the world, or that day, there were to be false Cbrists, : wars and rumours of wars, nations were to rise up against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms, but the end was not yet; and there were to be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, this would be but their external afflictions. Then there was to be much persecution to the church itself, and many false teachers in it. Then this should be succeeded by a state of great religious indifference. And the Gospel was to be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then the end should come (Matth. xxiv. 5--14). When therefore the destruction of Jerusalem was about to happen by the Roman armies, they were not foolishly to expect that the Son of man would come to deliver them as their false notions of Zech. xiv. might teach them to believe, and as many of the Jews would believe, but they were to get quickly out and save themselves by flight, disregarding any one who should pretend to be a Christ come to deliver them, whether he be in the wilderness or in the secret chamber, for there would be only one way of Christ's real coming, viz. like lightning to pounce upon the church itself, when it should be in a carcaselike state of religion at the end of the world. (15—28) See also Luke xvii. 20–37. As to the sign of his coming, immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place by a complete revolution in the symbolical heavens, the Pagan Emperor, bis religion, and his priests, making way for the Christian Emperor, the Christian religion, and Christian ministers, when also the Gospel should go forth with power and great glory, and also with a great sound from the encouragement which Christ's ministers should receive from “the powers that be” to save men's souls. They might know then this for certain, as they know that summer follows spring, that when all these things or the destruction of Jerusalem should take place, the sign of Christ's coming would follow close upon it, and for a further key they might know for certain that all these things or the destruction of Jerusalem would happen in
their generation; but as to the knowledge of " that day," as the day of judgment and Christ's real coming are emphatically called, that was quite another thing, that the Son of man knew nothing about. One thing was certain : it would be, when the world was in a state of utter religious indifference, nay, of open infidelity, just as was the case in the time of Noah. They would be eating and drinking, and marrying, and giving in marriage, just as in the day when Noah entered into the ark, and men knew not until the flood came and took them all away. True, there will be missionary societies and secretaries of missionary societies, a spreading of the gospel through all nations till the end. There will be also a glorious advance of the true principles of Christ's kingdom by the destruction of the Beast and False Prophet or civil and ecclesiastical rabbis. But the reason is evident in the latter case; men will care as much for the true and only Rabbi as for the false and hundred headed rabbi. Therefore, of two persons assembled together at “ that day,” one shall be taken to meet the Lord in the air, and the other left to be involved in the general conflagration (29–51). See also Luke xvii. 20—37. This is the argument which Faber, Hales, and a whole host of commentators have mistaken by confounding the sign of Christ's coming with the destruction of Jerusalem, when, according to St. John, it alludes to the overthrow of Paganism, after the tribulation which the Jews experienced from the Pagan emperors, and which, to their discomfiture and mourning, the tribes of the land experienced again from the Christian emperors when they saw the sign of the coming, especially from Justinian, as shewn pp. 78, 79,—when the carcases of the disorganised tribes suffered a just punishment for their transgression against the Lord by the perpetual torment and abhorrence they have experienced, to use the figurative language of Isaiah (Ixvi. 24), from the Christians to the present day. Many have come from the East, and the West, and the North, and the South, and bave set down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the possession of the same blessed promises, while the children, to whom the kingdom was particularly promised, have been cast out, and the History of the Jews lately published will shew, that there has been weeping and gnashing of teeth enough for them.
I cannot close these Prolegomena without adverting to
my new exposition of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, which is for the first time made use of as an intercalary link to connect the inner wheel with the outer wheel of Prophecy, the type with the substance, according to the demands of that peculiarity of the Jewish economy before elucidated from Dr. Pye Smith, and according to the unavoidably inferential intimations of the prophet himself. We quite agree with Mr. Faber that Chronological prophecy cannot bave more than one accomplishment, if he means when it pays no distinction to type or shadow, but looks down the vista of time upon the church of God as under one uninterrupted dispensation whether she be Jewish or Christian. But wben the chronological numbers fall within the Jewish era, and when it is evident that two events, the destruction of the Jewish polity, and the breaking up of the constitution of the church, are intended by the same prophetic terms, then chronological prophecy falls under the same laws as typical unchronological prophecy does. And this is the case with the Seventy Weeks or Four Hundred and Ninety Years. The same period must be calculated for the duration of the constitution of the Christian church as for the duration of the Jewish polity. Not so with the larger numbers of 1260 years, and 1290 years, and 2520 years, wbich outrun the duration of the Jewish state. These numbers cannot possibly have a repetition. The Jewish church and the Christian church are then looked upon as the one Latter Temple, the intercalary link of the second 490 years is annihilated, and the planting of the literal abomination of the Roman Eagles on the walls of Jerusalem, and the planting of the spiritual abomination of the Roman Emperors and the Popes within the precincts of the church, are looked upon as one event happening in the same point of time. The Roman Emperors and the Popes, and the law established clergy, are then looked upon as nothing else than the continuation of the line of the Jewish kings and High Priests and the law appointed Levites. The church is then nothing less than the Latter Temple, enshrining the greater glory of the Christian ; a mixture of secularity and spirituality, of outward compulsion and inward Christian liberty, of Jewish pepal law and Christian graee, of Jewish bigotry and Christian charity, of Jewish observance and Christian simplicity, a jumble of earthly things with heavenly things, a court or a state church, a royal coach
to heaven; and consequently this is the sanctuary, according to the prophet, which wants cleansing out like the Augean stable to the last. In this case the chronological numbers have only one accomplishment, unless the Millennium be taken as the substance of this monstrous preposterous shadow, though certainly “not” as “the very image of it." It is owing to the disturbing influence of this
peculiar Jewish aspect of the Jewish prophet, that the Christian John sees the same events in a twofold light, and gives a type and shadow in bis Jewish aspect to the evangelical prophet Isaiah even in prophecies wbich regard the same dispensation. Thus the old heavens and old earth pass away at the establishment of Christianity by Constantine ; a nation is born in a day, the Roman ; our Lord is seen coming in power and great glory by the imperial acceptation of his religion; and his angels or ministers go forth with a great sound of public authority to preach his gospel : while the natural born Jews are cast out from the Christian republics, become subject to the perpetual tormenting persecution of the Christians, and an abhorrence to every European nation to this day. Compare Isaiah lxv. and lxvi. and Rev. vi. and xii. Here is nothing but the outward Jewish aspect of the latter temple, and consequently in that view, according to the rule, Isaiah's prophetic type of heavenly glory; where the new heavens and new earth is the heavenly state, the coming of the Lord his personal advent, the nation born in a day, the first resurrection of the saints, and the carcases of the damned, the nations cast without the beloved city into the four quarters of the earth. On the other hand, in the internal and truly Christian view of the prophet, Christ is no sooner born in the Roman Empire by the toleration of his religion, than he is crucified, and flies away to heaven by the establishment of it; his church departs into the wilderness, and his true teachers preach in sackcloth; so that the new heavens and new earth, though they are come in a worldly Jewish view, yet are not come in a Christian spiritual view, and one becomes a type of the other and of the Millennium. And bere let the reader be particularly careful to keep his ideas distinct on this subject, and pot confound what I have here said concerning the two views of the h, both as a body with the two views of the church, one as a body, and one as individuals, in my argument with Mr. Orme. For if the reader cannot