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The Events predicted in the last three Chapters.
In his last three chapters, Daniel relates the vision which he had" in the third year of Cyrus," the 533rd B. C. Hence, it was about five years after the vision recorded in the ninth chapter. A brief introduction and an account of the vision. extend to the beginning of the eleventh chapter. Then the heavenly messenger, after adverting, in the first verse of this chapter, to his having helped Darius the Mede (doubtless in his conquest of Babylon), proceeds to predict as follows:
Verse 2. The four Persian kings who succeeded Cyrus, namely, Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, Darius Hystaspes, and Xerxes I, whose invasion of Greece led to the destruction of the Persian monarchy.
3. The conquests of Alexander the Great. 4. The division of his kingdom..
5. The power of the king of the South, Ptolemy Lagi, king of Egypt, and the superior power of one of his princes, Seleucus Nicator, in Syria, Asia Minor, and the East. See Appian, c. 55-7, 61, 62.
6. The treaty between Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antiochus Theus .
B. C. 249
7 and 8. The war of Ptolemy Euergetes against Syria, in the years.
9. The ineffectual expedition which Seleucus Callinicus made against Egypt
10 and 11. The efforts of his sons Seleucus Ceraunus (see Polyb., IV, 48), and Antiochus the Great, especially the expedition of the latter against Egypt. 219 12. The victory gained by Ptolemy Philopator over Antiochus the Great
. . 217
13-17. The expedition of Antiochus the Great against Ptolemy Epiphanes.
and the giving of his daughter Cleopatra in marriage to that king of Egypt .
18 and 19. The expedition which Antiochus the Great made against Thrace. 20. The reign of Seleucus Philopator and his attempt to take away the treasures in the temple of Jerusalem . 186
Verses 21-45. The character and acts of Antiochus Epiphanes; particularly his wars against Egypt, his persecutions of the Jews, his desecration of the temple, his expedition to Persia, and his death... 175-164
The twelfth chapter concludes the vision and the message. In view of the appalling trials which were to be endured, the promise of divine aid is given to the faithful; the hope of a glorious resurrection, to the martyr. . . "At that time, thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book," every true and devoted citizen; "and [as having been engaged worthily or unworthily in this great contest] many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars, for ever and ever." It ought not to be forgotten, that the sustaining power of the hope of "a resurrection unto everlasting life," is strikingly exemplified in the case of the mother and her seven sons, who, as recorded in the seventh chapter of the second book of the Maccabees, were tortured to death in the persecutions inflicted by Antiochus Epiphanes.*
To the interrogation in the sixth verse of this twelfth chapter, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? it is replied in the seventh, "a time, times, and an half," that is (probably, without intending to be entirely definite), three years and a half. Then these wonders of persecution might be expected to terminate with the persecutor's coming to his end. In the eleventh verse, we have a more definite statement of the period indicated in the seventh verse, by "a time, times, and an half": "From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1290 days."
We have already shown, that, from the taking away of the daily sacrifice to its restoration, 1150 days were to elapse. Hence, if we take 1150 from 1290, the remainder will be the number of days, after that restoration, before the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, the event predicted in general terms at the close of the eleventh chapter. That remainder is 140.
*See, particularly, verses 9, 14, 23, 29, and 36.
In 140 days, then, from the 25th of Cisleu, in the 148th year of the Seleucidæ, the tyrant was to "come to his end;" that is, on the 17th of Jiar (April), in the year 149; or, if an intercalary month, a double Adar, be reckoned, on the 18th of Nisan (March), in that year. The event, if it was to occur at all in that year, could not occur sooner than sometime in the month Nisan, the month with which, in the first book of the Maccabees, the civil as well as the sacred year of the Jews was reckoned as commencing.* Now, as we have seen, it was to occur in that year; and, according to 1 Macc. 6: 16, it did then occur; for it is there recorded that Antiochus Epiphanes died "in the hundred forty and ninth year." Besides, the events recorded in the fifth chapter of the first book of the Maccabees, as occurring between the restoration of the daily sacrifice and his death, would seem to require a period of, at least, 140 days, or somewhat more than four months.
But what is it that was to occur forty-five days later still? For this is the difference between a "thousand two hundred and ninety," and a "thousand three hundred and five and thirty," the number which marks the period next mentioned.
Antiochus died in Persia, among the mountains of Paratacene, at a great distance from Palestine. According to the first book of the Maccabees, "There came one who brought him tidings into Persia, that the armies which went against the land of Judea were put to flight; and that Lysias, who went forth first with a great power, was driven away of the Jews; and that they were made strong by the armor and power, and store of spoils, which they had gotten of the armies whom they had destroyed: also that they had pulled down the abomination, which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem, and that they had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls, as before, and his city Bethsura. Now," it is added, "when the king heard these words, he was astonished and sore moved; whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for. And there he continued many days; for his grief was ever more and more; and he made account that he should die. . Then called he for Philip, one
*In the second book of the Maccabees, the civil year is reckoned as commencing six months later, with the month Tizri; and this is, probably, the more correct computation. But whether the era of the Seleucida and the civil year began with Nisan or Tizri, is, in the present case, of no importance. It is sufficient that the computations in the first book of the Maccabees are consistent with themselves.
of his friends, whom he had made ruler over all his realm; and gave him his crown, and his robe, and his signet, to the end he should bring up his son Antiochus, and nourish him up for the kingdom. So king Antiochus died there in the hundred forty and ninth year."* From a statement in the second book of the Maccabees, it is further evident that, on hearing of the success of the Jews, he had been transported with rage, and had hastened his march towards Palestine, to satiate his vengeance, "threatening to make Jerusalem the buryingplace of the whole Jewish nation."+ His death may have been concealed for some time, even from most of his own army; and it may not have been generally known to the patriotic Jews, until more than a month after its actual occurrence. The facilities for travelling and for the rapid transmission of news were incomparably less than those to which we are accustomed. Besides, Philip, the regent, knowing the power and ambition of Lysias and others at home, would naturally wish to conceal the death of the king, till he could himself return, and get the person of the heir to the throne, who was now only nine years of age, into his own possession; and knowing the disaffected state of the Jews, he would, doubtless, do his utmost to conceal from them, as long as possible, the knowledge of an event so adapted to cheer their hopes and to confirm them in their rebellion. But when, at length, the intelligence arrived, who can wonder at their regarding the sudden fall of the persecuting tyrant as a most signal interposition of divine Providence to rescue them from his terrible grasp? The arrival of that intelligence forty-five days after the event, seems to be predicted in the twelfth verse-"Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days."
We here make no positive assertion; but, in view of all the known circumstances, we submit this solution as being the most probable one. The case, if we mistake not, resembles, and, in some respects, surpasses that which called forth the splendid song of exultation over the fallen king of Babylon, presented in the fourteenth chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah : How hath the oppressor ceased!
† 2 Macc. 9: 4. Rollin's Ancient History, B. XIX. c. 2, § 3. Vol. II, p. 366, 4to.
Humanly speaking, had Antiochus Epiphanes not fallen, he would have exterminated the true religion from the face of the earth, and cut off for ever the hope of the coming of Him in whom the nations were to trust, and through whom unnumbered millions of the human family were to be "saved, to sin no more." But now, Daniel is assured, the promise made to the fathers would not fail. The Messiah would come. "Go thou thy way till the end be; for stand in thy lot at the end of the days." to the grave in the cheering confidence allotted thee by the gracious purpose of God, thou shalt participate in all the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom,— the kingdom which shall not be destroyed.
thou shalt rest, and
Our task is ended. We did not undertake it hastily. We were, in some measure, aware of its difficulties and its perils. We saw the waves strewed with many a wreck. How could we be indifferent spectators? Or how could we assume the office of a pilot, before examining, carefully, these dangerous waters? And when we seemed to ourselves to have ascertained the true and safe course, amidst the concealed rocks and shoals, how could we refuse to point it out?
We take no pleasure in differing from good and devoted men, whether among the dead or among the living. We would treat them with courtesy and kindness; but we must be permitted to bow, with the profoundest reverence, to the majesty of divine truth, whenever it is discovered. How far we have succeeded in discovering it, we submit to the candor and intelligence of our readers. They will of themselves perceive that, if our views be correct, some theories which have obtained extensive favor, must fall; and others, if retained, must be supported by other evidence than any derived from the book of Daniel; but that this book, at the same time, is full of interest, and presents some of the most important and striking predictions.