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things, know that He is near, even at the doors.” If we never can fix or find “the day and the hour," we are invited by our Lord to study the signs that are to precede “the day and hour" of His appearing, and from comparing them as enumerated in the prophecy on the mount with existing visible and historical phenomena and facts, we may so nearly approach a knowledge of “the day and hour,” as to gather by fair induction that “He is near, even at our doors.”? The sceptic generation among whom the Redeemer taught and toiled were rebuked for not studying the “signs of the times.” “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening ye say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, and in the morning, It will be foul weather, for the sky is red and lowering. Oye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times?"
To attempt to fix by chronology the day and hour of His advent is not only vain but forbidden. But to infer the proximate nearness of his advent by noticing the fulfilment of the signs He has commanded us to study is not only lawful but dutiful, and so accurately may we investigate that we may one day discover that “He is near, even at our doors.” We must not construe His denunciation of a presumptuous chronology which fixes dogmatically the “day and hour," as an interdict on our investigations of the fulfilment of the signs of His coming so complete and exhaustive that we shall discover He is near, even at our doors.
It is this confusion of things that differ which misleads the multitude and injures our popular theology. The Rev. E. B. Elliott well remarks :
“You ask, Is it only because of its being 1260 years from Phocas' decree, recognizing Rome as the head of all Churches, to 1867, that you judge the famous prophetic period of the 1260 predicted years of the Papal supremacy to be just now expiring? I answer, by no means only on that evidence. Yet more, I rest on two most important corroborative points of evidence. First, there is the notorious historic fact of the sixth century having been the period in the course of which the Romano-Gothic conquering kings of Western Europe successively submitted themselves and their kingdoms to the Roman Pope, as their common father, in his self-asserted character of Christ's Vicar, and so Vice-regent of God upon earth (agreeably with the ten-horned beast's figure uprising in Apoc. xiii. 1); the last adhesion being that of the Lombards in 606 or 607, whereby that year seems marked as the complete terminus a quo of the 1260 years. Secondly, in the Apocalyptic of the coming future given to St John in Patmos, as there is primarily a continuous prefigurative series of sketches answering with wonderful exactness to the chief mutations and events in the connected fortunes of the Church and Roman world from St John's time down to the abovementioned epoch of Papal supremacy, so also secondarily is the sequel to those prefigurations found equally to answer to the subsequent chief events and
mutations in the fortunes of Christendom down to the present time; and, at the point corresponding with this present era, just immediately to precede the prefiguration of the destruction of the sevenhilled Apocalyptic Babylon. The traveller westward from London knows that he is approaching the end of his journey to Exeter, not merely from happening to see some milestone with very near the due number of miles between London and Exeter marked on it, but (as proof that he has not read that number incorrectly) from having noticed his passage successively by all the intervening stations—Windsor, Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol, Taunton, Collumpton. Is not the twofold, or rather threefold, prophetic evidence on the point inquired about similarly strong and satisfactory ?”
The dates in prophecy, or great periods of 2300 years, 1260 years, 1290 years, and 1335 years, are submitted in the Word of God to our investigation. Were they not to be studied they would not have been revealed, and were it utterly impossible to arrive at some proximate idea of their meaning, surely their being revealed, and our being encouraged to investigate their import and application, would not have been divinely ordered. In order to refresh the memory of my readers, I will briefly recapitulate and condense what I have written as the solution of the prophetic dates.
“THE TIMES OR SEASONS.”
It has been regarded by ancient and modern writers as a probable or presumptive proof, that each day of the creation week was the symbolic miniature of 1000 years; that as six days were expended by the Creator in arranging our world for the dynasty of man, and the seventh day was consecrated as the sabbath or rest; so 6000 years will be expended-a day for 1000 years—in the working of our present economy, and the seventh thousand year will be the sabbatical rest, or what the apostle calls the oaßßariouos, the sabbath keeping, “ that remaineth for the people of God.” In Leviticus xxvi., verses 18, 21, 24, and 28, God, it is written, will afflict Israel “ seven times.”
On four different occasions, in the course of that chapter, He says He will afflict them “ seven times.” This reiteration of the word “times” reminds us of “time, times, half a time;" “ wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?” “The Jews shall be trodden under foot, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” During
these seven times God will afflict his people, Jerusalem will also be trodden under foot, and his ancient people will be a scoff and a by-word. About the end of these seven times the Gentile oppression will cease; and God's forsaken but unforgotten race will return to Jerusalem. In Daniel viii. 14, we read of 2300 days; beginning at the destruction of “the ram," that is, the Persian empire, by the “he goat,” or the Greek; and at the end of that period the 2300 years will be exhausted. We find that a day means a year, by our investigation of the 70 weeks of Daniel's prophecy. As these 70 weeks of Daniel's prophecy, in chapter ix. 27, have already been fulfilled, we can thereby prove that the prophet means a day for a year, and that the 70 weeks are 70 times 7 days=490 prophetic days, or 490 literal years. During “time, , times, and half a time,” says Daniel, in the seventh chapter of his prophecy, at the 25th verse, a great apostate power he delineates shall afflict the people of God; a power that “ wears out the saints," “ changes times and laws,” God's people will be given into its hand to be persecuted by him for “ time, times, and the dividing of times.” At the end of this epoch, whatever be its duration, or its exhaustion," the judgment shall sit,” “his dominion shall be taken away,” and he will be consumed until the end, when he shall be "utterly destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming.” We find in the Book of Revelation several periods of precisely the same duration differently expressed. Thus we read