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Epiphanes to retire from his last invasion of Egypt; and in that Syrian king, on his return from Egypt, making an attack on the Jewish nation, and capturing Jerusalem. The passage of the prophecy, which we propose to illustrate, follows this verse, to the end of Daniel ; and we now perceive we have to look for its fulfilment in the history of the period which intervened between this capture of Jerusalem, by Epiphanes, and its final destruction, by Titus.
We now proceed to the illustrations from history; and in these, as we have already intimated, we shall find reason to set aside the explanations of Bishop Newton, and restore those of Porphyry and Grotius, with some additions, down to the conclusion of the thirty-fifth verse of the eleventh chapter ; and, from that to the end of the prophecy, to offer explanations which are new, but which, we trust, will be found satisfactory, when we shew, that the most remarkable events, as far as they regard Daniel's people, in the history of the period to which we are limited, agree, in a very singular manner with the terms of the prophecy, although the agreements have hitherto been strangely overlooked.
We will, for the more clearly distinguishing the several successive stages of the prophecy, assign a separate section to the passage which extends down to the conclusion of the thirty-fifth verse ; at which, to use the term of the prophecy itself, there was an end of one connected and remarkable series of events.
CONTENTS.- Commencement of the detailed illustrations of the passage which begins with the 31st verse of Daniel's xi. chapter.Bishop Newton applies that verse to the Romans.—In so doing, has followed Sir Isaac Newton.—Sir Isaac Newton's criticism of some part of that verse, and reasoning upon it.Errors into which he has fallen.-- The grammatical structure of the whole passage connected with it, both before and after, compells us to apply the 31st verse to the vile person introduced in the preceding 21st verse.-Commentators have fully proved that vile person to be Antiochus Epiphanes. --Proofs, that the predictions in the 31st verse, and in the following 32d, 33d, 34th, and 35th verses, were literally fulfilled—in the persecution of the Jews by that tyrant–in the fidelity, heroical achievements, and fortune of the Maccabees—and in the conduct and fortune of their successors, the Asmonean dynasty of high priests and sovereigns, down to the end of the male race of that dynasty, which became extinct by the murders committed by Herod the Great.
In entering upon the illustrations from history, we would draw attention to what the man clothed in linen, who communicated this prophecy to Daniel, informed him, was to be the main subject of it. “ I am come,” said he to the prophet, “to make thee understand what shall befal thy people in the latter days."* The condition of the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob, was, we thus learn, to be the great subject ; for that we are to understand them peculiarly to be Daniel's people, is plain from his own language, when he was interceding for their return from the captivity at Babylon. His terms are, “ Whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin, and the sin of my people Israel.”* By attending to this, we shall carry much light along with us into every detail of the illustrations. The whole of what we propose to offer, as interpretations, will also receive much confirmation, as we will shew in the conclusion, by adverting to what the same man clothed in linen said to Daniel, in reference to the scripture of truth :-“I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth.”+
* Daniel x. 14.
The first verse that we proceed to illustrate from his
tory, is the
31st. “ And arms, from him, shall stand, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and they shall cause the daily sacrifice to be taken away, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”
It is at this verse, that Bishop Newton,-after having very clearly and satisfactorily shewn the fulfilment of the former part of the prophecy in events occurring in a continuous and close train of history,--departs abruptly from that train ; and, passing over about two hundred and forty years, from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes,—during which there occurred some of the most memorable events of profane, and, the most memorable of all of sacred history,—directs us to a fulfilment of it, in the actions of the Romans under Titus. We think that he is in error here, and feel the necessity for pointing out the nature and causes of the error, and correcting it in some detail.
* Daniel ix. 20.
+ Daniel x. 21.
Regarding the verse, Bishop Newton says, “ Porphyry and his adherents would have those to be signified who were sent by Antiochus, two years after he had spoiled the temple, that they might exact tribute from the Jews, and take away the worship of God, and place in the temple of Jerusalem the image of Jupiter Olympius, and the statues of Antiochus, which are called the abomination of desolation.' He goes on to admit, “ It is very true, as the writer of the First Book of Maccabees saith, that Apollonius and others commissioned by Antiochus did "pollute the sanctuary, and forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and drink offerings in the temple, and set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side'(1st Macc. i. 45, 46, 54.) Josephus likewise affirms that Antiochus forbade the Jews to offer the daily sacrifices, which they offered to God according to the law : he compelled them also to leave off the service of their God, and to worship those whom he esteemed gods ; and to build temples and erect altars to them in every city and village, and to sacrifice swine upon them every day.” Bishop Newton adds in the same place, “ This interpretation, therefore, might very well be admitted, if the other parts were equally applicable to Antiochus; but the difficulty,
* Dissert. xvii.