« ZurückWeiter »
their flesh shall consume away, while they stand upon their feet-their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongues shall consume away in their mouths-There shall be a great tumult from the Lord among them, and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor; and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor; and Judah shall fight at Jerusalem and the wealth of the heathen shall be gathered together, gold and silver and apparel in great abundance.-And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in their tentsAnd every one that is left of all the nations which shall come against Jerusalem, shall afterwards go up from year to year to worship the king, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles; and who so will not come up, of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the king the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain."
The prophet concludes the descriptive scene, by declaring with great certainty of expression, that in that day which he had been speaking of, so greatly should a spirit of righteousness prevail," that holiness to the Lord, should be inscribed on the bells (or rather bridles, as it is in the margin of our bibles) of the horses."-And I will here add in addition to these prophetic declarations under the old testament dispensation, that Malachi finishes bis prophecy with, "behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful
day of the Lord; and he shall turn (or restore) the heart of the fathers to the children; and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
It is remarkable that John the baptist came in the power and spirit of Elias, and was the harbinger of Christ's first coming, but he did not restore the heart of the fathers to the children; and the heart of the children to the fathers-this is reserved for the real Elijah, the great harbinger of Christ's second coming in glory, here called the great and dreadful day of the Lord, when all that the prophet has predicted shall be literally fulfilled,
Our Saviour himself tells his disciples, in Matthew xvii. 11. after John was beheaded, "that Elias truly shall first come," and to distinguish him from John, as Malachi did, adds, " and shall restore all things."
In all these prophetic declarations, throughout the old testament, the coming of our Lord and Saviour is foretold indefinitely, without distinguishing in express terms between his first and second coming; but leaves the devout enquirer to the nature of the prophecies, and what their peculiar terms suggest.
THE prophet Daniel, indeed, is alone an exception to this observation; he being highly favored of God with a more express and distinct revelation of the things concerning the future states of the church.
This was the opinion of Eusebius the ecclesiastical historian, when he says, " the prophet Daniel by the divine spirit, beholding Christ's kingdom, that shall be in the latter age of the world, having been moved by the power of the Divine spirit, hath more after the manner of men, and to man's capacity, described the vision of God, as in vii. 9. 10. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the ancient of days did sit, whose garments were white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame; and his wheels as burning fire-A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; thousand thousands ministered unto him; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened."-This evidently refers to the second coming of Christ very expressly; and it appears to have been revealed to Daniel with great correctness, who being a Jew, I consider as a type of the Jews, whose nation was to have a share only in the second coming of Christ in his kingdom, and this only was made known to him; but Nebuchadnezzar being a
Gentile, and one who may be considered as a type of the Gentiles, who were to have part in both estates of Christ's kingdom, they were both shown unto him.— In this prophecy, therefore, the distinction between them, is expressly and precisely made, so as to leave no room to the believer in revelation, rationally to refuse his assent to both particulars, and thereby to distinguish the signs of the times, attending or forerunning each event.
In his second chapter, an account is given of Nebuchadnezzar's image, which was explanatory of the four kingdoms into which, as foretold to the prophet, the then world, as they considered it, would be divided; the last of which, is agreed on all hands would be the Roman-His legs were of iron to show the strength of the Roman power and its peculiar mode of government by two Consuls, or it may be its division into two parts eastern and western. It was divided into feet with ten toes of clay and iron, designating a subdivision into ten kingdoms, as explained to Daniel, and afterwards to St. John in the Revelations, and which were to be partly strong and partly broken. Daniel proceeds to inform us that in the days of these kingdoms, or during the existence of some one of these kingdoms, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, but it shall break in pieces and destroy all the other kingdoms.-This then is evidently the first coming of the Messiah, during the existence and authority of one of these four kingdoms; and it is as
clear, that this government of the Messiah, at his first coming, should prevail so as to subdue all the other kingdoms.
In order to fix this prophetic view of the subject, Daniel also has a vision for the same great purpose, and the same facts and consequences that should happen, were shown to him under the vision of four beasts, predicting the same four governments, but enlarging his view of the future states of the church. -The fourth beast or government, engaged Daniel's particular attention, being dreadful, and terrible, and exceedingly strong, and destroyed all the other beasts or governments that had gone before it-This designated, more determinately, the same Roman government, and accordingly it had ten horns, still showing the same subdivision into ten kingdoms.
Daniel beheld till the thrones or seats were placed or set down, and the Ancient of Days did sit:" (this is a figure taken from the Sanhedrim of the Jews, where the high priest sat in judgment with the elders, in a semi-circular form on each side of him)
"He continued beholding till the beast or fourth government was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." This is clearly predictive of the total destruction of the fourth, or Roman government, and that by means of the government set up at the first coming of the Messiah-it was not till after the destruction of the fourth government, that Daniel "saw in the night vision, and behold one like unto the son of man (or the Messiah