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which after his death took the form that he would revive again, and reappear, and retake the empire. Such is their explanation. The eighth head of the Beast is the imaginary revived Nero.—But do they not explain the Beast (the revived Beast) in Apoc. xii, and his blasphemies, and persecution of the saints, and predicated continuance 42 months, of the real original Nero, and his blasphemies, and his three or four years' persecution of the Christians, begun November 64, A.D. and ended with Nero's death, June 9. A.D. 68 ? Such indeed is the case; and by this palpable self-contradiction, (one which however they cannot do without,) they give to their own solution its death-wound: as much its death-wound, I may say, as that of the Beast itself to which the solution relates.
So that really, as regards the truth of the solution concerned, it is needless to go further : nor shall I stop to expose sundry other absurdities that might easily be shown to attach to it. But I cannot feel it right to conclude my critical examination of the system without a remark as to something on this head far graver, and more to be reprobated, than any mere expository error, however gross or obvious. The reader will have observed that as well Prof. Stuart and Dr. Davidson, as the German Eichhorn, explain the repeated direct statements, “ The Beast had a wound with the sword, and lived,” “The Beast that thou sawest is not, and shall be, and is to ascend from the abyss," &c, &c, to be simply allusions to a rumour current in Nero's time; but which in fact was an altogether false rumour. That is, they make St. John tell a direct lie: and tell it, with all the most flagrant aggravation that fancy itself can suppose to attach to a lie; viz. under the form of a solemn prophecy received from heaven! Now of Eichhorn, and others of the same German rationalistic school of theology, we must admit that they are here at least open and consistent. Their declared view of the Apocalypse, is of a mere uninspired poem by an uninspired poet. It was but a recognized poetical license in St. John to tell the falsehood. But
Eichhorn, ii. pp. 209–221 ; Stuart, ii. Excursus 3 ; Davidson, ap. Kitto p. 621. . E. g. The second Beast, with the lamb-skin covering, is made by these expositors (as well Stuart, ii. 283, and Davidson in Kitto p. 624, as Eichhorn) to be “the heathen idolatrous priesthood :" how unscripturally I have shown at p. 495 suprà.
Stuart adds that John in Apoc. xvii, xviii, insensibly passes from the specific to the generic, from Nero to the Roman Pagan persecuting power; which after Nero's death rose up again from the abyss, and renewed the contest till Constantine, ii. 309, 351.
that men professing belief in the Christian faith, and in the inspiration as well as apostolic origin of this holy Book, should so represent the matter, is surely as surprising as lamentable. It is but in fact the topstone-crowning to that explaining away of the prophetic symbols and statements, as mere epopee, of which I spoke before ' as characteristic of the system. And how does it show the danger of Christian men indulging in long and friendly familiarity with infidel writings! For not only are the Scriptural expository principles and views of Christian men and Neologists so essentially different, that it is impossible for their new wine to be put into our old bottles, without the bottles bursting ; but the receiver himself is led too often heedlessly to sip of the poison, and bethinks him not that death is in the cup.2
3. EXAMINATION OF THE FUTURISTS' APOCALYPTIC SCHEME.
The Futurists' is the second or rather third grand anti-Protestant Apocalyptic Scheme. I might perhaps have thought it sufficient to refer the reader to Mr. Birks' masterly Work in refutation of it, but for the consideration that my own Work would be incomplete without some such examination of this futurist Scheme, as of the Schemes preceding : moreover that on more than one point (chiefly as regards
1 P. 502. ? Let me beg the reader to observe that I have in my examination of the German Præterist Scheme, here concluded, tested it simply by Apocalyptic evidence, and shown how little it will bear that testing. The proof is only the stronger against it, if we add the additional tests of the cognate prophecy in Daniel. For the identity of Daniel's Little Horn of the fourth of his four Beasts, with the last head of the Apocalyptic Beast, is a point clear and irrefragable. And it is on its destruction that Mes siah's universal and everlasting kingdom is declared to be established ; and that the kingdom and dominion and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven is given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” A prophetic declaration which is indeed repeated in the Apocalyptic figurations : but which, on their own mode of reasoning, the Præterists must, I think, find it more difficult to escape from, than even from those to the same effect in the Apocalypse. I have not spoken in this Section of the day-day principle of explaining the Apocalyptic chronological periods ; a principle of course espoused by, and essential to, this class of interpreters. In my Chapter on the year-day (Vol. iii. Part iv. Chap. ix) I have, I hope, sufficiently vindicated that principle. An additional remark or two, with reference to any later assailants of it, is reserved for the Section following.
3 The Work referred to at p. 486, 487 suprà.
the 6th Seal and the Apocalyptic Beast) Mr. Birks' own views, of some of which more in the next Section, must necessarily, in my mind, have prevented his doing full justice to the argument.—Besides which there is otherwise abundantly sufficient difference between us to prevent all appearance of my trenching on his ground. It may be right to add that the main part of the present Section formed the conclusion of my Chapter on the Year-day in the former Edition :1 which Edition, though published after Mr. Birks' work, was, up to the end of Part V, including the Chapter spoken of, printed some considerable time before it ; and indeed, in that incomplete state, was in Mr. Birks' hands, as well as Mr. Bickersteth's, while the former was engaged in writing his book.2
The futurist Scheme, as I have elsewhere stated, was first, or nearly first, propounded about the year 1590 by the Jesuit Ribera ; as the fittest one whereby to turn aside the Protestant application of the Apocalyptic prophecy from the Church of Rome. In England and Ireland of late years it has been brought into vogue chiefly by Mr. Maitland and Mr. Burgh; followed by Mr. Newman, in some of the Oxford Tracts on Antichrist. Its general characteristic is to view the whole Apocalypse, at least from after the Epistles of the Seven Churches, as a representation of the events of the consummation and second advent, all still future: the Israel depicted in it being the literal Israel; the days in the chronological periods literal days; and the Antichrist, or Apocalyptic Beast under his last head, a personal infidel 4 Antichrist, to reign and triumph over the saints for just 31 years, until Christ's coming shall destroy him: of which advent, moreover, the symbols of the 6th Seal in particular are supposed to be a clear and decisive prefiguration. Thus, while agreeing fully with the Præterists on the day-day principle, and partly with them as to the literal Israel's place in the prophecy, they are the direct antipodes of the Præterists in their view of the time to which the main part of the Apocalypse relates, and the person or power answering to the symbol of the Apocalyptic Beast : the one assigning all to the long
From p. 982 to p. 1007 of that Edition. ? Mr. Birks however made a point, as he has told me, of not reading that particular Chapter; in order that his testimony and statement might be altogether independent of mine.
3 See p. 456 suprà.
distant past, the other to the yet distant future. And here is in fact a great advantage that they have over the Præterists, that instead of being in any measure chained down by the facts of history, they can draw on the unlimited powers of fancy, wherewith to devise in the dreamy future whatever may seem to them to fit the sacred prophecy.
On the subject of the year-day principle itself, it does not appear to me necessary to add anything of consequence to what will be found in my chapter on that subject. It is there shown that the general principle of figuring the longer times of the thing symbolized by correspondent shorter times of the symbol, is one not only suggested by nature, but recognized in Scripture ; the longer youth and maturity of Israel, for example, having been beautifully figured by Ezekiel under the shorter youth and maturity of a woman :—moreover, as to the specific year-day scale of proportion, that just before Daniel was appointed to receive and publish his symbolic prophecies about the great Gentile nations, involving the specific periods of 1260, 1290, 1335, and 2300 days, as attached to the symbol, his brother prophet Ezekiel had been directed to act out a figuration concerning the Jewish nation, involving specific periods of days also ; and with the distinct announcement from God that the scale and proportion of time was to be a day for a year.—It was also shown that, instead of the common sense of the Christian Church having been arrayed against this year-day principle, so as that it was in fact unheard of for some thirteen centuries, the principle was recognized by a complete catena of Expositors, from Cyprian down to Wicliff and the Reformation. Thus, if I mistake not, not only was answer given on each point to the anti-yearday futurists; but, on their own chosen ground, the argument was shown to be directly against them. Nor
See my Vol. iii. pp. 223, 224. · The latest work of this kind that I have seen is Dr. Davidson's Essay in the Eclectic Review of December, 1844. And it may perhaps be well to subjoin a passing notice of one or two points in it: especially as it was evidently an elaborate one ; and referred to as such in his Article in Kitto's Cyclopædia. (P. 627, Note.)
Ist, then, he states (p. 632) that though an animal may properly represent a natios, “ when a shorter space of time is used as a representation of a longer, there is in that case no symbol, but merely a part of the whole. I am not sure whether I understand Dr. Davidson's meaning. But if I do, let me ask, would he say that such is the case, in my examples from Ezekiel, under the woman's youth depicting Israel's
has anything subsequently written, by any of the anti-yearday controversialists, seemed to me in the slightest degree to have answered or disturbed my conclusions.
This premised, let me proceed to show the insuperable difficulties that attend the futurist scheme, with respect to most, I might almost say to all, of its most prominent and characteristic features :—viz. 1. As regards the distant and still future æra to which it refers the fulfilment of the whole Apocalyptic prophecy, a view whence its appella
youth?–Of this example however Dr. D. takes no notice ; though he had my Book before him.
2. On Ezekiel's precedent of acting out Israel's iniquity, by lying on his side a day for a year, he says, p. 632, that the day was a representative of a year, because it was so affirmed by God ; and argues that where this is not similarly affirmed, so as in Daniel and John, the precedent is worth nothing. An argument which is to the effect, as I have stated elsewhere, that wherever a symbol in a figuration bas been once explained, it is in all similar figurations, unless explained again, to be construed literally : for example, that the sun, moon, and stars having been explained in Joseph's dream, of the heads of a nation, (the nascent nation of Israel,) but not so explained in Apoc. vi. 13, xii, 1, the stars falling on this earth in Apoc. vi must mean the literal stars falling on it, though not so as to destroy it or its inhabitants; and the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, a woman clothed literally with the solar orb, and with the literal moon for her sandal or footstool. (See my Answer to Arnold, p. 70.)
3. As to the year-day theory he thus strangely repeats Mr. Maitland's completely refuted assertion of its having been unknown in the Church till Wicliff. “The theory was unknown in the early age of the Church. The Jews, if we may judge from Josephus and Aben Ezra, were ignorant of it; and not till the middle of the 5th century do we find it unequivocally applied to the 31 days by Prosper. This obscure Bishop of Rhegium seems to have had the merit of the discovery :- a discovery against which is arrayed the spiritual common sense of the Church in every age, from the days of Daniel to those of Wycliffe ; for it considered the days as literal days."" Eclectic Review, p. 641.
On which I observe: 1. The Jews were not ignorant of it; but gave both an early testimony to it, and one too in the middle ages. (See my Vol. iii. p. 240, Note 2.)-2. Prosper was not the first discoverer : for, as I have shewn, (ibid.) Cyprian recognized it; yet as no discovery.-3. Prosper was not (though here I am responsible for the mistake, having copied the old error into my lst Edition) Prosper, I say, was not Bishop of Rhegium, or any Bishop. Also, instead of being an “obscure ” man, by which epithet Dr. D. wishes to lower his authority, apparently knowing nothing himself about him, except from the notice in the Horæ, he was famous as one of the most learned men of his day. So Cave, Hist. Litt. i. 348: “ Vir certè erat magnæ eruditionis : " adding from Photius that he was in fact the grand champion of orthodoxy in his day against Pelagianism.-4. For a complete catena of authorities for the yearday principle, from Cyprian to Wycliff, see my Vol. iii. pp. 227.
On the Futurists' favorite argument from the differences and unsatisfactoriness of Protestant year-day Expositors, and the challenge to them on the evidence of the Horæ, see my Vol. iii. 245.