Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the prosperity of Zion, and the salvation of his people. He therefore "fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,” confessing the sins of the nation, pleading the promises of God to His covenant people, and praying for power to prevail with the king in his petition for their relief. The deep solicitude of Nehemiah's mind being betrayed by the sadness of his counte. nance, the king demanded the cause of his depression; to which he replied: "Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my Fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?“But do thou grant me,” adds Josephus, "the favor to go and build its walls; and TO FINISH THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE.”* The Jews had offered sacrifices under the administration of Ezra, but the temple worship, where the daily sacrifice was presented, was not fully restored, until the completion of the walls, and, according to Josephus, of the temple, under Nehemiah, B.c. 445. This appears from the fact, that the law had not been read to them, from the time of their going forth out of Babylon, to the days of Nehemiah ; but in the 8th chapter, we have an account of the reading of the law unto the people, and of their dwelling in booths: “For," says the scripture, “since the days of Joshua, the Son of Nun, unto that day, had not the children of Israel done so." Here, therefore, we believe, was the perfect restoration of Jewish worship. But, to present the subject in a more striking light, we subjoin the following extract from Prideaux. "And accordingly they came thither, at the time prescribed, and, as they had been instructed from the law of God, prepared booths made of the branches of the trees, and kept the festival in them through the whole seven days of its continuance, in such solemn manner as had not been observed before from the days of Joshua to that time. Ezra, taking the advantage of having the people in so great number thus assembled together, and so well disposed toward the law of God, and the observance of it, went on with his assistants farther to read and explain it unto them, in the same manner as had been done in the two former days; and this they did, day by day, from the first day to the last day of the festival, till they had gone through the whole law. By which the people perceiving in how many things they had transgressed the commands of God, through the ignorance in which they had been kept of them, (for till now the law had never been read to them since their return from Babylon,) expressed great trouble of heart hereat, being much grieved for their sins, and exceedingly terrified with the fear of God's wrath for the punishment of them. Nehemiah and Ezra, finding them in so good a temper, applied themselves to make the best improvement that could be made of it, for the honor of God, and the interest of religion; and therefore forthwith proclaimed a fast to be held the next day, save one, after the festival was ended, that is, on the twenty-fourth day of the same month; to which, having called all the people, while the sense of these things was fresh and warm on their minds, they excited them to make a public and solemn confession before God, of all their sins, and also to enter into a solemn vow and covenant with God, to avoid them for the future, and strictly hold themselves fast to the observance of God's laws. The observances which they chiefly obliged themselves to in this covenant, were, 1. Not to make intermarriages with the Gentiles, either by giving their daughters to them, or by taking any of their daughters to themselves ; 2. To observe the Sabbaths and Sabbatical years; 3. To pay their annual tribute to the temple, for the repairing of it, and the finding of all necessaries for the carrying on of the public service in it; and 4. To pay the tithes and first fruits to the priests and Levites. Which particulars thus especially named in this covenant, show unto us what were the laws of God, which, hitherto, they had been most neglectful of since their return from their captivity.”*

* Jos. chap. v: pp. 226, 227.

The date given to this event, according to Usher, is B.C. 445.7 As this is the date where the daily or true worship was restored, it follows that this is the point of chronology, from which to reckon the 2300 days. The question asked in Dan. viii: 13, is, “How long the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot ?" Here are two things measured — "the daily,” and “the transgression of desolation," or "the abomination that maketh desolate ;s' the former to be taken away to make room for the latter, as may be seen from Dan. xi : 31, and xii: 11,

* Prid. vol. i. p. 297. + See Pol. Bible Nch. Chs. 8: 9.

[blocks in formation]

Having defined, 1. What the daily is; and, 2. When it was set up; we proceed to show, in the third place, when it was displaced to make room for “the transgression of desolation,” or “the abomination that maketh desolate.” This has been more than hinted at in the exposition of Dan. vii; but we advert to the subject again, in order to present the idea in connection with remarks on the chapter under consideration. On this point, says Scott, "The daily sacrifices might be said to be taken away, when the Christian churches were converted into mosques.” That this commenta'tor is right in placing the taking away of the daily subsequently to the fall of the Western Empire, there can, we think, be no doubt; for it applies more perfectly to this portion of ecclesiastical history than to any other. This work, however, was not to be accomplished by the followers of Mahomet, but by some instrumentality that is identified with the establishment of “the abomination that maketh desolate,” that is, the Catholic power. In Dan. xi: 30, 31, we read: “He shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.” Who were they " that forsook the holy covenant”? Evidently, the great body of the Church who departed from the simplicity of the gospel. (v. 31,) “And arms" (that is, armies) “shall stand on his part; and they” (those that forsake the holy covenant) “shall pollute the sanctuary,” that is, the Temple (Church) in which the man of sin was to sit. (See exposition of Dan. xi.) “And shall take away the daily,” that is, they that forsake the holy covenant shall remove the true worship of God. The Apostle informs us, that this power is to sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. By the temple of God, the Apostle evidently refers to the Church of God. In his letter to the Corinthians, in his first Epistle, iii : 16, 17, he speaks as follows : “ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” And thus again in his second Epistle, vi: 16, “ What agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple of the living God.” “ He adviseth Timothy (1 Tim. iii. 15) how he ought to behave himself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth.” The above passages are sufficient to show that the temple referred to by the Apostle, is the Church. “The man of sin sitting, implies his ruling and presiding there, and sitting as God, implies his claiming divine authority in things spiritual as well as temporal.”

If it be objected that the man of sin has never taken away the true worship, upon the same principle we might say the man of sin has never sit in the true Church ; and yet the Apostle declares that, “He as God sitteth in the temple of God; showing himself that he is God.”

Nothing can be more evident, than that when the Papal power arose, it did literally take away the worship of the Church ; for, by its decrees, it took away liberty of conscience, imposed upon Christians the dogmas contained in the letters of Leo, and established by the Council of Chalcedon, and, as Bower remarks : “The Christian worship was now become NO LESS IDOLA

« AnteriorContinuar »