The First Report of the General Conference of Christians Expecting the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ




After the exceedingly interesting address with which we have been favored on the doctrine and history of the millenium, it seems to be an appropriate time for the introduction of another topic, viz., about what time may we expect the glorious kingdom of God to be revealed? FRGC 40.2

I am aware of the fact, that we are not all agreed with regard to time, and that there are strong objections in some minds against designating any particular period, as the epoch of the kingdom. And with those brethren who thus differ from me, I have no disposition to stop to contend for one moment, especially while they teach and are endeavoring with all their power to impress the fact, that the day is now specially near at band, even at the very door; and that we are constantly to look for it. But with my own views of God’s word, I can but believe the time to be a matter of revelation, and a proper subject of investigation. But for the views I may this evening present, I do not wish anybody but myself to be held responsible. If they are sound and scriptural, let them have their weight and influence; if unsound and anti-scriptural, let them fall to the ground and be forgotten. FRGC 40.3

The Chronology of Prophecy is the theme before us. But what is “the chronology of prophecy?” What but the chronology of time? What is prophecy, where does it commence, and how far extend? are questions to be discussed in the present address. FRGC 40.4

1. What is Prophecy? Webster defines it, “prediction,” a “foretelling.” A prophecy, then, foretells what shall be in futurity. FRGC 40.5

2. Where does Prophecy begin? Prophecy began with the exercise God’s moral government over man. And, FRGC 40.6

3. Prophecy extends through time, into an eternal state of being. FRGC 40.7

Having defined the first question, it will be unnecessary to dwell longer on it. We therefore shall proceed to sustain the position taken in answer to question second, viz., that “prophecy began with the exercise of God’s moral government over man.” FRGC 40.8

Man was the last piece of the “Divine workmanship on the creation week. This finished, and a race of moral agents produced, God rested the seventh day from all his works which he had made. FRGC 42.1

Let us, then, attend to the use the apostle Paul has made of this act of Divine procedure. “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said. As I have sworn in my wrath if they shall enter into my rest; although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, ‘And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.’” 48 The argument is, that although from the foundation of the world a rest was provided for man, yet those, and those only, who believe shall inherit it. He also draws from the texts he quotes, three inferences:- FRGC 42.2

1. That God’s rest on the seventh day was typically prophetic of a future rest for his believing people; that they should be distinguished from others and enjoy it. FRGC 42.3

2. That the rest which Joshua gave the Israelites in Canaan was not that promised rest; for had it been, he would not afterward have spoken of another day. But he did, by David, afterward speak of another day. Therefore, the remaineth a rest for the people of God. FRGC 42.4

Perhaps, however, it may be objected, “although the Sabbath is a type of the future rest which remains for the people of God, yet it does not exactly follow that it is a prophecy of it.” But let us look at this point. A type is an image and representative of another and subsequent object. Does not, then, the very idea of a type presuppose the subsequent existence of its anti-type? Unless it does, it is no type at all. Hence, if the Sabbath is a type of a future rest for God’s people, the promulgation of that type is a prophecy of the anti-type. It follows therefore that prophecy, and prophecy of a future rest for God’s people, began with the exercise of God’s moral government over man, the seventh day from the beginning of the creation. FRGC 42.5

To give the chronology of prophecy, is to trace its history from period to period, from its origin to its consummation. FRGC 42.6

Let us inquire, then, more particularly, what the Sabbath prefigures and predicts. FRGC 42.7

1. That it predicts a future rest for God’s people, we have already seen. FRGC 42.8

2. It has been an almost universal opinion of the church, both Jewish and Christian, that the Sabbath prefigures a glorious state of rest for the church during the seventh thousand years of the world. The principal arguments in favor of this, are briefly as follows:- FRGC 42.9

1. God made the world in six days and rested the seventh; and constituted the Sabbath a type of future rest. So we may expect that after the troubles and commotions of six thousand years, there will be a rest of a thousand years from all these sorrows. FRGC 43.1

2. The institution of the Sabbaths and jubilees among the Jews, has been considered typical of the same thing. FRGC 43.2

3. The third argument is from 2 Peter 3:8: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” This being spoken in reference to the “Day of the Lord,” and the time of its coming, it has been argued that the writer intended to intimate that each day of the creation week is typical of a thousand years of time before the final and everlasting subjection of all things, and the Son himself becomes subject to him who did put all things under him, and God is all in all. FRGC 43.3

4. The fourth, and I think strongest argument, is from the 20th chapter of Revelation; where a 1000 years’ reign with Christ and God is promised to the saints before the final resurrection and destruction of all foes. This 1000 years will be the grand jubilee of the redeemed of earth. FRGC 43.4

With these remarks, I will now proceed to show that the chronology of prophecy, as recorded in the Bible, presents us with seven thousand years from the beginning of the exercise of God’s moral government over man, to the final period of the conquest of all God’s enemies, and when Satan, death and hell, with all whose names are not written in the book of life, will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. FRGC 43.5

The first typical prophecy of this glorious rest was instituted A. M. 1, the first month and seventh day of the month. FRGC 43.6

Soon after this event, sin entered into the world, and death by sin. But God immediately interposed, and renewed the prophetic promise of a final restitution of the fair works of his almighty hand through the woman’s conquering seed. FRGC 43.7

Long and dreadful has been the conflict which has ensued, and during all this period the venom of the old serpent has been displayed in biting at his glorious conqueror’s heel. But the word of prophetic promise makes the issue sure. “The kingdoms of this world” must and will yet become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. FRGC 43.8

Leaving this bubbling spring of hope to a lost world, we will trace its chronology in the rippling stream through successive centuries. For with the exception of Enoch, who foretold the coming of the Lord to execute judgment on the ungodly, the allusions to the great Deliverer are few and slight to the time of Abraham. Attention is now invited to the following chronology: FRGC 43.9

Creation, A. M. 1.yrs.m.d.A.M.B.C.Book.chap.verse
1. Adam to Seth,1301304157Gen.53
2. Seth to Enos,1056
3. Enoch to Cainan,909
4. Cainan to Mahalaleel,7012
5. Mahalaleel to Jared,6515
6. Jared to Enoch,16218
7. Enoch to Methuselah,6521
8. Methuselah to Lamech,18725
9. Lamech to Noah,18228
10. Noah’s life on leaving the Ark,60012716562501813,14
11. Shem, from flood to Arphaxad,21110
12. Arphaxad to Salad,3512
13. Salah to Eber,3014
14. Eber to Peleg,3416
15. Peleg to Ren,3018
16. Ren to Serug,3220
17. Serug to Nahor,3022
18. Nahor to Terah,2924
19. Terah’s age at death,2052083207432

At this point of time the rippling brook which began its course with the promised triumph of the woman’s seed, begins to enlarge and deepen in its onward course. After the death of Terah, God called Abram into the land of Canaan, and gave to him and his seed after him, as an everlasting possession, all the land on which his eyes looked. He also promised that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed. 49 From this time the general promise of deliverance to the world through the woman’s seed was restricted to the family of Abram; then to Isaac; afterward to Jacob; and of the sons of Jacob, to the house of Judah. From the same period also began the 430 years’ sojourn of the holy family. “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was 430 years. And it came to pass at the end of 430 years, even the self-same day, it came to pass that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” 50 FRGC 44.1

From this text a difficulty has arisen, as to the time when the 430 years began; whether at the call of Abraham, or from the time Joseph was sold into Egypt. But according to Clarke, the Samaritan Pentateuch and Alexandrian Septuagint both read the text as follows: “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel and their fathers which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt, was 430 years.” With this also agrees St. Paul, Galatians 3:17, where he reckons 430 years from the promise of God to Abram, to the giving of the law. Therefore it was 430 years from Abram’s call at Terah’s death to the Exodus. FRGC 44.2

y’ Ant., Book 5.
1. Sojourn in Egypt,430Exod.1240,41
2. Sojourn in the wilderness,40Josh.56
3. Joshua after Moses,25
4. Interregnum after Joshua,1825961561

Although the Bible gives us a history of Joshua’s life and administration, together with his age at his death; and also the history of the subsequent interregnum and administration of the Elders, yet it does not furnish us with data as to the time either continued. Joshua lived a hundred and ten years. 51 Caleb, another of the spies sent by Moses to spy out the land of promise, was forty years of age when Moses sent him; and as we may suppose their ages were somewhere in the neighborhood of each other, it is not unreasonable to suppose Joshua was 45 at that time. Then 40 years would bring him to 85, when he went up with Israel into Canaan. If so, he was the ruler of Israel 25 years. And this perfectly accords with Josephus’s chronology. FRGC 45.1

It is very evident from Judges, first and second chapter to the fifteenth verse of chap. 2, that after the death of Joshua, although they had no particular leader, they were many years engaged under the direction of the Lord in conquering and settling the country, until after that whole generation were dead. But for the continuance of that interregnum no period is given; Josephus, however, has fixed it at 18 years, and this appears to me a reasonable time. At least it is better, it appears to me, to adopt the testimony of this eminent and credible historian, than to indulge ourselves in wild conjectures at this late period of the world. From this final settlement of the land among the tribes begins the 450 years spoken of by Paul, Acts 13:20, during which God gave them Judges, until the time of Samuel the prophet. FRGC 45.2

yrs.m.d.A. M.B. C.Book.chap.verse
1. Servitude to Mesopotamians,8Judg.38
2. Othniel,4011
3. Eglon,1814
4. Ehud,8030
5. Jabin,2043
6. Barak,40531
7. The Midianites,761
8. Gideon,40828
9. Abimelech,3922
10. Tola,23102
11. Jair,223
12. The Philistines,188
13. Jephthah,6127
14. Ibzan,79
15. Elon,1011
16. Abdon,8v14
17. The Philistines,40131
18. Samson,201520
19. Eli,40304611111 Sam.418

After the death of Eli and his sons, which closed the 450 years of the Judges, Samuel began the administration of the government of Israel. How long that administration continued before Saul was anointed king, does not appear on the face of the history. But that it was 20 years, is quite clear to my mind. For after the death of Eli, the ark of God remained in the country of the Philistines 7 months. 52 After that it was carried back, and abode in Kirjath-jearim a long time. How long it remained there, is uncertain; but certainly until some time after the death of Saul, which was at least 60 years; for it was not removed until the reign of David. 53 The 20 years, therefore, mentioned 1 Samuel 7:2, must refer to something beside the time the ark abode at Kirjath-jearim. FRGC 46.1

The third verse of the same chapter begins a history of Samuel’s labors, up to the time the people asked a king. 54 Are not the 20 years, then, to be understood as the chronology of that period of Samuel’s administration, rather than the time of the abode of the ark at Kirjath-jearim? I do not see that the text can be reconciled with the facts in any other way. If others can discover a better mode of harmonizing it, I shall be happy to learn it. FRGC 46.2

I would read the place thus: “And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long.” 55 Here I think the history of the ark, from Eli’s death to the time of David, ends. Then begins the history of Samuel and Israel, from Eli’s death to the appointment of Saul to be king of Israel. “It was 20 years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord. And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only; and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” This history of the mourning of Israel, and exhortation, is perfectly natural after their defeat, and the death of Eli and his sons. It is more natural than it is to place it subsequent to the return of the ark. FRGC 46.3

yrs.m.d.A. M.B. CBook.chap.verse
1. Samuel,201. Sm.72
2. Saul,4031461011Acts.1321
3. David,4062. Sm.54, 5

At this point another advance is made in the development of the glorious plan of salvation, and triumph of the woman’s seed. David, of the tribe of Judah, and family of Jesse, was chosen as God’s favorite; and to him God gave the promise of a Son to sit forever on his throne. To this Son the heathen were to be given for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. FRGC 47.1

A temporal succession was promised to David conditionally: if his children kept God’s law. But the everlasting Son and successor was unconditionally sure. The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it: Of the fruit of thy body will I set on thy throne. Accordingly we have an uninterrupted succession of kings of David’s line, from Solomon until Zedekiah was carried captive in to Babylon. FRGC 47.2

After this, that succession was broken, and the nation was ruled sometimes by their enemies, sometimes by the high priest, who also acted as king, and sometimes by a petty king, independent of the high priest. But through this long period the house of David was preserved distinct, even until the promised seed of David was born. Since that time it has been lost in the other tribes. FRGC 47.3

yrs.m.d.A. M.B. C.Book.chap.verse
1. Solomon,401 Kings.1142
2. Rehoboam,171421
3. Abijam,3157
4. Asa,4110
5. Jehoshaphat,252242
6. Jehoram, 5652 Kings.816, 17
7. Ahaziah,126
8. Athaliah,6113,4
9. Joash,40121
10. Amaziah,29142
11. Azariah,52152
12. Jotham,1633
13. Ahaz,16162
14. Hezekiah,29182
15. Manasseh,55211
16. Ammon,219
17. Josiah,31221
18. Jehoahaz,32331
19. Jehoiakim,1136
20. Jehoiachin,3102 Chron.369
21. Zedekiah,11357758011

After Zedekiah’s captivity we are indebted rather to prophecy than biblical history to carry on the line of chronology. The house of Judah being in captivity, we are dependent on the history of their oppressors, guided by the light of prophecy, with here and there a beacon-light of bible history, to direct our steps. The 70 years’ captivity which began in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim’s reign, 57 and 19 years before the captivity of Zedekiah, affords us the first step after the end of Zedekiah’s reign. 58 We are told the captivity should last 70 years; and that at the end of 70 years, God would punish the king of Babylon and that nation for their iniquity. But Babylon and Chaldea remained unpunished until that night in which Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was slain. God then punished the king with death, the nation with bondage, and the city with ruin. The seventy years must, therefore, have ended at that time. FRGC 48.1

The captivity began in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign who, according to both the Bible and Rollin, reigned 45 years. From the third year of Jehoiakim, he farther reigned eight years. FRGC 48.2

yrs.m.d.A. M.B. C.Book.
1. Nebuchadnezzar farther reign’d26Rollin’s
2. Evil Merodach,2Chronology.
3. Neriglissar,4
4. Laborosoarched,9
3. Belshazzar183628529

From the fall of Babylon to the 7th year of the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, we have but little chronological data in the Bible, either historical or prophetical. But we have the history of that period marked out for us, partly as matter of history and partly prophecy. The exact chronology, however, we are left to obtain elsewhere. But we have seen the correctness of Rollin in giving the chronology of the Babylonian kings to make out the 70 years’ captivity; and are we not bound to receive his testimony respecting the Medo-Persian monarchs? Of the reign of Darius the Mede, after the death of Belshazzar, we have ample testimony in the Bible; and so also of Cyrus the Persian. In the third year of Cyrus, 59 Daniel had a vision, in which he was told 60 that there should afterward stand up three kings in Persia, and that the fourth should be far richer than they all; and that he should, through his power and riches, stir up all against the realm of Grecia. These four predicted kings, with the one then reigning (Cyrus), and Darius who had reigned, are 6 Medo-Persian kings to the rich Greek invader. That this rich king was Xerxes, who invaded Greece with an immense army of several millions, there can be no reasonable doubt. And history furnishes us with just that number of kings who reigned in that time: 1. Darius the Mede. 2. Cyrus. 3. Cambyses. 4. Smerdis the Magian. 5. Darius Hystaspes. 6. Xerxes the Great. Then follows Artaxerxes, whose history we have in Ezra and Nehemiah. It was in the 7th year of his reign, first month and first day of the month, that Ezra and his people began to go up to Jerusalem. 61 From the same time also began the famous 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24, to the cutting off of Messiah. The 7th year of the reign of Artaxerxes, therefore, forms an important era in biblical chronology. According to Rollin, the chronology of the Medo-Persian kings is as follows: FRGC 49.1

years.months.Days.A. M.B. C.
1. Darius the Median,2
2. Cyrus the Persian,7
3. Cambyses,7
4. Smerdis the Magian,7
5. Darius or Ahasuerus,36
6. Xerxes,13
7. Artaxerxes Longimanus,63700457

It will be proper at this point to sum up what we have gone over, and then take our departure, guided by prophecy, down the stream of time. FRGC 50.1
1. From the creation to the time Noah left the ark,16561271656
2. From the flood to the call of Abram at Terah’s death,4272083
3. From Abram’s call to the Exodus,4302513
4. Journeying in the wilderness, Joshua and Interregnum,832596
5. Judges and servitude to various nations,4503046
6. Samuel, Saul, and David,10063147
7. From the beginning of Solomon’s reign to Jehoiakim’s capacity,41133558
8. From Jehoiakim’s captivity, third year of his reign, to Belshazzar’s death,70103628
9. From death of Belshazzar to seventh year of Analerxes’ reign,7173700

Here, then, we find ourselves within six months of the end of the 3700th year of the world. FRGC 50.2

The above computation is supported by plain, positive bible testimony, with the exception of Joshua, the Interregnum, Samuel, and the Medo-Persian kings. The history, or fact of their existence, the Bible gives, but not their exact chronology. The twenty years of Samuel, however, ought in justice to form an exception to these exceptions; for I can but believe it is designed as the true date of Samuel’s administration. The other three are attested by the most; popular and credible of all ancient historians now extant. It is true, it is not inspiration, but the very best of uninspired testimony. So that to A. M. 3700, the biblical history of the world forms a perfect chain, with not one link wanting. FRGC 50.3

Another point of difficulty I will here notice. For as the objection is abroad, unless it be met and removed it must militate against this plan. The alleged difficulty is briefly this: that according to 2 Kings 14:16-23, and 15:1, there must either have been an interregnum in Judah of eleven years, between Amaziah and Azariah, or some king not mentioned in the Bible must have reigned that time According to the above texts, Jeroboam, son of Jehoash, king of Israel, began to reign in the fifteenth year of Amaziah, king of Judah Amaziah lived afterward fifteen years: making his whole reign twenty-nine years The last fifteen years of his reign would consequently be contemporary with Jeroboam’s first fifteen years, and then his son should have succeeded him the first part of Jeroboam’s sixteenth year But according to ch 15:1, Azariah began to reign in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam’s reign; leaving an interregnum of eleven years. FRGC 50.4

This is a serious difficulty among chronologers; there being no intimation in the text that any other king reigned over Judah during that period; nor yet does it appear, from the manner in which Azariah’s reign is introduced, that much time elapsed between his father’s death and his own coronation I cannot, therefore, believe there was an interregnum of eleven years between him and his father The marginal reading of verse 1st, chap 15th, if correct, (and I shall give presumptive evidence at least that it is,) removes the difficulty: “This is the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam’s partnership with his father, who made him consort at his going to the Syrian wars. It is the sixteenth year of Jeroboam’s monarchy.” FRGC 51.1

This reading, also, removes another difficulty, which can be met in no other way 2 Kings 15:8, we learn that in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Azariah, king of Judah, Zachariah, son and successor of Jeroboam, king of Israel, began to reign But if Jeroboam’s reign was only forty-one years in all, as stated chap 14:23, and eleven of those was an interregnum in Judah, then there must have been twenty-three or four years interregnum in Israel after Jeroboam’s death. Take twenty-six, the lime of Jeroboam’s reign in his twenty-seventh year, from forty-one, and we have fifteen years remaining, for the reign of Jeroboam contemporary with Azariah; take that contemporary reign of fifteen years from thirty-eight, the year of Azariah’s reign when Zachariah began to reign, and it leaves an interregnum between Jeroboam and Zachariah of twenty-three years. But it is not pretended that there were over eleven years interregnum in Israel at that time And if we allow eleven years partnership for Jeroboam with his father, before his own monarchy began, fifteen contemporary with Amaziah, and twenty-six contemporary with Azariah, it will give him his forty-one years, and leave just eleven years interregnum in Israel after his death. Then, also, we can find no place for an interregnum in Judah. I believe this to be a true solution of the difficulty, and am willing to meet the most rigid criticism on this point. FRGC 51.2

We now leave the past with a period of 3700 years from the creation to the seventh year of Artaxerxes king of Persia. FRGC 52.1

Immediately after the close of the seventy years’ captivity in the first year of Darius the Mede, Daniel understood by books that the Lord had threatened his people with seventy years’ desolation. That seventy years being then ended, Daniel set himself, by prayer and supplications, with confession of sin, sackcloth and ashes, to seek God for himself and his people. While thus engaged, Gabriel, a divine messenger, was sent to instruct him respecting the time of the coming and death of Messiah: Daniel 9 chapter. After announcing the object of his visit, he said, verse 24, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, to seal up the vision and prophecy, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to anoint the Most Holy.” FRGC 52.2

Verse 25: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” FRGC 52.3

Verse 26: “And after threescore and two weeks, shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” FRGC 52.4

Verse 27: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease,” etc. FRGC 52.5

These weeks were not weeks of days, but of years. Seventy sabbatic years=490 years. See Leviticus 25:3, 4. FRGC 52.6

To show the fulfilment of this prediction, I shall present an extract from Ferguson’s Astronomy, for which I am indebted to my respected brother Fleming, of Portland, through “The Signs of the Times.” FRGC 52.7

“This commandment was given to Ezra by Artaxerxes Longimanus, is, in the seventh year of that king’s reign (Ezra 7:11-26.) Ezra began the work, which was afterward accomplished by Nehemiah, in which they meet with great opposition and trouble from the Samaritans and others, during the first seven weeks, or forty-nine years. FRGC 52.8

“From this accomplishment until the time when Christ’s messenger, John the Baptist, began to preach the kingdom of God, sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years. FRGC 52.9

“From thence to the beginning of Christ’s public ministry, half a week, or three and a half years. FRGC 53.1

“And from thence to the death of Christ, half a week, or three and a half years; in which half week he preached and confirmed the covenant with many In all, from the going forth of the commandment till the death of Christ, seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years.” FRGC 53.2

“And lastly, in a very striking manner, the prophecy foretells what should come to pass after the expiration of the seventy weeks, viz. the destruction of the city and sanctuary, by the people of the prince that was to come; which were the Roman armies under Titus their prince,” etc. FRGC 53.3

“Now,” continues the astronomer, “both by the undoubted canon of Ptolemy, and the famous era of Nabonasse, the beginning of the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus king of Persia, who is called Ahasuerus in the book of Esther, is pinned down to the 4256th year of the Julian period, in which year he gave Ezra the above-mentioned ample commission: from which count 490 years; to the death of Christ, and it will carry the same to the 1746th year of the Julian period.” Before proceeding, however, with the extract, I will introduce an explanation of the Julian period from Dr. A. Clarke. “The Julian period is a factitious era, conceived by Joseph Scaliger, to facilitate the reduction of the years of any given epoch to that of another. This period is the result of the lunar and solar cycles, and the indictions, multiplied by each other Thus, multiply 19 the lunar cycle, by 28, the solar cycle, and the product will be 532; multiply this sum by 15, the cycle of indictions, and you will have 7980 years, which constitute the Julian period The first year of the vulgar era of Christ is placed in the 4714th year of the Julian period: whence it follows, that to find any year of our Lord 4713 years must be added to that year, and it will give the year of the Julian period sought For example, to find the present year of our Lord, 1840, add to it 4713, and we have 6553 of the Julian period.” But to return to Ferguson’s calculation. He proceeds: FRGC 53.4

“Our Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath: and it is plain, from St. Mark, ch. 15. ver. 42, and St. Luke, ch. 23. ver. 54, that Christ was crucified on Friday, seeing the crucifixion was on the day next before the Jewish Sabbath; and according to St. John, ch. 18. ver. 28, on the day that the passover was to be eaten, at least by many of the Jews. FRGC 53.5

“The Jews reckoned their months by the moon, and their years by the apparent revolution of the sun; and they eat the passover on the 14th day of the month Nisan, which was the first month of the year, reckoning from the first appearance of the new moon, which at that time of the year might be on the evening of the day next after the change, if the sky was clear. So that their 14th day of the month answers to our 15th day of the moon, on which she is full. Consequently, the passover was always kept on the day of full moon. FRGC 54.1

“And the full moon at which it was kept, was that one which happened next after the vernal equinox. For Josephus expressly says, (Antiq. B. iii. ch. 10,) the passover was kept on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, according to the moon, when the sun was in Aries. And the sun always enters Aries at the instant of the vernal equinox; which, in our Savior’s time, fell on the 22nd day of March. FRGC 54.2

“The dispute among chronologers about the year of Christ’s death, is limited to four or five years at most. But as we have shown chat he was crucified on the day of a paschal full moon, and on a Friday, all that we have to do, in order to ascertain the year of his death, is only to compute in which of those years there was a passover full moon on a Friday. For the full moons anticipate eleven days every year, (twelve lunar months being so much short of a solar year,) and therefore once in every three years at least the Jews were obliged to set their passover a month farther forward than it fell by the course of the moon, on the year next before, in order to keep it at the full moon next after the equinox. Therefore, there could not be two passovers on the same day of the week, within the compass of a few neighboring years. And I find by calculation, the only passover full moon that fell on a Friday, for several years before or after the disputed year of the crucifixion, was on the 3rd day of April, in the 4746th year of the Julian period, which was the 490th year after Ezra received the above-mentioned commission from Artaxerxes Longimanus, according to Ptolemy’s canon, and the year in which the Messiah was to be cut off, according to the prophecy, reckoning from the going forth of that commission or commandment: and this 490th year was the 33rd year of our Saviors age, reckoning from the vulgar era of his birth; but the 37th, reckoning from the true era thereof. FRGC 54.3

“And when we reflect on what the Jews told him, sometime before his death, (John 8:57,) ‘Thou art not yet fifty years old,’ we must confess, that it should seem much likelier to have been said to a person near forty, than to one but just turned of thirty. And we may easily suppose, that St. Luke expressed himself only in round numbers, when he said that Christ was baptized about the 30th year of his age, when he began his public ministry; as our Savior himself did, when he said he should lie three days and three nights in the grave. FRGC 54.4

“The 4746th year of the Julian period, which we have astronomically proved to be the year of the crucifixion, was the 4th of the 202nd Olympiad; in which year, Phlegon, a heathen writer, tells us there was a most extraordinary eclipse of the sun that ever was seen. But I find by calculation, that there could be no total eclipse of the sun at Jerusalem, in a natural way, in that year. So that what Phlegon here calls an eclipse of the sun, seems to have been the great darkness for three hours at the time of our Savior’s crucifixion, as mentioned by the evangelist: a darkness altogether supernatural, as the moon was then in the side of the heavens opposite to the sun; and therefore could not possibly darken the sun to any part of the earth.” FRGC 55.1

Thus we are brought down, by astronomical accuracy, to A. D. 33, and find it the 4746th year of the Julian period. The present is A. D. 1840. 4713, the year of the Julian period at Christ’s birth, added=6553 of the Julian period. 4256, the year of the Julian period in the 7th year of Artaxerxes, from the present, 6553, leaves 2297 years since the 7th of Artaxerxes. Here, then, we only want three years of 2300 years since that point. FRGC 55.2

3700, A M., the 7th of Artaxerxes; and since him
2300, to 1843.
6000 years to 1843, A. D.

Having traced the first typical prophecy from the creation through 6,000 years, down to A. D. 1843, we have gained, to say the least, highly probable evidence, that the great Jubilee will come in 1843. But we will now return to another prediction of the same glorious event. FRGC 55.3

Vision of four Beasts; Daniel 7 chapter. FRGC 55.4

In the first year of Belshazzar, A. M. 3610, and B. C. 547, according to the foregoing plan, Daniel had a vision of four great beasts, which he was told were four kingdoms which should arise successively and fill up the time from then to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven to possess his everlasting kingdom. And when he should so come, those beasts were to be slain and their body be given to the burning flame. And until then the saints were to be persecuted and worn out; but then, and not till then, the saints will possess the kingdom. So the great Jubilee cannot come until the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. Then will come the rest which remains for the people of God. I hope every one will read the chapter carefully, and see if there is any place for a rest for the saints, or for a millenium, until the Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven. FRGC 55.5

The four kingdoms thus predicted, and the only four which can be found to have successively existed and filled up the whole period of time from Daniel to us, are, 1. The Chaldean kingdom, existing when Daniel wrote. 2. The Medo-Persian kingdom, which succeeded it, after the death of Belshazzar. 3. The Grecian kingdom, of which Alexander was the head. 4. The Roman government, which swallowed up the others, and exists in its papal form to the present day. But it is acknowledged on all hands, that this Roman government must expire before the millenium, in any shape, arrives. If so, then, before the millenium, Christ must appear for the destruction of the body of the beast. FRGC 56.1

Vision of the Ram, he Goat, and 2300 days Daniel 8 chapter. FRGC 56.2

Two years after the foregoing vision, A. M. 3612, and B. C. 545, Daniel had another vision, representing in substance the same kingdoms, commencing with the second, which is the kingdom of Media and Persia, which was presented under the emblem of a ram with two horns. This ram was overthrown by a rough goat from the west, which Daniel was told was the king of Grecia. The great horn, the first king; the four horns which came up after the great one was broken, were four kings, or four kingdoms which were to arise after the first king’s death. That the great horn or first king was Alexander the Great, all commentators are agreed. The four kings or kingdoms into which his kingdom was divided, were, Syria in the north, Egypt in the south, Persia in the cast, and Greece, or Macedon, in the west. The little horn which sprang up out of one of these was the papal power: which was set up and established by authority of the Greek emperor Justinian, A. D. 538. This little horn has waxed great and persecuted the saints up to the present time. But ultimately he is to be broken without hand. FRGC 56.3

After this vision had been presented to Daniel’s view, he heard, verses 13, 14, “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision, concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression, of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto 2300 days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” FRGC 56.4

There are here four questions to be decided: 1. What is the sanctuary? 2. What is the host? 3. What is meant by 2300 days? 4. When were those days to begin? FRGC 57.1

1. What is thesanctuary?” It is the church of God. Hebrews 8:1, 2: “Now of the things we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” FRGC 57.2

Of what sanctuary is Jesus Christ the minister, but the church, composed of all his spiritual people, dead and living? This sanctuary will be cleansed from all defilements and corruption at the resurrection of the just; and be presented spotless before his throne, with exceeding joy. FRGC 57.3

2. What isthe host?” The people of God who compose the sanctuary or church, in their individual capacity, each one being one of God’s host. Exodus 12:41: “And it came to pass, at the end of 430 years, even the self-same day, it came to pass that all the Lord’s hosts went out from the land of Egypt.” This people were emphatically God’s people, his visible church. The whole church and all the members of it are to be in a depressed and imperfect state until the end of the 2300 days, and then be cleansed. FRGC 57.4

3. What is meant by “2300 days?” Not 2300 literal days, but 2300 years, each day representing a year; as in many other places in the Bible. That Daniel did use a day for a year, is demonstrated in the fulfilment of the time, times, and dividing of time, chap 7:25, and other places. This also will be shown more clearly in answering question. FRGC 57.5

4. When did those days begin? 1. They did not begin at the time the vision was seen; for had they begun then, B. C. 545, they would have ended A. D. 1755, which they did not; for the sanctuary is not yet cleansed. FRGC 57.6

2. There is no time mentioned in the vision of the eighth chapter, when the 2300 days were to begin. Nor did Daniel know when they were to begin. For he says in the last verse he was sick certain days, and he “was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Now he did understand the meaning of the images of the vision, for they had been explained. He knew also that the end was to be at the time appointed, for he was told this. But the meaning of the time, and when it began, he did not know, or understand, for it had not been revealed. FRGC 57.7

But, at the close of his prayer, as related chapter 9., Gabriel, the same heavenly messenger who had explained the vision of chapter 8., again appeared and announced to Daniel, “I am now come to give thee skill and understanding. Therefore, understand the matter and consider the vision.” What matter and vision was he to consider and understand? Why, evidently, one familiar to both him and Gabriel; the one Gabriel had partly explained, but which Daniel did not fully understand. This vision he now came to perfect, and relieve the mind of the prophet. FRGC 58.1

To give him the key for understanding both the nature of a prophetic day and when to commence the time, he gave him the famous prophecy of seventy weeks, to be accomplished from the time of the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, to the cutting off of Messiah. In one week there are 7 days 70 by 7=490 days. But, as shown already, it was just 490 years from the decree of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, for the re-establishment of Jerusalem, to the death of Christ. Therefore, a day in the prophecy means a year. FRGC 58.2

That decree, we have seen above, was given, according to astronomical calculation, in the 4256th year of the Julian period. Then 2300 years will bring us to the 6556th of that period, which will be A. D. 1843, and the 6000th year of the world. Then the sanctuary will be cleansed; or, as the Savior says, Matthew 13., “Then shall the righteous,” after the gathering out of the wicked, “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” FRGC 58.3

My hearers, do you believe the Bible? Then how will you evade the force of these two arguments, perfectly harmonizing as they do with regard to the time when the great Sabbath of rest for the people of God shall be ushered in? FRGC 58.4

I beseech you, treat it not lightly; but give diligence, watch and pray, that when he comes you may be blest; for blessed is every one whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. FRGC 58.5

But if that servant say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming, and begins to beat his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, as many Christians, or rather professors, are doing at the present day of political excitement, the Lord of that servant will come, in an hour he looketh not for him, and cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with hypocrites. FRGC 58.6