Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ, by William Miller, , at sacred-texts.com
THIS is the third time the angel Gabriel came to instruct Daniel. The first time was when Daniel had the vision of the he-goat, Daniel viii. 16. This was 553 years before Christ. The second time he came was when Daniel was praying for the deliverance of his people from their Babylonish captivity, fifteen years after the first visit, when he instructed him into the seventy weeks, and the crucifixion of the Messiah. Now he has come in the third year of Cyrus the Persian, in the 534 B.C., 21 years after Daniel had his vision of the four beasts, nineteen after the he-goat, and four years after the seventy weeks' instruction.
After informing Daniel his purpose, as in our text, and making some preliminary observations concerning the vision in the remainder of the tenth chapter, he begins his teachings to Daniel, and through him to us, with the first of the 11th chapter. 1st verse, he tells who he, the heavenly messenger, is--the same who confirmed Daniel in the seventy weeks. See Daniel ix. 1, 21. And in the second verse he begins with the fifth king of Persia, the very same king who issued the decree to Ezra to go up and build the walls of Jerusalem, which began our seventy weeks, Daniel ix. 25; Ezra vii. 1-14. For the first Persian king was then on the throne, Daniel x. 1, which was the third year of the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia. This was the same Cyrus who was general and son-in-law to Darius the Mede, that conquered Babylon. Besides whom "there should be yet three kings," which three kings were Artaxerxes, Darius, and Ahasuerus, as they are named in Scripture. See Ezra, iv. v. and vi. chapters. I am aware that history has named four where Scripture has only named three. History names, 1, Cambyses; 2, Smerdis, same as Artaxerxes above named in Scripture; 3, Darius, son of Hystaspes, same as above; 4, Xerxes, same as Scripture calls Ahasuerus. Why the Scripture did not name Cambyses, if there was such a king, I am not able to tell, unless his reign was so short (which all historians agree in) that he had no hand in building or hindering the building of the temple at Jerusalem, as the other three kings had, which Ezra has named. But as Gabriel did not come to tell Daniel any thing which was not "noted in the Scripture of truth," (see Daniel x. 21, "But I will show thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth,") therefore the language of our text now under examination will be this--"There shall stand up yet three kings in Persia, (noted in the Scripture of truth,) and the fourth shall be far richer than they all," &c. This fourth king was Artaxerxes Longimanus, and is the same king noted in Ezra vii., and the first and only king of Persia "noted in the Scriptures," who ever gave a decree to rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem, especially in troublous times. We may therefore reasonably and conclusively determine that the messenger Gabriel begins his instruction with this king's reign, the 5th king noted in Scripture. And if so, we have another strong and forcible evidence that Daniel's vision of the ram and he-goat began with the seventy weeks, 457 years before the birth of Christ, and 490 years, or 70 prophetic weeks, before his death, Dan. xi. 3, 4. We have the plain history of Alexander, the conqueror of the world, his death, and division of the kingdom into four great empires. Hear what Gabriel says of him more than 200 years before the event happened, and learn, ye skeptics, the evidence that this prophecy is of divine origin. "And a mighty king shall stand up that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven, and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others besides those," (that is, his posterity.)
Need I, then, tell my hearers that history tells us that Alexander conquered the then known world in about six years, and that he died 323 B.C. at Babylon; that his kingdom was divided among his greatest generals, from which division arose four great kingdoms, Egypt in the south, Persia in the east, Syria in the north, and Macedonia in the west, which kingdoms lasted until conquered by the Romans? Between the years 190 and 30 B.C. nearly all these kingdoms became Roman provinces. From Daniel xi. 5, 13, inclusive, we have a prophecy of the two principal kingdoms out of these four--Egypt and Syria; and any one who may have the curiosity to see the exact agreement between the prophecy and history, can read Rollin's Ancient History, where he has not only given us the history, but applied this prophecy. And as I see no reason to disagree from him in his application of these texts, I shall, therefore, for brevity's sake, pass over these texts, and examine the text, Dan. xi. 14, "And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south; also, the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall." The king of the south, in this verse, without any doubt, means king of Egypt; but what the robbers of thy people means remains yet a doubt perhaps to some. That it cannot Antiochus, or any king of Syria, it is plain; for the angel had been talking about that nation for a number of verses previous, and now says, "also the robbers of thy people," &c., evidently implying some other nation. I will admit that Antiochus did perhaps rob the Jews; but how could this "establish the vision," performing any act of that kind; for he belonged to what is called the Grecian kingdom in the vision. Again, "to establish the vision," must mean to make sure, complete, or fulfil the same. And if it cannot be shown that the Grecian kingdom was to rob the people of God, I think it must mean some other nation which would do these acts, to which every word will apply. And to this we need not be at a loss; for at this very time of which the angel is speaking, Rome, the least kingdom in Daniel's vision, did exalt itself, and this kingdom did have the very marks in the vision, and in the events following. This kingdom was to have great iron teeth; it was to break in pieces, and stamp the residue with the feet of it. The vision also says, "He shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and holy people, and that he should magnify himself," &c., the same as exalt himself, Daniel vii. 7, 23; viii. 10-12, 24, 25 verses. And it cannot be denied but that the Jews have been robbed of their city and sanctuary by the Romans, and the Christian church has been persecuted and robbed by this dreadful beast, the Roman kingdom. It is evident too that when this kingdom falls, the vision will be completed, fulfilled, established: "but they shall fall," says the angel in the verse under our present examination; "they shall fall;" that is, the ten horns in this fourth kingdom, when the vision is fulfilled or established, and when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall grind them to powder. We will take the 15th, "So the king of the north" (Rome is now the king of the north, because they had conquered the Macedonian kingdom, and had become masters of the countries north and east before they attacked Egypt) "shall come and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities; and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand." This was about fifty years before Christ, when Pompey, a Roman general, conquered Egypt, and made that kingdom tributary to the Romans, and afterwards entered Jerusalem, and made them subjects of the Roman government. See verses 16 and 17, "But he that cometh against him" (Pompey coming against Egypt) "shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him, and he shall stand in the glorious land which by his hand shall be consumed. He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him," (or men of equal conditions, as it might have been rendered.) The Roman army, of which Pompey had the command, when he went into Egypt and Palestine, were composed of the sons of all the principal citizens of Rome, who were, according to the laws of the republic, to serve ten years in the service of their country before they were admitted to receive the high offices which they might afterwards be candidates for. This accounts for the language just read in the text--"upright ones with him." And "thus shall he do: he shall give him the daughter of woman, corrupting her; but she shall not stand on his side nor be for him." When Pompey went into Egypt, he found that country divided between Ptolemy and Cleopatra. Pompey, after he had made them tributary to the Romans, compelled them to settle their differences by marriage. Afterwards, when Julius Cæsar came against Pompey with his western veterans, with whom he had conquered the west part of Europe, and in the battle fought between these two contending rivals, Pompey and Julius Cæsar, Cleopatra had the command of the Egyptian fleet on the side of Pompey; but in the midst of the action she deserted over to Cæsar with her whole fleet, which turned the fortune of the day in favor of Julius Cæsar. Pompey then fled into the Grecian isles, where he compelled many of them to declare in his favor. But Cæsar soon followed him, and at the battle of Pharsalia completely defeated Pompey, who was slain by a band of pirates or robbers. This part we have in the 18th verse, "After this shall he (Pompey) turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many; but a prince (Cæsar) for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him (Pompey) to cease; without his own (Cæsar) reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him, (Pompey:) 19th verse, "Then he (Cæsar) shall turn his face towards the fort of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found." This history of Cæsar's death is familiar to every school-boy. After he had conquered Pompey, he returned to Rome, entered the city in triumph, and a few days after, when he was about to be crowned Emperor, he was slain in the senate-house, before Pompey's pillar, by his own friends; "he stumbled and fell, and was not found." 20th verse, "Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes, in the glory of the kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger nor in battle." This verse describes Octavius Cæsar, who first taxed the Roman provinces, Judea being taxed (see Luke ii. 1, 5) when our Savior was born; but Octavius Cæsar, afterwards called Augustus Cæsar, was not slain like his uncle Julius, nor like his successors; but died peaceably in his bed. 21st and 22d verses, "And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overthrown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also, the prince of the covenant." In these two verses we have the history of Tiberius Cæsar, who was the successor of Octavius Cæsar in the Roman empire; and was one of the most vile, profligate, bloody tyrants that ever sat upon the Roman throne. History gives us the same account, that he obtained by flatteries the kingdom, and afterwards ruled it by tyranny. He also assumed the name of Augustus. In his reign Christ was crucified, "the Prince of the covenant was broken." Here ends the history of the seventy weeks. This prophetic history being divided into four divisions, the first part is the history of the seventy weeks, to which we have been attending, which began in the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign, and ended in the 22d year of Tiberius Cæsar's, being four hundred and ninety years; the second part will be the history of Pagan Rome, which begins with the first league made between the Romans and the Jews, and will carry us down six hundred and sixty-six years. You will likewise observe that the angel goes back and begins this history with the league. 22d verse, "And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people."
Let us in the first place inquire, Between whom is this league made? The Romans must be one of the contracting parties, from the fact that the angel is talking about that government before and afterwards, and that the fourth or Roman kingdom was to work deceitfully, "and through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand." See Daniel viii. 25. And also from the circumstance of their being a small republican people at first, Rome, too, was small in territory at this time, although many nations and kingdoms were tributary unto them; but who was the other contracting party in this league? I answer, It must have been some people whom the angel had in view; and he, Daniel, had the same in view, or he would have given some mark by which Daniel or the reader could have come to a just conclusion. Yes, this was the case; for he had told Daniel in the very outset, "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days." See our text. This, then, is the key that unlocks the whole subject, and explains two important points in the vision. First, it teaches who are the subjects of this vision; and, secondly, when and how the Roman kingdom became connected with the vision. If I am thus far correct, then the angel has reference to the league made with the Romans 158 years B.C., when the Grecian general Bachides withdrew his army from before Jerusalem, and never returned to vex the Jews any more, as says 1 Maccabees ix. 72. For the history of this league, you can read 1 Maccabees viii. and Josephus B. XII. chap. x. sec. 6. This league was the first ever made between the Romans and the Jews, according to Josephus. It took effect 158 years B.C., when the Grecian kingdom, at the command of the Romans, ceased to trouble the Jews, and the Romans began to work deceitfully. Then began the Pagan beast to exercise his influence over the people of God. And now let us pursue his history as given by the angel Gabriel, 24th verse, "He shall enter peaceably, even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches; yea, he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds even for a time." This verse is a true history of the rise of the Roman power; they did scatter the prey and spoil among the provinces, and conquered more nations by their munificence and benevolence in the outset, than by their arms of battles. Rome bought more nations by riches and intrigue than she conquered in war; and she compelled the Jews to submit for about two centuries to that which no nation before had been able ever to do, viz., to be ruled by kings, governors, and high priests, appointed by the Romans, and not chosen by themselves. 25th verse, "And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they shall forecast devices against him." This is a description of the war in Egypt, under the government of Mark Antony and Octavius Cæsar. "Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow, and many shall fall down slain." When Antony went into Egypt with a great army, Cleopatra, then queen of Egypt, deserted her husband's standard, as she had before Pompey's, and went over to Mark Antony with all the forces she could command, by which means Egypt became an easy prey to the Romans; so that a part of the Egyptian army, that fed of the portion of the king's meat, were the means of destroying the kingdom. "And both of these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper; for yet the end shall be at the time appointed." These two kings are Antony and Octavius, their characters agreeing with the description given in this passage; history agreeing that they ruled over the Romans for a season jointly, and that they were both of them great deceivers and liars. History also informs us that after Antony had conquered Egypt, he and Octavius quarrelled; Octavius Cæsar declared war against Antony, marched an army towards Egypt, and at the battle of Actium defeated Antony and Cleopatra's forces, afterwards took Alexandria in Egypt, and Antony and Cleopatra put themselves to death, and Egypt becomes a Roman province. This was thirty years before the birth of Christ. 28, "Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits and return to his own land." Then Octavius returned to Rome. And the next exploit that this fourth kingdom would do would be against the holy covenant. They, by their authority, crucified our Savior, persecuted the saints, and destroyed Jerusalem; and this fills up the acts of this Pagan history until towards the close of the reign of the Pagan beast. 29, "At the time appointed, he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter." The time appointed must mean the length of the reign of this beast, whose history the angel is now giving, which I have shown, in a former lecture, is 666 years. "He shall return, and come towards the south," not as the former or latter. Not as the Romans going into Egypt, the latter; not the Syrians going into Egypt, as the former; but Italy must now take her turn to be overrun by the northern barbarians. Therefore the angel says, in the next verse, see 30. ("For the ships of Chittim shall come against him;") the meaning of which is, that the Huns, which lived on the north of the Adriatic Sea, the place where it was anciently called Chittim, under their leader Attila, (surnamed the Scourge of God,) should ravage the Roman empire. This was fulfilled 447 years after Christ. "Therefore he shall be grieved and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant; so shall he do; he shall return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant."
About the time that Attila ravaged the Roman empire, Christians conceived it to be a judgment of God upon the Romans for their idolatry and wickedness, refused to bear arms in favor of the Roman emperors, which led to a bloody persecution of Christians, and a renewal of Pagan rites and sacrifices, which had been partially suspended during the reign of Constantine and succeeding emperors, except in the case of Julian the Apostate. "And arms shall stand on his part," that is, the force of the empire would be on the side of Paganism. "And they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength." They, in this passage, mean the governments or kings, established on the fall of the Roman empire in the west, by the Huns, Goths and Vandals of the north. "By the sanctuary of strength," is meant Rome. And it is said that at the time that Rome was taken, men, women, and children were sacrificed to their Pagan deities. "And shall take away the daily sacrifice." The angel is giving us a history of what these kings would do, when Rome should be divided into its ten toes, or when the ten horns should arise, which the angel has heretofore explained to mean ten kings, Daniel vii. 24. This is evident by his using the plural pronoun instead of the singular, as before, or as he will following, when the little horn obtains the power. To "take away the daily sacrifice," means to destroy Paganism out of the kingdom. This was done by those ten kings who now ruled the Roman empire, and would for a little season, until they should give their power to the image beast. "And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." They, meaning the ten kings, shall place, shall put in the room or place of the daily sacrifice or Pagan beast which would now receive its death wound by the sword, that is, by the civil power of this fourth kingdom, under the reigning power of these ten kings; for John tells us, Rev. xvii. 12, 13, "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but shall receive power as kings one hour with the beast; these have one mind, (being all Pagans,) and shall give their power and strength unto the beast;" that is, to support Paganism. Now, this was evidently fulfilled; for after the fall of the Western Empire, A.D. 476, and before A.D. 490, ten kings had risen upon the ruins, and formed ten separate kingdoms, the names of which I have before given; they all being Pagans, or course they supported that form of worship, until they were converted to the Christian faith, which happened within the space of twenty years, Clovis, the king of France, having been converted and baptized in the year A.D. 496. By the year A.D. 508, the remainder of the kings were brought over and embraced the Christian religion, which closes the history of the Pagan beast, whose number was 666; which, beginning 158 years B.C., would end the beast's reign A.D. 508, having reigned but a short time, (one hour, says John,) with the ten kings. We have now gone through with the angel Gabriel's second part of the history, as we promised.
I shall now go on with the illustration of the third part of his prophetic history, which is the history of the image beast, the deadly wound healed, or what Daniel calls "the abomination that maketh desolate." This beast would rule over the kings of the earth, and tread the church of God under foot forty-two months, or time, times, and a half, which is twelve hundred and sixty years, in common time, or, as the angel tells us in Daniel xii. 11, from the taking away the daily abomination to set up the abomination that maketh desolate, should be a thousand two hundred and ninety days, showing a difference of thirty years from the statement of the actual reign of the image beast and the other, which includes all the time from taking away down through the setting up or reign of the image beast. Therefore, to reconcile these two statements, we must conclude there were 30 years from A.D. 508, when Paganism ceased, before the image beast, or Papal Rome, would begin her reign. If this is correct, then the 1290 began 508, and would end us in 1798. But the reign of Papacy would not be set up until A.D. 538, and would end us in the same year, A.D. 1798, being 1260. This, then, is the history the angel will give us next. 32, "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall be corrupted by flatterers; but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." The ecclesiastical historians tell us that in the beginning of the sixth century, about A.D. 538, a number of writers in that day undertook to prove that the Papal chair, together with councils of his approval, were infallible, and their laws were binding on the whole church. These writers were highly honored and flattered with promotion by the reigning power; while on the other hand there were many who opposed this power of the Pope and clergy, who were denounced as schismatics and Arians, and driven out of the kingdoms under the control of the Romish church. 33, "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days." Those who instructed the common people, and opposed the worshipping of images, the infallibility of the Pope and councils, the canonizing of departed saints, were persecuted by the civil power, (the sword,) were burned by order of the ecclesiastical courts established by the laws of Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, whose code of laws, published about A.D. 534, gave unto the bishop of Rome power to establish courts for this purpose, and many in the sixth century and subsequent down to a late period, "many days," suffered death, imprisonment, and confiscation of goods, in consequence of a difference of opinion in matters of religion, by the tyranny of this abomination, "the bloody city which has reigned over the kings of the earth." 34, "Now, when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help; but many shall cleave to them with flatteries." This text agrees with one in Revelation xii. 16, "And the earth helped the woman." "But many shall cleave to them;" that is, many men of the world would cleave to them, and professedly would flatter the true people of God that they were friendly at least to them, and by these means Satan carried on his wars against the children of God. 35, "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge and to make them white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for a time appointed." This verse shows us that even Christians would be led into some of the errors of Papacy, and would be tried and purged, even to the end of this image beast's reign, which time is appointed, as I have already shown, to be "time, times, and a half," 1260 years, ending A.D. 1798. 36, "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished, for that that is determined shall be done." The king here spoken of is the same as Daniel's little horn, which came up among the ten horns. It it the same that blasphemed the God of heaven. It is mystical Babylon. Isa. xiv. 12-15; Rev. xiii. 5, 6. The same Paul has described in his Epistle, 2 Thess. ii. 1-9; the same image beast which we have been examining the history of; and one thing is evident, that this beast will continue until the day that God pours out his indignation upon a guilty world in some form or other. 37, "Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all." In this passage we have a plain description of Papacy; they do not worship the same gods the Pagans did--"their fathers." And their clergy are forbidden to marry; the Pope calls himself the vicegerent of God, or God on earth, having the keys of heaven, &c. 38, "But in his estate shall he honor the god of forces; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things." It is true that the Pope, for ages past, has had large armies at his command, and always a body-guard to attend him in his capital; also, that they adorn their pictures with gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pleasant things, and that the gods they worship, such as the images of Christ, apostles, and Virgin Mary, and canonized saints, were not known to Pagan worshippers. 39, "Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain."
These patron saints, which the Pope divided among the several nations of the earth, and in almost every family, each one having their patron saint to rule over them, by the appointment of the Pope, were strange gods indeed; and rational beings might truly wonder when they beheld the power of this last abomination over the minds and judgments of mankind. And then, again, to see the number of kingdoms, provinces, states, and territories, which the Pope has sold to enrich his coffers, without any more right or title to them than we have to the land in the moon, must convince every one that the description given must apply to the church of Rome or the Pope, who claims to exercise this great authority by his crazy title to St. Peter's chair.
We have now arrived to the end of the third division of the angel's history; for the next verse tells us, "and at the time of the end," meaning the end of his power, to tread on the church by his civil authority, or reign over the kings of the earth, and to dispose of lands for gain I have brought you down, my kind hearer, through a long prophetic history of more than 2200 years, and landed you to the year A.D. 1798, when the Pope of Rome lost his civil power. In the beginning of the year 1798, on the 15th of February, a French general, Berthier, entered Rome with a French army without resistance, deposed the Pope, abolished the Papal government, and erected the republic of Italy. The Pope, being taken prisoner, was carried a prisoner by them first to Sienna in Tuscany, from thence to Florence, afterwards to Grenoble, and then to Valence, in France, where he died on the 19th of August, 1799, since which time the Pope of Rome has exercised no more of his former power over any of the kings in Europe, or the Protestant church. We shall now close our lecture on this history for the present, reserving the remainder of Gabriel's interesting history for another lecture.